Question! Are the break points in these parts chosen by you? Or are these the original break points when they were published in serialized fashion?
that is a phat update :P
come on hero. show these newbs a trick or two! :-P
He was still calmly lying down on the bed, only his hand was stretched out from inside the cotton quilt, using two fingers he clamped down on the blade of the sword.
The most amazing in the world, peerless, unparalleled!
Incomparable and unfathomable skill!
As soon as the two fingers clamped down, the sword’s ray disappeared, the sword’s aura vanished.
Also in this split second, one of the roof-tiles was suddenly lifted up, someone hang upside-down like a monkey. His hand waved, thirty seven cold stars shot down like rain toward Lu Xiaofeng.
It was beyond his anticipation, a murderous act you cannot guard against!
But a series of ‘puff, puff, puff!’ was heard as all the thirty seven secret projectiles hit the cotton quilt shielding Lu Xiaofeng.
They only hit the cotton quilt.
Such a close distance; the secret projectiles ricocheted and scattered all over the room.
The man in black looked at his clamped sword, the man hanging upside-down from the beam sighed in admiration: “I have long heard about Lu Xiaofeng’s most amazing finger skill in the world, who would have thought that he still have such an astonishing internal energy.”
Lu Xiaofeng laughed. “Actually, I am also surprised. When one is faced with a life and death situation, one’s strength can grow unusually big.”
The man in black suddenly said, “This is not mere strength, this is real qi [chi] and real power.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Real qi [chi] and real power is also strength. If you have no strength, how can you have real qi [chi] and real power?” He stretched out another finger and lightly traced the blade of the sword. He sighed and said, “Good sword!”
Man in black: “You …”
Lu Xiaofeng laughed again. “I am not Ximen Chuixue; therefore, your sword is still yours, and your life is also still yours.”
Jia Leshan also laughed.
“That was intimidation.” He was still smiling, “Profit did not work, intimidation also failed. What do you say I should do?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Why don’t you go back?”
Jia Leshan did not seem to hear him, he continued, “As the saying goes, ‘It is difficult for a hero to pass a beautiful woman barrier’, Sire is without a doubt a hero; where is the beautiful woman?”
The beautiful woman was outside. With the blowing wind, there was a faint trace of delicate fragrance.
The old servant, who kept his fingernails very long, used a silver ear-spoon to pick the wick of the bronze lantern so that the light was brighter. From outside the door walked a middle-aged woman wearing a pale-colored plain robe, holding the hand of a young maiden wearing a purple gown.
The middle-aged woman was slender with white skin, her figure was graceful, with jet-black hair neatly combed. Under the lantern light, her complexion looked as delicate and tender as that of a young woman. All who had seen her agreed that she was definitely a beautiful woman in her youth. Although she was now middle-aged, she still possessed the charm to make men’s hearts beat faster.
Sometimes, this kind of mature and experienced woman was more alluring to a man than a young girl.
But, standing next to the young maiden dressed in purple, all her charms and brilliance completely failed to attract other people’s attention.
No one could describe this young maiden’s beauty; just like no one could describe why the hearts of men would tremble like the first breeze of spring wind blowing across the lake and rippling the water.
She lowered her head, standing silently over yonder, quietly casting a glance toward Lu Xiaofeng.
She did not even move her fingertips; using only her eyes she calmly gazed at Lu Xiaofeng.
Lu Xiaofeng already felt a wave of bizarre change in his heart, so much so that his body was also giving a strange reaction to this bizarre change.
There seemed to be an invisible flame in her eyes, a flame that burned a man's desire.
Only after looking at this young maiden did Lu Xiaofeng finally understand which kind of woman can be considered a natural extraordinarily beautiful woman.
Jia Leshan was sitting comfortably on a chair, enjoying looking at Lu Xiaofeng's facial expression. "She is called Chuchu [lit. lovely/cute]," he said slowly, "Don't you think she is really cute and moving?"
What else could Lu Xiaofeng do but to agree?
Jia Leshan exhaled softly. "Very well," he said, "Anytime you are willing to go back, she will go with you, along with this chest."
Lu Xiaofeng also exhaled softly. "In that case, you'd better tell her to wait for me here."
Jia Leshan: "When are you going back?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "As soon as I find the Luocha Tablet, I will go back immediately."
Jie Leshan's countenance changed. "What does it take to make you agree? What is it that you actually want?"
Lu Xiaofeng rolled his eyes. "Originally, I want nothing. But now I remember that I do want something."
Jia Leshan: "What is it that you want?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "I want Sikong Zhaixing's nose."
Jia Leshan was startled. "Gold and beauty you don't want, why do you want his nose?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Because I want to see, after his nose is gone, will he be able to masquerade as a deity or dress up as a ghost and fooling people everywhere."
Jia Leshan stared at him. Suddenly he burst into laughter.
His laughter had changed; now it was bold, clear and bright. Laughing with his face up he said, "Good, good kid, I am surprised this time I still didn't fool you. How did you find out?"
By saying those words, he obviously acknowledged that he was indeed Sikong Zhaixing.
Lu Xiaofeng nonchalantly said, "I can smell your thief smell."
Sikong Zhaixing: "I have a thief smell?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "It doesn't matter whether it is a big thief or a little thief, all thieves have thief smell on them. You are the king of thieves, naturally your smell is heavier. Besides ..."
Sikong Zhaixing could not bear not to ask: "Besides what?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Although I was drunk and lost my consciousness, other than people who used to commit petty burglary like you, everybody else should give up the idea of slipping into my room and stealing my clothes."
His clothes were originally hanging on the head of the bed, but now they were gone.
Sikong Zhaixing laughed: "I was only trying to help you find a reason to hide underneath the blanket; who wants your clothes?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "So you really don't want my head?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "Your head is too big; it is too heavy to carry, and takes too much space to be kept at home."
Lu Xiaofeng: "What do you want, then?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "Someone wants to look at you."
Lu Xiaofeng: "You haven't seen me enough already?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "If you think it was me who want to look at you, you are wrong. I only need to look at you one time, and I am already full in the stomach."
Lu Xiaofeng: "Who wants to look at me?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "Jia Leshan."
Lu Xiaofeng: "The real Jia Leshan?"
Sikong Zhaixing nodded. "He wants to know you, what kind of man actually is this four-eyebrowed freak? How good you really are?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Why didn't he personally come?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "He is already here."
Lu Xiaofeng: "In this room?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "In this room. Let's see if you can spot him."
Altogether, there were nine people in the room.
Other than Sikong Zhaixing and Lu Xiaofeng, there was the man in black who wielded the ancient sword, and then there were the secret projectile expert who was still hanging upside-down from the beam, the old servant whose fingernails were very long, the young maiden, the middle-aged pretty woman, and the two big men who brought the chest in.
Among these seven people, which one was the real Jia Leshan?
Lu Xiaofeng looked up and down at the man in black, sizing him up. "You wield an ancient sword, your martial art skill is not weak, you do not dare to let your true identity known, could you be the real Jia Leshan?"
The man in black did not open his mouth.
But Lu Xiaofeng suddenly shook his head. "No, can't be."
The man in black could not bear not to ask, "Why?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Because although your swordsmanship is acute, swift and fierce, you lack certain aggressiveness."
Man in black: "How do you know the real Jia Leshan would have certain aggressiveness?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "If he didn't have certain aggressiveness, how could he dominate the four seas in the past, to be in command of a group of warriors?"
The man in black could not say another word.
The second one Lu Xiaofeng sized up was the secret projectile expert who was hanging upside-down on the roof like a monkey. But he only looked at him once and immediately shook his head. "No, you can't be him."
Lu Xiaofeng: "Because a man like Jia Leshan will not possibly hang upside-down on the roof like a monkey."
The man also could not say another word.
Next, it was the old servant with very long fingernails' turn.
Lu Xiaofeng: "Based on your position, you should not have kept your fingernails that long. You raised the wick of the lantern with a silver ear-spoon, which, not only it was exquisitely made, it is also used by veteran Jianghu people to test for poison. Your expression is adequate, your footsteps steady, your internal energy must be not weak."
The old servant's expression did not change. "Could it be that you think Lao Xiu [lit. old rotten - a modest way to refer to one's self] is Jia Leshan?"
Lu Xiaofeng smiled. "You can't be."
The old servant: "Why?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Because you are not fit."
The old servant's countenance changed: "I am not fit?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "In the past Jia Leshan dominated the sea, nowadays he is also a prominent figure in his area. Whether there is poison in his food or drink, naturally it will be tested by his numerous attendants; why would he personally carry this kind of knick-knack?"
The old servant also could not say another word.
The two big men carrying the chest were even more impossible; their rough hands and feet, their uncouth appearance lacked of grandeur, anybody would be able to see it instantly.
Now Lu Xiaofeng was staring at the young maiden in purple.
Sikong Zhaixing: "Do you think she could be Jia Leshan?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "It's possible."
Sikong Zhaixing almost screamed: “It is possible?"
If you mean the break points of each paragraph, I am trying as much as I can to follow the original text. The book does not even have chapter number, only title, so I added 'Chapter 1, 2', etc. just so I can keep track of it. Part 1, 2, etc. is just my way of keeping track which chunks of text I have posted and which ones I have not.
Hope this answers your question.
Yes, I was talking about the text chosen for each update. I know the original story has chapters, but I also believe these were originally serialized stories that must have been broken down into smaller parts for publication. (For magazines? newspapers?)
Keep up the great work!
Wuxiapedia listed Silver Hook Casino at 1977. But I could not find any information whether it was serialized first or published as a book.
Lu Xiaofeng: "Based on her beauty and charm [Translator's note: in Chinese, the actual characters used were 'mei li' and 'mei li'. The first 'mei li' (美麗) means beauty, the second 'mei li' (麗力) means 'demon/elf power'.], indeed she can make men to grovel under her skirt, willingly do whatever she bids them to do. During the last several hundred years, among the pirates dominating the oceans, there was one 'overturning-the-state, causing-the-downfall-of-a-nation' kind of outstandingly beautiful woman; it's just too bad that ..."
Sikong Zhaixing: "Too bad what?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Too bad that her age is too young. At most she could only be Jia Leshan's daughter."
Sikong Zhaixing looked at him. Unexpectedly, he could not hide the feeling of admiration and respect in his eyes. "In that case, only one person left."
The only one left was that middle-aged beautiful woman.
"Could she be Jia Leshan?"
"Of course not."
Lu Xiaofeng: "Jia Leshan dominated the oceans thirty years ago, now he is at least fifty, sixty years old."
The middle-aged woman looked no more than forty years old.
Lu Xiaofeng: "It was said that not only Jia Leshan possessed an inborn supernatural power, his bravery also exceeded that of ten thousand men. During the struggle over the domination of the oceans in the past, he would always be the first to charge the enemy, his bravery was uncontested."
While the middle-aged woman looked extremely gentle, extremely weak.
Sikong Zhaixing smiled: "Although your explanation made a lot of sense, you have actually forgotten the most important point."
Lu Xiaofeng: "Oh?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "You have forgotten that Jia Leshan is a great man, while this madam is a woman."
Lu Xiaofeng: "That is an inconsequential point."
Sikong Zhaixing: "Oh?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Nowadays, the number of Jianghu people who are adept in the art of disguise is increasing daily. Men masquerade as women, women dress-up as men; it doesn't mean anything."
Sikong Zhaixing: "No matter what, you definitely believe she can't be the Jia Leshan."
Lu Xiaofeng: "It is impossible."
Sikong Zhaixing: "But I know for sure that Jia Leshan is in this room. If the seven of them are not Jia Leshan, then where is Jia Leshan?"
Lu Xiaofeng laughed. "You should not have asked that question."
Sikong Zhaixing: "Why shouldn't I?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Because you also know that the things of the world are just like a game of chess, the changes are extremely numerous. Many things that should not happen have actually happened, many things that are impossible to do have been done. Even the vast ocean can be turned into a mulberry orchard; much less other matters?"
Sikong Zhaixing: "Therefore ..."
Lu Xiaofeng: "Therefore, although this madam can't be Jia Leshan, she actually is."
Sikong Zhaixing: "Are you saying that she is a man dressed-up as a woman?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Hmm."
Sikong Zhaixing laughed. "Jia Leshan dominated the seven seas, and was feared by pirates everywhere. Obviously his appearance was that of a beastly real man. If he looked this delicate, how could the seafaring warriors submit to him?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "Perhaps you have forgotten his nickname in the years gone by. I have not."
Sikong Zhaixing: "Why don't you tell me?"
Lu Xiaofeng: "In the years gone by, he was known as Iron-faced Dragon King, because just like the famous general of the former dynasty, Di Qing, whenever he charged and broke through the enemy line, he would always wear a ferocious looking bronze mask on his face."
Unexpectedly, Sikong Zhaixing also could not say another word.
The middle-aged woman sighed and said, "Good, good eyesight."
Lu Xiaofeng: "It's not too bad, I think I can pass a casual inspection."
The middle-aged woman: "That's right, I am Jia Leshan, the Iron-faced Dragon King of the years gone by, and the Jiangnan's benevolent warrior of today."
When he said the word 'Jia Leshan', the graceful-attitude of his face turned as cold as the autumn frost; when he said the word 'Iron-faced Dragon King', his eyes were as sharp as the blade of a saber. When he finished speaking, he had completely turned into a different individual.
Although his clothing and facial appearance did not change at all, his expression and aura had completely changed. He was like a sharp weapon drawn out of its scabbard; even Lu Xiaofeng was able to feel the murderous aura surrounding him!
The Wulin warriors who killed people as if they are cutting grass are just like sharp swords; they have this murderous aura around their persons.
He started at Lu Xiaofeng, and then continued, "But I still don't understand, how did you see through me?"
Lu Xiaofeng smiled: "Because of her."
He was looking at Chuchu, the heart-moving Chuchu. Each time he looked at her, his eyes were full of admiration and passion.
But Jia Leshan’s eyes were full of suspicious and anger. “Because of her? Did she give you a hint?”
Looking at Jia Leshan’s expression, Lu Xiaofeng laughed even happier. He lightly said, “I don’t care what you think. If she wasn’t here, I would never guess you are Jia Leshan.”
Jia Leshan’s hand, which was holding Chuchu, suddenly tightened. Immediately Chuchu’s beautiful face showed some pain.
Lu Xiaofeng sighed inwardly. He had just realized the relationship between those two people. Ferocious and cunning old fox, gentle and beautiful little white rabbit. Greedy hawk, little canary which lost its freedom …
He could not bear to see her suffer much longer; thereupon he explained: “Such a beautiful girl like her, wherever she goes, men would not bear not to give her a glance or two.”
Jia Leshan: “Humph!”
Lu Xiaofeng: “But the men here actually did not look at her, so much so that nobody even dares to give her a glance. By nature, women like to be looked at by men. Yet the men here did not dare to look at her, obviously not because they are afraid she might get angry, but because they are afraid of you. Therefore …”
Jia Leshan: “Therefore what?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Therefore, I asked myself: the men in here are not easily intimidated by others; why do they fear you? Is it possible that you are the Jia Leshan who kills without batting an eye?”
Jia Leshan stared at him. Suddenly he burst into laughter. “Good! Well said! Good thinking!”
Lu Xiaofeng: “You came here not to listen to me, but to see me, you want to know what kind of man I am.”
Jia Leshan: “Correct.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Well, you have seen me now.”
Jia Leshan: “Correct.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “What kind of person am I?”
Jia Leshan: “You are a smart person.”
Lu Xiaofeng laughed: “Good! Good thinking!”
Jia Leshan: “You are not only smart, but strong-willed as well. No matter what, it would be very difficult to move you. I think that if you are determined to do a certain thing, you would definitely disregard hundreds of obstacles and make an all-out effort to accomplish it.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Good! Well said!”
Jia Leshan: “You will make a very good friend, but also a very frightening adversary.”
His saber-blade-sharp eyes were fixed on Lu Xiaofeng. “It’s a pity that you are not my friend, therefore, you must die.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “I must die?”
Jia Leshan coldly said, “You must die.”
The night was growing deeper, the wind was growing cold.
The man in black was still standing straight up like a javelin over yonder. The white-haired old servant took out a small file from his pocket and leisurely filing his long nails. Nobody knew when he jumped down, but the man hanging on the beam was already standing on the ground without creating any noise.
Jia Leshan: “Indeed you have not misjudged people. These three men are truly not to be trifled with. A moment ago you have tasted a stance of Lao San’s [lit. ol’ three, the third] killer sword and Lao Er’s [lit. ol’ two, the second] skill of man tian hua yu [flower rain filling the sky]. If Lao Da [the oldest] also joined in, the situation would be different.”
[You know ... I might be wrong here, (too lazy to look it up) but wasn't tan zhi shen tong Huang Yaoshi's special skill, while man tian hua yu was the skill of Hong Qigong, which he bestowed to Huang Rong when they first met?]
Lu Xiaofeng looked at that white-haired old servant. “You must be the Lao Da.”
The white-haired old servant laughed coldly. Bending his fingers, the three-inch long nail on his middle finger coiled in unexpectedly, just like a flexible noodle; as it sprang back out, a ‘swish’ was heard, as a line of wind flew out of his fingernail and pierced the window paper about seven, eight feet away.
If this nail pierced a human’s body, what would the outcome be?
Lu Xiaofeng could not restrain from shouting praises: “Good! Good tan zhi shen tong [divine flicking finger]; really worthy to be called Huashan’s special skill.”
The old servant coldly said, “Your eyesight is indeed not bad.”
Lu Xiaofeng sighed. “Kongtong’s killer sword, Xin Shi Niang School’s man tian hua yu, plus Huashan’s tan zhi shen tong. Looks like I really cannot escape from death today.”
Suddenly Sikong Zhaixing laughed. “Others say your eyesight is not bad, but I should say that your eyesight is not good.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Oh?”
Sikong Zhaixing: “You only recognize those three’s martial art origins, but forgot that there are two even more frightening people.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “I have not forgotten.”
Sikong Zhaixing: “You do not count me?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “I don’t.”
Sikong Zhaixing: “Why?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Because in my eyes, not only you are not frightening, you are actually very loveable.”
Sikong Zhaixing laughed.
Lu Xiaofeng: “You didn’t think I would say that you are loveable, did you?”
Sikong Zhaixing: “I also did not think that you would consider this Miss Chuchu as frightening.”
Lu Xiaofeng laughed: “I can also see that she is loveable.”
Isn’t it true that loveable people are usually also frightening?
Perhaps you do not understand this, but when you really fall in love with someone, I am sure you will understand my meaning.
Sikong Zhaixing: “There is a saying that I am sure you haven’t heard yet.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “What saying?”
Sikong Zhaixing: “Cute [orig. ‘chuchu’] and moving, snatch one’s life pursue one’s soul.”
Lu Xiaofeng turned his head to look at Chuchu. He shook his head and said, “I don’t believe you have the ability to snatch one’s life pursue one’s soul.”
Chuchu smiled sweetly, “Neither do I.”
Her smile was like the first bloom of a spring flower, her voice was like a Black-naped Oriole [Oriolus chinensis, a songbird] flying out the valley, but her hand was more venomous than a rattlesnake.
She made her move when her smile was the sweetest; a golden light flashed, like a lightning it went straight toward Lu Xiaofeng’s throat.
The weapon she used was the hairpin on her hair.
Lu Xiaofeng was ready to clamp it down; his fingers had never failed.
But this time, as he was stretching his hand out, he pulled it back instantly, because on this golden flash, he discovered that there were countless thorns, as fine as cow’s hair, on the golden hairpin. If he continued clamping, the golden hairpin would definitely break, but the fine thorns would certainly prick his hand.
The thorns must be poisonous. Chuchu definitely was not the first one among the enemies who had used this kind of tactic to deal with him.
Lu Xiaofeng was able to live well ‘till now, it certainly was not entirely due to his good luck.
His eyes and his reaction were quicker; once his hand was pulled back, his body also slid away. ‘Swish, swish!’ the hairpin streaked over his neck.
Chuchu flipped her wrist, the hairpin also followed.
The hairpin was short and agile, and hence the changes were certainly very quick. In an instant she had stabbed twenty seven stances, each stance came from a very difficult angle for the opponent to evade; each stab aimed at vital point.
Last edited by foxs; 06-25-09 at 10:45 PM.
Last edited by junny; 06-28-09 at 08:36 AM.
Thanks for the info. I googled it, but could not find anything useful. There are some links to tv adaptations, but almost none to written work.
The hairpin in the hand of this cute and moving young woman was indeed far more frightening than the sharp sword in the hand of the man in black.
Only, it was a pity that the opponent she met was Lu Xiaofeng.
Her movements were fast, Lu Xiaofeng dodged even faster. She stabbed twenty seven times, Lu Xiaofeng evaded twenty six times. Suddenly he flipped his hand and grabbed her delicate, beautiful and tender wrist.
The wrist was not broken. Lu Xiaofeng had always been a man who ‘pity fragrance and compassionate toward jade’, how could he have the heart to act cruelly?
But her heart was cruel enough. With a twist of her waist she suddenly launched a fierce kick toward Lu Xiaofeng’s groin.
In all honesty, it was not a move a virtuous young woman should put forth. Nobody would guess that such a gentle loveable girl would put forth such a malicious move.
But obviously Lu Xiaofeng had anticipated this movement, because he gently twisted her wrist and flung her away, so that when her foot had just about to kick, her body had already been thrown away. Struggling hard to turn her body over in the air, she landed on Jia Leshan’s bosom.
Jia Leshan knitted his eyebrows: “Are you injured?”
Surprisingly, the tone of his voice was very gentle.
Chuchu shook her head, she slowly slid down from Jia Leshan’s bosom. Suddenly, with a backhand movement the golden hairpin in her hand went straight into Jia Leshan’s chest.
This change was completely beyond Lu Xiaofeng’s anticipation; much less for Jia Leshan, even in his wildest dreams he had never thought this could happen.
It was undoubtedly a fatal strike!
But Jia Leshan was worthy to be called a formidable character of the present age. In the face of death his mind stayed clear, he was still able to make his move. Furthermore, once he made his move, he was able to grip Chuchu’s throat tightly.
Chuchu was so scared that her face turned scarlet; her throat did not stop making ‘ge ge’ noises.
Jia Leshan’s hands tightened; with a fierce grin he roared, “Lowly woman, I’ll take your …”
He had not finished speaking when with a ‘zip’ noise a three cun and three fen [1 cun is approximately 1 inch, 1 fen is approximately 33mm or about 1/8 inch] long fingernail had already pierced the ‘yu shu’ [lit. jade comb] acupoint on the back of his head.
This was also a fatal strike!
Jia Leshan’s hands loosened; he roared as he turned around and pounced on that white-haired old servant.
But as he was turning around, a burst of objects splitting the air; thirteen cold stars simultaneously hit him on his back. A pale sword also came in lightning-fast speed, piercing his waist.
As soon as their strike succeeded, four people leaped back instantly, retreated into the four corners of the room.
When the sword was pulled out, blood spurted out. Surprisingly, Jia Leshan had not fallen down. His very good looking face had turned unspeakably and hideously frightening. His pair of charming eyes also bulged out, staring at those four people. “You … why did you do it?” he said in a raspy voice.
The man in black gripped his sword so tightly that the blue veins on the back of his hand popped out, his knuckles also turned white from excessive force, but his trembling did not stop. The old servant and the man who hang from the beam were also trembling incessantly.
They were so shaken that they could not speak.
The one who could speak was, surprisingly, Chuchu. Biting her lip, she sneered and said, “You should understand why we did this.”
Jia Leshan sighed, with his last breath he said, “I don’t understand …”
Those words were spoken with a weakening voice so that by the end, his voice turned into a mere sigh.
He did not understand. Even in his death he did not understand.
The lantern gradually dimmed.
There was not a single noise in the room, as if all breathing and heartbeats had stopped.
Jia Leshan had fallen on his own pool of blood.
He came suddenly, he died abruptly.
Lu Xiaofeng loosened his tight fist; he suddenly realized that his own palms were drenched in cold sweat.
The first to speak was Chuchu. Was it because by nature women’s tongues are more dexterous and flexible than men’s?
She turned around to face Lu Xiaofeng: “Surely you didn’t think that we might kill him.”
Lu Xiaofeng concurred. He thought that in a matter like this, it would be hard for anybody to imagine this might happen.
Chuchu: “Do you know why we wanted to kill him?”
Lu Xiaofeng hesitated – an unmatched marriage relation would always bring about tragedy. It was not that he did not know this fact, but he would rather hear her say it with her own mouth.
Chuchu’s face appeared grieved and anger. “He used force to hold me captive, he coerced me to be his play thing. He also blackmailed them and forced them to be his lackeys. We had always wanted to kill him, but it was a pity that so far we could not find the opportunity.”
Without a doubt Jia Leshan was an extremely frightening man; if they did not have at least ninety percent confidence of success, they certainly would not dare to act rashly.
Lu Xiaofeng: “Could it be that this time I gave you a good opportunity?”
Chuchu nodded her head. “And that’s why not only we are very appreciative, we are also prepared to repay you.”
Lu Xiaofeng smiled. When the word ‘repay’ came from a woman’s lips, it usually carried a different meaning.
But Chuchu’s expression was very somber as she said, “Our mission is to find the Luocha Tablet, yet we also know that your chance of success is next to nothing, because our current situation is still better than yours.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Oh?”
Chuchu: “If you wish, we can do everything within our power to help you.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “How will you help?”
Chuchu pointed her finger toward the chest brimming with gold and silver on the floor: “A chest like this, we still have twelve more on our carriages. Li Xia does not know Jia Leshan has died, she also has never seen his true identity; therefore …”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Therefore, if I masquerade as Jia Leshan and buy Li Xia’s Luocha Tablet with this money, we will be successful without too much effort.”
Chuchu sighed. “At least Jia Leshan was not mistaken at all, you are definitely a smart man.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “But I still don’t understand why you want to do it like this?”
Chuchu hesitated a little bit before answering, “Because we are unwilling that others should know that Jia Leshan died under our hands.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Are you afraid his disciples would avenge him?”
Chuchu laughed: “Nobody will avenge him. It’s just that …”
Lu Xiaofeng: “It’s just that he was a very rich person, he left behind a lot of inheritance. As his murderers, you don’t have any chance of ever acquiring his inheritance.”
Chuchu sighed again: “You are indeed very smart, so smart that it is scary.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “You do not have any confidence to kill me to shut my mouth, yet you are afraid this secret will leak, you are concocting this idea of buying me.”
Chuchu winked. “Are you still not satisfied?”
Lu Xiaofeng laughed. “Too bad that I am not the only one with eyes in this room, I am also not the only one with a mouth.”
Chuchu: “Everybody in this room is on our side, except Sikong Daxia [great hero] …”
Sikong Zhaixing: “I am not a Daxia, but a Dazei [great thief].”
Chuchu: “Right. Since our Sikong Dazei is a good friend of Lu Xiaofeng, if Lu Xiaofeng is willing to comply, Sikong Dazei will certainly not sell him off.”
Sikong Zhaixing stared at her. “I said I am a Dazei, and you also say that I am a Dazei?”
Chuchu sweetly said, “This is called, ‘to follow one’s precepts is the sincerest form of respect’.”
Sikong Zhaixing also laughed.
After all, he was a man. A beautiful woman in front of a man, whatever she says, usually the man would find it very fascinating.
Chuchu definitely had a very high confidence on her own beauty. She cast him a glance with the corner of her eye, “What do you say?”
Sikong Zhaixing: “Sikong Dazei is not Lu Xiaofeng’s friend; therefore, he can sell Lu Xiaofeng off anytime. But Sikong Dazei has never wished to invite any trouble, especially to attract this kind of trouble, therefore …”
Chuchu: “Therefore, Sikong Dazei also agrees.”
Sikong Zhaixing: “But Sikong Dazei has one condition.”
Chuchu rolled her eyes. “What condition? Don’t tell me Sikong Dazei wants me to accompany him sleeping.”
These words were more shocking that her kick to Lu Xiaofeng’s groin just a moment ago.
Sikong Zhaixing laughed aloud. “A girl like you, if you sleep by my side, I would wake up with a start even if I am sound asleep.”
Chuchu: “What do you want, then?”
Sikong Zhaixing: “If you are successful in obtaining the Luocha Tablet, let those four women go.”
Chuchu: “You mean Li Xia and the others?”
Sikong Zhaixing: “Uh huh.”
Chuchu winked at him. “Why do you care about them this much? Have they accompanied you sleeping?”
Sikong Zhaixing stared at her. With a rueful smile he shook his head: “You look like a nice girl, but why is it that you always talk about those things?”
Chuchu sweetly said, “Because whenever I talk about those things, I always feel aroused, I feel very excited.”
Sikong Zhaixing sighed. “I only want to ask you: do you agree to my condition?”
Chuchu: “Of course I agree.”
Sikong Zhaixing immediately stood up. He waved his hand to Lu Xiaofeng and said, “Goodbye!”
Lu Xiaofeng called out, “What about my clothes?”
Sikong Zhaixing: “There is this kind of woman in the room, what do you need clothes for? Since when did you become this stupid?” He laughed and jumped out; he was already outside the window before the last few words were even finished. In an instant his laughter was already thirty zhang [1 zhang is approximately 10 feet or 3 meters] away.
Nobody knew since when there were only two people left in the room. Lu Xiaofeng was lying on the bed, Chuchu was standing by the bed.
She still looked very docile; docile and tender, yet again she asked a shocking question: “Do you want me to sleep with you?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “I do.”
This time he was not the least bit shocked; he did not even blink.
Chuchu laughed. With a tender voice she said, “In that case, why don’t you lie down here alone and slowly think about what you want.”
Suddenly she turned around and left, without even looked back. It was not before she reached the door did she turned around and waved. “We’ll see you tomorrow.”
‘Bang!’ she slammed the door shut.
With eyes open wide Lu Xiaofeng stared at the ceiling, while asking himself, “Why do I always meet these strange people? These strange matters …?”
Actually, he did not know that an even stranger matter was waiting for him.
End of Chapter 5.
Last edited by foxs; 06-28-09 at 09:27 AM.
Thanks Junny! I always wonder about that- when these stories are serialized how much appears in each "segment"? Is it daily or weekly? With some of Jin Yong's stuff it's easy to see the break points, but with Gu Long it's more subtle- although Foxs has been doing a great job at choosing just the right break point to make us clamor for more!
Actually, I divide the chapter into almost equal parts. I have to admitted though, that if the end is not far from an exciting part, I would stop at that part. Anyway, I believe I have enough material for regular updates for at least 2 weeks. You can expect the next update in a couple of days.
Chapter 6 – Ice Country, Strange Talk
(Translated by Foxs, Edited by Eliza Bennet)
The place they were heading was not on the horizon at all, it was on the Songhua River. And Songhua River was not on the horizon. It was in between Baishan [lit. white mountain, a prefecture level city in Jilin province] and Heishui [lit. black water, a county on northwest Sichuan].
Rahasu was south of Songhua River. This word means ‘the Old House’ [orig. Lau Wu]. Although the name itself carried the connotation of a happy and cozy place, it was actually a desolate and cold place. When the Chongyang Festival [ninth day of the ninth month] comes around, the river freezes, and it would not thaw until the Qingming [early April, the tomb-sweeping day] of the next year. So the river was frozen more or less seven months out of a year.
But these seven months were not distressing at all.
As a matter of fact, Lau Wu’s residents were looking forward to these seven months of frozen river, because it was a period when their days would have more variations, would be richer with interesting activities.
“Where is exactly Rahasu?”
“On the Songhua River.”
“How can there be a small town on the river?”
“Strictly speaking, the town is not on the river at all, but on the ice.”
“On the ice?” Lu Xiaofeng laughed. Although he had seen many strange occurrences, he had never seen a small town on the ice.
People who had never been to Rahasu would indeed have a very difficult time believing this, but Rahasu was indeed on the ice.
That section of the river’s surface was not very wide, only about twenty, thirty zhang. But the ice was more than ten chi deep [1 chi is approximately 1 foot or 1/3 of a meter].
Long time residents of Lao Wu always had some kind of extraordinary premonition on when the river was going to freeze. Perhaps they could smell it from the wind, or hear the news from the breeze, or see it from the wave that the river was about to freeze.
Therefore, a few days before the river was about to freeze, they tossed the pre-assembled wooden frame into the river and tied it firmly with the rope to the bank of the river, much like the migrating people of the ancient times staking out their territory on the wilderness.
Once the river froze, this section of the river surface turned into a long and wide crystal main street, dazzling to the eyes.
By this time, the wooden frame on the surface of the river had been frozen like they were rooted inside the ice. By adding beams and rafters, laying out bricks and tiles, with sandy soil mixed with water as the bonding agent, in just one night the walls would be frozen solid as rocks.
Thereupon one by one, all kinds and sizes of houses and buildings appeared on the river, built on ice, so that in just three to five days this place had turned into a bustling little town, so much so that even a large carriage pulled by eight horses would be able to travel on the crystal main street.
All kinds of stores of various trades were also open for business. Although outside a drop of water would freeze into ice, inside the buildings the air was as warm as the springtime.
Listening to all this, Lu Xiaofeng felt like he was listening to a fairy tale.
“In a place where water turns into ice, where even your nose can freeze and fall off, how can the air be as warm as the springtime inside the buildings?”
“Because we can build fire inside the house, we can even build fire underneath the kang [a heatable brick bed].”
“Build fire on the ice?”
“What about the ice?”
“The ice stays as ice, it won’t change the least bit.”
The ice stayed right up to the Qingming season of the next year before it started to melt. By that time, the people had already moved their ‘homes’ ashore, leaving empty wooden skeleton and waste, which would be washed out, along with the ice chunks, by the surging river.
Therefore, this bustling small town on the ice would vanish into the thin air, probably like a dream in the spring time.
Right now, it was the time when the river freezes, as a matter of fact, it was the coldest time of the year.
And this was the time Lu Xiaofeng arrived at Rahasu.
Naturally he did not arrive alone, because his status was different now, even his appearance was not the same. Other than the original moustache, which looked exactly like his eyebrows, he now grew a clump of beard on his chin. It would not be such a big deal if this change happened to other people; but to him, it was a big difference because originally he was known as the four-eyebrowed man, and now this special characteristic was lost with the addition of a beard.
This change had made him look like a different person, perhaps he would look like the number one millionaire of Jiangnan, the Jia Leshan.
His style was not small, to begin with; now that he was leading a large entourage, wearing thousands of taels worth sable-fur coat, riding on a large carriage heated by a stove, he did indeed look like an insufferably arrogant multi-millionaire.
Chuchu, wearing silver-fox fur-coat, nestled by his side like a little pigeon.
This girl was wild and unpredictable; sometimes she was weird to the point of very annoying, some other times she seemed to be ready to go to bed with you any time. But as soon as you actually made your move, you would not be able to even touch her.
Lu Xiaofeng was no exception; therefore, in the past several days his mood was no good at all.
He was a normal and healthy man; would you say his mood was supposed to be good if he was entangled with such a girl all day long, yet when the night came he was left to stare blankly at the ceiling alone?
Sui Han San You were still following him from a distance; they did not interfere with whatever he was doing.
Their only objective was for Lu Xiaofeng to find the Luocha Tablet for them, so for them, it does not matter whether Lu Xiaofeng turned into Jia Leshan or Zhen Leshan [Translator’s note: a play of words. ‘Jia’ sounds like ‘fake’ (different character), ‘Zhen’ means ‘real’]. They did not care, they took a completely ‘did not hear, did not ask’ policy.
From the window of the carriage looking ahead to the distance, they were able to see the dazzling bright, jade-white crystal main street.
Chuchu sighed softly, “Finally we are through with this stage of the journey."
Lu Xiaofeng also sighed. He knew that all endless arduous journeys would eventually come to an end; however, his heart was still feeling very happy seeing that the destination was in sight.
The spirit of the driver of the carriage also rose, he lashed his whip to make the horses ran faster. White mist spurted out from the horses' nostrils, while dense white foam flowed down from the corner of their mouths. Looking into the distance, they now could see the outline of the houses in the little town on the ice.
And then the night came.
In bitter cold, on the extreme north, places like this, night always comes quickly. Clearly it was not even dusk just a moment ago, and now suddenly the night had covered the earth. The brilliance of the crystal main street was also dimmed. One lantern after another was lit, and very soon the small town that had vanished in the dark was suddenly brightened by glorious lantern lights.
The light illuminated the ice, and the ice reflected the light; the town looked like a cluster of crystal palaces, standing on a piece of colored glaze world. Whoever saw this scene for the first time would certainly be dazzled in awe; it was very relaxing.
Lu Xiaofeng was no exception.
Along the way he had suffered countless hardship, so much so that several times he almost lost his puny life.
But in this moment, he suddenly felt everything was worth it. If time could go back to the past and brought him back to the Silver Hook Casino, and let him choose again, he would still agree to come here one more time.
Isn’t it true that hardship would make one’s life richer, more abundant? To obtain true happiness, won’t one have to pay the price of hardship first?
Lu Xiaofeng could not restrain from sighing softly. “Perhaps this place would not look as beautiful as this if it is right across the street from your home and you can visit it anytime.”
Chuchu also sighed softly, “You are right.”
Night, night market. The little town on the ice, glorious lantern lights. The light from the buildings and the reflection of the light from the ice enhanced each other’s beauty. One lantern became two; two lanterns became four, as if the whole universe was full with glittering stars. Even Beijing’s most busy street could not compare with this place.
Thanks for the updates. How long is the book in total? I assume it is 10-13 chapters like the first few LXF's, and if it is then congratulations on being in the neighbor hood of the halfway point. I am looking forward to the rest.
Also, thank you for including notes about literal translations like "Lao San" and "yu shu" and assorted names of stances. I don't mind a bit learning while I am entertained.
And thank you very much foxs for translating this
Thanks Junny. I like to know how much we have left.
Hurray for Foxs!
You're halfway through!
IcyFox, how was the trip? Is everything all right?
The street was not narrow at all; all kinds of shops lined up on either side of it, the street was busy with carriages, horses and pedestrians, sounds of people talking and laughing were heard from the teahouses and wine shops.
Looking at these people, and then looking at this crystal glass world, Lu Xiaofeng practically could not tell whether this place was earthly or heavenly.
As they entered the street, he knew that the first building he saw was a small wine shop, because there was a sign board which said, ‘Tai Bai Yi Feng’ [Tai Bai legacy. Tai Bai refers to the ‘Great Li Bai’, a poet of Tang Dynasty]; under the board stood a woman wearing a leather coat lined with purple satin, looking at him with smiling eyes.
The woman was not too pretty, but her smile was very charming, very warm. When she smiled her round face revealed two deep dimples. Her pair of eyes, which seemed to be always smiling although she was not smiling, was fixed on Lu Xiaofeng’s face.
Chuchu snorted a cold laugh from her nose: “She seems to be very interested in you.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “I don’t even know her.”
Chuchu: “Of course you don’t know her, but I do.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Oh?”
Chuchu: “Her surname is Tang, she is called Tang Keqing. Everybody thinks it is so easy to get close to her; looks like you are no exception.”
Lu Xiaofeng laughed. “You seem to know her a lot?”
Chuchu: “Of course.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “But she does not seem to know you.”
Chuchu winked. “Guess, how do I know her?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “I can’t guess, and I do not want to guess.”
Chuchu: “Jia Leshan always handled matters meticulously. Before he came here, he had already investigated those four women carefully; he even had someone drew pictures of them.”
Lu Xiaofeng frowned. “Are you saying that she is one of the four women the Blue Beard sent away?”
Chuchu: “She is precisely the Lao San [lit. ‘ol three, the third in rank], that is, the Blue Beard’s second mistress.”
Lu Xiaofeng could not help from turning around his head to give her another look, only to see another woman.
The woman came out from a drug store, specialized in herbal medicine used specifically for the treatment of external injury, across the street, and entered Tang Keqing's small wine shop. She was draped in black clothing, her stature was thin and small, her face always wore cold and apathetic expression, as if everybody else in the world owed her a couple hundred taels of silver and nobody had paid her back.
No matter how you look at it, you won't say that she was an attractive woman, but she would definitely catch your attention. She was totally of a different type from Tang Keqing, but contrary to expectation, it looked like they were friends; not only just regular friends, but good friends.
Chuchu: "You are very interested in this woman, are you not?"
With a forced laugh Lu Xiaofeng said, "Do I know her?"
Chuchu: "I do know her."
Lu Xiaofeng: "Are you saying she is also ..."
Chuchu: "Her surname is Leng, called Hong'er. She was Blue Beard's third mistress."
Lu Xiaofeng sighed. "Blue Beard is indeed a very strange character. After he got that sweet and cute second mistress, why would he take this cold and unfriendly Lau Si [lit. 'ol four; the fourth in rank]?"
Chuchu said matter-of-factly, "A cold and unfriendly woman also has her good points. If you have a chance, you can try it yourself."
Lu Xiaofeng could not bear not to look back again, only to see two men carrying someone who had broken his leg toward the drugstore's door. "Is Doctor Leng in?" they shouted, "Please come over."
Turned out this Leng Hong'er still had some skill in treating external injury, other than being the boss of this herbal medicine store.
Lu Xiaofeng laughed: "What do you know? She still possesses some skills!"
As soon as he closed his mouth, Lu Xiaofeng realized that in this world, there might be some women who do not eat rice, but woman who do not eat vinegar [meaning, jealous], he had never seen any.
Yet Chuchu only laughed and winked. "Actually, among Blue Beard's four women, the prettiest is the first mistress, Chen Jingjing."
Lu Xiaofeng had heard this name before.
" ... the people of Rahasu are usually narrow-minded, often show hostility towards foreigners and newcomers. Other than two people, it is best if you do not believe whatever anybody else is saying ... One is called Lao Shanyang [lit. old mountain goat]; he was my father's former business partner. The other is Chen Jingjing ..."
Immediately he recalled Ding Xiangyi's warning, but he had never guessed that Chen Jingjing was also one of Blue Beard's women.
Chuchu cast him a sidelong glance with the corner of her eye, she lightly said, "If you want to see her, I might be able to help you find her."
Lu Xiaofeng could not restrain from asking: "Do you know where she is?"
Chuchu: "She is Li Xia's right hand woman, chances are she is at the casino, helping Li Xia running her business."
Lu Xiaofeng: "Casino? What casino?"
Chuchu: "Silver Hook Casino."
Lu Xiaofeng: "There is a Silver Hook Casino in here?"
Chuchu nodded. "We have an appointment with Li Xia to meet at the Silver Hook Casino.
Lu Xiaofeng did not ask further, because he had already seen a shiny silver hook swaying in the wind.
The door was not wide, the silver hook glittered under the lantern light.
Lu Xiaofeng pushed the door open, he went from the bone-chilling cold of outside to the as-warm-as-spring room. He took off his sable fur coat and casually tossed it to a chair behind the door, and then he took a deep breath.
The air was filled with men's tobacco and alcohol smell, mixed with women's cosmetics and perfumes, plus the smell of fresh wood shavings and paint ...
It was not a suitable air for someone to take a deep breath, but Lu Xiaofeng was very familiar with this kind of smell.
Sikong Zhaixing was right, Lu Xiaofeng belonged to this kind of place.
He loved luxury, he loved excitement, he liked to indulge. It was his weakness, but he had never denied this fact -- Everybody must have some kind of weaknesses, right?
Although the scale of this gambling establishment could not be compared with that of Blue Beard’s, the gamblers were also not as orderly, but mahjong, dice, and all kinds of gambling tables were also available in this place.
Lu Xiaofeng did not wait for Chuchu to lead the way; with stuck-out chest and big strides he walked straight in.
He was perfectly aware that everybody’s attention was at him; they were looking at his clothes, his style. No matter who, those who looked at him saw a grand guest, a tycoon.
Tycoons’ eyes are usually looking up, above everybody’s head. Therefore, Lu Xiaofeng also held his head high. But he could still see someone was walking over to him with smile on his face.
He did not pay attention to any particular person, but this man’s manner was too strange; his attire was even weirder that even Lu Xiaofeng had seldom seen this kind of eccentric person.
This man was wearing a red satin loose robe, the robe was embroidered with all kinds of flowers; there were yellow flowers, blue flowers, green flowers.
The weirdest of all, he also wore a very, very tall pointed hat; the hat was also embroidered with six large scarlet characters, ‘Number One Child Prodigy in the World’ [orig. tian xia di yi shen tong’ – 6 characters].
Lu Xiaofeng laughed. Of course he recognized this person. This must be Li Xia’s precious younger brother, Li Shentong [‘shentong’ means child prodigy].
Seeing Lu Xiaofeng laughed, Li Shentong also laughed. His laugh was half silly, half stupid, half insane, half wild. He walked with a sway like a woman, cupped his fists to greet Lu Xiaofeng, saying, “How are you?”
Suppressing his laughter, Lu Xiaofeng replied, “Good.”
Li Shentong: “Your honorable surname?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Jia.”
Li Shentong looked at him from top to bottom, sizing him up. “Jia Xiong [brother Jia] came from different part of the country?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Hmm.”
Li Shentong: “I wonder how would Jia Xiong like to gamble? ‘Tian Jiu’? ‘Chan Shuang’? Dice?” [My apology, I am not familiar with gambling. The original were 天九 and 单双, respectively.]
Although his manner seemed silly and half insane, his speech was surprisingly quite clear and normal.
Lu Xiaofeng had not replied when someone else behind him answered on his behalf, “This Master Jia is not here to gamble, but to see someone.”
The voice was gentle, tender and silvery, it was a woman’s voice, but it was not Chuchu’s voice. The woman’s manner was very refined, her look was also very good. Chuchu was standing behind her, busily signaling Lu Xiaofeng with her eyes.
Could this woman be Chen Jingjing?
Haha hey Foxs!
It's colder than I thought. Hi everyone, are any of you in Berkeley now?
Wel, that's the Bay Area. I guess it's because of the bay. You'll get used to it.
Lu Xiaofeng face did not show any emotion. “Since you know that I am here to see someone, I am sure you also know who I am looking for.”
Chen Jingjing nodded. “Please follow me.”
There was a small cottage behind the casino, unexpectedly the decoration was very exquisite, but there was nobody in there. Lu Xiaofeng sat down on a large bamboo chair draped in fox fur. “Where is Li Xia?”
Chen Jingjing: “She is not here.”
Lu Xiaofeng’s face sank. “I traveled over thousands of li to see her, and she is not here?”
Chen Jingjing laughed. Her laughter was also gentle and soft. With a soft voice she said, “It is exactly because she knew Master Jia is coming that she left.”
Lu Xiaofeng angrily said, “What do you mean 'she left'?”
Chen Jingjing: “Because she cannot see Master Jia for the time being.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Why?”
Chen Jingjing: "She has left, but she may come back, because she does not wish to offend you, and when she comes back, she will bring the Luocha Tablet along."
Lu Xiaofeng: "What did she say?"
Chen Jingjing: "She said she would like Master Jia to render the payment to me. After I deliver the money to her, she will come back promptly."
Lu Xiaofeng deliberately slapped the table: "What kind of business practice is this? I haven't seen the goods, yet you want my money first?"
Chen Jingjing was still smiling very tenderly: "She also wants me to pass this message to you: if Master Jia does not agree to this condition, the deal is off."
Lu Xiaofeng sprang up from the chair, but then he slowly sat back down.
Chen Jingjing smiled: "If you asked me, I think it would be better if Master Jia agree to this condition, because she has hidden the Luocha Tablet in a very secret location, a very secure place. Other than her, nobody else knows where it is. If she is unwilling to take it out, nobody will be able to find it."
Lu Xiaofeng's eyes glimmered: "She is afraid I was going to force her to hand the Luocha Tablet over, therefore, she went into hiding as soon as I arrived."
Chen Jingjing did not deny at all.
With a cold laugh Lu Xiaofeng said, "She is not afraid I am going to find her?"
Chen Jingjing laughed: "You won't find her. If she doesn't want to be found, nobody can find her."
Although she was laughing tenderly, her eyes showed her determination; apparently she was also a strong-willed woman, and had a complete confidence that nobody could find Li Xia's hiding place.
Lu Xiaofeng stared at her. He said coldly, "Even if I can't find her, I will have a way to make you to take me there."
Chen Jingjing smiled while shaking her head. "Of course I know that the way Master Jia handles matters must be extraordinary; it's a pity that I do not know where the Luocha Tablet is being hidden, I also do not know where Li Dajie [eldest sister Li] has gone. Otherwise, why would she leave me here?"
Her manner was very calm, her voice was also completely under control; anybody would know that she was telling the truth.
Lu Xiaofeng sighed. "If that's the case, if I want the Luocha Tablet, I won't have any other choice but to agree to her condition, will I?"
Chen Jingjing also sighed. "That Li Dajie of ours is indeed a very astute and cautious woman; we are also ..."
She did not continue. There was no need for her to continue. Just from her sigh anybody could tell that they had suffered more than just a few hardships from Li Xia.
Lu Xiaofeng muttered, "What if after I pay her she is still unwilling to give me the goods?"
Chen Jingjing: "I also do not have any way of guaranteeing you over that matter; therefore, there is no harm in Master Jia giving it further consideration. We have already prepared a place for Master Jia to rest."
Lu Xiaofeng stood up suddenly. With a cold voice he said, "No need. I will find one myself."
Chen Jingjing: "Master Jia has just arrived here, you do not have any acquaintance yet; how would you find a place?"
In big strides Lu Xiaofeng walked out; with head held high he said, "I don't have any acquaintances, but I have money."
Naturally Chuchu always stayed by his side. As soon as they left the Silver Hook Casino, Chuchu laughed and clapped her hands. "Good! Very good!"
Lu Xiaofeng: "What do you mean 'very good'?"
Chuchu: "Your acting was very good. You truly acted like a millionaire who is covered in money from head to toe."
Lu Xiaofeng smiled ruefully, "Actually I know that Jia leshan's conduct was extremely shady, he would never act like a newly rich person. I just could not think of acting any other way."
Chuchu laughed. "But your act was very convincing. If I did not know Jia leshan, I would have been fooled myself."
Lu Xiaofeng: "But apparently Chen Jingjing was not a simple woman at all, Li Xia must be even more astute and fierce. I don't know if I will be able to fool her."
Chuchu: "Actually, it doesn't matter if you can fool her or not. She only recognizes the money and not the person anyway."
Lu Xiaofeng laughed, but did not say anything. He was thinking in his heart that now he had seen Chen Jingjing. Under the circumstances, he definitely could not reveal his true identity; introducing himself as Ding Xiangyi's friend was even more out of question.
What about the Old Goat?
Just when he was thinking about the Old Goat, someone was being kicked out of a nearby restaurant. 'Wham!' he landed on the ice, and slid seven, eight more feet, and incidentally stopped in front of Lu Xiaofeng.
The man was wearing an inside-out sheepskin coat and a sheepskin cap. Surprisingly, there were two goat horns on his cap. Additionally, his face looked dry, thin, yellowish and old, with sparse goatee on his chin. He indeed looked like an old goat.
Lu Xiaofeng looked at him without showing any emotion on his face, so much so that his eyes did not even blink.
With gasping breath the Old Goat struggled to stand up, while mumbling, “Damn those barbarians. Even if Laoye [master, referring to self] do not have money to drink wine, you, those bastard lambs, did not have to kick me out.” Cursing and swearing, he limped away.
Lowering his voice, Lu Xiaofeng instructed Chuchu: “Have Xin Lao’er [‘ol two, the second in rank] follow him.”
Xin Lao’er was the man expert in qinggong and secret projectile, formerly a direct descendant and disciple of ‘Flower Rain’ Xin Shi Niang [Tenth Madame Xin].
The one with the ancient sword and dressed in black was surnamed Bai, he was the Lao San [the third]; together with the Huashan disciple, the white-haired old man, they were sworn brothers. Just because many years ago they committed a mistake, Jia Leshan blackmailed them so that they had no other choice but becoming his lackeys. It had been seven, eight years they served Jia Leshan without any opportunity to leave.
This story was told by them, Lu Xiaofeng only listened. Did he truly believe their story? Nobody knows.
‘Eternal Heaven Restaurant’ actually did not have any second story [Translator’s note: the word translated as ‘restaurant’ was actually ‘jiu lou’, jiu – wine, lou – building with more than one floor level]; but without a doubt it was the biggest restaurant in the area, with the most luxurious interior.
Right now the building had become Lu Xiaofeng’s. He only needed a few sentences to close this business deal.
“How much do you make in a day?”
“When business is good, at least three to five taels of silver.”
“Here is a thousand taels of silver, give this building to me. When I am gone, the building is still yours. Will you or will you not agree?”
Of course the restaurant proprietor agreed, moreover, he agreed so quickly. Consequently, the signboard above the door was taken down promptly, and the business was closed immediately. About an hour later, even the bed was ready to be used. Isn’t it true that people with money always handle matters rather conveniently?
The most convenient of all was that wine and food were readily available in this place, complete with a very able chef.
Sitting next to a blazing hot furnace, after several cups of warm wine entered his stomach, Lu Xiaofeng had almost forgotten the bitter cold outside, the cold which would freeze someone’s nose and made it fall off.
When he was drinking his third pot of wine, Xin Lao’er came back. Although he was shivering in cold, he could only stand far away at the door, he did not dare to come close to the stove. He knew that if right now he came close to the fire, he might melt away like a popsicle in a hot summer day. If he put his hands into hot water, when he took them out, only bones might remain.
Slim, congratulations on your almost brand new baby. I have two boys myself, so I know what you are going through.
Lu Xiaofeng waited until he caught his breath before asking, “Well?”
Xin Lao’er hatefully said, “That old bastard shouldn’t be called the Old Goat, he is more an old fox.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Did you fall into his trick?”
Xin Lao’er: “He knew all along that I was following him, so he deliberately took me circling around the ice several times before he finally turned around and asked if it was you who sent me to see him.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “And what did you say?”
Xin Lao’er: “Since he’s already known everything, what else can I say?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Where is he now?”
Xin Lao’er: “He is outside, waiting for you. He also said that no matter who, and no matter why you want to see him, since it is you who want him, then you should go and find him yourself.”
Lu Xiaofeng sighed. With a bitter smile he said, “I don’t care if he is an old bastard, an old goat or an old fox; one thing I do know is that his bones must be quite hard.”
With his chest puffed out, the Old Goat walked in the front while Lu Xiaofeng followed behind him. It seemed that not only his bones were hard, his skin was also rather thick, because he did not seem to be afraid of the cold at all.
Beyond this strip of main street was a world of ice and snow. The silvery white expanse of ice stretched out ahead as far as eyes could see, with dark waves of snow on either sides. Nothing else was visible amidst the gray and hazy night.
Anybody would feel awful coming from the place with a million lantern lights to this very cold and very dark world. At first Lu Xiaofeng intended to suppress his feelings and simply see what kind of medicine he was going to sell from his bottle of gourd. But finally he could not restrain from asking, “Where are you taking me?”
The Old Goat did not even turn his head, “To my home.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Why must we go to your home?”
The Old Goat: “Because you are the one looking for me, I did not look for you.”
Lu Xiaofeng could only concede. With a bitter smile he said, “Where is your home?”
The Old Goat: “Inside the giant water barrel.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “What kind of place is the giant water barrel?”
The Old Goat: “Giant water barrel is a giant water barrel.”
The giant water barrel was indeed a giant water barrel, it was real water barrel to store water.
Lu Xiaofeng had lived for twenty, thirty years, but he had never seen a water barrel this big.
In reality, if he did not come to this place, even if he had lived two, three hundred more years, he would have never seen a water barrel this big.
This water barrel was at least two zhang [about 20 feet or 6 m] tall. It looked just like a house with a circular ridge roof, or a round canopy. However, it was indeed a water barrel, because it had neither door nor windows. The only opening was at the top, with a piece of rope dangling down from top to bottom.
The Old Goat pulled the rope and climbed up. When he got to the top he beckoned and called out, “Are you coming up or not?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Why must I go up? I am not Sima Guang. Even if I want to drink water, I don’t need to go into a water barrel like this.”
Although he muttered, he climbed up the water barrel anyway.
There was no water inside the water barrel, not even a drop of water.
There was only wine in the water barrel, inside a very large sheepskin bag, wine so strong that if you drink only a mouthful your eyes would water with the burning sensation.
The Old Goat took a mouthful and his eyes brightened.
The water barrel was full of animal skin, piled up randomly everywhere. Hugging a large wineskin he sat comfortably on one of them. After letting out a deep breath he asked, “Have you ever seen such a giant water barrel before?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “No.”
The Old Goat: “Have you seen me before?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Also no.”
The Old Goat: “But it seems like I have seen you before?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Mmm.”
Suddenly the Old Goat laughed, he shook his head and squinting his eyes he said, “No, you are not.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “I am not Jia Leshan?”
The Old Goat: “Definitely not.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Then who am I?”
The Old Goat: “I don’t care if you are Zhang San or Li Si [Zhang the third or Li the fourth; this is the same as 'Tom, Dick or Harry'], I know you are not Jia Leshan; because I have seen that old bastard lamb once before.”
Lu Xiaofeng laughed. He did not want to laugh, but he could not help laughing, because he suddenly felt this old fellow was an interesting person.
The Old Goat looked at him from top to bottom, sizing him up. It seemed like he also felt Lu Xiaofeng was an interesting person. People who had seen Lu Xiaofeng usually would feel that he was an interesting person.
Lu Xiaofeng: “I wish to ask …”
But the Old Goat suddenly cut him off, “Li Xia is a strange woman, Ding Lao Da [ol’ Ding] was even stranger; just because he loved to drink pure water, he has not hesitated to sell his house and spent more than two years to build these two water barrels, so that he could drink pure water during the summer.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Was Ding Lao Da Li Xia’s former husband?”
The Old Goat nodded. “Right now Li Xia went missing, but I am sure she has not left this area. I guarantee you she is hiding somewhere in the town. But if you want to ask me where she is, I don’t know.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “How do you know I am looking for you over this matter?”
The OG: “Don’t tell me you are not?”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Do you know who I am?”
The Old Goat: “I don’t need to know, I don’t even want to know. I don’t care who you are, you have nothing to do with me at all.”
He looked at Lu Xiaofeng with squinted eyes, with a sly laugh he continued, “I feel that you are not an annoying person, that’s why I took you to this place and told you all this. If you want to inquire other matters, you’d better find other people.”
But Lu Xiaofeng still asked him, “Did you say that there were originally two water barrels like this?”
The Old Goat: “Uh huh.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “Where is the other one?”
The Old Goat: “I don’t know.”
Lu Xiaofeng: “So other matters you don’t know?”
The Old Goat sighed. “I am getting old. So old that I have already forgotten even my own surname and given name. There are a lot of younger men in town, there are also a lot of younger women there. Whatever information you want to inquire, you should go and ask them.”
He closed his eyes and took another swig of wine then he laid down comfortably as if he had decided not to give Lu Xiaofeng another look or say another word to him.
Lu Xiaofeng laughed again, “You know I am not Jia Leshan, you know that I know your Ding Lao Da’s daughter, that’s why you were not the least bit surprised when I mentioned her name. You know for sure that Li Xia has not left, but you kept saying that you did not know anything.
He shook his head, and then laughed again. “Looks like Sin Lao Er is right, you shouldn’t be called The Old Goat, actually, you are an old fox.”
The Old Goat also laughed. Suddenly he winked at Lu Xiaofeng: “It’s all right for you to meet an old fox like me. I do wish you will not meet a fox spirit [or vixen, female fox demon].”
The small wine shop owned by Tang Keqing was called ‘Not-going-home-before-drunk Restaurant’.
Although the sky had turned dark for a long time, the night was not too deep yet. By the time Lu Xiaofeng returned, the street was still bright with glorious lantern lights, the ‘Not-going-home-before-drunk Restaurant’ was still open.
This small wine shop did not look too bad, the lady boss also did not look bad at all, but for some reason the shop was cold and quiet, with no guest inside.
Therefore, the first thing Lu Xiaofeng saw was still this lady whose look was not too pretty, but whose smile was very fascinating. She was still standing below that ‘Tai Bai Yi Feng’ wooden signboard; she was still smiling sweetly at Lu Xiaofeng, as if she was intentionally waiting for him. Her smile was not only alluring, it was inviting as well.
Lu Xiaofeng had never refused this kind of invitation, furthermore he always believes that girls who loved to smile would also love to talk, and it would be easier for girls who loved to talk to also leak somebody else’s secret.