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

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    Default Bordertown Wanderer - Bian Cheng Lang Zi - by Gu Long

    Bian Cheng Lang Zi
    Bordertown Wanderer
    by Gu Long

    Translated by bliss:
    Chapter 0 - Red Snow
    Chapter 1 - One Who Doesn't Carry A Blade
    Chapter 2 - GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses
    Chapter 3 - Sabres Are Severed, Intestines Are Shattered
    Chapter 4 - To Live And Die With The Sabre
    Chapter 5 - A Night In Bordertown
    Chapter 6 - The Buried Sabre
    Chapter 7 - Dark Clouds, Ominous Sky
    Chapter 8 - Warmth Of The Spring Breeze
    Chapter 9 - Stable As A Giant Boulder
    Chapter 10 - Silencing The Witness
    Chapter 11 - Midnight Whispers
    Chapter 12 - Hidden Projectile Experts
    Chapter 13 - Third Madame Shen's Secret
    Chapter 14 - A Proud Horse's Long Neigh
    Chapter 15 - Soaring Flowers Fill The Sky
    Chapter 16 - Once One Enters The 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', Forget About Ever Returning Home
    Chapter 17 - The Mysterious Old Lady
    Chapter 18 - The Flying Dagger That Saves Lives
    Chapter 19 - Cutting The Weeds And Pulling The Roots
    Chapter 20 - A Drunken Haze To Solve A Thousand Worries
    Chapter 21 - The Sword Without A Sheathe
    Chapter 22 - Prelude and Postlude To A Murder
    Chapter 23 - Little Bells Ring *Ding Dang*
    Chapter 24 - Grand Flag Waving In The Setting Sun
    Chapter 25 - One Sword Shakes All Four Directions
    Chapter 26 - Blood Debt As Deep As The Sea
    Chapter 27 - The Sabre Emerges From Its Sheathe
    Chapter 28 - In A Lady's Company
    Chapter 29 - A Venomous Beauty
    Chapter 30 - The Flower Guarding Swordsman
    Chapter 31 - Engraved In The Heart
    Chapter 32 - Little Li Flying Dagger
    Translated by BluLotus:
    Chapter 33 - Perish Under The Saber
    Chapter 34 - Master of The Hall of the Godly Saber
    Chapter 35 - A Highly Skilled Senior
    Translated by Ren Woxing:
    Chapter 36 - That Stage Which is Life
    Chapter 37 - The Prodigal Son Returns
    Chapter 38 - The Lady of the Plum Blossom
    Chapter 39 - Love as Deep as the Sea
    Chapter 40 - New Hatred Piled on Old
    Chapter 41 - Heroes' Impasse
    Chapter 42 - The Road to Ruin, the Severing Blade
    Chapter 43 - The Descendants of an Aristocratic Family
    Chapter 44 - The Two Heroes of the Ding Family
    Chapter 45 - Benevolence and Hatred are Resolved
    Chapter 46 - Love is Eternal (END)
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 12-22-09 at 10:07 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?

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    Default Prologue - Red Snow

    The room was devoid of any color ... except black!

    Even the rays of the evening sun were transformed into a deathly gray.

    Before the evening sun had started to set, she was already kneeling down in front of the black shrine.

    Black curtains were hung throughout. No one could see which god was being worshipped and no one could see what her face was like.

    She wore a black veil over her face. The ends of her long black robe were scattered in disarray over the floor. The only thing that leaked out were a pair of old, shriveled claw-like hands.

    Her hands were held together as she quietly recited a chant. But she was not praying for luck or good fortune. Rather, she was invoking a curse.

    She cursed the gods, cursed the world, and cursed every single thing between the heavens and earth.

    A young child clothed in black knelt motionlessly behind her. It seemed as if he had been by her side since ancient times. In fact, he appeared very much ready to kneel beside her until the end of the world.

    The evening sun shined down onto his face. His facial features were handsome and prominent, but they appeared to be made of ice from the tops of a faraway mountain.

    The setting sun was weak and insipid. The howling winds cried out.

    Suddenly, she stood up and tore apart the black curtains in front of the shrine. She took into her hands an ebony black steel coffer.

    Could it be that this was what she had been worshipping? She grasped on to the black coffer with all her might, muscles and tendons bulged out of her hands as she shook uncontrollably.

    A sabre rested on the altar. Its scabbard was ebony black. Its hilt was ebony black.

    She suddenly took the sabre and cut the steel coffer in half.

    There was nothing inside except for a heap of powdery red dust.

    She took a handful into her hand and said, "Do you know what this is?"

    Nobody would know - except for her, nobody could possibly know!

    "It is snow ... it is the red snow!"

    Her voice was sharp and bitter, like the cry of a lost soul in the wintry night.

    "When you were born, the snow that fell was red ... stained red with blood!"

    The child in black lowered his head.

    She walked up to him and sprinkled the red snow over his head.

    "You must remember that from this day forth you are a god ... the God of Revenge! No matter what you choose to do, do with no regrets. No matter how you decide to punish them, it will be deserved." A mysterious confidence surged through her voice, as if all the demons and spirits between the heavens and earth had been summoned into the specks of red dust in her hands that were being applied to the child in black. Then she lifted both her palms into the air and loudly proclaimed, "For this one moment, I've spent eighteen years, eighteen years! And now that everything has been completely prepared, why haven't you left yet?"

    The child in black lowered his head and replied, "I ..."

    She took the sabre and stabbed it down into the ground in front of him.

    "Hurry up and go! Use this sabre to sever every single one of their heads! Don't return unless you've succeeded, or else the heavens will curse you, and I will curse you as well!"

    The winds were howling.

    She watched as he slowly walked out into the darkness, his figure slowly melded into the black night.

    The sabre in his hand also slowly melded into the black night.

    The entire world was blanketed by the dark black night.
    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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    Default Chapter 1 - One Who Doesn't Carry A Blade

    His companion blade wasn't by his side.

    As soon as he had entered, he saw the -red snow-!

    As soon as he had entered, he saw Fu HongXue!

    Many different kinds of people frequented this place, people of every class and every type. But for someone like him, he really shouldn't have come. Because he wasn't welcome here.

    It was a very strange place indeed.

    It was late into the wretched Autumn months, but the warmth and fervor of this place made it seem like Spring was in the air.

    It was deep into the gloomy night, but inside it was still as bright as the sun in the afternoon sky.

    This wasn't a liquor store, but there was plenty of wine.

    This place wasn't a casino, but there was plenty of gambling.

    This place wasn't a brothel, but there were women willing to satisfy your every wish.

    This place had no name, but it was the most popular place in the vicinity of several hundred miles. In the main hall there were eighteen tables laid out. You could sit at any one of those tables and enjoy the best dishes they had to offer - but if you wanted to enjoy something more, you'd have to open one of the doors.

    There were eighteen doors surrounding the main hall.

    No matter which door you chose, you wouldn't regret it, and you wouldn't be disappointed.

    In the back of the main hall there was also a very lofty set of stairs.

    But nobody knew what was upstairs, nobody had ever been up there.

    Because there was no need for you to go up there.

    Everything you could ever want was right downstairs.

    At the foot of the stairs was a smaller table. And at that table sat a lavishly but neatly dressed middle-aged man.

    He appeared to be sitting all alone at that table entertaining himself with a set of dominoes.

    Rarely did anyone ever see him do anything else. And rarely did anyone ever see him stand up. The chair that he sat on was comfortable and spacious.

    Two walking sticks made of red lumber laid next to his chair.

    He paid very little attention as everyone came and went. He rarely even bothered to lift his head to take a glance.

    Everything that everyone did seemed to be of no interest to him at all.

    Yet, it turns out that he was really the proprietor of this place.

    A strange and mysterious place will often have a strange and mysterious owner.

    Fu HongXue had his sabre in hand.

    An extremely peculiar looking sabre. Its scabbard was black and its handle was black.

    He was eating a meal. He had a mouthful of rice and then a mouthful of vegetables. He was eating very slowly.

    Because he only had one hand to spare.

    His left hand was glued to his sabre. No matter what he did, that hand never left its hilt.

    His black sabre, his black robes, his black pupils, were black enough to radiate light.

    So although he sat rather far from the entrance, Fu HongXue was still the first person he saw when he walked through those doors. He also saw the sabre in Fu HongXue's hands.

    But -opening leaves- couldn't carry blades.

    Ye Kai was one who never carried a blade.

    ________________________________________

    Late autumn, late night.

    This was the only building that still had lamps hanging from its doors.

    The door was very narrrow. The dim lights illuminated the parched dirt outside as the autumn winds kicked up dust into the skies. A chrysantheum fluttered in the wind as it drifted far and near, it could no longer remember from where it came and it had no idea to where the winds would blow.

    Wasn't life so very like that chrysantheum flower? Who could claim they knew what fate had planned for us?

    So why even worry about the future?

    If the chrysantheum knew its fate, it would hold no hate. For it already had its time to be admired, it already had its time to shine.

    And that was more than enough.

    On one end of the street was an unending barren wasteland. On the other end of that street was more of the same.

    The single lamp that hung from that building was like a diamond in the rough.

    The skies accompanied the yellow sand, yellow sand accompanied the skies. Man stood at the ends of the earth.

    Ye Kai had seemingly come from the ends of the earth.

    He followed the path of the street as he made his way through the darkness towards that solitary light. He sat down right in the middle of the street and lifted up his feet.

    The boots on his feet were made of leather, the kind that the noamdic herders of the desert wore. Those boots were exactly like the herders that wore them, light enough to be blown away by the wind, yet durable enough to withstand toil and labor.

    But by now, the bottom of his boots had been worn into large holes, and the soles of his feet were battered and bloodied. He looked at his wounds and shook his head in disgust, as if he was disappointed not with the pair of boots but with his own two feet.

    "How come these feet of mine get scraped just like everyone else's?"

    He scooped up a handful of sand and poured it into the holes in his boots.

    "Since you're so useless, I'm going to make you endure some more pain and suffering."

    He stood straight up so that the sand could grind into the wounds on the soles of his feet.

    And after that he smiled.

    His smile was like a penetrating ray of sunshine in that dusty sand filled sky.

    The lamp swung back and forth in the wind.

    A gust blew through and swept up a withered chrysantheum into the air. He reached out and grabbed it.

    The flower was almost completely bare, only a few of the petals remained perched on its lonely stem.

    He brushed off his garments, which should've long been sent to the trash, and carefully planted the chrysantheum into one of the holes on his shirt.

    He was acting like a well-dressed nobleman who was putting the finishing touches on an exquisite robe by adorning it with a beautiful red flower.

    When he was done, he looked like he was very satisfied with himself.

    He let out another smile.

    The doors were closed.

    He lifted his head and chest, walked over and pushed open the doors.

    And that was when he saw Fu HongXue.

    Fu HongXue and his sabre!

    The sabre was in his hand. A pale white hand. An ebony black sabre!

    Ye Kai glanced from his sabre to his hand, and then from his hand to his face.

    A pale white face. Ebony black eyes.

    A smile escaped from Ye Kai's eyes, as if he was very satisified in whta he saw. He took several big strides and sat down directly across from Fu HongXue.

    Fu HongXue's chopsticks hadn't stopped. A mouthful of vegetables, a mouthful of rice. He was still eating very slowly, and he didn't bother to look at Ye Kai.

    Ye Kai looked at him and suddenly said with a smile, "You never drink wine?"

    Fu HongXue didn't lift his head, and he didn't stop what he was doing.

    After he had finished the last grain of rice, he slowly put down his chopsticks and glanced up at Ye Kai.

    Ye Kai's smile was as bright as the sun.

    Not even the single trace of a smile could be found on the pale white face of Fu HongXue. After a long while, he replied, "I don't drink wine."

    "Since you don't drink, how about you treat me to two cups of wine?" Ye Kai said.

    "You want me to treat you to wine? Why is that?" Fu HongXue said.

    He spoke very slowly, as if he had carefully thought about each and every word before they came out. Because he was willing to carry the burden of every word he said.

    So he never liked to utter a single wrong word.

    "Why? Because I think that you're very pleasing to the eyes." Ye Kai let out a sigh and added, "Besides you, I don't find anyone here pleasing at all."

    Fu HongXue lowered his eyes and stared at his hands.

    It was a habit of his when he didn't want to open his mouth.

    "Are you willing to treat me?" Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue kept on staring at his hands.

    "This is your one and only chance. It'll be a pity if you let this chance pass." Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue finally lifted his head and slowly said, "It wouldn't be a pity."

    Ye Kai let out a hearty laugh and remarked, "You're really someone that has his charms. Honestly speaking, even if anyone else knelt down and begged, I still wouldn't sip a single drop of their wine."

    He talked loudly as if everyone else was deaf, it'd be difficult for anyone there not to hear him. And it'd be impossible not to get upset once you heard those words.

    Several people had already risen to their feet. The quickest one was a young swordsman clothed in purple.

    He had a slender waist and broad shoulders. His sword was gilded with brilliant lustrous jewels, its sheathe was purplish red and matched his outfit perfectly.

    He had a cup of wine in his hands, a cup filled to the brim. With a swift turn he was already standing in front of Ye Kai, but not even a single drop had spilled.

    It would appear that this person was not only meticulous in choosing his attire but also in training his martial arts as well. It was a pity that Ye Kai didn't see him, Fu HongXue didn't see him either.

    The youngster in purple put on a proud and confident smile because he knew that all eyes were on him.

    He lightly tapped Ye Kai on the shoulder and asked, "May I treat you to a cup of wine?"

    "No." Ye Kai responded.

    The youngster in purple started laughing loudly, everyone in the hall started laughing as well.

    Ye Kai was also laughing as he smiled and said, "Even if you were to get down on your knees, I still wouldn't drink your wine."

    "Do you have any idea who I am?" the youngster in purple said.

    "I'm not too sure. In fact, I'm not even sure that you're a man at all." Ye Kai said.

    The youngster's smile froze over, his fingers gripped the handle of his sword.

    *QIANG*, the sword was unsheathed.

    But the only thing that was in his hand was the handle.

    The blade remained in his sheathe.

    As he was pulling out his sword, Ye Kai shot his hand out and flicked the steel blade, severing it an inch away from the hilt. So when the youngster brandished his sword, all that came out was the handle, as the blade slid back down into its sheathe.

    When the youngster in purple saw what was in his hands, his face fell into disbelief.

    No one inside the hall dared to laugh, laughter just wouldn't come out. In fact, everyone even held their breaths.

    Only one sound remained.

    The sound of dominoes being shuffled.

    It seemed as if he was the only person who hadn't seen what had just happened.

    Although Fu HongXue saw what had just happened, his face was still void of expression.

    Ye Kai looked at him and smiled, "You see? I wasn't lying to you."

    "So will you treat me or not?" Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue slowly shook his head and replied, "I won't."

    He stood up and turned around as if he no longer wanted to discuss the matter.

    But he actually glanced back at the youngster in purple and said, "You should use the rest of your money to purchase a better sword. Actually, you'd be better off not carrying a sword at all. Having a sword as an ornament is a very dangerous thing."

    He spoke very slowly but sincerely, they were really precious words.

    But in the ears of the youngster in purple, those words were insufferable.

    He looked over at Fu HongXue, such a pale white face.

    Fu HongXue started to head towards the exit. He walked even slower than he spoke, and his gait was even more peculiar.

    He would take a single step with his left foot and then followed by dragging his right foot from behind.

    "So he's a cripple."

    Ye Kai was rather surprised and also felt kind of sorry for him.

    But besides that, he had no other conceptions.

    The youngster in purple clenched his two fists in anger. He was infuriated and also disappointed - he was hoping that Ye Kai would have stopped Fu HongXue.

    Although Ye Kai's skills were formidable, this cripple looked the least bit intimidating.

    The youngster in purple gave the signal and two people who had been sitting with him slowly stood up and looked like they were about to give chase.

    At that moment, a strange voice filled the large hall, "You're not willing to let anyone treat you, but are you willing to treat someone else?"

    The voice was soft and gentle, but everyone heard it very clearly.

    The person sounded like they were speaking right into your ear but was nowhere to be seen.

    Finally everyone saw the magnificently and neatly dressed middle-aged man had turned his head and was looking at straight at Ye Kai's grin.

    "Others treating me to a drink is one thing, but me treating others to a drink is something else." Ye Kai said with a smile.

    "Right, they are two totally different things." the middle-aged man said.

    "So if it was on me, I'd be willing to treat every single person in this entire room." Ye Kai said.

    He talked as if he owned the place.

    The youngster in purple gritted his teeth and looked away towards the door.

    "But if it were to be my treat, then everyone must drink, and everyone must drink until they're drunk!" Ye Kai said leisurely.

    The youngster suddenly turned to him and said, "You do know that treating people to wine requires silver, right?"

    "Silver? Do I look like someone who would be carrying silver?" Ye Kai said.

    The youngster laughed and said, "You really don't."

    "But you don't have to use silver to buy wine. You can use beans too, right?" Ye Kai said.

    The youngster had a startled look as he said, "Beans? What kind of beans?"

    "These kind of beans." Ye Kai said.

    A brown sack suddenly appeared in his hands. With a gentle shake, beans suddenly spilled out. It all looked like some sort of magic act.

    But the beans that had spilled out were made of gold.

    The youngster stared at the gold beans that covered the floor. After he got over the shock, he forced a smile and said, "There's only one thing that I don't understand."

    The youngster in purple continued, "You don't want anyone to treat you, but you're willing to treat everyone here. What's the big difference?"

    In the flash of an eye Ye Kai appeared before his face and asked, "If a dog came over and offered you his s*hit, would you eat it?"

    The youngster's face changed colors as he replied, "Of course I wouldn't."

    "I wouldn't either. But I rather enjoy feeding dogs." Ye Kai said.

    ________________________________________

    When Fu HongXue was walking out, there suddenly appeared two more lanterns at the door.

    Two men in white with lanterns in their hands standing in the middle of the road.

    As Fu HongXue walked out of the door and down the stone steps, he noticed that there was a thrid person behind the two men holding lanterns.

    Their lanterns wavered in the wind as the three stood as still as statues, not moving a single inch.

    The lantern light shined on their bodies, hair, and clothing. Yellow sand was collected all over them and coupled with the dark night, they gave off an unearthly aura.

    But Fu HongXue didn't bother to pay any attention to them.

    When he walked, his eyes were always looking into the distance.

    Was it because there was someone eternally dear to him waiting somewhere far away?

    But why were his eyes so aloof and indifferent? If any emotions did escape from them, it certainly wouldn't be tenderness. It would more likely be pain, hatred, and sorrow.

    As he made his way towards the street, the statuesque person standing behind the two men holding lanterns suddenly spoke out, "Sir, please wait."

    Fu HongXue stopped in place. Whenever someone asked him to stop, he would stop. It didn't matter who it was, and he never asked the reason why.

    That person appeared to be very courteous. But as he bowed, his eyes were staring at the sabre. His muscles tensed up as alertness flooded his entire body.

    Fu HongXue didn't move. The sabre in his hands didn't move either. Even his eyes were still glaring into the distance.

    A vast expanse of darkness in the distance.

    After a while, the man in white's expression started to loosen up. He smiled and said, "Please forgive me for asking, but did you just arrive here today?"

    "Yes." Fu HongXue said.

    His response was only one word but it came out after a long while of thought.

    "From where did you come?" the man in white asked.

    Fu HongXue lowered his eyes and looked at the sabre in his hands.

    After a long while, the man in white forced a smile and asked, "Will you be leaving anytime soon?"

    "Perhaps." Fu HongXue said.

    "And perhaps you won't be?" the man in white said.

    "Perhaps." Fu HongXue replied.

    "If you're not planning on leaving anytime soon, our Third Boss would like to invite you to meet with him tomorrow night." the main in white said.

    "Third Boss?" Fu HongXue said.

    "I'm of course referring to the Third Boss of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'." the man in white said with a grin.

    This time his grin was for real.

    There was someone who actually had no idea who the Third Boss was, it was really something worth laughing about.

    But to Fu HongXue, there was probably nothing in the entire world that was worth laughing about.

    The man in white suddenly couldn't laugh anymore. He feigned a cough and said, "The Third Boss had instructed that I must succeed in requesting your presence, otherwise ..."

    "Otherwise what?" Fu HongXue said.

    "Otherwise I'll have no way of facing up to him. I'd have to stay standing here and never leave." the man in white said.

    "Stay standing here?" Fu HongXue said.

    "Yes. Until you are willing to accept my invitation ..." the man in white said.

    Just as the man in white was about to continue, Fu HongXue had already turned around and started to walk away.

    His left leg took a step and then his right leg dragged along from behind. His right leg appeared to be completely stiff.

    The man in white's face changed colors, his entire body started to tense up again. But as Fu HongXue's image disappeared into the darkness, he still stood in place, not moving a bit.

    A gust of sandy wind blew through, but he didn't even blink.

    One of the men holding a lantern couldn't help but ask, "Are we just going to let him go like that?"

    The man in white shut his mouth tight and didn't say a word. A tiny drop of blood leaked out from the corner of his mouth, but in the blink of an eye it was carried off by the wind.

    Fu HongXue never turned around.

    As soon as he started walking, he would never turn back.

    ________________________________________

    The winds kicked up. A line of wooden shacks in the dark alley wobbled back and forth like they were about to be blown away. He walked up to the last shack and stood outside the door.

    There were no sounds coming from within. There were no lights either, it seemed even darker than the outside.

    Fu HongXue didn't say a word as he made his way in. He turned to close and lock the door behind him.

    He seemed to be very accustomed to the darkness.

    A hand suddenly reached out from the darkness and grabbed onto his hand. It was a warm, smooth, gentle hand.

    Fu HongXue just stood there, letting that hand caress his hand - it was the hand that wasn't holding a sabre.

    Then, a voice suddenly rose from the darkness, "I've been waiting for a very long time." It was a tender, sweet, young voice.

    It was a girl's voice.

    Fu HongXue slowly nodded his head and said, "You have waited for a very long time."

    "When did you arrive?" the girl asked.

    "Today, at dusk." Fu HongXue replied.

    "You didn't come straight here?" the girl asked.

    "I didn't." Fu HongXue responded.

    "Why didn't you come straight here?" the girl said.

    "I've come here now." Fu HongXue said.

    "You're right. You're here now. As long as you're here, any wait was worth it." the girl said softly.

    How long had she been waiting for?

    Who was she? Why was she waiting here?

    No one knew. Besides the two of them, not a single person in the entire world knew.

    "Has everything been prepared?" Fu HongXue said.

    "Everything has been prepared. If you need anything at all, you simply have to ask." the girl said.

    Fu HongXue didn't say a word.

    The girl's voice became even more affable, "I know what it is that you want, I know ..."

    Her hand searched around in the darkness and made its way to the buttons on his shirt.

    Her soft and skillful hands ...

    Suddenly, Fu HongXue was completely bare.

    There was no wind in the shack but his skin shook and shivered.

    The girl's voice was like a dream, as she gently said, "You've always been just a child, but now I want you to become a man. Because there are some things that only a man can do."

    Her lips were warm and wet as they pressed against his chest.

    Her hands continued to searched about ...

    Fu HongXue fell over onto the bed, but still that sabre never left his hand.

    That sabre was like a part of his body, a part of his life.

    They could never be separated!

    ________________________________________

    The morning sun shined through a small window. He was in slumber, his sabre was in his hand.

    There were only two rooms, the one in the back was a kitchen.

    A delightful aroma drifted in from that room.

    A pale old woman with white hair carefully shoveled two fried eggs from the pan onto a dish.

    Her posture was crooked and her skin was shriveled.

    Her hands were coarse and ugly from innumerable hardships and labor.

    The outside room was furnished very comfortably. Everything looked neat and tidy. The mattress on the bed was hard and stiff.

    Fu HongXue appeared to be sleeping.

    But as soon as that old lady stepped out from the kitchen, his eyes immediately opened.

    They were the only two people in those two rooms.

    Where was that tender and passionate young girl? Had she disappeared into the darkness?

    Or was she just a wandering spirit of the night?

    When Fu HongXue saw that old lady, there was no expression on his face. He didn't say a word and he didn't ask a single question.

    Why didn't he ask anything?

    Had he already concluded that the happenings of the previous night were just a dream?

    The eggs were pan-fried. There was also fresh bean curd, lettuce, bamboo shoots, and salt-boiled peanuts.

    The old lady placed the dishes onto the table and said with a smile, "Breakfast is five silver fens, board is four qian and seven fen. For a month, that adds up to ten taels of silver. That's very cheap for a place like this."

    There were way too many wrinkles on her face. You couldn't really tell the difference from when she was smiling and when she was not.

    Fu HongXue took out a spindle of silver and placed it on the table. "I'll be staying for three months. Here's fifty taels of silver."

    "That's twenty taels too much ..." the old lady remarked.

    "I'll need a coffin after I die." Fu HongXue said.

    The old lady laughed and said, "And what if you don't?"

    "Then you can save it for your own coffin." Fu HongXue said.

    ________________________________________

    Out of that narrow alleyway was a long street.

    The winds had subsided.

    The sun shined down onto the street, yellow sand sparkled and glistened.

    There were already people on the street. The first person that caught his eye was the man in white.

    He was standing in the same place that he was at last night. His posture hadn't even changed.

    His snow white clothes were buried in sand, even his hair was yellow. But his face was still completely pale.

    He was trying to persevere.

    There were curious eyes staring at him from everywhere. Their gazes were even harder to endure than the scorching sun.

    Perseverance was a pain, but sometimes it could also be a skill.

    Those who have mastered this skill are usually able to get what they want.

    Fu HongXue walked towards him but his eyes were still looking into the distance.

    Dust and dirt suddenly filled the sky.

    The loud rumbling of hooves. Seven horses raced through the street in a line.

    The riders were extremely skilled. As soon as they arrived in front of the man in white, they reached backwards for their blades, stood straight up on their horses' saddles and saluted him all in one motion.

    This was one of their most important customs.

    From their greetings, one could tell that the rank and position of the man in white was not low.

    There was no reason that he had to endure such ridicule, yet he calmly stood there and took it.

    Anyone who was willing to inconvenience himself like this must have a purpose.

    What was his purpose?

    Flashes from their blades shined onto his face. In a flash the seven horses had already sprinted to the end of the street.

    Suddenly, the last horse let out a long neigh as the rider pulled on its reins. The horse came galloping back.

    The rider was standing on the saddle, in his hands he lifted up a black steel pike wrapped in white.

    As the horse dashed over, the pike flew out of his hands and into the ground next to the man in white.

    The white sashes that wrapped the head of the spear unraveled in the wind and what unfolded was actually a three-sided flag.

    On the flag read the following words in blazing red: 'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    The great flag stretched out in the wind and conveniently shaded the man in white from the sun.

    By then the rider had already caught up with the other six horses as they kicked up a trail of dust.

    Man and horse abruptly came and went. All they left was a street full of sand and a large flag.

    The brilliant sun shined down onto that grand flag.

    The several dozen pairs of eyes on the streets were all frozen stiff, they were all too speechless to even cheer.

    A person suddenly let out a long laugh and exclaimed, "'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'! A splendid 'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' indeed!"
    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?

  4. #4
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    Default Chapter 2 - GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses

    The lantern that hung atop the main doors had already been extinguished.

    A person stood underneath let out a thundering laugh. His voice shook the lantern hard enough that the dust that had gathered gently drifted down from above onto his face.

    But he didn't seem to mind.

    No matter what happened, Ye Kai never seemed to mind.

    That's why he was still wearing that filthy, torn, ugly shirt that he had on from the night before. Wherever he went, a foul odor that smelled like the combination of decaying weeds, animal hides, and rotting corpses followed him along.

    But by the way that he was standing there, it seemed as if he was expecting everyone to appreciate the disgusting stench that he was emitting.

    There was still something hanging from the hole in his shirt. But it wasn't the chrysantheum from the night before. It was a pearl flower ornament.

    Who knows from the top of which young girl's hair had he plucked it from?

    He never picked flowers off of their stems, but he never hesitated to pluck jewels off of a girl's hair.

    Fu HongXue's gaze suddenly retracted from the distance and focused in on him.

    Ye Kai had already reached the middle of the street, right in front of the man in white. His footsteps were wobbly as he staggered along. He resembled a drunk, like T'ai-Bo the poet immortal, who tried to catch the moon in a river. But once his eyes opened, he looked even sharper than the eagle-shooting Genghis Khan.

    Ye Kai shut his eyes, looked over at the man in white, and said, "I think you were standing here as well last night."

    "Yes." the man in white replied.

    "You're still here today." Ye Kai said.

    "Yes." the man in white replied.

    "What are you waiting for?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Waiting for you." the man in white said.

    "Me? I'm nobody important, why would you be waiting for me?" Ye Kai said with a smile.

    "In Third Boss's eyes, no one in the entire world can match your heroic air." the man in white said.

    Ye Kai let out a big laugh and said, "I've just found out today that I'm actually a hero. But what kind of a person is this Third Boss of yours?"

    "He is someone who recognizes and admires heroes." the man in white said.

    "Excellent! I adore those kinds of people. Where is he now? I want to let him offer me a cup of wine!" Ye Kai said.

    If he allowed someone to buy him a cup of wine, he was giving that person a lot of face.

    "I've been instructed under the Third Boss's orders to invite you to have a small drink with him tonight." the man in white said.

    "If its only for a small drink then I won't go. But if its for a large drink then I'll definitely be there!" Ye Kai said.

    "The 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' has a wine cellar three thousand bottles deep. You'll be able to drink to your heart's content." the man in white said.

    Ye Kai wore a large smile and said, "If that's the case, then it'd be hard to keep me away even if you wanted to."

    "Thank you." the man in white said.

    "Since I've agreed to go, then why are you still standing here?" Ye Kai said.

    "I was ordered to invite six people. I've only succeeded in getting five to come." the man in white said.

    "And that is why you can't leave?" Ye Kai said.

    "Yes." the man in white said.

    "Who weren't you able to invite?" Ye Kai said.

    He didn't wait for a response before letting out a laugh and said, "I know who it is. It looks like not only does he not like treating others to wine, he doesn't like others treating him to wine either."

    The man in white could only smile awkwardly.

    "You could stand here for three days and three nights and he probably still wouldn't be persuaded. I'm not sure that there's a single thing in this entire world that could persuade him." Ye Kai said.

    The man in white could only sigh.

    "There's only one way to reach a person like him." Ye Kai said.

    "Please enlighten me." the man in white said.

    "No matter where you want him to go, asking will get you nowhere. But if you're able to provoke him, then he'll go even if you don't ask, and even if he's not invited."

    "But it's a pity that I really don't know how I could." the man in white said.

    "Just watch." Ye Kai said.

    He suddenly turned around and strode over towards Fu HongXue.

    Fu HongXue looked like he had been waiting for him the entire time.

    Ye Kai walked up in front of him, walked up really close, and in a strange and mysterious manner he asked, "Do you have any idea who I am? And what relations I have with you?"

    "Who are you? And what relations do you have with me?" Fu HongXue asked.

    His pale white face was still completely lacking of emotions. But green veins in the hand that held his sabre suddenly rose up.

    Ye Kai laughed and said, "If you want to find out, then meet me at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' tonight and I will tell you."

    Before Fu HongXue could say another word, he quickly turned around and walked away. He walked rather fast as if he was afraid that Fu HongXue would follow from behind.

    But Fu HongXue didn't move. He only lowered his eyes and looked at the sabre in his hands as his pupils slowly shrank.

    Ye Kai had already ran back to the man in white. He tapped him on the shoulder and said, "You can return now. I can guarantee that he will show up at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' tonight."

    "Will he really be there?" the man in white said doubtingly.

    "Even if he doesn't show up, it'll be my fault. You've already fulfilled your duty." Ye Kai said.

    "Thank you!" the man in white said graciously.

    "You don't have to thank me, you should be thanking yourself." Ye Kai said.

    The man in white look surprised and said, "I should thank myself?"

    "If the famous 'Single Sword, Soaring Flowers' who shook the martial arts world twenty years ago can stand here for an entire day and night, what's the big deal about me doing him a small favor?" Ye Kai said with a smile.

    The man in white looked strangely at Ye Kai, after a long while, he slowly said, "It seems that you know quite a lot."

    "Luckily, not too much." Ye Kai replied.

    The man in white smiled as he saluted him and said, "I will see you tonight."

    "Definitely!" Ye Kai said.

    The man in white bowed and slowly turned around. He pulled the pike and flag up from the ground and wrapped it back up. With a single stab, the tip of the pike hit the ground as his entire body catapulted into the air.

    At that moment, a horse raced out from one of the alleyways.

    The man in white's body was perfectly steady as he landed right on top of the horse's saddle.

    With a loud neigh, the horse had already galloped some thirty meters away.

    Ye Kai looked on at the man in white on his horse as they galloped off into the distance. He let out a gentle sigh and said, "It appears that this 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' really is a place of hidden dragons and crouching tigers, with experts as numerous as the clouds ..."

    He stretched out his arms and let out a big yawn. Then he turned around to look for Fu HongXue, but he was no longer in sight.

    ________________________________________

    Blue skies. Yellow sand.

    Yellow sand accompanied the skies. The sky accompanied the yellow sands.

    In the far distance, a giant white flag was flapping in the wind.

    It was as if the flag stood at the ends of the earth.

    It was as if the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' stood at the ends of the earth!

    The boundless, endless wastelands. A road had been etched out by the trampling hooves of horses, long and straight. Headed straight towards that majectic white flag. And under that flag was the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    Fu HongXue stood in the middle of the desert by the side of the road, staring at that flag for who knows how long. Finally, he slowly turned around.

    A red streak suddenly appeared in the yellow dust filled sky. It shot towards him like a shooting star.

    A rouge colored horse. A person clothed in red.

    Fu HongXue had only taken three steps before he heard hoofbeats coming from behind.

    He didn't turn around. After a few more steps, the horse and its rider blazed passed him.

    The rider turned to look at him, a piercing set of eyes caught sight of the sabre in Fu HongXue's hand. A pair of slender white hands pulled at the reins of the horse.

    A talented horse. A beautiful woman.

    But Fu HongXue looked like he didn't even notice them. When he didn't want to look, his eyes couldn't see anything.

    Her bright eyes were still staring at his face as she suddenly said, "So you're that person? That Master Hua couldn't even invite?"

    She was beautiful, but her voice was even more beautiful.

    Fu HongXue didn't hear it.

    The rider raised her eyebrows and loudly exclaimed, "Listen here! If you dare to not show up tonight, then you're nothing but a bumbling mosquito rotten egg. And I'll kill you and feed your worthless body to the dogs."

    The whip in her hands lashed out viciously like a snake towards his face. But Fu HongXue didn't seem to see it coming. As the whip neared his face, it suddenly cracked with a *PA* as it left a small red mark on his cheeks.

    Fu HongXue still showed no reaction. But the veins in his sabre hand had started to protrude.

    "So he's nothing but a wooden blockhead." the rider smirked.

    Her laughter trailed off as the rider and horse dashed into the desert, leaving nothing but a streak of red.

    Fu HongXue raised his hand and felt the whip mark on his face as he started to shake.

    His entire body started to shake, with the exception of his hand that was holding the sabre. It remained as still as a mountain!

    ________________________________________

    Ye Kai was still yawning.

    If anyone had been noticing, he already yawned at least thirty or forty times today.

    Yet he still refused to go to sleep.

    He was wandering to the east and west, looking left and glancing right, as if every single thing sparked his interest.

    Yet he showed no interest in sleeping whatsoever.

    He was just walking out of a general store and headed towards a small noodle shop that was across the street.

    He really enjoyed chatting with many different kinds of people but for some reason he found all of the owners in this place rather strange.

    Actually, he probably was the one who was strange.

    He never walked very fast either, but his walk was very different from Fu HongXue.

    Although Fu HongXue was a cripple and walked rather slowly, his posture was still always as straight as a spear.

    Ye Kai walked around very lazily, as if all the bones in his body had got up and left. He looked like he would fall over with the poke of a finger.

    As he walked through the middle of the street, a swift horse dashed right down the center.

    A rouge colored horse, its rider as beautiful as peach blossoms - the kind of peach blossoms that had thorns.

    Before the horse had reached Ye Kai, the rider screamed loudly, "Hey you! Are you trying to get yourself killed? Get out of the way!"

    Ye Kai lifted his head and looked at her but showed no signs of wanting to move.

    It seemed like all she could do was to stop her horse, but instead she unfurled her whip as it dragged along the ground.

    She was much less courteous this time than she was with Fu HongXue.

    But Ye Kai simply raised his hand and the tip of the whip was caught in his grasp.

    His hands seemed to possess some mysterious demonic powers, they always did things that you would've never thought possible.

    The woman clothed in red's face became so red that she looked like she was buried in make-up.

    With just three of his fingers, Ye Kai trapped her whip in his grasp. No matter how hard she pulled, she was unable to retract it.

    She was half-startled and half-impatient as she angrily said, "What ... what do you want?"

    He looked at her out of the corner of his eye, his face still had the same lazy expression, "I just wanted to lecture you about a few things."

    The girl in red gritted her teeth and said, "I don't want to hear it."

    "You don't have to listen if you don't want to, but I don't think it'll be a pretty sigh if girl fell off her horse in the middle of the street." Ye Kai said.

    The girl in red suddenly sensed a surge of energy coming towards her from the whip, she felt like she could fall off her horse at any second. She couldn't help it any longer and said, "If you have something to say, hurry up and speak. If you have gas, hurry up and fart it out."

    Ye Kai laughed and said, "You shouldn't be so vicious. When you're not, you can be an attractive young girl. But when you are, you turn into a mother tigress who's hated by everyone."

    The girl in red held in her anger and said, "Anything else?"

    "Yes. Whether it be a rouge horse or a mother tigress, if you trample over someone, you still have to be held accountable for their life." Ye Kai said.

    The girl in red was pale with anger as she said, "Now can you let go already?"

    "Just one more thing." Ye Kai said with a smile.

    "What?" the girl in red asked.

    "When a man like me happens upon a woman like you, it'd be a crime not only to myself but to you as well, if I were to let you go without asking your name." Ye Kai said.

    "Why in the world should I tell you my name?" the girl in red said.

    "Because you don't want to fall off your horse." Ye Kai replied.

    Her face turned yellow as her eyes glanced away. "Fine. I'll tell you. My last name is Li, and my first name is GuGu."

    Ye Kai smiled as he let go and said, "Li GuGu ... Li (your) GuGu (aunt) ... that name is ..."

    But just as he realized, she and her horse had already darted away.

    All he heard was the girl laughing, "So now do you understand? I'm this turtle rotten egg's good auntie!"

    She was still afraid that Ye Kai might chase after her so she waited until she was a good distance away before she leapt off her horse and into one of the doors by the side of the road.

    She acted as if once she was inside that door, then no one would be able to threaten her.

    The eighteen tables inside that door were all empty.

    Only the mysterious owner was there at his small table playing with dominoes.

    It was still light outside, this place never took guests during the day.

    Although the type of business that this owner ran was not anything noble, he still had very strict rules.

    If you wanted to come here, you had to abide by his rules.

    The temples on either side of his forehead were white. Every single wrinkle on his face hid away all his happiness, all his sadness, and a countless number of his secrets. But his two hands were still as soft and slender as a young girl's hand.

    His wardrobe was extremely flashy, almost to the point of extravagance.

    A gold jar lay on the table. The wine in his cup had an amber tint and glistened like a precious stone.

    He was slowly assembling his dominoes on the table into the shape of an eight-sided diagram.

    As soon as the girl in red entered, her steps became much lighter. She walked over leisurely and said, "How are you, uncle?"

    This wild and rowdy girl upon stepping foot inside that door had suddenly changed into an extremely well-mannered and gentle young lady.

    The owner did not turn to look at her. He simply nodded his head, smiled and said, "Have a seat."

    The girl sat down across from him. She looked like she wanted to say something but he wagged his hand and said, "Wait."

    She actually sat obediently, not uttering a single word.

    He stared at the eight-sided diagram of dominoes on the table. He had a very serious expression on his pale, emaciated, weather-beaten face.

    The girl in red couldn't hold it in and suddenly asked, "Can you really see many different things in this set of dominoes?"

    "Mmm." the owner said.

    "What do you see today?" she said as her eyes widened.

    The owner took a sip from his gold cup and said, "There are some things that you're better off not knowing."

    "And what happens if we do know?" the girl asked.

    "Heavenly secrets are difficult to comprehend. Misfortunes will befall you." the owner said.

    "If we know that misfortunes are going to happen, then can't we figure out ways to avoid them?" the girl said.

    The owner shook his head slowly and said with a stern look, "Some misfortunes are unavoidable, completely unavoidable ..."

    The girl in red looked at the dominoes quite puzzled, and mumbled, "How come I stare and stare but can't seem to see anything?"

    "Its exactly because you can't see anything that I'm glad." the owner said.

    The girl in red looked rather confused before she let out a smile and said, "I'll stop bothering you about this for now. I just wanted to ask you, are you going to stop by our house later tonight?"

    The owner knitted his eyebrows and said, "Tonight?"

    "Dad has invited several very special guests to our house tonight so he wanted uncle to come along too. A carriage will be here to pick you up very shortly." the girl in red said.

    "I think it'd be better if I didn't go." the owner said.

    "Actually, dad knew that you wouldn't come. But he still made me come all the way here, and made me have to suffer embarassment from that little devil. It almost angered me to death!" the girl in red said.

    A voice suddenly said, "The little devil didn't pick on auntie first, it was auntie who wanted to trample the little devil to death."

    The girl in red was startled.

    Ye Kai stood at the door smiling lazily at her.

    The girl's face changed colors as she shouted, "How dare you come into here?"

    "The one who shouldn't be here is you, not me." Ye Kai said.

    The girl in red stamped her feet as she turned around and said, "Uncle, why haven't you kicked him out yet? Listen to the crap that he's saying."

    The owner just smiled leisurely and said, "It's about to get dark soon. Why don't you just return home? Don't make your dad worry."

    The girl in red looked startled and upset as she loudly stormed out of the door.

    She was walking so hurriedly that she almost tripped over the door.

    "Be careful when you run, auntie. If you trip and kill yourself, no one will be responsible for your death." Ye Kai said.

    As she walked out, the girl in red slammed the door behind her. After a few seconds, she opened it just a crack and said, "Thanks for your concern you rascally nephew of mine, but auntie won't die that easily."

    Before her sentence was finished, the door was slammed shut again. A horse could be heard neighing as the sound of hoofbeats disappeared off into the street.

    Ye Kai let out a sigh as he smiled and said, "A fine rouge horse, and a fine mother tigress."

    "You're only half right." the owner said.

    "Which half?" Ye Kai said.

    "The people around here have all given her and her horse a nickname. She's called the rouge tigress, and her horse is called the rouge servant." the owner said.

    Ye Kai started to laugh.

    "She's also the only daughter of the host that you'll be meeting tonight." the owner said.

    "So she's the daughter of the Third Boss of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?" Ye Kai said.

    The owner nodded his head and said, "So you'd better be careful not to let that rouge tigress bite your leg off tonight."

    Ye Kai suddenly realized that he wasn't as aloof and mysterious as his appearance made him out to be. So he asked, "What exactly is the Third Boss's surname?"

    "Ma, Ma FangLing." the owner replied.

    "Ma FangLing, why would he have such a feminine name?" Ye Kai said.

    "The father's name is Ma KongQun, his daughter's name is Ma FangLing." the owner said.

    Those all-knowing eyes of his looked at Ye Kai and continued, "I knew that you really wanted to ask about the daughter, not the father. If I hear the melody, there's no way that I'd miss its meaning."

    "If tonight's host is as witty as you, then I, Ye Kai, definitely won't regret going there tonight." Ye Kai said.

    "Ye Kai?" the owner said.

    "Ye as in 'leaf', like the leaves on a tree. Kai as in 'open', like when one opens a door. Its also the same Kai as in 'happiness'."

    "Now that's a unique name." the owner said.

    "And what about you, boss?" Ye Kai said.

    "My name is Xiao BieLi." the owner said.

    "Xiao, as in 'mournful'? Bie, as in 'parting'; and Li as in 'separation'?" Ye Kai said.

    "Do you think that my name is somewhat unlucky?" Xiao BieLi said.

    "I wouldn't say unlucky ... its just that your name may make someone feel rather distressed and melancholy." Ye Kai replied.

    "In life, there are no everlasting parties. We all must part eventually. When you leave here today, won't we be parting as well? That's why I think my name is very much appropriate." Xiao BieLi said.

    "But ever since the beginning, parting has always been the cause of much sorrow. Since you bear a name that brings with it so much gloominess, I think you should have to drink a cup of wine." Ye Kai said.

    Xiao BieLi downed his cup in a single gulp and said, "Actually, the most depressing thing in life is not parting. Rather, it is getting together."

    "Getting together?" Ye Kai said.

    "If there was no gathering, what need would there be for parting?" Xiao BieLi said.

    Ye Kai fell silent for a while, and then started to mumble to himself, "That's exactly right, without gathering, there would never be any parting ... without gathering, there would never be any parting." He kept repeating those words over and over, looking rather affected.

    "That's why you are wrong, and you should have to drink a cup of wine as well." Xiao BieLi said.

    Ye Kai walked over and poured himself a cup of wine. After finishing the whole thing, a wide smile came across his face as he said, "If I wasn't just wrong, then where would this cup of wine be? That's why sometimes it's good to be wrong."

    Suddenly the rumble of wheels and the neighing or horses was heard as a carriage pulled up to the door.

    Xiao BieLi let out a sigh and said, "With all the talk about parting and leaving, it looks like that time has really come. The carriage from the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' has arrived for its guests."

    "But if we were to never part, then how would we ever get to meet again?" Ye Kai said.

    He put down the cup in his hands and walked out without turning back.

    Xiao BieLi watched Ye Kai as he was walking out and shouted to him, "If we were to never part, then how would we ever get to meet again? Although it is a pity that after parting, some people never do get to meet again."

    A grand carriage pulled by eight horses waited outside the door.

    A person clothed in a snow white robe stood outside to greet guests.

    A flag hung from the top of the carriage read, 'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    Ye Kai walked over as the person in white greeted him and said, "Welcome! You're the first to arrive, please step right inside."

    This person was a few years younger than Hua MenTian, but he still looked to be around forty or so years of age. He had a round face and a short beard. Even when there wasn't a smile on his face, he would still make one feel very comfortable.

    Ye Kai looked at him and asked, "Do you recognize me?"

    "I don't believe we've met." the person in white replied.

    "Since you don't, then how do you know that I'm a guest of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?" Ye Kai said.

    "Although you've only been here for one evening, your fame is widely known all throughout the border regions. In addition, if it weren't a hero such as yourself, how would you be able to wear on your shirt, the pearl ornament of the most beautiful girl in the world?" the man in white replied.

    "You recognize this pearl ornament?" Ye Kai said.

    "That pearl ornament was originally a present of mine." the man in white said.

    He let out a sigh and continued, "It is a pity that although I'm quite the hopeless romantic, I've yet been able to garner the smile of a beautiful girl."

    Ye Kai laughed as he patted him on the shoulder and said, "I've been complimented before many a times. But by compliments that put me in such a happy mood, this has definitely got to be the first."

    The carriage looked very comfortable and tidy, spacious enough to sit as least eight people.

    But the only person who came so far was Ye Kai.

    After he had met Hua MenTian, he already believed that the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' was a place of hidden dragons and crouching tigers. But after meeting this other man in white, he felt that not only did they know a lot of people, they knew how to put them to good use as well.

    Even the receptionist in the house of a grand marquis may not be as clever a speaker and amiable person as he.

    Whoever is able to make a person such as him into a loyal servant must be exceptional indeed.

    Ye Kai suddenly became rather anxious in wanting to see just what kind of person this Third Boss was so he blurted out, "Where are the other guests?"

    "One of the expected guests should be someone that you invited." the man in white said.

    "That you don't have to worry about. He will definitely be there and he will definitely find his own way there as well. I'm asking about the other four guests." Ye Kai said.

    "They should've been here by now." the man in white said.

    "But they're not." Ye Kai said.

    The man in white suddenly smiled and said, "That's why we should just go. If they were meant to be there, then they will be there."

    ________________________________________

    The night drew closer.

    The wastelands of the desert appeared even more desolate and vast.

    The grand flag of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' was already hidden in the remotest corners of the darkness.

    The man in white sat across from Ye Kai smiling.

    His smile looked as if it would never tire.

    The sounds of the hoofbeats were like thunder as they charged through the endless silence of the night.

    Ye Kai sighed and said, "If I'm the only one that shows up tonight, I'm afraid that I'll never be able to leave."

    The man in white looked as if something had pricked his ear. He tried to keep his smile and asked, "Why do you say that"

    "I've heard that the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' has a wine cellar full of about three thousand jars of wine. If I'm the only one who shows up to drink, won't I be drunk to death by the time the night's over?" Ye Kai said.

    "You needn't be afraid. There is no lack of worthy drinking companions in the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'. Perhaps maybe I can accompany you for a few cups as well." the man in white said.

    "If there are experts abound, then my death is guaranteed for sure." Ye Kai said.

    "There are plenty of drunkards, I don't know about experts." the man in white said.

    "I was referring to expert drinkers of course. If so many people all came at once to toast to me, it'd be a miracle if I did make it out alive!" Ye Kai said.

    "The Third Boss's intentions for inviting you tonight are merely so that he may meet a great hero. Of course wine will be involved in the festivities. But even if he was to urge you to drink, I can assure you that we have no intentions of purposely getting you drunk." the man in white said with a serious look.

    "But I'm still slightly apprehensive." Ye Kai said.

    "About what?" the man in white said.

    "I'm afraid that you all won't push me to drink." Ye Kai said.

    The man in white let out a laugh.

    It was at this time that the voices of singing suddenly filled the desert.

    The voice sounded sorrowful, and the words sounded like they came from some mysterious sutra or manuscript text. But each word was extremely clear: 'Emperor of the skies, emperor of the earth. Blood drips from the eyes, the moon doesn't shine. Once one enters the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Heroes', sabres are severed, intestines are shattered. Emperor of the skies, emperor of the earth. Tears like blood, intestines are shattered. Once one enters the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', forget about ever going home.'"

    The voice was sharp and sorrowful, not only did it sound like a mysterious chant, it could've just as well been the crying of a ghost in the night.

    The expression on the face of the person in white suddenly started to change. With one hand he pushed open the window and said, "My apologies."

    Before those two words were even finished, his body had leapt outside the window. In the blink of an eye, he could no longer be seen.
    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?

  5. #5
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    Default Chapter 3 - Sabres Are Severed, Intestines Are Shattered

    After the man in white had ran out for about ten meters, he pointed the tip of his foot at the ground and leapt high into the air.

    The open desert was deathly quiet. Yellow sand swept out in all directions inundating the dark night. Where could one even hope to find the trace of a shadow?

    Only the trailing echoes of that haunting voice remained as it drifted about in the night wind.

    The winds were howling.

    The man in white said in a deep voice, "Friend, since you have come looking for a quarrel, why not show yourself?"

    Although his voice was low, it was full of vigor and energy. Each and every word rang out into the distance.

    After those words were spoken, the man in white ran for about another ten meters into the middle of a field of withered weeds. The winds combed through the weeds like waves in the ocean.

    There was no one sight, and no response to be heard.

    "Fine! Let's see how long you can hide for!" the man in white said.

    He looked towards the sky and leapt up again. After seven or eight steps he was back at the carriage.

    Ye Kai was still in the carriage leaning lazily to one side. His hand was gently knocking on the window as he chanted softly.

    "... Once one enters the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', sabres are severed, intestines are shattered, forget about ever going home ..."

    His eyes were half shut and a slight grin hung on his face. It seemed like he was rather fond of that song.

    The man in white opened the door and pulled himself into the carriage. He smiled and said, "It's just some lunatic spouting nonsense. Sir, please don't take any of it tooseriously."

    "Whether that person is singing the truth or not, it has nothing to do with me. So it really doesn't matter whether I listen or not." Ye Ka said.

    "Oh?" the man in white exclaimed.

    "You see, I don't have a blade with me. And I'm pretty sure that my intestines have already been destroyed by alcohol. Furthermore, I've always been a wanderer lingering at the ends of the earth, the four corners of the world are my home. So if the Third Boss wanted me to stay at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' forever, I'd be more than happy to oblige." Ye Kai said.

    The man in white let out a hearty laugh and said, "You certainly are an easygoing person, normal people just can't compare."

    Ye Kai blinked a few times and said with a smile, "'Flying Crane of the Mist', Yun ZaiTian's lightness skills are one of his three fields of expertise. I'm sure not many can compare with you as well."

    A look of delight came over the face of the man in white, but it slowly receded as he said, "I've long retired from the martial arts world for more than ten years. I'm amazed that you're able to recognize who I am with a single glance. You must have really sharp eyes!"

    "My eyes aren't really that sharp. But 'Opening the Window to Look at the Moon Soaring Clouds', 'Single Crane Soars Into the Sky to Observe the Clouds', and 'Following the Cicada Chasing the Clouds in Eight Steps' are such rare lightness martial arts stances that anyone would be able to recognize them upon a single glance." Ye Kai said.

    "I'm sorry for embarassing myself." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "If those moves were embarassing, then I really should just leap out of this window and kill myself." Ye Kai said.

    A glimmer flashed through Yun ZaiTian's eyes. "At such a young age, you already have such an impressive knowledge of the martial arts world. It's as if you know the moves of all the martial arts schools and clans like the back of your hands. Yet up until now I'm still unable to discern anything about your origins, that's what I'm embarassed about."

    "I've always been a wanderer who called the four corners of the world my home. I'd find it odd if you really were able to tell me about my origins." Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian fell silent in thought. Suddenly sounds came from the outside, *DU* *DU* *DU*, someone was actually knocking on the carriage door.

    "Who is it?" Yun ZaiTian asked.

    No one replied. But then again the sounds of knocking were heard, *DU* *DU* *DU*.

    Yun ZaiTian folded his brows. Then he suddenly struck out his hand and pushed open the door.

    The carriage door swung back and forth, but nothing but the long road behind them could be seen. You probably couldn't even hang a paper cutout of a person from the back of the carriage, much less a live person.

    But only a live person could knock.

    Yun ZaiTian's expression sunk as he said, "Alarming oneself at the sight of strange things, defeating oneself with fright. Only foolish people will fall for a trick such as this."

    He was about to close the door when suddenly a hand hung down from the top of the carriage. It was a bony, yellow hand that was grasping onto a broken bowl.

    A strange, eerie voice was heard coming from the roof of the carriage, "Do you have any wine ... ? Please pour me some ... I'm dying of thirst ..."

    Yun ZaiTian suddenly smiled and said, "Luckily we have brought wine with us aboard our carriage, Mr. Luo why don't you come down and join us?"

    Two dirty, black mud-covered feet wearing straw slippers that were missing half of their soles dropped into sight from the top of the carriage as they wagged back and forth to the rumbling of the carriage.

    Ye Kai was slightly worried as well, he feared that the person would come tumbling down.

    But in a single flash, a figure appeared in the carrige. He sat squarely across from Ye Kai, staring at him with half-sober eyes.

    Ye Kai, of course, was looking at him as well.

    He was wearing a scholarly looking green robe. Not only was it exceptionally clean, but there wasn't a single trace of patching on it either.

    Just by looking at his hands and feet, no one would expect him to have on such fine looking clothes. Ye Kai found him extremely amusing at first sight.

    This Mr. Luo suddenly opened his eyes wide and said, "Why are you staring at me like that? You think that this robe was stolen don't you?"

    Ye Kai smiled and replied, "If it really was stolen, please tell me from where, so that I can steal myself one as well."

    "You haven't changed clothes in a long time, have you?" Mr. Luo asked.

    "Not too long, it hasn't been three months yet." Ye Kai said.

    Mr. Luo wrinkled his brow and said, "No wonder it smells like rotten fish around here, such an unbearable odor!"

    "How often do you change your clothes?" Ye Kai asked.

    "How often? I change my clothes at least twice a day." Mr. Luo said.

    "And how often do you bathe?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Bathing damages one's vitality, that is something that I never do." Mr. Luo said.

    Ye Kai smiled and replied, "So you're an aged wine with a brand new bottle, while I'm a brand new wine with an old bottle. We're simply different methods that produce the same results, what's the need to get so worked up about it for?"

    Mr. Luo stared at him, his eyes turned and turned. Suddenly he looked up and exclaimed loudly, "Brilliant, brilliant! That analogy is simply brilliant! You must be a scholar, and an exceptional scholar at that - come, hurry and bring out the wine. Whenever I run into a scholar, if I don't drink at least two cups of wine, I always end up falling sick."

    Yun ZaiTian smiled and said, "You two must not have been introduced yet. This is one of Wudang's eminent masters, and one of the most educated people in all the martial arts world, Luo LuoShan, the great Mr. Luo."

    "I am Ye Kai." Ye Kai said.

    "I don't care whether you're an open leaf or a closed leaf, as long as you're a scholar, then I'm going to drink three cups with you." Luo LuoShan said.

    "Forget about just three, I'd be willing to drink three hundred cups." Ye Kai said.

    "Right! Meetings should last at least three hundred cups, only then may the empty jar face the moon. Come, let's drink!" Luo LuoShan said.

    Yun ZaiTian reached into one of the cabinets in the carriage and pulled out a flask of wine. He smiled at Luo LuoShan and said, "Mr. Luo, if we are greeted by the Third Boss later, please don't let him see you drunk before you get off this carriage."

    "I don't care whether he's the Third Boss or the Fourth Boss, the one I'm drinking to right now is this scholar - come, let's first down one cup, bottoms up!" Luo LuoShan said.

    After they finished three rounds, there was a *DANG* sound as the broken bowl rolled towards one of the corners of the carriage.

    Luo LuoShan was curled up in his seat, he was already drunk.

    Ye Kai couldn't help but laugh as he exclaimed, "So Mr. Luo gets drunk really fast."

    "Did you know that Mr. Luo has another nickname? He is called Mr. Three Lackings." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Mr. Three Lackings?" Ye Kai said.

    "He loves women but he lacks courage, he loves wine but he lacks tolerance, and he loves to gamble but he lacks luck. Those are the three things that he will always lack, and that's why he is nicknamed Mr. Three Lackings." Yun ZaiTian explained.

    "A true scholar lives for the moment, who cares about what is lacking?" Ye Kai remarked.

    "So it turns out that you really do understand this Mr. Luo." Yun ZaiTian said.

    Ye Kai opened the window and took in a breath of fresh air, then he asked, "How much longer until we arrive at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

    "We've arrived a long time ago." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Then have we passed it by now?" Ye Kai said.

    "No, we haven't. This land is all part of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "The 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' is really this big?" Ye Kai said.

    "It's not too big. But from east to west, if you left on a swift horse in the early morning, it'd take up until dusk to reach the other end." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "If you put it like that, then is the Third Boss inviting us for breakfast?" Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian smiled and said, "The Third Boss's Guest Hall is just up ahead."

    The sound of horses neighing in the wind could be heard coming from all directions.

    Looking out the window, only a bright light up ahead was in sight.

    The Guest Hall of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', of course, was where that light was coming from.

    Their carriage pulled to a stop in front of a wooden fence.

    The fence was made of tree trunks tied together and rose some ten meters high. There were numerous structures behind the fence but one could only guess how many.

    An arched gate stood majestically in the dark night. The flag pole that was perched on top reached even higher into the black sky.

    But the flag on the pole had already been lowered.

    Two rows of burly men in white stood guard outside the arched entrance. Four people rushed over to pull open the massive gate.

    Ye Kai stepped out of the carriage and breathed in deeply. He looked around in all four directions and was exhilarated by the vastness of the land. It was a sort of freedom that city dwellers would never be able to experience.

    Yun ZaiTian followed him from behind and asked, "So what are your impressions of this place?"

    "I just feel that it is very fortunate for anyone to have this much, the Third Boss's life must be without regrets." Ye Kai said.

    "He definitely is no ordinary person. But to be able to enjoy today's success, he really is without regrets." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "What about Mr. Luo?" Ye Kai said.

    "He's already on the floor, I doubt that he can even get up." Yun ZaiTian said.

    Ye Kai's eyes flashed as he suddenly said, "Luckily we weren't the only two people to arrive on this carriage."

    "Oh?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    Ye Kai walked over to the front of the carriage where the driver was wiping off his brow. He tapped him on the shoulder and said, "You must be exhausted!"

    The driver was slightly startled as he replied, "It's all part of the job."

    "You know, you should've been sitting inside comfortably with us. Why make yourself suffer?" Ye Kai said.

    The driver paused for half an instant, then pulled off the bamboo hat that he was wearing and revealed the big smile that was on his face, "Excellent! What excellent eye sight! Very admirable!"

    "In the short time that we were stopped before, you were able to sneak out from underneath the carriage, seal the driver's pressure points, drag him to the side of the road, and switch clothes with him. Incredibly fast movements yet still so precise, you are definitely deserving of the eight words: 'Meticulous as Fine Silk, Swift as Lightning Strikes'." Ye Kai said.

    The driver looked somewhat surprised and exclaimed, "How did you know who I am?"

    "In the martial arts world, who else could match the skills of the Flying Spider?" Ye Kai said.

    Flying Spider smiled as he took off the white robe he had on to reveal a light black suit. He walked over and saluted Yun ZaiTian and said, "I was just having a little fun before, Master Yun, please forgive me."

    "That you grace us with your presence is already an honor, please, after you." Yun ZaiTian.

    At that time several people were carrying Luo LuoShan off of the carriage.

    Yun ZaiTian led the way in front as they passed through a large courtyard.

    The white doors up ahead that were originally closed suddenly creaked open.

    Bright lights came from inside as a single person stood at the door.

    That door was pretty wide but when that person stood in front, he was almost blocking the entire entrance.

    Ye Kai wasn't very short, but even he had to lift his head up to see that person's face.

    This person had a full beard. On his body was a large white robe and on his waist was a thick belt made of ox hide. On his belt was a sabre with a silver sheathe, a black hilt and a blade that curved in a very unusual way. A cup of wine was in his hand.

    The cup in his hand didn't look very big, but a normal person probably couldn't even lift it up with both of their hands.

    Yun ZaiTian walked ahead and asked him, "Where is the Third Boss?"

    "He is waiting inside, have all the guests arrived?" the bearded giant replied.

    Anyone who heard him speak for the first time wouldn't be able to help but jump up in fright. The first word that came out of his mouth shook like thunder from the skies, causing one's ears to tremble and ring.

    "Only three of them are here." Yun ZaiTian said.

    The bearded giant raised his eyebrows and said, "What about the other three?"

    "I can only hope that they're fast on their way." Yun ZaiTian said.

    The bearded giant nodded his head and said, "My name is GongSun Duan. I'm a ruffian. Our three esteemed guests, please enter."

    The way that he spoke was really disconnected. His previous sentence and his next sentence had almost nothing to do with each other.

    Right behind the door was a large screen made of white lumber that stood almost seven meters high. There were no drawings, pictures or words on that screen, but it looked very clean. Not even a single speck of dust could be found.

    Just as they were making their way in, the sound of hoofbeats suddenly erupted into the night sky as nine horses dashed in hurriedly.

    As they reached the gate, the riders lifted their legs to one side and dismounted as the horses came to a stop. Not only were the movements of the riders and their horses in unison, the riders' clothes were exactly the same as well.

    All of them had on gold headgear, purple vests, and a longsword at their waists. Their scabbards were all decorated with fancy jewels. One of them had on a purplish gold belt, and on his sword was an exquisite pearl that was the size of a dragon's eye.

    All nine of them were handsome young men. The one that stood out looked even more refined and was glowing with confidence. He walked out from the crowd and said, "I am truly sorry for arriving late."

    Although his mouth was apologizing, his face was full of arrogance. Anyone could easily tell that there wasn't half a bit of sincerity in his words.

    The nine of them walked through the courtyard and up to the large white doors.

    "Which one of you is MuRong MingZhu?" GongSun Duan asked loudly.

    The youngster with the purplish gold belt stepped forward and replied, "That would be me."

    "The Third Boss invited you only, tell the rest of your company to leave." GongSun Duan said.

    MuRong MingZhu's face changed colors as he replied, "They're not allowed to follow me in?"

    "No!" GongSun Duan blasted.

    One of the youngsters in purple who accompanied MuRong MingZhu suddenly put his hand on his hilt as if he was about to draw his sword.

    Suddenly there was a flash of silver light. Before he could even pull his sword out, GongSun Duan's curved sabre had cut his blade in half, scabbard and all.

    GongSun Duan sheathed his sabre and said, "Whoever dares to draw their sword in the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' will have it cut in half just like his."

    MuRong MingZhu's face started to turn pale. He turned and slapped that youngster across the face and scolded him angrily, "Who told you to draw your sword? Get your *** out of here and wait outside!"

    The youngster in purple didn't dare to talk back as he lowered his head and left.

    Ye Kai found this all very funny.

    He recognized that youngster as the same one who had wanted to treat him to a cup of wine the night before.

    That youngster seemed to have a thing for drawing his sword wherever he went. Yet before he could ever get it out, someone always snapped it in half.

    Just past the large screen was a great hall.

    Anyone who laid eyes on this great hall couldn't help but be surprised.

    Although the hall was only about thirty or so meters wide, its lengthed stretched out beyond one's imagination.

    If someone wanted to walk from one end to another, it'd probably take them about one or two thousand steps.

    On the left wall of the great hall was a painting of a throng of horses in gallop. Some of the horses were neighing while others had their manes scattering in the wind. Each one of their manes were painted differently, and each one of the horses looked realistic enough to be alive. What peerless fine steeds they were.

    On the other wall were giant words that were larger than a person. Inked in fine calligraphy that soared like a dragon and danced like a phoenix were the words 'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    In the middle of the room was a long table made out of white wood. It was so long that it resembled a street, people could probably ride their horses on top of it.

    On either sides of the long table were at least three hundred chairs.

    If you never visited the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', you would've never imagined that there existed a table this long and a hall this large!

    The great hall was not elaborately furnished or decorated, but it still exuded a sense of resolute majesty, elegance and nobility. Anyone who stepped foot inside couldn't help but feel their mood getting heavier.

    At the head of the table, on a large maginificent chair, sat a person clothed in white.

    No one could really make out what he looked like, all they could tell was that he was sitting up very straightly.

    When there was not a single person here, he still sat the same way. Even though that chair had a comfotable back, he never leaned on it. He always preferred to sit erect.

    The table was so long that his chair appeared rather lonesome at the far end with everyone else standing so far away.

    Although Ye Kai couldn't make out his face and expression, he could clearly sense his loneliness and solitude. He looked like someone that was cut off from the rest of the world, from happiness, from pleasure.

    And from friends.

    Could it be that this was the price of being a hero?

    He looked lost in thought. Was he reminiscing about past victories during better days? Or was he contemplating about the bleak loneliness of existence?

    He didn't seem to see or hear the large group of people that had just entered the hall.

    Was this really the master of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?

    Although he had won hundreds of battles in his life, there was no way that he could defeat the conflict and contradictions that were in his heart.

    And although he had countless riches and wealth, he still couldn't secure serenity and peace of mind.

    Yun ZaiTian walked over towards the front of the table. Although his strides were large, his steps were extremely light. When he reached the head of the table, he bent down and spoke a few words into the master's ear.

    The Hall Master looked like he had just woken up from a dream. He cupped his fists in salute and said, "Welcome everyone, please have a seat."

    MuRong MingZhu, who had his hand on his sword, was the first one to walk over.

    GongSun Duan jumped into his path and blocked his way.

    MuRong MingZhu's face turned colors, as he said in a low voice, "And what can I help you with this time?"

    GongSun Duan didn't say a single word. He just stood there menacingly, staring at his sword.

    "Don't tell me you want my sword?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    GongSun Duan nodded his head slowly and said, "No one is allowed to bring their sword inside the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'!"

    MuRong MingZhu's face turned pale as beads of sweat started to appear. Veins started to stick out on his hand that was holding the sword.

    GongSun Duan still stood there like a mountain, staring at him coldly.

    MuRong MingZhu's hand had started to shake, as if he couldn't control himself and was about to pull out his sword.

    It was in that moment that a hand reached out and lightly held on to his hand.

    MuRong MingZhu quickly turned his head and saw Ye Kai's kind, smiling face.

    "Are you only brave enough to enter the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' when your hand is on your sword?" Ye Kai said.

    With a *DANG*, the sword was placed onto the table.

    ________________________________________

    A white sky lantern was slowly hoisted up the flagpole into the air about thirty meters high.

    Five red characters on the snow white lantern read: 'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    The eight youngsters in purple who were leaning and resting on the wooden fence outside lifted their heads and watched as that lantern was being raised.

    One of them couldn't help but shout out, "'GuanDong Hall or Ten-Thousand Horses', hmph! They're certainly full of themselves!"

    Another voice suddenly replied casually, "We're not trying to show off, that's just our way of signaling to others."

    A person in white suddenly appeared underneath that flagpole.

    He spoke very slowly but his voice was stern and calm.

    Although there was no sword by his side, he could probably be considered the best out of all the swordsmen in the martial arts world. He was 'Single Sword, Soaring Flowers', Hua MenTian.

    The youngsters in purple didn't seem to know who he was. Another one of them asked, "Signal? What kind of signal?"

    "It is a signal to our friends in the martial arts world that the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' is occupied with business tonight. And that other than the invited guests of the Master, everyone else should wait until tomorrow morning to visit." Hua MenTian explained.

    One of them laughed coldly and said, "What if someone must enter tonight?"

    Hua MenTian looked at him quietly, he suddenly reached out and snatched the sword from his waist.

    They were standing relatively far away from Hua MenTian. But once Hua MenTian's hand shot out, his sword was in his hand. Then with a single shake, that sword was shattered into seven or eight pieces.

    That youngster's eyes were struck with fear, he couldn't utter another word.

    Hua MenTian inserted the stub that was left of his sword back into the youngster's sheathe. "It's dusty and windy outside. We've prepared wine and food in one of our guests halls just over there. Why don't you all stop by for a cup or two?"

    He didn't even wait for a reply before turning around and walking away.

    The youngsters in purple all looked at each other uneasily, each of their hands gripping the handles of their swords. But not one of them dared to pull their sword out.

    At that moment they all suddenly heard a voice behind them say, "Swords are not meant to be worn for show. If you aren't versed in the sword, it's for the better that you don't carry one at all."

    Those words were very sharp and scalding but he spoke them very sincerely.

    Because he really wasn't trying to mock, he was merely trying to give those youngsters advice.

    The faces of the youngsters in purple all turned colors as they turned around. They saw him walking towards them slowly from out of the darkness. His left leg took a single step forward, and then his right leg dragged along from behind.

    They all suddenly turned to look at the youngster who first had his sword snapped in half. One of them asked him, "So he's the cripple that you ran into last night?"

    That youngster bit down on his teeth, looked at Fu HongXue, and said, "So is that sabre of yours worn for decoration as well?"

    "No." Fu HongXue replied.

    "If that's the case, then you are versed in the sabre?" the youngster asked.

    Fu HongXue lowered his head and looked at his hand.

    "If you're versed in the sabre, then why don't you come out and show us what you know?" the youngster said.

    "Sabres aren't meant for show." Fu HongXue replied.

    "If it's not meant for show, don't tell me that it can kill? A cripple like you can really kill?" the youngster said.

    He suddenly burst out in laughter and said, "If you have the balls, then come over and kill me! Let's see what you're made of!"

    The youngsters in purple all erupted in laughter. One of them shouted out, "But if you're too scared, then you can forget about entering from the main doors. You can just crawl underneath that fence."

    They all locked hands and blocked off the main gate.

    Fu HongXue's head was still lowered, his eyes still staring at his hand. After a long while, he really bent down and started to crawl underneath the fence.

    The youngsters in purple started laughing wildly. It seemed like they had completely erased the embarassment that they had just suffered from their minds.

    But Fu HongXue didn't seem to hear their laughter at all.

    There was no emotion on his face as he slowly slid his body underneath the fence. His heavy footsteps sank into the ground as he slowly walked forward. His clothes were completely soaked.

    Then, their laughter suddenly came to a stop - when they caught sight of his footprints, none of them could laugh anymore.

    Because they all realized that each step he took left an incredibly deep imprint in the ground, one that looked like it had been carved out with a blade.

    It seemed like he had to use every ounce of strength in his entire body to control his anger and resentment.

    He was someone who couldn't stand to be ridiculed, but for what reason was he enduring all this for?

    Hua MenTian stared at him from afar inside one of the buildings. A strange expression came over his face, he looked somewhat startled, and somewhat afraid.

    It was the same expression that someone had when they saw a hungry wold entering into their home.

    But yhe person that he saw was Fu HongXue!

    ________________________________________

    The sword lay on the table.

    They had all taken their seats at the far end of the long table on either side of the Master of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    The Hall Master was still sitting very straight, his two hands resting on top of the table.

    But his hands really couldn't be considered a pair of hands anymore. Only a thumb remained on his left hand. Not even a trace of any of his other fingers remained - it was as if a blade had cut right through the middle of his palm.

    But he still laid that hand out on the table, he didn't try to hide it. Because this was nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, it was something that he was proud of.

    These were the scars left by his glorious victories on the battlefield!

    Every single wrinkle on his face seemed to etch out all of the dangers and hardships that he had braved during his life. As if those wrinkles were announcing to everyone that nothing in the world could keep this person down!

    He was someone who always refused to bend down!

    But his two eyes looked very calm, not a trace of hostility could be found in his gaze.

    Was it the countless hardships and long years that had sapped him of his ferocity?

    Or had he learned a long time ago that ferocity was something that should be concealed in front of others.

    Right now, he was staring straight at Ye Kai.

    He had already glanced at everyone else, Ye Kai was the last one.

    He used his eyes much more often than he used his tongue.

    Because he had also learned that by observing others, one could increase one's knowledge. Using one's tongue too much could only increase one's troubles.

    The Hall Master suddenly smiled and said, "You really never carry a blade with you?"

    "Because I have no need for one." Ye Kai replied.

    The Hall Master slowly nodded his head, "That's right! True courage isn't forged from the blade of a sword!"

    MuRong MingZhu suddenly laughed and exclaimed, "Just because someone doesn't carry a blade doesn't prove that he has courage either!"

    The Hall Master laughed and replied, "Courage is a very strange thing. You can't see it, feel it, or prove that it exists at all, that's why ..."

    His eyes turned to Ye Kai as he continued, "Sometimes a person who is truly courageous will appear as a coward in the eyes of others."

    Ye Kai clapped his hands and said, "That makes a lot of sense ... I actually know someone just like that."

    The Hall Master immediately asked him, "Who is it?"

    Ye Kai didn't respond. He simply smiled and looked at the person who was slowly walking in from behind the large screen.

    His smile was very strange and peculiar.

    The Hall Master followed Ye Kai's eyes and saw Fu HongXue.

    Under the bright lights, Fu HongXue's face appeared even paler.

    But the pupils of his eyes were still jet black. They looked exactly like the boundless, borderless night, concealing countless dangers and secrets.

    The scabbard of his sabre was ebony black. There were no etchings, words or decorations on it whatsoever.

    His hand held on tightly to the handle as he slowly walked past the screen. Before the sweat from his nose could even dry, he saw the mountain-like figure of GongSun Duan standing right in front of him.

    GongSun Duan was glaring at the the sabre in his hands.

    Fu HongXue was also staring at the sabre in his hand. With the exception of this hand. it seemed as if he never gave anyone or anything else a second glance.

    "No one is allowed to bring a sword into the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'. And no one is allowed to bring a sabre in either!" GongSun Duan proclaimed.

    Fu HongXue fell silent for a long while before he slowly said, "No one has ever been allowed before?"

    "No one!" GongSun Duan said.

    Fu HongXue slowly nodded his head as his eyes went from his sabre to the curved sabre on GongSun Duan's waist. Then he slowly said, "And what about you? Are you not a person?"

    GongSun Duan's face changed colors.

    MuRong MingZhi suddenly let out a laugh and said, "Good! Good question!"

    The wine in GongSun Duan's gold cup slowly started to overflow onto his giant hand. The gold cup had been crushed flat by his powerful hands. Suddenly, the gold cup flew into the air and there was a silver flash of light.

    *DING* DING* *DING, the deformed gold cup that fell to the floor had been cut into three pieces. His curved blade shined like bright silver.

    MuRong MingZhu's laughter had been totally cut short by that single strike.
    Only silence remained in the giant hall.

    GongSun Duan gently patted the blade of his sabre. He stared menacingly at Fu HongXue and said, "If you have a sabre like this, then you may bring it in."

    "I don't have such a sabre." Fu HongXue said.

    "What kind of sabre do you have then?" GongSun Duan said with a smile.

    "I don't know - what I do know is that this sabre isn't for cutting wine glasses." Fu HongXue said.

    He had to lift his head in order to see GongSun Duan's rough, firm, crag-like face.

    He only glanced at him once before he turned around and started to walk away. His eyes filled with disdain as his left leg stepped out in front and his right leg dragged along from behind.

    "You want to leave?" GongSun Duan shouted.

    Without turning his head, Fu HongXue replied, "I didn't come to watch people cut wine cups."

    "Since you've come, then you must put down your sabre; if you want to leave, then you must leave your sabre here as well!" GongSun Duan said.

    Fu HongXue stopped in his steps. His muscles suddenly started to bulge out from underneath his wet clothes.

    After a long while, he asked, "Whose words are those?"

    "They are from my sabre!" GongSun Duan exclaimed.

    "My sabre says something different." Fu HongXue replied.

    GongSun Duan started to tense his muscles as well as he asked sharply, "And what is your sabre saying?"

    "The sabre can only exist with the person, and the person can only exist with the sabre." Fu HongXue said.

    "And what if I really wanted to keep that sabre of yours here?" GongSun Duan said.

    "If the sabre remains here, then the person remains here!" Fu HongXue said.

    "Good! very good!" GongSun Duan said.

    In the middle of his shout, his sabre shot out again like a silver rainbow, aimed directly at Fu HongXue's hand.

    Fu HongXue didn't turn around, his sabre didn't come out, and his hand didn't move.

    Just as the sabre looked like it was about to cut off his hand, a voice suddenly shouted out, "Stop!"

    The silver flash of light immediately froze still. The blade was already within five inches of Fu HongXue's wrist. But his hand stayed perfectly still, it hadn't even moved a inch.

    GongSun Duan stared at that hand as beads of sweat gathered on his forehead.

    When his sabre came out, only one person in the entire world could order it to retract.
    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. #6
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    Aug 2004
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    Default Chapter 4 - To Live And Die With The Sabre

    That sabre really didn't get to execute its move!

    No one knows just what would've happened if GongSun Duan had finished that slash.

    Ye Kai let out a long sigh of relief as he looked at the Master of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' with a smile.

    "Excellent! What bravery, what courage! You must be the young Hero Fu that Field Master Hua was unable to invite even after three tries." Ma KongQun said with a grin.

    "Yes, that is him." Ye Kai said.

    "Hero Fu, you honor us with your presence. Please, please have a seat." Ma KongQun said.

    GongSun Duan turned to Ma KongQun and said, "But his sabre ..."

    "Right now all I see is the person. I don't see his sabre at all." Ma KongQun replied.

    The meaning behind those words were very deep. Did he mean to say that the brightness of the person covered up the darkness of his sabre? Or maybe what he really meant to say was that the true weapon was the person and not his blade.

    GongSun Duan bit down on his teeth, all the muscles in his body couldn't stop trembling. He suddenly stamped his feet, and with a *QIANG*, his sabre went back into its sheathe.

    After a while, Fu HongXue finally started to walk over with his heavy steps and took a seat. His hand was still clenching tightly onto his sabre.

    He happened to rest his hand right next to MuRong MingZhu's jewel-encrusted sword. But his ebony black sabre seemed to suck the radiance right out of its pearls.

    MuRong MingZhu looked like he was having the life sucked right out of him as well. His face was pale with anger as he suddenly stood up.

    Yun ZaiTian, who had been keeping an eye on him the entire time, glanced at him and said, "You ..."

    MuRong MingZhu didn't let him speak and berated, "If someone can bring their sabre into the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', then how come I can't carry my sword?"

    "Well you can, but ..." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "But what?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    Yun ZaiTian let out a slight smirk and said, "But I'm not quite sure whether you're someone who is courageous enough to live with the sword and die with the sword."

    MuRong MingZhu looked abashed. His eyes slowly drifted towards GongSun Duan and the bulging muscles on his arms as he felt his own body slowly freezing still.

    Luo LuoShan who had been slouched over the table like he was drunk the entire time, lifted his hand and smacked down onto the table and exclaimed, "Ha! Good question!"

    Suddenly, MuRong MingZhu dashed towards his sword and reached out to grab it from the table.

    But before he could get his fingers onto the handle, the sounds of metal clanging filled the air as seven swords flew onto the table.

    Seven magnificently decorated swords adorned with jewels all glimmered under the lantern light.

    MuRong MingZhu's hand stopped in mid air as his fingers froze stiff.

    No one knew just when Hua MenTian had entered the room. There was no expression on his face as he coldly said, "If you so desperately need a sword at your side, then why don't you attach every single one of these to your waist."

    Luo LuoShan suddenly let out a loud laugh and said, "The 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' really is a place of hidden dragons and crouching tigers. It looks some of the people who've come tonight really won't make it out alive."

    Ma KongQun sat quietly as his hands rested on top of the table. His posture was still as straight as an arrow.

    No matter what happened here, he always seemed to place himself outside of its affairs.

    He didn't even seem to cast a single glance at MuRong MingZhu.

    All the blood seemed to have drained from MuRong MingZhu's face. He stared at the swords on the table and after a long time he finally gathered the courage and asked, "Where are they?"

    "They are still alive." Hua MenTian said.

    Yun ZaiTian started to laugh as well and added, "The number of people in this world who have the courage to live and die by the sword really aren't that many."

    "That's why smart people don't carry sabres or swords." Luo LuoShan said with a smile.

    He was still slouched over the table looking half-sober and half-drunk. His hand reached out as he mumbled, "Where's the wine? How come this place is filled with sabres and swords, but I can't even find a single drop of wine?"

    A smile finally came over Ma KongQun's face as he said, "Good question! The main reason why I invited all of you here today was to drink to our heart's content. Hurry up and bring out the wine!"

    Luo LuoShan lifted up his head, looked at Ma KongQun with his drunken eyes and said, "Are you only going to let us leave once everyone is drunk?"

    "Exactly!" Ma KongQun said.

    "What if I'm already drunk? Then can I leave?" Luo LuoShan said.

    "Why of course." Ma KongQuen said.

    Luo LuoShan let out a sigh as his head fell back to the table, "Then I can relax ... where's the wine? Bring out the wine already!"

    Wine was brought out.

    A golden jar, giant goblets, green-colored wine.

    MuRong MingZhu's face looked like it had turned green as well by now. He didn't know whether he should sit down or walk out.

    Ye Kai suddenly slammed his hand down on the table and said, "Such delicious wine, such wonderful company, such a pity that there is no music to go along. I've heard that brother MuRong is an expert in both the martial and scholarly arts, and also an avid musician. I wonder if brother MuRong may pleasure us with a song?"

    MuRong MingZhu finally snapped out of his trance and looked over at Ye Kai.

    Some people are able to project a smile that never contains the slightest hint of animosity. Ye Kai was one of those people.

    MuRong MingZhu was quiet for a long while before he finally breathed out and exclaimed, "Okay!"

    "Emperor of the skies, emperor of the earth. Blood drips from the eyes, the moon doesn't shine. Once one enters the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Heroes', sabres are severed, intestines are shattered."

    Yun ZaiTian's face changed colors.

    GongSun Duan turned around abruptly and stared at him with his hand at his sabre.

    Ma KongQun was the only one whose expression didn't change. He actually looked quite pleased.

    MuRong MingZhu gulped down his goblet of wine which seemed to flood his body with courage as he said loudly, "I wonder if any one of you have heard this tune before?"

    "I have!" Ye Kai said.

    "And what were your impressions after you heard it?" MuRong MingZhu asked.

    "I found one of the lines very amusing." Ye Kai said.

    "Only one of them?" MuRong MingZhu questioned.

    "That's right, only one of them." Ye Kai responded.

    "Which one?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    Ye Kai closed his eyes and sang out, "Sabres are severed, intestines are shattered ... sabres are severed, intestines are shattered."

    He kept repeating those two verses and suddenly opened his eyes and look towards the Hall Master, "Do you know what I found so amusing about these two verses?"

    "Please enlighten us." Ma KongQun said.

    "Sabres are severed, intestines are shattered. Why couldn't it be that swords are shattered, why do the words specifically point to sabres being shattered?" Ye Kai said.

    His eyes danced around from MuRong MingZhu, then to Fu HongXue, and then back to the Hall Master.

    Fu HongXue sat there quietly at his seat staring at the sabre in his hands as his pupils slowly contracted.

    MuRong MingZhu slowly took his seat as a smile started to form from the corners of his mouth. His eyes were filled with gratitude as he looked towards Ye Kai.

    Flying Spider was never a talkative person, so he was able to watch attentively the entire time.

    And by now, he had made up his mind that Ye Kai was definitely a friend worth having.

    "It'd be much better and much easier to be his friend rather than his foe."

    When Flying Spider realized this, he finished the cup of wine in front of him and said, "That's right. How come it specifically mentions sabres being severed and not swords? What's the reasoning behind this anyway?"

    Hua MenTian looked slightly peeved and said coldly, "Well if everyone wants to know why, everyone should be asking the person who sang it."

    Ye Kai nodded his head and said, "very true, it seems that I've been asking the wrong person ..."

    "You haven't been asking the wrong person." Ma KongQun suddenly interjected.

    "Master Ma, so you're saying ..." Ye Kai said.

    "Have any of you ever heard of the saying, 'The Horse and Sabre of GuanDong, No Equals Under Heaven'?" Ma KongQun asked.

    "The 'Horse and Sabre of GuanDong'? So you're saying that there's some sort of connection between the horse and the sabre?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Not only is there a connection, but a very deep connection between the two." Ma KongQun replied.

    "Oh!" Ye Kai exclaimed.

    "Twenty years ago, there was only the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre', no one had yet heard of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'." Ma KongQun said.

    "But twenty years later, there is only the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', no one mentions the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre' anymore." Ye Kai said.

    The smile on Ma KongQun's face slowly faded away as he sunk into a serious mood. After a long silence he finally let out a sigh and said solemnly, "The reason for this is because all of the members of the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre' were completely wiped out eighteen years ago!"

    Although his expression remained very calm, the wrinkles on his face seemed to exude a fiery vengeance that sent chills down everyone's spine.

    Anyone who laid eyes on him wouldn't dare to look twice.

    Yet, Ye Kai was still staring right at him as he continued asking, "How did the people of the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre' die?"

    "By the sabre!" Ma KongQun said.

    Luo LuoShan slammed his hand onto the table again as he mumbled, "There is a saying that goes 'a good swimmer will probably drown to death', how ironic that the Divine Sabre should also fall to the sabre of another. How ironic, how ironic ... where's the wine?"

    Ma KongQun glanced down at his hand that was missing four fingers and slowly said, "The members of the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre' and the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' have always been like brothers. But each of one of them were brutally murdered during a wintry snowstorm, each one of them had their heads cut off! For the past eighteen years, this bloody debt has never been forgotten by the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'!"

    He lifted his head, stared at Ye Kai and said, "Now do you understand the reasoning behind the verse, 'sabres are severed'?"

    Ye Kai never glanced away, his eyes were still as sharp as ever as he implored further, "In the past eighteen years, has Master Ma been able to discover who the killers were?"

    "I haven't." Ma KongQun said.

    "Master Ma, your hand ..." Ye Kai asked.

    "It was cut off by the exact same sabre." Ma KongQun replied.

    "Master Ma recognizes the sabre but not the person who wielded it?" Ye Kai asked.

    "You can't cover up a sabre's face with a black veil." Ma KongQun replied.

    Ye Kai smiled and said, "You're right. If a sabre was covered up, then it wouldn't be able to kill."

    Fu HongXue, who was still staring at the sabre in his hand, suddenly asked, "What if the sabre was still in its sheathe?"

    "If the sabre was still in its sheathe, then of course it couldn't kill." Ye Kai said.

    "If the sabre was still in its sheathe, then would it be hiding, afraid of being recognized?" Fu HongXue asked.

    "I'm not sure, but I do know one thing." Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue was listening.

    "If a person had anything to do with the tragedy that happened eighteen years ago, they definitely wouldn't bring a sabre with them to the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'." Ye Kai smiled and added, "Unless that person was crazy, it'd make much more sense to carry a sword or a spear."

    Fu HongXue's glance slowly shifted from his sabre to Ye Kai's smile. A very unusual expression came over his face.

    It was the first time that he had looked at anybody for that long - and it was probably the most serious as well!

    From the look of MuRong MingZhu's eyes, it seemed as if the wine had slowly started to take effect, as he blurted out, "This is something that happened more than eighteen years ago, who cares whether someone brought a sword or a sabre?"

    "Not exactly." Hua MenTian said.

    "Well, with the exception of Mr. Luo, everyone here was still just a child when that tragedy happened. How could any of us have killed anybody back then?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    Hua MenTian suddenly changed the subject and asked, "I wanted to ask brother MuRong if you're married or not yet?"

    MuRong MingZhu looked like he was trying to figure out why Hua MenTian was asking this but could only nod his head in response.

    "If by the time you are old and senile but still had unresolved vengeances, who would seek to settle them for you?" Hua MenTian asked.

    "My son of course." MuRong MingZhu replied.

    Hua MenTian smiled and didn't ask any further, because he didn't need to.

    MuRong MingZhu looked startled as he forced a smile and said, "Are you suggesting that one of us here tonight are the descendants of the murderers of eighteen years ago?"

    Hua MenTian didn't respond - but sometimes not responding was a response in itself.

    MuRong MingZhu's face flushed red as he said, "If that's the case, then Hall Master Ma must have had a different agenda in mind when he invited all of us here under the guise of treating us to wine."

    "That's right!" Ma KongQun replied.

    "So then what are your intentions!" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "Where there are people, there are bound to be chickens and dogs. On the way here, did any of you happen to hear the sounds of chickens chirping or dogs barking?" Ma KongQun asked.

    "No, not at all." MuRong MingZhu replied.

    "And do you know the reason for this?" Ma KongQun said.

    "Well, could it be that no one here raises chickens or dogs?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "Do you really think that there wouldn't be anyone here who raised hunting or herding dogs in the open ranges of the border regions?" Ma KongQun said.

    "There is?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "Field Master Hua alone has about eighteen canines under his care." Ma KongQun said.

    MuRong MingZhu glanced at Hua MenTian from the corner of his eyes and said, "Maybe the dogs that Field Master Hua raises don't bark - dogs that bite people usually don't bark."

    "There is no such thing in this world as a dog that doesn't bark." Hua MenTian said.

    Luo LuoShan suddenly lifted his head and said, "There is one type of dog that doesn't bark."

    "A dead dog?" Hua MenTian said.

    "That's right, a dead dog. Only a dead dog won't bark, and only a dead person won't talk ..." Luo LuoShan mumbled half-coherently.

    Hua MenTian knitted his brow and asked, "And what about a drunkard?"

    "Not only do drunkards talk a lot, they tend to say the most obnoxious things as well." Luo LuoShan remarked.

    "Isn't that that truth." Hua MenTian said.

    "Well, the truth usually pisses people off, wouldn't you say? ... Now where's the wine?" Luo LuoShan blurted out as he burst into laughter.

    But the sounds of his laughter suddenly broke off as he collapsed onto the table again.

    Hua MenTian had a look of disgust on his face as he furrowed his brow.

    "We originally had twenty-one male and sixteen female dogs here. We also have about three hundred and ninety-three chickens, and they usually lay three hundred eggs a day. And we have a daily ration of about forty chickens that we eat, so that's not part of the total number either." Yun ZaiTian said.

    For whatever reason he reported all the logistical details of the dogs and chickens of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    Ye Kai smiled and said, "How many are chickens and how many are roosters? If the chickens far outnumber the roosters, then perhaps you should allow the rooster population to catch up. That is something that could affect the number of eggs that are being hatched."

    "Thank you for your kind intentions, but it is totally useless now." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Why's that?" Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian's expression sunk as he said slowly, "The thirty-seven dogs and three hundred ninety-three chickens were all killed in one night."

    "How did they die?" Ye Kai asked.

    "All of them had their necks cut off." Yun ZaiTian said in a very serious tone of voice.

    "If Master Yun is looking for the culprit who killed off all the dogs and chickens, I think I might have a clue as to who it could be." MuRong MingZhu said with a smile.

    "Oh?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "That person must be a chef or a kitchen worker. Even if you asked me to kill that many chickens at once, I don't think that I'd be capable." MuRong MingZhu said.

    "It wasn't a chef." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "How do you figure?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "That person was able to slaughter more than four hundred chickens without anyone noticing or hearing a single thing. The speed of his sabre must be frightening!" Yun ZaiTian said.

    Ye Kai nodded his head and said, "What a scary sabre indeed!"

    "With a sabre that fast, forget about chickens. I'm sure that it could kill people just as easily." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Well that all depends on who he is trying to kill." Ye Kai said with a smile.

    Yun ZaiTian's eyes slowly shifted towards Fu HongXue and asked, "That sabre in your hand, is it capable of silencing four hundred chickens in a single breath?"

    "I wouldn't need to use this sabre if I was trying to kill dogs and chickens." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Now I understand." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "What is it?" Ye Kai said.

    "If a person had such incredible sabre techniques, why would he purposely come in the middle of the night to butcher dogs and chickens?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "If that person wasn't sick in the head, then he must be extremely bored." Ye Kai said with a smile.

    "Do you all still not see the meaning behind what the culprit was doing?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "I really don't." Ye Kai said.

    "Well even if you can't see it, at least you must've heard of a certain saying before." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "And what saying is that?" MuRong MingZhu asked.

    A horrifying look came over Yun ZaiTian's eyes as he slowly uttered, "Spare neither chickens nor dogs!"

    "Spare neither chickens nor dogs ... why would someone not even spare the chickens or the dogs?" MuRong MingZhu said with a puzzled look on his face.

    "If you wanted to thoroughly slaughter an entire household, you don't leave even a single thing alive!" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Why would somebody be trying to ... are you saying that the murderers from eighteen years ago have come back to finish the job?" MuRong MingZhi said.

    "It must be them." Yun ZaiTian said. He looked like he was trying to control his anger but his expression was starting to twist. He gulped down another cup of wine and shouted out, "It must be them! Who else could it be!"

    "How can you be so certain?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "If it weren't the same murderers, why would they first kill off all the dogs and chickens? They're obviously trying to taunt us! If it were anyone else, they'd just be wasting their time and efforts." Yun ZaiTian.

    "But still, what's the purpose of their taunting?" MuRong MinZhu said.

    Yun ZaiTian clenched his fists as beads of sweat formed on his forehead. He gritted his teeth and shouted, "Because they don't want us to die so quickly and easily, they want to slowly torment us!"

    The distant sounds of horses neighing could be heard, but other than that the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' was deathly quiet.

    The autumn winds howled sorrowfully. Murderous intent seemed to suffocate the air.

    An autumn night in Bordertown usually chills you from head to toe.

    Fu HongXue was still staring at his sabre, while Ye Kai was quietly observing each and every person there.

    GongSun Duan had started to down cup after cup of wine incessantly.

    Hua MenTian was strolling back and forth with his hands behind his back in front of the massive horse painting.

    Flying Spider's face was pale white as he stared at the ceiling of the hall. Who knew what he had seen?

    The wine that MuRong MingZhu had just drank was starting to leak out as cold sweat - if he really had nothing to do with the events of eighteen years ago, why was he so terrified?

    Ma KongQun was still sitting up straight at the head of the table as if he was completely unaffected by everything that was happening.

    But his two hands which were pressing down onto the top of the table were actually starting to imprint themselves into the table's surface.

    "Wine relieves a thousand worries, the drunkards have it best."

    But was Luo LuoShan really drunk?

    Ye Kai let out a smile as he realized that the only person who hadn't changed their expression was himself.

    Heavy winds poured through the screen as all of the candles in the room flickered violently casting red shadows over everyone's face, making all of them appear full of evil intentions.

    After a long while, MuRong MingZhu suddenly asked, "There is still one thing that I don't understand."

    "Oh?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "They're the ones who slaughtered all the members of the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre'. You should be the ones trying to exact vengeance. Why would they be the ones who have come looking for trouble instead?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "The Divine Sabre and Ten-Thousand Horses were originally one. We share triumphs and tribulations, and we share enmity and hostility as well." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "So you're saying that the murderers still have a score to settle with you too?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "It's definitely a hatred that refuses to disappear!" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Then why did they wait eighteen years to finally seek revenge?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    Yun ZaiTian seemed to be looking off into the distance as he said, "Although they were able to wipe out the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre', they must have suffered severe losses as well."

    "So they didn't have the strength to finish off the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' back then?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "In the thirty years that the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' has been established in GuanDong, no one has ever dared to disturb even a blade of grass here." Yun ZaiTian.

    "But even if they needed to recuperate back then, it shouldn't have taken them eighteen years." MuRong MingZhi said.

    Yun ZaiTian suddenly glanced at him with blades in his eyes as he said, "Perhaps they were too severely injured and were growing old with age so they had to wait until the next generation had matured to come and seek revenge."

    MuRong MingZhu looked slightly worried as he replied, "Master Yun, are you really suspicious that one of us here are in league with the killers?"

    "The blood spilt eighteen years ago is still fresh. Whatever happens here tonight may give birth to new hostilities to come. The members of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' number in the hundreds, each and every one of their lives hang on the outcome of this battle. So isn't it obvious that we have to be extra cautious?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "But we all just arrived in town last night." MuRong MingZhu said.

    "It is exactly because of the fact that we are all strangers who just arrived last night that we are the most suspicious." Ye Kai said.

    "Why is that?" MuRong MingZhu asked.

    "Because those dogs and chickens were slaughtered last night as well." Ye Kai said.

    "So you're suggesting that one of us immediately proceeded to kill those animals as soon as we arrived in town? Why couldn't it have been someone who had already been here for seven or eight days?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    "A hatred that's been boiling for eighteen years probably wouldn't even wait a single minute, much less seven or eight days." Ye Kai said.

    MuRong MingZhu started to wipe the sweat off his forehead as he mumbled, "That makes no sense, that makes no sense at all."

    "Whether it makes sense or not, we should all be grateful." Ye Kai said.

    "Grateful? Why should we be grateful?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    Ye Kai lifted up his cup with a smile and said, "If we didn't bear the greatest suspicion, how else would we have been able to taste the best wine that the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' has to offer?"

    Luo LuoShan suddenly slammed his hand onto the table again and said, "Exactly! If a person is able to look past certain things in life, then he will definitely be much happier ... wine! Pass me more wine!"

    This time he actually managed to pour himself another cup as he downed it in one sitting.

    "I can't believe that you're still able to drink after all this." MuRong MingZhu said coldly.

    "As long as I know that I didn't do anything, why should I care if anyone labels me as a dog murderer or a chicken murderer? Why wouldn't I be able to drink this wine? Wine ... do you guys have anymore wine ..." Luo LuoShan stammered.

    When the wine came, he had already fallen over the table again, snoring loudly.

    Hua MenTian stared at him with disgust out of the corner of his eye. He looked like he really wanted to pull this person off his chair and kick him right out of the door.

    Hua MenTian was a very patient person, he was always able to contain his anger. How else would he have been able to stand for an entire night in the sand and winds?

    But once he saw Luo LuoShan, it was as if flames of hatred had been ignited inside of him. His normally calm face looked like it could erupt with fury at any second.

    Ye Kai found it very amusing.

    He always seemed to notice every little oddity in any situation that he was in. And he was always very amused by it.

    While he was observing everyone else, Ma KongQun was silently observing him, and he found Ye Kai very amusing as well.

    Then, whether it was on purpose or not, their eyes suddenly met. It was like two blades colliding with each other causing sparks to fly from their eyes.

    Ma KongQun forced a smile and seemed like he wanted to say something.

    But just at that time, MuRong MingZhu let out a laugh and said, "I finally understand everything now."

    "What do you understand?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "The Third Boss must have suspected that one out of the five of us who had just arrived in Bordertown must be one of the killers looking for revenge. So he invited all of us here today so that he could try to figure out who it was." MuRong MingZhu said.

    "Do you think I would be able to?" Ma KongQun said.

    "Probably not. It's not like that person is wearing a sign over their head. And it'd be pretty much impossible to get that person to admit to it themselves." MuRong MingZhu said.

    "If I wouldn't be able to find out who it was, then why would I bother wasting so much time and effort?" Ma KongQun said.

    "I would think that the Third Boss is someone who would never do something needlessly." Ye Kai remarked.

    "Brother Ye is certainly knows me well." Ma KongQun said.

    "Then what is the real reason that you invited all of us here today for? Do you have anything else to ask of us? Or did you really invite all of us here to get drunk?" MuRong MingZhu shouted.

    Such unruly words coming from a supposedly cultured gentleman. Just three cups of wine seemed to make him forget how he had been humiliated moments before.

    Were the sons and daughters of rich families usually people of little substance?

    But for some reason Ye Kai found him very amusing. He seemed to find something about MuRong MingZhu very interesting.

    After a long silence, Ma KongQun finally stood up and announced, "It's getting very late and it's a long way back to town. I've prepared guest rooms for everyone here tonight. If everyone doesn't mind, I ask that you all stay the night. And whatever has to be said can wait until tomorrow."

    Ye Kai let out a yawn and said, "That's right, whatever has to be said can wait until tomorrow."

    "Brother Ye is a very agreeable person. It's a pity that not everyone in this world is as agreeable as he is." Flying Spider said.

    "And what are you?" Ma KongQun asked.

    "Well, for someone like me, I couldn't disagree even if I wanted to." Flying Spider replied.

    MuRong MingZhu stared at the eight swords on the table and said, "Well at least its much more comfortable here than any of the inns in the town."

    "Brother Fu ..." Ma KongQun said.

    "If my sabre can stay, than I can stay." Fu HongXue replied insipidly.

    "No! I can't stay here tonight!" Luo LuoShan suddenly shouted, "If the killer suddenly comes in the middle of the night and mistakenly goes after me and cuts off my head, won't I have died a very unjust death?"

    "You really must leave?" Hua MenTian said.

    Luo LuoShan's drunken eyes wandered about as he blurted out, "But if there's more wonderful wine for me to drink in the morning, even if my head gets cut off, then I'll just have to accept it as my fate."

    All of them stood up, none of them insisted on leaving.

    All of them felt that even though it wasn't going to be a peaceful night, it was still a much better alternative than leaving.

    Anything could happen to a person who wandered off into the desert night.

    Only GongSun Duan remained at the table, still drinking cup after cup of wine ...

    The piercing winds had subsided, but the morning sun still seemed far, far away.

    The night fell deathly silent again. Only the distant sounds of horses neighing could be heard as they left an eerie and unearthly wail in the winds.

    A lonely lantern hung at the edge of the sky making this barren wilderness appear even more desolate.

    The night moon in Bordertown was just as lonely and desolate as its surroundings.
    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?

  7. #7
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    Default Chapter 5 - A Night In Bordertown

    Yun ZaiTian, with a lantern in hand, led the five guests in front.

    Fu HongXue, with his deep, heavy footsteps, drudged along at the end of the group - there are some people who just' don't like having anyone behind their backs.

    Ye Kai purposely slowed down his steps until he was walking beside him. His slow, heavy steps dragging along the road of rocks and sand was like a blade gridning up against bare bone.

    "I really didn't think that you would actually stay." Ye Kai said.

    "Oh?" Fu HongXue said.

    "I know that Ma KongQun asked all of us to spend the night because he wanted to test to see which one of us wouldn't be willing to stay." Ye Kai said.

    "You aren't Ma KongQun." Fu HongXue said.

    "If I were him, I would've done the exact same thing. If someone wanted to completely annihilate an entire clan, I'm sure that person wouldn't be too happy about spending the night here." Ye Kai said.

    He thought for a while and added, "And even if that person did stay, he'd probably act very strangely throughout the night. That person might even try to pull something before morning arrives."

    "If it were you, would you make a move?" Fu HongXue asked.

    Ye Kai changed the subject and instead replied, "Do you know who Hall Master Ma is most afraid of?"

    "Who?" Fu HongXue said.

    "You and I." Ye Kai said.

    Fu HongXue suddenly stopped, his eyes were fixed on Ye Kai as he asked one word at a time, "Are you the one?"

    Ye Kai stopped as well. He turned to face Fu HongXue and replied, "That's the same thing that I wanted to ask you, are you the one?"

    The two of them stood there silently in the middle of the night. Ye Kai stared at Fu HongXue, and Fu HongXue stared at Ye Kai. Suddenly, both of them smiled at the same time.

    "I think that's the first time that I've ever see you smile." Ye Kai said.

    "And it will probably be the last time as well!" Fu HongXue said.

    Hua MenTian suddenly appeared out of the darkness. With a bright glow in his eyes, he grinned at them and asked, "So what are you two smiling about?"

    "Something that's not really that funny." Ye Kai said.

    "Not the least bit funny at all." Fu HongXue added.

    ________________________________________

    GongSun Duan was still downing cup after giant cup of wine.

    Ma KongQun sat there watching him. After a long while, he let out a sigh and said, "I know you're trying to drink yourself unconscious, but getting drunk won't really solve anything."

    GongSun Duan suddenly slapped his hand down onto the table and shouted, "And what if I wasn't drunk? I'd still have to sit here and take other people's crap."

    "You're not taking crap, it's called perseverance. Everyone has to endure something like that at least once in their lives." Ma KongQun said.

    GongSun Duan started to clench his fists again. The wine from his cup slowly started to spill over. He looked at the flattened cup of gold in his hands and said, "Perseverance indeed! Thirty years ago you and I went through life and death together, we've endured over a hundred and seventy battles, and the blood that we've bled is more than enough to drown people. But now you're telling me to just take it - you're telling me to just sit idly by and take crap from that stupid little cripple?"

    Ma KongQun's expression was still very calm. He let out a sigh and said, "I know this must be hard on you, but I ..."

    "You don't have to say another word, I understand your reasons. You have a family now, and a daughter too. You can't act as brash and impulsive as you did in the past." GongSun Duan said.

    He slammed his hand onto the table again and laughed coldly, "I'm just a small peon in the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'. It's only fair that I have to take crap for the Third Boss."

    Ma KongQun turned and stared at him, but his eyes didn't carry the slightest trace of anger. Rather, he looked somewhat moved.

    After a long while, Ma KongQun calmly remarked, "Who said I'm the boss? And who said you're just a peon? Everything we have today was forged by the blood and sweat from the both of us. Even the closest of kin aren't as close as the two of us are. Half of everything here is yours. Whatever you wanted you could just take at any time - even if you asked for my daughter, I would happily oblige to give her to you."

    Although the tone of his voice was very calm, all of the pent up emotions in his words were enough to bring even men of iron to tears. GongSun Duan lowered his head as his eyes couldn't help but water as well.

    It was right at this time when Hua MenTian and Yun ZaiTian happened to return.

    Hall Master Ma appeared to be in a very somber mood as he asked the two, "Did all of them stay for the night?"

    "Yes." Yun ZaiTian replied.

    The emotional look in Ma KongQun's eyes had disappeared by now as it was replaced by cold keenness, as he continued, "I had figured that Luo LuoShan, MuRong MingZhu and the Flying Spider would stay for the night, that doesn't surprise me."

    "You don't believe that there's any suspicion about the three of them?" Yun ZaiTian asked.

    "Very little, if any." Ma KongQun replied.

    "Not necessarily." Hua MenTian said.

    "Why's that?" Ma KongQun said.

    "MuRong MingZhu is no ordinary person, I think what we saw before was all an act. Considering his lofty reputation and position in the martial arts world, there's no way that he would've kept spouting nonsense like he did after being humiliated several times." Hua MenTian explained.

    Ma KongQun nodded his head in agreement and said, "I've noticed that too, he definitely has ulterior motives in mind, but I doubt they concern the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'."

    "And what about Luo LuoShan? That wannabe scholar has been known to enjoy flaunting his senior status around the realm. What motives could he have for coming thousands of miles to the middle of nowhere?" Hua MenTian said.

    "Maybe he's on the run from powerful enemies and figured that a remote place like this would be ideal for him." Ma KongQun said.

    "Wudang Sect's power and influence reaches far. Normally, their enemies would be the ones hiding from them, since when did they start hiding from their enemies?" Hua MenTian said.

    Ma KongQun suddenly let out a sigh and said, "You still can't let go of that incident that happened twenty-three years ago at the base of Wudang Mountain?"

    Hua MenTian's expression changed as he replied, "I will never forget."

    "But hasn't the Wudang swordsman who injured you, HuiYun Zi, already died under your sword?" Ma KongQun said.

    "Yes, but it's a pity that all of Wudang haven't yet suffered horrible deaths." Hua MenTian said scathingly.

    Ma KongQun stared at him and said with a sigh, "You're a level-headed person, your vision and perception is sharp and keen, and you handle tough situations better than anyone I know. Your only shortcoming is your narrow-mindedness, I can only warn you that this may be the cause of your downfall in the future."

    Hua MenTian lowered his head and didn't speak, but his chest rose up and he didn't appear to be at ease.

    Yun ZaiTian tried to change the subject and said, "Out of the five of them, Fu HongXue does look like the most suspicious one. But like Ye Kai said, if he really was here to ... exact vengeance, would he really come to the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' with a sabre in hand?"

    Ma KongQun looked deep in thought and finally replied, "What about Ye Kai?"

    "This person's martial arts seem incredibly powerful. His demeanor is even more unfathomable. If it really were him, then he'd be quite a formidable opponent." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "You guys have been guessing back and forth for a while now, have you come to a conclusion yet?" GOngSun Duan asked.

    "No." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Since we can't figure out who it is, then why don't we just kill all five of them and be done with it!" GongSun Duan said.

    "What if we kill the wrong person?" Ma KongQun said.

    "Then we'll just kill some more!" GongSun Duan said.

    "And we'll just keep killing until when?" Ma KongQun said.

    GongSun Duan clenched his fists in anger as green veins started to bulge out from his hands.

    Suddenly, the sounds of a child came from the outside, "Fourth Uncle, I can't sleep. Can you please come and tell me stories?"

    GongSun Duan let out a sigh and seemingly turned into an entirely different person. All the muscles on his body loosened as he slowly stood up and walked towards the door.

    Ma KongQun watched on as his enormous figure made its way towards the door, yet the look in his eyes were like that of the child outside.

    Ma KongQun remarked calmly, "Logically speaking, I doubt any of them will make a move tonight since they've decided to stay the night. But I still don't think that we should let our guards down."

    "Yes." Yun ZaiTian replied.

    "Pass the following order: Divide up the guards who are on duty for the night into eight watches, and have them patrol three times every hour. If any suspicious person or activity is seen, have them sound the alarms immediately!" Ma KongQun said.

    Ma KongQun nodded his head as he stood up and walked towards the door. He looked extremely tired as his eyes spanned the vast darkness that had enveloped the open fields.

    Yun ZaiTian followed him out and said with a sigh, "If this night really were to pass by without incident, then you'd be able to get a decent night's rest. But tomorrow would then surely present a host of new troubles to worry about."

    Ma KongQun patted him on the shoulder and said, "After this battle is finally over, we really should be getting long needed rest ..."

    A gust of wind blew by. The sky lantern was suddenly extinguished. Only its lonely shell remained hanging in the moonlight.

    Yun ZaiTian glanced up at the lantern, his eyes suddenly filled with worry and apprehension.

    Would the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' meet the same fate as that lantern? Although it was hung up high, and its brightness radiated out for as far as the eye could see, who knew just when it would suddenly be extinguished?

    Deep into the night, the moonlight begins to dim, even the sound of ten thousand flutes would be muffled.

    In the middle of this barren wasteland, under the bitter, cold moonlight, who would be able to fall asleep?

    Ye Kai's eyes were wide open as he stared out of his window at the night sky.

    His smile was nowhere to be seen.

    When no one was around, that ever-present smile on his face disappeared from sight.

    He didn't sleep either.

    Although not a sound could be heard anywhere, his thoughts were as raucous as a marching army of thousands. But no one knew just what exactly was on his mind.

    He was lightly rubbing his own hands. The space between the thumb and index finger on his right hand was hard and calloused. This was usually the result of holding a blade for many years.

    But where was his blade?

    He was someone who never carried a blade.

    Was the blade hidden deep within his heart?

    Fu HongXue was still clenching tightly onto his blade.

    He didn't sleep either.

    He hadn't even bothered to take off his boots.

    The bitter, cold moonlight shined down onto his pale, emotionless face, and onto the ebony black scabbard of his sabre.

    Had his hands ever left that sabre before?

    Suddenly, the urgent sounds of the alarm gongs broke the silence of the night.

    Four figures dashed like arrows shooting through the darkness towards the western fields of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

    A raw, vomit-inducing stench that smelled like rotting flesh suddenly passed through the wind.

    The lantern in Ye Kai's room was the first to light up. Half a moment later, he quickly leapt out.

    MuRong MingZhu and Flying Spider opened the doors to their rooms at about the same time.

    The door to Mr. Luo's room was still shut as loud snoring could be heard coming from within.

    Not even a single sound came from Fu HongXue's room.

    "Did someone just sound the alarms?" MuRong MingZhu said.

    Ye Kai nodded his head.

    "Do you know what's going on?" MuRong MingZhu asked.

    Ye Kai shook his head.

    It was at this time that two figures suddenly shot towards them. The sword in one of their hands shined like flower blossoms, while the other one's movements looked as light and fluid as a flying crane.

    Hua MenTian stared at the three of them standing outside of their doors but didn't stop until he reached just outside of Luo LuoShan's room. He came to a halt as soon as he heard the snoring that was coming from within.

    Yun ZaiTian lightly somersaulted in midair and drifted towards Fu HongXue's door. He pushed out with his hand and the door slid right open.

    Fu HongXue was standing right at the doorway, his hand still firmly clenching on to his sabre. The brightness that shined from his eyes were simply frightening to behold.

    Yun ZaiTian subconsciously took several steps backwards as he addressed the group, "All of you were here the entire time?"

    None of them responded. It was a pointless question to begin with.

    "Did anyone hear anything just now?" Hua MenTian asked.

    No one responded again.

    MuRong MingZhu looked like he was about to say something but before he could open his mouth, he suddenly bent over and started to throw up.

    That vile odor had reached them by now.

    Then, the sound of about ten thousand horses neighing was heard. Even the cold moon looked like it had been scared out of its wits!

    "Emperor of the skies, emperor of the earth. Blood drips from the eyes, the moon doesn't shine. Ten thousand horses lament as intestines are crushed ..."

    What exactly was the most horrifying sound in the entire world?

    It wasn't the wail of lonely ghosts wandering in the night, but rather the sound of ten thousand horses neighing at once in the middle of the barren wastelands!

    No one could ever describe the horrible sound that it was. No one had ever heard such a sound before either.

    If the sky hadn't just come crashing down, if some calamitous disaster hadn't just occurred, why else would thousands of horses suddenly cry out at once in the middle of the night? Even the bravest and hardiest of men upon hearing such a frightful cry, wouldn't be able to stop their skeletons from jumping right out of its skin, and having their souls shook right out of them.

    The horses housed in the two rows of stables were all one-in-a-thousands, hand picked and purchased with countless amounts of gold.

    Fresh blood kept gushing out from the stables, the thick horrid stench of blood filled the air.

    Ma KongQun did not throw up.

    He stood in the middle of a pool of blood and looked like someone had just yanked his soul right out of him.

    GongSun Duan was embracing a tree that stood in front of the stables. Although he was holding on extremely tightly, his entire body was still trembling uncontrollably. The tree shook with him as all of its autumn leaves fell down one by one into the pool of blood.

    The blood was thick enough that it kept all of the leaves of that tree afloat.

    When Ye Kai arrived, he didn't have to ask to know what had just happenend.

    Anyone who had eyes could tell what had just happened.

    Anyone who had a heart wouldn't dare to come see.

    There probably wasn't a single animal in the world that could match the beauty of a horse's mane. And very few animals could match the liveliness and vitality of a horse. The beautiful structure of its body and the grace and vivacity of its movements were practically flawless and perfect.

    Who in the world could bear to hack off its head in a single slash?

    It was almost as vicious as killing another human being!

    Ye Kai let out a long sigh as he turned his head. In the distance, he saw MuRong MingZhu vomitting incessantly.

    Flying Spider's face was pale as ash and full of cold sweat.

    Fu HongXue stood quietly in the cold distance. Although the night enveloped his entire body, the reflections of the moonlight still glistened brilliantly off the ebony black scabbard of his sabre.

    GongSun Duan caught sight of that sabre and rushed towards him and screamed, "Pull out your blade!"

    "Now is not the time to pull out my blade." Fu HongXue replied blandly.

    "Now is the perfect time to pull out your blade, I want to see whether or not it is stained with blood!" GongSun Duan demanded.

    "This sabre is not for people to see." Fu HongXue said.

    "What do I have to do to get you to draw your sabre?" GongSun Duan said.

    "I only draw my sabre for one purpose." Fu HongXue said.

    "And what would that be? To kill?" GongSun Duan said.

    "It all depends on what type of person I'm going to kill. I only kill three types of people." Fu HongXue replied.

    "Which three kinds?" GongSun Duan said.

    "Enemies, villains, ..." Fu HongXue said.

    "And what's the last kind?" GongSun Duan said.

    Fu HongXue stared at him coldly and responded, "People like you who force me to draw my sabre."

    GongSun Duan let out a hearty laugh and said, "Great! Well said! That's exactly what I've been waiting to hear ..."

    His hand flew to the handle of his curved sabre. Before the sounds of his laughter had even dissipated, his sabre was already firmly in his grasp.

    Fu HongXue's eyes started to shine even brighter, he was waiting for the perfect moment.

    The perfect moment to draw his sabre! But in that moment, from the midsts of the grassy fields blanketed in darkness, an eerie voice broke through the silence, "Emperor of the skies, emperor of the earth. Blood drips from the eyes, the moon doesn't shine. Dark moon, high winds, tonight is a perfect night for murder, ten thousand horses lament as intestines are crushed."

    The voice rang out into the night sky. Although it sounded like it came from the distance, each and every word could be heard clearly.

    GongSun Duan's had changed colors by now. His shook his fists in the air and shouted out, "After them!"

    As soon as he gave the signal, several dozen lanterns could be seen scattering towards the voice from every direction.

    Yun ZaiTian lifted his arms, 'Following the Cicada Chasing the Clouds in Eight Steps', his body became as light as smoke. In about three or five steps, he was already seventy meters away.

    "No wonder they call him the 'Flying Crane in the Clouds', his lightness skills are definitely top-notch." Ye Kai said.

    He appeared to be talking to himself, but he also looked like he was talking to Fu HongXue. Yet, once Ye Kai turned his head towards where Fu HongXue had been standing the entire time, he was suddenly nowhere to be seen.

    The pool of blood had stopped growing by now. The light from the lanterns slowly faded into the distance.

    Ye Kai stood all alone in front of the stables - it was as if he was the last person remaining under the heavens.

    Ma KongQun, Hua MenTian, Fu HongXue, MuRong MingZhu ... they all seemingly disappeared into the darkness of the night.

    Ye Kai fell deep into thought. A smile started to form from the corners of his lips as he said, "How amusing, how amusing! Every single one of them is quite amusing!"

    Dozens of flames flickered in the grassy fields, as if the stars in the sky had fallen to the earth.

    Ye Kai was stumbling around in the darkness, he wandered towards the east, and ran towards the west, without a single purpose in mind. He appeared to be the most carefree person there.

    The sky lantern had been lit again.

    He lifted up both his hands and started roaming about from under the sky lantern.

    Suddenly, hoofbeats thundered and the sound of bells rang out. A horse charged out of the darkness, the rider's eyes were like autumn dew. He glanced at her for a moment, when a soft cry suddenly arose. Rider and horse both stopped abruptly right in front of him. A talented horse, a skillful rider.

    Ye Kai smiled and said, "Auntie really didn't fall to her death, how fortunate, how fortunate."

    Ma FangLing stared at him coldly and replied, "You little brat, what are you still doing here?"

    "How could I bear to leave before catching a glimpse of Ms. Ma's countenance?" Ye Kai said with a smile.

    "You shameless little brat with your honey lips and golden tongue, I'm gonna beat you to death." Ma FangLing replied angrily.

    Her whip lashed out like a snake towards Ye Kai.

    "You can't beat shameless brats to death." Ye Kai said.

    Before his words were finished, he suddenly mounted the horse and sat right behind Ma FangLing.

    Ma FangLing swung one of her fists backwards and shouted, "What are you trying to do?"

    But as soon as her fist struck out, her arm had been caught.

    "The moon is dark, the winds are high, and I can't seem to find my way around. May I trouble the Misses to escort me back to my quarters?." Ye Kai said.

    "Why don't you go to hell instead." Ma FangLing hissed back at him.

    She struck out with her other fist but her arm was caught again. She struggled but couldn't even move an inch. All she felt was a man slowly breathing on the back of her neck.

    She wanted to contract her neck and throw her body backwards at him, but for some reason she didn't have the strength to move a single muscle in her entire body.

    The 'Rouge Servant' that they were sitting on, which appeared to be a mare, suddenly became incredibly gentle and obedient. It took tiny little steps as it trotted forward.
    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?

  8. #8
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    Default Chapter 6 - The Buried Sabre

    The morning sun rose from the east.

    The pungent odor from the previous night had been washed away by the wind.

    The early morning breeze filled the air with the fresh smell of grass and leaves. The grand banner of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' flapped majestically in the wind.

    A straw of grass was sticking out of Ye Kai's mouth as he made his way towards that flag.

    He still looked as calm and listless as ever, the grains of sand on his body glistened in the sun like specks of gold.

    Two people stood under the enormous gates, they looked like they had been waiting for him for quite some time. He recognized that one of them was Yun ZaiTian. The other person turned around walked through the gates as soon as he saw him.

    "Morning." Ye Kai said, as he walked over with a smile.

    Yun ZaiTian had a very serious expression on his face as he replied, "Morning."

    "Has the Third Boss retired to his quarters yet?" Ye Kai asked.

    "No, he is currently waiting for you in the main hall. Everyone is there waiting for you right now." Yun ZaiTian said.

    ________________________________________

    Everyone really was waiting for him in the main hall. They all had heavy expressions on their faces.

    There was a bowl of porridge and vegetables in front of each one of them but no one moved their chopsticks.

    Luo LuoShan was slouched over the table, he looked like he was drunk again.

    Ye Kai made his way into the main hall and greeted them with a smile, "Good morning everyone."

    None of them answered, but they were all staring at him with strange looks in their eyes.

    Only Fu HongXue's eyes were focused on something else. He was still staring at the sabre in his hand.

    One of the seats at the table that was set with porridge and vegetables was empty.

    Ye Kai sat down and took a pair of chopsticks into his hand. He drank a mouthful of porridge and then had a couple bites of vegetables. The porridge was still warm, he finished an entire bowl and filled himself another.

    After he had finished and placed his chopsticks back onto the table, Ma KongQun looked at him and said, "It's no longer morning."

    "Ah, you're right, it's not." Ye Kai said.

    "Everyone went back to their rooms last night, what happened to you?" Ma KongQun asked.

    "I wasn't there." Ye Kai said.

    "Then where were you?" Ma KongQun said.

    "I couldn't sleep so I decided to go for a stroll. Who knew that after awhile it was already light." Ye Kai said.

    "Can anyone verify your claims?" Ma KongQun said.

    "Why would I need someone to verify what I just said?" Ye Kai said.

    Ma KongQun's gaze was as sharp as a knife as he said, "Because somebody owes us thirteen lives!"

    "Thirteen lives?" Ye Kai knitted his brows and said.

    Ma KongQun nodded his head and replied, "Thirteen slashes, thirteen lives, an incredibly fast blade!"

    "Are you saying that thirteen people were killed last night?" Ye Kai asked.

    "That's right, thirteen people had their heads cut clean off last night." Ma KongQun said with a hint of sadness in his eyes.

    "Dogs and horses are innocent victims, that murderer's methods are really too cruel." Ye Kai remarked.

    Ma KongQun stared into his eyes and said sharply, "You have no idea about what happened last night?"

    "Not at all." Ye Kai replied simply.

    Ma KongQun suddenly raised his hand, Ye Kai saw that he was holding a sabre.

    A sabre as bright as snow, its blade was thin and razor-shap.

    Ma KongQun's eyes stared at the blade and asked, "What do you think about this sabre?"

    "A fine sabre!" Ye Kai exclaimed.

    "If it weren't a fine sabre, then how could it so easily claim thirteen lives?" Ma KongQun said.

    He lifted his head and look towards Ye Kai and asked in a sharp voice, "You've really never seen this sabre before?"

    "Never." Ye Kai replied.

    "Do you know where we found this sabre?" Ma KongQun asked.

    "No." Ye Kai said.

    "It was found under the ground at the scene of the murders." Ma KongQun said.

    "Under the ground?" Ye Kai said.

    "After the murdering those people, the killer tried to bury this sabre into the ground, but he was probably in too much of a hurry. We were able to spot it and dig it up." Ma KongQun said.

    "Why would someone bury such a fine sabre into the ground?" Ye Kai said.

    "Maybe because the killer is someone who never carries a blade!" Ma KongQun said coldly.

    Ye Kai looked slightly startled, he glanced at Ma KongQun with a smile and said, "Is the Hall Master suggesting that this sabre is mine?"

    "If you were me, then what would you think?" Ma KongQun said.

    "I'm not you." Ye Kai replied.

    "Last night, Mr. Luo, Mr. MuRong, Mr. Fu and Flying Spider all returned to their rooms and slept. They all had witnesses." Ma KongQun said.

    "So those thirteen people definitely couldn't have been killed by them." Ye Kai said.

    Ma KongQun's eyes flashed as he questioned Ye Kai, "So what about you? Where were you last night? Do you have any witnesses?"

    "I don't." Ye Kai said with a sigh.

    Ma KongQun didn't press any further, his eyes began to fill with murderous rage.

    Two heavy sets of footsteps could be heard as Hua MenTian and Yun ZaiTian walked up behind Ye Kai.

    "Brother Ye, if you please." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "If I please, what?" Ye Kai said.

    "Please step outside." Yun ZaiTian replied.

    "I'm pretty comfortable sitting right here, why are you asking me to leave?" Ye Kai said.

    He let out a sigh and slowly rose to his feet.

    Yun ZaiTian pushed his chair aside for him.

    "Since this sabre is yours, then you can take it with you, catch!" Ma KongQun said.

    He extended his arm as the sabre flew through the air and sailed right towards Ye Kai.

    But Ye Kai didn't catch it.

    The tip of the blade grazed his sleeve, and with a *DUO*, stuck into the wooden table about seven inches deep.

    "A fine sabre indeed, what a pity that it isn't mine." Ye Kai said.

    Ye Kai finally started to walk out.

    Hua MenTian and Yun ZaiTian were like two shadows, following him closely from behind.

    Everyone knew that once he stepped outside, he probably would never be able to return.

    Everyone was staring at him, they all had a look of sympathy in their eyes, but none of them stood up to say a word.

    Not even Fu HongXue.

    His expression was still cold and frigid, it almost appeared that he was carrying a mocking look on his face.

    Ma KongQun looked around the hall and said, "Does anyone have anything to say about this matter?"

    "Just one thought." Fu HongXue suddenly spoke out.

    "Please say it." Ma KongQun said.

    "What if you're killing the wrong person?" Fu HongXue said.

    Ma KongQun's expression sunk as he coldly replied, "If we kill the wrong person, then we can just kill again."

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

    "Do you have anything else to say?" Ma KongQun asked.

    "No." Fu HongXue replied.

    Ma KongQun slowly lifted his chopsticks and said, "Everyone, let's eat."

    The sunlight was blinding, it shined brightly off of the grand flag as it fluttered in the wind.

    Ye Kai walked into the sunshine and lifted his head. With a deep sigh he said, "What a beautiful day it is."

    "Yes, it's a beautiful day indeed." Yun ZaiTian said coldly.

    "I don't think anyone would want to die on such a beautiful day." Ye Kai said.

    "It's a pity that people have to die every day regardless of whether it's beautiful or not." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "You're right, it is a pity." Ye Kai said.

    "Just where exactly were you last night?" Hua MenTian asked.

    "At a place where no one was around." Ye Kai said.

    Hua MenTian let out a long sigh and said, "What a pity, what a pity."

    "What's there to pity?" Ye Kai said.

    "You're still so young, it is a great pity that you have to die like this." Hua MenTian said.

    "Who said I wanted to die? I don't want to die at all." Ye Kai said.

    "I don't want to see you die either, but there is something that doesn't agree with me." Hua MenTian said.

    "And what is that?" Ye Kai said.

    Hua MenTian suddenly lowered his hands and lighty tapped the leather belt on his waist.

    With a *QIANG*, a sword of steel refined a hundred times over flew out of its sheathe. It trembled as it straightened out in the wind.

    "Excellent sword!" Ye Kai exclaimed.

    "How does it compare to that sabre?" Hua MenTian asked.

    "Well that depends on whose hand its in." Ye Kai replied.

    "And if it was in your hand?" Hua MenTian said.

    "I've never held a sabre in my hands before, I don't like to use them." Ye Kai said.

    "You've never held a sabre before?" Hua MenTian said.

    "I prefer to kill with my hands, because I really enjoy hearing the sounds of human bones being crushed by bare hands." Ye Kai said.

    Hua MenTian's face turned colors as he replied, "Have you ever heard the sound of a sword entering human flesh?"

    "I haven't." Ye Kai said.

    "That sound is quite pleasant as well!" Hua MenTian said.

    "Maybe you can point it out to me sometime." Ye Kai said.

    "You'll hear it soon enough." Hua MenTian said.

    With a wave of his sword, the tip slanted upwards diaganolly. The blade flashed in the morning sun as the its tip encircled Ye Kai from behind.

    Suddenly, a female voice was heard, "Little child, what's so fun about watching someone being killed."

    "It's fun! At least it's more fun than watching pigs being killed." A child's voice replied.

    Hua MenTian furrowed his brow as he lowered his sword.

    Ye Kai couldn't help but turn around to look. He saw a middle-aged woman in white holding a child clothed in red walking out from a corner of the hall.

    She stood proudly, with long flowing black hair, and an oval face that was as white as snow. She wasn't the type of beauty that would melt a man's heart at first sight, but her every step and her every action was full of elegance and refinement.

    Any man who saw her could immediately tell that this was a woman who could grant comfort and satisfaction, and who was understanding and compassionate.

    She lead the child by the hand. He was clothed in red from head to toe, and had a little braid that pointed straight up into the air that was also tied by a small red band. He appeared to be rather thin and small, but his eyes were big and wide. A pair of lively, sparkling eyes that danced back and forth, taking in everything they saw.

    Of course Ye Kai smiled at the two of them.

    His smile was always warm and endearing whenever he saw women and children.

    The child suddenly froze when he saw Ye Kai. Then, he suddenly jumped up and shouted, "I recognize this person."

    The middle-aged woman knitted her brows and said, "Stop talking nonsense, let's get going already."

    The child broke free of her grasp and ran over towards them. He pulled his cheeks with his hands, made a face at Ye Kai and said, "Shame, shame, and woe! You hugged my sister and wouldn't let go! Don't you know your shame and woe?"

    "XiaoHu, what are you babbling about?" Hua MenTian said with a stern look on his face.

    "I'm not babbling, I'm telling the truth! Last night, I saw him holding on to my sister and he wouldn't let go no matter what!" the child said as his big bright eyes glowed with enthusiasm.

    "What time last night did this happen?" Hua MenTian said.

    "Well, the sun was almost coming up." the child said.

    The expression on Hua MenTian's face completely changed.

    "Did you see this with your own two eyes? You better not be lying!" Yun ZaiTian said sharply.

    "Of course I saw it with my own eyes!" the child said.

    "How did you see this?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Well, after the gongs rang out last night, sis wanted to go out to take a look. I wanted to follow her but she wouldn't let me. So just when she wasn't paying attention, I hid myself under her horse's belly." the child said.

    "And then?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Sis didn't notice me at all. Not long after the horse took off, we ran into this person. Then they started to ..." the child said.

    But before he could finish, the woman pulled him away. All the while he was still shouting, "I'm telling the truth! I saw it with my own eyes! Why won't you let me tell them what I saw?"

    Hua MenTian and Yun ZaiTian looked at each other, both of their faces looked pale, both couldn't even say a word.

    The look on Ye Kai's face was very peculiar, who knows what he was thinking at that time.

    Suddenly, some one said in a deep voice, "Follow me."

    Ma KongQun appeared outside and gestured towards Ye Kai as he walked out of the courtyard.

    Ye Kai followed him out.

    Right then, they heard a voice from outside in the fields singing a folk song.

    "Blue, blue skies, fields wide, wide, grassy fields blowing in the wind, let's you see the cows and sheep."

    But there were no cows or sheep, only horses.

    ________________________________________

    Ma KongQun raced through the fields under the bright sun, the world looked full of vitality and life.

    He sat up straight as a brush on his saddle as the whip in his hand cracked swiftly. It looked like he wanted to vent all his frustrations and troubles by going as fast as he could.

    Fortunately, Ye Kai was riding a fine steed as well. He still could barely keep up with Ma KongQun's horse.

    A mountain in the distance appeared as a patch of green. It didn't seem very tall nor very far away.

    At the speed that they were racing at, they were able to reach the base of the mountain in about two hours.

    With a twist of his body, Ma KongQun dismounted from his horse and dashed straight up a path on the side of the hill.

    Ye Kai followed along.

    A tomb lay on one of the hilltops, the site was covered in green grass and a couple of white willows stood solemnly as winds blew in from the west. Out of the grave rose a headstone that stood some nine feet tall.

    Several massive words engraved on the stone read: "Resting Place of the Martyrs of the 'Hall of the Divine Sabre'."

    Another string of words to the side read, "Bai TianYu and wife, Bai TianYong and wife, buried together here."

    Ma KongQun walked straight up and stopped right in front of the grave, all his garments were soaking in sweat.

    The breeze on top of the mountain was freezing, he knelt down in front of the grave and closed his eyes. After a while, he slowly rose back to his feet and turned around. The wrinkles on his face looked even deeper, each one seemed to be crying out in misery over the events of the past.

    Who knew just how much sorrow and hatred were buried beneath those wrinkles!

    Ye Kai stood silently in the western winds, he only felt a cold and chilling sensation that couldn't quite be put into words.

    Ma KongQun looked at him and said, "What do you see?"

    "A grave." Ye Kai replied.

    "Do you know whose grave this is?" Ma KongQun said.

    "Bai TianYu, Bai TianYong ..." Ye Kai said.

    "Do you know who those two are?" Ma KongQun said.

    Ye Kai shook his head.

    "They were my two elder sworn brothers, they were closer than family to me." Ma KongQun said with an extremely sad expression on his face.

    Ye Kai slowly nodded his head, he finally understood why he was referred to as the 'Third Boss'.

    "And do you know why I buried all of them here together?" Ma KongQun asked.

    Ye Kai shook his head again.

    Ma KongQun gritted his teeth as he clenched his fists and said, "When I found them, their flesh had already been eaten by wolves. All that was left was a scattered pile of bones, there was no way to tell them apart."

    Ye Kai's slowly clenched his fists as well, as his cold sweat gathered on his palms.

    From the hillside, all that could be seen was a vast expanse of green as it connected to the blue sky at the horizon.

    Winds rustled through the grassy fields like waves in the ocean.

    Ma KongQun turned and looked into the distance. After awhile, he asked, "What do you see now?"

    "Green grass, a vast expanse of land." Ye Kai said.

    "Can you see where it all ends?" Ma KongQun asked.

    "No I can't." Ye Kai replied.

    "This vast expanse of land whose ends are nowhere to be seen, it is all mine!" Ma KongQun said.

    The expression on his face changed as he loudly proclaimed, "All the life that exists on these fields, all the wealth that these lands bring, it all belongs to me! My roots are deeply ingrained into this land!"

    Ye Kai listened, all he could do was listen.

    He simply couldn't figure out the intentions behind Ma KongQun's words.

    After awhile, Ma KongQun's excitement slowly subsided as he let out a sigh and said, "It's not easy for anyone to amass a vast expanse of land such as this."

    "Definitely not easy." Ye Kai said.

    "Do you know just how I came to acquire all this land?" Ma KongQun said.

    "I don't know." Ye Kai said.

    Ma KongQun suddenly pulled apart the front of his shirt and exposed his massive chest and said, "Look closely and tell me what you see."

    Ye Kai looked over at his chest, his breathing suddenly stopped.

    He had never seen anyone with so many scars on their chest before!

    Ma KongQun's eyes started to glow as he exclaimed, "This is the price that I had to pay. I paid with my very own blood and sweat, and countless friends who sacrificed their lives!"

    "I understand." Ye Kai said.

    "So everyone can forget about trying to snatch any of it away from my hands!" Ma KongQun said.

    "I understand." Ye Kai said.

    Ma KongQun was panting heavily. Although his heaving chest still appeared muscular and well-built, he was definitely not in the same shape as he was in his earlier years.

    This seemed to be a common grievance that inevitably came with old age.

    After Ma KongQun's breathing calmed down, he walked over and patted Ye Kai on the shoulder, his voice suddenly became very amiable as he said, "I know that you're a very determined young man. You wouldn't want to smear someone else's reputation even if it meant your own death. A young man as righteous as you is definitely rare."

    "I only did what I thought was right, it's nothing much." Ye Kai said.

    "And what you did was right. I'd really love to have a friend like you, perhaps maybe even a son-in-law ..." Ma KongQun said.

    He suddenly lowered his gaze as his eyes started to glow with brightness again, "But its for the best that you leave as quickly as possible."

    "Leave?" Ye Kai said.

    "Yes, leave. The faster the better." Ma KongQun said.

    "Why should I leave for?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Because our town is plagued with nothing but trouble. Anyone who comes here can't help but be soaked in the heavy stench of blood." Ma KongQun said.

    "I'm not afraid of trouble, nor do I detest the stench of blood." Ye Kai said.

    "But you never should have come here in the first place, you really should leave." Ma KongQun said.

    "Where would I return to?" Ye Kai said.

    "Back to your family perhaps, back to wherever you call home." Ma KongQun said.

    Ye Kai slowly turned to face the fresh smell of the grass in the wind as he said, "Do you know where my home is?"

    "No matter how far your home is, no matter how much money you'll need to get there, I can give it to you." Ma KongQun said.

    "There's no need for that, my home isn't very far away." Ye Kai said.

    "It's not far? Then where is it?" Ma KongQun asked.

    Ye Kai stared up at a cloud in the sky and replied, "My home is right here."

    Ma KongQun froze still.

    Ye Kai turned and stared at Ma KongQun, there was a very peculiar expression on his face as he said, "I was born here and I grew up here. Where else can I go?"

    Ma KongQun's chest rose up as he clenched his fists. The sounds of swallowing came from his throat. Yet, not a single word seemed to be able to make its way out.

    "Like I said before, I simply do whatever I think is right. I've never been afraid of trouble, and I've never cowered from the stench of blood." Ye Kai said.

    "So you're set on staying here." Ma KongKun said.

    Ye Kai's response was very short and very brief, he only said one word, "Yes!"

    ________________________________________

    The western winds kicked up the leaves on the ground, the white willow trees shook solemnly.

    A dark cloud drifted overhead and blocked out the sun as the bright sky turned gray.

    Although Ma KongQun's waist was still straight as a brush, his stomach was contracting in and out. It seemed as if an invisible pair of hands was bearing down on him, almost to the point that he wanted to throw up.

    He felt his mouth fill with saliva ... sour, bitter saliva.

    Ye Kai had already left ...

    He saw him leave, but didn't bother to stop him. He didn't even cast a sinlge glance as Ye Kai walked away.

    Since he couldn't persuade him, why bother to look at all?

    If this was five years ago, he definitely would not have let this youngster walk away.

    If this was five years ago, he would probably be burying this youngster right now on this very mountain.

    No one had ever refused his orders before. No one ever dared to disobey the words that came from his mouth.

    That was no longer the case.

    When they were staring at each other, he had every chance to smash that youngster's nose in.

    The speed of his first strike was as fast as lightning. If this was five years ago, his confidence alone was enough to strike down anyone who stood before his eyes!

    Anyone who had their nose smashed in would immediately fall into a daze, their eyes would be blinded by the blood that splattered, and they would have very little chance to avoid any blows that were to come.

    This was what they called 'One Fist Shutting the Door'!

    He was always very confident in that one fist and it had never failed him before.

    But for some reason, it didn't come out this time!

    After countless years of training, almost every part of his body was bulging with muscles. Not a trace of fat could be found anywhere. No matter whether he was sitting or standing, his body was always as straight and firm as an arrow.

    After countless years, his body didn't really look any different.

    But when a person ages on the inside, there is no way that anyone can see. Even that person can't even tell themselves.

    This wasn't saying that his body could no longer tolerate alcohol, or that he no longer lusted after women like he used to.

    The real change was inside his heart.

    He noticed that he had more and more doubts as the years dragged on, he was no longer confident in everything that he did.

    Even in bed when he was embracing his lover, he was no longer able to control his prowess. He had even began to doubt his own ability to satisfy her. Were these definite signs that he was slowly growing old?

    As soon as a person started to believe that he was getting old, then he would surely start to age even more. Five years ... would pass in only three years ...

    Three years ago, anyone who dared to disobey his wishes could only dream about being able to walk away!

    But even if he were willing to trade all of his wealth and power, there was no way that he could ever get those three years back.

    Just how many years were left anyway?

    He didn't want to think about it, he didn't dare to think about it - right now, all he wanted to do was lie down. He suddenly felt extremely tired and weary.

    The sky darkened further, thunder and rain started to near.

    Of course he saw this. With all of his years of experience, his accuracy in predicting the weather was just as good as his accuracy in reading other people.

    But he was still too lazy to get up, too lazy to return home.

    He lay quietly in front of the grave and stared at some of the words that were carved on it, "Bai TianYu and wife, Bai TianYong and wife ..."

    They were his sworn brothers, they really did suffer horrible deaths.

    But there was no way that he could avenge their deaths.

    Why was this so?

    Besides himself and the people who died, very few people knew of this secret.

    This secret laid buried in his heart for more than eighteen years, like a needle constantly pricking at his heart.

    He didn't even hear the horse's neigh, but felt someone coming up the mountain.

    That person's footsteps were not light. They were extremely large, large and quick.

    He knew that it was GongSun Duan.

    GongSun Duan was the only person that he could share all of his secrets with. He trusted GongSun Duan almost as much as a child trusted his mother.

    Footsteps are like words, everyone had their own story to tell. That's why blind people are able to tell a person by their footsteps.

    GongSun Duan's footsteps were exactly like he was: enormous, ferocious, and urgent. Once they started, it was nearly impossible to stop them.

    He surged up the mountain in a single breath and stopped in front of Ma KongQun and asked, "Where is he?"

    "He left." Ma KongQun said.

    "You let him leave just like that?" GongSun Duan said.

    Ma KongQun let out a sigh and said, "Perhaps you're right. I'm getting old and starting to become more and more timid."

    "Timid?" GongSun Duan said.

    "Timid as in not wanting to draw unwanted trouble anymore." Ma KongQun said.

    "You don't think it's him?" GongSun Duan said.

    "At least we know that he wasn't the perpetrator from last night. He was a witness." Ma KongQun said.

    "Why didn't he tell us before?" GongSun Duan said.

    "Perhaps, it's because he's still young, too young ..." Ma KongQun said.

    As soon as the words 'young' came out of his mouth, they filled with that sour and bitter taste again. GongSun Duan turned and looked at the words etched on the grave. He started to clench both of his fists, the look in his eyes became extremely strange. No one could tell whether it was sadness, fear, or hatred.

    After a long while, GongSun Duan slowly asked, "Are you sure that old Bai had a son?"

    "Mmm." Ma KongQun said.

    "How are you so certain that it's his only son that has come for revenge?" GongSun Duan said.

    "A vengeance such as this is unavoidable." Ma KongQun said.

    "But we were so thorough in keeping this all a secret. Other than the people who died, who else could've found out about it?" GongSun Duan said.

    "Any secret is bound to leak out sooner or later - if you don't want others to know, don't be in the know in the first place. Never doubt the truth behind those words." Ma KongQun said.

    "If that orphan really did grow up by now, he would be about the same age as Ye Kai." GongSun Duan said.

    "And about the same age as Fu HongXue as well." Ma KongQun said.

    GongSun Duan suddenly turned around and said, "Who do you think is more likely?"

    "That youngster appears to be extremely calm and patient, yet he's probably more exciteable than anyone." Ma KongQun said.

    "But he crawled in through the gates like a dog, he seemed scared of killing anyone." GongSun Duan said.

    "That's only because those people are not worth his time, and they are also not his targets!" Ma KongQun said.

    GongSun Duan's expression started to change.

    "There's only one reason why an easily exciteable person would put on the pretense of being calm and collected." Ma KongQun said.

    "And what reason is that?" GongSun Duan said.

    "Revenge!" Ma KongQun replied.

    "Revenge?" GongSun Duan said.

    "If he weren't after revenge, why else would he be trying so hard to control himself, why else would he subject himself to such humliation. The answer is that revenge is the only thing that's on his mind!" Ma KongQun said.

    He opened his eyes, a hint of fear showed in them, "He's able to endure much more than others because the hatred in his heart is probably much deeper than anyone else."

    "If that's the case, then why didn't you let me kill him?" GongSun Duan said.

    Ma KongQun stared into the distance, he didn't respond.

    "We already have thirteen dead bodies in our hands now, are you still afraid of killing the wrong person?" GongSun Duan said.

    "You're wrong." Ma KongQun said.

    "You think that he has accomplices?" GongSun Duan said.

    "This sort of revenge is definitely not something that can be accomplished alone!" Ma KongQun said.

    "But haven't all the members of the Bai family died out?" GongSun Duan said.

    Ma KongQun suddenly stood straight up and said, "If they had all died out, then where did this orphan come from? If there wasn't someone helping him from behind the scenes, then how did that orphan become such a formidable youth? And if that person wasn't quite formidable as well, then how has that person eluded us this whole time?"

    GongSun Duan lowered his head, he had nothing to say in response.

    "That's why when we make our move this time, we must be absolutely certain of success. We can't leave any survivors from their side behind!" Ma KongQun said.

    "But how much longer are we just going to wait like this?" GongSun Duan said.

    "No matter how long, we must keep waiting. We've already lost thirteen lives, what difference does it make if we lose three hundred more?" Ma KongQun said.

    "You're not afraid that they'll strike first?" GongSun Duan said.

    "Have no fear, he won't make his move very soon either." Ma KongQun said.

    "Why?" GongSun Duan asked.

    "Because he won't want us to die so quickly, and so comfortably." Ma KongQun said.

    GongSun Duan's face turned pale, his giant hands clasped onto his sabre.

    "But the most important thing is that he probably doesn't have proof yet, he doesn't have proof that we are the killers, that's why ..." Ma KongQun said.

    "That's why ..." GongSun Duan said.

    "That's why he'll try to scare us. Whenever someone is scared, they are prone to making mistakes. Only when we make mistakes will he have the opportunity to seize the advantage from us!" Ma KongQun said.

    "So we shouldn't do anything right now?" GongSun Duan said.

    Ma KongQun nodded his head and said, "So all we can do right now is wait. We wait until he makes the first mistake!" His expression slowly calmed down as he said, "Only in patiently waiting, will we never make a mistake!"

    If one waits, one will definitely not make a mistake.

    If a person is patient, and waits, the perfect opportunity will definitely arise!

    But waiting has its price as well, and its price is quite high.

    GongSun Duan suddenly unsheathed his sword. With a single slash, he struck down at the tombstone, sparks flew in all directions.

    It was at that exact time that thunder crashed down from the dark skies!

    His silver blade lost its luster to the majestic flashes of light in the sky.

    Giant beads of rain started to fall as water flowed down from the crack that had just been cut in the stone tablet, almost as if it were crying ...
    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?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2004
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    1,200

    Default Chapter 7 - Dark Clouds, Ominous Sky

    The windows were shut tight, the room totally devoid of light.

    Raindrops beat down on the roof and windows like the drums of war and galloping horses in battle.

    Ye Kai sat lazily with his two legs outstretched. He looked at his battered old pair of boots and sighed, "It's really coming down hard outside."

    Xiao BieLi carefully lifted up the last domino from the table, his eyes laid fixed for a very long while. Finally, he turned to Ye Kai with a smile and said, "It rarely ever rains around here."

    "That's probably why when it does rain, it pours this hard." Ye Kai said.

    Xiao BieLi nodded his head as he listened to the downpour outside. He let out a sigh and said, "The rain is really untimely."

    "Why's that?" Ye Kai said.

    "Because they come to town every month on this day to purchase bolts of cloth, embroideries and perfume." Xiao BieLi said.

    "They? Who are they?" Ye Kai said.

    A slight smile came over Xiao BieLi's face as he replied, "Well, let's just say that among them is someone who you'd really want to see."

    Ye Kai understood what he meant and replied, "How do you know that I want to see her?"

    "I can tell." Xiao BieLi said.

    "How can you tell?" Ye Kai said.

    Xiao BieLi glanced at the dominoes in his hand and slowly replied, "Even if you don't believe me, I'm able to see a lot of things from these dominoes."

    "What else do you see?" Ye Kai said.

    "I see dark and ominous clouds hovering over the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'. There is a sabre in its midsts, drops of blood slowly trickling down from its edge ..." Xiao BieLi said.

    He suddenly lifted his head and stared at Ye Kai, "Did something horrible happen at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' last night?"

    Ye Kai stared back at him for awhile before replying, "You really should switch professions to being a fortune teller."

    Xiao BieLi sighed and said, "But all I ever see is misfortune, rarely do I ever see good luck or happiness."

    "Have ... have you ever looked into my future?" Ye Kai said.

    "Do you want to know the truth?" Xiao BieLi said.

    "Of course." Ye Kai replied.

    Xiao BieLi's eyes suddenly looked very empty, his gaze shifted off into the far distance. "Dark clouds hang over your head as well, it appears that your life is going to be filled with adversity."

    "Do I look like someone who ever lets those things get to me?" Ye Kai said.

    "Well, those troubles don't necessarily have to be your own. Because it seems that in your lifetime, you're destined to be enveloped by the worries of others. For you, that fate is inescapable." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Do you see a blade in the midsts of those dark clouds as well?" Ye Kai said jokingly.

    "But because your life will be filled with many important people, you'll be able to overcome any danger that falls your way." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Important people?" Ye Kai asked.

    "As in those people dear to you, and who will be able to help you, for example ..." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Like you?" Ye Kai interrupted.

    Xiao BieLi let out a laugh and shook his head as he replied, "The important people in your life are almost all girls. For example, a girl such as Cui Nong!"

    He looked at the pearl flower on Ye Kai's shirt and said, "She was up waiting for you all night last night, why didn't you go to see her?"

    "'When the gold at the head of the bed is depleted, the scholar is bound to lose his dignity'. Since I'd get kicked out sooner or later, why go in the first place?" Ye Kai said.

    "You're wrong." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Oh?" Ye Kai remarked.

    "Not all the girls here worship gold." Xiao BieLi said.

    "But I think I'd much rather have it that way." Ye Kai replied.

    "Why's that?" Xiao BieLi said.

    "Well, that way there's no longing and responsibility, and there's much less to worry about." Ye Kai said.

    "So are you saying that as long as love is not involved, then there will be nothing to worry about?" Xiao BieLi said.

    "Correct." Ye Kai replied.

    "I think you're wrong about that as well. If a person goes through life without a worry in the world, then it wouldn't be very interesting." Xiao BieLi said.

    "Well, I can stay here peacefully for as long as I want. Well, until the day that this place doesn't accept guests." Ye Kai said.

    "You're an exception. You can come as you please and go as you please, but I ..." Xiao BieLi said.

    He let out a sigh and continued with a smile, "I'm getting old, I'm not as lively as I used to be. When I go to bed at night, it feels like my entire body is falling numb."

    "But you're awake now." Ye Kai said.

    "The elderly never like to sleep very much, because they know that the time they have left on this earth is not much. Besides, I've always been a night owl." Xiao BieLi said.

    He picked up the crutches that lay beside his chair, propped them under his shoulders, and slowly rose to his feet.

    "It'll probably stop raining by noon, perhaps you'll be able to see her then." Xiao BieLi said as he slowly made his way up the flight of stairs.

    As he made his way up, Ye Kai noticed that the leggings of his garments swayed hollowly. Both of his legs were severed at the knees.

    How were his legs cut off? And for what reason?

    Anyone could tell that he wasn't an ordinary person. How did he end up in Bordertown running this underground business?

    Was he hiding from his past? Did he really have this mysterious power to predict the calamities that were to befall others?

    Ye Kai was deep in thought. He caught sight of the dominoes lying on the table and couldn't help but to walk over. He reached out and felt them with his hands and realized that they were made of solid metal.

    He heard a raspy cough coming from the floor above.

    Ye Kai let out a sigh as he thought to himself that this certainly was a very mysterious person. Everything he said seemed to have a mysterious meaning to it, everything he did also seemed to have a mysterious purpose. Even the small room on the second floor in which he lived seemed to be hiding some mysterious secret.

    Ye Kai looked at those narrow, long stairs and suddenly smiled. For some reason, he just found this place incredibly amusing.

    ________________________________________

    High noon.

    It really did stop raining. Ye Kai walked through the middle of the mud covered streets towards the general store that was directly across. The owner of that store was a jolly looking middle-aged fellow. He had a large round face and his eyes winced into tiny slits whenever he smiled.

    Even when customers tried to short change him a couple of qian while taking a couple extra batches of peas, he would still smile gleefully and oblige.

    He was surnamed Li, everyone called him Li MaHu.

    Ye Kai recognized Li MaHu, but forgot to check whether his store sold cloth, silk, and embroideries. Since everyone was busy having lunch at this time, the store was rather empty. Li MaHu was napping at the counter as usual.

    Ye Kai didn't want to wake him so he perused through the store leisurely. Just then, the rumbling of wheels and the neighing of horses was heard as a large carriage rolled through the streets. The carriage was glistening black like a mirror, eight horses that pulled the carriage were white.

    It was the same carriage that had brought Ye Kai to the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' the previous night. Who was riding inside that carriage now?

    Just as Ye Kai was about to chase the carriage to find out, he heard a voice behind him say, "That must be the esteemed aunt and the young misses of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'. I wonder if they'll want chicken eggs today?"

    "They don't work in the kitchen, why would they need chicken eggs for?" Ye Kai asked.

    He turned around to see that Li MaHu had woken up, his eyes squinting and smiling as he said to Ye Kai, "You don't understand, women like to use chicken eggs to wash their face. The more they wash, the younger they look."

    "Does your daughter-in-law wash her face with chicken eggs every morning?" Ye Kai asked.

    Li MaHu crumpled his lips and replied with a cold laugh, "That woman, even if she washed her face with three hundred catties of chicken eggs every day, her face would still look like an orange peel - in fact, it'd look like sun-dried orange peels."

    He suddenly broke into a smile again as his tiny eyes became even tinier, "But those two from the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', they're like goddess flowers, they're incredibly beautiful. If you're really lucky maybe one day ..."

    Suddenly, a child's voice was heard from outside the door, "Li MaHu, what are you babbling on about now?"

    When Li MaHu peered towards the door to see who it was, his expression immediately changed as he replied, "Oh nothing, nothing at all. I was just about to make the young master a sugar-gourd candy."

    A young child with his hands at his waist stood just outside the doors. He had two large eyes and his clothes were even redder than the sugar-gourd candy.

    Although he was still small, his reputation and standing were not, as soon as Li MaHu saw him his face immediately turned pale. But as soon as the child saw Ye Kai standing in the store, his face turned pale as well. He turned around and wanted to slip away.

    Ye Kai immediately darted out after him and caught his shoulder and said, "So you're a little tiger are you? Well, even if you were a little fox, you still wouldn't be able to get away from me."

    XiaoHu Zi looked slightly impatient as he shouted, "I don't know you! Who are you! Why are you grabbing on to me for?"

    "You recognized me earlier this morning didn't you? How come you seem to have forgotten all of a sudden?" Ye Kai said.

    XiaoHu Zi's face flushed red and looked like he wanted to cry out.

    "If you behave like a good boy and listen to what I tell you, I'll buy you all the sugar-gourd candy you could ever want. But if you don't, I'm going to tell your dad and fourth-uncle that you were lying this morning." Ye Kai said.

    "What ... what lie did I tell?" XiaoHu Zi said.

    "You were fast asleep last night. You didn't sneak out and hide under your sister's horse's belly, did you?" Ye Kai asked.

    XiaoHu Zi's eyes sharpened as he replied, "Well, I was just trying to help you."

    "Who taught you to say those words?" Ye Kai asked.

    "No one, I taught them to myself ..." XiaoHu Zi said.

    Ye Kai put on a stern face and said, "If you don't tell me, I'm going to have to bring you back and tell your dad."

    XiaoHu Zi's face turned pale again. Whenever he heard his dad being mentioned, he would immediately tell the truth, "Fine, I'll tell you. It was my third auntie."

    "Your third auntie? Was she the one who brought you out earlier this morning?" Ye Kai said.

    XiaoHu Zi nodded his head.

    Ye Kai knitted his brow and asked, "How did she know that I was with your sister last night?"

    "How shoud I know? Why don't you ask her yourself?" XiaoHu Zi replied.

    As soon as Ye Kai let go of him, XiaoHu Zi dashed across the street and then turned around. XiaoHu Zi made a face at him and said, "You can go ask her if you want, but you can't hug her like you hugged my sister or else my dad will get jealous!"

    Before he had finished his sentence, XiaoHu Zi had already raced down the street into one of the fabric stores at the corner.

    Ye Kai knitted his brow and looked deep in thought. This matter was not what he anticipated it to be.

    Who was this 'Third Auntie'? How did she know about his actions last night? He really couldn't figure it out. As Ye Kai lifted his head, he saw that same Third Aunt walking out of the fabric store.

    She looked very refined and elegant, her garments were white as snow. She didn't have any make-up on but still carried a certain intoxicating aura around her.

    When Ye Kai first saw her, her eyes that looked like autumn mist, were looking right at Ye Kai as well. And whether it was intentional or not, she smiled at him too.

    No one in the world could imitate that smile.

    Ye Kai felt slightly foolish, after a while, he finally realized that there was another pair of eyes beside her. A pair of eyes that were staring right at him.

    That pair of eyes had always looked bright and clear but right now they appeared rather cloudy and dim.

    Could it be that she didn't sleep well last night? Or had those eyes been crying?

    Ye Kai's heart suddenly jumped, it started to beat faster and faster.

    Ma FangLing looked at him amorously as she winked at him with her eyes.

    Ye Kai immediately nodded.

    Ma FangLing looked down and drooped her head as a grin came over her face and a cloud of red flooded her cheeks.

    They didn't have to say a word to each other. She could tell his feelings just by the look in his eyes. He could tell what was on her mind by a single glance. What need did they have for words?

    ________________________________________

    Everything was quiet and still. The table that was usually covered in dominoes had been cleaned up. Although the windows were opened, it was still very dark inside that room.

    Ye Kai sat quietly waiting. Although he understood Ma FangLing, he just couldn't make light of that Third Aunt.

    Ma KongQun's wife had already passed away, but a man like him would certainly never have a woman lacking by his side. And only a woman like her could match up to a man like him.

    Ye Kai had figured out who she was, but he still couldn't figure out what her intentions were.

    He let out a sigh and didn't want to think about it any longer ... if he did, he'd feel slightly sorry towards FangLing. But that smile really was unforgettable.

    What were the two of them doing right now? Were they in that store buying eggs?

    Could a woman really regain her youth by washing herself with chicken eggs?

    Ye Kai tried really hard to think about other things, but for some reason, his mind kept wandering back to the two of them. It was at that moment that the doors gently slid open.

    Ye Kai really wished that the person who came in would be Ma FangLing. But just as he was about to stand up, his heart sunk.

    The person who stepped in was Yun ZaiTian - Ye Kai silently let out a sigh as he realized that it'd probably be very difficult for him to see Ma FangLing again today.

    When Yun ZaiTian saw Ye Kai sitting inside, he felt rather awkward. But since he had stepped in already, it'd be even more awkward to step back out.

    Ye Kai let out a laugh and said, "Are you here to look for Lady Cui Nong? Perhaps to ask her why she gave away this pearl flower that you gave to her?"

    Yun ZaiTian coughed drily twice but didn't respond as he took a seat.

    "A man looking for a woman is a perfectly normal thing. Why don't you just go up?" Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian slowly regained his composure as he replied, "I've come to look for someone, but it's not her!"

    "Who are you looking for?" Ye Kai asked.

    "Fu HongXue." Yun ZaiTian replied.

    "Why are you looking for him?" Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian's expression sunk, no reply came out.

    "Isn't he still at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses?" Ye Kai asked again.

    "He's not anymore." Yun ZaiTian said.

    "When did he leave?" Ye Kai said.

    "This morning!" Yun ZaiTian responded.

    Ye Kai furrowed his brow and said, "If he left in the morning, then how come I haven't seen him return to town?"

    "How about everyone else?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "I don't think anyone else came back either. This town's not very big, if they had returned, I definitely would've seen them." Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian's expression changed. He knitted his brow and looked up at the second floor.

    "Mr. Xiao is right upstairs. Do you want to go ask him about this matter?" Ye Kai said.

    A look of doubt came over Yun ZaiTian's face. He stood up and walked out of the doors.

    Right at that time, about ten mule-drawn carts slowly made their way through the streets. On each one of those carts were coffins, each cart carried four coffins.

    A pale-faced humpback who was covered in a green robe was riding on the donkey that was in front. From the looks of his face, he appeared to have been sleeping in a coffin for most of his life as well. Not a hint of radiance could be found.

    Anyone who saw that many coffins march down the street wouldn't be able to help but be startled.

    Yun ZaiTian wasn't an exception. He couldn't help but ask, "Where are all these coffins being delivered to?"

    The humpback looked him up and down and replied, "From your appearance, you look like someone from the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'."

    "I am." Yun ZaiTian replied.

    "Well that's exactly where these coffins are being sent to." the humpback said.

    Yun ZaiTian's face turned colors as he said, "Who ordered you to send them there?"

    "A paying customer of course. That person ordered a total of one hundred coffins. We've been working day and night to ..." the humpback said before he was interrupted.

    Yun ZaiTian flew towards him and grabbed him off his saddle and asked sharply, "What kind of person was this?"

    The humpback's face turned even paler as he replied, "It ... it was a woman."

    "What kind of woman?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "It was an elderly woman." the humpback said.

    "Where did they come from, and where is this old woman?" Yun ZaiTian questioned.

    Well, she did come along with us. She's ... she's ... she's lying inside that coffin in the first cart." the humpback said.

    "Lying in the coffin? What is she, a corpse?" Yun ZaiTian said with a cold laugh.

    "No, she's still alive. She just hid in the coffin to avoid the rain before. It's the one that's opened just a crack, she needed it for air." the humpback said.

    With a laugh, Yun ZaiTian let the humpback go. He flew towards the first cart and knocked open the coffin with a single push ...

    There really was a person inside that coffin, but it wasn't a woman, and he wasn't alive!

    A dead man lay inside that coffin. This person was clothed entirely in black. Blood at the corner of his lips had dried up. His face had started to shrivel. There wasn't a single wound anywhere else on his body. It appeared that his innards had been shattered by powerful internal energy.

    Ye Kai stood on top of the high steps in front and saw that person's face clearly. When he realized who it was, he couldn't help but shout out, "Flying Spider!"

    Of course he wasn't mistaken. That corpse really was the corpse of Flying Spider.

    Flying Spider was dead. Where were Fu HongXue, Luo LuoShan, and MuRong MingZhu?

    If they all left the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' at the same time, how did Flying Spider end up dead in this coffin?

    Yun ZaiTian suddenly turned around and stared at the humpback, "This person is not an elderly woman!"

    The humpback started to tremble, he forced himself to nod slowly and replied, "Yes ... he's not."

    "You said she was an old woman?" Yun ZaiTian blasted at him.

    The humpback shook his head and said, "I ... I don't know."

    The driver of the second cart suddenly cut in and said, "Strange ... I was originally riding in front too."

    "How did you end up in front?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    "Well, this cart was originally the last cart. We got lost along the way and decided to turn around. So my cart became the first cart." The driver replied.

    "Whatever the case, an old woman wouldn't suddenly turn into a dead man. How did this happen?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    The humpback shook his head and replied, "I really have no idea."

    "If you don't know, then who in the world would?" Yun ZaiTian said.

    With a flash of his body, his five fingers shot out and seized the humpback by the collarbone.

    The humpback looked as thin as a flagpole. But as soon as Yun ZaiTian made his move, the humpback immediately stopped trembling. With a slight shift of his body, he slipped behind Yun ZaiTian as his palm grazed Yun ZaiTian's own right shoulder.

    Not only was this move swift, the timing and positioning of the move were almost perfect. The force of the palm wind was unyielding and powerful.

    Just by that one palm strike, you could tell that this humpback had probably expended about thirty plus years of toil and practice.

    "You're really something!" Yun ZaiTian exclaimed.

    As soon as those words were finished, Yun ZaiTian's body turned twice as five fists shot out!

    His style had always been swift and light. Although he didn't use his full force, the changes in his moves were quick and unpredictable, and extremely difficult to block.

    "Nice! You're not so bad yourself!" The humpback exclaimed.

    Laughter erupted as the humpback suddenly somersaulted into the air and landed on the roof of one of the houses. This humpback was able to change stances as he pleased, and dash away as he pleased. His skills were definitely exceptional.

    However, his opponent just happened to be someone who shook the martial-world with his lightness skill and had the nickname "Clouds in the Sky, Ethereal Dragon".

    Yun ZaiTian leapt into the air as his body appeared as light as smoke drifting away. His five fingers lashed out like the claws of an eagle and seized the humpback by his hump. With a *SI*, a huge piece of his robe had been torn off, revealing a shiny golden light.

    With a *QIANG*, three frigid star projectiles shot out from the golden light at the tip of his hump and shot towards Yun ZaiTain's chest.

    With a scream, Yun ZaiTian flipped backwards with the move, "Opening the windows, peering at the moon cloud flying stance" and landed on the roof directly across.

    If it weren't for his extremely fast speed and agility, those three frigid stars would have lodged themselves inside Yun ZaiTian's chest rather than simply graze his shirt.

    The humpback was already seven or eight houses away. With another flash of gold, he could no longer be seen.

    Yun ZaiTian leapt down and didn't bother to pursue any further. His normally iron clad face was covered in cold sweat. As he watched the humpback disappear into the distance, he let out a sigh and said, "Who could've imagined that the 'Golden-Backed Dragon' Ding Qiu has resurfaced in Bordertown again."

    Ye Kai let out a sigh as well as he shook his head and said, "I could've never imagined that it would be him."

    "You've heard of him as well?" Yun ZaiTian asked.

    "How many people haven't heard of this person?" Ye Kai replied.

    Yun ZaiTian didn't say another word. The expression on his face became heavier.

    "This person's been in hiding for more than ten years and he suddenly shows up today just to deliver these coffins. Could it be that he has some realtion to your enemies and the events of eighteen years ago?" Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian still didn't reply.

    "Then Flying Spider must've been killed by him as well. I wonder why they wanted him dead?" Ye Kai said.

    Yun ZaiTian turned to look at him and coldly replied, "That was something that I was hoping you could tell me."

    "If you ask me, then who am I supposed to ask?" Ye Kai said.

    He suddenly let out a laugh. His eyes shifted towards the far end of the street as he added, "Maybe I should ask him."
    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. #10
    Senior Member ccsakura's Avatar
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    Oh cool Spcnets back and theres more chapters of this to read! Thanks for the translation Bliss! I'll tell how good they after I read them!

  11. #11
    Senior Member ccsakura's Avatar
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    oh cool chapter I wonder why that lady helped Ye Kai? And that little kid in here reminds me of that red kid in Li XunHuan's story. I wonder who the old lady was... was there an old lady? Now I'm confused I should read it again... Thanks Bliss great chapters... I was so confused had to go back and read the last chapters...

  12. #12
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    superb translation bliss! thankz again! Wonder were Fu HongXue went I'm anxious to see him using his saber!

    Just a question, does Ye Kai use the flying dagger?

  13. #13
    Senior Member eliza bennet's Avatar
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    Thank you so much Bliss The story starts to gain momentum and the fight scene was short but very good.




    P.S: I was away on holiday and it is the first time I check here -

    There is something wrong with the ROCH and LOCH thread and I don't know if there were any updates in three weeks!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Temujin's Avatar
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    We have yet to see Ye Kai in action. I can't wait
    - WuxiaSociety.org (formerly known as wuxiamania forum) -

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

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    What happened with ur translation, Temujin? will repost or gave up?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Temujin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felipe
    What happened with ur translation, Temujin? will repost or gave up?
    Which translation ?
    - WuxiaSociety.org (formerly known as wuxiamania forum) -

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  17. #17
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    Weren't you going to translate a Jin Yong novel? I very sad one? I forgot the title.
    You're in doubt if you would continue or chose another one. In fact you onbly did half a chapter and didn't post... wasn't it you?

    Man... so sorry if it wasn't you... my confusion

  18. #18
    Member BeeDreamer's Avatar
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    Waiting patiently for Chapter 8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeDreamer
    Waiting patiently for Chapter 8
    Uh oh ... you got your account back ...
    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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    Default ??????chapter 8 ??????

    waiting patiently for chapter 8

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