Here's my little side project - Shen Hongye's story
Who's Shen Hongye? He's Ah Fei's descendant.
Who's Ah Fei? How could one not know? (Haha, GL has this effect on people)
Anyway, this Ah Fei's descendent appears at the begining of this book - Righteous Blood Cleansing Silver Spear. And the first bit is ridiculously funny. GL had to be drunk when he wrote this [the conversation between two drunkards in particular!]
I thought I'd share it with you guys. And no, I'm not planning to translate the entire book. I don't know if the whole story is good anyway.
Righteous Blood Cleansing Silver Spear
It was said that in about three hundred years the luckiest person in Jianghu was the eldest son of the Duan family in Jintan, Duan Yu. In Jintan, the Duans were a prominent family. In Jianghu, the Duan family was also a well-renowned aristocratic family of the martial realm.
Although the dagger skills that were passed down in the family were gentle and harmonious, without any poisonous or devious technique, their internal energy was refined and profound. That in itself was extraordinary. And thus, just like the dagger man Duan Yu himself, their dagger skills didn’t inspire fear in people, but commanded respect.
Their hand-down family weapon, the ‘jasper dagger,’ was also a treasured weapon. It had its own magnificent story in the history. But the story we are telling right now certainly is not the story of the jasper dagger.
In Jianghu, there was also a treasure called “the jasper hairpin.” While the jasper dagger led its owners to good luck and prosperity, this jasper hairpin actually brought about misfortune and disaster.
It was said that whoever had this jasper hairpin in possession, a calamity would immediately befall on him.
It was also said that its every owner all died a tragic death, with no exception.
In Jianghu, there were many tales related to the jasper hairpin. Some were more like myths, full of supernatural and evil fantasies. But our story today is not the story of the jasper hairpin either.
The story we are going to tell now is the story of ‘the jasper stone.’
What was this jasper stone? Was it a person? A type of weapon? A treasure? Or some kind of a mysterious medicine?
Chapter 1 Four young masters
It was mid-winter, and bitter cold. The valley was covered in snow.
Thousands of miles were ice-bound, and the earth was silvery white. In this snowy ground, one man was digging a hole, three feet wide, five feet deep, and seven feet long.
He was young, strong, tall, and handsome. And more than that, his manner was elegant like someone who was well-bred. His clothes looked expensive, with mink fur that cost a thousand gold nuggets. He was holding a shiny silver spear in his hand, and the spear shaft was made of pure silver.
Five characters were engraved on it, “Feng Cheng, Silver Spear, Qiu.”
Such a person normally wasn’t one who would dig holes in the ground. Such a pair of silver spears shouldn’t be used to dig holes either.
This place was a beautiful valley under a clear, blue sky. The accumulated snow was silvery white. The plum blossoms were crimson red.
He came here by a horse, riding from a far away place. This horse was a purebred famous colt, highly valuable.
A divine horse. A beautiful saddle and rein. Even its strirrups were made of pure silver.
Why would such a person ride such a good horse all the way here to use such a weapon to dig this hole?
The hole was dug. He then lay down inside as if he was assessing its size, whether or not it would be comfortable enough for him to lie in there. Could it be that he’d dug this hole for himself?
Only a dead person would make use of this kind of hole. He was young and healthy, looking absolutely like he still had good several decades ahead of him. Why would he dig this hole for himself? Did he want to die? This person lived very well. Why would he want to die? And why would it have to exactly this place?
The snowfall stopped last night, and the weather was crisp and cold. He unfastened the horse saddle and gently patted him on the neck. He said, “Go. Go find a good master.” The strong horse softly neighed and ran out into the snow-covered valley. He sat down on the saddle and looked up at the blue sky. He was lost in thought, his eyes revealing unspeakable pains and grief.
By this time more people appeared in the snow. Some were carrying boxes of food. Others were hauling tables and chairs. There was also someone bringing two jugs of wine. They all came here from outside the valley. The person walking in the front looked like a waiter in a restaurant. He came over and asked with a smile, “Excuse me, young master. Is this place the Winter Plum valley?”
The hole digging youth nodded. He didn’t even look at them.
That person asked again, “Did young master Du invite you here?”
The hole digging youth paid him no attention.
That person let out a sigh. He ridiculed himself, “I don’t get it. Why did young master Du have us deliver food and wine here?”
Another person laughed and said, “These rich young masters are all strange. Poor people like us of course can’t understand them.”
The group of people set up the tables and chairs under a plum tree, arranged plates and cups, and left.
A long while passed, and suddenly from outside the valley a beautiful voice hummed,
“The sky is clear after the snow. The plum plossoms give out their fragrance everywhere. Ride a donkey across the bridge. The bells are making ding-dang sounds.”
The bells were really ringing. One person on a black donkey and another on a white horse rode into the valley. The donkey rider had a blueish pale complexion, looking as if he was sickly. But he actually had a warm smile and a graceful disposition. The other person dressed extravagantly, with a long sword hanging from his waist, a silver fox fur hat on his head, and a silver fox fur coat. Riding on a large handsome white horse, he looked all silvery white. He seemed very arrogant. Of course, he had a reason to be arrogant. There weren’t many men who were this handsome.
It appeared that all the three youths were young masters from wealthy families, gathering here without prior appointment. But obviously their goals were different. The two late comers had been taking a walk in the snow, admiring the plum blossoms, and drinking wine. The hole digging youth was actually waiting for his death.
There was wine beneath plum blossoms. The smiling youth poured a cup and drank up. He said, “Good wine.”
There were plum blossoms in front of wine, and they were blooming. He drank another cup and said, “Good flowers!” The flower color was reflected in the snow, bright red. He downed another cup and said, “Good snow.” With three cups of wine in his stomach, his pale face turned red. He looked as if he could fly – highly spirited.
Although his body was weak, stricken by illness, he could appreciate all the good things in life. It looked like he was interested in everything, and so he had a very interesting life.
The handsome youth with a white horse, fur clothes, and a long sword had an aloof and indifferent expression on his face, as if nothing could interest him.
With a faint smile, the sickly-looking, gentle young master asked, “Good snow, good flowers, good wine. Why don’t you have a cup?
“I don't drink,” replied the handsome young man.
That gentle young master said, “We’ve come all the way here, and you don’t drink. You are a letdown to the valley of beautiful snow and thousands of plum blossoms. He let out a sigh and mumbled, “This person is really unrefined. How disappointing. How could I have this kind of friend?”
The hole digging youth was still in a trance. The gentle young master suddenly stood up, going over and circling around that hole a couple of times. He said, “Good hole.”
The hole digging youth ignored him.
The gentle young master continued, “This hole is very well dug.”
The hole digging youth paid him no attention.
Bluntly, the gentle young master walked to his front and asked, “Did you dig this hole?”
The hole digging youth could no longer ignore him. He only said, “Yes.”
The gentle young master asked, “I’ve been saying that this hole is well dug. Do you know what I mean?”
“You want me to drink with you,” replied the hole digging youth.
With a laugh the gentle young master said, “Not only can you dig holes, but you can also recognize people’s intention.”
“Too bad, I can’t drink,” said the hole digging youth.
The gentle young master chuckled and asked, “You don't drink either?”
The hole digging youth replied. “If it’s ‘good time’ drinking, I do. If it’s not, I don’t.”
The gentle young master asked, “And right now, why don’t you drink?”
“Because right now it wouldn’ t be ‘good time’ drinking,” replied the hole digging youth.
Instead of being upset by him, the gentle young master laughed and said, “Now I know who you are. I’ve often heard people say that the temperament of the silver spear master Qiu Fengcheng is just like his spears, straight and stubborn. You certainly must be Qiu Fengcheng.”
The hole digging youth ignored him again.
The gentle young master said, “My last name is Du, my given name Qinglian [green lotus].”
Qiu Fengcheng still paid him no mind, acting as if he hadn’t heard his name.
In fact he recognized the name. Among people who roamed Jianghu, there were very few people who wouldn’t.
In the martial realm, of this generation there was certainly nobody that would surpass the four young masters – Silver Spear, White Horse, Red Leaf, and Green Lotus. He also knew that the handsome youth, with a white horse, fur clothes and a long sword, was the white horse master Ma Rulong. Yet, he pretended not to recognize him.
Du Qinglian sighed and said, “Looks like you’ve decided not to drink today.”
Suddenly, a loud voice came from outside the valley, “They won’t drink. I will.”
The man who wanted to drink arrived. After the snow had stopped, it was even colder than before. They were wearing fur garments, and it was still cold. This person was actually wearing a thin gown, and even though the material was good, it was not the type of clothes to wear in this kind of weather. So he was trembling. But even when it was freezing cold like this, to everyone’s surprise he had a folding fan in his hand.
The wine jugs were on a table, and so were the cups. They saw him walking there and lifted a jug with both hands. Then he took a big gulp right from the jug. With a sigh he said, “Good wine.”
Du Qinglian laughed.
Then this person took another big gulp and said, “Not only are the wine and flowers good, but the snow is also good. After the three gulps, he stopped trembling. His face became alive.
Alhough this person was poor, he didn’t look repulsive. He was actually a very likable person. His long eyebrows and bright eyes were pleasing. When smiling, the corners of his mouth would raise, revealing two dimples. Du Qinglian had already started to like him.
This person was extremely adorable.
This person also said, “With a feeling like this, a view like this, a moment like this, those who don’t drink really should.. ..”
Du Qinglian said, “Should.. what?”
“Should be spanked in the butt,” replied that person.
Du Qinglian roared a laugh. That hole digging youth still played deaf and mute, but inside he was making an exception for this person and for this matter. For other people, he acted like he didn’t see them. For other matters, he wouldn’t put his mind at ease.
Although Ma Rulong was frowning with anger, he didn’t snap. It wasn’t that he didn’t dare to. He merely didn’t want to stoop to this person’s level.
But this person actually sought him out. Tapping the wine jug, he said, “Come. Have a cup too.”
“You’re not worthy,” said Ma Rulong coldly.
This person asked, “What kind of persons would be worthy enough to drink with you?”
“What kind are you?,” said Ma Rulong.
This person didn’t reply. Instead, with a ‘shua’ sound he snapped the fan in his hand open. On the fan were seven characters. The writing was very beautiful, very refined, just like himself.
“Autumn leaves are redder than February flowers.”
Although this person was poor, the fan was actually of high quality. Besides, the seven characters on the fan were no doubt written by a renowned calligrapher.
Du Qinglian downed another cup and said, “Good characters.”
This person lifted the wine jug and took a big gulp. He said, “Your perception isn’t bad either.”
Du Qinglian asked, “Who wrote these characters?”
This person replied, “Except me one person, who else could write such good characters?
“Now I also know who you are,” said Du Qinglian with a hearty laugh.
This person exclaimed, “Oh, is that so?”
Du Qinglian continued, “Except Shen Hongye, who else would be as crazy as you?”
Among the four young masters of the martial realm, the most arrogant person was the ‘White Horse’ Ma Rulong. The most just person was the ‘Silver Spear.’ Du Qinglian was certainly the most warm-hearted. And the craziest was Shen Hongye.
The first three -- Ma, Qiu, and Du -- were all from a prominent family. White Horse, Silver Spear, and Green Lotus were young masters with famous and good upbringing. However, the life story of Shen Hongye was actually mysterious.
It was said that he was a descendent of the world’s number one hero of the past, Shen Lang.
It was also said that Little Li tanhua’s lifelong best friend -- and the world’s fastest swordman-- Ah Fei, was his ancestor.
Ah Fei’s history was a puzzle, and therefore Hongye’s life was just the same. He’d never said anything about his own origin. People included him in the ‘four young masters’ category just because he’d grown up in the Ye family. That Ye family was of course Ye Kai’s. And Ye Kai was Little Li Flying Dagger’s disciple. – Who was Little Li Flying Dagger? How could one not know?
At the moment, the four young masters of the martial realm all came together. However, it was not quite their own intention to meet here. This place was several thousand miles away from their homes. Du Qinglian had high aesthetic interests and also couldn’t rush forward for thousands of miles to go home, so he came here to appreciate the beauty of plum blossoms and to drink.
Qiu Fengcheng couldn’t rush forward for a great distance either, and so he just came here to wait for his death. If one wanted to die, any place would be just as good. Why the hell did they all have to come here? To do what?
Frostily, Ma Rulong sat there, acting as if hearing Shen Hongye’s name didn’t change a thing. Yet, his hand had already inched toward his sword handle. He gave Shen Hongye a cold glare and suddenly said, “Very good.”
Shen Hongye asked, “What’s very good?”
“You are Shen Hongye. That’s very good,” replied Ma Rulong.
Shen Hongye asked, “Why is that?”
“I originally thought you were not worthy, not enough for me to draw my sword. My sword isn’t meant to injure a clown,” replied Ma Rulong.
Shen Hongye continued, “And now?”
Ma Rulong said, “Shen Hongye is not a clown. So right now if you so much as spout a bit of anything vulgar, between you and me two people, there would be a bloodshed and a corpse.”
With a bitter smile, Shen Hongye sighed and said, “I only asked you to drink with me, and you had to be so angry!”
Du Qinglian butted in, “He doesn’t want to drink. I do.” Then he took the wine jug from Shen Hongye’s hand, putting his mouth on it and swallowing several big gulps. With a cough he said, “Good wine.”
Shen Hongye snatched the jug back from his hand and took a big gulp. With a sigh he said, “Wine like this, even if it was poisoned, I’d still drink to death.”
Du Qinglian chuckled and said, “That’s exactly right. If we could die here right now, it would be our good fortune.”
Shen Hongye asked, “Why is that?”
“Because.. there is someone here who’s dug a hole,” replied Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye asked again, “His hole is well dug?”
“Extremely well,” replied Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye suddenly stood up, holding the wine jug with his two hands and circling the hole in the ground a couple of times. He muttered, “Sure enough, this is a very good hole. If one dies and is buried in such a good hole like this, he’s really lucky.”
“It’s a pity that he didn't dig this hole for us,” said Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye said, “Only a dead person could use a hole like this. Are you saying that he wanted to die?”
“Apparently so,” replied Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye appeared to be appalled and said, “And this person, why did he want to die?”
“Because, just like the rest of us, he received a letter, inviting him to come here today,” explained Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye asked, “Was it the letter sent by Madame Jasper?”
Du Qinglian replied, “Certainly.”
Shen Hongye said, “Madame Jasper invited us all to come here. Was it because she wanted one of us to be her son-in-law?”
“Correct,” replied Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye continued, “Madame Jasper is the most famous merchant in the world. In the Jasper mountain village, everybody is heavenly beautiful. When I got that letter, I was so happy I couldn’t sleep.”
“I can see that,” responded Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye said, “If she chooses me to be her son-in-law, I think I might go crazy with happiness.”
“You’d better not go crazy. Madame Jasper wouldn’t want a lunatic as her son-in-law,” said Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye questioned, “Could she pick a dead person to be her son-in-law?”
“Definitely not,” replied Du Qinglian.
Shen Hongye asked again, “In that case, why out of a sudden did our young master Qiu here want to die?”
Du Qinglian said, “Because he was a sentimental fool. Besides, he's already sworn an oath with a beautiful young miss, to be faithful to each other in life or in death.” He let out a sigh and continued, “If Madame Jasper chooses him to be her son-in-law, he won’t be able to grow old together with that young lady.”
“So only if Madame Jasper picks him to be her son-in-law, then he will come here to die,” speculated Shen Hongye.
“That’s exactly right,” replied Du Qinglian.
“This matter can be viewed from another perspective,” said Shen Hongye after giving it a thought.
Du Qinglian asked, “What perspective?”
Shen Hongye said, “Do you think Madame Jasper can see this hole?”
Du Qinglian chuckled and said, “This is such a big hole. Even one doesn’t want to see it, I’m afraid it will be difficult to avoid.”
“If she sees this hole, she will realize that young master Qiu’s already had his mind set on dying. Maybe she’ll let him off the hook and choose me as the in-law of the Jasper mountain village instead,” said Shen Hongye.
With a sigh, Du Qinglian replied, “You are really a smart person. A smart person’s view is always different from other people’s, and even more different from the mind of a sentimental fool.
“A sentimental fool is not necessarily a not-smart person,” said Shen Hongye with a hearty laugh.
Qiu Fengcheng’s face expression changed. He suddenly stood up, staring at Du Qinglian. He asked, “How did you know all this?” This was a secret, and originally only two people knew about it. But what he said had just confirmed that Du Qinglian was right on the money.
With a sigh Du Qinglian said, “You didn’t think I’d know this, did you?”
“I actually didn’t know it. Only pity that the beautiful miss.. ..”
He hadn’t even finished his speech. Instead, suddenly there was a strange expression on his face. With his sickly pale face turning dark as if he was fearing death, he looked at Shen Hongye and opened his mouth to say something, but no sound could come out.
Shen Hongye said, “Did you.. ..” His voice suddenly trailed out after these few words.
He also had a strange expression on his face. The two people stood there facing each other in a you-look-at-me-and-I-look-at-you manner, their eyes reflecting their worst fear.
With a ‘bo’ sound, Shen Hongye’s wine jug slipped from his grasp and dropped into the hole, shattering into pieces.
Suddenly, with a sad and mysterious smile on his face, he hoarsely choked out word-by-word, “Looks like my luck is better than yours. I’m standing here by this hole.. ..” This was his last speech. And even before it was finished, he toppled into the hole. Although this hole wasn’t prepared for him, he’d already fallen in there. No living person would dare fight with a dead person over a grave.
[END OF CH.1]
Chapter 2 The Murderers
Du Qinglian also collapsed. As he was falling down, blood seeped from the corners of his mouth. But he struggled to pull himself up. On the table there was still some wine left in the other jug. He crawled overthere and drank up the wine. With a loud laugh he said, “Good wine. Good wine.” His laugh sounded both shrilling and sorrowful.
“This is such a good wine. Even if I’d known it was poisoned, I’d still have drunk it. You two see, today am I not drinking to death?” As his laugh died out, he tumbled into the hole. He was not willing to let Shen Hongye enjoy this alone. The sky suddenly turned dark, cold wind cutting like a knife, but the two of them would forever never feel cold again.
[END OF SHEN HONGYE'S STORY]