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Thread: Bordertown Wanderer - Bian Cheng Lang Zi - by Gu Long

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    Default Chapter 27 - The Sabre Emerges From Its Sheathe

    Bordertown Wanderer
    by Gu Long

    translated by Justin Lu

    http://www.bliss7.net/translations/
    email: [email protected]

    Chapter 27 - The Sabre Emerges From Its Sheathe

    Autumn. Deep in a sea of mountains, the colors of autumn painted a forest of maple trees red.

    Thirty-four steeds, twenty-six people. The riders on horseback were cheering, cheering that they had reached that forest. Their horses were swift, the riders looked fierce.

    Their faces looked tired and weary and some even appeared to be carrying injuries. But they didn't seem to care, because the bounty from this hunt was extremely plentiful.

    What they hunted for was the blood and sweat of other people. Their catch was on the backs of several horses, forty heavy chests filled with silver.

    Others scorned them for beind bandits and thieves but they paid no mind. Because they believed themselves to be righteous -- righteous men of the outlaw-realm.

    When outlaws drank wine, they used large bowls as their cups. When they ate, each slice of meat was cut as thick as possible.

    Big bowls of wine, big slabs of meat, and chest after chest of silver were all placed onto the table, waiting to be divided up by their boss.

    Their boss was a man with only one eye, that's why he was given the nickname 'One-Eyed Dragon'. He wore a black piece of cloth because he felt that it made him appear much more dignified. In reality, he really was a dignified man. Although he was quite ruthless, he was always fair and impartial. Only a fair and impartial person could lead a band of outlaws.

    Plus, he had two aides who would throw their lives for him at a moment's beckon. One was brave and strong, the other one tactful and crafty. The brave one was called the 'Tiger Slayer', the tactful one was called the 'White-Faced Wanderer'.

    All outlaws had to have resounding monikers. They were used so prevalently that most of them forgot their original names.

    Tiger Slayer was never much smarter than a tiger to begin with. In fact, after a bottle of wine he was probably dimmer than a tiger, but certainly twice as fierce. He was most formidable with his fists. It is said that he could take down a live tiger with one punch. This was something that no one had ever witnessed before, but it was something that no one would dare to doubt. Because the number of people that he had struck dead with one fist were not few. On this expedition, the Second Head Escort of the Zhenyuan Escort Agency, who was had the nickname 'Iron Diamond' was struck dead by a single fist of his. That's why his cut of the silver was the greatest this time, as was his share of the compliments.

    "When that 'Iron Diamond' came up against the fists of our Second Master, it was like crumpling paper."

    Tiger Slayer smiled, he felt overjoyed.

    Suddenly, he noticed that the laughter and compliments had stopped. Every pair of eyes was looking at the grand doors. As he glanced towards the door, his laughter stopped as well. He simply couldn't believe his eyes.

    A person slowly walked through the main doors into the hall. A person who should never have appeared here.

    A woman, so beautiful that she could make men forget to breathe.

    The 'Den of Dragons and Tigers', hidden deep behind a maple forest and surrounded on all sides by mountains, was like a wild beast with its jaws wide open, waiting for humans to prey upon. And the bandits that inhabited this place were like a pack of wild beasts as well.

    Who would want to be devoured by a pack of wild beasts? That's why strangers seldom wandered into this bandit stronghold. Even birds rarely flew over it.

    But there she stood, this mysterious woman who had wandered straight into a den of wild beasts. She was wearing an exquisite green dress made of the finest materials. Her long black hair glistened with pearls, which in contrast made her hair appear even more black and her skin even more white. She wore the sweetest smile on her face but her expression echoed a dignified maturity. She made her way into the hall, tiny step after tiny step, as if she was skipping on lotus blossoms. She was like a majestic beauty walking into a fabulous banquet that was being held in her honor.

    Everyone's eyes were fixed. They weren't men who had never seen women before, but they had definitely never seen this kind of woman.

    Although their boss was as clear-headed as the morning sun, he rarely opened his mouth. He gathered himself and shot a look at Tiger Slayer. Tiger Slayer slapped his hand onto the table and blasted, "What kind of person are you?"

    The green dressed beauty smiled alluringly and replied softly, "Can't you all tell that I'm a woman?"

    From head to toe, she was obviously a woman. Even the blind would be able to tell that she was a woman.

    "Why are you here for?" Tiger Slayer asked.

    "We want to stay here for the next three months, will that be alright?"

    This woman must be insane, she wanted to stay in a den of thieves for three months?

    "I would like the best room you have. The blankets in the room should be changed at least twice a day. We are very used to cleanliness, but are not that picky when it comes to food. We will be satisfied as long as there is beef in our three meals a day. But we want the best cuts possible, the beef everywhere else we've been is unbearable. We don't drink very often during the daytime, but would like several jars of wine prepared for us at night. Preferably Persian grape wine and thirty year-old Green Bamboo Leaf wine."

    "..."

    "When we sleep, we would like three shifts of guards standing watch outside, but they mustn't make a single sound to disturb us. Because we are very light sleepers, and it takes us quite a while to fall asleep again if we are awakened. As for anything else, we don't really mind. We know that you are all ruffians so it's to be expected."

    Everyone stared at her in amazement as she rambled on, it was like listening to a lunatic singing to herself. But she spoke very naturally, and her demands were not outrageous by any degree.

    When she was finally finished, Tiger Slayer burst out into laughter and said, "What do you think this? An inn? A restaurant?"

    "We haven't any money with us." the green dressed beauty said.

    "Do you want us to provide you with silver as well?" Tiger Slayer mocked.

    "If you hadn't reminded me, I would've forgotten. We want a cut of the silver that is on the table." she added with a smile.

    "How much of it?"

    "Just half will be enough."

    "Are you sure half isn't too little?"

    "Like I've said before, we aren't very demanding people."

    Tiger Slayer burst out laughing again, as if he had never heard something so hilarious before in his life. Everyone else started to laugh as well. Only One-Eyed Dragon and White-Faced Wanderer retained serious expressions on their face.

    White-Faced Wanderer's face looked ever paler as he suddenly asked, "You keep mentioning 'we', just how many people are with you?"

    "Only two." the woman replied.

    "Who is the other person?"

    "My husband of course. Who else would I be staying with if not my husband."

    "Then where is he?"

    "He is right outside."

    The White-Faced Wanderer smiled and asked, "Why didn't he come inside with you?"

    "His temper has never been that good, I was afraid that he would hurt some of you."

    "Are you sure that it's not the other way around, that you were afraid that we would hurt him?" the White-Faced Wanderer said with smirk.

    "Whatever the case, I've come today as a guest, not as someone looking to pick a fight."

    "Then you've come to the right place, we aren't people who like to pick fights." the White-Faced Wanderer's expression sunk as he continued, "We only like to kill!"

    The maple forest was still visible from the courtyard outside. That person stood in the middle of the courtyard, staring at the mountains in the far-off distance.

    The evening sun was a hazy dark blue, the distant mountains were pale gray. Traces of verdant green dotted the vast expanse of gray. On these autumn days, the sunset always carried an inexpressible sense of melancholy.

    That person's eyes looked just as desolate and hazy as the mountains in the distance. His arms were wrapped behind his back. He seemed even more distant than those mountains, as if he was no longer part of this world.

    The last gleam of sunlight shined insipidly onto his face. The wrinkles on his face were deep and plentiful. It seemed as if each of his wrinkles hid within them countless tragedies and sadness. Perhaps he was getting on in his years, but he still stood tall and straight and his posture emanated a formidable aura of strength.

    He wasn't especially tall or well built, but the strength that showed in his poise was one that demanded respect and admiration. It was a pity that these bandits never respected or admired anyone.

    Tiger Slayer let out a laugh and exclaimed, "If I can't kill him with a single punch, then I'll call the two of you my ancestors and treat you as such for three years."

    "Why don't you go ahead and try?" the green dressed beauty replied.

    "You're not afraid of being a widow?" Tiger Slayer snickered back. With a hearty laugh he lumbered towards the old man. He was of big stature and his laugh rang loudly throughout the hall.

    But it was as if that old man didn't notice at all, it was as if he didn't hear the laughter either. His expression became even more solemn and tired. This place looked extremely serene ...

    "If you're looking for a place to rest, feel free to stay here. But I must warn you that there are no beds, only coffins." Tiger Slayer mocked.

    The old man replied without turning an eye, "If you aren't willing to accomodate us, then we will leave."

    "Now that you're here, you think that you can come and go as you please?"

    A cynical smile leaked from the corner of the old man's mouth as he replied, "Then it's best if I just wait right here."

    "What are you waiting for?"

    "Your fists."

    "Then you have to wait no longer."

    Tiger Slayer lunged forward with his outstretched fist. It really was a lethal fist, quick, precise and powerful. Extremely powerful. Before the fist had even arrived, the air displaced by its force was blowing aside the old man's hair.

    The old man didn't move, he didn't even blink. He simply watched as that fist closed in, then smiled and launched his own fist. He was shorter, and his fist appeared slower. But when Tiger Slayer's fist was still more than three inches from him, the old man's fist had already smashed into the bridge of Tiger Slayer's nose.

    Everyone heard the painful sound of shattering bone. As soon as that crackle was heard, Tiger Slayer's one hundred plus catty body was sent flying into the air. He was thrown over forty feet away into the wall. As he fell to the floor, everyone noticed that his nose had been pushed sideways and his entire face had been disfigured.

    The old man still didn't turn to look at him. He pulled out a silk scarf and wiped the blood off his knuckles as he continued to stare at the mountains in the distance. His eyes were the same hazy gray color as the mountains.

    The expression on One-Eyed Dragon's face changed. After getting over the initial shock, the rest of the bandits were in an uproar and ready to pounce at the old man. But White-Faced Wanderer held them back as he whispered a couple words into One-Eyed Dragon's ear.

    One-Eyed Dragon hesitated for a moment, then nodded his head. He raised his thumb and smiled.

    "Excellent! Excellent skills. We couldn't invite such a guest even if we wanted to. How would we even consider refusing your stay."

    "I knew that big brother would certainly welcome such esteemed guests." White-Faced Wanderer said with a smile.

    One-Eyed Dragon walked over to the old man and cupped his fists, "May I have the honor of knowing this friend's name?"

    "You don't have to know who I am, and we are not friends." the old man replied coldly.

    One-Eyed Dragon didn't change his expression and simply continued, "How long do you plan on staying here as our guests?"

    "You don't have to worry, we already said that we would only stay for three months." the green dressed beauty interjected. "When we leave in three months time, we won't stay any longer even if you begged us to."

    But she knew that no one would try to keep them.

    "After three months, where would we go then?"

    "Whatever the case, that is something we will worry about in three months. Why bother thinking about it now."

    ________________________________________


    He slowly walked forward. His left leg took a step, and his right leg dragged along from behind. His hand was grasping tightly onto his sabre. An ebony black sabre!

    His eyes were ebony black as well, dark and unfathomable, the same as the approaching night.

    Autumn night, narrow alley.

    In this manner, he had walked countless streets and alleys for what seems like countless full and empty moons. How much longer did he have to wander?

    He hadn't heard a single thing about the person he was trying to find. And he had asked countless times.

    "Have you seen an old man?"

    "Everyone has seen an old man, do you know how many old men there are in this world?"

    "But this old man is different, one of his hands has four fingers cut off."

    "That I have never seen."

    All he could do was continue to look.

    She lowered her head and slowly followed him from behind. It wasn't that she didn't want to walk alongside him, she just felt that he wasn't willing to let her walk beside him. Although he had never said so himself, he always seemed to treat her with slight contempt.

    Perhaps, it wasn't her that he held contempt for, but himself.

    She had never lectured him or tried to convince him to stop looking. She simply followed him quietly from behind. Perhaps she already knew in her heart that he would never find this person.

    On the wide street outside of the empty alley, lantern lights were bright and pervading.

    What could be the reason? If it weren't for the fact that he was trying to gather information, he would've much rather stayed in the dark alleys. The two of them finally walked out.

    Her bright eyes immediately lit up, a smile formed across her beautiful lips, her whole body came to life. She wasn't like him. She enjoyed the festivity, she enjoyed luxury, and she enjoyed the compliments. Although she would usually turn down their advances, she only did so to elevate her own status. She had always understood how to make men fall for her. Men would never fall for a woman that they looked down upon.

    The restaurant was the busiest at this time of night. If you wanted to scour for information, there wasn't a better place. And this street had the most restaurants on it than anywhere else.

    The two of them walked out from the alley and onto this street when they suddenly heard a voice cry out, "Cui Nong!"

    Two people strode down from one of the restaurants. Two very exquisitely dressed men, one had a sabre at his side, the other had a sword at his waist.

    The sabre-wielder tugged at her arm and asked, "Cui Nong, what are you doing where? When did you arrive here? Like I've told you before, stop bothering with this two-bit town. If someone as beautiful as yourself were to make a living in the big city, I guarantee that within two years you'd be making cart fulls upon cart fulls of gold and jewels."

    "Why aren't you saying anything? We're old acquaintances, aren't we? Don't tell me you've forgotten!"

    The sabre-wielding fellow had a couple of glasses to drink already and was berating and yelling in public as if he wanted everyone to know that he was acquainted with this beautiful girl.

    Cui Nong kept her head lowered and glanced over occasionally at Fu HongXue.

    Fu HongXUe didn't turn his head. He had stopped walking and the hand that held his sabre was beginning to tense up with green veins.

    The sabre-wielding fellow looked at him, then back at Cui Nong, and finally understood.

    "No wonder you won't say a word to me, you've already found a man. But why in the world didn't you look harder, why are you settling for this cripple?"

    Before his words were finished, he noticed that the beauitful flutter in Cui Nong's eyes had been replaced with fear and dread. He followed the line of sight of Cui Nong's eyes and he saw another pair of eyes. These eyes weren't very big, nor were they very sharp, but they carried an unbearable coldness to them.

    This sabre-wielding fellow was no coward, and he also drank a couple of glasses of wine, but when those pair of eyes looked at him, he couldn't help but feel as if his hands went cold.

    "Fu HongXue stared at him coldly and suddenly asked, "You are surnamed Peng?"

    "What's it to you?" the sabre-wielder replied sharply.

    "You're from the 'Five Tigers Severing Sabre of Shanxi, Peng Family'?"

    "You recognize me?" the sabre-wielder asked.

    "I don't recognize you at all, but I recognize that sabre!" Fu HongXue replied coldly.

    That sabre was excessively ornate and decorative, just like the clothes he wore. The shape of the sabre was strange, its head was rather broad while its body was especially narrow while its hilt was covered in five different colored satins.

    The sabre-wielder puffed up his chest, gathered his voice and said, "That's right, I am Peng Lie!"

    Fu HongXue slowly nodded his head and said, "I've heard of you."

    Peng Lie cracked a smile and replied, "As well you should have."

    "I've also heard that the Peng family and Ma KongQun are friends." Fu HongXue said.

    "He is definitely a friend of our family." Peng Lie said.

    "Have you been to the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

    Of course he had been there before, how else would he know Cui Nong?

    "Do you know of Ma KongQun's whereabouts?" Fu HongXue inquired.

    "He's not at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

    Peng Lie was caught somewhat by surprise, that he didn't even know what happened to the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    "You're also acquainted with the Third Boss?" Peng Lie asked.

    Fu HongXue slowly started to smile. His eyes moved towards Peng Lie's sabre as he remarked, "Your sabre is really pleasant to look at."

    A hint of glee showed on Peng Lie's face. His sabre was definitely much more pleasant to look at than Fu HongXue's.

    "A pity though that sabres aren't meant to be admired." Fu HongXue said.

    "Then what?"

    "You didn't know that sabres are for killing?" Fu HongXue said.

    "You don't think that this sabre can kill?" Peng Lie asked.

    "At least I haven't ever seen it kill."

    The color of Peng Lie's face changed, "Do you want to see it kill then?"

    "I actually do." Fu HongXue replied.

    The color of his face changed as well. It became pale, almost pale enough to be transparent. Peng Lie looked at his face and subconsciously took half a step back.

    "And what about your sabre, you think it can kill?" Peng Lie said loudly. The more afraid he became, the louder his voice got.

    At that point, Fu HongXue didn't say another word. He wouldn't talk from his mouth any longer, the next words he said would be spoken by his sabre! Words spoken with the sabre were always more effective than words spoken with the mouth.

    The other fellow who had a sword at his waist was very handsome young man. He was tall and had a pair of thin eyebrows. His face wore a constant look of disdain, as if everyone simply wasn't worth his time.

    He had kept quiet the entire time but suddenly he spoke up, "Someone said that exact same thing before."

    "Said what?" Peng Lie asked.

    "Said that his sabre coulnd't kill."

    "Who said it?"

    "Someone who is now dead."

    "Who?"

    "GongSun Duan!"

    "GongSun Duan is dead?" Peng Lie asked in shock.

    "He died under that sabre." the young swordsman replied.

    Beads of sweat suddenly formed on Peng Lie's forehead.

    "And in addition, the Third Boss has been forced to flee the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'" the young swordsman added.

    "How ... how do you know all this?" Peng Lie asked.

    "I've just returned from the Northwest."

    Fu HongXue's glance turned towards the young swordsman as he asked, "What business did you have there?"

    "I was looking for you." the young swordsman replied.

    This time Fu HongXue didn't look very surprised.

    "I wanted to meet you." the young swordsman said.

    "You went there just to see me?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "I didn't want to see you, I wanted to see your blade! I wanted to find out just how fast your blade is!"

    Fu HongXue's grip tightened, his face turned even more pale.

    "I am surnamed Yuan, my name is Yuan QingFeng. The Yuan family and the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' are also very good friends."

    Fu HongXue nodded his head and said, "I understand."

    "You should understand." Yuan QingFeng said.

    "Do you still want to witness my blade?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "Yes."

    Fu HongXue lowered his glance and stared at the hand that held his sabre.

    "You still aren't willing to draw your blade?"

    "Fine, draw your sword first!"

    "Disciples of the Tianshan Sword Clan never draw their swords first!" Yuan QingFeng replied haughtily.

    A strange expression came over Fu HongXue's face as he started to mumble, "Tianshan ... Tianshan!"

    His eyes wandered off into the distance, they looked full of remembrance and grief.

    "Draw your blade!" Yuan QingFeng demanded.

    Fu HongXue's hands tensed up even more. His sabre was in his left hand when suddenly, his right hand reached for the handle. Peng Lie subconsciously took another step backwards. Cui Nong's beautiful eyes lit up with anxious intensity. Yuan QingFeng's expression hadn't changed at all, but his hand held tightly onto the hilt of his sword.

    "Tianshan ... Tianshan ..."

    Suddenly, a blade flashed! There was only a single flash!

    As soon as he saw that flash of light that was faster than lightning, the blade already returned to its sheathe.

    A gust of wind blew by. Lines of red silk drifted into the sky. The red silk sash that adorned Yuan QingFeng's sword had been cut off.

    Fu HongXue's head was still lowered, his eyes stared at the hand that held his sabre as he said, "And now you've seen my blade."

    There was still no change in Yuan QingFeng's expression, but cold sweat had started running down his forehead.

    "My blade was never meant to be admired, but I have made an exception for you." Fu HongXue said.

    Yuan QingFeng didn't say another word. He slowly turned around and walked off behind one of the restaurants. He still hadn't seen Fu HongXue's blade, all he saw was the blade's flash. But that was more than enough. The man had gone, but one or two strands of red silk were still floating around in the wind.

    Peng Lie's sabre hand was soaked in sweat.

    Fu HongXue's gaze shifted towards him as he asked, "You saw my blade?"

    Peng Lie nodded his head.

    "Now I want to see your blade." Fu HongXue said.

    Peng Lie gritted his teeth. The sound of his grinding teeth was like the sound of a blade being sharpened.

    Suddenly, a voice shouted out, "There's nothing interesting about that sabre."

    A sedan chair slowly made its way down the street and came to a stop. That voice came from inside the sedan chair. It was a female voice, a beautifully melodic female voice. But its owner was nowhere in sight. The windows of the sedan chair were closed.

    "If there's nothing interesting about that sabre, then what's there to look at?" Fu HongXue asked coldly.

    The voice from the sedan chair replied, "I am much more interesting to look at than that sabre."

    Not only did her voice sound like the ringing of bells, but there really were bells ringing. Crisp clear bell chimes rang as a person stepped out of the sedan chair, like a white lotus in bloom. She had on a moon white gown, her wrists were adorned with golden ringed bells.

    Ding LingLin.

    Fu HongXue's eyebrows raised as he exclaimed, "It's you?"

    Ding LingLin's eyes moved as she replied charmingly, "I'm surprised that you recognize me."

    Fu HongXue didn't actually know who she was, he only remembered that she was with Ye Kai.

    "There's nothing interesting to see about that sabre because that's not really the 'Five Tigers Severing Sabre'." Ding LingLin said with a smile.

    "It's not?"

    "If you want to see the real 'Five Tigers Severing Sabre', you should go to the 'Five Degrees Manor' in the border regions."

    She suddenly turned to Peng Lie and said, "He doesn't want to see your sabre anymore, you might as well go and drink, Little Ye has been waiting forever."

    "Little Ye?"

    "Little Ye has invited several guests tonight, we are among his guests." Ding LingLin explained.

    She smiled and added, "He doesn't like dead guests, and he certainly doesn't want his guests to die."

    "Ye Kai?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "Who else?"

    "He's here as well?"

    "He's in the Heaven's Fortune restaurant. He'll be delighted to see you."

    "He won't see me." Fu HongXue said.

    "You're not going to go?"

    "I'm not his guest."

    Ding LingLin let out a sigh, "If you don't want to go, then no one can force you, it's just that..." she squinted her eyes at Fu HongXue and continued, "The guests that he has invited today, they are quite traveled and have very good sources. There probably wouldn't be a better place to gather information."

    Fu HongXue didn't say anything else. He turned and walked towards the Heaven's Fortune restaurant. It seemed as if he had forgotten that there was another person waiting for him.

    Ding LingLin glanced at Cui Nong and let out a sigh, "He seems to have forgotten you."

    Cui Nong let out a smile and replied, "But I haven't forgotten him."

    Ding LingLin flashed her eyes and said, "Why didn't he bring you with him?"

    "Because he knows that I will follow along by myself."

    She really did follow him. Ding LingLin stared at her graceful figure as she elegantly walked away. "It looks like that is a really good way to handle a man." she mumbled to herself.

    Her voice was barely a whisper, but Cui Nong had extremely good ears. "You could learn a thing or two from me." she quipped back.

    "I don't like using other people's methods." Ding LingLin answered back.

    ________________________________________

    There were many guests at the Heaven's Fortune restaurant. Everyone was dressed very exquisitely and carried themselves very highly. Ding LingLin wasn't bragging, extremely knowledgeable people would undoubtedly have status and wealth. Inviting such people wasn't an easy task at all, inviting this many at once was close to impossible.

    It seemed as if Ye Kai had become quite an important person these last two months. He had on a fifty silver tael garment, his feet were adorned with gilded boots, his hair was shiny black and had on a shiny pearl crest. He had always dressed like this, but Fu HongXue almost didn't recognize him. Ye Kai recognized him though, as soon as he stepped into the restaurant, Ye Kai caught sight of him.

    The lantern lights were glaring.

    Fu HongXue's face looked darker under the light. A lot of people had caught sight of his sabre. They first glanced at his blade, then at his face. But it seemed as if Fu HongXue hadn't seen anyone at all.

    Ye Kai walked up to him and had a smile on his face. This smile was the only thing that didn't seem to have changed, it was just as warm and amiable as before. Perhaps it was because of this, that Fu HongXue afforded him a look, a very cold look.

    "I really didn't think you would've came." Ye Kai said.

    "I really didn't think so either." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Please have a seat."

    "No thanks. I can talk while standing just as well."

    Ye Kai smiled and said, "I know what it is that you want."

    "Do you?"

    Ye Kai nodded and sighed, "A pity that I haven't heard a single thing about this person though."

    Fu HongXue fell silent. After quite a while, he suddenly replied, "Farewell."

    "You don't want to have a few cups?"

    "No thanks."

    "A single cup won't hurt."

    "But I would never treat you to wine."

    "I've heard this before."

    "I would never drink your wine either."

    "We aren't friends?"

    "I do not have friends."

    He suddenly turned around and started to walk out. His left leg took a step forward, and his right leg dragged along from behind. As Ye Kai watched him walk out, his smile slowly turned sour. But before Fu HongXue could reach the door, Ding LingLin and Cui Nong suddenly walked in.

    The stairs were very narrow and Cui Nong stood at the bottom as if she was startled. She saw Ye Kai as well as he was staring back at her. Fu HongXue was staring at her as well, as Ding LingLin stared at Ye Kai. The look in all four pairs of eyes were different, no one could describe their expressions.

    Cui Nong lowered her head. But Ye Kai kept his eyes on her. Ding LingLin sprinted up the stairs. Fu HongXue made his way down. Cui Nong turned and followed him out without casting Ye Kai another glance. But Ye Kai still kept staring at the empty stairs as if in a daze.

    Ding LingLin couldn't help but pat him on the shoulder as she scolded, "Everyone's left."

    "Oh?"

    "Why don't you leave with them."

    "Oh."

    "If you want to snatch away a lover at knifepoint, you'd best be careful. That person's knife is quite fast." she said coldly.

    Ye Kai laughed. Ding LingLin laughed back, but it was a dry laughter, "That woman is really pleasant on the eyes, I hear that was how she made a living in the past. I'm sure she's swindled quite a lot of your money before."

    "You think that I was looking at her?"

    "Don't tell me you weren't?"

    "I was just thinking ..."

    "Thinking with the heart is much worse than thinking with the eyes."

    Ye Kai let out a sigh, "You'd never believe what my heart is thinking."

    "As long as you tell me, then I will believe you."

    "I just really hope that she is sincere about Fu HongXue, that she is really willing to spend her life with him, or else ..."

    "Or else what?"

    A look of worry came over Ye Kai's eyes as he said hesitantly, "Or else I'd have no choice but to kill her!"

    "You'd be willing to?"

    "I've always been a cruel and hearltess person." Ye Kai said bluntly.

    Ding LingLin bit down on her lips and stared at Ye Kai through the corner of her eyes, "I know what kind of person you are."

    "Oh?"

    "You're a hypocritical little pervert, so I'll never believe a single word that comes out of your mouth."

    Ye Kai smiled. It was a bitter smile.

    Just then, a loud voice called out from below, "Ye Kai, Ye Kai ..."

    A young man clothed in purple with a straw hat reeled his horse in outside the Heaven's Fortune restaurant. He tied his horse with one hand and was peeling peanuts with his other hand.

    A blade without a sheathe, thin and sharp.

    Someone else in the restaurant cried out, "Lu XiaoJia!"

    Those three words in his name seemed to have a mysterious attraction to them. Everyone who heard that name flocked to the windows to have a look.

    Ye Kai walked over and said, "Why don't you come up for a drink?"

    Lu XiaoJia looked up and replied, "You can't have any of my peanuts, why are you inviting me for a drink?"

    "Those are two different things." Ye Kai said. He picked a cup off the table tossed it over. That cup lightly flew towards Lu XiaoJia, as if there was someone holding it steadily from underneath. Lu XiaoJia let out a laugh and lightly flicked the cup with his finger. The cup shot up into the air and flipped over as its contents casually poured into Lu XiaoJia's mouth.

    "Good wine!" he exclaimed.

    "Another cup?" Ye Kai offered.

    Lu XiaoJia shook his head. "I only wanted to ask whether you've received an invitation or not?"

    "I received it yesterday."

    "Do you plan on going?"

    "You know I've always been fond of festivities."

    "Good. We'll meet again on the fifteenth of the ninth month at 'White Cloud Manor'." Lu XiaoJia replied. He tossed a peanut into the air and was just about to catch it in his mouth. Who would've guessed that at that exact moment, Ye Kai flew out into the air and snatched the peanut with his mouth. With a light flip, his body floated back into the restaurant.

    He let out a laugh and said, "I've finally gotten to taste your peanuts."

    Lu XiaoJia looked startled. With a whip of his hands, his horse started and rode off. In the distance, he let out a laugh as he said, "What a guy. That guy, his mother be damned, what a guy."

    ________________________________________

    The noodles had gone cold, the soup had turned muddy. A few shoots of scallions had floated to the surface. The roughest of vegetables, the roughest of noodles, held in a broken looking bowl.

    Cui Nong's head was lowered. In her hands were a pair of chopsticks that had been used by who knows how many people. She picked up a few strands of noodles, then dropped them back down. Although she was hungry, this bowl of noodles simply couldn't stir her appetite. The noodles she usually ate were braised in chicken broth. The bowls she usually ate from were made of fine porcelain. Looking at the bowl of noodles before her, she couldn't help but let out a sigh as she put her chopsticks down.

    Fu HongXue's bowl was already clean. He looked at her quietly and asked, "You can't eat it?"

    Cui Nong forced a smile and replied, "I ... I'm not hungry."

    "I know you're not used to eating this kind of food, you should just head to Heaven's Fortune restaurant."

    Cui Nong lightly replied, "You know I wouldn't go, I .."

    "Are you afraid that you wouldn't be welcome there?"

    Cui Nong shook her head.

    "Then why won't you go?"

    Cui Nong slowly raised her head and looked at him, "Because you are here, I will stay here with you. There's nowhere else in the world that I will go to."

    Fu HongXue kept silent. Cui Nong slowly reached out and held onto his hand -- the hand without a sabre. Her hands were soft and delicate, her gentle touch was tender as well. She knew how to alleviate a man's burdens.

    Fu HongXue coldly brushed her off and asked, "You knew that person?"

    Cui Nong lowered her head and replied, "Just a ... just a normal customer."

    "What's a normal customer?"

    "You know that I used to ... in that kind of place, I'm bound to meet a lot of ruffians."

    A look of pain started to come over Fu HongXue's face.

    "Please forgive me, you should know that I never wanted to bother with that type of person."

    Fu HongXue clenched his hands and replied, "All I know is that you were staring at him the entire time."

    "When was I staring at him? Whenever I look at him I just want to throw up."

    "Oh?"

    "I really can't help but want to kill him everytime I see him."

    Fu HongXue smiled coldly and replied, "You thought I was talking about the one named Peng?"

    "You weren't?"

    "I was referring to Ye Kai."

    Cui Nong looked startled.

    "Do you know him as well? Was he also a normal customer?"

    A look of pain came over Cui Nong's face as well as she replied sadly, "Why do you have to say such things? Are you trying to torture me? Or are you torturing yourself?"

    Fu HongXue's pale white face suddenly flushed red. He forced himself under control and asked, "All I wanted to know was whether you knew him or not."

    "Even if I knew him before, I don't anymore."

    "Why?"

    "Because the only person I know now is you. You and no one else."

    Fu HongXue looked at her hands as a look of frustration came over him. "

    "I'm sorry that I can't give you the life that you used to enjoy. If you follow me, all you will have to eat are these kind of noodles."

    "There's nothing wrong with these noodles."

    "But you can't even stomach them."

    "I'll eat." She picked up her chopsticks and started stirring up the noodles in that bowl. As she shoveled the noodles into her mouth, a forced smile came over her face and she looked as if she was eating poison.

    Fu HongXue stared at her, and suddenly snatched the chopsticks away. "If you can't bear it, then why eat it? I'm not forcing you to."

    His voice started to crack and his hands started to tremble. Cui Nong's eyes turned red as tears started to bubble. She finally couldn't help it and said, "Why are you treating me like this? I ..."

    "You what?"

    Cui Nong bit her lips and said, "I just think that there's no reason why we have to live like this."

    She sighed and continued, "You're out of bank notes, but I still have a lot."

    Fu HongXue's chest went up and down as he panted, "Those are yours, it has nothing to do with me."

    "I'm already yours, why must you still separate things out like this?"

    Fu HongXue's pale face was completely red, his entire body started to quiver.

    "Have you ever thought about how dirty your money is? Whenever I think about where your money came from, I want to vomit."

    Cui Nong's expression changed as she started to tremble as well. She bit down on her lips and replied, "Maybe not just my money, my body is dirty too, isn't it?"

    "You're right."

    "You don't have to tell me, I already knew that you looked down on me." she bit her lips so hard they started to bleed, "I hope you think about this as well."

    "About what?"

    "Think about just why I would do such things? For whose sake? For what reasons?"

    She tried her best to control herself, but tears covered her entire face. She suddenly stood up and cried, "Since you're ashamed of me, then why should I bother with you, I ..."

    "You're right. You have cart fulls of gold that you could be earning, why are you following me for? You should've left a long time ago."

    "You really don't want me anymore?"

    "Yes."

    "Fine, fine, fine ... just fine."

    She covered her face with her hands and stormed out in tears. Fu HongXue didn't stop her, nor did he look at her. She left and slammed the door with a *PENG*. Fu HongXue still sat there motionless. His body had stopped shaking, but the veins in his hands were bulging out, and cold sweat covered his forehead. He suddenly fell over onto the floor and started to convulse, white froth leaked out from the sides of his mouth. He started to roll around the floor, gasping and panting like an animal. Gasping for breath ... like an animal that was on the verge of death.

    The door suddenly opened.

    Cui Nong slowly prodded back in. The tears on the floor had dried up, they dried up very quickly. Her eyes were filled with brightness again, but her hands were still shaking. But it wasn't because of sadness, it was because she was worried for Fu HongXue. She slowly walked over, step by step ...

    She suddenly heard a very strange sound, the sound of chewing! No one knows when this person had leapt in but he was sitting on the windowsill chewing peanuts.

    Lu XiaoJia!

    Cui Nong's expression changed as she asked sharply, "Why are you here for?"

    "I can't come here?"

    "You're here to kill him?"

    Lu XiaoJia laughed and sneered, "Am I trying to kill him? Or are you?"

    Cui Nong's face changed colors, "You're crazy, why would I want to kill him for?"

    Lu XiaoJia let out a sigh and replied, "A woman could find many reasons for wanting to kill a man."

    Cui Nong walked in front of Fu HongXue and said, "I don't care what you say, I won't let you touch him."

    "Even if you begged me to I wouldn't. I was never interested in touching men."

    "Just what do you want then?"

    "I just wanted to ask the two of you whether you received the invitations or not."

    "Invitations? What invitations?"

    Lu XiaoJia let out a sigh and said, "It looks like the two of you have been wandering aimlessly for quite a while."

    "We don't need to wander."

    "If you don't wander, then how will you find who you're looking for?"

    He suddenly pulled out his sword and in the blink of an eye carved eight words onto the wall.

    'Fifteenth of the Ninth Month, White Cloud Manor'

    "What does that mean?" Cui Nong asked.

    "What it means that I hope that the two of you make it alive to 'White Cloud Manor' on the fifteenth day of the ninth month. Dead people aren't welcome there." Lu XiaoJia said with a smile.

    A gust of wind blew by. A peanut shell fell from the windowsill. Lu XiaoJia had been carried away by the wind.

    The wind rustled the leaves and branches outside.

    Fu HongXue's frantic panting started to subside.

    Cui Nong stood idly by for quite a while. She finally bent down and took him in his arms. Her embrace was warm and sweet. She always knew just how to hold a man.


    - END CHAPTER 27 -
    Last edited by bliss; 11-13-06 at 10:53 AM.
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

  2. #262
    Senior Member eliza bennet's Avatar
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    Welcome back Bliss!

    And once again a post with a cliffhanger ending!

  3. #263
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricia n
    ... gu long is the master of twist. XiMen Chun...where have i heard of this name before? did this character appear in another novel? has this char been mentioned before in this novel?...
    Mmmm... XiMen ChuiXue is a character in the Lu XiaoFeng books... Similar name, but not the same guy. (I assume. :P )

    Only one I can think of.

    Oh- thanks for the translations, Bliss!

  4. #264
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anatman
    Mmmm... XiMen ChuiXue is a character in the Lu XiaoFeng books... Similar name, but not the same guy. (I assume. :P )

    Only one I can think of.

    Oh- thanks for the translations, Bliss!
    thanks for answering my question.

    and a big HUG to bliss...welcome back indeed!!!

  5. #265
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    More updates have been posted for Chapter 27 in its original thread.
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

  6. #266
    Senior Member eliza bennet's Avatar
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    Thank you for the update Bliss

  7. #267
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    Sorry for the prolonged absence. Chapter 27 has been completed in its original thread above. Enjoy!
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

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    Woot! Great translation as usual. Thank you. A lot of interesting characters in this story, but the one I find the most intriguing is Lu XiaoJia.

  9. #269
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wellesley
    Woot! Great translation as usual. Thank you. A lot of interesting characters in this story, but the one I find the most intriguing is Lu XiaoJia.
    Thanks! Great to see that fans are still reading. I'm starting to see more free time so I'm attempting to put more time back into finishing this story. Just to let everyone know I'm still aiming at tackling 'Tianya Mingyue Dao' after this so that we might have a close to full set of translations of the entire Flying Dagger series.

    Lu XiaoJia is definitely a character, quite the contrast to his master (if you know who that is, I won't spoil it here). Yet, his intentions are still veiled behind his weird sense of humor. Look to see more of him as the story unwinds.

    I'll try to get another chapter done by week's end. Thanks!
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

  10. #270
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    Default Chapter 28 - In A Lady's Company

    -edited out-
    Last edited by bliss; 07-17-07 at 05:54 PM.
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

  11. #271
    Senior Member eliza bennet's Avatar
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    wow! I'm pleasantly suprised that I have not forgotten the story at all. As soon as I have read a few sentences everything came back to me thank God!

    Bliss, thank you so much for not forgetting this and translating

  12. #272
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    bliss-ge! hopin for some updates for christmas ...

  13. #273
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    Hi Bliss,

    Many happy returns of the day..

    And thanks very much for all the translations.

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    Hey all, not sure if anyone is still following this translation but the rest of Chapter 28 has been posted in its original thread above. Happy reading!
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

  15. #275
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    Still following it for sure....but I don't see the rest of Chapter 28!
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

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    Default Chapter 28 - In A Lady's Company

    Fourteenth day of the ninth month.

    Nightfall.

    On the side of the main road was a small tea stand. Most tea stands didn't just serve tea but of course wine as well. The tea was free of charge, but wine will cost you money. This particular stand had a selection of four types of wine. They were all cheap and inferior in quality and also strong and harsh. Besides wine, they also served side dishes such as string beans, salted poached eggs, steamed buns, and peanuts.

    Wooden stools were set up underneath the shade of the surrounding trees around the tea stand. Customers filled those stools, sitting with their legs sprawled, enjoying wine and peeling peanuts.

    Fu HongXue stared at them as if he was staring at supernatural deities. Some were having peanuts and string beans along with their wine while others were having it with their steamed buns. Peanuts and string beans were always meant to be eaten together, it seemed as if separating the two would render both tasteless.

    But he only ordered string beans, he refused to have any peanuts. It was if peanuts were only for admiring, and not for eating.

    Cui Nong couldn't help but finally remark, "You're still thinking about that person?"

    Fu HongXue didn't reply.

    "Because he enjoys peanuts, so you're refusing to eat any, right?"

    Fu HongXue still didn't reply.

    "I know ..." Cui Nong said with a sigh.

    "What do you know?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "You don't want anyone to see you when your illness acts up, yet he was there when it did and saw you at your weakest. That's why you hate him."

    Fu HongXue kept his mouth shut, shut very tightly, as tightly as his grasp on his sabre. Other than him, very few people here carried blades. Perhaps it was because of this sabre that everyone kept their distance and sat far away from him.

    Cui Nong let out a sigh and said, "Fifteenth day of the ninth month, 'White Cloud Manor'. What exactly is he planning to do on the fifteenth day of the ninth month at 'White Cloud Manor'? I just don't know."

    "There are a lot of things that you don't know." Fu HongXue replied coldly.

    "But I can't help thinking about it." Cui Nong said.

    "Thinking about what?"

    "He can't possibly have good intentions inviting us to that place, so I don't understand why you are so set on going there."

    "No one's forcing you to go."

    Cui Nong lowered her head and bit her lips. She couldn't say another word, she didn't dare say another word.

    On the side of the road opposite the tea stand, a large carriage drawn by mules pulled up. Most of the people who stopped by here were laborers who toiled for a living. Other than a few cups of wine there was not much pleasure in their lives. A few cups of wine in your stomach could turn the world turn into quite a beautiful place.

    A young lad with dark complexion and full of vigor slowly stepped out of the carriage and walked over to the tea stand. He greeted some of his companions before walking over to greet the boss of the tea stand.

    "Old Deaf Wang, give me five catties of wine and ten eggs. I'm treating everyone today."

    Old Wang wasn't really deaf. It's just that when people go into debt, they seem to turn deaf. He tilted his head and glanced at the young lad distastefully, "Are you crazy?"

    "Who said I was crazy?" the young lad replied.

    "If you're not crazy then why are you treating?"

    "I've had the fortune of meeting a most generous guest today." the young lad replied as he pretended to be mysterious, "This person is extremely well-known."

    The crowd couldn't help but be taken in as a couple of people chimed in, "Who is it?"

    The young lad shook his head and replied, "Even if I told you all, you probably wouldn't recognize the name."

    "Then just tell us."

    "If he's that famous, then why wouldn't we know his name?"

    "Because you all are not worthy." the young lad said to the crowd.

    "If we're not, then you are?"

    "If I didn't have a cousin working in an escort agency, I probably would've never heard of the name either."

    "Stop talking in circles, just tell us his name already."

    The young lad stepped forward and finally said, "His name is Lu XiaoJia."

    Fu HongXue who had already stood up and was getting ready to leave suddenly took his seat again. No one really paid any attention to him as they kept asking away.

    "What kind of person is this Lu XiaoJia?"

    "He is an assassin." the young lad replied. He intentionally lowered his voice, but it was just loud enough for everyone to hear.

    "An assassin?"

    "What that means is he kills for money. I hear that his price is at least ten thousand taels of silver per target."

    Everyone stood wide-eyed and seemed to have paused their breaths.

    "The head escort of the escort agency that my cousin works for was killed by him." the young lad explained.

    "Are you referring to Master Deng who was buried earlier this year?"

    "Yes. All of you were at his funeral, do you all remember receiving five taels of silver each?"

    "Ah, yes, that funeral was quite a grand occasion."

    "So you all must be able to imagine what an extraordinary person he must've been during his life. But unfortunately he ran into Hero Lu. Before he could even draw his blade, the tip of Hero Lu's sword had already pierced his throat."

    "How do you know about this?"

    "My cousin saw it from the side with his own eyes. If he didn't describe this Lu XiaoJia person to me, then I wouldn't have recognized him today. It wasn't his face that was so recognizable, it was his sword."

    "What's so special about his sword?"

    "His sword doesn't have a sheathe, it just looks like a rusted piece of iron. But my cousin told me that he had never witnessed a more frightening sword in his life."

    The crowd went silent with awe, but some were caught with disbelief.

    "Why would someone who earns in upwards of ten thousand taels of silver per job ride in that run-down carriage of yours?"

    "It just happened that the horseshoes on his steed had worn out when I was passing down the same road. He propositioned me to take him to 'White Cloud Manor' and since I was heading towards the city of Qinghe, it was conveniently on the way." the young lad replied.

    "Sounds like this kid really knows what he's doing."

    The crowd nodded in agreement and was caught with surprise. Some were quite envious and mumbled aloud, "If we don't eat for free, then we don't eat. It looks like if we don't take up on this young lad's offer, then he won't be able to sleep well tonight."

    Suddenly, a voice boomed out, "If someone is treating, then I should definitely be eating."

    This person was lying on the ground in the shade under a tree. He was wearing a shoddy straw hat that covered his entire face. Not only was his hat falling apart but his clothes were filthy and ripped as well. He looked like someone who couldn't even afford wine and had nothing better to do than to sleep.

    Some people in the crowd were already chattering with disgust, "You? Why should he treat you?"

    "All are friends within the four oceans, I don't mind treating you at all. If you want a drink, then please get up, my friend." the young lad replied.

    "I might be drinking your wine, but I'm not your friend, just keep that in mind." that person replied. He tilted his straw hat as he lazily got to his feet.

    He was a husky fellow who looked almost eight feet tall. His shoulders looked twice as broad as the normal person's and his gigantic fan-like hands drooped down well below his knees. He had high cheekbones, eyebrows as thick as brooms, and a huge mouth.

    Even though his garments were raggedy and torn, as soon as he stood up, his hulking image struck fear and awe into everyone's eyes. There were originally a couple of people who wanted to teach him a lesson about not drinking other people's wine without the intention of becoming their friends, but no one dared to open their mouths now.

    As Old Deaf Wang carried out five catties of wine and ten salted eggs, that huge man walked over and proclaimed, "This serving is mine."

    His words were like orders, simple and to the point. He scooped two eggs into his hands, finished them in two or three bites, then downed a catty of wine. Two eggs then another catty, soon all ten eggs and five catties of wine were gone. Everyone's eyes dropped as they watched from the side.

    After he finished his last gulp of wine, he stopped to take a couple of breaths while rubbing his stomach, then exclaimed, "One more order just like this."

    Old Deaf Wang was startled, he had nothing to say and simply glanced over at the young lad.

    "Did you not hear what I just said?" the giant shouted.

    Old Deaf Wang flinched and shrieked, "One more serving?"

    That one shout was like a clap of thunder in the sky, it was so loud that it could even deafen the deaf. The young lad who was sitting with his legs up on the side was so startled that he fell off his seat. The giant picked him up with his giant hands as if he was picking up a chicken and plopped him back onto his feet.

    He grinned at the young lad and asked, "What are you afraid of? Treating me?"

    It was better when he didn't smile because when he did, his grin extended almost to his ears, making him look like a demon.

    The young lad's face went pale as he muttered, "I ... I ..."

    "If you're not going to treat, then I'll treat." the giant said. He casually reached into his garments and pulled out an ingot of silver, it was actually a giant ingot worth more than fifty silver taels. The young lad's eyes popped out.

    "This silver ingot is all yours if you wait here for me tomorrow morning and take me to 'White Cloud Manor'. If you dare show up late, I'll make sure your head ends up the same size as this ingot." the giant said to the young lad.

    The young lad tried to stand up again but stumbled back down out of fright. The giant let out a hearty laugh and tossed the silver ingot towards him. Without even turning back, he darted off. Although he didn't look very hurried, every leap he took covered about forty or fifty feet. In the blink of an eye he had disappeared into the sunset.

    All that could be heard was a desolate voice singing in the wind,
    "On the fifteenth day of the ninth month when the moon is full,
    when the moon is full the blood will flow,
    flow like the tears of countless heroes,
    an innumerable number of villains' heads will roll ..."

    The singing voice drifted into the distance and finally could no longer be heard.

    Fu HongXue suddenly snapped out of his daze and sighed, "An innumerable number of villains' heads will roll indeed!"

    ________________________________________

    Early morning.

    The rays of the sun were white like a fish's stomach. The vast land was still asleep.

    The tea pavilion had emptied out. Old Deaf Wang didn't spend the night here. The only thing that remained was the young lad's carriage, still parked under the large tree. He was curled up inside fast asleep. He was afraid of being late, and afraid that the giant would crush his brains into mud.

    Freezing wind, verdant greens.

    The sound of footsteps started to come from the far distance. A person slowly walked forth from the horizon. His left foot slowly took a step forward, his right foot then dragged along from behind. A slender, beautiful woman carrying a bundle wrapped in cloth and a scarf around her head followed from behind.

    The wind kicked up leaves and the early morning mist rose. The mist was cold as well.

    Cold mist. Morning wind. Insipid moon.

    Fu HongXue stopped at the tea pavilion and turned his head towards Cui Nong. Her face was pale and white. Even though she had a scarf wrapped around her head, she was still trembling. In the morning mist, she appeared even more resplendent, but her expression had started to show hints of tired weariness.

    Fu HongXue looked at her silently, his cold expression gradually started to warm up. He couldn't help but finally utter softly, "You're tired."

    "You're the one who should be tired, you should've slept a little longer." she replied.

    "I couldn't sleep, but you ..."

    Cui Nong lowered her head and softly replied, "If you couldn't fall asleep, then how would I be able to."

    Fu HongXue walked over to her and grabbed her hand. Her hands were cold as ice.

    "As long as I haven't found Ma KongQun, I can't return."

    "I understand."

    "So I have to drag you along to suffer with me."

    Cui Nong raised her head and sharply said, "You should know that I'm not afraid to endure hardship, I've already lived through all kinds of suffering before."

    She lifted his hand to her face and said, "As long as you treat me well and never look down on me, even if you asked me to die, I'd agree."

    Fu HongXue let out a long sigh, "I really have mistreated you, even I know that. If you had left that day I wouldn't have blamed you at all."

    "Why would I leave you for? Even if you chased me away with a whip I would still stay by your side."

    Fu HongXue started to smile. His smile was like sunshine on top of ice, particularly shiny and particularly bright.

    Cui Nong looked at the foolish smile on his face, and after a long while, she let out a sigh, "Do you know what I like more than anything else in this world?"

    Fu HongXue shook his head.

    "I like to see you smile, but you so rarely ever do." Cui Nong responded.

    Fu HongXue replied softly, "I'll try to smile more for you from now on, but right now ..."

    "Now is not the time for smiles?"

    Fu HongXue slowly nodded his head. Then he suddenly changed the subject and exclaimed, "Why hasn't that person arrived yet?"

    It was as if he didn't want to let too much of his emotions leak out, and would rather people see him as cold and aloof.

    A look of disappointment shot across Cui Nong's face as she lightly sighed and replied, "Don't worry, I'm sure he'll come eventually."

    "What kind of person do you think he is?"

    "He must be an enemy of Lu XiaoJia. Since Lu XiaoJia headed towards White Cloud Manor, how could he not be headed there as well?" Cui Nong replied.

    Fu HongXue lifted his head and stared at the moon slowly fading into the morning mist. "Today is already the fifteenth of the ninth month. Just what exactly is going to happen today?"

    The cold wind blew. A soft song carried in with the wind. "Unending blood of heroes flow, innumerable heads of villains roll. Heads will roll, and blood will flow, but vengeance will never die ..."

    In the ears of an anxious and sullen person, that song in the autumn wind sounded even more cold and sorrowful.

    "He has really come." Cui Nong said.

    "Mm." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Should we hide?"

    "I never run, and I never hide." Fu HongXue replied.

    A voice in the far distance boomed out, "A man who never runs and never hides, a real man indeed."

    "This person's hearing is very sharp." Cui Nong remarked with a smirk.

    Just as she finished her sentence, the giant man's stride landed him right in front of them. On his head was an old worn straw hat. In his hand was a shiny black lacquered wine jar. He took one look at Fu HongXue and said, "So it really is you, I knew you would be waiting here."

    "You knew?"

    "If I didn't, then who would?" the giant man replied. He lifted the wine jar to his mouth and took several large gulps. Then, he suddenly lowered his head and said in a sharp voice, "Since I'm here, why haven't you made a move yet?"

    Fu HongXue looked startled as he replied, "Why should I make a move?"

    "To take the head that's on my neck."

    "Why would I want to take the head that's on your neck?"

    The giant let out a laugh at the sky and replied, "I, Xue Guo, have dominated the world over and have killed a countless number of people. Who wouldn't want this precious head of mine?"

    "I wouldn't." Fu HongXue replied.

    This time, it was the giant who was startled.

    "I don't recognize you at all." Fu HongXue said.

    The giant let out a cold smile and replied, "Although the enemies of Xue Guo span the entire realm, the ones that could recongize me have already long died by my hand. Of the ones that are left, none can even recognize who I am."

    "People often come to take your life?"

    "Correct."

    "I'm sorry but I think this time you'll be disappointed."

    "You're not waiting here to take my life?"

    "I kill immediately, I do not wait."

    "What you said is correct. The chance you get to kill someone is small and fleeting, it's a pity when you miss it. It's definitely something that you can't wait for!"

    "That's why if you were my enemy, I would've killed you yesterday already!"

    "So you're not an enemy of mine?" the giant asked.

    "No". Fu HongXue replied.

    The giant let out a laugh, "Looks like my fortune is not quite bad. It doesn't seem like being your enemy is much of a good thing at all either."

    "It definitely isn't."

    "What about being your friend?"

    "I have no friends."

    "Even Big Xue is unworthy of being your friend?"

    "Big Xue?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "I am Big Xue." the giant said.

    "I still don't know who you are."

    "And you wouldn't like to know who I am?"

    "No."

    "He doesn't want my head, and he doesn't want my friendship. This is someone you don't meet everyday." Big Xue mumbled.

    "It's a rare sight indeed." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Then what is it that you want?"

    "I just want to follow your carriage to 'White Cloud Manor'".

    "And that's all?"

    "That's all."

    "Fine, then come aboard." Big Xue said.

    "I won't board." Fu HongXue replied.

    Big Xue look startled again, "Why won't you board?"

    "Because I do not have the fifty silver tael carriage fee."

    "Don't tell me you're planning to follow the carriage on foot?"

    "You sit in your carriage and I'll walk on my road. We don't owe each other anything."

    Big Xue stared at FU HongXue, stared at his pale white face, stared at his jet black sabre. He couldn't help but exclaim, "You really are a strange person, perhaps even stranger than I am."

    He really was quite strange.

    The sky slowly turned bright. The rays of the rising sun were like the edge of a blade, cutting through the foggy mist. The land was slowly waking up from a long night.

    The young lad hadn't woken up yet. The giant strode over and lifted him up in one hand, "Wake up! We're heading to 'White Cloud Manor'!"

    The youngster rubbed his eyes, then put on a smile and said, "Master, please board the carriage then."

    "I will not be boarding." Big Xue replied.

    "Why not?" the young lad exclaimed in surprise.

    "Because I'm in a good mood."

    Although this lad was still quite young, he had been steering carriages for six or seven years already. Yet in all his years he had never met someone who paid for a carriage, only to follow on foot afterwards. Even if he wanted to crawl, no one could say a word as long as the customer was satisfied.

    Although he found the situation quite odd, the lad finally put his mind to rest and started off. And following from behind were three people -- a fierce giant, a pale cripple, and a graceful beauty.

    With a group like that on the road, who wouldn't cast them a glance? But Big Xue was a proud and haughty man, he didn't care who looked at him or what they thought. Fu HongXue looked lost in thought, he seemed as if he was in a world of his own. There was no one else in Cui Nong eyes, when she was with Fu HongXue, it was as if the rest of the world didn't exist.

    The young lad couldn't help but wonder why these three people were heading to 'White Cloud Manor'. 'White Cloud Manor' just wasn't a place where people like them went.

    The giant took several large swigs of wine, quickened his pace and caught up with the young lad in front.

    "We're not on our way to bury our parents or anything, why don't you slow down a little?"

    "Yes, definitely." the young lad replied. If the person who hired the carriage wasn't in a rush, then of course he wasn't in a rush.

    Big Xue slowed his pace as well as he said, "'White Cloud Manor' isn't that far away, we'll definitely get there today."

    It sounded like his words were meant for Fu HongXue, but Fu HongXue didn't hear a single whisper. Big Xue lagged behind and was next to Fu HongXue once again.

    "What are you planning on doing once we arrive at 'White Cloud Manor'?" Big Xue asked.

    Fu HongXue still didn't hear him.

    "You're acquainted with Yuan QiuYun?" Big Xue asked again.

    "Who is Yuan QiuYun?" Fu HongXue finally replied.

    "He is the master of 'White Cloud Manor'."

    "I don't know him."

    Big Xue let out a laugh, "You don't even know of Big Xue, of course you wouldn't know Yuan QiuYun."

    "And you do?"

    "Why would I know that old antique for?" Big Xue replied.

    Fu HongXue fell silent for a moment, then suddenly asked, "But you do know Lu XiaoJia?"

    "How do you know that?" Big Xue shook his head and let out a sigh, "Of course you know. Anyone would be able to guess that I'm going to look for him."

    "Why are you looking for him?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "No reason in particular. I just want to rip the brains out of his skull and kick them into the gutter."

    "He is an enemy of yours?"

    "Originally he wasn't." Big Xue took a gulp of wine before continuing, "He was a friend."

    "A friend?"

    Big Xue gritted his teeth and said, "Sometimes, friends can be even more formidable than enemies. Especially friends like him."

    "He betrayed you before?"

    "I gave him my entire family fortune and my favorite woman. And he disappeared, he disappeared with my fortune and my woman." Big Xue said bitterly.

    Fu HongXue knitted his brow and remarked, "He doesn't seem like that type of person."

    "It's precisely because he didn't seem like that type of person, that I would trust him so."

    Fu HongXue fell silent again, then replied, "Sometimes friends really can be more formidable than enemies."

    Big Xue let out a deep sigh, then chugged down several more large mouthfuls of wine.

    After a while, Fu HongXue suddenly said, "You didn't have to walk with me."

    "I definitely didn't, we could've both rode inside the carriage."

    Fu HongXue didn't reply.

    After several more steps, Big Xue raised his wine jar towards Fu HongXue and asked, "Do you want to drink?"

    "No."

    "You don't drink at all?"

    "Never."

    "Do you gamble?"

    "No."

    "Then what do you like to do?"

    "Nothing."

    "If nothing in this world makes you happy, then what do you live for?"

    "I'm not living to be happy."

    "Then what are you living for?" Big Xue asked.

    Fu HongXue's hand tightened on his sabre as he replied, "Revenge."

    Big Xue stared at his cold white face, he couldn't help but feel a chill run through his body. "It looks like being your enemy really isn't a good thing at all."

    Fu HongXue lowered his gaze and stared at the sabre in his hands. He didn't say another word.

    Big Xue's eyes suddenly flashed as he turned and asked, "So do you know Lu XiaoJia?"

    "I've only seen him before."

    "How did you see him?"

    "He came to kill me."

    "And what happened afterwards?"

    "He left."

    "And you just let him go?"

    "I had no intentions of killing him ... I only want to kill one person."

    "Your enemy?"

    Fu HongXue nodded his head.

    "Your enemy is one person?" Big Xue asked.

    "I only know of one so far." Fu HongXue replied.

    Big Xue let out a sigh and said, "Your luck is better than mine."

    "Actually, I think your luck is better than mine." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Why is that?"

    "If I had innumerable enemies to slay, that would be one of life's finest pleasures, pity I ..." a look of pain shot through his face as he continued, "pity I can't even find the one enemy I have."

    "Who is your enemy?" Big Xue asked.

    "You don't have to know." Fu HongXue replied.

    "I might be able to help you find that person." Big Xue said with a glimmer in his eye.

    Fu HongXue thought for a moment, then replied, "His surname is Ma, Ma KongQun."

    "The master of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

    "You know this person?"

    Big Xue shook his head and didn't reply, but then exclaimed, "No wonder you're headed for 'White Cloud Manor'."

    "How is 'White Cloud Manor' related to the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

    "It originally wasn't."

    "But now?"

    "You really do not know what today is?" Big Xue asked.

    "How would I know?" Fu HongXue replied.

    "So you didn't receive an invitation?"

    "Whose invitation?"

    "'White Cloud Manor' of course. Today is the day of their young master's wedding."

    "I don't know him either." Fu HongXue remarked.

    "The bride is Ma KongQun's daughter. I think her name is Ma FangLing."

    The expression on Fu HongXue's face changed.

    "So Ma KongQun will definitely be at 'White Cloud Manor' today." Big Xue whispered.

    Before these words were finished, Fu HongXue had already leapt onto the horse carriage. When he unleashed his lightness skills, his body's movements were quicker than a fully drawn arrow. No one would ever mistake him for a cripple.

    Big Xue looked at him with certain amazement. After a while, he finally let out a sigh and exclaimed, "Incredible skills indeed!"

    By this time, Fu HongXue had already made his way to the front of the carriage and snatched the whip out of the young lad's hands. With a flick of the wrist, the whip lashed out at the horse's belly. The carriage sped up and left Big Xue and Cui Nong in the dust.

    Cui Nong lowered her head, she couldn't hold her tears in much longer.

    Big Xue suddenly smiled at her and said, "Don't you worry. I won't let him leave you behind like this."

    In a flash he leapt forward. After five or six strides he had already caught up to the carriage. He reached out his hands and grabbed the back of the carriage. The horse that pulled this carraige let out a loud neigh and the entire carraige suddenly came to a complete stop.

    Big Xue turned his head towards Cui Nong with a smile and said, "Please come aboard."

    Cui Nong finally lifted her head and replied softly, "That woman shouldn't have left you for Lu XiaoJia. You are a true gentleman."

    Big Xue let out a sigh and said, "It's a pity that this gentleman isn't very popular with the ladies."


    - END CHAPTER 28 -
    Last edited by bliss; 07-24-08 at 03:58 PM.
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

  17. #277
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    Still following it for sure....but I don't see the rest of Chapter 28!
    Hmm looks like I had trouble editing the original post. So here's the entire Chapter 28 in a new post. Thanks for putting up with me slowly chugging along and thanks for reading!
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,你還要不要我帶上那面具?
    傅紅雪冷道,現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?

  18. #278
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    Thank you Bliss for the big update

  19. #279
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    I hope this will be updated in the near future? More Gu Long! More GU Long! *g*

  20. #280
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    Any one else get the feeling that the first 20 or so chapeters resembeled a country and western movie ???
    I could so see Clint Estwood in that village... shoting up some badies.


    A very enjoyable read thank you very much dear translator.
    thanks bliss.

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