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Thread: A Happy Hero

  1. #241
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    i cannot believe that what i've read so far is still only character introduction...even if it was truly addicting!!!

    thanks for th update hoju! i will be waiting impatiently to find out why guo chased after the pawnshop owner.
    if you have the time and enthusiasm, please join in on the new and fabulous wuxia rpg fic /rpg discussion. (<--- click here)

  2. #242
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    --------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 16 – Misunderstanding
    --------------------------------------------------

    Yan Qi: “Because I saw it with my own eyes.”

    Wang Dong: “What did you see?”

    Yan Qi: “I saw him whispering with HuoBoPi for a long time. HuoBoPi took out an ingot of silver and gave it to him; then, he left with HuoBoPi.”

    Wang Dong paused for a moment in surprise. “You didn’t run over and ask what was going on?”

    With another icy laugh, Yan Qi responded, “Why would I run over? I don’t want to be HuoBoPi’s lackey.”

    Lin TaiPing gave a sigh as he added, “If it was just being a lackey who followed him in a trip to the city, it would not be a big deal, but I think that it unquestionably cannot be as simple as that.”

    Of course it was not that simple. If all HuoBoPi wanted was someone to be his lackey, the whole street was filled with people who, for only five coins, would be willing to do it. Why did he have to come all the way here to find them?

    Lin TaiPing carried on, “HuoBoPi, himself, said that there was a reason behind what he was doing. In my opinion, it definitely cannot be any sort of good deed.”

    Yan Qi: “There is only one thing that could make HuoBoPi wholeheartedly willing to bring out five hundred liang.”

    Lin TaiPing: “What sort of thing?”

    Yan Qi: “Something that will make him five thousand liang.”

    Lin TaiPing: “That is true. If it was not something that is ‘one investment, ten thousand returns,’ he definitely would not be willing to pull out his wallet and take out five hundred liang.”

    Yan Qi: “But there is only one type of activity which is truly ‘one investment, ten thousand returns’: shady activities.”

    Lin TaiPing: “Correct. I think that if it is not stealing that he is going to do, then it will be deception. He is afraid that, when he is discovered, people will not go easy on him, so that is why he came here to hire us as his bodyguards.” He let out a lengthy sigh before carrying on, “Doesn’t Guo DaLu understand such logic?”

    His smile still cold, Yan Qi replied, “Even you can see the logic, so why would he not understand? It is not as if he is more stupid than other people.”

    Wang Dong had been paying close attention to the expression on Yan Qi’s face the whole time, and now, he suddenly questioned, “So if you believed that he should not have gone, why did you not try to stop him?”

    Yan Qi’s tone was icy as he retorted, “If an individual really wants to jump into a mud pit, even if people try to stop him, they will not be able to yank him back.”

    Wang Dong: “And so, all you do then is watch as he jumps?”

    Yan Qi bit down hard on his own lip. “I… I…” All of a sudden, he turned around and fled outside. Someone with sharp eyesight would have noticed that his eyes had already filled with tears as he was running out, as if he was so angry he was about to cry.

    Wang Dong’s eyes were very sharp. He sat there by himself, staring off into the distance for half a day. Sighing, he murmured, “ ‘The deeper the love, the deeper the sense of blame cuts.’ It seems this saying is not one bit wrong.”

    Lin TaiPing broke in, “What did you say?”

    Smiling, Wang Dong answered, “I said, even now I still do not believe that Xiao Guo would do something like that. What about you?”

    In a hesitant tone, Lin TaiPing said, “I… I do not really believe it either.”

    Wang Dong: “You still at least have a bit of doubt, correct?”

    Lin TaiPing: “Yes.”

    Wang Dong: “But Yan Qi does not have even a hint of doubt. He basically is convinced that Xiao Guo would do something like that. Do you know why?”

    Lin TaiPing mulled over the question for a moment. “I thought it was rather peculiar, too. His relationship with Xiao Guo has always seemed to be particularly good.”

    Heaving a sigh, Wang Dong explained, “It is because they have a particularly good relationship that he is more easily convinced.”

    Lin TaiPing again pondered over his statement. “Why? I don’t understand.”

    Wang Dong: “We were all able to realize that there might have been other reasons for Zhu Zhu’s sudden disappearance, but Guo DaLu could not and instead, thought of the worst case scenario. Why is that?”

    Lin TaiPing: “Because the love he had for Zhu Zhu was too deep, and so…”

    Wang Dong: “So his brain was not thinking clearly, right?”

    Lin TaiPing: “Yes.”

    Love can make a person blind. Most people understand this philosophy.

    Wang Dong: “If your feelings for someone are very deep, then the judgments you make of this person will be less accurate because normally, you only see his good aspects. However, once any negative changes or setbacks involving this person occur, you immediately blame yourself and take responsibility, and you start wavering. Hence, you cannot help thinking from the worst possible perspective.”

    Lin TaiPing let out a chuckle. “I understand what you are trying to say, except your analogy does not seem very appropriate.”

    Wang Dong: “Oh?”

    Smiling, Lin TaiPing remarked, “How could you compare the situation between Zhu Zhu and Xiao Guo to this? How can the feelings that Xiao Guo had for Zhu Zhu be even similar to the feelings that Yan Qi has for him?”

    Wang Dong started laughing too. It seemed as if he realized that he had said something inappropriate, as if he had said a little too much. Hence, he did not say any more. But he did continue laughing, and in fact, his laughter was rather unusual. Only when he noticed Yan Qi leaving from the courtyard to go outside did he open his mouth and ask, “Do you want to go out?”

    Yan Qi’s eyes were still red. Straining a smile, he replied, “Today’s weather has improved slightly. I want to go hunting.”

    Lin TaiPing rose to his feet with a smile. “I will go as well. If we do not go hunting today, I’m afraid we may die of hunger.”

    Wang Dong chuckled, “Since Xiao Guo has money on him, he certainly will not allow us to starve. Why don’t you wait until he comes back?”

    Yan Qi’s face immediately grew stony. “Why must I wait for him?”

    Wang Dong: “Let’s just say you are doing it for me, okay?”

    Yan Qi stood in the courtyard with his head lowered. Even though the sky had cleared, the wind was still so cold that it pierced the bones. Yet, he did not seem the least bit cold. He stood there motionless for a long time before finally saying in a chilly tone, “And if he does not return?”

    Wang Dong let out another little laugh. “If he does not return, I will treat you both to a meal of dog cr*p.”

    Lin TaiPing could not help asking curiously, “Where would you find a dog in this type of weather?”

    Wang Dong: “You do not need to go looking for one. There is one in this place.”

    Lin TaiPing: “Where is the dog?”

    Pointing at his own nose, Wang Dong said, “Right here.”

    Lin TaiPing blinked his eyes as he stifled giggles. “You’re a dog?”

    Wang Dong: “Not just a dog, an ‘earth dog’ [*slang for mole cricket].”

    Lin TaiPing could suppress his laughter no longer.

    Yan Qi was not laughing, though. “If someone cannot even figure out what type of person his friend is, what else could he be aside from a mole cricket?

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


    Wang Dong was not a mole cricket.

    Guo DaLu returned very shortly after. He was carrying a stack of large and small packages. In the small package, there was meat; the large package held mantou; and the smallest one contained peanuts. And, since there were peanuts, that meant there must also be wine. They could do without peanuts but they could not do without wine. Guo DaLu chortled, “I am starting to miss Mai LaoGuang. Ever since he left, I can’t seem to find anyone who can make good stewed soy-sauce meats.”

    Wang Dong: “There is at least one person.”

    Guo DaLu: “Who?”

    Wang Dong: “You. If you were to open up a restaurant, your business definitely would not be bad.”

    Guo DaLu grinned. “That is not a bad idea, but unfortunately, there is one thing that won’t work…”

    Wang Dong: “What is that?”

    Guo DaLu: “No matter how good my restaurant’s business is, in less than three days, it will shut down.”

    Wang Dong: “Why?”

    Giggling, Guo DaLu told him, “Even if I don’t eat myself out of business, you guys will come and eat until my restaurant folds.”

    All of a sudden, Yan Qi let out a cold laugh. “Don’t worry. I certainly would not eat at your place.”

    Guo DaLu had still been laughing, but seeing the frosty expression on Yan Qi’s face, he paused in shock. “You are angry. What have I done to offend you?”

    Yan Qi: “You should know.”

    With a bitter little smile, Guo DaLu asked, “What should I know? I don’t understand at all.”

    Ignoring him, Yan Qi walked up to Wang Dong and said, “You may not be a mole cricket, but there is a ‘running dog’ [*word for lackey or minion] here. A mole cricket is not a big deal, but I cannot stand lackeys.”

    Guo DaLu’s eyes widened as he cried incredulously, “Who is a lackey?” Yan Qi still paid no attention to him. With an icy snicker, he started to walk towards the door. Guo DaLu’s eyes flashed, as if he suddenly understood. He rushed forward to block his way. “You think I have become HuoBoPi’s minion? You think I bought all these things with the deposit he brought?”

    Yan Qi retorted, “So did all of this fall from the sky? Or did they grow from the earth?”

    Guo DaLu’s eyes were fixed steadily on him. A long time passed until he suddenly heaved a lengthy sigh. He muttered, “Fine, fine… If you say I am a lackey, then I’m a lackey… You can’t stand me, then I will leave.” He walked out slowly, right past Wang Dong. Wang Dong rose to his feet, as if he wanted to stop him, but then sat back down.

    Guo DaLu walked out to the courtyard. Lifting his head, he watched as individual flakes of snow were blown from the trees where they had accumulated, sprinkling down until they covered him. He stood there motionless.

    The snowflakes melted on his face, water trickling down his cheeks. He stood unmoving. He wanted to go somewhere far away, but, for some reason, found that he could not move.



    Yan Qi did not cast a glance towards the courtyard. Perhaps he no longer saw anything. His eyes had grown red again. Suddenly, with a stomp of his foot, he dashed towards the other door.

    But Wang Dong’s hand had stretched out to bar his way. “First take a look to see what this is.” His hand held something.
    Last edited by Hoju!; 01-26-08 at 01:14 AM.

  3. #243
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    haha

    nice nice

    interesting

    thanks Hoju!

  4. #244
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    thanks Hoju!

  5. #245
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Chapter 16 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    His hand held something. It was a brightly colored piece of paper.

    Yan Qi, of course, knew what it was. He had several similar pieces of paper on him too. “It’s a pawn ticket.”

    Wang Dong: “Take a closer look. What item was pawned?”

    The writing on a pawn ticket is like that on a doctor’s prescription: it looks like ‘a talisman drawn by a ghost’ [* i.e. illegible]. Unless a person is very experienced, he would have no hope of recognizing even one word. Yan Qi was very experienced. He had seen many pawn tickets from HuoBoPi.

    “One old, shabby gold necklace. One old, shabby gold pendant. Total weight of seven liang, nine qian [* qian = unit of weight equal to five grams]. Pawned for silver, fifty liang.”

    Once they enter a pawnshop, things that are obviously still in new condition will suddenly become old and shabby. This is the rule in every pawnshop. Not one of them had found this unusual. However, saying that a gold necklace could be “shabby" was rather unconvincing and seemed to be stretching things a bit.

    Yan Qi nearly laughed out loud, but sadly, nothing would come out. He looked like someone had slapped him across the face. His whole body was frozen.

    A nonchalant smile on his face, Wang Dong informed him, “I just lifted this pawn ticket off of Xiao Guo. Did I not tell all of you before? If I had changed professions and become a pickpocket, I would have been rich a long time ago.” Sighing, he mumbled to himself, “But unfortunately, I am too lazy to move now.”

    Yan Qi did not move either, but tears were slowly rolling over his cheeks...

    “Even the best of friends at times can have misunderstandings.” So, if you should have any misunderstandings with your friend, you must find an opportunity to explain things to him.

    “One situation can be looked at from many perspectives. If you always look at things from the negative perspective, then you are abusing yourself.” That is why, no matter what setbacks you may encounter, you should find ways to seek out the bright side of the situation.

    No one wants to abuse others, nor should he abuse himself. This was Wang Dong’s conclusion. Wang Dong’s conclusions were usually very accurate. If a conclusion is accurate, everyone should take it to heart.

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


    There is nothing in this world that is definitely good or definitely bad. Failure may be bad, but “failure is the mother of success.” Success may be good, but success often leads to a person becoming prideful and arrogant so that failure will follow again.

    When you befriend someone, naturally you hope that you can become close friends. But even though being close to your friends is, of course, a good thing, when you are too close, it is easy to take one another for granted and then misunderstandings will arise. Misunderstandings may be awful, but if friends can explain things clearly to each other, in the end, they will understand one another better and their friendship will deepen to another level.

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


    But no matter what, it is not a very pleasant feeling to be accused wrongly. And if there is one thing worse than being wrongly accused once, it is being wrongly accused two times in a row. Yan Qi had been mistakenly blamed for something before, and so he knew what Guo DaLu was feeling right then. In his heart, he felt even worse than Guo DaLu. Besides feeling miserable, there was also some sort of sensation in his heart that nobody but himself could understand. All he wanted to do was have a heartfelt cry. It had been a long time since he had had a good cry because he was a man and a man should not weep like that.

    Ai! To be a man truly is not easy.

    Obviously, he knew that he should go find Guo DaLu, but what should he say to him? Some words, he did not want to say; some words, he could not say; and some words, he just did not dare say. His heart was in turmoil. He did not know what to do.

    From nowhere, a hand reached out in front of him. It held a cup. He heard someone say to him, “Drink this cup of wine and then it will be truce between us, okay?” His heart leapt. Lifting his head, he saw Guo DaLu.

    Guo DaLu’s face did not show any anger or sadness on it. He looked the same as always, grinning broadly at Yan Qi. Normally, Yan Qi frowned upon such an expression, that cheeky smile and casual attitude. He had always felt that a person should act a bit more proper and well-behaved. Yet, right then, for some reason, he suddenly did not find that expression the least bit annoying. In fact, it was extremely lovable. He even hoped that Guo DaLu would forever be this way, that he would never draw his face into a frown. He realized this was the true Guo DaLu that he liked: carefree and lighthearted. Even if someone offended him, he would not take it to heart.

    Guo DaLu beamed, “Are you willing to have a truce?”

    Yan Qi’s head hung down and he quavered, “You… you are not mad?”

    Guo DaLu: “At first, I was furious, but then I thought about it and not only was I not angry, I in fact became happy.”

    Yan Qi: “Happy?”

    Guo DaLu: “If you did not care about me, even if I was a b*stard, it would not concern you and you would not need to get upset over it. It is only because you are my good friend that you got angry with me.”

    Yan Qi: “But… I should not have wrongly accused you, and I should have trusted you.”

    Guo DaLu giggled, “It doesn’t matter if you blame me or if you punch me a couple of times. So long as you are my friend, you can do whatever you want and it won’t matter.”

    Yan Qi laughed. When he laughed, his nose would crinkle up a little bit and his eyes would first sparkle with a smile. His face was still stained with tears. Snow white tear streaks appeared where they had passed over what had originally been a dark and dirty face. They were like sunlight amidst a sky filled with gloomy clouds.

    Guo DaLu was gazing at him as if he was dazed. Lowering his head again, Yan Qi asked, “What are you staring at me for?”

    Guo DaLu chuckled a bit, then sighed, “I was thinking, Sour Plum Soup has a pretty discerning eye. If you would wash your face, you would definitely be a striking lad and maybe even better looking than me.”

    Yan Qi tried to pull his face into a frown, but he could not stop a “pfft” from escaping as he giggled and accepted the cup of wine.

    Wang Dong looked at Lin TaiPing; Lin TaiPing looked back at Wang Dong. They both broke into laughter.

    Lin TaiPing was grinning as he said, “I usually do not like wine, but today, I really want to guzzle it until I am drunk.”

    In life, it is hard to come by a few times when you can get [satisfyingly] drunk. They had just gone through something like this. If right now was not an appropriate time to get drunk, then when would be the right time?

    Guo DaLu sighed unexpectedly, “It’s a pity that I cannot get drunk with all of you today.”

    Lin TaiPing: “Why?”

    Guo DaLu: “Because I still have something I need to do. I need to take a trip to down the mountain.” This guy would not sit still in this place once he had money.

    Yan Qi nibbled on his own lip. “What are you going to do down the mountain?”

    Blinking, Guo DaLu chortled, “I have a date with someone.”

    Yan Qi’s expression seemed to change slightly. He turned his face away quietly. “With whom?”

    Guo DaLu: “HuoBoPi.”

    Yan Qi’s eyes immediately sparkled with delight, but he deliberately put a scowl onto his face. “You arranged something with him?”

    Guo DaLu: “He did not arrange anything with me, but I am going to go find him.”

    Yan Qi: “What for?”

    Guo DaLu: “He was willing to bring out five hundred liang so that means he must have some dishonest scheme planned. I want to see whose skin he plans to flay.”

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


    The snow was starting to melt. The mountain paths that had been covered in snow were now all muddy. But Yan Qi did not care. He stepped through the mud like he was walking on clouds. This was because Guo DaLu was by his side. He could even sense Guo DaLu’s breathing.

    Guo DaLu suddenly gave a laugh. “I discovered something again today.”

    Yan Qi: “Oh?”

    Guo DaLu: “I discovered that Wang Laoda understands me very well. I don’t think I can find another person in this world who understands me like he does.”

    Yan Qi nodded as he remarked quietly, “He really does understand others. Not only you. He understands everyone.”

    Guo DaLu: “But the one who has the most compassion for me is Lin TaiPing. I can tell.”

    Yan Qi hesitated, but finally could not help asking, “What about me?”

    Guo DaLu: “You don’t understand me, nor are you compassionate to me. Not only are you fierce to me, you will also quarrel and get in fights with me at any time…” Yan Qi’s head hung low. Guo DaLu gave a sudden grin and continued, “But for some reason, I have this feeling that you care about me the most.”

    Yan Qi smiled charmingly. His cheeks seemed to have a hint of pink. A long time passed before he asked softly, “And you?”

    Guo DaLu: “There are times when I am so angry with you I could die. Take today as an example: if it was Wang Laoda who had acted that way towards me, I actually would not have been so livid and maybe would have even immediately tried to explain everything to him. But you…”

    Yan Qi: “You could only get mad at me?”

    Guo DaLu sighed, “That’s only because I seem to treat you particularly special.” Groaning, he added, “How special? I cannot seem to explain.”

    Yan Qi: “If you cannot explain it, then it can’t be real.”

    Guo DaLu: “But I can draw an analogy: for Wang Laoda, I would be willing to pawn all my clothes so that the only thing I wore when I returned was my underpants.” He grinned and carried on, “For you, though, I could pawn even that pair of underpants.”

    Yan Qi smiled sweetly as disagreed, “Who would want your ripped underpants?” His face flushed again after he asked the question. How would he know that Guo DaLu’s underpants were ripped? Fortunately, his face was filthy and black. Even if he was blushing, no one would be able to tell. However, if someone did not notice that expression on his face, that gentle and sweet smile that was so bashful, then that person was an idiot – a blind idiot.

    Guo DaLu gazed into his eyes. He beamed unexpectedly and said, “I have another analogy.”

    Yan Qi: “Go ahead and say it.”

    Guo DaLu chuckled, “Even though I vowed that I would never marry, if you were a girl, I would definitely take you as my wife.”

    Yan Qi: “Whoever ends up as your wife will have the misfortune of poverty for eight lifetimes.” There was something not quite right about his voice. He sped up his pace unexpectedly so that he was walking in front.

    At that moment, the sky suddenly cleared. A cord of golden sunlight broke through the clouds and radiated down. It shone down on the earth, on Yan Qi, and also on Guo DaLu. This sunlight seemed to be shining just for them.



    End of Chapter 16
    --------------------------------------------------

    I love Guo DaLu's first analogy. I LOL'd when I read it.
    Last edited by Hoju!; 01-26-08 at 02:11 PM.

  6. #246
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    haha this is sounding like brokeback mountain wuxia style

  7. #247
    Moderator CrazyT's Avatar
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    Yan Qi is a girl. Yan Qi has to be a girl! And I'm sure that when she does change into a girl outfit, she'll be the most attractive girl in the world.
    I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code.

  8. #248
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    looks like all Guo's in the wuxia novels meet their gals dressed as boys
    Rose blooms best near death
    You are in full bloom, Pal!

  9. #249
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    --------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 17 – Whose Skin Will Be Flayed?
    --------------------------------------------------

    HuoBoPi’s pawnshop was called “Li Yuan Pawnshop.” It was across from Mai LaoGuang’s barbecue meats restaurant. Mai LaoGuang’s shop sign had already been taken down and right then, some people were whitewashing the storefront.

    As their thoughts turned to Mai LaoGuang, Guo DaLu and Yan Qi could not help feeling a twinge of sadness. After all, they had had many happy moments there. They were not melancholy and moody people, but they were very easily moved by many things.

    A horse-drawn carriage was stopped in front of Li Yuan Pawnshop. The door of the pawnshop was closed. It seemed that it was not planning on opening for business today.

    A glance passed between Guo DaLu and Yan Qi. In the small side alley that they had just walked through, they saw HuoBoPi creep out of a side door, his shoulders hunched, his eyes sneakily assessing all four directions, and his arms wrapped tightly around a cloth bundle. Seeing no one, he jumped straight away into the carriage. The carriage door closed immediately, and even the blinds on the windows were lowered.

    An old woman walked out at a snail’s pace from inside the pawnshop. In her hands, she carried a bucket of garbage. Guo DaLu, of course, knew who she was. She was not HuoBoPi’s wife but merely someone who cooked and did odds and ends for him. Since she was so old, aside from providing her with meals, HuoBoPi would not pay a single coin to her as wages. However, when there were things he wanted her to do, he would use her like she was a strapping young man. Guo DaLu had always found it strange that the old woman was willing to keep working for him. With an employer like HuoBoPi, if for some rare chance she had an unexpected misfortune and died suddenly, there may not even be a coffin for her.

    HuoBoPi’s voice was heard shouting loudly from inside the carriage. “Close the door. Make sure you do not allow anyone to go inside. I will be back tomorrow morning.” With that, the driver flicked his whip and the carriage darted down the avenue.

    Guo DaLu and Yan Qi dashed out from the narrow lane. One on each side, they jumped onto the shaft of the carriage. The window immediately flew open and HuoBoPi thrust his head out looking visibly shocked. When he saw them, he was even more stunned. “What do you want to do?”

    Guo DaLu let out a laugh and answered, “Nothing. We just want to take a free ride in your carriage to the city.”

    HuoBoPi shook his head and snapped, “That won’t work. I had said that no one could ride in this.”

    With a wide grin, Guo DaLu said, “If it won’t work, then you make it work. Since we are already on the coach, are you going to push us off?”

    Yan Qi smiled as he added, “Plus, you had wanted to hire us to make this trip with you anyway.”

    HuoBoPi: “The one I wanted to find wasn’t you two…” He suddenly seemed to realize that he had said the wrong thing and immediately pressed his lips together.

    Yan Qi: “Not us? Could it be that you changed your mind?”

    HuoBoPi’s face looked like it was starting to go pale. Putting a smile on his face, he consented, “If you want to ride with me, it is fine, but you must pay a fare. The cost of the carriage was three qian. This is perfect, each person pays one qian.” As his left hand took their money, his right hand opened the door for them right away.

    There was one good thing about people like HuoBoPi: as long as you had money for him, he was able to make you feel that each cent was not spent unjustly. He even offered to them the two seats that were relatively better.

    Now that Guo DaLu was in the carriage, he started to move onto another plan.

    HuoBoPi’s arms were still tightly clutching that cloth bundle. He piped up, “Yan Qi, how about we make a bet?”

    Yan Qi: “What are we betting on?”

    Guo DaLu: “I bet that there is a mouse inside his cloth bundle. Do you believe it?”

    Yan Qi: “Nope.”

    Guo DaLu: “Fine. I will bet ten liang of silver with you.”

    HuoBoPi interrupted them with a laugh, “You do not need to bet. I know that the two of you want to see what is inside this bundle of mine, correct?”

    Guo DaLu confessed, “It seems there is a bit of that idea.”

    HuoBoPi: “You can see, but there is a fee for looking.”

    Guo DaLu really had not thought that he would agree to this so easily. He had been certain that the bundle must have something that HuoBoPi did not want people to see.

    Once HuoBoPi’s left hand had received the money, his right hand immediately untied the bundle. Inside, there was merely some old clothing. Guo DaLu looked over at Yan Qi; Yan Qi looked back at Guo DaLu. They two of them could only give a bitter smile.

    HuoBoPi smirked, “Are you two thinking now that your ten liang of silver was spent in vain? Too bad you cannot take it back anymore!” A smug smile on his face, he started to tie up the cloth bundle again.

    All of a sudden, Yan Qi noticed, “One of the items of clothing inside the bundle seems to belong to Lin TaiPing. Is that right?”

    HuoBoPi gave a couple of dry coughs. “It seems so. Anyway, he has pawned it to me.”

    Yan Qi protested, “The pawn ticket has not expired yet. He could redeem it at any time. How can you take it away?”

    It was gradually getting more difficult for HuoBoPi to laugh. “Naturally, when he wants to redeem it, I will have his clothes to give him.”

    Guo DaLu inquired, “How much did he pawn this garment for?”

    HuoBoPi: “One liang, five qian.”

    Guo DaLu: “Alright, I will redeem it for him right now.”

    HuoBoPi: “Out of the question.”

    Guo DaLu: “Even with money it’s out of the question?”

    HuoBoPi: “You have money but you also need the pawn ticket. That is the policy when you run a pawnshop. Did you bring the pawn ticket along?”

    Guo DaLu glanced over at Yan Qi again. Neither of them spoke, but they both felt that something was peculiar. What did HuoBoPi want to do by bringing Lin TaiPing’s clothes into the city? Though the material on the garment was quite good, it was already old and worn. Why was he hugging it so tightly, as if it was a treasure?
    Last edited by Hoju!; 02-04-08 at 01:24 PM.

  10. #250
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    Thanks Hoju!.. So the one he wanted was Lin Tai Ping.. mmm

  11. #251
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    hah...maybe he has to try to impersonate Lin TaiPing? interesting. too bad they don't have cell phones so they can call LTP over :P

  12. #252
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Chapter 17 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    Why was he hugging it so tightly, as if it was a treasure?

    Once the carriage pulled into the city, HuoBoPi announced, “We are in the area. You can get off the carriage.”

    Yan Qi: “You do not want us to stroll around with you?”

    HuoBoPi: “It is not necessary now. ‘One’s own biological son is not as good as the coin by one’s hand.’ If you can save one, then you should do so.”

    Yan Qi: “What if we were willing to do it for free?”

    HuoBoPi smirked, “Even more out of the question if it is free. The only business transactions that are reliable are the ones that are completed in cash. Things that are free always come with some trouble.”

    Exhaling a sigh, Yan Qi said, “Well then, let’s get off the carriage.”

    HuoBoPi: “My apologies for not seeing you out.”

    Yan Qi and Guo DaLu had just gotten off the coach when he closed the door with a “bang!” Guo DaLu watched as the carriage drove forward. He gave a sigh also and remarked, “That man is such a sly old scoundrel. I really cannot see through to what cunning scheme he may have.”

    Yan Qi murmured to him, “He leaked out something a moment ago. He said that we are not the ones he was looking for. Did you hear that?”

    Guo DaLu nodded.

    Yan Qi: “Could it be that he was only looking for Lin TaiPing, that we were just along for the ride?”

    Guo DaLu: “What would he want with Lin TaiPing?”

    Yan Qi: “I have always had a feeling that Lin TaiPing also has a secret.”

    Guo DaLu mumbled to himself for a while. Unexpectedly, he speculated, “Do you think he might actually be a girl dressed up as a man?”

    Yan Qi threw a glare at him and snapped, “I think you have listened to too many stories. Such novel things do not occur in the real world.”

    Guo DaLu did not reply.

    When the carriage turned onto another street, at the same time, they both quickened their steps and chased after it. They still were not willing to give up. The carriage stopped in front of the doorway of a large inn. The fact that someone like HuoBoPi was willing to splurge and stay in such an inn was yet again another strange event.

    Fortunately, the sky had grown dark already. Winter nights always arrive especially early. They circled to the back of the inn. With a flip, they brushed over the wall and were inside.

    No one has bad luck forever. This time, their luck seemed to be particularly good. They had just descended onto a treetop when they saw HuoBoPi crossing the rear courtyard towards the row of rooms in the wing and enter into one of them.

    It was still very cold. Not even the shadow of a person was seen in the courtyard.

    They swept down off the tree. In three or five up and downs, they had already jumped onto the roof of that row of rooms. They both suddenly realized that each other’s lightness kung fu was quite good. It was as if they both were born with the makings to do things like this. Each of them made a note to himself: in the future, he would have to ask the other how he had trained to get such lightness kung fu. It seemed that these two had changed; for some reason, they wanted to know each other’s secrets.

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


    Icicles had formed on the eaves of this roof also. Needless to say, the windows were tightly shut. Luckily, a fire was burning inside the house, and so a small skylight was open to allow air in. Looking in from this opening, they could just clearly see everything that was happening inside.

    In the room, aside from HuoBoPi, were two other people, their attire splendid and their manner haughty. The expressions on their faces were dark, as if all the people in the world owed them money and had not paid them back yet. In one glance, Yan Qi could tell that, not only were the martial arts of these two not weak at all, they were actually experienced people of jianghu. On the face of one of them was a long knife scar, making him seem even more daunting. The other man may not have had a scar on his face, but one of his arms had been chopped off. His empty sleeve was tucked into his waistband. A curved saber was also inserted slantingly into the waistband.

    It was not often that such a saber was seen in jianghu. A man who could still wield that saber with only one arm was obviously very skilled. In addition, were he not someone who frequently went through life and death situations, he would not have sustained such a serious injury. To be one who frequently faced life and death and, yet, still be able to live to this day and to also carry such a proud manner meant that he was not one to be provoked. Guo DaLu could not figure out why HuoBoPi would do business with people like these.

    HuoBoPi had unwrapped the bundle, pulled out Lin TaiPing’s garment, and presented it on the table in front of the two men. A self-satisfied expression was on his face, like he was offering up a treasure. What sort of treasure could Lin TaiPing’s worn garment be?

    The large man with the knife scar picked up the article of clothing and looked over it carefully. He passed it to the one-armed man. As the man turned it over, Guo DaLu noticed that there seemed to be something embroidered on the lining of one of the corners, but he could not tell whether it was words or flowers that had been stitched. The one-armed man also turned the corner over to look. He slowly nodded his head and affirmed, “This is right. It is his garment.”

    HuoBoPi smiled at them. “Of course it is not wrong. I have always been one who was reliable when it comes to business matters.”

    The one-armed man asked, “Where is he now?”

    HuoBoPi did not answer but instead, stretched out his hand.

    One-armed man: “You want it now?”

    Grinning, HuoBoPi replied, “Anyone who runs a pawnshop will only complete his business transactions when the actual goods are present. I am certain you two sirs know that as well.”

    The one-armed man said coldly, “Fine. Give it to him.”

    At once, the man with the scar reached down and lifted up a cloth bundle. He placed it onto the table with a “thump.” A very heavy cloth bundle. “There is only one thing that could make HuoBoPi willing to bring out five hundred liang: something that will make him five thousand liang.” Evidently, Yan Qi’s words had not been wrong. There was at least five thousand liang inside that cloth bundle.

    Guo DaLu threw a glance over at Yan Qi. He finally understood. These two men must be looking for Lin TaiPing and, in fact, very urgently such that they were willing to offer up five thousand liang of silver as a reward. HuoBoPi had known about this a long time ago, but only when he saw the garment did he realize that Lin TaiPing was the person they were looking for. Therefore, he had wanted Lin TaiPing to accompany him to the city so that he could present him directly to these two men. If he could personally deliver the person they wanted to them, the reward would naturally be even greater.

    But what had Lin TaiPing done that made it worthwhile for people to spend so much money in order to find him?

    The instant HuoBoPi saw the money, he suddenly became extremely lovable, his smile so wide that his eyes could not be seen.

    The man with the knife scar asked, “Now can you tell us where he is?”

    Regardless of what Lin TaiPing had done, if he wanted to hide from these two men, then they could not be allowed to find him. Guo DaLu was ready to rush in through the window. But right then, the smile on HuoBoPi’s face froze.

    His eyes stared straight at the doorway; his mouth was gaping open, yet unable to speak. The look on his face was like someone had suddenly stuffed his mouth full of mud. Guo DaLu's eyes followed the direction of his gaze. He immediately became stunned as well. No one knew when, but someone had entered the doorway.
    Last edited by Hoju!; 01-30-08 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Fixed some punctuation

  13. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoju! View Post
    Guo DaLu eyes followed the direction of his gaze. He immediately became stunned as well. No one knew when, but someone had entered the doorway.
    That's good story telling - what a cliffhanger ending!

  14. #254
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    Hoju! have you been taking cliffhanger lessons from Jean!! Aarrrgghhh.... Ok, I am staying online until I find out who it is !!

    Thanks Hoju!

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    thnx for the update!

    i think it must be lintaiping himself
    Rose blooms best near death
    You are in full bloom, Pal!

  16. #256
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Chapter 17 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    No one knew when, but someone had entered the doorway.

    She was merely a very ordinary old woman. There was nothing shocking about her. But even in Guo DaLu’s dreams, he would not have thought that he would see her here at this moment, this place. It was only a while ago that he had seen her standing in front of the door of Li Yuan Pawnshop carrying a bucket of garbage. And then, they had ridden a horse drawn carriage here without stopping along the way. How did this old woman get here? Could she have flown?

    When HuoBoPi saw who it was, he looked as if he had seen a ghost. He rasped, “You… what are you doing here?”

    In the old woman’s hands was a covered bowl. She walked into the room extremely slowly. Shaking her head and sighing, she chided, “It is time for you to take your medication. Why do you always forget? I came here specially to bring it to you. Hurry and drink it.”

    As HuoBoPi took the bowl from her, all that was heard was the “ge ge” rattling sound of the lid against the bowl. His hands were shaking, and he had also broken into a cold sweat.

    There was still not a trace of expression on the face of the one-armed man or the man with the knife scar. All the while, they had been watching the old woman with a cold stare. Then at that moment, they suddenly struck together, two dark beams of light flying towards that covered bowl.

    Their attack had not been slow, but as those two dark beams reached the woman, they unexpectedly disappeared. The old woman, though, unmistakably had not moved. The expression on the knife-scarred man’s face shifted slightly. The one-armed man’s face, though, was still blank as he smiled icily and said, “I did not realize that you were a fighter of high skill. Good, very good.”

    The old woman was gave a surprising laugh. “Not good, not good at all.”

    One-armed man: “What is not good?”

    Old woman: “What is good? Now that you have encountered me, you will have bad luck. What could be good about that?”

    The one-armed man suddenly jumped to his feet and stood up straight. In a sharp tone, he cried, “Who are you really? How dare you meddle in our business?”

    Old woman: “Who cares about your business? Your business is not worth my time to manage. Even if you invited me to take care of it or got on your knees and begged me, I would not bother.” Old women have a tendency to go on and on when they talk.

    One-armed man: “Then what are you here to do?”

    Old woman: “I came here to tell him to take his medicine. Hurry and take it. After you have had your medicine, you should go sleep.” With a look of anguish on his face, HuoBoPi pinched his nose and swallowed the medicine. The old woman praised, “Good. Now go back and sleep.” As if she was towing a little child, she dragged HuoBoPi towards the door.

    All of a sudden, there was a flash of saber light. The one-armed man soared into the air. A curved saber that shone like snow came chopping down right at her head. The saber skills of someone who could strike while in mid-air certainly could not be weak.

    But there was only a single flash of saber light before it disappeared. A curved saber that shone like snow had suddenly broken into two pieces. “Dong.” It fell to the ground next to the one-armed man.

    For some reason, he was now kneeling on the ground in front of the old woman, his forehead covered in beads of sweat. He looked as if he wanted to stand, but using his entire body’s strength, he still could not rise to his feet.

    Heaving a sigh, the old woman nagged, “I had already said earlier, even if you were on your knees begging me, I would not concern myself with your business. This person did not actually listen. Could it be that his ears are even deafer than mine?” She hobbled outside, all the while prattling on with her words. HuoBoPi followed obediently behind her, not daring to even exhale a slightly bigger breath.

    With a head also coated in sweat, the man with the knife scar spoke up, “Qianbei [* (in respect) elder; older generation], please wait a moment.”

    Old woman: “Wait for what now? Would you like to kowtow to me as well?”

    The knife-scarred man answered, “Since qianbei you have already stretched forward a hand and intervened in this situation, I do not have much I can say. I only hope that, qianbei, you would leave a name or title so that when I return to my master, I have something to report to him.”

    Old woman: “You are asking for my name?”

    He replied, “I respectfully request it.”

    Old woman: “You are still not worthy to know my name. And even if I told you, you would not know it.” She added unexpectedly, “But you can go back and tell that master of yours that an old friend advises him, the young child really deserves compassion. It would be best if your master does not drive him too hard, otherwise other people may frown upon his actions.” She shuffled slowly out the door.

    The knife-scarred man immediately chased after her to the door. He seemed to have more that he wanted to ask. But outside the door, there was not even a shadow. The old woman and HuoBoPi had suddenly disappeared.

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

  17. #257
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    OOoo. A hidden dragon

  18. #258
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Finishing off the chapter


    Chapter 17 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

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

    This old woman who cooked and cleaned was actually an elite skill fighter. Her martial art was so powerful that it was inconceivable to others, even in their dreams. It was understandable now why, that day, after Golden Lion and GunZi had searched the pawnshop, their attitudes had been so respectful when they left. If they had not had to suffer mutely at her hands, then they must have recognized who she was. At last, Guo DaLu and Yan Qi understood. However, there was something that puzzled them even more.

    The two of them exchanged a glance, then at the same time, soared backwards. Behind them was a large tree. There were no leaves on that tree, only snow that had collected on it. Yan Qi could only crouch in the fork of its branches. Guo DaLu, though, sat his buttocks down right onto it before immediately jumping back to his feet like he had been stabbed by a knife. The snow was as cold as a knife.

    Yan Qi sighed at him and shook his head. “Before you sit down, do you ever take a look to see what is beneath your butt?”

    With a painful smile on his face, Guo DaLu admitted, “I did not pay attention. I was thinking about something.” The branch was very wide. He squatted down next to Yan Qi. “I was thinking about that old woman. She evidently is amongst the uppermost fighters in wulin. Why would she work as a maidservant at HuoBoPi’s pawnshop?”

    Yan Qi thought out loud, “Perhaps she is like Feng QiWu and wants to hide from the pursuit of others.”

    Guo DaLu: “This reason, at first, seems to explain things sufficiently, but when you think over it carefully, there are many points that do not make sense.”

    Yan Qi: “Oh?”

    Guo DaLu: “The world is so big; there are many places that can be used as a hiding place where people cannot track you down. This is especially true for a powerful fighter like her. Why would she need to be someone’s servant, to listen to someone else’s orders and get pushed around?” He was shaking his head as he continued, “And even if she really wanted to be someone’s servant, she should at least find a person who is a little more decent and a place that is more presentable. Why would she choose HuoBoPi?”

    Yan Qi: “You cannot figure it out?”

    Guo DaLu: “I really cannot.”

    Yan Qi: “If you cannot solve it, then of course other people will not be able to either.”

    Guo DaLu chuckled, “If I cannot figure something out, then there are not many who can.”

    Yan Qi: “Maybe what she wants is that people cannot figure her out?”

    Guo DaLu: “But there are lots of other things that I haven’t been able to work out as well.”

    Yan Qi: “Say it out for me to hear.”

    Guo DaLu: “From observing her martial art, there are very few people in the world who are a match for her.”

    Yan Qi sighed, “Her martial art truly is very strong. Not only have I never seen anyone with skills as powerful as hers, I have not even heard of it.”

    Guo DaLu: “That is why I believe that she really has no need to fear other people, nor does she need to hide.”

    Yan Qi: “Do not forget: ‘amongst the strong there is a hand that is stronger; there is always one mountain higher than the next.’ ”

    Guo DaLu: “That’s just a saying that is so old its teeth are falling out.”

    Yan Qi: “Sayings that are old enough for teeth to fall out usually are the ones that make the most sense. The older the saying, the more sense it has.”



    End of Chapter 17
    Last edited by Hoju!; 02-03-08 at 01:38 AM.

  19. #259
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    Interesting change of events that hint Lin TaiPing's background. Based on his pawned attire, agents pursuing him, and rich rewards, he seems to hail from some powerful family. Wonder why he ran away from home. I would not be surprised if he is royalty if he has the backing of an elite fighter who deigns to accept a servant position to secretly protect Lin.

  20. #260
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    Thanks Hoju!

    I think Lin TaiPing is an elite fighter, I think we have a seen some of his skills but it is his background that no one knows of.

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