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Thread: Lu Xiaofeng Book 5: Mansion of Spirits

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    Senior Member junny's Avatar
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    Default Lu Xiaofeng Book 5: Mansion of Spirits (幽灵山庄)

    A few things:

    - I'm somewhat rusty because I haven't translated in a long time, so my thanks go to Moinllieon and mich for their help.
    - I can't promise super-fast updates ŕ la foxs or RWX, or anyone currently translating who updates quickly.
    - I've preserved some of the terms that Moinllieon used for his translations of Books 1-3, so you may find them familiar if you've read them.
    - As per forum rules, please do not save my translations and/or distribute without my permission.


    ~


    幽灵山庄


    Chapter One: Lu Xiaofeng on the run

    Underneath the shiny antique bronze paperweights rested twelve white paper cards, around the elegant Eight Immortals Table sat seven people.

    Seven people whose reputations and fame shook through the martial arts world.

    Ancient Pine Hermit, Wooden Taoist, Monk Bittergourd, Second Master Tang, Swordsman Xiaoxiang, Sikong Zhaixing, Hua Manlou.

    These seven people had unusual statuses and distinctive backgrounds; among them were monks, hermits, wandering swordsmen, highly-skilled imperial guards, disciples of esteemed sects, and elders of the martial arts world who had seen it all.

    They had gathered here because they shared something in common.

    They were Lu Xiaofeng’s friends.

    Now they had something else in common – all seven had grave expressions and heavy hearts.

    Especially the Wooden Taoist.

    Every one was watching him, waiting for him to speak.

    They had all come here at his bidding; this was no simple matter, and of course he had the most important of reasons.

    There were food and wine on the table, but nobody had lifted their cups or touched their food.

    A breeze was blowing and the pavilion was filled with the fragrance of flowers, spirits should have been high during such a beautiful season.

    They were originally carefree, unrestrained characters, why would they be so troubled?

    Hua Manlou was blind, and the blind do not light lamps, but the one who had lit the hexagonal lamp on the table was precisely he.

    There are many things in the world that are just like this – they should not have happened, but they did.

    The Wooden Taoist sighed and finally opened his mouth: “Every one has made mistakes, but so long as he repents, that is a good thing.” He was trying very hard to restrain himself, but his voice still sounded rather agitated: “However, there are some things where you absolutely cannot do wrong, once you have made a mistake, you only have one path to go!”

    “A dead end?” Sikong Zhaixing asked.

    The Wooden Taoist nodded and picked up the antique bronze paperweight on the table; twelve paper cards, with twelve names written on it.

    Twelve famous names!

    “They shouldn’t have died, whoever wanted to kill them wouldn’t have had it easy. A pity they had all committed a fatal mistake!”

    He retrieved four from the pile of paper cards: “Especially these four, I’m sure you have heard of them.”

    Four paper cards, four names.

    Gao Tao: Phoenix Tail Sect’s third section chief
    Crime: Turncoat
    Bounty hunter: Ximen Chuixue
    Fate: On the run for thirteen days, died in the marshes.

    Gu Feiyun: True successor to Bashan Swordsman
    Crime: Killed friend’s son and seduced friend’s wife
    Bounty hunter: Ximen Chuixue
    Fate: On the run for fifteen days, died in the busy downtown.

    Liu Qingqing: Famed swordswoman of Huainan, wife of Diancang swordsman Xie Jian
    Crime: Adultery, murdered husband
    Bounty hunter: Ximen Chuixue
    Fate: On the run for nineteen days, died in the wilderness.

    “One-armed Divine Dragon” Hai Qikuo
    Crime: Indiscriminately killing innocent people
    Bounty hunter: Ximen Chuixue
    Fate: On the run for nineteen days, died at sea after boat capsized.

    Every one had heard of these four names, but the one name they were most familiar with was Ximen Chuixue’s!

    Which self-respecting martial artist had not heard of Ximen Chuixue? Who would dare say his swordplay was not unparalleled?

    Swordsman Xiaoxiang suddenly said: “I’ve seen Ximen Chuixue.”

    Since that duel at the Forbidden City, even this number one imperial guard had to concede that Ximen Chuixue’s skill was unmatched: “But I am not able to see how he enjoys poking his nose into other people’s business.”

    “This isn’t frivolous business,” said Hua Manlou.

    Sikong Zhaixing immediately added: “He rarely makes new friends, but hates people who betray their friends.”

    Swordsman Xiaoxiang shut his mouth, but Second Master Tang began to speak.

    The Tang family of Sichuan was famous for its use of poisoned hidden weapons, equally well-known was Second Master Tang’s dislike of talking, but he suddenly asked: “You think their fatal mistake was to have betrayed their friends?”

    “Isn’t that the case?” Sikong Zhaixing asked.

    Second Master Tang shook his head and did not say another word, because he knew someone else would understand the point he was trying to put across.

    Indeed, another person understood: “Their crimes were different, but the fatal mistake was the same.”

    “Which is?”

    “Ximen Chuixue!” the Wooden Taoist slowly said: “Should Ximen Chuixue decide to kill someone, nobody would be able to escape.”

    Even if one could, one couldn’t live beyond nineteen days.

    “These twelve people all died by Ximen Chuixue’s sword.” The Wooden Taoist’s expression was even graver: “And now there’s another person who has committed the same fatal mistake, and the crime is even more serious.”

    “Oh?”

    “He not only betrayed a friend, the one he betrayed is Ximen Chuixue!”

    “Who is this person?”

    “Lu Xiaofeng!”






    Chapter One, part ii
    Chapter Two
    Chapter Two, part ii
    Chapter Two, part iii
    Chapter Three
    Chapter Three, part ii
    Chapter Three, part iii
    Chapter Four
    Chapter Four, part ii
    Chapter Five
    Chapter Five, part ii
    Chapter Five, part iii
    Chapter Six
    Chapter Six, part ii
    Chapter Six, part iii
    Chapter Seven
    Last edited by junny; 04-06-13 at 06:42 PM.
    夏雪宜

  2. #2
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    Thanks junny.

    Nice to see you back.

    Still remember your curved moon translation.
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

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    YES! LXF rocks!

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    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Thanks Junny! Looking forward to the rest of the story.

    Justin: Now you get what you wished for.

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    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks Junny. Looking forward to reading this.

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    Whoopie! Thanks for brightening the New Year!
    Man is glue. You are man. How then can you step away from glue?

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    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Hey guys, we're now voting for our favourite novels over at the Wuxia Fiction forum!

    Come on over and take part!

    http://www.spcnet.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=28045


    -

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    Senior Member Cesare's Avatar
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    Yay. Hua Man Lou! Missed the guy, long time no see...

    junny: Thanks very much for the translation.
    Hope you'll be able to post more soon.
    别想把黑暗放在我的面前
    太阳已经生长在我心底
    不再有封闭的畏惧
    奔腾的灵魂飞上天际
    太阳 我在这里

  9. #9
    Senior Member junny's Avatar
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    Thanks Han Solo, Justin13, foxs, SkyWalker, yeongwee, IcyFox and Cesare for dropping by


    ~


    Chapter One, part ii

    A while of heavy silence, so heavy that it was suffocating.

    The first to break that silence was Swordsman Xiaoxiang: “I know Lu Xiaofeng is not only Ximen Chuixue’s friend, he’s also his benefactor.”

    The Wooden Taoist sighed: “It’s a pity that gratitude has been repaid, but vengeance has not been redressed!”

    “For what?” Swordsman Xiaoxiang asked.

    “Stealing his wife,” the Wooden Taoist said.

    Swordsman Xiaoxiang was startled and asked: “Is there proof?”

    “Yes.”

    “What proof?”

    “He saw them in bed with his own eyes.”

    Swordsman Xiaoxiang suddenly lifted the cup in front of him and downed his wine; Sikong Zhaixing was even quicker.

    The only one who could still maintain his composure was Hua Manlou; his cup of wine was still full, he had only had a sip: “Lu Xiaofeng is not that kind of person, there must be something more to this.”

    Sikong Zhaixing agreed immediately: “Maybe he was drunk, maybe he was drugged, or maybe they were not doing anything on the bed at all.”

    These excuses were not very good, and he was not very pleased with them, so he drank another cup.

    Those who draw conclusions are always the ones who speak the least.

    “I do not know Lu Xiaofeng, but I do know he has done the Tang family a good turn.” Second Master Tang delivered the conclusion: “Regardless of whether there is more to this matter, we must find him and clarify this personally.”

    The Wooden Taoist, however, was shaking his head.

    “You don’t want to find him?” Sikong Zhaixing asked.

    “It’s not that I don’t want to find, it’s that I can’t,” Wooden Taoist replied.

    Lu Xiaofeng had been on the run the moment this matter broke out, nobody knew where he’d escaped to.

    The Wooden Taoist spread out the twelve cards, said: “That is why I have invited you all here to look at these…”

    Sikong Zhaixing interrupted him, saying: “Lu Xiaofeng is neither Gao Tao nor One-armed Divine Dragon, what have these bastards’ affairs got to do with us?”

    “There is some connection,” Wooden Taoist said.

    “What connection?”

    “Their escape route.”

    If they hoped to find Lu Xiaofeng, they would have to deduce which route he had chosen to use.

    The Wooden Taoist continued: “These were highly skilled, experienced, wily and smart members of the martial arts fraternity. When they chose to be on the run, they must have had very elaborate plans, and the escape routes that they had chosen would not have been too bad.”

    “Unfortunately they still couldn’t escape their fate,” Sikong Zhaixing said coldly.

    “Even then, we can still use them as reference,” Wooden Taoist said.

    The escape plans of these twelve men could roughly be divided into four main routes –
    Buy a boat and escape via the sea
    Leave the city and enter the desert
    Infiltrate into the busy downtown
    Flee into the barren hills and treacherous rapids

    The Wooden Taoist said: “You are all Lu Xiaofeng’s old friends and know him very well, which route do you think he would take?”

    No one could answer him.

    No one wanted to be certain that his prediction was right.

    Hua Manlou slowly said: “He wouldn’t flee to the sea or enter the desert.”

    Nobody asked him how he could be so certain of that, because every one knew he had some sort of special ability and touch.

    Sikong Zhaixing had finished his eighth cup of wine and said: “I am also sure of one thing.”

    Every one was listening.

    “Lu Xiaofeng definitely will not die.”

    Someone doubted that prediction: “Why?”

    Sikong Zhaixing said: “I know Lu Xiaofeng’s skills, and have seen Ximen Chuixue’s swordplay.”

    Of course, he could not deny the speed and accuracy of Ximen Chuixue’s skills: “However, since his marriage and the birth of his child, his swordplay has weakened, because his heart has softened.”

    Because he was no longer the god of sword, he had gradually become more human.

    “I had thought so as well, but now I know we have all been wrong,” Wooden Taoist said.

    “We are not wrong,” Sikong Zhaixing insisted.

    The Wooden Taoist shook his head, said: “Before the duel at the Forbidden City, his sword had indeed lost its edge, because what he felt for his wife had surpassed his intense passion for the sword.”

    Swordsman Xiaoxiang had evidently understood the meaning of the sentence: “But things were different after he defeated the Master of White Cloud Castle.”

    Whoever had defeated such a skilled martial arts exponent as the Master of White Cloud Castle would naturally be in high spirits and want to move to the next level.

    The duel at the Forbidden City had evidently reignited his passion for the sword, which once again exceeded the love he had for his wife.

    Perhaps it was his neglect of his wife that had aroused Lu Xiaofeng’s sympathy and caused all this mess.

    Every one had thought of this point, but no one wanted to voice it out.

    The Wooden Taoist said: “I saw Lu Xiaofeng recently and he told me himself that Ximen Chuixue’s skill had reached the ‘sword-less’ state.”

    What does it mean to be in a “sword-less” state?
    - Although one holds no sword in his hand, his sword remains, is everywhere.
    - Man and sword are one, he is the sword; so long as he exists, anything in the world can be his sword!
    - Such a state means one has almost reached the pinnacle of swordplay, and very few can surpass him!

    The Wooden Taoist sighed again and said: “Lu Xiaofeng was drunk when I saw him, he told me that if there were still one person who could kill him, that person would be Ximen Chuixue!”

    Another silence, as they all came to the conclusion – if Ximen Chuixue caught up with Lu Xiaofeng, the latter would definitely die by his sword.

    The question was – where had Lu Xiaofeng escaped to? How long could he stay away?

    “Even if he didn’t take the sea or desert routes, he could have lost himself in the crowded downtown or vanished among the barren hills and treacherous rapids.”

    The options had narrowed: “But then who would know how many busy cities or barren hills there are in the world?”

    Second Master Tang suddenly stood up and walked out.

    Cup in hand, Sikong Zhaixing hollered: “Are you leaving?”

    “I’m not here to drink,” Second Master Tang said coldly.

    “You can’t be bothered with this anymore?”

    “It isn’t that I can’t be bothered, but I can’t do anything about it.”

    Ancient Pine Hermit suddenly let out a long sigh as well, said: “Indeed we can’t do anything about it.”

    Monk Bittergourd immediately nodded his head and agreed: “Indeed, indeed, indeed…”

    By the time the third “Indeed” was out of his mouth, the three of them had already left.

    Swordsman Xiaoxiang wasn’t any slower than the trio.

    Sikong Zhaixing looked at the wine in his cup, suddenly set it down heavily, and said loudly: “I’m not here to drink either, don’t know who’s the bastard who came to drink.” He too strode out.

    There were only two people left, but the one who could still maintain his composure was only Hua Manlou.

    The cup in the Wooden Taoist’s hands had been crushed into smithereens.

    Hua Manlou laughed instead, saying: “Do you know where they have gone?”

    “Who the hell knows.” (1)

    “I know.” He was still smiling. “I’m not a ghost, but I know.”

    “Where did you say they’d gone?” Wooden Taoist couldn’t resist asking.

    “If we rush to Ximen Villa right now, we’d definitely find them, and not one less.”

    Wooden Taoist did not understand.

    Hua Manlou continued: “They have gone there because they want to know one thing –”

    – If I were Lu Xiaofeng and I wanted to begin my escape from this place, which route would I take?

    Hua Manlou said: “When they have thought about it, they will definitely continue their pursuit along that route.”

    “Why didn’t they say so?” Wooden Taoist asked.

    “They were afraid of being wrong and letting their error affect others.”

    “You are certain?”

    Hua Manlou nodded and smiled: “I am, because I know they are all Lu Xiaofeng’s friends.”

    His face was radiant and his smile was bright; he loved life and was always confident of the positive side of human nature.

    Wooden Taoist finally gave a long sigh and said: “To have as many friends as Lu Xiaofeng does is indeed a good thing. Unfortunately this time he himself has made a mistake.”

    He patted Hua Manlou’s shoulder and added: “Let’s go. If there is still one person who can find Lu Xiaofeng, that would be you.”

    “Not me.”

    “Who else but you?”

    “Lu Xiaofeng himself.”

    If one has lost his self, then who else can find him other than the man himself?


    _________


    (1) the literal sentence in Chinese is 鬼知道, which means "only a ghost would know", and is meant to be said in as much the same tone as "who the hell knows" (basically sarcastic). That's why Hua Manlou's reply was that he's not a ghost, but he still knows (where everyone else has gone).
    Last edited by junny; 01-08-10 at 04:31 AM.
    夏雪宜

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    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Thanks, Junny. Here's a toast to wish you well, to the completion of this book. And who knows? Perhaps you will decide to work on the subsequent books as well.

    If my memory serves me right, this story is one of those 'action packed' story, where the action starts, like, one minute into the movie ...

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    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    A little late on the response here as I was busy battling in the novels survivor over at the S thread. So, thanks for this translation Junny. It looks very promising. Can't wait to read the entire thing.

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    Senior Member Cesare's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, junny...
    Keep them coming...:-)
    别想把黑暗放在我的面前
    太阳已经生长在我心底
    不再有封闭的畏惧
    奔腾的灵魂飞上天际
    太阳 我在这里

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    Senior Member junny's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for dropping by. My laptop died, so it'll be a while before I can post again after this. Sorry about that.

    foxs, I'm nowhere near finishing!


    ~


    Chapter Two – Adversity makes for strange bedfellows

    Even if Lu Xiaofeng had lost himself, at least he hadn’t lost his bearings.

    He was certain this road led westwards, and once he crossed the hills ahead, he would be able to find spring water that he could drink.

    Night had fallen and the fog in the mountains was thick, but he still believed his judgment was right. However, he was wrong again.

    There were neither hills nor spring water ahead, only a thick mass of forest.

    He had been on the run for three days, in these barren mountain ranges where he couldn’t even find spring water.

    Even if his friends could see him now, they might not be able to recognise that he was Lu Xiaofeng.

    The suave and charming Lu Xiaofeng who could always make girls swoon.

    The forest was pitch black, and danger lurked in all shapes and forms in absolute darkness. Every kind of danger was potentially fatal, so if a person lost his way in the forest, hunger and thirst would surely kill him!

    He was not certain he could find his way out of this mazy forest. He had already lost confidence in his own judgment.

    But he could only forge ahead; even though there was no other road he could choose, he could not backtrack!

    Retreating would only be scarier and more dangerous, because Ximen Chuixue was hot on his tail!

    Even though Lu Xiaofeng could not see, he could feel it, feel the menacing aura of the sword.

    At times, for no good reason, he’d feel chills down his back, and he would know then that Ximen Chuixue was nearby.

    Being on the run is a kind of torture.

    Hunger and thirst, fatigue, fear, worry… they are like countless whips, all flogging him nonstop.

    It was enough to push him to the verge of a breakdown, not to mention he was carrying an injury.

    A sword wound!

    Every time the wound began to hurt, he would recall the impossible speed of that sword!

    The “swordless” Ximen Chuixue had used his sword after all!

    – I used that sword to defeat Ye Gucheng, so who else in the world would be fit enough to make me pull out that sword again?

    – Lu Xiaofeng, only Lu Xiaofeng!

    – Because of you, I used the sword, and it will not return to its sheath unless it is stained with your blood!

    It was impossible to describe the speed and ferociousness of the move.

    If there were really immortals and spirits on earth, they too would turn pale when faced with such a strike.

    A flash of the sword and blood will flow!

    No one could counter this blow, not even Lu Xiaofeng, but still he didn’t die!

    Not dying was a miracle!

    He was probably the only one who could escape alive from that lethal strike!

    Dark, endless darkness.

    How many dangers abound in the dark?

    Lu Xiaofeng didn’t even think about that. If he worried too much, he would probably have suffered a nervous breakdown or even gone mad.

    He had entered this pitch-black forest, and that was equivalent to a wild beast falling into a trap; it was no longer in his control.

    Still no water, no food.

    He broke off a branch, used it to feel his way about slowly, just as a blind man would.

    This stick was like his white cane.

    A man who was well and alive had to resort to relying on a lifeless piece of wood – Lu Xiaofeng laughed when he thought of that.

    It was a laughter filled with shame, grief, pain and self-mockery.

    Only now did he truly understand the pain of the blind, and realised Hua Manlou’s greatness.

    How much love did a blind man have if he could still live happily and in peace?

    There was a tree in front, a tall and big tree.

    Lu Xiaofeng stopped at the tree, gasping for breath; perhaps this was the only time he could afford to take a breather.

    – Ximen Chuixue would have paused to reconsider before stepping into this forest.

    – However, he would still come chasing in.

    There was almost nothing that would stop him; he was determined to have Lu Xiaofeng die by his sword!

    It was near silence in the dark, but this sort of quiet was also one of the most frightening sounds.

    Lu Xiaofeng’s breathing seemed to have stopped too; suddenly he struck with lightning speed and caught something with two fingers!

    He hadn’t seen anything, but he’d already struck.

    He did not usually miss.

    In times of real danger, man would be no different from beasts, would develop the sort of abilities and sixth sense inherent in animals.

    He had caught a snake.

    With the snake’s tail between his fingers, he twisted and shook it, then bit down on an area seven 'cun' from the head of the snake (where the heart was).

    The snake blood, fishy and bitter, slid down his throat and into his stomach.

    He suddenly felt as though he had become a beast. But he didn’t stop; as the snake blood flowed, he immediately felt a burst of life!

    He would accept whatever could give him life, could allow him to go on living!

    He didn’t want to die, could not die!

    If he died now, he would turn into a vengeful ghost and return to haunt the living, so as to redress his grievances!

    The darkness was beginning to fade into a curious shade of dull, dead grey.

    He’d finally endured through this long night and it was finally dawn.

    But so what if daylight came?

    Even if darkness was long gone, death was still clipping at his heels!

    He snatched up a handful of fallen leaves and wiped the blood off his hands; it was then that he heard a sound.

    A human voice.

    He wasn’t sure where it was coming from, it seemed as though someone was moaning and gasping for breath.

    How could there be anyone here at this point in time?

    Who would be in this forest, on the path of no return, if he were not at his wits’ end?

    Was it Ximen Chuixue?

    Lu Xiaofeng suddenly felt as though his whole body had frozen over and his breathing had stopped, as he listened quietly.

    The weak moaning, panting sounds floated over little by little, the sounds were filled with pain.

    A pain filled with fear, a kind of hopeless pain.

    This kind of pain could not be faked.

    Even if this person were Ximen Chuixue, the pain he was suffering now would not be any lesser than Lu Xiaofeng’s.

    Could he have suffered some sort of fatal blow? Otherwise how could he have lost that deadly aura of the sword?

    Lu Xiaofeng was determined to find out; regardless of whether that person was Ximen Chuixue, he had to find out.

    And of course he found out.


    _______


    cun - as CC explained in the Bordertown thread, one 'cun' is actually about 1.3 inches.
    Last edited by junny; 01-13-10 at 02:40 PM.
    夏雪宜

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    Woohoo! LXF is still LXF!!! i love the humour of these books even when it's supposed to be dark and dangerous.. "he hadn't lost his bearings.. however, he was wrong again"

    hehehe

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    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disrupt View Post
    Woohoo! LXF is still LXF!!! i love the humour of these books even when it's supposed to be dark and dangerous.. "he hadn't lost his bearings.. however, he was wrong again"
    And that is one of the reasons I like reading LXF. Oh, I know, Gu Long's other works have more developed characters, bla ... bla ... bla ... No offense to Gu Long's fans. I am not saying that LXF is better than his other works; I do like Little Li series and Yu Peiyu as well, but for me, LXF is more lighthearted, good for light reading, compared to, for example, Li Xunhuan and Fu Hongxue, who were always depressed, gloomy, dark.

    Thanks, Junny. I was only saying: who knows?

    Ken:
    LOL. It took me a couple of seconds to recognize Ximen Chuixue (the spelling is so different).

    I guess being the pursuer, you have the luxury of stopping by and drink and eat (I remember Zhou Botong and Qiu Qianren's race at the end of LOCH), compared to the pursuee, who was drained not only physically, but emotionally as well, like a psychosomatic case, where emotional burden manifested itself into physical problem. Or ...
    Last edited by foxs; 01-16-10 at 09:03 AM. Reason: Remove spoiler per Junny's request.

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    Thanks for the update, junny...
    Can't wait for it to continue...
    别想把黑暗放在我的面前
    太阳已经生长在我心底
    不再有封闭的畏惧
    奔腾的灵魂飞上天际
    太阳 我在这里

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    Another LXF book !!!!! YEAH!!! I love it.

    Thanks for the translation work Junny!

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    Senior Member junny's Avatar
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    Thanks to disrupt, foxs, Cesare and overjoy71 for dropping by . LOL, I agree about the humour of the LXF stories and also the clever wordplay of the Chinese language - this is often one of the tricky parts where translation does no justice.

    Updates continue to be slow, sorry about that. And my thanks go to mich for her help!


    ~


    Chapter Two, part ii

    The fallen leaves were wet, so was the mud.

    A man was lying on the wet mud, among the fallen leaves, his entire body twisted with pain.

    He had white sideburns and was old, haggard, weary, sorrowful and fearful.

    He saw Lu Xiaofeng and seemed to struggle to spring up, but ended up suffering a fresh round of pain.

    There was a sword in his hand, its shape was classically elegant and made of pure steel; whoever saw it could tell it was a good sword.

    But this sword was not frightening, because this person wasn’t Ximen Chuixue.

    Lu Xiaofeng expelled a long breath, muttered: “No, it’s not him.”

    The man’s throat worked and there was a trace of hope in the eyes that were filled with fear, as he wheezed: “Who… who are you?”

    Lu Xiaofeng smiled, said: “I’m no one, just a passer-by.”

    “A passer-by?” the old man asked.

    “You must be wondering why there are passers-by around here!”

    The old man scrutinised him from head to toe, and suddenly, a cunning look entered his eyes as he said: “Don’t tell me you are on the same road as I am?”

    “Most probably,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

    The old man laughed.

    His laugh was miserable and bitter, and he couldn’t stop coughing once he started laughing.

    Lu Xiaofeng also realised that he was injured; there was also another more serious wound on the chest.

    “Who did you think I was?” the old man suddenly asked.

    “Someone else,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

    “Was it the person who wants to kill you?”

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed too, asked instead: “Who did you think I was, the person who has come to kill you?”

    The old man wanted to deny but couldn’t.

    They gazed at each other like two wounded beasts.

    No one could understand their expressions or their feelings.

    After a long while, the old man let out a long breath, said: “You should go.”

    “You want me to go?”

    “Even if I didn’t, you would leave anyway.”

    He was still smiling, but more bitterly. “My situation is worse than yours, so naturally I won’t be able to help you. You don’t know me, so you wouldn’t help me either.”

    Lu Xiaofeng didn’t speak, he had also stopped laughing.

    He knew this old man was speaking the truth; he was in a difficult situation, much worse than what the old man had imagined.

    One person might not be able to make it out alive, much less with an extra burden.

    This old man was evidently a very heavy burden.

    After another long while, Lu Xiaofeng expelled a long breath as well, said: “Indeed I should leave.”

    The old man nodded his head and shut his eyes, not bothering to look at him.

    Lu Xiaofeng continued: “If you were only a wild dog, I would have left by now, but…”

    The old man suddenly interrupted, saying: “Unfortunately, I’m human, not a dog.”

    “I’m no dog either, I’m also human,” Lu Xiaofeng said with a forced smile.

    “It’s a pity,” the old man agreed.

    Even though his eyes seemed to be shut, he was actually looking at Lu Xiaofeng out of the corner of his eye. Again, the cunning look returned.

    Lu Xiaofeng smiled again, said: “You knew anyway that I wasn’t going to go.”

    “Oh?”

    “You’re human, so am I, and I can’t watch you rot to death here.”

    The old man’s eyes flew open, widened and stared at Lu Xiaofeng, asked: “You will take me away?”

    “What do you think?”

    The old man blinked. “Of course you will take me away, because you are human and so am I.”

    “That’s not enough reason.”

    “Not enough? What else is there?”

    “A scumbag is still human.”

    Nobody understood why Lu Xiaofeng suddenly said this, much less the old man, who could only wait for him to continue.

    “If I take someone away with me, that’s because I’m not only human, I’m also a scumbag, an extra big scumbag.”

    It was spring, the season when all things began to blossom and grow.

    The trees and leaves that had withered were sprouting out in thick bunches again, such that not even sunlight could pierce through.

    It was still a patch of misty grey between the branches and leaves, and one could only see a hint of murky shadows.

    One could see, but not very far ahead.

    Lu Xiaofeng helped the old man lie down before he did. He couldn’t move another step, not even if Ximen Chuixue was nearby.

    They had walked quite some distance, but as soon as he lowered his head, he saw once again his own footprints.

    He’d exhausted himself running, but still ended up on the same track.

    This was no longer any sort of irony, it was plain sad, the kind where desperate people at their wits’ end could only understand.

    He was panting, and so was the old man.

    A huge python was slithering down from the tree. A python of that size would no doubt possess immense strength, enough to strangle the life out of any living thing.

    But he wouldn’t think of that. The old man couldn’t move, and incredibly, the python didn’t touch him, merely slid past them quietly.

    Lu Xiaofeng smiled, not knowing how he could still do so.

    The old man slanted a glance at him, said suddenly: “Of course I can’t call you a scumbag.”

    “You can call me a big scumbag,” Lu Xiaofeng said. He was still smiling.

    There are different kinds of smiles. Some are more miserable than crying, and his was of this sort.

    There was only smiling, no laughing, and in the deep silence, time seemed to pass especially slowly.

    After a long while, the old man suddenly said: “Big scumbag.”

    “Mm.”

    “Why don’t you ask me who I am, what my name is?”

    “I don’t have to.”

    “You don’t?”

    “We’re going to die soon anyway, whoever heard of a dead person asking another dead person his name?”

    The old man gazed at him for a long time, wanted to speak but didn’t, then looked at his eyebrows and beard, and finally said: “I suddenly thought of someone.”

    “Who is it?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    “Lu Xiaofeng,” the old man said. “The one with ‘four eyebrows’.”

    Lu Xiaofeng smiled again, said: “You should have thought of that, since the world’s biggest scumbag is Lu Xiaofeng.”

    The old man sighed, said: “But I can’t imagine why Lu Xiaofeng would end up like this.”

    “What did you think Lu Xiaofeng would be like?”

    “Once, a long time ago, I heard that Lu Xiaofeng was a playboy who enjoyed plenty of female attention, and was very highly-skilled too. So I always thought Lu Xiaofeng must have been a very handsome and awe-inspiring man, but now you look like…”

    He didn’t finish the sentence, but Lu Xiaofeng continued it for him: “Like a desperate wild dog chased and forced into a corner.”

    The old man smiled too, said: “Seems as though you’ve stirred up some big trouble.”

    “Indeed it’s big.”

    “Is it because of a woman?”

    Lu Xiaofeng could only give a resigned, bitter smile.

    “Who is the woman’s husband?” the old man asked. “I heard you could even counter the Master of White Cloud Castle’s ‘Flying Immortal’ stroke, what else could force you into desperation?”

    “Only one person.”

    “I’ve thought about it and it seems too that there’s only one person.”

    “And who do you think this person is?”

    “Is it Ximen Chuixue?”

    Lu Xiaofeng’s bitter, resigned smile was back again.

    The old man sighed. “You’ve got yourself into quite a big mess, I simply can’t understand how you’d get involved in something like this.”

    “I didn’t really do much,” Lu Xiaofeng said. “I only slept on the same bed with his wife, and it so happened he saw.”

    The old man stared at him in shock. After a long while, he shook his head and said: “So you have some nerve.”

    “And what about you?” Lu Xiaofeng countered. “What mess did you get into?”

    The old man was silent for a long while, then sighed and said: “I’m in big trouble as well.”

    “I can tell.”

    “Oh?”

    “If someone is wearing clothes worth three hundred tales of silver and carrying a good sword worth three thousand taels of silver, but doesn’t at all look like he’s been hounded into desperation, this person must have stirred up some big trouble.”

    The old man couldn’t help a bitter smile, said: “I’ve gotten myself involved in more than one mess.”

    “How many are there?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    The old man put up two fingers, saying: “One is Ye Guhong, the other is the Pink Swallow.”

    “Ye Guhong, Wudang’s Little White Dragon?”

    The old man nodded.

    “And that’s ‘Flower Thief’ Pink Swallow*?”

    The old man nodded again.

    Lu Xiaofeng sighed. “Indeed you’re in deep shit.”

    Ye Guhong was the secular disciple of Wudang Sect, and one of the most promising. It was said he was also the distant cousin of the Master of White Cloud Castle, who had personally imparted some swordplay tips to him.

    Pink Swallow’s reputation in the martial arts world was even bigger, very few could match his qinggong and skill with hidden weapons.

    Lu Xiaofeng continued: “But Ye Guhong is a member of a prestigious sect, while Pink Swallow is a master thief of Lower Five Sect, so how did you get involved with both of them at the same time?”

    “You can’t figure out?” the old man asked.

    Lu Xiaofeng shook his head.

    “Actually it’s rather simple. Ye Guhong is my nephew, and it so happens that Pink Swallow is too. Their wives, coincidentally, were guests at my place…”

    Ye Guhong travelled the world, while Pink Swallow slept around; naturally their wives would be lonely.

    “So I couldn’t not comfort them,” the old man explained. “But unfortunately I was caught.”

    Lu Xiaofeng looked at him in shock. After a long while, he said in a resigned tone: “Looks as if you are not only bold, you don’t recognise family ties as well.”

    The old man smiled, said: “You thought I wasn’t?”

    Lu Xiaofeng seemed even more shocked. “Don’t tell me you really are?”

    “In the last ten years, very few in the martial arts world have heard of my name, I didn’t expect you to know.”

    Twenty years ago, there were three notorious master thieves and the first one was “Cold-blooded” Dugu Mei**. If a man had a name like that, one could imagine how heartless and ruthless he was.

    Lu Xiaofeng was resigned. “Looks like you’ve got the right name after all.”

    Dugu Mei said blandly: “I have no care for familial ties, while you value women above friends. You’re a big scumbag and I’m pretty much the same, so we’re on the same path because we have something in common.”

    “Fortunately we have something not in common,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

    “What’s that?”

    “Now I can still leave, but you will have to lie here and wait for your death.”

    Dugu Mei smiled.

    Lu Xiaofeng continued: “If you think that I still can’t harden my heart to do that, you’re wrong. Since you care for no one, why can’t I do the same?”

    “Of course you can,” Dugu Mei replied.

    Lu Xiaofeng had already stood up and was walking away.

    Dugu Mei watched him, then slowly said: “But I guarantee that once you leave, you’ll regret it.”

    Lu Xiaofeng couldn’t help turning his head to ask: “Why?”

    “There are not only man-eating beasts in this world, there are also men who will eat their own kind.”

    “I know that,” Lu Xiaofeng said. “You’re one.”

    “Do you know there are other things in the world that eat humans?” Dugu Mei asked.

    “And that is?”

    “Forests,” Dugu Mei said. “Some forests will swallow up those who lose their way. Once they walk into such forests, they will be eaten up and won’t be able to walk out alive.”

    It was almost noon, but the surrounding areas were still a dull, murky grey. The huge, ugly trees and rotting swamp made it impossible for one to find a way out.

    If there were really man-eating forests, this must be it.

    Lu Xiaofeng finally turned around, stared at the old man’s face. “You know the way?” he asked. “You’re confident of getting out?”

    Dugu Mei smiled again, said leisurely: “Not only can I get you out, I can ensure that Ximen Chuixue won’t ever be able to find you.”

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed coldly.

    Dugu Mei continued: “I can take you to a place. No matter how highly-skilled Ximen Chuixue is, he won’t be able to find it.”

    Lu Xiaofeng gazed at him, neither moving nor speaking. In the distance, however, someone had let out a chilling laugh. It had sounded faraway, but in the twinkling of an eye, it was here.

    The one who had arrived wasn’t the qinggong master Pink Swallow, but rather a pale, sickly white man – sickly white face, sickly white hands and sword, dressed in a snow-white outfit.

    Having searched in this dark swampy forest for over forty hours, his spirits were still as cool and steady as ice, and there were only a few spots of mud on his clothes.

    He was like his sword, untouched by blood, untouched by mud!

    The moment he appeared, Lu Xiaofeng had frozen, but just as suddenly relaxed.

    Dugu Mei laughed mockingly as he said: “Did you think he was Ximen Chuixue?”

    Lu Xiaofeng couldn’t deny that.

    This young man was exceedingly like Ximen Chuixue – pale face, haughty and cold demeanour, snow-white clothes… even his posture was the same as Ximen Chuixue’s. Even though he was far younger than Ximen Chuixue and his features softer, he looked just like Ximen Chuixue’s shadow.

    Dugu Mei said: “His name is Ye Guhong, unrelated to Ximen Chuixue right down to his ancestors, but he could really pass for Ximen Chuixue’s son.”

    Lu Xiaofeng couldn’t help a smile. “There’s some resemblance.”

    “Do you know why he’s become like this?” Dugu Mei asked.

    Lu Xiaofeng shook his head.

    Dugu Mei laughed coldly. “Because he’s just dying to be Ximen Chuixue’s son.”

    “Maybe he just wants to be another Ximen Chuixue,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

    Dugu Mei said frostily: “Unfortunately, he’s picked up none of Ximen Chuixue’s good qualities, just all the bad ones.”

    The ice-cold, haughty nature, like the pristine snow of the mountains in the distance; the shining vitality of life, like the shooting stars in the winter sky; that peerless sword…

    How many young men in the martial arts world would not worship Ximen Chuixue as their personal god?

    Lu Xiaofeng gazed into the distance and suddenly sighed, said: “At least there’s something of Ximen Chuixue that others can’t imitate.”

    “His sword?” Dugu Mei asked.

    “Not his sword, his loneliness.”

    Loneliness.

    That chilly loneliness akin to the frosty snow on the faraway mountains, the aching loneliness that was like the shooting stars of the winter night.

    Only someone who has truly experienced this kind of loneliness and was willing to endure it could reach the level that Ximen Chuixue had attained.

    Ye Guhong had been eyeing Lu Xiaofeng frostily and had yet to utter a word.

    Suddenly, he let out a chilly laugh, said: “What kind of thing are you, that you’re fit to even discuss him!”

    Lu Xiaofeng could offer a forced smile. He knew Dugu Mei would be rushing to answer that, and he wasn’t wrong.

    Dugu Mei was already saying: “He can’t really be considered a ‘thing’, just a human after all. But if there’s one person qualified to talk about Ximen Chuixue, he would be the one.”

    “Why” Ye Guhong couldn’t help asking.

    “Because he has four eyebrows,” Dugu Mei replied leisurely. “And because he’s the only one in this world who has slept with Ximen Chuixue’s wife.”

    Ye Guhong looked startled. “Lu Xiaofeng, are you Lu Xiaofeng?”

    Lu Xiaofeng couldn’t deny.

    The veins on Ye Guhong’s hand that was gripping his sword were nearly popping out, as he clipped out: “I should have killed you on Ximen Chuixue’s behalf…”

    He was interrupted by a voice high up on the trees: “A pity he’s not the one we have to kill this time.”

    A flurry of activity among the thick leaves saw a man sail down as smoothly as a swallow.

    A pink swallow.

    A rosy face that was not unlike a young girl’s, close-fitting pink clothes, and on the pink belt around his waist hung a pink pouch.

    Even the look in his eyes was ‘pink’, the sort that most men would have when they see the bare thigh of a young lady.

    The worst of it was that he was sporting that exact expression when he gazed at Lu Xiaofeng.

    Lu Xiaofeng suddenly felt like vomiting.

    Pink Swallow was unconcerned with his reaction; he was still smiling and looking at him, said gently: “Lu Xiaofeng is indeed Lu Xiaofeng, you have not disappointed me.”

    “Oh?” Lu Xiaofeng said.

    “You don’t look too good now,” Pink Swallow said, “but if you get a basin of water and a bar of soap, then take a good bath, you’d be a very good-looking man.” His eyes crinkled as he scrutinised Lu Xiaofeng from head to toe. “I can imagine it now.”

    Lu Xiaofeng didn’t quite feel like vomiting now, because the thing he’d most like to do now was to smash this man’s nose flat.

    Fortunately, Pink Swallow had already turned to look at Ye Guhong, saying: “This one is mine, I won’t let you touch him.”

    Ye Guhong also looked as though he was about to retch, and coldly said: “You will take both men and women?”

    Pink Swallow chuckled and said: “I’d want you too sometimes.”

    Ye Guhong’s already pale face turned green.

    Pink Swallow said: “I know you’ve always hated me, but you can’t do without me because if you didn’t have me around this time, you wouldn’t have found this wily old fox and you can forget about going back alive.”

    He smiled and continued: “You young heroes from prestigious sects can show off all you like in the world out there, but in this man-eating forest, you probably won’t survive beyond four hours.”

    Ye Guhong, surprisingly, did not refute that.

    Pink Swallow gently expelled a breath, said: “So if I allow you to have this old fox, you should feel very satisfied.”

    Ye Guhong’s hand gripped the sword hilt again, said: “You must let me strike, you know I’ve sworn to kill him with my own hands.”

    “Lu Xiaofeng, you mean?” Pink Swallow asked.

    Ye Guhong gritted his teeth and said: “Lu Xiaofeng is yours, I just want him…”

    Dugu Mei suddenly broke into laughter, said: “You’re all wrong, Lu Xiaofeng is neither his nor yours!”

    “Whose, then?” Pink Swallow asked.

    “Mine,” Dugu Mei replied.

    Pink Swallow laughed uproariously as well, and said: “Even if he’s got my bad habit, he wouldn’t fall for the likes of you.”

    “But if he wants to live, he can’t let me die at your hands,” Dugu Mei said.

    Pink Swallow turned to Lu Xiaofeng, said gently: “If you stay out of this, I can let you live too.”

    Lu Xiaofeng didn’t reply.

    Pink Swallow let out a sigh and said: “Young Master Ye, you can strike now!”

    “Fine.”

    The sword was out of its sheath by the time he said that. The speed with which he pulled out the sword paled in comparison to Ximen Chuixue’s, but was certainly a cut above others’.

    His attack was swift and ruthless; other than the Wudang skills he already possessed, there were at least two other schools of swordplay mixed in them.

    This stroke was the most exquisite of his swordplay. It was also a fatal blow, an unerring stroke that would leave no business unfinished.

    Dugu Mei’s mouth was wide open; he wanted to scream, but not a sound came out.

    True enough, Lu Xiaofeng had not stepped up to counter the blow.

    Pink Swallow was still laughing, but suddenly, his smile froze.

    The blade of a sword suddenly pierced through from his heart, blood splattered and rained down right before his eyes.

    This was his own blood?

    He would not believe it!

    Unfortunately, he had to believe.

    He stretched out his hand to retrieve the hidden weapons in his pouch, but he had already collapsed.

    ________________

    * Pink Swallow's (nick)name in Chinese is 万里踏花粉燕子 (wan4 li3 ta4 hua1 fen3 yan4 zi), which stumped both mich and me. After an enlightening discussion, she figured the most appropriate meaning of the whole phrase would be "bisexual fiend". However, because he is often referred to as 粉燕子, this is translated as "Pink Swallow", while 万里踏花 is translated as "Flower Thief".

    ** Again, Dugu Mei's nickname is “六亲不认” (liu4 qin1 bu4 ren4), which means the person has no regard at all for familial ties or kinship. But that's quite a mouthful, and mich and I figured "cold-blooded" would be an appropriate substitute.
    夏雪宜

  19. #19
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    I wonder if you should have incorporated the ten thousand mile moniker in the translation, kind of like tian ba gong in smilingbproud wanderer.

    Thanks,
    Han Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  20. #20
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great translation Junny!

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