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  1. #221
    Senior Member LuDongBin's Avatar
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    Thks foxs.

  2. #222
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    Default Book 1 Chapter 20 - Part 1

    Xiaohu, that’s the spirit. Jaya, DongBin, you are welcome.

    Book 1 Chapter 20 – Tianfeng Shisi Lang

    Bai Yumo’s eyes were flickering; he said with an evil laugh, “Are you still waiting for someone to rescue you? Aren’t you dreaming?”

    Qiu Lingsu looked up to the sky as if she was checking the time of the day. Sighing grimly, she said, “Until now, I am afraid no one would come to rescue me … Death, I wonder how does it feel to die?”

    Holding the urn tightly in her bosom, she was ready to jump.

    Chu Liuxiang suddenly leaped out and shouted loudly, “Bai Yumo, I have never killed anyone, but as soon as your hands move, I am going to kill you.”

    Bai Yumo’s wolf-teeth mace was already high in the air, but he was startled that it stopped midair.

    Chu Liuxiang did not give him any time to think; amidst his shout, he already swept past, pulling Qiu Lingsu far away from this ten-thousand-fathom precipice.

    It was only then did Bai Yumo come to his senses. “The one surnamed Chu!” he bellowed angrily, “Why are you meddling in other people’s business?”

    Carrying a strong gust of wind, the heavy wolf-teeth mace swept across both Chu Liuxiang and Qiu Lingsu.

    The wolf-teeth mace was a long weapon that was normally being used to charge and break through the enemy lines on the battlefield, the weapon to be used in bloody battle involving magnificent army with thousands of men and horses; its power was strong, its momentum violent, absolutely could not be compared to the weapons most commonly used by Jianghu’s warriors. But unexpectedly Bai Yumo was born with such a divine strength that he was able to move such a heavy weapon with ease [orig. what the heart wishes, the hand accomplishes].

    Who would have thought that not only Chu Liuxiang did not dodge, he met the attack head-on instead?

    When he reached out to pull just now, he discovered that Madame Ren Qiu Lingsu unexpectedly did not know martial art at all; naturally he could not let her suffering any harm.

    Therefore, he had to take risk.

    Twisting and turning his body around, he charged into the crisscrossing shadows of the wolf-teeth mace. Suddenly he made his move to strike at Bai Yumo’s elbow.

    Bai Yumo’s arm was swinging horizontally. As his elbow was hit, involuntarily his arm swang upward! Chu Liuxiang’s palm then reached toward his flank and gently sliced down.

    Bai Yumo only felt half of his body went numb, the wolf-teeth mace left his hand and flew out. ‘Whoosh!’ it flew straight to the sky; the clouds covering the mountain peak was immediately smashed to pieces.

    Although Chu Liuxiang’s palm ‘slice’ seemed to be ordinary and mediocre, but at that time he was taking a big risk; his technique was extremely strange, no one could really explain it.

    Bai Yumo had never expected that he just launched one strike, and his weapon already flew off his hands. He had roamed the Jianghu for several decades, yet he had never encountered such thing. Unconsciously he was dumbfounded.

    He saw Chu Liuxiang was standing in front of him, speaking with a smile, “You haven’t left?”

    Unexpectedly Chu Liuxiang did not seize the opportunity to attack, but lightly and easily let Bai Yumo go.

    Bai Yumo never expected even more that there was such thing in the world. Because he himself was vicious and merciless, naturally he had never expected, not even in his dream, that other people could be this magnanimous. Momentarily he did not know whether he should be shocked? Or happy? “You … are you …” he stammered.

    Chu Liuxiang replied indifferently, “If you think carefully, you ought to wonder why you haven’t died yet? But you also ought to know how to conduct yourself in the future.”

    Bai Yumo no longer speak. He turned around and headed straight out.

    Only at this time that there was a ‘Splosh!’ sound from the bottom of the cliff, as the wolf-teeth mace reached the bottom.

    Chu Liuxiang turned around toward Qiu Lingsu and spoke with a smile, “Was Zaixia too late?”

    “But in the end you came,” Qiu Lingsu replied, “In the end you still did not disappoint me.”

    She sighed softly and went on, “I can see at the first glance that you are an intelligent man, surely you are able to understand my words and would undoubtedly come back. Therefore, when that Bai Yumo came looking for me, with a thousand ways, a hundred plans I tried to hold him back, and slowly came here. Hearing that I was going to jump down the cliff, he did not immediately make his move.”

    Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “Were it not for Madame’s manner and appearance, how could the bloodthirsty Bai Yumo not dare to lay a finger on Madame? Were it not for the hairpin Madame left behind, how could Zaixia find you here?”

    Both were exceptionally intelligent persons, unexpectedly they happened to meet together.

    Qiu Lingsu seemed to be smiling; she spoke indifferently, “You must know that I am doing all these things, it is not because I value my life more than anything, but if I don’t tell the secret in my heart, I would die with regret.”

    “So, can Madame tell the secret of your heart now?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “If I don’t tell it now, I am afraid I will never have any time later … But this is a plethora of things to tackle, where do I start?”

    Without even thinking, Chu Liuxiang immediately said, “Letter! Naturally you must start from those four letters; Zha Muge, Zuo Youzheng, Lingjiu Zi, Ximen Qian, all received the letter. I wonder if they were written by Madame?”

    “It was me …” Qiu Lingsu replied, “I brought disaster to them!”

    “Why did Madame write those four letters?” Chu Liuxiang asked, “What might Madame’s difficulty be?”

    Qiu Lingsu sadly said, “You may have heard the story of ‘attire imperial order’ [? 衣带诏] of Emperor Xian of Han [(181-234), the final Han emperor, set up by Dong Zhuo, reigned 189-220, forced to abdicate 220 by Cao Pi]. He was the emperor, but was no different than a puppet; not only he could not do anything, he was even incapable to preserve his own life.”

    Emotionally moved, Chu Liuxiang said, “Could it be that Ren Lao Bangzhu was also …”

    “For the last three years,” Qiu Lingsu said, “Ren Ci’s situation was identical to that pitiful emperor. Although in name he was the Beggar Clan’s Bangzhu, but everything was actually under someone else’s control.”

    Chu Liuxiang could not help asking, “Who’s controlling him?”

    Qiu Lingsu replied word by word, “NanGong Ling!”

    Stomping his foot in anger, Chu Liuxiang said, “Indeed it’s him … indeed it’s him.”

    Qiu Lingsu continued, “He was an orphan. It was Ren Ci who raised him up since he was little until he is a grownup and taught him martial arts. He is actually very intelligent; whatever Ren Ci taught him, he only needed to learn it once and he already knew how to do it. Not only that, he had the potential of green surpassing the blue.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “But with Ren Lao Bangzhu’s martial art skill …”

    Qiu Lingsu interrupted him by sighing and then said, “Although Ren Ci was already old, his martial art skill did not diminish, his physique usually was very sturdy. But in the last three years, for some unknown reason, he unexpectedly caught some kind of strange illness. Not only his body grew increasingly thinner and weaker, even his limbs were gradually paralyzed; practically he became a handicapped person.”

    Heaving a deep sigh, Chu Liuxiang said, “Heroes are most afraid of disease wearing them down; it has been so since ancient times!”

    “But his illness did not come naturally,” Qiu Lingsu said.

    “Madame is saying …” Chu Liuxiang blurted out, “Someone poisoned him?”

    “Precisely!” Qiu Lingsu replied.

    Although Chu Liuxiang already knew who it was, he still could not help asking, “Who?”

    “Only one person had the opportunity to poison him,” Qiu Lingsu replied, “NanGong Ling! Before his true colors were revealed, everybody knew that he was the most filial person in the world. Not only he strived wholeheartedly to resolve any challenging affair within the Gang, he even meticulously took care of Ren Ci’s food and drink and everyday necessities that I nearly had nothing to do. Originally I was so grateful of his filial piety; unexpectedly he did that for the convenience of putting poison in him.”

    Smiling wryly, Chu Liuxiang said, “Yet he was afraid to arouse other people’s suspicion, hence he did not dare to poison Ren Lao Bangzhu to death. This man’s intention is sinister, his conduct is impenetrable; unexpectedly even I was unable to see through it.”

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “You are not the only one who failed to see his viciousness. By the time I found out about it, it was already too late, Ren Ci was already powerless against him. In everything, he simply had to obey him. Not only he did not dare to reveal his malicious scheme, he still had to see his face, still had to make a supreme effort to touch him, so much so that he had to curry favor from him …”

    Speaking to this point, her tranquil, serene and elegant voice quivered. Those days, the days where she had to contain her suffering and endure the disgrace, must be full of bitterness and tears of blood.

    Listening to her, righteous indignation filled Chu Liuxiang’s breast; he angrily said, “He acted like that, how come other people in the Gang were not concerned?”

    Qiu Lingsu replied, “In front of others, he was still full of respect toward me and Ren Ci, and was totally submissive; who could possibly see through his true malicious face?”

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “To the last days, Ren Ci and me were practically put under house arrest; without his permission, nobody could see us. Externally he just said that Ren Ci was seriously ill, therefore, he would not let anybody to disturb him. Who’d dare not to believe his words? All the Beggar Clan disciples were hoping that Ren Ci would recover soon, so who’d come to bother him?”

    “In that case,” Chu Liuxiang asked, “How did Madame send those four letters out?”

    “NanGong Ling sent them out for me,” Qiu Lingsu replied.

    Astonished, Chu Liuxiang asked, “NanGong Ling?”

    Qiu Lingsu explained, “Although sending letters to Ximen Qian and Zuo Youzheng was not difficult, but Lingjiu Zi and Zha Muge, one lived in seclusion in the coastal area, the other lived far away in the desert. Except for NanGong Ling ordering Beggar Clan disciples all over the world to deliver the letters, who would have the capability of delivering the letter to them quickly and properly?”

    Chu Liuxiang clapped his hands and said, “Oh, that’s right. I was originally wondering, Zha Muge, Lingjiu Zi, Ximen Qian, Zuo Youzheng, those four men lived far and near, the difference was enormous. If you sent those letter at the same time, by the time Ximen Qian and Zuo Youzheng arrived, perhaps Zha Muge and Lingjiu Zi have not even received the letter yet. But those four clearly arrived at the same time; wasn’t that extremely strange?”

    He sighed and went on, “Now I understand that turned out NanGong Ling had calculated the timing accurately; he calculated accurately the time Zha Muge and Lingjiu Zi received the letter and set out, and only then did he send the letters to Zuo Youzheng and Ximen Qian. He calculated accurately that the four men would arrive at the same time, and he made them die at the same time as well.”

    Once he figured out this logic, the more he felt that NanGong Ling was very thorough in his conduct; it was really terrifying.

  3. #223
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    omnia vincit amor

    Quote Originally Posted by wangxiaohu View Post
    So I'm being ignored... FINE! So be it! I will stop reading this thread, until next update comes.
    « I know more than I can express in words, and the little I can express would not have been expressed, had I not known more. » — 弗拉基米爾·弗拉基米羅維奇·納博科夫

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    So I'm being ignored, like that crazy old man... FINE! So be it! I will stop reading this thread, until next update comes.

  5. #225
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    Thanks, foxs.

  6. #226
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    tu fui ego eris

    Quote Originally Posted by wangxiaohu View Post
    So I'm being ignored, like that crazy old man... FINE! So be it! I will stop reading this thread, until next update comes.
    « I know more than I can express in words, and the little I can express would not have been expressed, had I not known more. » — 弗拉基米爾·弗拉基米羅維奇·納博科夫

  7. #227
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks foxs.

    NGL...I think there's more to the story.

  8. #228
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    Default Book 1 Chapter 20 - Part 2

    Xiaohu, that’s the spirit. Jaya, you are welcome. Sky, we are getting closer. Since in some parts of the world today is New Year's Eve, I'd like to wish you all a very happy new year!

    Qiu Lingsu heaved a deep sigh and said, “Ever since Ren Ci fell ill, tens of thousands Beggar Clan disciples already regarded NanGong Ling as the sole successor of the Gang Leader’s position. NanGong Ling only needs to speak; forget about merely delivering a letter, even if he wanted them to go through water and tread on fire, everybody would jump head first to accomplish it. How could this kind of power be considered ordinary?”

    “But why did he deliver those four letters for Madame?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu replied, “During that period, in order to buy the heart of the people, NanGong Ling had spent large amount of wealth. But in order for him to build his reputation in Jianghu, he could not take money that did not belong to him.”

    “Could it be that his plan was to hit Madame on the head?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu said, “After I married Ren Ci, although I had changed my surname, he knew my background. Naturally it was because Ren Ci trusted him too much. Day by day his expenditure was rising. For the past several years he scraped around for money and went completely broke. One day, unexpectedly he forced me to think of ideas for him, as a result, I wrote those letters.”

    Chu Liuxiang clapped his hands and said, “That’s right, on that letter, Madame did not specify clearly what the difficulty really was, plus Zuo Youzheng, Ximen Qian’s money came very easily, Hainan Jian Pai’s properties are not a few either, King of the Desert need not be mentioned even more. NanGong Ling unexpectedly thought that Madame wrote the letter to borrow money for him.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “He wanted to exploit me, I was also thinking of using that opportunity to exploit him to deliver the letter for me. As long as I can see the four of them, everything will be all right.”

    “But NanGong Ling,” Chu Liuxiang asked, “What made him change his mind? He did not want their money anymore, but wanted their lives instead?”

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “That’s just because of one person. One evening after the letters were delivered, this person came and had private discussion with NanGong Ling all night long. After that, things changed completely.”

    Chu Liuxiang’s eyes lit up, he immediately asked further, “Who was that person?”

    “I did not see him,” Qiu Lingsu replied.

    Disappointed, Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “You only know that he was there?”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “In order to keep a close watch over us, NanGong Ling stayed in the room next door to us. Since we were already the fish inside his net, he did not need to be extremely wary of us. Therefore, all the movements in his room, I was able to hear for the most part … although my skill is lost, fortunately my hearing ability is not lost.”

    “Did you hear what they say?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu said, “They spoke in a very low, very heavy voice. I know that whatever they were discussing must be a very important secret. Every now and then there seemed to be very minor disputes, but I could not hear what they say.”

    Sighing, Chu Liuxiang said, “It would be great if you could hear them. Maybe this mysterious character is the real mastermind behind the scenes.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “This mysterious character left very early in the morning the next day. Not too long afterwards, NanGong Ling delivered a bowl of ginseng soup, saying it was a tonic for Ren Ci to take for his health.”

    Chu Liuxiang’s eyes flickered; he said, “Presumably this bowl of ginseng soup was not good to drink.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “He has not been this attentive for a long time, so I also knew that there must be a plot in this. However, after using three different methods to test the soup, I still could not verify the slightest amount of poison in it.”

    She sighed, and then continued, “I am sure you are also aware that in the olden days, I was considered a first-class poison expert in Jianghu. As long as there was a trace of poison in the soup, no matter which school’s or which sect’s poison he was using, I would definitely be able to test it out. Therefore, I thought that this bowl of ginseng soup surely did not have any problem.”

    “Hence, feeling relieved, you let Ren Lao Bangzhu drinking it?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu sadly said, “Since there was no poison in the ginseng soup, why bother brushing away NanGong Ling’s kindly intention? Besides, day-in day-out Ren Ci only took thin porridge to fill his belly, he definitely needed something more nourishing.”

    Those were indeed miserable days; every time she recalled the bitterness and the hardship of those days, unconsciously her fragile body would tremble.

    Chu Liuxiang’s heart was suddenly moved; he spoke quietly, “After Ren Lao Bangzhu drank that bowl of ginseng soup, did his entire body swell?”

    He had not even finished, Qiu Lingsu already spoke in shock, “How do you know that?”

    “Heavenly One Divine Water,” Chu Liuxiang said, “You could not test the poison in the ginseng soup, because it was the Heavenly One Divine Water!”

    Now he was more convinced than ever that the mastermind behind this matter was indeed the man who stole the Heavenly One Divine Water from the Divine Water Palace. Naturally he was also the man who killed the ‘Heavenly Powerful Star’ Song Gang, and disguised himself as Tianfeng Shisi Lang. Although NanGong Ling was terrifying, this man’s craftiness and viciousness was above NanGong Ling’s.

    Although Chu Liuxiang now knew NanGong Ling’s secret, if he failed to investigate who this person was, all his efforts would be tantamount to a waste.

    Qiu Lingsu’s body trembled even more violently, she said, “All along I did not believe that NanGong Ling really had the heart to kill Ren Ci with his own hands, all along I did not believe that there was poison in the ginseng soup, but now … now …”

    She suddenly rushed over to Chu Liuxiang and hissed, “I am going to tell you all the secrets; can you avenge me?”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “After the secret is uncovered, no need for me to make my move, NanGong Ling himself won’t be able to live. No wonder he spared no effort to stop me from seeing you.”

    “But why did he take you here?” Qiu Lingsu asked.

    Smiling wryly, Chu Liuxiang said, “From beginning to end he was unwilling to oppose me openly, so when I forced him and he could not refuse anymore, he decided to take me personally. He knew that in front of him, you would not dare to reveal the secret …”

    He paused for a moment, and then muttered, “That day, he asked me to wait for him one sichen, saying he had a Gang’s affair to take care of; naturally it was not really Gang’s matter, but to see the mysterious assassin, to tell him to rush over here first, to disguise himself as Tianfeng Shisi Lang, and to wait for me on the stone beam while he was coming with me here. While he was afraid that I might see you, he still wanted to take advantage of the dangerous terrain here to get rid of me, hence removing his trouble forever. If I could never see you, naturally he would feel a lot more at ease.”

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “He wanted someone to wait here first to kill you, but if he failed to kill you, he would come with you to see me. With him around, naturally I could not say anything …”

    She suddenly chuckled and said, “He thought that what he was doing could be considered seamless heavenly clothes, not one drop of water can leak out; who would have thought that heaven’s net has wide meshes, but nothing escapes it [idiom from Laotze]. In the end he still cannot escape.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “Actually, maybe he did not really feel at ease, plus he was afraid I might come back, so he intentionally leaked your residence to Bai Yumo. He wanted to borrow Bai Yumo’s hands to get rid of you. When other people find out about this, he can pretend ignorance, and put all the blame onto Bai Yumo …”

    He laughed, and then continued, “But he never expected that I could arrive here so soon. That chess move of mine is indeed not in vain. By the time he figures out the secret of that move, it was already too late.”

    Qiu Lingsu was silent for half a day; suddenly she said, “Tianfeng Shisi Lang; did you just mention this name?”

    Emotionally moved, Chu Liuxiang replied, “That’s right! Could it be that Madame really know that person?”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “Although I do not know this person, I often heard Ren Ci mentioning him in the past.”

    Chu Liuxiang cried out involuntarily, “Unexpectedly there is indeed a person with that name in the world. I originally thought that they created that name Tianfeng Shisi Lang out of thin air.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “Ren Ci is hard on the outside, but soft in the inside. In all his life, very seldom did he show any regard to anybody, but toward this Tianfeng Shisi Lang, he showed deep respect. Each time he mentioned this man, he always said that he could be considered as rarely-seen-in-the-world hero and real man.”

    Frowning, Chu Liuxiang said, “That kind of person, what could his relationship with NanGong Ling be? Why did NanGong Ling borrow his name …? Madame, do you happen to know where is he now?”

    “This person has been dead for twenty years,” Qiu Lingsu replied.

    “Who killed him?” Chu Liuxiang blurted out.

    Qiu Lingsu replied slowly, word-by-word, “The man who killed him was none other than Ren Ci.”

    Chu Liuxiang could not help but was stunned. “Since Ren Lao Bangzhu had deep respect toward him, why did he kill him?” he asked in astonishment.

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “That Tianfeng Shisi Lang crossed the sea to come here, with his heart and soul he wanted to decide relative superiority against martial art masters of the Central Plains’ Wulin. At that time Ren Ci had not taken over Gai Bang’s leadership for long, it could be said that he was at his peak. Tianfeng Shisi Lang had the great ambition and magnificent aspiration to challenge Wulin’s martial art masters everywhere under the heavens, naturally he would not miss him. Not long after he set foot on the Central Earth, he sent a letter to Ren Ci, challenging him for a duel.”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “This Tianfeng Shisi Lang was unavoidably too crazy; our country has vast territory with abundant resources, I don’t know how many crouching tiger, hidden dragon, people with superior martial art skill, are there; how could he, one person, beat them all?”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “After receiving Tianfeng Shisi Lang’s letter challenging him, for the sake of Gai Bang’s reputation, naturally Ren Ci could not shrink back. Besides, at that time his blood and vital breath was flourishing, so he also wanted to determine relative superiority against this Dongying swordsman’s strange swordplay.”

    Emotionally moved, Chu Liuxiang said, “Surely the brilliance of this battle was earth-shattering; too bad I was born twenty years too late; unexpectedly I missed witnessing this great battle!”

    Looking pensive, Qiu Lingsu said, “That battle was not brilliant at all; if you really witnessed it, I think you will be sorely disappointed.”

    Chu Liuxiang was startled, “Why?” he asked.

    Qiu Lingsu said, “Ren Ci usually did not like false reputation. After receiving the challenge, he did not broadcast it at all; therefore, within the Jianghu nowadays, not many people knew about this matter. At that time, the only person accompanying him to meet the challenge was Situ Zhanglao [elder], who, by now, had been dead for a long time. Other than he, practically no one else knew.”

    “Where did the duel take place?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu replied, “Reportedly that place was at Minnan [southern Fujian] border, on some obscure mountain. Naturally it was because they did not want to attract anybody else’s attention.”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “If that was the case, then this Tianfeng Shisi Lang, although he was brash, presumably he did not like false reputation either. Otherwise, although Ren Lao Bangzhu did not say anything, Tianfeng Shisi Lang might have broadcasted the news.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “In his letter of challenge, he also made it clear this battle was not for the sake of fame, but for the sake of martial art. When Ren Ci and Situ Zhanglao arrived on the mountain, as expected, Tianfeng Shisi Lang was already waiting there. Without saying anything, he immediately fought with Ren Ci.”

    Chu Liuxiang could not help asking, “He did not even say a single word?”

    Qiu Lingsu thought for a moment before replying, “According to what Ren Ci told me later, when he arrived on the mountain, Tianfeng Shisi Lang was sitting on a large rock, holding a long sword, which was already out of its scabbard. Seeing Ren Ci, he immediately raised his sword, and immediately launched the swordplay unique to Dongying sword schools. His mouth only spoke two words.”

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    Thanks, foxs.

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    Thanks foxs

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    Default Book 1 Chapter 21 - Part 1

    Jaya, Ysabel, you are welcome. Looks like only the three of us around; hope your New Year's celebration was happy.

    Book 1 Chapter 21 – Madame Gang Leader

    Chu Liuxiang could not help asking, “What two words?”

    Qiu Lingsu replied, “He only said, ‘Come’, these two words [lai ba]; and then he shut up and did not speak. Seeing how arrogant he was, Ren Ci could not stop his anger from rising up; therefore, he did not feel like talking to him either.”

    “Did Ren Bangzhu use any weapon?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu replied, “The weapon Ren Ci used was the bamboo staff, the traditional weapon that has been used by Beggar Clan’s Bangzhu from generation to generation, which is commonly referred to as ‘Dog Beating Stick’. The two men fought for not even ten moves, Ren Ci already sent the sword in Tianfeng Shisi Lang’s hand flying, and struck the pit of his stomach with his staff. Tianfeng Shisi Lang immediately spurted blood and fell down.”

    Chu Liuxiang was even more surprised; he blurted out, “Tianfeng Shisi Lang came here relying on his skill, how could he be that bad?”

    Qiu Lingsu heaved a deep sigh and said, “At that time Ren Ci was surprised as well. Later on he found out that Ren Ci was not the first person that Tianfeng Shisi Lang challenged. In that same day, Tianfeng Shisi Lang already fought a duel with someone else; not only that, he already suffered a very heavy internal injury. If he were willing to speak, naturally Ren Ci would not be willing to take advantage of his precarious position by fighting with him. But he was afraid that if he talked, others would think that he was a coward. Therefore, he only spoke two words, ‘Come’, while all along his lips were sealed and did not say anything about his own injury. Ren Ci thought that his natural temperament was arrogant, hence he disdained talking with other people!”

    She sighed and went on, “His internal injury was originally very heavy, and then he received Ren Ci’s staff strike. Internal and external injuries flared up at the same time, even if he were made of iron, he would not be able to endure it; he died that same day. Even at death’s door he still did not say anything that showed his weakness; he did not blame Ren Ci the slightest bit either. He only said that he could die on the battlefield, his life could be considered not in vain.”

    To begin with, this tale of an eccentric Wulin character was full of moving and tragic emotion. This moment, Qiu Lingsu retold the story using her uniquely graceful voice, it became even more moving and thrilling.

    Listening to her, Chu Liuxiang could not stop his hot blood from boiling. Looking up to the sky, he let out a long sigh and said, “This Tianfeng Shisi Lang was unwilling to show any weakness, he was unwilling to break his promise even more. Fully aware that he would definitely die, he still waited there to take up the challenge. He is indeed worthy to be called the rarely-seen-in-the-world hero and strong real man.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “That is probably the spirit of martial art way [wudao] of the Dongying [East China Sea or Japan] warriors [wushi – samurai].” [Translator’s note: I translated this section as is. If Gu Long had said ‘wu shi dao’ instead of ‘wu dao’, then it would be ‘Bushido’ – the way of the warriors.]

    Chu Liuxiang said, “In any case, this kind of man is always worthy of other people’s admiration. No wonder that even twenty years later Ren Lao Bangzhu still thought about him often.”

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “Although Ren Ci was not responsible for Tianfeng Shisi Lang’s death, throughout his life Ren Ci always felt guilt-ridden; he often said that if that day he paid a bit more attention, it would not be difficult to see that Tianfeng Shisi Lang had been injured.”

    “Who was the other person who injured him before Ren Lao Bangzhu did?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    “Ren Ci never mentioned this matter,” Qiu Lingsu replied.

    Muttering to himself irresolutely, Chu Liuxiang said, “This man must be similar Ren Lao Bangzhu in that he did not like false reputation either; hence the reason until today, no other person knew about his duel with Tianfeng Shisi Lang.”

    He paused, and then added, “This person was able to injure Tianfeng Shisi Lang using his internal power, his martial art skill must be very high. It is also obvious that after Tianfeng Shisi Lang received injury during the decisive battle, he was still able to hasten on toward the mountain, so presumably that person’s residence was also around the Minnan region. But who is he …? Ah! Could it be …”

    Qiu Lingsu suddenly said, “I am telling you this story, it is not without any reason.”

    “What’s the reason?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Qiu Lingsu slowly said, “At the death’s door, Tianfeng Shisi Lang entrusted something to Ren Ci. But no matter how I asked him, Ren Ci always refused to tell me.”

    Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Why did Ren Lao Bangzhu keep this matter as a secret like that?”

    Qiu Lingsu spoke heavily, “Originally I was at a loss as well, but later on I managed to guess a little bit.”

    “Oh?” Chu Liuxiang said.

    Qiu Lingsu said, “Each time Ren Ci looked at NanGong Ling, he always remembered Tianfeng Shisi Lang; he would sigh ruefully all day long. Until later, although he was fully aware that NanGong Ling had harmed him, he would still refuse to cause the slightest bit of harm toward NanGong Ling; he always said that he had let NanGong Ling down. But he raised NanGong Ling from a child to an adult, how did he let NanGong Ling down?”

    Her gaze seemed to penetrate the black gauzed veil and was fixed on Chu Liuxiang’s eyes as she spoke word-by-word, “Therefore, my guess is that the matter Tianfeng Shisi Lang entrusted to Ren Ci just before his death was NanGong Ling. Ren Ci was aware that he let Tianfeng Shisi Lang down, therefore, he was exceptionally tolerant toward NanGong Ling.”

    Chu Liuxiang excitedly said, “Are you saying that NanGong Ling is Tianfeng Shisi Lang’s orphan?”

    “Exactly,” Qiu Lingsu replied.

    Chu Liuxiang thought for a moment, and then he clapped his hands and said, “That’s right! Ren Lao Bangzhu never wanted to talk about this, he must be afraid that after NanGong Ling found out about the secret of his past, he would have a radical change of heart.”

    Qiu Lingsu mournfully said, “Now you can finally understand Ren Ci’s difficulty. At that time he simply regarded NanGong Ling almost as his own son, naturally he did not want NanGong Ling to know that he was his father’s killer. All his life he had always been open and honest, yet there was this hidden secret, so the pain in his heart could be very well imagined.”

    Chu Liuxiang spoke in horror, “But no matter how he concealed it, unexpectedly the person that finally killed him was still NanGong Ling. Twenty years ago, he unintentionally made a mistake, yet after twenty years he paid it with his own life.”

    Thinking that the underworld had arranged this bizarre and cruel punishment, even Chu Liuxiang could not help shuddering inwardly, while Qiu Lingsu spoke with quivering voice, “If that was really the price that the Heaven wanted him to pay, then the Heaven is really too unfair.”

    Muttering to himself irresolutely, Chu Liuxiang said, “But is NanGong Ling also aware of this matter? That mysterious killer, could it be that he is also related to Tianfeng Shisi Lang? If not, how could he master the secret of Dongying warriors’ ren shu?”

    Qiu Lingsu slowly said, “These secrets, you will have to uncover them all yourself. Everything that I know, I have completely passed on to you. You … you may go now.”

    Looking straight into her eyes, Chu Liuxiang suddenly said, “Zaixia still wants to ask Madame one thing.”

    “What is it?” Qiu Lingsu asked.

    Chu Liuxiang said, “I wonder if Madame could open your veil, so that Zaixia could have a glimpse of Madame’s splendor?”

    Qiu Lingsu was silent for a long time; she spoke pensively, “You really want to see me?”

    Zaixia does have this wish, and it is not just today,” Chu Liuxiang replied.

    In his heart he was really full of curiosity; he really wished he could see what the beauty that overturned all living things really looked like, otherwise, he would regret it for the rest of his life.

    The more one cannot see something, the more he would want to see it. Although the black gauzed veil covering her face was thin, it actually made this peerless beauty appeared more mysterious and heightened the fantasy surrounding her.

    Qiu Lingsu was silent for a long time. At last she sighed softly and said, “In the last twenty years, you will be the second person of ever seeing my true face.”

    Stunned, Chu Liuxiang said, “Those who can see Madame’s appearance are only two?”

    Qiu Lingsu replied word-by-word, “That’s right; only two. You and Ren Ci …”

    “Why?” Chu Liuxiang asked, “Other people …”

    Before he finished speaking, he suddenly stopped. Although he had seen not a few of strange things in all his life, not one thing could make him this shocked.

    The black gauzed veil was finally lifted.

    Chu Liuxiang had hoped to see a fairy’s face, who would have thought that this moment, the face that was revealed by the black gauzed veil actually belonged to the devil?

    On this face, unexpectedly there was not even one fen, one cun smooth, intact skin. The entire face was like the solidifying lava after volcanic eruption. There were no five sense organs, no outline. In fact, there was nothing, except some ugly, naked-red piece of meat, with some split cavities.

    Qiu Lingsu spoke slowly, “Are you satisfied now?”

    Chu Liuxiang replied, “ZaixiaZaixia really don’t know …”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “Now you ought to understand why only you and Ren Ci have ever seen this face, because my face has already been destroyed. I think, no woman in the world would want anybody to see her face if it looks like this; don’t you agree?”

    Unexpectedly her voice could be this indifferent and calm. But this kind of calm and indifferent words was even more unbearable to Chu Liuxiang.

  12. #232
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    Thanks foxs

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Had a good Christmas break with sun and good food. It was raining in Singapore on New Year Eve and New Year Day.
    Last edited by Ysabelkid; 01-02-18 at 01:07 AM.

  13. #233
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    Default Book 1 Chapter 21 - Part 2

    Ysabel, last time I was in Singapore, it was very hot and humid ... but it was early August, and I was there for only 3 days.

    He was the kind of person who never bow his head down, yet unexpectedly, without realizing it, he hung his head down, and spoke sadly, “Zaixia indeed deserve to die; why did Zaixia adamantly force Madame to …”

    Qiu Lingsu cut him off, “You did not force me. I am willingly letting you see my face.”

    Her fluid glance was still gentle and bright. And this moment, in this pair of bright eyes, not only there was not the slightest bit fear and excitement, there was a hint of indifferent smile instead.

    She calmly went on, “It’s a pity you came twenty years too late. Unexpectedly I am not able to let Chu Liuxiang see my appearance twenty years ago. While admittedly it is a regret for you, how could I not feel regret as well?”

    Forcing a laughter, Chu Liuxiang said, “It doesn’t matter what Madame’s appearance has turned into, Madame’s graceful bearing is still incomparable in the world. Zaixia is able to see Madame’s elegance, it is indeed a blessing of three lifetimes.”

    With a smile on her face, Qiu Lingsu said, “You don’t have to comfort me, because I don’t feel uncomfortable at all. My face has been destroyed for twenty years, yet these twenty years have been the happiest days of my life.”

    She watched the mountain breeze blowing away the rosy clouds, and unhurriedly went on, “I even feel grateful to the person who ruined my appearance. Were it not for her, how could I enjoy twenty years of tranquil and happy days?”

    Chu Liuxiang could not help asking, “But I wonder who that person was?”

    The light in Qiu Lingsu’s eyes returned; fixing her gaze on Chu Liuxiang, she said, “Have you ever heard the name ‘Shi Guanyin’ [Stone Goddess of Mercy (Avalokitesvara)]?”

    “Stone Guanyin?” Chu Liuxiang blurted out.

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “Of course you knew that name. She is originally the woman with the highest martial art skill and with the coldest heart in the world. And now, perhaps she also the most beautiful woman in the world.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “She … what enmity did she have against Madame?”

    Qiu Lingsu replied, “There was no enmity, she even met me only once.”

    Chu Liuxiang asked, “Then why did she …”

    Qiu Lingsu interrupted him with a gentle sigh, she said, “According to Jianghu legend, it is said that she had a magical mirror, and she asked the mirror every day … ‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who in this land is fairest of all?’” [Okay, since Gu Long seemed to borrow this concept from Brothers Grimm (later on, Disney), I also borrowed the line from the same story, The literal translation of the Chinese text is, ‘who is the most beautiful woman in the world?’ Note that ‘tian xia’ (land under heaven) is commonly used to refer to China.]

    “And each time the mirror said she was the most beautiful woman on earth?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    “That’s right,” Qiu Lingsu replied, “Until one day, this magic mirror suddenly changed; unexpectedly it said that I … that Qiu Lingsu was the most beautiful woman on earth. And thus my disaster began at that very moment.”

    Naturally it sounded like a fairy tale.

    Although the fairy tale was not beautiful, it was brimming with some kind of fleeting, secluded and deceitful mystery. Listening to the story, Chu Liuxiang unconsciously stared blankly for half a day. Finally he sighed and said, “So, she came to look for Madame?”

    Qiu Lingsu replied, “When she found me, she stayed silent and motionless, fixing her gaze on me for two sichen. In these two sichen, practically her eyes never blinked. And then she suddenly asked me, ‘Do you want me to kill you, or do you want to destroy your own appearance?’ …”

    Smiling ruefully, Chu Liuxiang said, “That question is really ridiculous.”

    Qiu Lingsu sighed and said, “But at that time I did not feel it was ridiculous at all. I only felt my hands and feet turned icy-cold, and I was unable to utter a single word. She then looked at me for half a day, and then suddenly turned around, she said, ‘Three months later, I am coming back, and if by that time you are still like this, I am going to kill you.’ She left a bottle on the table, and said, ‘I’ll let you keep your beauty for three months; I am sure you’ll know how to cherish it.’”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “Since she already left, why didn’t Madame …”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “If the Shi Guanyin wanted to kill someone, nobody would be able to escape. I have seen her martial art skill with my own eyes, and at that time, I did not want to die.”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “How could there be anybody on earth who really want to die?”

    Qiu Lingsu slowly closed her eyes and said, “At that time, I was still young, my life was really full of love; I thought, I might no longer be beautiful, but to keep on living was always better than being dead.”

    She opened her eyes as if she was smiling, and then she went on, “I also thought that at least I would still have three months of being a beauty, naturally I must cherish it well, in which case, what should I do in those three months?”

    Chu Liuxiang could not help commenting, “Thereupon Madame wanted to keep this beauty forever preserved in the hearts of the people, as a result, you went to see the most famous painter in the world, specializing in portraits, Sun Xuepu.”

    Qiu Lingsu was stunned. “You … you already knew?” she asked.

    Zaixia has met Mr. Sun,” Chu Liuxiang replied.

    Qiu Lingsu went silent for half a day. Finally she spoke sadly, “At that time my action was indeed too unruly … Just the night before the portraits were finished, the three-month deadline has arrived, and Shi Guanyin has always been most punctual.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “Therefore, that night Madame destroyed your own appearance.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “That little bottle that Shi Guanyin left behind was a bottle of potion, which was hotter than fire, which would burn flesh the most.” Speaking to this point, her usually tranquil voice was finally quivering with emotion.

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “Madame did not wish Mr. Sun, when he woke up, to see that Madame’s appearance has been destroyed, so …”

    Qiu Lingsu spoke in trembling voice, “After pouring that bottle of potion onto my face, my mind nearly went crazy, so … I did what I did. I … I …”

    She suddenly covered her face with her hands, and was unable to continue.

    Chu Liuxiang heaved a deep sigh and said, “Only now Zaixia finally understand why Madame treated Mr. Sun like that, why Madame wanted to have those four portraits. Our previous guess of Madame’s intention was completely wrong.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “It doesn’t matter what my intention was, but I did what I did, you can’t never forgive me, can you?”

    Chu Liuxiang stayed silent in sadness for half a day; he spoke gently, “Zaixia only know that the Madame Ren of today is the gentlest, the most benevolent woman on the earth. As for Qiu Lingsu of the past, Zaixia knows nothing about her, and neither do I care.”

    Qiu Lingsu also went silent for a long time. She then spoke unhurriedly, “These past twenty years, I did change a lot. I am sure you can readily guess who made me change.”

    “Ren Lao Bangzhu,” Chu Liuxiang said.

    Instead of answering him, Qiu Lingsu said, “After I went crazy and dug Sun Xuepu’s eyeballs, I fainted. When I woke up, my whole head had been bandaged up. Henceforth I lived in the dark for several months. At that time I really did not know how grateful I was to Su Xin Dashi. If she did not take care of me, how could I keep on living?”

    Her voice gradually returned to its tranquil state, and then she went on, “But when I was able to see the light again, I found out that the one staying by my side all these time, taking care of me, unexpectedly was not Su Xin, but Ren Ci.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “Therefore, Madame then redirected your grateful heart to Ren Lao Bangzhu?”

    Qiu Lingsu shook her head and said with a sigh, “At that time, not only I did not appreciate him, I hated him instead!”

    Stunned, Chu Liuxiang asked, “You hated him?”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “By the time I could see Ren Ci, I could also see my face. And when I saw this face, I knew that there was no way I was going to keep on living. I lost my face, that was the same as I was losing my life …”

    She sighed before continuing, “At that time my heart was filled with grieve, as well as anger. I hated it that Ren Ci saw me like that. Like mad, I drove him away from my presence.”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “Madame’s frame of mind at that time, Zaixia can understand a bit.”

    Qiu Lingsu seemed to smile again, and said, “In that case, you also ought to know that a man like Ren Ci can’t be driven away so easily. Early in the morning the second day, he came back, and I drove him away again …”

    Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “But early in the morning the third day, he came back again.”

    Qiu Lingsu said, “He came every day, I drove him out every day. I exhausted all the malicious words in the world to curse him, I even beat him up, but the next morning he still came back …”

    She gently stroked the urn containing Ren Ci’s ashes in her hand; although it was just a porcelain jar, it seemed to bring her infinite warmth.

    She continued in tender voice, “You know, at that time he was already the Beggar Clan’s Bangzhu, he did not need to be so patient toward a grotesque and cruel woman like me. When you see my face now, you should know that other than Ren Ci, there is no way on earth that a man would endure me as much as Ren Ci did. Unless I was really dead, how could I not be moved by him?”

    Chu Liuxiang spoke slowly, “That was because what Ren Lao Bangzhu loved was not the lost beauty, but Madame’s … spirit. He only knew that although everybody’s appearance might change, but the spirit within will never change.”

    Qiu Lingsu gloomily said, “Too bad when Ren Ci was still alive, he did not know you. Otherwise, I am sure you would be his good friend … But, your understanding of him is still not enough. You have guessed incorrectly.”

    “Oh?” Chu Liuxiang said.

    Qiu Lingsu said, “Before then, Ren Ci and I only met twice; how could he be so infatuated with me? Besides, at that time I was beautiful only on the outside, my spirit inside was repulsive.”

    Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “Sometimes people can fall in love at first sight, the feeling penetrated deeply into the bones.”

    Qiu Lingsu appeared to be smiling again, she said, “In any case, that was not the main reason. The main reason was that he knew the pain of a woman having her appearance destroyed. He also knew that only love could alleviate this kind of pain. Therefore, he decided to sacrifice his own life to accompany me, to comfort me for the rest of my life.”

    She raised her head to the heavens and spoke unhurriedly, “I already said it, he was the most benevolent man in the world.” [Translator’s note, Ren Ci’s name 任慈 sounds like ‘benevolent’ 仁慈 (ren ci).]

  14. #234
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    Thanks foxs

    Its hot and humid all year round in Singapore.

    Lots of places to eat

  15. #235
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    Thanks, foxs.

  16. #236
    Senior Member LuDongBin's Avatar
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    Thks foxs.

  17. #237
    Junior Member manic_miner's Avatar
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    Thank you foxs

  18. #238
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    Default Book 1 Chapter 22 - Part 1

    Ysabel, that's true, although I don't usually hunt food ... Jaya, DongBin, you are welcome. Miner, I don't recall seeing your username before, welcome to our thread.

    I am super, super busy in real life. Luckily as I have mentioned before, I have a stash of Chu Liuxiang material (I wanted to know how it ends ...).

    Book 1 Chapter 22 – Close Friends Became Foes

    Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “No matter what, he could not be regarded as sacrificing his life; although he did not obtain the most beautiful woman on earth, he did obtain the world’s gentlest, most elegant, most considerate wife.”

    Qiu Lingsu spoke gently, “Thank you, thank you for saying such thing about me. You will never know how happy I am in my heart listening to your words.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “Zaixia is the one who should thank Madame for telling me about these past happenings. In all my life, Zaixia can’t possibly hear a greater, more moving love story.”

    Qiu Lingsu suddenly laughed as well, she said, “Maybe you know that other than Ren Ci, not only you are the only man who had ever seen my face, you are also the only man that I am grateful to.”

    Fixing her gaze on Chu Liuxiang, her eyes became gentler.

    She gently stroked the porcelain urn, so light and gentle, as she slowly continued, “Although only Ren Ci could give me twenty years of tranquil and blessed life, but only you can make me die with such a tranquil mind …”

    Aghast, Chu Liuxiang asked, “Die?”

    Qiu Lingsu unhurriedly said, “Ren Ci is dead, the purpose of my being alive is to expose NanGong Ling’s secret. And now that the load on my mind already gone, do you think I can still keep on living?”

    Even until Chu Liuxiang was back in Jinan, his heart was still brimming with grief.

    He saw with his own eyes as Madame Ren’s body fell into the ten-thousand-fathom precipice, and he saw how the hazy mist swallowed her up, yet unexpectedly he was unable to do anything to rescue her.

    He also saw very clearly how, before her death, Madame Ren’s eyes were still so tranquil, without the slightest bit of pain. Although he knew that for Madame Ren’s exhausted life ‘death’ was just one kind of everlasting rest, he still felt unspeakable grief, unspeakable anger.

    He swore that he must find NanGong Ling.

    And he did find NanGong Ling almost immediately.

    The night was very deep, yet the Beggars Clan’s Fragrance Hall was still brightly lit.

    When Chu Liuxiang came here, he did not expect to find NanGong Ling. He just wanted to find Beggar Clan’s disciple to inquire NanGong Ling’s whereabouts. But under the brilliant light, in the spacious red sandalwood chair, someone was sitting upright like a stone statue. Unexpectedly that someone was NanGong Ling.

    He sat there with his hand supporting his cheek, appearing to be deep in thought, or perhaps he was waiting for someone.

    But who was he waiting for?

    From far across the roof ridge, Chu Liuxiang already saw him. Bai Yumo must have returned, so in all likelihood, NanGong Ling must have known that Chu Liuxiang had met Qiu Lingsu alone, and had talked with her. But why hasn’t he left? Why was he still sitting here?

    Could this be another trap? Could it be that there was an ambush in the courtyard to kill him, using NanGong Ling was the bait, waiting for Chu Liuxiang to take the bait?

    But the courtyard was extremely quiet, there was no human shadow, and he could not see the slightest amount of murderous aura. The starlight was reflected on the dark green flagstones, which were as bright as a mirror.

    NanGong Ling suddenly raised his head, smiled slightly, and said, “Have Chu Xiong arrived? Xiaodi has been waiting here for a long time.”

    Chu Liuxiang was slightly surprised. NanGong Ling laughed again and said, “Chu Xiong, please don’t worry, Xiaodi is the only one here, there is no ambush at all.”

    Chu Liuxiang laughed aloud and said, “Naturally there is no ambush here at all, naturally I am extremely at ease. This kind of thing, naturally you don’t want to alarm other people. Naturally you know that it is better for you and I, alone, to resolve this matter.”

    Amidst his speaking voice, he already swept into the main hall, his eyes were shining as he stared at NanGong Ling.

    NanGong Ling met his stare; his sharp eyes were like a wolf’s, or like an eagle’s.

    It was a long, long time later that NanGong Ling sighed and said, “You knew, didn’t you?”

    Chu Liuxiang nodded. He said, “You also knew that I already knew, didn’t you?”

    NanGong Ling also nodded. He smiled and said, “But Xiaodi has not gone away; I am waiting here instead. Chu Xiong must be extremely puzzled.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “You did not go, just because you know that you can’t go anywhere.”

    NanGong Ling laughed aloud and said, “I did not go, just because I did not want to go. Otherwise, the world is so big, where can’t I go?”

    Chu Liuxiang pulled a chair and sat down; he spoke unhurriedly, “If you go, you have to give up everything and pass your days living an exile-like life. But if you must give up your current reputation and power, you will be more miserable than being dead.”

    NanGong Ling laughed aloud and said, “Chu Xiong really knows Xiaodi like you know yourself.”

    He suddenly stopped laughing, and spoke sternly, “Since you understand me that deeply, you ought to know that even if I have to die, I will never give up everything. I have spent my heart’s blood in my whole life to obtain all these, no one can force me to give it all up.”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed lightly and asked, “Can you not give up everything though?”

    NanGong Ling stood up suddenly and spoke sternly, “Why not? Even though I killed Ren Ci, but that was for the sake of avenging my father. Father and the enemy cannot live under the same sky, who in Jianghu would dare to say that what I did was wrong?”

    “You already knew this secret?” Chu Liuxiang blurted out.

    With a mournful laughter NanGong Ling said, “Ren Ci thought he could deceive me; are you telling me that you thought you could deceive me as well?”

    Chu Liuxiang heaved a long, long sigh, and spoke slowly, “Even if you did what you did really to avenge your father, even if no one in Jianghu really care about you, but what about Beggar Clan’s disciples? If they knew that you killed Ren Ci, would they still allow you to become their Bangzhu?”

    NanGong Ling’s body shook, he plopped himself back into the chair. Chu Liuxiang’s last remark was like a knife stabbing deep into his vital point.

    It looked like he suddenly aged a lot. Hanging his head down, he said dejectedly, “Chu Liuxiang! Chu Liuxiang! Why are you pushing me like that? I did not have the slightest intention to harm you, but you … why are you intent on meddling in other people’s business?”

    Chu Liuxiang was speechless for half a day. Finally he smiled wryly and said, “Maybe because my innate character is one who loves to meddle in other people’s business.”

    NanGong Ling slowly said, “Ever since the first time I met you, I always thought that you can be a good friend throughout my life. Do you … do you remember where did you and I met for the first time?”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “It was a the foot of Mount Tai. At that time, not only Qilu Si Xiong [Four Mighty Men of Qilu (abbr. for Shandong)] were robbing the escorted goods of Jinling’s Shuang Yi Bao Ju [Double Righteousness Escort Agency], they also tied up the daughter of the Zongbiaotou [head of escort agency] Sha Tianyi. After I heard about it, I could not curb my meddling character from flaring up, and immediately rushed to Mount Tai. Who would have thought that you have already rushed over and arrived before I did?”

    His sharp gaze gradually softened, he slowly continued, “When I rushed over, you already used your pair of iron palms to inflict heavy losses on Qilu Si Xiong; I noticed your different-from-ordinary martial art skill, and yet you were so young and handsome, so unavoidably I was greatly admiring you. If at that time someone had asked me who the number one young hero in the world was, I would not hesitate to tell him, it was NanGong Ling.”

    NanGong Ling smiled and said, “From then on, you and I became very close friends. As soon as I have free time, I would come on board your boat and stayed for a couple of days. You might remember that time when I painted a portrait of Su Rongrong …”

    A smile also appeared on the corner of Chu Liuxiang’s mouth, he said, “That was the longest you and I had hanging around each other. In those five days, you and I drank all the wine in the boat’s hold. There was one time I was completely drunk, and wanted to catch the moon in the sea. Unexpectedly you also jumped into the water to help me. Although we did not catch our moon, we did catch a big sea turtle.”

    NanGong Ling roared in laughter and said, “That sea turtle, in all my life, I have never tasted anything more delicious. You and I had a competition on who could eat more. Such a big sea turtle, unexpectedly we could eat it all in just one day. But, as a result, our tummy was hurt for the next couple of days.”

    The two of them roared in laughter together, a very happy laugh, just like all the unhappiness between them has been completely forgotten. But for some reason, unexpectedly the laughter grew faint.

    Chu Liuxiang muttered, “Those days can really be considered a series of happy days. Sometimes I unconsciously wonder, why is it that happy days always seem to be exceptionally short?”

    NanGong Ling unhurriedly said, “As long as you don’t destroy it, we will still able to have that kind of happy days. As long as you don’t say anything, no one will know anything about this matter.”

    Chu Liuxiang suddenly went silent. A long time later, he sighed softly and said, “If there is anything in the world that can move Chu Liuxiang’s heart, that will be friendship!”

    NanGong Ling said, “You … you agree not to talk?”

    “I won’t talk …” Chu Liuxiang said.

    Greatly delighted, NanGong Ling said, “Friend … I knew that Chu Liuxiang is NanGong Ling’s friend.”

    Chu Liuxiang spoke in heavy voice, “I won’t talk, but I want you to promise me two things!”

    NanGong Ling was startled. “What is it?” he asked.

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “Even if you wanted to avenge your father, you shouldn’t have used such a cruel method. Moreover, you shouldn’t have killed that many innocent people. I wish for you to temporarily resign from your position as the Bangzhu, to find a quiet place where you can shut yourself up and ponder over your errors. You … you are still young; in the future, you will start anew. With your talents, there must be something that you can do.”

    NanGong Ling’s complexion turned ashen. Throwing his head back, he laughed and said, “Chu Liuxiang, good friend! You, after all, did not say that you wanted to kill me, but you want me to start anew in the future. When will this ‘future’ be? Ten years? Twenty years …?”

    He stood up again suddenly, his body shook, and he hissed, “In one’s lifetime, how many ten or twenty years does he have? Why are you forcing me to sacrifice the best time of my life? Why don’t you simply say that you want to kill me?”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “I just want you to atone for what you did, I just want you to mend your ways. I don’t want you to die at all. You must know that ‘death’ is not the best way to atone for one’s crime; not at all.”

    NanGong Ling laughed coldly and said, “And what is your second condition? I want to hear it.”

    Chu Liuxiang spoke heavily, “I just want you to tell me, who, exactly, is he?”

    Frowning, NanGong Ling asked, “He?”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “He is the person who killed Tianying Zi, who killed Song Gang’s men. He is the person impersonating Tianfeng Shisi Lang, the one who wanted to take my life. He is the person who stole the Heavenly One Divine Water from the Divine Water Palace.”

    NanGong Ling’s body shook; he was suddenly stumped for words.

    Chu Liuxiang went on, “You naturally know that he did all those things not just so that he could kill Ren Ci. He must have a lot of others plots. I can’t let his conspiracy continue further, I simply must stop him!”

    Clenching his teeth, NanGong Ling spoke word-by-word, “You can never stop him. Nobody can stop him!”

  19. #239
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    Thks foxs.

  20. #240
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    I half expected Chu Liuxiang to find NanGong Ling’s dead body after Madame Ren's revelation. And the search continues to uncover the mastermind's identity. Cool to see the two share good times with a small offer for compromise.

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