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Thread: Adventures of Lu Xiao Feng, Book 2, Embroidery Thief

  1. #181
    Member kraal's Avatar
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    Someone needs to make a GOOD LXF adaptation again. Let us not mention the travesties that were done in Singapore (Why did they call their series Master Swordsman Lu XiaoFeng? I thought LXF was renowned for NOT using any weapon other than his famous Leng Sai fingers).
    "And the Bastard grant us, in our direst need, the smallest gifts: the nail of the horseshoe, the pin of the axle, the feather at the pivot point, the pebble at the mountain's peak, the kiss in despair, the one right word. In darkness, understanding." -- Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold.

  2. #182
    Senior Member Goofy's Avatar
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    Cool

    Originally posted by kraal
    Doh. So much for that idea.

    Hey, Moin, if I brib--gift you with copies of my LSF VCDs, do you think you'd be willing to translate the rest of the books? You can either skip or summarize the icky bits.
    I am with Kraal in this - but instead of vcd, can I send you my famous chewy assorted cookies and other yummy items instead?

    I won't mind if you would just summarize all the later books with some elaboration on climax or fighting scenes.

    Reading your translation making me want to know more about this LXF.


    You know, I keep hearing the RR version of CLH sucks, but does it suck because they didn't follow the novels or did it suck because it didn't follow the novels AND suck plot/story/actor-wise? I've never seen it, except for a commercial.
    I think both. RR is not a suitable actor for wuxia series to begin with, and even without Adam Cheng's image, he still lacked the dashing and charismatic quality of CLH, not to say that he couldn't act.

    I think for non GL fans, the plot might be acceptable overall, but it is weakened by so many deaths and the inadequate character building in CLH.

    Bad fighting is probably another factor too.

    But of course, I don't like WJ's DOMD for similar reason, so I am a biased audience.
    "History's third dimension is always fiction."
    -- The Glass Bead Game, Hermann Hesse

  3. #183
    Member kraal's Avatar
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    They had a lot of unnecessary deaths in the '76 LXF adaptation, too, though. Of course, the acting skills of nearly the entire cast kind of redeemed that aspect of the changes they made. I suspect they wanted a tearjerker ending to the series.
    "And the Bastard grant us, in our direst need, the smallest gifts: the nail of the horseshoe, the pin of the axle, the feather at the pivot point, the pebble at the mountain's peak, the kiss in despair, the one right word. In darkness, understanding." -- Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold.

  4. #184
    Senior Member eeyore's Avatar
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    I'm reading the 2nd chapter on the 2nd book, very interesting!
    Spring Summer Autumn Winter.
    Pair ducks nest fly together.
    Clemencies. Summer life, feather winter white.
    Green meadow in spring, before the autumn bite.
    Watching the red gown.
    And none else, alone.

  5. #185
    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Moinllieon
    Thanks Goofy and pjaya, we translators live off of compliments like yours.

    As for your question Goofy, what you have read so far is pretty much all Gu Long ever said about Hua Man Lou. Gu Long never really delved back into Hua Man Lou's past again.

    All we know is that:
    1) He has been blind since birth.
    2) He's the 7th son of the Hua family, the richest family in the area immediately south of the Yangtze, which includes Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Nanjing. Traditionally, this place is filled with unbelievably rich gentry families and merchants. (In Chinese history, when the Western Jin dynasty (the one that emerged from the 3 Kingdoms, not the Jurchen one in LoCH) collasped, many of the wealthiest and most influential families moved to that region along with the Emperors of the Eastern Jin dynasty. So Hua Man Lou is RICH.
    3) Despite his richness, he did not like flaunting it or relying on it. Which was why he moved into that house where we first find him along with Shang Guan Fei Yan. When that happened, he had just moved into the house not so long ago.
    4) Lu Xiao Feng and him go way back. So much so that Lu Xiao Feng taught Hua Man Lou some moves.

    And that's about it. I wish there's more too.
    I thought Hua Man Lou only became blind when he was 7 years old. There was a part in book 1 where he told ShangGuan FeiYan he has been blind since he was 7. That means he wasn't blind before that.

    Personally, I think that makes him an even better person. A person who has been blind since birth didn't know what he is missing but for a person who can see, and then losses his sight, it's pretty devastating. But Hua Man Lou is still able to enjoy and appreciate life so much.
    Last edited by kidd; 10-30-03 at 02:07 AM.

  6. #186
    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    Originally posted by kraal
    You know, I keep hearing the RR version of CLH sucks, but does it suck because they didn't follow the novels or did it suck because it didn't follow the novels AND suck plot/story/actor-wise? I've never seen it, except for a commercial.
    The series sucks even as an original series. I hate the CLH in that series. Not because of Richie Ren, but because of the characterisation. The So Yung Yung is the series is also very annoying. This series looks like a romance series disguised as a wuxia series. The love theme was way too overwhelming. But the series did have a few good points like the part where the begger leader is poisoned by his brother. It's very heartrenching. The part about CLH background is also not bad and I like the characterisation of Lee Hung Jau and her relationship with Huet Cheung Hung (Central Plain Yat Dim Hung in the novel).

  7. #187
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    Originally posted by kidd
    The series sucks even as an original series. I hate the CLH in that series. Not because of Richie Ren, but because of the characterisation. The So Yung Yung is the series is also very annoying. This series looks like a romance series disguised as a wuxia series. The love theme was way too overwhelming. But the series did have a few good points like the part where the begger leader is poisoned by his brother. It's very heartrenching. The part about CLH background is also not bad and I like the characterisation of Lee Hung Jau and her relationship with Huet Cheung Hung (Central Plain Yat Dim Hung in the novel).
    I just finished watching this about two weeks ago. Initially I thought that I could like this series if I pretended that it didn't have any bearing on GL's story. At the end though I felt like the series was just steeped in bathos. The forumlaic tradegy-laced romance becomes almost laughable at times. Whenever I see another female lead I start thinking... hmm... when is she going to lose her memory/fall into a coma/die? Yes SRR was quite annoying her raised voice gave me hackles. Was the actress who played SXH (the first love interest to perish) also the one who played RYY in SOD next to RR's LHC?
    HK47: Now do you understand the travails of my existence master? Surely it does not compare to your existence but still...
    You: I survive somehow
    HK47: As do I. It is our lot in life I suppose master. Shall we find something to kill to cheer ourselves up?

    -KotOR

  8. #188
    Senior Member KJ's Avatar
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    Originally posted by darkcser
    Was the actress who played SXH (the first love interest to perish) also the one who played RYY in SOD next to RR's LHC?
    Yes, that was Anita Yuen. She was quite good as RYY in SOD. Although I don't know how RYY is supposed to be as a character, I liked the way Anita protrayed RYY.

  9. #189

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    Merry Christmas everyone!
    春花秋月几时了,
    往事知多少?
    小楼昨夜又东风,
    故国不堪回首明月中.
    雕栏玉砌应犹在,
    只是朱颜改.
    问君能有几多愁,
    恰似一江春水向东流.
    --南唐后主,李煜.

  10. #190

    Default End of Chapter 8

    Only when the wine was placed on the table did Lu Xiao Feng realize that he just did another very dumb thing. At the moment, he was tired like an old ox and starving like a crippled wolf. What he needed to drink most right now is a huge bowl of chicken soup, but instead he asked for a drinking contest.

    Drink is not that different from any other activity, it requires energy. Besides, at the moment, it was not a big deal for First Madame Gong Sun to get drunk, but he could ill afford to be, this place is crawling with First Madame Gong Sun's people. In reality, he should not even think about touching just a drop of alcohol. But there were six jugs of wine on the table now. Six jugs of Song of Huzhou.

    By now, the scabs and scars on "Ah-Tu"'s body was no where to be found, nor was he bald anymore. "He" had just changed into a soft and fluffy outfit, there was some slight make up on "her" face. Appearance-wise, she looked just like an ordinary middle aged house wife. Could this be her real appearance? Lu Xiao Feng could not tell, nor could he guess. Nobody knows what First Madame Gong Sun really looked like. Even her voice could change at any given moment. At the moment, her voice was one of a diligent hostess entertaining her guest.

    "Six jugs of wine for 2 people to drink," she smiled as she stared at Lu Xiao Feng, "do you think this would be enough?"

    "I think it would be enough for 2 horses," Lu Xiao Feng shot back a miserable smile, "pity the food to help the wine go down isn't much to talk about!"

    There was still only that small plate of cold vegetables on the table.

    "There isn't enough food, that is true," First Madame Gong Sun smiled. "Luckily, we are having a drinking contest, not an eating one!"

    Of course, she knew that when one drinks on an empty stomach, the amount of alcohol one can drink reduces to by at least one fold; and right now Lu Xiao Feng's stomach is empty like a beggar's wallet. After just three bowls of wine, he was already feeling something was not right; after 6 bowls, he suddenly began to feel as if he was doing alright, two more bowls, and he discovered that he was almost fighting the urge to gorge himself silly with wine. Then, for some unknown reason, he suddenly discovered that he was puking, puking so hard that he was sure he was puking all of his innads out.

    "You are drunk!" First Madame Gong Sun was still as sober and collected as Guan Zhong. "You lost this round!"

    Lu Xiao Feng wanted to refute that, yet he could not, so all he could many was some quite mumbles in response.

    "I don't feel drunk at all, it's just that my stomach is feeling a bit uncomfortable!"

    "Are you not admitting defeat?"

    "Alright I'll admit it, what's the big deal!"

    Of course, it was no big deal. In his mind right now, there was nothing in the world that is of great importance. Besides, so he lost the first round, there was still two rounds left. But he forgot one thing. Losing this round has ensured that he has also lost the next two rounds as well. The only thing that a drunk man can compete with other people in is sleeping. Obviously, First Madame Gong Sun was not going to have a sleeping contest with him.

    "For the second round, we'll have a sword duel!" First Madame Gong Sun casually declared.

    "Alright, a sword duel!" Lu Xiao Feng puffed out his chest. "What's the big deal?"

    "Good, please wait here while I go change!" First Madame Gong Sun asked.

    "You are changing again?"

    "Mm!"

    "Are we having a duel or are we having a fashion competition?"

    "See, you just don't understand, when dueling, one must wear an outfit for dueling!"

    "Why?"

    First Madame Gong Sun smiled.

    "Because one's clothing can affect one's disposition, one's demeanor; and also because women naturally like to change!"

    Lu Xiao Feng was now no longer hungry nor tired. Alcohol can usually give people a strange kind of energy and strength. But this surge of energy and strength is a deceiving kind - even if it could not fool anyone else, it could at least be used to fool one's self. He was suddenly reminded of those "Drunken Masters" that was a part of the folklores of the martial world. Rumors say that these people "only fight well when they are drunk, and the more they drink the better they fight."

    The stories says that the tiger killing Wu Song of the legendary Heroes of the Water Margins was one such of a man. If he drank one jug of wine, he would have one "jug" worth of fighting ability, if he drank 10 jugs of wine, then he would be 10 times better. Right now, Lu Xiao Feng felt as if he had drank about 10 jugs of wine. He suddenly felt a great surge of confidence in himself, as if his own ability had improved 10 folds. Even if he was attacked by 7 or 8 tigers now, he was sure that he would be able to beat every single one of them to death. Pity that what he faces now was not tigers but First Madame Gong Sun. When true masters duel, one's timing, positioning, and decision making must not be off by even the slightest of margins.

    Could Lu Xiao Feng still make the correct decisions and judgements at this moment? From the looks of him, he was having a hard time deciding whether or not this room was round or square. Until now, Jiang Qing Xia had not said half a word to him, but at the moment, the look in her eyes carried with them a hint of sympathy and sadness, as if she was watching a person that was about to die soon. Other than the Third Madame, the looks in the eyes of all those present was similiar to hers.

    Lu Xiao Feng stared at Third Madame for a moment before suddenly bursting out with a smile.

    "If I lose, could it be ok if I cut off my ears and give them to you?"

    "I already told you, I'm not looking for ears anymore!" Third Madame quietly replied.

    "Oh that's right, you are now looking for tongues!"

    "But I don't want your tongue!"

    "Then what do you want?"

    "I want your head!"

    "Alright!" Lu Xiao Feng leaned back and heartily laughed. "If I lose, then I will hand this head of mine over to you!"

    To him, whether someone had a head or not did not seem that important. Now, when Jiang Qing Xia looked at him, it was as if she was looking at a headless person, even the look from that girl in red showed some pity. Anybody could easily see that this four browed drunk was going to lose this next round!

    But Lu Xiao Feng was still looking for some more wine. The wine jugs were on the table in front of him, yet he still did not see them. This was because his eyes had practically jumped out of their sockets, for someone had just stepped out from the back. It was a woman. A beautiful woman, a woman more dazzling than the sunrise, more graceful than a queen, more heavenly than an angel. Even the clothes was wearing did not seem to be made by human hands but was instead created by raveling together the colors and the other worldly glow of the rainbows in the sky.

    Lu Xiao Feng did not recognize this woman, for never in his life had he seen such a woman of such beauty and grace. Fortunately, he still recognized the swords in her hands, a pair of short, almost dagger-like swords with blades about 20 centimeters long and a sash of red silk tied to each handle. Could she be First Madame Gong Sun? The same person as that ordinary middle aged house wife just a earlier? The same person as that scab covered beggar, that sugar roasted chestnut selling granny? Lu Xiao Feng was rubbing his eyes. He almost could not believe what he seeing in front of him.

    First Madame Gong Sun was staring back at him, smiling.

    "Do you not recognize me anymore?"

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

    "There is just one thing I can't figure out!"

    "What is that?"

    "I can't figure out why a woman as beautiful as you would want to dress up like a old granny. If I were you, I wouldn't do that even if I had a knife up against my neck!"

    "Well how do you know that this is my true appearance?"

    "I don't know, I'm actually just hoping really!"

    "Why is that?"

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed again.

    "Because if I have to die in someone's hands, my only wish is for me to die in the hands of someone like you."

    "Well you really do know how to sweet talk a lady don't you?" First Madame Gong Sun coquettishly replied. "Even my heart is getting close to being swept away."

    She gracefully approached him, the rainbow colored outfit of hers swayed to some unfelt breeze, looking like hundreds of thousands of strands of dancing silk.

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed yet again.

    "Next time I get in a sword duel, I'll make sure to dress up in an outfit like yours!"

    "Oh?"

    "You haven't even made a move yet, and my eyes are already getting blurred!"

    "My heart is swept away, your eyes are blurred, I guess that makes us even!"

    "Not quite!"

    "No?"

    "You have a pair of swords in your hand, all I've got is a handful of sweat!"

    "Where's your sword?"

    "I don't carry a sword!"

    "You carry a sabre?"

    "No, don't carry that either."

    "A person like you? Not carrying any weapons when he goes out?" First Madame Gong Sun sighed. "That's really quite dangerous!"

    "It is very dangeous, especially today."

    "Do you want to borrow a sword?"

    "Yes."

    "Who do you want to borrow from?"

    Lu Xiao Feng turned and smiled toward the Nun in Green.

    First Madame Gong Sun sighed again.

    "Turns out he's not really drunk, he knows his stuff."

    This sword was not that long either, but it almost seemed to glow. The sword's aura was forboding and oppressive. Just the slightest flick of a thumb caused it to ring endlessly.

    "Such an excellent sword!" Lu Xiao Feng could not help but praise it as he gripped the sword in his hand.

    "Shame that this sword would today be in the hands of a soon to be dead drunkard!" The Nun in Green coldly observed.

    Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

    "The drunkard truly is a drunkard, but I wouldn't be too sure about that soon to be dead part!"

    By now they had made their way down the pavilion and into the yard outside. Star light twinkled through spaces between the leaves of that huge ginkgo tree and onto Lu Xiao Feng's face. That drunk look had suddenly and completely vanished from his eyes, he looked as sober as Zhu Ge Liang.

    "You are not drunk?" Second Madame uttered in disbelief.

    Lu Xiao Feng did not refute her claim.

    "If you weren't drunk, then why did you admit defeat?" Second Madame pressed.

    Lu Xiao Feng let out a little smile.

    "If I didn't admit defeat first round, I would have surely lost this second round, and forget the third round!"

    "Looks like this guy isn't really an idiot egg," Second Madame sighed.

    "But he is truly a bastard egg!" The girl in red viciously sniped, biting her lip.

    "Even if you did admit defeat the first round, you still might not win this second round!" First Madame Gong Sun casually observed.

    As soon as she finished her sentence, she made her move. Flashes of sword danced about as those multi-colored strands of silk she was wearing began to dance as well. Her entire being seemed to have turned into a dazzling and blinding sunrise, making it almost impossible for one to keep one's eyes open, much less trying to make out where she was or where her swords were. If one cannot even make out where she was, how was one suppose to see her moves?

    During his first encounter with her, Lu Xiao Feng already knew that her moves and techniques were unpredictable and ever changing, to a point where they were almost more frightening than Xi Men Chui Xue's moves. But only now did he know that last time her techniques were nowhere close to being at their full power. It seemed that the power of this type of technique could only be on full display when used with a multi-colored outfit like this. It had been said that these sword and sashes are not "weapons" but a name for an ancient dance where the dancer dance empty handed, twirling the sashes in air, and that it was only until First Madame Gong Sun did someone take this strictly spectacle dance and, by adding numerous changes, turned it into a true fighting technique that could be used to kill!

    Maybe she did not use swords when she danced in front Emperor Sheng Wen Shen Wu out of her fear that the aura of her swords would frighten His Majesty. But in private, she really did create a sword style, turning the "sword and sash" truly into a type of sword.

    Since this type of sword style was derived from a dance, it would obviously be different from all other sword styles. That was why First Madame Gong Sun purposefully changed into this outfit today, even if it revealed what appeared to be her real appearance. Because the true power of this sword style could only be displayed through "beauty", and only a legendary beauty like herself could wield this style to its zenith!

    Lu Xiao Feng's heart sighed. It was only until now that he realized that the secrets of martial arts was not something that could be imagined by any one person.

    Because this style of sword play was truly too unpredictable, its moves truly too complex, once it starts, it felt just like mercury as it seemed to bore into any and every opening! Even the slightest opening, the slightest mistake in his decisions, or the slightest lapse in concentration could lead to his immediate death! If he wanted to win, he had to rely on just one word!

    Speed! Use speed to cut through chaos, use no change to answer ever-change. As soon as First Madame Gong Sun began to make her move, his body had already took off as he flew towards the roof top opposite where they were.

    "He's running away!" the girl in red shouted.

    Before she even finished saying those three words, Lu Xiao Feng took off again, his being and his sword seemed to have melted into one. The flashes of his sword was like a horse whip, like a rainbow, as it fell towards First Madame Gong Sun from all the way atop the rooftop. The glow of his sword flickered wildly but hurriedly, but there was no change in his move and it almost seemed as if he did not even have an exit move. He had actually transfered all the energy and power in his body into this one strike. --- No change, no variation, sometimes that is also the best variation of all.

    First Madame Gong Sun's body was like the evening glow, her swords were like meteors, yet she still did not have enough time to react. All of the sudden, her body and swords all seemed to have been covered in the shroud of the aura of Lu Xiao Feng's strike.

    "Deng!"

    The sound echoed through the night.

    The sword flashes converged and the silky evening covered the sky as scores of sashes on First Madame Gong Sun's outfit were sliced off.

    Nobody moved, nobody made any sound.

    First Madame Gong Sun had already stopped moving, she motionlessly stood there, not attacking anymore. Lu Xiao Feng stopped attacking as well, he was also motionlessly standing there, staring at First Madame Gong Sun.

    "This round isn't over yet!" Second Madame suddenly shouted. "Why did you two stop?"

    "If this round was a killing contest, then obviously it isn't over," Lu Xiao Feng casually replied. "But if this round was a sword duel, then I've already won!"

    First Madame Gong Sun finally let out a long sigh.

    "True, the power of that strike is something that I cannot defeat!"

    "Many thanks."

    "But I could have never suspected that you could have pulled off such a move."

    Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    "Actually, I had just stolen that move!"

    "Where did you steal it from?"

    "Master of White Cloud Castle."

    "Ye Gu Cheng?" First Madame Gong Sun was visibly shocked by the answer.

    Lu Xiao Feng nodded.

    "This strike is called 'Outer Heaven Angel', it's the essense of Master of White Cloud Castle's sword style, even the Wooden Taoist believes that it could be rightfully called the best sword skill in the world!"

    First Madame Gong Sun sighed.

    "This move is made before the move actually starts, its application left for after the move is made, it uses hardness to emulate softness, uses no variation as variation." She observed. "It could truly be called the best sword skill in the world!"

    "If Master of White Cloud Castle could have heard First Madame say that himself, he would no doubt be very pleased!" Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    "But had this move been pulled off by him, it might not have beaten me!" First Madame Gong Sun coldly replied.

    "Why not?" Lu Xiao Feng could not resist his curiosity.

    "Because he is an unmatched master swordsman, before he even made a move, I would have already been on guard for a move. But just then, when you had jumped onto the ridge of the roof, I had thought that you were trying to escape instead, hence my concentration slipped, hence I couldn't block the strike you made with all the strength in your body!"

    "And also because I didn't even carry a sword," Lu Xiao Feng smiled and added. "You probably didn't think I was capable of such a move!"

    "That is why softness can defeat hardness or how the weak can defeat the strong, it is the same principle!" First Madame Gong Sun sighed.

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed as well.

    "Luckily I'm not a famous swordsman at all, or else I might have really died in your hands today!"

    "But you haven't won yet!" First Madame Gong Sun's expression darkened. "We still have the third round!"

    The third and deciding round!

    "What do you want to compete in the third round?" Lu Xiao Feng asked.

    "Qing-Gong, lightness arts!"

    Lu Xiao Feng let out a little laugh.

    "I know that lightness kungfu is your specialty; besides, you are a man and naturally have a strength advantage over me." First Madame Gong Sun added. "Competing against you in this with you definitely puts me at a disadvantage, so...."

    "So I should cut you some slack and let you get a little advantage as well!" Lu Xiao Feng finished for her.

    "You should at least let me get an early start!"

    "No problem!"

    "But if you catch me, then you'd have won, so you are not really getting the short end of the stick here anyways."

    "I'm not a person who does things that gives himself the short end of the stick!"

    "I'll order someone to hit the gong once as a signal, you can only start chasing once the gong stops ringing!"

    "The gong is only hit once?"

    "Just once."

    "Looks like I'm not really getting the short end of the stick after all!"

    "But I just have to...."

    "Of course you have to go change!" Lu Xiao Feng eagerly finished her sentence for her. "There's an outfit for drinking, an outfit for dueling, of course there has to be another outfit for racing."

    First Madame Gong Sun let out a peal of laughter.

    "You really aren't an idiot, not at all!" She said coquettishly.

    The night was as cold as water. The expressions on the sisters' faces were cold like water too -- like frozen water.

    The girl in red suddenly let out a bitterly cold snicker.

    "Lying about being drunk, then stealing other's moves, I despise this kind of man the most."

    Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    "I wasn't trying to make you like me to begin with!"

    "I just want to ask you, are you a real man or not?"

    "Can't you tell?"

    "I can't tell."

    "I figured you wouldn't be able to," Lu Xiao Feng sighed, "you are still just a kid!"

    The girl in red shot him a vicious look before swiftly turning around and walking off, as if she could not be bothered with him anymore.

    Ou Yang Qing's eyes flickered slightly.

    "Well you can't dismiss me as a mere kid can you?" She asked.

    "Of course you are not a kid, you are almost old enough to be a granny."

    Ou Yang Qing also shot him a viciou look before turning and walking off into the pavilion.

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed and took a seat on the stone steps.

    "If a man lives to be sixty, at least 10 years of his life would have been a total waste." He mumbled to himself.

    "How is it wasted?" Second Madame's curiosity got the better of her.

    "Of those 10 years, at least 5 years is wasted waiting for women to change."

    "And the other 5 years?"

    "You sure you want to hear it?"

    "Are you scared to say it?"

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed again.

    "Well, if you must know, I'll tell you. The other 5 years are wasted waiting for women to take them off."

    Second Madame's face flush red with fury while the nun in green's face turned white in anger.

    "I changed my mind!" Third Madame suddenly declared.

    "Changed your mind about what?" This time it was Lu Xiao Feng's curiosity that got the best of him.

    "I have decided that I want to cut off you tongue instead!" Third Madame coldly answered. At this time, a man in a green shirt with a faceful of beard came walking out of the pavilion carrying a gong in his hand and stopped on the stone steps.

    "I guess my luck isn't that bad after all." Lu Xiao Feng mumbled to himself again. "At least I'm waiting for First Madame to change, if I was waiting for someone else, that could have been really bad!"

    "Someone else?" Third Madame shot him a vicious look.

    "I didn't say you, what are you getting all worked up over?" Lu Xiao Feng replied.

    Third Madame's face was turning red and white in anger as well now. At this moment, the gong suddenly rang as 3 people flew out from within the pavilion.

    The three beings were all dressed in identical black outfits, even their faces looked the same. As soon as they flew out the building, they somersaulted once and shot out in three different directions. The techniques the 3 of them used were the same as well. Before the ringing of the gong had stopped, all three were outside of the walls surrounding the yard. Which one was the real First Madame Gong Sun? -- The girl in red and Ou Yang Qing had pretended to get mad just moments before strictly so they could go back in and dress up as the two decoys. Who should Lu Xiao Feng chase after? No matter which one he chooses to chase after, even if he caught up to her, he would have surely lost the other 2.

    And of those 2 that he lost, it is more than likely that one of them was First Madame Gong Sun. This was like the old shell game, except much harder. Lu Xiao Feng was at a lost as to what to do.

    Second Madame, Third Madame, and the nun in green all had a slither of a cold sneer on their faces -- Lu Xiao Feng still fell into a trap this time.

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed as well.

    "Looks like I still fell for her tricks this time!" He miserably smiled as he stood up and mumbled. "Well no matter what, let's catch one and go from there!"

    He took off, but suddenly, and just as quickly, flew back and, in a blink of an eye, grabbed the wrist of the man carrying the gong.

    "Bang!"

    The gong fell onto the ground as the man was startled by this turn of events.

    "What did you do that for?" He asked in a raspy voice.

    "Not for any particular reason," Lu Xiao Feng smiled. "I just want to take you to meet someone!"

    "Who?"

    "Jin Jiu Ling!"

    The man stared at him, stared at him for a long time before suddenly bursting out in laughter, beautiful laughter that sounded like the orioles chirping.

    "Lu Xiao Feng truly is Lu Xiao Feng, even I'm impressed!"

    Turned out that this gong carrying man was the real First Madame Gong Sun.

    "How did you see through my disguise?"

    Nobody could figure out how Lu Xiao Feng had saw through it all.

    "When Miss Ou Yang got mad and walked back inside, I knew something was wrong!" Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    "Why is that?"

    "Because she's not the type of person whom I could chase off in anger with just one sentence!"

    "Three women went in and three women came back out, how did you know that I wasn't among those three?"

    "I didn't."

    "You didn't?"

    "I only know that a grown man with a faceful of beard shouldn't smell this good!"

    First Madame Gong Sun sighed.

    "Seems like I shouldn't have stood this close to you," she observed with an exasperrated smile, "it is really quite dangerous for a woman to get too close to you!"

    "Especially a woman who smells as good as you!" Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    First Madame Gong Sun let out a peal of laughter.

    "But I could have never thought that you would be like a little puppy, not only could you use your eyes, but your nose as well!"

    "This is also something that I have only recently picked up from someone else!"

    "From Hua Man Lou?"

    "Correct."

    "Seems like anybody else's good traits would get picked up by you in no time!" First Madame Gong Sun sighed.

    "That's because I'm always very modest."

    "A modest person would always have good fortunes!" First Madame Gong Sun nodded.

    "That's why all of you should be a little modest right now and listen to what I have to say!"

    "We are all listening!" First Madame Gong Sun assured him.

    "Now that you have fallen into my hands, if your sisters want you to stay safe and sound, then they would do best to stay here for instructions." His eyes slowly scanned over Second Madame and Third Madame's faces before coldly continuing. "If someone still want to try something, then that means she wants you to die sooner so she could take over and be the head of this place."

    "Don't worry, nobody here wants me to die!" First Madame Gong Sun smiled and replied.

    Third Madame suddenly stomped her foot despite of her cold demeanor.

    "Do you really intend to leave with him?"

    "You should know that I'm not a person who would go back on my words," First Madame Gong Sun casually replied. "Besides, even if I didn't want to leave with him, I would still have to. As soon as this man grabs a hold of a woman, he wouldn't let go even if it killed him."

    "Especially a woman as pretty and smelled as good as you." Lu Xiao Feng nonchalantly added.

    "Right now, I just want you to be careful of one thing!" First Madame Gong Sun said.

    "What's that?"

    "Careful your hands don't get cut off!"
    春花秋月几时了,
    往事知多少?
    小楼昨夜又东风,
    故国不堪回首明月中.
    雕栏玉砌应犹在,
    只是朱颜改.
    问君能有几多愁,
    恰似一江春水向东流.
    --南唐后主,李煜.

  11. #191

    Default Chapter 9

    Chapter 9
    Success and Failure

    Meng Wei had always been very alert even in his sleep. A man known around the pugilist world as "Three-Headed Snake" must be a light sleeper, else his head would have been cut off a long time ago even if he had thirty heads. But when he woke up tonight, there was already a person standing at the head of his bed, watching him with a pair of almost glowing eyes. The night was still deep, there was no light in the room, so he could not make out this person's face.

    He suddenly felt that the center of his fists were covered in cold sweat. This person did not move, nor did he. He even purposefully let out a couple of snores to trick the person into believing that he was still asleep. Suddenly, he made his move as he tried to grab the sabre that was hidden underneath his armpit. But that person's movement was even faster. As soon as his arm began to move, this person immediately pinned his shoulders down onto the bed. Never in his life had he ever met a person with such a strong pair of hands, had these hands been around his throat, his breathing would have stopped within an instant.

    In reality, his breathing was almost about to stop anyways.

    "What do you want?" He asked in a shaken voice.

    This person's answer was very simple.

    "Money."

    "How much?" Meng Wei immediately asked.

    "A hundred thousand taels!" This was quite a greedy person as well. "If you can't hand over 100,000 taels, I'll take your life!"

    "I'll hand the money over!" Meng Wei did not even hesitate.

    "I want it all right now!"

    "I can give them to you right now!"

    The person suddenly began to laugh.

    "Didn't know that Boss Meng was such a generous man."

    As he laughed, his voice changed. Such a familiar voice.

    "Lu Xiao Feng?" Meng Wei uttered in surprise.

    "That's me." The person nodded.

    Meng Wei took a couple of deep breaths before he gave into the urge to complain.

    "That was quite a funny joke you played there, scared me half to death!"

    "I wasn't planning on playing this joke either," Lu Xiao Feng's answered with an apologetic laugh. "But I'm feeling particularly cheerful today!"

    "You've caught the Embroidery Bandit?" Meng Wei's eyes immediately lit up.

    "Where's your Boss Jin?" Lu Xiao Feng did not answer but instead asked a question of his own.

    "He already went back to the city!"

    "Is the poison giving him any trouble?"

    "Lucky for him you immediately took him to Doctor Shi's place, Shi Jing Mo is indeed a great doctor."

    "I have a fugitive with me, so I have to be extra careful. That's why I could only come to you at night, I can't let her underlings find out where I am!"

    "I understand." Meng Wei replied. Secretly, he was quite relieved with himself that he did not let Xiao Hong stay the night. He had never let a woman stay the night because he had never trusted any woman. This was a good habit that he had just decided that he must continue to uphold -- had Lu Xiao Feng found a famed prostitute such as Xiao Hong sleeping on his bed, there was a risk that Boss Jin would find out, and that could not have been a good thing.

    Lu Xiao Feng quietly thought for a moment.

    "Could you possibly message your people in Yang Cheng with your messenger pigeons to tell your Boss Jin to wait for me midnight tomorrow night at the pavilion where the Snake King used to live?"

    "Of course!" Meng Wei jumped up from his bed and slipped on his boots. "I keep the messenger pigeons in the yard just behind here."

    "You have brush and ink here too?"

    "Yes."

    "Well why don't you write your message right now before going outside?"

    Meng Wei nodded and lit a couple of lanterns before grinding out some ink.

    "Master Lu has succeeded, requests Boss Jin to wait at the Snake King's old headquarter midnight tomorrow night."

    For a man who had made a living in the Six Doors ever since he was a little kid, his writing was not all that bad, and the language flowed quite smoothly.

    Lu Xiao Feng stood by his side, smiling.

    "Why don't you write it in Xiao Zhuan? That way the information won't leak out even if it falls into the wrong hands?"

    \{Note: Xiao Zhuan is a form of writing that was set down by Qing Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, as the unifying form of writing for all Chinese. During the Han dynasty, Xiao Zhuan gradually evolved into what is pretty much the Traditional Chinese that we know today; however, the educated elite of China still studied and learned Xiao Zhuan due to its "aesthetic quality". Though most people could not read Xiao Zhuan, it is still used in everday life, especially as seals.\}

    "I'm an old, uneducated man." Meng Wei replied with a deprecating smile. "I can't even write Da Zhuan, nevermind Xiao Zhuan. But you don't have to worry, these pigeons are all trained by Boss Jin personally, they won't go astray."

    "Would he get this message in time?"

    "Absolutely!" Meng Wei assured him as he rolled the message up and carefully placed it into a very delicated carved hollow tube made from a section of bamboo. There was a fire brand imprinted on the surface of the bamboo.

    "Are you going to send the message now?"

    "I am going right now."

    He draped an overcoat over his shoulders and hurriedly walked out. After a bit of a wait, the sound of a bird flapping its wings as it flew by could be heard overhead.

    Lu Xiao Feng waited in his room the entire time, waited until he returned. Only then did he cup his fist and got ready to leave.

    "I'm leaving for Yang Cheng right now!"

    Meng Wei hesitated but finally had to ask.

    "I was just out there, there didn't seem to be anyone outside."

    "There isn't."

    "Then where is First Madame Gong Sun?" Meng Wei asked with a forced smile.

    Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    "If you had detained her, would you walk around out in the open with her?"

    Meng Wei shook his head.

    "Then how do you have her detained?"

    "A secret won't be a secret if it gets out," Lu Xiao Feng answered with a casual smile. "Once I escorted her back, I'll tell you when I get the chance!"

    Meng Wei began to smile as well.

    "Master Lu truly is a careful and methodical man. Like I said, if Master Lu would go into our profession, he would surely be the number one man in all of Six Doors!"

    Unexpectedly, Lu Xiao Feng sighed in reply.

    "The thing is, I know that I'l never match up to that Boss Jin of yours no matter what I do!"

    "But Master Lu is the one who captured First Madame Gong Sun!" Meng Wei protested.

    Lu Xiao Feng broke out into a miserible smile.

    "He got me to do the hard work for him while he enjoys himself relaxing on a bed. Just based on that, you could see how much better he is than I am!"

    ______________________________

    The set up of the little pavilion was still the same, the only difference being the person sitting in the chair. Jin Jiu Ling was lying on the chair with his eyes shut. His complexion looked excellent, and his mood was excellent as well. That delicate and fulfilling dinner tonight was still in his belly. Master Mai of Brightness Park's works could always be counted on to satisfy him. Besides, now that the bandit was captured, he could enjoy life without worry for another couple of years. He felt that he was indeed very fortunate, so lucky that he could find a helper as good as Lu Xiao Feng.

    Even though Lu Xiao Feng had not arrived yet, he was not the least bit worried, because he knew that Lu Xiao Feng's plan would never go awry. There was a cup of Persian wine on the table. He picked up the glow in the dark cup and slowly sipped the wine, taking his time to savor its taste. He was indeed a man who knew how to savor and enjoy life. There is not that many men like this in the world. Although Lu Xiao Feng could savor and enjoy life once in a while, unfortunately for him he was such a natural born meddler, always getting his hand in other people's business. Jin Jiu Ling had already decided that once this case was finished, he would never ever get involved in any matter of Six Doors again.

    It was at this moment that he heard a light sound on the roof. It was not a loud sound, something that a cat would make as it scuttled around on the roof. His face immediately broke out into a smile. He knew that Lu Xiao Feng must have just arrived, and that he must be carrying something heavy with him. When Lu Xiao Feng moves, he would never make a sound.

    "I spent all day and night lugging this heavy chest around, all the while you were comfortably sitting here drinking wine, seems like you are just destined to live the good life!" Jin Jiu Ling had just put down his cup when he heard Lu Xiao Feng sigh outside the window.

    The window was already open, Jin Jiu Ling had opened it from the inside. Lu Xiao Feng had not entered himself, but had already pushed in a very large bamboo chest.

    "I'm not destined to live the good life," Jin Jiu Ling smiled. "I'm lucky precisely because I have a friend like Lu Xiao Feng around."

    When he finished his sentence, Lu Xiao Feng was in front of him.

    "You luck is really better than mine," he asserted with a straight face. "You have all the right friends, I don't."

    "This job really was quite difficult to get done, I figured you would be angry," Jin Jiu Ling smiled. "That's why I have already prepared this flask of Persian wine to drink that temper of yours away!"

    The golden flask was already on the table, the wine had already been poured into the cup. Jin Jiu Ling offered it up to Lu Xiao Feng with both of his hand.

    "I have just personally cooled this on ice cubs, it's guaranteed to cool you down."

    Even Lu Xiao Feng had to smile.

    "Turns out you really are something else when it comes to making others feel good. Had I been a woman, I probably would have fallen for you too." He took the cup in his hand and drank its contents in one gulp before lifting the bamboo chest up onto the table. "What do you think is in this chest?"

    "Is it an embroiderer?" Jin Jiu Ling's eyes flickered.

    "Not only can she embroider flowers, but blind men as well!"

    Jin Jiu Ling's eyes lit up.

    "Lu Xiao Feng truly is Lu Xiao Feng, simply amazing!" He gave him a thumbs up.

    "I don't know how many tricks I fell for in my life because of that saying," Lu Xiao Feng broke out into an exasperrated laugh. "But the weird thing is, I still like hearing it being said!"

    "One kiss, two kisses, nothing beats kissing ***!" Jin Jiu Ling burst out laughing. "Those who does the kissing would never be wrong!"

    Still laughing, he made a motion as if he wanted to open the chest.

    "Hold on a second." Lu Xiao Feng stopped him in his tracks.

    "What for?" Jin Jiu Ling was caught off guard.

    Lu Xiao Feng blinked.

    "Do you know who this Embroidery Bandit is?"

    "Isn't it First Madame Gong Sun?"

    Lu Xiao Feng nodded. "And do you know what First Madame Gong Sun looks like?" He probed further.

    "No idea!"

    "Well what's your guess?"

    "An old granny?" Jin Jiu Ling hesitated.

    "Guess again."

    "Well even if she isn't an old gramps, she can't be that young, because a young woman would never do things so expertly and viciously!"

    "Oh?"

    "And I don't think she would be very pretty, because a pretty woman would never willingly dress up as an old woman!"

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

    "People say that you are almost God-like in your deductions, but this time your deductions are almost pig-like."

    "Was I wrong?"

    "By quite a lot!"

    "Well what kind of a woman is she?"

    "The kind that could literally mesmerize men to death, especially men like you!"

    "And what kind of a man am I?" Jin Jiu Ling's lips curled up in a pitiful smile.

    "You are a pervert. I only hope that you don't get hynoptized by her when you see her!"

    "There are all kinds of perverts, at least I'm not the kind who has yet to lay an eye on a woman." Jin Jiu Ling laughed and opend up the chest. He only took a peek but was still startled. The woman in the chest was indeed too beautiful, too beautiful like a sleeping rose resting among a sea of snow. Her age might not be that young anymore, but her beauty was more than enough to make people forget her age.

    Jin Jiu Ling sighed.

    "Looks like this job wasn't all that bad for you after all!"

    The remark elicited a cold sneer from Lu Xiao Feng.

    "Where's Hua Man Lou?" He suddenly asked.

    "He left!"

    "Why didn't he wait for me?" Lu Xiao Feng frowned.

    "Because he's in a hurry to get to Mount Zi Jin!"

    "To do what?"

    Jin Jiu Ling sighed.

    "Master of White Cloud Castle has arranged a duel with Xi Men Chui Xue on the first of the coming month at Mount Zi Jin!"

    Lu Xiao Feng's expression changed.

    "There's already quite a number of people who knew about this and not a few from around here has already left for Mount Zi Jin. From what I heard, somebody has apparently placed huge bets on the two of them. The odds are laying down 3 to 2 in favor of Ye Gu Cheng!"

    "What's today's date?"

    "The 24th!"

    "If I leave right now, I might make it in time!" Lu Xiao Feng jumped up.

    "But this First Madame Gong Sun...."

    "My part of this whole job is finished, from head to toe, she's all yours."

    "Are you trying to tempt me?" Jin Jiu Ling asked with an embarassed smile.

    "I just hope that you are a person who can resist temptations!"

    "Don't worry."

    "I can't."

    "This woman is a poisonous snake, I'm not that brave you know, I'm very wary of getting bitten!" Jin Jiu Ling laughed.

    "I'm worried precisely because she can't bite right now!"

    "Poisonous snakes have moments when they can't bite?"

    "I've already forced her to take a huge dose of her own 'Seven Days Drink', even if she wakes up, she still could not move for at least 2 or 3 more days."

    Jin Jiu Ling listened in silence, the name 'Seven Days Drink' seemed vaguely familiar to him.

    "So in those 2 or 3 days, no matter what you do to her, she can't resist. But if you really did do anything to her, then you are in big trouble, and so would I!"

    "Well if you are really worried, why don't you stay?" Jin Jiu Ling offered with a smile.

    "Because I'm even more worried about Xi Men Chui Xue!" Lu Xiao Feng seemed all prepared to jump out of the window when he paused for a second. "There is still one thing I have to ask you to do for me!"

    "Please don't hesitate to ask."

    "Please find out where Xue Bing is, I don't know how to get information from people, you do!"

    "Don't worry, even if she turned out to be a mannequin, I would still find a way to get her to talk!" Jin Jiu Ling could not refute his claim before suddenly remembering. "There's a horse outside, I rode it here."

    It was well known that Jin Jiu Ling was a modern day Bo Le and was one of the best judges of horses around. The horse that he rode here on must have been a fine horse.

    "Are you willing to let me borrow it?" Lu Xiao Feng was ecstatic.

    Jin Jiu Ling nodded but then broke out into a smile.

    "But... there is one thing I'm worried about!"

    "What's that?"

    "The horse is a mare!"

    ______________________________

    Lu Xiao Feng left, left with that flask of Persian wine. The sound of hooves and neighs that came from below soon became distant. That horse was truly a thoroughbred. Jin Jiu Ling pushed open the window and peered out. Down below, in the yard, someone gave him a slight nod. -- Lu Xiao Feng was on the horse. The sound of the hooves had disappeared. Only then did Jin Jiu Ling close the window, walked back to the table, and curled up the sleeves of the girl inside the chest.

    On the lotus root white, smooth as jade arm, there was a dark purple, coin sized birth mark in the shape of a cloud.

    Jin Jiu Ling carefully inspected it for a bit before a proud smile crept up on his face.

    "She is First Madame Gong Sun!" He mumbled.

    How did he know that First Madame Gong Sun had a birthmark like that? To a woman, only the people closest to her would know about this kind of secret. Jin Jiu Ling closed the lid, lifted it up, and hurriedly carried it down the pavilion. Just outside of the front door was a green feathered carriage sedan, Jin Jiu Ling, still carrying the chest with him, sat himself down onto the carriage. The two man who were suppose to carry the sedan around were none other than the two strongest bounty hunters in the city. Before he even said a word, they had already picked up the sedan and was quickly making their way down the street.

    Sitting on the sedan, Jin Jiu Ling's face was one of great satisfaction, his plan was now 90% complete. The sedan turned into an alley, and then 7 or 8 more alleys, before it finally made its way onto a real street. At the head of the alley there waited an ebony colored horse carriage.

    Still carrying the chest with him, Jin Jiu Ling got off the sedan and onto the carriage. The carriage sped down the street with the driver constantly whipping the horse, controlling it as if it was an extension of his arm. He was none other than Yang Cheng's famous bounty hunter, Lu Shao Hua.

    There was nobody to be seen on the streets, at every intersection, there would be 2 men on the rooftops on either side of the road giving the same hand signals:

    "There's no suspicious night walkers out close by, there's nobody following the carriage."

    The carriage then turned down 7 or 8 more streets. Now even the people out on the rooftops was gone. Only the two of them knew where this carriage was headed.

    In the west corner of the city there was a street that was not in grid with the other streets, it was short and narrow. There were only a total of 7 buildings on this street, each of the doors were old and worn down. Of the 7, three were antique shops that sold ancient paintings and writings, but most of them were fakes, two others business which mounts wallpapers or paintings, another one was a seal carving vendor, and the last one was an umbrella shop.

    This was supposed to be a very cold and deserted street, frequented only by those poor and bitter old gentries. But the carriage had stopped at the head of this street. As soon as Jin Jiu Ling got off the carriage, Lu Shao Hua immediately took off. A half-deaf half-blind old man had already opened up the doors to one of the plaster shops. Jin Jiu Ling, still carrying the chest with him, flashed into the door.

    Inside the shop were a couple of shabby and not yet framed words or paintings. Jin Jiu Ling brushed a side a forgery of Tang Bo Hu's landscapes and gently lifted up one of the bricks on the wall. A secret door immediately appeared. Behind the door was a very narrow passageway. At the end of the passageway was another door which, upon opening, incredibly led to a very well kept little yard with flowers and trees.

    The yard might not be big, but every flower and tree had obviously been meticulously groomed to perfection by masters. Where the trees and bushes were the thickest was a tidy little pavilion of about 5 rooms. There were already two bright eyed, pig tail wearing maids standing at the front steps greeting him.

    ______________________________

    First Madame Gong Sun finally woke up only to discover that she was in a very delicate female bedroom, lying on a dazzling and comfortable bed. A delicious smell that was more pure and more elegant than that of an orchid permeated the room, but where did it come from? She quietly laid there, no moving. Because she simply could not move. The shadows by the window was slightly tilted, it was not yet dusk. There were orioles chirping outside, but not a human sound could be heard.

    "Anybody here?" She yelled.

    Nobody answered. Her yell was not that loud anyways, because she simply did not have the strength to yell.

    "Lu Xiao Feng, where did you go off to...." She gritted her teeth and almost cursed. "One of these days, you will die in my hands!"

    All she could do was lie there and wait. Then suddenly, her face flushed crimson red -- she needed to relieve herself. But no matter how hard she tried, she could not move one single bit. More yelling was still to no avail. This lasted until she could literally not control it anymore, the only thing she could do was to relieve herself on the bed. This was truly quite an embarrasing matter. The bed was wet, yet she still had to lay there motionlessly. She was so mad she was on the verge of tears.

    "Lu Xiao Feng, one of these days, I'll make you beg to die."

    Suddenly, something fell from a top the canopy and landed on her. It was a snake. The one thing that scares her the most was snakes. Her face turned green in fear, but she still could not move one bit. All she could do was watch the snake crawl around on top of her. She opened her mouth to scream, but was so frightened that nothing came out.

    The snake was just about to crawl onto her face when suddenly a shadow appeared. A person appeared at the head of the bed and, with a quick flick of hand, grabbed the snake and tossed it out the window. First Madame Gong Sun could at last breath a sigh of relief, but her face was already covered in cold sweat.

    But this person was smiling, staring at her.

    "Sorry for the scare First Madame." The person said in a warm voice. Even though he was of middle age, he was still very handsome. Anybody could tell that the clothes he was wearing were made by top notch masters from top notch materials. But it was the smile on his face that was more captivating to woman than the clothes on his body.

    First Madame Gong Sun stared at him.

    "You... you are the master of this place?"

    Jin Jiu Ling nodded.

    "How did a snake get in your house?"

    "Because I especially went out and caught it!"

    First Madame Gong Sun's expression noticeably changed.

    "Why?"

    "Because I had to make sure whether or not you, First Madame, is really immobile!"

    "Not only did you guys make me drink an immoblizing drug, you sealed my pressure points too," First Madame Gong Sun bitterly replied. "Isn't that enough?"

    "I have always been a very careful man," Jin Jiu Ling smiled. "And when it comes to matters regarding you, First Madame, I have to be extra careful."

    "So you are Jin Jiu Ling?" First Madame Gong Sun finally figured it out.

    "Didn't expect that it would take you so long to recognize me!"

    "Where did that Bastard Lu die and go off to?" First Madame Gong Sun angrily demanded, gritting her teeth at the mere mention of his name.

    "Now that he's done his part of the job, from head to toe, you, First Madame, are all mine!" Jin Jiu Ling smiled casually.

    "Where is this? Why did you bring me here?"

    "This place might not be much, but it's at least got to be better than jail." Jin Jiu Ling sighed and continued. "I know First Madame must have never been to prison before, that place is truly just like a pig sty. There is mosquitos and stink bugs everywhere. If you, First Madame, went there, you would be bitten to a pulp within half a day. And if you screamed, then you would immediately be beaten. If you were unlucky enough to run into one of the meaner wardens, then you might also get a shower of urine as well."

    First Madame Gong Sun's face was turning green again.

    "You wouldn't want me to take you to a place like that do you?" Jin Jiu Ling inquired rhetorically.

    First Madame Gong Sun suddenly let out a cold laugh.

    "I know what you really want!"

    "Oh?"

    "You just want a hand written confession from me!"

    "First Madame Gong Sun is indeed a smart woman...." Jin Jiu Ling smiled.

    "You want me to confess that I am the Embroidery Bandit, that I committed those heists!"

    "Correct, as long as you are willing to write that confession, I will assure you that I will do you no harm, else...."

    "Else what?"

    "There is quite a lot of snakes around here," Jin Jiu Ling coldly threatened. "Anytime I want to, I could go and grab a couple hundred of them!"

    First Madame Gong Sun gritted her teeth again.

    "How did you know that I'm most scared of snakes?"

    "I have always known quite a lot of things!"

    First Madame Gong Sun suddenly let out another cold laugh.

    "Actually, I know quite a lot of things as well!"

    "What do you know?"

    "At least I know who the real Embroidery Bandit is!" First Madame Gong Sun stared straight into his eyes as she spoke, emphasizing each word.

    "Who is that?"

    "You! You are the real Embroidery Bandit!"

    Jin Jiu Ling silently stood there at the side of the bed, that captivating smile of his had vanished. Not a trace of emotion could be found on his face.

    "Actually, from the very beginning, I had suspected that you were the Embroidery Bandit!" First Madame Gong Sun continued with a sneer.

    "Oh?"

    "I also know that from the very beginning, you had meant for me to take the fall for you!"

    "Even if I am the real Embroidery Bandit, why would I choose you to take the fall for me?"

    "Because I have always been a very mysterious person, nobody knows the details about me or my background. Therefore no matter what you accuse me of doing, others wouldn't have a hard time believing it!"

    "Just because of that?"

    "That, of course, was not the main reason!"

    "What other reasons are there?"

    "The most important reason is that, among my sisters, one is your accomplice. You want me to take the fall for you, to die in your place, but my death also let her take my position of leadership. You two were trying to kill two birds with one stone from the very start."

    Jin Jiu Ling's expression changed slightly but quickly turned back to normal.

    "Do you already know who she is?" He casually asked.

    "Up until now, I still can't say for sure, but one of these days I will find out!"

    "Pity that day will probably never come!" Jin Jiu Ling coldly retorted.

    "You know that after these heists occured, people would come looking for you, because you are the number one bounty hunter within the Six Doors. It's also because of that nobody would ever suspect you."

    "My reputation has always been a very good one."

    "You went to Lu Xiao Feng, because you knew that only he could be a match for me!"

    "He truly is a very smart man, even you would have to concede that!"

    "I only concede that he's a pig."

    "But if he was a pig, how did you fall into his hands?" Jin Jiu Ling jokingly inquired.

    First Madame Gong Sun bit her lip.

    "Maybe he is a relatively smart pig, but a pig is still a pig!"

    Jin Jiu Ling laughed.

    "Precisely because he is a pig, thus he was tricked by you from the very beginning!" First Madame Gong Sun continued.

    "Oh?"

    "You purposefully gave that black peony to him because you knew that he would go looking for that old granny Xue!"

    "I also knew that old granny Xue woud surely recognize the peony was a work of a woman!" Jin Jiu Ling triumphantly smiled.

    "That's why he was wrong from the very beginning, he thought that the Embroidery Bandit was a woman in disguise!"

    "Because he believed that Madame Xue's expert eyes could never be wrong!"

    "Then you purposefully instructed Si Kong Zhai Xing to steal that piece of cloth and take it to Jiang Qing Xia's place, because you knew Jiang Qing Xia was one of my sisters!"

    "Please go on."

    "From that moment on, Lu Xiao Feng had decided that this must all be the work of the Red Shoes Sisterhood!"

    "Aren't you forgetting that Si Kong Zhai Xing is the 'King of Thieves'? Why would he listen to me and go lie to Lu Xiao Feng?"

    "Because he's the King of Thieves and you are the king of bounty hunters. Even the King of Thieves would be hard pressed not to have some lapses. He must have fallen into your hands sometime before, but you let him go, because you knew that a person like him would be useful one day in the future!"

    Jin Jiu Ling sighed.

    "Nobody knows about that, you guessed that one didn't you?"

    First Madame Gong Sun did not deny his claim but instead continued.

    "But just because of that, Lu Xiao Feng still would not have suspected me."

    "Correct."

    "You knew that once he got to Yang Cheng, he would go to the Snake King."

    "Are you saying that the Snake King is an accomplice of mine?"

    "Of course he isn't, he's just like Si Kong Zhai Xing, he owed you. That was why he willingly let you use him."

    "This time you are wrong!"

    "Oh?"

    "He willingly let me use him, because he had no other options!"

    "Why?"

    "The bounty hunters and the law enforcers in Yang Cheng are all my disciples or the disciple of my disciples, not to mention the fact that I had just become the Warden of the Royal Palace. I could wipe him and all of his organization down to the last man off the face of the world any time it pleased me!" Jin Jiu Ling matter of factly answered.

    "You knew that I would appear at the West Park on the 15th of July, so you made the Snake King lead Lu Xiao Feng there too!"

    "Your whereabouts may be completely mysterious to others, but I know it like the back of my hand."

    "Because there is someone among my sisters who constantly informed you of it!"

    "I forged a letter and made the Snake King let Lu Xiao Feng read it," Jin Jiu Ling was no longer denying it. "Because I knew Lu Xiao Feng was a man who hated owing favors to others and would insist on going in the Snake King's place!"

    "And it was only from that moment on that Lu Xiao Feng truly began to be suspicious of me."

    "You shouldn't have tried to get him to eat those sugar roasted chestnuts!"

    "That day I had something to take care of at the West Park, when I am in the middle of something, I hate people who get in my way."

    "But he just had and go ask you to find look for red shoes for him!"

    "That's why he was truly very lucky not to have died that day."

    "Not to mention me."

    "But he still couldn't be sure even then, so you and the Snake King got together and kidnapped Xue Bing!"

    "Other people say she's a tigeress. To me, she looked a lot more like a small kitten!"

    "And then you purposefully let Lu Xiao Feng find those two rooms in those small alleys, making him think that they were my hideouts!"

    "Setting up those 2 rooms took quite a lot of effort!" Jin Jiu Ling matter of factly replied.

    "Ah-Tu, of course, was someone that you had placed there from the very beginning!"

    "Because I knew the Lu Xiao Feng would have never been able to find you on his own!"

    "But you had known our meeting place way before hand!"

    "So I made this weird wooden casket and made Ah-Tu take Lu Xiao Feng there!"

    "But why did you pretend to get poisoned?"

    Jin Jiu Ling smiled.

    "Because I didn't want to go there!"

    "As long as you don't go and Lu Xiao Feng does, no matter what happens, who wins or who loses, it would have nothing to do with you!"

    "I have always been a very careful man, I never do anything I'm not sure of!" Jin Jiu Ling smiled again.

    "You were completely sure about this matter?"

    "I knew that you are quite an amazing character yourself and would have probably already seen through my actions. I even knew that you had already killed Ah-Tu and dressed up as him. The fact that Lu Xiao Feng could find you was because you had led him there yourself!"

    "You knew?" First Madame Gong Sun seemed quite surprised.

    "Of course I did, but I didn't worry about it too much!"

    "Oh?"

    "Because I also knew that my plan was about to come to fruition. Every clue, every piece of evidence, pointed to you are the Embroidery Bandit. Even if you knew of my plan, you still did not have a single piece of evidence to prove it." He let out a triumphant laugh and continued. "Add on top of that Xue Bing's disappearance and the Snake King's death, Lu Xiao Feng would already hate you to the bone. So no matter what you claimed, he would never have believed you or let you go. Besides, I'm a famous bounty hunter with a squeaky clean reputation, not to mention his friend, while you are a mysterious female monster!"

    Even First Madame Gong Sun could not help but sigh.

    "You are quite correct, I don't have a single piece of evidence. Even if I told everyone that you are the Embroidery Bandit, nobody would believe me!"

    "And even if you said it now, still nobody will believe you!"

    "Don't forget that you have just confessed!" First Madame Gong Sun coldly retorted.

    Jin Jiu Ling threw his head back in laughter.

    "That's right, I did just confess, but so what if I did?"

    "You think that I'm the only one who could have heard what you just said?" First Madame Gong Sun snickered.

    "I told you, I never do anything I'm not sure of!"

    "You have already made sure that nobody was had followed you here and that I couldn't move, that's why you confessed?"

    "I didn't want you to die not knowing why!"

    "You are not afraid that Lu Xiao Feng might burst in suddenly?"

    "He might be a pig, but he runs pretty fast." Still smiling, he reached into his shirt and took out a branded tube of bamboo. "I just received this. It came from Nan Hai on a messenger pigeon. Lu Xiao Feng had just made it pass Nan Hai and is as of now, well on his way towards Leng Ling."

    Once again, First Madame Gong Sun sighed despite of herself.

    "Looks like you really have thought of everything!"

    "Thank you."

    "But you will never ever get a single word of confession from out of me!"

    "I thought this out as well," Jin Jiu Ling casually replied. "This confession doesn't necessarily have to be written by you!"

    First Madame Gong Sun's expression changed noticeably.

    "I could get someone to write a thousand of these confessions any time I want to, anyone will do really. That's because nobody knows what your handwriting looks like anyways."

    "That's why you can kill me right now, because I resisted arrest and tried to run away, so you had to kill me!"

    "This time you guessed right!" Jin Jiu Ling laughed.

    "After I die, this whole matter would be at an end, for there is nobody to contradict your story." First Madame Gong Sun bitterly gritted her teeth. "You would literally get away with it!"

    "Even since I was 19, I had always felt that these criminals that get caught were all just stupid pigs. I had wanted to commit the absolute perfect crime for a long time now."

    "And now your wish has come true!"

    "There's still one last thing to do."

    "I'm not dead yet."

    "I had planned on letting you live a couple more days, you really are a rare beauty." Jin Jiu Ling sighed. "Pity that I had just discovered that it would be best to kill you as soon as possible."

    First Madame Gong Sun stared straight into his eyes and suddenly burst out laughing.

    "Do you feel that death is a very funny matter?"

    "Death isn't a laughing matter, but you are!"

    "Oh?"

    "If you turned around, you would know just how funny you are!"

    Jin Jiu Ling turned around despite of himself and his entire body froze. Because as soon as he looked behind him, he saw Lu Xiao Feng.

    Lu Xiao Feng was smiling at him.

    "I'm Lu Xiao Feng, Little Phoenix, not Little Pig."
    春花秋月几时了,
    往事知多少?
    小楼昨夜又东风,
    故国不堪回首明月中.
    雕栏玉砌应犹在,
    只是朱颜改.
    问君能有几多愁,
    恰似一江春水向东流.
    --南唐后主,李煜.

  12. #192

    Default

    Chapter 10
    The Fall of the Bandit

    Incredibly, the person standing by the door was none other than Lu Xiao Feng, not Three Eggs Lu, not Little Pig Lu, but Lu Xiao Feng. How could he suddenly appear out of thin air? Jin Jiu Ling almost did not believe his own very eyes, this was just quite simply, impossible.

    So much so that Jin Jiu Ling asked a really stupid question.

    "You should be at least 400 kilometers away now!"

    "Apparently so!" Lu Xiao Feng replied.

    "I had just received this message from Nan Hai!" Jin Jiu Ling looked down at the bamboo container in his hand.

    "I know."

    "You knew?"

    "That pigeon was indeed trained by you, and it was you who gave it to Meng Wei. The brand and the paper that the letter was written on are all real. But this time the pigeon wasn't released by Meng Wei!"

    Jin Jiu Ling did not understand.

    "Did the letter say: 'Lu has passed here, heading west'?"

    "How... how did you know?"

    Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

    "Of course I would know, I wrote the letter!"

    Jin Jiu Ling was even more shocked.

    "You wrote it? When did you write it?"

    "Two nights ago." Lu Xiao Feng smiled and explained. "Two nights ago, I went to Meng Wei to ask him to write a message to you, telling you to meet me at the Snake King's old headquarters. You should at least know that!"

    Jin Jiu Ling nodded.

    "When he was writing the message last night, I saw his handwriting. It wasn't exactly difficult to emulate!"

    Because his handwriting was indeed too awkward, it is hard to copy good handwriting, but bad handwriting looks bad one way or another.

    "When he went to release a pigeon, I helped myself to one of these containers and a sheet of paper that he wrote the letters in. After he went back to bed, I went back and stole one of his pigeons too."

    Jin Jiu Ling's face looked distinctively blue.

    "That night, I gave the pigeon to a friend of mine in Nan Hai and asked him to release it today afternoon."

    He broke out into a triumphant smile and explained. "Because I knew that as soon as you see me, you would find some excuse to make me leave so you would have the chance to kill First Madame Gong Sun."

    "You knew that I would tell Meng Wei to wait and inform me about your whereabouts?" Jin Jiu Ling asked despite of himself.

    "I have to go through Nan Hai to leave and Meng Wei is the Head Snake there, not to mention you have always been a very meticulous and careful man. If I wasn't far away, how could you make your move?"

    "But this place...."

    "This place is indeed quite secretive and remote." Lu Xiao Feng cut him off. "I would have had a tough time finding it myself."

    "So led you here?"

    "That pigeon."Jin Jiu Ling was speechless again.

    "In high winds, the bamboo tube would make a whistling sound. Starting at noon, I had waited on the rooftops. I knew that pigeon would have been able to find you. Luckily, my lightness kungfu isn't too shabby!"

    Jin Jiu Ling's face went from blue to green. He looked back at First Madame Gong Sun, then at Lu Xiao Feng.

    "Did you two plan this?"

    "Surprised?" Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    "When did you start getting suspicious about me?"

    "I had only really started suspecting that it was you on the day the Snake King died!"

    "Why?"

    "Do you recall when we found his body, the lamps weren't lit on his pavilion?"

    Jin Jiu Ling nodded but failed to see what was so significant about this point!

    "If the lamps weren't lit, then that means that the Snake King died before night fall, which would mean that he was killed before he found it necessary to light the lamps!"

    Jin Jiu Ling felt his entire body turn cold. He could have never suspected that this tiny little clue was the turning point of this whole case.

    "If First Madame Gong Sun really had invited him to meet in the West Park, then why would she go over to his place and kill him before hand?" Lu Xiao Feng continued. "That's why I knew right then and there that the person who killed the Snake King had to be someone else!"

    "And you thought it could be me?"

    "I wasn't sure, but what I was pretty sure of was that the Snake King was working for you!"

    "Why?"

    "Because only you could control him, because when he went looking for that map of the Palace for me, it was too easy, and the map was too detailed. A streetwalker or the boss of the underworld could not be that powerful, unless he was already in cahoots with the Warden of the Palace!"

    Jin Jiu Ling's lips were ash white, his forehead was covered with cold sweat.

    "The silk sash that you used to choke the Snake King to death was suppose to point towards First Madame Gong Sun, but instead it became her perfect alibi and exonerated her completely."

    "Why?"

    "Because when I fought with her, I had already cut the sashes that were tied to her swords in half. Those silk sashes aren't something you can find at a moment's notice, and in that time frame she never had a chance to find one!"

    Jin Jiu Ling had nothing to say.

    "One tiny hole can cause the whole dam to collapse," Lu Xiao Feng sighed. "Besides, there was more than just one hole in your plan!"

    For the third time, Jin Jiu Ling asked: "Why?"

    "Setting up those two rooms was a stroke of genius on your part, but you forgot one thing!"

    "What would that be?"

    "Everyone has a distinctive scent. Had those clothes really been worn by First Madame Gong Sun, they would retain a little bit of her scent."

    "Quite a lot of people have said that I am indeed a very sweet smelling woman." First Madame Gong Sun coquettishedly added."You were always trying to keep Hua Man Lou out of this matter, perhaps because you were afraid that he might realize this fact. But you could not have known that I had picked that up from him!" Lu Xiao Feng smiled and continued. "Now, when I look at something, I won't just be watching with my eyes, I would be smelling with my nose as well!"

    "That why quite a lot of people have said he is like a hound!" First Madame Gong Sun joked.

    "You purposefully made that message carrying wooden box and then purposefully got poisoned so as to make sure I went forth by myself, that was also another stroke of genius. But pity once again, you forgot something."

    By now, all Jin Jiu Ling could do was listen.

    "Meng Wei is a rough and tumble kind of a guy through and through, he doesn't even know Xiao Zhuan, how could he have possibly recognized those ancient writings on the box? Besides, after you were poisoned, he didn't seem that worried, wouldn't you say that was very odd as well?"

    "On top of that, he has way too much money," First Madame Gong Sun added. "He could actually get his hands on 100,000 taels of silver on a whim!"

    "I did the math, with his pay, if he did not eat anything, drink anything, or spend a single farthing on anything, he would still have needed about 50 or 60 years to save up 100,000 taels of silver!"

    "Well, you really put some work into that abacus didn't you?" First Madame Gong Sun said with a smile.

    "Even then, I was still not sure, because if Madame Xue said that the peony was done by a woman, then it must have been the work of a woman, so...."

    "So what did you do?" Jin Jiu Ling finally could not control himself and asked.

    "So I took out that piece of red satin and carefully inspected for a long time."

    That piece of red satin was stolen by Si Kong Zhai Xing, was brought to Still Dusk Convent by Xue Bing, placed in front of the statue, but still finally ended up in Lu Xiao Feng's hands.

    "I inspected it for a full 2 hours before I found your secret!"

    "What did you find?"

    "I found that the peony had one petal where the thread was not sewn as tightly as the others. It was embroidered in two layers, so if you unthreaded a layer, there would still be another layer!" He smiled and continued. "When other saw you sew this peony, you were actually unthreading it. That's how the peony can be the work of a woman while the Embroidery Bandit turn out to be a man!"

    "Anything more?"

    "Just one more thing, you shouldn't have kidnapped Xue Bing!"

    "Why?" Jin Jiu Ling asked for a fourth time.

    "Because I later found out that Xue Bing had recently become First Madame Gong Sun's Eighth Sister. Even if First Madame Gong Sun was the real Embroidery Bandit, she would never do any harm to her Eighth Sister!"

    "How did you know she was my Eighth Sister?" First Madame Gong Sun inquired. "Even I couldn't figure that out!"

    "Because of that hand!"

    "What hand?" First Madame Gong Sun was confused.

    "Sun Zhong's hand!" Lu Xiao Feng explained. "Xue Bing chopped off Sun Zhong's hand, but then that hand showed up in Xue Bing's room again. That hand had obviously not crawled there all by itself, and other than the sisters of the Red Shoes, nobody would go and bring back hands that they had cut off of other people!"

    "So when you saw Third Sister's bag full of noses, you thought of that hand?"

    Lu Xiao Feng nodded.

    "She has only recently joined and had actually forgot that everyone of you had to bring back something every year," he continued. "Once she remembered, she went back and got that hand. But unfortunately for her she left in such a hurry that she forgot to take it with her again!"

    He sighed and continued. "When I asked her how the hand had gotten in her room, she pretended to not know what I was talking about. Because she did not want me to find out the connection between you and her!"

    "But you had already figured it out!"

    "It was only until I heard you say 'Eighth Sister won't be coming', only then did I know that your Eighth Sister must have been her!"

    "These reasons are all quite a bit of a stretch!" Jin Jiu Ling suddenly sneered.

    "These reasons really are all quite a bit of a stretch, but to me, they are enough!" Lu Xiao Feng replied.

    "Are they?"

    "There are enough reasons, but not enough evidence."

    "That's because you don't have a single piece of evidence."

    "That's why I had to make you confess all of this yourself, that's why I had to go through with this 'doomed to death and back' plan!"

    "Why?"

    "Because I know that only when you know that your plan has succeeded, that First Madame Gong Sun was going to die for sure, only then would you tell the truth in front of her. That's why I had to put her in a certain death situation and make you think that she was as good as dead!"

    "This plan was indeed quite effective, but I was the one who had to suffer the trials." First Madame Gong Sun commented with a pitiful smile. "I have never had to go through anything remotely like this in my life."

    "But the most crucial part of this is that we can't let you find out about any of this, we can't risk you suspecting us to be in cahoots!" Lu Xiao Feng continued.

    "But there is someone who was your accomplice among my sisters."

    "Therefore we had to put on a little act in front of them!"

    "Even now, they have no idea that I left because I wanted to, not because I had lost to you!"

    Lu Xiao Feng broke out into a smile.

    First Madame Gong Sun shot him a look.

    "No need to smile." She warned. "One of these days, I will get my rematch, still three rounds, to see once and for all who's better, you or me!"

    "Of course it's you, I'm just an idiot."

    "You are indeed very stupid, even I thought so. But you still have one good trait!"

    "I have a good trait?"

    "Of course you do," First Madame Gong Sun playfully replied. "Sometimes, for no reasons what so ever, you would turn smart all of the sudden!"

    "I find that very puzzling myself!"Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

    "It's not you that's puzzled, but others!" First Madame Gong Sun smiled and shot a look over at Jin Jiu Ling out of the corner of her eye. "Take this man here for example, he must be feeling quite puzzled right now trying to figure out how in the world did you get smart all of the sudden!"

    Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

    Jin Jiu Ling could not help but let out a long, drawn out sigh.

    "I really did underestimate you!"

    "Maybe I...." Lu Xiao Feng began to reply but Jin Jiu Ling cut him off.

    "I had took you as a friend all this time, I thought you were a good man. I can't imagine that you would get in cahoots with the Embroidery Bandit and try to make me take the fall!"

    Lu Xiao Feng stopped laughing as he looked at him in shock, as if he had never seen this man before.

    "Pity that no matter what nasty lies you two say about me, it won't work!" Jin Jiu Ling coldly continued with a straight face. "I entered public service at age of 13 and in 30 years of work since have never done a single unlawful thing. No matter what you accuse me of, nobody will believe you!"

    "But you just confess just now!"

    "What did I confess to?"

    Lu Xiao Feng seemed a little choked up. Even now, he still did not have a single piece of evidence.

    Of course, Jin Jiu Ling saw this as well.

    "Why would I confess to being the Embroidery Bandit? Who would be stupid enough to do that? If you two tell other people that, they would laugh their teeth off!" He coldly continued. "Besides, from Yang Cheng to Nan Hai, every bounty hunter knows that First Madame Gong Sun is the Embroidery Bandit. Even if you two kill me right now, the government would still paste your likenesses to every corner of the world. You can't get away!"

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

    "Looks like you won another round." He pitifully smiled.

    "Good always triumphs over evil, the web of justice has no leaks, the righteous path will last forever, so it would be best for you two if you just follow me to the court and turn yourselves in."

    "Good always triumphs over evil, the righteous will last forever," Lu Xiao Feng sighed. "Didn't think you would actually understand these sayings."

    "Of course I do."

    "Well if you do, then you should know that no matter what kind of tricks you pull, it would all be useless!"

    "I didn't...."

    This time it was Lu Xiao Feng's turn to cut him off.

    "You think that we are the only ones who heard this conversation?"

    Jin Jiu Ling's expression changed but quickly recovered.

    "I'm not deaf, if there was others around here, they couldn't have hid from me!"

    "I know that your ear is very perceptive. The only reason you didn't notice me was because you were too pleased with yourself just then. Indeed, if I really did have people within 15 meters, they would not be able to hide from you!"

    Jin Jiu Ling arrogantly snickered.

    "And you also know that if someone was outside of 15 meters, then there would have been impossible for them to hear what you just said." But Lu Xiao Feng did not let Jin Jiu Ling reply before continuing. "Pity these men are different from normal people!"

    "Oh?"

    "These men's ears are even sharper than yours, although you can't hear them, they can hear you." Lu Xiao Feng's eyes seemed to glow as he continued, emphasizing every word. "Because they are all blind. Blind men's ears are always much more perceptive than a normal person's!"

    Jin Jiu Ling's expression changed again.

    Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

    "You can come out now!" He shouted.

    In between his laughter, the sound of clanking roof tiles could be heard as three green shirted women, leading three blind men, jumped down from the roof top and walked in.

    At first glance, all three women looked almost exactly the same. But upon careful inspection, one could tell that they were all in disguise. They were none other than the three shadows that flew out of the pavilion during the last round of Lu Xiao Feng's match against First Madame Gong Sun. Of the three blind men they led in, one had 3 scars across his purple colored face, another had very prominent cheek bones and had a very authoritative air about him, while the last one was an old man with a sickly looking complexion dressed in fancy silk clothing. When he saw these three men, Jin Jiu Ling felt his entire body go numb. Of course he recognized these three men. He had blinded all three of them, Chang Man Tian, Jiang Chong Wei, and Hua Yi Fan.

    Jiang Chong Wei's expression was blue with rage.

    "I have known you for several decades now, I never suspected you to be such a heartless bastard!"

    "The web of justice has no leaks, if you really understood the meaning of that, why did you still do this?" Chang Man Tian asked.

    Hua Yi Fan's entire body was shaking in rage. He opened his mouth to say something, but could not. Looking at these men, Jin Jiu Ling involuntarily began to step back, stepping back all the way to the wall before collapsing into a chair, seemingly incapable of standing back up again.

    "You probably can't figure out how these three gentlemen could suddenly show up!" First Madame Gong Sun said.

    Indeed, Jin Jiu Ling could not have even dreamt that they would.

    "Within my sisters, my Fourth and Seventh sisters were the ones without any suspicion. Therefore I had already instructed them, along with my personal maid Lan-Er, to split up and invite Warden Jian, Escort Chang, and Mister Hua here as soon as possible!"

    "We figured that the three of them would make it here today at the latest, so I had also arranged to meet them this morning!" Lu Xiao Feng finished.

    One of the women in green was giggling: "Lu Xiao Feng went chasing after that pigeon, and I went chasing after him. Once I knew where this was, we brought them all here."

    Her laughter was pretty like a bell, she was none other than the girl in red.

    "But we also knew that your eyes and ears are very sharp, so we didn't dare risking getting close," another woman in green continued. "What you said, we didn't hear any of it. Fortunately, they heard every word of it!"

    Her voice was sweet and gentle, she was none other than First Madame Gong Sun's Fourth Sister, Ou Yang Qing.

    Jin Jiu Ling did not move, nor say anything. Only now was he truly out of words.

    "Good always triumphs over evil, the righteous will last forever," maybe it was only now that he truly understood the meaning of those words. The girl in red and Ou Yang Qing had walked over to either side of the bed and helped First Madame Gong Sun sit up. Suddenly, both of them frowned at the same time as a few wrinkles appeared on the ridges of their noses.

    Amazingly, First Madame Gong Sun blushed. She quietly whispered something into their ears. Both of them started to laugh. The girl in red could not help but once again double over in laughter, she was laughing so hard that she was almost out of breath. Indeed, they had the right to laugh, and the reason to laugh. Only those who have a clear self-conscious could laugh, only those who have no guilt in their heart could be so carefree. The one who could not laugh right now was Jin Jiu Ling.

    "I know not only do you know how to sew flowers, you can sew blind men, two pricks and there's one blind men." Chang Man Tian viciously declared. "But what can you sew now?"

    "Even if you can sew a pair of wings for yourself, you won't be able to get out of the web of the law!" Jiang Chong Wei warned.

    "The only thing that he should sew right now, is an especially huge coffin so that both Meng Wei and Lu Shao Hua can accompany him in it." The girl in red joked in between her laughter.

    "I still have to remind you one thing," Lu Xiao Feng added. "It's probably best for you not to wait for the two of them to come here with your disciples in an effort to save you!"

    Jin Jiu Ling did not move, nor did he speak.

    "Right now, Meng Wei is still in Nan Hai waiting to inform you of my whereabouts." Lu Xiao Feng explained. "But Lu Shao Hua has fallen ill, gravely ill!"

    "Rumors say that his caught a very strange illness indeed!" The girl in red laughed and said. "That pair of greedy, always asking other people for money, hands of his have suddenly vanished!"

    Jin Jiu Ling finally let out a long sigh.

    "One wrong move, and the whole game is lost." He said. "Didn't think that I, Jin Jiu Ling, would have a today!"

    Jiang Chong Wei sighed as well.

    "Actually, I knew you would eventually end up like his. You love to spend too much, loved to enjoy life too much!"

    "Others think that you don't have to spend money on woman, but only I know that to a woman like me, there is only money and nothing else." Ou Yang Qing declared. "Even if you are the reincarnation of Fan An or Song Yu, you still have to have money to get in the door."

    Lu Xiao Feng laughed despite of himself. He knew that she was telling the truth firsthand.

    "But you are an exception," Ou Yang Qing shot him a mean look before playfully declaring. "You are the only exception in this world!"

    "Oh?"

    "Because you are not a man, you are nothing but a four eye browed bastard!" Ou Yang Qing's expression dropped as she coldly explained.

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed. One truly cannot cross a woman like Ou Yang Qing. If you just cross her once, she will remember it for the rest of her life.

    "I only have one last thing to ask you!" First Madame Gong Sun suddenly interrupted.

    "Ask me?" Jin Jiu Ling turned towards her.

    First Madame Gong Sun nodded.

    "You better tell me now, where is Xue Bing?"

    Jin Jiu Ling suddenly let out a little laugh, but did not answer.

    "Are you planning on using her to threaten us?" First Madame Gong Sun was getting angry. "Don't you know what my methods are?"

    Jin Jiu Ling ignored her and instead turned to Lu Xiao Feng.

    "The Master of White Cloud Castle's sword skill are second to none, yet he could not stop praising you, calling you a genius of martial arts of a level that he had never encountered before in his life."

    As he slowly spoke, Lu Xiao Feng quietly listened, knowing that he was getting somewhere.

    "First Madame Gong Sun, with all her disguises, changes, and tricks, with her best in the world sword and sash skills, still lost to you!"

    "Stop kissing up to him, it won't work anymore!" First Madame Gong Sun coldly snickered.

    But Jin Jiu Ling continued to ignore her and kept his stare on Lu Xiao Feng."My elder martial brother Bitter Gourd had always not cared much for anyone in the world, yet he treat you differently. Because he believes the clamp of your two fingers is a skill that will never be matched."

    Lu Xiao Feng quietly sighed. He suddenly thought about how bad Master Gourd would feel when he finds out his only martial brother ending up like this.

    "Huo Xiu, Huo Tian Qing, Yan Tie Shan, they are all the master among masters in the world, yet they all lost in your hands. It's quite obvious if you are not the best martial art master in the world, you are not that far off." Jin Jiu Ling sighed again before continuing. "But I'm nothing more than a mere bounty hunter within the Six Doors. A person like me is not worth a farthing in the eyes of those masters of the martial world!"

    "What are you trying to say?" Lu Xiao Feng finally asked.

    "I only want to just have a duel with a martial arts master such as yourself, to see who is really better!" Jin Jiu Ling plainly answered.

    "For all intensive purposes, you are a captured criminal," First Madame Gong Sun replied with a sneer. "What gives you the right to negotiate a duel?"

    Jin Jiu Ling did not even look in her direction.

    "If I lose, not only would I willingly turn myself in, I would immediately tell you where Xue Bing is!"

    Lu Xiao Feng's eyes flickered, he was clearly tempted by the offer.

    "But what if you lose?" Jin Jiu Ling inquired.

    "What do you propose?"

    "If you lose, I won't ask you to let me go!"

    "Even if he lets you go, I won't!" First Madame Gong Sun viciously protested.

    But Jin Jiu Ling did not seem to even hear her.

    "If you, by some chance, lose to me, I only request one thing."

    "Do tell!"

    "I only request that you would protect my reputation and not let this leak out. I think on my elder martial brother's behalf, that wouldn't be too hard on you!"

    Lu Xiao Feng did not answer immediately. Instead he slowly walked over to the window and pushed it open. The setting suns' rays colored the sky, it was already dusk.

    "Don't fall for his tricks," Chang Man Tian suddenly warned. "This person is cunning like a fox, he must have another trick up his sleeve!"

    "The level of his kungfu was much higher than what I thought was possible." Jiang Chong Wei commented.

    "I have been making a living in the martial world ever since I was a kid, have fought in hundreds and thousands of fights, suffered scores of injuries." Chang Man Tian stated. "My kungfu might not be strong, but I have more than enough experience. But even I could not tell just how good his skills are, I couldn't even last one move against him!"

    Hua Yi Fan suddenly sighed too.

    "Indeed, this man's kungfu skill is almost beyond measure. In the past I have sparred again the Wooden Taoist and the Ancient Pine Hermit. But from what I have seen, his skill is higher than either one of them!"

    Lu Xiao Feng did not seem to hear a word they said. In the dusk covered sky, a row of wild geese were flying past for the Winter.

    "It was just the dead of summer, in a blink of an eye it's turned into Autumn." Lu Xiao Feng mumbled to himself. "Time passes so quickly... so quickly...."

    Jin Jiu Ling sighed as well.

    "Time is like the water in the river, once it's gone it's never coming back. Thinking back to when we first met, it has been almost 10 years now, but how many decades are there in life?"

    "First Madame Gong Sun hasn't fully recovered. Because we were afraid that you might see through our scheme, the drug she took was real!"

    "I know it's not fake!"

    "At this moment, she probably only has half of her strength and fighting ability back. Add on top of that her Fourth and Seventh Sister and me, there would be no way in the world you could get away, no matter how powerful you are!"

    "I know!"

    "But if I do indeed duel against you and lose to you, even if I survive, I would surely be injured!" Lu Xiao Feng sighed. "Besides, you know full well how I would act if I really did agree to a duel agianst you. If I lose, I would not attack you again no matter what!"

    "I have always knew that even though you are not a gentleman, you are still a real man!"

    "That's why if I lost, they might not be able to stop you. If you can escape out of here today, there is a very good chance you would never be caught and get away with this!"

    "Well if you know what he intends to do, then why are you talking all this bull##### to him? Are you really an idiot?" Ou Yang Qing had to cut in.

    Lu Xiao Feng suddenly let out a little laugh.

    "I'm not talking bull#####!"

    "Then what is it?" Ou Yang Qing sneered.

    "I'm merely telling him that since I can't afford to lose to him, then if I do agree to a duel, it means that I am sure of winning!"

    "You are prepared to agree to the duel?" Ou Yang Qing's expression changed dramatically.

    "Well if I'm not going to agree to a duel, then doesn't all of what I just said become bull#####?" Lu Xiao Feng nonchalantly replied.

    Jin Jiu Ling shot up from his chair.

    "Excellent! Lu Xiao Feng indeed is Lu Xiao Feng!"

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

    "And again, I hear that sentence!"

    "Where do you propose to fight this duel?" Jin Jiu Ling inquired.

    "Here!"

    "Here? Inside the room?"

    "No place like this place, I don't want to give you an extra opportunity to escape!"

    Jin Jiu Ling threw his head back and let out a hearty laughter.

    "Excellent, excellent indeed!"

    He had suddenly regained his energy, it was almost as if he had changed completely into another person.

    "What are you going to use for a weapon?" Lu Xiao Feng asked.

    "Obviously something you can't clamp those fingers of yours down on!" Jin Jiu Ling joked.

    "You have already made preparations?"

    "I had always had this hunch, it's as if I knew that I would one day exchange blows against you!"

    In the corner of the room was a closet, Jin Jiu Ling walked over and opened it. Incredibly, inside the closet was a spear, a sabre, two swords, a pair of hooks, a pair of halbreds, a whip, an ax, a spear with a hook on the side, and one very peculiar somewhat whip like, somewhat club like iron flail. This closet was obviously weapon storage.

    Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

    "Looks like you really are prepared for anything at anytime, anywhere!"

    "I'm a very careful man, I never do anything I'm not sure of!" Jin Jiu Ling smiled.

    "You don't fight duels you are not sure you can win?"

    "I have yet to lose once to anyone in all my life!" Jin Jiu Ling nonchalantly replied. This was not a lie.

    "But I also know for a fact that you have yet to lose to anyone in all your life as well!" Jin Jiu Ling stated as he stared at Lu Xiao Feng.

    "There is a first time for everything!" Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

    "Good one!" Jin Jiu Ling agreed as he reached out and grabbed his weapon of choice, he chose the heavy flail that weighed at least 70 kilograms.

    First Madame Gong Sun's expression changed dramatically.

    "All of you get out, wait outside and guard the door and windows!" She gravely commanded.

    "All of you" includes her sisters as well as Chang Man Tian, Jiang Chong Wei, and Hua Yi Fan. She knew what kind of power the flail had. This room might not be small, but it was far from being large. Once this weapon is put in use, anybody or anything in the room could be smashed to bits at any moment!

    Even Lu Xiao Feng was slightly shocked. This man's weapon was supposed to be a feather light sewing needle, yet now it suddenly became this almost 100 kilogram flail. Could his kungfu really have reached such a place that he could wield both heavy and light weapons with equal ease?

    "What are you going to use for your weapon?" Jin Jiu Ling was already asking.

    Lu Xiao Feng quitely thought about it for a bit. He suddenly noticed that in the corner of the closet was a pouch of sewing needles. So he chose a single solitary sewing needle!

    Jin Jiu Ling burst out laughing.

    "Great stuff! I'm using this giant iron flail, you are using that sewing needle. If anyone else saw this, they would surely think that you are the Embroidery Bandit!"

    "I might not be the Embroidery Bandit, but I still know how to sew!" Lu Xiao Feng casually replied.

    "But can you sew blind men?" Jin Jiu Ling's eyes flickered.

    "No!" Lu Xiao Feng's eyes began to glow like the sword blades as he slowly emphasized every word. "Only dead men!"

    First Madame Gong Sun did not leave the room. Instead she stood silently in the corner of the room. Her face displayed no emotions, but inside she was racked with worry. This room is too small and Jin Jiu Ling's weapon of choice packed too much power. Once he begin his attacks, Lu Xiao Feng might not even have a place to dodge!

    The flail was about 1 and 1/2 meters in length, the sewing needle was only about 3 centimeters long. The weapons they picked could not be anymore different, one was overtly reliant on power, the other overtly reliant on speed, one was extremely heavy, the other extremely light, softness could nullify hardness, but speed might not defeat power, and lightness could not possibly hope to counter heaviness! Judging strictly on weapons, Lu Xiao Feng was obviously at a disadvantage.

    "Could you please leave the room as well?" Jin Jiu Ling suddenly requested.

    "Are you afraid that I might ambush you from behind?" First Madame Gong Sun sneered.

    "I know you are not the kind of person who would do that," Jin Jiu Ling smiled. "But having you in the room is still a threat to me!"

    First Madame Gong Sun hesistated and looked over at Lu Xiao Feng at the corner of her eye.

    "You can see us fighting outside just as well!" Lu Xiao Feng matter of factly told her.

    First Madame Gong Sun sighed and finally left the room, but not before she turned around and shouted: "I am about 80% recovered, even if you lose, he still won't get away!"

    Lu Xiao Feng let out a little laugh.

    "Don't worry, I don't plan on letting him get away!"

    Jin Jiu Ling smiled.

    "This room is the death ground, I'm thinking about doing this 'doomed to death and back' thing as well!"

    Before he even finished talking, the flail in his hand began to move!

    The actual weight of the flail was 87 kilograms. In his hands, a flail weighing 87 kilograms seemed light as a feather. The moves that he was using were quick, nimble, and fast, just like how one would use a sewing needle. Just this first move contained within it 6 or 7 different variations, yet it did not create any sound as it swished through the air. Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

    Only now did he know that Jin Jiu Ling was a person who did not reveal himself to anyone and that his martial arts skill was truly beyond measure. Only now did he believe that the Wooden Taoist, Ancient Pine Hermit, Master Bitter Gourd, and the rest of them indeed were not a match for him. His mind turned fast, his movements were even faster. He took a quick and gentle step back and stabbed out the needle with his palm facing down.

    "Pshhhhh"! The point of the needle pierced through the air like an arrow shot out of a bow!

    The needle might be light as a feather, but in his hands, it seemed to weigh a ton. His moves were hard, fierce, and pressing, just as if he was the one using the flail. In a blink of an eye the two men exchanged over 10 moves each. The heavy and powerful weapon was used with fast and nimble moves instead! The light and weak weapon was used with hard and pressing moves instead!

    The spectacle of this battle was not something that could be described by anyone. The faces of Jiang Chong, Chang Man Tian, and Hua Yi Fan were all covered with the expression of shock. Even though they could not see, they could still hear it.

    There was only the sound of the needle piercing through the air coming from the room, but not a sound of the large flail could be heard. Even though they were all experienced mastered, none of them could imagine how this could be. All that could be heard was the constant "psss, psshhh" of the sewing needle piercing through the air faster and faster but also constantly moving, on the left side one moment, on the right another, much faster than anything any fly could hope to achieve, nevermind any normal human.

    Hua Yi Fan sighed.

    "No wonder the Wooden Taoist always talks about how Lu Xiao Feng is a rare genius only comes along once several generations. It is not an exaggeration!"

    "But Jin Jiu Ling is even more frightening!" Chang Man Tian replied with a grave expression.

    "Oh?"

    "Lu Xiao Feng's movements are this fast, attacks are this pressing, and yet Jin Jiu Ling's huge flail could not be heard at all despite being put into full use against him. Isn't that even more unimaginable?"

    He knew Jin Jiu Ling was using the flail because he had asked Ou Yang Qing earlier. His experience in combat was something that the priviledged and respected Hua Yi Fan could not hope to match, hence his analysis was much more accurate than Hua Yi Fan's.

    Hua Yi Fan thought in silence for a long time before slowly replying: "I have long heard that Escort Chang's experience in combat and fighting was something that few could match. Seems like this is also not an exaggeration either!"

    "Woom!" As soon as he had finished his sentence, a sudden gust of wind picked up like a dragon shooting out of a cloud.

    "Jin Jiu Ling has changed his tactics!" Chang Man Tian's expression changed dramatically.

    Jin Jiu Ling's moves and techniques did indeed change, it changed into a fast and furious, hard and pressing, yield for nothing style! The room was suddenly and completely covered in the wind of the flail, leaving almost no place of refuge for any human to stand.

    Jiang Chong Wei's expression changed as well.

    "Could he have been testing Lu Xiao Feng all that time and is only now employing his full power?" He inquired.

    "But Lu Xiao Feng is not holding back anymore either!" Chang Man Tian observed.

    "Why do you say that?" Jiang Chong Wei asked.

    "He's wielding his flail with such power and speed, if it was someone else, he would have surely been forced out of the room by now. But we don't hear anything from Lu Xiao Feng, obviously he could still manage and is waiting for his chance to strike!"

    Ou Yang Qing was looking at him with a look of pure admiration. This blind man was seeing things even more accurately than anybody else could see with their own eyes! Lu Xiao Feng was indeed still able to manage. His entire body have seemed to have turned into something entirely formless and shapeless, as if he could turn and flex in any direction at will. No matter how Jin Jiu Ling's flail attacked him, he would always dodge out of the way as if it was nothing.

    There were instances where the flail had obviously cornered him into a losing situation, yet with a suddenly twist of his body, he would dissipate all the danger. First Madame Gong Sun's face was full of worry at the beginning, but now she could finally breath a sigh of relief.

    Chang Man Tian suddenly sighed.

    "I had thought that Lu Xiao Feng was not a match at the beginning, but now Jin Jiu Ling has no chance to win!"

    "Why do you say that?" Jiang Chong Wei asked again.

    "Jin Jiu Ling is now using his hard and powerful moves, but power must diminish, hard can't last forever, the rate at which he is tiring must be much faster than that of Lu Xiao Feng's!" His face was aglow as he slowly continued. "When he could no longer control the flail as he wishes, he would begin smashing up the room. That would signify that his strength is almost all gone. That's when Lu Xiao Feng can begin his counter-attack!"

    At this moment, a crashing sound could be heard coming from within the room, followed in quick succession with another serious of other objects being smashed.

    "He has just smashed the table!" Ou Yang Qing involuntarily declared.

    "Boom!"

    "Now he's smashed the bed too!" The girl in red said.

    A smile crept up on Chang Man Tian's face.

    "Looks like you are about to get back you collection of paintings and writings!"

    Hua Yi Fan's face was full of joy as well.

    "Don't forget your silver!"

    "Kaboom!" An earth shattering explosion shook all of them at that moment.

    Jin Jiu Ling's forehead was covered in sweat and the speed with which he swung his flail steadily slowed. He also knew that Lu Xiao Feng was getting ready to counter-attack.

    He took two steps forward and swung out the flail. Lu Xiao Feng took two steps back and was just about to use those steps as a spring to leap into attack. But unexpectedly, Jin Jiu Ling suddenly let go of his grip and the flail, with the air around it swirling and howling like a tornado, flew towards Lu Xiao Feng.

    Nobody in the world could possible hope to take on the power of this toss directly. All Lu Xiao Feng could do was quickly dodge out of the way.

    "Kaboom!" The earth shook as the flail actually smashed a huge hole in the wall of the room. The force of the flail was not spent as it kept on flying forward even further. Jin Jiu Ling borrowing the reaction to the force of toss to his body, followed the flail through the wall! Even Lu Xiao Feng was caught off guard by this move. All he saw was a shadow of a man flashing by his eyes and Jin Jiu Ling had vanished.

    "Peng!" The flail smashed into the wall encircling the yard and fell onto the ground, but Jin Jiu Ling had already jumped over the wall. First Madame Gong Sun almost panicked as she was just about to go chase after him when suddenly another shadow passed right in front of her: Lu Xiao Feng.

    "Such incredible speed!" Chang Man Tian sighed in disbelief.

    First Madame Gong Sun sighed.

    "If it wasn't for the fact that I'm not fully recovered, I could let you hear my speed as well!" She said with a rather disappointed smile.

    She did not chase after Jin Jiu Ling. With Lu Xiao Feng chasing, there was no need for her to go as well.

    "Don't worry First Madame, Jin Jiu Ling's strength is almost completely drained, and his lightness kungfu is no match for Lu Xiao Feng to begin with, he can't get away!" Chang Man Tian replied.

    First Madame Gong Sun finally broke out into a smile.

    "Indeed, there is not that many people who can match up against Lu Xiao Feng's lightness kungfu!"

    ______________________________

    By now Jin Jiu Ling also understood that Lu Xiao Feng's lightness kungfu was much more frightening than he could have ever imagined. He had a head start as well as the element of surprise, but within 7 or 8 hops, Lu Xiao Feng had almost already caught up.

    The distance between them was originally more than 30 meters, but now it was no more than 15 meters. This gap could be covered in maybe just one more hop. The strange thing was Jin Jiu Ling did not seem too worried. Before him laid a small woods, within it was some gazebo and pavilions along with some sporadic flowers and bushes.

    "Lu Xiao Feng is the Embroidery Bandit! Somebody slow him down, quick!" Jin Jiu Ling suddenly shouted.

    The shout had not completely died down before 4 shadows flew out from within the pavilion, they were none other than Second Madame, Third Madame, the nun in green, and Jiang Qing Xia. The 4 of them swooped around like swallows with the nun in green and Third Madame out in front.

    "Whoop!" The whip in Third Madame's hand had latched itself around Lu Xiao Feng's leg.

    Lu Xiao Feng was so concentrated on chasing Jin Jiu Ling that he had actually not been able to dodge this move. Third Madame gave the whip a good tug and he almost fell.

    By now Jin Jiu Ling had already put almost another 20 meters between him and Lu Xiao Feng, he was about to get away. Teh nun in green's sword flashed its cold flash as it struck towards Lu Xiao Feng's chest.

    Lu Xiao Feng suddenly reached out with his two fingers and clamped down on the blade of the sword. The nun in green simply felt her wrist suddenly go numb and lost her grip on her sword.

    Still with the blade caught between his fingers, Lu Xiao Feng flicked the sword out. Nobody could describe the speed and power of this flick!

    Nobody could imagine it! Nobody would even believe it. Even the phrase "lightning fast" could not describe one millionth of the speed of this sword!

    This sword was like the light. As soon as you lit the lamp, light would have already reached every corner of the room.

    The sword left his hand, a flash, and the blade had arrived at the back of Jin Jiu Ling's heart!

    Jin Jiu Ling suddenly heard a really strange sound, a sound that he had never heard of.

    Only then did he feel a wave of pain through his heart, a pain as if his heart had just broke.

    He looked down, and at once saw a burst of blood shoot out from his heart. Only after the blood shot out did he finally see the blade that had pierced through his chest.

    When he saw the blade, he had already collapsed! But he was not dead! This strike was too fast, faster than even death!

    He could still see Lu Xiao Feng flying over to him -- Third Madame's whip had already been clipped in half by Lu Xiao Feng's fingers.

    Lu Xiao Feng reached Jin Jiu Ling and sat him up.

    "Xue Bing! Where is she?" He shouted.

    Jin Jiu Ling stared back into his eyes, stared back with an unique yet cruel hint of laughter in his eyes.

    "I'm going to see her now," he whispered. "But you'd have to wait a long long time before you can see her. A long long...."

    His voice suddenly stopped, his heart suddenly stopped too.

    His eyes were still full of that cruel and villainous laughter, as if he just saw Xue Bing....

    春花秋月几时了,
    往事知多少?
    小楼昨夜又东风,
    故国不堪回首明月中.
    雕栏玉砌应犹在,
    只是朱颜改.
    问君能有几多愁,
    恰似一江春水向东流.
    --南唐后主,李煜.

  13. #193

    Default

    Epilogue

    Lu Xiao Feng was drunk. Because he needed to. He must.

    "I'm going to see her now. But you'd have to wait a long long time before you can see her. A long long...."

    He understood what Jin Jiu Ling meant, how could he not want to be drunk? Even though he was incredibly drunk, he was not asleep, but was still listening to First Madame Gong Sun's explanation to her sisters!

    "Lu Xiao Feng is not an idiot. I knew he wasn't an idiot from the very beginning, I believed that he would have been able to see through Jin Jiu Ling's evil plans!"

    "But I wasn't sure!"

    "Even though I wasn't sure, I still had to somehow uncover Jin Jiu Ling's plans, nobody can be allowed to do that to me!"

    "And I had to find out who his accomplice was, I can't let someone like this stay among my sisters, just like I can't let a sand stay in my eye."

    "So I purposefully led Lu Xiao Feng to our meeting place, because I hoped to find an opportunity to tell him wha I thought and hope that the two of us can work together to catch the real Embroidery Bandit."

    "But I could not just come out and say it, because I know one of you was Jin Jiu Ling's accomplice!"

    "I was just having trouble finding an opportunity when Lu Xiao Feng gave me one!""He wanted to have a drinking contest with me."

    "I suddenly realized what he wanted, so I immediately agreed to it!"

    "When he was just about drunk, he did find an opportunity and whispered two sentences to me. Did any of you notice?"

    "He said: 'Follow me, I know you are not the Embroidery Bandit!'"

    "So I left with him!"

    "But in order to keep this from the spy, we still had to continue the act. So we had two more rounds!"

    "When the final round began, I secretly signaled Fourth Sister and Seventh Sister to follow me in, because I know that only the two of them are without a doubt innocent. Because only the two of them are still virgins!"

    Ou Yang Qing, the prostitute who lives in a brothel, was a virgin? Even Lu Xiao Feng had to whip his head up and look at her in shock and surprise before quickly putting his head back down again.

    First Madame Gong Sun continued.

    "I instructed them, along with Lan-Er, to immediately split up and go find Jiang Chong Wei, Hua Yi Fan, and Chang Man Tian!"

    "That spy would surely think that I was trying to bait Lu Xiao Feng away and would not suspect anything was amiss!"

    "After I left with Lu Xiao Feng, we immediately found a remote place to discuss and compare what we suspected and what we knew!"

    "That was when we decided upon that 'doomed to death and back' plan!"

    Everyone was quiet, nobody spoke up.

    "At the end when Jin Jiu Ling was trying to escape, he obviously already knew that you all had arrived at Yang Cheng, that's why he went that route."

    That little wood was their meeting place in Yang Cheng.

    First Madame Gong Sun's eyes were like a pair of piercing blades as she scanned over the faces of Second Madame, Third Madame, the nun in green, and Jiang Qing Xia.

    "So that spy must be among the 4 of you!" She coldly continued.

    Second Madame and Third Madame's face were completely devoid of emotions, but Jiang Qing Xia's face was already deathly pale.

    "Fifth Sister Jiang should have been the most suspicious of all, because she was the only one who would understand the layout and security of the Royal Palace and was the only one who could get close enough to Jiang Chong Wei to steal his keys," First Madame Gong Sun declared. She paused and broke out into a smile. "But Lu Xiao Feng had convinced me otherwise. Because he knew that Jin Jiu Ling and Jiang Chong Wei were good friends and could get close to Jiang Chong Wei himself without the help of Jiang Qing Xia. Besides, if Fifth Sister was his accomplice, then he would have never sent Si Kong Zhai Xing to take that piece of red satin to Still Dusk Convent."

    Jiang Qing Xia looked over at the practically passed out Lu Xiao Feng with eyes overflowing with gratitude.

    "Sixth Sister is also quite worthy of suspicion, because despite being committed to Buddhism, I have recently discovered that she has not been able to protect her body like a treasure!"

    The nun in green's face initially blushed, but soon turned a deathly pale as well.

    "But then I found out who her secret lover is -- you don't need to ask me who he is, all that you need to know is that he's not Jin Jiu Ling. I know what kind of a person Sixth Sister is, if she already has a lover, she would never have gotten together with Jin Jiu Ling. So it could not be her either!"

    The nun in green looked down, tears suddenly appearing in her eyes.

    Yet Second and Third Sister still sat there, their faces totally devoid of emotions, neither saying a word.

    First Madame Gong Sun suddenly turned onto Third Madame, the look in her eyes as sharp as the sharpest blades.

    "You were completely free of suspicion, but you should not have attacked Lu Xiao Feng when he had Seventh Sister as a hostage, forcing Lu Xiao Feng into a fight against us. Furthermore, you definitely should not have made such a lethal attack while Lu Xiao Feng was chasing Jin Jiu Ling!" Her expression suddenly dropped. "Second Madame! You know who the spy is, why are you still sitting there?"

    Second Madame was still sitting there, but her silver sabre was now in hand. Suddenly with a backward thrust, she stabbed towards Third Madame's waist. This was a lethal strike. But Third Madame did not try to dodge at all, as if she was completely willing and fully prepared to take this blow!

    But it was at this moment that the chopsticks in First Madame Gong Sun's hand flew out. One of them knocked away Second Madame's sabre while the other one sealed her pressure point. Second Madame's entire body froze, as if she had suddendly turned into stone.

    First Madame looked at her and slowly began to talk: "Actually, I knew it was you a long time ago. To fund Jin Jiu Ling's spending habit, you already lost quite a lot of money. You knew that I would find out sooner or later, so you had to kill me. And after I die, only you would be able to take my place!"

    On her frozen face, Second Madame's forehead was covered with numerous giant beads of sweat.

    "But we are still sisters, so as long as you show a little bit of remorse and could admit to your mistakes, I was prepared to completely forgive and forget what you did!" First Madame Gong Sun let out a long, drawn out sigh. "But you shouldn't have made such a vicious move against Third Sister, obviously not only were you not remorseful for what you have done, but was prepared to let Third Sister take the fall and die in your place, you...."

    She did not continue but instead walked up and unsealed Second Madame's pressure point with her hand.

    "Go, leave!" She gravely instructed. "I just hope that after you leave, you can give me a resolution!"

    Second Madame did not leave, instead she stared back at First Madame Gong Sun, her eyes filled with a hopeless fear.

    She knew that she had no other options left. The silver sabre had landed on the table. She picked it up, and suddenly brought it up against her neck.

    But this time her sabre was knocked down again, this time it was Lu Xiao Feng who knocked it down.

    Lu Xiao Feng, in his somewhat drunk but not quite drunk stupor, waved his hand and knocked down her sabre.

    "Such a beautiful hour, such a wonderful party, why are you still trying to kill somebody?" He mumbled.

    "I...." Second Madame bit her lip. "I'm not trying to kill anybody, I just want to kill myself?"

    Lu Xiao Feng laughed, it was an earnest, but forced laughter.

    "Aren't you somebody?"

    Second Madame was startled.

    Lu Xiao Feng continued to mumble on.

    "If you are already wrong, then why go and do more wrong? The heart has died, why must the person die too? There's enough hatred out there, why bother adding more worries? Enough blood has been shed, why shed more?"

    Second Madame stared at him for a long time. She suddenly laid her head down on the table and began to cry, cry with all of her broken heart.

    First Madame Gong Sun looked over at Lu Xiao Feng and suddenly broke out into a smile.

    "Alright, I'll listen to you one more time. But...."

    Lu Xiao Feng cut her off.

    "All that's needed to say have been said, why say anything more? The man is drunk, why stay any longer?...."

    He shakely stood up and was slowly, gingerly making his way towards the door!

    But First Madame Gong Sun blocked him.

    "You are going now? Really?"

    "There isn't a party in the world that must disperse, why not now? Those who has to leave will eventually leave, why not now?"

    "Where are you going?"

    "Since I'm leaving anyawys, why must you ask?"

    First Madame Gong Sun stared into his eyes.

    "Since I already asked, why must you not tell me?" She playfully answered.

    Lu Xiao Feng laughed, laughed heartily.

    "Actually, I didn't need to ask, and you didn't need to answer, because where you are going, is also where I'm going!"

    Lu Xiao Feng's suddenly flipped open his eyes.

    "You know where I'm headed?"

    "The two most famous swordsman in the martial world in the last 300 years is about to have a duel on top of Mount Zi Jin." First Madame Gong Sun smiled. "This duel will not only shake the world, but will be talked about for ages to come, how could I miss it?"

    "You know about that?"

    "I also know that the date of their duel is not the First, but the 15th. Jin Jiu Ling told you the First because he was trying to make you leave!"

    "The 15th? The 15th of August? The Mid-Autumn's Festival?"

    First Madame Gong Sun nodded and began to slowly hum a tune.

    "Night of full moon, peak of Zi Jin, a sword from the west, an outer heaven angel...."

    春花秋月几时了,
    往事知多少?
    小楼昨夜又东风,
    故国不堪回首明月中.
    雕栏玉砌应犹在,
    只是朱颜改.
    问君能有几多愁,
    恰似一江春水向东流.
    --南唐后主,李煜.

  14. #194

    Default

    And a Happy New Year!

    春花秋月几时了,
    往事知多少?
    小楼昨夜又东风,
    故国不堪回首明月中.
    雕栏玉砌应犹在,
    只是朱颜改.
    问君能有几多愁,
    恰似一江春水向东流.
    --南唐后主,李煜.

  15. #195
    Senior Member minutemanwayne's Avatar
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    766

    Default

    Nice Christmas present
    Yo momma cat

  16. #196
    Senior Member JigSta's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    972

    Default

    Christmas Cheer to all!
    Thanks for the awesome present Moinllieon!
    All that's needed to say have been said, why say anything more? The man is drunk, why stay any longer?....
    Quote Originally Posted by Question
    if CarMAN Lee hair is green, then am sure carMAN #$%@ a dog to give birth to you.

  17. #197
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    Default

    Wonderful wonderful christmas present.

  18. #198
    Senior Member Yang Guo's Avatar
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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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    Default

    That's the best present yet

  19. #199
    Senior Member Anonymous's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
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    454

    Thumbs up Thx Moin!

    Finally getting into the 2nd book and hopefully catch up. 10 chapters is pretty daunting. Thx for your translations.
    -
    Chapter 1 Scores of Heists
    Comments:
    1. Like your easily accessible notes, which are not at the end of the page.
    -
    2. Reminds me of "Boo" in Baldur's Gate.
    ---
    quote: "Liang Qing Zi, let's go! Go for his eyes!" Chang Man Tian let out a shout.
    .
    .
    .
    Interesting Lines:
    1. "Thirteen Guardians Brute Training" might be the most powerful skill in the world in hardening one's body, but it does not cover one's eyes. [SweeperMonk's weakness?]
    -
    2. "Go ahead and curse me [Lu XiaoFeng] if you want, I'll just keep on eating. You guys have a good time cursing, I just happen to be having a good time eating."
    -
    3.
    You already dragged me into this, you can't stop kissing my *** now!"

    "One kiss, two kiss, nothing beats *** kissing! It's never wrong to kiss *** a couple more times than necessary!" Jin Jiu Ling loudly laughed.
    4. Lu Xiao Feng and Jin Jiu Ling shot a look at one another, both of them feeling a bit guilty. They had been going back and forth with "blind-this" and "blind-than" just a bit earlier, totally forgetting that there was a blind man sitting right beside them.
    -
    5. "Don't forget, the prettiest [Female Tiger] one is also the meaniest one. Careful not to get bit!"

  20. #200
    Senior Member Anonymous's Avatar
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    Thumbs up More Thx!

    Chapter 2 Visiting Divine Needle Xue
    Interesting Lines:
    1. "Lu Xiao Feng? This person is Lu Xiao Feng?" Both of the girls started to giggle uncontrollably at the realization. "No wonder he looked like a criminal when he smiled!" [Something to look in the movie?]
    -
    2. When a girl is fully intent on looking for trouble, the smart men would all keep their mouth shut tight.

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