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Thread: Four Constables - Return to the Capital City by Wen Rui'an

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    Thks Jean.

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    ************************************************** *******

    Tian Dacuo recounted with anger, “After a while, I saw the bastard and the rest come out again, this time with that Chu fellow and they ran out the door. After a short while, Liu came in and unsealed my acupoint before going into the third prison. I stretched my limbs a little and rushed out as well.”

    Mister Zhuge asked quietly, “Did you hear any strange noises when your acupoint was unsealed?”

    Tian Dacuo nodded his head, “Yes. Inside there was the sound of a person falling first, followed by the sounds of our men drawing their swords, followed by screams. Also, the last scream sounded like Sheng’s voice.”

    Mister Zhuge pressed on, “When was the last scream heard?”

    Tian Dacuo thought for a while before answering, “I can’t really remember, I was cursing at that time so I couldn’t hear clearly as well.”

    Mister Zhuge suddenly asked, “The Liu you mentioned, is it ‘Flying Swallow’, famed for his Lightness Skill?”

    Nefore Tian Dacuo could answer, Shi Zhendong said, “That’s right, it’s him. Amongst the few of them, he’s the youngest and the most popular. Does Mister Zhuge want to see him?”

    Mister Zhuge stroked his beard and said, “In order to clarify what happened in this case, there is a need to see him.”

    Liu Yanping has a young and nimble body, and his young and flippant looking face is also filled with a stubborn bravado. He was dressed in green and standing a few feet away from Mister Zhuge. Mister Zhuge squinted his eyes and took a close look at him before saying with a smile, “So you are ‘Flying Swallow’, ho ho ho, good, very good.”

    Liu Yanping said respectfully to Mister Zhuge and Tie Shou before he sat down, “Greetings, Mister Zhuge and Brother Tie.”

    Shi Zhendong nodded his head and Zhou Lenglong knows that they should not waste too much of Mister Zhuge’s time so he came straight to the point, “Commander Liu, please relate what happened during the prison raid from the beginning to the end.”

    Liu Yanping replied, “Yes. When it happened, I was originally in the first cell but because I was having an upset tummy, I went to the toilet. When I came out, I only saw about seven to eight of our men have been immobilized. I saw that none of the convicts have escaped so I guessed that something must have happened at the second and third cell. I rushed in to help out only to see Second Brother Tian on the ground. I unsealed his acupoint and he dashed out with a roar. I was worried that something had happened in the third cell so I rushed over as well and saw that Eldest Brother Sheng has already fallen in a pool of blood. I hurried out to pursue the enemies; at that time I wasn’t aware that Third Brother Shen was the killer and that the escapee is actually the imperial criminal Chu Xiangyu!”

    Mister Zhuge asked, “When you went into the third cell, Commander Sheng is already dead?”

    Liu Yanping was silent for a while before he replied, “He was lying in a pool of blood and the whole floor was bloody, I think it will be very difficult for him to survive.”

    Tie Shou suddenly interrupted, “What is his cause of death?” Liu Yanping replied, “I was in a hurry then to run after the enemies so I did not take a close look.”
     
    Zhou Lenglong added, “Sheng Yibiao’s acupoint was sealed before he was knifed in the chest.”

    Tie Shou said somberly, “Seems like Shen Yunshan really have some deep enmity with Commander Sheng, he had already overpowered him but only gained satisfaction when he’s dead.”

    Shi Zhendong told Mister Zhuge, “It is said that those eight that the traitor Shen Yunshan brought with him were the ‘Eight Handicapped’. Those eight have committed all manners of evil and their methods are vicious. They are not to be trifled with and on top of them, there’s the ‘Twin Evils of Lingnan! To tell the truth, we have come here to beg Mister to instruct us on what we should do.”

    Mister Zhuge lowered his head in silence for a long moment before he finally said, “I wouldn’t dare say instruct. Since the ‘Eight Handicapped’ are also involved in the prison raid, I’m afraid it this is related to those bandits in Mount Chilian.”

    Shi Zhendong clasped his fists together and exclaimed, “Mister’s guess is absolutely right. According to various scouts, they all said that the 12 of them have been traveling towards the southwest, which is exactly where Mount Chilian is located.”

    Mister Zhuge said, “Then that’s terrible. They are escorting Chu Xiangyu to Mount Chilian, they will certainly join forces with those bandits and move on to other places like Xuzhou, Xijing, Yangzhou etc to gather the bandits there who are stirring for an uprising.”

    Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong looked at each other and they were greatly shocked. If the reason why Chu Xiangyu escaped this time is really to gather troops for an uprising, then their crime of allowing Chu Xiangyu to escape from prison will not involve their heads rolling, but even their families would not be spared. They were secretly panicking when Shi Zhendong clasped his hands in respect and said to Mister Zhuge, “Mister, please show us a way to survive this.”

    Mister Zhuge asked, “The men that you’ve sent, did they cross swords with them?” Shi Zhendong replied, “Chu Xiangyu and his group are so highly skilled and their movements swift. Those who went after them did catch up but they were all killed by them one by one.”

    Mister Zhuge stood up, his silver brows furrowed in thought, his hands behind his back and paced a few rounds around the hall before saying, “General Shi, Lieutenant General Zhou, the situation is dire now. If Chu Xiangyu leaves Cangzhou and makes contact with the bandits in the other provinces, by then even if both generals were to send all your troops, you still won’t be able to defeat him. The only way is, while he is still in Cangzhou and have not summoned the rest yet… the ideal situation being he has not made contact with ‘Lianyun Stockade’ in Mount Chilian, to capture him first. That’s the only way there’s hope to suppress the uprising. Both of you can pull out a team of your best men and go after him. There should be no further delay, go immediately. … But, these paintings, I have already seen them, please take it back.” Shi and Zhou wanted to persuade him to keep them but on seeing Mister Zhuge’s calm and icy demeanor, they kept quiet.

    They could only hurriedly say, “Thank you for your advice, Mister.”

    **************************************************

  3. #223
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    Thks Jean.

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    Great story indeed!

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    **************************************************

    Shi Zhendong smiled with embarrassment and said, “Mister, Brother Zhou and I have been fighting in battlefields all our lives so of course we have never really feared anyone but this Chu Xiangyu, together with the ‘Twin Evils of Lingnan’ and ‘Eight Handicapped’ are really not easy to deal with. In our army, amongst the four most outstanding commanders, two are gone and now only Commanders Tian and Liu are left. Those who are of use in the army numbers less than forty, so I hope Mister will offer a helping hand.”

    Mister Zhuge sighed, “I too wish to offer you a hand to apprehend this traitor but with Chu Xiangyu’s escape, it’s even more important that I rush to the Palace to protect the Emperor. In case you cannot capture Chu Xiangyu, I will already be with his Majesty, it’s safer this way. I know that it’s not an easy task for you to capture Chu Xiangyu. … Tie Shou, make a trip with the two generals, maybe it’ll be of some help…”

    When Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lengleng heard that Mister Zhuge was unable to help them capture ‘Absolute Destroyer’, the can’t help but feel extremely dejected. Later they heard his explanation that Mister Zhuge is going to the Palace to protect the Emperor, they thought that it’s very reasonable. Now that Chu Xiangyu has escaped, it is very possible that he will make another assassination attempt on the Emperor, If anything untoward were to happen to the Emperor, even the families of them both will not be able to escape punishment. So it’s better if Mister Zhuge stays with the Emperor while both of them try to apprehend Chu Xiangyu even if it’s going to cost them their lives. Later they heard Mister Zhuge order Tie Shou to come with them and Tie Shou is one of the Four Famed Constables, with martial arts better than Wu Qing, Palm skills better than Zhui Ming and internal energy better than Leng Xue. With his help, it’s like adding wings to a tiger. General Shi Zhendong was ecstatic and said, “We hope that Mister will try to put in some good words for us with his Majesty, we vow to capture and kill all the escapees and make sure Chu Xiangyu does not have the opportunity to disturb his Majesty.”

    At the same time, Zhou Lenglong clasped his fists at Tie Shou and said, “We’ll have to trouble Brother Tie.”

    Although Tie Shou is relatively young and his looks are not outstanding, he gives others a feeling that he’s a modest, cheerful and calm person, totally different from what his name and reputation amongst the criminal world in Jianghu means. He said slowly, “It is my job to go after the criminal, how can I find it a trouble?” He then turned to Mister Zhuge and said, “Mister, do not worry, I won’t let that villain Chu Xiangyu get his way.”

    Mister Zhuge stroked his beard and sighed, “I have great faith in you, but Chu Xiangyu is really highly skilled and quick witted, I’m just afraid you’re not his match yet. You must act carefully.”

    Tie Xhou replied very respectfully, “Yes.”

    Mister Zhuge frowned and added, “Actually, other than being vicious, this ‘Absolute Destroyer’ is also a rare martial arts talent, a strange character in Jianghu. This can be seen by the fact that after he was imprisoned, there have been numerous occasions where someone will risk their lives and try to break him out of prison… oh yes, right now the Castellan of Northern City Zhou Baiyu and his wife ‘Fairy Heroine’ Bai Xinru, as well as the old Stockade Leader of Southern Stockade Wu Gangzhong happens to be around this area as well. Let me write them a letter and ask them to help both of you, what do you think?”

    Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong were overjoyed and hurriedly replied, “Of course that would be splendid.”

    There are three major players in the martial arts realm, respectively ‘Fengyun Escort Agency’, ‘Changxiao Sect’ and ‘Jiejian Manor’. Later on, the Sect Leader of Changxiao Sect, Situ Yongle and the Manor Master of ‘Jiejian Manor’ led their men on a fight against each other and both of them died, so ‘Fengyun Escort Agency’ became the strongest force in the martial arts realm. The in charge of ‘Fengyun Escort Agency’, ‘Nine Crescent Blades’ Long Fangxiao is a good friend of Mister Zhuge. Naturally there are a lot of top fighters in ‘Fengyun Escort Agency’ but the most support are given by the ‘Four Famed Families of Wulin’. The ‘Four Famed Families of Wulin’ consists of ‘Eastern Fort’, ‘Southern Stockade’, ‘Western Town’ and ‘Northern City’, and they were all founded by four highly skilled masters with their own unique capabilities. Amongst them, the Stockade Leader of ‘Southern Stockade’ Wu Gangzhong is getting on in age so he has handed most of the affairs of the stockade to his son Yin Chengfeng while he himself starting feeling adventurous and roamed the martial arts realm with his sword in hand. For the past few days, he has been staying in Mister Zhuge’s residence. The Castellan of ‘Northern City’ is young and capable, only in his early twenties and together with his young and beautiful fiancé ‘Fairy Heroine’ Bai Xinru, have already carved a names out for themselves in Jianghu. It just so happens that they are in Cangzhou during this period so they are just in time to be involved in this matter.

    As the old Stockade Leader of ‘Southern Stockade’ Wu Gangzhong, new Castellan of ‘Northern City’ Zhou Baiyu and ‘Fairy Heroine’ Bai Xinru are all extremely highly skilled and they all revere Mister Zhuge, so they will definitely be most willing to accede to any request from Mister Zhuge. On seeing that so many martial arts experts will be coming to help them, how can Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong not feel secretly ecstatic and they are even more grateful to Mister Zhuge.

    Mister Zhuge said, “In that case, let’s delay no further. Generals please prepare your horses and soldiers, I will send men to hand the letters to Stockade Leader Wu and Castellan Zhou. I would expect that once they receive the news, they will make their way to your residence immediately. Tie Shou, you can leave with Generals Shi and Zhou now.”

    Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong agreed submissively but Tie Shou said, “Generals, please go ahead and prepare your men. I would like to make use of this little time to make a trip to ‘Iron Blood Prison’ to investigate what happened.”

    Shi Zhendong saw that this young man is experienced and composed, unlike the usual youngsters who are proud and impatient, and he will be of real great help so replied gladly, “All right, I’ll have to trouble Brother Tie.”

    Zhou Lenglong saw how young Tie Shou is and doesn’t look like he has any outstanding abilities but yet he is listed in the ‘Four famed Constables’. He thought that it must be because of Mister Zhuge’s reputation. And now that the situation is so dire but yet he wants to investigate what happened, he wasn’t too impressed and said, “Anyway the ‘Twin Evils of Lingnan’ and Chu Xiangyu has escaped from prison, it’s good that Brother Tie wants to go and investigate.”

    What he actually meant was, whether he goes or not is the same, and won’t be of any help to the situation.

    What kind of a person is Mister Zhuge, how can he not understand the meaning behind the words, so he smiled and said, “This disciple of mine has his own way of looking at things and dealing with people. If both of you trust me, I am very willing to listen to his views.” When they heard Mister Zhuge giving such high recommendations to Tie Shou, they can’t help but be surprised.

    ******************************************

  6. #226
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    Thanks Jean.

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    to continue....


    ******************************************

    Tie Shou stood in front of the solid ‘Iron Blood Prison’, the wind and snow is still blowing and two rows of footsteps were behind Tie Shou. Surrounding the prison, for as far as the eye can see, were all snow with the occasional dried tree. Tie Shou stared at the prison in a daze, various feelings running through his heart. He has come countless times to this prison and many criminals were brought in here by him personally. But once they enter the doors, those that can come out would be old men or with one foot already in the grave, or even those who can never make a comeback again. Those people usually commit a crime because of a wrong decision made in a moment of weakness and because of that they can never turn back. Once Tie Shou thought of those martial arts exponents who were captured by him, he can’t help but quietly sigh.

    A major crime had been committed at ‘Iron Blood Prison’ so there are especially more guards on duty. But the prison guards all recognize Tie Shou and know that he is like the leader of all constables and the king of all officers so of course they dare not disturb him. Tie Shou walked nearer to ‘Iron Blood Prison’ and started looking around. The few guards on duty at ‘Iron Blood Prison’ were all feeling perplexed so they followed him and looked around as well. Tie Shou suddenly asked one of the guards, “When Shen Yunshan rescued the prisoners on that day, were you around, Old Liu?

    That Old Liu is a junior officer and there were a few times when Tie Shou captured criminals in the past and informed the magistrate, it was Old Liu who went to bring the prisoners back so of course he knows how capable Tie Shou is. He dare not refuse reply so he said, “Master Tie, how are you… when the incident happened that day, I happened to be on duty here so I’ve very clear on what happened.”

    Tie Shou smiled at him, “Then tell me quickly.”

    Old Liu started narrating, from how he saw Shen Yunshan bringing 8 ghastly looking men into the prison, to taking away the ‘Twin Evils of Lingnan’ and Chu Xiangyu, describing how fast Commander Tian’s Lightness Skill was and how imposing Commander Tian looked when he gave chase. His was very animated as he spoke, “… Commander Liu’s martial arts were excellent, with just a ‘whoosh’ he flew right past our ears and by the time we took another look, wow he was already on that side… but Commander Tian was even better. Well, well, well, he just took a huge step and the snow was all smashed.” It turns out that he felt that the two commanders’ martial arts were wondrous but yet afraid Tie Shou won’t believe him so he was gesticulating and even added on, “We were thinking at that time that most likely Commander Tian was in a hurry to look for his wife… otherwise he won’t be any slower than Commander Tian.” Most likely Old Liu’s hometown is also in Shandong so naturally he has a better liking towards Tian Dacuo as compared to Liu Yanping.

    Tie Shou was surprised and asked, “Commander Tian went to see his wife? How did you guys know?” He was feeling suspicious because Tian Dacuo made no mention of this at all.

    Old Liu laughed, “Master Tie does not know this, Commander Tian’s wife is my sister… hee hee… in the past Commander Tian was quite indifferent towards me but after my sister came to work in the prison, he took a liking to her and even said he wanted to marry her. Although he wanted to marry her but it’s been two years and they have yet to get married. But he have changed his attitude greatly towards me, his brother-in-law.” The more he said the more smug he was and Tie Shou could tell that Tian Dacuo often gives him advantages. By then, Old Liu has started calling out, “Sister, sister, quick come over and pay your respects to Official Tie.”

    A woman holding a wooden rice scoop walked out from within the prison and once Tie Shou saw her, he almost wanted to laugh. At first he can’t help but suspect if Commander Tian’s ‘wife’ could be doing an insider job and preventing Tian Dacuo from going after the convicts but now that he knows that she’s Old Liu’s sister with a rough face and loud voice. Her eyes actually seem quite coy and that may be the point that attracted Tian Dacuo. Her eyes were as large as bells and her waist as thick as a water barrel so she’s certainly not trained in martial arts, in fact, she can’t even be considered nimble. The lady walked over and said loudly, “Morning, Officer Tian. Aiya, it’s so terrible, because those few who escaped yesterday, now Dacuo will have to be dragged to follow the general into battle!” The lady was actually addressing Tian Dacuo quite affectionately that Tie Shou can’t help but find it hilarious. He suddenly thought of something and asked Old Liu, “You said that once you heard the Commander scream, Commander Shen came out with the escaped convicts shortly after?”

    Old Liu replied, “That’s right.”

    Tie Shou asked, “Could you have remembered wrongly the sequence of events? Think again.”

    Old Liu thought for a moment, “I didn’t remember wrongly! You can ask them.”

    The few prison guards around them agreed. Old Liu sighed and said, “Actually Commander Shen and Commander Sheng are on quite good terms. Commander Sheng has a hotter temper so it’s unavoidable there will be some arguments and shuffles, anyway didn’t Commander Sheng had a very bad fight with Commander Liu in the past as well? Commander Shen fought with Commander Tian before too, all the way from inside the prison to out here in the snow but they all pulled their punches at the critical moment, unlike this time… Commander Shen has really gone too far.”

    Tie Shou went ‘oh’ and asked, ‘They often fight?”

    Old Liu sighed, “Those few Commanders all have bad tempers. There are times that we will get beaten up too and end up resting in bed for weeks. Most of the time it was Commander Sheng who beat us, now finally…” He actually wanted to say ‘now finally Commander Sheng is dead’ but once he thought of the words he knew it’s not right to say it out but how can Tie Shou not know what he’s thinking. But after his conversation with Old Liu, he has a few questions which he has no answers to, only the feeling that Tian Dacuo and Liu Yanping were not entirely honest with what they said. However, he did not say anything else but asked Old Liu to open up ‘Iron Blood Prison’ so that he can go in and have a thorough look.

    ************************************************** *******

  8. #228
    Senior Member Abhay's Avatar
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    Thanks Jean.

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    to continue.....

    ************************************************** *******

    Chapter 2 – Siting and Facing the Buddha

    From Cangzhou to Mount Chilian, it’s about 100 to 150 miles and the journey will take more than a few days. So one must bring with them enough money, food, water, horses and even tents, flints, equipment for rainy weather etc.

    Right now, in front of General Shi’s residence in Cangzhou, there are 40 imposing men gathered in front of Generals Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong. These 40 men were muscular and alert and they are either men who have risked their lives on the battlefield with Generals Shi or Zhou, or highly skilled men personally taught by Generals Shi or Zhou. They can be considered elite soldiers under the flag of Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong, and also the bravest troops in the whole of Cangzhou. These people have at least one or two unique abilities or one or two special martial arts skills. In order to capture Chu Xiangyu, Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong decided that it’s not convenient to be dressed as soldiers to avoid alerting the enemy so they ordered the men to be dressed as civilians. These 40 men were dressed as scholars, woodsmen, laborers, beggars, fishermen etc.

    Tie Shou looked at these 40 men and were secretly impressed. Shi Zhendong is Cangzhou’s famous defending general and he has indeed taught his men well, there are no weak links under him. Although Zhou Lenglong is the Lieutenant General, his magnificence is not in anyway lesser than General Shi.

    Shi and Zhou split up the troops into three groups, with 20 of them dressed as body guards being the main team while Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong dressed up as merchants. Wu Gangzhong is dressed as the Escort Leader and Zhou Baiyu and Bai Xinru were dressed as a wealthy young couple. The other team consisted of 3 beggars, 2 medicine peddlers, 1 fortune teller and 4 sedan carriers, a total of 10 men and seated in the sedan is Tian Dacuo, the commander of this smaller team. He’s supposed to make sure that his team follows behind the main team and the distance separating them must not exceed 7 miles so that they can be ready to provide reinforcements at any time.
      
    The other team has 2 scholars, 2 woodsmen, 1 laborer, 1 fisherman, 2 Taoist priests, 1 physician, 1 old servant helping a sickly man and this sickly man is the commander of the team, he is Liu Yanping. They are to travel in front of the main team, not more than 7 miles away and they act just like scouts in the army.

    By now, the old Stockade Leader of ‘Southern Stockade’ Wu Gangzhong, Castellan of ‘Northern City’ Zhou Baiyu and the ‘Fairy Heroine’ Bai Xinru have already met Tie Shou. Tie Shou saw that Wu Gangzhong, also known as ‘Three Incomparable and One Thunder’ is almost 70 years old but he’s still strong with reddish cheeks and silvery white hair. He indeed looks imposing and at one glance others can tell that he is a martial arts expert both in internal strength and combat skills. On Wu Gangzhong’s trip this time, he only brought with him 2 men from ‘Southern Stockade’ and both of them have a bit of reputation amongst the martial arts realm as well. One of them is called ‘Black Demon’ Xue Zhang’er and the other is ‘Ground Tumbling Knife’ Yuan Huntian. One of them is tall and muscular, his weapon is a 12 foot long pole and his strength is amazing. The other looks like a sly rat, short but stout and his weapons are a pair of willow leaf knives and he usually attacks his opponent’s lower body.

    As for Northern City’s Castellan Zhou Baiyu, he may be relatively young but calm and stable, with a pair of sharp yet gentle eyes, handsome but not self-absorbed. Obviously he is a young hero who has overcome many obstacles in the martial arts world but did not lose his goals and aspirations. ‘Fairy Heroine’ Bai Xinru wore a light, white colored outfit, a sharp contrast to her jet black hair and dark irises. Bai Xinru has a delicate beauty, her skin whiter than snow and her body gracefully slender, her brows emit a subtle heroic air. So it’s no wonder that everyone in the martial arts world say that Zhou Baiyu and Bai Xinru are the perfect couple in the martial arts realm.

    As for Wu Gangzhong, Zhou Baiyu and Bai Xinru, they were even more surprised during their first meeting with Tie Shou. They felt that this young man is cultivated and calm with an impressive bearing. He has the quality of a martial arts leader yet his movements are composed and graceful. Everyone will think that for someone to have the nickname ‘Tie Shou’, that person must be a fierce and sullen looking guy but they did not expect it to be a courteous, easygoing and graceful young man.

    After they met and made some small talk, the three groups set off separately as going after the enemy is of utmost importance. Tie Shou saw how the troops set off systematically and was quietly impressed with the Generals Shi Zhendong and Zhou Lenglong.

    All of them travelled without stop for 4 days, covering more than 100 miles. The scouts reported back that there were traces of Chu Xiangyu and his group camping around the area a day ago. Everyone knows that they are nearing Mount Chilian and they are about to catch up with Chu Xiangyu so they dare not dally but carefully pursue with full speed. On this day they’ve come to the area near Tiger’s Tail Creek, about less than 20 miles from ‘Lianyun Stockade’ in Mount Chilian. ‘Flying Swallow’ Liu Yanping and his 10 soldiers arrived first. Because of the long, arduous journey, the 11 of them were extremely tired. Also, because of General Shi Zhendong’s orders that once they are within 10 miles of Lianyun Stockade, they are to wait until all three teams meet up to avoid the enemy taking the opportunity to fight their way out. Therefore there’s no need for Liu Yanping to be in such a hurry now. Tiger’s Tail Creek is a small village with only about 200 people residing there and there’s nothing much to eat. Liu Yanping ordered his men to be careful and because of the heavy wind and snow and the freezing cold, he ordered all of them to go into a small wine tavern and rest.

    Although there are mule carriages and horse carriages here, generally speaking only the rich have the good fortune to use them. The others who want to travel from one city to another will have to rely on their own two feet. But these are turbulent times so it’s quite common for one to run into bandits along the way getting robbed or sometimes even killed. So it’s quite common for a few or even dozens of men of differing trades to travel together.

    ************************************************** *****************

  10. #230
    Senior Member Abhay's Avatar
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    Thanks jean.

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    Senior Member LuDongBin's Avatar
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    Thks Jean.

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    Talented lady Jean, suddenly I miss you..

  13. #233
    Senior Member Jean's Avatar
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    I am still lurking around, but too busy to translate regularly...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean View Post
    I am still lurking around, but too busy to translate regularly...
    dont worry Jean, we're understand...

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