Since Justin is doing such a fantastic job continuing where I left off in ASITP, and now that I have a little free time, I decided to start on a new, more bite-sized project (I must have been crazy to choose ASITP in 2007).
This only has 25 chapters, so I am more likely able to complete it.
Here's the beginning of Chapter 1, I did not proofread the translation, so if anyone spots any grammar or typing mistakes, please let me know.
Book 1 - Murderer
Chapter 1 – It started from the scream
The sudden scream came from the upper level of the Eastern Chamber!
This huge hall was initially filled with sounds of happy cheers, drinking and games but the sudden blood curdling scream shocked everyone into a standstill.
Looking at the people in this hall, most of them were dressed as martial arts exponents, every one of them broad and muscular with intense, piercing eyes and carrying either swords or sabres. Judging by their charisma and behavior, one can tell that they are no ordinary people.
In the middle of this hall, there is a huge word ‘longetivity’. The décor is bright, resplendent and grand, obviously the home of the wealthy. The hundreds of martial arts exponents in the hall are all Masters of their own areas and from this, one can tell that this wealthy family is obviously also a Leader in the martial arts world.
The most exceptional thing is that on the four ebony chairs carved with magnificent dragons that was placed next to the host’s chair in the hall, there were four elderly people who looked like they were in their sixties seated on it.
The leader of the group had silver brows and white beard and was tall and slender with very refined features. He looks kindly and affable with a long sword across his back. This person is none other than the most reputable person in Cangzhou Prefecture, who have achieved a level of mastery in martial arts, the famous ‘First Dragon’ Ling Yuxiang. It is said no one is able to handle his ‘Airborne Cross Sword’ swordplay. A pity that he is getting old in age and has retired from the martial arts realm and he has not fought with his sword for many years.
The second is an elderly with white hair and ruddy cheeks, with a thin sword around his waist which is never away from his body. His temples are raised, which obviously means that his internal energy has reached perfection. This is ‘Second Dragon’ Murong Shuiyun. The thin sword which he executes ‘Seven Spinning Slashes’ with has defeated countless enemies. He is an upright man and anyone from the criminal underworld, will all tremble in fear once they hear the name ‘Murong Shuiyun’ and run to avoid him at all costs.
The third one is an elderly man whose dressing looks almost like a Taoist priest, with black hair and long beard, a cold and haughty attitude and carrying a horsetail whisk. This person has the surname Shen, named Cuogu. He’s the ‘Fourth Dragon’ and extremely highly skilled in martial arts. The horsetail whisk in his hand is a marvelous weapon, named ‘Cuogu Whisk’. He is a strange loner, cold and heartless. He is still considered a righteous man although his methods can be too vicious. If it is said that those in the criminal underworld will run to avoid Murong Shuiyun, then when they see Shen Cuogu, they will not dare to move even a step.
The fourth one is an old man with a face full of black beard, his clothes tattered and mended with different cloths. His eyes were as huge as coins with coarse brows and although he is shorter, he is extremely strong and stout, like a metal shield. His thick arms are at least twice as large as the average person. This person carries no weapon but it is rumored that he has mastered tough martial arts like ‘Iron Shirt’, ‘Thirteen Princes’ and ‘Rejuvenation Skill’ and not only is he impervious to swords or sabres, he may not be trapped even if a mountain falls on him! He is the most unyielding of the ‘Five Dragons’ and he is the ‘Fifth Dragon’ Gui Jingyuan.
The so-called ‘Five Dragons of the Martial Arts Realm’, were all resounding heroes of the realm during their times but the years show no mercy to anyone and they are all getting on in age. However, they are still respected by those in the martial arts realm and the plaque ‘Five Dragons of the Martial Arts Realm’ has never been taken down by anyone or the name taken by anyone else.
The so-called ‘Five Dragons of the Martial Arts Realm’ are: ‘First Dragon’ Ling Yuxiang who is well versed in ‘Airborne Cross Sword’ swordplay; ‘Second Dragon’ Murong Shuiyun who is well versed in ‘Seven Spinning Slashes’ using the thin sword; ‘Third Dragon’ Jin Shenghuang who is well versed in ’36 Hands Centipede Whip’; ‘Fourth Dragon’ Shen Cuogu who is well versed in ‘Cuogu Whisk’; ‘Fifth Dragon’ Gui Jingyuan who is well versed in ‘Steel Armor Skill’. In the martial arts realm of Cang Zhou Prefecture, these five are in their prime, highly respected and no one will dare order them around.
Today is the 50th birthday of the ‘Third Dragon’ from the ‘Five Dragons of the Martial Arts Realm’, Jin Shenghuang.
Naturally the martial arts heroes in this hall all rushed here from all over to celebrate the 50th birthday of the wealthy and highly skilled ‘36 Hands Centipede Whip’ Jin Shenghuang.
And that scream that came from upstairs belongs to no other than the birthday boy Jin Shenghuang!
What has happened?
The heroes who were there, some of them got up hurriedly while some took out their weapons. There were some who still had no idea what was happening and for a moment everything was chaotic with sounds and movement.
Suddenly a deep yet gentle old voice suppressed the ruckus in the huge hall. This voice is slow but strong, making everyone else quiet down to listen to him say, “Everyone, that scream just now indeed belongs to Third Brother Jin. We have no idea what happened either but we ask that all of you cooperate and try to stay calm. Only then can we listen and see clearly what actually happened. If anyone finds someone trying to leave the place or escape, please help to detain that person. Thank you!”
Everyone looked towards the direction the voice came from and saw that Ling Yuxiang is still seated calmly on the chair and talking while the rest next to him like Murong Shuiyun, Shen Cuogu and Gui Jingyuan have all disappeared.
All those in there don’t even know when these three left the hall.
Ling Yuxiang said with a smile, “Everyone, Second Brother Murong, Fourth Brother Shen and Fifth Brother Gui have already gone to investigate. With Third Brother Jin’s martial arts, together with Second, Fourth and Fifth Brother, they should be able to handle anything in the world.”
Everyone in the hall started to sit down and someone said with a laugh, “Out of the ‘Five Dragons of the Martial Arts Realm’, four have been activated so how can there by anything in this world that cannot be settled!”
Someone else added with a laugh, “Just as that scream was heard, I already saw Second Hero Murong, Fifth Hero Gui etc dashing out. Their movements were so swift that I couldn’t even take a clear look.”
Another person laughed, “Of course you couldn’t see. They are our elders and experienced, their reaction is swift yet calm. As for us, our abilities are not good enough to be seen.”
Everyone was talking and laughing and Ling Yuxiang laughed along but his brows were furrowed. Because no one knows better than him that ‘36 Hands Centipede Whip’ Jin Shenghuang is not someone who will scream easily.
Much less that it was a blood curdling scream!
No matter what has happened, his three brothers who had gone will certainly come back to report and calm everyone down.
What has actually happened, and it has to happen on Jin Shenghuang’s 50th birthday celebration?
Suddenly there was a shadow in the hall and Shen Cuogu appeared, his black outfit fluttering like the wind. The look on his face was as black and somber as his outfit. Ling Yuxiang furrowed his brows and Shen Cuogu took out his hands, which was full of fresh blood.
Someone in the hall exclaimed in surprise.
Shen Cuogu came forward and told Ling Yuxiang, “Eldest Brother, go and have a look.”
Ling Yuxiang replied, “Fine.” Before he even finished saying the word ‘fine’, he has already flitted out like a cloud, his movement cool yet swift.
What has actually happened?