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Thread: Translation of Meteor, Butterfly, Sword

  1. #81
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    Wow! so many returner!

    I am as happy as a little girl :-)

    thx for this!

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    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    So I was looking around online, and apparently, the official version of this book has 29 chapters. The one I used before separated the book into 34 chapters.

    I went back to the original version of the book. The content is the same for either, just they separated the chapters at different times.

    I have reposted the parts I have already translated, but in the correct chapter.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  3. #83
    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Liu Xing Hu Die Jian – Meteor, Butterfly, Sword

    Chapter One

    Even though the life of the meteor spark is brief, yet nothing in the sky can overpower its brightness or its magnificence.
    When the meteor appears, not even the eternal stars can rival its radiance.

    The life of the butterfly is fragile; even more fragile than that of a delicate flower.
    But it only lives in the spring.
    It is beautiful, it is free, and it flies.
    Its life is short yet fragrant.

    Only the sword comes close to eternity.
    The swordsman’s radiance and life often depends on the sword he holds in his hand.
    If the sword had emotions, then maybe its vivacity would be as brief as the meteor.
    As the meteor drew across the night sky, he was lying on this grey rock.
    He gambled. He drank.
    He patronized brothels. He has had many different women throughout his life.
    He even killed!
    Yet he rarely missed a meteor, because he often lied here waiting. And as long as he could feel that awe-inspiring brightness, that exhilarating luminosity, then he still had the greatest happiness in his life.
    He did not want to miss this chance for anything, for his life contained little happiness.
    He used to want to catch a meteor. Of course, that was a long time ago. Now, he had few dreams left, and barely any memories.
    For someone like him, dreams were not only ridiculous, but even shameful.

    * * *

    This was the one place in the world closest to the meteors.
    The lights were still on in the little cottage sitting at the bottom of the hill. When the wind blew, it would sometimes carry from the little cottage sounds of laughter and celebration up the hill. That was his little cottage, his wine, his women!
    But he would rather lie here, would rather be alone.
    The light of the meteor has disappeared from the sky, the water running next to the grey rock wept, the time for partying had already passed. Now he must be calm, extremely calm.
    Because one must be calm before killing.
    Now he must kill!

    * * *

    He did not like to kill.
    Every time his sword tip stabbed into someone’s heart, every time as the blood ran down the shaft of his sword, he could not enjoy the excitement that surged through one’s veins. He only felt pain.
    Yet no matter how deep, no matter how strong the pain, he had to endure it.
    He had to kill.
    If he did not kill, then he must die!
    Sometimes, one must live not to enjoy happiness, but to endure pain; because living was also a responsibility – no one could escape it.
    He started to remember the first time he had to kill.

    * * *

    Luo Yiang was a large city.
    Different types of people resided in the city of Luo Yiang – heroes and celebrities, poets and painters. Some were rich and some are poor. Also, the leaders of two major sects, and the chiefs of three major groups resided in this city as well.
    But no one’s fame was as glorious as Gold Spear Li. No one’s wealth and properties exceeded half of that of Gold Spear Li, and no one could withstand Gold Spear Li’s 49 stances of “Rushed Storm Sudden Rain.”

    The first person he killed was Gold Spear Li.

    Gold Spear Li’s wealth and fame did not fall from the sky; hence, he had many enemies: so many that he did not even remember them all.
    However, no one ever dreamed of killing him. No one dared.
    Gold Spear Li had four huge guardians and thirteen bodyguards. Each one of their martial arts could be considered the top in Jiang Hu. And two 2-meter tall giants carried his spear for him.
    These people never left his side for a minute.
    He himself wore a weapon-proof gold thread vest. Others not only could not kill him, they could not even come near him.
    Even if there was someone with better martial arts than Gold Spear Li, to be able to kill him, that person must first overcome seven levels of hidden weapons just to enter the Gold Spear Fortress. Then that person must beat down the two giants, four guardians, and thirteen bodyguards around Gold Spear Li. Finally that person had to pierce through Gold Spear Li’s throat with his sword, and no other part of his body. This stance must make absolutely no mistakes, and could not be slow in any way – because he would not have a second chance.

    {NOTE: The killing part, I changed a lot of the “he” used in the original text to “Gold Spear Li” to avoid confusions.}

    Nobody wanted to do this, nobody was able to do this.
    Only one person was able to do this, and that was him – Meng XingHun.

    * * *

    First, he spent half a month and traced the behaviours, activities, and even every movement of Gold Spear Li inside out.
    Afterwards, he spent another month to get inside of the Gold Spear Fortress, working in the kitchens as a water boy.
    Then, he spent another month and a half waiting.
    Everything was easy, but waiting was not. Gold Spear Li was like a cold yet innocent virgin, never giving anyone a chance for assault. Even when he bathed or used the washroom, there was someone guarding him.
    But, as long as one waited, the chance will come – virgins eventually become mothers.
    One day it was very windy. A gale blew away Gold Spear Li’s crown. Those closely surrounding him all went to chase after it.
    Gold Spear Li’s eyes also followed the blown away crown.
    In this moment, no one looked after anything else. Because that moment was so short, no one had the confidence to seize it.
    Hence, they were careless. They did not think that there was anything worth being worried about. In this moment, Meng XingHun came, and used one sword stance.
    Only one stance!
    The sword entered the blood vessel from behind the left side of Gold Spear Li’s neck, and exited from the front of the right side of his neck.
    The sword was pulled out immediately.
    Blood sprayed, blood droplets sprayed around like a mist.
    The mist of blood covered everyone’s eyes, the sword flash scared away everyone’s souls!
    When the mist of blood cleared, Meng XingHun was miles away.
    No one could describe his speed, and no one could describe the speed of this sword stance.
    Apparently, when they performed a check for Gold Spear Li, his eyes were wide open, filled with looks of doubt and disbelief.
    He did not believe that he could die!
    He could never believe that someone could kill him.

    * * *

    The news of Gold Spear Li’s death reached everyone under the sky, yet the name of Meng XingHun was still unknown to anyone.
    Because no one knew who the killer was.
    Some swore that they would find this “assassin,” to avenge the death of Gold Spear Li.
    Some swore that they would find this “saviour,” and kiss his feet for ridding Jiang Hu of a plague.
    Some younger swordsman looking for fame, were also looking for him. But they only wanted to duel with him, to see whose sword was faster.

    But he did not care for any of these.

    After he killed, he just ran to his little cottage alone, hiding in a corner crying, vomiting.

    Now, he stopped crying, there were no more tears to cry. Nevertheless, every time he saw the blood stains on his sword tip, he still could not help but hide and vomit.

    Before killing, he was completely calm, absolutely calm, extremely calm.

    But after killing, he could not control himself anymore.
    He must gamble, drink, and then find the easiest, most beautiful women to help him forget about killing. He had difficulty forgetting, he could never forget.
    Thus, he had to continuously gamble, drink, continuously looked for women.
    Until the next time he killed.
    Then he would go up the hill alone, and lie on the grey rock beside the running water doing nothing, thinking about nothing.
    He could not think, and was afraid to think.
    He was just forcing himself to calm down, so he could go kill another person.
    He did not know this person, had no grudges against him, he had never even met him before.
    The life and death of this person had nothing to do with him.
    But now, he must go kill this person.
    He killed only because Gao LaoDa told him to do so.

    * * *

    When he first met Gao LaoDa, he was only six. Then, he had already starved for three days.
    Starvation for a six-year-old child was even more terrifying than death, even more unbearable than waiting for death.
    He lied hungrily on the road, seeing nothing.
    For a six-year-old child to feel death is something unbelievable.
    Back then, he really could feel death … perhaps things would have been better if he died then.
    The reason he did not die was because someone’s hand reached out to him, gave him a large loaf of bread.
    Gao LaoDa’s hand.
    Cold, hard bread.
    As he took this loaf of bread, tears streamed down his face like the stream in the spring. The tears wet the bread. He could never forget the taste of the bread in his throat, mixed with bitter, salty tears.
    He could also never forget Gao LaoDa’s hand.
    Now, this hand no longer gave him cold bread, but silver and gold, as much as he wanted.
    Sometimes, this hand would also pass him a little piece of paper. The paper only carried a name, a location, and a deadline.
    This piece of paper was that person’s death card!

    * * *

    “Su Zhou, Sun YuBo, Four Months.”

    Four months, this deadline meant that Sun YuBo had to die within four months.
    Ever since he killed Gold Spear Li, he never needed more than three months time to kill someone.
    Even when he assassinated the seventh sect leader Swordsman NangGong of the Dian Cang Sect, it took only forty-one days.
    This was not because his sword is faster, but because his heart was colder, his hands were also colder.
    He knew that he never needed to spend more than three months to kill a person.
    Gao LaoDa knew this, too.
    Yet now, the deadline was four months. This already indicated what type of person Sun YuBo was, how difficult and hard it would be to kill him.
    The name Sun YuBo was not unfamiliar to Meng XingHun. In fact, the number of people in Jiang Hu who did not know Sun YuBo was even less than the number of Buddhists who did not know the Buddha.
    In the minds of Jiang Hu people, Sun YuBo was not only the Buddha, but also the Devil. When he was kind, he would sit next to the bed of a strange, sick child and tell him stories for three days and three nights. But when he was mad, he could also turn the eight villages of the QiLian Mountains into flatlands in three days!
    This famous name now was suddenly meaningless to Meng XingHun, just like a dead man’s name.
    He could even imagine his sword tip piercing into Sun Yu Bo’s heart. He could also imagine Sun YuBo’s sword tip piercing into his own heart. Either Sun YuBo dies, or he dies.
    There was no other choice. Yet no matter who died, he did not care.

    * * *

    In the east the dawn was breaking. It was day.
    White morning mist gradually rose from the stream, from between the mountains and forests. Then they were slowly blown apart by the wind, thread by thread, and floated far away. No one knew where they floated to, they floated until they disappeared.
    Life, sometimes, was like the morning mist!
    Meng XingHun slowly stood up, slowly walked down the hill.
    The little cottage was next to the maple trees at the bottom of the hill. The yellow light from the lantern shined on the pale window paper. Occasionally, bits of laughter emerged from the inside. The people in the cottage obviously did not know that the pleasures left with the night. Real pain arrived with the dawn, still enjoying itself in its drunken dreams.
    Meng XingHun pushed the door open, stood, watched.
    There were only four or five people left in the little cottage, four or five almost completely naked people. Some were drunk, some were sleeping. Some were just in a daze, staring at the lantern next to the wine cup.
    When they saw Meng XingHun, the drunk became sober, the sleeping woke up, half-naked girls ran to him giggling. Their pale arms wrapped around his neck like snakes, their soft chests pressed onto his.
    They were all very pretty, and also very young; that was why they still have not realized how horrible it was to sell out their youths. They could still smile so sweetly, so happily!

    "Where did you run off to? We were so sad we couldn’t even drink.”

    Meng XingHun looked at them coldly. He was the one who sought these girls. Because of them, the silver in his pockets flowed out like water.

    Half a day ago, he was still lying among them, muttering sweet nonsense that he did not even believe in himself. Now he only wanted to say one thing.

    “Get out!”
    “You want them to get out?”

    A man was lying on the soft bed, his bare chest like copper, he had no idea where his clothes went, but next to him he kept a sabre.
    A copper sabre, the sabre gleamed like fish scales. It does not matter whether he wore clothes or not; but when this sabre was not next to him, then he would feel as if he really was naked.

    Meng XingHun gave him a light look and said, “Who are you?”

    This man laughed and said, “You’re drunk, you don’t even remember me. I’m your guest from the Three Flower Inn. We both met there drinking, and you insisted that I come.” His face fell, “I came, because you have women here. How can you tell them to get out?”

    Meng XingHun said, “You get out too!”

    This man’s expressions changed, his huge, rough hand closed on the sabre, he angrily shouted, “What did you say?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Get out!”

    A flash of the sabre, the man jumped up and yelled, “Even if you are drunk, even if you forgot who I am, you shouldn’t forget this Violet Fish Scale sabre!”

    The Violet Fish Scale sabre was not an ordinary sabre, it was not only very precious, but also very heavy. Someone of lower status could not afford to use such sabre, someone who did not like publicity would not use such sabre, someone with mediocre martial arts would not be able to use such sabre.
    There were only three people in Jiang Hu who used such sabre. Meng XingHun did not want to know who he was, only asked, “You use this sabre to kill?”

    This man replied, “Of course!”

    Meng XingHun asked, “How many did you kill?”

    This man’s eyes showed signs of pride, and said, “Twenty. Maybe even more. Who remembers stuff like this.”

    Meng XingHun stared at him, a fire of anger was rising from his body to his head.
    He always thought of killing as a very painful thing. He could not understand why there were some people in the world who took great pride in killing.
    He hated this type of people, just like he hated venomous snakes.

    The Violet Fish Scale sabre was slowly put down, the copper-like face was filled with cold smile, “Today I do not want to kill. Besides, I drank your wine and used your women …”

    He suddenly realized that Meng XingHun was coming at him. When he realized this, a cold, hard fist already reached his face.
    He only felt a hit like an earthquake. He did not even feel the second hit.
    He did not even feel pain or fear.
    Long, long after, he felt the cold wind blowing against his face, just like needles, stabbing inside his bones, his brain.
    He could not help but to touch his mouth with his hand – it turned into soft flesh, with no lips, no teeth. Above that was no nose, his nose disappeared completely.
    Now he began to feel fear.
    A kind of maddening fear burst from the bottom of his heart, he screamed.
    Others from afar heard his scream thought of: a beast with its throat cut off by the hunter.

    There was no one else in the cottage, but the cup still had wine in it. Meng XingHun slowly lied down, and put the wine cup flat on his chest.
    Wine slowly poured out of the cup, one half spilled on his chest, the other half flowed into his mouth.
    The hot, bitter wine passed by his tongue, down his throat, into his chest, as if it melted together with the wine on his chest, and surrounded his entire body.
    He suddenly had a dizzy feeling.
    Normally, before killing, he always thought of maintaining his calmness, and never touched wine.
    However, this time was different. He suddenly felt that he should not go kill that person, he did not want to go. Around that person was a kind of unlucky shadow, waiting for him.
    Waiting to devour him!

    * * *
    As she finished her seventh cup of wine, her eyes became bright.
    The ones who drink can be separated into two groups – in one group, after a person drinks wine, his eyes will become blurry, filled with blood-shots. Most people belong in this group.
    She belongs in the other group.
    When she finished her ninth cup of wine, her eyes were bright like stars.
    There were six or seven people throwing dice in the room. The clashing of the dice sounded like silver bells.
    The lantern hanging on the wall was also made of silver, casting a soft ray onto the fine porcelain sitting on the table, onto the great marble table sitting on fine sandalwood, onto those six or seven sweat-dripping faces.
    She felt very satisfied.
    This is her room; everything in this room belongs to her. Nevertheless, this room is just a tiny, tiny portion of her properties.
    These people were either wealthy merchants and dealers, or famous heroes and celebrities. In the past, they would not even look at her, but now they were all her friends.
    She knows that all she needed was to open her mouth, and they would go do anything for her; because they, too, needed her help. She would, too, fulfill any of their strange wishes anytime.
    Near the door sat a bearded, middle-aged man wearing a brocade robe: this was the sixth master of the number one wealthy family ZuTai from Lu Nan.
    One day, when he was drunk, he said that he had tasted everything except for a baked camel. The next day, when he opened his eyes, he saw four men carrying his breakfast.
    His breakfast was a baked camel.
    Here at her place, you can demand for something even more absurd. At her place, no matter what you wanted, you would not be disappointed.
    Yet ten years ago, she had nothing; not even a complete set of clothing. She could only let some greedy, perverted eyes search through the naked parts of her body.
    Back then, no matter who gave her a set of clothing, then that person could receive everything from her body.
    * * *
    Now she owned almost everything!
    The brighter her eyes, the more drunk she was.
    The clashing of dice was non-stop, the wagers getting bigger, the sweating getting more.
    Looking at their face, she suddenly felt ridiculous. These normally handsome gentlemen, when they see gambling and women, became a bunch of dogs, a bunch of pigs, a hybrid of pigs and dogs.
    She wanted to vomit.

    Someone from across the room yelled, “This time I’ll be the banker. Landlady, you wanna give it a try?”
    She walked over there, carelessly put down a bank note. The banker was the head of a team of armed escorts. He also owned a few restaurants. He always liked to show of his rough, strong muscles and that jade ring on his finger to her – this means that he not only has money, but also masculinity.
    She knew that he was hitting on her.
    The banker threw an “Eleven.” He laughed, revealing a mouthful of yellow teeth like a hungry dog.
    She carelessly picked up the dice, and threw a “Four Reds.”
    The banker’s laugh was already a bit uneasy, but he was still laughing. But when he saw the “50 000 Taels” on her bank note, his face became more black and more yellow than his teeth.
    She smiled and said, “This is just a game, no need to take it seriously. If Third Master Song did not bring enough money, then just bark twice. It’ll cheer everyone up. This bet is about barking.”
    For 50 000 taels, many people will bark like a dog.
    But she had already quietly pushed the door open, and slipped out silently. She was afraid that she would have vomited right there on the spot.
    She walked along the path, walked out of these beautiful woods, and arrived at the little cottage at the bottom of the hill. She saw a half-drunk Meng XingHun the second she pushed the door open.
    She silently walked to him, reached out her hand to him …
    * * *
    Meng XingHun was neither sleeping, nor drunk. He just did not want to understand.
    When he heard the footsteps, he opened his eyes and saw her hand.
    No one can deny that this is not an extremely beautiful hand. It was just a bit too big, but this only showed the strong, unyielding characteristics of the hand’s owner.
    People who saw these hands would never believe that these hands once dug for yams buried under cold ice, that these hands once dug for coal under a two metre ruins.
    She stared at him, gently took the wine cup off his chest and said, “You should not be drinking.”
    Her voice was soft, yet commanding.
    She really could command him.
    “Gao LaoDa” was not a big brother, but a big sister. It was her hands that gave him his life. Back then, that cold, hard piece of bread really was more precious than all the gold in the world.

    {NOTE: In Chinese, “LaoDa” usually refers to a male.}

    Back then was the most difficult times during the war and starvation. You could aways see people who died of starvation lying on the road. Dead people were nothing unusual, if you survived, then that was unusual.
    Without a home, without his parents, without anything – a six-year-old child actually managed to survive. This was not only unusual, it was a wonder.
    Gao LaoDa created this wonder.
    She created four wonders – four children followed her. The youngest was only five; even herself was only a thirteen-year-old child.
    In order to raise these four children, in order to survive herself, she did almost anything.
    She stole, she robbed, she lied, she even betrayed herself.
    When she was only fourteen years old, she sold her virginity to a butcher for one kilogram of meat. She could never forget that drooling face on top of hers.
    Fifteen years later, she found that butcher and shoved a one metre long sabre down his mouth.
    The light of the sun gently spread over the window paper.
    She walked over and pulled down the curtains. She did not like the sunlight, because under the sun, you could see the wrinkles at the corners of her eyes.
    Meng XingHun suddenly asked, “Are you here to rush me?”
    Big Sister Gao smiled, and replied, “You don’t need me to rush you, and you’ve never disappointed me.”
    Meng XingHun said, “But this time …”
    Big Sister Gao asked, “What about this time?”
    Meng XingHun said, “Can I not go this time?”
    Big Sister Gao turned around sharply, stared at him and said, “Why? You’re afraid of Sun YuBo?”
    Meng XingHun did not reply, because he did not know what to say. He had to ask himself first, “Am I afraid?” No.
    If a person was not afraid of death, then what else is there to fear?
    It was just tiredness. A kind of tiredness that bored into the bones, that seeped into the blood. Tired of killing, tired of bloodshed, tired of this way of life that never sees the sun.
    Was this life not like that of a prostitute?
    There was only one road in front of him, yet behind him was a whip. He replied after a long time, “I just don’t want to go.”
    Big Sister Gao’s beautiful smile suddenly froze, and she said, “No. You have to go.”
    She came closer and said, “You know that Shi Qun is in XiBei, and Xiao He went to JingCheng. Neither of them will be back in a short time. Besides, only you can do this, only you can deal with Sun YuBo.”
    Meng XingHun asked, “What about Ye Xiang?”
    Big Sister Gao laughed coldly, “Ye Xiang! Now he can only hold a baby.”
    Meng XingHun said, “He did it before.”
    Big Sister Gao said, “Before is before.”
    Her expressions gradually softened, she gently said, “I already gave him three chances, I can’t let him disappoint me once more.”
    Meng XingHun’s face had no expressions, none at all; yet the corner of his right eye was twitching non-stop. This happens every time he felt sad and angry.
    Him, Shi Qun, Xiao He, and Ye Xiang were all children raised by Big Sister Gao. Ye Xiang used to be their leader – he was not only the oldest, but also the smartest, the strongest!
    But now …
    Big Sister Gao sighed and all of a sudden, she sat down next to him, lied down, and said, “Stop arguing with me, I’m already really tired …”
    He hand slowly reached out and grasped his hand, she said slowly, “I know you’re really tired, too. But this is life, if we want to survive, then we can’t stop.”
    Survive? Who cares about surviving!
    Yet in life, there are always things that you cannot not care about.
    Meng XingHun closed his eyes, “If you really want me to go, then I’ll go.”
    Big Sister Gao’s hand grasped him harder, “I know that you won’t disappoint me.”
    Her hand was soft and warm. Ever since he was six, these hands often held his. She was his friend, his older sister, and also his mother.
    But now, he suddenly felt that this hand brought him another totally different feeling.
    He opened his eyes and looked at this hand, his eyes slowly moving upwards away from the hand; finally he saw her face, her eyes.
    Her eyes were clear and bright, but her face was blurred. The sun was blocked by the curtains. The lantern extinguished, too.
    All of a sudden, he felt that she was a stranger, a strange yet beautiful woman.
    She was looking at him, too. After a long time, she sighed, “You are no longer a child.”
    He wasn’t; he wasn’t a child anymore ever since he was thirteen.
    Big Sister Gao said, “I know you had many women before.”
    Meng XingHun replied, “Many.”
    Big Sister Gao asked, “Did you ever like them?”
    Meng XingHun answered, “No.”
    Big Sister Gao said, “If you don’t like them, then they can never satisfy you. A person who can never feel satisfied will only fell tired.”
    She smiled. Her smile was so gentle, so charming, “Maybe you still know nothing about women. You don’t know how much a woman can encourage a man.” Meng XingHun said nothing, his Adam’s apple was moving up and down.
    He watched her.
    She stood up, slowly stood up. Her movements were so elegant and gentle.
    She placed her hand on he buttons and slowly unbuttoned …
    Suddenly, she was completely naked – her hips was still slender, her breasts were still firm, her legs were still long and slim, her skin still shined like silk.
    She definitely did not look like a woman who has lost her youth.
    Standing in the dim morning light, she still resembled a spring goddess.
    She looked at him.
    Suddenly, he felt an indescribable excitement: his throat was filled up. In this moment, he forgot the past, the future, and even the present.
    She slowly leaned towards him, her voice calm yet far away, she softly said, “If you understood women, then you will no longer feel tired. I will teach you to understand women …”
    Her breath was mild like the spring wind, with a sweet scent that was enchanting to the heart.
    Perhaps she was drunk, but the wine turned into sweetness.
    Even though she was no longer very young, she was still an irresistible woman.
    * * *
    Meng XingHun was running fast through the cold, autumn wind like a beast hit by an arrow.
    As he was running, tears suddenly poured out.
    He wanted to, he needed to, but he could not accept. No matter how badly he wanted it, he could not accept.
    The first time he was excited was when he was thirteen. Back then they were still wandering. One day, they spent the night in someone’s food storage cabin. It was summer, and it was hot and stuffy inside the food storage cabin. He woke up from the heat around midnight, and noticed by chance that she was in a corner washing herself with cold water.
    The moonlight shined through the little window in the roof of the cabin, and shined onto her naked, gleaming body. Her hand was massaging her chest, a dreamy moan was emerging from her throat.
    Then her body jerked as if she collapsed.
    At that instant, he felt as if a fire started burning in his stomach. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes. Sweat soaked through his clothes.
    Ever since then, every time he became excited, he would think of her, of her hand massaging her chest, of her jerking, trembling legs.
    Afterwards, he would always have a guilty feeling. He tried hard to stop himself from thinking about it. He even secretly carried a needle with him: every time he thought about it, he would stab his legs with that needle.
    The older he became, the more needle scars he had on his legs. Until he had a real woman.
    Yet whenever he closed his eyes, he still could not help but to prevent that the other women were her.
    He never imagined that one day, he could really have her.
    He really wanted to, really needed to, yet no matter what, he could not accept.
    As he ran out of the little cabin, the expression on her face was as if someone had slapped her – slapped her really hard. For a woman, there was no insult greater than this in the world.
    He knew how she felt inside, nonetheless, he had to reject.
    She always will be his older sister, his mother, and also his friend. He could not destroy her place held in his heart, because no one could ever take her place.
    * * *
    The leaves on the trees had begun to fall from the cold.
    He ran into the forest, stopped, tightly embraced the tree in front of him, and rubbed his face with the rough tree bark. He only knew that his face was wet, but did not know if it was blood or tears?
    The sun already rose, the garden around the forest was as beautiful as a painting. Within 1 500 kilometres from here, one could not find a second garden this beautiful, nor a more charming place than here.
    Different types of people from different places come here, just like flies are attracted to blood on a piece of meat. Even if they spent their last silver tael in this place, they would not regret it.
    Because this place is the “Pleasure Forest.”
    Here, you could not only buy the best wine, the best women, but you could also purchase dreams you thought would never come true.
    As long as you were generous enough, here, you could even buy another person’s life!
    Here, there was nothing that money could not buy, and there was that could have for free. If you came here, then you had to be prepared to spend money, Meng XingHun was no exception.
    No one was an exception.
    Because the owner of this place was Gao JiPing a.k.a. Gao LaoDa. Living through almost twenty years of hardships and poor wanderings had taught her one thing: “You own sons are not as good as money.” There was nothing more important than money in this world.
    Nobody could say that she was wrong, because she learned this through poverty, and this was more painful and more real than cutting yourself with a knife.
    A few people came out of the house next to the little bridge. Their arms were around the waists of young girls. They were yawning and discussing their match.
    An all night long gambling session sometimes was more exciting than a life-or-death battle, and more tiring.
    Meng XingHun recognized the first person that came out – his surname was Tai and he was the master of the richest family in LuDong, and he was old enough to be the grandfather of the young girl beside him.
    Still, he maintained his body well, he was still very energetic. Hence, every autumn, he would come and stay here for a while.
    Meng XingHun suddenly thought, “There aren’t that many people who want to buy the life of Sun YuBo. Could that person be him?”
    The price to purchase someone’s life was, of course, very expensive; and there are not that many people who are qualified to buy Sun YuBo’s life. Before, when Meng XingHun killed, he never wondered about who the buyer was. Yet this time, he suddenly had curiosity.
    Judging by the loudness of his laughter, Tai obviously was successful last night. Yet suddenly, he stopped laughing, because someone on the bridge walked pass.
    This person was very tall, very strong. He wore a long, light-green robe, his grey hair was tied into a bun. His hands made a chiming noise, as if he was holding iron balls.
    Meng XingHun could not see his face, he only saw Tai HuHua’s.
    Tai HuHua’s status was very high in the martial arts society, almost at the same level as any of the major sect’s leaders. But when he saw this person, his expressions immediately changed to a very respectful one and he bowed to show curtsy.
    This person only nodded slightly, carelessly talked a bit, and walked by proudly.
    Meng XingHun really wanted to walk over there and see who this person was, but he could not.
    Here, he was just a ghost who could never see the sunlight – with no forename, no surname. He must not meet others, and others, too, must not recognize him.
    Because Gao LaoDa believed that the Jiang Hu must never know that a person like him existed.
    He only lived to kill, and must also die due to killing.
    If he wanted to live longer, then he definitely must not have emotions, must not have friends, and also must not have a life of his own.
    His life did not belong to him anyway.
    Meng XingHun suddenly felt that this tree had it better than him. At least, this tree had its own life, at least it could stand up straight on its own.
    He pushed away from the tree, stood up straight. All of a sudden, a hand reached down from the tree, holding a cup of wine.
    A deep, hoarse voice said, “How come you woke up so early? This isn’t a good thing. Come and have a drink.”
    With his head hanging, Meng XingHun took the cup.
    He did not have to lift his head to know who that person in the tree was. Even if he did not recognize this deep, hoarse voice, he recognized this hand.
    It was a big hand, big yet thin, meaning that he could hold anything very tightly. Especially when he held his sword. No one could strike that sword from his hand.
    Yet this hand had not held a sword for a very, very long time.
    The sword in his hand was stroke down by himself.
    “Ye Xiang killing … never failed …”
    Gao LaoDa always had a lot of confidence in him. He had a lot of confidence in him. But now, it seemed as if he could not even hold this wine cup.
    There was a long, deep scar running down his forearm. This was a souvenir from the last time he killed.
    That person was called Yang YuLin. He was not a very amazing person, any of the people Ye Xiang killed before was more powerful than him.
    Gao LaoDa wanted him to kill this person, only to regain his confidence, because he had already failed twice.
    However, this time, he failed again.
    Yang YuLin’s sabre almost cut off his hand.
    Ever since then, he did not kill another person. Ever since then, there was not one day when he was not drunk.
    The wine was hot. Meng XingHun took only one sip, and frowned.
    Ye Xiang said, “This isn’t good wine. I know you’re not used to it. But no matter how bad the wine is, it’s still better than no wine.”
    He suddenly smiled, “The fact that Gao LaoDa still lets me drink this kind of wine is already very flattering. In reality, someone like me now only deserves to drink horse piss.”
    Meng XingHun did not say anything, he did not know what to say.
    Ye Xiang already slipped off the tree. He leaned against the trunk and watched Meng XingHun with a smile.
    Yet Meng XingHun did not look at him.
    People who saw him before would never believe how much he changed.
    He used to be a very handsome, very strong person full of energy, with a threatening stare that resembled a gleaming sabre.
    But now, the sabre already rusted. The muscles on his once handsome face slowly loosened and gradually sagged. His eyes became dim and faint, his stomach turned outwards, even his voice became hoarse.
    Taking the wine cup, he took one giant gulp. Suddenly Ye Xiang sighed, “We have less and less chances of seeing each other now. I don’t really blame you, even if you look down on me, it’s alright. If it wasn’t for you, Yang YuLin would’ve killed me.”
    The last time Gao LaoDa sent him to kill someone, she already stopped trusting him. Hence, she ordered Meng XingHun to follow him.
    Ever since that time, Meng XingHun completely took his place.
    Ye Xiang smiled again, “To be honest, I knew you were following me that time, so I …”
    Meng XingHun suddenly interrupted him, “I shouldn’t have gone that time.”
    Ye Xiang asked, “Why not?”
    Meng XingHun said, “You knew that Gao LaoDa told me to follow you, and knew that she no longer trusted you. So you stopped having confidence in yourself. If I didn’t go, you definitely could have killed Yang YuLin.”
    Ye Xiang laughed again, a very sad laugh, “You’re wrong. The time when I had to go kill Lei LaoSan, I already knew that I could never kill ever again.”
    That time he had to go kill Lai LaoSan was the first time he failed.
    Meng XingHun said, “Lei LaoSan was just an evil person charging usury. You normally hate this kind of person the most. I always wondered why you couldn’t kill him that time?”
    Ye Xiang bitterly laughed, “I don’t know why either. I just suddenly felt tired, so tired that I didn’t want to do anything. You might not know that type of feeling.”
    The word “tired” was like a needle.
    The corner of Meng XingHun’s eye was twitching again. After a long time, he said word by word, “I know.”
    Ye Xiang asked, “You know?”
    Meng XingHun said, “I already killed eleven people.”
    Ye Xiang was silent for a long time, then suddenly asked, “Do you know how many people I killed?”
    Meng XingHun did not know. Except for Gao LaoDa, no one knew.
    Every mission was a huge secret, never to be told to anyone.
    Ye Xiang said, “I killed thirty people, no more and no less, thirty.”
    His hand was shaking. He quickly took another gulp, swallowed it with his eyes closed. He breathed out, and continued slowly, “In the future, you’ll kill this many people, too. Perhaps even more, because you have to kill, or you’d end up like me.”
    Meng XingHun’s stomach was jerking. Suddenly, he had an urge to vomit.
    Ye Xiang was his mirror.
    It was as if he saw his entire life on Ye Xiang.
    Ye Xiang said, “Everybody has their own fate. Most people are just being played around with by fate. Only very few people can resist and change their fate. I just hate that I’m not this type of person.” His dim eyes suddenly had a thread of light, “But I had my chance.”
    Meng XingHun asked, “You did?”
    Ye Xiang sighed, “Once. I met this person, she was willing to help me despite of everything. Back then I was also willing to leave with her despite of everything. Perhaps life would’ve been better now … even if we died, it would’ve been a good death.”
    Meng XingHun asked, “Then why didn’t you do that back then?”
    The light in Ye Xiang’s eyes became dim again, his irises shrank because of pain. After a long time, he darkly replied, “That’s maybe because I’m a stupid, idiotic, and cowardly moron. I didn’t dare to.”
    Meng XingHun said, “It’s not that you didn’t dare to, you couldn’t bear to.”
    Ye Xiang said, “Couldn’t bear to? Not bearing to is more moronic. I just hope that you’re not as moronic as I was.” He stared at Meng XingHun, and said slowly, “There is only one chance, it’ll never come again if you miss it. But there will be at least one chance like this in everyone’s lives. I beg you, when that chance comes, don’t miss it.”
    He turned his head, perhaps because he did not want Meng XingHun to see the tears in his eyes.
    He begged Meng XingHun, perhaps not for the sake of Meng XingHun, but for the sake of himself.
    His life already ended, he hoped to see his life continue in Meng XingHun’s body.
    Meng XingHun did not say anything, he could not tell anyone about the way he felt.
    Only he knew his feelings towards Gao LaoDa.
    He would rather die for her.
    Ye Xiang asked, “Do you have another mission?”
    Meng XingHun nodded.
    Ye Xiang asked again, “Who do you have to kill this time?”
    Meng XingHun said, “Sun YuBo.”
    This was supposed to be his secret; but in front of Ye Xiang, he had no secrets.
    He suddenly noticed that Ye Xiang’s irises were shrinking again. After a long time, he finally asked, “Is it Sun YuBo from JiangNan?”
    Meng XingHun asked, “You know him?”
    Ye Xiang replied, “I saw him.”
    Meng XingHun asked, “What kind of person is he?”
    Ye Xiang said, “What kind of person he is … … no one can really tell. I only know one thing.”
    Meng XingHun said, “What thing?”
    Ye Xiang replied, “I’d never go kill him!”
    Meng XingHun was silent for a long time, then said slowly, “I also only know one thing.”
    Ye Xiang asked, “What do you know?”
    Meng XingHun’s eyes focused on somewhere far away and said word by word, “I have to kill him …”
    * * *

    The Heavens really was not fair to them. They all could do nothing about their sorrow and sadness.
    There were many unfair things in this world anyway.
    Fortunately, beside the Heavens, there was still LaoBo.
    LaoBo had never disappointed them.

    * * *

    The meaning of “LaoBo” was not only “Uncle,” these two words meant more than that.

    {NOTE: In Chinese, “Lao” means old, and “Bo” means uncle. In the story, LaoBo is just a nickname and it contains two words in Chinese.}

    In the hearts of many people, they symbolized a type of kindness, a type of intimidation, and a type of trust.
    They knew that no matter what kind of problem they had, LaoBo would always solve it for them. No matter how much they were wronged, LaoBo would always retaliate for them.
    They respected him, trusted him, just like a son trusted his father.
    He helped them, loved them and asked for nothing in return.
    But all he had to do was to say the word, and they would be willing to give everything for him.

    * * *

    When Fang YouPing came home, he was already drunk.
    He could neither remember where he drank, nor how he got home.
    If he was sober, he would have never came home.
    He used to have a cozy home; yet seven months ago, this home became a hell.
    The servants were all asleep, he had found half a cup of left-over wine.
    He began to vomit before he even took a sip, and vomited on the Persian carpet that he bought for three thousand silver taels.
    He felt a lot more sober after vomiting. But he did not want to be sober.
    He would have gone mad if he was sober.
    He had both money and fame. A person with money and fame, usually have a very beautiful wife.
    Not only was his wife beautiful, she was so beautiful that it was intolerable. He could not tolerate those greedy expressions in men’s eyes when they saw his wife.
    He hated it so much that he wanted to dig out these men’s eyes.
    But she liked it.
    She liked having men looking at her, and she also liked to look at those greedy expressions in men.
    Although she seemed ice-cold on the outside, he knew that on the inside, she was probably considering sleeping with these men.
    He knew that before she was married to him, she had already slept with many men.
    On their wedding night, he wanted so desperately to strangle her. Yet every time he looked into her big sparkling eyes and her petite beautiful mouth, his outstretched hands, which were intended to strangle her, would hug her closely. He himself, would lie on her chest, crying.
    He would never know how many other men she had slept with.
    He only knew one.

    * * *

    No one was in bed, this meant that she was still in bed with that man.
    Fang YouPing entered the hall, found another cup of wine, and sat down in front of the door. He continued to drink non-stop, until he heard the sound of clothing fluttering in the wind outside the windows.
    Before Zhu Qing married him, she was a very famous flying thief. Her levitation martial arts was even more famous than that of Fang YouPing.
    Of course, now she no longer needed to steal. Yet levitation martial arts still provided her with a lot of assistance, she could slip out of her windows at any time to steal.
    Of course, now she did not need to steal anything else, she only stole men.
    The candle was almost burned up, but its flame was still very bright. She suddenly appeared in front of him, stood in front of him, looked at him with her head dropped, looked at him with a disdainful expression in her eyes.
    Her face was pale, her eyes pitch-black, her expression was cold yet elegant. She resembled a chaste widow. No one would ever be able to guess what she had just done.

    Fang YouPing asked, “What were you doing out?”

    He obviously knew the answer, yet he still had to ask.

    The look in Zhu Qing’s eyes was more disdainful. She coldly replied, “Looking for someone.”


    Fang YouPing asked, “Who were you looking for?”

    Zhu Qing said, “Of course I was looking for Mao Wei.”

    Mao Wei. There was not a single person in the town who did not know Mao Wei. Mao Wei owned more properties than half of the town combined, Mao Wei played more women than others had seen.
    Out of ten people, there were at least six whose clothing were bought from Mao Wei’s silk store, and the rice they ate were also bought from Mao Wei’s rice store.
    Anywhere you go, you could be stepping on Mao Wei’s land. Any woman you saw could be one who had been played by Mao Wei.
    Here, no matter what you did, it could have some connection to Mao Wei.

    Fang YouPing’s face was distorting, “Mao Wei. What … what were you doing looking for him again?”

    Zhu Qing said, “You want to know what I did, don’t you?”

    Her eyes suddenly had a charming, teasing look. Her pale face was blushing. She bit her lip, “He also drinks. But he’s not like you, he can do it even when he’s drunk.”

    Fang YouPing suddenly jumped up and grabbed her neck, he said hoarsely, “I’m gonna kill you!”

    Zhu Qing suddenly laughed, she said giggly, “Go ahead. You only have the ability to kill me. If you dared to kill him, then I’d respect you.”

    Fang YouPing dared not to; even when he was drunk he did not dare to.
    His hands loosened and shook. But when he saw that cold, disdainful smile on her face, he clenched his fists again.

    Zhu Qing screamed, “Not on my face …!”

    She was screaming, but she was not afraid.
    She was still laughing.
    His fist hit her stomach. She fell backwards, yet wrapped her hands around his neck and he fell down with her. He fell on top of her. She let him smell the sweet fragrance on her body. He was still hitting her soft chest and thighs.
    Yet his hits were so soft that she was giggling from it. Her long legs twisted along with her laughter, her long dress coiled up and eventually showed her white, smooth legs.
    Fang YouPing was panting like an ox.

    Zhu Qing separated her legs and laughed, “Come. I know what you really want is this. Although I’ve already kept him company, I can still keep you company. I don’t have to use up energy when keeping you company.”

    Fang YouPing suddenly collapsed and could do nothing about it.
    He could not even try. All he had left was to roll off of her, and rolled back to the place where he had vomited before.
    He still wanted to vomit, yet could not. He could only cry.

    Zhu Qing slowly stood up and gently stroked her messed up hair.
    In a blink of an eye, she changed from a strumpet to a lady. She looked at him coldly, “I know that you can’t do it when you’re drunk. I need to sleep, don’t come bother me. I need to have enough rest, so I’ll have enough energy when I go see him tomorrow!”

    She turned around and slowly walked into the bedroom, she said coldly, “Unless you kill him, I’ll go see him every day!”

    He heard the sound of the door being closed and locked.
    He continued to cry until he thought of a person who could help him, who could save him!

    “LaoBo …”

    The second he thought of this person, he suddenly felt calm; because he knew that LaoBo would solve everything for him.
    Only LaoBo, no one else.

    * * *

    Old Man Zhang stood next to the bed and looked at his beautiful daughter, tears continued to flow out of his eyes.
    He was a poor, lonely old man. His entire life he silently ploughed fields for someone else, the harvest also belonged to someone else. Only this daughter was his greatest comfort, and also his life.
    Yet now, his treasure had been tortured so much, that her form was unrecognizable.
    Ever since she came back yesterday evening, she was in a coma and did not wake up.
    When she returned, her clothes were ripped to pieces, her soft, white skin was black and blue, her body tainted with blood. Her right eye was swollen, and her beautiful, round chin was shattered.
    Whatever she went through last night, he could not think about it, did not have the heart to think about it, and dared not to think about it.
    When she left to fetch some water, she was still so innocent, so happy and was filled with wonderful dreams about life. Yet when she came back, life turned into a nightmare.
    Before she fell down, she said two names.
    Two bastards.
    He wanted to strangle them with his own hands.
    Of course, he could not do so.
    Jiang Feng and Jiang Ping were the beloved ones of the Xu Fortress. Their father was the fortress owner Xu QingSong's close friend. They themselves were famous heroes in Jiang Hu. At one time, they killed a huge tiger with their bare hands.
    With only his own strength, Old Man Zhang could never have revenge.
    But Fortress Owner Xu had always been a fair person. This time, he would definitely help him to seek justice.
    Fortress Owner Xu’s expressions darkened, and he stared at the Jiang brothers in front of him. He held his hands up high, as if he wanted to strangle these two youths himself.
    Jiang Feng and Jiang Ping hanged their heads very low, and tried their hardest to look afraid. Yet their eyes showed no signs of fear. The younger brother looked at the tip of his shoes – the tip of his shoes had bloodstains.
    These boots were imported from the Jing City, he felt bad for them.

    “Bastards! Damn bastards! Son of a b*tch!”

    Old Man Zhang was shaking from anger. Yet he tried his best to endure it, he believed that Fortress Owner Xu would give them just punishments to make sure that they would never dare to do anything like this ever again.

    Xu QingSong’s voice was very stern, “Did you guys do this? Tell the truth!”

    Jiang Feng nodded; Jiang Ping also nodded.

    Xu QingSong angrily shouted, “I can’t believe that you would do such a thing! Did you forget everything that your father has taught you? I’m your father’s close friend, and I will punish you for him. Are you going to accept it?”

    Jiang Feng said, “Yes.”

    Xu QingSong’s expression suddenly softened and sighed, “What you did was disgusting. But at least you have the courage to admit it, and did not lie to me. This means that there is still hope. And fortunately, Miss Zhang’s wounds are not so bad …”

    Old Man Zhang suddenly felt dizzy, he did not hear a single word of what Xu QingSong said next.

    “Her wounds are not so bad …” What then, was bad? Her entire happiness had been destroyed by these two bastards; this kind of scar could never be healed in her life. This is not so bad?

    Xu QingSong was saying, “I only ask you, will you anything like this ever again?”

    Jiang Feng had a cunning, pleased look in his eyes – he knew that this affair would soon come to an end.

    Jiang Feng rushed to say, “No.”

    Xu QingSong said, “Taking into account that this is the first time you committed a crime, and you were brave enough to admit you were wrong, I will go easy on the punishmentsthis time. Your punishments will be to do labour work here for seven days. You will be paid three taels each day, and that will be given to Miss Zhang to cover the cost of her recovery.”

    Old Man Zhang felt as if the blood was drained from his entire body; he could not keep standing.
    Three taels each day, that’s twenty-one taels for seven days. Twenty-one taels for the Jiang brothers were just like a single hair out of nine ox hides. Yet this had bought the entire happiness of his daughter. The Jiang brothers started to walk out, with their heads dropped. When they walked passed him, they could not help but to look at him, their eyes filled with expressions of triumph.
    Old Man Zhang had a tough life. No one knew how many attacks, how much torture, and how much abuse he had suffered.
    He was already used to other's abuse, and learned to quietly endure it.

    But now, he could no longer control himself. He ran over with all his might, grabbed Jiang Feng’s shirt, punched his chest, and hoarsely shouted, “I have twenty-one taels, too! Bring your sisters, I want to …”

    Jiang Feng coldly stared at him, and did not move nor hit back.
    Old Man Zhang’s punches on his chest was like a dragonfly hitting a stone column.
    Two servants came over and grabbed Old Man Zhang’s hands, and lifted his entire body up in the air. He suddenly felt that he was like a monkey on a shelf, having endured other's abuse and tampering for his entire life.

    Xu QingSong’s expressions darkened, “If your daughter had not attracted so much attention, the brothers would not have done such a thing! Why did they not do this to other people’s daughters? Your daughter is not the only girl in this fortress!”

    He waved his hand and yelled, “Go home fast and lecture your daughter! Stop acting like a fool here!”

    * * *

    A bitter taste rushed up Old Man Zhang’s throat. He wanted to throw up, but he could not.
    He took a rope and fastened it to the ceiling.
    He hated himself for being useless, hated himself for not being able to seek just revenge for his own daughter. He could only watch her being wrecked by beasts. He was willing to sacrifice everything to protect his daughter, yet he was completely powerless.

    “Death is better than living like this.”

    He tied a knot in the rope, and stuck his head through it. Just then, he saw the few pumpkins and the pile of grapes sitting in the corner of the room.
    Every year during harvest, he would collect the largest pumpkins and sweetest grapes from the field to give them to a person, to show his love and respect for this person.

    “LaoBo.” All the bitterness in his heart disappeared when he thought of this person. Because he knew that this person would seek justice for him.
    This was the only person in his life whom he could trust.
    Only him, no one else.

    * * *

    “The Seven Warriors” were seven young, brave, and energetic people.
    Only, the did not fully understand the meaning of the word “bravery.”
    They said anything they wanted, and did anything they wanted.
    They thought that this was bravery, yet they did not know how stupid this kind of bravery was!
    The eldest of “The Seven Warriors” was called Tie ChengGang.
    Tie ChengGang was totally different from the other six brothers. He was the only one of them who was not an orphan, yet he liked to wander around.

    * * *

    Autumn was the weather for hunting.
    One day, Tie ChangGang and his six brothers went hunting in the Eastern Mountains. They had just captured two deers, one bobcat, and a few hares, when they suddenly discovered that a fire had started from behind the mountain. The fire was very high. Fourth Master Duan’s “Thousand Sceneries Mansion” was situated behind the mountains.
    Fourth Master Duan was Tie ChengGang’s uncle.
    They hurriedly rushed to the place behind the mountains that was on fire – it was the Thousand Sceneries Mansion.
    The fire was very fierce, yet no one came to extinguish it. Where were the seventy or eighty people who lived in the Thousand Sceneries Mansion?
    They found the answer to this question as soon as they entered.
    All the people from the Thousand Sceneries Mansion – men and women, young and old – all seventy-nine of them had turned into seventy-nine dead bodies!
    The Pear Blossom Spear, that Fourth Master Duan often used, was broken into two halves. The tip of the spear was inside his chest!
    Yet the shaft of the spear was not in his hands.
    His hands were tightly clenched into fists, the veins on the back of his hands popped out like dead snakes.
    What was he holding so tightly onto? So tightly that he would not let go even when he was dying?
    No one knew. He himself could never have the opportunity to say it. He died unwillingly, with his eyes still open.
    Tie ChengGang looked at the distorted face, looked at these eyes that bulged out due to anger and fear. He felt a twisting pain in his heart, and felt his stomach recoiling.
    He knelt down, and gently closed his uncle’s eyes. Then he tried to open his hands, yet he could not.
    His fists clenched too tightly, his blood was solidified, and his bone marrow hardened.
    The fire was coming closer. The flames had baked Tie ChengGang’s pale face into a reddish colour. His hair smelled like burning.

    His brothers were yelling! “Let’s go, let’s get out of here first!”

    Tie ChengGang gritted his teeth. Suddenly, he pulled out his sabre and cut off his uncle’s hands, and hid them in his pockets.

    His brothers wondered again! “If you wanted to see what he was holding onto in his hands, why don’t you just carry his body outside!”

    Tie ChengGang shook his head, “Cremation is very good.”

    He never hid anything from his brothers, yet this time, he did not tell them how he felt.
    He suddenly had an unlucky premonition. He knew that today, it was not only impossible to carry the dead body outside; whether he could make it out alive himself was questionable. He retreated. His brothers looked at him with amazement, and said, “Are we not going to do anything here?”

    Tie ChengGang gritted his teeth, “Do what?”

    The brothers said, “Well, firstly, we should at leat find out who the murderers are?”

    Tie ChengGang said nothing. He already saw three people appear.
    Three Taoists wearing blue robes, their apricot-coloured sword tassels waving behind their backs. Their grey beards were flying in the wind. They resembled three saints who touched no mortal matters. Of course, these three people definitely could not have been the murderers.
    Suddenly, Tie ChengGang’s heart sank. Yet his brothers had joyous looks on their faces.

    “The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains are here. As long as these three elders are here, there is no problem that can’t be solved.”

    Yi Shi, Yi Yun, Yi Quan were the Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains.
    Although they were Taoists, they were not above worldly considerations. Everyone in Jiang Hu knew that they not only had excellent sword skills, but were also fair and just. They were the idols of many young people who wanted to master the sword.
    “The Seven Warriors” were no exception. They all bowed to show their respect.
    Yi Shi, Yi Yun and Yi Quan all had grave expressions that resembled the shadows of the Huang Mountains in mid-October.

    Taoist Yi suddenly said, “How bold you are!”

    Taoist Yi Yun’s expressions were serious, “I know that you always act absurdly, but I did not imagine that you dare to do something like this!”

    Taoist Yi Shi usually did not speak a lot.
    His silence was indeed like a rock, yet harder and colder than a rock.
    Six out of the seven warriors had a change in their expressions – it was not fear, but astonishment.

    “What did we do? … … This? We did not do this.”

    Yi Quan looked angry, “You still dare to lie?”

    Yi Yun shouted, “If you did not do this, then who did? You didn’t even clean the blood from your sabres!”

    But the sabre was stained with animal blood, not human blood. The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains had very good eyes, how could they not tell?
    Everybody was more astonished, yet Tie ChengGang was very calm.
    Because he had already figured out the key in this matter, he already knew that there was no one who would defend them. He did not want to die in an unjust way; he definitely did not want his brothers to die with him. Hence, he must stay calm.

    Yi Quan said, “Do you still have anything to say?”

    Tie ChengGang suddenly said, “I did all of this. They knew nothing about it!”

    Yi Quan said, “You want me to let them go?”

    Tie ChengGang said, “As long as you let them go, I won’t say a word. I promise!”

    Yi Shi’s irises shrank, “Don’t let a single one go. Kill!”

    His sword was faster than his voice!
    A flash of the sword and a warrior had already fallen with a dreadful cry.
    The Seven Warriors were not like these other sworn brothers. They did not come together because of benefits; they were not friends who only wined and dined together. There was real emotions between them, and real loyalty. When one of them died, the others’ eyes turned red at once.
    Although they knew that they are no match for The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains, yet they were not afraid of death. They were not afraid of anything; they were just a bunch of courageous kinds. They neither understood the significance of life, nor did they understand the dread of death.
    Tie ChengGang grew up.
    He suddenly turned around, and ran into the flames.
    He escaped, not because he was afraid to die, but only because he did not want to die so unjust.
    He knew that if he died, “The Seven Warriors” would become the murderers of the “Thousand Sceneries Mansion;” they could never rid themselves of this dishonourable reputation, and the real murderers could be outlaws forever.
    He also knew that The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains would never let him escape; hence, he ran into the flames.

    Yi Shi yelled, “Don’t let him go! Go after! I’m more than enough to deal with these five!”

    The flash of his sword cut across the air, blood spilled wherever his sword tip touched.
    Yi Quan and Yi Yun also ran into the flames. Even though the fire was almost out, it was still very fierce.
    Their grey beards caught fire sparks; although they protected themselves using their sword flash, there were still parts of their bodies that caught on fire and smelled like burning.
    The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains had always led lives similar to wild cranes in the clouds, and their postures always resembled that of saints. Never did they appear this battered.
    Yet this time, they did not care about anything.
    Why did the value Tie ChengGang’s life this much?

    Yi Quan said, “Tie ChengGang, did you hear the horrible cries of your brothers? How can you not care for them? What kind of friend are you?”

    No response. Only the sound of the flames burning the wood.

    Yi Yun could not take it anymore, “How about we get out of here first, it’s not like he can escape.”

    Tie ChengGang really could not escape.
    If he escaped the fire, then he would not escape the sword tips of The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains. If he stayed in the flames, he would be burned to death.

    * * *

    The fire was extinguished.
    The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains began to clean up after the fire. All the bodies have been burned to a crisp.

    Yi Shi asked, “How many dead bodies are there?”

    Yi Quan replied, “Seventy-nine.”

    Yi Shi’s expressions darkened. After a long while, he said word for word, “Tie ChengGang is still not dead.”

    Yi Quan nodded, “He is still not dead.”

    Yi Shi said, “He can’t not die!”

    Yi Quan nodded again, and started to search.
    They finally found the hidden passage between the bricks and tiles.

    The expressions on Yi Quan’s face looked even worse, he said, “I’m afraid he has already escaped from this passage.”

    Yi Yun said, “He is the Fourth Master Duan’s relative. Of course he’s been here before, and therefore he knows about this passage.”

    Yi Shi said, “Go after him!”

    Yi Quan said, “Of course we’ll go after him. Even if we chased until the edge of the world, we can’t let him escape.”

    * * *

    Tie ChengGang lied in the dark in the middle of a thorn bush, motionless.
    Although his entire body had been punctured, and his wounds were bleeding non-stop; although he had not eaten nor drank anything for two or three days, and he was so hungry that his eyes were becoming dim, so thirsty that his lips were torn.
    Yet he dared not to move.
    Because he knew that someone was out there chasing and searching. “The Hero Of Hu Lin” Xiao Xung had ordered almost all of his disciples to set out.
    Xiao Xung was his father’s good friend.
    When Tie ChengGang first escaped here, he wanted to ask him for protection, wanted him to seek justice.
    Yet Xiao Xung would rather believe the words of The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains. If he had not already noticed that Xiao Xung’s expressions were shifty, he would have been killed by the swords of The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains.
    If Xiao Xung did not believe him, then who would?
    Who else in Jiang Hu would be willing to offend The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains in order to protect him?
    Tie ChengGang’s face touched the soil; his tears wet the soil.
    He did not cry easily, he would rather die than cry, yet now he was so sad that he almost completely gave up hope.
    Those two dried, skinny hands were still in his pockets. The hands held the evidence.
    Yet he could not take out the evidence to show to other people, because he could not trust anyone.
    Others would take these hands to suck up to The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains; they would destroy this evidence. Then he would die without even a burial! The night winds brought the miserable barks of wild dogs.
    Tie ChangGang was like a wild dog: sad, helpless, cold, hungry.
    He was not even as good as a wild dog.
    He turned around. The stars already rose to the sky, their light as beautiful and magnificent as before.
    Starlight often could bring hope to people.
    He suddenly thought of a person.

    “LaoBo.”

    If there was only one person in this world whom he could trust, then this person was LaoBo.
    Only him, no one else.

    * * *

    This was a beautiful place, its sceneries were enchanting, and the grass was green. When you lied here, you could see the verdant mountains, the floating clouds, and you could also see the beautiful fort situated on the mountain underneath the white clouds.
    That was an old fort, and was abandoned a long time ago. Over ten years ago, Thousand Roc King re-decorated it.
    Thus, this old fort became the head office of the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect.” Sect Leader Thousand Roc King resides in this fort. No one in the martial world dared to invade even a tree in this town.

    * * *

    Now the flowers had withered, and the grass had turned yellow.
    Yet they did not care.
    As long as they could be together, they did not care about anything.
    Whether the flowers were blooming or withering, whether it was spring or autumn, as long as they were together, they felt satisfied.
    They were still young, and in love.
    He was only eighteen; he was not much older than she was.
    The panting had stopped, the passions had advanced.
    He was lying in her bosom; he felt that the wind was very gentle, and the rain was also very gentle.
    Her face had a satisfied smile, she was grateful for the beauty and sincerity of life. Yet when she saw that majestic fort on the mountain, her smile immediately disappeared, her eyes were at once filled with pain.

    After a long time, she finally faintly sighed and said, “Xiao Wu, you really shouldn’t like me this much, and you really shouldn’t be this good to me.”

    {NOTE: “Xiao Wu” in Chinese literally means “Little Wu.” But in English, it just sounds weird, so I left it as “Xiao Wu.”}

    Xiao Wu’s hand gently stroked her soft, smooth shoulders, “Why?”

    “Because I’m not worth it.”

    She blinked, tears had already fallen; she slowly continued, “You know that I’m nothing but someone’s servant. My entire body belongs to someone else. If they wanted me to die, then I can’t live.”

    Xiao Wu’s strokes turned into embrace, he gently said, “DaiDai, don’t ever say anything like this. As long as your heart is mine, and my heart is yours, then we don’t have to fear anything.”

    His embrace was so tight, so tight that her heart melted.

    Yet she still could not help to keep her tears from flowing, she quietly said, “I’m not afraid of anything, except that when one day, someone finds out about our affair.”

    Whenever she thought of that day, an indescribable fear rose from her heart, because she once saw her master’s angry look.
    Her master was Thousand Roc King.
    When Thousand Roc King was angry, no one could stop him.

    She turned around, and embraced him tightly, “The Old Master would never let me be together with you. You know how strict he is towards his servants. If he knew about this affair …”

    He suddenly sealed her mouth with lips, stopping her from continuing.

    Yet his lips were also ice-cold, his body was trembling, “I would never let anyone come to separate us, never …”

    He stopped, because he felt that DaiDai’s soft body suddenly became rigid.
    He turned around and looked up, and saw Thousand Roc King.

    * * *

    In many people’s minds, Thousand Roc King was not a person, but a god.
    If there really was a god, then Thousand Roc King’s figure was perhaps bigger than a god, his looks were perhaps more stern than a god. Although he was the type of person who did not need to strike, yet lighting and thunder could change the colours of the winds and clouds. Xiao Wu was not a feeble scholar who could not even truss a chicken. He was not only a scholar, but his martial arts was also not bad.
    Yet when Thousand Roc King waved out his fist, he could not defend, and could not avoid.
    He could even hear the sound of his own bones shattering. When he was in a daze, he heard DaiDai’s fearful cries, and also heard Thousand Roc King’s fearsome voice.

    “I know that you’re the son of the Zhen Wu Armed Escorts’s Wu LaoDao. I will spare your life today, because he used to do things for me. But if you dare to come here again next time, I will make sure that five horses will pull apart your body!”

    {NOTE: The horse punishment consists of a person being tied to five different horses from different parts of their body (presumably, the arms and legs and neck). Then the horses would each run into different directions, hence pulling the person apart.}

    No one had ever doubted the words of Thousand Roc King. If he said he would pull your body apart using five horses, then he would definitely not kill you using a different method. He also would not use only four horses.

    “Carry him back, and tell Wu LaoDao, if he wants his son, then make sure that he does not leave the house!”

    * * *

    From that day forth, Wu LaoDao did not dare to let his son leave the house. He only had one son.
    But how could he bear to watch his son become wearier and skinnier from day to day?
    He went to beg, to beg Thousand Roc King to let his son marry DaiDai.
    The response he received was a slap!
    Thousand Roc King rejected others only once, because no one dared to beg him a second time.
    When others were harvesting, Xiao Wu’s life was ending.
    He did not eat nor drink, did not sleep, did not even wake up. He was just always in a daze, and called out the name of his lover.
    Wu LaoDao’s heart shattered when he heard his shouts.
    He was willing to sacrifice everything to save his son, yet he was powerless.
    He could only watch his son die!
    He did not want to live himself.
    Just now, he received an invitation from a person. This was a friend he had ever since he was a child. Although their age difference was only a few years, he called this person: “LaoBo.”
    These two words are enough to show how much he respects this person.
    He only hated himself for not having thought of this person before. This was the only person in the world who could be his son’s saviour.
    Only him, no one else.

    “LaoBo” was Sun YuBo!
    No one really knew what kind of person Sun YuBo was, nor what he was capable of doing.
    Yet no matter who had problems, problems they could not solve, they would seek help from him.
    He never made excuses, nor made empty promises. If he promised you, then no matter how big the problem, you could put it aside. Because he would never disappoint you.
    You needed not to give him any reward, you needed not even to be his old friend.
    No matter how lonely and poor you were, he would always keep your problems close to his heart, and thought of ways to solve them for you.
    Because he liked to help people achieve their goals, he liked justice. He hated anything that was unjust, just like the way a farmer who wanted a rich harvest hated grasshoppers and other pests.
    Although he did not want rewards, he still unconsciously received rewards.
    His reward was the friendship and respect of other people, it was the name “LaoBo.”
    He liked this name, and was proud of it.

    * * *
    Besides helping people, LaoBo also liked flowers.
    The place he lived in was a sea of flowers, a city of flowers. Different flowers bloomed in every season; he always stayed in the place where the most flowers bloomed.
    Now the most gorgeous ones are the blooming chrysanthemums.
    Thus, LaoBo received his respected guests in the chrysanthemum garden.
    The guests were arriving from all over like the tides. Some brought very splendid gifts, some brought only their mouth and a sincere congratulation.
    LaoBo treated them all equally, whether they were poor or rich. Whether they were respected or lowly. If they came, then they were his guests.
    He would never let anyone feel desolated.
    Especially today, his smile looked even more kind and caring; because today was his birthday.
    He was standing in the chrysanthemum garden and receiving his guests.

    * * *

    Sun YuBo was really not a very tall man; yet everyone who saw him thought that this was the tallest man they have met.
    Although he had a pleasant smile, it did not make him look any less dignified. No one would ever show the slightest lack of respect for him; in fact, many people respected him more than their own fathers.
    The only person who dared to clash with him was his son Sun Jian.
    Sun Jian’s name was originally Sun JianRu, but he thought that the word “Ru” was a bit feminine; hence, he removed the word “Ru.”

    {NOTE: “Ru” in Chinese could be combined with other characters to mean luck, etc. Hence, it could be considered feminine by some people, in this case, Sun Jian.}

    He did not want to seem even the slightest bit feminine.
    Sun Jian definitely was a masculine person. Just like his father, he was not that tall, but still was full of energy.
    Like his father, he was also very generous and loyal. He would even give his own clothes to someone else. Yet others treated him in a different manner than they treated his father.
    This is because his personality was like the raging flames, and he could break into a fit of anger anytime. Often, his short-temperedness did not only lead to judgement errors, but also made him lose many friends.
    It was not that other people did not want to get close to him, it was just that they were intimidated by him.
    But women were exceptions.
    Although women were also intimidated by him, they could not resist his strong attractiveness. Many women could not help but give themselves to him, just because he looked at them.
    Now, Sun Jian was also standing outside the chrysanthemum garden and receiving the honoured guests with his father. He already looked a bit impatient, because he had stood here for a long time.
    Fortunately, it was dinner time now, and most of the people who were supposed to be here had arrived.
    Among the honoured guests were many strangers – one of them was a plain-clothed, cold-faced young man.
    He had brought a gift that was neither too cheap, nor too expensive.
    The Sun father and son did not know him. But that did not matter; LaoBo liked friends. His doors were open towards strangers anyway. As long as you came, he would welcome you.
    Besides, this strange young man was neither too talkative nor was he annoying. Both father and son thought he was pleasing to the eye. Sun Jian even wanted to be friends with him.
    Hence, he looked at the name written on the gift tag – Chen ZhiMing.
    A very plain name.

    Sun YuBo suddenly asked, “Have you ever heard of this name – Chen ZhiMing?”

    Sun Jian replied, “No.”

    Sun YuBo frowned, “You’ve often roamed around in Jiang Hu for the past couple of years. How can you not have heard of this name?”

    Sun Jian said, “This is definitely not his real name.”

    Sun Yubo asked, “Strange. Why would a young man like that use a fake name?”

    Sun Jian said, “Maybe he’s had bad luck.”

    Sun YuBo was deep in thought, “Go ask Lü XiangChuan later. Maybe he knows.”

    Sun Jian said, “Ok.”

    Although he agreed, he did not go ask. It was because more and more guests arrived, and they soon forgot about this matter.
    Even if Sun Jian did not forget, he might not have asked.
    He did not like Lü XiangChuan; he thought Lü XiangChuan was a bit feminine.
    If he knew who this young man really was, and why he was here, then the outcomes might have been totally different. Then all those events that made you burn with indignation, all those events that made you cry a river might not have happened.
    This strange young man’s real name was not Chen ZhiMing.
    He came here to kill. His target was Sun YuBo.
    His real name was Meng XingHun.

    * * *

    If Sun Jian had asked Lü XiangChuan, then Lü XiangChuan would have found out everything about this strange young man. He would not have let go until he had found out the answers.
    Lü XiangChuan was not feminine. But he was more attentive, more careful, and more prudent than any woman.
    Him and Sun Jian were two complete opposites.
    Their appearances were also completely different.
    Sun Jian was a very handsome man with bushy eyebrows and big eyes, his skin has been tanned to a coppery colour. When he stared at you with his eyes, you definitely would not look at anyone else. You also could not look at anyone else.
    Yet Lü XiangChuan was a pale-faced, graceful person. Because of that, others often underestimated his abilities, and thought that he was not capable of much. Yet this kind of misjudgement was not only ridiculous, it was terrifying.
    Lü XiangChuan was not only Sun YuBo’s strongest helper, but was also one of the three hidden weaponry experts in the martial world. No one in the world could compete with him, especially in the area of triggered hidden weapons.
    He never used other weapons; he did not need to.
    A man who was adorned with weapons all over his body, a man who could send out hidden weapons anytime, anywhere, and from any angle, did not need to use any other weapons.

    * * *

    When Sun YuBo saw the pumpkins and grapes in the basket, he knew that Old Man Zhang had arrived.
    Every year around this time, Old Man Zhang would not forget to bring the largest pumpkins from his fields.
    He worked hard for the whole year; he rarely had any free time, and it was even more rare for him to enjoy. Only when he came here, he could relax and enjoy food and delight that he could not get anywhere else.
    Hence, every time he came here, he was always very excited. Yet this time, when he saw Sun YuBo, he was tearful and choking with sobs.
    Sun YuBo brought him into his study, and gave him a pipe of tobacco and a cup of wine in order to calm him down.
    The study was LaoBo’s private area; no matter what you had to say in here, you needed not to be afraid of others eavesdropping. He brought Old Man Zhang here, because he knew that his old friend had a lot of painful things to talk to him about.
    He also knew how hard it was for someone to talk to their friend about their pain, and to ask their friend for help.
    Finally, Old Man Zhang told him that horrible incident. LaoBo’s face turned green after he had finished listening.
    Even though he did not agree to do anything, Old Man Zhang knew that he would treat this matter fairly, and would give those two bastards the punishment they deserved.
    When Wu LaoDao left the study, he felt the same as Old Man Zhang – full of comfort and gratitude.
    Fang YouPing felt the same. No matter who came here, they would not leave disappointed.
    Then, there were some people who wanted to borrow money. After they had all left feeling satisfied, Lü XiangChuan walked into the study. He knew that LaoBo would give him the orders now.

    Sun YuBo’s orders were always very concise.

    “Get a couple of people to go to the Xu Fortress in three days. You don’t have to kill the Jiang brothers, but make sure that they won’t be able to get off their beds for at least three months.”

    Lü XiangChuan thought for a while, and replied, “How about we get Wen Hu and Wen Bao to go? They have experience with matter like this.”

    Sun YuBo nodded, “Get Sun Jian to deal with Mao Wei.”

    Lü XiangChuan laughed; he knew what LaoBo meant.
    When LaoBo let Sun Jian to go deal with someone, then that was like announcing that person’s date of death.

    Then LaoBo said, “But ‘The Twelve Roc Sect,’ I need you to go there personally. Thousand Roc King is a difficult person to mess with. I hope that when you return, you can take that young girl with you.” He only gave orders, not explanations.

    He only ordered you to go do something, and you had to succeed. Yet how you were to do it was your business.
    Lü XiangChuan, of course, knew how difficult this task was. Yet he showed no expressions of difficulty on his face – anyone knew that he was willing to do anything for LaoBo.
    The fact that LaoBo gave him the most difficult task showed that he thought highly of him.
    When he thought of this, Lü XiangChuan’s eyes showed signs of gratitude.

    As if he saw his heart, LaoBo smiled and patted his shoulder, and said, “You are a good kid. I wish that you were also my son.”

    Lü XiangChuan tried hard to control his internal excitement, and said, “Han Tang came. He’s been waiting outside for a long time, he wants to say good-bye to you personally.”

    When he heard the name “Han Tang,” LaoBo’s face suddenly fell, “He shouldn’t have come!”

    Lü XiangChuan did not say anything; he could not say anything. Even he did not know what kind of person Han Tang was, nor did he know what his relationship with LaoBo was.
    He rarely saw Han Tang. Yet whenever he saw this person, he could not help but feel a type of coldness rise from his heart.
    He himself did not even know why.
    Han Tang was not savage, nor was he ferocious. It was just that he always had this cold and detached expression between his brows; no one could get close to him.
    He himself obviously did not want to get close to anyone. No matter where he was, he always stood far, far away. If anyone came within seven feet of him, he would immediately go farther away.
    Except for LaoBo, no one had ever heard him speak.
    Even in front of LaoBo, he rarely spoke. It was as if he only knew how to express his thoughts through action.
    Lü XiangChuan could tell that he carried neither friendship nor love towards LaoBo, only respect. Everyone was LaoBo’s friend, except for him. He was like LaoBo’s slave.

    Sun YuBo was silent for a long time. Finally, he sighed and said, “Let him in, now that he’s here.”

    * * *

    The second Han Tang walked into the study, he kneeled down and kissed LaoBo’s feet.
    This kind of curtsy was not only exaggerated, it was also ridiculous.
    Yet when Han Tang did that, no one would find it ridiculous. No matter what he did, people would not find it ridiculous.
    Because when he was to do something, he would put his heart into doing that. That indescribable sincerity of his was not only touching, it often made people very afraid.
    Sun YuBo calmly accepted his curtsy. LaoBo did not decline it, although he usually does not want others to bow to him. Lü XiangChuan did not understand why Han Tang was an exception.

    LaoBo asked, “How have you been lately?”

    Han Tang replied, “Well.”

    LaoBo asked, “You still don’t have a woman?”

    Han Tang replied, “No.”

    LaoBo commented, “You should go find a woman.”

    Han Tang said, “I don’t trust women.”

    LaoBo smiled, “It’s not good to trust women too much, but it’s equally bad if you did not trust them. Women can make a man calm down.”

    Han Tang said, “Women can also make men go crazy.”

    LaoBo smiled again, “You saw Xiao Fang?”

    {NOTE: The “Xiao Fang” here refers to Fang YouPing.}

    Han Tang said, “He didn’t see me.”

    LaoBo slowly nodded, as if showing his approval.

    Han Tang suddenly said, “Even if someone saw me, they wouldn’t know who I am.”

    When he said this, a kind of expression containing three parts sneers and seven parts desolation showed up in his eyes.
    Lü XiangChuan had never see this type of expression in anyone else’s eyes.

    LaoBo said, “You can go now. If you can’t come next year, it’s alright. I understand your feelings.”

    Han Tang’s head dropped. After a long time of silence, he said word by word, “I will still come next year. I only go out once in a year.”

    Suddenly, LaoBo’s face showed signs of sympathy. Only he knew of this person’s pains; yet he could not help him, and did not want to help him.
    For this he felt a deep guilt. Perhaps this was the reason he did not want to see Han Tang.
    Han Tang had already turned around, and was slowly walking out.

    Suddenly, Lü XiangChuan could not help but say, “There is no one in my room. If you want to stay for a cup of wine, I’ll keep you company.”

    Han Tang shook his head, and walked out without even looking at him once.
    Lü XiangChuan smiled bitterly. He suddenly realized that LaoBo was staring at him with a stern look.
    LaoBo was rarely stern with him; he knew that he had done something wrong, yet he did not know what he did wrong.
    He had rarely done anything wrong lately.

    All of a sudden, LaoBo asked, “Do you feel sympathy for him?”

    Lü XiangChuan dropped his head and nodded.

    LaoBo said, “To be able to feel sympathy for someone is a good thing. You can feel sympathy for anyone, but you cannot sympathize for him.”

    Lü XiangChuan wanted to ask “Why?”, but he dared not to.

    Yet LaoBo answered his question for him, “Because if you sympathize for him, then he’d go mad.”

    Lü XiangChuan did not understand.

    LaoBo sighed and said, “In fact, he should have gone mad a long time ago, he even should have died a long time ago. The reason he can live until now, is because he thinks that everyone in this world don’t treat him well.”

    Lü XiangChuan still did not understand. Finally, he could not help but ask, “What kind of person is he exactly? What kind of things did he do before?”

    LaoBo’s face fell again and said, “You don’t have to know what kind of person he is. There are many things that you don’t have to know.”

    Lü XiangChuan replied with his head dropped, “Yes.”

    Suddenly, LaoBo took a long sigh, and said, “But I can tell you that no one has ever done what he did before. And I’m afraid that no one ever will.”

    Lü XiangChuan, still with his head dropped, was just about to leave, when he suddenly heard a commotion from outside. There were people crying in fear – a monster had suddenly burst into the back garden.
    It was not a monster that had burst into the garden – it was Tie ChengGang.
    Except that he really did look very frightening.
    There is almost not a single place on his body that was still whole.
    Most of his hair had been burned to a crisp, and his face was also deformed from the burns. His eyes were blood red, and his lips were as dry as the cracked soil in a drought.
    When he burst in, he resembled a beast being chased by hunting dogs. Faint pantings and hoarse shouts came out of his throat – almost nobody could understand whose name he was shouting.

    He was shouting, “LaoBo!”

    At this moment, Sun Jian was flirting with a woman that the Head Escort Hu of the Four Directions Armed Escorts had brought with him.
    He did not know who this woman was. He only knew that this woman was not the wife of Hu LaoEr, and that she was a wretch, because she had been secretly making eye contacts with him.
    He never resisted temptations from this kind of women. He always thought that to resist temptations from this kind of women was humiliating. He was just thinking of an idea to lure her to an unoccupied place.
    Just then, he saw Tie ChengGang.

    He had known Tie ChengGang for a long time; but now, he almost could not recognize this person. When he ran over and helped him up, he cried out involuntarily, “It’s you! How did you end up like this?”

    He waved for some wine.
    When the wine had flown into Tie ChengGang’s throat, his pantings became calmer. But he still could not speak.

    Sun Jian saw the fear in his eyes, and said, “Don’t be afraid, now that you’re here, you don’t have to be afraid of anything or anyone. Here, no one would dare to touch a single hair on you.”

    Just as he finished saying this, he heard someone saying lightly, “You shouldn’t have said that sentence.”

    The person who spoke was Taoist Yi Quan - The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains had already chased here.

    Sun Jian asked, “Why can’t I say that?”

    Yi Quan said, “Because no matter where he flees off to, we will take him away.”

    Sun Jian said, “No!”

    Yi Quan said, “Perhaps you still don’t know that he is a murderer – he killed his own uncle.”

    Sun Jian said deeply, “I only know that he’s my friend, and that he’s wounded. I only know that he came here because he trusts me. So, no one should even think about taking him away.”

    Yi Shi’s face fell, he coldly said, “Get your father here, we shall speak to him.”

    A vein popped up on Sun Jian’s forehead, “My father would say the same thing. Not even the emperor can take my friend away from here!”

    Yi Quan angrily shouted, “How dare you! Not even your father would dare to be this rude to us!”

    Suddenly a person said, “You’re wrong. His rudeness is genetic. His father might be even more rude.”

    Although the speaker’s voice was calm, it contained an indescribable sternness.

    Yi Quan asked, “How would you know …?”

    Sun YuBo said, “Of course I would know, because I’m his father.”

    Yi Quan was a bit in a daze – he had only heard of the name “LaoBo,” but had never met him.

    Yi Yun said, “Alms Giver Sun probably do not know us Taoists, and that’s why you said something like that.”

    Sun YuBo said, “No matter who you are, I would say the same thing.”

    Yi Yun’s expressions changed, “I have long heard of the just ways Sun YuBo treated affairs. How can you defend a murderer today?”

    Sun YuBo replied, “Even if he was a murderer, we should still wait until his wounds are healed. Besides, no one can prove that he is a murderer.”

    Yi Yun asked, “We have seen it with our own eyes. How can that be fake?”

    Sun YuBo replied, “You’ve seen it with your eyes, but I haven’t seen it. I only know that if he really was a murderer, he would not dare to come here.”

    No one would dare to deceive LaoBo.
    If someone deceived LaoBo, then that was like digging his own grave.

    Yi Yun yelled, “You won’t even believe the words of The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains?”

    Sun YuBo replied, “The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains are human, Tie ChengGang is also human. Here, no matter who, they all have the same rights to speak. I want to listen to his reasons.”

    Suddenly, with all his might, Tie ChengGang yelled, “They’re the murderers! I have evidence. They know that I have evidence, and that’s why they want to kill me!”

    Sun YuBo asked, “Where is the evidence?”

    Tie ChengGang struggled to take out a pair of hands from his pockets – a pair of already dried up hands.
    When they saw these hands, the colours on the faces of The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains changed.

    All of a sudden, Yi Shi screeched, “The killer must die! No need to talk anymore. Kill!”

    His sword tends to be faster than his voice. A flash of sword light - it was aimed at Sun YuBo’s throat.
    The swords of Yi Quan and Yi Yun were not slow either – their sword tips were aiming for Tie ChengGang and Sun Jian.
    LaoBo did not move; he did not even move a finger.
    Other people were showing signs of surprise and anger – almost everyone was running over here.
    But they needed not to run over; they really did not need to do so. Yi Shi’s sword fell the second it lashed out.
    The arm, with which he held his sword, was full of hidden weapons – thirty or forty different types of hidden weapons. They only had one thing in common – their speed.
    Yi Shi did not even see where these hidden weapons came from. He only saw that a refined young man who had been standing behind Sun YuBo, might have lifted his hand.
    The hidden weapons suddenly pierced into his arm.
    He did not even feel any pain, because this arm was suddenly completely numb.
    Sun Jian, as if he had turned into an angry lion, rushed towards Yi Quan. It was as if he did not know that Yi Quan was holding a sword, and that swords could kill a person.
    When he was angry, he would dare to rush ahead empty-handed, even if an army was in front of him.
    Yi Quan never thought that someone like this existed. In his surprise, the sword in his hand was grabbed by another hand – a hand made of flesh and blood.

    “Deng!”

    This fine smelted sword made of the best metal had been snapped in two.
    Sun Jian’s hand was also bleeding. But he did not care about bleeding – as long as he can knock down his opponent, he did not care about anything.
    Even Yi Yun was shocked into a daze and slowed down his sword.
    Of course, the sword in the hand of this person would not be too slow. But just then, a person ran out of nowhere. No one clearly saw if he was tall or short, if he was fat or skinny. They only saw that he was wearing dark grey clothing.

    But everyone heard the sentence he said, “If you are rude to LaoBo, then you die!”

    These nine words did not need a long time to speak. But after these nine words were spoken, The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains had turned into three dead corpses. The three of them died at almost the same moment.
    At the moment this person came.
    When he rushed over, the dagger in his left hand had entered Yi Quan’s hips.
    The hand let go the second the dagger entered.
    Before Yi Quan even had a chance to scream, this hand had formed into a fist, which hit Yi Shi’s face.
    The second his fist shattered Yi Shi’s nose was also the second his right hand caught Yi Yun’s belt.
    Yi Yun yelled and swung his sword. But he had been lifted up and thrown down before he could even make one strike.
    His head had just hit Yi Shi’s head. Almost everyone could hear the sounds of their skulls smashing – that type of sound was supposedly only to be heard in hell.
    Still no one saw the face of this man in grey.
    When he threw up Yi Yun with his right hand, he smeared something on his face with his left hand. His face was immediately covered with the blood that had come out of Yi Shi’s nose.
    He really did not have to do so. Everyone was in shock; there was no one who dared to look at his face.
    Most people who came here were martial heroes. To martial heroes, it was not a big thing to kill two or three people. Yet everyone was still in shock.
    The killing was not frightening, what was frightening was his methods of killing – fast, precise, cruel.
    There was no one who could kill this fast, this precise, and this cruel.

    * * *

    Those dried up hands that Tie ChengGang had brought were holding on to a section of apricot-coloured sword tassel and a piece of blue cloth with a yellow copper button.
    The sword tassel was identical to the sword tassels of The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains; the piece of cloth was also identical to the cloth that was used to make their Taoist robes. But these were not important; it was not even important that they were the murderers.

    The most important thing was: “If you are rude to LaoBo, then you die!”

    No one disagreed with this sentence, and no one would forget it.
    Especially Meng XingHun.
    Just as The Three Friends Of The Huang Mountains died, Meng XingHun had left LaoBo’s chrysanthemum garden.
    He needed not to stay.
    Everything he had seen and heard was enough to tell him what kind of person Sun YuBo was.
    His first step in assassinations was to try to figure out what kind of person the opponent was. As for other people’s affairs, he could wait to find out later on – he was not worried.
    Now, there were still one hundred and thirteen days until the deadline Big Sister Gao had given him.
    Now, he had begun the first step of the assassination.

    End of Chapter One.
    Last edited by xJadedx; 06-29-08 at 03:09 AM.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
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  4. #84
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    Chapter Two

    The type of people that Sun Jian hated the most was those who did not do things straightforwardly. He himself never did anything sloppily. No matter what he did, he always used the most direct methods.
    LaoBo wanted him to find Mao Wei – so he went and found Mao Wei. He went directly to Mao Wei’s doorstep right after leaving his house.
    He always took the same route. He did not beat around the bushes, nor did he turn back.
    Mao Wei was just sitting in the great hall drinking wine with his adviser and his goons, when the doorman brought him a name tag – two huge characters were written on a plain, white piece of paper: Sun Jian.

    Mao Wei frowned and asked, “Which one of you have heard of this man’s name?”

    His adviser was not an ignorant or ill-informed person. He immediately answered, “I think it’s Sun YuBo’s son.”

    Mao Wei frowned even more, “Sun YuBo? Is that the one they call LaoBo?”

    The adviser replied, “Yes. He likes others to call him LaoBo.”

    Mao Wei asked, “What does his son want with me?”

    The adviser said thoughtfully, “I heard that LaoBo really likes to make friends. He probably wants to be friends with you, master.”

    In reality, he knew that there was another reason behind this; it was just that he always picked to say what Mao Wei liked to hear.

    Mao Wei smiled, “If it’s so, then invite him to come in.”

    Sun Jian did not need others to invite him. He had already walked inside – he did not like to wait on someone’s doorstep.
    No one could stop him, those who wanted to were already lying on the ground, unable to get up.
    Mao Wei quickly stood up and glared at him.
    Sun Jian did not run nor jump of fright, but walked right up to him in just a few steps. No one could describe the strength and speed of his actions.

    Even Mao Wei was secretly surprised, he asked, “Is Your name Sun?”

    Sun Jian nodded, “You’re Mao Wei?”

    Mao Wei also nodded, “What is Your business?”

    Sun Jian replied, “To ask you a question.”

    Mao Wei first glanced at his adviser and goons, and then asked, “Ask me what?”

    Sun Jian said, “Do you know Fang YouPing’s wife? Do you have some dirty affairs with her?”

    Mao Wei’s expressions changed. The second his expressions changed, his bodyguards and goons came running over. One of them was pock-faced man with a scar on his face. He ran over and tried to push Sun Jian’s chest.

    Suddenly, Sun Jian glared at him and shouted, “How dare you!”

    When he was angry, his entire body was filled with an unpredictable, fierce energy that made people afraid by merely looking at him.
    The pock-faced man’s hand immediately retreated.
    But it really was not an easy job being a goon, if you have this job, then you would have to fight for other people. He rarely had any opportunity to fight for his master anymore, since Mao Wei’s powers increased from day to day during the past few years.
    Hence, his life had also been very well the past few years. So, he really did not want to lose this job. He gritted his teeth, clenched his fists, and punched at Sun Jian’s chest.
    Suddenly, Sun Jian hooked his wrist and twisted his arm backwards. Following that, he elbowed the man in the spine.
    The pock-faced man’s face immediately distorted and he gave a pathetic scream. Yet the scream did not hide the sound of his bones breaking. His body was as soft as a pile of mud when he fell down.
    Sun Jian also felt that he might have been too harsh, but he really did not want to waste any more efforts on this person.
    When he was young, he learned this from a certain person – if you wanted to reach your goals fast, then you could not choose your method of doing things; the best method was to frighten your opponent with your first move.
    As expected, none of the men who had ran over with the pock-faced man dared to strike again – having a job was important, but compared to your life, it was not as important.

    Sun Jian did not even look at them, he stared at Mao Wei and asked, “Did you hear what I asked you?”

    Mao Wei’s face flushed bright red, the veins popped up in his neck, “What does this have to do with you?”

    Sun Jian’s hand suddenly waved out again, and his fist hit Mao Wei’s right hip.
    This move was not a very fancy stance, it did not even contain any variations. Yet it was just too precise and too fast to give the opponent any opportunity to dodge or to defend.
    Mao Wei’s scream was even more pathetic than that of the pock-faced man: he had not been beaten up for over ten years.

    Sun Jian said, “This time, I didn’t hit your face, so you can still go out and meet people. The next time, I won’t be this nice.”

    He watched Mao Wei rolling around on the floor, clutching his chest. Before he stopped, Sun Jian grabbed his collar, pulled him off the ground, and said, “Now, when I ask you something, you’ll have to answer. Do you understand?”

    Mao Wei’s face was distorted from the pain and cold sweat was dripping off his body. He gritted his teeth and nodded.

    Sun Jian asked deeply, “You are having an affair with Fang YouPing’s wife, right?”

    Mao Wei nodded again.

    Sun Jian asked again, “Are you still planning to continue fooling around with her?”

    Mao Wei shook his head, and a deep shout came out of his throat, “That woman’s a b****, she’s a ****!”

    When Sun Jian saw that angry and evil look in his eyes, he knew that Mao Wei would never contact that woman ever again, because he had already blamed all this suffering on her.
    Most people in the world, whenever they were punished for their mistakes, would blame it on someone else, but would never take the blame themselves.

    Sun Jian felt very satisfied and said, “Good. As long as you don’t mingle around with her, you can live longer for sure.”

    Mao Wei secretly relaxed, thinking that the whole thing was coming to an end.

    However, Sun Jian said, “But if she fools around with other men in the future, I will come to you again.”

    Mao Wei was very astonished, and shouted, “That woman’s a natural ****! I can’t control her?”

    Sun Jian stared into his eyes and said slowly, “I know that you can think of an idea for sure.”

    Mao Wei thought for a while, and suddenly his eyes lit up, “I understand.”

    For the first time, a smile appeared on Sun Jian’s face. He said, “Very good. Except that this “natural ****” would go steal men anytime, anywhere. Since you’ve already thought of an idea, then you should go finish it as soon as possible.”

    Mai Wei replied, “I get it.”

    Sun Jian’s fist suddenly hit straight outwards, and hit Mao Wei’s stomach.
    Mao Wei’s entire body shrank down again, and vomited all the wine and food he had just eaten.

    Sun Jian said with a smile on his face, “I’m not really beating you up, I’m just making sure that you’ll remember me.”

    The fact that he said that he was not beating anyone up, yet he had made sure that the person would not be able to get up for at least half a month, really made you wonder whether to cry or to laugh. Yet others still had to listen to what he said.

    Sun Jian walked over to the table and drank all the wine in the flask in one gulp. He frowned, “What an upstart. If you can’t even tell the difference between good wine and bad wine, then how can you know whether a woman’s good or bad?”

    Suddenly, a smirk appeared on Mao Wei’s face, “Although Fang’s wife is a ****, she really can satisfy you.”

    Sun Jian asked, “What about your women?”

    Mao Wei’s expressions changed a bit, “None … none of them can compare with her.”

    Sun Jian stared at him. All of a sudden, he laughed and shook his head, “I don’t believe what you say. You don’t even know your wines, then how can you know women?” Before he finished saying this sentence, he suddenly ran inside.

    He had already seen that many women were hiding behind the curtain watching. He ran inside, picked out the best-looking one, pulled her outside, and hurled her onto his shoulders.
    This woman was motionless – she fainted out of fear.

    Mao Wei’s expressions changed, “What … what do you want to do?”

    Sun Jian replied, “Nothing really. This is just something that you always do.”

    He twisted Mao Wei’s hand, and yelled, “Now escort me out!”

    He used Mao Wei as a shield, because he did not want to be ambushed on his way out. He was not afraid of anything; he just did not want any trouble.

    There was nothing that Mao Wei could do except to escort him out. Tears almost poured out of his eyes, “If you let Feng Juan go, I’ll give you one thousand gold taels.”

    Sun Jian blinked, “She’s really worth that much?”

    Mao Wei gritted his teeth and refused to answer.

    Sun Jian asked, “Do you really like her?”

    Mao Wei still refused to answer.

    Sun Jian laughed again, “Very good. Then next time, you should think of your own women first, before you think of other people’s wives.”

    There was a tall horse outside the door – it was a winged steed.
    The second Sun Jian came out, he jumped onto the horse and left, leaving behind nothing but a cloud of dust. He did not give others a chance for vengeance.
    This is also something he learned from a certain person when he was young.
    This person did not talk a lot, yet every sentence he said was hard to forget.
    The horse had just run for five miles, when the woman on Sun Jian’s shoulder suddenly started to giggle.

    Sun Jian said, “So you didn’t faint.”

    Feng Juan said giggly, “Of course not. I wanted to come with you.”

    Sun Jian asked, “Why?”

    Feng Juan replied, “Because you are very masculine and manly. Besides, I think this is very exciting.”

    Sun Jian asked, “Mao Wei isn’t good to you?”

    Feng Juan laughed, “Although he’s rich, he’s a miser. If he wasn’t good to me, then why would he spend one thousand gold taels on me?”

    Sun Jian nodded. He suddenly stopped talking.

    Feng Juan said, “This is really uncomfortable. Can you put me down? I want to sit on your lap.”

    Sun Jian shook his head.

    Feng Juan sighed, “You are such a weird person.”

    Sun Jian was whipping the horse to go faster.
    In front of them was just wilderness, without a trace of human life.

    Feng Juan was beginning to feel afraid, she could not help but ask, “Where are you going to take me?”

    Sun Jian replied, “Somewhere you’ve never even imagined.”

    Feng Juan relaxed and smiled seductively, “I know you want excitement, but really, anywhere would be fine.”

    After a while, she suddenly said, “I know Fang’ wife, her name is Zhu Qing.”

    Sun Jian said, “Oh.”

    Feng Juan said, “She really is a natural ****, all she thinks about is sleeping with men. If she was to stop stealing men, then that’s even harder than to stop a dog from eating poop. I really don’t understand what kind of method Mao Wei can think of.”

    Sun Jian commented, “Dead ****s can’t steal men.”

    He suddenly loosened the hand with which he held Feng Juan. Immediately, Feng Juan fell off his shoulder and landed hard on the ground like a bag of flour.

    She screamed, “What are you doing?”

    Sun Jian’s horse sprinted away, and then came back. He sat on the saddle, looking at her coldly.

    Feng Juan held out her hand, “Hurry and pull me onto the horse.”

    Sun Jian said, “If I was to pull you up, then I won’t let you fall again.”

    Feng Juan was trying to smile seductively, yet her fear made the muscles on her face harden. She angrily said, “You took me away, just so you can dump me off here?”

    Sun Jian replied, “Yup.”

    Feng Juan shouted, “What’s the meaning of this?”

    Sun Jian laughed, and his horse sprinted away, leaving behind clouds of dust. He did not like to explain to others why he did things this way.
    He especially did not like to explain to women.
    Feng Juan gritted her teeth and cursed loudly. After she had said the most evil curses in the world, she suddenly fell to the ground crying.
    She was not crying because all her bones were about to collapse from the pain, nor because she now had to walk home step by step. She was crying only because she knew that Mao Wei would never believe her – he would never believe that Sun Jian did not do anything to her.
    If Sun Jian had done something, she would not have been sad at all.
    There was this type of women in the world who would never know what was considered insult, and what was considered shame. She was this type of woman.
    If others insulted her, she would have felt happy. On the contrary, if they did not insult her, she would have felt ashamed.
    She would never understand Sun Jian’s reasons.
    Sun Jian did this only to let Mao Wei know what it felt like to have his wife taken away.
    An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
    Surely, LaoBo knew that to punish someone using this method was not very proper; yet he could not think of a better method.
    Very few people could think of a better method.
    Sun Jian was still riding on the horse, he could not help but laugh.
    LaoBo did not give him any hints about how to deal with this matter. Yet he believed that even if LaoBo handled this himself, he would not have done it much better.
    During the recent few years, Sun Jian had gradually learned the ways and techniques with which LaoBo handled things. He was very satisfied with himself.

    * * *

    At dusk, LaoBo was still staying in the chrysanthemum garden, getting rid of pests and trimming the leaves for the chrysanthemums.
    He liked doing things himself. This was his enjoyment, not his work.
    He only put down the shear in his hand when he saw Wen Hu and Wen Bao walking in.
    Greeting his subordinates was his work.
    Work was work, enjoyment was enjoyment; he would never let these two things mix up.
    He would never let anything mix up.
    Wen Hu and Wen Bao were two keen-witted young men. However, their faces already had wrinkles due to the hard work, and it made them look much older than their actual ages.
    Now, their faces showed signs of fatigue, meaning that they had been working very hard during the last couple of days. But as long as they could see LaoBo’s praising smile, it did not matter how hard the work was.

    LaoBo was smiling, “You have finished your task?”

    Wen Hu bowed, “Yes.”

    LaoBo said, “Tell me about the process.”

    Wen Hu said, “We first found out that Fortress Owner Xu had a daughter. Then, we thought of an idea to abduct her.”

    LaoBo asked, “How old is hid daughter? Is she married?”

    Wen Hu replied, “She’s twenty-one this year. She’s not married yet, because not only is she not very pretty, she is also well known for her bad temper. Apparently, she was engaged once, but she had beaten away her future father-in-law.”

    LaoBo said, “Continue.”

    Wen Hu said, “Then, we thought of a way to get to know the Jiang Brothers, got them drunk, and took them to Miss Xu.”

    Wen Bao continued, “When these two blokes see women while they’re drunk, it’s like when flies see blood. They immediately started roughing around, no matter who that woman was.”

    Wen Hu said, “When they finished. We went and gave them some punishments.”

    Wen Hu stated, “We were very careful when we handled them. We avoided their forehead and hindbrain, so they definitely would not die. But they for sure won’t be able to get off the bed for at least three months.”

    One of these two brothers practiced the Tiger Slaying Fist, and the other the Iron Sand Fist. Their martial arts was the same as all the other subordinates of LaoBo – it contained no tricks, it was just astonishingly fast.
    As LaoBo said, one did not practice martial arts to perform to others, hence it did not have to look fancy.
    If the Jiang Brothers were sober, perhaps they could exchange some blows with them. But when they were drunk, there was nothing that they could do besides getting beaten and howling in pain.

    Wen Hu continued, “Then we rented a carriage and sent all these three people to Xu QingSong’s place.”

    Wen Bao commented, “Too bad we couldn’t see the look on Xu QingSong’s face then.”

    Their explanations were very short, very concise. They closed their mouths at once after they finished talking.
    They knew that LaoBo did not like listening to a lot of talking.
    LaoBo’s face was completely expressionless, even his smile disappeared.
    Wen Hu and Wen Bao’s hearts began to sink. They knew that they had done something wrong.
    If you did something wrong, you would be punished, no matter who you were. There was no exception.

    After a long while, LaoBo asked deeply, “Do you know what you did wrong?”

    Wen Hu and Wen Bao both dropped their heads.

    LaoBo said, “To make the Jiang Brothers lie in bed for three months isn’t long. Xu QingSong treated things unfairly, so he deserved this kind of punishment. You have done well in this aspect.” His voice suddenly became very harsh, he sternly asked, “But what did Xu QingSong’s daughter do wrong, so that you had to torture her like that?”

    Cold sweat ran from Wen Hu and Wen Bao’s forehead. They did not dare to raise their heads.
    When LaoBo was angry, no one dared to look at him straightly.

    After a long time, LaoBo’s anger calmed down a bit. He asked, “Who came up with this idea?”

    Wen Hu and Wen Bao both replied, “Me.”

    Looking at these two brothers, the anger in LaoBo’s eyes disappeared some more. He slowly said, “Wen Hu is more decent, he’d never think of an idea like this.”

    Wen Bao’s head dropped even lower and mumbled, “My brother didn’t really approve of this method anyway.”

    LaoBo walked around with his hands behind his back, and suddenly stopped in front of him, “I know that you’re not married yet.”

    Wen Bao replied, “Not yet.”

    LaoBo said, “Good. Take my card at once and go to the Xu Fortress to seek marriage. Ask Miss Xu to marry you.”

    Wen Bao looked as if someone had suddenly treaded on his foot, his face immediately turned clay-coloured, and he said quietly, “But … but ….”

    LaoBo said sternly, “No ifs or buts. I’m telling you to go seek a marriage, and you’ll go seek a marriage. You ruined her entire life, so you have to take responsibility for that. So Miss Xu has a bad temper, then you just have to be more agreeable.”

    If you did something wrong, you would be punished, no matter who you were. But perhaps only LaoBo could think of this type of punishment.

    Wen Bao wiped his sweat and asked, “What if Fortress Owner Xu refused?”

    LaoBo replied, “He would never refuse. Especially now, he would not.”

    Of course Xu QingSong would not refuse. Now he was only worried that his daughter would never be engaged. Besides, Wen Bao was a very promising young man.
    Wen Bao dared not to speak anymore, and walked out dejected.

    After they walked out of the chrysanthemum garden, Wen Hu patted Wen Bao on the shoulder and smiled, “You don’t have to feel dejected. Besides, you should’ve been married a long time ago. After you get married, you’ll slowly discover that it isn’t that bad to have a wife – it even has a lot of benefits.”

    Wen Bao went “Hmpf!” with his nose and muttered, “Benefits, benefits my a**!”

    Wen Hu said, “As the saying goes, ‘It doesn’t matter whether you’re poor or rich, as long as you have a wife to spend New Year’s with.’ At least on cold winter nights, when you’re outside freezing cold, you can immediately go home and crawl under your wife’s warm blankets. She’d never kick you out.”

    Wen Bao laughed coldly, “I can crawl under a lot of warm blankets now. I can even switch to a fresh, new warn blanket everyday.”

    Wen Hu said, “But those warm blankets probably already have other men, and all you can do then is just stand aside and stare. But a wife’s different, only a wife would keep the blankets empty and wait for your return everyday.”

    Wen Bao replied, “I thought of a saying too. Not sure if you’ve heard it.”

    Wen Hu asked, “What saying?”

    Wen Bao replied, “Even if you wanted to eat eggs everyday, you still didn’t have to keep a hen at home.”

    Wen Hu laughed, “This analogy isn’t accurate. To be honest, getting married is like eating from a fixed menu.”

    Wen Bao asked, “Eating from a fixed menu?”

    Wen Hu responded, “If you want to, you can always go home and eat at anytime. But if you wanted to change to a different flavour, you can still hunt for something exotic outside.”

    Wen Bao also laughed, but only a brief laughter. He immediately frowned again and sighed, “To be honest, I’m not really against getting married. It’s just that, if I marry a female tiger, how can I put up with that?”

    Wen Hu said, “I also thought of a saying. Not sure if you’ve heard it.”

    Wen Bao replied, “You tell me.”

    Wen Hu said, “A woman is like the horse, and a man is like the jockey. If the jockey has skills, then no matter how tough the horse is, it’ll still become obedient in the end – if you wanted her to go east, she wouldn’t dare to turn west.”

    He laughed and continued, “Originally, your sister-in-law’s temper was also bad. But now …”

    Wen Bao asked, “Is her temper very good now?”

    Wen Hu held his head up high and replied proudly, “Now I slowly made her realize who the head of the house is.”

    He had just finished saying this, when a very tall and big woman walked out of the chrysanthemum bushes. Her eyes, which were bigger than peaches, glared at him and asked, “Then why don’t you tell us, who the head of the house is?”

    At once, Wen Hu looked like a rooster who had lost a battle, and he said with a smile, “Of course it’s you.”

    * * *

    LaoBo raised his shears again. He discovered that many of the chrysanthemum bushes had an excess of leaves: excessive leaves not only hindered the beauty, but it also robbed the nutrition of the chrysanthemums flowers, and impeded its growth.
    LaoBo did not like excessive things, just like the way he did not like excessive people.
    The number of truly responsible people who worked for him was limited; yet all of them were very skilled, and they were also completely loyal to him.
    As for this, he had always felt very satisfied.
    He knew that no matte what he ordered them to do, they would complete their tasks perfectly. Hence, in the recent few years, he had rarely taken care of anything himself.
    But this did not mean that he was not able to take care of things himself.
    He was confident that he still had power to knock down anyone who wanted to invade him!
    That day, when Yi Shi’s sword attacked him, in that split second, he had already saw three flaws in Yi Shi’s sword stances. Even if the others did not strike, he was still able to beat the opponent in the last minute.
    He always waited until the last minute to strike, because at that instant, the opponent had already used up their latest energy and had not able to summon new energy yet. Also, they thought that their strike had already been successful, and hence would ease their cautions. When he counterattacked now, it would usually be a fatal strike.
    Except that it was not very easy to be able to wait until that last minute – you not only needed extraordinary calmness and courage, but also many painful experiences.
    He realized that although Lü XiangChuan was not his son, even Sun Jian could not compare with his loyalty and obedience. Recently, he had gradually praised this young man more and more, and had decided to give him one half of his enterprise.
    Because only his calmness and intelligence can compensate for Sun Jian’s rash temper. The greater the enterprise was, the more it was needed for this type of person to maintain it.
    Creation was different.
    Creation needed people who were able to and dared to risk their lives.
    LaoBo again, thought of that man in grey: of course he knew who this person is.
    He never mentioned this matter, as if this person never appeared.
    This person really had done a lot of things for him that others were not able to do. Yet if he kept him now, he would just make more trouble – because no matter what happened, he would always use violence to solve it. However, LaoBo had already learned meny methods that were more effective than killing. Now, he did not wat others’ lives, but their obedience and worship.
    Because he had by now discovered that to take others’ lives really had no benefits for him.
    But if he could receive others’ obedience and worship, then he would have endless benefits.
    That man in grey would never understand this concept.
    LaoBo sighed and was very displeased with the method he used that day. However, it was inevitable to have many untold secrets from creation; and he knew too many of the secrets.
    If it was for someone else, they perhaps would have gotten rid of him a long time ago.
    Yet LaoBo did not do so. This was also why he was different from the others. Although he sometimes did things unscrupulously, he really was a forthright, generous and broad-minded person.
    No one can deny this.

    * * *

    Really how great was LaoBo’s enterprise? What type of enterprise was this?
    Except for himself, no one else knew this secret.
    Of course, you needed many people to maintain this enterprise.
    Hence, LaoBo had always continuously absorbed new blood.
    He suddenly remembered that plain-clothed, calmly-expressed young man who came to his birthday that day. He still remembered that this young man was called “Chen ZhiMing.”
    He had a very good impression of this young man – he felt that with a bit of discipline, this young man could become an excellent help to him. Too bad this young man never resurfaced ever since that day.

    “Perhaps I’m really getting old. I can’t take care of things as considerately as before. I can’t believe I forgot to ask him to stay that day.” LaoBo sighed again, and pounded his waist with his fist. Watching the beautiful sunset in the west suddenly gave him a sense of loneliness and desolation.
    Recently, he often had this feeling. Thus, he placed all his hopes on the next generation.
    Especially Lü XiangChuan.
    Every time Lü XiangChuan left to do something, LaoBo had never worried that he might fail.
    This time was different. This time, to one’s surprise, LaoBo was a bit nervous. Because he knew the strength of the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect.” Also because he knew Thousand Roc King’s abilities very well.
    He was afraid that Lü XiangChuan would encounter danger.
    But immediately, he also felt that he worried too much: Lü XiangChuan had always taken good care of himself. Even if he could not complete the task this time, he would still be able to retreat safe and sound.

    “I’m afraid that worrying too much is a feeling that only older people will get.” LaoBo sighed, and slowly walked back to his room under the sunset. At this moment, he suddenly felt that it really was time for him to call it quits. Yet this feeling was usually like the epiphyllum – when the sun rose tomorrow morning, he would once again feel very ambitious.
    There was one type of people in the world, who would never be beaten by anything – not even by “aging” and “death.”
    Of course, there were not many people of this type; yet LaoBo was one of them without a doubt.

    * * *

    When he was sitting in the carriage, Lü XiangChuan was not thinking about his opponent – Thousand Roc King – but was thinking of that man in grey who killed people as if cutting grass.
    He did not see the face of this man in grey even on the day of the conspiracy success between the martial arts chiefs; but had already had an idea of who he was. Yet he did ask LaoBo.
    If LaoBo did not wish to tell something, then no one in this world could make him tell it. Since LaoBo refused to mention this person, then it was not even necessary for him to ask.
    He only had an idea that this person had to be Han Tang.
    Even he had never seen such fast, such cruel methods of killing.
    No one had ever done what Han Tang did, and no one will ever be able to do so in the future.
    In the recent few years, Lü XiangChuan’s status had gradually become more important, and his powers had gradually become greater – he could directly command many people. Yet no matter what ways he used, he still could not find out even a bit about Han Tang’s origins.
    No one knew where this person used to be from, what he did, nor where he learned his martial arts.
    Every person who had lived to his forties or fifties must have some sort of history; yet this person had none.
    It was as if this person had never existed in this world.

    This carriage was designed with special care. The entire compartment was a bed with a soft mattress. The shaking of the carriage was also at a minimum.
    Sleeping inside the compartment was almost as comfortable as sleeping in your bed at home.
    When Lü XiangChuan had to do something, he would get ready to do that with all his energy, and would never waste his efforts on other things.
    Of course he also knew that this time, his task is very difficult.

    “If a man falls into a coma for a woman and cannot pull himself out of it, then this man does not deserve to be thought of highly. Hence, you also need not to sympathize for him.”

    “A man should be like a man – he should say what a man should say, and do what a man should do.”

    These were some of LaoBo’s proverbs; others might find it strange why LaoBo would take such risks and offend someone like the Thousand Roc King for matter of this kind.
    Only Lü XiangChuan understood LaoBo’s intentions.
    Thousand Roc King had been LaoBo’s rival for a long time; if he had agreed to let the girl go this time, then it would show that he had bowed to LaoBo, and would soon become LaoBo’s friend.
    Otherwise, he would be LaoBo’s enemy.

    “I don’t know much about people. I only know that there are only two types of people in this world: one type is my enemy, the other type is my friend. You can choose whether you want to be my friend or my enemy, but there is no third choice.”

    This was also one of LaoBo’s proverbs.
    In fact, he did not give others a lot of opportunities to choose. Because no matter who wanted to be his enemy, they would have to die.
    The problem now was that the Thousand Roc King was not easily scared, thus, his choice would probably be different from the others. If he chose the latter, then a blood battle would perhaps immediately commence; even if one triumphed in this battle, the price paid for it would definitely be very tragic.
    Lü XiangChuan always did things carefully and thoroughly. He already had researched distinctly about the Thousand Roc King.
    Thousand Roc King’s surname was not “Wan” nor “Wang.” Apparently, he was the illegitimate son of a person with a very high status in the martial world, but no one could prove that.

    {NOTE: The mentioning of the Thousand Roc King’s last name is because in Chinese, Thousand Roc King is Wan PengWang, hence the “Wan” and “Wang.”}

    Almost no one knew his history before he was seventeen. Lü XiangChuan only knew that at seventeen, he was the henchman of an armed escort company; half a year later he was promoted to be the head escort. When he was nineteen, he killed the owner of that armed escort company, and made the escort company his own.
    However, one year later, he had sold the armed escort company, and became the local bounty hunter; in three years, he had captured twenty-nine notorious robbers. He executed eight of them, but let twenty-one of them go.
    From then on, those twenty-one people adulated him. From then on, all of the outlaws in Jiang Hu knew that there was a bounty hunter in Jiang Nan with great martial arts and loyalty; it was almost comparable to the story from the Sui-Tang era of the gallant Qing Qiong (Qing ShuBao) selling his horse.

    {NOTE: Qing Qun (Qing ShuBao) was a man from the Sui-Tang era. Legend goes that he owned a very precious horse worth a lot of money, yet when a friend of his fell ill and could not afford to go to a doctor, he sold that horse and gave the money to his friend. Hence, “Qing Qiong Mai Ma” (Qing Qiong Selling His Horse) was a phrase used in Chinese to describe one’s loyalty to his/her friends.}

    At the age of twenty-four, he quit his job as a bounty hunter and began to organize the “Great Roc Sect.”
    At the beginning, the “Great Roc Sect” only had two sub-helms, and only about a hundred members. After many years of struggling and having merged thirty other sects, he finally officially changed the name to the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect.”
    Because he had a sub-forum in every one of the twelve main cities in Jiang Nan, and every sub-forum had four clans, each clan commanded several helms.
    Now, the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect” was already the largest sect in Jiang Nan, even the very historical Beggar Association with the largest member count were cautious towards them.
    A nameless henchman of a nameless armed escort company from back then was now the head dragon of this largest sect. The number of people he could directly command was over ten thousand.
    He had so many properties that it was uncountable.
    Back then no one listened to what he said; now everything he said was a command.
    All these were not received through luck. Legend goes that there were over forty scars on his body, both large and small; even if a person’s martial arts was mediocre before, it would have become very frightening after all these life and death blood battles. Besides, he already was a very frightening person when he was seventeen.
    Back then, out of the twenty-nine notorious robbers he had captured, over a half of them were top-notch martial artists in Jiang Hu, including Shaolin’s traitor “Evil Monk” Tie Dan, and the Yan Family Palms expert “Living Corpse” from Chen Zhou.
    The story around Jiang Hu went that during the past few years, Thousand Roc King had received a secret martial arts manual left behind by the chivalrous Di LiangGong from Tian Shan; and had merged Di LiangGong’s “Seven Aves Technique,” which had won resounding fame throughout the country, into an unprecedented and unrepeatable palm technique called the “Forty-Nine Stances Of The Flying Roc,” which powers were indescribable.
    Hence, no matter who it was, it was still difficult for him to defeat such a person.
    Lü XiangChuan deeply understood the importance of the responsibilities of this task. Because whether or not the battle between LaoBo and Thousand Roc King could be avoided relied on whether the method he used to treat this matter was correct or not.
    Until it was absolutely necessary, he would never want to see this conflict erupt.
    He was afraid that the Thousand Roc King would refuse to see him. Hence, he got the “NanGong Playboy” NanGong Yuan, one of the four famous playboys in Jiang Hu, to introduce him especially for this occasion.
    NanGong Yuan was the last generation of the “NanGong Family;” he was a romantic man who was well versed in both literature and martial arts, and he was an expert in seeking pleasures. Even if there was one famed prostitute in Jiang Nan who did not know of the NanGong Playboy, she would not dare to admit that.
    Because that was just too humiliating.
    This kind of person obviously spends a lot of money. However, the “NanGong Family” had been degenerating lately – at least five out of ten silver taels that NanGong Yuan spent were “lent” to him by LaoBo.
    Lü XiangChuan trusted that he would never wish to lose a friend like LaoBo.
    He also happened to be a friend of the Thousand Roc King.
    Thousand Roc King was like all other rich men, their interests are no longer fully on women after they turn forty; the more stable his status, the more extensive his interests.
    Besides women, he also liked to gamble, he liked horses, and he liked to learn to become stylish; the one that required the most money as of course the last one. You not only needed to spend money to be stylish, you also needed to know how to spend money.
    NanGong Yuan happened to be an expert at these.
    Hence, Thousand Roc King really needed a friend like him.

    The carriage stopped outside the maple forest.
    A man was standing in the maple forest with his hands behind his back – his clothes white as snow, his stature tall and fair.
    Beside him, underneath the tree, was a tea table, a zither, a bottle of wine, a lad clothed in black with angel sleeves, and a marvelous and excellent horse.
    Although he still looked young from afar, in reality, he already had wrinkles in the corner of his eye.
    Besides, his mature yet carefree demeanor was easily imitated by anyone young.
    Lü XiangChuan stepped off the carriage and walked towards him. He immediately stopped, having suddenly realized a depressed expression in NanGong Yuan’s eyes.

    Lü XiangChuan said suddenly, “He turned down?”

    NanGong Yuan softly sighed and said deeply, “He refused to see you.”

    Lü XiangChuan asked, “You didn’t mention LaoBo?”

    NanGong Yuan replied, “He said that him and LaoBo never had any contacts, and does not wish to have any contacts.”

    Lü XiangChuan inquired, “You can’t make him change his mind?”

    NanGong Yuan answered, “No one can make him change his mind.” Lü XiangChuan nodded and asked nothing more. In fact, he already knew that his question was useless.

    If the Thousand Roc King was a man who often changed his mind, then he now perhaps would still be a henchman of an armed escort company, and could only find a woman on the day he received his salaries, while he was drunk.
    Lü XiangChuan’s face was expressionless, a knot has already tied in his heart.
    He did not know which method to use to untie this knot.
    He knew that he was only allowed success in this affair, not defeat. Because the consequences of defeat was too great.

    NanGong Yuan suddenly said, “The first of every month is the day Thousand Roc King purchased antiques and paintings.”

    At once, a thread of hope appeared in Lü XiangChuan’s eyes, “Tomorrow is the first.”

    NanGong Yuan nodded, and sighed deeply. He slowly said, “The time flies like an arrow, the sun and moon move like a shuttle. The black-haired lad, his head now white. Life’s but a dream, it ceases when the dream awakes. One’s busy all day, but for what?”

    Lü XiangChuan smiled lightly; his smile contained some ridicule. He suddenly took a large envelope out of his pockets, and said, “Maybe for this.”

    NanGong Yuan asked, “What is this?”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “Five thousand silver taels’ worth of bank notes. This are LaoBo’s respects for you.”

    Looking at the envelope in his hand, NanGong Yuan also smiled. The ridicule was even richer in his smile, he slowly said, “The kind of person like me still deserves respect?”

    All of a sudden, he turned around, went back under the tree, and stroked the zither.
    The strings twang, the sound of the zither echoed.

    NanGong Yuan sang loudly, “Life’s but a dream, it ceases when the dream awakes. One’s busy all day, but for what?”

    The downhearted song, the sad zither; as the setting sun reflected off the maple forest, it suddenly seemed very bleak between the heaven and earth.
    Lü XiangChuan stood still – both his status and achievements were way higher than those of NanGong Yuan, yet he always felt as if something was amiss when compared to NanGong Yuan.
    He was missing “the past.”
    He possessed “the present” and “the future,” yet NanGong Yuan possessed “the past.” Only “the past” was something that no one could buy.
    You could not buy it, no matter how much you spent.
    Lü XiangChuan thought of the days of difficult struggles, and a rush of anger all of a sudden rose from his chest.

    He walked over and put the envelope down, stared at NanGong Yuan, and said word for word, “My dream will never wake, because I never dreamed.”

    NanGong Yuan did not look up, only lightly spoke, “But you should also know that everyone should sometimes dream a little, no?”

    Lü XiangChuan knew.
    His problem was that he did not dream. Hence, he was nervous, so nervous that he felt fatigue.
    Yet he would rather it be like this.
    Everyone had his own life styles; he chose the more complicated style.
    The sound of the zither suddenly stopped.
    He walked back to the carriage with vigorous strides. He gave a concise command, “The GuHua hall.”

    * * *

    The first of the month.
    Antique merchants within three hundred miles from here all gathered at the bottom of the mountain, some even came from thousand miles away.
    Because today was the day the Thousand Roc King purchased antiques – Thousand Roc King was without a doubt a great customer.
    Theses antique merchants knew one another certainly well, there was only a silent, elegant young man who was unknown. People only heard rumours that he was the representative sent by the owner of “GuHua Hall.”
    The white clouds were dimly discernible. The ancient fortress seemed to be so high above the clouds and impossible to reach. Suddenly, the sound of a bell tolled through the clouds, and everyone started walking up the mountain.

    * * *

    When Lü XiangChuan first saw the Thousand Roc King, he was really astonished.
    Even he had never seen anyone like this!
    The Thousand Roc King resembled a heavenly giant – when he sat down, his height was like others standing.
    Some people say that those who are flourished in the limbs may be simple in their heads.
    Thousand Roc King was definitely an exception.
    His sight was sharp, calm yet steady, which showed his intelligence and unyieldingness. He also had incomparable self-confidence, which made no one dare to undermine his strengths.
    His hands were wide, thick, and were always tightly clenched, as if he was always holding a beam of energy, prepared to readily take down any of his intruders. Everyone was very cautious when talking to him, yet he was too lazy to even look at others.
    Until Lü XiangChuan walked over. A beam of light suddenly lit up in his eyes and stared at Lü XiangChuan like daggers. After a long time, he slowly asked, “You were sent by the “GuHua Hall?”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “No.”

    He understood people like Thousand Roc King and he knew that it was best not to lie in front of this kind of people.
    Because no matter how good the lies were, this kind of people would not be deceived. Thousand Roc King suddenly laughed aloud, “Very good. You’re a complicated person. Of course, the one who can order you around is even more complicated.”

    His laughter suddenly ceased, he stared at Lü XiangChuan and asked word for word, “Is it LaoBo?”

    Lü XiangChuan felt a sudden respect towards this man, and handed over the plate he held in his hands.
    The plate was made out of jade from the Han Dynasty, on it was a cauldron from the Qin Dynasty.

    Lü XiangChuan spoke, “These are respects from LaoBo to the Sect Leader. Hope the Sect Leader would kindly accept this.”

    Often, when LaoBo sought for other’s help, he would first send an expensive gift to show his friendship. He preferred to take strong measures only after courteous ones fail.
    However, this time, it was not LaoBo’s idea. The gifts were Lü XiangChuan’s own idea – he hoped that this matter could be resolved peacefully.
    Although Thousand Roc King’s eyes were looking at the plate, really, he was deep in thought.

    After a long time, he then slowly said, “I heard that Wu LaoDao wandered to JiangNan from outside of the borders, and settled down in JiangNan only thirty years ago.”

    He lifted his head, stared at Lü XiangChuan, and asked, “The same with Sun YuBo, no?”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “LaoBo and Wu LaoDao were originally from the same village, and left the border at the same time.”

    He knew that Thousand Roc King already saw through his intentions, hence, he did not need to hide anything.
    He gradually realized that Thousand Roc King was more frightening than he imagined.

    Thousand Roc King asked deeply, “He wanted you to come to plead for Wu LaoDao’s son?”

    Lü XiangChuan responded, “LaoBo knew that Sect Leader would eventually just laugh off such relationships between young people. Besides, that girl is but a servant girl Sect Leader bought.”

    Not only was his speech tactful and polite, it also very clearly analyzed the situation of this affair.
    To offend LaoBo and make a big fuss just because of a servant girl was really not worth it.

    However, Thousand Roc King’s face fell, “This is not a question of relations between young people, but a rule of this sect. No one can break the rules of this sect!”

    Lü XiangChuan’s heart fell. Already, he could see that this affair had little hope of success.
    Yet he did not give up efforts until it was completely hopeless.

    He wanted to explain the situation of this affair clearer, and tested, “LaoBo always likes to make friends. If Sect Leader could become friends with him, then everyone under the sky would be celebrating.”

    Thousand Roc King did not respond. He suddenly got up and said, “You come with me!”

    Lü XiangChuan could not guess where Thousand Roc King was taking him, nor what he would be doing there!
    Even though he was in doubt, he was not afraid.
    If Thousand Roc King wanted to kill him, then he probably would have been dead long ago.
    Lü XiangChuan only discovered how majestic and huge the ancient fortress after they left the hall. The ancient fortress’ hues had already turned into a light grey colour due to the age’s erosion, which made it look even older and more solemn.
    There were no patrolling soldiers seen anywhere – the quietness made one think that this place was completely guardless.
    Yet Lü XiangChuan of course would not feel this way. He understood the concept behind “something that has good quality does not have to look good on the outside.”
    On the contrary, if this place was full of soldiers, he would look down on Thousand Roc King.
    Of course, someone like Thousand Roc King would never show his real strengths easily.
    The same with LaoBo.

    ”It is best to let your enemies undermine your own strength, or else it is best that you do not have enemies.”

    Only a villager would carry all of his possessions with himself.

    * * *

    The hallway was dark and solemn.
    At the end of the hallway was a door without a lock, as if the room inside was empty.
    But if you opened the door, you would immediately know how horribly wrong you were.
    Perhaps not even antiques and treasures in the imperial palace could compare with the ones hidden in this room.
    Even a person like Lü XiangChuan could not help but feel dazzled here.

    With his hands behind his back, Thousand Roc King lead him around and suddenly said, “Pick any two items you want, it’ll be my present back.”

    Lü XiangChuan did not decline nor refuse. It was not only useless to refuse some people’s words, but seemed ridiculous to do so.
    He really picked out two items.
    He picked a jade pendant and a Persian dagger.
    The value of these two items was almost exactly the same as the ones he gave out. This showed that not only did he have good taste, but also respected Thousand Roc King: he knew that he did not like to take advantage of others.

    As expected, Thousand Roc King’s eyes showed praise, and said, “No matter when, if you broke off with Sun YuBo, you can come to me. I would never stifle you.”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “Thank you very much.”

    To be valued by someone like the Thousand Roc King, Lü XiangChuan could not help but feel a bit proud.
    Yet his heart also felt frozen.
    Because he knew that this affair was now completely hopeless, Thousand Roc King would never give him more chance for negotiation.
    They walked back from another way, through the outer yard. The sound of horses neighing could suddenly be heard.

    The steps of Thousand Roc King stopped. He asked, “Do you want to see my horses?”

    For the first time, Lü XiangChuan saw real joy from his eyes, and immediately knew that this invitation had no other purposes.
    This was like a host calling out his smart son or daughter out to meet the guests – so that the guests would say a couple of words of praise.
    Praising others was something Lü XiangChuan would always like to do.
    Because once you did this, it not only made others happy, but also has benefits for oneself. Only fools would refuse, even though as of right now he still did not know where the benefits lied.
    The stalls were long yet tidy, almost every single horse was a top-notch winged steed.
    Yet the value of all the horses combined could not compare to perhaps the last one.
    This horse occupied a single stall. It’s fur was shiny and smooth like silk. Although it was a horse, it had indescribable elegance and pride as if it was ready to be compared to human.

    Lü XiangChuan at once praised, “Nice horse, is it the Red-Sweat Breed from DaYuan?”

    Thousand Roc King laughed, “You have good taste.”

    His laughter was not only happy, but also proud: this was also seen for the first time on his face. Even when he was inside the room with treasures piled mountain-high, he did not show this kind of expression.
    Suddenly, a thread of hope surfaced within Lü XiangChuan’s heart.
    He had already thought of an idea that could perhaps make Thousand Roc King feel down.
    Although he still did not know whether this idea was doable, yet no matter what he had to at least try it.
    No matter whether this idea was doable or not, the consequence was going to be equal all the same.

    End of Chapter Two.
    Last edited by xJadedx; 06-29-08 at 03:09 AM.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  5. #85
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    Chapter Three

    Late night.
    This street was originally the liveliest one in the city, but now every store had put out the lights and closed the store for the night. There was almost not a single flicker of light to be seen, and not a sound to be heard on the street.
    Wu LaoDao had accompanied Lü XiangChuan here, but did not know why they were here.
    He also dared not to ask.
    Although Lü XiangChuan was young, although his attitude was very polite, yet a sophisticated man like Wu LaoDao could already tell that this man had a type of quality that was different from other young men. Even though he was not as powerful as LaoBo when he was young, he was more concealed and more unpredictable: his achievements later on would definitely not be less than those of LaoBo.
    Wu LaoDao wished to become friends with this young man, hence, he was very respectful to him.
    The grandest restaurant on this street was called the “Eight Immortals Restaurant.” Now every window was pitch-black – obviously the waiters of this restaurant were already sound asleep. Yet Lü XiangChuan went ahead and pushed the door open. The door was not locked, and the restaurant was brightly lit. It was just that every window was covered with thick, black cloth, hence, one could not see a flicker of light from the outside.
    There were already forty or fifty people here waiting. From their clothing, it was obvious that the statuses of these people were very different – yet they all had one thing in common.
    Everyone’s expressions were very calm. Their hands were rough and strong. Although they obviously did not know one another, yet when they saw Lü XiangChuan, everyone stood up and bowed.
    At that moment, Wu LaoDao suddenly realized that LaoBo’s powers were more terrifying than he had imagined.
    He definitely did not see Lü XiangChuan gather anyone, yet these people all came. He had lived in this city for over twenty years, yet he did not know where all these people came from.
    The most clever thing was that the manager of “Eight Immortals Restaurant,” Shé BaiLe, was also among these people, and was the first to walk out and welcome Lü XiangChuan.
    Wu LaoDao had been friends with him for over twenty year, but never knew that he had any contacts with LaoBo, and was actually LaoBo’s subordinate.
    Lü XiangChuan treated him with a modest and gentle attitude, mixed with three parts of respect, just like the way a wise emperor treated his successful officials.

    Shé BaiLe bowed, “Except for those who had tasks in other places, most people already arrived. Please give the orders!”

    Lü XiangChuan nodded with a smile, and opened both of his hands and spoke, “Everyone please sit down. LaoBo told me to wish you everything well.”

    Everyone bowed, “We are not worth it … all of us subordinates constantly think of LaoBo. Is the Elder still well and healthy?”

    Lü XiangChuan laughed, “The Elder is made of iron. Everyone is his friend, and should know better than I do, that even if the god of plague would flee if he saw him!”

    Everyone laughed.
    Just a while ago, everyone felt nervous and anxious, but now all that was completely erased.

    Lü XiangChuan said, “Today is the first time I’m meeting with you all. I should really offer a cup of wine to each one of you, but I’m also afraid that that might hurt Manager Shé.” Everyone laughed again.
    After the laughter ceased, Lü XiangChuan suddenly changed to a serious expression, and continued to say, “Besides, I’m not going to hide from everyone that this time I came here with a heavy load on my shoulders. If this affair cannot be resolved, then I do not have the face to go back and see LaoBo. Everyone please think, how can I have the mood to drink wine?”

    Someone then said, “If Mr. Lü have any problems, no matter whether you need people or money, please just give orders.”

    Lü XiangChuan said, “Thank you very much.”
    He waited until everyone’s attention was focused, and only then continued to say, “Now I only want to focus on one thing, and that is the stall of the Head of the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect!”

    * * *

    It was even later into the night, Wu LaoDao and Lü XiangChuan were on their way back.
    Now his respect for this young man was even greater. He carefully listened when Lü XiangChuan was talking. He discovered that the linguistic skills of this young man was not only more clever than some sophisticated people, but also had a special charisma, which was great enough to make people who had only met him for the first time want to get close to him. Yet getting close to him did not damage his powers in any way.
    From many personal experiences, Wu LaoDao knew deeply how hard it was for a person to gain others’ respect and love.
    What touched Wu LaoDao the most was that, although Lü XiangChuan hurried to establish his own popularity and status among a group of people, he never forgot to put LaoBo higher than himself.

    Lü XiangChuan suddenly turned around and asked him, “Do you have some things you’d like to ask me?”

    Wu LaoDao hesitated, he was more cautious when speaking to this young man.

    Finally he asked, “Do you really want that horse?”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “LaoBo never lied to anyone in his entire life. I wish to follow the Elder with all my heart. I cannot compare to him in many other areas, but at least this I could do.”

    Wu LaoDao secretly gave thumbs up, waited for a while, and only then tested, “That Ancient Thousand Roc Fortress is heavily guarded. To be able to steal a lively horse from there will probably not be easy – even if there are LaoBo’s friends among the horse keepers, it still won’t be easy.”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “Not only not easy, but almost completely impossible.”
    He suddenly laughed, “But I never said to bring the horse alive.”

    Wu LaoDao was in a daze, his expressions changed, “Are you saying to bring the horse no matter if it is alive or dead?”

    Lü XiangChuan said, “Exactly my idea.”

    Wu LaoDao took a deep breath, “The horse is more important than anything to Thousand Roc King. If you killed it, then the consequences would probably be very severe.”

    Lü XiangChuan lightly smiled, “Even without killing it, the consequences would be equally severe.”

    Wu LaoDao asked, “Why?”

    Lü XiangChuan said, “You know that LaoBo never likes to be rejected by someone, this time he especially told me that as long as we can get Thousand Roc King to release you son’s lover, there was no need to take into consideration any consequences.”
    He patted Wu LaoDao’s shoulders, and said again, “Although LaoBo has many friends, but there aren’t many who grew up together with him. He’d rather sacrifice everything than to let you feel hurt and disappointed.”

    Suddenly, Wu LaoDao felt a warm feeling rushing up his chest, his throat felt stuffed, and he forced to control himself, “LaoBo would go to war with the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect,” just for me?”

    Lü XiangChuan lightly said, “We are already prepared for that.” Although he said it with ease, but Wu LaoDao deeply knew the strengths of the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect,” and definitely knew the cost of everything to be sacrificed, and how horrid it would be.

    When he thought that his old friend would sacrifice so much for him, he could not help but shed hot tears.

    Lü XiangChuan said, “Of course, I also don’t wish for this war to happen. That is why I decided to do so.”

    Wu LaDao wiped his nose, he wanted to say something, but could not.

    Lü XiangChuan said, “I only hope that this action will scare Thousand Roc King, and make him nicely release that girl.”

    Wu LaoDao nodded, his heart filled with thankfulness.

    Lü XiangChuan said, “I chose that horse, because until it is absolutely necessary, we do not wish to kill a human being. Besides, I know that if someone found out that their most treasured thing had been destroyed, they’d feel deeply frightened in addition to sadness and anger.”

    Wu LaoDao spoke haltingly, “But Thousand Roc King is not someone who easily gets afraid.”

    Lü XiangChuan lightly laughed, “I already said, we are already prepared for every possible outcome.”

    Wu LaoDao dropped his head. The weight on his heart made him not able to lift his head.
    He wished that he never told LaoBo about this affair.
    But he obviously would never know, that even without this affair, this war would happen sooner or later!

    * * *

    Every morning, when Thousand Roc King just woke up, he was always in a very irritable mood. Hence, all his accompanying maidens secretly left the room when they found the chance to.
    His mood only gradually calmed down after he had finished eating breakfast.
    Like his other features, his appetite was equally astonishing. His breakfast normally consisted of a large pot of well-boiled soup made of old hen, winter mushrooms, and ham, plus ten eggs and twenty fried buns. When other people saw his breakfast, they would usually be frightened.
    Today was different. When Thousand Roc King lifted the lid of the pot, his face suddenly turned green.
    Inside the pot were no winter mushrooms, no ham, and also no hen.
    Inside the pot was only a horse head, a bloody horse head.
    Thousand Roc King knew this horse head.
    His stomach immediately jerked and contracted, as if his stomach had just been punched very hardly.
    Then came a fire of anger fiery enough to set everything ablaze. He almost could not control but jump up from the bed, run out, and strangle the first person he saw. And strangle everyone in the stall, and ten times strangle the one who brought this pot!
    But surprisingly, he actually restrained. He often would throw a tantrum over something as insignificant as a sesame seed or pea, and would often fury and even kill someone.
    Yet when he came by a major event, he could stay calm.
    He knew that only his anger could destroy him.
    He also knew who did this.
    He had long ago predicted LaoBo’s every action, yet he never thought that the action would be this speedy.
    That was precisely what Lü XiangChuan wanted: to be unpredictable to him.

    “If you want to defeat someone, yet could not seize the first opportunity to do so, then your only chance is to wait until your opponent lets down his guard. Except that it was nearly impossible for anyone to wait that long.”

    This was also LaoBo’s proverb, and Lü XiangChuan never forgot it. He seized the first opportunity, because he knew that at this time the opponent had not yet been protected.
    No one dared to stay in the room while Thousand Roc King ate his breakfast.
    He did not like others to see him gorging.
    Fortunately there was no one else in the room, hence, he could quietly think.
    LaoBo really was a frightening enemy, ten times more terrifying than he had imagined. How many more people like Lü XiangChuan worked for him?
    Thousand Roc King anxiously closed the lid of the pot, his face was completely expressionless when he went outside, his order consisted of only one sentence, “Immediately send DaiDai to Wu LaoDao’s armed escort company!”

    * * *

    Meng XingHun was lying on the wooden bed in the inn, he had been lying for seven or eight hours.
    He neither ate, nor moved, nor slept.
    Now, there were still ninety-one days until the deadline Gao LaoDa gave him.
    The information he knew about LaoBo was still the same as twenty-nine days ago.
    He knew that LaoBo was a very special person, but knew almost nothing in addition.
    Where did he learn his martial arts from? Was it good or bad?
    Meng XingHun did not know.
    That day LaoBo did not even lift one finger. That exceptional calmness was exactly the thing that Meng XingHun found frightening.

    “What kind of experts worked for LaoBo? How many are there?”

    Meng XingHun did not know.
    All he saw that day, was that graceful young man with secret weapons all over his body, and the fiery yet loyal Sun Jian.
    He knew that these two people were out of town, but were there anyone else like that who worked for LaoBo’s side?
    What about that man in grey?
    Although Meng XingHun was an expert in killing, he was still shocked by this person’s cruel, precise, and fast killing method.
    He also researched this person’s movements.
    Yet, if not even Lü XiangChuan could find out anything, then how could he?

    “What were LaoBo’s daily habits like? Where does he go normally?”

    Meng XingHun did not know.
    He not even knew where LaoBo actually lived. In that yard were at least seventeen single houses, which one did LaoBo live in? Besides, this was not the only garden that LaoBo owned – beside the chrysanthemum garden was a plum garden, and there were then peonies, roses, herbaceous peonies, camellia, and even a bamboo garden.
    All the gardens were close together, and no one knew how much land they took. They only knew that if someone was to walk very fast, he still would not be able to walk once around the land in one day.
    What worried Meng XingHun the most was that, ever since that day, he had never seen LaoBo again.
    This person was like an emperor from the ancient times who never took one step outside of his land.
    Were there ambushes in the gardens? How many ambushes were there? Meng XingHun did not know.
    He dared not to casually take just one step into LaoBo’s land.
    He dared not to act rashly!

    * * *
    Meng XingHun only got out of bed after the night fell, and went out to eat his first and also last meal of the day.
    His meal was very simple, because if a person was too full, his mind may be slow.
    In the recent few years, he had become a mix of several different animals: he was nocturnal like the bat, good at tracing like the hunting dog, precise as a preying falcon, cruel as a wolf, fast as a hare, could endure humiliations like a turtle, and could even regurgitate like the camel or the ox.
    Once he ate this meal, he could often support for a long time.
    This inn he chose was neither too big nor too small, the business was neither good nor bad.
    No matter what he did, he always chose the middle or average, because he did not want to attract others’ attention.
    Sideways across this inn was however an extravagant restaurant.
    Just now, a group of people walked out of the restaurant laughing. There were men and women, mostly young, happy people. One could tell from their clothing that they were from rich families. Meng XingHun admired them.
    He was different from Lü XiangChuan – although he admired people, he was not jealous, and felt neither sad nor angry towards his miserable past.
    The laughter was very loud, and so was the sound of speaking.

    “Who drank the most wine today?”

    “Of course it was Xiao Die.”

    Xiao Die was a girl who wore a bright red cape. Just now another young man ran back inside the restaurant and came out carrying a cup of wine, and brought it in front of Xiao Die.

    “Xiao Die, if you can still finish this cup of wine, then I’d really be impressed.”

    Xiao Die did not speak, nor refused.
    She only smiled, took the wine cup, and immediately finished it.
    There were not many girls with such a high tolerance. Meng XingHun was also a drinker, hence he could not help but look at her a bit more.
    He suddenly realized that this girl was very special.
    She was very beautiful, too beautiful. Beautiful girls usually knew how beautiful they are.
    And they would never forget to remind people of this fact.
    Yet this girl was different.
    It seemed as if she did not care a bit whether she was beautiful or ugly. She was in a group of people, and also smiled. Yet her smile was also completely different from other people.
    Although there were so many people around her, she seemed to be completely alone. No matter how many people she was with, she still seemed to be standing alone in the cold, deserted wilderness.
    The horses have been lead over, the carriages drove over. The other ones left with their partners, the only ones left were Xiao Die and a young man wearing a black cape.
    This young man was very tall, very handsome. His sword sheath was flashing from underneath his cape.
    This kind of young man was suited to be the knight in shining armour for a girl like Xiao Die.
    And there was still the most extravagant carriage waiting at the side of the road.

    The young man wearing black cape said, “We should also get on the carriage!”

    Xiao Die shook her head.

    The young man wearing black cape said, “You still want to drink wine?”

    Xiao Die shook her head again.

    The young man wearing black cape laughed, and said, “Then, do you want to stand here overnight?”

    Xiao Die still shook her head, softly said, “I just want to walk a little.”

    The young man wearing black cape said, “Ok, I’ll walk with you.” Evidently, their relationship was very close. He was still young, still was not afraid that others may not find this pleasing to the eye.
    He did not care about others’ opinions.
    Hence, he took her hand.

    {NOTE: The above paragraph may or may not make sense to some. When I first read it, I was a bit lost, but I’m guessing it has to do with the culture back then, how young people publicly displaying their love may not have been suitable.}

    Xiao Die did not toss his hand away, only softly said, “I want to walk a bit by myself, ok?”

    The young man wearing black cape was dazzled, finally slowly let go of her hand, and said, “Can I come to you again tomorrow?”

    Xiao Die sweetly replied, “As long as you’re free, and I’m free, why can’t you come to me?”

    The young man wearing black cape laughed again, and replied, “I’ll go to you first thing tomorrow morning. You wait for me.”

    Xiao Die did not speak again, and slowly walked ahead. Although her walk was slow, she still slowly disappeared into the darkness. The night was very dark.
    Young girls were afraid of the dark, yet she did not care at all.

    * * *

    Meng XingHun of course did not know Xiao Die, nor did he know this young man wearing black cape.
    The relationship between the two had nothing to do with him, he even thought that the two were quite a match.
    Yet for some reason, when he heard that Xiao Die wanted to walk alone, when he saw her ditching that young man at the side of the road, he felt very happy inside.
    That young man wearing black cape was still staring dazed at the direction, which her shadow disappeared into. After a long, long time, he suddenly rushed into this inn and yelled, “Manager, give my a bottle of wine, a large bottle.”

    Meng XingHun himself also sometimes used wine to chase away sorrow. Yet for some reason, he only found this young man to be very stupid, very ridiculous.
    Very soon, there was only half a bottle of wine left.

    This young man suddenly waved to Meng XingHun, and said, “It’s really boring to drink alone. Can you drink a cup with me, ok? My invitation.”

    Meng XingHun said, “I don’t drink.”

    The young man asked, “Never drink?”

    Meng XingHun did not answer. He did not want to lie, but did not want to tell the truth either.

    The young man suddenly took a long sigh, and laughed bitterly and said, “If you saw a girl like that, you would drink too.”

    Meng XingHun said, “Oh?”

    The young man replied, “The girl I’m talking about is the one wearing a red cape just now. Did you see?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “There were a lot of girls just now.”

    The young man responded, “But she’s different from the other people. Sometimes she’s more passionate to me than warm fire, sometimes colder than ice.”

    He suddenly slammed the table hardly, and shouted, “If you met such a woman, what do you think I should do?”

    Meng XingHun said, “Lots of thing you could do, the best is just to find another one.”

    He did not want to continue discussing, but knew that if he did not leave, this discussion would not have an end.
    He left. When he was walking out the door of the inn, he could still hear the young man mutter, “Xiao Die, Xiao Die, are you really good to me? Or not good? Why do you always make it hard for me …?”

    * * *

    There was total darkness ahead.
    Xiao Die indeed went along this road. Unaware, Meng XingHun also went along this road.
    Although he himself would never admit, yet deep in his heart he had a secret wish, hoping to see that girl again.
    He did not see her.
    That girl disappeared into the darkness like a ghost.
    When Meng XingHun returned to the inn he lived in, it was very late into the night, and the little yard was completely quiet.
    His room of course had no light.
    He never burned a light. Because only in darkness did he feel relatively safe.
    The door was closed, and so was the window. When he left, he had firmly shut the door and window.
    Yet, he all of a sudden stopped before he even reached the door, as if he was a well-trained hunting dog, which suddenly sniffed warning from ahead.
    His body suddenly lifted, and he sped across into the backyard.
    The window at the back was also closed. He softly knocked on the window, and suddenly flew up again onto the rooftop. His movement was fast and light like the hawk and bat.
    Just now, a shadow already emerged from the front window.
    This person’s movements were also fast and strong: he positioned his body – prepared to take off. Suddenly, he realized that someone was half a feet close following him.
    When he jumped up, this person jumped up too. When he dropped down, this person also dropped down.
    During that rise and fall, cold sweat formed on his palms.

    He only heard this person behind him saying lightly, “If you weren’t Xiao He, you’d be dead ten times by now.”

    He deeply exhaled, already recognized this as Meng XingHun’s voice.
    He did not speak, forcefully pushed open Meng XingHun’s door, and walked inside.
    Meng XingHun stood outside the door, his face expressionless. Only when the room was lit up, he slowly walked inside and sat down.
    He sat across from Xiao He.
    He looked at Xiao He. However, Xiao He purposely did not look at him.
    He had known Xiao He for already twenty years, yet never understood this person, yet he also did not want to understand.
    Their relationship really should be like brothers, yet sometimes they just seemed like complete strangers.

    * * *

    Meng XingHun, Shi Qun, Ye Xiang, and Xiao He were all orphans. They survived the chaos of war and hunger famines only because of Gao LaoDa.
    Xiao He was the youngest among these four people. However, he was first to meet Gao LaoDa, he always believed that Gao LaoDao was his older sister.
    Hence, when Gao LaoDa took in the other three people, he was not only jealous, but also angry. He not only repelled them, but also created dissension.
    He always believed that these three people not only robbed him of food from Gao LaoDa’s hands, but also robbed her love. If these three people were not around, then he would be able to eat more, and live more comfortably.
    From the very beginning, he used every kind of method to make Gao LaoDa chase these three people away.
    Back then he was only six years old.
    When he was six years old, he was already very scheming.
    When he was six years old, his ideas were wicked.
    Once, Gao LaoDa told him to tell the other three to meet that the booth outside of the West Walls, but he had told them the meeting place was the East Walls.
    They waited outside of the East Walls for two days, and almost starved to death. If Gao LaoDa had given up and stopped searching, then they would not have survived until today.
    Another time, he told the patrolling bailiff that the three were thieves. And intentionally put the things he stole into their pockets.
    Back then, except for those with a death sentence, the other criminals – no matter how bad their crimes – were all released, because not even the government had enough food to feed the criminals.
    That time, the three of them were almost drowned. If Gao LaoDa had not somehow gave that bailiff some benefits, the three of them would not have survived until today.
    Back then, the method bailiffs used against thieves was not to give them a trial, but to throw them into rivers.
    Many other things like this happened. Afterwards, although Gao LaoDa scolded him, she did not chase him away, because she always thought that he was still young, and his motives behind doing something like this was because of her, and hence deserved forgiveness.
    Gao LaoDa did things using her own judgments, her concepts of good and bad was very muddled. Since no one ever told her what was wrong or right.
    Hence, she always thought that as long as one can survive, no matter what one did, it was right.
    Xiao He had not stopped doing these things all twenty years. His methods were more and more clever, and gave away less and less.
    His jealousy was stronger especially towards Meng XingHun. They began martial arts training at the same time, yet Meng XingHun’s martial arts was a lot better than his.
    The status of Meng XingHun in Gao LaoDa’s mind also gradually became more important.
    This made it more and more unbearable for him.

    * * *

    Meng XingHun stared at Xiao He’s pretty face.
    He was so pretty that he almost did not look like a man.
    Gao LaoDa often said that, if Xiao He was to wear women’s clothing and let down his hair, then most men would for sure have their souls taken away by him. Especially his skin, it as even whiter than women’s. Most people could not understand how someone like him who grew up under the scorching sun and sandstorms could have such white skin.
    However now his face turned green because of anger, his fine and smooth hand were also shaking non-stop. He was obviously trying hard to control himself from having a fit of anger.
    Suddenly, a feeling of remorse emerged from inside of Meng XingHun.
    No matter what, Xiao He was still his partner for many years, and was two years younger than him.
    He originally should treat him like his brother. He forced himself to smile, “I didn’t know you’d come. You should’ve told me first.”

    Xiao He suddenly smiled coldly, “Who did you think the person inside was?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “It could’ve been anyone. In this business, we have to be extra careful towards everything.”

    Xiao He’s face was rigid, “It could’ve been anyone? Except for Go LaoDa, who else knows that you’re here?”

    The smile suddenly disappeared from Meng XingHun’s face, “Gao LaoDa told you to come here?”

    Xiao He neither agreed, nor denied.
    This already meant that he agreed.
    Although Meng XingHun’s face was expressionless, a shadow already crossed in his eyes.
    When he went out for business, Gao LaoDa never interfered with his operations. She did not even ask about them.
    She tried everything to let him know how much she trusted him. But now, it seemed to be different.
    Meng XingHun could not help but think of that time Gao LaoDa told him to secretly follow Ye Xiang.
    That time when she told him to go already showed that she no longer trusted Ye Xiang, believed that Ye Xiang was incapable to fully complete the task.
    Xiao He secretly observed his expressions, a light suddenly appeared in his eyes.
    It seemed as if he had already guessed what Meng XingHun was thinking about. He purposely smiled, and lightly said, “Of course you know that it’s not because Gao LaoDa doesn’t trust you, she just wanted me to tell you some things.”

    His smile was very mysterious, very dark. Anyone could see that his smile contained no good intentions and contained a bit of schadenfreude. He indeed intentionally wanted Meng XingHun to feel this way.

    Meng XingHun was silent for a very long time, then slowly said, “What did she want you to tell me?”

    Xiao He lowered his voice, “Do you know that two of LaoBo’s most important people are on business elsewhere?”

    Meng XingHun said, “You mean Sun Jian and Lü XiangChuan?”

    Xiao He nodded, and said with a smile, “So you already knew. But Gao LaoDa was just afraid that you didn’t know.”

    “Afraid that you didn’t know” already meant that there was some mistrust.
    Meng XingHun of course figured out the underlying meaning of this. Xiao He also knew that he had figured it out, and continued, “Once these two people have left, it was as if LaoBo’s lost his arms. If a person’s lost his arms, then there’s nothing more terrifying than that.”

    He put his legs up, and contently said, “Therefore now is the best time for you to strike. If you already know, then why are you still not striking?”

    Meng XingHun looked at his legs put highly up, an anger suddenly rose, “Are you doing this? Or am I?”

    Xiao He responded, “Of course it’s you.”

    Meng XingHun said, “If it’s me, then I am making the decisions.”

    Xiao He responded, “Of course you’re making the decisions. I’m just asking, no other intentions implied.”

    He suddenly smiled again, “Gao LaoDa often said that you’re the calmest, didn’t imagine that you’re angered this easily.”

    Meng XingHun suddenly felt as if someone had just whipped him. He really should not have been angry. Anger was more frightening than poison to someone like him.
    He could even feel his fingertips gradually turn cold.

    Xiao He looked at him, frowned, “What’s wrong with you? Are you not feeling well?”

    Meng XingHun was silent again for a long time, only then slowly said, “I’m tired.”

    Xiao He was pondering, obviously looked very happy and said, “There’s something I’m not sure if I should say.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Say it.”

    Xiao He looked even happier. Suddenly shook his head and said, “Maybe it’s better if I didn’t say it.”

    Meng XingHun responded, “Say it.”

    Only then Xiao He sighed and said, “These two years you really have been tired, really should nicely rest for a while. This task, if you didn’t want to do it … I could do it for you.”

    Meng XingHun slowly stood up, stared at him and slowly said, “Do you know what kind of person Sun YuBo is?”

    Xiao He did not answer. Suddenly he laughed coldly and asked, “You think I can’t kill him?”

    Meng XingHun said, “Maybe I can’t even kill him.”

    Xiao He coldly laughed, “So people that you can’t kill mean that I have a lesser chance of killing?” His face turned green again, and he continued, “Even if your martial arts was better than mine. But killing a person isn’t just relying on martial arts, but mainly relied on whether you have the heart. Speaking of martial arts, was Ye Xiang any less than you?”

    Meng XingHun was silent for a very long time, slowly sat down, “If you really want to go for me, then go!”

    He suddenly felt very weary, so weary that he did not want to debate, so weary that he did not want to do anything.
    But there was something that he had to say, no matter what.

    He slowly continued, “But before you go, you should realize how much danger this task contains.”

    Xiao He immediately said, “I realize. I’m not afraid.”

    Danger really could not scare him. He had long waited for this chance, nothing could make him abandon it.
    If he could accomplish this task, then he could replace Meng XingHun’s position.
    Meng XingHun obviously understood this point. But, he completely did not care.
    He only wanted to lie down and get a good night’s sleep.

    * * *

    He could not sleep. He could not sleep until the dawn broke.
    The dawn was breaking. He stood up and walked out. The morning mist was like smoke out of an old man’s mouth.
    When he walked out the city, the morning mist still did not disappear.

    “Walk until where? Walk until when?”

    He did not know. Did not even think about it.
    He thought too much, too random that they now already turned blank.
    The gentle wind brought sounds of a stream flowing. He walked towards it, unaware. And sat down next to the flowing water.
    He liked to listen to the sound of flowing water, liked flowing water.
    Flowing water could also dry, but never could stop. As if it never knew weariness. Its lively vitality was eternal and unchanged.

    “Maybe only humans felt weariness in the world!” Meng XingHun took a long sigh, and almost could not help but immediately throw his own life into and become one with the flowing water.

    Just then, he saw a person.
    The mist gradually lightened.
    He suddenly realized that someone was next to him, not very far away. All along, he did not realize that this person existed, because this person was quietly sitting there the whole time, quiet like the soil on the shore.
    But now this person walked towards him.
    She was wearing a bright red cape, but her face was so pale it was scary.
    Her eyes still looked so bright even though there was still some blurry mist.
    She walked over and stared at him.
    The bright red cape flowed like the water, her black hair danced in the wind, her bright eyes contained an indescribable compassion and sympathy.
    She pitied people’s ignorance and sympathized people’s unawareness. Because she was not a person, but a goddess.
    Her beauty resembled a goddess who rose from the river. Meng XingHun’s throat suddenly felt stuffed. For some reason, when he saw her, immediately a rush of blood rose from his chest to his throat.
    He knew her, knew that she was not a goddess. Maybe she was more beautiful and more mysterious than a goddess. Yet she indeed was a person.
    She was Xiao Die.

    Xiao Die was still staring at him, suddenly asked, “You want to die?”

    This was the first time he heard her speak. Her voice was more pleasant to listen to than the flowing water in the spring.
    He wanted to speak, but could not.

    Xiao Die said, “If you want to die, then I won’t try to stop you. I only want to ask you something.”

    Meng XingHun nodded.

    Xiao Die’s eyes suddenly looked in the distance, the mist was hazy in the distance and blurred her eyes.

    She softly asked, “I only ask you, have you ever lived?”

    Meng XingHun did not answer, he could not respond.

    ”Have I ever lived? Does this count as living?”

    Meng XingHun turned his head, he was afraid that tears would drop.

    Xiao Die’s voice also seemed to be in the distance, “If a person’s never lived before, and already wants to die, isn’t it a bit foolish?” Meng XingHun almost wanted to ask, “Have you ever lived?”

    He did not ask, needed not to ask.
    She was so young, so beautiful. Of course she had lived.
    But then why did she also come to the cold river. Would she rather endure loneliness? Or did she come to indulge loneliness?
    Loneliness had a kind of light happiness to it anyway.
    After a long time, Meng XingHun finally slowly turned around, but already could not see her.
    She appeared like the mist, and disappeared like the mist. His meeting with her was so short.
    Yet for some reason, deep in his heart, he felt like he knew her for a long time. He felt as if he already knew her before he was born. And she was also waiting for him.
    It seemed that his purpose of living was to wait and see her once.

    “Is this the last time?”

    Meng XingHun did not know.
    No one knew where she came from, and also no one knew where she was going.
    She was untouchable, and was nowhere to be found.
    Meng XingHun stared into the distance, an indescribable dim ecstasy suddenly rose from his heart.
    The mist in the distance was even lighter.

    * * *

    After waiting for another few days, there still was no information about Xiao He.
    It was as if this person had suddenly disappeared off the earth.
    There was nothing from the chrysanthemum garden.
    What about Xiao Die?
    It was as if she never came to this world.
    Meng XingHun decided to first go back to “Pleasure Forest.”
    People in the “Pleasure Forest” were always happy.
    Gao LaoDa’s face always wore a sweet touching smile. Her smile was even more cheerful when she saw Meng XingHun returning.
    Yet she never closely looked at Meng XingHun once, obviously she was like Meng XingHun.
    Although she was determined to forget what happened in the cottage that day, it was really difficult to forget.
    Meng XingHun dropped his head.

    Gao LaoDa said, “You returned?”

    Of course Meng XingHun had returned, yet he shook his head.
    He knew that Gao LaoDa did not mean to ask whether he returned physically, but was asking whether he had accomplished the task, because before, he never returned before he had accomplished the task.

    Gao LaoDa frowned, “Why?”

    Meng XingHun was silent for a long time, suddenly said, “Where’s Xiao He?”

    Gao Lao Da said, “Xiao He? Who knows where he’s been off to? He had nothing to do the past few while.”

    She smiled, and continued, “We’re all like that. When we have nothing to do, then one can’t find us.”

    Meng XingHun’s heart was sinking, then slowly said after a long time, “I saw him.”

    Gao LaoDa replied, “You saw him? Where?”

    Meng XingHun said, “He went looking for me.”

    Gao LaoDa’s expressions changed, “Why did he go look for you?”

    Meng XingHun shut his mouth!

    Gao LaoDa asked, “Do you know where he went?”

    Meng XingHun still shut his mouth.
    Gao LaoDa’s expression changed, she looked terrible.
    She too understood Xiao He very well, and also knew how much he wanted to show off himself.
    Meng XingHun turned around and wanted to walk out, he needed not to ask anymore. Xiao He by chance came across where he was, and purposely went to look for him so he could break his confidence. This way, he could accomplish the task for him.
    Xiao He had done many things like this. Yet this time he made a mistake, a horrible mistake.

    He did not think about what kind of a terrifying person LaoBo was. Gao LaoDa suddenly said, “Wait … Let me ask you, did he want to go find Sun YuBo for you?”

    Finally, Meng XingHun nodded.

    Gao LaoDa asked, “You let him go?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “He already went.”

    Gao LaoDa’s faced looked angry, “You knew what kind of person Sun YuBo was. You only have about a sixty or seventy percent chance. Him going is like asking for death. Why did you let him go?”

    Meng XingHun suddenly turned around, his eyes showed signs of anger, “How did he know I was there?”

    Gao LaoDa felt as if a cat suddenly got her tongue.
    Meng XingHun always had the most secret tasks. No one knew about them besides her.
    How did Xiao He know?

    After a long while, Gao LaoDa sighed and said, “I’m not blaming you. I’m just worried about him. No matter which one of you were in danger, I’d be equally worried.”

    Meng XingHun’s head dropped again.
    He never dropped his head in front of others. But she was different.
    He could not forget her favours for them.

    Gao LaoDa said, “Where are you going?”

    Meng XingHun responded, “Where I’m supposed to go!”

    Gao LaDa shook her head and said, “You can’t go anymore now.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “Can’t go?”

    Gao LaoDa replied, “If Xiao He already found Sun YuBo, no matter whether he was alive or dead, Sun YuBo would be warned. If you go now, it’ll be too dangerous.”

    Meng XingHun smiled, “Which place I went to wasn’t dangerous?”

    Gao LaoDa replied, “This time’s different.”

    Meng XingHun said, “It isn’t any different. If it’s something I have to do, then I’ll do it.”

    Once he started, he would never quit midway through.

    Gao LaoDa pondered and said, “Even if you want to go, you’ll have to wait until things have cooled down.”

    Meng Xinghun said, “Xiao He would be cold too by then.”

    Gao LaoDa sighed again and responded, “Maybe he’s already cold now.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “At least I should go check.”

    Gao LaoDa replied, “No. You can’t take that risk. I can’t let you take that risk for anyone.”

    A strange expression showed from Meng XingHun’s eyes, “Not even for him?”

    Gao LaoDa said determined, “Not him, definitely not him. I can’t sacrifice a living person for a dead one.”

    Meng XingHun said, “But he’s our brother.”

    Gao LaoDa responded, “Brothers are brothers. Business is business. If we can’t distinguish these two things, then we’ll be the ones dead tomorrow!”

    Her pretty eyes turned very serene, and slowly continued, “If we died, there won’t even be anyone there to pick up after us.”

    Meng XingHun did not say anything again.
    He discovered that Gao LaoDa was gradually changing: changed to be more emotionless, more cruel.
    Ever since that thing with Ye Xiang, he had felt this way.

    ”But why wasn’t she afraid that Xiao He would tell their secrets?”

    Someone was knocking on the door. This was Gao LaoDa’s private chamber, no one dared to disturb unless it was something important.

    Gao LaoDa opened the little window on the door and said, “What is it?”

    A voice outside replied, “The Second Master Tu wants to invite you for a drink.”

    Gao LaoDa said, “Tu Cheng?”

    The voice outside said, “Yes.”

    Gao LaoDa slowly nodded, “Ok. I know. I’ll be over immediately.”

    She suddenly turned around, stared at Meng XingHun and asked, “Do you know who Tu Cheng is?” Meng XingHun shook his head.

    Although Gao LaoDa was staring at him, her eyes contained a thoughtful look and said, “Tu Cheng looks like a rich merchant on the outside. But really he’s a forum leader of the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect.” He’s also the number one goon for Thounsad Roc King.”

    Meng XingHun said, “He is Great Roc Peng?”

    Gao LaoDa said, “That’s him.”

    She suddenly asked again, “Do you know that recently Sun YuBo sent Lü XiangChuan to go to Thousand Roc King?”

    Meng XingHun responded, “I only knew that Lü XiangChuan left, but didn’t know where he went. I also didn’t bother finding out.”

    He never researched anything that had no direct relationships with his task.

    Gao LaoDa said, “Lü XiangChuan is Sun YuBo’s most important person. If it wasn’t for something important, he would never easily send him.”

    Meng XingHun nodded.
    He also felt that Lü XiangChuan was not someone to be looked down on.

    A smile suddenly appeared on Gao LaoDa’s face, “If there was a conflict between Sun YuBo and Thousand Roc King, then there’d be hope in our task. Maybe the reason Tu Cheng left Great Roc Forum was because for Sun YuBo.”

    She pulled open the door and walked out in a hurry. She said, “We’ll go find out more. It’ll be best if you waited here.”

    Her information was always the best, because her method of finding out information was very effective.
    Yet Meng XingHun did not wait here. Because he also had things to find out.

    End of Chapter Three.
    Last edited by xJadedx; 06-29-08 at 03:10 AM.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  6. #86
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    Chapter Four

    Ye Xiang was lying on the grass, underneath the tree.
    The grass already withered. He tried his best to relax himself. He had never dared to relax before, not even for a split second. Now it was different.
    Now he had nothing to worry about.

    “Defeat also has its pleasures. At least successful people will never be able to indulge in this.”

    Ye Xiang smiled bitterly. Suddenly, he heard footsteps on the grass – very, very quiet footsteps, just like a cat.
    Ye Xiang neither got up nor looked up. He already knew who this was.
    No one else had such quiet footsteps besides Meng XingHun.

    Only when the footsteps came really close did he ask, “When did you come back?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Just now.”

    Ye Xiang smiled, “You came to visit me right after you got back? I guess we’ve got a pretty good friendship, huh?”

    Meng XingHun suddenly felt a rush of shame and regret. During the past couple of years, everybody slowly distanced themselves from Ye Xiang. Only now did he realize that he was no exception.

    Ye Xiang patted the grass beside him, “Sit and have some wine. Then you can tell me what you want from me.”

    It was as if he already knew that if Meng XingHun did not have a favour to ask for, he would never come visit.
    Meng XingHuh sat down and took the wine from his hands. He made up his mind that as long as he could finish this mission and come back alive, he would for sure drink with Ye Xiang for several days.
    Recently, he has gradually distanced himself from Ye Xiang, not because he was being a snob, nor because he did not want to see Ye Xiang. But only because he was afraid to see his own fate reflected off of Ye Xiang.

    Ye Xiang asked, “Ok, now tell me, what’s wrong?”

    Meng XingHun slowly muttered, “You always said that there were two types of people in this world: ones that kill, and ones that get killed.”

    Ye Xiang laughed, “Everyone has different ways of grouping people, my way isn’t necessarily correct.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “You group people this way, because you’re the type that kills.”

    Ye Xiang sighed and smiled bitterly, “Most killers are often the ones to be killed.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “Are there exceptions?”

    Ye Xiang replied, “You mean, is there anyone who can kill forever and not be killed himself?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Yes.”

    Ye Xiang said, “These people are rare … really rare.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “How many of them do you know?”

    Ye Xiang’s smile grew more bitter, “I’m one of them, because no one’s after my life now.”

    Meng XingHun pressed on, “Is there anyone else besides you?”

    Ye Xiang’s eyes twinkled, “You saw a really terrifying killer, didn’t you?”

    Meng XingHun slowly nodded.

    Ye Xiang suddenly sat up and stared at him, “What kind of person was he?”

    Meng XingHun thought deeply, “He’s a very normal person … neither tall nor short, neither fat nor skinny.”

    Ye Xiang asked, “You didn’t see his face?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “No.”

    Ye Xiang asked, “Does he always wear grey clothes when he kills?”

    Meng XingHun’s expressions changed, “You know him?”

    Ye Xiang did not reply, only asked, “After he kills, does he take the victim’s blood and smear it on his face?”

    Meng XingHun grabbed his hand, “Yes, that’s him.” Ye Xiang’s face stiffened, and slowly said, “I don’t know … no one knows who he is. It’s just that, the next time you see him, get as far away from him as possible. The farther the better.”

    Meng XingHun questioned, “Why?”

    Ye Xiang replied, “There are more people in this business than you’d ever imagine, it’s not just the two of us.”

    Meng XingHun said, “Oh?”

    Ye Xiang replied, “This is indeed a very strange occupation. Nie Zheng, Jing Ke, Zhuan Zhu are all of the same trade as us.”

    {NOTE: Nie Zheng, Jing Ke, and Zhuan Zhu were all famous assassins of ancient China.}

    He suddenly smiled, “These people, even though they were famous, weren’t experts at this job.”
    Meng XingHun nodded, “You once said that to be in our business, one can’t be famous. If you’re famous, then you’re not an expert.”

    Ye Xiang said, “Yup. To be in this business, you need to sacrifice a lot: fame, family, status, children … you can’t have any of these.”

    He sighed again and smiled bitterly, “I bet that no one is in this business on his own will, unless he’s crazy.”

    Meng XingHun sighed gloomily, “Even if you’re not crazy to begin with, you’ll become crazy eventually.”

    Ye Xiang spoke, “But there are some people in this business who are crazy by nature. Only those people are the true experts, because only they can kill without feeling emotions. Therefore, they’ll never feel tired, and their hearts will never soften.”

    He stared at the wine cup in his hand and slowly said, “The one you were just talking about right now is the craziest of them all.”

    Meng XingHun’s expressions changed, “So, he’s also the best?”

    Ye Xiang replied, “Exactly. Based on what I know, there isn’t a second person who can match him.”

    He lifted his head up, and stared at Meng XingHun, “You can’t compare with him. Perhaps you’re calmer, smarter, maybe even faster than he is. But you can’t compare with him, because you’re not crazy.”

    Meng XingHun was silent for a very long time. Then he said, “You’ve seen him kill?”

    Ye Xiang nodded, “Unless one sees it with his own eyes, no one can describe the way he kills. It’s as if he never treats the opponent as a human being when he kills.”

    Meng XingHun said, “He’s not a human being himself then.”

    Ye Xiang said, “Legend has it that this person has retired for a long time, where did you see him?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Sun YuBo’s garden.”

    Ye Xiang asked, “Who did he kill?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “The Three Friends of the Huang Mountains.”

    Ye Xiang asked, “Why?”

    Meng XingHun said, “Because they offended Sun YuBo.”

    Ye Xiang seemed to be in deep thought again, “I knew a long time ago that there had to be an instigator behind him, but I can’t believe it’s Sun YuBo.”

    He suddenly grasped Meng XingHun’s hands, “Forget this Su YuBo person as fast as you can. It’ll be best if you forgot entirely about him.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “I can’t forget.”

    Ye Xiang said, “Even if you can’t forget, you’ll still have to do so. Or else you’ll die, you’ll die very soon. Because even if you could kill Sun YuBo, this person will for sure also kill you.” Meng XingHun looked gloomy.

    Ye Xiang continued, “Others of course wouldn’t know who killed Sun YuBo, much less finding you. But he could for sure.”

    Meng XingHun suddenly stared at him, “Does he also know that someone like you exists in this world?”

    Ye Xiang’s face showed signs of pain. After a long time, he finally nodded and answered, “He knows. He already knew what kind of business I was in the first time he laid his eyes on me.”

    Others may not understand the meaning of this situation, yet Meng XingHun understood.
    They were all people, who not only looked no different than others, but seemed even more ordinary than others, because they knew to do their best to not attract attention.
    Yet they all had some sort of distinct character that was different than ordinary people. Other people may not sense this, but people within their circle could often tell immediately.

    Ye Xiang said, “He can see through you for sure.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “I didn’t let him see me, it’s just …”

    Ye Xiang asked, “It’s just what?”

    Meng XingHun slowly stated, “If he knows someone like you exists, then after Sun YuBo died, it’s imaginable that he’d trace back to here.”

    Ye Xiang replied, “I can’t forget.”

    He said the same sentence twice, each time with the same steadfastness.

    Ye Xiang continued, “You don’t believe that he can kill you?”

    Meng XingHun refused to answer.

    Ye Xiang went on, “Even if he can’t kill you, but if you knew that there was someone like that always secretly spying on you anytime, anywhere, waiting for you … would you still be able to continue living?”

    Meng XingHun was once again silent for a very long time. Suddenly he said, “Therefore, my only choice is to kill him first.”

    Ye Xiang’s expressions changed, “Kill him? You want to kill him?”
    Meng XingHun replied, “He’s only human.”

    Ye Xiang retorted, “You don’t even know what kind of person he is, how can you kill him?”

    Meng XingHun stared at him, slowly said, “Although I don’t, I’m sure that you know.”

    Painful expressions showed up on Ye Xiang’s face again. He slowly lied down, “I don’t know.”

    Meng XingHun gazed at him. He slowly stood up, turned around and walked away slowly. He already discovered that this person and Ye Xiang must have a mysterious yet special connection.
    Yet he did not want to force Ye Xiang to tell him.
    He never forced anyone. He knew deeply the pain of forcing someone to do something.

    Ye Xiang suddenly spoke, “Wait.”

    Meng XingHun waited.

    Only after a long time did Ye Xiang say, word for word, “He kills because he doesn’t like people, but he likes blood.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “Blood?”

    Ye Xiang continued, “It’s not that he likes to eat fish, but because there aren’t many people who farm fish.”

    Meng XingHun wanted to ask more, but Ye Xiang has already started to drink yet again, using the wine to fill his mouth.
    The setting sun shined from the tree branch onto his face – his face was distorted from pain.
    Meng XingHun looked at him, his heart filled with gratitude.
    Because he knew that no one could ever get Ye Xiang to tell things he did not want to tell.
    Only he could.
    He was his friend, and also his brother – nothing could ever take the place of this profound sentiment.

    * * *

    Gao LaoDa was already waiting by the time Meng XingHun returned to his cottage.

    Her facial expressions seemed very excited. But when she saw him, her face fell, “You didn’t wait for me there.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Nor did I go anywhere.”

    Gao LaoDa observed, “You seem to have lots of things to say to Ye Xiang.”

    Meng XingHun did not reply. He really wanted to say, “We used to have lots of things to say, too. But recently, you’ve been so busy that you don’t even have time to talk to us anymore.”
    Of course, he would never say what he felt inside – during the recent few years, he has already learned to bury his concerns at the bottom of his heart.

    Gao LaoDa slowly turned around, and suddenly asked, “Did Ye Xiang talk about me?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “No, never.”

    After a long time, Gao LaoDa turned around. The smile returned to her face, “I now know why Sun YuBo sent Lü XiangChuan to see Thousand Roc King.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “Oh?”

    Gao LaoDa replied, “Sun YuBo has an old friend called Wu LaoDao. Wu LaoDao’s son fell in love with Thousand Roc King’s girl servant. Thousand Roc King does not approve of this, so Sun YuBo sent Lü XiangChuan to ask for the girl.”
    Even though she was a woman, she was concise and to the point when narrating matters.

    Meng XingHun asked, “And the result?”

    Gao LoaDa replied, “Thousand Roc King already gave the girl to Wu LaoDao, along with a very expensive dowry.”

    Meng XingHun said, “Then this affair has ended, right?”

    Gao LoaDa said, “Not yet ended, it has only just begun.”
    She smiled, “Think about it, is Thousand Roc King such an obedient person?”

    Meng XingHun did not answer – he did not know Thousand Roc King. He never made any comments on something he did not know.

    Gao LaoDa went on, “In my opinion, the only reason Thousand Roc King did this was so that Sun YuBo would let down his guard towards him. Only this way can he properly attack Sun YuBo.”

    Her lovely glance drifted, and she smiled again, “As long as he attacks, it’ll be a hard hit for sure.”

    Meng XingHun commented, “Which is why he recalled Tu DaPeng back.”

    Gao LaoDa said, “From what I know, along with Tu DaPeng, also Jin Peng and Nu Peng. These three leaders already left their sub-forums, and the path they took is exactly the one leading to the Twelve Flying Rocs Fortress.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “You think they’ll take action against Sun YuBo immediately?”

    Gao LaoDa said, “Exactly. So long as they act, then your opportunity will come.”

    Meng XingHun was deep in thought, “You want me to secretly follow Tu DaPeng, no?”

    Gao LoaDa nodded, “Exactly. Only after you find out their motives can you grasp the opportunity. But you cannot let the others start earlier than you, you must kill sun YuBo yourself.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “I understand.”

    Indeed he understood.
    Only if he killed Sun YuBo himself could Gao LaoDa then receive the reward for the assassination. Only then could she maintain her reputation for her outstanding credentials in this area.

    Meng XingHun asked, “How many people came including Tu Cheng?”

    Gao LaoDa replied, “Only three. From this, you can see that their course is very secretive this time.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “Who are the other two people?”

    Gao LaoDa replied, “One is Tu Cheng’s close subordinate called Wang ErDai. But I know that not only isn’t he a single bit dull-witted, but he’s an extremely potent character. He only pretends to be dull-witted to fool others.”

    {NOTE: Here, the “Dai” in Wang ErDai’s name means dull-witted in Chinese. Gao LaoDa’s comments are in a way, a play on words.}

    Meng XingHun nodded – he knew that Gao LaoDa would never misjudge someone.

    Gao LaoDa went on, “The other one’s called Night Owl Ye MaoZi – he’s a lowly thief. Although his martial arts isn’t worth paying attention to, he’s an expert at using incense narcotics. Obviously, Tu Cheng brought him back this time for special usage.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “When are they leaving?”

    Gao LaoDa smiled, “Even though Tu Cheng’s in a hurry this operation, he’s still reluctant to leave immediately. Jin ChaiEr’s keeping him company right now. I think that Jin ChaiEr can get him to stay for the night.”

    Meng XingHun was deep in thought.

    Gao LaoDa asked, “What are you thinking about?”

    Meng XingHun gently said, “I’m just thinking that someone whom Jin ChaiEr can get to stay the night, definitely can’t make it as the number one goon for the ‘Twelve Flying Rocs Sect.’”

    Gao LaoDa smiled again, “You seem to have learned a lot lately, and learned very fast, too.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “I have no choice but to learn.”

    * * *

    Although Wu LaoDao was a bit drunk, his heart was still filled with gratitude.
    Today was the day of his son’s wedding.
    He was hoping that LaoBo could come to drink the wedding wine, yet he also knew that LaoBo certainly could not come.
    Even though he was a little disappointed, he had no complaints.
    No matter what, he was able to get Lü XiangChuan to stay all the way until the banquet was over.
    Now, all the guests had left. The servants were drinking wine in the back kitchen. His dear son and daughter-in-law, of course, entered their bridal chamber a long time ago.
    Now, he was the only person left in the great hall, staring at the nearly burnt out red candle. Although he felt gratified, he still felt some sort of loneliness that came with the end of a celebration.
    He knew he was already getting old.

    “How can I not be old when my son has already married?”

    Wu LaoDao could not help but sigh, and decided that after this year, he’ll put an end to the armed escort company, and find a quiet place to mundanely pass his later years.
    Just then, he heard footsteps.
    A man staggered from the yard into the great hall.
    Not only was this man so drunk that it was funny, he was also dull-looking and uncouth. Among Wu LaoDao’s friends, there was not anyone this dull and this uncouth.
    Wu LaoDao did not know him, yet he was waving hello to Wu LaoDao.

    “This man is drunker than I am.”

    Wu LaoDao frowned, but did not blame him.
    People who drink often sympathize with others who drink.

    Wu LaoDao asked, “Are you looking for Old Song? They’re outside drinking in the kitchen.”

    Old Song was the master chef – he was sure that this person was the servants’ friend.

    But this man shook his head, and responded between hiccups, “I … hic … I’m looking for you.”

    Wu LaoDao was puzzled, “Looking for me? What for?”

    This man wanted to speak, but he fell down before he could even finish one sentence. Although he was down, he was still waving at Wu LaoDao.

    Wu LaoDao asked, “You have something to talk to me about?”

    This person was nodding non-stop.

    Wu LaoDao had no choice but to walk over and bent down, “Then say it …”

    ”I want to … ,” this person gasped.

    His voice was hoarse, plus he was gasping. Wu LaoDao could not hear him clearly at all. He could only lean lower, and moved his ears closer, “What do you want?”

    This man’s gasps grew worse, “I want to kill you!”

    When he said the word “want,” Wu LaoDao already sensed something was wrong – “want” was a word which required one to open his mouth to pronounce – yet this drunkard had absolutely no smell of alcohol in his mouth.
    But he realized this too late.
    Suddenly, a noose appeared in this man’s hands. By the time he said the word “kill,” the noose was already around Wu LaoDao’s throat. He tightened his hands, and the knife-like noose cut into Wu LaoDao’s flesh and throat.
    Wu LaoDao’s breath immediately stopped, his bent body sprung into midair like a fish leaping out of the water.
    Then his body slowly straightened, and fell to the ground with a loud crash like a dead fish.

    This man stood up and looked at his corpse, his face full of silly laughter, “I told you I’ll kill you. I never lie.”

    * * *

    XiaoWu and DaiDai embraced each other. They embraced so tightly, as if it was their first time.
    They did have this feeling inside, both felt that they have never been this happy, this excited.
    But they were not in a hurry to vent. They want to wait to slowly enjoy this moment.
    Their futures were still bright, so bright that every time they thought about it, their hearts became filled with warmth and sweetness.

    XiaoWu gently said, “You’re mine forever, right?”

    DaiDai’s voice was even more gentle, even more sweet, “I was always yours!”

    XiaoWu closed his eyes, and was prepared to fully enjoy the greatest pleasure in this life.
    His breath was filled with her sweet scents.
    The scents grew stronger and stronger, so strong that they induced a dizzy sleep.
    XiaoWu realized something was wrong, and wanted to jump up. But his limbs suddenly felt weak – all his lust and strength miraculously disappeared in a blink of the eye!
    He tried to open his eyes with all his might, but could no longer see clearly.
    Dimly, he thought he saw a face, a demonic face with a demonic grin grinning at him, “Your bride is mine now!”
    XiaoWu blankly stared at him, as if he even forgot how to have a fit of anger.
    Then, he could not see anything anymore.

    * * *

    Meng XingHun was remained on the roof, staring at the armed escort company across from him.
    He saw Wang ErDai stupidly staggered inside.
    After a short time, he also saw Night Owl jump over the wall from the side.
    Although the two went one after the other, they came out at almost the same time.
    Wang ErDai still looked the same stupid way when he came out, except that he carried a dead body on his shoulders.
    Night Owl also carried a huge bundle with all his might. He seemed very strained, since the bundle really was too huge.
    Just then, a carriage sped along from around the corner, and slowly stopped as it neared the armed escort company.
    The carriage door opened, Wang ErDai and Night Owl immediately threw what they were carrying inside, and swiftly followed in themselves.
    The carriage left swiftly.
    All this happened only in a very short period of time.
    There was not a single bit of activities inside the armed escort company. It was as if nothing had happened.
    Yet Meng XingHun knew that they had already gave Sun YuBo a very hard hit!
    He also knew that Sun YuBo’s revenge definitely would not be light!

    * * *

    LaoBo’s expressions suddenly became very grave after he finished listening to Lü XiangChuan’s narration.
    Lü XiangChuan didn’t understand.
    Not only had he completed this task successfully, it went so smoothly that it was a bit unexpected.
    According to his past experience, LaoBo should be praising him right now.

    “Praising someone is a very unique experience – the more you praise someone, the more benefits you receive. There is almost no other experience in the world quite as interesting as this one.”

    That was also one of LaoBo’s proverbs.
    Lü XiangChuan didn’t understand how LaoBo could forget his own words.
    Of course, he dared not to ask.
    He realized that LaoBo’s hand was firmly twisting the button on his shirt, as if he was trying to crush a bug.
    Whenever LaoBo was twisting something so firmly, it meant that he in deep thought, and that he was furious. It meant that he was prepared to go to great lengths to deal with someone.
    Who is it now that he wanted to deal with?

    After a long time, LaoBo suddenly stood up and ordered the guards at the door, “Inform everyone in Team Pigeon that they are to leave their rotations immediately. They have to go find Sun Jian, and get him no matter what he’s doing.”

    A voice immediately answered, “Yes!”

    LaoBo then ordered, “Bring everyone from Team Eagle here immediately!”

    Team Pigeon served as messengers, and Team Eagle was guards. Other than LaoBo and Lü XiangChuan, there was not a third person that knew who they were or where they usually are.
    Unless it was absolutely necessary, LaoBo would never use these two teams. But when he did, then it meant that the situation was already extremely serious.
    But what was so serious now?

    Lü XiangChuan remembered another one of LaoBo’s proverbs, “Always think of ways to let your enemies underestimate you, but never underestimate your enemies.”

    “Did I underestimate Thousand Roc King?”

    This matter was taken care of so successfully, that it seemed too successful to be true.
    Thousand Roc King had struggled for decades, had faced death hundreds of times, and had fought with great difficulty to get to his status today, why would he so easily accept defeat this time?
    By the time he thought of this, Lü XiangChuan felt at once that his clothes had been soaked through with cold sweat.

    LaoBo was watching intently, and when he saw the expression on his face, said in a congratulatory tone, “You understand.”

    Lü XiangChuan nodded. The cold sweat dripped off his head.

    LaoBo said, “As long as you understand, then it’s ok.”

    He did not say another word of blame. He knew that people like Lü XiangChuan didn’t need others’ blame to know never to make the same kind of mistake again the next time.

    Lü XiangChuan was not only grateful, but was also ashamed. He suddenly stood up and said in a choked voice, “I’ll go immediately to see Wu LaoDao, maybe he’s in danger now already.”

    “There is no need,” LaoBo replied.

    Lü XiangChuan couldn’t help but ask, “Why?”

    LaoBo’s eyes showed a glimmer of peaceful sorrow and slowly said, “He’s already dead now."

    Lü XiangChuan felt a chill, “Maybe … .”

    LaoBo interrupted hum, “No maybes. Someone like Thousand Roc King would never let another feel danger. By the time that person feels danger, he won’t live for sure.”
    Lü XiangChuan slowly sat down, his heart sunk.

    He didn’t know how to make amends for this mistake, how to make reparations.

    Just now, a man staggered in from outside and fell down.
    This man was not only very young, but he was also very handsome. Unfortunately, his nose was now beaten crooked, his clothes were torn, and his left hand was fastened to his neck by a strip of cloth.
    He did not get up again after he fell. Anyone could tell that he had suffered much hardship.
    LaoBo has recently gradually stopped liking the use of violence. It looked like this time was an exception, and it was obvious that this man had made an unforgivable mistake.

    Lü XiangChuan couldn’t help but ask, “Who is this person?”

    “I don’t know,” LaoBo replied.

    Lü XiangChuan was even more confused. This man did not seem like a tough guy, but he could still take it after suffering through so much.

    “Maybe he’s afraid that if he confessed, there will be even harder suffering. There must be an even more fearful person operating behind him.”

    LaoBo seemed to understand what Lü XiangChuan was thinking and said, “He isn’t confessing, not because he’s afraid of anything else, but rather that every time we start to torture him, he’d just faint for no reason.”

    It was not easy to just faint randomly. He probably had a marvelous way of doing so. This not only let him suffer less, but it also made his lips tighter.
    Of course it was even more difficult to teach him this method.

    Lü XiangChuan inquired, “What did he do?”

    LaoBo replied, “He wanted to kill me.”

    Now Lü XiangChuan was truly surprised.
    Whoever wanted to kill LaoBo was either crazy or very audacious.

    LaoBo asked, “Why don’t you interrogate again, and see if you can get anything?”

    Lü XiangChuan slowly arose, chose the fiercest alcohol from LaoBo’s wines, forced open this man’s mouth and poured an entire bottle in.
    He knew that alcohol can often make someone tell the truth.
    Then he noticed this man’s pale face slowly starting to turn red, and blood shots were forming in his eyes.
    No matter how good one’s tolerance is, he cannot help but get drunk when this bottle of alcohol was forced down in such a short time.

    Thus, Lü XiangChuan asked, “What’s your name?”

    The man replied, “I am He.” [Note: “He” is a Chinese last name. It does not refer to a capitalized pronoun.]

    Lü XiangChuan persisted, “Your name?”

    The man replied, “I am He.”
    No matter what Lü XiangChuan asked, the man’s replies all had three words, “I am He.”

    It was as if he did not remember anything other than these three words.

    LaoBo suddenly said, “This man must have received very rigorous training. There aren’t many who train their subordinates this way.”

    Lü XiangChuan’s eyes twinkled, “You think it’s … .” LaoBo nodded.

    Lü XiangChuan did not reveal that person’s name, and neither did LaoBo, because both of them knew who the other was thinking of.

    Lü XiangChuan lowered his voice and asked, “Should we send him back?”

    LaoBo shook his head and replied sternly, “Let him back.”

    “Send him back” and “let him back” have very different connotations. If it was “send him back,” then he would already be a dead man, but if it was “let him back,” then he was let back alive.
    Lü XiangChuan thought hard, and suddenly understood LaoBo’s reasons.
    He could not help but feel a rush of admiration inside.
    LaoBo’s ways of handling things were, although different, often the most successful.

    To be continued.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  7. #87
    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Now what you have been waiting for, an update.

    Chapter Four is really long, so I decided to just post whenever I finish a big chunk of it.

    Here is some more.

    Chapter Four continued:

    Meng XingHun usually rarely spied from right outside of LaoBo’s chrysanthemum garden, as he did not wish to alert the enemy.
    But tonight was different.
    He had already figured that LaoBo was definitely going to take action.
    Diagonally across from the chrysanthemum garden was a thick patch of woods. Meng XingHun chose the tree with the thickest branches, climbed onto it, and then, like an owl, simply perched amongst its branches and leaves with his eyes wide open.
    There was not a single movement inside the garden – no one exited, and no one entered.
    Just as Meng XingHun was slowly beginning to feel disappointed, a man’s shadow suddenly fled from the garden.
    Although this man was not slow, there appeared to be some unsteadiness underneath his feet. In addition, it seemed that one of his arms was broken from beatings, and a rope was hanging from his neck. He wore blue or purple clothing, which was now pretty much completely torn apart.
    Just as Meng Xinghun was thinking that this clothing looked familiar, the man lifted up his head. He seemed to be looking into the sky to make out directions.
    The moon light reflected onto his face.

    Meng XingHun almost could not help but exclaim, “Xiao He!”

    Xiao He not only did not die, but he escaped.
    Although his face looked weary and painful, his eyes contained a look of arrogance and satisfaction.
    He seemed to be admiring himself.
    When he saw his complexion, Meng XingHun knew that he definitely did not yet spill Gao LaoDa’s secrets.
    But Meng XingHun also knew that, given Xiao He’s abilities, it was impossible for him to escape from LaobBo’s clutches. In fact, there may be no one in the world, who was capable of escaping from Laobo’s clutches, but he indeed did escape.
    Meng XingHun thought about it for a brief moment, and immediately understood LaoBo’s intentions.

    “LaoBo must have purposely let him escape to see where he would escape to, and then find out just who the person was, who controlled him from behind the curtains.”

    When he realized this, Meng XingHun’s palms caught a cold sweat.
    He definitely could not let Xiao He go back. But he had no way of stopping him, because he knew that at this moment, there must be somebody spying in the dark. He absolutely could not expose himself.
    Xiao He was able to determine the direction from the constellations. Without thinking, he began speeding towards home.
    He was running so fast, it seemed as if he wished he to get back to Pleasure Forest in one foot step. Meng Xinghun suddenly felt an indescribable anger and resentment – he almost could not help but run out, punch his nose broken and break his head. What’s more, he wanted to ask why he had suddenly become so stupid.
    Xiao He was supposed to be a shrewd schemer. Meng XingHun really could not understand how he could turn this stupid.
    Now, to stop him from giving away Gao LaoDa’s secrets, there seemed to be only one solution.
    Kill him!
    But Meng XingHun did not want to do so, nor did he have the heart to.
    Good thing he had a second solution – kill those who were secretly following Xiao He!
    He continued to wait.
    Indeed after a brief moment, three men leapt from the darkness and followed in the direction that Xiao He went.
    These three men’s Qing Gong was all pretty strong, and they maintained a good distance in between themselves. It was evident that the three were all experts at espionage.
    This way ensures that even if the first person was discovered, the rest behind him could still continue to follow.
    Too bad the first person Meng XingHun looked for was the man in the last position.
    The last person had instead the best Qing Gong, so it took the time enough for a cup of tea before Meng Xinghun was finally able to catch up to him. He gently tapped him on the back.
    The man rapidly turned back in shock.
    Meng XingHun was happily looking at him. Suddenly, his fist punched him on his throat.
    This man had just glanced at Meng XingHun’s smiling face when he was already defeated. He did not even make a noise.
    Meng XingHun’s fist was even faster than lightening.
    He used the same method for the other two men in front.
    This method was really too simple, it was hard to believe how simple it was. But the simplest method was often also the most effective one.
    This was exactly LaoBo’s favourite method, and was also Meng XingHun’s favourite.
    Experienced people all use this method.
    Xiao He’s footsteps did not stop. He ran past the quiet Yellow Stone Town.
    The small convenience store in Yellow Stone Town had its doors shut tight. Suddenly, however, two men leapt out.

    One said, “That must be him!”

    The other replied, “Keep following!”

    These two also had strong Qing Gong, and were both using all of their might.
    They were not worried that they might use up all their strength, because they knew that when they reached the next town, there will be others replacing them.
    This time, to follow Xiao He, LaoBo also used a very complicated method.
    No matter what, two methods were usually more effective than one.
    When LaoBo was determined to accomplish something, he sometimes would even resort to seven or eight different methods. Until now, whenever he was determined to accomplish something, he had not yet ever failed.

    * * *

    Even just after a good night’s sleep, Sun Jian still felt very tired.
    After all, he was not made of iron. Plus the woman who slept next to him was especially hard to manage.
    He decided to stay here for an extra couple of days until he got the woman to give in and ask for mercy. But just now, a very strange sound suddenly resounded from outside the window. The sound was like that of a snake charmer’s flute – three short pitches followed by a long one, then three long pitches followed by a short one. Finally, it stopped after having sounded twice.
    Sun Jian immediately recognized that this was LaoBo’s emergency call signal. If he did not at once return after hearing this signal, then surely he would regret it for the rest of his life.
    No one had such an amount of courage, not even Sun Jian.
    At once, he jumped up from the bed. He first picked up his shoes. He could storm outside naked, but he could not handle walking bare feet. If he had to walk around bare feet, it would be like killing him.
    His entire body seemed to be made of iron, but his feet were very tender. The woman in the bed rolled around, opened her faint sleepy eyes, and grabbed him, “What? You think you’re going to just leave like this?”

    Sun Jian replied, “Yah.”

    The woman said, “You bear to leave? Even if you did, I wouldn’t let you go.”

    The reply she received was a slap.
    Sun Jian did not like women who tied him down.
    When the sun rose, Sun Jian had already rushed two hundred miles on his horse.
    His entire heart was filled with anxiety – LaoBo had not sent out this kind of emergency signal for many years. He could not fathom what it was for this time.
    Along the roads were people who sold pancakes, meat, and also wine.
    Although he was both hungry and thirsty, he refused to stop.
    LaoBo was not only his father, but also his friend.
    He was ready to die for LaoBo anytime.
    Almost nothing in the world could make him stop.
    The fresh sunlight was shining on the hot road. The crushed pebbles on the road were as if they had just been taken out of a fiery oven.
    The autumn sun was sometimes even worse than in the summer.
    Sun Jian took off his hat and wiped away his sweat. Although he could still take it, his horse had already slowed down.
    His horse was not as strong and fit as he was, but then again, he also did not run nonstop for two to three hours, nor did someone whip his body.
    He was just about to look for a place to exchange his horse, when someone suddenly threw something at him from the side of the road. It was a rock, a rock that was wrapped with paper.

    “Do you want to know who wants to kill LaoBo?”

    Sun Jian stopped his horse, at the same time leapt over the horse and did a somersault in midair.
    He realized that many people were standing under the tree beside the road; every one of them had their eyes wide open, and stared at him in shock.
    He did not know who threw the rock at him. Just as he was about to ask, he suddenly discovered a very familiar face.
    He immediately recognized that this man belonged to Team Canine.
    Team Canine had the least number of people. But every member had strong Qing Gong, and was good at following.
    Sun Jian waved and called the man over.
    This man obviously also recognized Sun Jian.

    Sun Jian lowered his voice, “Who are you following?”

    Although this man did not want to expose his task, he also knew about Sun Jian’s hot tempers.
    Besides, this was not just anyone else, but was LaoBo’s son.
    This man had no choice but to quickly glance at the tree diagonally across from them.
    Sun Jian followed his gaze and looked over, and saw Xiao He.
    Xiao He was sitting under the tree, and slowly chewing on a beef-filled oil pancake.
    Although this way of eating made it hard to bite, it was because he only had one hand.
    No matter how much he wanted to return home, he still could not use Qing Gong on the road in broad day light.
    Plus he was just too thirsty, too hungry, and too tired. He was lucky that the silver in his pockets were not confiscated. He was just thinking of renting an empty carriage and getting a good sleep inside. When he woke up, he would already be at the Pleasure Forest.
    He was not afraid to be followed, because he escaped relying purely on his own skills. Even if LaoBo already discovered that he had escaped, and had immediately sent people to follow him, it would never be this fast.
    He thought that his escape this time was extremely splendid.

    “They actually thought that they got me drunk, and they just put me in the room without even putting up guards. Now they finally know my skills.”

    People who used shrewd schemes were also often very immature.
    Shrewdness and maturity were two very different things anyway.
    Xiao He almost started laughing from satisfaction.
    But before he could even make a sound of laughter, he saw a man walking towards him.
    He had never seen a man so strong and so full of energy. It looked as if the road was going to be crushed by his steps. His eyes especially, they seemed like two burning flames.
    No matter who it was, he would feel very uneasy being stared at by these eyes.
    Xiao He had bitten off a part of the beef pancake, but he seemed to have forgotten to chew. This man walked straight in front of him, stared at him, and said word for word, “My name is Sun, Sun Jian!”
    Xiao He’s facial expression immediately changed, and the beef and pancake also fell from his hand.
    Sun Jian knew this was the man he was looking for – unless you were someone who held malicious intentions towards LaoBo, why would you be this startled upon hearing his name?

    “If you are rude to LaoBo, then you die!”

    A sneer appeared in the corner of Sun Jian’s lips.
    Xiao He already realized the malevolence in his eyes. He suddenly jumped up and back sliced at Sun Jian’s throat with his one hand.
    His martial arts had the same style as Meng XingHun – vicious, accurate, and fast.
    An attack from this kind of martial arts style rarely gives the opponent a chance to strike back.
    Unfortunately, he was still not fast enough.
    It was easy to be accurate, and also easy to be vicious. But to be fast was hard. Very subtle, the difference seemed to be only a blink of the eye. But this blink of the eye could often decide between life and death.
    No one knew just how fast he really was.
    No one would dare to admit that he himself was the fastest. There was no limit to fastness. You could be fast, but someone else could be even faster than you. Even if you were the fastest now, there will be someone else faster than you in the future.
    Xiao He never knew how fast he really was.
    But now he knew.
    Sun Jian did not flinch, but met him with his fist, which coincidentally met Xiao He’s hand.
    Xiao He immediately heard the sound of his own bones breaking. But he made no sound because Sun Jian’s other hand already attacked fiercely and blocked his mouth.
    His entire mouth of teeth was shattered immediately, but his blood shot out from his nose like two bloody arrows.
    Every one at the side of the road was motionless from fright and their faces were ghastly pale.
    None of them had ever seen such a strong and vicious character. And definitely none had seen such majestically fierce but still direct and simple boxing style.
    Everyone watching was scared out of their minds, but only one person was secretly laughing inside.
    For sure, Gao LaoDa was secretly laughing.
    Everything that had transpired here was all part of her plans. She could not help but admire herself.
    When she thought of Xiao He’s ill fate, she could not help but feel a bit of regret.
    But this kind of man deserved no sympathy, and even less love.
    She decided to forget about him immediately, as fast as possible.
    Her heart was not always this hard. But now she realized that if one wanted to accomplish something, to live a better life than others, then one had to harden one’s heart, the harder the better.
    The effect of desire and wealth on a person was like that of vinegar on water. Water with vinegar added to it would definitely change sour. A person who has desire and wealth would also change very quickly.

    Sun Jian threw Xiao He on the ground forcefully, like a slave throwing down the burlap sack on his back.
    The burlap sack was standing. Xiao He’s spine was cut into seven segments, his entire body was soft like an empty burlap sack.
    LaoBo quietly looked at his son, his face completely expressionless.
    Lü XiangChuan could not help but secretly worry for Sun Jian. He knew that whenever LaoBo’s face was expressionless, then it usually meant that he was in his most angry moments.

    Sun Jian’s face, however, had a look of satisfaction, “I already caught this man.”

    LaoBo asked, “Where did you find him?”

    Sun Jian replied, “On the road.”

    LaoBo retorted, “There are a lot of people on the road, why didn’t you catch each and every one of them?”

    Sun Jian stalled a bit, and said, “I knew this man wanted to hurt you, plus he escaped from here.”

    LaoBo asked, “How did you know?”

    Sun Jian replied, “Someone told me.”

    LaoBo asked, “Who?”

    Sun Jian gave him the rock wrapped in paper.

    LaoBo’s face still remained expressionless after he finished looking at it, and slowly asked, “Let me ask you, has anyone ever escaped from here?”

    “No.”

    “If anyone did really escape from here, what kind of person would he be like?”

    “Obviously a very tough character.”

    “Such a tough character, would you be able to defeat him with one punch?”

    Sun Jian froze.

    He suddenly also realized that Xiao He really was not such a tough character. He suddenly also realized that he had been used by others. He only hoped that LaoBo would severely lecture him or beat him, just like when he was young. This way, he would have felt better inside.
    But LaoBo no longer bothered with him.
    Ignoring him was also a form of punishment. For him, this punishment was worse than anything else.

    LaoBo turned to Lü XiangChuan, “Although he handled this matter in a stupid way, it was not completely useless.”

    Lü XiangChuan kept his mouth shut.
    He knew that in this situation, regardless of whom, he should best not come between father and son.
    Plus he already understood LaoBo’s intentions.
    LaoBo was purposely provoking Sun Jian.
    Although Sun Jian would lose all rationality when provoked, that angry energy startled even LaoBo himself. Almost no one in the world could endure that type of energy.


    To be continued.
    Last edited by xJadedx; 07-03-08 at 03:44 AM.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  8. #88
    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Chapter Four Continued:

    LaoBo surely did so, because of what had happened this morning ….
    This morning, Thousand Roc King sent four trunks here.
    The four trunks contained one living person, and four dead persons.
    Each corpse had been mutilated beyond recognition, but Lü XiangChuan was still able to recognize that they were Wen Hu, Wen Bao, Wu LaoDao, and a completely naked, bruise-covered DaiDai.
    Xiao Wu was stuffed into the same trunk as DaiDai. Although he was still alive, each and every joint on his body had been crushed.
    His only regret was why he could not have died earlier, but had to instead witness his wife being tortured and abused.
    When the trunk was opened, LaoBo could only look at his eyes.
    His eyeballs were almost entirely protruded outwards, and they stared at LaoBo like a dead fish.
    No one could describe the pain and anger contained in those eyes.
    Even though LaoBo had seen countless of dead people in his life, at this moment he still felt a cold chill rising from his feet, and his palms secreted cold sweat.
    Lü XiangChuan was even more close to vomiting.
    He could not help but admire LaoBo, because LaoBo could still look straight into Xiao Wu’s eyes, and say word for word, “I will surely avenge for you!”
    After he heard these six words, Xiao Wu’s eyes suddenly shut close.
    He knew that if LaoBo had said so, then he would never go back on his words.

    Even now, when he thought of those five faces, Lü XiangChuan still could not help but vomit.
    LaoBo said, “At least he proved that this He was definitely not send by Thousand Roc King.”

    Lü XiangChuan nodded.

    LaoBo continued, “Thousand Roc King has now directly challenged me in my face. If this man was send by him, he had no need to silence him.”

    Lü XiangChuan had long been astonished and suspicious, “If this man was not an assassin sent by Thousand Roc King, then who sent him?

    He could not imagine that LaoBo could have another enemy who was this outrageous and audacious.

    LaoBo suddenly sighed, “We originally could have found out who he was, but unfortunately …” He coldly glanced at Sun Jian, and slowly continued, “Unfortunately someone was a bit too clever and missed the more important matter.”

    Each vein on Sun Jian’s forehead popped up.

    Lü XiangChuan quietly said, “We could still gradually find out who sent that man.”

    LaoBo replied, “That’s for later. Now we need to use all of our might against Thousand Roc King!”

    Sun Jian could not help but shout out, “I’ll go!”

    LaoBo laughed coldly, “Go and do what? Right now, he’s sitting at home, waiting for you to go there to your death!”

    Sun Jian dropped his head and clenched his fists tightly. Even the people standing outside the door could hear the joints cracking on his body.

    LaoBo continued, “The more he wants us to go, the more we’ll stay. If he wants to wait, then we can wait longer than he does. If he wants to provoke us further, then he’ll definitely have more planned.”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “Yes.”

    LaoBo asked, “What do you think his next plan is?”

    Lü XiangChuan seemed to be deep thought.
    He understood when to act smart and when to act a bit dumber.

    LaoBo said, “Tomorrow is the big funeral Tie ChengGang set up for his brothers. Thousand Roc King will think that we’ll definitely send someone into the mountains for the memorial service, and will definitely have prepared something there. But we must make sure that he’ll return empty-handed.”

    Before he could finish speaking, Sun Jian had already turned around and went outside.

    LaoBo still ignored him, Lü XiangChuan was still deep in thought.

    After a long time, LaoBo slowly said, “Have you already arranged everything on the mountain?”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “The casket carriers, grave diggers, trumpeters, and the Taoist priest have all been replaced by our people. We now fear nothing, other than if Thousand Roc King does not strike.”

    LaoBo replied, “Sun Jian will have a way to make him strike.”

    Lü XiangChuan said, “If they see Sun Jian there, then they’ll have to strike anyway.”

    LaoBo said, “This time around, Thousand Roc King would not yet come out himself, thus I do not plan to make an appearance myself either.”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “I want to go see for a bit.”

    LaoBo abruptly said, “You can’t go. If they see you, then they would for sure realize that we already have preventions, besides …” His glance slowly turned towards the still unconscious Xiao He, “You have other things to do.”

    Lü XiangChuan replied, “Yes.”

    LaoBo said, “I’ll take care of thousand Roc King. You need to use all your strengths to investigate who is behind him. It does not matter what methods you use, but you cannot let a third person know about it.”

    Lü XiangChuan stared at Xiao He, and slowly replied, “As long as this man doesn’t die, then I’ll have my methods.” His eyes had an expression of deep thought, and he continued, “Of course, I would definitely not let him die.”

    * * *

    Tie ChengGang was bare feet, and dressed in hemp clothing. He wore a heavy mourning suit.
    His wounds had not yet completely healed, but he was very high in spirit. The thing that amazed others most was that he did not seem to express any sadness or sorrow.
    Right in front of him laid the dead bodies and caskets of his own brothers. He just kept silently looking at them, and his eyes contained not a single tear, rather, they looked exceptionally firm.
    Not many people came to the memorial service – many people had been offended by “The Seven Warriors” anyway. But Tie ChengGang did not notice whether many or few people came, nor did he care.
    All this time, his glance never left the caskets.
    The sun was in the middle of the sky, still, the autumn wind gave a withering feeling that was cold and chilling.

    Tie ChengGang suddenly turned around and faced the crowd. He slowly said, “My brothers were not only brutally murdered, but on top of that had to carry unjust accusations. But I escaped, I escaped like a dog.”

    He did not even say half a word of gratitude or lament, but cut to the point right away. But what really were his intentions? No one knew, thus, everyone just listened quietly.

    Tie ChengGang continued, “I escaped, not because I’m afraid of death. But I wanted to wait for today. Today, their unjust accusations are lifted, and I then have no reasons to continue living …”

    He did not even finish this sentence, and had already pulled out a knife. He used the thin but sharp blade to cut through his own throat!
    This transition was really just too fast, so fast that it was beyond anyone’s expectations, so fast that everyone was completely caught off guard. The blood splattered, but his dead body still stood very straight. After a long time, he collapsed; collapsed onto his brothers’ caskets. Only when he collapsed did everyone shout out in shock. Some people shrunk backwards, others stormed to the front. Only Sun Jian remained completely motionless amongst the crowd. He saw four men being trampled and are about to bump into him, but he still remained motionless. Suddenly, these four men pulled out knives at the same time. The four knives all aimed towards Sun Jian’s body from four distinct directions. The distance between them and Sun Jian was short anyway, and the knife tips now almost touched Sun Jian’s clothes. Suddenly, Sun Jian swung his fists! As his fist hit one of the men’s faces, his elbow at the same time also already collided with another man’s face. As soon as he swung his fists, all four men collapsed. Another twenty-something men also wore their hemp linen on their right arm. The four faces were covered with blood, and were completely unrecognizable. Suddenly, someone in the crowd shouted loudly, “Watch out for people with linen on their right arms!”

    The majority of the people who came to the funeral wore white hemp linen. Most people usually have the habit of fastening the hemp linen on their left arms. These four, however, had their hemp linen on their right arms. Immediately after the shouting began, the crowd suddenly dispersed and left only these twenty-something men standing in the middle. Sun Jian, however, stood in the middle of these twenty men. The shouting stopped. The casket carriers, grave diggers, trumpeters, and the Taoist priest all charged towards these twenty men at the same time. Each one of them had a knife in their hands. The miserable shrieks from these twenty men came almost all at the same time. If you had not heard it with your own ears, you could never imagine how horrible the sound of twenty people shrieking at the same time is. If you had heard it with your own ears, then for the rest of your life, you would have difficulty forgetting it.

    Only three men were left. They had not yet fallen. These three men were the closest to Sun Jian. Obviously the others did not attack them, because they were saving them for Sun Jian.
    Sun Jian stared at them.
    In the blink of an eye, the three men’s clothes were drenched with cold sweat, as if they had just been fished out of water.
    One of the men suddenly bent down, and immediately, a pungent stench spread through the wind.

    His pants were wet, so he simply knelt down and cried his heart out, “I’m not, I’m not one of them …”

    Before he could finish, the man next to him suddenly brandished his knife towards his neck. Even after his head had already rolled far way, there were still tears pouring from his eyes!
    The other man was completely dumbstruck from fear.

    The man wielding the knife fiercely shouted, “So I’ll die! It’s no big deal.”

    He brandished the knife and pointed the knife towards his own neck.
    Sun Jian suddenly reached out and clutched his wrist.

    His wrist bones were immediately shattered. The knife fell onto the ground. His tears also flowed from the pain, and he said hoarsely, “I’m not even allowed to die?”

    Sun Jian replied, “No.”

    This man’s face became contorted from the fear and pain, and struggled, “What do you want?”

    Sun Jian did not reply with his lips, but with his hands.
    His hands did not stop, and in the blink of an eye, he had crushed every single joint on this man’s body.

    Then, he turned towards the dumbstruck man, and instructed word for word, “Take this man back. Tell Thousand Roc King that, whatever he throws at us, we’ll give back ten times more!”

    Although this battle was won very successfully, it still did not diminish the anger inside Sun Jian.
    He was puzzled. This battle was extremely important, why has Thousand Roc King still not send his main force?

    The fresh blood had soaked into the soil. The dead body was slowly becoming hard.
    The men LaoBo had sent were cleaning up the battle field. Sun Jian slowly walked towards Tie ChengGang.
    Although Tie ChengGang had already collapsed onto the casket, but in Sun Jian’s mind, he seemed to be forever standing. Furthermore, he was standing very straight.
    This was his friend. He really was a worthy friend.
    Although Tie ChengGang himself was already dead, his heroics, however, would no doubt exist forever in the Martial World.
    Sun Jian suddenly felt the hot tears filling his eyes. He slowly knelt down. In his life, he never willingly bowed to anyone. No matter if they were alive or dead, none of them could make him bow down.
    But now, he willingly knelt down, because only so could he express his respect.

    The wind was blowing. It would not stop blowing.
    A cloud covered up the sunlight. Immediately, it became withering and chilling between heaven and earth.
    Sun Jian closed his eyes and mourned silently.
    Right after he closed his eyes, his nose suddenly caught a whiff of a strange sweet scent.
    This sweet scent came unexpectedly from inside the casket that Tie ChengGang was lying on.
    The veins on Sun Jian’s forehead suddenly popped up again. He swung his fists and attacked fiercely. The casket was shattered and a yell came from inside the casket.
    A sword pierced out from the shattered casket along with the yell.
    Sun Jian wanted to dodge it, but his entire body suddenly became weak, and his limbs did not listen to his commands.
    A flash of the sword. It entered from the front of his chest and exited out his back.
    The blood splattered from the sword tip.
    His blood was just like others’, it was bright red.
    His eyes bulged out in anger and were still staring at the man holding the sword. The blood flowed along his cracked eye corner, and flowed down his contorted face.
    If the man holding the sword had escaped right away after his attack was successful, then he would have still had a chance. But he suddenly caught sight of Sun Jian’s face from the corner of his eye, and immediately, he could not help but shiver, and his hand became weak and loosened.
    When he came back to his senses, he saw the light of knives dancing across the sky.
    The chaotic knives chopped him into a meat paste.
    No one made a sound, no one moved. People even seemed to have stopped breathing.
    Everyone stared helplessly at Sun Jian’s body. They could only feel their finger tips being freezing cold, their toes being freezing cold, they could only feel their cold sweat slowly flowing down along their backs, as if a snake was crawling on their backs.
    Sun Jian was indeed dead. It was unbelievable that such a tough man could die just like everyone else.
    No one believed this, but they had to believe.
    No one dared to carry his body back to see LaoBo.

    “Where did the man in the casket come from? How did he hide inside the casket?”

    This was really impossible.
    This funeral cart had been entirely replaced with LaoBo’s people.
    One man from the crowd suddenly lifted his glance from Sun Jian’s body and stared at two men standing across.
    It was these two men who carried this casket here.
    Everyone’s glances immediately followed and stared at them, each eye were filled with anger and hatred.

    These two men’s bodies were already shaking as if their skeleton would collapse, and both suddenly yelled out at the same time, “It wasn’t our idea! It was …”

    Just then, an authoritative and resounding voice shouted loudly, “Kill!”

    * * *

    LaoBo was standing like a stone.
    A casket was in front of him. Inside the casket laid the body of his beloved son.
    The sword still remained on his chest.
    He knew his son very well. He would never believe that there was anyone in the world who could pierce a sword into his chest from the front.
    Who, then, pierced this sword?
    What really happened on the mountain?
    No one knew. Of the people who went up the mountain, not a single one was still alive.
    LaoBo stood silently, his face was still completely expressionless.
    Suddenly, his tears poured out.
    Lü XiangChuan dropped his head.
    He had never seen LaoBo cry before. Now, he dared not to look. That a man like LaoBo could still shed tears, the image was not only tragic, but also frightening.
    LaoBo’s heart was almost torn into shreds. In so many years, he had never made a mistake in judgement.
    In so many years, he only made one mistake.
    But this single mistake had killed his only son. Yet even now, he still did not know where he made the mistake!
    Therefore, it was possible that the same mistake may happen in the future.
    When he thought of this, his entire body became stiff.
    His organization was originally extremely secretive, so secretive that it was like an egg. But now, this organization had a break. Even if the break was the size of a needle, it could still drain away all the egg white and yolk. At that time, this egg would be empty. Even if it does not shatter, it would still be completely insignificant.
    He would be willing to sacrifice everything to find where this break was. But he could not find it.
    The twilight was near, but no one lit the lamp. Everyone was merged into the shadows of the darkness, everyone could be the one who caused the break.
    There was almost only one person whom he could trust completely.
    He suddenly turned around and gave a concise order,

    “Go find Han Tang!”

    End of Chapter Four.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  9. #89
    Senior Member rati4u's Avatar
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    is this stopped? its a nice one!

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by rati4u View Post
    is this stopped? its a nice one!
    You mean the translation? No.
    I still am working on chapter 5. It's a long chapter. But it's a good one.

    I had to write some proposals for school, so it's a bit slowed down. But the next update should be soon.

    Thank you! I'm glad that you're enjoying the novel.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  11. #91
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    , there are lots of us who are enjoying this story.... i did enjoy reading the godfather stories and the similarities are a lot...and i hope its not entirely similar... i like the characters in this story

    thanks a lot for the translation efforts!!!

  12. #92
    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icefrog View Post
    , there are lots of us who are enjoying this story.... i did enjoy reading the godfather stories and the similarities are a lot...and i hope its not entirely similar... i like the characters in this story

    thanks a lot for the translation efforts!!!
    Thank you!

    I read the summary of Godfather from Wikipedia, and based on that, I can say that while the two have similarities (Gu Long probably got inspirations for the novel from The Godfather), they do become very different.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  13. #93
    Senior Member jadebunny9's Avatar
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    Excellent translation Jaded my dear.

    After reading a bit.......I realize how similar the story is to ATV's 1996 series The Swordsman. I wonder if it's almost the same thing? But from what I remember....the character names are not the same....yet there's so many similarities.

  14. #94
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    Chapter Five

    Han Tang did not really look like a fish farmer, but he did indeed farm fish. He farmed many fish in the fish tanks. Sometimes, he would even keep the smaller fish in his own teacup.
    Most of the time, he would find other fish farmers, and together, they would sit serenely next to the water pond, next to the fish tank, and would serenely admire the carefree and content manner, the vivid and beautiful poise of the fish in the water.
    During these times, he would briefly forget the worry and depression in his heart, and would feel that he himself has also turned into a swimming fish, and was carefree swimming in the water.
    He had once thought of raising birds. Flying birds were obviously freer than swimming fish. Unfortunately, he could not raise the birds in the sky. But the moment you lock the bird inside a cage, it would immediately lose its soaring composure, and would seem no longer to be a bird.
    Thus, he farmed fish.

    Most people who farmed fish were lonely. Han Tang was even lonelier.
    He had no relatives, no friends, he did not even have any servants.
    It was because he dared not to become close to anyone, and dared not to let anyone become close to him.
    He believed that there was not a single person in the world he could trust – only LaoBo was the sole exception.
    No one was more loyal to LaoBo than he was. If he had a father, he would even be willing to kill his own father for LaoBo.

    Han Tang also like to fish. Although his fishing method was the same as others, his goal was entirely different.
    He enjoyed looking at the manner in which the fish struggled on the fishhook. Each fish struggled in a different manner, just like people. When people are faced with the horror of death, the manner displayed by each person was different.
    Until now, he still had not seen a person who was truly unafraid of death – maybe only LaoBo was the sole exception.
    LaoBo was the god in his eyes, was the personification of perfection and righteousness.
    He believed that everything LaoBo did, no matter what, was right. No matter how LaoBo treated him, he would not complain. Even if he did not know why LaoBo would do so, he knew that LaoBo surely had an extremely right reason for it.

    He could also kill people, and enjoyed to kill people.
    But if LaoBo did not want him to kill, then he would willingly come here and endure depression and loneliness.
    Thus, he would often release his murderous intents on the fish.
    Sometimes, he would even put the fish inside a bird cage, and place it under the fiery sun, and watch it die slowly.
    He appreciated the moment when death arrived, whether it arrived for the fish, or arrived for people, or arrived for himself.
    He often thought that, when death arrived for himself, would that be more exciting and more fun.

    There were quite a few fish farmers, many of them resided in the front courtyard. In the back garden, they all had a water pond or fish tank for farming fish.
    But other than farming fish, they still had many other things to do.
    They often viewed the other things as being more important than farming fish.
    A true fish farmer only farmed fish. Fish farming was the most important thing in their lives.
    There were not many true fish farmers, and most of these kinds of people were a bit strange. To find a strange person was thus, not a very difficult thing to do.

    Therefore, Meng XingHun finally found Han Tang.
    The sky was filled with the setting sun, the fish pond was glistening under the setting sun.
    Meng XingHun was also under the setting sun.
    He saw a man sitting next to the fish pond, his fishing rod already raised, and a fish already caught on the hook. This man was sitting serenely there, admiring the fish struggling on the hook.
    Meng XingHun knew that this man had to be Han Tang.
    He thought of many ways to deal with Han Tang. But at last, none of them was useful.
    Finally, the method he chose was the simplest one, the most direct one.
    He planned to just directly go find Han Tang, and once he had the chance, he would just directly kill him.
    If there was no chance, then it did not matter if he was killed by him.
    With people like Han Tang, if you wanted to kill him, you would have to use your own life as the stake anyway. Otherwise, no matter what complex and ingenious method you use, it would still be all useless.
    Now he had found Han Tang.
    He directly walked over.
    He had to kill Han Tang, not only for Gao LaoDa, but also for himself.
    A man who is in an unending pursuit, his internal struggles may perhaps be even more painful than a fish on the hook, because although he was endlessly in pursuit, he would never know who the person actually was that he was pursuing. This type of pursuit most easily made one tired.
    Meng XingHun has been tired for a long time. He hoped that, after he killed Han Tang, it would allow his spirits to be stimulated.
    Deep down in his heart, every man wished to find the strongest person to be his opponent, and would always hope that he could defeat this opponent. To reach this goal, men often would not hesitate to sacrifice everything as wager.
    When Meng XingHun walked over, the anxiety and excitement in his heart was like that of a new soldier heading to the battle field for the first time.
    But his footsteps were still very light, they were light as a cat, a cat that was catching a mouse. Light as a leopard with flesh-padded paws that was in the process of hunting prey.
    He did not purposely lighten his footsteps. It had been his habit for a long time. Very few people could develop such habits – as it was not very easy to develop such habits.
    Han Tang did not turn around, nor did he lift up his head. He did not even shift his eye gaze.
    The fish on the fishhook was slowly stopping to struggle – death was approaching.

    Han Tang suddenly asked, “You’re here to kill me?”

    Meng XingHun stopped in his tracks.
    Han Tang did not see him, nor did he hear him speak.
    Is it possible that this man could sniff out the killing intents inside him?

    Han Tang asked, “How many people have you killed?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Quite a few.”

    Han Tang replied, “Indeed quite a few. Otherwise, your footsteps wouldn’t be so light.” He did not like to talk too much. But his words often contained many other meanings.
    Only someone who was very calm at heart could have such light footsteps. A man who wanted to kill someone would have difficulties staying calm; a man who wanted to kill Han Tang would have even more difficulties staying calm. Although he did not say so, Meng XingHun had already understood what he meant. He could not help but admit that Han Tang was a frightening person.

    Hang Tang asked, “Do you know who I am?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Yes.”

    Han Tang replied, “Good, sit down and fish.”

    This invitation was not only unexpected, it was strange. Very few people would invite a person, who was about to kill him, to fish together. And very few people would accept such an invitation. Meng XingHun, however, walked over and sat down. He sat a few feet away from him. There were still a few fishing rods next to Han Tang’s hands. He gently flicked his hand and the fishing rod flew up. Meng XingHun waved his hand and caught it, “Much thanks!”

    Han Tang asked, “What kind of bait do you use to fish?”

    “Two kinds,” Meng XingHun said.

    Han Tang nodded, “Which two kinds?”

    “One is the kind that's the fish’s favourite, the other is my favourite.”

    Han Tang nodded, “Both are very good.”

    Meng XingHun said, “The best is to not use bait, and let the fish come to me.”

    Han Tang suddenly stopped speaking. Until now, he had not yet looked at Meng XingHun, and had no intention to look. Meng XingHun, on the other hand, could not help but to look at him. Han Tang’s face was very average looking – an average nose, average eyes, average mouth. He looked exactly like most of the people that we see. If it was part of someone else, such an average face would never attract any attention. But it was not the same being part of Han Tang’s body. After just one look, Meng XingHun felt as if a frightening threat and pressure had suddenly appeared in his heart, pressing down on him that he almost could not breathe. He secretly lowered his fishhook.

    Han Tang suddenly noted, “You forgot the bait.”

    The muscles on Meng XingHun's hand suddenly contracted. After a very long time, he finally said, “I just said: best not to use bait.”

    Han Tang replied, “You’re wrong. No bait means no fish.”

    Meng XingHun held tightly on to the fishing rod, “It doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t any fish, either case, I’m fishing.”

    Han Tang slowly nodded, “Well said.”

    He suddenly turned around and stared at Meng XingHun. His gaze was like nails – it hit Meng XingHun as if it had nailed into his flesh and bones. Meng XingHun could only feel that the muscles on his face had stiffened.

    Han Tang asked, “Who send you here?”

    Meng XingHun’s reply, “Myself.”

    “You yourself want to kill me?” asked Han Tang.

    “Yes.”

    “Why?” asked Han Tang.

    Meng XingHun refused to answer. He knew that Han Tang himself would understand even if he did not answer.

    After a long time, Han Tang slowly nodded again, “I also know who you are now.”

    Meng XingHun said, “Oh?”

    Han Tang said, “I know that in the recent years a very frightening assassin had appeared in the martial world. He killed many people who were very difficult to kill.”

    “Oh?”

    “That assassin is you!”

    Meng XingHun did not deny – the lack of denial means admission.

    Han Tang continued, “But wanting to kill me, you still can’t!”

    Meng XingHun asked, “Can’t?”

    Han Tang replied, “People who kill others are rarely smart. You’re very smart, and have very insightful views towards a subject matter.”

    Meng XingHun listened.

    Han Tang continued, “You can’t kill me because you are too insightful. A killer cannot think, and cannot as well be smart.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “Why?”

    Han Tang replied, “Because only smart people can feel fear.”

    Meng XingHun said, “If I was afraid, I would not have come here.”

    Han Tang retorted, “To come here is one thing, to be afraid is another.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “You think I’m afraid, afraid of what?”

    Han Tang replied, “Afraid of me! You come to kill me because you are afraid of me, because you know that I am stronger than you.”
    His gaze was sharp, and slowly continued, “It is because you’re afraid, that you would do things wrong.”

    Meng XingHun could not help but ask, “What did I do wrong?”

    Han Tang explained, “One, you forgot to put bait onto the fishhook. Two, you did not see that the hook already had bait on it.”

    The hand that Meng XingHun was tightly holding on to the fishing rod suddenly excreted strings of cold sweat.
    It was because he already felt the fishing rod vibrate, which meant that there was a fish on the fishhook.
    If there was a fish on the fishhook, then it meant that the hook did indeed have bait.
    If the hook had bait, then it meant that he was indeed afraid. If he was not afraid, then he would not have missed the bait.

    Han Tang said, “A killer cannot be wrong even once, but you have already been wrong twice.”

    Meng XingHun suddenly smiled, “Being wrong once is not that much better than being wrong twice, because one mistake means death, two mistakes still means death.”

    Han Tang said, “Death is not really funny.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “I laugh, because you have also made a mistake.”

    Han Tang said, “Oh!”

    Meng XingHun explained, “You really did not need to say all this to me. But you did. Therefore you acted wrongly!”

    Han Tang also could not help but ask, “Where did I go wrong?”

    Meng XingHun said, “You say all this, it means that you are not sure that you can kill me. Thus, you want to think of a method to first make me timid.”

    The fishhook in Han tang’s hand also vibrated, but he did not lift up the fishhook.

    Meng XingHun said, “Obviously my experience is not as much as yours, my heart is also not as cruel as yours, my offense is not as fast as you. All these I have already carefully thought about.”

    Han Tang said, “You thought about them, but you still came here.”

    Meng XingHun said, “Because I thought of one thing that was stronger than you.”

    “Oh?”

    Meng XingHun said, “I am younger than you.”

    Han Tang said, “Youth is not an advantage, it’s a disadvantage.”

    Meng Xinghun replied, “But young people have stronger physical strength. People with strong physical strength can usually last.”

    Han Tang asked, “Last?”

    Meng XingHun replied, “A real killer would never agree to do anything he is unsure of. You are not sure if you can kill me, which is why you have not attacked until now.”

    Han Tang smiled coldly.
    His face continuously contained no ounce of emotions. Not containing any expressions, however, was an expression of a cold smile.
    To be able to instill expressions onto an expressionless man’s face indicated that the method you used was very correct. At least the things you said had hit his weak point.

    Thus, Meng XingHun continued, “You want to wait until I display negligence to attack, but I would obviously never give you this opportunity. Therefore, we can only wait here. That then requires physical strength, and requires lasting.”

    Han Tang was silent. After a long time, he suddenly said, “You’re very interesting!”

    Meng XingHun said, “Interesting?”

    Han Tang said, “I have never killed someone like you!”

    Meng XingHun replied, “Obviously you haven’t, because you can’t.”

    Han Tang was deep in thought, as if he did not even hear what he was saying. After a long while again, he lightly said, “Although I’ve never killed anyone like that, I have seen one.”

    Meng XingHun said, “Oh?”

    Han Tang said, “There really aren’t many people like you. But I had seen a man who was almost exactly like you!”

    Meng XingHun’s heart skipped, and he blurted out, “Who?”

    Han Tang said, “Ye Xiang!”

    Han Tang indeed knew Ye Xiang.
    Meng XingHun had long guessed this, but could never figure out how they knew each other, and what their relationship was.

    Han Tang lightly said, “He was calm, fast, brave. No matter what kind of people he had to kill, he’d hit as soon as he strikes. Of all the people I have seen, not a second person knew how to kill better than he did.”

    Meng XingHun said, “He really did.”

    Han Tang said, “You know him?”

    Meng XingHun nodded.
    He did not want to conceal it, because Han Tang also did not want to conceal it. Han Tang now was already his biggest enemy, but he suddenly realized that, he could actually tell the truth in front of this man.
    He did not meet many people who could make him tell the truth.

    Han Tang continued, “Obviously you know him. I could tell for a long time that you both came from the same place.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “You know where we come from?”

    Han Tang shook his head and said, “I did not ask him, because I know he would never tell.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “How did you know him?”

    Han Tang said, “He was the only one who could walk away from me alive!”

    Meng XingHun said, “I believe that.”

    Han Tang said, “I did not kill him, not because I couldn’t, but because I didn’t want to.”

    Meng XingHun said, “Didn’t want to?”

    Han Tang said, “No matter what you do, there are always many colleagues. Being an assassin is the only exception. There are not many real assassins in this world, but Ye Xiang was one of them.”

    Meng XingHun asked, “You let him live, perhaps because you want him to kill more people?”

    Han Tang noted, “Correct.”

    Meng XingHun replied, “But you’re wrong.”

    Meng XingHun continued, “He now could not kill anymore.”

    Han Tang asked, “Why?”

    Meng XingHun said, “Because you have already destroyed his confidence.”

    Only until now, did Meng XingHun truly understand the reason why Ye Xiang had suddenly collapsed.

    After a long time, Han Tang finally slowly nodded and said, “He indeed can no longer kill. I should have killed him then!”
    He lifted up his head and stared at Meng XingHun and said, “Therefore, I will never make the same mistake again today. I will never let you walk out of here alive!”

    Meng XingHun lightly said, “I don’t blame you, because I also don’t want you to be alive …”

    He suddenly shut his mouth.
    The muscles in the corner of Han Tang’s mouth suddenly also pulled tight.
    They had both smelt an inauspicious bloody odour at the same time.

    To Be Continued.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  15. #95
    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadebunny9 View Post
    Excellent translation Jaded my dear.

    After reading a bit.......I realize how similar the story is to ATV's 1996 series The Swordsman. I wonder if it's almost the same thing? But from what I remember....the character names are not the same....yet there's so many similarities.
    Thank you, by the way .
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

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    Thanks for the translation.

  17. #97
    Senior Member rati4u's Avatar
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    a cliff hanger???

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    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genuis8 View Post
    Thanks for the translation.
    Thank you for reading it .

    Quote Originally Posted by rati4u View Post
    a cliff hanger???
    A little ... but mostly because I got tired and stopped there, and felt that that was a good place to post.

    I'll have the next section translated by the end of the week probably.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

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    Chapter Five Continued:

    The fish pond was situated in the hill’s valley.
    Twilight had already covered the hills.
    They had at the same time seen two men storming in, staggering, from outside the hill’s valley. They were both entirely drenched in blood, there was almost not a single area on their entire bodies that was completely clean. To be able to last until here was only because the two men still wanted to stay alive.
    The desire to stay alive could often make a person do something that they otherwise could never do.
    These two men only collapsed after they had stormed in front of Han Tang.
    Han Tang was still staring at the fishing rod in his hand. It seemed that even if the sky falling right in front of him could not make him change his expressions.

    Meng XingHun could not help but to give a glance at these two men. One of them immediately looked to him for help with pleading eyes, and gasped, “Please, hide us, there are others behind us in pursuit …”

    The other man said, “We’re both LaoBo’s people, we were secretly ambushed in a moment of negligence, even LaoBo’s eldest son Sun Jian was killed.”

    Meng XingHun could not help but to glance at Han Tang again. He thought that after Han Tang had heard this news, he would at least turn around and ask.
    Han Tang seemed as if he did not hear anything.

    That man said again, “We’re not afraid of death nor are we greedy for life, but we must take this news back to report to LaoBo.”

    The other man said, “If you’re willing to help us out this time, LaoBo for sure will reward you heavily. You must know that LaoBo is someone who very much likes friends!”

    Megn XingHun could only listen, and showed not a single reaction. He was waiting to see Han Tang’s reaction.
    Han Tang had also no reaction, as if he had never even heard of the name “LaoBo.”
    Meng XingHun could not help but secretly admire him, but also could not help but secretly feel startled.
    He had already learned much more about LaoBo from Han Tang. The more he learned, the more startled he was. To be able to make someone like Han Tang so fiercely loyal, it can obviously be imagined how frightening LaoBo was.
    He had just noticed the signs of surprise and restlessness appearing in these two men’s eyes, when three shadows rushed in from outside the hill valley.

    The first man shouted, “I told you long ago, even if you ran to the edge of the horizon, you still can’t escape! Give up your lives now!”

    The second man said, “Since we came here already, we should at least greet the owner here.”

    The third man said, “Which one is the owner here?”

    His eyes stared at Meng XingHun.

    Meng XingHun said, “I’m here to fish.”

    The first man said, “It doesn’t matter who the owner here is, as long as he is willing to give up these two boys, everything will be fine, otherwise …”

    The second man spoke somewhat more gently, “These two men are the subordinates of Sun YuBo and have killed many of our men. Injustice has its origins, and debt has its host. We came here to look for only these two men.”

    The two men lying on the ground struggled, as if they wanted to escape.

    Han Tang suddenly said, “You definitely must have these two men?”

    The second he spoke, Meng XingHun knew that he was about to strike.
    If he strikes, then of these three men, not a single one would be able to go back alive.

    The first man said, “Of course, we must have them.”

    Han Tang replied, “Ok!”

    Just as the “ok” had left his lips, he had indeed attacked.
    No one saw clearly how he had attacked, they could only hear a “Ping” sound, and the heads of the two men struggling to get up had already clashed together.
    Meng XingHun had no choice but to dodge his body to avoid the spraying blood and shattered skulls.

    Han Tang seemed as if he never even turned around, “If you want these two men, why not come here and take them.”

    Those three men’s eyes immediately showed signs of shock and restlessness, just like these two men who had died, no one could understand why Han Tang would kill LaoBo’s subordinates. Meng XingHun, however, understood. Just when these two men were struggling to get up, he discovered that their injuries were not as serious as it looked from the outside, and he discovered that their sleeves both concealed a crossbow tube-like hidden weapon.
    This was basically a play.
    This play was obviously performed for Han Tang to see.
    If he had actually believed that these two men were LaoBo’s subordinates, he may have already suffered their treachery at this moment.
    Meng XingHun was only confused as to how Han Tang had saw through this, since he did not even look.
    The three opponent men were obviously more confused. Meng XingHun looked at them with a curious gaze, he did not know how they can be drawn back.

    The second man spoke, “We originally intended only to take their lives. Since they now no longer have lives, then we should bid farewell.”

    He continuously spoke very gently, as if he had long prepared to come as the mediator.
    As he finished speaking this sentence, the three men all jumped backwards.
    Just now, the light of a saber suddenly flashed.
    Three miserable shrieks sounded at almost the same time and stopped at the same time. Three heads flew up towards the sky as if they were three balls that were kicked away.
    Such a fast saber.
    The tip of the saber was still jade green like water, not a single bloodstain was seen.
    The saber was in the hands of a husky fellow wearing fancy brocade clothes. Even if this man did not have a saber in his hand, he could still make one feel that he was cold as wind and steaming with killing intents.
    Meng XingHun could at once tell that normally, he must be a man who was used to giving orders. Only a man whose hand held the authority of giving life and death could have such prestige and killing intent.
    He only hoped that this man was not LaoBo’s “friend!”

    Just now, this man said in a deep voice, “These five men were all subordinates of the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect.” They purposely acted out this play to deceive you. You really shouldn’t have let them escape.”

    Meng XingHun’s heart sank.
    This man was clearly LaoBo’s friend. Given Han Tang and such a man in addition, Meng XingHun did not even have a single opportunity anymore.

    Han Tang suddenly said, “You know him.”

    This man smiled, “LaoBo had once helped me immensely. I always wanted to look for a chance to repay him. Therefore, when I learned that LaoBo had formed enmity with the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect,” I continued to pay attention to their movements.”

    Han Tang nodded, “Much thanks …”

    When he heard the word “thanks,” Meng XingHun felt that something was not right.
    Han Tang was not a person who would ever say “thanks.”
    Just now, he saw that the fishing rod in Han Tang’s hand flew out, and the fishing wire entangled towards this man’s neck like a noose.
    Han Tang really liked to kill. Even if others had helped him, he’d still kill them.
    It was as if he would kill people no matter who they are.
    The noose had wrapped onto this man’s neck, tightened, and pulled straight – it really was not known what this fishing wire was made out of, for it was more firm than ox tendons.
    His breathing almost stopped.
    So long as Han Tang attacked, he would never give the opponent any opportunity to defend or avoid.
    Must hit as soon as he strikes.
    This was Han Tang’s attack principle, and was also Meng XingHun’s attack principle.
    But this time, however, Han Tang made an uncorrectable mistake.
    He never turned around, never saw what kind of saber this man was holding in his hand.
    The saber brandished, and making a “Peng” sound, it cut through the noose.
    This man did a somersault in midair and retreated five feet away.
    Han Tang also knew that he made a mistake. He trusted this noose too much, he trusted himself too much.
    A man with too much confidence could also easily make mistakes, sometimes even worse than a man without confidence.
    Han Tang thought of LaoBo’s words. For the first time, Meng XingHun saw his facial expressions change.
    Both he and Meng XingHun knew that, this man was not like them, he would never trust that he would hit as soon as he strikes. Thus, if his first strike missed, he would surely have a second strike. His hand was covering his throat and he was still gasping. In the twilight, another three men slipped over like arrows.

    As soon as these three men appeared, he immediately restored his calmness, and suddenly smiled at Han Tang and said, “How did you know that those five men were all decoys, and that I’m the one who really came to kill you?”

    Han Tang ceased to answer, but asked back, “You are all subordinates of the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect?”

    This man replied, “Tu DaPeng from Tu City.”

    The other three men also immediately revealed their names.

    “Luo JinPeng from Luo River.”

    “Xiao YinPeng from XiaoAn.”

    “Yuan NuPeng from YuanChong.”

    Now that this play’s performance was over, they no longer had the need to hide. Besides, they were unable to hide from Han Tang throughout everything anyway. Han Tang’s pupils were contracting – he knew who these four men were, and knew the fierceness of these four men.
    There does not exist anyone yet in this world who could face these four alone.
    He already slowly felt the taste of death’s arrival.
    Meng XingHun suddenly felt that his own position was very ridiculous.
    He came here to kill Han Tang. But now, however, Tu DaPeng and co. must have already regarded him as Han Tang’s friend.
    They would never let him off.
    What about Han Tang? Would he also want him to die together with him?
    His only way out perhaps was to help Han Tang kill these four men first. But he could not do so.
    He could never expose his martial arts to anyone still alive. He also was unsure that he could kill all these four men to eliminate any possible informants.
    Therefore he could only die.
    Tu DaPeng and co. continued to talk nonstop.

    “Han Tang, you should really feel proud. When we killed Sun Jian, we didn’t even lift a finger. But to kill you, we had to use all our might.”

    “Do you know why we’re going to kill you?”

    “Because you are deadly loyal to Sun YuBo. ‘Twelve Flying Roc Sect’ and Sun YuBo, however, are now nemeses.”

    “You’re surely confused as to how we could know the relationship between you and Sun YuBo?”

    “Of course someone had told us. Only unfortunately for the life of you, you would never be able to guess who this person is.”

    “This person is obviously someone who has great trust from Sun YuBo, therefore he would know your relationship.”

    “Sun YuBo always believed that his subordinates are all extremely loyal to him. But now, even his most trusted subordinate has also betrayed him. This is like a tree which roots have already rotted.”

    “Since the roots have already rotted, then this tree would also soon rot entirely away.”

    “Therefore, you can die reassured, Sun YuBo would surely soon go keep you company in the eighteenth level of hell.”

    Han Tang listened. Although his spirits still remained calm without even an ounce of expressions, it was only because the muscles on his face were already stiff.
    Meng XingHun had always wondered why Tu DaPeng and co. needed to say these things. Now he suddenly understood – they said all these things only because they wanted to distract Han Tang’s attention and make Han Tang anxious.
    An anxious mood not only makes one’s muscles stiffen and one’s reaction to slow down, it can also make one feel weak.
    Meng XingHun could already imagine Han Tang’s fate today.
    But what about his own fate?
    He suddenly realized that Tu DaPeng was waving at him. He immediately walked over.
    When he walked over, his entire body was trembling. Although he had not heard of LaoBo’s proverbs, he understood, however, how to make his enemy demean him and underestimate him.

    Tu DaPeng’s eyes were like a whip and lashed him up and down. After a long time, he finally said, “You’re here to fish?”

    Meng XingHun nodded.

    Tu Da Peng continued, “You don’t know Han Tang?”

    Meng XingHun shook his head.

    Tu DaPeng said, “If he doesn’t know you, why would he let you fish at his place?”

    Meng XingHun said, “Because … I’m a fisher.”

    This sentence not only did not explain very well, it really cannot even be counted as an explanation.

    But Tu DaPeng nodded, “Well said, it’s only because you’re just a fisher, he thinks that you pose absolutely no danger to him, therefore he would let you fish here.”

    Meng XingHun said, “I think that’s the idea.”

    Tu DaPeng said, “Unfortunately you’re not deaf.”

    Meng XingHun’s eyes showed signs of confusion, and said, “Deaf? Why would I be deaf?”

    Tu DaPeng replied, “Because if you were deaf, we would let you go. But now, you have heard way too much, and we have no choice but to kill you to prevent information leakage. Really sorry about that.”

    He spoke in a very gentle manner. Very rarely could people say such things in such a manner!
    Meng XingHun has already discovered that it was not an accident that he was in such an important position among the “Twelve Flying Roc Sect,” and has also discovered that it would not be easy to walk away from these people alive.

    Tu DaPeng suddenly asked again, “Do you know martial arts?”

    Meng XingHun thoroughly shook his head.

    Tu DaPeng continued, “If you knew martial arts, then maybe you’d still have a chance. You can freely choose any one of us four, and as long as you can withstand one and a half stance, then you can walk way swaggering.”

    This was really a very big temptation.
    Out of them four, regardless of which one of them, was not a match for Meng XingHun.
    To refuse such a temptation was not only difficult, but also painful. Meng XingHun, however, knew that if he accepted this temptation, he would be like a fish that had swallowed the bait.
    Outside the hill’s valley, people’s shadows flickered and saber lights flashed.
    Tu DaPeng did not lie – their operation this time really did use all of their might.
    Now, the fish farmer himself also turned into a fish.
    A fish in the net.
    Meng XingHun did not want to swallow this bait. But if he refused, would that not seem a bit too smart?
    Apparently, Tu DaPeng also used two kinds of bait, and both kinds were his favourite.
    Meng XingHun could only feel his neck become stiff, as if it had already been wrapped by a noose.
    He very astringently turned, and accidentally met Tu DaPeng’s gaze. He suddenly saw a ray of hope from Tu DaPeng’s eyes.
    When Tu DaPeng was looking at him, his eyes did not contain any killing intent, but had an obvious expression of condescension instead.
    He lowered his head, and suddenly rushed towards Tu DaPeng.
    A ray of happiness flashed by Tu DaPeng’s eyes, and the saber in his hand was lifted up.

    Meng XingHun shouted, “I choose you!”

    Still shouting, he plunged towards the saber tip in Tu DaPeng’s hand, as if he did not know that sabers could kill.
    As the sharp saber tip pierced into his chest, it was like a fish slipping into the water, smooth and victorious.
    He did not even feel any pain.
    Still shouting, he fell backwards and did not rise again. He was originally falling backwards, but his body suddenly twisted and turned in midair, and when he fell, his face touched the ground. When his shouting stopped, the blood had already completely dripped off the saber tip, and the saber tip was once again sparkling jade green like autumn waters.
    What a great saber!

    Tu DaPeng looked at Meng XingHun, who was lying on the ground like a dead fish, and slowly shook his head and sighed, “This child only knew how to fish.”

    Yuan NuPeng was also shaking his head and said, “I don’t understand why this child chose you!”

    Tu DaPeng lightly said, “Because he wants to die!”

    When he said the word “die,” his body suddenly rushed out. When his body rushed out, Luo JinPeng, Xiao YinPeng, and Yuan NuPeng’s bodies also rushed out. The four men used almost the exact same stance and almost the exact same speed. These four men were like four arrows shot out at the exact same time. The target was Han Tang. No one could dodge these four arrows, not even Han Tang. He truly seemed to have turned into a target. The four arrows hit the target at the same time.
    The brighter the light ray, the quicker it dissipates. The more intense the battle, then, would also surely end faster.
    Because all the light and strength burst out at the same time, because all the light and strength exist for this determining moment, in most people’s eyes, this battle was not intense, and even less magnificent.
    Tu DaPeng and co. immediately gripped Han Tang when the four of them rushed over. Han Tang’s life was immediately squeezed out. When the four men backed away, he would fall. The battle commenced in a blink of an eye, and ended also at almost the same blink of an eye. A simple battle, a simple stance. So simple as if it was a murder.

    But it did not seem the same in Meng XingHun’s eyes – he could see more clearly than most people. He could clearly see each one of their stances. Their stances were not simple. Just in that blink of an eye, they had used at least seventeen different stances. Every single stance was extremely quick, extremely efficient, and extremely cruel.
    Meng XingHun did not actually die. He knew how to kill, knew which areas of the body can be fatal to a single saber wound, and also knew which areas were nonfatal.
    Therefore his body met Tu DaPeng’s saber tip.
    He let Tu DaPeng’s saber tip pierce into the nonfatal area of his body – this area was only half an inch away from his heart. But half an inch was more than enough.
    The most difficult part about killing is accuracy. To have accuracy, you cannot deviate by even half an inch.
    Perhaps Tu DaPeng’s martial arts were very great, but to kill someone was another matter. Someone with great martial arts skills may not necessarily understand how to kill someone, just like how someone who had eight children may not necessarily understand love.
    His saber stab was not very accurate, but he though that this saber stab had pierced into Meng XingHun’s heart.
    Meng XingHun fell down quickly, because he did not want the saber tip to pierce in too deep. When he fell, he faced forward towards the ground, because he did not want to shed too much blood.
    He could not help but to see what methods Tu DaPeng and co. were using to kill Han Tang.
    He very much wanted to see if Han Tang had any means to resist!
    It was perhaps difficult in this world to find a second person like Han Tang. This kind of person was unique while he was alive, his death, then, must also be very unique.
    To kill a person like this must employ an even more unique method. This type of affair was not to be seen everyday. So even if Meng XingHun had to suffer greater risks, he would not want to miss it.
    This saber was really too sharp. He only felt pain a long time after he had fallen. Fortunately, he could still use his hand to cover up the wound.

    At that moment, Tu DaPeng already rushed towards Han Tang.
    Meng XingHun was supposed to shut his eyes to play possum, but he did not want to give up and miss this rare opportunity. He could see. Moreover, he could see very clearly.
    When Tu DaPeng and co. had rushed over, Han Tang had already shifted four stances.
    Each single stance was aimed towards one of them four. He wanted them four to all believe that he already determined to perish together with them.
    If Han Tang could not live, then out of the four of them, at least one must die together with him!
    As long as they had thought of this point, their hearts would more or less create some fright.
    As long as two of the four of them had fright in their hearts, their movement would slow down, and Han Tang would have the chance to break out and strike back!
    Tu DaPeng’s movement was the first to slow down.
    This was not strange, since he had already tasted Han Tang’s fierceness.
    The second one to feel frightened was Xiao YinPeng.
    His hand originally also held a saber, but now, the saber suddenly lowered.
    Han Tang’s stances were changing again. He was determined to use all his strength to deal with Luo JinPeng and Yuan NuPeng.
    If he could defeat these two men, then the rest of the two men would be nothing to fear.
    However, just at this moment, Tu DaPeng and Xiao YinPeng’s stances also suddenly changed.
    The slowest ones were instead the first ones to rush over.
    When Han Tang realized that he judged incorrectly, it was already too late.
    He did not have any time to recover, and could only make the best out of a bad situation. Suddenly, his hand extended out and grabbed Luo JinPeng’s unmentionables.
    Luo JinPeng bent over in pain, and bit down underneath his shoulder. The blood immediately gushed out from the corner of his lips.
    Although the movement of Han Tang’s left hand was slightly slower, it still inserted into Yuan NuPeng’s ribs.
    Because Yuan NuPeng simply did not dodge, so even though his ribs broke, he was able to grip Han Tang’s hand. Then his left and right hands counter buckled and locked in the joints of Han Tang’s elbows.
    Although he had heard the sound of Han Tang’s joints being crushed, he still refused to let go.
    By now, Xiao YinPeng had grasped Han Tang from behind – one hand grasped onto his hip, the other hand clutched his throat.
    Tu DaPeng’s saber had pierced into his lower abdomen from the front.
    Han Tang’s entire body suddenly entirely lost control – tears, saliva, mucus, feces and urine suddenly gushed out together, even his eyeballs all protruded out and separated from his eye sockets. Only then did Luo JinPeng, Yuan NuPeng, and Xiao YinPeng back away.
    Luo JinPeng’s body was still bent over like a shrimp, his face was entirely pale from the pain, and tears flowed down his face, and flushed the blood in the corner of his lips to a light red colour. His teeth were tightly clenched and still gripped onto a piece of Han Tang’s flesh. Only Tu DaPeng was still standing there, motionless, his face was also entirely pale. That of course, was not because of pain, but because of fright. He was the only one who had seen Han Tang’s face. Although he had killed countless of people, when he saw this face, he still could not help but to be frightened out of his wits. Han Tang had not yet collapsed, because the tip of Tu DaPeng’s saber still remained in his lower abdomen.

    Meng XingHun was able to clearly see every one of their movements. If he was not facedown on the ground, he would be vomiting nonstop at this moment. He himself had also killed before, but he had rarely witnessed other people kill. He could not imagine that killing was so cruel, so frightening. Their stances were not only cruel, but also somewhat callous, inferior to even beasts.

    Only after a very, very long time could Tu DaPeng make a sound.
    His voice trembled like a tight bowstring, anxious and wheezing, “I know you died without addressing any of the injustice, and you’d for sure turn into an evil spirit after your death. But your ghost shouldn’t come after us, you should go find the one who betrayed you.”

    Obviously Han Tang could no longer hear, but Tu DaPeng still continued, “The one who betrayed you is Lü XiangChuan. He not only betrayed you, but also betrayed Sun YuBo!”

    Xiao YinPeng suddenly rushed over and pulled Tu DaPeng away. His voice was also trembling, and he said hoarsely, “Let’s go, let’s go quickly …”

    When Han Tang’s corpse fell down, he had already pulled Tu DaPeng very far away, as if Han Tang had truly turned into an evil spirit and was pursuing them for revenge from behind. Luo JinPeng could no longer take any steps, and could only roll on the ground. Only after he had rolled very far away was he carried up by Yuan NuPeng. He suddenly opened his mouth and vomited, and spat out the flesh and blood in his mouth, and spat into the fish pond. At once, a school of fish swam over and struggled to feed on this ball of flesh and blood. This was Han Tang’s blood and Han Tang’s flesh. When he was alive, how could he ever think that one day, the fish would be able to eat his flesh and blood?
    He ate fish, now the fish ate him. He killed others, now was also killed by others! This is the end of a killer!

    To Be Continued.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

  20. #100
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    The most graphic of GL's death that i had read.

    Thanks for the translation.

    Han SOlo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

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