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Thread: Lu Xiaofeng Book 6: The Phoenix Dances in the Nine Heavens (凤舞九天 Fengwu Jiutian)

  1. #41
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 4 - Part 1

    Anh, ycb, you are welcome. OwlHoot, my guess is that he is just a pawn.


    Chapter 4 After the calamity, renewed life
    (Translated by Foxs)


    The storm finally passed, the sea was once again tranquil, like nothing ever happened, but no one knows how many innocent lives had been swallowed by it.

    Pieces of the broken ship floated on the surface of the sea, along with many other unimaginable things, like the ship was spitting out the bones after it ate the contents. It looked unspeakably tragic and a total despair.

    After a long time, a man slowly floated up. Lu Xiaofeng. He was still alive.

    It was not because his luck was especially good, but because he has been through thousands hammer, hundreds refining (by fire) early on. His ability to endure the pain and to strike back, others simply could not imagine.

    A sparkling object floated in front of his eyes. He reached out to grab it. Unexpectedly it was a bronze chamber pot.

    He laughed. In this kind of situation he was still able to laugh. This is also something that others simply could not imagine.

    But if he did not laugh, what else can he do? If he cried, what good would it bring? If he could bring back to life those who have been through trials and tribulations with him, then he would cry from now until the end of the days.

    Now, not a single person was in sight, not even a dead person. Even if everyone had died in the disaster, their remains should still float in the vicinity.

    Perhaps they have not floated up yet!

    Lu Xiaofeng also hoped that he could find a few surviving people, he wished to find the Old Fox, Beef Soup, Yue Yang

    But he could not find anybody. It was like all the people on the ship had been completely swallowed by the sea; even their bones were swallowed.

    Just now he happened to bump into wood plank, a remnant of the hull, just before he lost his consciousness. Could it be that in that short period of time everybody else had been rescued?

    He wished that it were so. He would rather he was the only one dying. Too bad he also realized that it was impossible.

    No one could have expected the storm approaching, no one could have expected the ship to perish.

    In a storm like that, no one could have stayed on the sea nearby, waiting to rescue them.

    Lu Xiaofeng suddenly remembered Yue Yang, he remembered the strange expression in his eyes, You should now by now, why I insisted on not letting you ride on this ship?

    Could it be that he really knew beforehand that this ship was going to capsize? And so he wanted to save Lu Xiaofeng, because Lu Xiaofeng had also saved him. But why did he insist on getting on board this ship? Could it be that he wished to court death? If he really wanted to die, he had already been dead; at least he would have been dead eight times.

    Perhaps no one would ever be able to answer these questions. Lu Xiaofeng could only explain to himself, That kid must have said those things to piss me off; he is not a deity, how would he know that in three days the ship would capsize?

    Right now Lu Xiaofeng was able to think clearly, because he was sitting on something that was completely reliable. He sat on a wooden statue of Buddha.

    A zhang high [approx. 3m/10ft] Buddha statue, coincidentally the biggest Maitreya Buddha, lying on the sea just like a boat.

    Unfortunately, not only this boat did not have yellow wine and beef, it did not even have any plain hard-boiled eggs.

    Next time you fall into the water, I am afraid youll have only one thing to eat:Your own flesh.

    Lu Xiaofeng really wanted to cut a piece of his own flesh to have a taste; he suddenly found he was hungry as hell.

    Looking to the distance where the sky and the sea merged, he saw vast haziness. It was a very beautiful day. Too bad that no matter how beautiful, it was not enough to fill his belly.

    After the storm, there was not a single fish in the vicinity. The only fish he could see was the wooden fish, big and small, all kinds of wooden fish, everything floated forward brought by the current.

    Its a pity that he did not have any desire to chant the scripture.

    If the monks saw these wooden fish, what would they feel? He wondered. Would they wish, just like he did right now, that these fish were real fish with flesh and blood?

    There seemed to be an undercurrent in the sea, carrying these wooden fish and the Buddha statues floating forward.

    What kind of place was in front?

    In front of him was still the sea, an endless and relentless ocean. Even if the sea stayed tranquil without any wave like this, even if this smiling Buddha Maitreya could cross to the other side, Lu Xiaofeng could not make it, for sure.

    He was not carved from wood, he wanted to eat; if he did not, he would die of starvation. If he did not die of starvation, he would die of thirst.

    Surrounded by water, a man could die of thirst, wouldnt it be some kind of a ridiculous irony?

    Yet Lu Xiaofeng could not even laugh. His lips were completely dry, he almost succumbed to the temptation of drinking sea water.

    The dusk came and went, the night fell, finally the long night also passed, the sun rose again. No one knew how long, he was almost completely delirious. He could not help drinking seawater, only to vomit it again. No one knew how long he has been vomiting, it seemed like even his intestines had been completely spitted out.

    In this kind of half awake, half asleep condition, he felt as if he had fallen into a large net, a very, very large net, which was slowly tightening around him, hoisted him up that he felt that he was hanging in the air, and then he really fainted.

    It was indeed beyond his imagination that he would wake up again after losing his consciousness; he could not imagine even more where he would be when he woke up.

    When Lu Xiaofeng woke up, he was in a fairyland.

    The sun was shining brightly, the sand on the beach was white, soft and very fine, the bluish green seawater looked like jade, the place where the gentle waves lapped the beach was foamy white. Clear and boundless sky with no clouds in sight, the land filled his eyes with emerald green.

    If this was not fairyland, then what kind of place was it? How could living person reach this fairyland?

    Lu Xiaofeng was still alive, there was indeed a fairyland among the world of the living. But he was having a hard time believing that it was real. From the moment he was thrown out of his bed to what has just happened right now, everything felt like it was a nightmare.

    The smiling Buddha Maitreya was also lying on the beach. After going through so many disasters, its arms were still hugging its own round belly, its mouth was still wide open in laughter.

    Lu Xiaofeng stared at the statue hatefully, The people who rode the same boat as you all have died completely, yet you lie down in here smiling widely, what kind of Bodhisattva are you?

    Although that Bodhisattva was a Bodhisattva, it was carved out of wood, whether other people live or die, it was unable to do anything about it; other people cursed it, it could not hear.

    Lu Xiaofeng sighed, Although you have shown injustice toward others, but you have saved my life, I should have not cursed you.

    The disaster was over, he alone was the only survivor; should he be grateful, or should he be sad? Since others did not know, while he did not have any way of telling them, it seemed that this wooden puppet was the only friend with whom he went through trials and tribulations together.

    If you have ever experienced these things, you would change just like him too.

    Right now he was still alive, but whether he would be able to continue living, he himself was not too sure.

    The world is boundless, alone he arrived at this completely foreign land, even if this place was a fairyland, he was unable to bear it.

    He struggled up. Surprisingly he was still able to stand. The first thing that came into his mind was water. If there were no water, the fairyland would turn into hell.

    Patting the Buddha Maitreyas belly, he said, You must be thirsty too, Ill go find water for everybody.

    It looked like this place was an island. Among the trees, flowers and plants on the island, a lot of them he had never seen before. The Japanese banana [musa basjoo] tree was full of banana. Each one looked like a large mantou [steamed bun].

    After eating several bananas, the thirst was even more unbearable. He snapped a branch and used it as a stick as he walked passed the banana tree. Unexpectedly he found a pond of clear spring.

    He did not know until now, that water actually tastes so sweet, far surpassed the best green-bamboo-leaf wine.

    It was only after he finished eating and drinking that he remembered a terrible matter.

    If there is no ship pass by, do I have to spend the rest of my life on this deserted island?

    No ship passed by.

    He chose the largest rock on the shore and sat on top of it to watch the sea for a few days. Not even a single ships shadow was to be seen.

    This deserted island was definitely not on the ship route. He could only looked at the Buddha Maitreya with a bitter laugh, It looks like well have to stay in this place for a while. We cant keep on living like a wild dog like this, we should at least try to look decent.

    He had never carried saber, sword, or any sharp weapon. Luckily that copper chamber pot also followed him, floating onto the island. Cutting the chamber pot open, using a stone he flattened it and clamped it between two pieces of wood to make the handle, and then he ground it by the spring water for one or two sichen. Actually it became a knife that he could use.

    He did not want to use this knife to kill at all.

    Now he knew that other that to kill people, a knife actually has so many other uses.

    Cutting branches as the frame, and using the leaves from palm tree and banana tree as the roof, he built a thatched house, which cannot be considered too ugly, by the spring. And then he gathered some soft grass and leaves and spread it on the ground. He let his only friend, the Buddha Maitreya, to lie down first. And then he lay down next to it. Looking at the moonlight leaking down through the banana leaves, and listening to the distant sound of waves lapping on the shore, he suddenly felt his eyes were moist, a drop of tear flowed down his cheek.

    In the past two years, this was the first time he shed some tears.

    No matter what kind of disaster or suffering, he had never been afraid. But he suddenly realized that the most frightening thing in the world is loneliness.

  2. #42
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    Thanks for the new chapter!

  3. #43
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update foxs.

    Of course LXF can't handle loneliness!!! He's a person with many many many friends!

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    Thanks foxs

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    Thanks foxs!

    Lu Xiaofeng stranded on the island and drifted into the sea, reminded me of the movie "Life of Pi". Lol.

  6. #46
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 4 - Part 2

    ycb, Anh, you are welcome. Sky, from what I read, Gu Long wrote about his own life a lot, which lead me to believe that perhaps loneliness was his own fear too. Drak, funny that you mentioned it, when translating this part, I always remembered 'Wilson' ... (Tom Hanks, Castaway)


    He determined not to let himself thinking toward that direction again, he still had a lot of things to do.

    The next day at dawn he walked along the beach looking for everything that he could bring back. There were Buddha statues, wooden fish, and all kinds of shells.

    In the afternoon, his luck was better, during the low tide, he found a camphor wood chest.

    Very carefully he carried it over his shoulder. He ate some banana first and drank some water before conducting the opening ceremony.

    When the box is opened, he felt his heart was like a little deer, jumping around in his breast; he had never been as nervous and as excited as right now.

    Inside the chest, there was a small jewelry box, filled to the brim with pearls and jewels; too bad it was completely useless right now. The most useful item was a comb, and some golden hairpins, and then there were two books of popular fiction that were produced by carving stone printing by a local bookshop, one was Jade Pear Romance, the other was Chronicle or Chivalrous Tales.

    Naturally the chest was also full of clothes, but all were brightly colored womens clothes.

    Ordinarily, Lu Xiaofeng would not even cast a glance toward these things, but now he was as excited as a little child who had just received the most beloved toy. He was so excited that he could not sleep that night.

    The wooden fish could be cut open as bowl, so that he did not need to use his hand to hold water. The gold hairpins could be used as needles, with some hemp that he rolled between his hands, he could make some thread, and then he could convert these clothes into window and door curtains. He could now comb his unkempt hair that looked like rice straw. And then those two books, if he read them slowly, it would help him pass a lot of empty, lonely days.

    Lying on the bed made of grass, he tossed and turned all night, thinking about these things. Suddenly he sprang up and gave himself two hard slaps on the face.

    If the ever-smiling Maitreya knew, it must have thought that this man had been taking a wrong medicine again.

    Giving himself two hard slaps on the face was not enough, slap, slap, slap, slap, he slapped himself everywhere, while pointing toward his own nose and cursed, Lu Xiaofeng, oh Lu Xiaofeng, since when did you turn into such a worthless kid, thinking and planning all these mundane things like a woman? Are you really going to spend the rest of your life like this?

    The day has not been brightened, he already selected the biggest wooden fish, knocked a hole on top, and fill it up with water. Using a strip of colorful silk gown he wrapped a couple of banana, and fastened everything onto his back. Patting the Maitreyas belly, he said, I am not like you, who lie down here all day. From now on, I cant keep you company all day every day.

    He had decided to go on an expedition, to see if there was anybody else on the island, if there was a way out of here.

    Although he was fully aware that in the dense jungle there was danger everywhere, it would not change his determination.

    He went out every day in the morning, and came back at night. The soles of his feet were broken, his body was pricked and cut by the thistles and thorns.

    The jungle was full of deadly vipers and bugs, there were even carnivorous plants out there. On several occasions he nearly delivered his life, but he did not care. He believed that as long as one was determined, no matter where, one would always find a way out.

    Time went on, quickly a month has passed, and he had explored almost every inch on this island.

    Other than a pair of sore and swollen feet and a body full of scar, he found nothing. Not only was this island was uninhabited, it was devoid of even foxes, rabbits and all kinds of small critters. If he were someone else, he would be in despair long ago. But he was not.

    Although his body was weary, his strength exhausted, he never lose heart. On the thirty-third evening, he suddenly seemed to hear the sound of running water from behind a cliff wall, which was covered with radish vine.

    Pushing aside the vines, unexpectedly he found a crevice behind it, barely enough for one person to squeeze himself sideways. But as he walked farther in, the gap gradually widened, and he seemed to see light on the other end, while the sound of running water, which was originally very faint, became gradually clearer.

    Finally he found an even clearer spring. Walking upstream, he suddenly saw something floating downstream; it was nothing more than a stem of wilted orchids.

    But he still fished the orchids out of the water. He had never seen orchids in this place before, and whenever he found anything unusual, he simply would not let it off. This time he was indeed not disappointed.

    Although the orchids were already withered, he could still see the remaining vestige that human hands had trimmed the leaves.

    He was so excited that his hands were trembling; there must be people other than him on this island! He suddenly remembered Tao Yuanmings[1] note on the Garden of the Peaches of Immortality.

    After continuing for an hour non-stop, the mountainous terrain indeed suddenly opened up to a wide panorama, the valley was verdant in sweet smelling emerald green foliage, just like a huge, giant garden, adorned with a cluster of pavilions and multi-story buildings.

    He dropped down on the soft grass, with heart filled with joy and gratitude, thankful to the Heavens for letting him seeing people once again. As long as he could see people, even if these people killed him, he was most willing. Besides, people who lived in this kind of Garden of the Peaches of Immortality couldnt possibly kill other people!

    Now anybody would be convinced that there were people on this island, but perhaps nobody would ever imagine that the very first person Lu Xiaofeng would ever see on this island was unexpectedly Yue Yang.

    Not only Yue Yang did not die, he was richly dressed, looked radiant, and seemed to be even more proud than before.

    Under the verdant hillside, there was a small pathway made of colorful stone steps. Yue Yang was standing right there, looking coldly at Lu Xiaofeng.

    As soon as Lu Xiaofeng saw Yue Yang, he jumped in fright, as if he was seeing a ghost in a bright sunny day. How can you be here? he asked in shrill voice.

    If I am not here, where am I supposed to be? Yue Yang replied in cold voice.

    Lu Xiaofeng said, When the ship capsized, where did you go? How come I could not find you?

    Yue yang said, When the ship capsized, where did you go? How come I could not find you?

    His question was exactly the same as Lu Xiaofengs. Indeed when the ship capsized, Lu Xiaofeng did not immediately float up.

    Lu Xiaofeng did not have any choice but asking different question, Who rescued you?

    Yue Yang asked, Who rescued you?

    Lu Xiaofeng asked, These days, have you always been here?

    Yue Yang asked, These days, have you always been here?

    He still did not change even one word, asking Lu Xiaofeng the exact question Lu Xiaofeng has been asking him.

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed. Yet Yue Yang did not laugh.

    They had just escaped from calamity, and met again. It was actually a very rare occurrence. But he did not show the least bit of joy. Unexpectedly he seemed to feel that it would be better if Lu Xiaofeng was dead.

    Luckily Lu Xiaofeng did not care at all, he was already aware that this young man was an eccentric person.

    Isnt it true that this place was your destination all along? You were not going to Fusang Islands at all, werent you? But how did you know that the Old Foxs ship was going to perish right here? How did you get here?

    Even if these questions were asked, he wouldnt get any answer anyway; hence Lu Xiaofeng did not even bother to ask.

    Right now he was most concerned about one thing, Who else are here? The Old Fox, Beef Soup, and the others, are they here?

    Yue Yang coldly said, You dont need to ask those questions.

    Lu Xiaofeng said, Since I am already here, why cant I ask?

    Yue Yang said, You can return the way you came here, its not too late.

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed and said, Even if you kill me, I will never return!

    Yue Yangs face fell; he said, In that case Ill kill you!

    His right palm flipped over upward, left palm slashed diagonally down in a circle, right palm suddenly shot out from inside the circle, swiftly chopped down on Lu Xiaofengs neck.

    Not only his style was strange, it was swift and fierce; in this short period of just a bit more than 30 days, his martial art skill seemed to have made tremendous progress.

    Actually, there is no fluke in martial art training, but his progress was indeed too quick, just like a miracle. Just this one move, Lu Xiaofeng found it hard to strike back.

    In all his life, Lu Xiaofeng has met no one knows how many martial art experts; he really can be considered a veteran of a hundred battles, he had been going through fierce combats for a long time, yet he very seldom see anybody whose martial art skill was higher than this young man.

    To his amazement, he had never seen any style with strange variation like this before. He leaped up and made a somersault in the air, and thus retreated eight feet back.

    Unexpectedly, Yue Yang did not pursue and attack. You go back, I wont kill you, he said coldly.

    Lu Xiaofeng said, You kill me, I wont go back.

    You wont regret it? Yue Yang asked.

    I already told you, Lu Xiaofeng said, In all my life, I never have any regret.

    Yue Yang laughed coldly, he made his move again, and soon discovered that Lu Xiaofengs martial art skill was also much higher than he had ever imagined.

    No matter how strange the style he used, he always failed to touch even the corner of Lu Xiaofengs clothes. Occasionally he was so sure that he would succeed, but to his surprise, Lu Xiaofengs body flashed, and his attack missed!

    Lu Xiaofeng had several obvious opportunities to knock him down, but all along he did not take the opportunity, it seemed like he wanted to know the background of Yue Yangs martial art, but it also seemed like he did not have any intention to hurt him.

    Yet Yue Yang did not seem to understand, his attacks grew in intensity. Suddenly they heard someone at the end of the flowery path laughed and said, Honorable guest graces us with his presence, how come you are so inhospitable like this?


    [1] Tao Yuanming (c. 365-427), Jin dynasty writer and poet.

  7. #47
    Member Drak17's Avatar
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    It also reminded me of Pirate of the Caribbean, where Cpt. Jack Sparrow was washed ashore and got chased by the native people. However; only in this case, Yue Yang is annoying him. Haha.

    Thanks!

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    Thanks foxs

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    thanks fox,..
    I wonder if the island is the same as wei xiaobao's diaoyu Island

  10. #50
    Senior Member foxs's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 4 - Part 3

    Drak, the reason I remembered 'Wilson' was due to LXF was thinking of building a hut, spending his life reading cheap romantic novels, etc. Once Yue Yang entered the picture, I knew it was no longer a 'castaway' moment. Anh, you are welcome. Subudai, could very well be, although in my mind, it was farther down south, like the island Drak was referring to, with blue sea, pristine beach, banana tree, etc. a typical tropical paradise. In my mind (again, 'in my mind', because all I can do is just imagining ... ), Diaoyu is too far north that it is a lot colder, no banana ...


    Obviously, there were flowers at the end of the flowery path, one man with his hands behind his back was standing in the middle of the multi-colored cluster of flowers. His face was round, the top of his head was half bald, his face carried a very friendly smile. If he was not wearing exquisite clothing, he would appear like a gardener.

    At the sight of this man, Yue Yang immediately halted and retreated step by step. There were also flowers on either side of the flowery path, he retreated to the middle of a cluster of flowers, turned around, and disappeared.

    The polite and amiable little old man slowly came forward; he said with a smile, Young people are lacking in manners, Sire must never place the blame on him.

    Lu Xiaofeng also smiled, Its all right, he and I are old friends.

    The little old man clapped his hands and said, Old friends meet again, nothings better than that, at least I will have to prepare some wine for the two of you to celebrate.

    He laughed again and said, Mountain residence is lonely, guests are rare, as soon as there is a little matter to celebrate, we will not miss it; not to mention such a thing like this?

    The way he downplayed the situation unconsciously revealed the peace, happiness, security and contentment in his speech. In Lu Xiaofengs ears, who have experienced much suffering, it created deep envy.

    The little old man asked again, But I do not know the honored guests respected surname and great given name.

    Lu Xiaofeng immediately introduced himself truthfully. In front of this polite and amiable little old man, nobody could be suspicious.

    The little old man nodded and said, Turns out its Lu Gongzi [young master], its a big honor to meet you at last.

    Although with his mouth he said that it was an honor to meet him, but it was clear that he did not have the least bit of that sentiment. Lu Xiaofeng has made his name since he was very young, his name was renowned throughout the world, but in the little old mans ears, it was no different than Zhang San or Li Si [Zhang the third or Li the fourth, respectively], or Ah Mao, Ah Gou [Ol cat, ol dog; i.e. Tom, Dick and Harry]. This, Lu Xiaofeng had also never met before.

    The little old man again said with a laugh, We happen to have a little celebration today, I was wondering if honored guest would like to honor us with your presence?

    Of course Lu Xiaofeng would like to come, but he still could not bear not to ask, What are you celebrating today?

    The little old man said, Today is the day my daughter can eat a meal on her own for the first time, therefore, we all gather here to eat the food she has eaten in the past once again.

    If even such trivial matter [orig. chicken feather, garlic skin] was celebrated, unavoidably there would be too many things in the world worth celebrating.

    Although in his heart Lu Xiaofeng was having this thought, he did not say anything. He only wished that the food that his daughter had eaten was not rice porridge. These days his mouth was really as tasteless as birds feed.

    The little old man laughed and said, In your heart Lu Gongzi must have felt funny, if even such trivial matter was celebrated, unavoidably there would be too many things in the world worth celebrating; but let me tell you this: since childhood my daughter is a glutton, therefore, the first time she can eat by herself, she is asking for a tableful or food and drink.

    Although he was echoing whats in Lu Xiaofengs mind, Lu Xiaofeng was not surprised at all. His thought was natural and normal, anybody who heard such thing would inevitably have the same thought as his.

    The little old man laughed again and said, For many years we have never had a guest who is an outsider in here, today Lu Gongzi suddenly honors us with your presence; apparently it is my daughters good fortune.

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed and said, When I finish your wine and meat, you will know that this is not a good fortune.

    The little old man roared in laughter. He cupped his fist to salute the guest.

    Master host is too polite, Lu Xiaofeng said, If even Master hosts respected surname and great given name is not known to me, how can I be called a welcomed guest?

    The little old man said, I am surnamed Wu, my name is Wu Ming. Wu [吴] of a mouth [口] and a sky [天], Ming [明 - brightness] of the sun [日] and the moon [月]. He laughed aloud again and said, Actually, at most I only have a mouth that loves to talk and eat good food; I do not have the least bit of the brightness of the sun and the moon.

    He laughed, Lu Xiaofeng also laughed.

    After going through those difficult days, it was indeed his good fortune to meet such a hospitable, polite, friendly and witty host. Lu Xiaofeng was really happy, even if he did not want to laugh, he simply must laugh.

    When the flowery path ended, they turned into another flowery path, passing through a cluster of flowers, they entered another cluster of flowers. On all sides the mountain peaks were green, the clear sky above was blue as if it had just been washed. Ahead, at the end of the nine-bend winding bridge on top of a half qing [approx. 3.5 hectares or 8.25 acres] lotus pond, there was a water pavilion with vermillion railings and green roof tiles.

    When they came near, Lu Xiaofeng saw that there were about a dozen or so people already inside the pavilion. Some were standing, some were sitting, some were old, some were young, some were male, some were female, some were dressed in formal and gorgeous ancient attire, some casually draped oversize gown on their bodies.

    Everybody was very relaxed, they all looked happy, as if all worries and grieves of the world of mortals were isolated outside the surrounding green hills.

    This was life; these were people who understand how to enjoy life. In his heart Lu Xiaofeng was deeply moved, he was overcome with envy, and could only stare in awe.

    The little old man said, People in here do not confine ourselves to ceremony, Lu Gongzi must never be too polite.

    Lu Xiaofeng said, Since everybody here does not confine himself to ceremony, why do you call me Lu Gongzi?

    The little old man roared in laughter. Pulling Lu Xiaofengs hand, he took him to the nine-bend winding bridge.

    A middle-aged man in Tang Dynasty court dress, with a white jade belt around his waist and amethyst and gold court hat on his head, with a cup of wine in his hand, swaggered toward them. He gave the golden cup to Lu Xiaofeng before swaggering away.

    The little old man laughed and said, He is surnamed He. Each time he drinks just a little wine, he would insist that he was the reincarnation of He Zhizhang [659-744, Tang dynasty poet]; hence we might as well call him He Shangshu [high official/government minister]. He loves to call himself Si Ming Kuang Ke [not sure; 四明狂客 lit. four brightness mad guest].

    Lu Xiaofeng also laughed and said, No wonder he is always drunk; since he is one of the drunken Eight Immortals, not being drunk is wrong.

    While his mouth was talking, his eyes were fixed on a woman.

    Women who took his attention usually were not ugly.

    She may be a bit tall, but the lines on her slender body were soft; her entire body seemed to exude some kind of irresistible charm, the contour of her face was clear, her pair of cat-like eyes seemed to emit some bluish green light just like the ocean. She appeared cold and indifferent, yet smart; there was also an inexplicable laziness around her, as if she had already grown weary toward life.

    Right now she was just leaving the crowd in the water pavilion, and was walking toward them. She was not even close yet, Lu Xiaofeng already felt his throat and his hair dry, a surge of heat rising up from his lower abdomen.

    She seemed to also cast him a glance, her cat-like eyes were smiling with contempt and cynical expression.

    And then just as quick she turned her head around toward the little old man, and slowly stretched out her hand.

    The little old man sighed and said, You lost everything?

    She nodded. Her jet-black soft and long hair slightly bobbed up and down, just like the waves in the night.

    The little old man asked, How much do you want?

    She held out five fingers, long, slender and powerful fingers, showing off the strength of her innermost being.

    When are you going to pay me back? the little old man asked.

    Next time, she replied.

    Alright, the little old man said, Use your jewelry as collateral, when you pay me back you have to add interest.

    She agreed immediately, using her two fingers she took a banknote from the little old mans hand, and promptly left without even a single glance toward Lu Xiaofeng.

    But the little old man looked at Lu Xiaofeng and smiled. He said, We have no rules here, but everybody follows one principle strictly.

    His eyes still staring at the womans back, Lu Xiaofeng absent-mindedly asked, What principle?

    Earn his own living, the little old man replied.

    He went on to explain, In here we have the best wine and the best cook in the world, no matter which, any enjoyment in here is first-class. But the fee is also very high, people who have no ability to earn a fortune will find it difficult to continue living here.

    Lu Xiaofengs attention has moved away from her body; suddenly he realized that the only property he had was that chamber pot knife.

    The little old man laughed and said, Naturally today you are a guest; as long as you dont gamble with them, you dont need a single wen.[2]

    Today he was a guest, but what about tomorrow?

    Lu Xiaofeng suddenly asked, What are they playing?

    They are playing dice, the little old man replied, They love to gamble.

    Can I take a look? Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    Of course you can, the little old man replied. He laughed even more delightfully, Its just that if you want to bet, you must be careful toward Sha Man.

    Sha Man, what a strange name.

    Lu Xiaofeng asked, Sha Man, is that the one who just borrowed money from you?

    The little old man laughed and said, She loses fast, but also wins fast. If you are not careful, maybe youll even lose yourself to her.

    Lu Xiaofeng also laughed. Losing himself to a girl like that would not be bad, but naturally he planned on winning.

    Gold, pearls and banknotes piled up on the table. The pile in front of Sha Man was the largest, as soon as Lu Xiaofeng came over, she started to win.


    [2] Wen copper coin, lowest denomination of money, worth about 1/2g or 1/60 ounce of silver.

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    Back from a trip and suffering from jet lag. What better way to while away the sleepless hours reading updates from foxs? ...

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    Thanks foxs

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    Thanks foxs.

    This place may not be as nice as it looks or sounds. Looking forward to the next post.

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    Default Chapter 4 - Part 4, Chapter 5 - Part 1

    LuDongBin, welcome back then. Was it an intercontinental trip, i.e. you still suffered from jetlag? Anh, you are welcome. Sky, I agree, I am afraid it was a trap.


    Their betting was really simple and delightful, using only three dice, they count the number of dots. Leopard six naturally eat em all, four five six is also not small, one two three would definitely lose.

    If the first two dice were identical, and the third had six dots, it was almost a guaranteed win.

    Unexpectedly she had thrown six dots five times in a row. Her cat-like eyes were shining with jade-green light.

    The banker who lost money was a man who started to get fat, he looked no different than any other man you may find in a teahouse or wine shop on any given day. But he was exceptionally calm and collected; although he lost five times in a row, his countenance did not change at all, not even a single bead of sweat was seen on his face.

    Their bet was a lot larger than what Lu Xiaofeng had imagined, but the way they gambled was not too sophisticated. They used neither technique nor trick.

    Anyone who knew a little bit of trick and came here to gamble was guaranteed to return from a rewarding journey.

    Lu Xiaofengs hand already started to itch.

    Chapter 5 Return from a rewarding journey
    (Translated by Foxs)

    For the last several years, Lu Xiaofeng had not gambled for money. Originally, he was a gambler, when he was six or seven years old, he already knew how to play with dice. By the time he was sixteen or seventeen, not a single gimmick in gambling that he did not know.

    Lead-loaded dice, mercury-loaded dice, iron dice with magnet underneath the bowl, in his eyes, all these tricks were merely a childs plaything.

    In his hands, ordinary six-sided dice could become like living objects, which were very obedient to him. If he wanted the dice to show red dots, the dice would not dare to show a single black dot.

    Gambling is just the same as drinking wine, to a wanderer like him, not only it was a way of venting off his emotion, it was also a way to earn a living.

    He had not been gambling recently, not because he had won too much and thus nobody dared to gamble against him, but because he himself had completely lost his interest!

    Naturally he no longer had to do it for a living, so he was able to look for more excitement in life.

    But now the situation was different; he wanted to stay here, hence he had to have a skill to earn a fortune.

    Now it looked like he simply had to stay here, but the only opportunity to earn a lot of money in this place seemed to be in those three dice.

    The banker grabbed the dice and knocked it at the edge of a large bowl, creating ding, ding sound. Place your bet, he shouted, The bigger the better.

    Lu Xiaofeng suddenly said, I bet five hundred taels.

    Although he did not have five hundred taels, he was confident that he would not lose.

    Its a pity that others did not have any confidence in him. The banker cast him a cold glance and said, How come I did not see your five hundred taels?

    Because I have not taken it out, Lu Xiaofeng replied.

    We have a rule here, the banker said, Only money that can be seen that counts.

    Lu Xiaofeng took something out, but it was the knife he made from the chamber pot.

    The banker said, You use this knife to put down five hundred taels?

    Uh huh, Lu Xiaofeng said.

    The banker said, I fail to see how this knife could worth five hundred taels.

    Lu Xiaofeng said, You fail to see, because you have never seen this kind of knife.

    So this knife is special? the banker asked.

    Very special, Lu Xiaofeng replied.

    Whats so special? the banker asked.

    This knife is made of a chamber pot, Lu Xiaofeng replied.

    He could not help laughing on his own joke, but nobody else did. The six people gambled in here, although in term of status, gender and age they were all different, they all had one thing in common; they all appeared amazingly cold, they did not even laugh.

    Right now they all looked at Lu Xiaofeng, with gaze that looked like they were looking at a clown.

    Its hard to put an ashamed blade back into its sheath. Lu Xiaofeng also felt that taking the knife back was very difficult.

    While he was still thinking of how to recover from this awkwardness, suddenly he saw a hand pushing five hundred taels his way, and picked up his knife.

    A very nice looking hand, long and slender, yet powerful fingers; although it was a bit like a mans hand, it was still very beautiful.

    Lu Xiaofeng let out a breath, he cast her a grateful glance as he said with a laugh, Finally someone who knows whats good and whats not.

    Sha Man coldly said, If I know whats good, I wont lend you five hundred taels.

    Her face did not show any emotion, I give you a loan, just because you seem to bring a bit of good luck to me. This time my stake is a bit high, therefore, I wont let you leave.

    Gamblers are usually realistic; she seemed to be a typical gambler.

    The banker let out a low shout, Make a kill! and threw the dice into the bowl. Two dice stopped at six, the third was still rolling incessantly.

    The banker shouted, Six, other people called, One, but Lu Xiaofeng knew that the die would stop at three.

    Because he had two fingers pressed on the bottom surface of the table. He had a very high confidence on his two fingers.

    He hoped the banker would lose a bit. This man apparently can afford to lose.

    The die stop, it was indeed three dots.

    Three dots cannot be considered too low, unexpectedly two people could not even beat three dots. When it was Sha Mans turn, she threw a six.

    She could not afford to lose, even her jewelry had been pawned out.

    Lu Xiaofengs two fingers, not only they were able to catch a stab of lightning-fast sword, sometimes they could be used to stop the dice at any dots he wanted it to stop.

    He was not ashamed of the way he dealt with this matter at all! Let those who could afford to lose lost a bit to those who could not afford to lose. Theres absolutely nothing wrong about it.

    Now the dice were in his hand. He wanted a pair of three and a four. Four dots beats three, the winning was just right, plus it would not raise any suspicion.

    Of course he did not need other peoples hand under the table to help him, although he had not practiced for a long time, he was sure the dice would obey his command.

    He was sure, absolutely sure.

    Ding, dang! the dice fell into the bowl. The first die stopped at three, the second also stopped at three, the third would definitely be a four.

    He looked at the continuously rolling die, just like a father or a mother looking at an obedient child. And now he could already see the four dots on the face of the die, flashing re, alluring and beautiful red, as beautiful as the shining white five hundred taels of silver.

    When the dice stopped, the silver would be in hands.

    Who would have thought that at the last second, the die jumped and landed on two dots?

    Lu Xiaofeng was dumbstruck. Even in his dream he would never imagine that there were martial art experts on this table, whose skill was most probably even higher than his.

    Sha Man gave him a cold look, Although you brought me good luck, your own luck is not good.

    The person who played trick on the dice just now, definitely was not her; she had already lost a lot, and Lu Xiaofeng was helping her to get it back.

    The banker was collecting the winning,

    Not only this man has lost, he had lost a lot; if he was capable of controlling the dice, he would not have lost.

    It did not look like anybody else either, Lu Xiaofeng really could not see who the expert was.

    He was like a mute eating Chinese goldthread [coptis chinensis], unspeakably bitter; or like a blind eating wonton, who let the belly did the counting.

    If only he could do it one more time, he was confident he would be able to see it. If only he paid a bit more attention, he was confident he would not lose.

    He was very confident. Its a pity he did not have any gambling capital anymore, that polite and friendly little old man had suddenly disappeared, as if he was afraid Lu Xiaofeng would come to him to borrow money.

    A very young man, but kept two strips of moustache above his lips, suddenly laughed and said, Both of us have moustache, let us be friends.

    Unexpectedly, he really did help a lame dog over a stile by handing him out a five hundred taels banknote.

    Lu Xiaofeng was greatly delighted; he was about to take the banknote, when the moustaches hand pull it back, Wheres the knife?

    What knife?

    Like the one you had just now.

    No knife, no silver; therefore, Lu Xiaofeng could only force a smile, A knife like that, even if you search everywhere in the whole world, I am afraid there is only one.

    The moustache sighed, he placed the banknote on the table. The banker had already tossed the dice. Unexpectedly it was a one two three, he had to pay everybody.

    Lu Xiaofeng could only feel the bitter taste in his mouth. While he was thinking of getting some wine and thinking about his next step, he turned around and saw the little old man was standing by the wine and food table, looking at him with a smile on his face.

    There were all kinds of wine on the table. Lu Xiaofeng picked up a Green Bamboo Leaf and poured some for himself. He intentionally did not want to look at the little old man.

    But the little old man asked him, Hows your luck?

    Lu Xiaofeng said indifferently, Cant be considered too bad, its just that when I ought to win I did not win, when I ought not to lose, yet I lost.

    The little old man sighed and said, In this world, there are a lot of things just like that. If one has too much confidence in certain matter, one would be careless instead; hence one lost when he ought to win. But as long as there is a second chance, one would have everything under control.

    It was exactly what Lu Xiaofeng had in mind, but he said it first.

    Lu Xiaofengs eyes brightened; he said, If you agree to invest, let me play again, well split the win.

    The little old man said, But what if you lose?

    Lu Xiaofeng said, If I lose Ill pay you.

    How are you going to pay? the little old man asked, Using that incomparably unique chamber pot knife of yours? Too bad that chamber pot knife is not even yours anymore.

    Lu Xiaofeng said, No matter what, I cant possibly lose anyway. Please lend me ten thousand taels, after this round, I will definitely give you back fifteen thousand taels.

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    Thanks foxs

  16. #56
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    Yes, China. Now fully recovered ... all ready for the next installment!

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    Thanks foxs.

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    Default Chapter 5 - Part 2

    Anh, Sky, you are welcome. LuDongBin, welcome back then.


    Basically, he was not this kind of poor, terrible and extremely greedy gambling demon, who would sell his own wife just to be able to gamble, but right now he was too fired up and definitely did not accept his lost. Besides, in his eyes, ten thousand taels was nothing much, he has always squandered money like dirt, and has never had any regards for wealth.

    Funny thing is, the more he acted like that, the easier it was for him to borrow money instead. Even the little old mans heart was a bit moved. He said hesitantly, If by any chance you still lose, then what?

    Then I will belong to you, Lu Xiaofeng replied.

    Unexpectedly the little old man no longer say anything, immediately he handed him ten thousand taels.

    Lu Xiaofeng was greatly delighted, Dont worry, I wont make you regret it.

    The little old man sighed. I am afraid it will be you who regret it, he said.

    The banker had not changed. After Lu Xiaofeng left, he repeatedly threw several big dots, and managed to pull back his capital somewhat.

    But Sha Man was on a steady decline, she lost nearly everything. Seeing Lu Xiaofeng came back, unexpectedly a smile appeared on her as-cold-as-ice-and-frost face, That old man lent you some gambling capital? Did he trust you?

    Lu Xiaofeng said, He did not trust me as a person, he just believed that this time I will have a change of fortune.

    Sha Man said, I also want you to have a change of fortune, and thus redeem your knife. This knife, nobody wants it even for five fen.

    The banker has called the bets, Lu Xiaofeng said, Let me win this one first, and then well talk.

    At first he wanted to fold the banknote on the corner to denote a thousand taels bet, but at the last second he suddenly put the entire banknote down as his stake.

    Gambling demons who lose money, usually lost all at once like this.

    The banker gave him a cold look, and then threw the dice. He got two dots, but unexpectedly his countenance still did not change.

    Several people took turns throwing the dice, some won, some lost; Sha Man threw a six, she could not help looking at Lu Xiaofeng and said with a laugh, You seem to bring me good luck again.

    When she was not laughing, Lu Xiaofengs heart was already moved; as soon as she laughed, Lu Xiaofeng was even more spirit and soul upside-down. Suddenly he reached out to grab her hand and said, Since I brought you good luck, I wonder if you could lend me some?

    She wanted to shake her hand free, but Lu Xiaofeng was holding her too tightly; her countenance immediately fell, My hand is not the dice, why are you pulling me?

    Although she was speaking with a straight face, everybody could see that she was not really angry.

    Lu Xiaofeng slowly let her hand go, he grabbed the dice. Originally he only had eighty percent confidence, but now he was a hundred percent confident. Leopard, he shouted.

    To defeat a two-dot, a leopard was really unnecessary. Indeed, when an expert wanted to beat a two-dot, at most he would only need a four-dot. Even without any trick, to beat a two-dot is not difficult. But right now Lu Xiaofeng seemed to suddenly turn into a child; when someone whom he liked was standing at the side, without any rhyme or reason a child would do a double somersault.

    Right now Lu Xiaofengs mood was more or less the same, wholeheartedly he wanted to show off in front of her by throwing three sixes, a leopard.

    With a ding-a-ling the dice were thrown into the bowl, his hand already reached the table. This time, even if someone was playing a trick, he was confident that he would be able to turn the dice back.

    Two dice had already stopped; naturally both showed a six-dot. The third one was still rolling in the bowl. The bankers eyes were fixed at the dice, he coldly said, The die is possessed.

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed and said, Wheres the ghost? Let us all try to find it. Exerting his strength, the table suddenly rose up from the floor.

    The man with a moustache who wanted to make friends with Lu Xiaofeng earlier originally had his hands pressed on the table. As the table was lifted up, suddenly there was a poof, two pieces of palm-shaped wood fell to the ground, unexpectedly his pair of hands went through the table.

    The bowl was still on the table, the die was still rolling inside the bowl.

    A gust of wind blew, two pieces of wood that fell to the ground unexpectedly turned into small bits like cotton wadding. In a blink of an eye it was blown away by the wind.

    Lu Xiaofengs eyes were originally fixed onto the dice, yet he could not help looking at the moustaches eyes. He really could not see that this young man, who was dressed in fancy clothes like a rich man, his hands unexpectedly mastered the Bone-transforming Cotton Palm, a long-lost martial art skill of the wulin world.

    Cotton Palm was Wudangs consummate skill, an internal, orthodox school martial art, but the addition of the two words Bone-transforming in front of the Cotton Palm made it a completely different martial art.

    This kind of palm force was not only sinister and frightening, it was very difficult to master. After it was trained to perfection, when the palm hit a human body, the person hit would lose consciousness, but four hours later the palm force flared up, the bones in his entire body would turn soft like cotton, even a deity would not be able to save him. Compared to Tibetan Tantras Big Hand Print or western regions Xingxiuhais Heaven-Destroying-Earth-Decimating Hand, it was a lot more formidable.

    Ever since the death of Hua Gu Xian Ren [Bone Transforming Daoist Immortal], who in the past had solitarily broken into Xingxiuhai, entered the Chao Tian Gong [imperial heaven palace] in the night, forcefully killed the Great Lama of the Yellow Hat, this kind of palm power had never appeared in Jianghu, but somehow this moustache was able to master the skill.

    Lu Xiaofeng could not figure it out, he did not have time to think about it either.

    The die was still rolling inside the bowl, every time it nearly stopped, an old man with white hair, who had been sitting to Lu Xiaofengs left, flicked his finger lightly, the die would roll even faster.

    This mans hair was completely white, his manner dignified manner; he looked just like an old pedant who intensively read books of poetry and history. All along he had been sitting formally next to Lu Xiaofeng. Among those present, he was the only one who never look at Sha Man in the eye.

    In all his life Lu Xiaofeng was most afraid of dealing with this kind of scholarly gentleman; thereupon all along he never paid him any attention either.

    Until now. When the die was about to stop, Lu Xiaofeng suddenly heard a chi, a gust of sharp breeze streaked pass his ear. Unexpectedly the wind came from the old mans middle finger.

    His hands were thin and yellow like dried candle, he kept his fingernails more than a cun [approx. an inch] long. Presumably because they were soaked in some liquid drug, the ten fingernails were always curled in, but as soon as he flicked, the curled fingernail suddenly turned straight as a ramrod, sparkling and translucent, and spotlessly white, shiny like the blade of a knife.

    Could it be the Finger Blade, the combination of Zhang Bianyin Clans One Yang Finger and Huashans Divine Flicking Finger Skill? It was also a long-lost martial art skill of the wulin, so much so that even Lu Xiaofeng had never seen it.

    His own Lingxi Finger [lit. supernaturally sharp] was also a consummate skill without equal throughout the world. Suddenly he stretched out his two fingers and made a clipping motion in the air toward the die. The continuously rolling die suddenly stopped, the top surface appeared dark, it seemed to produce at least a five-dot.

    Who would have thought that in that split second, before anybody could see clearly the number of dots on the top surface, the banker suddenly puckered his lips and sucked the air? The die suddenly jumped up from the bowl.

    The white-haired old man flicked his middle finger again, poof! the die was unexpectedly exploded; fine powder rained down, and it still fell into the bowl, but nobody could see how many points were there.

    Lu Xiaofeng has been gambling here and there, he did not even know how many times he had gambled, but it was the first time that he ever saw this kind of thing. Now how did they decide winning or losing? Could the banker be considered losing? Even he did not know how to handle this matter.

    Sha Man suddenly turned toward Lu Xiaofeng and said, Two sixes, plus one dot, how many dots are there?

    Lu Xiaofeng said, Still one dot.

    Why is it still one dot? Sha Man asked.

    Lu Xiaofeng replied, Because whatever the last die produces, that is the one that counts.

    What if the last die does not have any dots? Sha Man asked again.

    No dots means no dots, Lu Xiaofeng answered.

    Which one is bigger, no dots or one dot? Sha Man asked.

    Naturally one dot is bigger, Lu Xiaofeng replied.

    Isnt two-dot bigger than one-dot? Sha Man asked.

    Lu Xiaofeng sighed, Two-dot is bigger than one-dot, it is also bigger than no-dot.

    Actually, as soon as she asked the first question, he already understood where she was going. If it were someone else who asked, he would have had at least several dozen way of coping with this problem.

    Lu Xiaofeng was resourceful, witty and full of clever tricks; a lot of people in Jianghu got a headache just by meeting him. But in front of this girl with long, cat-like pair of eyes, he was unable to come out with the least bit of trick.

    Because basically he did not want to play trick in front of her. If she wanted him to lose, then so be it. Whats the harm in him losing?

    A trifling ten thousand taels, how can it be compared to just one smile of hers?

    Sha Man did indeed smile, Since two-dot is bigger than no-dot, you lost this ten thousand taels.

    I did lose, Lu Xiaofeng admitted.

    Are you feeling bad of losing? Sha Man asked.

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed and said, Forget ten thousand taels, even a hundred thousand, eighty thousand, I wont feel bad.

    He was not bragging. But as soon as he said that, he realized that right now he could not afford to lose even ten or eight taels.

    Unfortunately, the banker had already swept away his banknote. Still with unchanged countenance he coldly said, If you have money, place your bet; otherwise, go away.

    Lu Xiaofeng had to go away.

    The little old man did not seem to pay any attention of what was going on at the gambling table on this side. He was still sitting on that side, sipping his wine quietly. His face showed contentment, as if he was happily thinking that very soon he would receive Lu Xiaofengs fifteen thousand taels.

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    Very interesting! The 化骨棉掌 seems to be the same as used by the fake Empress Dowager in Lu Ding Ji. Yet another Jinyong cameo! And of course, the Divine Flicking Finger, the Great Handprint Palm, and the One Yang Finger are all Jinyong skills as well.
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 06-30-13 at 01:14 AM.
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

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    Default Chapter 5 - Part 3

    Ren, no wonder I got a deja vu ...


    Lu Xiaofeng braced himself and came over. What are you drinking? he tried to strike a conversation,

    Green Bamboo Leaf, the little old man replied.

    You like Green Bamboo Leaf too? Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    Actually, I dont drink too often, the little old man replied, But now I seem to be infected by you.

    Good, Lu Xiaofeng said, Let me toast you three cups.

    I am afraid three cups are enough to make me drunk, the little old man said.

    One drunkenness dissolves a thousand worries, Lu Xiaofeng said, There are too few opportunities in this life to get drunk. Come, drink!

    You are still very young, the little old man said, What worry do you have?

    With a bitter laugh Lu Xiaofeng said, I just lost someone elses money, inevitably my heart is a bit uncomfortable.

    The little old man chuckled and said, Its not someone elses money, its yours.

    Lu Xiaofeng was astonished and delighted at the same time, Is it really mine? he asked.

    The little old man said, Since I already loaned it to you, naturally it is yours.

    Lu Xiaofeng was greatly delighted, I cant believe that you are such a generous person.

    The little old man laughed and said, Actually, such generosity cant be considered a big deal, its just that he continued very slowly, Although the money belongs to you, but you belong to me.

    My surname is Lu, yours is Wu, Lu Xiaofeng cried out, You are not my son, and I am not your old man; how can I belong to you?

    The little old man spoke matter-of-factly, Because you havent given me fifteen thousand taels, you have no choice but to pay me with yourself; a real man gives his words, its like fast horse being whipped. In order for you to keep your reputation, I think you cannot not do it.

    Lu Xiaofeng was dumbstruck. With a bitter laugh he said, I am a drunkard, and a lecher, and a glutton, and a gambler. I spend money like flowing water. If I belong to you, you will have to feed me.

    The little old man said, I can afford it.

    Lu Xiaofeng sighed and said, But I still dont understand, what do you want a big bad egg like me for?

    The little old man laughed and said, I have too much money, I was looking for someone to help me spending it, so that I wont have to suffer alone.

    You think spending money is a suffering? Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    With a grim expression the little old man said, Why is it not a suffering? If you drink too much, the next day youll have a splitting headache, just like if you have a serious illness. If you gamble too much, not only its nerve-wrecking, as if sitting on pins and needles, when your luck is not good, you may very well be very angry that itll kill you. If you indulge on sensual pleasure too much

    He sighed, and then continued, This kind of activity can damage your body. For old people like me, I do not dare to even mention it.

    Other than spending money, Lu Xiaofeng asked, What else do you want me to do?

    The little old man said, You are still young, your body is strong, your martial art skill is not bad; the number of things I want you to do can be uncountable.

    When he spoke the sentence your martial art skill is not bad, his voice seemed to carry a hint of unspeakable contempt. It does not matter whether he really had that kind of feeling or it was only in Lu Xiaofengs imagination; it did not mean much anyway.

    Lu Xiaofeng had made his name since he was a teenager, he was able to roam the Jianghu unhindered; although it cannot be said that he was unequalled under the heavens, he had never met anybody who can really defeat him. Just like he had never suffered any loss in gambling, if anybody told him that he was no good, of course he would ten-thousand times refuse to accept.

    But today he threw the dice twice, and suffered losses twice. If he said that it was only because other people were playing trick, then why didnt he play trick himself?

    The moustaches Bone-transforming Cotton Palm and the old mans Finger Blade were consummate martial art skill, which were rarely seen. Finally the banker who puckered his lips and sucked a die seven chi [approx. 7 ft/2 m] away, while the other two dice next to it did not move the slightest bit. This kind of qigong [chikung] ability was even more incredible.

    This place looked like an auspicious and peaceful Garden of the Peaches of Immortality, unexpectedly it was a place of hidden dragons and crouching tigers.

    And then there was this polite and amiable little old man. He looked like a sincere and nave man, while in fact he was able to penetrate other peoples mind in just one glance; it was indeed great intelligence may appear to be stupidity, the kind of person who disguises himself as a pig to eat a tiger. Perhaps this game of chance was a trap that he had carefully prepared beforehand and now Lu Xiaofeng had fallen into it. It was still unclear what kind of strange things he would want Lu Xiaofeng to do.

    Whatever it was, certainly it could not be a good thing.

    Lu Xiaofeng thought about it over and over; the more he thought, the more he felt uneasy. He even started to think that he should have not been here at all.

    The little old man laughed and said, Now in your heart you must feel regret, you feel that you should not have come here; yet because you obviously cannot guess what trick we are playing, and you are unavoidably dying to find out, you will hate yourself if you just leave.

    He hit the nail on the head, he accurately spelled out what was in Lu Xiaofengs mind. But Lu Xiaofeng laughed and said in a loud voice, Youre wrong, totally wrong.

    What do you mean wrong? the little old man asked.

    What you just said is totally wrong, Lu Xiaofeng replied. He downed a cup of wine, and picked a piece of beef and munched happily. And then he said with a laugh, Here we have wine and we have meat, we also have fairy-like beautiful women, plus you already prepared money for me to spend. Why would I be dissatisfied? Why would I regret it?

    With a smile on his face the little old man looked at him and said, Because in your heart you are still wondering, what exactly do I want you to do?

    Lu Xiaofeng laughed aloud and said, People like me, what cant I do? Even if you wanted me to kill, Id kill one stab at a time, I wont even bother to bury him.

    Is that right? the little old man said.

    Of course its true! Lu Xiaofeng replied.

    The little old man stared at him. His eyes suddenly revealed some kind of strange expression. He smiled and said, As long as you can remember what you said today, I guarantee a life time of peace and happiness for you.

    Although he was laughing again, the tone of his voice was very serious, as if he really wanted Lu Xiaofeng to kill for him.

    But there were hidden dragons and crouching tigers in here, martial art experts were as numerous as the clouds. That Bone-transforming Cotton Palm and Finger Blade were extremely insidious; to kill people, nothing could be better that these, why would he want to abandon the near but seek the far and looked for someone else?

    Lu Xiaofeng finally decided not to think about it. He already sampled three different dishes: a plate of thin cut beef, a bowl of slow-cooked stew of beef brisket braised in soy sauce, and a dish of stir-fried tender beef in oyster sauce. Who would have thought that as his chopsticks picked another piece, the fourth dish was still beef? It was a hot and spicy orange beef.

    The soup was a whole beef brisket steamed in its own broth, the meat was braised beef tripe, tender but not soft, the cooking heat was controlled just right; and then there was moist thin-cut beef, simmered in sweet fat, mixed well with the seasoning, and stirred into the soup, sprinkled with pepper just before it was served. The soup and the meat were tender; these were seldom-seen kind of food.

    The rest of the dishes were simmer-fried ox tongue, raw-sauted beef tripe, roast beef heart, beef meatballs, ox head stewed in red sauce, stewed ox tail, wolfberry [lycium chinense] bulls penis, and then egg-shaped deep-fired beef brain. All were tasty dishes. Its just that everything was beef, so that even if they were tastier, after a while it became boring.

    Is beef here as abundant as silver? Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    The little old man said, Todays feast is entirely beef, because my daughter especially loves to eat beef.

    Lu Xiaofeng finally remembered that the dishes today were all the food that his daughter has eaten until the first day she was able to eat by herself. At that time she was at most three or five years old, how could they prepare such a big table full of beef dishes?

    Lu Xiaofeng sighed inwardly. It seemed that this little old man was a monster.

    The little old man said, Actually, she does not have any other peculiarity. Its just that each meal she has to have beef. Even after several dozen years, she wont get tired of eating beef. If anyone thinks that she is a monster, it would be a mistake.

    Lu Xiaofeng stared at him hard; he could not bear not to ask, Whatever I am thinking, you know everything?

    The little old man laughed and said, This kind of observing someones words and gestures skill, I do not dare to be unduly humble.

    Lu Xiaofeng rolled his eyes. He said, Do you know what I am thinking right now?

    The little old man said, Actually, you are trying to think about some bizarre thing to stump me on purpose, but in all honesty you are dying to take a look at my beef-eating daughter.

    Wrong, Lu Xiaofeng said, You are not marrying your daughter to me; why would I want to see her? While his mouth denied it, in his heart he could not help admiring him. Against his will, he asked, The feast today is for her, why is it that all along she did not appear?

    Whos she? the little old man asked.

    Naturally your daughter, Lu Xiaofeng replied.

    Since you didnt even want to see her, why did you ask? the little old man said.

    Lu Xiaofeng was speechless.

    Although this little old man was friendly and looked honest on the outside, he was actually a wily old fox. Compared to the Old Fox, he was several hundred times more cunning.

    The little old man continued, Too bad that even if you really dont want to see her, sooner or later you will still see her.

    So I cannot not see her even if I want to? Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    You cant, the little old man replied.

    Why? Lu Xiaofeng asked.

    The little old man said, Because if you turn around right now, you will see her.

    Lu Xiaofeng turned around, and saw Beef Soup.

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