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

  1. #121
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    Default Chapter 17 - The Mysterious Old Lady

    The red parchment advertising a room for rent still hung from the outside of that small alleyway.

    When Fu HongXue walked passed, he caught sight of that white-haired woman staring at him with her crafty , hate filled eyes. She really didn't look too amiable.

    "Please step aside." Fu HongXue said.

    "Why should I?" the old lady replied.

    "I want to go inside."

    "I heard that you weren't too fond of this place and were planning to move out. Why have you come back?"

    "Who said that I was planning to move out?"

    "I did."

    Fu HongXue knitted his brows. "Who said that I wasn't fond of this place?"

    "Even if that wasn't the case, this place isn't very fond of you." the old granny sneered.

    Fu HongXue finally understood, so he didn't say another word. What else could he say?

    "I've already sent your belongings to that general store across the street, you can go pick them up any any time."

    Fu HongXue nodded his head.

    "And as for this silver ingot you paid me, I suggest you buy yourself a coffin." the old lady remarked sinisterly, as she tossed the ingot towards him.

    Fu HongXue extended his hand out to catch but that ingot never reached him.

    Something knocked the ingot right out of the air and back towards the old lady. That solid ingot shattered into a slew of silver needles.

    If that something hadn't struck that ingot in mid-air back at the old lady, even if Fu HongXue didn't lose his life, his arm would've definitely been crippled.

    But now those silver needles had been sent flying back at her. That old lady, who normally had to support herself against the wall to walk, suddenly leapt high into the air and somersaulted backwards onto the roof of the house. She had revealed her true skills and looked like she had no choice but to slip away.

    Who would've known that there was already someone on that rooftop waiting for her?

    The expression on that old lady's face changed, fear filled her crafty little eyes.

    Ye Kai smiled at her and exclaimed, "Old Granny, when did you suddenly become so young?"

    The old woman forced a dry laugh and replied, "I didn't get younger, but I think my bones became lighter. Whenever I see a youngster such as yourself, my bones always feel lighter."

    "I've heard that if the elderly drink human blood, they can regain their youth." Ye Kai said.

    "You want me to drink your blood?" the old lady asked.

    "Didn't you just feast on Luo LuoShan's blood?" Ye Kai replied.

    A fierce smile came over her face as she exclaimed, "That old chap has too much alcohol in his blood. I think I'd much rather drink yours."

    She swiped forward and two silver needles shot out from her sleeves straight at Ye Kai's neck. Not only was her weaponry strange, it was extremely malicious as well.

    But Ye Kai was especially adept at dealing with vicious weaponry. His body skated to the side as he spun around. It looked like he pulled a dark object out from his sleeves, and with a *DING*, the two silver flashes could no longer be seen.

    The old lady's claw-like hands suddenly froze stiff. Ye Kai stood tall with his hands behind his back and smiled at her. "Do you have any more novelties that you'd like to try? I'd be really interested in witnessing them first hand."

    The old lady stared at him blankly as she cackled, "Who in the world are you?"

    "My surname is Ye, my given name is Kai. Ye as in 'leaf', like the leaves on a tree. Kai as in 'open', like when one opens a door. It is also the same Kai as in 'happiness'."

    He laughed and added, "It's a shame that when I'm feeling happy, you're probably going to be feeling quite sad."

    The old granny didn't say another word. Her body suddenly lifted into the air as she leapt some thirty or forty feet away. But she could've never imagined that as soon as she landed, Ye Kai would be standing right next to her with a big smile on his face, a smile that resembled a sly little fox.

    The old lady let out a sigh and exclaimed, "Excellent. Excellent lightness skill. It looks like your bones are even lighter than mine."

    Before her sentence was finished, her hands shot out like claws and unleashed four moves at Ye Kai. Her techniques were just as strange and crafty. Ye Kai struck back, his moves were neither strange nor crafty, but extremely fast. Inconceivably fast.

    As the old lady struck out with her hands, she suddenly felt something lightly tap one of her accupoints. Her arms instantly drooped to the side and she could no longer move them.

    Ye Kai was still standing there with his hands behind his back. His smile made him look even merrier than before. What a shame that when he was happy, others would feel pretty miserable.

    The old lady let out a long sigh and said, "I don't know you. Why are you interfering for?"

    "Who said I was interfering?" Ye Kai replied.

    "Then what do you want?" the old lady asked.

    "I want to have a cup of wine with you." Ye Kai said.

    The old lady looked puzzled, "You want to what?"

    "I rarely invite people for a drink, it'll be a pity if you pass this by." Ye Kai said.

    The old lady bit down on her teeth and asked, "Where do you want to drink?"

    "Of course we'll go to Xiao BieLi's, we can drink on a tab there." Ye Kai replied.


    Fu HongXue's hand was clenched around his sabre, clenched extremely hard.

    He was still standing exactly as he did before, his posture hadn't changed an inch. But his pale-white face began to fill with red.

    The old lady leapt down from the roof and walked with her head lowered as she passed Fu HongXue's side. Fu HongXue didn't even look at her, but suddenly exclaimed, "Wait a moment."

    The old lady stopped still, she had suddenly become much more compliant.

    "I've killed before."

    The old lady heard him clearly.

    "And I wouldn't mind killing again."

    The old lady's hand began to tremble.

    Ye Kai had made his way over to them as well as he remarked, "Killing is just like drinking wine. The first cup is always the hardest to swallow. But after that, each cup just goes down easier. Except that ..."

    "Except what?" Fu HongXue said.

    "Killing is exactly like drinking, doing it too much can lead to addiction." Ye Kai stared at Fu HongXue and continued, "It's best that you don't get addicted to something like that."

    "You're not the one I want to kill." Fu HongXue replied.

    "You want to kill her?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Originally, I thought I'd only kill two types of people. But now, I think there's a third type."

    "And what type is that?"

    "Those who want me dead."

    Ye Kai nodded his head, "She tried to kill you before, and now you want to kill her. That is pretty fair."

    "Step aside." Fu HongXue warned.

    "Why?" Ye Kai said.

    "Because she wants to take my life." Fu HongXue replied.

    "But she didn't kill you, you're still alive, aren't you?." Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue stared at him, his pale-white face started to turn transparent. After a long while, he slowly asked, "Just who exactly are you, huh?"

    "You know exactly who I am, why do you bother asking for?" Ye Kai replied.

    "I just wanted to be certain, because I owe you something." Fu HongXue said.

    "What's that?"

    "My life."

    He slowly turned around and continued, "This is a debt that I'll repay sooner or later, but for now you can ask for me at anytime."

    His left foot treaded forward, his right foot dragged along from behind. His steps looked even heavier this time. Ye Kai suddenly realized that he very much resembled Xiao BieLi from the back. Both were just as lonesome, both were just as melancholy.

    But maybe his situation was even more tragic, because there was only one road that he could go.

    A road that he could never turn back from.


    There was wine on the table.

    Ye Kai poured a cup for Xiao BieLi and a cup for the old lady.

    "How is this place?"

    "Not bad." the old lady replied.

    "And the wine?"

    "Not bad as well."

    "Then you should be thankful. If it weren't for me, how else would you have the chance to drink here?" Ye Kai said.

    "Why wouldn't I be able to drink here?" the old lady asked.

    Ye Kai let out a laugh, then replied, "Because this place is a man's world. Although 'Intestine Shattering Needle' Granny Du is an earth-shaking figure in the martial-realm, she is still a woman."

    The old lady stared at him and said, "So I'm supposed to be Granny Du?"

    "When I saw the 'Intestine Shattering Needle' embedded in Luo LuoShan, I had a hunch that it was you." Ye Kai said.

    "Marvelous percetion." the old lady said.

    Ye Kai let out another laugh and said, "But I have no intentions of avenging his death."


    "I just wanted to ask why you are aligning yourself with the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

    "So you think that I killed him under the orders of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

    Ye Kai nodded his head.

    "Because I was close by at the time, and because I am an old lady, you're certain that I am Granny Du?"

    "It's a rather simple conclusion to draw."

    "Then of course Granny Du wouldn't be a man,"

    "Of course."

    The old lady started to laugh, a very strange and unusual laugh.

    "What do you find so funny?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Just one thing." the old lady replied.

    "And what is that?"

    "I am not Granny Du."

    "You're not?"

    The old lady smiled and remarked, "I really wouldn't mind being Granny Du, but unfortunately I'm really a man."

    Ye Kai was shocked. That old granny really was a man. He pealed off an elaborate skin mask from his face, undid his garments, and stood straight up. That shriveled old lady had suddenly changed into a thin middle-aged man! Anyone could clearly tell that he was really a man.

    Ye Kai was no longer as confident in his perception as he previously was.

    That person smiled back at him and exclaimed, "Do you still want to examine for yourself whether I am male or female?"

    Ye Kai let out a long sigh and replied with a smile, "No need."

    "Granny Du obviously wouldn't be a man." that person said.

    "Obviously not." Ye Kai said.

    "Then that means I'm obviously not Granny Du."

    "You aren't."

    "And likewise, I wasn't the one who killed Luo LuoShan."

    Ye Kai could only agree, everybody knew that the 'Intenstine Shattering Needle' was solely Granny Du's secret weapon!

    "I didn't kill Fu HongXue either."

    Ye Kai couldn't deny it, Fu HongXue was still breathing and alive.

    That person let out a long breath. In a single gulp, he drank his entire cup of wine, then exclaimed, "A fine cup of wine indeed."

    When he finished that cup, he rose to his feet, turned around, and started to walk out.

    A cynical look came over Xiao BieLi's eyes as he said, "Please come back again next time."

    "Of course I'll be back, I can drink on a tab here. Those run-down shacks of mine are barely bringing in any rent." that man said with a laugh.

    Ye Kai suddenly shouted out, "XiMen Chun."

    That person immediately turned his head. There was a smile on his face, but as soon as he realized what he had done, that smile was gone.

    But a smile came over Ye Kai's face.

    When he smiled, the other person was usually miserable.

    That person tried to force a smile, but the muscles on his face had frozen stiff.

    "Since the wine is not that bad, Mr. XiMen should stay for a few more cups." Ye Kai said.

    That person stood still for quite a while. He finally let out a sigh and replied, "I obviously have no need to ask what kind of person you are anymore."

    "Indeed." Ye Kai replied.

    "But what I want to know is whether you're really human or not." that person said.

    Ye Kai smiled, he suddenly felt that his perception wasn't as bad as he had thought. With a laugh, he replied, "A true disciple of the 'Thousand-Faced Living Demon', with crafty techniques and unsurpassed skill in the art of disguise. I should've recongized you long before."

    XiMen Chun let out a sigh and said, "It's not too late that you saw through now."

    "Of course Granny Du wouldn't be a woman, and she wouldn't be a granny either. If she was, then everyone would recognize her instantly." Ye Kai said.

    "A logical deduction." XiMen Chun replied.

    "Then just who exactly is Granny Du?" Ye Kai asked.

    Xiao BieLi let out a laugh and said, "Maybe it's you, maybe it's me."

    "Or maybe ..." Ye Kai pondered, then suddenly leapt up and exclaimed, "I understand now, Granny Du must be him!"

    XiMen Chun sighed and mumbled, "It's a little too late that you've realized only now."


    Fu HongXue slowly made his way toward the general store. He had never been to this store before, he had never been to any general store before.

    He wasn't the type of person who lived a normal life, he lived in a world that was all his own. In that world there was only vengeance. And nothing else.

    Li MaHu was slouched over the counter, dozing off as usual. It seemed as if this person was never awake.

    Fu HongXue walked over and knocked on the counter with the scabbard of his sabre.

    Li MaHu was startled as he finally came to and saw the jet black scabbard of Fu HongXue's blade.

    The scabbard was black, the handle was black, but there were still traces of red on its blade.

    Li MaHu's face turned pale as his voice cracked, "What ... what do you want?"

    "My belongings." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Your belongings ... oh, that's right. Your belongings are here." Li MaHu said.

    He reached behind the table and grabbed a bag with both of his hands. Fu HongXue caught the bag with one hand. The other hand was still firmly clenching onto his sabre.

    GongSun Duan died under this very sabre, who would be next? He probably didn't know either.

    As he turned around, Fu HongXue caught sight of eggs that were for sale and asked, "How much are these?"

    "You want to buy some?"

    Fu HongXue nodded his head. He realized that the feeling of hunger was sometimes even stronger than revenge.

    Li MaHu stared back at him, shook his head and replied. "I can't sell them to you."

    Fu HongXue understood. Every single door in this town was shut in his face. This general store was no exception. If he really wanted those eggs, of course nobody could stop him. But he wasn't that kind of person.

    His hatred wasn't directed at that old lady or at the boss of this store.

    The moon slowly started to rise, a cold breeze blew though.

    Would there really be no place for him to sleep?

    He clenched firmly onto his sabre and his knapsack -- he lived in an entirely different world anyway. The people of this world could never affect him.

    But suddenly, Li MaHu added, "I can't sell these eggs to you because they're raw. You can't eat raw eggs."

    Fu HongXue stood still.

    "There's a stove in the back, not only can you cook with it, you can heat up wine as well."

    Fu HongXue turned around and asked, "How much are you going to charge?"

    Li MaHu smiled and replied, "Since you cut straight to the chase, let's say twelve silver taels."

    Twelve silver taels for a single meal was quite a hefty price. But all the silver taels in the world couldn't fill your stomach, that was how unbearable hunger really was.

    Li MaHu was frying the eggs. Eggs with fried rice, warm wine, and peanuts.

    "The peanuts are free, drink as much wine as you'd like, we'll figure out the price later."

    Fu HongXue didn't even touch a drop of the wine. When he drank, he was bound to get drunk. And now was not the time for him to get drunk.

    Li MaHu brought over the plate of eggs and rice and saw his cup of wine.

    "Patron, is the wine not good enough?" Li MaHu asked.

    "The wine is fine." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Even if it was bad, you should at least have a cup to loosen your mood."

    Fu HongXue started to eat his rice. He was not afraid that there was poison in that wine. There were thirty six ways to tell if food or drink was poisoned and of those he knew twenty.

    But if he simply didn't want to do something, no one could ever force him.

    Li MaHu never liked to force people either. Since Fu HongXue didn't want to drink, he drank the wine himself. He started guzzling down the warm pot of wine. With a smile he exclaimed, "To tell you the truth, I just don't understand why so many people in this world enjoy drinking wine. It tastes even worse than poison."

    "You don't enjoy drinking wine?" Fu HongXue asked.

    Li MaHu sighed and said, "I usually never drink, but now I'm already drunk."

    Fu HongXue knitted his brows and said, "If you don't usually drink, then why did you drink just now?"

    "The wine was already warm, I didn't want it to go to waste." Li MaHu said.

    "So instead you get drunk?"

    "Anyone who opens a business has to first learn one thing." Li MaHu sighed.

    "What is that?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "You shouldn't waste anything, even if it's at your own expense." Li MaHu replied.

    He let out another long sigh and said, "That's why only the lowliest of people open general stores. Not only can they never find a wife, they never have any friends either."

    Fu HongXue slowly dug at his rice. He suddenly sighed lightly and said, "You're wrong."

    Li MaHu sat down beside him and asked, "What am I wrong about?"

    "There is only one type of person in this world who doesn't have friends."

    "What type is that?"

    "People like me."

    He lifted his head and stared into the distance. His eyes were filled with loneliness and emptiness. He never had a friend before, and he probably never would. The sole purpose of his life was revenge, a thirst for vengeance that would never die. But why was it that deep inside his heart was a certain longing for friendship?

    Li MaHu, whose eyes which were all red by now, looked at him and asked, "That Young Master Ye, is he not your friend?"

    "No." Fu HongXue coldly replied.

    "But he sure treats you like one." Li MaHu said.

    Fu HongXue's expression sunk as he replied, "That's because he has a sickness."

    "A sickness?"

    Fu HongXue clenched onto his sabre and said, "Anyone who treats me as their friend has a sickness."

    Li MaHu let out a laugh and said, "From the looks of it, I think I'm coming down with that sickness as well."

    "You?" Fu HongXue exclaimed.

    "Because I really would like to have you as a friend."

    Even his tongue had swelled up when he talked, he really did get drunk fast. But aren't the words of a drunkard usually honest ones?

    Fu HongXue suddenly put down his chopsticks and said, "The rice isn't that good."

    He didn't cast another eye at Li MaHu. Fu HongXue stood up and turned around, because he didn't want to let that person see the expression on his face.

    But Li MaHu was still staring at him, staring at his back. His shoulders were contracted, he could tell that Fu HongXue's mind wasn't at ease.

    A strange expression suddenly came over Li MaHu's eyes. He slowly extended his hand out as if he was trying to tap Fu HongXue on the shoulder.

    Suddenly, there was a cold flash of light!

    And then, a dagger struck the back of his hand!

    - END CHAPTER 17 -

  2. #122
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    Chapter 18 Preview

    A weapon mentioned only in legends emerges once again!

    On the next update of Bordertown Wanderer ...
    Chapter 18 - The Flying Dagger That Saves Lives!

  3. #123
    Senior Member ChronoReverse's Avatar
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    Apr 2003


    FINALLY! I was waiting for the legendary blade to reappear. Ye Kai has arrived!

  4. #124
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    Wow, not one dull chapter yet. Great story! Thanks for the update.

  5. #125
    Member LiarLiar's Avatar
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    This chapter is just great. We get to see Ye Kai in action twice in this chapter, once with the landlord, than with the general store owner. There is now now no question what skills Ye Kai inherited from LXH, his flying dagger. It took me sometime to catch up with your updates, and it look like I caught up just in time to see Ye Kai in action, which is just great. I'm now eagerly waiting for your next update. Keep up the good work.

  6. #126
    Senior Member Temujin's Avatar
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    Damn..... it takes 18 chapters for Ye Kai to finally reveal his martial arts.

    Gu Long really is Gu Long.
    Last edited by Temujin; 08-27-05 at 03:51 AM.
    - (formerly known as wuxiamania forum) -

    ----- the society of global wuxia fans ----

  7. #127
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    What a story! thankz bliss. Fast and good tranaslations you're awesome. what's ur energetic drink?

    Finally Ye Kai will show off his skills... damn, can't wait!

    I would like to know how Ye Kai met Little Li and began to learn his Flying Dagger art. Will it be explained in this novel?
    Last edited by Felipe; 08-28-05 at 09:35 AM.

  8. #128
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Temujin
    Damn..... it takes 18 chapters for Ye Kai to finally reveal his martial arts.

    Gu Long really is Gu Long.
    Gu Long's novel indeed has a very unique charisma.

  9. #129
    Senior Member rayon's Avatar
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    With all this mention about flying daggers and needles made of intestines (I think I have that wrong), can I ask, is the movie House of Flying Daggers something related to any of Gu Long's works?
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

  10. #130
    Senior Member JigSta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayon
    With all this mention about flying daggers and needles made of intestines (I think I have that wrong), can I ask, is the movie House of Flying Daggers something related to any of Gu Long's works?
    LXH is a main character of a Gu Long story called "Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword" (or, "Little Li's flying dagger"). He was famous for his flying dagger kungfu. He has a connection to YK

    House of Flying Daggers has no connection.
    All that's needed to say have been said, why say anything more? The man is drunk, why stay any longer?....
    Quote Originally Posted by Question
    if CarMAN Lee hair is green, then am sure carMAN #$%@ a dog to give birth to you.

  11. #131
    Senior Member rayon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JigSta
    LXH is a main character of a Gu Long story called "Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword" (or, "Little Li's flying dagger"). He was famous for his flying dagger kungfu. He has a connection to YK

    House of Flying Daggers has no connection.
    Great. Glad that's all settled now 'coz I was gettin' really confuzzled. I'm not really famliar with Gu Long's work. That should be obvious by now.

    And what is it with Gu Long and cross-dressers?
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

  12. #132
    Senior Member JigSta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayon
    I'm not really famliar with Gu Long's work.
    There's a complete translation of "Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword" on these forums. Sorry, I don't have time to find the posts right now. Pretty cool story
    All that's needed to say have been said, why say anything more? The man is drunk, why stay any longer?....
    Quote Originally Posted by Question
    if CarMAN Lee hair is green, then am sure carMAN #$%@ a dog to give birth to you.

  13. #133
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    From Rayon-
    And what is it with Gu Long and cross-dressers?
    You know, I often wonder that myself.

    And its not just Gu Long- it shows up in Jin Yong's stuff too, and like 10,000 movies. Maybe the movie folks are just really bad at it, but I am always like "Okay, and here we have the cute heroine," and spend the next 30 minuites wondering how they could mistake her for a guy...

    Maybe there is just a cultural thing I am just not getting here...

  14. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anatman
    From Rayon-

    You know, I often wonder that myself.

    And its not just Gu Long- it shows up in Jin Yong's stuff too, and like 10,000 movies. Maybe the movie folks are just really bad at it, but I am always like "Okay, and here we have the cute heroine," and spend the next 30 minuites wondering how they could mistake her for a guy...

    Maybe there is just a cultural thing I am just not getting here...
    I think cross-dressing is just a common plot device used in Wuxia, so common that we just don't question the bad eyesight of the characters. However, in this case, Ximen Chun was deliberately trying to hide his identity. He was a master of disguise and was wearing a mask as well, so it's not like anyone really SHOULD have seen through it.

  15. #135
    Senior Member HuangYushi's Avatar
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    Under a pile of work ....


    Quote Originally Posted by JigSta
    There's a complete translation of "Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword" on these forums. Sorry, I don't have time to find the posts right now. Pretty cool story
    Here's Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword (Duoqing Jianke Wuqing Jian) -- all 89 chapters of it in one place! Enjoy!
    Jin Yong's Ode to Gallantry [侠客行].
    Quote Originally Posted by atlantean0208
    what about SPT, I need my SPT fix ASAP, pretty pleaseeeee...
    Soon ... SOON!

  16. #136
    Senior Member rayon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangYushi
    Here's Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword (Duoqing Jianke Wuqing Jian) -- all 89 chapters of it in one place! Enjoy!
    Oh my god. I just read that for three straight days and I feel like I've turned into a puddle of water on the floor right now. I wanna cry.
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

  17. #137
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    chpater 18 please....

    DON'T wanna pressure you (PLEASE!!!) take ur time (PLEASE!!!) Since this is NOT the moment where finally Ye Kai show the Flying Dagger (PLEASE!!!) and is the most UNawaited part of the novel (PLEASE!!!) we dont' mind waiting too long (PLEASE!!!)

    HUhauaha, just joking, bliss (PLEASE!!!)

  18. #138
    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    I believe she is giving us a dramatic pause

  19. #139
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    Default Chapter 18 - The Flying Dagger That Saves Lives

    A dagger three and seven-tenths inches long.

    A flying dagger!

    When Li MaHu saw that dagger, his face suddenly twitched.

    Then, his entire body fell to the floor as if he was struck by a silent, invisible bolt of lightning.

    As he collapsed, something dropped from his hands onto the table.

    When Fu HongXue turned around, he saw Ye Kai.

    Ye Kai walked in with a smile on his face, he was not carrying a blade.

    Fu HongXue stared at him, then at the Li MaHu who was on the floor, and asked sharply, "What is the meaning of this?"

    Ye Kai simply smiled. He really liked to respond with a smile to questions that didn't have to be answered.

    Fu HongXue didn't have to ask any further either. He caught sight of three needles that lay on the table, three jade-colored needles. The needles that fell from Li MaHu's hands.

    If it hadn't been for that dagger, Fu HongXue would probably be sharing the same fate as Luo LuoShan right now. Could this wishy-washy store owner really be the cruel and vicious Granny Du?

    Fu HongXue clenched his fists. After quite a while, he finally lifted his head. His eyes were met by Ye Kai's smile.

    "How do you know that I couldn't have avoided his strike?" Fu HongXue asked coldly.

    "I didn't know." Ye Kai replied.

    "Then why did you come to save me?" Fu HongXue said.

    "Who said that I came here to save you?" Ye Kai replied.

    "Then why are you here?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "All I did was bury my dagger into that person's hand. It was his hand and my dagger, what does any of it have to do with you?" Ye Kai remarked.

    FU HongXue had nothing to say.

    Ye Kai slowly walked over and sat down. He took a deep breath and said with a smile, "This rice looks pretty delicious, it smells great."

    "Hmph." Fu HongXue grunted.

    "The wine probably isn't bad either, pity that there's none left." Ye Kai added.

    Fu HongXue looked like he was about to say something but Ye Kai suddenly looked down at Li MaHu and asked, "Is my dagger worth exchanging for a jug of wine?"

    Li MaHu remained motionless. There was no reply.

    "If it's not, then I'll have to ask you to return my dagger." Ye Kai said.

    There was still no response. Ye Kai bent down and patted that person on the back and said, "Granny Du, I've already seen through your guise, there's no point in ..."

    His voice suddenly stopped, a look of surprise came over his face.

    That person who had fallen to the floor would never get up again. His face was frozen stiff, his hands and legs were ice cold, and that dagger was still protruding from his hand.

    Fu HongXue stared at that person's face, and then at the dagger, then said to Ye Kai, "Is your dagger dipped in poison?"

    "No." Ye Kai replied.

    "If it wasn't then how come he's dead?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "It looks like he's getting old in his years, the elderly do not take very well to fright." Ye Kai said.

    "You're saying that he was frightened to death?" Fu HongXue said.

    "Well, the back of the hand is not a fatal spot, and my dagger was not dipped in poison." Ye Kai replied.

    "This person is really 'Intestine Shattering Needle' Granny Du?" Fu HongXue said.

    "If the 'Boneless Serpent' could pretend to be an old granny, why couldn't Granny Du to be a man?" Ye Kai said.

    "Right. I know what kind of person Granny Du is." Fu HongXue remarked.

    "You should know very well." Ye Kai said.

    "A person such as Granny Du would really be scared to death by a dagger?" Fu HongXue asked with a cold smile.

    "The fact of the matter is that he's really dead." Ye Kai said.

    "Just what kind of dagger is that anyway?" Fu HongXue exclaimed.

    Ye Kai simply smiled. He really liked to respond with a smile to questions that didn't have to be answered.

    He retrieved his dagger. The blade was thin and extremely sharp, a weak glimmer of light reflected off its surface. When his eyes looked at that dagger, they would light up as well.

    After a long while, Ye Kai slowly said, "Whatever the case, you can't deny that this is a blade."

    Fu HongXue paused, then replied, "I would've never imagined that you wielded a blade as well."

    Ye Kai smiled in reply.

    "I've never seen you carry a blade before." Fu HongXue remarked.

    "Blades aren't meant for others to see." Ye Kai responded.

    Fu HongXue could only agree.

    "Perhaps the most frightening blade in the world is the blade that cannot be seen." Ye Kai said.

    "There is no such thing as a blade that cannot be seen!" Fu HongXue replied.

    Ye Kai stared at the dagger in his hand and slowly said, "Maybe you can see this blade, but by the time that you do, it might already be too late."

    A blade that can frighten a person to death is usually a blade that cannot be seen.

    Because when you do see that blade, it would already be too late.

    Then, the blade could no longer be seen.

    It suddenly vanished from Ye Kai's hand like magic.

    Fu HongXue stared down at the sabre in his own hands. A strange expression came over his face, it seemed as if he finally understood what Ye Kai had meant.

    GongSun Duan had never seen his sabre's blade. GongSun Duan had only seen its handle and its sheathe.

    "A blade that can be seen is a blade that cannot kill." Ye Kai remarked.

    Fu HongXue listened attentively.

    "That is why people who truly understand sabreplay will know how to conceal their blades." Ye Kai added.

    Fu HongXue let out a sigh and replied, "That's something much easier said than done."

    "Concealing your blade is much more difficult than using it." Ye Kai said. "But I think you already understand that."

    "I understand very well." Fu HongXue replied. He looked up at Ye Kai who still had that warm and amiable smile on his face.

    Fu HongXue's expression sunk as he coldly exclaimed, "I want you to understand one thing."

    "What's that?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Don't ever help me again. You can go on your way, and I will go on mine. There is no relation between us. I could care less if you died in front of me."

    "We're not friends?"


    Ye Kai sighed lightly, then smiled and replied, "I understand."

    Fu HongXue gritted his teeth and said, "So you can be on your way then."

    "What about you? You're not leaving?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Why should I leave for?" Fu HongXue said.

    "There's somebody waiting for you outside." Ye Kai replied.


    "An old lady who isn't an old lady."

    Fu HongXue crossed his brows and asked, "What does he want?"

    "He's waiting for you to ask him about why he tried to ambush you." Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue's eyes lit up as he suddenly stormed out.

    But there really was no reason for him to be in a hurry. Because the person outside could wait for as long as he wanted.

    The dead are never in a hurry.

    XiMen Chun was a tall and massive person, but now he was curled up on the floor. He was sprawled over in a corner behind the counter, his eyes protruded out from their sockets. Even in death, there was fear and dread written all over his expression.

    Who killed him?

    Even he would've never imagined that that person would come to take his life.

    A steel awl was pierced into his chest. Blood poured from the wound and had not yet dried.

    There was nobody around. It was supper time and very few people walked the streets at this time.

    Fu HongXue stood there silently, his hands and feet frozen stiff. When Ye Kai finally walked out, he asked him in a deep tone of voice, "This person is the 'Boneless Serpent' XiMen Chun?"

    After a long while, Ye Kai let out a sigh and replied, "Yes."

    "I'm aware of just what kind of person he is as well." Fu HongXue said.

    "I would've expected you to." Ye Kai said.

    "He didn't even have a chance to resist or scream before he was killed." Fu HongXue said.

    "An awl that takes lives." Ye Kai remarked.

    "Not many people have the ability to kill him that swiftly." Fu HongXue said.

    "Actually, there are quite a few." Ye Kai said.

    "Oh?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "Anybody could've killed him, because he was completely powerless to resist." Ye Kai explained.

    "Why is that?" Fu HongXue said.

    "I was afraid that he would be unwilling to wait for you, so I sealed his accupoints before." Ye Kai said.

    He paused for a moment before continuing, "The only thing is ... although anyone would've been able to kill him, there should be only one person who would want him dead."


    "Someone who doesn't want him to expose his secret to you."

    Fu HongXue thought for a while, then said, "About why he ambushed me in the alley? And who ordered him to do so? ... Would that be his secret?"

    "Exactly." Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue laughed coldly, then turned around and started to walk out.

    "Where are you going?" Ye Kai asked.

    "I'm going my own way, why don't you do the same?"

    Fu HongXue didn't bother to turn around as he slowly limped onto the street outside.

    The town was quiet, the lantern above the door across the street was lit.

    A gust of wind blew through and carried that red parchment pasted outside the small alley into the distance.

    The breeze was frigid, darkness filled the night. Had autumn already arrived?

    Although hints of Autumn were in the night winds, it was still as warm as Spring inside that hall. In the eyes of men, it was always Spring here.

    There was a group of men sitting at a table in the corner. Although the night was still young, it looked like they were already well on their way to inebriation.

    Ye Kai took a seat. Xiao BieLi pushed a cup towards him and said with a smile, "Don't forget that you promised to drink with me."

    That cup was full to the brim.

    "Don't forget you promised that I could drink on a tab." Ye Kai replied.

    "It'd be difficult for anyone to forget a promise that they've made to you." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Difficult indeed." Ye Kai said.

    "So you can go ahead and drink with no worries." Xiao BieLi said.

    Ye Kai smiled and finished his cup in one sitting. He looked around and commented, "Your patrons are sure coming in early."

    Xiao BieLi nodded his head and replied, "As soon as that lantern is lit, the people start pouring in."

    "That's why I really wonder if they stare at that lantern all day long." Ye Kai said.

    Xiao BieLi laughed and replied, "This really is quite a place. As soon as somebody visits just once, they can't help but come back again and again. It's like an addiction. If they don't get their daily fix, they won't even be able to sleep."

    "I think I've fallen under that addiction as well, I've already been here three times today." Ye Kai said.

    "That's why I like you." Xiao BieLi said.

    "That's why you trust me enough to open a tab."

    Xiao BieLi let out a loud laugh.

    The group of people in the corner all turned and looked in surprise. They had all been here at least a hundred times and not once had they ever heard this owner laugh.

    But his laugh soon subsided as his tone of voice became serious again.

    "Is Li MaHu really Granny Du?" Xiao BieLi asked Ye Kai.

    Ye Kai nodded his head.

    "I really would have never thought. How did you figure it out?"

    "I didn't figure it out ..."

    "It was just a guess?"

    "I just found it odd that XiMen Chun would ask Fu HongXue to go to that general store to retrieve his belongings." Ye Kai explained.

    "On just that one hunch?" Xiao BieLi said.

    "Well, when I arrived, I saw that he had already taken Fu HongXue to the back room for dinner." Ye Kai recounted.

    "What's so strange about that?"

    "Everything. The whole town knew that Fu HongXue was the bitter enemy of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'. How would someone like Li MaHu dare to offend them?" Ye Kai said.

    "Right. He shouldn't have even given Fu HongXue his belongings." Xiao BieLi added.

    "But he did." Ye Kai said.

    "So he must have had ulterior motives." Xiao BieLi said.

    "That's how I figured that he must've been Granny Du." Ye Kai said.

    "And you were right on the mark." Xiao BieLi said.

    Ye Kai suddenly let out a sigh as he exclaimed, "At least I hope I was right."

    "Why?" Xiao BieLi asked.

    "Because I frightened her to death." Ye Kai said.

    Xiao BieLi looked shocked.

    "You didn't think I would?" Ye Kai asked.

    "And what of XiMen Chun?" Xiao BieLi said.

    "He's dead as well." Ye Kai replied.

    Xiao BieLi slowly picked up the wine cup in front of him and took a sip, then said coldly, "You're really not as soft as you look."

    Ye Kai stared back at him and said, "Do you regret opening a tab for me now?"

    Xiao BieLi let out a sigh and said, "I just can't figure out why the two of them would come to a place like this. In addition, why did they choose to stay for so long."

    "Maybe they were in hiding, or maybe they were enemies of Fu HongXue." Ye Kai said.

    "But when they came here, Fu HongXue was probably still just a child." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Then why would they want him dead?" Ye Kai said.

    "Did they say anything to you?" Xiao BieLi asked.

    "I haven't asked." Ye Kai replied.

    "Why not?" Xiao BieLi said.

    "I'm not really in a hurry, and neither are they." Ye Kai said.

    Xiao BieLi smiled as he looked at Ye Kai and replied, "You really are a strange person."

    "As strange as the Third Boss ..." Ye Kai said.

    "Even more so ..." Xiao BieLi responded.

    But before he could finish, the sounds of copper gongs suddenly erupted and were followed by several voices shouting, "Fire! Help, fire!"

    A fierce fire caught blaze.

    The fire broke out from Li MaHu's general store. Columns of smoke poured out from the back of that building as the entire store was engulfed in flames. And since most of the buildings on that street were made of wooden planks, it seemed as if that fire might spread throughout town.

    Very shortly, the entire street was caught in the midst of confusion and panic. Villagers brought water in whatever they could find and tried to douse the flames.

    Red flames illuminated Xiao BieLi's pale white face as he said, "It seems like that fire ignited from the kitchen in back of that general store."

    Ye Kai nodded his head.

    "When you left, did you forget to put out some lights?" Xiao BieLi asked.

    "There were no lights in there." Ye Kai replied.

    "The stove must have still been lit." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Every stove is always lit." Ye Kai said.

    "Do you think someone deliberately set that place on fire?" Xiao BieLi said.

    Ye Kai let out a laugh as he said, "I should've known that someone would set that place on fire."

    "Why's that?" Xiao BieLi asked.

    "Because a burnt corpse really wouldn't be able to talk anymore." Ye Kai said with a weird smile on his face.

    He suddenly grabbed a nearby bucket and joined in on the efforts to put out the flames.

    Very soon, Xiao BieLi lost sight of him, but his eyes still looked deep in thought.

    Suddenly, someone crept up next to him and whispered, "What are you thinking about?"

    Xiao BieLi didn't even bother to turn to see who it was and simply replied, "I learned an important lesson today."

    "And what lesson is that?"

    "The only way to truly silence someone is to make sure their body burns to ashes."

    Although there were a lot of people helping to put out the fire, there just wasn't enough water. Luckily it had just rained earlier that day so conditions weren't too dry. Although they couldn't quite extinguish the fire, it wasn't spreading very rapidly either.

    Ye Kai stood in the middle of the large crowd. His eyes were like an eagle's, scanning the entire area. The person who started that fire could very well be in the same crowd. That person probably didn't want to draw suspicion or really enjoyed watching the suffering of others.

    It really was quite a cruel and demented way of thinking, but what else but cruel and demented could that person be?

    Unfortunately, it's usually very difficult to tell them apart from normal people.

    Ye Kai felt slightly dejected when he suddenly felt someone tugging at his shirt from behind. When he turned his head, he saw a figure turn and squeeze through the crowd. A person in green robes and a felt cap.

    Ye Kai followed suit and squeezed his way through the crowd as well. When he got through, all he saw was the figure of that person's back.

    Ye Kai was quite fond of studying how people looked from the back. He felt that everyone's back had certain unique characteristics that you could tell apart. So to recongize someone from the figure of their back was not very hard for him.

    But the figure of this person in green looked totally foreign.

    He was not of very tall stature and his movements seemed agile and nimble, he was able to disappear from that street quite quickly.

    Very soon, not a single person was in sight.

    A great number of stars filled the sky, the wilderness was quiet and still.

    - END CHAPTER 18 -
    Last edited by bliss; 09-01-05 at 03:35 PM.

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