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Thread: Righteous Blood Cleansing the Silver Spear (碧血洗银枪) - Gu Long UNABRIDGED

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    Default Righteous Blood Cleansing the Silver Spear (碧血洗银枪) - Gu Long UNABRIDGED

    This is the translation-only thread for Bixue Xi Yinqiang by Gu Long. For discussion, go to the original thread.


    Information

    About the Title
    I've seen the following titles being used:
    -Silver Spear Cleansed in Blood
    -Crimson Blood Cleansing Silver Spear

    The Chinese title is 碧血洗银枪. 碧血 (bixue) literally means crimson blood. However, according to baidu, 碧血 has the following definition:

    1. 指忠臣烈士所流之血 - Refers to blood shed by loyal officials or heroic warriors.
    2. 指为国牺牲的精神 - Refers to the spirit of sacrificing for one's country.
    3. [blood shed in a just cause]


    So to me, the translation "righteous blood" used by BeeDreamer is the most accurate. There were a bunch of alternate titles from movie and TV series which I'll just ignore.


    About the Book
    This book was one of Gu Long's later work. It was serialized in China Daily from September 1976 to February 1977.


    Synopsis
    The Jasper Villa wanted to select a suitable son-in-law amongst the four renowned gentlemen of Wulin. When three of gentlemen became victim of an evil scheme, Ma Rulong was accused of being the culprit. Being cornered, Ma Rulong escaped and must find a way to clear his name and find out who was real mastermind.

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    Default Table of Content

    Prologue
    Chapter 1: Four Young Gentlemen [四公子]
    Chapter 2: The Killer [杀手]
    Chapter 3: Tiansha (Heaven Kill) [天杀]
    Chapter 4: Long Night [长夜]
    Chapter 5: Dawan [大婉]
    Chapter 6: Broken Bowl [破碗]
    Chapter 7: Xiaowan [小婉]
    Chapter 8: Private Affair [私情]
    Chapter 9: A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed [患难见真情]
    Chapter 10: Questions [问题]
    Chapter 11: Strappado [吊刑]
    Chapter 12: Jasmine [茉莉花]
    Chapter 13: The Flower Girl [卖花女]
    Chapter 14: Extreme Person Extreme Measure [绝人绝事]
    Chapter 15: Exquisite Jade Hand Yu Linglong [玲珑玉手玉玲珑]
    Chapter 16: General Store [杂货店]
    Chapter 17: Things You Mustnt Do [有所不为]
    Chapter 18: The Person That Eats Salt [吃盐的人]
    Chapter 19: Things You Must Do [有所必为]
    Chapter 20: No Other Choice [别无选择]
    Chapter 21: No Regrets [义无反顾]
    Chapter 22: The Green Fog Thats Not Fog [绿雾非雾]
    Chapter 23: A Dishonest Honest Man [不老实的老实人]
    Chapter 24: Regular Customer and Big Customer [老主顾与大主顾]
    Chapter 25: Dead Alley [死巷]
    Chapter 26: Dead Land [死地]
    Chapter 27: Black Stone [黑石]
    Chapter 28: Legend of the Dead Valley [死谷传奇]
    Chapter 29: Feast [盛宴]
    Chapter 30: Tailor, Make Ups, Bridal Sedan Chair [裁缝胭脂花轿]
    Chapter 31: The Miraculous Tailor [神奇的裁缝]
    Chapter 32: The Hand that Scares People [吓人的手]
    Chapter 33: Inside the Hole [洞中]
    Chapter 34: Mansion and the Sinister Night [華屋惡夜]
    Chapter 35: Panic in the Sinister Night [恶夜惊魂]
    Chapter 36: After Midnight [三更后]
    Chapter 37: Death Valley [死谷]
    Chapter 38: Suspicion and Confusion [疑云重重]
    Chapter 39: The Answer [解答]
    Epilogue 尾声
    Last edited by kaister; 08-20-14 at 01:15 PM. Reason: added chapter links

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    Default Characters, Places, Items, etc.

    Characters
    Duan Yu (段玉) -
    Four Young Masters (四公子) - Four famous young martial artists in Jianghu.
    -Qiu Fengcheng (邱凤城), aka the Silver Spear Gentleman (银枪公子) - He use a silver spear and seem to have come from a rich, prominent Wulin family.
    -Du Qinglian (杜青莲), aka Green Lotus (青莲) - He is a pale and fair looking gentleman that loves to drink. He is also from a rich family.
    -Ma Rulong (马如龙), aka the White Horse Gentleman (白马公子) - He seems arrogant, doesn't talk much and carried a sword. He is also from a prominent Wulin family.
    -Shen Hongye (沈红叶), aka Red Leaf (红叶) - The poorest of the four (lol). He has a folding fan. He came from the Ye (叶) Family, the descendent of Ye Kai from the Flying Dagger Series
    Madame Jasper, Biyu-furen (碧玉夫人) - A very mysterious and powerful woman that is respected and feared in Wulin.
    Jin Zhenlin(金振林) - Carried a golden spear. A rival of silver spear, Qiu Fengcheng.
    Peng Tianba (彭天霸) - A famous sabre user of Jianghu, known for his qui
    Feng Chaofan (冯超凡) - Another famous Wulin senior, seemed to know Qiu Fengcheng's father.
    Jue dashi (绝大师) - A monk set to rid evil people and won't hesitate to kill.
    Dawan (大婉) - A haughty and mysterious girl Ma Rulong met.
    Yu Wu (俞五), aka Broken Bowl - Leader of the Beggar Clan. A very knowledgeable, skilled, and respectable Wulin master.
    Xiaowan (小婉) - A lover of Qiu Fengcheng.
    Monk Chiku (吃苦和尚) - Said to be more powerful than Jue dashi. Knowledgable in poison.
    Jade Taoist (玉道人) - Another equal with Monk Chiku but more powerful than Jue dashi, Feng Chaofan. Said to be handsome and know how to cure poison
    Yu LingLong (玉玲珑) - A well-know prominent expert of disguise.
    Xie Yulun (谢玉仑) - Seemed to know Dawan and has a rivalry with her. She has the same type of arrogance and mysterious background.
    Zhang Rongfa (张荣发) - A plain common owner of a general store.
    Wang Guizhi (王桂枝) - Zhang Rongfa's bedridden wife, said to have a hot temper.
    Zhang Laoshi (张老实) - Zhang Rongfa uncaring and honest clerk.
    Baoyi (陶保义) - A local constable that lives with his wife.
    Tie Zhentian (铁震天) - An infamous and powerful expert in Wulin, said to be more powerful than Jue dashi.
    Tie Quanyi (铁全义) - Tie Zhentian's loyal brother.
    Wang Wanwu (王万武) - A renowned Wulin master with vicious attacks.
    Sun Zao (孙早) and Sun Chi (孙迟)- A pair of young crippled twin brothers.
    No Thirteen (无十三), aka Wu Shisan - An undefeatable fighter the beaten all the top Wulin masters at the time, thirty years ago. Disappeared after suddenly appearing in Jianghu for three months.
    Yu Liu (俞六), i.e. Yu Six - The rather non-famous younger brother of Yu Wu (Yu Five).
    Peng Tiangao (彭天高) - A unknown and illegitimate younger brother of Peng Tianba

    Places:
    Jianghu (江湖) - Common term for the martial art, wuxia world.
    Winter Plum Valley, Hanmei Gu(寒梅谷), a cold valley at the beginning of the story.
    Jasper Villa, Biyu Sanzhuang (碧玉山庄), - Place where Madame Jasper lived. No one seem to know where it is. It was compared to the Yihua Gong (移花宫), or Floral Palace, from Legendary Siblings, where it was also a mysterious and female-only place.
    Hall of Divine Horse, Tianma Tang (天马堂), - Seems to be the residence of the Ma family.
    Xingxiu Hai (星宿海), or Constellation Sea - A mysterious and legendary place in the far north.

    Weapons:
    Jasper Sabre (碧玉刀) Biyu dao - Family weapon of the Duan family of Jintan.
    Five Tiger Breaking Down the Door Sabre , Wuhu Duanmen Dao (五虎断门刀) - A powerful and famous saber skill of the Peng family. Used by Peng Tianba.
    Dragon Phoenix Gold Ring (龙凤金环) - Formerly used by Shangguan Jinhong, I think. Very powerful and currently used by a mysterious person.
    Mandarin Duck Kuahulan (鸳鸯跨虎篮) - A strange powerful weapon also used by a mysterious user.

    Other:
    Heaven Kill, Tiansha (天杀) - A mysterious assassin organization, with unknown leader or motive.
    Three Positive Lineage Ending Palm (三阳绝户手) - A powerful palm skill with terrible outcome to its victim.
    Separate Muscle Wrong Bone Hand (分筋错骨手) - Literally a crippling technique.
    High Force Eagle Claw Kung Fu (大力鹰爪功) - Powerful technique originated from the Eagle Claw King 鹰爪王.
    Babu Ganchan (八步赶蝉) Eight Steps Pursuing Cicada - A broadly known qinggong that's hard to master.
    Tianma Xingkong (天马行空) Heavenly Steed Galloping Across the Sky - Another qinggong specialty, used by Ma Rulong
    Last edited by kaister; 05-29-14 at 05:47 PM.

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    Default Prologue

    It was said in these three hundred years; the luckiest man in Jianghu1 was Duan Yu2, the eldest son of the Duan family in Jintan3.

    In Jintan, the Duan family was an influential family. In Jianghu, the Duan family had a celebrated reputation and was a noble Wulin4 family.

    Although their traditional familys sabre5 techniques were rather gentle and soft, contains no vicious or devious stance, and didn't stray from conventional means; these techniques were full of strength, extremely profound, and contain extraordinary power. Their sabre techniques were like Duan Yu himself; though not fearful, it commanded respect.

    Their family legacy weapon was the Jasper Sabre6 (Biyu7 Dao). It was also a legendary weapon with a grand history. However, the story we are telling is not the story of the Jasper Sabre.

    In Jianghu, there was another treasure called the Jasper Hairpin (Biyu Chai). Jasper Sabre will bring to its owner, luck and prosperity. On the other hand, the Jasper Hairpin will lead to misfortunes and disasters.

    It was said, whoever owns the Jasper Hairpin will be immediately plagued with disasters. It was said, its owner would always be struck down by sudden death. There was no exception.

    In Jianghu, there were many stories about the Jasper Hairpin. Some were close to becoming mythical; filled with supernatural and evil elements. This, I must say, is also not the story about the Jasper Hairpin.

    The story we are telling is about the Jasper Pearl (Biyu Zhu).

    What is the Jasper Pearl? a person? a weapon? a treasure? or a mystical pill?


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ _______________________
    1. Jianghu (江湖) lit. rivers and lakes. It refers to the martial art world.
    2. Duan Yu (段玉) - Surname Duan means section, given name yu means jade.
    3. Jintan (金坛) - a county city in Changzhou prefecture, Jiangsu province.
    4. Wulin (武林) lit. martial forest. It's also used to describe the martial art community. In my opinion, wulin is used to describe things related to martial art society; whereas jianghu is typicially used as if it was an actual place.
    5. A Chinese dao is a single-edge sword, similar to a sabre. Whenever a sabre is mentioned, just remember it's referring to a very specific type of weapon.
    6. Biyu dao, aka Jasper Sabre or Jade Sabre is part of Gu Long's seven weapon series.
    7. Biyu is literally jasper. It was commonly translated as jade (yu). Although that's technically correct, biyu is more precisely a jasper. Afterall, it's specially a biyu not just a yu (jade).
    Last edited by kaister; 05-29-14 at 08:29 PM. Reason: added footnotes

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    Default Chapter 1

    Chapter 1: Four Young Gentlemen8 [四公子]

    Severe winter. It was bitterly cold in the snow valley.

    Thousands of li9 (miles) were covered in snow and the land was completely white. One person was digging a pit on the snow ground. This pit was three chi10 (feet) wide, five chi deep, and seven chi long.

    He was young, healthy, tall, and handsome with signs of proper upbringing. He was wearing a mink coat that was worth a thousand gold and held a pair of glimmering silver spears. The spear shaft was pure silver with the following five words carved onto it:

    Phoenix City, Silver Spear, Qiu11.

    Such a person originally did not dig pit. Such a pair of spear was not supposed to be used for digging.

    This place was a beautiful valley. The sky was clear blue, snow was silvery white, and the plum blossom was bright red.

    He came on a horse and had ridden a long way. The horse was a pure-breed Ferghana12 colt. It was a noble and spirited horse. It had vivid saddle and bridle, and even the stirrup was made of pure silver.

    Why would such a person, who was riding this type of horse and using this type of weapon, came here to dig a pit?

    The pit was finally finished. He laid down in the pit. It seemed like he wanted to examine how big this pit was and whether he could comfortably lay down inside. Did he dig this pit for himself?

    Only a dead person would have use for such a pit. He was young and healthy. It looked like he could still live for several decades. Why would he dig such a pit for himself? Could it be that he wanted to die? He seemed to be living well, why would he want to die? And why did he have to pick this place to die?

    The snowing stopped yesterday night. The weather was clear and cold. He took off the saddle, gently patted the horse, and said, You go now. Go find a good master. The horse neighed softly and rushed away from this snow-covered valley. He sat on the horse saddle and looked upward to the blue sky. Lost in thoughts, his eyes carried a hint of unspeakable sorrow and grief.

    At this time, a group of people appeared. Some carried boxes of food, some carried tables and chairs, and some even carried two tan13 (jugs) of wine, walked into the valley. The person in the front, who looked like a restaurant waiter, came and asked, Excuse me, young master. Is this Winter Plum Valley?

    The pit-digging young man nonchalantly nodded. He did not even look at them.

    This person again asked, Did the eldest young master of the Du family invited you here? The pit-digging youth did not even pay attention to him.

    This person let out a sigh, abashedly said to himself, I just do not understand why Young Master Du want us to bring the food and wine to this place?

    Another person laughed, Young noble masters from rich family have strange temperament. Of course, poor wretches like us wouldnt understand.

    These people set up the table and chairs under the plum tree, arranged several dishes of food and cups of wine, and then left. After half a day, a person outside the valley suddenly made out a drawn out noise.

    There really were bells ringing. One person rode on a young donkey and another rode on a white horse, and entered the valley. The one riding the donkey had a pale white complexion. He looked sick but still had a warm smile, graceful manners, and dressed luxuriously.

    The other person was carrying a long sword on his waist, wore a silver fox fur cap and silver fox coat, and dressed entirely in silvery white. He was riding on a tall and magnificent white horse. He was looking around and had an air of arrogance. He did have reasons to be arrogant. There were not much beautiful man like him in the world.

    The pit-digging young man was still sitting here. Lost in his world, it seemed like he did not even notice them.

    They also did not recognize him either.

    These three young people were not the same. The latter two came to this snowy place looking for the plum blossom, and to admire the flower and drink wine. The pit-digging youth came here waiting for death.

    The wine was under the flower. The sickly-looking youth poured a cup of wine, drank it, and said, Good wine.

    The flowers in front of the wine had already blossomed. He drank another cup and said, Good flower! The flowers were radiant next to the snow; the red looks redder and the white looks whiter. He raised the cup again and said, Good snow. After three cups, his pale white face was showing sign of redness. He seemed very leisurely, high spirited, and vigorous.

    Though his body was indeed weak and sickly, he can still enjoy and appreciate all the beautiful things in life. He seemed to be interested in everything, therefore also lived an interesting life.

    The beautiful young man that rode the white horse, wore the fox coat, carried the long sword had a calm and somber face. He did not seem to be interested in anything.

    The sickly-looking noble gentleman smiled and said, Such beautiful snow, such beautiful flower, such good wine. How come you dont drink a cup?

    Beautiful young man said, I never drink wine.

    Noble gentleman said, You came here and you dont even drink. Wouldnt you be wasting such a beautiful snow valley, and these thousands of plum blossom?

    Beautiful young man coldly said, No matter where I am, I dont drink wine.

    Noble gentleman sighed and mumbled, This person is truly a layman, killing the mood. How did I even have a friend like him?

    Pit-digging young man was still lost in thoughts. The noble gentleman suddenly stood up, walked around his pit and said, Good pit. The young man the dug the pit ignored him. Noble gentleman said, The pit is well dug. The pit-digging young man ignored him.

    Noble gentleman simply walked in front of him. He asked, Did you dig this pit?

    Pit-digging young man could not ignore him and answered, Yes.

    Noble gentleman said, I have been saying youve dug this pit well. Do you know what I mean?

    Pit-digging young man said, You want me to drink with you.

    Noble gentleman laughed and said, Not only can you dig a pit well but you understand people well too.

    Pit-digging young man said, Unfortunately, I will not drink.

    Noble gentleman stopped laughing and asked, You also never drank alcohol before?

    Pit-digging young man replied, When I am in the mood to drink, I will drink. When I am not, I will not drink.

    Noble gentleman asked, How come you will not drink right now?

    Pit-digging young man replied, Because I am not in the mood to drink right now.

    Noble gentleman not only did not get angry but instead laughed, I know who you are now. Ive always heard, the Silver Spear gentleman, Qiu Fengcheng14, temper is like his spear, straight and stiff. You must be Qiu Fengcheng.

    Pit-digging young man ignored him again.

    Noble gentleman said, My surname is Du, name is Du Qinglian15. Qiu Fengcheng was still ignoring him, as if he had never heard of this name before.

    Actually he had heard of this name before. For those roaming in Jianghu, very few people had never heard of this name.
    In Wulin, there were four young gentlemen: Silver Spear, White Horse, Red Leaf, and Green Lotus. Among this generation of youngsters in Jianghu, there was no one with talents that could surpass them. Although they were not acquainted with each other, Qiu Fengcheng should recognize the name Du Qinglian. He also know that beautiful young man that rode the white horse, wear fox coat, carried long sword was White Horse young gentleman, Ma Rulong16. However, he still pretended he did not know.

    Du Qinglian sighed and said, Look like you are determined not to drink today.

    Suddenly, a voice outside the valley yelled, They dont want to drink. Ill drink.

    The wine drinker came. The time after the snow stopped was colder then when it was snowing. Even though they wore fur coats, they still felt cold. This person was only wearing thin silk garments. Although the material was not bad, it was definitely not the type of clothing to wear in this type of weather. So he was trembling. Although it was really cold, he was actually holding a folding fan.

    There were wine bottle and wine cup on the table. He rushed over here, and lifted up a wine jug and drank directly from it. After a large gulp, he let out a breath and said, Great wine. Du Qinglian laughed.

    After taking another large gulp, he said, Not just great wine; great flowers and even the snow is great. After three large gulps, he was no longer shivering and even his face liven up.

    Although this person was poor, he was not obnoxious. He could even be considered a very likable person. He had a beautiful and delicate face. When he smiled, there were two dimples. Du Qinglian was starting to think, the person was quite cute and interesting.

    This person said, Such mood and atmosphere at such time, those who do not drink really should...

    Du Qinglian asked, Should what?

    This person said, Should be spanked.

    Du Qinglian laughed heartily. The pit-digging young man still showed no interest beside that person and that matter on his mind. Even though other people are in front of him, it was as if they were not there. Other matters, he couldnt care less.

    Ma Rulong furrowed and seemed to be agitated, but he had not done anything yet. It was not because he was afraid. It was merely because of his disdain of stooping to the level of these people.

    However this person went directly to him, lift the wine jug and said, Come, you have a drink too.

    Ma Rulong coldly said, You are not worthy.

    This person said, What kind of people would be worthy to drink with you?

    Ma Rulong, What kind of person are you?

    This person did not answer, and simply opened his fan. There were seven words written on it. The characters were well written and elegant, just like him.

    Autumn leaves are redder than February flowers.

    Although the person was lowly and poor, his fan was rather refined. The seven words on the fan was, without a doubt, the work of an expert calligrapher.

    Du Qinglian raised the cup and heartily said: Great characters.

    This person lifted the wine jug, drank a large gulp, and said, Your taste is also pretty good.

    Du Qinglian asked, Who wrote these characters?

    This person said, Other than me, who else couldve written these flawless characters?

    Du Qinglian laughed and said, Now I also know who your are.

    This person said, Oh?

    Du Qinglian said, Other than Shen Hongye17, who else can be as conceited as you?

    Amongst Wulins four young gentlemen: the proudest one was White Horse Ma Rulong; the headstrong one was Silver Spear Qiu Fengcheng; the most spirited one was, of course, Du Qinglian; and the most conceited one was Shen Hongye.

    Ma, Qiu, and Du were rich, powerful and distinguished families. White Horse, Silver Spear, and Green Lotus were famous and recognized noble gentlemen. Red Leafs origin was a mystery.

    It was said, he was the descendent of previously worlds number one hero, Shen Lang18.

    It was said that Little Li Tanhua19 best friend, the worlds fastest sword A-Fei, was his ancestor.

    A-Feis past was already a mystery, so Shen Hongyes past was also a mystery. He never told anyone about his origin. Everyone considered him to be part of the four young gentleman mainly because he grew up in the Ye family.

    The Ye family was Ye Kais family. Ye Kai was Little Li Flying Daggers only disciple. Who is Little Li Flying Dagger? Who doesnt know?

    Wulins four young gentlemen had now gathered together, but they did not plan to meet up here.

    This place was several thousand li away each of their home. Even if Du Qinglian was in a good mood, he would not have traveled several thousand li to this place just for flowers and wine.

    Qiu Fengcheng would not travel several thousands li just to die. If a person wants to die, any place would have sufficed. Why would he come here? What was he doing here?

    Ma Rulong coldly and silently sat here. His attitude did not changed after hearing the name Shen Hongye but his hand was drawing closer to his swords handle. He gazed at Shen Hongye and suddenly said:, Very good.

    Shen Hongye asked, What is very good?

    Ma Rulong said, Its very good that you are Shen Hongye.

    Shen Hongye asked, Why?

    Ma Rulong said, Originally I thought you are not worthy. Not worth me drawing my sword. My sword never touches the insignificant.

    Shen Hongye asked: How about now?

    Ma Rulong said: Shen Hongye is not insignificant. So if you said anything skittish and rude, between me and you, one would be a corpse with blood spilling everywhere.

    Shen Hongye sighed, bitterly smiled, and said, I just want you to drink with me. Why are you so upset?

    Du Qinglian said, If he doesnt drink, Ill drink. He took Shen Hongyes jug of wine, tip it to his mouth, and drank several mouthful before breathing and said, Good wine.

    Shen Hongye took back the jug of wine. He also drank a mouthful then sighed and said, With wine like this, even if its poisonous, I would give up my life to drink it.

    Du Qinglian smiled and said, Not bad. If we could die here, it wouldve been our fortune.

    Shen Hongye exclaimed, Why?!

    Du Qinglian said, Because there is a person here that could dig a really good pit.

    Shen Hongye asked, Is the pit he digs that good?

    Du Qinglian said, Its superb.

    Shen Hongye suddenly stood up, carried the jug of wine, went to and walked around the pit and muttered, This is indeed a good pit. After a person dies, he would be lucky to be buried in this pit.

    Du Qinglian said, Unfortunately, this pit was not dug for us.

    Shen Hongye said, Only a dead person would have any use for such a pit. Could it be that he wanted to die?

    Du Qinglian said, It looks like it.

    Shen Hongye seemed shocked and asked, Why does a person like him wants to die?

    Du Qinglian said, Because, like us, he also received a letter telling him to come here.

    Shen Hongye exclaimed, Is that letter also sent by Biyu-furen20 (Madame Jasper)?!

    Du Qinglian said, Definitely.

    Shen Hongye said, Madame Jasper told us to come here because she wants to select a son-in-law among the four of us.

    Du Qinglian said, Right.

    Shen Hongye said, Madame Jasper is widely-acknowledged as a worlds number top expert. In Biyu Sanzhuang21 (Jasper Villa), everyone is a woman of great beauty.22 After receiving this letter, I was so happy I couldnt even sleep.

    Du Qinglian said, I could imagine that.

    Shen Hongye said, If she choose me to be her son-in-law, I would be so happy that I will go mad.

    Du Qinglian said, You better not go mad. Madame Jasper would not want a madman to be her son-in-law.

    Shen Hongye asked, Would she want a dead person to be her son-in-law?

    Du Qinglian said, Of course not.

    Shen Hongye asked, In that case why would our young master Qiu wants to die?

    Du Qinglian said, Because he is a love-obsessed fool and he already have a beautiful lady whom he had already pledged his undying love to. He sighed and said, If Madame Jasper selected him to be his son-in-law, he would not be able to be together with his love.

    Shen Hongye said, So once Madame Jasper selects him, he would choose to die here instead.

    Du Qinglian said, That is all correct.

    Shen Hongye thought for a bit and said, There is another way of saying all of this.

    Du Qinglian said, What way?

    Shen Hongye asked, Is Madame Jasper absolutely able to see this pit?

    Du Qinglian smiled and said, It would be difficult to not notice such a big pit.

    Shen Hongye said, If she see this pit, shell know young master Qiu is committed to death. Theres a possibility that shell spare him and select me as the new guye23 (masters husband) of the Jasper Villa.

    Du Qinglian said, You really are a smart man. This is the thinking of a smart manx; definitely not like regular people, and especially not like a love-obsessed fool.

    Shen Hongye laughed and said, Being a love-obsessed fool doesnt mean he is not smart.

    Qiu Fengchengs expression changed. He suddenly got up, stared at Du Qinglian, and said: How do you know about this?! This was a secret. A secret that only two people knew about. However, this question confirmed the validity of Du Qinglians statements.

    Du Qinglian sighed and asked, You couldnt imagine how I would know about such a thing?

    Even I couldnt imagine. Unfortunately, that beautiful lady...

    He did not finish the sentence and a strange expression suddenly appeared on his face. A pale-white face suddenly became deathly black. He looked at Shen Hongye with his mouth opened. He wanted to say something but his voice was already gone.

    Shen Hongye said, Are you... His voice also cracked after two words and a strange expression appeared on his face. The two people faced and looking at each other, their eyes had expressions of extreme fear.

    A sound of bo, Shen Hongyes jug of wine fell out of his hand into the pit, and broke into many pieces. His face suddenly had a sad and mysterious smile. Using his coarse voice, he said, It looks like my luck is better than yours. I am standing by this pit... These were his last words and without finishing it, he fell into the pit. Even though this pit was not prepared for him, he was already in the pit. Why would the living fight with the dead for this pit?


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ _________________________
    8. gongzi is more of a noble gentleman. Will use gentleman or young master at times.
    9. Li (里) is a Chinese mile. It's about half a kilometer, 500m, or a third of a mile, 1650ft.
    10. Chi (尺) is a Chinese foot. It is about a third of a meter, 33.33 cm, or 13.13 inches.
    11. Qiu (邱), a surname, means mound.
    12. Dayuan (大宛) is an historical Chinese name for a country that existed in the Ferghana Valley in Central Asia. In this context, it's referring to the area and not the long-gone Dayuan civilization so I used the English name instead of sticking to pinyin. The area is famous for their powerful horses.
    13. tan, a large clay jug to smaller opening and wider body. Its use for storage, in this case wine.
    14. Qiu Fengcheng (邱凤城), surname Qiu, given name means phoenix city, hence the inscription on his spear.
    15. Du Qinglian (杜青莲), surname Du, given name means green lotus.
    16. Ma Rulong (马如龙), surname Ma means horse, given name means like dragon.
    17. Shen Hongye (沈红叶), surname Shen, given name means red leaf.
    18. Shen Long is the main protagonist of Gu Longs Wulin Waishi.
    19. Tanhua was a title given to those that finished third in the imperial examination. Little Li is a protagonist of the Flying Dagger series -- check out Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword. A Fei is also another protagonist in that story.
    20. Furen is an honorific referring to an esteemed married woman, hence Madame Jasper.
    21. Sanzhuang is a resident on the mountain. Its a mountain side manor house, or villa.
    22. Tianxiangguose, lit. means heavenly fragrance and national beauty.
    23. Guye (姑爷) is a term to address the son-in-law by the family of the wife.
    Last edited by kaister; 05-30-14 at 01:36 AM. Reason: added footnotes

  6. #6
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 2

    Chapter 2: The Killer [杀手]


    Du Qinglian also collapsed. At the moment collapsed, bloods were seeping out the edge of his mouth. However, he still struggled to get up. There was still wine in the wine bottle on the table. He struggled and grabbed onto the table and drank all of the remaining wine in the bottle. He laughed and said, Great wine. Great wine. His laughter sounds extremely miserable and sad.

    Such a great wine. Even if I know there is poison, I still want to drink. Everyone look, did I not drink it all? He laughed while rushing over and somersaulted into the pit. He would not let Shen Hongye enjoy this all to himself. The sky was already dark and the wind was piercingly cold. However, they would never feel cold anymore.

    Qiu Fengcheng and Ma Rulong were startled while looking them tumbled down. It was as if they would tumble too. This change was too sudden, too shocking, and too horrible.

    Unknown amount of time had passed; Qiu Fengcheng finally lifted his head and stared at Ma Rulong. His glance was colder than wind. His eyes were like knives, a knife that wanted to cut opened Ma Rulongs chest and dig out his heart. Why did he stare at Ma Rulong in such a manner? Ma Rulong had already calmed down and composed himself. Du Qinglian was his friend. Although his friend died in front of him, he did not seem to be sad. Du Qinglians mysterious and sudden death did not seem to shock him.

    Whether people were dead or alive? How did they die? He didnt seem to care. It was because he hadnt died and he was still Ma Rulong. The White Horse gongzi, Ma Rulong, who thought he was above all else.

    Qiu Fengcheng stared at him and suddenly asked, You seriously never drink wine?

    Ma Rulong refused to answer. He seldomly answer other peoples question. He was usually the one that ask the question, give the order.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, I know you drink wine. I seen you drank wine before, drank quite a bit too.

    Ma Rulong neither confirm nor deny this.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, Not only do you drink wine, you drink quite often, and gotten drunk often. Once at Zhenzhu Fang (Pearl Place) in Hangzhou24, you drank for three straight days and chased away all the customers in Pearl Place because these people were too vulgar and not worthy to drink with you. He continued, It was said that you drank all of Pearl Places nuer hong25, twenty catties worth of this aged wine. You drank four jugs worth, a record that hasnt been broken since.

    Ma Rulong coldly said, The last jug was not nuer hong. Pearl Place only had three real jugs of nuer hong.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, After drinking sixty catties worth of alcohol. You could still determine the authenticity of the last jug. You really have good alcohol tolerance.

    Ma Rulong said, Indeed good tolerance.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, However, today you havent touch a drop of wine. He coldly stared, How come you did not drink today? Is it because you know its poisonous? Ma Rulong did not reply. Qiu Fengcheng continued: Since you and Du Qinglian came here as friends, you definitely should have known where he would order food and wine. It should be easy to bribe someone to put poison in the wine.

    Although he did not confirm this, he did not deny this.

    Qiu Fengcheng said:, I already decided to die instead of marrying into Jasper Villa. Now even Du Qinglian and Shen Hongye are dead. Madame Jasper no longer need to chose, you are now her proud son-in-law. He coldly smiled, I should truly congratulate you.

    Ma Rulong remained silent. After a while, coldly said, I now understand what you mean.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, You should understand. He was already gripping onto his silver spear.

    Ma Rulong did not speak anymore and slowly walked over facing him. At this time, suddenly someone came out and said, Qiu Fengcheng is mine. This is not your turn.

    No one know when this person came, possibly when Du Qinglian and Shen Hongyes suddenly died. At that time, no one would have notice anything else. This person was slim, tall, had high cheekbone, and extra large hands. His hands were holding onto a golden spear, which was four chi (feet) nine cun26 (inch) long. The gold was radiant. Even if it was not really made of pure gold, it looked as if it was.

    The clothing this person was wearing was also gold. They were high quality and tailored fit. These were his signature appearance. Thus, people of Jianghu would recognize him in an instance, Golden Spear Jin Zhenlin27.

    In Jianghu, the most famous spear was supposed to be a gold spear, Jin Zhenlins gold spear. However, things were different now all because Silver Spear Gentleman had defeated this gold spear three years ago. Since then there had been unresolvable rivalry between the gold and silver spear.

    Jin Zhenlin said, We still have some old grudges. Old grudges come first.

    He point his golden spear toward Qiu Fengcheng, We will take care of our scores today.

    Qiu Fengcheng coldly smiled and said, What a coincidence for you to pick such a time. Jin Zhenlin also coldly smiled. He suddenly pivoted his body, planted his feet, and viciously thrusted with his golden spear. With the golden spear in motion, the silver spear also responded. Ma Rulong could only step back.

    Old scores come first; this was a rule of Wulin.

    The golden spear was vicious, fast, powerful, and longer than the silver spear; one inch longer, one inch stronger. However, the silver spear was more agile, quicker, and had more changes in stances compared to the golden spear. It looked like the golden spear would be defeated again. Qiu Fengcheng clearly wanted to end this battle; he was using all his might. As he was using all his strength against Jin Zhenlin, a person suddenly leap out from behind the snow-covered plum blossom tree.

    A person adorned in black attire, face covered with black scarf, and entirely covered in black. This person was even slimmer and taller than Jin Zhenlin; like a stick of black arrow. His body movement was really quick, also like an arrow.

    He had a sabre on his hand, a thin and sharp Yanling sabre28. Sabre flashed and hacked on Qiu Fengcheng left neck, which could definitely takes a persons life.

    Although Qiu Fengcheng critically escaped this attack, he was already bearing his chest. Jin Zhenlin already striked, like a bolt of lightning, toward and into his heart.

    This spear attack was also very lethal! While attacking, Jin Zhenlin did not stop. He flipped over in mid-air, plundered outward four zhang29.

    Blood was gushing out. By the time Qiu Fengcheng collapsed, Jin Zhenlin is already ten zhang away. The black-clothed man retreated even faster.

    Ma Rulong did not chased, he went back to Qiu Fengchengs side. He never cared about anyones death. However he didn't chased after the murderer, only came to check whether Qiu Fengcheng was already dead. Therefore he missed a opportunity to see something no one could imagine! Jin Zhenlin almost caught up with the black-clothed person. These two were fleeing side-by-side together. The black-clothed person was slowly falling behind. Suddenly with a flash of sabre, the black-clothed person was struck out like lightning with his Yanling sabre. The sabre struck on the back of Jin Zhenlin left neck. The strike was even more vicious and faster than his previous move.

    Jin Zhenlin cried out in pain, bloods were shooting out like arrow. He wanted to turn around to pounce onto this black-clothed person. As soon as he turn around, he collapsed.

    The black-clothed person succeeded in one blow and did not stopped. He continued on fleeing away from the valley. His killing move was clean, precise, and extremely effective. Obviously he was very experience. After he killed, he left, and did not even look back. Unfortunately he was still one step behind.

    He suddenly realized someone in front of him blocking his way. He silenced someone; other also wanted to silence him. He immediately realized this.

    Without waiting for the opponent to attack, he struck first. His sabre was more vicious than poisonous snake. He rarely failed to kill someone. Unfortunately, this time, he picked on the wrong opponent.

    Standing side by side outside the valley, there were three people blocking his way. One was big, tall and strong. One was fat and stubby. One was a monk. The big and tall one was a silver hair, red face old man. He was good looking and had a majestic air to him.

    If a monk roaming in Jianghu, then he should have quite a background. Everything knew that in Jianghu -- begger, woman, and monk -- were the three most difficult types of people.

    An experienced killer, of course, wouldve chosen the weakest one first. He selected the clumsy and slow-looking fat man.

    He never would have thought this fat man was currently the most famous sabre user, the current master of Wuhu Duanmen Dao (Five Tigers Breaking Down the Door Sabre), Peng Tianba30. Currently Jianghus fastest, fiercest, and most famous sabre was Peng Tianbas family sabre, Five Tigers Breaking Down the Door Sabre.

    Peng Tianba was, of course, carrying the sabre. The sabre was at his waist, in the sheath. All of a sudden, it was at the black-clothed mans throat. The black-clothed man struck out his saber and just saw the flashing movement of a sabres light. By the time he saw the light from the sabre, the sabre blade had already slashed his throat.

    The big, tall and strong old man called out, Let him live.... However after he said this, the black-clothed mans head had almost completely left his neck.

    Peng Tianba let out a sigh and said, You said it too late!

    The old man also let out a sigh and said: Actually I should have known. No one have ever live through your sabre.

    That monk calmly said, Peng daxia31 has killed many. The one he killed deserved to be killed. This person had already killed five. His death was definitely just.

    The old man said, I just want to ask him, those five waiters and workers from Jufenglou32 were not people of Jianghu. They should not have any grudges with him. Why must he kill them all?

    Peng Tianba said, Although he is dead, we will eventually find answer to that question.

    Old man said, Who should ask? Other than him, who else would know?

    Suddenly there was a loud noise, I know!

    Qiu Fengcheng, surprisingly, did not die. He struggled, pushed Ma Rulong aside, and breathlessly said, Fortunately, I still know whats going on.

    After the two sister masters of Yihuagong33 passed, Wulin most mysterious and mystical woman was Madame Jasper. The world most mysterious place was also the Jasper Villa. No one knew the state of affair in Jasper Villa. No one even knew where it was. This was because Jasper Villa was like Yihua Gong, a females world. Male were forbidden.

    It was said not only were the women there beautiful, but they also possessed extremely mysterious wugong (martial art). No matter how capable these women were, there were still times where there was still a need for men. Especially when they wanted to continue their legacy.

    Now that Madame Jaspers daughter was all grown up, Madame Jasper did not wish her sole daughter to live her life alone. Like any mother, she wanted a perfect son-in-law. Currently, the most suitable bachelors happened to be the four young gentlemen.

    Unfortunately, she only had one daughter so she had to select one among the four. As such, she invited the four young gentlemen to the Winter Plum Valley. Madame Jaspers request, no one could ever refuse and no one dare to refuse.

    So the four young gentlemen, Qiu Fengcheng, Ma Rulong, Du Qinglian, and Shen Hongye; all came. Madame Jasper never told them to keep this a secret but they also never told anyone about this. This was because only one will be chosen among the four. If he were not the chosen one, he would definitely lose face. The four young masters reputation were renowned, no one wanted to be embarrassed.

    It was hard to believe there were poison in the wine. Du Qinglian and Shen Hongye were poisoned to death. Also it was even harder to believe that Qiu Fengchengs archrival, Golden Spear Jin Zhenlin, came here. Also an experienced assassin came. Other than them, no one should know Qiu Fengcheng would be here today. How did Jin Zhenlin found out?

    Of course, someone brought him here. In addition, the person brought a professional assassin along with him. Because this people knew very well that Jin Zhenlin might not be able to defeat Qiu Fengcheng. This person also wouldve been the one that put poison into the wine. This person wanted Jin Zhenlin and the assassin to be ambushed en route, and killed all five workers from Jufeng Lou that brought the food and wine here.

    This person also wanted the assassin to silence Jin Zhenlin afterword. He was not afraid the assassin would reveal his secrets. Because a person that kills for a living not only has to be cruel, vicious, fast; but also able to keep a secret. So even if the assassin lived, he would not reveal his customers secret.

    Qiu Fengchengs final conclusion was, I shouldve die upon Jin Zhenlins spear. You three are not supposed be here. This persons plan originally wouldve succeeded and no one wouldve ever known about this conspiracy and secret. Madame Jasper would not need to waste time on the selection. This person wouldve become Jasper Villas son-in-law.

    Though Qiu Fengcheng did not say this persons name, that was not necessary. Who this person was, everyone wouldve guessed. Everyone stared coldly at Ma Rulong.

    Ma Rulong had no reactions. How other looked at him? What other people thought about him? He did not care.

    Peng Tianba constantly walked around. Although he was fat, he was extremely active. At this time he stopped, stopped beside Jin Zhenlins corpse. He picked up his spear, weighed it slightly and mumbled, This spear is not heavy.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, He practiced his familys Lihua34 Spear, it is originally an light and quick skill.

    Peng Tianba said, It was said that someone tried and tossed seven copper coins toward his face. He thrust out his spear and pierced through all seven coins.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, His hands are definitely accurate.

    Peng Tianba let out a sigh and said, He definitely would never imagine, he would fail today.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, No, he did not fail.

    Peng Tianba said, If he did not fail, why are you still alive?

    Qiu Fengcheng did not answer him directly. He struggled and opened his lapel. Beside a mink coat on the outside, inside there were three more pieces of tight-fitting garments. The one closest to his body has a hidden pocket right at his heart. Inside this pocket, there was a small pouch.

    A flower was stitched on the pouch. It was very detailed. It must been stitched by the extremely careful womans hands. Now the pouch had been pierced through between two stems of flowers. A piece of jade inside the pouch was completely crushed.

    Jin Zhenlins spear did not miss, his spear definitely couldve pierce through Qiu Fengchengs mink coat and straight to his heart. But Jin Zhenlin never wouldve imagined there would be a piece of jade close to his heart blocking the way.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, Xiaowan gave this to me. She wanted me to keep it close to my heart. She doesnt want me to forget her.

    His eyes became gentle, I did not forget about her so I am still alive. No doubt, Xiaowan was his lover, the lover that he would rather die than abandon.

    Peng Tianba let out a sigh; eye with a hint of smile and said, So there is an advantage of being lovestruck.

    The tall, big, and strong old man suddenly said, Young master Qiu; although I do not recognize you, I recognize this silver spear.

    Qiu Fengcheng said, This is wanbeis35 (junior) family treasure. Wanbei do not dare to show off with this.

    Old man said, I know. His phrases were also gentle, Many years ago when your father used this to battle Changbai Qunxiong36, I was there.

    Changbai Qunxiong brothers were all fearless and brutal great bandits. Situated in Liaodong for many years, people of Jianghu never dared to intrude their territory.

    Qiu Fengchengs father together with Fengtian37 daxia, Feng Chaofan38, charged into Mt. Changbai. With a pair of silver spear and Feng Chaofans pair of pure steel Hunyuanpai39; they wiped out Changbai Qunxiong stronghold. This event not only caused a huge sensation back then, people still spoke about it today.

    Qiu Fengcheng said: Could it be that qianbei40 (senior) is Feng daxia?

    Old man said, Thats correct. I am Feng Chaofan.

    He smiled and said, You saw his sabre at first. You should also know who he is.

    Beside the Five Tiger Breaking Down the Door Sabre, there wasnt a more absolute sabre technique. Absolute sabre, absolute love, absolute man, absolute life! One sabre cut-off lives, never leaves a survivor.41

    Qiu Fengcheng let out a sigh and said: This person must have committed atrocious crime to meet the fate of the Five Tiger Breaking Down the Door Sabre.

    Peng Tianba laughed and said, If he was up against the monk at first, he wouldve die even faster. Is this monks skill more extreme than Five Tiger Breaking Down the Door Sabre?

    Qiu Fengcheng changed and said: This senior must be Shaolins Jue dashi42.

    Peng Tianba said: Thats right, he is Monk Jue.

    Shaolins extreme monk are even more extreme, emotions are even more cut-off, innately hates the wicked. If anyone with any wrongdoing falls into their hand, they can give up the idea of living in peace.

    Qiu Fengcheng let out a long sigh and said, I couldnt believe heaven would sent three seniors to this place.

    Peng Tianba said, Indeed we were not supposed to come, and wouldnt have come here.

    Feng Chaofan said, We originally want to go to Jufeng Luo to drink to wine. He was a frequent customer at Jufeng Luo.

    In a restaurant, a frequent customer will have a designated waiter to serve him. It is because this waiter will know this customers behavior; his favorite food and drink without the customer ordering. However on this day, the young waiter, Xiaogu, that normally served them was sent out to deliver a table of food and wine to Winter Plum Valley.

    In such bitter cold, there was still a person at Winter Plum Valley appreciating flower and wine. This must be a person with refined taste.

    Peng Tianba said, After drinking three cups, us three old fools became spirited and decided to come over to Winter Plum Valley to meet this gentleman.

    Feng Chaofan sighed and said, Couldnt imagine that halfway here, we saw Xiaogus group corpses.

    Peng Tianba said, Everyone was killed in one sabre blow. Theyre killed cleanly, orderly.

    Feng Chaofan said, He also uses sabre so of course he couldnt help coming here to see who would have such a fast sabre.

    Peng Tianba said, So the three of us, who were not supposed to be here, came.

    This must be fate. Qiu Fengcheng looked above to the sky and said:, Lord is all knowing. Nothing escapes gods eye. Those who kill will be punished.

    He suddenly stood up and faced Ma Rulong articulated, These three phrases, you should put in your heart and never forget them. At this moment the sky was slowly getting dark, the winter night always comes earlier.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ _________________________
    24. Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, close to Shanghai.
    25. nu'erhong, lit. daughter red. Its a huangjiu (yellow wine) that originate from Shaoxing, Zhejiang. It is said that it came from a tradition of burying wine when a daughter is born and only dug up for the daughters wedding, hence the name.
    26. Chi, Chinese feet is around 13.12 in. (33.3 cm). Cun, Chinese inch is 1.312 in (3.33 cm). Note: Chinese measurements are in units of 10.
    27. Jin Zhenlin (金振林), surname Jin means gold, given name means shaking forest.
    28. Yanlingdao is a type of Chinese sabre. Literally means goose-feather sabre.
    29. Zhang, about ten chi, so about 3.33 meters or 3.645 yards.
    30. Peng Tianba (彭天霸), Surname Peng, given name means sky overlord.
    31. I could probably write a paper on the term xia but in short its a person that follows a code of chivalry. Daxia, thus means a great chivalrous hero.
    32. Jufenglou (聚丰楼), lit. means gathering and plentiful restaurant.
    33. Yihuagong (移花宫), Yihua Palace, lit. Flower-Shifting Palace, from the Legendary Siblings/Twins.
    34. Lihua, pear blossom.
    35. wanbei (晚辈), refers to a person of a younger generation.
    36. Changbai Qunxiong, lit. bear group of Changbai mountain.
    37. Fengtian (奉天), old name for Shenyang.
    38. Feng Chaofan (冯超凡), surname Feng, give name means beyond ordinary.
    39. Hunyuanpai (混元牌), hunyuan lit. means the essence of the universe, pai is a plate, tile, or tablet.
    40. qianbei (前辈), refers to a person of an older generation.
    41. Jue (绝), has several meanings: 1. sever/cut-off, 2. extreme, 3. absolute, 4. more etc. There are no single English word the means all these thing. Just be aware all the extreme/absolute/sever/more are the same word in Chinese.
    42. dashi, lit. great master. Dashi is also a title of a Buddhist monk.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 3

    Chapter 3: Heaven Kill (Tiansha) [天杀]


    Ma Rulong still had no reaction. If it was anyone else at this point, even if they did not flee they wouldve strongly defended themselves. However he did not. He just quietly stood there and did not even seem to care what other people were saying.

    He did not defend himself, is it because this is nothing for him to defend?

    He did not flee, is it because he knows he could not escape these three people in front of him?

    Jue dashi also quietly stood there with an apathetic face with no emotion. Now he finally said, I think I heard from someone, the essence of sabre techniques in the world all exist within the Five Tigers Breaking Down the Door Sabre. As such every sabre techniques in the world, there isnt any one he doesnt know.

    Peng Tianba said, Not think, you DID hear that from someone.

    Jue dashi said, Who did I hear this from?

    Peng Tianba said, You, of course, heard it from me.

    Jue dashi said, Id always believe in the things you say.

    Peng Tianba said, Although I sometimes boast, I only boast in front of woman not in front of a monk. He smilingly said, Boasting in front of a monk is like playing a lute in front of an ox. There is no purpose to it.

    Jue dashi did not get angry or argue back. His face still has the cold and indifferent expression. He said, The black-clothed person at first wanted to kill you in one blow. The sabre stance he was using must also be an essence of his sabre skill.

    Peng Tianba said, In such a situation, of course he would have used his most capable skill in his repertoire.

    Jue dashi said, You seemed to have said that the essence of saber skills of every school and every sect in the world; there are none you do not know.

    Peng Tianba said, I said it before.

    Jue dashi said, His sabre skill are from which school and which sect?

    Peng Tianba said, Dont know. He gave a really straightforward reply. Everyone in Jianghu knew the master of Five Tigers Breaking Down the Door Sabre is a straightforward person.

    Jue dashi still asked, You truly do not know?

    Peng Tianba said, If I dont know, then I dont know. Whats so true or fake about it?

    Jue dashi said, You may not know, but I know.

    Peng Tianba was a bit taken back. He blurted out and asked, You truly know?

    Jue dashi said, If I know, then I know. Whats so true of fake about it?

    Peng Tianba laughed, The sabre skill he used; which school and which sect is it from?

    Jue dashi said, That is Tiansha (Heaven Kill)!

    Heaven Kill!

    Peng Tianba said, I dont understand. What is Heaven Kill?

    Jue dashi said, Go undo his clothing and take a look.

    Black-clothed mans chest has nineteen bright red characters. It was hard to tell whether it was tattooed with cinnabar or blood. Heaven gave men countless things. Men did not give anything to heaven. Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!

    Peng Tianba asked, This is Heaven Kill?

    Jue dashi said, Yes.

    Peng Tian said, Its a pity. I still dont understand.

    Jue dashi said: This is an assassin organization. People of this organization kill for a living, kill for pleasure. As long as you can afford it, whoever you wants to kill, they will kill that person.

    Peng Tianba said, How do you know about this?

    Jue dashi said, I have been pursuing them for five years.

    Peng Tianba said, Pursue what?

    Jue dashi said: Pursue their headquarter. Pursue their leader. Pursue their lives! He blandly said, Killers deserve to die. They have kill countless people. If they dont die, where is the heaven justice in that.

    Peng Tianba said, Have you found them yet?

    Jue dashi said, No.

    Peng Tianba said, One day you will definitely catch them. If not, you will not let it go even after you die.

    Jue dashi said, Yes.

    Sky was dark, cold winds were like knives. Peng Tianba looked down at the body; he put his clothes back on as if he was afraid the body would get cold. The body will never felt cold.

    If the black-clothed person was still alive and freezing to death, Peng Tianba wouldnt had even care. People, no matter whom, are especially kind to the dead. This is because everyone would eventually die. When he dies, he wants other to show him same kindness. When Peng Tianba pulled clothes back on the dead body, something fell out of the body.

    What fell out was a piece of jade. Jade is a precious gemstone. Jade is an ancient gem. Not only does it ward evil, it also brings fortune, peace, and wishes.

    In old legends, it was said jade could also swap death. It would die for the owner and saved the owners life. The jade that Xiaowan gave to Qiu Fengcheng saved his life.

    This jade, however, wanted Ma Rulongs life. This was because the jade had a string attached to it. Attached to the string was a gold medal piece. On the front of the gold medal was a horse, on the back were four characters:

    Tian Ma Xing Kong43

    This was a Tianma Tang44 (Hall of Divine Horse) badge. Ma Rulong was the eldest son of the master of Hall of Divine Horse.

    Why would was a Hall of Divine Horse badge with the assassin? There could be one explanation: Ma Rulong used this piece of had and this badge to hire the assassin to help him kill. Kill Du Qinglian, Qiu Fengcheng, Jin Zhenlin, and the workers and waiters from Jufeng Lou.

    However he could not believe Qiu Fengcheng was not dead yet. Furthermore, could not have imagined Peng Tianba, Feng Chaofan and Jue dashi would come. This must all be heavens will. Heaven kill is not heavens will. Heavens will guard against killing!

    Until now, no one had mentioned the name of this person. Because this matter involved a lot of people: Du Qinglian, Shen Hongye, Jin Zhenlin. Any one of these peoples death would had shocked Wulin. Also, this could lead to a lot of vendetta within Wulis prominent families.

    Once these revenge starts, it would not end in a short period. It was also hard to imagine how many would die. No one should jump to conclusion. However there were undeniable motives and evidences here.

    Feng Chaofan had serious look on his face and said, Now we should all hear what Ma Rulong has to say.

    Ma Rulong did not say a thing; he slowing took off his silver fox fur coat and calmly said, This came from my third uncles night hunt in the great snowy mountain when he was young. I can not let the property of the deceased be ruined under me.

    He handed the fox fur coat to Peng Tianba, In former years, I know gexia45 was a good friend of my third uncle. I hope you can bring his item back to Hall of Divine Horse and give it to my third aunt.

    Peng Tianba let out a sigh and said, The hero, Third Brother Ma, died young, I... I definitely will bring this back.

    Ma Rulong slowly took off his dazzling long sword and gave it to Jue dashi.

    He said: The Wudang46 master of the Xuanzhen47 Taoist monastery gave this sword to my father. Shaolin and Wudang are closely related, I wish you can give this back to Xuanzhen Taoist monastery. This way it could not end up in the hands of the wretched.

    Jue dashi said, Absolutely.

    Ma Rulong took out a pile of silver-based banknotes and gold leaves and hand it to Feng Chaofan.

    Feng Chaofan said, Who do you want me to give this to?

    Ma Rulong said, Money originally do not have an owner. Who you want to give this to doesnt matter.

    Feng Chaofan was pondering, took it, and said, I will use this the save a few people and do some good deed.

    Now everyone could see that Ma Rulong was settling things. Very few people can refused a persons last wishes before death. They couldnt help feeling heavy and serious holding the items Ma Rulong gave them.

    Ma Rulong took a long sigh and said, Now there is only this horse.

    His white horse was still under the plum tree. These strictly trained well-bred colt was like a Jianghu expert. Not confused in perils and always clam. Ma Rulong went over there, untied the ropes, lightly patted the horse, and said, Go! The white horse neighed and walked out.

    Ma Rulong turn around, faced Feng Chaofan, and said, Now, I only have one thing to say.

    Feng Chaofan said, Go ahead.

    Ma Rulong said, You are all pigs.48

    With this said, his body shoot out like arrow and fled. His white horse started out slowly but rapidly increase his speed. The horse was already ten zhang (about 33.3 meter or 36.5 yards) away. With all his might, Ma Rulong used his Tianmaxingkong superb qinggong (lightness martial art). This type of lightness skill was energy consuming. However by the time he was running out of energy, he already caught up to the horse. This one-of-a-kind fast horses body had already warmed up and reached its full stride.

    Once Ma Rulong got on the horse, the horse neighed. Traveling like dragon, the rider was pure white, horse was pure white, and the earth was silvery white.

    Feng Chaofan and Peng Tianba started to move and chase while still holding the money and fox fur coat Ma Rulong handed him. By the time they realized how stupid and foolish they were, the man and horse disappeared into the silvery white land. Feng Chaofan stomped on his feet and threw the money on the ground, I really am a pig.

    Sky was even darker and the wind was even colder. The cold wind was piercing toward here, but Ma Rulong chest had a fire. Burning with anger! This was because he knew he was not the murderer. He had never put poison in the wine. Unfortunately, other than him no one would believe he was innocent. He understood this very well.

    He could only run away! Death, he did not care. A death battle with those who were certain he was the culprit would have been very satisfying. However, if he died in their hands he would have died with the accusations, unable to clear his name. If he wanted to die, he rather dies with innocence, with honor. He vowed he would wait until he found the real culprit and clear his name. Then have a duel to the death with them.

    Who was the real culprit? Who poisoned the wine? Who hired the assassin? He did not have a clue.

    No matter who he was, he was definitely a cunning and vicious person. This plan was careful and thorough without any flaws. Can he really solved this conspiracy and find the culprit? He had no assurance. He did not even know where to start. Until the real culprit was found, in everyones view he was the murderer.

    If Feng Chaofan, Peng Tianba, and Shaolins Jue dashi said someone was a murderer, no one in Jianghu would have doubted them. No matter where he went, he wouldve been hunted down and killed. He could not bring the trouble back. If everyone considered you to be a criminal, there was no place to hide and nowhere to run.

    If it were anyone else in his situation, they wouldve died of anger and worry. However, he did not care. He believed in this vast world, there would a place he could go. He also believed that heaven is just, no evil can escape. There would be a day where he could find the culprit. He had confidence. He was full of confidence. His hand was stronger than other, mind more nimble than other, and ear and eye were more sensitive than other.

    At this time, he already heard something other couldnt hear. It was a cry. It sounded like a weak groan. Then he saw some hair. The sky was completely dark. However it was hard not to notice the jet black among the silvery white snow.

    If someone else were here, they, too, wouldve noticed these hair and wouldve definitely notice this person here. This persons body was completely buried in the snow, revealing only half a pale white face. This half of a face flashed before his eye, the fast horse already galloped past it. He did not stop. He was running for his life.

    The merciless Jue dashi would not let him go. It was possible he would soon catch up to him. If they caught up to him this time, they would definitely not let him have a chance to escape again. He definitely could not stopped for stranger that was close to freezing to death.

    However this person was definitely not dead, this person was still groaning. The horse was like flying and had already galloped far away. He suddenly turned the horse around and rode back.

    If a person simply let another die, how could he be proud of himself? Ma Rulong was a proud person, full of pride.

    This pitch-black hair already had ice all over it. The pale white face had no hint of blood. It was a miracle this person was still alive. How long does it take for a person that is buried under snow to die?

    It was said women could withstand bitter cold, hunger, and pain better than men. This person was a woman and quite young but not beautiful. In fact, this woman was quite ugly, could even be considered hideous. She had a broken and crooked nose, fat pig lip, rat-like eyes all on this round face with no traces of blood. She looks like a botched work of a porcelain worker that was broken even before going into the furnace.

    Although she was not dead, staying alive was still difficult. If there were a cup of warm wine, hot soup, fur coat, or a good doctor; her chance of surviving would be higher. Unfortunately, there was nothing here.

    Ma Rulongs clothing was not sufficient to ward against the cold. Whether he could live was also questionable. He tried his best. Right now, he should have abandoned this ugly female stranger and run away from here. However, he took off his only warm cloth and wrapped it around her. He wrapped himself around her and using his body temperature to keep her warm.

    Man greatest grief is stupidity and woman greatest grief is ugliness. An ugly woman is usually a pitiful woman. Not only did he not abandon her because she was ugly, he felt sympathetic. As long as she was still alive, he would definitely not abandon her like a wild dog in the cold. However, he did not know where to take her. He, himself, have lost everything and had nowhere to go.

    The sky was already very dark. Cold winter night not only come early but also last longer.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ _________________________
    43. Tianmaxingkong, lit. means divine horse walking in air. It is also used to describe something out of this world. For here, its just wordplay on his family name, Ma.
    44. Tianma Tang, lit. divine horse hall.
    45. gexia (阁下), a very honorary way to refer to someone, means you.
    46. Wudang (武当), a very famous Taoist martial art school. School also had Shaolin lineage.
    47. Xuanzhen (玄真), part of Taoist philosophy.
    48. Chinese consider pigs to be very stupid animals.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 4

    Ch.4: Long Night [长夜]


    Night. The long winter night had just begun. Ma Rulong was gathering pieces of dry wood and started a fire in this abandoned temple to ward off the cold.

    Firelight might lure the enemies here. Anyone knew, when running for your life, you could not start fire; even if it meant dying from the cold. However, this woman desperately needed the fire. Although he did not mind dying of cold, he would not let the female stranger die of cold just so he could hide from his enemies. He rather died than to do something so shameful.

    The fire was burning brightly. He moved the woman to the warmest and driest spot. He also needed rest. Right when he finally closed his eyes, he heard a shrieked, Who are you?

    This woman actually woke up. Not only was she hideous, her voice was dreadfully piercing. Ma Rulong did not answered her. Right now, he did not know who exactly he was either, a refugee without a future or a past. He slowly stood up and wanted to go over and check out how she was doing, whether she can move, and whether she can live. Who wouldve thought she would suddenly picked up a stick next to the fire and shouted, If you dare come near me, Ill kill you. He risked his life to save her. Now this grotesque woman acted as if he was going to rape her. Ma Rulong did not say a single word and sat down.

    The woman was still gripping onto her stick, used her rat-like eyes and ruthlessly stared at him.

    Ma Rulong shut his eyes again. He doesnt want to waste time looking at her. The woman, using her high-pitched voice, asked, How come I am here? Ma Rulong was too lazy to answer.

    This woman finally thought about her situation and again asked, I believe I was buried in snow at first. Did you save me?

    Ma Rulong said, Yes.

    Surprisingly this woman called out, Since you saved me, why didnt you bring me back to the city to go see a doctor? Why did you bring me to an abandoned temple?

    Her voice was extra sharp, I had seen your kind of people all the time. I know you are up to no good.

    Ma Rulong almost wanted to say, Dont worry. I am not going to rape you. With a face like yours, I have no interest. However, he did not say those words out. This woman looked even uglier under the firelight, he did not want to hurt her feeling. So he slowly sighed and said, I did not bring you to the doctor because I am penniless.

    The woman coldly laughed and said, How did a man like you ended up in such a state? Dont even have a penny, its probably because you are lazy and jobless. Ma Rulong again couldnt be bother by her. This woman did not let him go and continued scolding him about how he was good for nothing and lacked maturity.

    Ma Rulong suddenly stood up and coldly said, The firewoods here are enough for you to last the entire night. By tomorrow, someone should pass by here.

    He couldnt stand it so it was better to leave.

    The woman again retorted, What are you doing? You want to leave? You want to abandon a poor, helpless, and weak woman here? And you consider yourself a man? From the way things look she sure did not look like weak woman; however, she was still a woman.

    The woman coldly smiled and said, Are you afraid my enemies will come here? So you are trying to leave as soon as possible and avoid any conflict.

    Ma Rulong couldnt bear it and asked, You have enemies?

    This woman said, I dont have enemies? So you think I buried myself in the snow? You think Im crazy?

    Ma Rulong slowly sat down again. He did not ask her who her enemies were or why they were after her. He only knew that he could not leave. Someone was trying to kill and bury a weak woman. A real man facing this would not stand by and ignore this.

    This woman again asked, You are not leaving now?

    Ma Rulong said, I am not leaving.

    The woman unexpectedly said, Why arent you leaving? Do you have some kind of sinister plan? Ma Rulong actually laughed. He couldnt hold it and had to laugh. A woman like her was rare; he couldnt believe he actually met one today. Other than laughing, what else can he do? Should he cry? Should he kill himself?

    The woman sharply yelled, What are you secretly laughing about? What exactly are you plotting? Talk!

    Ma Rulong did not say anything because outside the abandoned temple someone said: He will not talk. Whatevers on Ma-gongzis mind, hell never say it out. In the wavering firelight, a man slowly walked in. Surprisingly, it was Peng Tianba.

    Peng Tianba was still holding the fox fur coat in his left hand. His right hand was holding a sabre; a sabre that was already out of its scabbard, the Five Tiger Door Breaking Sabre. Unfortunately, this woman did not recognize this person or this sabre. She looked up with her rat-like eyes and shouted, Who are you?

    Peng Tianba said, I am a pig.

    The woman said, Although you seem a bit fat, you are still skinnier than a pig.

    Peng Tianba let out a sigh and said, Its too bad I am dumber than a pig. Thats why I have his silver fur fox coat.

    The woman seemed very surprised and asked, This is his?

    Peng Tianba said, Yes.

    The woman asked, Why would he give you such a valuable item?

    Peng Tianba said, Because he need to use this fur coat to hold onto my hand.

    This woman asked, Did you use your hand to hold onto fur coat, or did the fur coat hold onto your hand?

    Peng Tianba said, Its all the same.

    This woman said, Why is it the same?

    Peng Tianba said: Whether the fur coat was holding up my hand, or my hand was holding onto the fur coat, in the end the coat was on my hand. Therefore I could not draw my sabre or use my throwing weapon. His Feihu Zhuihun Biao (Flying Tiger Soul Chasing Dart) was just as menacing as his Five Tiger Breaking Down the Door Sabre.

    This woman didnt understand and asked, Why didnt he let you draw your sabre or use your dart?

    Peng Tianba said, Because he wanted to run away.

    The woman asked, Why did he want to run away? Is it because you are bullying him? Why are you bullying people?

    Peng Tianba could only bitterly smile. He finally realized talking to this woman was not exactly a wise decision. He returned to his serious face and coldly said, Ma-gongzi, this time you dont need to flee. The three of us split up and went to different paths. Only I am here, why do you try to silence me too?

    Ma Rulong did not open his mouth, the woman butt in and said, He will not kill you. He is a good person.

    Peng Tianba asked, He is a good person?

    The woman said, Of course he is. I have never seen such a good person. If you touch him, I will kill you.

    Peng Tianba laughed, coldly laughed, but unexpectedly the woman jumped forward and grab onto his neck and yelled, I am holding onto him, quickly run away.

    Ma Rulong did not run. She could not hold onto him. Peng Tianba, with one shook, threw her on the ground.

    Peng Tianba said, Youd said a lot. You must be tired, why dont you rest a bit. He lightly kicked out his foot and knocked on her yunxue49 (faint acupoint). He covered her with the fox fur coat on his hand.

    Ma Rulong eye as gazing at the sabre on his hand, waiting for him to make his move. Surprisingly, he put his sabre back to its sheath on his waist and warmed his hand near the fire. He knew Ma Rulong could not escape so before doing anything, it was better to warm up his hand first. This type of poise and composure of a seasoned Jianghu man was hard not to respect.

    Ma Rulong was also pretty calm. He was not anxious and did not attack first.

    Fire was weakening. Peng Tianba added more firewood into the fire and slowly said, Did you know I was friend with your third uncle?

    Ma Rulong said, En.50

    Peng Tianba said, When he was alive, had he ever spoke of me in front of you?

    Ma Rulong said, En.

    Peng Tianba said, Did he ever told you how we became friends?

    Ma Rulong said, No.


    Peng Tianba said, We met each other through fighting. Peng Tianba laughed, and then said, Your third uncle was an extremely prideful person. Of course he would mention this to you.

    Ma Rulong said, Why?

    Peng Tianba said, Because although my wisdom and intelligence can not be compare to his, it was a pity he had too many interests - music, chess, literature, art - he wanted to learn everything. Obviously he would have less time practicing sword skills.

    Ma Rulong had heard of this. Not only was his uncle a famed swordsman, he was also a well-rounded intellect.

    Peng Tianba, So even though he was better than me at everything, his martial art was not. I had fought him three times and every time I defeated him within a hundred stances. He did not let Ma Rulong speak and suddenly said, How is your sword skill compare to your third uncle?

    Ma Rulong was pondering to himself. After a while he said, I am not better than him.

    Peng Tianba said, I also believe your sword skill is not better than him. So even if you have a sword, I can kill you within one hundred stances. He dully continued, Right now your hand is empty. You can, at most, withstand sixty stances.

    Ma Rulong did not open his mouth. Peng Tianba continued, My sabre skill, every strike is a killing stance and I never hold back. Sometime even if I did not intend to kill, once I strike I couldnt control myself.

    He sighed again and said, Therefore, very few can lives past my sabre. Ma Rulong was silent. Peng Tianba continued, You are like your third uncle; very intelligent, very proud. However, I do not wish that you will die young like him.

    Ma Rulong said, What are you trying to say?

    Peng Tianba pondered for a while and finally said, All of a sudden I thought there are something peculiar about this.

    Ma Rulong said, Oh?

    Peng Tianba said, Did you know how did I find this place?

    Ma Rulong shook his head.

    Peng Tianba said, You brought me here. Track from your horse on the snow led me here.

    Ma Rulong actually never thought of this because he never tried to flee before.

    Peng Tianba said, If you are capable of coming up with such a secretive and vicious plot, then you should not be this careless. Also in a time where you are desperately trying to flee, you shouldnt go save such a ugly and unfamiliar woman. He sighed and said, However you did do all of these thing. And it does not look like you are acting. Even though I am a pig, I cant help being suspicious. So...

    Ma Rulong said, So what?

    Peng Tianba said, So I wish you would come with me. Dont make me use force.

    Ma Rulong uttered, Where do you want me to follow you to?

    Peng Tianba said, In the meantime, I want to sent you to Shaolin. Within three months, I will try to investigate the truth behind this. By then, I will give you your justice. Ma Rulong neither agree nor refuse the offer.

    Peng Tianba said, Right now you are a wanted man. No matter where you go, you will be pursued. This is the only path you can take. This was the truth. This was also reality.

    Peng Tianba slowly walked over and said, So you have to completely trust me. Only I can help you now. He sticked out his hand. It looked like this was the only hands in the world that wanted to and could help Ma Rulong.

    Ma Rulong finally held onto his hand and said, I believe you but... He did not finish because at this point Peng Tianba suddenly lifted his foot and kick his huantiao51 acupoint. Once his feet wobbled, Peng Tianba flew over and sealed his maimen (pulse). He loudly laughed, Now you know who is the pig.

    Hand released and the man collapsed. Ke sound rattled, the Five Tigers Breaking Down the Door Sabre was leaving its sheath. No wonder Peng Tianba was Jianghu top sabre expert. The motions when he was drawing his sabre were clean and graceful.

    His killing posture should also be elegant. Drawing sabre was usually for killing. However he should have a lot questions to ask Ma Rulong. Even if he already determined Ma Rulong was the real murderer, he should still ask him to clarify. Why was he already pulling out his sabre?

    Ma Rulong finally understood. Seeing Peng Tianba's sabre out, he realized that the real murderer was Peng Tianba! He was responsible for this whole conspiracy, so he definitely could not let the Tiansha black-clothed man live.

    So right now there was no need for him to ask anything. Similarly, he could not let Ma Rulong live.

    Unfortunately, even though Ma Rulong finally understands, it was already too late. Sabre light was like snow and was already coming down toward him.

    Surprisingly this sabre did not strike Ma Rulong's neck. Peng Tianba suddenly jumped and somersaulted back far away. His faced already changed, and shouted, Who is it? Other than the two people who he had sealed their acupoints, there was no one here. Did he saw a ghost?

    Firelight was wildly flickering. Peng Tianba face also seemed to be changing -- one instant red, one instant white, one instant green. However, not only could you not see anyone here, you couldn't even see a shadow. He suddenly thrust forward aiming his sabre at Ma Rulongs neck.

    He saw the ghost again! This time what he saw must had been even more frightening. Ma Rulong could not see anything. He jumped again, this time even higher. Once his jumped back down, he sprinted out and did not even look back.

    Outside the abandoned temple was completely dark. Once he fled, there wasnt even a shadow. Fire was flickering and wind was blowing. In the winter wind, there was suddenly was a shout; it was short but sharp, dreadful, and surprised.

    Ma Rulong could hear that the noise came from Peng Tianba, but could not understand what was happening. He wanted to go out and see but both his wrists and two knees acupoints were sealed.

    Though Peng Tianba was renown for his sabre skill, his dianxue52 (or Dim Mak) martial art was not bad. At this moment if someone came in and there was a sabre on this persons hand. Doesnt matter who this person was or what sabre this person was holding; at this point this person can definitely use this sabre and sever Ma Rulongs neck. Luckily no one came in. There was no one, no shadow, no voice, no movement, nothing. As if in this world there were only the two of them and an almost burnt up fire.

    However, Ma Rulong knew at any moment someone could come in. Even if Peng Tianba would never come back; Feng Chaofan, Jue dashi, Qiu Fengcheng could come at any moment. No matter who came, this person would not let him go.

    Right now this long winter night still had not pass. It was not sure what will happen from now on. Winter nights were especially long, very long.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ _________________________
    49. yunxue, faint acupuncture point, shorten these as acupoint (made up).
    50. En is a sound indicating approval or agreement. Its not a word.
    51. Huantiao acupoint is at the side of your hip/butt.
    52. Dianxue (or dim mak), is a martial art concept (i.e. fictional) based on traditional Chinese acupuncture. Its attacks are based on striking pressure points and meridians (acupuncture-based) that cause various effects on the body.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 5

    Ch 5: Dawan [大婉]


    The firewoods were burning really fast. The fire was getting smaller. Ma Rulong was trying really hard to stay calm. His mind had not settle down. His body was getting colder. He was almost frozen stiff. The fire was almost completely out. With his acupoints sealed53, he did not know when they would be released.

    Right now was not the coldest time of the night yet. If this continues, freezing to death was a possibility. He had never thought a person like him could possibly freeze to death. Actually, life is like this; no one could prepare for whatever happens in the future. No one can predict his own future.

    Ma Rulong sighed in his heart and suddenly realized he did not have much to be proud of. At this moment, that woman suddenly stuck her head out of the fur coat.

    Ma Rulong's qi54 and blood flow still hadnt been cleared yet. Surprisingly her acupoint was released first. Using her mouse-like small eye, and like a mouse she was looking around for half a day. Finally she let out deep breath and said, Couldnt believe that fat man left. Couldnt believe you are still alive.

    This was indeed an unexpected outcome. No one would have thought Peng Tianba would let Ma Rulong live. It was like a rabbit being abandoned and allowed to run away after it was shot by an arrow.

    She stood up, while wearing Ma Rulong's fur coat, and smiled, The fur on this coat is not that bad; its light, soft, and warm. It fits me pretty well too.

    Fortunately Ma Rulong could still speak and couldnt help quipping, Its a pity that fur coat seems to be mine.

    This woman shook her head and said, This is not yours. Right now, its no longer yours.

    Ma Rulong asked, Why?

    This woman replied, Because you gave it to the fat man. That fat man gave it to me. She was laughing heartily, So right now this coat is mine.

    Ma Rulong did not argue. He was not the type the dwell in small matters. He didnt care about these things. However he was really cold and again couldnt help asked, Can you increase the fire?

    This woman said, Increase the fire for what? I am not cold.

    Ma Rulong bitterly smiled, You are not cold, but I am.

    This woman said, I am not cold. Why are you cold?

    Ma Rulong was taken back. This woman was something. She push people to the point where they know whether to cry or laugh. It was fortunate his stomach had not exploded due to anger.55

    The woman unexpectedly said, Young people should be able to withstand hardship. What is the matter with being a bit cold? You are so young and couldnt even take this. What accomplishment can you achieve in the future?

    Ma Rulong could only keep his mouth shut. He finally realized reasoning with this type of woman was not only stupid but a waste of time. If a man encounters this type of woman, it is the best to simply keep both his eyes and mouth shut.

    This woman actually spared him and muttered, Wonder if daylight is going to come soon. I will go out and check.

    After muttering to herself, she went out. Just as she left, she suddenly screamed and hurried back in like her buttock was shot by an arrow.

    Ma Rulong originally did not want to pay attention to her. Though she was annoying, she wasnt bad to him. Not only did she called him a good person, she risked her life holding onto Peng Tianba and urging him to run away. As long as a person is living, this person should live a life with no regret and understand the distinction between gratitude and grudge. So Ma Rulong asked, What happened?

    The woman was startled and said, OutsideThere is a person outside.

    In such a cold place in the middle of the night, why would any one come to an abandoned temple in the middle of nowhere? Ma Rulong have to ask, Who?

    This woman said, It was the fat man at first.

    Ma Rulong expression changed and asked, He still havent left?

    This woman said, Still havent.

    If he had not leave, why didnt he come in?

    Ma Rulong asked, What is he doing outside?

    This woman said, Who know what he is doing? He laid there as if he was sleeping. She unexpectedly reasoned, Fat people always like to sleep.

    However no matter how fat or how much a person likes to sleep, no one would sleep out on the snow. Ma Rulong said, You must be seeing it wrong.

    This woman said, I am not seeing it wrong. Not only are my eyes pretty, I have very good eyesight. Well her eyes were really not that bad looking, at least much better than a rat.

    Ma Rulong requested, Can you go out and take a look again?

    This woman replied, Why dont you go out and take a look yourself? Ma Rulong, again, kept his mouth shut.

    This woman looked at him, suddenly smiled and said: I understand. You are like me. You were kicked by that fatty and now couldnt even move. Ma Rulong kept his mouth closed. She actually said, Fine, I will help you take a look. You werent bad to me. Right after she went out, she shrieked and ran back. She seemed even more shocked than before.

    Ma Rulong, Hes not there?

    This woman gasped, He....He is still there. He could never walk again.

    Ma Rulong asked, Why?

    This woman said, Because he is already dead!

    Why would Peng Tianba be dead? He was still alive at first. He was healthy, no sickness or pain. It would look like he couldve live longer than anyone else.

    Ma Rulong asked, Is he really dead?

    This woman replied, He, absolutely, is dead. From head to toe, he is clearly dead.

    Ma Rulong asked, Can you tell how did he suddenly die?

    The woman said, Of course I can tell. She seemed to be shivering, No matter who. If someone hacked on their neck with a sabre, they would definitely die.

    Ma Rulong was extremely surprised. Peng Tianba was definitely a top saber expert in Wulin. How could someone else chop his neck with a sabre? Who was holding the sabre? In this world, whose sabre skill could be faster and more brilliant than him? Why did this person chop him?

    There was only one explanation! The real culprit was not really Peng Tianba. The master behind the scene was another person. Even Peng Tianba was this persons pawn. Now this person wanted to get rid of Peng Tianba. Who was this person? This person can kill Peng Tianba, why not come in and kill Ma Rulong too?

    Only this person can answer these questions. Ma Rulong finally realized, this conspiracy was even more complicated and terrifying than he had imagined.

    This woman suddenly said, Cant be.

    Ma Rulong said, Cant be what?

    This woman said, We absolutely can not stay here.

    Ma Rulong agreed. They definitely should not stay; but unfortunately he could not walk.

    The woman suddenly said, I am a woman.

    Ma Rulong said, I know.

    This woman said, Great heroes are men. Gentlemen obviously have to men. So...

    Ma Rulong said, So what?

    This woman said: So I am neither a gentleman nor hero. She sighed and said, So even if you cant go. I could go.

    It was because of her that Ma Rulong came here, started a fire, and encountered this situation. Now she wanted to leave by herself.

    Ma Rulong unexpectedly said, Okay, you should go.

    The woman actually said, However I can not walk, I need to ride on your horse.

    Ma Rulong surprisingly agreed, Fine, take the horse.

    This woman finally thought this person was strange. She was still human. She couldnt stand it but sighed and said, You truly are a good person. Its a pity...

    Ma Rulong said, Its a pity...what?

    This woman said, Its a pity and good people dont live long.

    She actually did leave. She was wearing Ma Rulongs fur coat and riding his horse. Fire was almost dead and she didnt even add more firewood to it. This woman was truly ruthless, even more ruthless than Jue dashi.

    In this lonely winter night, the galloping noise had not left far. In the winter wind, there were suddenly really fast and light footsteps.

    It was the footstep noise of two people. They stopped in front of the abandoned temple.

    There is a dead person here., said one person. The one that died is Peng Tianba.

    Can he still be saved?

    A fatal blow, not even god can save him now.

    Ma Rulongs heart sank. He heard two voices. They belonged to Jue dashi and Feng Chaofan. Seeing Peng Tianbas corpse and finding him again, they would definitely not give him a chance to explain. Surprisingly, they did not come in. It was because they saw that white horse galloped away.

    That must be Tianma Tangs (Hall of Divine Horse) white dragon colt56. They also saw the rider wearing the fox fur coat.

    One fatal blow, fled after killing, a lethal hand, what a vicious person.

    He wouldnt be able escape.

    However Peng Tianba......

    Peng Tianba could wait here but Ma Rulong wouldnt wait. Let chase after him!

    After these words, their footsteps disappeared into the distance. They all thought that person wearing the fox fur coat and riding the white horse was Ma Rulong. They wouldnt have imagined there was still someone in the temple.

    If that woman had not leave, if there was still a fire, and if the white horse was still here; what would the current situation be like? Ma Rulong could definitely picture that scenario.

    He suddenly thought the things that woman did was not only extreme, but also seemed coincidental and clever. He suddenly thought she might not be the heartless and unreasonable woman that one wouldve thought. Perhaps, she was more intelligent than anyone.

    No matter how long the cold winter night was, there will always be a morning. No matter who sealed your acupoint, it will always be released eventually. Right now the sky was bright and the qi and blood were flowing back at his sealed acupoint.

    The technique Peng Tianba used wasnt too severe because he was not planning to seal his acupoint for too long. Because he thought Ma Rulong wouldnt be living for long. However, Ma Rulong was still living. His own body, on the other hand, was completely frozen. That sabre blow hit his right neck, came from the front but still cut a major blood artery on the back.

    Succeeded with one fatal blow. This renowned Wulin sabre master could not even avoid this blow. There was absolutely no one in the world that could prevent him from dodging or resisting, and yet he was killed by one blow here.

    Unless he could never had imagine that person would kill him or would even dream that person would make this blow. Perhaps it was because this person was a friend, a very close and trusted friend. They came up with the plot together and now it succeeded; that person, unexpectedly, decided to silence him. Who was this person? Ma Rulong was not able to take a guess and did not even have a lead or clue. No one could answer this question.

    Some easier questions might be -- after this plot succeeded, what would happen? What was the outcome? Who would benefit?

    The person devised all this would, of course, benefit himself. After this plot succeeded, Ma Rulong would be branded the culprit. Du Qinglian, Shen Hongye, and Qiu Fengchengs friends and relatives would look for Ma Rulong to settle scores.

    If they could not find Ma Rulong, they would go to Hall of Divine Horse. If they killed Ma Rulong, Hall of Divine Horse would want to avenge him. As a result, this matter would lead to Hall of Divine Horse and Du, Shen, Qiu, the three families, fighting each other.

    If the four families fought, they mutually weaken each other. When snipes and mussels fight, the one benefitting would be the fisherman.57

    Who was the fisherman?

    Sky was clear again. The horse prints on the snow were extremely clear as if it deliberately made and wanted people to follow it. Wonder if they had already caught up to her?

    Ma Rulong could also imagine, after they found out what kind of woman she was, that hard to tell whether they were laughing or crying expression on their face. He suddenly thought this woman was very extreme, very ugly, very strange, and very interesting. This was the first time he thought she was interesting.

    No matter what, he did not owe her anything. In the future, they might not even see each other. She headed east. He decided to head west.

    Right now, not only was he terribly cold, he was also terribly hungry.

    He knew the west side had a very large city with a very good tavern. The building was clean and tidy, always fresh linen on the beds, and there was a great fireplace inside. The kitchen was always ready to prepare a hot pot of mutton; and well-roasted, good smelling, and crispy sesame-flavored baked cake. These were exactly what he needed the most.

    In a prosperous and busy city with clean and tidy streets. That taverns waiter was outside the entrance pulling business. Ma Rulong did not dare to go in. When he was almost near the entrance, he realized he did not have any money on him. He couldnt even afford a sesame cake. The waiter outside did not even try to approach him. In this cold winter weather, a person that didnt even have a coat on would not be a good customer.

    Being given the cold shoulder did not feel good. This was the first time Ma Rulong experience this; he finally realized the value of money. Status of money in his mind was now much higher than before. Though he was extremely hungry, cold, and penniless, he still lifted his chest and stride forward.

    Even though he, himself, did not know where he wanted to go, his feet did not stop. At this moment, he saw a white horse. He recognized this white horse. This white horse also seemed to recognize. The horse raised his hoof and hissed. This horse was actually his white dragon colt.

    The horse was next to a restaurant. At the restaurant window upstair a persons head poked out and greeted him. This was the same person that someone thought was extreme, brilliant, and interesting ugly person. She clearly went east, why was she suddenly in a city at the west?

    She yelled, Come, quickly come up. Ma Rulong was still hesitant, she yelled again, Are you going to come up by yourself or do you want me to come down to get you? Ma Rulong bitterly smiled, Ill go up. Ill go up by myself.

    The restaurant upstair was warm and roomy. It was full of muttons, crispy fishes, maotai (liquor), daqu (liquor), and sesame sauce cake aroma.58

    She took up an eight-seated table with eight people worth of food and wine. She was still wearing Ma Rulongs fox fur coat, looked at him and said, Sit, quickly sit down.

    Ma Rulong decided to sit down. She loudly said, Eat, quickly eat.

    Ma Rulong decided to eat. He did not want her to come pull him or try to put lamb to his mouth. Her actions did not seem to leave other people any choice.

    Once she saw Ma Rulong swallowed an overcooked piece of lamb, she looked like she wanted to laugh. However she made a stoic face and said, Young people not only must be able to withstand hunger, they should also be able to eat. If you can not finished this bowl of mutton stew, doesnt matter what you say, I will ignore you.

    Ma Rulong really ate that big bowl of mutton stew and also two baked sesame cakes.

    This woman poured him a big bowl of wine, After eating, you should drink some wine. Quickly drink.

    This time Ma Rulong shook his head, Not drinking.

    This woman said, Do you want me to pinch your nose and pour it down your throat?

    Ma Rulong ignored her. He did not believe a woman would publicly pinch his nose. However, he was wrong. She actually really did pinch his nose.

    Although her face was weird and ugly, her hand was really pretty. It was fair, smooth, soft, and not bony. This was the first time Ma Rulong discovered that there was a part of her body that this pleasant looking. He finally drank this bowl of wine.

    Since being drunk for three days straight at the Pearl Place, he had not touch any alcohol. He was committed to quitting alcohol.

    No matter how committed someone was, after encountering these unfortunate series of events and being pinched in the nose publicly by a woman, his commitment would sway.

    The woman finally laughed and said, This is more like it. How can someone who doesnt even dare drink wine, considered himself a man?

    She helped him pour another bowl, You dont have to worry. These wines dont have poison. I dont want to poison you.

    Since Ma Rulong broke his commitment, he might as well drink heartily. He, originally, did not want to get drunk. No matter whoever was in his situation, he wouldve wanted to get drunk too. After three big bowls, the alcohol was kicking in. He finally said, Now, can I finally talk?

    This woman coldly said, Spit it out.

    Ma Rulong asked, How did you come here?

    This woman said, I like to come here so I came.

    Ma Rulong said, You are supposedly heading east?

    This woman said, But I suddenly wanted to go west.

    Ma Rulong asked, Are you staring at me?

    This woman responded, Are you thinking because you are good looking, every woman will stare at you? She suddenly retorted, Since I am not Du Qinglians mom, not Shen Hongyes mother, and especially not that stinking monks granny. Why should I stare at you?

    Ma Rulong freely asked, You know about this?

    This woman said, Hmph.

    Ma Rulong asked, How did you know?

    This woman said, Hmph.

    Ma Rulong asked, Did you meet Feng Chaofan and Monk Jue? Did they tell you this?

    This woman did not even say hmph this time. She only filled his bowl to the brim with wine, a big bowl.

    Ma Rulong sighed and said, When you drink wine, do you have to use a big bowl?

    This woman finally answered, Yes.

    Ma Rulong asked: Why do you have to use a big bowl?

    This woman said, Only Xiaowan drinks wine with a small bowl. I am not Xiaowan.59

    Xiaowan? Ma Rulong seemed to have heard of this name; heard it from Qiu Fengcheng. The name of Qiu Fengchengs lover was Xiaowan. The piece of jade, in his small pouch, was given to him by Xiaowan.

    Ma Rulong couldnt help asked, You even knew about Xiaowan?

    This woman coldly said, You asked too much.

    Ma Rulong, However, you havent answer anything.

    This woman said, Because those are not the questions you should be asking. You havent ask the questions you should be asking yet.

    Ma Rulong questioned, What should I ask?

    This woman said, You ate my food and drank my wine. You should at least ask for my name first!

    Ma Rulong asked, What is your name?

    This woman replied, Xiaowan use small bowl to drink wine. We use big bowl to drink wine, what is this call?

    Ma Rulong answered, You are Dawan?

    This woman actually laughed and said, At least you are getting smarter.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ _________________________
    53. Again all this mean is someone hit his acupuncture point. The context here is based on dianxue martial art, not the real-life medical-based acupuncture.
    54. Qi (or Chi), is a concept of vitality air that flows through your body. Ancient Chinese concept that believes blood and air/breath flows through the body giving human its life.
    55. The Chinese word, qi (气) could mean either air/gas or anger/enrage. This expression means he is so full of qi (anger) that its surprising these qi (air) did not cause his body to explode.
    56. longju, lit. dragon steed/colt; term to describe an exceptional or majestic horse.
    57. This came from traditional Chinese saying: YuPengXiangZheng, YuWengDeLi -- lit. translate to: snipes mussel mutually fight, fisherman benefit. It simply means when two factions fight, only the outside party would benefit.
    58. Maotai (茅台) and daqu (大曲) are two Chinese liquor. Maotai is a type of baijiu (white liquor) and daqu is a type of jiuqu (liquor mold).
    59. Xiaowan (小婉), means Little Wan. Wan is a typical female name. Small bowl, in Chinese, is also (小碗). They are pronounced the same but written in different characters.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 6

    Ch. 6: Broken Bowl [破碗]


    This womans name was Dawan. Although she looked weird and ugly, her hand was better looking than most women. Although her eyes were small, narrow, and slanted, when she smiled there was this grace and beauty to them. It was like the flowing spring water under the sunlight.

    Her words seemed brash and harsh, but if you paid closer attention they seemed to have deeper meanings. Her actions seemed to put people on the spot and unreasonable, but you would eventually realize they were for your own good. If she did not wear his fur coat, ride his horse, and leave; he might not be alive right now.

    Right now, she possibly gathered a lot of information about this situation from Feng Chaofan and them. However, she still hasnt considered Ma Rulong as a cold-blooded killer. Now, it seems like she is the only person in the world that would want to be his friend. What kind of person is she?

    Ma Rulong suddenly said, You are a good person. He sighed, I used to think you are quite unreasonable, but right now I finally know you are a good person.

    Dawan asked, How do you know I am a good person?

    Ma Rulong said, I cant say, but I know.

    He also poured her a bowl of wine, Come, I use this big bowl to salute you.

    Dawan actually did drink this big bowl. She drank heartily.

    Ma Rulong suddenly asked, Do you, Dawan, have any kind of relation with that Xiaowan?

    Dawan replied, No.

    Ma Rulong said, Pity.

    Dawan asked, Why is it a pity? Is it because you wanted to see this Xiaowan?

    Ma Rulong said, I actually do want to see her.

    Dawan said, Its a pity you cant find her.

    Ma Rulong bitterly smile and said, Its a pity shes not called Dawan.

    Dawan said, Whats so pitiful about that?

    Ma Rulong said, If shes called Dawan, itll be easier for me to find her. Its pity she just has to be called Xiaowan. He explained, There should not be much women with the name Dawan. On the other hand, women with a name like Xiaowan are plentiful. I just know her name is Xiaowan. How can I find her?

    Dawan said, Although you are not able to find her, there must be someone that will be able to.

    Ma Rulong asked, Whos able to find her? Dawan did not answer and suddenly asked, Today, how many bowls of wine did you drink?

    Ma Rulong replied, Drank eight bowls, eight big bowls.

    Dawan said, How many more bowls can you drink?

    Ma Rulong said, Dont know.

    Dawan said, Dont know means you can still drink a lot.

    Ma Rulong said, Dont know means I usually do not drink with bowl.

    Dawan asked, What do you use?

    Ma Rulong said, Wine jugs. Dawan laughed again.

    Ma Rulong said, You think I am bluffing?

    Dawan said, If your alcohol tolerance is really that good, then I can bring you to meet someone.

    Ma Rulong said, To meet who?

    Dawan said, To meet a person that though never use a small bowl to drink wine, but can definitely find that Xiaowan.

    Ma Rulong said, What does he use to drink wine?

    Dawan said, A broken bowl.

    Ma Rulong, A person that uses a broken bowl to drink wine, should be called Powan?!

    Dawan sweetly said, Cant believe you are getting smarter and smarter.

    Ma Rulong with a glimmer in his eyes, said: The broken bowl you are talking about, is it Broken Bowl Yu Wu?60

    Dawan said, If its not him, who else could it be?

    Other than this man, it definitely could not be another. Its absolutely difficult to find another man like him. No one could drink like him and no one understood how to drink alcohol better than him. No one could eat and no one understood how to eat better than him. He was renowned for these two qualities. He could definitely be considered the best of the world.

    He was not only famous for these two qualities. In the past, Jianghus best hero, Ye Kai, commented him with these sixteen words: Poor as a dirt, rich as a country, famous around the world, no one can recognize.

    These sixteen words describe him perfectly. The wealthiest in the world were salt merchant. The most profitable business were oil, rice, silk, lumber, and pawn shop. The Yu family in Jiangnan61 was not only the largest salt merchant, but also a magnate of these four businesses.62 Definitely could be considered the rich amongst the riches, wealth that could be compared to a nation. Jiangnan Yu family had five brothers; Yu Wu was the fifth master.

    The poorest people in the world were, of course, beggars who beg for food. Yu Wu was also called the big brother of beggars, the current Beggar Clan clan leader. Although he was famous around Jianghu, few had met him before so even if people saw him they would not recognize him. However he had countless Beggar Clan followers, spreading over both side of the yellow river and vast reaches of the north and south. Therefore, if you want to find a person you just need to find him.

    Ma Rulong asked, You can find him?

    Dawan remarked, If I cant find him, who could?

    Ma Rulong asked, You know where he is?

    Dawan said, Actually you should know, he is, of course, eating and drinking.

    Beggar Clan members viewed the world as their home, ate anywhere and drank anywhere. Places with food and wine, though plentiful, were usually restaurant, inn, and tavern. Dawan brought Ma Rulong to a small restaurant, an extremely small restaurant. This restaurant only had two damaged tables and several worn out chairs.

    Ma Rulong stepped in and could already smell a rotten odor. Even a plate of salted vegetable had already changed color and became dry and hard. It looked like a pile of rocks that came straight out of the sewer. Even a person, who starved for three days, wouldnt have the courage to eat this. For a clan leader that was usually critical about cleanliness and serious about eating, why would he eat and drink here?

    There was not even a single customer here. Even the old storekeeper was taking a nap. However, Dawan went over and said something to his ear. He suddenly sprang to life; even his pair of dreary old eyes was wide opened. Jianghu was full of hidden dragons crouching tigers (latent talents). Could it be that this old man was a Wulin expert in disguised?

    He had this strange expression while staring at Dawan. It seemed both amazed and excited; like a child suddenly meeting his long admired celebrity. Ma Rulong was a handsome figure, a rare beautiful man in Jianghu. No matter where he went, people noticed him. However this old did not even glance at him. Next to Dawan, this White Horse gentleman was not even noticeable. Ma Rulong thought this was interesting.

    Old man suddenly let out a long sigh and muttered, Cant believe it. Cant believe. I really couldnt believe it.

    Dawan said, You couldnt believe I would come?

    Old man said, To have an opportunity to welcome guniang (miss), my life is not wasted.

    He suddenly bowed down, all the way to the floor, and kissed Dawans foot. His behavior was even more respectful than an extremely loyal court official seeing his emperor. Afterward he stood up and said, Fifth master is in the kitchen at the back. Miss, please come with me.

    Ma Rulong was quite amused. What was this strangely ugly womans background? Even when other was so respectful toward he, she seemed as if it was well deserved; as if this was the proper and appropriate behavior. Dawan saw what he was thinking and said, This old man was a servant at the kitchen of my house. Our household customs are always excessive.

    Ma Rulong wanted to ask, Do the servants of your house always greet people by kissing their feet? It seems like not even the imperial palace has that kind of custom.

    He did not ask because at this moment they had already entered the kitchen.

    No one could ever imagine in such a smelly and filthy small restaurant, there could be such a kitchen. The kitchen was huge, clean, bright, and everything was neat and tidy. Every plate and bowl was more polished than a mirror. There were not even any black ashes above the stove.

    Hall of Divine Horse (Tianma Tang) was a prominent household and also meticulous about food and dining. However, not even Hall of Divine Horse had such a spacious and clean kitchen.

    In the kitchen, there was person cooking some food. Any person cooking food would not look good but this person was an exception. This person holding a spatula is a like a classic painter, Wu Daozi63, holding a brush, like the brilliant swordsman Ximen Chuixue holding a sword. Not only was the form and movement elegant and beautiful but also full of concentration and sincerity.

    He was currently pan-frying some shrimp tofu. The tofu was not done yet. The old man stood behind and did not want to disturb him. Dawan, unexpectedly, also did not disturb him. He was not too tall, white and chubby face, wearing patched up but extremely clean clothes. He looked like an unrecognized talented scholar that failed the examination.

    Ma Rulong can not bear and quietly asked, Is he Yu Wu of Jiangnan?

    Dawan sighed and said, Other than him, who else could it be?

    The tofu was now done and wok had left the fire. Using the spatula he lifted each one out, each piece was fried just right. Golden crisp tofu was fried in low heat. Sitting on the snow-white porcelain plate, it looked like pieces of gold. However gold would not smell this good and this enticing. Even he was satisfied with the plate of tofu. He held the plate with two hands and placed it on a fully cleaned table. Then slightly sighed and lifted his head. He finally saw Dawan and said, Its you.

    It is me., Dawan laughed. Without a hint of obnoxiousness, she said, Cant believe Fifth Master can still recognize me.

    Yu Wus attitude toward her was also very affable and said, Did you drink already?

    Dawan said, I drank a little bit.

    Yu Wu said, Good, very good. I just wanted to have someone drink with me. He smiled and said, Drinking wine is like playing chess. It must have two people drinking to be interesting.

    Dawan said, Three people drinking are much better than two. I found another person to drink with you.

    Yu Wu finally saw Ma Rulong and questioned, He also want to drink? Can he drink?

    Dawan said, Heard he has pretty good tolerance.

    Yu Wu asked, Where did you heard it from?

    Dawan said, I heard it from him.

    Yu Wu remarked, You believe in what he said?

    Dawan said, Why dont you try to verify yourself?

    Yu Wu said, Good. Very good.

    The pan-fried tofu was also extremely good. Ma Rulong couldnt restrain himself and ate three pieces; he ate a piece tofu then drank a bowl of wine. He already drank three bowls; three big bowls. Yu Wu also drank three bowls.

    He really did use a broken bowl, a very big broken bowl. It was already split into three pieces and they were repaired back together. The bowl was light blue; like the color of the sky after the rain.

    Ma Rulong suddenly said, Good bowl.

    Yu Wu said, You can tell this is a good bowl?

    Ma Rulong said, This was made using firewood kilning. Moreover, it was done using the best kiln. Other than the imperial palace, throughout the world you can not find a third bowl like this.

    Yu Wu said, Not bad, in the world there are only two of these bowl. He looked at Ma Rulong, smiled and said, Hard to imagine, you have a really good eyes. Not only can you see people well, you can see a bowl well.

    Dawan coldly said, The way he sees people, might not be that good.

    Yu Wu laughed, If his eyes are not good at seeing people, then what did he see in you? Dawan acted as if she didnt hear these words. Ma Rulong blushed a bit.

    Yu Wu suddenly said, You people came to me, of course, isnt because you wanted to drink with me.

    Ma Rulong said, I want to find someone that I dont have the ability to find.

    Yu Wu said, You want me to help you find someone?

    Ma Rulong said, Yes.

    Yu Wu said, Who are you looking for?

    Ma Rulong said, I just know her name is Xiaowan.

    Yu Wu laughed loudly and said, Small bowl is not as good as a big bowl. Since you have a big bowl, why do you still want a small bowl?

    This famous hero of Jianghu did not seem to have good eyesight. He assumed Ma Rulong was Dawans lover. These two people; one was extremely ugly, and the other extremely handsome. He should be able to tell they dont match.

    Dawan deliberately asked, Why couldnt small bowl be better than a big bowl?

    Yu Wu said, No matter whether its holding wine or medicine, a small bowl can not hold more than a big bowl. Of course, a small bowl is not better than a big bowl.

    Dawan asked, How about a broken bowl?

    Yu Wu laughingly said: Oh, a broken bowl is even better than a big bowl.

    Dawan asked, Why?

    Yu Wu replied, If a bowl is broken, it must have been through sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy.64 Just like a person, hell grow old through trials and tribulations in life. An old man is obviously richer in experience than a young child. Ginger is also hotter when aged. He raised his broken bowl, drink it completely, and laughed, So a broken bowl, of course, is much better than a big bowl.

    Dawan also laughed, Fortunately, we are talking about people not bowl. This Xiaowan is not just better than a big bowl, even the broken bowl.

    Yu Wu said, Oh?

    Dawan sai, I know. This Xiaowan must be a very beautiful woman and probably very gentle and romantic.

    Yu Wu said, How do you know?

    Dawan said, Because she is Qiu Fengchengs lover. The woman that Silver Spear gentleman likes, wouldnt be an ugly like me.

    Yu Wu laughed loudly and said, So this Xiaowan belongs to someone else. No wonder you let me help him find her. He did not let Ma Rulong defend himself and didnt ask anything else. Suddenly he said, Why dont we make a trade?

    Ma Rulong asked, What trade?

    Yu Wu said, You stay here to drink wine with me using a big bowl. Ill help you find this Xiaowan.

    Ma Rulong said, Ok.

    Yu Wu said, Within three days, I promise Ill bring you some news.

    Ma Rulong said, I will stay here and drink with you for three days.

    Yu Wu said, Drink with a big bowl?

    Ma Rulong said, You want me to drink however many bowls, I will drink however many bowls.

    Yu Wu said, Thats right.

    Yu Wu kept looking at him. After half a day, he finally asked, Do you know what is my biggest ability?

    Ma Rulong said, Please say.

    Yu Wu said, My biggest abilities are eating food, drinking wine, and sleeping.

    Ma Rulong said, Eating or sleeping, I have no confidence. Drinking wine, on the other hand, I might be comparable to you.

    Yu Wu said, You are not afraid of getting drunk?

    Ma Rulong said, I will still drink even if I drink myself to death.

    Yu Wu laughed, Good, very good.

    In the world, there are people that would rather die than admit defeat. Ma Rulong was this type of people. Watching them drinking one bowl after another, Dawan sighed and said, When I came out, my mother warned me not to get drunk and get involved with drunkards. She said all alcoholics are the same, not only do they lose grasp of reality but all became unreasonable.

    Yu Wu said, Your mother is a very wise woman. You have to remember what she told you. He drank another bowl, When a man gets drunk, he can do anything.

    Dawan said, So she said, when a smart woman meet a drunkard she should run away as fast as possible to avoid unnecessary trouble.

    Ma Rulong said, Reasonable. He drank another bowl, Very reasonable.

    Dawan said, Two drunkards are obviously worst than one drunkard.

    Yu Wu said, Make sense. He drank another bowl, The only thing in the world worst than a drunkard is two drunkards.

    Dawan sighed and said: Unfortunately, I will see two drunkards soon.

    Yu Wu said, Where? Where are these two drunkards?

    Dawan said, It seems to be here, in front of me. Yu Wu and Ma Rulong looked at each other and then laughed.

    My mother only told me I should run away when I see one drunkard. But never told what to do if I see two drunkards?

    She laughed and said, Fortunately, I know exactly what to do.

    Yu Wu said, Like what?

    I will get myself drunk. She drank a big bowl of wine, drank even faster, and said: Once I, myself, becomes a drunkard I will no have to worry about drunkards.

    Yu Wu clapped and said, Make sense.

    Ma Rulong, There is only one bad point.

    Yu Wu asked, Which point?

    Ma Rulong said, Isnt three drunkards worst than two drunkards?

    Yu Wu said, Yes.

    He sighed, Im afraid the only thing in the world worst than two drunkard is three drunkard.

    Now Ill see three drunkards. Ma Rulong let out a sigh and said, Because of these three drunkards, I am one of them.

    Right now he was still not drunk, those were not drunk words. He had many feelings in his heart. A person can not escape from himself -- his own wrongdoing, his own sorrow, his responsibility, he could never escape; because like his own shadow, he can never run away from it.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    60. Powan Yu Wu (俞五), powan means broken bowl is his nickname. Surname is Yu, given name wu means five.
    61. Jiangnan (江南), refers to the region on the south side of the Yangtze River on the eastern end.
    62. Five items, excluding salt, are listed but the text do say four businesses.
    63. Wu Daozi (吴道子) a historic Tang dynasty Chinese painter.
    64. suantiankula, lit. sour, sweet, bitter and spicy hot is an expression that means joys and sorrows of life.

  11. #11
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 7

    Ch 7: Xiaowan [小婉]


    Ma Rulong was drunk. A person drinking with other people he trusted will get drunk. He will also get drunk easier. He trusted Dawan and he also trusted Yu Wu. A person in a bad mood or was mistreat would want to drink and get drunk. Although he believed his accusations would be cleared one day, his was still melancholic.

    If a person gets drunk using a big bowl, he couldnt remember what he said or did. Even if he remembers, it is such a blur he would think it was a dream, like those were other peoples words and actions.

    He seemed to remember saying something that would even surprise him just thinking about it.

    At that point everyone was drunk, he suddenly held Dawans hand and said, Why dont you marry me? Dawan then laughed and couldnt stop laughing. She laughed until she couldnt breath and then asked, Why do you want me to marry you?

    Because I know you are very good to me. Because even when others suspected me, thought I was murderer, and even wanted to kill me, only you believed me. Only you would want to help me. He was saying honest words. When a person is really drunk, he usually speak out his true feeling.

    Nevertheless, Dawan did not believe. You want to marry me because you are drunk. Once you are fully sober, you will regret this. Although she was still laughing, her laughter had a bit sadness to it. Once you see woman prettier than me, you would regret this even more. She said, I am ugly, strange, and terrible. There are so much women better looking than me.

    Now he was already sober and already forget whether Dawan agreed or not. However, he had to ask himself, If she did agree, am I regretting it right now? Will I still marry her now? He couldnt even answer these questions. At the time, he saw another girl. A girl that was much prettier than Dawan.

    When he woke up he was not at the kitchen anymore. Yu Wu and Dawan were not here. By the time he woke up he was on a bed - a not very big but soft, comfortable, and pleasant smelling bed. This bed was in a room that was not considered big but very clean, comfortable, and smell good.

    This room had several plum blossoms outside the window. Beneath the window was a small dressing table. The dressing table had a small copper mirror and next to the mirror was a vase of plum blossom. This girl was standing next to the plum blossom.

    Plum blossom was very noble and beautiful. This girl was like the plum blossom, similarly beautiful and not low class. Although her clothes were bright red, her face was pale white. Although her eyes were lucid and beautiful, it carried a hard to say sort of melancholy.

    She was currently looking at Ma Rulong. She was using a very strange expression to look at Ma Rulong, like it was curious and afraid. Ma Rulongs head was still hurting. He did not recognize this girl nor could he remember why he was here.

    This girl suddenly asked, Are you Ma gongzi? White Horse Gentleman Ma Rulong?

    Ma Rulong said, Yes I am.

    The girl asked, Several days ago, were you at the Winter Plum Valley?

    Ma Rulong said, Yes.

    The girl asked, You saw Qiu Fengcheng?

    Ma Rulong responded, You know him?

    The girl nodded her head. Her forehead furrowed a bit and gently said, My surname is Su, name Xiaowan. I am the person you are looking for.

    What is this place? Ma Rulong finally asked, How did I get here?

    A Master Yu Wu sent you here. She first answered his latter question and then clearly answered why she would take in an unknown drunk man. Master Yu Wu said you are not only Fengchengs friend, you also know his whereabouts.

    Ma Rulong bitterly smiled. Yu Wu actually managed to send him here. Obviously, he was not as drunk as him.

    He never thought someone could manage to get him this drunk. He suddenly realized he was overestimating himself. He, again, asked, Is this your jia (home)?

    Xiaowan said, I dont have a jia (family). This place can not be considered a jia (family). Ma Rulong understood what she meant. Jia (Home) was not simply a building. No matter how beautiful a house is, it could not be considered a jia (family).65

    Xiaowan said, I am originally just a...a prostitute at Yifang Yuan66 in the city. I never had a father or mother since I was young. Fengcheng help released me out of my contract and bought this house for me. She smiled but her smile had this hard to say sadness, But he is not here so how can this be considered a jia (home/family)?

    Ma Rulong couldnt help but sighed, Couldnt believe he is such a romantic.67 A prestigious gentleman like Qiu Fengcheng could actually be so passionate and love-obsessed toward woman of her background.68 It was definitely hard for people to not felt touched by this.

    Xiaowan said, Though he had an unyielding temperament, he is a very kind person and had never wronged anyone. While speaking about Qiu Fengcheng, her eyes were filled with tender and love. He was especially good to me, was always considerate of me. He never looks down on me. A woman like me being able to meet this type of man...I...I could die contentedly.

    Ma Rulong said, Both of you are still young, why talk about death?

    Xiaowan smiled again, drearily smiled, If you had came one step late, you wouldnt be able to see me.

    Ma Rulong suddenly thought about the pit Qiu Fengcheng dug.

    Xiaowan said, Before he left, he made an agreement. He would come yesterday night the latest.

    Ma Rulong asked, What if he didnt come back?

    Xiaowan bleakly said, That wouldve meant he had already left this world. I would, of course, follow him. Though her voice was gentle, it felt fully committed to death. A pledge of eternal loves that last beyond life and death.

    Ma Rulong lightly sighed and said, Fortunately he hasnt die.

    He really did felt fortunate for them. Although he was like you, fully committed to death, but he hasnt die.

    Xiaowan said, Then where is he? Why hasnt he come back?

    Ma Rulong kept his mouth shut. Even he doesnt know where Qiu Fengcheng was. When Peng Tianba, Feng Chaofan, and Jue dashi were chasing after him, Qiu Fengcheng was not with them.

    Jin Zhenlins spear did not kill him, but he was heavily injured. An injured person, where can he go?

    That day they were supposed to attend Madame Jaspers meeting. That was why they were at Winter Plum Valley. In the end, was Madame Jasper at Winter Plum Valley? Did Madame Jasper take him back to the Jasper Villa? Ma Rulong could not confirm.

    Xiaowan was still staring at him waiting for his reply. He could real talk about his theories in heart. He doesnt want to hurt such a sentimental girl.

    Xiaowan lightly sighed, I know if he hasnt die, he would come back. Why did you have to lie to me?

    Ma Rulong said, I...

    Xiaowan didnt let him continue and said, You actually dont need to lie to me. I just need to know that he was as committed as I am. I am already satisfied.

    Her attitude all of a sudden became cold and said, Right now its already dark. A man and woman alone together makes other people suspicious.69 I dont dare let Ma gongzi stay. After these words, it was hard to say anymore.

    Ma Rulong could only leave. Before he left, I know your are commited. I will not force you but I hope you can wait three more days. Within three days, I will have information about Qiu Fengcheng to tell you.

    She hesitated and finally replied, Okay, I will wait three days.

    The sky really turned dark. Outside was a very long narrow alley; Xiaowan house was at the end of the alley. Ma Rulong pulled his clothes together to prepare for the wind.

    He came here to meet Xiaowan to confirm Qiu Fengchengs words from that day. It was not that he was suspicious of Qiu Fengcheng. It was just that he had no other lead. It is like a drowning person, no matter what they see they would try to grab onto it.

    Right now, he had already confirmed Qiu Fengcheng was truly a sentimental person and their love; even he was moved.

    So he hoped he could help them out. Hope that within three days he could find Qiu Fengchengs whereabout. He hoped these two lovers could reunite.

    However he still thought this matter was still strange. What was strange about it? He couldnt say. He thought Xiaowans house was missing something and had something extra. What was missing? What was extra? He couldnt put a word to it.

    Right now, was Dawan also awake? Was her head hurting like his? He suddenly realized he was thinking about her. This unbelievably ugly and unreasonable woman looked like she had a lovable side.

    Unfortunately he did not know where she came from. Also did not know where she went. They actually barely knew each other and had already separated. From now on, it was possible they will never meet again. Ma Rulong let out a sigh and decided not to think about her.

    Late winter at the remainder of the year. The end of the year was near; every household was preparing for the new year and buying new clothes. At these times, everyones pocket needed some extra money so things that can be exchanged for money were taken out to be exchanged for money. Outside this alley was a small flower market. Chinese sacred lily and wintersweet were perfect for current situation.

    The mistress of a small household brought a servant girl to help her buy new years goods back: daylily, jelly fungus, red date, white nuts, dried apricots filled the basket. That servant girl was holding a basket and looking at pots of plum blossom. Which fifteen or sixteen year old girl doesnt like beautiful things? Who doesnt like fresh-smelling and red plum blossom?

    She finally couldnt hold it and said, Madame, why dont we also buy two pots of plum blossom back?

    No. The madame with the silk clothing firmly replied with a serious face.

    The servant girl did not give up, These flowers were not expensive, whats wrong with buying some?

    Because I dont have the mood for flowers.

    Servant girl sighed and muttered, Madame is truly....Master only hadnt come back for two three days. Madame doesnt even have to mood for flowers.

    The servant did not want to but could only bit on her mouth and walked away with that gloomy madame. This was only an insignificant and minor matter, no one would have noticed or cared; yet Ma Rulong noticed this.

    -- A simply housewife with husband only gone for two three days, she did not even have the mood for flowers.

    -- Xiaowan vase of plum blossom on her table was newly added in.

    -- If Ma Rulong had not came, she wouldve committed suicide for love. Why would she even have a mood for flowers?

    Now Ma Rulong finally realized what was missing in the house? What was extra? That place was missing a servant and had an extra vase of flower.

    Door was already closed. The alley only had small households. Xiaowans place was comparably bigger with higher wall. The door made with sturdy and thick wood was already locked.

    But it was not hard for Ma Rulong to get in.

    He could jump over wall since he was ten. The lightness skill and swordplay of Hall of Divine Horse was admirable in Jianghu. He was already suspicious of Xiaowan, he just have to jump in and secretly spy on her. He also knew, the best way to find the true faces of people was to check on them when they were not in front of you.

    However he would not do such a thing. Not only had he not done this before, he would not do this in the future. He decided to knock on the door but just as he was about to knock on the door he suddenly heard a strange noise.

    He heard a persons laughter. Laughing is not a strange noise. Although there are a lot of tragedies in society, no matter where you go you could still hear laughter.

    What he thought was strange was that was definitely a males laughter and it came from the house. This was the house Qiu Fengcheng bought for Xiaowan, and only Xiaowan lived here. Why would there be a male laughter? Night was quiet. Ally was even quieter. Although the laughter was short, he could hear it clearly.

    -- For anyone involved in this matter, they could get killed and die any moment.

    -- Some people would laugh before they kill.

    -- Right now, did someone want to kill and get rid of Xiaowan? Ma Rulong no longer scrupled and leaped in.

    The furnace fire in the house was too warm. A window of a eastern side room facing west was opened. A pine tree mixed in with the plum blossom trees had a perfect view of the window. Xiaowan was standing next to the window in the room.

    Ma Rulong leaped over the wall and happened to be on top of this tree. He did not want to spy on others private matter but he already saw it. Not only did he saw Xiaowan, he also saw a man.

    He could not see his face. This man had his back to the window and was facing Xiaowan. He was leaning on a soft couch.

    He could only see that one of his legs was hanging next to the soft couch. The foot was wearing a very good-looking, high craftsmanship shoe. Only a wild and extravagant gentleman would wear this type of shoe.

    Xiaowan was standing in front of him and looked at him with a strange expression, the coldly said, You really wanted me to die?

    This man coldly laughed and said, You really think I dont dare? You really think Im afraid of you.

    Xiaowan said, Fine. You want me to die. Ill die in front of you.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    65. jia (家), could mean either home or family.
    66. Yifang Yuan (怡芳院) lit. harmony and fragant courtyard. Typically brothel name.
    67. Duoqing (多情), lit. mean many love. It is used to describe someone this is really focus or affectionate regarding love. Im translating it as a romantic, love-filled, or passionate about love. Ive seen it translated as sentimental, e.g. Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword. But they all seems a little bit off.
    68. fengchen (风尘), lit. wind and dust. Its a term to describe the prostitution world. However, the original text a women in wind and dust sounds more graceful than a women in prostitution.
    69. Idiom Alert: guatianlixia (瓜田李下), lit. melon field, under plum tree. Its a saying that means tying shoe in melon field and fixing hat under the plum tree make other people suspicious.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 8

    Ch 8: Private Affair [私情]

    Some people always love flower, no matter what was the mood they would have several flowers in the vase.

    It looked like Xiaowan was not hiding anything, and definitely wasnt having an affair. She really wanted to die. Why did the man wanted to force her to die? What relationship does this man have with her? Could it be one of Qiu Fengchengs friend wanted to force her to a love suicide? Perhaps he came to silence her?

    While he was thinking, Xiaowan suddenly did something he would have never dream of. She suddenly went over, sat down on this mans lap, wrap her arm around his neck, and nibbled on his ear, and said while gasping, You want me to die. I also want you to die.

    Her top layer was already sliding off. Within her body tight silk robe, there was only a bright red dudou70 (undergarment). The contrast made her skin looked even whiter. Ma Rulong could not watch anymore. This was someone elses private affair that he should not interfere with. However, he thought about Qiu Fengchengs craziness and that pit -- originally he could have yelled and surprised these two people that wanted to die. He could jump through the window. However he leaped back behind the wall instead and loudly knocked on the door. He knocked for a long while and then finally heard Xiaowan inside asked, Who?

    Its me.

    Who are you? How should I know who you are? Dont you even have a name? Xiaowans tone wasnt very pleasant but nevertheless she came out to open the door.

    Its you! She was taken back after seeing Ma Rulong. However, she quickly composed herself and, with a serious look, coldly said, Couldnt believe Ma gongzi came back. Are you afraid I will be lonely at night so you wanted to help Qiu Fengcheng take care of me?

    Those words were pretty extreme. After hearing these words, anyone that knows better wouldve left immediately. However Ma Rulong was exactly the type that does not know better, and said, I know you are not lonely. I am just afraid people will harm you.

    Xiaowan expression changed; her face was red for a moment, and then white for a moment. She suddenly turned around and walked toward the house. You come with me. she said.

    Ma Rulong followed her and she actually led him back to that room. The man before was not here.

    Sit. She pointed at the soft couch that man sat before and said, Please sit.

    Ma Rulong did not sit. He did not see that man but saw his shoes; the same good looking shoes.

    This room had a bed and this bed had a cloth certain hanging over it. This cloth certain was very long and almost touches the floor. However it did not fully touch the floor so this pair of shoe was still showing.

    Xiaowan said, Why didnt you sit?

    Ma Rulong said, This seat doesnt look like its for me to sit.

    Xiaowan laughed, an obviously very unnatural laugh, If you dont sit on it, who else will sit on it?

    Ma Rulong said, Looks like someone else is here.

    Xiaowan said, Besides Fengcheng, only youve came here before. Why would there be another person?

    She could really hold her emotion back. At this point, she could still fully deny there was someone else in this room.

    Ma Rulong could not hold back any longer and quickly went over and opened the curtain. There was indeed a person behind the certain. However, there wasnt another person here because the person here was actually Qiu Fengcheng.

    Ma Rulong ran out the room, ran out the door, and ran out the long alley. Fortunately, it was already dark. Under these winter weathers, once it was dark there would be no one in the street. Otherwise, people would think he was crazy.

    The only thing he wanted to do right now was to slap himself on the face a couple of times. He could not forget, the instant he opened the curtain, Qiu Fengchengs expression and especially Xiaowans expression.

    However, he shouldve known Qiu Fengcheng could have come back any moment. Also, he shouldve thought this person could be Qiu Fengcheng. However he just happened to overlook this. He originally shouldve recognized Qiu Fengchengs voice but unfortunately didnt notice that either.

    Qiu Fengcheng was a well-raised son of a noble family, but at that point he unexpectedly smiled. However, to Ma Rulong, this was even worst than being slapped a few times on the face. He could only hurriedly leave, as if someone kicked him out with a broom.

    Thus he was currently alone again; without any money or any place to go. Right now, he had absolutely no lead. It was like his whole body was tied up in mid-air by a thin rope and left hanging. There was no ground to stand on. Besides he could fall down at any moment and crack his head open.

    Something was not right! He suddenly realized he was not alone, there was someone following him. He did not even need to turn around and already knew who was following him. Not sure why but his empty and wavering heart, that was left hanging in mid-air, suddenly became firmly established again. That person behind me already caught up, reached out a very nice-looking hand, and handed him something.

    Ma Rulong accepted it. What he needed now was a medicine to help relieve his headache. What she gave him was packet of headache reliever medicine.

    Once he swallowed this packet of medicine she stuck her hand out. On the hand there are seven, eight packets of medicines; some were pills, some medicine caplets, and some were medicinal powders. She gave it all to him.

    These are anti-alcohol drugs, these are zijinding71 (medicine pill), these are stomach pain relievers, these help recuperate stomach and intestine...

    Ma Rulong laughed, What do you think I am? Am I a medicine jar?

    She laughed, I know you are not a medicine jar. You are a wine jug. She chuckled and said, Unfortunately it is just a very, very small one. And it cant hold much wine.

    Dawan did looked more spirited and looked better than him. Could it be that her tolerance is better than mine? Ma Rulong was not convinced and couldn't help but asked, Your head does not hurt?

    Dawan replied, Doesnt hurt.

    Ma Rulong asked, How come it doesnt hurt?

    Dawan said, Because I usually does not like to poke into other peoples business. Getting involved in other peoples business does indeed cause headaches. Not only does it make other peoples head hurt, it makes your own head hurts too.

    She asked, Did you see that Xiaowan?

    En.

    How is it?

    What do you mean how is it?

    How does she looks?

    Not bad at all.

    Dawan laughed, Since she doesnt look bad at all, why do you look like you saw a ghost?

    Ma Rulong sighed and said, It wouldve been better if I did see a ghost.

    Dawan asked, What did you see?

    Ma Rulong said, I saw Qiu Fengcheng.

    He actually told her everything that happened at first. These were embarrassing moments and he originally didnt want to talk about it. However for some reason, in front of her, he felt like he could say anything and didnt need to hold back.

    Dawan actually did not laughed at him. On the other hand, sighed and said: If I were you, at that moment I wouldve look for a hole and hide in it.

    This was exactly how he felt at first. He suddenly felt this woman was not only sassy, extreme, and ugly; but also had a kind, understanding, and sympathetic heart. This was the first time he felt like this.

    Dawan suddenly said, However, I do not understand this.

    Ma Rulong asked, Understand what?

    Dawan said, Qiu Fengcheng mustve known you were there. Why would he need to hide?

    Ma Rulong said, They are not truly a husband and wife. A person of his background should be a bit reserved. If I was him, I wouldve hidden myself too.

    Dawan looked at him and said, Cant believe you are such a considerate person.

    Ma Rulong asked, Originally, what kind of person do you think I am?

    Dawan said, Originally I thought you are pompous and selfish. Someone that would not care about other peoples life or death. Her voice became gentle, However, now I know I was wrong. This unreasonable woman actually admitted being wrong. This was hard for someone to imagine.

    Dawan said again, After he saw you, what did he say?

    Ma Rulong said, It was because he did not say anything, I felt even worst.

    Dawan said, What did you say?

    Ma Rulong bitterly smiled and said, At that time, what else could I say?

    Dawan said, Did he have any intention of taking you to Feng Chaofan?

    Ma Rulong said, No.

    Dawan said, Did you asked him that day when you left, what happened at Winter Plum Valley? Did Madame Jasper came? Did she choose him as her son-in-law?

    Ma Rulong said, I did not ask.

    He suddenly asked her, How do you know all of this?

    Dawan mysteriously laughed and said, Of course someone told me.

    Ma Rulong asked, Who told you?

    Dawan replied, A person that was drunk.

    Ma Rulong asked, Was this drunk person me?

    Dawan said, At least you are not stupid.

    Ma Rulong could only bitterly smile. He probably said a lot when he was drunk. Unfortunately, even he could not remember what he said.

    Actually Madame Jasper do not need to choose. Shen Hongye was already dead. You had become a person that is a rat being chased throughout the street. Other than the Silver Spear gentleman Qiu Fengcheng, who would be suitable to be Jasper Villas son-in-law. She sighed and said, Even if Madame Jasper want to choose, there is nothing to choose from. This was all true. After what had happened, the one who benefitted the most was Qiu Fengcheng.

    Ma Rulong said, But he is definitely not the culprit!

    Dawan asked, Why?

    Ma Rulong said, Because he already has someone he had pledged his undying love to. He doesnt really want to be son-in-law of Jasper Villa.

    Dawan let out a sigh and said, I also dont believe he did all those things. But if he isnt the culprit and youre not the culprit, then who is?

    Ma Rulong said, It must be Tiansha (Heaven Kill)!

    Dawan asked, Who is Heaven Kill?

    Ma Rulong answered, Heaven Kill is not a person. It is a mysterious organization; an organization of killers.

    Dawan asked, Why would they do such a thing? Why would the frame you?

    Ma Rulong answered, Because they wanted chaos. He explained, If our families started fighting each other, Jianghu would be in chaos. They would seize this opportunity to rise.

    His explanation was reasonable. It was not like these things had not happened before, and it would continue to happen in the future.

    Ma Rulong said, Right now they are simply an underground organization. Once their plan succeeded, they would change and become an legitimate clan sect. Because at the point, there would be not one in Jianghu that could contain them.

    Dawan said, Because at that point the houses and families would all sustain heavy casualties.

    Ma Rulong said, But I would definitely not let this happen.

    Dawan asked, What are you planning to do?

    Ma Rulong said, I must first find the leader of Heaven Kill.

    Dawan said, How are you planning to find this leader?

    Ma Rulong did not say anything. He did not have a single lead or know where to start.

    Dawan said, This person must have know you four young masters would be at the Winter Plum Valley that day.

    Ma Rulong said, Thats right.

    Dawan said, How does he know? Other than the four of you, who else would know? Did you tell anyone about this?

    Ma Rulong said, I did not. However, Qiu Fengcheng... He suddenly thought, Xiaowan did mention Winter Plum Valley.

    Xiaowan once asked -- Several days ago, were you at the Winter Plum Valley? She knew they were at the Winter Plum Valley; and, obviously, Qiu Fengcheng told her.

    If Qiu Fengcheng could tell her this, he couldve told someone else. Xiaowan could also tell someone else. Like other men, he could never believe a woman could keep a secret. This was his only clue.

    Ma Rulong said, We must go ask him. There are a lot of things we have to ask him.

    Dawan asked, Are you planning to go ask him now?

    Ma Rulong said, Of course now.

    He said he was going so he went. Dawan sighed and said, You really know how to pick your timing. You couldnt have chosen a better time. Right now, if you go theyre probably at the youre-killing-me-Im-killing-you state. If you can get there in time, you might be able to save them again. They wouldve thank you wholeheartedly.

    He was not going anymore. He could also imagine if they saw him coming back again what type of expression they would have. This kind of mood killing and annoying thing, no one would want to be part of.

    Ma Rulong said, When do you think I should go?

    Dawan suddenly revealed a strange expression and quietly said, Its the best that you go now. Quickly go. Womans heart is like the weather in May, it changes so fast.

    Ma Rulong couldnt help but asked, Why do you want me to go now?

    Dawan said, If you do not go right now, you probably never have another chance.

    She suddenly let out a sigh and said, Actually I am afraid it is already too late.

    At this moment, they entered the dark alley. Ma Rulong again asked, Why? He no longer needed to ask because right now he saw two heads. Some people were blocking their way. Seven people, seven people in black clothes.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    70. dudou (肚兜), a traditional Chinese female undergarment that tightly covers the breast and stomach.
    71. Zijin Ding (紫金锭), an eastern medication. Taken orally, it gets rid of toxic material, resolve phlegm, cause resuscitation, resolve adverse flow of qi. Applied externally to disperse swelling. Info taken from TCM wiki.

  13. #13
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 9

    Ch. 9: A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed72 [患难见真情]


    A rich household must be living in this alley.

    Rich household must have security against bandits and thieves. Therefore they rather not see daylight and prefer to build two high walls. So there were two high walls on both side of this alley. Even Hall of Divine Horse lightness skill was not enough to jump over such high wall.

    The alley was very deep and dark. There were four people in the front, and three at the back. Seven people were wearing tight black clothes; and there was a black cloth covering their face. They were walking slowly and didnt seem to be in a hurry; because they knew these two people were like soft-shelled turtles in a pond, fishes in a net. There was nowhere to run.

    Ma Rulong lowered his head and quietly said, You dont need to be afraid. I would tell them to let you go.

    Dawan responded, They would let me go?

    Ma Rulong remarked, This matter has nothing to do with you. Why wouldnt they let you go?

    Dawan replied, You think they are here for you?

    Ma Rulong responded, Of course.

    Dawan said, You are wrong. She let out a sigh and said, I also wish they are here for you. Unfortunately thats not the case.

    Ma Rulong asked, Why not?

    Dawan said, You are a branded a murderer. Catching a murderer is an honorable and upright thing to do. Why do they need to cover their faces with a black cloth?

    Ma Rulong finally remembered she was the same as him. She had her own trouble and there were people were after her.

    Dawan said, However you dont have to be afraid, I will tell them to let you go.

    Ma Rulong asked, You think I will go?

    Dawan replied, We are not related to each other in any way. If other people want my life, do you really want to die with me?

    Ma Rulong said: No matter what, I cant simply just leave you here alone.

    Dawan asked, Why?

    Ma Rulong replied, I can not do such a thing.

    Dawan said, That is not a good enough reason.

    Ma Rulong said, However, to me, its good enough.

    Dawan said, Hard to say, maybe I am a bad woman or a criminal. Maybe you should really help them catch me instead.

    Ma Rulong said, I know you are definitely not such a person.

    Dawan asked, How do you know? You dont even know my last name.

    Ma Rulong replied, However I believe in you.

    Dawan looked at him and then suddenly let out a sigh, I thought you are getting smarter. I cant believe you are still this stupid.

    Although the alley was long and the seven people in black clothes were slow, they were almost near them. Seven people were carrying weapons, very rare type of weapons. There was a person carrying the a weapon that hadnt been used since Shangguan Jinhong73 died by Little Lis Flying Dagger, the Dragon Phoenix Gold Ring. Another person was holding a pair of Mandarin Duck Kuahulan74.

    These weapons had disappeared from Jianghu for a long time. It was because even though these weapons were powerful, they were extremely hard to master. The people that were capable of using these weapons would definitely not have weak skills. Ma Rulong truly did not have the confidence that he could handle them; however, he was not discouraged or terrified.

    She suddenly asked, Hey! Are you people here to look for me? Or here to look for him?

    The man dressed in black, holding the Dragon Phoenix Gold Ring, was small and robust and his steps were steady. Between his black cloth face mask, it was revealing a brilliant pair of eyes, which was sharp like an eagle. Undoubtedly he was an expert. This man coldly responded, So what if we are here to look for you? What if we are here to look for him?

    Dawan replied, If you are here for him, then this has nothing to do with me. I am not a hero or gentleman. Even if you people kill him, I wouldnt get involved.

    This person coldly said, You dont need to say, I can tell.

    Dawan added, However, if you people are here for me, the situation will not be the same.

    This person remarked, Oh?

    Dawan replied, Even though he has a lot of his own problem, he is not like me who refused to get involved. As long as any of you touch me, he will fight you to death.

    This person said, So if we are to touch you, we have to kill him first.

    Dawan looked at Ma Rulong, Isnt that right?

    Ma Rulong replied, Yes.

    He, himself, did not know why he said those words because right now he had plenty of things to do. Without finding out the truth behind his situation, he absolutely should not die. If he were to die here, not only would it be an obscure death but also he would also never be able to clear his innocence. However, he already spoken those words, he didnt want to go back on his word nor regret this decision.

    Dawan asked, Hey, did you people hear what he said?

    The man in black cloth coldly laughed, Looks like he is not only a true hero but also a gentleman.

    Dawan said, It looks like it.

    This person said, Unfortunately this type of people doesnt live long.

    Dawan sighed, I had already told him that but he wouldnt listen

    With a ding sound, the pair of rings rattled and fire lights shot out everywhere. In the past, Shangguan Jinhong shook the entire world. He established the dominating Jinqian Bang (Gold Money Clan) in Jianghu. Not only did he have outstanding ability and grand vision, his wugong (martial art) were phenomenal. In Bai Xiaoshengs75 Book of Weapons, the Shangguan Gold Ring was placed second but many in Jianghu believed his wugong was not inferior to the number one ranked Tianji Old Master76.

    The pair of Dragon Phoenix Gold Ring in his palms was considered the world most dominating weapon. This weapon was in the hand of this man dressed in black. Although it did not have the same quality when it was with Shangguan Jinhong during his reign, this was still a phenomenal weapon. Dawan did not even pay attention to it, her eyes were looking at Ma Rulong. Her eyes had a hint of smile; a smile that had gentleness and delight.

    Strong opponents with killing intents were already here. Life and death were on the line. She actually thought it was delightful because Ma Rulong did not even abandon her here. No matter what came out of her mouth, in her heart this was more important than her life or death.

    Ma Rulong suddenly also thought it was becoming delightful; even her pair of dropsy eyes right now became lovelier. There were no absolute standard between beauty and ugly. A person that made him delightful was a lovely person.

    Dawan softly asked, Are you afraid?

    Ma Rulong was not completely unafraid. Fear is always one of the hardest human weakness to conquer. Fortunately there are more beautiful human emotions that can overpower fear.

    Dawan said, If you are scared, you still have a chance to leave.

    Ma Rulong replied, Im not leaving.

    Dawan softly sighed and said: Then I... She did not finish her words. It was as if an invisible and incredibly fast dagger cut off her voice or an invisible devil grabbed onto her throat. Her eyes had an expression of extreme terror, as if she saw a devil no one else could see.

    If Ma Rulong turned his head around, he would realize she only saw a person, an ordinary woman. She was wearing plain green clothes and holding a basket of flower. She just came into the alley. Ma Rulong did not turned his head so he couldnt help asked, Are you alright?

    Dawan said, I need to go. Youre not going, I am. She actually really did leave. She hadnt even finished saying these words and already lightly leaped up over that high wall that no one would imagine she couldve go over.

    That plain looking flower girl continued walking with her head down. It looked like she did not notice that high wall blocking her path in front of her. Everybody saw her head hit the wall and her head was bleeding. Surprisingly the wall did not crack her head, but she cracked through the wall. With a pu sound, the two, three chi (feet) thick wall had a human shape hole in it. This plain looking flower managed to pass through wall as if it was a piece of paper.

    Ma Rulong and everyone were startled at the scene. Dawan lightness skill was superb. This flower girls martial art was even better. The sky looked as though it suddenly turned dark. The wind felt as though it suddenly turned colder. Although they were gone, the people with killing intent were still here. The gold ring was still on that persons hand.

    Ma Rulong finally asked, So are you people here for her or me?

    The man dressed in black replied, For her.

    Ma Rulong said, She already left.

    The man dressed in black said, To you, thats not good.

    Ma Rulong asked, Why?

    The man dressed in black said, Because you should know the a sharp blade out of its sheath must see blood or else its unlucky.

    His palm still had a killing weapon, eyes had killing intents, We are all the same. As long as we start, we have to kill. Now she already left, we can only kill you.

    Ma Rulong said, Very good.

    Actually he knew the current situation was not good. No matter who, this was not a very good situation. His palm did not have a killing weapon and his heart did not any killing intent. He did not have a choice either.

    -- Why do people kill others? He despised violence. In certain situation, you can only use force to prevent violence. He already fully collected the qi and energy of his body. He only had one life and he did not want to die yet. He believed violence must be controlled.

    With a ding sound, the gold ring was struck again. Fires like rains of comet shot out four times. Ma Rulong also shot out like an arrow.

    He did not have killing intent. However, he had another qi, xueqi77 (courage)!

    His target was not the man dressed in black holding the gold ring; it was another. The phrases capture the ringleader first does not apply in this case. Right now, he needed to attack the opponents weakest link.

    In a righteousness and evil cannot stand by each other world and an enemy and I cannot coexist situation, if I can survive I will need to survive. If I can destroy the enemy, I would need to destroy the enemy. His target of attack was Heiba (Black Lord).

    Heibas last name was Huang but everyone called him Heiba. This was because he was the blackest, biggest, tallest, and most arrogant one within the organization. Heiba height was eight chi (feet) nine cun (inches) tall, shoulder breadth was three chi (feet), his arm was bigger than most peoples thigh, and his fist was bigger than a babys head.

    Why would Ma Rulong think such a person was the weakest link? Is it because this person was always following closely on the soul-snatching gold rings side?

    Wisteria can only rely on nearby tree to survive. Cunning fox can only rely on the might of the tiger to threaten. Weak obviously relies on the strong for support. A persons strength could not be judged based on his appearance. Ma Rulongs judgment was not wrong.

    Heibas weapon was a pair of Hunyuan Iron Plate. It looked like a sixty to seventy catty heavy Hunyuan Iron Plate.

    Ma Rulong charged forward, this pair of Hunyuan also started to attack; a swept and a clap. It was a pity that the strength of a weapon was not determined by its weight.

    Ma Rulong waved his fist and went through the sweeping and striking iron plate. The fist was already struck a blow at his nose bridge. When this fist struck, there was only a soft noise; like a fist hitting a piece of dead meat. There wasnt even a cry and Heiba fell down facing upward.

    Ma Rulong could rush over this fallen body and go toward the outside of the alley or through that hole in the wall. He did not do that because he suddenly thought he could fight these people and that it wasnt completely hopeless. As long as there was a chance, he would not give up. He faced an arrogant person, very arrogant looking person.

    When Heiba fell down, he already used a toe to kick up a iron plate, grab it with left hand, seize this opportunity with a sweeping strike, and swept back the gold ring. His right hand already chopped on another persons wrist and made a judge brush fell.

    The gold ring was still here in a pair intimidating hands. Then there was also another pair of terrifying hands holding a pair of kuahulan. These two pairs of hands and these two weapons were really life threatening. By the time the odd, immeasurable kuahulan and soul-snatching gold ring with unparalleled power attacked, he then would realized he made another terrible mistake. He underestimated his opponents and overestimated himself.

    This type of mistake can never be repeated again, because one is already fatal! But he could still fight; he would risk his body and life to fight. A person that is willing to risk his own life is not only dangerous but also terrifying. A person will risk his one life only when this person is pushed to the edge. Why were these people not risking their life to battle him? -- Tiansha! -- They originally wanted to kill him. He suddenly thought this through.

    Heiba struggled and stood up. He had trouble breathing with his bloody and broken nose. He suddenly ripped off his clothes wildly yelled, Kill him! Kill him! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!

    It was miserable holler and a killer willing to stake his life. Within the ripped clothes, his bare chest revealed those nineteen words in blood -- Tiansha! The one who was willing to using cruel method and sacrifice everything to kill him.

    Ma Rulong tightened his fist, gritted his teeth, ready to die if he had to. Another person fell under his fist; he didnt see clearly who this person was. However, he suddenly saw a sliver light. Glitter and blindingly silver light flashed through the air, it was a spear, a silver spear!

    Phoenix City, Silver Spear, Qiu. When he saw this spear, he heard Qiu Fengchengs voice, If you people want to kill, break this spear first. If you people want to break this spear, you must kill me first.

    He never thought Qiu Fengcheng would come save him. However, Qiu Fengcheng was already here by his side. With one spear and one life, fighting with his own life with him. -- Why do people have to wait until times of adversity where they can finally see who are really considered friend? Where they can finally see the true face of another?

    Spear sharply pierced through a persons throat. A fist, again, broke anothers rib cage. This time everyone could hear the agony and pain of the crushed victim.

    Those who hadnt fell suddenly disappeared. Two life-risking people were obviously more dangerous and terrifying than one. Beside, these two were Qiu Fengcheng and Ma Rulong.

    Didnt know what time it is. The color of the night became dark. The narrow alley became chilly and dark. Ma Rulong could only feel a warm hand holding on to his hand.

    Qiu Fengchengs voice was also full of warmth, I can tell what you needed the most right now? You needed to drink some wine.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    72. Chinese idiom: huannanjianzhenqing (患难见真情), lit. mean trials and tribulation see true feeling.
    73. Shangguan Jinhong (上官金虹), surname Shangguan means high official, given name means gold rainbow. Main antagonist of Sentimental Swordman Ruthless Sword.
    74. Kuahulan (跨虎篮), an ancient unique weapon. Its a short range double handed weapon; about 36 cm long, made out of iron, and in a crescent moon shape. There are sharp edge on both end of the crescent. The handle is at the middle section.
    75. Bai Xiaosheng (百晓生), surname Bai means hundred, surname means knowledge student. Famous character in Gu Longs lore, he collected knowledge regarding Jianghu.
    76. Tianji Laoren (天机老人), tianji means mystery of the universe, so his name means Old man of the mystery of the universe.
    77. xueqi (血气), lit. blood and qi (air/breath). It could also mean courage or uprightness.

  14. #14
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Ch. 10

    Chapter 10: Questions [问题]


    The wine was not considered very good. It was not vintage wine and most definitely not nuerhong. It was simply a huadiao (rice wine) that could be bought in any marketplace at any time. Ma Rulong did not really mind. Xiaowan still apologetically explained, Fengcheng rarely drink here or have friends over. I just bought this wine at first.

    She bought this wine and cooked this dish herself because she did not have a female servant. Fengcheng like being quiet and do not want to use servant so I did everything here. Her voice was full of femininity; her life seemed to be centered around Qiu Fengcheng. She complied with whatever Qiu Fengcheng likes.

    If a man and woman mutually loved one another, that was enough. What was the use for other people? What was the use for good wine? Ma Rulong suddenly felt envious of them. He couldnt bear but asked himself: If he also have a woman like Xiaowan that wholeheartedly follow him, do everything for his consideration, will he be willing give up everything and live such a plain and simple life?

    He suddenly thought of Dawan. If he married Dawan, would she treat him this way too? Ma Rulong did not think any further. This question was not only absurd and ridiculous, it was simply comical.

    He, of course, would not marry a woman like Dawan. Even if he had a knife by his throat, he would not be willing. Although Dawan no longer looked as ugly and annoying, she was still not considered good looking or cute. How could a prince charming in a lot of young girls heart marry such a woman? Ma Rulong lifted the cup and drank all of its content and decided to forget about such a woman.

    Qiu Fengcheng looked like he drank quite a bit. Since he was in such a mood to drink, Xiaowan also drank with him. Both of them looked a bit drunk and they were starting to get intimate. It looked like they had already forgotten that Ma Rulong was still there. Ma Rulong finally realized he was an extra, so he was preparing to find a chance to bid farewell.

    The questions he wanted to ask in the beginning, he didnt want to ask anymore. This is because he fully trusted Qiu Fengcheng now. Right when he stood up, Qiu Fengcheng toasted him again and grab onto Xiaowans hand and smiled, You also toast him three cups, three big cups.

    Xiaowan chuckled and strongly shook her head, I can only toast him one cup.

    It must be three big cups.

    Three big cups, I will drink to death.

    If you dont drink I will choke you to death.

    Xiaowan smiled charmingly and playfully said, I rather you choke me to death.

    Really?

    Of course really.

    Good. Qiu Fengcheng was smiling and grab onto Xiaowans neck and softly said, Then I am really going to choke you to death.

    Ma Rulong didnt really want to listen or watch anymore. He should leave immediately. But he did not leave because at the moment he stood up he suddenly witnessed something he would never imagine would happen. He saw Xiaowans pair of eyes that was so full of love all of a sudden sticking out like a dead fish, her face already green and body stiffen. This time it was really for real. Qiu Fengcheng really choked Xiaowan to death.

    Ma Rulong frozed as if there was also an invisible hand holding his neck, breathing stopped, body stiffen, and leg and hand became cold. Xiaowan already fell down. Qiu Fengcheng saw her fell down and his face havent change and was still smiling.

    Lying is a bad habit. I never lied. He was still smiling and said, I said I was really going to choke her to death. I really did choke her to death. So from now on the words I say, you better believe it.

    Ma Rulong couldnt even say a single word. He wanted to throw up. He wanted to throw up everything he drank and ate at first, but he couldnt throw anything up.

    Qiu Fengcheng laughed even happier, Why dont you ask me? Ask me why I choked her.

    There was no need to ask, he started answering himself. Actually I was prepared to choke her to death from the day I met her because she was not only pretty but also the type of woman crazy about love. A woman like her was perfect for my plan.

    -- His plan? What plan? Although Ma Rulong was not stupid, he still didnt fully understand.

    Qiu Fengcheng actually explained, I wanted everyone to believe I already have woman fully committed to me that had a eternal vow with me never to be separated. Everyone would then believe I would not be interested in being Madame Jaspers son-in-law. He sighed, Actually I wanted it really badly.

    However his rivals were really strong, even he didnt have confidence he would be selected. So I must get rid of the three of you first. Getting rid of these three people were not easy.

    Fortunately I know you were all drunkard and coincidentally know Little Du ordered a banquet of food and wine from Jufeng Lou.

    So he bribed these Jufeng Lou employees to put poison in the wine and then used Heaven Kill assassin to kill these employees.

    The only one thing I didnt expect was that you didnt drink. He continued, However I am a very cautious person and already had a backup plan.

    His back ups were Jin Zhenlin and Peng Tianba. Jin Zhenlin was already persuaded by him. Peng Tianba originally was working with him. The jade placed next to his heart was, of course, part of the plan. After completely the task, everyone was killed off.

    Feng Chaofan and Jue dashi actually did not know a single thing. I deliberately used Peng Tianba to ask them to come over to Jufeng Lou to drink wine and then bring them to Winter Plum Valley. All for the purpose of witnessing this incident, to prove I am completely innocent and you are the culprit. He smiled, However you couldnt blame me. Blame that you were unlucky, you didnt drink the wine and you didnt die. If you also died, then I wouldnt have to go through this mess.

    Now he did not have any rivals and if Xiaowan did not die he cannot get rid of her and successfully become Madame Jasper's future son-in-law. Threfore Xiaowan had to die. Qiu Fengcheng looked at Ma Rulong. As for you, it doesnt matter if you are dead or alive because everyone already determined you are the murderer. You staying alive might have an advantage.

    What advantage? Ma Rulong finally said, If I dont die, what advantage would you get?

    Qiu Fengcheng sighed and said, Could it be you never thought that I am the leader of Heaven Kill?

    Ma Rulong whole body was frozen stiff. Heaven Kill wanted to rise, and must first create chaos in Jianghu that would lead everyone to kill each other. If he didnt die, it might create this kind of chaos. Now, he finally understood. He originally thought he might never know the truth behind this. However, he suddenly understood. He could never dream the real culprit would reveal all of this to him. He couldnt hold it and asked, Why are you telling me all of your secret?

    Qiu Fengcheng laughed, Because... Right after he said this, his expression changed like the change Du Qinglian had right before he died, his pale white face became deathly black. He struggled to stand up but tripped on a chair; he wanted to grab on but when the chair fell, he also fell.


    End of Chapter 10

  15. #15
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default ch. 11

    Chapter 11: Strappado [吊刑]


    Ma Rulong was startled again. How could there be poison in the wine? Who put poison there? Did Xiaowan figured out Qiu Fengcheng was going to murder her so she put poison in the wine first? He drank from the same bottle of wine. Right now Qiu Fengcheng already died from poison, how come he was not affected?

    There were too many questions, too complicated, and too sudden. His train of thought was all messed up. He couldnt even figure out the simplest question.

    He smartest move was to leave this troubling place immediately. All these were part of a plan; this must be a trap. He already thought about this point, its a pity by the time he realized this he had already fallen into the trap. A plan that was an even more meticulous, even more vicious trap. No matter who fell in, there would be no escape.

    The room had four lamps lit up; four extremely expensive Persian crystal lamps. Really expensive items are good items. Even if this type of lamps falls on the floor, it would not even break. These four lamps were placed on the table, both squared and stable. Suddenly, with a bo sound, the four exquisite crystal lamps shattered at the same time and the lamplight went out.

    At the same moment, Ma Rulong also suddenly felt an enormous pressure, like ocean waves clashing toward him from all sides. His heart was immediately beating faster, breathing almost stopped, blood coming out of his nose, and throat was getting dry. He eyeballs felt like popping out and he almost fainted. Once his dizziness had passed, all these strange phenomenons disappeared and there were now four people in the room. The first person he saw was Jue dashi; heartless, loveless, and spare-less killing Jue dashi.

    With Jue dashi here, Feng Chaofan most definitely was here too. One was a skinny and bony with pitch-black face and skin ascetic monk. Although his monk gown seems heavily patched up, his hand was holding a string of priceless jade Buddhist beads. The other has big sleeved wide gown, topknot on his head, crystal-clear skin like jade, and looked like a person carved out of white jade. A striking contrast compared to the ascetic monk.

    These four people came in from four directions. Before coming in, every person released their decades worth of trained eternal energy and qi, and sealing off Ma Rulong escape route and chance of attack. They were already very cautious of Ma Rulong and believed he was capable of doing anything.

    When these forces rushed over, the forces from the west and east were far superior to those from north and south. From the east was that ascetic monk and the west was the jade taoist. The internal energies of these two were much better than the world-renown Jue dashi. Ma Rulong had never seen these two before but already guessed who they were.

    The ascetic monks Buddhist name was Chiku (endure hardships). He had endured untold hardships, journeyed thousands mile to the west, to faraway Tianzhu (India) and not for Buddhist scriptures. Since Bodhidharma came to the east, he wanted to discover the mystery of Buddhist martial art, which all martial artists dreamt of. His journey, undoubtedly, had gains.

    The jade Taoist in former years roamed and shook Jianghu with one sword. A man all hero fear, and all women fell for. Seeing these four men, Ma Rulongs heart sank. In the world, there were absolutely no one that could escape from these four nor could anyone save someone from their hands. This was something no one could deny.

    Lamplight did not die because they did no want the light to go out. The things they wanted to do would be completed, those things they dont want to do would not happened. They did not looked like they even noticed Ma Rulong. They were looking at Qiu Fengcheng.

    Qiu Fengcheng breathing had already stopped. The wine bottle and wine cups all fell on the floor. Monk Chiku picked it up and sniffed it. A pair of eyes deep in his socket glimmered sharply like razor. He followed Tang Sanzang78 journey to the west path to faraway India, a very tenacious road. Going through those barren mountain, untamed rivers, jungles, and marshes, there were poisonous insect, snake, beast, plants and tree that were lethal. He had seen nearly all the poisonous things in the world. With respect to this, his experience were comparable to Shennong (God of Farming) that tasted hundred of plants.

    Although Jue dashi became a monk for many years, he still attained his fiery and irritable temperament. He already couldnt bear and asked, What? Monk Chiku not only kept his mouth shut, he also closed his eyes. Jue dashi became even more anxious.

    If Monk Chiku could not determined which poison killed Qiu Fengcheng, there was no other person in the world that could. Luckily, Monk Chiku finally opened his mouth.

    There is no poison in the wine in the bottle.

    Where is the poison?

    On the cup he drank last.

    What is the poison?

    A poison made with three other poisonous herb; qianji79, duanchang80, and xiaohun81. Its called Autumn Insect Powder (qiuchongsan).

    Are you sure?

    This poison powder is colorless and tasteless. Its most suitable for wine because with alcohol the poison spreads even faster.

    How fast?

    Once the wine enters throat, poison immediately spreads. Once the wine enters stomach, death by autumn insect.

    He had just been poisoned.

    So the poison must be in the last cup of wine.

    Can the poisoned be cured?

    Autumn Insect does not guarantee death. As you as you can help him quick enough, it could be cured.

    Can you cure him?

    I cant. He can.

    Monk Chiku turned his head, looked at Jade Taoist and said, No one can compare to me in terms of recognizing poison. Curing poison, Im inferior to you.

    Jade Taoist asked, How do you know youre inferior to me?!

    Monk Chiku answered, Because you are a heartless person, I am not.

    Jade Taoist laughed. He could not deny this. Since he was sixteen, countless women tried to poison him. He had too many and not very faithful; many woman didnt want to lose him. They knew unless they poison him, eventually he would become heartless. A sick person could become a doctor. A person that could be poison to death any day, how could they not know how to cure poison?

    Monk Chiku said, If he does not know how to cure poison, he would already be dead.

    Jue dashi said, If he could not cure this Autumn Insect Powder poison, is there anyone else that could?

    Jade Taoist answered this himself and his answer was: No.

    Ma Rulong finally understand. This was not merely a trap; it was a noose. If one said Qiu Fengcheng poisoned himself, who would believe he would poison himself. Therefore, the one that put in the poison was Ma Rulong.

    Qiu Fengchengs poison symptoms were exactly the same as Shen Hongye and Du Qinglian. The poison in the wine at Winter Plum Valley was undoubtedly Autumn Insect Powder. So the person the put in the poison that time was also Ma Rulong.

    Qiu Fengcheng already knew that Jue dashi and them would come. He already knew he would be saved so he put poison in his wine.

    Even though he had already revealed the fact that he was the mastermind, besides Ma Rulong, no other person heard his confession. Also absolutely no one would believe a person would reveal all of his crime in front of another. So right now even if Ma Rulong said it all out, no one would believe him.

    Since Qiu Fengcheng was poisoned by Ma Rulong, he would obviously be the one that choked Xiaowan to death. No one would investigate why he would choke her to death. A cold-blooded murderer like this would be able to do anything. Killer should die. Right now Ma Rulong had already been sentenced to be hanged.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ ___________________________
    78. Tang Sanzhang (唐三藏), protagonist and the monk from Journey to the West, or Xiyouji.
    79. qianji (牵机), lit. pulling machine is a ancient poison king used to put their subject to death. The main ingredient is strychnine. After ingesting, victims convulse and muscle tighten as if he went through a pulling machine, hence the name.
    80. duanchang (断肠), lit. intestine breaking refers to various poisonous plant. However, its most commonly called the Heartbreak grass, aka, Gelsemium elegans.
    81. xiaohun (销魂), lit. ecstasy.

  16. #16
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default ch. 12

    Chapter 12: Jasmine [茉莉花]


    Qiu Fengcheng really did not die. This was already his second time coming back from the dead. Ma Rulong thought of Jin Zhenlin strike and the piece of jade conveniently placed by his heart. Using an alibi like Xiaowan, he could logically explain the jade. Every step of the plan he laid out, every detail were carefully planned and arranged. Every time he put himself in the brink of death so no one would suspect him.

    Now he already vomited out the poisonous content of his stomach. Everyone could tell he would live and perhaps could live 170-180 year, much longer than anyone. Right now their target switched over to Ma Rulong. Everyone eyes were like a sharp dagger.

    The first one to open his mouth was Feng Chaofan, What else do you have to say?

    Ma Rulong did not have anything to say. If he told the truth, who would believe Qiu Fengcheng choked Xiaowan to death? Who would believe he revealed his secrets? And who would believe he put poisons in his own wine?

    Jue dashi coldly asked, This time, what else do you want to settle?

    Ma Rulongs hand did not have precious sword, pocket did not have any gold, body did not have fox fur coat. He could not play the same trick twice.

    Jue dashi said, Now that there are undeniable proofs of you crime, but with your personality you would never admit it or turn yourself in.

    Ma Rulong admit that right now he could not defend himself and had no chance to escape. He recognized all of this. He still had a mouth and would not give up retaliating.

    Jue dashi said, With the four of us, we could easily capture you. But we dont want to win with number.

    Ma Rulong suddenly said, I understand.

    Jue dashi asked, What do you understand?

    Ma Rulong replied, You want to handle me yourself. You want to kill me with your own hand. He continued, Because other than killing, you have no other pleasure.

    These were like needle that pricked into someones heart. Jue dashi had no response, coldly said, If you dont want me to do it, you can select someone else.

    Ma Rulong said, I still choose you.

    Jue dashi said, Very good.

    Ma Rulong said, Actually I originally dont want to choose you. Although your internal energy isnt better than Monk Chiku and your swordplay isnt better than Jade Taoist, your experience in killing is richer than those two. You know how to kill better. He let out a sigh, Unfortunately even though if I know this, but I still want to choose you.

    Jue dashi could not help asked, Why is that?

    Ma Rulong replied, I chose you only because you are a cruel, arrogant, and egotistic person. Always thought you alone could determine others crime. Once you sentence others crime, you have to kill them no matter what. His voice getting emotional, I chose you because I vents on behalf of those who were wrongfully killed by you. I am not your match but I can guaranteed that is a way for me to take you along with me to hell.

    Jue dashi definitely could not ask: What way? These words coming out of Ma Rulong was hard not to believe. His facial expression was already changing. A person that put other to death, he, himself, was also afraid of death. This was not something he could conceal.

    Ma Rulong suddenly laughed out loudly. So you are not as ruthless as other say. So, like others, you also treasure you own life.

    His laughs was full of cynicism, Actually I didnt really have any way take you along with me to death. I just wanted to bluff you.

    When fighting amongst experts, you could not be disturbed or get angry, otherwise you are letting them take the lead. Jue dashi always understood this principle.

    However, he had already become mad. His eyes were turning red and his veins were showing, like eagle claws he extended his hand and walked, one step at a time, toward Ma Rulong.

    The floor of this room was laid with glossy teak wood planks. The wood on the spots he stepped on cracked. He already concentrated all his energy within his body, once he strikes it could kill a person. He was not even considering whether he was killing the wrong person.

    Other than noises of wood plank breaking, it seemed like the entire world was quiet. However, he suddenly heard someone selling flowers: Zhulan82, Jasmine.

    Clear and loud sound of someone selling flower but it seems like it was from far away. However, it suddenly seemed like it was getting close as if it was someone right next to your ear. On the beautiful plastered wall, there was suddenly a hole in the form of a human.

    Zhulan, Jasmine. A slender body flower girl wearing a bamboo hat and green cloth suddenly appeared through the hole with her hand holding a jasmine made with metal wire.

    Jasmine flower were good smelling and beautiful. Her hands were also beautiful. Ma Rulong suddenly thought of the mysterious flower girl the scared away Dawan in that narrow alley. What was she doing here?

    Buy a jasmine flower. She suddenly placed the jasmine flower from her hand on Jue dashi eagle-claw like hands.

    The energy in his hand was like a bowstring in full tension. One touch to set it off, but once it was set off it would even crumbled stone.

    However his hand, unexpectedly, did not crumble this jasmine flower. The flower, however, looked it as if it was piercingly hurting his hand. Not only did it seem to pierce his hand, through his fingers it pierced through his heart. Because once he took this jasmine, he already jumped back and like an arrow flew out the window.

    -- Who was this flower girl? What kind of power did this jasmine have?

    Flower girl turned her body and faced Jade Taoist, Buy a jasmine. Her hand was holding another flower, This fragrant and pretty jasmine wither very fast. If you dont buy it, you will regret this.

    I want to buy. How are you selling it?, Jade Taoist asked.

    The price of my flower is always fair and honest. Flower girl with gentle voice, One life, one jasmine.

    Jade Taoist forcibly smiled, I cant afford it.

    He suddenly retreated back, like an arrow shot through the hold in the wall. Monk Chiku and Feng Chaofan left as fast as him.

    Flower girl lightly sighed, Such a sweet-smelling jasmine, how come no one wants to buy it?

    Ma Rulong suddenly said, They dont want to buy it. I will buy it.

    Flower girl with her back against him, did not even turn around. You also have one life. You could not afford it either.

    What if I insist in buying it?

    I would insist in not selling.

    Why?

    Because I dont want your life!

    This life, I picked it up anyway.

    Since you already picked it back up, you should really treasure it. As she was saying this she was walking away. Ma Rulong was following behind her. They walked out the room really fast, in an instant already walked out to the dusky little alley.


    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    82. Zhulan (珠兰), sometimes called Chinese perfume plant. Species, Aglaia odorata.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default ch. 13

    Chapter 13: The Flower Girl [卖花女]


    Cold night, sky with no clouds but there were stars. Under this dim star light, the back of this mysterious flower girl looked familiar as if it was someone he knew. She was not using her qinggong (lightness skill) or running away. Ma Rulong, however, could not catch up to her.

    Once he started to use his well-known Hall of Divine Horses lightness skill, she was suddenly fifty to sixty zhang (yards) away. As he was trying to catch up to her, she was getting farther. When he slowed down, she also slowed down. When he stopped, she also stopped. It looked like even though she didnt want him to catch up to her, she didnt want him to get too far back either.

    Ma Rulong suddenly asked, You dont want me to see you, dont want me to know who you are, right?

    No answer nor denial.

    Ma Rulong laughed, Its a pity because I already know who you are.

    The flower girl also laughed. Her laugh, in this lonely winter night, was like a bottle of hot wine. It could warm people up.

    You originally should know. She chuckled, Because you are not that stupid.

    She was obviously Dawan. She was originally scared away by a flower girl but why was she wearing that flower girls clothes and holding her flower baskets. Where did that mysterious flower girl go?

    What Ma Rulong did not know was not just this; Dawans background, martial art, and origin were all mysteries. Why was she buried in the snow that day? Jue dashi, Jade Taoist, and these top Wulin experts why do they fear her? Everything about her could not be explained with normal logic by a normal person. The more time he spent with her, the less he knew about her.

    He definitely would not run away. Every time she appeared, there was always something strange and secretive happening. This time what did she do, what kind of interesting trick did she played? He really wanted to know. Dawans trick was appearing. Her eyes had a cunning look and suddenly said, I know you are always fearless. I wanted to bring you to an interesting place.

    To do what?

    To meet a person. Dawan deliberately tried to be mysterious, A very interesting woman.

    I have seen her before?

    Roughly one time.

    You are talking about that flower girl?

    You really are not stupid. Dawan glared at him and asked, But Im not sure if you dare to meet her or not?

    Of course Ma Rulong dare to go. Even if this flower girl was a man-eating female monster, he would still go.

    Dawan closed her eye and asked, You wont regret this? No matter what will happen after you meet her. You wouldnt regret this?

    Ma Rulong gave her an absolute answer. I already did so many regrettable things, would another one matter?

    Dawan laughed, Does not matter. She laughed pleasurably, Does not matter a bit.

    So they went. On the road, Ma Rulong was constantly wondering where she would take him this time. He was thinking of a lot of strange places but couldnt find the answer. She actually brought him to the yamen (government official building) of this city.

    Although this countys officials position was only seventh-ranked, it was nevertheless a respectable local magistrate. This countys yamen (government official building) was far larger than what Ma Rulong had imagined. The entrance was closed. They came in from the side door.

    This was Ma Rulong's first time in yamen (government official building). There was an elevated wuhuan (justice-calling) drum, plank and stick in great hall, and all type of sentencing equipments and silencing plaque. Everything was interesting to him. The thing that was strange to him was the officers with red-tasseled hats. The city court had long been dismissed, why would there still be officers on duty in the official building? Every path they would see one or two officers. However it was as if they were all blind, and did not even noticed them two.

    The officers were obviously not blind but he and Dawan were clearly walking in front of them. Why would they not notice? Did Dawan used some kind of mysterious magic and made them invisible?

    Behind the main hall, there was a dark courtyard and there were also two red-tasseled hat officers guarding the outside. Ma Rulong suddenly went over and asked, Hey, do you guys see me?

    Officers did not respond to him, didnt even look at him, and walked over to the other officers.

    Did anyone say anything at first?

    No.

    Did you see anyone?

    No, not even a shadow.

    Ma Rulong realized he was indeed encountering something interesting. If Dawan had not pulled him back into this courtyard, he would try to pinch these two to see whether they hurt.

    Dawan laughed, Even if you do a flip in front of them, they will not see it.

    Why?

    Because they are a bunch of understanding people. They understand when they should pretend to be mute.

    She suddenly changed the subject, Do you know what kind of place is this courtyard?

    Ma Rulong did not know. However, he already knew this place had a hard to say eeriness to it.

    This is a place where coroner performs autopsy. Dawan casually mentioned, All the victims of crimes that died. Their bodies are sent here first to determine the cause of death.

    Ma Rulong had not seen any corpse and did not smell any blood. However, his stomach was already starting to feel uncomfortable. At this kind of place, who wouldnt feel uncomfortable? Why did Dawan brought him here?

    There were two buildings in the courtyard. Not only were there no light, there wasnt even a window. However the last room on the left side, not only was it shut but there was a lamplight pass through to the outside. Dawan went over there.

    Ma Rulong couldnt bear it and asked, The person you bring me here to meet is in this room?

    Why dont you go in and see for yourself? She pushed open the door.

    This room did have a light, a dim light and a bed. On the bed, there was a snow-white bed cover with a person underneath. This bed cover was obviously too short. Although it was covering this person head, it could not cover her leg.

    The first thing Ma Rulong saw was her leg. This pair of snow white legs; ankles were delicate and toes were gently beautiful. No matter who saw these legs could obviously tell these are woman legs and could also imagine this woman must be beautiful.

    In this dusky and narrow alley, Ma Rulong did not see the flower girls face and now could imagine. He couldnt help letting out a sigh.

    Is she dead?

    It does look like it.

    Did you kill her?

    Dawan blandly replied, She always looked down on me. Always thought she is more capable than I am and could defeat me anytime. I flee the instant I saw her just to make her underestimate me.

    -- Underestimating an opponent is always an unforgivable mistake.

    She leisurely said, She really did underestimated me so I am still standing. She is lying down and looks like shes dead.

    Ma Rulong couldnt help but asked, Only looks like she is dead?

    En.

    So shes actually not dead?

    Why dont you go take a look? Dawan smiled mysteriously, Take a very good look.

    Take a good look meant he needed to lift the cover. Ma Rulong lifted the cover and then immediately put it back down. His heart all of a sudden was beating faster than usual. Although he didnt take a good look, he did not dare take another look.

    The woman under the cover was completely naked. He never saw such a beautiful woman, such a beautiful body, and such a beautiful face. It would be such a pity if such a woman really died.

    Dawan again asked, From what you see, is she dead?

    Ma Rulong couldnt tell.

    Dawan said, With only one look, of course you cant tell whether shes dead or alive. However, you should at least tell she is a rare beauty.

    Ma Rulong acknowledged that.

    Dawan said, Then you should be able to tell shes not dead.

    Ma Rulong asked, Why?

    Dawan lightly sighed and said, Its because shes too beautiful, even it was hard for me to let her die. Even if I really wanted to kill her, I couldnt bear doing it.

    Ma Rulong also sighed.

    Dawan asked, Why are you sighing?

    Ma Rulong replied, Because I realized I am really stupid?

    Dawan asked, How did you come to that?

    Ma Rulong replied, Now I have seen her and also believe shes not dead but its harder for me to understand.

    Dawan asked, What dont you understand?

    Ma Rulong asked, Do I know her?

    Dawan replied, No.

    Ma Rulong asked, Do I have any relation with her?

    Dawan replied, Until now, none.

    Ma Rulong asked, Then why do you want me to see her?

    Dawan replied, Because even though you do not have any relationship with her now, in the future you definitely will.

    Ma Rulong asked, What relationship will we have in the future?

    Dawan mysteriously laughed, I still can not tell you these things yet. However, I guarantee you, that thing I want you to do, you absolutely will not regret it.

    Ma Rulong asked, Right now what had you prepared for me to do?

    Dawan replied, I have prepared for you to meet another person.

    Ma Rulong asked, Meet whom?

    Dawan replied, A person that who like you very much and you seems to like him too.

    Ma Rulong asked, How do you know I like him?

    Dawan replied, It is hard for people that had met him to not like him.

    Ma Rulong immediately thought of a person that was hard for him not to like, Jiangnan Yu Wu?

    Dawan said, Other than him, who else would it be?

    Ma Rulong asked, He is also here?

    Dawan replied, Just on the opposite side.

    Ma Rulong asked, What is he doing here?

    Dawan replied, What he is doing here, you would never be able to guess in your lifetime.
    Last edited by kaister; 06-17-14 at 01:03 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default ch. 14

    Chapter 14: Extreme Person Extreme Measure [绝人绝事]


    The first time Ma Rulong saw Yu Wu he was making some dishes. There are many people in the world that cook; cooking is absolutely not a strange thing. However the famous Jiangnan Yu Wu was preparing dishes with his own hands, which made this seemed weird for anyone. This place was for storing and examining bodies; it was not a restaurant and did not have a kitchen.

    If you could guess what he is doing, I would be really impressed.

    I dont need you to be impress, I couldnt guess.

    He is combing hair.

    Combing hair was not a strange deed, even Jiangnan Yu Wu needed to comb his hair. He was not combing his own hair. He was combing the hair of another person. He was helping a old granny who was so old that almost all her teeth had fallen off, comb her hair.

    * * *

    It was not sure when there was a light in a room on the opposite side. This old granny was sitting under the light, and was wearing red clothing like the same type of red clothes brides wore. She had one leg raised and her feet were wearing a red-embroidered shoe made of red silks. Her face had more wrinkle than the blocks on checkerboard. Her mouth lost so much teeth, she had less teeth than a two year old. However, her long hair was still black, shiny, smooth, and soft like silk. If you only saw her hair and clothes, you would had never guess she was an old granny.

    Whats more unimaginable was that Jiangnan Yu Wu would help this old granny comb her hair. The way he combs was like the way he fried the vegetables, elegant and beautiful. It did not matter whether his hand was holding a spatula or comb, he was still Jiangnan Yu Wu, the one and only Jiangnan Yu Wu.

    Ma Rulong still could not understand why was he combing this old grannys hair. Nor did he understand why Dawan brought him here. Nevertheless, he, without noticing, was entranced in his own thoughts. Yu Wu did not even seem to notice they had come in. No matter what he did, he was always focused and concentrated on the task at hand. Therefore, the things that he did were better than others.

    * * *

    Now he had already used a long ebony hairpin and helped her tied up her last knot of hair. He was admiring his masterpiece. It was truly a masterpiece. Even Ma Rulong couldnt deny that. The old granny already looked much younger. Her eye had been shut the entire time; her facial expression was like she was currently in the care of her lover.

    No one can compare to you. Absolutely no can compare to you. Her voice was also old-sounding, but you can still tell that when she was young her voice was sweet and enchanting. She softly sighed, If only your martial art is as good as the way you comb hair, you wouldve already been invincible in the world.

    Yu Wu smiled, Fortunately I do not want to be invincible.

    Why?

    Because if a person is on top of the world, his days must be very lonely.

    Old granny laughed and laughed loudly. I like you, really like you. Even if you had not help me comb my hair. I will still help you with this. Who exactly was this old granny? What did Yu Wu want her to help him do? Ma Rulong was getting really curious but Dawan just had to pull him out.

    Right now you are probably getting more and more confused because you do not know what I wanted to do.

    What do you still want to do?

    I still want you to meet one more person.

    Who is this person?

    A person drawn on a piece of paper. Dawan said, Even if you are a hundred time smarter than you are right now, you would absolutely never guess who this person is.

    The room next door was also lit up. There was a painting hanging on the wall. In the painting there was an honest and plain looking middle-aged man. Ma Rulong had never seen this person before and even if he had he wouldnt have remember. This was not the type of person that can be easily remembered, or deserved to be remembered.

    His surname is Zhang. His name was Zhang Rongfa84. He was a very loyal and honest person. In the city, he opened a small general store and had a clerk that was equally honest like him.

    Dawan was talking about the person in the painting. This year he is already fourty-four years old and born in the year of the pig. He married when he was nineteen. His wife name is Guizhi85 that would get angry and sick all the time. Because they dont have any children, she gets extra angry and extra sick. In recent years, she was so sick that she couldnt get out of bed. Old Zhang has to feed her every time. In such a condition she gets extra moody, even her neighbors couldnt stand her. She suddenly stopped and asked Ma Rulong, Are you listening carefully?

    Ma Rulong was paying close attention to every word she said but still did not understand why Dawan brought him here to look at this painting. In addition, she was introducing the man in this painting in details. He couldnt hold it and asked, Could it be that this man also have some kind of relation with me?

    A little bit.

    Why would I have any relation with him?

    Because this man is you. Dawan did not look like she was joking, You are him and he is you.

    Ma Rulong thought it was absurd, so absurd that a person could laugh his teeth out, laugh his stomach out. However, he did not laugh because he could tell Dawan was not joking around and was not crazy. He deliberately asked, This person named Zhang Rongfa...is me?

    Absolutely.

    He does not even look like me.

    However, soon you would look like him, very alike. In fact, you would look exactly like him.

    Unfortunately, I can not change.

    You cant change, someone would help you change.

    Dawan suddenly asked him, Do you know why Yu Wu would help that Miss comb her hair?

    Ma Rulong replied That Miss does not seem to be a Miss anymore, looks very much like an old lady.

    Dawan disagreed. She is not an old lady. She is a Miss. Some people, even if they live to 180 years old, are always a Miss.

    She is that type of people?

    Absolutely. Dawan said, If she is not, then there are no such people in the world.

    Why?

    Because her last name is Yu.

    Ma Rulong finally thought of a person, What relation does she have with the Miss Yu from sixty years ago?

    Dawan replied, She is that Miss Yu. She is the Exquisite Lily-White Hand Yu Linglong.86

    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    84. Zhang Rongfa (张荣发), surname Zhang, given name means glory/honor send out or issued. Its a very typical name.
    85. Wang Guizhi (王桂枝), surname Wang, given name means cinnamon. Again, another common name.
    86. Yu Linglong (玉玲珑), surname Yu means jade, given name means exquisite. Her nickname linglong yushou (玲珑玉手) is literally exquisite jade hand. However yushou (jade hand) is a term that describe a hand that is white and delicate like jade, so its figurative. I considered leaving it as "jade hand" but since it's not really talking about a hand made out of jade and yushou does have a meaning, I've decided to translate it instead. Who knows, I might feel differently later on and reverse this stance.

  19. #19
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default ch. 15

    Chapter 15: The Exquisite Lily-White Hand [玲珑玉手玉玲珑]


    Sixty years ago, in Jianghu there were three pairs of very famous hands: Heartless Iron Hand, Thief God Skilled Hand, and the Exquisite Lily-White Hand. Iron Hand was heartless, hand had never spared anyone that did not deserved to be spared. The Skilled Hand Thief God could steal anything other people couldnt steal. Exquisite Lily-White Hand, mysterious and ingenious, was a pair of hand that could performed various mystical deeds. However everyone knew, who could go under her hand, within an hour could become a completely different person.

    Ma Rulong finally understood. Yu Wu helped her comb her hair because he want her to help me change my appearance, Zhang Rongfas appearance.

    Correct.

    We chose this place because this is a place that people in Jianghu would never go.

    Correct.

    Those officers did not see us only because they need a favor from Yu Wu and are taking this opportunity to exchange for a favor.

    Correct.

    Because I already branded a heartless, vicious murderer and have no where to go, you help me thought of this plan so I could live longer.

    Not correct.

    Dawans attitude had become hearty and serious, Yu Wu believe in you. I also believe in you. We also believe you are framed by another person. We also knew you would never hide in a little general and shamefully live out the rest of your life.

    Ma Rulong did not open his mouth for a long time. His blood was boiling and his throat seemed to be blocked by blood. After a while, he cackled and asked, Why do you believe me?

    Because I believe a person that had just killed would not just stop in the middle of running away, risking his safety to save a woman that would soon freeze to death.

    Ma Rulong did not have anything to say. His feeling could not be described with words.

    Dawan said, However you must believe in this world, justice still exist. Evil would eventually be destroyed. Conspiracies would eventually be discovered. For all the wrong you suffered through, eventually there would be a day where you would reclaim your innocence.

    She softly grab his hand and said, As long as you have these beliefs, if youve to suffer temporarily then so what?

    Ma Rulong was silent for a while and finally asked, Where is this general store?

    In a narrow alley west of the city. Your customers are poor and kind commoners. It is already hard for them to have food to eat, they would not pay attention to other peoples business.

    She added, Your clerks surname is also Zhang, other called him Laotu (old fashioned). Besides secretly drinking two cups of wine every now and then, he is absolutely reliable.

    Ma Rulong asked, Would he be able to recognized that his boss is a different person?

    Dawan replied, He eyes are never that good and his ears have problem.

    Ma Rulong asked, Even if he couldnt tell, how about the other?

    Dawan asked, Other? She suddenly laughed and said, You mean his sickly wife?

    Ma Rulong bitterly smiled but couldnt help but asked, What kind of person is she?

    Dawan laughed and said, Actually you could tell on your own.

    Ma Rulong asked, I could tell? When have I seen her?

    Dawan said, You saw her at first.

    Ma Rulong was startled. Could it be that the I person I saw at first that looked dead is my... He suddenly realized he not saying it right, so he changed to: Could it be that she is Zhang Rongfas wife?

    Dawan replied, Originally no, but she will be soon. Just like you are originally not Zhang Rongfa but you will become Zhang Rongfa soon.

    Ma Rulong asked, Who is she originally?

    Dawan was pondering and looked like she did not intend to answer this question. Ma Rulong, however, did not let this go and asked again, What kind of person is she originally? Right now, you wouldnt even tell me that?

    She finally let out a sigh and said, Right now if I am not willing to tell, it might be a bit unreasonable. Ma Rulong also agreed.

    Dawan said, Her last name is Xie, her name is Xie Yulun. Xie as in thanks, Yu as in jade, Lun as in Mount Kunlun.

    Ma Rulong said, I know these three words, you dont need to define it for me.

    Dawan said, She is a woman.

    Ma Rulong said, You think I couldnt even tell whether shes a man or woman?

    Dawan bitterly smiled and said, You should know I am deliberately holding back because I am still not sure how much I should tell you.

    Ma Rulong asked, How much could you tell me?

    Dawan finally decided, Fine, I will tell you. She is nineteen years old. Probably have not yet touch a man and no man have touch her before.

    Ma Rulong asked, She is really only nineteen?

    Dawan replied, Could it be that you thought shes quite old?

    Ma Rulong said, She does not look old but she has such mature martial art. She went through that stone wall as if it was paper. Not even ninety years old have that type of martial art ability.

    Dawan remarked, My martial art is also not worse than hers. Do you also think I am old?

    Ma Rulong kept his mouth shut.

    Dawan said, Ones wugong (martial art) are not achieved by just training. How high a persons martial art ability is not related to their age.

    Ma Rulong said, I understand.

    Dawan said, Her wugong is indeed very high. The hero and daxia (great chivalrous pugilist) you people know that could defeat her could not be more than ten. Because not does she have a good shifu (master), she practically trained since birth.

    Ma Rulong asked, Who is her master?

    Dawan replied, I only agreed to tell you about her, not her master.

    Ma Rulong bitterly smile and said, Then, I will not ask.

    Dawan said, Her temper is not that good. The temper of a big Miss is never good. If she discovers she had became a rundown general store owners wife, most likely she would be mad with anger.

    Ma Rulong asked, When she gets mad, would she kill the boss of the general store...

    This, he had to care and had to ask, because the owner of the general store is him.

    Dawan chuckled, You dont have to worry about this. She will not kill you.

    Ma Rulong asked, How do you know she wouldnt?

    Dawan replied, Because she is sick, sick to the point she could not get off bed or stand up.

    How could an expert that could walk through wall like it was paper the previous night suddenly become sick? Ma Rulong did not ask. He already could imagine where could this sickness come about. With Dawan's ability, it wouldnt be hard if she want someone to be sick.

    Ma Rulong said, However she does not look like the wife of a small general owner.

    Dawan said, She does not look like it right now but in a moment she would. Additionally, she would look exactly like the original owners wife.

    Ma Rulong asked, Yu Linglong really have such magical ability?

    Dawan replied, Her ability, you will have a chance to see for yourself.

    Ma Rulong let out a sigh and said, Actually its still rather hard for me to believe.

    Dawan said, When she wakes up, she would already be in a little room at the back of the general store.

    Ma Rulong asked, How about me?

    Dawan replied, Of course you would be next to her taking care of her. Because you two are a pair of loving couple.

    Ma Rulong cant refrain from bitterly smiling and said, Too bad she would never acknowledge this.

    Dawan said, Of course she wouldnt but you have to always insist that she is your wife. Her surname is Wang, name Wang Guizhi, and had already married you for eighteen years. No matter what she said or how she behaves, you must always insist on this.

    Ma Rulong said, Eventually even she would be confused and then she herself would have doubt regarding who exactly is she.

    Dawan laughed, At least you understand this.

    Ma Rulong said, I only have one thing I dont understand.

    Dawan said, Go ahead.

    Ma Rulong asked, I have no animosity toward her, why should I do this?

    Dawan said, Because not only would this benefit you, it would benefit her. This is also the only way that could clear your name and uncover this conspiracy. Her attitude became serious and hearty again, I know you are a very prideful person, originally you would never agreed to this. This time pretend its for me. I always trust you. You should trust me this one time.

    Ma Rulong could not say any more. Because he was prideful, he didnt want to owe anyone. Whether this would really clear his name, he was not too concern. Usually the things he did were not for himself.

    Right now, if someone asked him, What kind of person are you? His answer would not be the same as before. Only after a person endure a series of trials and tribulations, can he truly understand who he really is.

    He only asked, Right now what do you plan for me to do?

    Of course, I need you to go drink wine. Dawan sweetly said, Yu Wu is here, you are also here. If I dont let you two drink till you heart content, I would be too inconsiderate.

    Behind these two rooms, there was a separate house. Slantingly collapsing back and dark grey wall gave you an old and eerie feeling. Any one could see this must be a storehouse where coroners stored their examination tools. Inside there must be full of creepy instruments, not only were there bone-shaving knife, rusted hooks, threads and needle for body part but...there should be also thing you didnt even want to and couldnt imagine what they were for.

    However, once you entered you would change your opinions. The inside of the room was clean, open, and bright, with snow-white wall that was recently plastered. The table had a clean white tablecloth and on top there were several delicacies and six jugs of wine. Exactly four large jug of original sealed and non-tampered aged Shanniang (excellent brew) Shaoxing wine and two twenty-catties worth of nuerhong.

    Average people seeing this much alcohol would probably felt a bit drunk already. Ma Rulong was not an average person, his heart was already a bit scared, being drunk as a skunk was not a good thing. However, with Yu Wu here, it was hard to not drink. He only hope this time Yu Wu was inebriated first. He would just drink less. Yu Wu was smirking at him, as if he knew what was on his mind.

    I know you love nuerhong, unfortunately it is hard to find much nuerhong here.

    Shanniang is also a good wine.

    We should first drink nuerhong, and then drink shanniang. Yu Wu was laughing cheerfully, After each person drink a jug of nuerhong, any wine afterward would taste the same.

    One person one jug. Ma Rulong looked at Dawan, How about her?

    This time I wont drink. Dawan laughed, Miss Yu just told me, if a girl drink too much not only would you age faster, it would make you get tricked easier.

    Ma Rulong sighed in his heart, he already knew his plan at first wouldnt work.

    Miss Yu was obviously Yu Linglong. She was also in this room and was sitting at another long table. On that table there was jade-embroider silver box, about ten pure silver jars, and a pure silver face basin. The basin was filled with warm water; she checked the waters temperature and then placed both of her hand in the warm water.

    Although this Miss was old enough to be a young ladys grandmother, her gesture was not old. Every movement maintained a youthful grace. No matter whom had just looked at her a few times, would not have thought she was that old. This was perhaps she, herself, did not believe she was old.

    You drink your wine. I will do my own thing. She carried a smile, Although I never drink, I am not against other drinking. Beside, I enjoy watching other drink wine.

    Dawan also smiled, Sometimes I also think watching other people drink is more interesting than drinking it yourself.

    Yu Linglong approvingly said, Some people after they get drunk would spill a bunch nonsense a caused a lot of trouble. Some people after they get drunk became a mute and dont even say a word. Some people after they get drunk would cry. Some people after they get drunk would laugh. I think theyre all interesting.

    She suddenly asked Ma Rulong, What are you like after you get drunk?

    I dont know. He really didnt know. After people get drunk, their memory would became blank. After waking up, the person will only felt a dry mouth and forgotten whatever had happened -- all that you shouldnt forget, you forget. On the other hand, things you wanted to forget, you remembered even clearer.

    Yu Linglong smiled and said, In my life, I have only see two truly beautiful men. You are one of them, so even if you were drunk you would not look bad.

    Yu Wu loudly laughed, What he looks like when hes drunk, youll able to see it very soon.

    Although Ma Rulong did not get drunk fast, it was not considered slow either.

    In the beginning, he could clearly see everything Yu Linglong did. After soaking her hands in the water for a meal-worth length of time, she placed them in a soft towel. She started cutting her nail with a small curved knife from the silver box. -- What was also in that box?

    After taking care of her nails, she poured out seven eight different colored item from seven eight different jars; some were powder, some were liquid, some were yellow, brown, and white. She poured all of these in the smaller silver pot and mixed it with a silver spoon.

    Ma Rulong could tell these were all prepared for yirong87 (face changing). No matter what she was doing, with such a mysterious preparation, it should not be bad. After half a jug of nuerhong, Ma Rulong suddenly had strange notion.

    If she could help other change their appearance, from beautiful to ugly, ugly to beautiful, old to young, and young to old, then why didnt she change her own and make herself into a young lady?

    Yu Linglong looked like she knew what he was thinking. I only help other change appearance and would never do this to myself. She said, Because if I make myself look young, even if I can deceive other I can never deceive myself. She dully said, Deceiving others I would not mind, but deceiving myself I would never do.

    After saying this, she took seven eight pure silver small knives, scissors, hooks, and chisels out of the box, and even a little saw. -- What was she planning to do with these?

    If he were not drunk, he would probably try to run out the door. Unfortunately, he already drank too much and already drunk. The last thing he remembered was Yu Linglong massaging his face with her fingers.

    Her finger was cold and smooth; her movement was skillful and gentle, very gentle...


    [End of Chapter 15]

    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    87. yirong (易容), the art of disguise.

  20. #20
    Senior Member kaister's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 16

    Chapter 16: The General Store [杂货店]


    The room was really low; you could almost touch the ceiling with your hands up. The plasters on the wall were peeling. On it, there was a wood-carving picture of Guan-fuzi celebrating spring autumn, a Zhu-fuzi family proverb, and a hand written quanshiwen (life advice text), the writing was very careful and neat. This room had a window, a door, and a blue cloth that was so washed up it was becoming white hanging over the doorway.

    A square table, though old but made of redwood, was placed facing the door. On the table there were a teapot missing the spout, three tea bowls, and also a shrine. Inside the shrine was not Guan fuzi (Guan Yu) but a child-carrying Songzi Guanyin (child delivering saint).

    In one corner, there was a stack of three wooden boxes. In another corner, there was a dressing table that clearly hadnt been used for a long time. The flower-patterned bronze mirror was covered with dust and there were several broken wooden comb.

    Otherwise, there was only one bed. The big wooden bed with four wooden pillars with a bed curtain hanging and flower carvings. A woman was sleeping on this bed with three layer of bed comforters on her. This womans hair was disheveled and face had yellowed. She had a wearily thin and pale look on her face. Although asleep, she groaned once in a while.

    The air had a strong medicine smell. Outside there was a sharp woman voice currently making a hassle. She was saying this store had too little chicken eggs, water in the oil, and salt was too expensive.

    When Ma Rulong woke up, he was already here. He originally thought he was dreaming, because if it were not a dream why would he be at such a place. Fortunately, even though he was barely awake and head was hurting, he did not lose his memory.

    He immediately remembered why he was here. His first reactions were jumping out of his chair, going straight to the dressing table, and holding up the bronze mirror. He cleaned off the dust with his sleeves. He thought his hand felt like it was trembling.

    -- What exactly did Yu Linglong do to his face? He was anxious to see what he looked like now?

    What he saw was not himself, it was Zhang Rongfa; absolutely not him, absolutely was Zhang Rongfa. When he was looking at the mirror, it was as if he was looking at that painting Dawan had shown him.

    If a person looks in the mirror and saw another person, what is on his mind? He had never experienced such a thing. Even he didn't know what he was feeling right now.

    Although he did not constantly remind himself, but he always knew he was handsome. Something that his most jealous rivals who hated him couldnt even deny. He couldnt hold it and asked himself: In the future, would I be able to get back my original face? He did not know the answer to this question. He only regretted not asking Dawan or Yu Linglong earlier.

    * * *
    The argument outside had quiet down. The woman in bed hadnt woken up yet. Ma Rulong couldnt help going over to take a look and with one look he was shocked.
    This malnourished and sickly, weak and thin woman with a face without a glimmer of liveliness was the same beauty he saw after pulling that bed sheet the coroner examination room? Ma Rulong already knew he would become like that but he was still nervous and shocked. When she wakes up and suddenly discover what she had become, what would she do? Ma Rulong was already feeling sympathetic toward her.

    * * *

    Right now, this Zhang Rongfa had already seen himself, seen his room, and seen his wife. What does his general store looked like? What kind of person was his trusty clerk, Zhang Laoshi, like? He obviously couldnt wait to see.

    The general items store was usually very general and filled with all types of items: oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, rice, chicken eggs, duck eggs, salted eggs, preserved eggs, dried shrimps, pickles, sugar, needles and threads, knives and scissor, hammer and nail, toilet paper...

    All the daily regular items used by a common household could be bought in a general store.

    The general store was like this. There was a old store sign hanging above the entrance: Zhangs General Items.

    Outside was an alley that was not too narrow. When wind was blowing, it would blow dust and sands everywhere. When it was raining, the ground would become muddy. Neighbors were all poor families. Children with running noise were crying, playing, and fighting around in the alley. Ducks, geese, cats, and dogs litters were everywhere. Every households entrance was drying children clothes and diapers.

    In this type of place with these types of families, other than playing with little children, there were no other entertainments. The heroes of Jianghu obviously would never come to such a place. Ma Rulong would never imagine he would suddenly became an owner of general store in a place like this.

    * * *

    Zhang Laoshi had short and stubby stature, sloppy appearance, a round face, eyes that looked like he had never sleep, and big red nose. Zhang Laoshi did not seem too polite to his boss, he was too lazy to say anything or look at him.

    In such a rundown store, what should the owner be like? What should the clerk be like? Anyways, everyone here seemed to be just living day by day and waiting to die. Ma Rulong was actually quite satisfied with the situation here because if Zhang Laoshi was a chatty person or constantly flatters him, it would be worst for him.

    Where were the stores original owner and his wife? Yu Wu already made other arrangements for them. The lives they were living at the current moment definitely must be better than before. Ma Rulong couldnt help asked himself: How many days do I have to go through living like this?

    * * *

    A customer came in, a pregnant young housewife bought a bronze coin worth of brown sugar. At this time, Ma Rulong heard a shout. Though not particularly loud, Ma Rulong had never heard of such a painful and scared shout. Xie Yulun must have woken up and already discovered those terrifying changes. Ma Rulong didnt really dare to go in to see her.

    The pregnant housewife looked at him and said, The owners wifes sickness is getting more and more serious. Ma Rulong could only forced a smile, lift the blue cloth screen and went to the room in the back.

    Xie Yulun was struggling out of the bed, her eye were filled with shock, anger and fear that was hard for anyone to forget. She softly groaned, Who are you? What place is this? Why am I here?

    This is your home. You have lived here for eighteen years. I am your husband. When Ma Rulong said this out, he, himself, felt like a rat bastard. However he had to continued, I see. Your sickness is becoming more and more serious. You actually cant even recognize your house and husband. Xie Yulun was shocked and looked at him. No one could describe the expression in her eyes.

    The very pregnant housewife came in through the door screen and sighed, Owners wife mustve had a high fever. Thats why she would say such nonsense. You better boil some brown sugar ginger water for her. Before she even finished, Xie Yulun already grabbed on to a crude bowl on the table next to the bed. Using all her energy, she tried to throw it at them.

    Unfortunately she was too sick, she couldnt even throw a bowl. She was very scared, and her whole body was trembling.

    She knew her own martial art, what happened to her astonishing martial art? Young housewife finally sighed and went back home with her brown sugar. Within an hour, all the neighbors of the general store would know the owners wife was sick to the point that she was going crazy. Xie Yulun was really going crazy. She already saw her own hand; the smooth and delicate pair of hand was now like chicken feet.

    How about the other places? She moved her hand under the bed covers and suddenly pulled it back out as if a poisonous snake under the cover that had bitten her. Afterward she saw that mirror, she struggled over there and took a look straight at the mirror. With just one glance, she fainted.

    Ma Rulong slowly bend over his hip and picked up the broken pieces of floor. Actually, he didnt really want to do this. What he really wanted to do was slap himself seventeen to eighteen times, and tell this Lady Xie the real truth.

    However, he could not let down Dawan. Dawan believed in him and he also believed in her. There must be a reason for her to do this and this was supposed to benefit everyone. Ma Rulong took a long sigh and gently walked out. He instructed his his clerk and said, We would close early today.

    [End of Chapter 16]

    _[Footnote]__________________________________________________ __________________________
    88. Guan fuzi (关夫子), an respectable way to call Guan Yu of the Three Kingdoms. fuzi is an archaic term for teacher. For example Confucius comes from Kong Fuzi.
    89. Zhu fuzi (朱夫子), refers to Zhu Xi of Song dynasty. He was a Confucian scholar.
    90. quanshiwen (劝世文) is kind of a reference text.
    91. songzi Guanyin (送子观音), Guanyin is the Bodhisattva of Compassion or Goddess of Mercy. This is a child-giving variant.
    92. miansifahuang (脸色发黄), lit. face becoming yellow. An expression that means face doesnt look healthy.

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