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Thread: A Happy Hero

  1. #281
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    He wants to know what the secret is!
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  2. #282
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Nice call RWX!



    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 20 – Death: The Sole Hardship Through All the Ages
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Guo DaLu told him, “What I most want to know is your secret.”

    Yan Qi: “Me?... What secret would I have?”

    Guo DaLu pressed, “The secret you wanted to tell me before you died.”

    Abruptly, Yan Qi pulled his hand back and did not say anything. After a long while, with a hint of laughter in his voice, he finally responded, “You still have not forgotten about that?”

    Guo DaLu chuckled, “In life or in death, I will not forget.”

    Yan Qi was quiet for a long time again before answering in a low tone, “But I do not want to tell it to you anymore.”

    Guo DaLu: “Why?”

    Yan Qi: “No real reason. It’s just because… just because…”

    Before he could finish his thought, in that boundless darkness in front of them, an eerie green phosphorus flame suddenly glowed. Ghost light! A shadowy figure seemed to materialize under that terrible greenish light. Perhaps it wasn’t a human shadow but a ghost’s shadow. It appeared to flutter as it stayed in that spot, as if it could neither touch the sky above or the ground below.

    Guo DaLu blurted out in a loud cry, “Are you a human or a ghost?”

    There was no answer. This shadow, still unknown whether it was human or ghost, all of a sudden drifted away from them. Regardless of whether it was a human or a ghost, it was still the only speck of light in that endless blackness. And as long as there was a bit of light, it was better than being in the dark.

    Guo DaLu whispered in a hoarse tone, “Can you walk?”

    Yan Qi: “Yes.”

    Guo DaLu: “Let’s follow it, okay?”

    Yan Qi sighed, “In any case, it cannot be any worse than our current situation.”

    The ghost light was hovering in front, as if it was intentionally waiting for them. Guo DaLu found Yan Qi’s hand and clutched it firmly once again. “Hold on to me. You must not let go. Good or bad, we will be together.” They had not yet recovered their strength, and their bodies still felt a little numb, but in spite of this, they still managed to rise to their feet and follow the ghost light as it moved forward.

    But what was up ahead? Was it heaven? Or hell? They did not know, nor did they care because they were at least able to walk together, hand in hand, to whatever lay ahead.

    As they gradually recovered and were able to move faster, the ghost light in front of them also picked up its speed. Unexpectedly, like a shooting star, it gave a flash and then disappeared. All around, it was flooded with pitch blackness again. No light, no sound. All they could hear was the beating of their hearts. They were beating rapidly. Each of them could only sense the beating of his own heart. It was beating rapidly. They could both feel that the other’s palm was clammy.

    Guo DaLu reassured, “You do not need to be frightened. If we really are dead already, what do we have to fear? And if we are not dead yet, then there is even less reason to be afraid.” When a person tells another to not be scared, in his heart, he, himself, is actually terribly scared.

    Yan Qi: “Should we keep moving forward or should we turn back?”

    Guo DaLu: “Are we ones to turn back?”

    Yan Qi: “Alright. Good or bad, then, let us first charge ahead before we talk about it.” Their grip on each other’s hand grew even tighter as they forged onward with large steps.

    Out of nowhere, a voice shouted, “Halt!” As the cry resonated, seven, eight spots of ghost light suddenly flashed alight in the darkness. Ominous looking flames floated in midair.

    They could see that in front of them was a massive desk. On it was a brush [for writing] pot and a stack of notebooks. Were they books or ledgers? A person was sitting behind the desk, flipping through one of the notebooks. They could not see this person’s facial features. They could only vaguely make out that he seemed to have a very long beard, and on his head he wore a crown like those of ancient times. The ghostly shadow they had been following a moment ago was beside the desk. It still hung there, neither touching the sky nor the ground. In its hand, it seemed to be holding a very large wood tablet. Could that be the Tablet for Arresting Souls? Could this be Shen Luo Dian[10]? Was that Yama [*judge of the dead] sitting there? They did not know. Neither of them had been to Shen Luo Dian before, and neither of them had seen Yama. They could sense, though, a sinister, ghostly air that sent chills up their spines.


    The Yama sitting before them spoke unexpectedly. The voice was chilling and carried an eerie air also. “The pre-destined lifespan of these two people have not come to an end yet. Why is it that they are here?”

    The ghost shadow answered, “Because they have committed a crime.”

    Yama: “What crime have they committed?”

    Ghost shadow: “The crime of gluttony.”

    Yama: “What is the seriousness of their crimes?”

    Ghost shadow: “A gluttonous man, without a doubt, is a thief; a gluttonous woman is unquestionably a prostitute. The crime of gluttony, therefore, belongs in the seventh level of Hell, where for all eternity, they will not be allowed to eat until satiated.”

    Guo DaLu suddenly yelled out, “Lying is an even greater crime and belongs in the Hell where tongues are yanked out…”

    Yama palm came crashing down on the desk surface. “How dare you be so audacious in this place!”

    Guo DaLu retorted, “You can be a human or you can be a ghost, but regardless, if you have wronged me, then I am left with no choice but to be audacious!”

    Yama: “How have I wronged you?”

    Guo DaLu snapped back loudly, “If you really are Yama, then you should know.”

    Yan Qi unexpectedly exclaimed, “You at least should know one thing.”

    Yama: “What is that?”

    Yan Qi: “You can be the real Yama or you can be a fake one, but regardless, do not bother thinking that any information regarding Lin TaiPing’s whereabouts will be divulged from our mouths.”

    As he declared this, Yama seemed to be slightly taken aback. Several moments passed before he stated ominously, “Even if I am a phony Yama, you are still truly dead.”

    Yan Qi: “Oh?”

    With a chilling laugh, Yama said, “You have already come here. Do you think that you will be able to go back alive?”

    Yan Qi: “Whether we think that we can live is one matter, whether we will tell you anything is a different matter.”

    Yama roared at him, “Would you rather die than say anything?”

    Yan Qi: “We will not tell you means that we will not tell you.”

    Yama gave a cold smirk. “Fine!” As this one word left his lips, all the flames suddenly disappeared, and all around them was a sheet of darkness once again.

    Holding onto Yan Qi, Guo DaLu darted forward. At the same time, they both rushed ahead, and at the same time, they both crashed to the floor.

    The desk in front of them was gone. Yama was gone. The ghost minions were gone as well. Aside from darkness, there was nothing. There were only two people. And these two people were either extremely smart or else extremely foolish.



    --------------------------------------------------
    [10] Shen Luo Dian is in hell and is where Yama, the judge of the dead, resides. [shen luo = “many things connected together” or “continuing without bounds”; dian = a palace hall]

  3. #283
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    Thumbs up :-)


  4. #284
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    Thanks Hoju!.. This is getting so interesting!! :-)

  5. #285
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Chapter 20 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    To the left was a stone wall. To the right was a stone wall. To the front was a stone wall. To the back was also a stone wall. Stone walls that were stronger than iron. They had finally realized that this place had transformed into a stone barrel. And so, they decided they might as well sit down.

    After a long time, Guo DaLu let out a surprising chuckle. “You also noticed that that Yama was a phony?”

    Yan Qi: “That Yama had to have been Madam Wei.”

    Guo DaLu: “But Madam Wei does not have a beard.”

    Yan Qi: “The beard was fake too. Everything was fake.”

    Guo DaLu threw back his head and guffawed, “That person really is quite ludicrous. She actually thought up such an idiotic plan to try and fool us.”

    Giggling, Yan Wi agreed, “Extremely ludicrous indeed.”

    Though they were laughing, the sound of their laughter was not pleasant to listen to and was even worse than the sound of crying. This was because the whole situation was not ludicrous, not even the least bit, and the plan was not idiotic. If you had eaten a poisoned baozi, felt your limbs suddenly grow weak, watched as your friend’s face started turning black, collapsed unconscious, and then, when you came to, discovered that you were in a place such as this one, saw a ghostly shadow drifting above the ground, and even saw a long-bearded Yama wearing an ancient crown, would you think it was ludicrous?

    Guo DaLu could no longer make himself laugh and moaned, “What she did may be ludicrous, but what she said is not.”

    Yan Qi: “What did she say?”

    Guo DaLu: “Yama may have been a phony, but we are no different from dead right now.”

    Yan Qi: “Are you afraid of dying?”

    With a sigh, Guo DaLu confessed, “I am indeed a little scared.”

    All of a sudden, the flicker of a flame was seen, and it illuminated a large mound of bright yellow objects that shimmered with a golden light. Gold. Very few people in the world would ever have an opportunity to see so much gold. From the dark, a menacing voice rung out, “So long as you tell me, not only will I immediately release you, all this gold will also be yours.”

    Guo DaLu jumped to his feet and cried defiantly, “Not telling, not telling, not telling!”

    A sigh echoed out from the blackness. Then, nothing was visible, nothing was audible.

    Another long while passed before Yan Qi spoke up. “Actually, you are not afraid of dying.”

    Guo DaLu heaved a sigh. “No, I’m not. But… we are going to die for Lin TaiPing, yet he does not even know and may never know.”

    Yan Qi: “Whatever you do for your friends, that is your own business. You should not need your friends to know.”

    Guo DaLu chuckled, “I had been worried you would think that dying for this reason was not worthwhile. Who knew that you actually deserve to be called a true friend more than I do?”

    Yan Qi was quiet for a long moment before sighing unexpectedly. “Perhaps it is not because I am a true friend, but rather, it is simply because I have thought through this thoroughly.” He explained, “In order to find Lin TaiPing, she will not hesitate to sacrifice anything at any cost.”

    Guo DaLu: “It seems so.”

    Yan Qi: “If she does not hold a deep enmity toward Lin TaiPing, why would she be willing to make such a sacrifice?”

    Guo DaLu: “What I find odd is, Lin TaiPing is just a young boy. How can such an enmity exist between him and individual like her?”

    Yan Qi: “This deep-seated hatred must have taken root in the previous generation. She wants to exterminate both the root and the branch and therefore, must kill Lin TaiPing too.”

    Guo DaLu: “That makes sense.”

    Yan Qi: “Since she knows that we are Lin TaiPing’s friends, of course she will not let us go. As a result, even if we disclose to her Lin TaiPing’s location, we still must die and possibly, we would end up dying even faster.”

    Exhaling a lengthy sigh, Guo DaLu smiled bitterly and said, “Now that you have reminded me of all that, I feel that I am actually not as good a friend as I have claimed to be.”

    Yan Qi: “You had actually considered these points too?”

    Guo DaLu: “If you had not reminded me, I would have forgotten.”

    Yan Qi: “How could you forget?”

    Guo DaLu: “If you deliberately avoid thinking about something, is that not equivalent to forgetting it?”

    Yan Qi: “But why would you deliberately avoid thinking about it?”

    Guo DaLu: “Because, that way, I can believe that I really am a true friend. When I die, I will be able to think that I am a bit nobler than other people.

    Yan Qi chortled, but there was a trace of misery in the sounds of his giggles. After a lengthy period of time, he said hesitantly, “You actually have always been a little nobler than other people.”

    It seemed that Guo DaLu wanted to hop to his feet. “I’m noble? You think that I’m noble?”

    Yan Qi: “Nobody is born a hero. Heroism is usually forced upon people. Everyone understands this principle, yet people still cannot help fooling themselves. Only you…” He let out a light sigh, then continued slowly, “You not only are willing to admit this, you also dare to say it out loud.”

    Guo DaLu: “This… this could be because I am more thick-skinned than most people.”

    Yan Qi: “This definitely is not being thick-skinned. It is…”

    Guo DaLu: “Is what?”

    Yan Qi: “Courage! This is courage. Very few people have this courage.”

    Laughing, Guo DaLu remarked, “I never thought there would be a time when you would praise me. Are you purposely trying to comfort me so I will feel a little better?

    Yan Qi did not respond and only grasped his hand tightly. That ice-cold hand seemed to have gradually gotten warmer. Another long while passed before Guo DaLu broke the silence. He spoke slowly as he told Yan Qi, “We have actually not known each other for a very long time, but I always felt that you are the best friend I have ever had in my life. Wang Dong is also my best friend, yet the feelings I have for you are different from what I feel about him.”

    In a hushed tone, Yan Qi asked, “How are they different?”

    Guo DaLu: “I cannot tell you how they’re different. It’s just… it’s just… If Wang Dong did something that wronged me, I would forgive him without any hesitation. But if you wronged me, I would be livid.” These feelings truly were difficult to fathom. It was no wonder that he could not explain them with words.

    The tips of Yan Qi’s fingers seemed to be trembling, as if he was overcome with emotion. It was unfortunate that Guo DaLu could not see the expression on his face; otherwise he might have realized a lot of things. But not knowing was a good thing also. That blurry, indiscernible feeling was in some ways even more beautiful, more wondrous. It was a pity that they did not have much time remaining to relish in that feeling.

    Yan Qi suddenly spoke in a tentative tone, “I still would like to know one thing, but I’m not sure whether I should ask.”

    Guo DaLu: “Ask. No matter what the words may be, you can say anything to me.”

    Yan Qi: “Supposing that Madam Wei really was willing to release us and was really going to give us all that gold, would you then reveal Lin TaiPing’s location to her?”

    Guo DaLu did not answer his question directly. Speaking each word deliberately, he responded, “I only know that gold one day will be spent and each person one day will be met by death. But friendship and morals will forever be present.” He gave a little laugh before carrying on, “It is because these things still exist in this world that man can be considered different from other animals.”

    Yan Qi breathed a long, sad sigh. “I seem to rarely hear you say words like these. From morning to night, you always wear a cheeky grin on your face. I never thought that you knew how to say such a principle.”

    Guo DaLu: “Some principles need not be uttered from the lips.”

    Yan Qi: “But if you don’t say them, how can anyone know what kind of person you are?”

    Guo DaLu: “I don’t need anyone else to know. As long as my friends know, as long as you know, then that is sufficient.” With a giggle, he said, “And now, I also have something that I would really like to know.”

    Yan Qi: “Is it that secret that I still have not told to you?”

    Guo DaLu: “Correct answer.”

    Yan Qi: “You… you still have not forgotten about it?”

    Guo DaLu chuckled, “I already told you: in life or in death, I will not forget it.”

    For a long moment, Yan Qi was silent. Finally, he responded softly, “There have actually been many times when I wanted to reveal this secret, but I was scared that, the instant I said it out, I would regret it.”

    Guo DaLu inquired, “Why would you regret it?”

    Yan Qi quavered, “Because… because I am scared that once you know, you will not be my friend.”

    Squeezing Yan Qi’s hand, Guo DaLu assured him, “Don’t worry. No matter what type of person you are, no matter what you have done in the past, I will always be your friend.”

    Yan Qi: “Honest?”

    In a loud voice, Guo DaLu started to swear, “Should I have spoken even half a sentence that was untruthful, may I suffer a terrible…”

    Before the word, “death” could slip off his lips, Yan Qi had already covered his mouth and said gently, “Alright. I will tell you. I am actually a…”



    --------------------------------------------------
    Is this it? Is this when Guo DaLu finds out?
    Last edited by Hoju!; 02-19-08 at 01:41 AM.

  6. #286
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoju! View Post
    Before the word, “death” could slip off his lips, Yan Qi had already covered his mouth and said gently, “Alright. I will tell you. I am actually a…”

    --------------------------------------------------
    Is this it? Is this when Guo DaLu finds out?

    Hoju! This is too cruel. What a cliffhanger - you can't deny that you want to keep all of us hanging on.

    [speculation]
    .. I am actually.. a monkey!
    [/speculation]

  7. #287
    Senior Member rati4u's Avatar
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    truely this is a bigggg cliff hanger i ever have seen......u r competing with jean

  8. #288
    Member baldy's Avatar
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    Too bad I have read fastclock's half-baked translation so no cliffhanger for me

  9. #289
    Moderator CrazyT's Avatar
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    You're evilllllll..... but in a good way. Thanks!
    I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code.

  10. #290
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    Hoju!! Arrrrghhhh... you and Jean combine can really give a person heart-attacks with the cliffhangers!! hahaha...

    Thanks Hoju! I am camping here until the next post!

  11. #291
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    Thanks for the translation!

    I just started reading this story, but browsed to the last page because I like to read the ends of things..

    Anyways, just skimming through, are you guys just being sarcastic about it being a cliffhanger? I mean unless Gu Long's personality has changed, it's obvious what the next word is.

  12. #292
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    I admit, it was fun. Alright, here's a "resounding" end to this chapter.



    Chapter 20 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    Before the word, “death” could slip off his lips, Yan Qi had already covered his mouth and said gently, “Alright. I will tell you. I am actually a…”

    Suddenly, another bright spot glowed out of the darkness and cast light upon a very strange object. It looked like an iron tube, black and about as thick as a large bowl, supported on a wooden rack.

    And then, Madam Wei’s voice resonated, “Do you recognize what that is?”

    Guo DaLu: “Nope.”

    Madam Wei cackled, “So it seems you are not only stubborn but ignorant as well.” This sentence had just finished when, all of a sudden, the roar of an explosion was emitted from the iron tube, so loud it seemed as if the heavens were collapsing and the earth was cracking. Guo DaLu’s ears felt like they were fast becoming deaf from the quaking boom.

    It seemed like half a day had passed before they could open their eyes again. In all directions, all they could see was a smoky haze. A large opening had been smashed into the stone wall opposite of the iron tube. Madam Wei’s voice was heard again. “You should know now what that is.”

    Guo DaLu exhaled a long, shaky breath and asked, “Is that possibly a cannon?”

    Madam Wei laughed and replied, “You have finally gotten a little smarter.” The cannon was moving and it turned so that its mouth was pointed directly at Guo DaLu and Yan Qi. “Would you like a taste of this cannon’s strength?”

    Guo DaLu: “Nope.”

    Madam Wei: “Then hurry and tell me..”

    Guo DaLu: “No.”

    Madam Wei: “Perhaps you do not yet know how powerful a cannon like this is.”

    Guo DaLu: “I know.”

    Madam Wei: “What do you know?”

    Guo DaLu: “I have heard that such cannons are used to besiege cities, and no matter how solid a city wall may be, it still will not be able to withstand the attack.”

    In amusement, Madam Wei challenged, “And if a city wall cannot stop it, don’t tell me you think you can.”

    To her surprise, Guo DaLu doubled over in laughter. “Now you are the one who doesn’t understand. My skin is much thicker than a city wall.”

    Enraged, she bellowed at him, “You really are not going to divulge anything to me?”

    Guo DaLu did not even seem to want to bother putting in the effort to reply. He turned his head and looked intently at Yan Qi. Yan Qi’s gaze was like water, soft and tender, but his voice was hard as steel as he stated resolutely, “Counting yesterday’s incident, I have already died eight times, so what is the big deal in dying a ninth time?” “Death” itself has always been the most difficult and terrifying thing, yet when he spoke about it, he seemed very at ease with it.

    Guo DaLu gave a sudden sigh and grasped Yan Qi’s hand. “I still have one regret that remains.”

    Yan Qi’s tone was gentle as he reassured, “I know, but in life or in death, I will make sure I tell you what it is.”

    His face brightening when he heard this, Guo DaLu declared with a wide smile, “If that is the case, what else is there in this life that I cannot let go of?”

    Madam Wei smirked coldly, “Fine. Then go die.”

    The mouth of the cannon was aimed at Guo DaLu and Yan Qi. “Bang!” Another thunderous blast resounded, like the heavens were crumbling and the earth was shattering. As the dust cleared, two people could be seen, crumpled together in a pile on the ground…



    Some people say death is very difficult. Others say it is very easy.

    What do you say?



    End of Chapter 20

  13. #293
    Senior Member rati4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoju! View Post
    Some people say death is very difficult. Others say it is very easy.

    What do you say?
    I say they wont die...hoju is becoming a master of cliff hangers

  14. #294
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    LOL I'll leave that title to Jean.

    @Demitre, I think we're all pretty certain what that missing word is. We're just all anticipating when GDL will clue in too.

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    I say they wont die either..

    i say they have been bluffing their skill this whole time just so she(old lady) wud under-estimate them.. then they will escape and wont be followed...

    thats not to say they are more powerfull than their captor..

  16. #296
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    --------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 21 – Shaded Willows, Bright Flowers [11]
    --------------------------------------------------

    To Yan Qi, dying really was quite easy. He had already died nine times. And now, surprisingly, he was alive again.

    He could feel that he was lying on a soft and comfortable bed. Every item that his eyes took in was resplendent and exquisite, so much so that they did not seem to be earthly objects. If last time, the place he had awoken in was hell, then this place surely was heaven.

    But without Guo DaLu by his side, what meaning could heaven possibly have to him? Where was Guo DaLu? Could he have been sent down to hell instead? Yan Qi struggled to pull himself up and at once, he saw Guo DaLu. He nearly could not believe his own eyes. In the room, there was a table, and it was covered in food and wine. Guo DaLu was sitting there feasting away. Finally setting down his chopsticks when he saw Yan Qi, he beamed, “I saw that you were sleeping so well and did not want to disturb you, so I decided to indulge first. Fortunately, there is so much food here that even ten people would not be able to finish it all.”

    Yan Qi: “Did you bring me here?”

    Guo DaLu: “No.”

    Yan Qi: “What is this place?”

    Guo DaLu: “Don’t know.”

    Yan Qi glared at him and with an irritated tone, snapped, “So what do you know?”

    Guo DaLu grinned back at him. “I know that the cook here is pretty good, and the wine is quite nice too. What are you waiting for?” He chuckled as he added, “To not eat would be a waste. Haven’t you learned this yet?”

    Yan Qi could not stop a charming smile from spreading on his face. “I learned that long ago.”



    The room not only had a door, it also had windows. Waves of the sweet fragrance of plum blossoms were carried in through the windows.

    Yan Qi: “Have you gone outside?”

    Guo DaLu: “Nope.”

    Yan Qi frowned at him. “Why didn’t you go outside for a look?”

    Guo DaLu: “If I take care of my mouth, I can’t take care of my eyes. I thought the mouth was more important than the eyes.”

    Yan Qi admonished, “You should have at least first sought out the master of this place.”

    Guo DaLu: “He is going to come find us anyways, so why should we be anxious about looking for him?” As he was just finishing his sentence, the sound of knocking rang on the outside of the door.

    A girl, dressed in clothing as white as snow, her eyes bright, her smile enchanting, and her hands carrying two pitchers of wine, walked gracefully into the room. She really did look a little like a fairy in heaven.

    Guo DaLu’s eyes were bulging out slightly while he gawked. It was only when Yan Qi threw a nasty glare in his direction that he gave a couple of dry coughs and straightened his sitting posture, but he still could not contain his grin. “Who knew that, just when I was starting to worry that there would not be enough wine, wine would arrive?”

    The young lady in white hid her mouth daintily behind her hand as she giggled, “Now that you are here, whatever you want, you will have.”

    Yan Qi inquired, “How did we get here?”

    White-dressed young lady: “Naturally, the master of this place rescued you here.”

    Guo DaLu: “You are the master of this dwelling?”

    The white-dressed young lady blinked at him, “Do I look like it?”

    Guo DaLu: “No.”

    The white-dressed young lady smiled charmingly. “Even in my own eyes, I think I don’t look like it.”

    Guo DaLu: “Then who is the master here? Do we know him?”

    White-dressed young lady: “I only know with certainty that the master knows you.”

    Guo DaLu: “Why?”

    Giggling again, the young lady in white replied, “Because the master said that, by yourself, you can eat more than several people combined and specifically instructed me to prepare food and wine for you. Without actually knowing you, how could master understand you so well?”

    Guo DaLu chortled, “If that is the case, this person does not just understand me; he is definitely a good friend of mine too.”

    The white-dressed young lady blinked at him and chimed, “Anyone that treats you to wine is your friend?”

    Yan Qi answered in an icy tone, “You are not one bit wrong.” The look on his face was rather unsightly and he had even set down his chopsticks. Guo DaLu glanced over at him and did not dare say another word.

    White-dressed young lady: “When you two sirs have eaten your fill, I will take you to see the master of this place, who has been waiting all this time for you.”

    Yan Qi abruptly rose to his feet. “I am full now.”

    The white-dressed young lady’s eyes glimmered as she asked sweetly, “Why is it that the instant you saw me you were full?”

    Yan Qi replied nonchalantly, “Because you are even cuter than pork shank.”



    Plum blossoms. White snow. Curved hallways. Carved pillars.

    The white-dressed young lady’s face was stony as she led the way in front of them. She neither spoke nor smiled. She really was very sweet, very pretty, but it was also true that she was a little bit chubby.

    “Yan Qi went so far as to compare her to pork shank. I cannot believe he even thought of that.” Guo DaLu’s eyes were on Yan Qi. He wanted to laugh, yet did not dare because the expression on Yan Qi’s face was rather ugly. For some reason, he seemed to hate women, especially those who joked around with Guo DaLu. “He must have been duped or suffered some sort of loss in the past at the hands of a woman.” Guo DaLu resolved that he must find some way to enlighten him and inform him that not all women loathsome. Occasionally, there are a few among them who are much more endearing than any man.

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


    They had finished walking the length of that long hallway. Hanging outside the end of that hallway was a curtain made of long strings of beads. They had just walked through when they heard a voice from inside the curtain chortle, “You have come again. Please enter, please enter.”

    Madam Wei.

    Remarkably, it was her voice again. It turns out that she was the master of this house. She was the one who had poisoned the food, pretended to be a ghost, and even went so far as to transport in and attack them with one of those cannons that were used to lay siege on a city. Now, though, she had rescued them and furthermore, had brought out good food and wine to entertain them. Guo DaLu and Yan Qi exchanged several glances with one another, utterly unable to guess what other schemes she may have been hatching.

    Madam Wei’s smile was still just as regal and alluring, and that faint smile was on her face as she fixed her eyes on Guo DaLu and Yan Qi and stated, “There is no sense in trying to speculate what my plans may be. No one has ever been able to guess my plans.”

    Guo DaLu sighed, “I believe that sentence.”

    Madam Wei: “There is another point that you may as well believe too.”

    Guo DaLu: “What is that?”

    Madam Wei: “You are both now allowed to leave at any time. No matter where you go, I will not send anyone to follow you.”

    Taken aback, Guo DaLu blurted, “You don’t want to take our lives?”

    Madam Wei: “No.”

    Guo DaLu: “And you don’t want to know where Lin TaiPing is?”

    Madam Wei: “Not at this moment, at least.”

    Guo DaLu: “You spent so much effort in dealing with us, but now you are just letting us go as we please?”

    Madam Wei: “Correct.”

    With another sigh, Guo DaLu told her, “I really cannot believe that.”

    Madam Wei: “You will not even trust my word?” She asked them unexpectedly, “Do you know who I am?”

    Guo DaLu returned, “I know you are an individual who has much wealth, status, and capabilities, but people like you are usually untrustworthy.”

    Madam Wei stared at him intently. She suddenly beamed at him. “You both must think that the things I do are very strange, but if you truly know who I am, you will not find any of it unusual.”

    Yan Qi could not help asking, “Then who are you?’’

    Enunciating each word deliberately, Madam Wei announced, “I am Lin TaiPing’s mother.”


    --------------------------------------------------
    [11] A saying that was originally a line from a poem. The poem paints the picture where, in a setting of perilous mountains and tortuous rivers, all of a sudden, a village appears surrounded by beautiful flowers and willow trees that cast a cool shade. It means that you have shifted from an adverse circumstance to a favourable one.

  17. #297
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    i suspected that madam wei was related to someone in the group...either lin or yan to be honest. she was just testing guo's (and in this case yan's) loyalty to friends...but i also suspect that she has another purpose. maybe i'm wrong. thanks for the update.
    if you have the time and enthusiasm, please join in on the new and fabulous wuxia rpg fic /rpg discussion. (<--- click here)

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    Senior Member rati4u's Avatar
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    hehehe...i too thought of the same....but li'l bit different....i thought she's LTP's mom-in-law

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    Yeah.. I guess right. Man she is powerful.. it would be interesting to see how strong LTP's martial arts is..

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    Chapter 21 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    Enunciating each word deliberately, Madam Wei announced, “I am Lin TaiPing’s mother.”

    As she finished speaking those words, Guo DaLu and Yan Qi were struck with astonishment. They dared not believe it, yet they had no choice but to believe. Even if Madam Wei was someone who had told lies before in her life, right then, she did not look as if she was lying.

    Guo DaLu: “Let us say that I believe that you are Lin TaiPing’s mother, but how can a mother not know her son’s whereabouts?”

    Breathing a soft sigh of sadness, Madam Wei answered, “That is the sorrow of being a mother. When a son has grown up, a mother often is not able to understand the things he does.” She gave an unexpected smile, then added, “Perhaps this is because he is gradually becoming a man.”

    Guo DaLu was unable to hold in his question. “What did he actually do?”

    Madam Wei said regretfully, “He did not do anything. He merely ran away from home.”

    Guo DaLu was still for a minute. “Ran away from home? Why would he run away?”

    Madam Wei: “He was running away from his wedding.”

    In bewilderment, Guo DaLu echoed, “Running away from his wedding?”

    Forcing a smile, she explained, “I saw that he was gradually growing up, so I arranged a marriage for him. Who could have known that, the night before his wedding, he would sneak out and flee?”

    Guo DaLu was silent for a long while until he could no longer contain his chuckles. “I get it. He did not like the girl.”

    Madam Wei: “He had never even seen the girl before.”

    Guo DaLu could not help feeling puzzled. “So, if he had never seen her before, how did he know whether she is good or not?”

    Madam Wei: “He does not know.”

    Guo DaLu: “If he does not know whether she is good or bad, why would he run away?”

    Madam Wei sighed, “For the sole reason that this marriage was something I arranged for him. That is why he detested it.”

    Guo DaLu laughed in amusement. “The wife is going to be his, so he should be the one to choose anyway. Had you been willing to let him see her first, he may not have tried to escape.” His face became very stern as he told her in a serious tone, “This does not mean he is not filial. When a man becomes an adult, he should more or less have his own views and opinions, otherwise how could he be considered a man?”

    Madam Wei was nodding her head slowly. “I was furious at first, but after thinking about it, I actually became quite pleased.”

    Yan Qi broke in, “You should be pleased. In the world today, there are not many men who have a mind of their own as he does.”

    Guo DaLu: “There may not be many now; however, slowly but surely, there will be more in the future.”

    Madam Wei broke into a smile. “And so, I have changed my mind. It is not necessary to force him to go back and get married.” Her gaze drifted off into the distance. She continued, “I believe, in the process of growing up and maturing, if a boy has the opportunity to go out and forge his own way in the world and toughen himself, overall it should be beneficial to him for the rest of his life.”

    Guo DaLu heaved a sigh. With a wry smile on his face, he remarked, “It would have been very nice if you had said these words earlier.”

    Madam Wei: “I did not say this before because I was still a little concerned.”

    Guo DaLu: “Concerned about what?”

    Madam Wei: “Concerned about his friends.”

    Guo DaLu: “So you did all that merely because you wanted to test us?”

    Madam Wei smiled pleasantly at him. “Since you are his good friend, I am certain you will not be upset with me.”

    Guo DaLu: “Can you set your mind at ease now?”

    Her voice gentle, she replied, “I know now that, for him, his friends are not only unhesitant about enduring starvation or dying, they will also reject every kind of temptation. In my eyes, that is even more difficult than dying.” She breathed a sigh of admiration. “It is his good fortune to have friends like you. How could I not set my mind at ease?”



    “When a child grows up, even though he no longer belongs to his mother, a mother will still always be a mother. Therefore, no matter where he may be, he will always be your child.” If a mother can truly understand this, then her sorrows will turn into joys.

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


    The little city was still simple and peaceful. There are some places that will never change. Only the people change. Only people’s hearts change.

    But then, there are some people who will never change either. Even when he saw that Yan Qi had returned, Wang Dong still lay on his bed and did not move. Guo DaLu could not contain himself. “It has been six or seven days since you last saw us. Don’t you have a single question that you would like to ask us?”

    Only then did Wang Dong lazily give a big yawn. “What would I ask?”

    Guo DaLu: “You should at least ask us whether these last few days have been good or not.”

    Wang Dong: “No need for me to ask.”

    Guo DaLu: “Why is there no need?”

    Wang Dong: “As long as you can both return here alive, then it is already pretty good.”

    Yan Qi blinked at him. “But then, you should at least ask whose skin HuoBoPi was going to flay.”

    Wang Dong: “Also no need to ask.”

    Yan Qi: “Why?”

    With a little chuckle, Wang Dong answered nonchalantly, “For people like him, besides themselves, who else can they flay?”



    Aside from the one time when he made the move to attack Feng QiWu, in everything he did, Lin TaiPing was always slower than everyone else by half a beat. Regardless of whether it was eating, talking, or walking, he would always do it sluggishly with a look on his face that was not panicked or rushed at all. He seemed to be the type that, even if flames were licking at his eyebrows, he would not get anxious. Sometimes, Guo DaLu could even believe that he was actually an elderly man. He was not like Wang Dong; he was not lazy, but he had a lukewarm temperament.

    Guo DaLu and Yan Qi had returned for half a day before he walked into the room unhurriedly. His clothes were neat and in order and his hair combed until it was immaculate. Regardless of the time or the place, he was always like a hard-shelled fruit that had just been split open: fresh and clean. “At all times and occasions, this guy looks like he is ready for the king to summon him.” A glance passed between Guo DaLu and Yan Qi. They were unable to contain a pair of knowing grins because they had both suddenly thought of Madam Wei. Only a mother like Madam Wei could have a son like Lin TaiPing. “A good tree will never produce rotten fruit.”

    Lin TaiPing looked over at them but could not figure out what they were smiling about. He muttered, “Judging from the look of things, the two of you must have had lots of fun and been quite happy the last few days.”

    Guo DaLu chortled, “Extremely happy.”

    Lin TaiPing: “Did you know that HuoBoPi has disappeared? That Li Yuan Pawnshop has changed ownership?”

    Guo DaLu: “Nope.”

    Lin TaiPing: “Such big news and you don’t even know? What have you been doing these last several days?”

    Guo DaLu and Yan Qi exchanged another look and gave a little laugh. They had decided earlier that they would not let anyone know what had befallen them the past several days because they felt that it would actually be better if Lin TaiPing did not know. They did not wish to influence Lin TaiPing’s decision, nor did they want him to feel gratitude towards them. All they hoped was for Lin TaiPing to live with them, free from care, for a period of time. That way, he would certainly become stronger, more mature, and smarter. This was also Madam Wei’s desire for him.

    Guo DaLu chuckled as he answered, “We haven't done much these few days. We merely died once after being poisoned, had one encounter with Yama, and were fired at once by a cannon. In the end, the person responsible ended up treating us to a big feast and then we came back.”

    Lin TaiPing stared wide-eyed at them for a long moment before unexpectedly sniggering loudly, “I know you guys are very good at exaggerating, but this time it has gone a little overboard. Even a three year old child would never believe you.”

    Settling himself in comfortably, Guo DaLu laid down, closed his eyes, and exhaled a long breath of air. With a faint smile on his face, he said, “I had known all along that no one would believe these things.”



    End of Chapter 21


    --------------------------------------------------
    A little preview: next chapter, we find out a bit more about Wang Dong. It is one of my favorite parts of the story.

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