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    Default Book 1 Chapter 4 - Part 1

    Ysabel, Jaya, you are welcome. Drak, DongBin, Xiaohu, easy for you to say, but I am the one doing all the work. I don't want to say one way or another, because once I give you my word, I will have to go through with it. We'll see, OK? Paona, maybe I am slow, but I don't see the relationship between Chu Liuxiang and Tchaikovsky ...

    EDIT: Forgot Tail ... it's because this is not Huang Yi.



    Chapter 4 – Number 113

    A malicious smile appeared on the corner of the woman’s mouth, but Chu Liuxiang did not let her speak; his hand pulled her hand, his eyes looked at her eyes, he said, “Miss Leng [lit. cold], if you want to uncover this mystery, you have to trust me.”

    The woman finally blushed with shyness and said with a laugh, “My surname is not Leng.”

    Chu Liuxiang’s eyes flashed brightly; he said, “In that case, how should I address you?”

    The woman’s countenance suddenly sank again; she spoke coldly, “Just call me Miss Leng then!”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed gently; he said, “First, we must investigate: since that ‘Heavenly One Divine Water’ cannot be exchanged for wealth, and it cannot foster martial art skill either, why did he steal it?”

    The woman said with a cold laugh, “I ought to ask you that question.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “The only usage of that ‘Heavenly One Divine Water’ is to harm people, moreover, it can kill people undetected. He spent so much effort to steal this ‘Heavenly One Divine Water’, obviously he has one strong reason.”

    “And that reason is enough,” the woman said.

    Chu Liuxiang said, “From this point, we can determine that the person ‘he’ wanted to kill cannot be killed using ordinary poison, and not someone that ‘he’ can kill using his own power.”

    The woman nodded and said, “That’s right; otherwise, ‘he’ would not take the risk to steal the Water.”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “But if he can really steal the Water from the ‘Divine Water Palace’, how many people in the world that he cannot kill? If he can steal the Water from the ‘Divine Water Palace’, that means his skill must be comparable to you.”

    He smiled, and then continued, “From this, it can be seen that in stealing the Water, ‘he’ must have someone helping him in secret.”

    The woman responded, “Who are you talking about?”

    Fixing his gaze on her, Chu Liuxiang said, “After the Divine Water was stolen, has anybody from your Palace gone missing?”

    The woman laughed coldly said, “Turns out you are suggesting that among our Palace’s disciples, someone was secretly helping ‘him’ stealing the Water; therefore, after the Water went missing, afraid of being punished for the crime, she slinked off. Is that right?”

    “Are you saying that that is impossible?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    “Of course it is possible,” the woman replied, “Too bad that in several decades, not one of our Palace disciples has ever run away, and not a single one went missing.”

    Frowning, Chu Liuxiang thought for a moment, and then asked, “After the Divine Water was stolen, are you saying that there was nothing happening in the Palace? For example, is there someone committed suicide and died …”

    The woman’s countenance immediately changed, “How do you know?” she asked.

    Chu Liuxiang’s eyes lit up. “So there is indeed someone committed suicide and died, am I right?” he said loudly, “Why did she kill herself?”

    The woman replied sternly, “Our Palace’s internal affair, you think you can casually ask?”

    Chu Liuxiang lifted her hand, and slowly said, “Miss Leng, you must tell me about this matter, because this is the key to solving the mystery. You … you’ve got to believe me.”

    The woman pulled her hand, turned her back away, and was silent for a long time. Finally she said word-by-word, “She was a lovely girl; both beautiful and passionate. She was also the youngest. She … she is dead; I can’t talk about her anymore …”

    Chu Liuxiang’s eyes flickered; he said, “Is it because she was pregnant, and was aware that she did not have the face to see others?”

    The woman did not answer, but her hand, hanging down, was tightly gripping her belt. Obviously her heart was full of grief and indignation, and she was overwhelmed with emotion.

    Chu Liuxiang spoke loudly, “That must be it. She must have been deceived by ‘him’ into surrendering her body. And then, under ‘his’ coercion, she stole the Divine Water. But he did not keep his promise to take her away; therefore, she was left with just one way out, namely, death!”

    The woman’s body suddenly shook. “Shut up!” she shouted loudly.

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “This has been happening throughout all ages; it is difficult for passionate young women to escape from encountering tragic fate. Rather than grieving for her, why don’t you try to find ‘him’ to avenge her?”

    The woman turned around suddenly, and spoke in trembling voice, “How do you suppose we can find ‘him’?”

    Muttering to himself irresolutely, Chu Liuxiang said, “Just before her death, did she say anything?”

    Full of tears, the woman sadly said, “She only said … she was sorry for the child in her belly.”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “Under this circumstance, she was still unwilling to reveal who ‘he’ is. Obviously she was still deeply afraid that others would hurt ‘him’ … ay! What kind of magical power does he have that he could make a young girl so infatuated with him like that?”

    Grieved, the woman said, “She really never mentioned ‘him’ at all. She practically never mentioned any man. Even in our dream we had never imagined such thing would happen to her.”

    “Usually, did she know any man?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    The woman resolutely replied, “Practically she had never spoken to any man.”

    “That’s strange,” Chu Liuxiang said, “How could there be so many strange things today … five totally unrelated people unexpectedly died together at the same place! The Divine Water from ‘Divine Water Palace’ was mysteriously stolen! A dignified, gentle, girl, who has never spoken to any man, unexpectedly became pregnant. And these three things, which on the face do not seem to be related, unexpectedly are entangled together …”

    He looked up, and muttered, “This kind of matter, who can explain it?”

    “You!” the woman said.

    Smiling wryly, Chu Liuxiang said, “I …”

    The woman fixed her stare at him and said in stern voice, “For your own sake, you must uncover this mystery.”

    “But what about the clues …” Chu Liuxiang said, “I have almost no clue.”

    The woman said, “There must be clues somewhere, you just have to find it.”

    Again she turned her back toward Chu Liuxiang, and spoke word-by-word, “I give you one month. If you cannot find it, ‘Divine Water Palace’ will come to look for you!”

    “Why did you turn your back against me?” Chu Liuxiang asked, “Is it because when you are facing me, you cannot speak such unreasonable words?”

    The woman ignored him. From the side of the boat, she slowly walked toward the stern.

    Under the shadow of the stern, there was an elaborate skiff.

    She floated down. The skiff immediately slid away.

    Leaning on the ship’s railing, Chu Liuxiang watched her silently.

    Under the brilliant starlight, the light boat appeared to undulate in the ocean of stars; the gauze clothes danced in the breeze, it looked even more like the feather clothes of the immortals. She suddenly looked back, smiled sweetly, and said, “My name is Gong Nanyan [lit. southern swallow].”

    Chu Liuxiang stretched his legs as he lay comfortably on the chair. His eyes, as if he was in a daze, were fixed on the amber wine swirling inside the cup, as he mumbled softly, “She is indeed very beautiful; especially that smile. The stars in the sky, the stars in the sea, everything seems to be reflected on her face. And then she quietly disappeared into the mysterious night.”

    Li Hongxiu laughed indifferently and said, “After one month, I am afraid you won’t feel that she is beautiful anymore, especially when she has her sword pressed against your neck …”

    Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “She doesn’t use sword.”

    Li Hongxiu blinked; she said, “What does she use? Vegetable knife?”

    Chu Liuxiang refrained from laughing; he replied with straight face, “She is using a vegetable bowl.”

    Li Hongxiu was surprised, “Vegetable bowl?” she asked.

    Chu Liuxiang roared in laughter and said, “If she doesn’t use vegetable bowl, how is she going to catch the spilled vinegar from the bottle?” [Translator’s note: in Chinese, vinegar usually refers to jealousy (in love rivalry).]

    Song Tian’er giggled and said, “You must not offend her, she is much more formidable than Gong Nanyan.”

    Surprisingly, she did not speak her hometown dialect, only because she was afraid Li Hongxiu would not understand.

    “Oh?” Chu Liuxiang said.

    Song Tian’er doubled up in laughter. Gasping for breath, she said with a laugh, “At most Gong Nanyan is just a disciple of the ‘Divine Water Palace’, but our Miss Li Hongxiu is actually the Zhangmen [chief/head of school] of ‘Divine Vinegar Palace’.”

    Li Hongxiu pounced on her. Clenching her teeth, she said, “Little demon, you don’t want your life anymore?”

    Song Tian’er laughed until she curled up into a ball. “Rong Jie,” she called, “Help! The Zhangmen of Divine Vinegar Palace is so formidable oy …”

    Laughing and fighting, the two girls, one was running away, the other chasing after her, rushed around the deck.

    Su Rongrong looked at Chu Liuxiang, “What are you going to do now?” she spoke softly.

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “So far, there really isn’t any clue to find, but finally we at least know that ‘he’ must be a handsome man; otherwise, how could that girl be so infatuated with ‘him’?”

    Su Rongrong laughed and said, “Girls may not necessarily like handsome men.”

    Chu Liuxiang burst out laughing; he said, “In your opinion, what kind of man is ‘he’?”

    Su Rongrong said, “He must be very good in talking, very smart, and an expert in currying a young girl’s favor. He must also be very distinguished and accomplished. Young girls will never be able to resist this kind of man.”

    “But can such a man enter the Divine Water Palace?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

    Su Rongrong laughed and said, “If that kind of man entered the Divine Water Palace, I am afraid he won’t be able to come out alive … On this earth, I am afraid the number of men who are able to get out alive from the Divine Water Palace is only a few.”

    Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “Therefore, I have no choice but beseech you to do something.”

    “You want me to go to the Divine Water Palace?” Su Rongrong asked.

    Chu Liuxiang said, “I … I’m only worried about your health.”

    Laughing sweetly, Su Rongrong said, “You think I am really too weak to stand up to the wind?”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “I was wondering whether you could find your Biaogu [aunt, see previous note], get clear information from her if under normal circumstances men can go in and out of Divine Water Palace. Also ask her what kind of person was the girl who died, what did she like to do? It would be best if you could find the girl’s belonging. If she had left a letter, that would be very good.”

    “As soon as it’s daybreak, I will go on the journey,” Su Rongrong said.

    Chu Liuxiang looked at her tenderly, he said, “But you …”

    Su Rongrong gently covered his mouth, and said with a laugh, “Whatever it is that you want to say, I already know … After I leave, what are you going to do?”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “Seven days later, I am going to wait for you in Fengyu Pavilion [lit. wind and rain] by Daming Lake in Jinan [Shandong province].”

    “Jinan?” Su Rongrong said, “Isn’t that the Zhusha Zhang [cinnabar palm] Pai’s [Sect] base of operations?”

    Chu Liuxiang said, “Hainan Pai, Qixing Bang, are both too far away from here. Zha Muge was even farther away outside the Pass. I only want to hear from Zhusha Zhangmen [chief] and disciples’ own mouth, to inquire about some information.”

    “But you’ll have to be extra careful,” Su Rongrong said, “If they know it is you …”

    Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Although they hate me, they are still incapable of catching me.”

    He suddenly spread out his palm. No one knew where it cam from, but a small and exquisite crystal bottle suddenly appeared in his hand. The cork was unplugged, some kind of mysterious tulip scent permeated the entire cabin.

    Chu Liuxiang spoke in an awe-inspiring manner, “Dao Shuai’s lingering fragrance [i.e. liuxiang] in the night, wonder where the ecstasy is?”

    Su Rongrong laughed and said, “You want me to leave your fragrance everywhere?”

    “That’s right,” Chu Liuxiang replied, “Along the way, you might as well leave some scents on my behalf, so that others will never be able to grasp my exact whereabouts; even more, they won’t be able to figure out that I am going to Jinan.”

    Su Rongrong said, “But you … what identity you want to appear as this time?”

    Chu Liuxiang laughed indifferently and said, “The majority of disciples under Zhusha Zhangmen came from rich families. If I want them to trust me, to respect me, the only way is for me to pretend to be even wealthier than they are.”

    Standing up lazily, he walked over to the wine goblet cupboard, which spread over the entire wall, and lightly pushed it aside. Behind the cabinet was a small, narrow door.

    Behind this narrow secret door was a fantastic hexagonal room. All six walls were mirrors. Inside this room, one lantern would appear ten times brighter.

    Along the mirrorred walls was a row of low wooden wardrobe with several hundreds tiny drawers. Every single drawer has a number on it, just like in an apothecary.

    Leaning against the door, Su Rongrong laughed and said, “Perhaps what you want is number 63? Or possibly number 113?”

    Chu Liuxiang casually opened the drawer number 63. Insider was a set of sleeveless jacket and trousers made of durable silk fabric, dark blue in color. It looked only about 50% new. In addition, there was a pair of sturdy cloth boots, a small black pouch made of sharkskin, and a thin paper notebook.

    Frowning, Chu Liuxiang asked, “Is this the right number?”

    “It should be correct,” Su Rongrong replied.

    “But look at these clothes,” Chu Liuxiang said, “It does not look like what the wealthy would wear.”

    Su Rongrong laughed and said, “Among the traveling merchants in Jinan City, the most well-off can be categorized into two types: the first is the big boss of Shanxi’s money farm [i.e. ancient bank], and a Shanxi big boss who is willing to wear this kind of clothes can already be considered very generous.”

    Chu Liuxiang blurted out laughing, “That’s right. I have forgotten that most of Shanxi people’s silver are cooked using chemical. Sometimes I wonder, they store up so much silver, in the end what are they going to do with it?”

    He picked up the thin account book and flipped the pages. He read what’s written inside:

    Name and surname: Ma Baiwan [lit. one million]

    Status: Big Boss of Shanxi Four-Pass Money Farm

    Age: a little more than 40

    Hobby: None

    Characteristic: When traveling through places with water, must take off the boots first. When it rains, must think of a way to use other people’s umbrella. His body always carries some kind of long-time-not-taking-a-bath smell …

    Without even finished reading, Chu Liuxiang hurriedly put the book back in the drawer, closed it tight, heaved a long sigh, and shook his head, “If you want me to dress like this,” he said, “I would rather you kill me and be done with it.”

    Su Rongrong laughed and said, “It was you who told me to prepare one profile of all types of personalities; you have even disguised yourself as a beggar, why not …”

    Chu Liuxiang hurriedly waved his hand and said, “I would rather be a beggar than this kind of big boss.”

    “All right,” Su Rongrong said, “Look at number 113 then.”

    Chu Liuxiang opened the number 113, inside the drawer was a set of gorgeous clothes, a pair of shiny leather boots, two steel balls, which, with just a light rub in the hand would produce clear ‘ding dang’ noise, a waist saber which hilt was inlaid with jade and precious stones, as well as a black sharkskin pouch and a thin paper notebook.

    Su Rongrong said, “Those who conduct business in Jinan City, other than Shanxi money farm boss, the most well-off are couriers supporting the ginseng pickers from the Changbai Mountain area outside the Pass.”

    Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “This seems to be much more interesting.”

    Name: Zhang Xiaolin

    Status: Big Ginseng Merchant from outside the Pass

    Age: 35, 36

    Hobby: Strong Wine, Compulsive Gambling, Women …

    This time, Chu Liuxiang did not finish reading either; he closed the notebook, clapped his hands, and said with a laugh, “Interesting, very interesting indeed.”

    Su Rongrong faintly said, “I knew it would certainly fit your ideas. But in any case, you’d better bring that suitcase along. I have already prepared number three, number seven, number 28, and number 40, in the suitcase for you.”

    Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Very well, starting today, I will become Zhang Xiaolin for a few days!”

    Amidst his laughter, he already opened the black sharkskin pouch, and took out a delicate human skin mask.

    Leaning against the door, Su Rongrong saw his laughing reflection on all the mirrors. One Chu Liuxiang, unexpectedly seemed to have incarnated into countless personalities.

    Hall of Delight [Kuai Yi (lit. pleased/elated) Tang (Hall)], three gold characters were glittering brightly like flying dragon, dancing phoenix, under the lantern light.

    It was the biggest casino in the city of Jinan.

    It was early evening, the time when lanterns were first lit. In the Hall of Delight, people were talking and drinking; the hall was bustling with noise and excitement. In all three spacious halls, the air was thick with the aroma of wine, tobacco smoke, the perfume from the women’s body, mixed the sweat stench from the men’s body … Everybody’s head were glistening with beads of sweats, which appeared like shiny chili oil.

    It’s just that while some people had the radiance of spring splashed across their faces, some people were hanging their heads dispiritedly; while some people had calm and composed countenances, some were trembling in nervousness.

    In the outermost hall, there were two Pai Gow [dominoes] tables, two dice tables, and two single-double [or odd-even; since I am not a gambler, I am not sure what it is] tables. The gamblers’ character flow was also the most complex, their shouts were the loudest. Several big men wearing black clothes with vermillion belt stood by the tables. No matter who won a round, the men would always draw 10% out.

    A reception pavilion on the inside had relatively less people; it was also relatively quieter. Sitting around the three tables were mostly full-brained, fat-intestines big and rich merchants, with pile upon file of glittering silver, moved around the table by pair upon pair of sweaty hands. Next to the tables were fragrant tea and fine wine, with more than a dozen young women – their heads were full of pearl and green jade, their faces with enchanting smile, going back and forth among the crowd, like butterflies passing through the flowers, groping a piece of silver from here, or pinching a couple of gold ingots from there.

    As for the big masters who were gambling, who would care about such thing? As a result, while those who lost the bet admittedly had their money purse emptied, those who won did not have their moneybag increased by much either.

    Very soon, these little things added up to a great amount; the gold and silver moved from the young women’s delicate hands into the big boss of the casino’s moneybag. This casino was, after all, opened by the Zhusha Bang.

    The innermost room had a thick curtain hanging over its door.

    In this room, there were only seven or eight gamblers, but there were more than a dozen young women. Some were serving tea at the ends of the table, some were pouring wine, yet some others simply snuggled in some other men’s bosoms. Melon seeds were peeled one by one, the lithe hands then delivered it into the grand guest’s mouth. The women’s fingers were like bamboo shoots in the springtime [fig. tender and delicate fingers of women], their fluid glance was as sweet as honey.

    On the gambling table, there was neither gold nor silver, only several slips of paper circulating around, but the amount written on these slips of paper was enough for ordinary people to live comfortably for a lifetime.

    One young man, with deathly pale complexion, dressed in emerald green long gown, having a smile on his face, was watching from the side. From time to time he would pat a big-spender guest’s shoulder, and said with a smile, “Your old gambling luck is no good, why don’t I call Zhu’er to accompany you lying down for now, and then you can come back later?”

    The answer invariably came with a roar of laughter, “What’s the rush? It’s not even fifty thousand taels yet!”

    Thereupon the young man would withdraw his hand, and with a smile on his face he gently stroked the beard stubble, which had just appeared on his chin – the hand he always used was his left.

    All along his right hand has always been hidden inside his sleeve.

    This was the ‘Hall of Delight’ Director, also the disciple of Zhusha Bang’s Zhangmen – the Assassin Jade Youth, the Powdered Face Senior Disciple, Leng Qiuhun.
    Last edited by foxs; 12-05-17 at 09:23 PM.

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    Thanks foxs

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    Thanks, foxs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foxs View Post
    [I]Drak, DongBin, Xiaohu, easy for you to say, but I am the one doing all the work. I don't want to say one way or another, because once I give you my word, I will have to go through with it. We'll see, OK? Paona, maybe I am slow, but I don't see the relationship between Chu Liuxiang and Tchaikovsky ...
    Ah sorry it was in response to your comment that you're tired because Tchaikovsky found his answer to the same problem by finding motivation/happiness in seeing others happy so seeing us your readers and fans happy might motivate you to keep going?

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    Definitely not easy .... one chapter at a time .... Thks foxs.

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    OK. Thanks foxs.

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    Default Book 1 Chapter 4 - Part 2

    Ysabel, Jaya, Xiaohu, you are welcome. Paona, I see. But that has always been the case here: I keep on translating because you guys supporting me. The thing is, I don't want to burn out and all of us suffer: I lose interest in translating, and you don't get to read wuxia translation from me. DongBin, agree. Let's just see where this lead us, okay? Sometime next week, Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling's adventure continues.



    Edited: moved to Part 1 above.
    Last edited by foxs; 12-05-17 at 09:24 PM.

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    Thanks, foxs.

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    Default Book 1 Chapter 5 - Part 1

    Ysabel, Jaya, DongBin, you are welcome.


    Chapter 5 – 300,000 Taels

    Suddenly a man – although dressed gorgeously, he had a roebuck-head, rat-eyed wretched impression on him, walked in a dodging and slinking way, into the hall. He bowed and smiled apologetically from far away, and said, “Shao Zhuangzhu [young banker (in gambling game) master], how are you?”

    Leng Qiuhun’s countenance sank. With his hands behind his back, he strolled over and scolded the man with a frown on his face, “Cheng San, this is not a place you can visit.”

    That man called Cheng San bowed from the waist and said, “How could Xiaoren [lowly/little one, referring to self] dare to come in as I wish? It’s just that …”

    He narrowed his eyes and laughed conspiratorially, and said in low voice, “There was a big spender came to Xiao Cui’s place last night. In one evening, he spent thirty thousand. Xiaoren heard that his hands are itching, therefore, Xiaoren brought him here on Shaoye’s [young master] behalf.”

    “Oh?” Leng Qiuhun said, “Who is he?”

    Cheng San replied, “He is surnamed Zhang, called Zhang Xiaolin.”

    Leng Qiuhun muttered to himself irresolutely, “Zhang Xiaolin, this name is so unfamiliar.”

    Chang San said, “I hear he usually rarely entered the Pass, so …”

    Leng Qiuhun spoke heavily, “What kind of people gamble in this place, you ought to know. Even if anybody without any history wanted to come here to lose some money, others might not agree to play with him.”

    Smiling apologetically, Cheng San said, “Shaoye, don’t worry. Without any history, how could Xiaoren dare to bring here casually … This guest surnamed Zhang is the biggest ginseng merchant in the Changbai Mountain area. This time he came to Jinan, it is precisely to spend money and to look for some fun.”

    Leng Qiuhun chuckled and said, “Turns out a ginseng picker. Let me take a look at him first …”

    He lifted the door curtain off a slit and peeked out. He saw a man with purple face and short beard, with an imposing appearance, standing outside the door with his hands behind his back. He was holding two large steel balls, which continuously making ‘ding dang’ noise.

    Although he was standing still, his manner was indeed quite imposing. Comparing him to the rest of the men in the hall, it was like a red-crown crane among the chicken.

    Leng Qiuhun suddenly lifted the curtain completely and stepped into the hall in large strides. Cupping his fist, he said with a laugh, “Zhang Xiong came from afar, Xiaodi [little brother] did not receive the guest satisfactorily; by all means, please forgive me.”

    With a hearty laugh he pulled this Zhang Xiaolin’s hand, as if it was familiarity at first sight.

    This ‘Zhang Xiaolin’ was indeed a big spender who stake a thousand pieces of gold on one throw [fig. extravagant] without even blinking. The table was a Pai Gow table, he put a bet several times, and had lost fifty thousand taels.

    The girls were swarming around him, fighting over each other to pour him wine, fighting over each other to open the domino tiles for him.

    Zhang Xiaolin laughed aloud, while hugging left and embracing right. Suddenly producing a stack of folded banknotes, he said, “How about letting An [I, in northern dialects] be the banker?”

    Leng Qiuhun took a glance with the corner of his eye; he saw a thick stack of banknotes, and the top one said ‘100,000 Taels of fine silver’. Immediately he laughed and said, “If Zhang Xiong wants to be the banker, Xiaodi and the others will be honored to accompany you.”

    This moment, the banker was the head of the rice business association of Jinan, with members reaching around forty businesses. He has been pulling in more than a hundred thousand, and was just thinking of pulling back. Immediately he laughed while pushing the stack of domino tiles forward and said, “Zhang Xiong, please, Xiaodi will take Tianmen [heaven’s gate] position.”

    Using the two steel balls as paper weight, Zhang Xiaolin put them on top of his banknotes, and said with a hearty laugh, “Little darling, guard them well for An, don’t let even one run away.”

    Rolling both sleeves up, he revealed a snow-white light silk unlined upper garment.

    Indeed this round was like a lively dragon and animated tiger; he made such a kill that everybody else was sweating profusely. More than half of the money that that rice boss, who had been the banker just now, had to be spit out and was added to the pile. Two other men, who were rumored to be under their wife’s thumb, although they wanted to recover their capital, had no choice but to reluctantly leave.

    When midnight passed, the gamblers only remained about four, five men.

    Zhang Xiaolin’s mouth was sucking the tobacco pipe that a young woman by his side handed to him, while his hands were busy handling the tiles. Casting a glance toward Leng Qiuhun, he laughed heartily and said, “Laodi [‘ol younger brother], you really don’t want to send off two wen [classifier for coins]?”

    Leng Qiuhun smiled slightly and said, “Xiaodi is thinking of sending off some.”

    A stack of folded banknotes also appeared in his hands, his eyes, like a pair of hunting dog’s eyes, circled everywhere. Suddenly he bet everything on the Tianmen, and said with a smile, “Three hundred thousand taels, single bet, no matter win or lose, this is it.”

    Unexpectedly he put down 300,000 taels in one bet. Although everybody in the room was a big spender, they could not help turning pale. Surprisingly, no one else dared to lay a bet.

    Zhang Xiaolin laughed heartily and said, “All right! Let An and you bet face to face!”

    The dice rolled, and produced seven dots. Leng Qiuhun took the first deck, Zhang Xiaolin took the third deck. Without even looking Leng Qiuhun gently turned the deck over – it was a Heaven and a Man [i.e. double-six and double-four, respectively]; unexpectedly it was a Tian Bo [lit. heavenly silk].

    The crowd could not refrain from murmuring their envy; the young women were laughing tenderly while clapping their hands in delight.

    Zhang Xiaolin cupped his fist, grabbed the two tiles in his hands, and cast them an indifferent glance. Suddenly he slapped the tiles, face down, back onto the table.

    Everybody nervously looked at him; they could not help asking, “What is it?”

    Zhang Xiaolin’s countenance did not change. He counted 300,000 taels, and push it in front of Leng Qiuhun. He laughed and said, “Ban Deng [i.e. double-two] meets Duanming Laosan [lit. short-lived old three, not sure what it is]. An lost.”

    Leng Qiuhun rolled his eyes; and then he laughed and said, “It may be assumed that gentlemen have satisfied your cravings enough today; how about come again some other day?”

    Thereupon everybody broke into murmur, talking about what had just happened. In the mouth they were consoling Zhang Xiaolin, but in their belly they were taking joy in calamity and delight in disaster [fig. to rejoice in other people's misfortune], “After all, I lost less than him.”

    And so, everybody left happily with a tender and beautiful girl in their arms, looking forward to a night of good dream.

    Zhang Xiaolin stretched out his limbs, and said with a laugh, “Laodi, you are really good; your vision is accurate, your killing is ruthless!”

    Leng Qiuhun smiled indifferently; he said, “Is that so …”

    Suddenly, fast as lightning, his right hand stretched out, grabbed and pulled the saber hanging on Zhang Xiaolin’s waist, and pressed the ice-cold blade against his neck. “Who are you? Why did you come here?” he asked coldly.

    Zhang Xiaolin remained emotionless. Chuckling, he said, “Laodi, you must be joking. An don’t understand.”

    With a cold laugh, Leng Qiuhun said, “You really don’t understand?”

    His left palm struck the table, the two tiles, which were put down by Zhang Xiaolin, suddenly jumped up, flipped over, and landed back on the table.

    Surprisingly, the two tiles were identical, which were chang san [long three, i.e. double-three].

    Leng Qiuhun’s gaze was sharper than the blade; he spoke in stern voice, “You obviously won; why pretended to lose?”

    Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “An’s eyes are not good; I saw it wrong.”

    Leng Qiuhun shouted, “You don’t rub sand into the eye of a gangster. Friend, you better tell me honestly why you are here … Are you trying to entice me? What do you want?”

    A smile suddenly appeared on Zhang Xiaolin’s face; he spoke heavily, “Leng Xiong indeed have sharp eyes … That’s right, Zaixia indeed have a request to make. But not only this matter will be beneficial to Zaixia, your honorable Bang [gang] will also …”

    He smiled mysteriously, while cleverly paused.

    Unblinking, Leng Qiuhun stared at him for a moment. Gradually his eyes softened. Casually brandishing the saber, ‘Qiang!’ he returned the saber to its scabbard, while speaking slowly, “If that’s the case, why didn’t you come openly and asked for an audience forthrightly?”

    Zhang Xiaolin smiled and replied, “To do unusual things, you have to go the unusual road. If Zaixia failed to give Leng Xiong a strong impression, would Leng Xiong believe what Zaixia has to say?”

    Smiling indifferently, Leng Qiuhun said, “Three hundred thousand taels to buy an impression, isn’t that a bit steep?”

    Zhang Xiaolin replied in heavy voice, “If this matter succeeds, 300,000 taels is just one hair from nine oxen [fig. a drop in the ocean].”

    Leng Qiuhun’s pale face suddenly appeared as if it was shining; but his mouth was still cold and indifferent, “Illegal things, our Bang will never do.”

    Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “Although Zaixia is poor, on the whole I still have above ten million of net worth; illegal and risky business, Zaixia absolutely unwilling to do.”

    Leng Qiuhun suddenly struck the table again and spoke sternly, “Since this matter is neither illegal nor risky, the profit is also lucrative, why don’t you go seeking others, but come here to seek our Bang?”

    Zhang Xiaolin replied, “Simply because this matter requires a certain Zhanglao [elder] of your honorable Bang to take the initiative; otherwise, not only it is difficult above difficult, practically we do not have any chance of success.”

    “Which Zhanglao are you talking about?” Leng Qiuhun asked.

    “Assassin Scholar Ximen Qian,” Zhang Xiaolin replied.

    Leng Qiuhun slowly turned around, slowly took two steps forward, and slowly sat down.

    Zhang Xiaolin said, “As long as Ximen Qianbei [senior] is willing to personally set out, this matter will be an instant success; therefore, Leng Xiong must invite Ximen Qianbei to see me. If Ximen Qianbei hears what Zaixia has to say, he will definitely not refuse.”

    Leng Qiuhun spoke slowly, “Our Jiashi [lit. family’s (martial) master; or simply, ‘my master’] usually will not see guests so easily. You can tell me. It’s just the same.”

    Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “This matter must be directly communicated to Ximen Qianbei.”

    Leng Qiuhun suddenly looked back and said angrily, “Are you intending to play tricks on me?”

    Zhang Xiaolin laughed aloud and said, “I am afraid there has never been anybody in the world who play tricks on someone else with 300,000 taels of silver?”

    Again, Leng Qiuhun stared at him for half a day; finally he spoke heavily, “You have come at a very unfortunate time; presently Jiashi is not in Jinan city.”

    Zhang Xiaolin blurted out laughing, “Really?”

    Leng Qiuhun coldly said, “Zaixia don’t normally joke around.”

    Zhang Xiaolin stared blankly for a long time; his expression looked like he was indescribably disappointed. Turning his face upwards, he heaved a deep sigh and said, “Pity! Pity! Three million taels in front of the eyes, and now all my hopes and efforts come to nothing.”

    Cupping his fist to salute, he walked out, hanging his head dispiritedly.

    Leng Qiuhun pulled his hand back and said, “Did you say three million?”

    Zhang Xiaolin smiled wryly and said, “Zaixia is a businessman; if there is no prospect of ten times of profit, how could I be willing to spend three hundred thousand first?”

    Emotionally moved, Leng Qiuhun said, “Can’t you wait for Jiashi’s return?”

    Zhang Xiaolin sighed and said, “In this kind of thing, naturally I cannot wait. Unless …”

    Leng Qiuhun immediately pursued, “Unless what?”

    Zhang Xiaolin said, “Unless before he left, Ximen Qianbei left a message, explaining where he went. That way, you and I could immediately go to look for him. We still have time.”

    At this time, Leng Qiuhun could not help but was tempted; stomping his feet, he said, “Each time Jiashi went on a journey, he always left a message. Only this time … After he, the Senior, received a letter, he set off first thing in the morning.”

    Unconsciously Zhang Xiaolin’s eyes lit up. “A letter?” he asked, “Where is the letter?”

    Leng Qiuhun pulled his hand up and hurriedly said, “Come with me.”

    “Where?” Zhang Xiaolin asked.

    “To Zhui Hun Shou [soul-chaser hand] Yang Song’s place,” Leng Qiuhun replied, “You should have heard this name?”

    Zhang Xiaolin said, “That letter, could it be at Yang Qianbei’s home?”

    “That’s right,” Leng Qiuhun replied, “I remember before Jiashi left, he put the letter into a sealed envelope, and handed it over to Yang Shishu [martial uncle] for safekeeping. If we can take a look at this letter, presumably we can know Jiashi’s destination.”

    “But …” Zhang Xiaolin asked, “But would Yang Lao Qianbei be willing to take the letter out and let us see it?”

    Leng Qiuhun laughed and said, “Three million taels, no matter to whom, is not a small amount.”

    They rode the carriage together. After passing through two streets, they arrived at a courtyard house.

    On this clean and quiet street, which could not be considered short, there were only six doors. Yang Song’s house was the second building on the left.

    Zhang Xiaolin did not need to look carefully, he knew that all residents living on this street were rich families in the city of Jinan, so much so that even the cracks and gaps in between the flagstones lining the street were swept clean. But a man with Yang Song’s status ought to live in a stand-alone manor at the outskirt of the city.

    Leng Qiuhun seemed to have been able to read his mind; with a smile on his face, he explained, “Although Jiashi is somewhat reclusive, but for some reason, he insisted on living in the city. Although he, the Senior, does not like to talk to people, he loves to hear voices.”

    “Your honorable Master …” Zhang Xiaolin said, “But isn’t this Yang …”

    Jiashi and Yang Shishu usually live together,” Leng Qiuhun said.

    Surprisingly, the black-lacquered gate was slightly ajar.

    Without waiting for anybody, Leng Qiuhun pushed the door and entered in. The courtyard was very quiet; there were no voices at all.

    In the main hall, the candlewick should have been trimmed long ago, the dim light of the spacious hall gave people a kind of desolate and mysterious feeling.

    Leng Qiuhun sighed and said, “Yang Shishu usually sleep early. As soon as he went to bed, the people in the house would quietly sneak out. Especially when Jiashi is not home, these people would not want to stay for more than five days.”

    Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “Are you saying that even the servants and the maids are leaving at night?”

    “This house has never employed female servants,” Leng Qiuhun replied.

    From the main hall, they went around the side and into the rear courtyard. It was even quieter. Unexpectedly they saw a faint lantern light coming from the west wing.

    “That’s strange,” Leng Qiuhun said, “Could it be that Yang Shishu is not sleeping today?”

    He was about to cross the courtyard, which was full of Chinese parasol tree [Firmiana platanifolia], when suddenly a drop of liquid fell on his shoulder. He carelessly brushed it off with his hand. The light penetrating the window behind him illuminated his hand.

    Blood. The liquid on his hand was unexpectedly blood.

    Startled, Leng Qiuhun looked up; on the parasol tree, there seemed to be someone waving at him.

    Fast as lightning, he flew up to grab the wrist; but turned out it was just a hand.

    There was nothing else, just one hand, dripping with blood!

    Leng Qiuhun cried out in alarm. “Shishu, Yang Shishu!” he blurted out.

    No response from the room in the wing.

    He shook the door open and rushed in. Yang Song seemed to be sleeping on the bed; moreover, he seemed to be sleeping soundly; his body was hidden under the quilt, only his grey head was visible. But the room was indescribably messy; nothing seemed to be on its original place. There were three camphor wood boxes next to his bed, but the boxes were all overturned.

    Leng Qiuhun was unable to restrain his emotions. He jerked the quilt away.

    Blood. Under the quilt was a body dripping with blood, only the hands and feet were missing.

    Leng Qiuhun was shivering as if he was cold, “Wu Gui Fen Shi [five-demon corpse separator],” he spoke in trembling voice, “Could it be Wu Gui Fen Shi …”

    He turned around and rushed out. The other hand was hanging on the eaves, still dripping with blood. Apparently Yang Song’s corpse was dismembered less than half a sichen ago.

    Zhang Xiaolin appeared to be petrified as well.

    Leng Qiuhun hissed, “Zhusha Men has never had any enmity with Wu Gui, why would Xue Sha Wu Gui [bloody fiend five demons] committed such a ruthless act?”

    Zhang Xiaolin said, “You … how do you know it was Xue Sha Wu Gui’s doing?”

    Leng Qiuhun hatefully said, “Wu Gui Fen Shi, this is their trademark.”

    “Sometimes other can also borrow the trademark,” Zhang Xiaolin muttered.

    But Leng Qiuhun did not seem to hear him; he has begun searching around.

    Zhang Xiaolin mumbled softly, as if he was talking to himself, “What are you looking for? That letter must be gone by now.”

    The letter was indeed gone.

    Leng Qiuhun’s countenance turned even more dreadfully pale. Suddenly he rushed over and grabbed Zhang Xiaolin’s collar. “What’s your relation with this matter?” he asked sternly.

    Zhang Xiaolin replied, “If there is any relationship, would I be here?”

    Leng Qiuhun glowered at him for half a day. Finally his palms loosened slowly. “But how did you come in such a right time?” he spoke in heavy voice.

    Smiling ruefully, Zhang Xiaolin said, “Just because these days I am so unlucky.”

    He looked around and said, “Why don’t you go to your honorable master’s room and take a look? Perhaps you’ll find some new clues.”

    Leng Qiuhun thought for a moment. Finally he picked up the lantern and walked toward the east wing. The door was unlocked. This reclusive Zhusha Men’s elder unexpectedly lived inside four bare walls; very simple.

    But there was a painting on the wall. It was not a painting of mountains and rivers [i.e. landscape], not insects, birds, flowers and plants, but a portrait of a woman. The strokes were exquisite, the facial features were vivid and lifelike. In those days, half-bust portrait like this was very rare. Unconsciously Zhang Xiaolin stole a couple of glances. But the more he looked, the more he felt that the woman in the picture’s charm and beauty were not something that words could describe. Even though it was merely a picture, it had some kind of irresistible charm.

    Zhang Xiaolin could not help sighing and said, “I never thought your honorable Shimu [master’s wife] is a peerless beauty.”

    Leng Qiuhun coldly said, “Until now, Jiashi is still unmarried.”

    Zhang Xiaolin was stunned. “Oh … No wonder he and Yang Qianbei lived together,” he said, “Also no wonder that they did not employ any maidservants.”

    However, although his mouth was uttering those words, in his heart he was thinking about something else, “Why did Ximen Qian stay single? Why would he hang this woman’s portrait in his room? What’s his relationship to the woman?”

    Maybe, this was just an ordinary portrait?

    But how could an ordinary portrait be only half-bust?

    This moment, Zhang Xiaolin was back in his room at the inn. Outside the window, there were seven or eight men, wearing black clothes with vermillion belt, going back and forth on patrol.

    These men were escorting him all the way back to the inn [orig. shouting in front (as herald), swarming behind]. Now they were keeping watch all around outside his room, as if they were his personal guards.

    Naturally, the actual fact was that Leng Qiuhun sent his men to spy on him.

    Actually, it was not that Leng Qiuhun had any doubt toward him, it was just he was unwilling for that ‘three million taels’ to fall under other people’s hands. Of this, naturally Zhang Xiaolin was very clear.

    He could not help laughing; and he was laughing very cheerfully.

    If he really wanted to make his move, in his eyes, these eight big men would not be much different than eight wooden dummies.

    He blew out the lantern, stripped off his clothes, and lay in bed. As much as possible, he relaxed his limbs. The clean quilt rubbed against his skin. He felt extremely comfortable.

    ‘Big Ginseng Dealer from Outside The Pass’. Although this identity was fun, compared to his real identity, it was still a lot worse.

    Besides, forcing himself to pretend to be another person couldn’t always be a pleasant thing to do. Especially the mask on his face, which often made his nose itchy.

    Gradually his whole body entered the state of absolute stillness. But his brains had not stopped functioning.

    Suddenly, there was a faint noise coming from the roof tile.

    A dim column of moonlight sprayed the dark room.

    Unexpectedly someone had opened several tiles from the roof, without creating the slightest noise. This nightwalker was surprisingly a big expert; his movement was very clean.

    And then a shadow, like a slippery fish, climbed down from the roof, waited for a moment, and after hearing no sound, floated down to the floor.

    Zhang Xiaolin still lay motionless, while squinting his eyes to look. Inwardly he was amused. If this person was a thief, by coming over here, surely their ancestors were lacking moral sense.

    In the moonlight, he saw that the shadow wore black head covering, which also covered its face. The tight black clothes wrapped around her well developed but slender body. Unexpectedly it was an attractive girl.

    In her hand was a very light and very short willow-leaf saber. Under the moonlight, the blade flickered continuously. Her pair of big eyes, where the black and the white were clearly distinguished, was staring unblinking at the person on the bed.

    Zhang Xiaolin thought it was very interesting, it was simply extremely amusing.

    This attractive girl was unexpectedly a female assassin.

    Although the strange things that Zhang Xiaolin encountered in all his life were not a few, but having an attractive girl coming to assassinate him, this was still the first in his life.

    Afraid that he might scare this female assassin away, he regulated his breathing that he appeared to be sleeping soundly. But apparently this female assassin did not come to kill him.

    Softly and quietly she rummaged through Zhang Xiaolin’s clothes lying on the floor. She found the stack of banknotes, but after looking at it, she stuffed it back, still intact.

    The female assassin obviously was not here to steal. Since she did not want to kill him, and did not come to steal, why did she come then?

    Her eyes darted to the east and looked back to the west. Seeing the black box, she rushed over with cat-like movement, and stretched out a hand to open the box.
    Last edited by foxs; 12-05-17 at 09:24 PM.

  12. #52
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    Thanks foxs

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    Thanks foxs....

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    Senior Member LuDongBin's Avatar
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    'Thks foxs.

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    Thanks, foxs.

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    Finally, the-long-awaited "sometimes next week" comes... Cannot wait to see the boys..

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    That's great to hear foxs, well whatever happens come hell or high water you can count on my support to the bitter end

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    Default Book 1 Chapter 5 - Part 2

    Ysabel, DongBin, Jaya, you are welcome. Xiaohu, patience ... Paona, thanks.



    Edited: moved to Part 1 above.
    Last edited by foxs; 12-05-17 at 09:25 PM.

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    Thanks foxs

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    Thanks foxs... Waiting patiently in silence is killing me...Hahaha..

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