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Thread: 大唐双龙传 [Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan] by Huang Yi

  1. #21
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    Thanks foxs

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    Senior Member LuDongBin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by episod3ux View Post
    Awesome and thanx!
    One question,when this novel was published?(the year).
    I believed it was serialized in January 1996 and ended in 2001. A revised edition was done in 2004.
    Last edited by LuDongBin; 11-07-14 at 08:57 AM.

  3. #23
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    Default Book 1 - Chapter 2, Part 1

    Anh, Strawberry, you are welcome. Weed, welcome then, glad you could join us. Dongbin, thank you, you are so knowledgeable.


    Book 1 Chapter 2 Facing imminent catastrophe

    The City of Yangzhou gradually woke up.

    As soon as the city gate was opened at the mao hour [between 5-7am], traveling merchants, peasants, all kinds of people fell over each other to enter the city. The boats and ships that arrived the previous day already unloaded their cargo on the docks; they also took this time to deliver their goods into the city. All at the same time carriages and horses were moving together; hence it was so noisy.

    From Yangzhou going east down the Yangtze River, one could sail to Japan [lit. dwarf country], Ryukyu Islands, and Southeast Asia, making Yangzhou one of the nations most important transit centers to foreign lands; hence it was more bustling compared to any other city.

    But today the atmosphere was a bit strange; there were a large number of officers and soldiers inside and outside the city. The crossing checkpoints were also a lot more stringent than usual, resulting in long queues. However, although everybody was burning with anxiety, nobody dared to open his mouth to grumble. Because anybody who was used to roam the Jianghu could see that mixed with local officials, there were not a few big men wearing the uniform of the Imperial Bodyguards. Unless one did not value his life anymore, who would dare to offend these tyrant Imperial Bodyguards from the Capital?

    There were a total of five markets in the city. The most flourishing one was the South Gate Market, which faced the Yangtze River. There were at least a few dozens stalls offering all kinds of food or food products, big and small. It was indeed an ideal place for the would-be travellers, who were ready to embark their boats, to get their breakfast.

    Other than being an important hub, since ancient times Yangzhou has been well-known across the country for its prostitutes [烟花 can either be prostitutes or fireworks]. Whether it was young master of rich merchant with ten thousand strings of cash in his belt, or self-proclaimed literary talent, romantic scholar, or licentious swordsman, if they have not been here at least once, they could not be considered a romantic hero. [Translators note: I dont think these people came to Yangzhou to enjoy fireworks.] Therefore, it was obvious why Yangzhou was flourishing.

    Among the food stalls in the South Gate Market, Ol Fengs vegetable and meat steamed bun [baozi] was the most famous. On top of that, the sales lady was Ol Fengs young mistress, Zhen Sao [lit. Sister-in-law Zhen], who had countenance of a flower, face like the moon. She became the living advertising board to drum up business. By the time the Ol Feng brought out a tray full of steaming hot vegetable and meat steamed buns from the kitchen, the impatient customers who have been waiting outside immediately scrambled forward to hand over the money in their hands.

    While Sister-in-law Zhen was busy and dripping wet with fragrant sweats, suddenly a big head belonging to a teenager stuck out from the crowd; with big smile on his face [orig. brows raised in delight and eyes laughing] he said, Eight vegetable and meat steamed buns, please. Zhen Sao, how are you?

    It was Xu Ziling. Because he was afraid Ol Feng might see him, he deliberately hunched over that he was half as tall as the other people; his posture looked quite comical, actually. Fortunately his features were unusually charming; his eyes were long and lively, his nose straight and the bridge of his nose was quite high, his forehead wide, the corners of his mouth curled up in smile as bright as the sunshine. If not for his face was greasy and dirty, his clothes were shabby, plus he was beaten up by Yan Laoda that his face was blue and his lips swollen; so his appearance right now was quite unsightly, hence people did not have any reason to compliment him.

    When Sister-in-law Zhen saw him, the first thing she did was casting a worried look over at the Ol Feng and the evil first wife in the kitchen; seeing that they did not notice the situation over here, she was relieved. While serving the other customers, she pretended to protest coquettishly, No money yet you want to imitate other people buying steamed buns?

    With a forced laugh Xu Ziling said, Just a bit of delay, none will be lacking, tomorrow I will definitely pay you back.

    With the quickest movement Sister-in-law Zhen grasped four steamed buns; after a slight hesitation she picked two more, and then wrapped everything nicely in paper, and stuffed it into his hands, while scolding him in low voice, This is the last time. Ay! Look how bad you have been beaten.

    Xu Ziling squealed in joy and withdrew from the crowd. Straightening up his back, his appearance looked a lot better instantly.

    Although he was very young, he had grown to be as big and tall as fully-grown men. His shoulders were wide, his waist narrow; its just that due to undernourishment he was relatively thin.

    Squeezing through a row of fruit and vegetable stalls, he bumped into Kou Zhong. Reaching into the bundle he grabbed a steamed bun and stuffed it into his mouth, while mumbling with his mouth full, Is it really the last time?

    Kou Zhong was a year older, but he was half a cun [a thumb, approx. an inch] shorter. His shoulders were wide, his upper arm bulging. He looked rather thick and solid. Although he lacked Xu Zilings elegance, he had a broad face and big ears. All in all, he carried a strong masculine aura, with a free and happy-go-lucky attitude, which was unusually attractive; his eyes were deep but looked quick-witted. In short, he was in no way inferior to Xu Ziling, making people believed that in the future this kid would definitely not be a nobody [orig. an object in the pond]. However, his clothes were patched on the east and stitched in the west, it was even more filthy than Xu Zilings; in fact, it was just as bad as a little beggar.

    Xu Ziling was eating his third steamed buns. Suddenly he frowned and said, Dont you say that Zhen Sao is basically a good person? Nowadays, how many people in Yangzhou are as kind-hearted as she is? Too bad her parents owed money, plus her old dad considered money as important as life, so that he sold her to the Ol Feng as a mistress. Laotianye [God, Heaven, lit. old master of the sky] must be blind.

    By this time the two of them already left the market and reached the main street, mingled among the stream of people heading out of the city via the South Gate.

    With his tummy full, Kou Zhong wrapped his arm around Xu Zilings shoulder; glancing to the left and right, he said, Fat sheep are especially many today, it is best to find a bit older, with gorgeous clothes, walking alone, looks like he had a lot of loads in his mind, and wont even know if he loses his wallet. That kind of old idiot.

    With a bitter laugh Xu Ziling said, That time it was you, this muddled egg, who wanted to find an old man as a target. And then when you saw him scrambling on the ground and crying out to heaven, you pretended to pick it up and give it back to him, in the end I was beaten up by Yan Laoda.

    Kou Zhong was unabashed, Dont forget that I only wanted to return half of that old mans money; it was you who wanted make that man happy and insisted that I should stick to the original plan and return the whole thing to him, and now you are blaming me? Hey! But as thieves, we also have principles, so we can be considered good men. Ha! Look!

    Xu Ziling followed his gaze, and just happen to catch sight of a fifty-something old scholar, walking in the direction of the city gate. He was well dressed, but had an anxious look on his face, as he walked hurriedly with his head down. He fit Kou Zhongs description perfectly. How could there be such a coincidence?

    The two of them stared blankly at the old man, and then they noticed that the back of his clothes was bulging, apparently he carried his purse hidden on his lower back.

    Kou Zhong whispered in Xu Zilings ear, Whether well meet with the lady luck or not, we only need to see whether this fellow looks impressive but is worthless or not.

    Xu Ziling anxiously said, I really need to pay Zhen Sao back.

    As the two of them hurried run after the old man, suddenly they saw a platoon of soldiers coming from the opposite direction. They were greatly shocked and quickly turned around and entered a small alley, and from there they run across toward another alley, which lead to another street big enough for sedan chair, which ran parallel to the southern wall of the city.

    The two of them plopped down to sit by the wall. After sighing for their bad luck, Kou Zhong came up with another idea, Maybe wed better try entering the imperial examination. Although the material we know coming from eavesdropping Bai Lao Fuzis [see Chapter 1] lecture, at least its better than those good-for-nothing people in class who pay a lot of money to listen to stories. If our names make the list, not only we wont need travel expenses anymore, we dont need to take the risk of a long and difficult trek; well be high-ranking officials.

    With eyes blazing with fire Xu Ziling said, Joining the militia is your idea, and now you want to enter imperial examination. You think it is as easy as taking a peek at those young ladies from the Spring Breeze Courtyard [i.e. brothel]? After all

    Kou Zhong suddenly elbowed his ribs and winked. Xu Ziling looked up toward the street, and saw the old scholar was actually also running away in panic just like them. Even when he looked toward them, he did not seem to see them but just hurrying along toward the big street. The two of them were ecstatic at this unexpected turn of events, they sprang up and ran after him.

    Time for the operation.

    The old scholar was such in a hurry that he did not even notice the clothes on his back was cut. Just now he wanted to leave the city via the South Gate, but was scared by the tight border security that he drew back. He knew it was not suitable for him to go out, yet he was afraid to return home; calling on a friend, he was even more afraid he would implicate other people. While he was hesitating, a shadow flashed, someone was barring his way.

    While the old scholar was shaking in shock, more men appeared from left and right and seized him that he was not unable to move a single step.

    The one blocking his way was Yuwen Huaji and one of his men. With a smile on his face this martial art expert from the Yuwen Clan walked over toward the old scholar. After seizing him up from top to bottom several times, he said in a bored tone, Isnt this gentleman Jiangdus rising poetry and literature scholar Tian Wen Laoshi [teacher]? I heard Laoshi is a good friend of Shi Long Shifu [simply a respectful form of address for older men]. Just now we took the liberty of paying an official call on Tian Laoshis respected residence. Unexpectedly, without suspecting anything, we managed to dredge up Shi Shifus body from the bottom of the well. And now Tian Laoshi seems to be in a hurry to leave; I wonder what was the reason?

    Tianwens countenance was changed greatly; he could not find anything to say. By this time the people passing through the street knew that something was not right, but seeing that among the men surrounding Tian Wen was their own captain of the local garrison, who would dare to be implicated by interfering?

    Meanwhile, the two men grabbing Tian Wen from both sides did not stay idle either; their hands were busy searching Tian Wen's whole body, but they were unable to find the book that was supposedly in his possession. Zhang Shihe personally did the search. Before long he discovered that the back of Tian Wen's clothes had been cut with a sharp weapon.

    "Not good!" his countenance changed, "The book is gone!"

    Yuwen Huaji's eyes flashed with cold rays as he called out in deep voice, "Chen Shoubei!" [Translator's note: Shoubei practically means 'on garrison duty'. I am not sure his actual military rank, although earlier I said 'captain'.]

    Chen Shoubei, who normally tyranize people, quickly stepped forward. As his eyes met Yuwen Huaji's, his knees buckled and he dropped down kneeling on the ground, "Lowly officer's here!"

    Yuwen Huaji coldly said, "Seal the city gates immediately. While you are at it, catch all thieves and local ruffians in the city for me. If we can't find the thing that His Holiness wants, they can forget about keeping their lives."

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    Thanks foxs

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    Senior Member Grundle's Avatar
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    Excellent! Thanks for the hard work
    --=={Grundle}==--

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    Thanks for the hard work foxs!

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    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Hi foxs,

    I remember seeing the old TVB series with Raymond Lam and Ron Ng on cable where they mutated the series into something really different from the book. The new Chinese remake with Danny Chan and Alex Fong was released just 2 years ago which was supposed to be a trilogy but rating were so bad that they never finished the series.

    Thanks for the translation foxs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by foxs View Post
    Translator's note: Shoubei practically means 'on garrison duty'. I am not sure his actual military rank, although earlier I said 'captain'.
    Looks like shoubei is an official title (http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%AE%88%E5%82%99), but it appears to be anachronistic in this story because it is a Qing military term.

  9. #29
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    Default Book 1 - Chapter 2, Part 2

    Anh, Grundle, Zlack, you are most welcome. Thanks for stopping by. SzFong, thanks for the info. I wouldn't know because I never watch any adaptation. CFT, how come you guys are so knowledgeable? It's one of the reasons I keep translating, because even if I don't know much, you guys will step in and make necessary correction. Thanks. Here is the end of Chapter 2. If I can maintain my pace, we'll have Book 1 finished before Christmas.


    Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong were sitting side-by-side in a secluded alley by the East Gate, staring blankly at the book in front of them. Deeply disappointed, Xu Ziling said, "Next time we want to steal, we must never target those that look like a school teacher. This weird book with undecipherable handwriting is more difficult to understand than the Heavenly Book [mythical book of heavens]. Aren't you the Zhong Shaoye [young master] who often brags about your great erudition and scholarship? Tell me, what is this written on the top?"

    Kou Zhong proudly said, "How can I be like you, a mere kid without learning or skills? This book must be a secret martial art manual from the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors era [the earliest system of Chinese historiography]. We can train it, we will be unequalled under the heavens that even Shi Shifu will have to step down gracefully. Just look at these diagrams of human body, this is the secret to circulate qi along the channels. Ha! This time we come across a treasure. Look! Did you notice the marvelous quality of the paper?"

    Xu Ziling could not stop laughing. "Don't blow your horn too loud. Just read a couple of characters let me hear it. I want to see how good your education is."

    Kou Zhong has always been proud of his age and experience; his eyes were gleaming as he said, "If somebody could write it, then there must be somebody else who could understand it. Let us find an old scholar with the most learning, we'll ask him to interpret these strange characters for us. Besides, we, the two dragons of Yangzhou, have specific responsibility to train martial art. This is called dividing up the work in collaboration, each on in his proper place. Do you understand?"

    With disappointment in his voice Xu Ziling said, "Do you think you are the Zongguan [see chapter 1] of Yangzhou? Who would listen to us and do our bidding? Right now we, the two snakes of Yangzhou, have a more pressing problem at hand: food. Looks like we will have to take the money we save for traveling expense and exchange it for a couple of steamed buns to feed our tummy. I'll say it is a bit more practical."

    Kou Zhong laughed aloud. He stood up, hid the book in his clothes again, stretched, and said, Let me, Zhong Shaoye, take care of lunch. Come! Lets go home first to get some money, and then we go to the docks outside the city to do some damn business that requires no capital. Afterwards we run away as far as we can; otherwise, if that stinky Laoda discovered that we have some treasured book in our bosom, we will be in very big trouble.

    Recalling the fierce beating he received the previous day, Xu Ziling broke out in sweats. He sprang up and sneakily followed Kou Zhong back to the abandoned courtyard, their home.

    Yuwen Huaji was sitting in the main hall of the Zongguan Mansion, drinking tea; serving him was Yangzhou Zongguan, Yuchi Sheng. Not only these two men were well-acquainted with each other, the relationship between them was more than casual. Before Yang Jian established the Great Sui Dynasty, he was a high-ranking minister of the Northern Zhou Dynasty [557-581]. Later on, after Emperor Xuan of Zhou [? not sure about this one], Yuwen Yun, died of illness, Yang Jian colluded with Internal Historian Physician Zheng Yi and Imperial Justice Physician Liu Fang. Arguing that the successor of the throne, Yuwen Shan, was still underage, they acted in the pretense of following imperial order by calling Yang Jian back to the imperial court to take over the government.

    One year later, Yang Jian forced Emperor Jing to abdicate, and proclaimed himself as the new Emperor. Henceforth, the Yuwen Clans Northern Zhou world now belonged to the Yang Clan. Yet because Yuwen Clans influence was deep-rooted, although becoming the Emperor, Yang Jian was unable to completely uproot the Yuwen Clan. By the time his son Yang Guang became the Emperor, Yuwen Clan rose up in power again. Strictly speaking, although on the surface the Yuwen Clan was loyal toward the Sui Dynasty, there was a hatred buried deep in the deepest of their hearts.

    After Yang Jian usurped the throne, there were three separate attempts by different high-ranking officials who supported the Yuwen Clans Northern Zhou to rise up in rebellion, namely Xiangzhous Zongguan Yuchi Zhou, Zhengzhous Zongguan Sima Xiaonan, and Yizhous Zongguan Wang Qian. These people did not have any family relationship with the Yuwen Clan, they were simply loyal to the royal family of the Northern Zhou. One of them, Yuchi Sheng, was precisely Yuchi Shengs paternal uncle; hence the reason these two people had close relationship. Therefore, even when talking about secret matters, they did not have the slightest bit of worry.

    Yuwen Huaji sighed and said, This book is really very important. I have prepared some experts. As soon as we obtain the treasured book, we will pretend that we manage to break the secret, and let that incapable ruler train it. I guarantee that within three months, he will die of the training. Who would have thought that there are many twists and turns in getting that thing that ought to be in our hands right now? We cant even make a fake copy.

    With a cold snort Yuchi Sheng said, Even if the treasured book did not exist, I am afraid it would be difficult for the Yang Clan to protect their throne. The Heaven blesses the Great Zhou. Ever since that incapable ruler usurped the throne, internally he screws taxes out of the people by force, he carries out large scale constructions; externally he engage in wars of aggression at will, engaging the Korean Goryeo in the military expedition to the east. Three battles and three defeats. And now rebel armies are everywhere. As long as we can seize this opportunity, we can restore the Great Zhous glory of the past.

    Yuwen Huajis eyes were gleaming with cold rays; he said in deep voice, Yang Guangs days are numbered. What I worry about is the other three powerful clans, especially the Li Clan that must not be taken lightly. Their Clan Leader Li Yuan[1] is the nephew of Empress Dowager Dugus maternal aunt; thats why they enjoy the Yang Clans trust much more than our Yuwen Clan. The longer we fail to wipe out the three powerful clans, our Great Zhous restoration will undoubtedly come across considerable resistance.

    After a short pause, he continued, In regards to foreign power, Turkic ethnic group[2] is the biggest threat. Right now the rebel armies are allying themselves with Turkic people to borrow their influence, and thus increasing the Turkics power. Moreover, Turkics four masters martial art skill has reached perfection. Thinking about it indeed makes one anxious.

    Yuchi Sheng said, I am under the impression that you dont have to worry about the Li Clan. Although Li Yuan is Yang Guangs maternal cousin, just based on the fact that this man is giving favor to a lot of people far and wide, and thus he made friends with heroes everywhere, Yang Guang is very jealous of him. Right now Li Yuan is too busy to defend himself. As long as we can plan our move, deepening Yang Guangs suspicions toward Li Yuan, we might be able to kill him with borrowed knife; hence we will reap the fishermans benefit.

    A smile appeared in Yuwen Huajis eyes. As he was nodding his praise, Zhang Shihe came in to report, We have a bit of progess! Yuwen Huaji and Yuchi Sheng were greatly delighted.

    Zhang Shihe said, According to Tian Wens confession, before he was arrested, he came across two ruffians, about fifteen, sixteen years old. It seems like these two boys were the ones who stole the book.

    Yuwen Huaji happily said, And Shihe must have had investigated these two ruffians clearly; thats why you came to report.

    Zhang Shihe laughed, That is correct. These two boys, one is called Kou Zhong, the other Xu Ziling. They are Yangzhous most famous pickpockets. Their boss is called Yan Kuan, right now he is in our custody to help us finding those two fellows.

    Yuchi Sheng laughed aloud and said, Thats an easy thing to do. Unless they can grow wings, as long as they are still in the city, they wont escape our grasp.

    Yuwen Huaji breathed a sigh of relief and sat back down in his chair, as if the treasured book has already been in his hands.

    The two boys had not had any chance to get the dozen or so five-zhu [1/24th of a tael] coins stringed together, when Xu Ziling, who was on the lookout, saw the dejected Yan Laoda being dragged by a dozen or so big men toward the abandoned garden. Xu Ziling was very sharp; although he was greatly shocked, he knew he had to hasten quietly to the rendezvous point with Kou Zhong, and then together they slipped into another broken down room that only have three remaining rotten walls. They hid inside a hole in the ground, which they made especially whenever they wanted to avoid Yan Laoda. It was covered with a fake floor, made of wooden planks, strewn with fallen leaves, sand and stones, leaving only a small crack for ventilation purpose.

    Crash, bang, thud, crack! Noise of overturned wooden chest and falling object unceasingly entered their small nest. Soon after they heard Yan Laodas bawling, apparently he was being severely beaten up by those men.

    Although they really wished someone would beat Yan Laoda to death, but listening to his situation right now, they still could not bear it.

    They were greatly puzzled as well. What had happened? After all, in Yangzhou Yan Laoda had a bit of reputation and power, he had more than twenty brothers as his underlings. More recently, he took the Hall Master of the Bamboo Flower Clan, Chang Ci, as his father-in-law. But in front of these men, he seemed to be even lowlier than a pig or a dog.

    A grim and sad-sounding voice was heard from further down the path, Go search!

    Hearing this, the two dragons of Yangzhou immediately turned into two coiling snakes as they tried to curl up as small as possible, did not even dare to take half a breath.

    Yan Laodas trembling voice was heard, Gentlemen [orig. daye big master], please give me a bit more time, we will definitely get the book back, I can guarantee with my head aaahhh! Evidently if he was not punched, then he must have been kicked.

    Footsteps were heard very close to the hole, followed by someone calling out, Still cant find them?

    Yan Laodas voice was hoarse with pain as he was begging for mercy, Please give me another chance, these two wretched kids must have gone to Shi Longs martial art training field to peek at people training martial art there. Aahhh!

    The grim and sad-sounding voice spoke, We closed Shi Longs martial art training field this morning; there is not much to look at over there.

    A short pause, and then, I want four of you to stay here, wait for their return. And you, this scum, take us to all the places those kids might stroll to one by one. Quick, drag him up!

    The footsteps died away.

    Inside the hole, Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling looked at each other; they both see the others face was as white as a ghost. Almost at the same time both of them recalled the dark culvert heading out of the city by the East Gate.

    Right now that was their only hope.

    [1] Personal name of first Tang emperor, Gaozu, 566-635, reigned 618-626.

    [2] Turkic people are collection of ethnic group that live in northern, eastern, central, and western Asia, northwestern China, and parts of eastern Europe, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkic_peoples

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    Thank you!

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    Thanks this seems to be getting interesting

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    Quote Originally Posted by foxs View Post
    CFT, how come you guys are so knowledgeable? It's one of the reasons I keep translating, because even if I don't know much, you guys will step in and make necessary correction. Thanks.
    I'm not really. Google helps alot. I enter the Chinese term and find the Chinese sites like baidu which will have a short (sometimes long) entry on a term/topic. It does help a bit that I can read the original Chinese.

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    Thanks foxs

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    Thanks for taking the time to work on this project foxs. This is one of my favorite wuxia stories.

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    Default Book 1 - Chapter 3, Part 1

    Strawberry, Jiraiyan, Anh, Liljanger, you are welcome. CFT, to me, that is knowledgable, because if I have to read Chinese without dictionary, it would take me a long time.


    Book 1 Chapter 3 Far and away from Yangzhou

    Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling stripped stark naked. First, they washed their clothes clean by the creek, then they spread out the clothes on the thickets next to the bank to let it dry in the afternoon sun. They put The Secret to Long Life on a rock. Finally they shouted gleefully as they dive into the stream to wash away the grimes and the stink from crawling inside the dark culvert.

    They were still kids, after all. After running for their lives to this forest on a hill, about seven or eight li [1 li is approx. 1/2km or 1/3 of a mile] from Yangzhou city wall, they were so exhausted that they did not feel like moving anymore. Also, thinking that they were already far away from danger, their moods turned a lot better.

    While they were playing and singing happily in the water, suddenly they hear tender snort coming from the creeks bank. At first they were startled and scared, and quickly looked at the direction of the noise. But then they saw a woman wearing snow-white clothes, with a bamboo rain hat on her head, was standing gracefully on the shore. With her pair of cold eyes that was hidden behind a white gauze veil, she looked at them, sizing them up, without any care whatsoever that they were stark naked.

    The two boys squealed in terror and quickly ducked inside the water, instinctively their hands went down to cover their lower parts. With a squeaky voice Xu Ziling cried out, Its improper to look, Dajie [big sister] please avert your noble eyes; spare us!

    Kou Zhong also cried out, Looking once you have to pay one wen [1/10 of a tael, approx. 0.5gram (of silver)]. Miss already looked at least a hundred times; even with fifty or perhaps sixty percent rate, you need to pay us about a hundred copper coins and then you may go.

    An ice-cold smile appeared on the corner of the woman-in-whites mouth. Little demon is asking for it, she said lightly.

    Stretching out her lily-white hand, which was as slender as a spring scallion, she casually flicked her two fingers. Pop, pop! The two boys screamed in pain and fell down to the water.

    It was quite a while before they finally emerged from the water, still in a lot of pain.

    The woman-in-white spoke matter-of-factly, When Miss asks you a question, you answer with an honest answer; otherwise, you, these two little demons, will suffer more pain.

    By this time Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling have already withdrawn to the other side of the creek. But since they were still naked, they did not dare to crawl out of the water. Unable to neither advance nor retreat, they were completely at a loss.

    Kou Zhong has always been able to see the wind and set his sails; therefore, he forced a laugh and said, Lowly ones know that we cannot not speak, and speak cannot not be honest. [I know it sounds awkward in English, but Chinese loves to use double negative.] Miss, please go ahead and ask.

    Seeing he was trying to talk bookish talk, yet his appearance was nondescript, the woman-in-white let out a cold snort and said, I ask you, what kind of guts you, the little demon, have?

    Xu Ziling was shocked. All along we, two brothers, have never known how to tell stories. Miss, you may ask us anything.

    The woman-in-white still maintained her wooden expression. With a voice as calm as the water she asked, Do you live near here?

    Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling looked at each other. And then one nodded, the other shook his head. Another flick of her fingers, their knees went weak and they tumbled into the water again. As before, it was quite a while before they were able to struggle up, battered and exhausted.

    As if nothing had happened, the woman-in-white calmly said, If I hear one more lie, dont even think that you will be able to crawl up again.

    The two boys were very scared of the woman-in-whites ruthlessness, but they have already developed resilience from receiving Laoda, Yan Kuans bullying. With a forced laugh Kou Zhong said, Dashi [lit. great scholar/bachelor/member of senior ministerial class; I dont know how to translate this properly], you misunderstood. I nodded because I certainly live in my in-laws village nearby. And he shook his head, because he lives in the city. Today this brother of mine especially went out of the city to have fun with me. So now Dashi can see that we are indeed innocent.

    Hearing the smooth talk and the laughter, Xu Ziling hastily covered his mouth, afraid that he might provoke this evil Luocha [demon in Buddhism, as in Yu Luocha, White Haired Demoness].

    But the woman-in-white remained unmoved. If I hear more flippant answer, Ill gouge your tongue out of your mouth. Why do you call me Dashi?

    Xu Ziling was afraid Kou Zhong might ramble, he busily said, Just because you are wearing long white robe like Guanyin Dashi [Goddess of Mercy], he is honoring Big Sister as Dashi. It is just a show of respect, there is no other meaning.

    At this point, this scene was really weird. An enigmatic woman as cold as ice and frost, coldly dealing with two stark naked boys, embarrassed and were in a difficult situation, hiding in the water. If an outsider was to witness this scene, even if he rack his brain until burst, he would not be able to guess the relationship between them.

    The woman-in-whites eyes fell onto The Secret to Long Life lying on the rock by the shore. What is that? she asked.

    Not missing a single beat, Kou Zhong reverently and respectfully replied, That is the book of the sages that Bai Lao Fuzis [see Chapter 1] wanted us to study. Would Dashi like to read it?

    Evidently the woman-in-white did not know that it was a very important book, because the fact was that from the outside, this book was not much different from any other book. Therefore, she only took a couple of glances, and then her eyes were back to the two boys. Do you know this man Shi Long? she asked in a heavy voice.

    Seeing she no longer care about their secret manual, the two boys inwardly wiped the sweats from their foreheads, while scrambling to answer at the same time, Of course we do!

    Tell me then, the woman-in-white said, Why are his house and institution teeming with soldiers and officers? And Yangzhou city gates are all closed?

    Kou Zhong pretended to be surprised, Is there such thing? he said, We have been here since early in the morning catching fish. Ah! Xiao Ling, how are you going to go back to the city?

    Although Xu Ziling knew he was lying, looking at his serious manner[1], he almost believed it was true. Assuming a pained expression on his face, he exclaimed in shock, Mother is going to kill me.

    Suddenly he felt Kou Zhong nudged him; realizing his intention, he said, That wont do! I must return to the city immediately. Hey! Dashi, would you turn your back momentarily, so that we can go up and put our clothes on?

    The woman-in-white did not have any intention of turning her back to them. With a cold snort, without seeing how she moved, she was already deep inside the forest.

    The two boys slumped down into the water, and then they floated back up. Kou Zhong sighed and said, This stinking b1tch is really formidable. Someday after we master unrivalled martial art skill, I must strip her naked and look at her mothers body until I am satisfied.

    Xu Ziling was really afraid she might come back, giving Kou Zhong a little push, they crawled up to the shore. She might be very ugly, he said with a wry smile, Anyway, you have seen her enough.

    After they were fully dressed, Kou Zhong hid the treasured book well, and then with a deep frown said, What crime did Shi Long commit anyway? Not only his martial art arena is closed, even his house is being raided.

    Xu Ziling said with a sigh, It seems like training martial art is useless. Lets roll! Every time I remember that bunch beating Yan Laoda, my heart alarmed, my body leaps in fright.

    Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, How can martial art skill be useless? Just look at my stepping on dry land technique. Ow! He only took two steps when he tripped on a stone and fumbled down that he had to crawl on all four.

    Xu Ziling doubled up in laughter, and momentarily was not able to stand up.

    The two boys crouched inside a thicket on a knoll overlooking the lower reaches of Yangtze River. They were dumbstruck to see three big warships and hundreds of speedboats close to the city, inspecting all departing boats.

    Kou Zhong sucked in a breath of cold air, My grandpa! he gasped, That book of ours must be a Heavenly Book [see Chapter 2].

    Xu Ziling whispered in Kou Zhongs ear, Would Zhong Shaoye lower your voice a bit so we wont alarm them? Perhaps there are militia army mingle among them, otherwise, their number would not be that big.

    Kou Zhong rubbed his empty tummy. Suddenly he was hit by realization, If the river route is like that, I am afraid the land route is being closed as well; wed better find a place to hide. Oh, my God! Isnt that the sound of dog barking?

    The two of them listened carefully, and their countenance changed drastically. It was obvious that the dog bark came from the direction of the creek. Now they could also hear the sound of hoof beats. They thought that if the dogs sensitive nose had already picked up their scent from their old hole in the ground, would that mean they were in a very big trouble?

    They both shuddered. And then with a scream they ran for their lives into the depth of the forest in the mountain.

    They ran over a small hill, but as they were rushing downhill, Xu Ziling tripped. He groaned and rolled downhill. Kou Zhong ran over and pulled him up, Hurry up!

    Xu Ziling said sadly, I cant walk anymore. Take the secret manual and go quickly! In the future when you have mastered matchless divine skill, come back and avenge me. No matter how fast we run, we cant outrun dogs legs and horses legs anyway. Right now I can try to divert the enemy; its your only hope to escape with your life.

    Kou Zhong did not even want to think about it. He lugged Xu Ziling toward the sparse wooded area ahead as he cried out, If we die, we die together; otherwise, how can we be considered brothers?

    Suddenly he had a brainwave. Changing direction, he ran toward the Big River [i.e. Yangtze]. By this time they could clearly hear the sound of barking dogs and the hoof beats.

    Xu Ziling cried out in horror, Are we going to throw ourselves into the river?

    Gasping for breath, Kou Zhong replied, This is the only way. As soon as we are in the water, you have to hold on tight to me no matter what. Otherwise, if the river rushes you back to Yangzhou, it would be like sending the lamb to the tigers mouth.

    Xu Ziling recalled the evil bunch who beat up Yan Laoda, he thought that drowning in the river sure beats being beaten to death. Without saying anything, he summoned every ounce of his strength, which was not much, and ran after Kou Zhong toward the cliff by the riverbank.

    Kou Zhong roared wildly. With both hands he grasped Xu Zilings hands and shouted, Dont look; just stake everything you have and jump. Lets get it over with.

    [1] Serious manner, orig. seven emotional states: joy, anger, anxiety, thought, grief, fear, fright.

  16. #36
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update foxs..

  17. #37
    Junior Member Chiktikka's Avatar
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    Wow ... foxs translating Tang Dynasty Dragons Although I won't be reading it yet since foxs decided to start over the translation I'd like to thank him in advance because foxs translating always mean steady update and finished translation

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    Another great chapter translation. Thank you.

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    Thanks again foxs

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    Thanks foxs

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