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Thread: A Happy Hero

  1. #141
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    ----------------------------------------
    Chapter 7 - Mai LaoGuang and his Barbecue Duck
    ----------------------------------------

    There were only approximately 300 households in the mountain city, but at the moment, each one had lit its lamps and thrown its doors wide open as if to welcome the God of Wealth. In reality, though, it was not the God of Wealth they were welcoming but actually a god of pestilence [*a way to call someone an annoyance or pest]. Dozens of men, wearing red-tassel hats and uniforms and carrying sabres at their waist and torches in their hands, were searching through each house.

    Yan Qi and Guo DaLu had just reached the foot of the mountain when they came across Golden Lion standing at the end of a street with his hands behind his back, barking in a loud voice, like a general on a battleground who was accustomed to issuing orders. Guo DaLu greeted him saying, “General Jin, are you planning on turning this place into a battlefield?”

    Golden Lion’s face, which had previously had an icy expression on it, broke into a smile when he saw Guo DaLu. “We had no other choice; otherwise, we would have preferred not to disturb these honest citizens.”

    Yan Qi: “Since you knew they are honest citizens, why would you disturb them in the first place?”

    Golden Lion sighed. “All we know is that the stolen goods are still somewhere in the city and have not been transported away yet, but we do not know which house they are hidden in. The officers of the surrounding eighteen districts have all been brought in for the case, and one by one, all households will be investigated.” He gave another little smile. “As long as we find where the loot is hidden, Feng QiWu has no hope of trying to escape.”

    Guo DaLu: “If that’s the case, I won’t be able to go into town tonight?”

    An expression flickered across Golden Lion’s gaze. “What matters do you have in town at such hours of the night?”

    Guo DaLu: “Drinking.”

    Golden Lion: “At Mai LaoGuang’s?”

    Guo DaLu: “Uh huh. Our wine on top of the mountain is done, but our alcohol craving still hasn’t been satisfied.”

    Golden Lion: “We already searched that place during the first half of the night and seized only one ingot of gold. Feel free to go; you need not worry.” He made a hand signal to the officer patrolling the road, then moved out the way for the two of them.

    They had walked a fair distance before Yan Qi said with a smile, “He seems to respect you.”

    Guo DaLu laughed. “That is only because he hasn’t been able to figure out my background. He doesn’t even have a clue.”

    Yan Qi laughed also. “Those names that you listed, are they truly all names of your shifus?”

    Guo DaLu: “There was not a single lie.”

    Yan Qi: “Even though much cannot be said about your martial arts, I can guarantee you that those shifus’ teachings would not have produced a student of your calibre.”

    Guo DaLu: “What I learned from them was not the strengths of their martial arts but rather, the shortcomings.”

    Yan Qi furrowed his brow. “Shortcomings?”

    Guo DaLu: “If I observed any flaws or weaknesses in their martial arts, I would think of methods to avoid them in my own. This is called, ‘As I walk in a group of three, I will always find a teacher. [3]’ No matter who the person is, you can always learn something from him.”

    Yan Qi: “I couldn’t tell before, but it seems you do possess knowledge of some sorts.”

    Guo DaLu replied in a serious tone, “I don’t have to be modest in front of you. To be frank, my knowledge of things is quite expansive.”

    Yan Qi could not help laughing. He asked, “So then, where did you learn all your strengths from?”

    Guo DaLu: “Have I ever asked you about the secret in the soles of your boots? Or how you have already died seven times?”

    Yan Qi: “No.”

    Guo DaLu: “Well then, why are you asking about me?”

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

    Mai LaoGuang was an old bachelor. His shop only had a total of four rooms. One room was at the front and was his place of business for customers. Another room was used as his kitchen. The third room was where he slept. But the most important room was at the back of the shop: his roasting room.

    The door to this room was always closed because Mai LaoGuang’s barbecue meats were made using a secret recipe. If someone were to steal and learn that recipe, he would be put out of business.

    When Yan Qi and Guo DaLu arrived, Mai LaoGuang was in that roasting room. The door was closed, but waves of mouth-watering scents were already wafting through the seam of the door. Guo DaLu swallowed his saliva hungrily before calling, “LaoGuang, business has arrived. Hurry and come out!” However, quite a few moments passed before Mai LaoGuang finally emerged. When he stepped out, they saw that his entire body was covered in grease, as if he had just rolled around in a mound of lard.

    He broke into a smile when he saw Guo DaLu. “I reckon that nobody in these hills will have a good sleep tonight, so tomorrow morning’s business is going to be particularly good. Tonight was an especially busy night since I deliberately roasted several dozen additional ducks.”

    Guo DaLu smiled. “LaoGuang, you don’t have children or a wife, and on top of that, you live and eat frugally. You are even reluctant to buy yourself a new item of clothing. Why do you want to earn so much money?”

    With his Cantonese-accent, Mai LaoGuang replied, “People in my line of work are always rolling around in grease. What would I do with new clothes anyways? Now, as for money, it has always been the more the better.”

    Yan Qi also smiled. “His words are straightforward and honest.”

    Mai LaoGuang: “Straightforward people always speak straightforward words.”

    Guo DaLu: “Mai LaoGuang truly is a straightforward person. Rumour has it that, even though he has been here for more than ten years, he has not stepped into Stone Alley, which is just beyond the stone stele that commemorates the chastity of the widow, Mrs. Zhao.”

    Yan Qi: “What type of place is Stone Alley?”

    Guo DaLu: “Stone Alley is a great place. Not only are there many beautiful women there, they are all sweet, gentle, and considerate.”

    Yan Qi glared at him. “And you have been there?”

    Guo DaLu: “No, but not because I don’t want to go. Every time I am drunk and I am not able to walk there.”

    Yan Qi: “Well, why didn’t you go when you sobered up?”

    Guo DaLu: “I don’t dare go when I am sober.”

    Yan Qi: “You? You would actually not dare to do something?”

    Guo DaLu: “I am scared that when those beautiful women see such a handsome man, they will not let me go.”

    Yan Qi could not help but laugh. “And such a place coincidentally has to set-up behind someone’s chastity stele. Don’t you think that would infuriate Mrs. Zhao?”

    Mai LaoGuang: “Will the two of you be drinking wine so late in the night?”

    Guo DaLu: “He wanted to come here to eat your fresh-out-of-the-furnace barbecue duck.”

    Mai LaoGuang: “Sure. I will go bring out a plump one for you.” He turned around and started walking.

    Guo DaLu followed him. “I’m going to go with you to the back to take a look around.”

    Mai LaoGuang stopped. “It is very dirty in the back, and there is nothing interesting to see.”

    Guo DaLu: “I’m not afraid of getting dirty. I am dirty enough as it is.”

    Yan Qi sighed. “If he really wants to go, it would be best for you to just let him go. Otherwise, he will just continue to insist on going, even if it means waiting here and bothering you until next day’s morning.”

    Mai LaoGuang smiled. “It is very dim in the back. Be careful where you step.”

    The rear courtyard was truly very dark. In the furthest corner was the roasting room, and it was also a dim room. Mai LaoGuang shuffled forward slowly. With a smile on his face, Guo DaLu said, “Watching how you walk, it looks as if you’ve had a bit to drink too.”

    Mai LaoGuang: “The night has been quite chilly. But I only drank a couple cups of wine to warm up before I started feeling a little tipsy.” His foot suddenly slipped out from beneath him, and it seemed as if he would fall.

    Guo DaLu was reaching out his hand to support him, when without warning, Mai LaoGuang spun around. His motion was like a dragon soaring out of the sea, like a sparrow hawk spiralling through the sky; the strength and nimbleness simply could not be described with words. Guo DaLu had just stretched his arm forward before Mai LaoGuang had already grasped the vein on his wrist.

    Yan Qi had never dreamed that this clumsy old man who could barely walk without falling could suddenly become so terrifying. Still in shock, he tried to rush over, but Mai LaoGuang was already speaking in a raspy voice, “Stand still or I will kill him.” The sentence was spoken in perfect Mandarin, without a hint of a Cantonese accent.

    Yan Qi paused in disbelief. Stuttering, he said, “You… you are…”

    Guo DaLu laughed. “He is Feng QiWu, and the one who took the boxes from beneath our bed. Have you still not figured it out yet?”

    --------------------------------------------------
    [3] From the Analects of Confucius. The full translated text of this particular one is “As I walk in a group of three, I will always find a teacher. Choose to follow what is good in them and correct what is not good.”
    Last edited by Hoju!; 11-07-07 at 11:10 PM.

  2. #142
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Welcome back, Hoju!
    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.

  3. #143
    Senior Member CC's Avatar
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    Reading this story inspires me to walk out of the job, get drunk and be a happy bum.

    Anyone else getting this effect?
    Its BIxie Jianfa Gawdammit you guys!!!!

  4. #144
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC View Post
    Reading this story inspires me to walk out of the job, get drunk and be a happy bum.

    Anyone else getting this effect?
    No comment
    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.

  5. #145
    Senior Member rati4u's Avatar
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    i am getting the effect

  6. #146
    Junior Member Quantum's Avatar
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    pretty cool story, keep it up!
    To live life like a dream is rare. To let it happen in reality is even more rare.

  7. #147
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Chapter 7 continued.....
    ----------------------------------------

    Guo DaLu laughed. “He is Feng QiWu, and the one who took the boxes from beneath our bed. Have you still not figured it out yet?” There he was, his life at the mercy of someone else, yet he still grinned as if he simply could not be bothered by the situation.

    Mai LaoGuang responded in a cool tone, “You are correct; I am Feng QiWu. How did you know?”

    Guo DaLu: “Originally, it was just a wild hypothesis of mine. Aside from GunZi, Golden Lion, the black-clothed man, and the four of us, only you knew that we had gold, and only you had the opportunity to slip in front of us to transport all the boxes while we leisurely walked back up the mountain.” A cold smile showed on Feng QiWu’s face. “In addition, since GunZi and Golden Lion had already wrongly accused you once, logically, they would not suspect you again. And because no one is ever allowed in your roasting room, there is no better place to hide the boxes.”

    Feng QiWu: “Anything else?”

    Guo DaLu: “Golden Lion’s nose is particularly sensitive. He had seen you before in the past, so you knew that he would recognize your scent. That is why you deliberately chose to disguise yourself by working in this occupation.” Wiggling his nose, he drew in a deep breath. “Because nobody’s scent could ever be stronger than charcoal. Even a woman with bad body odour is not an exception.”

    Feng QiWu: “Anything else?”

    Guo DaLu: “I have heard that Feng QiWu is a miserly, penny-pinching person. If he found money on the ground, he still would be unwilling to spend it. He won’t even find himself a wife. In the time I have been here, I have not seen anyone stingier than you. You will not even make yourself fresh food to eat but will rather choose to eat your customers’ leftovers.” He suddenly laughed out loud. “I suddenly realized that your name, ‘Feng QiWu,’ is extremely appropriate. The poet, Lin HeJing[4] was said to have taken plum blossoms as his wife and cranes as his children. Your wife, though, is yourself; that is why you are called ‘qi wu.’ ” [*a pun using Feng QiWu’s name, which also sounds like 妻 qi, meaning ‘wife’ and 吾 wu, meaning ‘I’ or ‘me’] He seemed to appreciate his own wittiness very much; he was laughing so hard tears were flowing out of his eyes. But no one else was laughing.

    Feng QiWu stared unemotionally at him until his laughter had finally died down, then asked, “Anything else?”

    Guo DaLu: “No. But when you add up the three points that I stated, that is enough. Feng QiWu is Mai LaoGuang and Mai LaoGuang is Feng QiWu.”

    Feng QiWu: “I never would have thought that a silly youngster like you would have a moment of intellect.”

    Guo DaLu: “Even the stupidest person will have one or two ingenious instances in his life. I am a natural genius, who merely, at times, enjoys pretending to be a little confused.”

    Feng QiWu: “Do you want to go into my roasting room?”

    Guo DaLu: “I did originally.

    Feng QiWu: “Go in.”

    Guo DaLu: “Even though I had wanted to go in before, I don’t want to anymore. I don’t want someone to hang me from the rack and roast me like a duck.”

    Feng QiWu gave him a cool smile. “Unfortunately, whether you go in or not is no longer up to you.”

    Yan Qi: “It would be no use if you killed him; I will escape and will still broadcast your secret to the world.”

    Feng QiWu: “When he goes into the room, you are going to follow because you are not going to let any opportunity to save your friend slip away. I have lived for fifty, sixty odd years, and this little detail does not escape me.”

    Yan Qi gritted his teeth, and his eyes turned red. Even a two year old child would be able to tell how concerned he was for Guo DaLu, much less someone with fifty, sixty years of experience in jianghu.

    Guo DaLu threw back his head and laughed loudly. He spoke to Yan Qi. “If, in a man’s life he has one soul mate, even if he dies he will have no regrets. I have such a good friend in you; life or death does not matter anymore. Except…”

    Feng QiWu: “Except what?”

    Guo DaLu: “I know that you will not kill us.”

    Feng QiWu: “Oh?”

    Guo DaLu: “Not only does Wang Laoda know that we were coming here, Golden Lion also knows. If the two of us suddenly vanish, don’t you think they will be suspicious?”

    Feng QiWu: “That is a problem for the future.”

    Guo DaLu: “But if you’re not concerned, why haven’t you made your move and killed me yet?”

    Feng QiWu: “No one will come into this place anyway. I do not need to be overly anxious.”

    Guo DaLu: “You have not made your move because you are not able to come to a decision. I know that you have always been a very cautious person. You will not do anything unless you can guarantee your success.”

    Yan Qi: “If you release him, we promise not to reveal your secret.”

    The look in Feng QiWu’s eyes flickered. He looked like a sly, old fox. The problem with an old fox is that he is too mistrustful. Not only does he suspect others, he also does not trust himself.

    Guo DaLu said casually, “You know that I have never been interested in catching thieves. I just did not like being lied to.”

    They suddenly heard someone laugh and say, “No one ever likes being lied to.” It was Golden Lion’s voice. While the sound of those words echoed, Golden Lion, GunZi, and the black-clothed man had already walked leisurely into the courtyard. And at the same time, the four surrounding walls were suddenly illuminated by the fire of raised torches. Several dozen officers stood with the strings on their bows drawn tight and their sabres out of the sheaths. They had completely surrounded the little courtyard.

    Was it oil glistening on Feng QiWu’s face? Sweat? All of sudden, with a backhand shove, he swung Guo DaLu’s body, which weighed more than 100 jin, toward Golden Lion and the black-clothed man. Feng QiWu shot forward like an elastic band. In the blink of an eye, he had seized two sabres and with the move, “Phoenix Spreads its Wings,” had leapt onto the roof of the house. A flash of light reflecting off the sabres was seen and then two officers were tumbling to the ground. Another flash and Feng QiWu’s outline could be seen three zhang [*3 zhang = 10 metres] away.

    This bandit, who had roamed the martial world for decades and had committed countless crimes, truly did have incredible abilities. Not only did he possess astounding speed, he was very good at taking advantage of opportunities that arose. This was his first opportunity, and it was also the last opportunity that he would have. Even if the black-clothed man and Golden Lion’s lightness kung fu were better than his, they would be obstructed by Guo DaLu, who was hurtling toward them. It was not possible for them to catch up to him.

    Suddenly, a low voice was heard saying, “Go back down.” Two figures appeared behind the roofline of the house, blocking Feng QiWu’s escape route. It seemed that one of the figures merely waved his hand, and Feng QiWu was knocked backward off the roof the same way he had gone up. Thud! He toppled back into the courtyard, landing right on top of the two officers who had fallen earlier.

    The two figures brushed past the roof and landed lightly in the courtyard. One had a cold, expressionless face; the other looked poised and refined, with a graceful air that almost resembled that of a young lady. Wang Dong and Lin TaiPing had arrived.

    Guo DaLu had just recovered his balance. Clapping his hands with delight, he grinned and said, “Our Wang Laoda does have certain flair.”

    Wang Dong: “It wasn’t me.” If it was not him, it could only be Lin TaiPing. This person who resembled a little girl could actually have such an ability? No one would have guessed it, but yet, there was no other possilibility.

    By now, Feng QiWu had already been bound so that he looked like a rice dumpling. Golden Lion turned his face to the sky and let out a long breath. “After thirty years of pursuit and hunting, today I have finally captured this old fox.”

    Guo DaLu: “The loot should be in the roasting room. You can move it out at any time.”

    Smiling, Golden Lion replied, “This is a time when ‘the thief and the loot have been obtained together.’ The good deed has been completed as a whole.”

    Guo DaLu: “There is no need to thank me. If you really want to thank someone, thank him.” He pointed at Lin TaiPing, and with a grin, said, “This friend of mine may look a little delicate, but when it comes to drinking wine, he takes it in like he is a large water vat.”

    Golden Lion shot a look at GunZi. “We should really show our gratitude to them. How do you think we should repay them?”

    GunZi replied with a grave expression on his face, “Seize them, seize them all.”

    -----------------------------------------
    [4] A poet of the Northern Song dynasty. He was known to have had a passion for plum blossoms.
    Last edited by Hoju!; 11-07-07 at 11:05 PM.

  8. #148
    Senior Member overjoy71's Avatar
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    Thanks Hoju!. Great translating!!

  9. #149
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Chapter 7 continued.....
    ------------------------------------------------

    GunZi replied with a grave expression on his face, “Seize them, seize them all.”

    Guo DaLu nearly jumped up as he cried, “What did you just say?”

    In a low voice, GunZi said, “These four people were hiding the loot. Even if they are not Feng QiWu’s accomplices, they are also thieves. Bind them and bring them back. I am certain that under harsh torture, they will confess to their crimes.”

    Guo DaLu was so livid he felt as if he would explode. But instead, he smiled and said, “I would like to see who has the nerve to come face me.”

    GunZi snapped, “You dare resist arrest?”

    Wang Dong suddenly spoke up. “No.”

    GunZi: “Then submit yourselves to be bound.”

    Wang Dong: “We would never resist arrest by real officers. However, you are not true, righteous officers; you are bandits.”

    Yan Qi: “They are even more vicious than bandits.”

    Wang Dong: “Your motivation behind the effort required to hunt Feng QiWu was not for his capture but rather, for his money.”

    Yan Qi: “How much is the monthly wage of a constable? Is it enough to support either of you? Even a general would not be able to afford to wear the clothes that Mr. Jin is wearing.”

    Wang Dong: “What’s more, the cost to hire a professional assassin, like this friend here, is not a small sum,” he said, referring to the black-clothed man. “And naturally, the government would not provide the money for something like that.”

    Yan Qi: “But there are lots of stolen loots out there. The world will always be filled with thieves, so naturally, you will always have stolen money available to spend.”

    Wang Dong: “Petty crooks that you catch can be brought back to claim your reward and recognition. But big thieves such as Feng QiWu, why not just leave them for yourself?”

    Yan Qi: “Capturing such a thief will provide you with enough to live off of for two to three years.”

    Wang Dong: “If you let us live, though, you fear there will be a day that your secret is leaked out, so you are thinking you might as well kill us and get rid of any witnesses.

    Yan Qi: “Your actions are more vicious than bandits, yet they are all legal. That is what is so incredible.”

    Wang Dong: “I have said before, ‘It is fun for wicked people to beat up the wicked. But be careful that it may eventually backfire on you.’ ” As the two of them bantered back and forth, Guo DaLu and Lin TaiPing listened in amazement. Their knowledge could not compare with Yan Qi or Wang Dong when it came to these shady affairs of jianghu that took place in secrecy.

    GunZi listened in anger, and he was about to release his rage on them but was stopped by Golden Lion. Waiting until they had finished their conversation, Golden Lion responded with a dry laugh, “Everything you said is correct. I do not deny any of it.” He pointed at GunZi. “This man has a house in Kaifeng, Luoyang, Jinan, and Tianjin, and in each city he has a wife. Do you think he could support all of them on a mere constable’s wage?”

    GunZi glowered back at him. “Your number of wives is no less than mine.”

    Guo DaLu retorted, “It’s too bad that all your wives are soon going to be widows.”

    Golden Lion laughed in amusement. “Do you know why I was willing to tell you all of this?” He pointed to the top of the walls that encircled them. “There are ten sets of bows and forty sabres surrounding you. All of them are my brothers who have been through thick and thin with me. Do you think they will let you escape?”

    GunZi’s lips curled up in a cold smile. “It would be quite unpleasant to die by a rain of arrows piercing your heart.”

    Golden Lion: “And furthermore, we also have our good friend, Mr. Black, for whom I was willing to part with a large sum of money to hire his services.” He chuckled before continuing, “Of course, you must know that his surname is not Black. His long sword should be able to take care of at least two of you. So I would suggest that you be a little more submissive. That way, at least your deaths will be less drawn out.”

    Guo DaLu snapped, “In your dreams!”

    Golden Lion’s expression hardened. “Kill him first, and let him be an example to the others!”

    The black-clothed man had been standing silently to the side, but he now spoke, asking, “And who are you expecting to do the deed?”

    Golden Lion: “You, of course.”

    GunZi: “For each one that you kill, you get an additional 100 liang of gold.”

    Black-clothed man: “Fine.” In one motion, he reached behind his back, unsheathed his sword, and struck. There was a flash, and the sword had pierced Golden Lion’s shoulder.

    It was a short sword, not a long one. That sheathe, which was longer than four feet, had contained a sword only one foot seven inches in length.

    Golden Lion was normally not an easy opponent, but he had never considered that the black-clothed man would actually turn and strike at him. Even more so, he had never thought the sword within that sheathe would be so short.

    In shock, GunZi shouted, “Fire!” He had not even finished his cry before he leapt into the air. But they were not going to let him escape. Guo DaLu and Yan Qi flew up, pressing in on him and forcing him to dart out at an angle. During the whole time that the events unfolded, Wang Dong had been stationary, but now he moved. It was only a single move, but his precision and speed was beyond description. GunZi saw only a blur before his eyes, and then it felt as if there were shackles on wrists.

    Cries of fear escaped from the people who had been standing on the walls. Bows and sabres were tossed down as they all fled. The payments they had received for their services were not enough for them to risk their lives.

    Now, every eye was on the black-clothed man. No one knew where his loyalties lay.

    Golden Lion’s eyes smouldered with anger. Through grit teeth, he rasped, “You took my gold, yet you double-crossed me. You are not even worthy to be a dog.”

    The black-clothed man replied calmly, “I was never your dog.”

    Golden Lion: “I had long heard that ‘Roaming Soul Beneath the Sword,’ NanGong Chou was a man of honour, one whose words could be trusted. That is why we were willing to spend a large sum of gold to hire you. But today, things have backfired on me. I, the one who shoots wild geese every day, have finally had my eyes pecked out by one.”

    Black-clothed man: “You were already blind before.”

    Golden Lion: “You… could it be that you…?”

    Black-clothed man: “Did you think that I really am NanGong Chou?”

    Golden Lion: “If you are not NanGong Chou, then who are you?”

    Black-clothed man: “You were right. I am one who brings calamity on people. But this time, the ones who are in trouble are actually the two of you.”

    Golden Lion: “Who are you?!”

    Black-clothed man: “Your highest superior, the honourable governor, had known for a long time that there was something suspicious about you. He specifically requested that I investigate the types of shady activities the two of you are involved in.” His words were sharp and abrupt. With a piercing laugh, he continued, “And now, since you have already confessed your own crimes tonight, I have all the hard evidence that I need. Would you say that this also is an example of when ‘the thief and the loot have been obtained together, and the good deed has been completed as a whole?’ ” Golden Lion glowered at him but did not say another word.

    The black-clothed man finally turned his attention upwards. Holding one fist in his other hand respectfully, he smiled and said, “Every profession has its black sheep, and even my organization is not an exception. I hope the next time the four of you see an officer or a constable, you will not think that he is the same as these two.”

    Guo DaLu smiled in return. “To be honest, I nearly became an officer myself.”

    Black-clothed man: “Today’s success was completely a result of the helping hand that the four of you extended. Now, though, I must take these three people back and report to my superiors.”

    Yan Qi: “Please, feel free to take your leave.”

    Guo DaLu gave Feng QiWu a pat on the shoulder. Chuckling, he said to him, “It really should be quite comfortable in prison. At least you know that you will not have to spend a single penny in there.” Feng QiWu only rolled his eyes in response. Aside from rolling his eyes, what else could he do?

    Black-clothed man: “As for the stolen goods…”

    Guo DaLu: “Of course, they should be seized and confiscated into the treasury.”

    Black-clothed man: “In reality, this case should be considered solved by the four of you. It would stand to reason that you should receive thirty percent of the loot as payment for your services. If you do not mind travelling the distance with me back to the capital…”

    He had not finished his sentence before Wang Dong interrupted, “That is not necessary.” He would rather be beheaded than have to exert himself and travel across a distance just for gold. Guo DaLu, Yan Qi, and Lin TaiPing also refused to go. In their eyes, there were many things in the world that were much more valuable than gold or riches.

    Guo DaLu smiled. “Aside from having already brought us a load trouble, that stuff really is no use to us. But if you, sir, would give us the ducks in the roasting room as our reward, we would be extremely grateful.”

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

    Daybreak. The city had returned to its quiet peacefulness. The wind was still blowing and the snow still falling. There are certain things in this world that will never change, no matter what the circumstance. The same holds true for some people.

    The ducks had just been roasted to perfection. Guo DaLu grabbed one and tore it open with his hands. He was just getting ready to bite into it when suddenly, seven or eight pieces of jade, all about the diameter of a fingernail, fell out of the duck’s stomach. Their eyes widened in astonishment. Ripping open another duck, they found pieces of amber inside. Out of the thirty or forty ducks in the room, about ten or so had something concealed inside their stomachs. Blinking with amazement, Yan Qi cried, “I get it!”

    Guo DaLu: “You get what?”

    Yan Qi: “Feng QiWu had planned to put all the expensive stones and treasures in the stomachs of the ducks and then transport them out of the city. No one would ever have suspected anything. But when we suddenly showed up, he had only hidden a portion of the treasures.”

    Guo DaLu: “That sounds logical.”

    Yan Qi chuckled as he replied, “Stop pretending that you didn’t know. You had it all figured out long before I did.”

    Guo DaLu blinked. “I did?”

    Yan Qi: “If you didn’t, why would you ask for all the ducks?”

    Guo DaLu sighed. “If that’s what you choose to think, I can’t stop you.” He flashed a grin. “In any case, they owed us thirty percent as payment anyhow. And taking money that came from a corrupt source cannot be considered dishonest. If we don’t spend it, it will be wasted.”

    Yan Qi stared intently at him. Shaking his head, he said, “Sometimes, I just cannot figure you out.”

    Guo DaLu: “Oh?”

    Yan Qi: “I can’t figure out: are you really that smart? Or are you really that dense?”

    Wang Dong answered for him in a nonchalant tone, “Just when you think that he is a fool, he will prove himself to be extremely intelligent; but when you say that he is intelligent, he becomes a fool.” This, too, was a conclusion.


    End of Chapter 7
    Last edited by Hoju!; 11-07-07 at 11:06 PM.

  10. #150
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    Wang Dong answered for him in a nonchalant tone, “Just when you think that he is a fool, he will prove himself to be extremely intelligent; but when you say that he is intelligent, he becomes a fool.” This, too, was a conclusion

    "how do they come up with these funny lines"
    i know most of it is plagerised from common saying but still the way he weaves it into the storie is so funny.


    nice long translation BTW much appreciated.

  11. #151
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    Loved it, these men are really special.
    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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    Ahh.. I didn't know this story was picked up again. Thanks for continuing it Hoju! You got another reader in me.
    I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code.

  13. #153
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    My apologies to everyone for the long waits between updates. I'm having some troubles getting internet here.
    --------------------------------------------------




    --------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 8 - Buddha and Stinking Bugs
    --------------------------------------------------

    Money is something that a man cannot live without. Nor can he live without women. Money can bring trouble, but women will bring even more trouble. Aside from these two points, there is something else that money has in common with women: if it comes to you easily, it will certainly disappear just as quickly.

    Guo DaLu always thought of himself as a man of principle; in everything he did, he would stay true to his own principles. When it came to eating duck, his principle was, “If there is still meat, do not nibble on the bones; if there is still skin, do not eat the meat.”

    By now, the duck he was eating had been stripped of its skin. The barbecue duck without its skin was like a woman in her fifties who had been stripped of her clothing, revealing the pudginess underneath. But the duck was also like a twenty year old woman: the more you stripped off of it, the better it looked.

    Few people could go from looking at a duck to thinking about women. Guo DaLu could. When his belly was full of wine and his wallet was full of money, everything led him to thoughts of women.

    By now, the wine was done and the treasures had been divided four ways. Guo DaLu blinked as a thought suddenly occurred to him. “What… what are your plans?”

    Plans? No one had any plans.

    Yan Qi fixed his eyes on him as he asked, “Do you have any plans?”

    Guo DaLu gazed at the barbecue duck, stripped of its skin. “We’ve been idle for a long time now. It’s about time for us to starting moving about; otherwise our bones may start rusting.”

    Yan Qi: “Our bones aren’t like yours, which start itching once you’ve got a bit of money in your pocket.”

    Guo DaLu sighed before laughing and saying, “So I’m a glutton for punishment. But I want to go move about a bit.”

    Yan Qi: “Did you want to go alone?”

    Guo DaLu: “Yes.”

    Yan Qi gave a cold laugh. “I’ve always known that some people only need their friends when they are poor. Once they have money, the excuses start coming out.”

    Guo DaLu glared back at him. “Haven’t you ever done something alone before?”

    Yan Qi turned his head away from him. “If you want to leave, then go. No one is stopping you.”

    Guo DaLu stood up to go but then sat back down again. Smiling, he soothed, “I just want to go out by myself for a day or so. We’ll see each other again tomorrow night.” They ignored him. “Now that Mai LaoGuang has been arrested, there isn’t a single good restaurant here anymore. I know that inside Xiancheng [*Xian city], there is a restaurant called Kui Yuan Guan that is supposed to be pretty good. It’s a good thing Xiancheng isn’t very far from here. How about we meet up there tomorrow? ... My treat.”

    Still no one paid attention to him.

    Guo DaLu started getting anxious. “Am I not allowed to have just one day to myself to go out?”

    Wang Dong finally responded by rolling his eyes and asking, “Who said you’re not allowed?”

    Guo DaLu: “So will you go tomorrow?”

    Wang Dong: “Could you not just buy the food and wine from Kui Yuan Guan and bring it back here to treat us?”

    Guo DaLu: “Could you please not be so lazy? You should go out anyway and buy a few pieces of clothing to change into. If you keep wearing the outfit that you have on now, you’re going to start growing mould.”

    Wang Dong suddenly stood up and walked slowly toward the door.

    Guo DaLu: “Where are you going?”

    Wang Dong: “Going to Mai LaoGuang’s bed.”

    Guo DaLu: “To do what?”

    Wang Dong sighed. “What else can you do on a bed? To go sleep, of course. When you get on a bed, do you do anything else?”

    Guo DaLu laughed in reply. He actually was thinking of doing something else, and it did involve being on a bed. He stood up and smiled, saying, “It will actually be a good thing if Wang Dong stays the night there. He is going to Xiancheng tomorrow, anyways, so that saves him a trip home and back out again.” Casting a glance at Yan Qi, he asked, “Are you going to go with Wang Laoda tomorrow?”

    Lin TaiPing nodded in response. Yan Qi, though, casually replied, “I’m going with you today.”

    Guo DaLu paused in shock. “But… I…”

    Yan Qi glowered back at him. “You what? So it is true that now that you have money, you don’t want your friends anymore?”

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

    All throughout their trek down the hill, Guo DaLu could only sigh. Yan Qi cast glances at him out of the corner of his eye. “What is wrong with you? Are you feeling unwell?”

    With a pained expression on his face, Guo DaLu replied, “I think I ate something bad. My stomach isn’t feeling very well.”

    Yan Qi said coldly, “I suspect it’s not your stomach that is upset.” He let out an unexpected laugh. “Actually, I know exactly why you’re upset.”

    Guo DaLu: “You do?”

    A sly expression filled Yan Qi’s eyes. “Anyone with a little experience in the world understands the rule, ‘gamble together but visit prostitutes alone.’ Of course I know what you intend to do.”

    Guo DaLu was speechless for quite a while, and then, could only respond with a wry smile. “You think that the reason I was trying to get rid of you guys was to go find women?”

    Yan Qi: “Did you not have those intentions?”

    Guo DaLu did not reply.

    Yan Qi: “To be frank, I insisted on going with you because I wanted you to bring me along to those places. I know that, in regards to these matters, you must have plenty of experience, right?”

    “Mmm…” Guo DaLu responded evasively. He suddenly fell into a violent fit of coughing.

    Yan Qi: “Dashing and suave young men like you must know which places will have the best girls.” Sneaking a glance at Guo DaLu out of the corner of his eye, he continued, “And since we’re all friends here, of course you wouldn’t mind pointing me in the right direction.”

    Red was creeping up Guo DaLu’s cheeks. “Of course, of course.”

    Yan Qi: “So which way are we heading now?”

    Guo DaLu: “Of course we’ll… um… go into the city first and then decide.”

    Yan Qi gave another little laugh. “You really should have brought Wang Laoda and Lin TaiPing along too. It would be an eye-opener for them. I really don’t understand why you were trying to keep it a secret from them.”

    Guo DaLu was not trying to keep this secret from anyone. He did not think that going out to find women was something to be embarrassed about. Not finding a woman was what was really embarrassing. What he was trying to hide was the fact that he did not know where to find women. He had never before had money, so he had not bothered to look. That was why he needed to think so hard now.

    They were fast approaching Xiancheng. The instant they entered the city, Yan Qi asked, “Now where should we go? Which road do we take?”

    Within ten steps, there will always be fragrant grass. [* a phrase that means, beautiful girls will always be nearby] Guo DaLu coughed a few times. “It doesn’t matter which road we take.”

    Yan Qi: “It doesn’t matter?”

    Guo DaLu: “All four roads will have women.”

    Yan Qi laughed. “I know that all four roads will have women, but there are many types of women. The question is, which road will lead to that type of woman that you’re looking for?”

    Guo DaLu wiped the sweat off of his forehead. Pointing at a tea house to the side of the road, he said, “Go there and wait for me. I’ll go search and bring them back to you.”

    Yan Qi blinked at him. “Why do I have to wait here? Can’t we go together?”

    Guo DaLu answered with a serious look on his face, “You don’t understand how it all works. Those places are very secretive. The more hidden they are, the more exciting it is inside. But if the girls see a stranger, they won’t be willing to come out.”

    Yan Qi heaved a sigh. “Alright. You’re the old horse that knows the way, so no matter what, I have to listen to you.”

    Guo DaLu could finally breathe easy again as he watched Yan Qi walk into the tea house. Yan Qi suddenly turned around and shouted, “I’ll be waiting for you here. Don’t try to run off!”

    Guo DaLu hollered back in reply, “Of course I won’t run off!” He really had no intentions of sneaking away. All he wanted to do was figure out what route would lead him to women and what to expect there so that Yan Qi would be in awe of his knowledge.

    “If a dashing and suave young man like me can’t find those places, Yan Qi is going to laugh at me, and I won’t hear the end of it for three to five years.” Guo DaLu picked up his pace. He walked to the end of the street, then turned and continued onto the next one. But this street was exactly the same as the last one: there was a tea house and a pawn shop; there were men, and of course, there were women. “But where can I find that type of women?” But no matter how hard he searched, none of the women looked right. They all looked like proper, respectable women.

    “Women in that business don’t have a sign on their face that announces what they do.” He stood on the side of the road for a long time, lost in thought, as he encouraged and reassured himself, “I have money, so why should I worry that I won’t find women?” He planned on buying himself a new set of clothes first before he did anything else. “People need to wear clothing and Buddha [statue] needs to wear gold.” Dressing up elegantly would definitely score extra points with the women.

    What was strange, though, was that it also seemed difficult to find a shop that sold clothing. After much hard searching, he finally came across one. There was already someone in the shop selecting outfits. It was Yan Qi.
    Last edited by Hoju!; 11-07-07 at 11:11 PM.

  14. #154
    Senior Member Shi-Potian's Avatar
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    I Love This Series Always A Highly Entertaining Read What Im Really Curious About Is Having All These Best Of Brothers Martial Art Adepts Will They Eventually Form Their Own Mansion! Anyway Thanks For The Translation Highly Appreciated!!!

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    it is really entertaining to read such a hilarious comedy...Thumbs up GL...want to read more....also My fav one was peach valley six fairies in smiling proud wanderer

  16. #156
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    Chapter 8 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    What was strange, though, was that it also seemed difficult to find a shop that sold clothing. After much hard searching, he finally came across one. There was already someone in the shop selecting outfits. It was Yan Qi. “The guy didn’t wait for me in the tea house like I told him to.”

    He could hear Yan Qi’s voice from within the shop, laughing as he said, “Give me the best looking outfit. Price is not an issue. I have a date with a beauty today, and I want the clothes I wear to be impressive.”

    Guo DaLu’s brow furrowed. “Could it be that the guy has found his way already?” Guo DaLu couldn’t help feeling annoyed and amused at the same time as he stared at the radiant glow on Yan Qi’s face. “Well, if you’re not keeping your side of the agreement, I don’t have to keep my word either, so you can’t say that I’m sneaking off.”

    He decided that he did not need to change his clothes and instead, would take advantage of the moment to lose Yan Qi. “The ladies like good looks; the owner of the brothel likes money. I have both good looks and money. It shouldn’t matter whether I change into nicer clothes or not.”

    The street he was on also had a tea house. A man carrying a bird cage on his palm was strolling out its doors. He was not old, but there was no spark in his eyes and his face was rather pale. He looked worn-out with that type of exhaustion that anyone looking at him would know what he had been doing the night before.

    Guo DaLu approached him quickly, and, holding one fist in the other hand, smiled pleasantly as he greeted, “My surname is Guo. I know you don’t know me, nor do I know you. But now we’ve met, so we know each other.” He was always direct and to the point.

    Fortunately, the man was not inexperienced in the real world. Pausing only briefly in surprise, he quickly recovered and answered with a smile, “Friend Guo, how may I be of assistance?”

    Guo DaLu: “It would be a waste of one’s youth if one does not spend it romancing.”

    The man replied knowingly, “I understand. Guo xiong [*xiong literally means “brother” but can mean “friend” at times] is looking for some ‘romance’.”

    Guo DaLu: “Exactly. But unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the way there.”

    The man laughed and said, “Well, Guo xiong, you have found the right person. But if you want ‘romance,’ you must have money. If you don’t have money, you will be beat up and thrown out the door.”

    Guo DaLu was thrown out the door. He suddenly realized that the ladies didn’t want good looks; the ladies also wanted money.

    Guo DaLu was not one who was easily picked on, and he most definitely was not one who would take a beating without putting up a fight. But how could he allow himself to fight with that type of woman?

    His shoulder had been bitten a couple of times, and a large goose egg was swelling up on his head where he had been hit. Right now, one of his hands was massaging that lump while the other hand was feeling inside his pocket. The pocket was even emptier than his belly was. He was certain he had placed his share of the treasures inside that pocket, but now it was nowhere to be found.

    The duck skin he had eaten that morning had already been digested, and the wine he had drank had turned into sweat. By nightfall, even his sweat had long dried up.

    Guo DaLu found a deserted temple. Sitting in front of the altar, he stared up, deep in thought, at the clay Buddhist idol. It seemed that the statue was also gazing down at him in contemplation.

    His plan had been perfect: he would first eat a nice, comfortable meal before taking a relaxing bath. He had even imagined the glorious scene where a soft pair of hands was scrubbing his back.

    But what about now?

    Now, the only thing that was scrubbing his back was, not just one, but many stinking bugs. The rush cushion he was sitting on appeared to be the headquarters of those bugs. It felt like the entire world’s bugs were gathered there and, one faction at a time, were moving into his clothes, ready to feast on his back.

    As, one blow after another, his palm slapped down on his back, he wished that he could just die and end all this misery with one slap. “Was I truly fated to live a life of poverty? Can I not just have one day where I don’t have to endure hunger?”

    He suddenly thought about all the advantages of having friends. “Why did I want to come out alone? Why did I choose to lose Yan Qi?” His hunger intensified as he thought about Yan Qi, who was probably happily eating and drinking away at the moment. He was so famished he could nearly swallow those stinking bugs. “It is true that one should never leave his friends behind. No matter what he wants to do, he should still always stay with them. What other things of this world are more worthy to be cherished than friends?” Guo DaLu had suddenly become emotional and appreciative of friendship. This happens to anyone who is in a state of hunger and poverty.

    Fortunately, he was consoled as he knew he would see them again tomorrow. All he hoped for now was that the time would pass quickly – the quicker the better.

    “I miss them so much, but they have probably all forgotten about me. I bet Wang Dong was snoring away long ago. As for Yan Qi, maybe he’s laughing and flirting with that beauty of his right at this instant.”

    As his thoughts turned in that direction, he could not help but let out a long sigh. He suddenly realized that he was a person who truly cherished friendship, that he valued his friends more than they valued him.

    And so, his time of consolation was also mixed with feelings of sadness. In his jumbled emotional state, he temporarily forgot about his situation and drifted off to sleep.

    When he awoke early the next morning, Guo DaLu decided he would go to Kui Yuan Guan to wait for his friends. He had decided that he would first feast on a large meal there, then wait for his friends to come pay the bill. He had even planned to order the best dishes available to compensate for all the suffering he had endured the previous night.

    He had practically forgotten what the cause of hardships had been and felt that everyone should make it up to him. This was probably because his hunger was making him lightheaded and not able to think clearly. To him, it seemed as if his plight was a result of all the sacrifices he had made for his friends. He felt extremely sorry for himself.

    Unfortunately, the owner of Kui Yuan Guan did not feel the same way. When Guo DaLu arrived, not only was the door not open, even the windows were shut. Were they deliberately trying to spite him? When someone is famished to the point that he is ready to faint, his logic is usually flawed and unreasonable.

    He was just about ready to bang on the door when suddenly, he felt a hand pat him on the shoulder and heard a voice chirp, “Good morning.” Yan Qi stood there dressed in a new set of clothes, a radiant glow on his face. He looked like someone whose belly was full and who had had a night of good rest.

    Irritated, Guo DaLu snapped at him, “Good morning? You think it’s still early? If you were still sleeping, the sun would be shining on your buttocks already!”

    Yan Qi laughed. “A night of love is worth a thousand gold pieces. Why didn’t you lie a little longer in your paradise of beautiful women and let the sun shine on you a bit more?”

    Guo DaLu: “There were too many stinking bugs there.”

    Yan Qi? “Bugs? Why would there be that many bugs in a nice brothel?

    Guo DaLu realized that he had let the wrong information slip out from his lips. Coughing a couple of times to cover up his blunder, he smiled and said, “They weren’t really stinking bugs. She just couldn’t keep her hands off me, and her hands were crawling all over my body. It was even more annoying than having bugs crawling on me.”

    Yan Qi blinked, then shook his head and sighed, “The most difficult thing to accept is a beautiful woman’s love. You were in the midst of good fortune, yet you didn’t even know to enjoy it. I wish I could find a few ‘stinking bugs’ who are willing to crawl on me, but I couldn’t.” Guo DaLu threw his head back in laughter.

    He tried to make his laugh sound extra cheery, but instead, the noise that came out sounded more like something that would come from a donkey’s throat – a hungry donkey’s throat.

    Yan Qi eyed him up and down a few times. “Does your stomach not feel well again? You must have eaten too much.”

    Guo DaLu: “Mmm…”

    Chuckling, Yan Qi said, “Since that girl liked you so much, after, she must have personally cooked some good dishes for you to eat to help you regain some of your energy.”

    Guo DaLu gave him a cold stare. “And since when did you become such an expert in these matters?”

    Yan Qi sighed again as he answered, “I could never have your good fortune.”

    Guo DaLu: “Where did you go last night?”

    Yan Qi: “You should be ashamed to even ask. I waited forever for you in the tea house, but I didn’t catch even a glimpse of your shadow. So all I could do was wander around like a lonely, unwanted ghost. I nearly did not even find a place to sleep.”

    Guo DaLu’s teeth grated together in fury, but yet he could not expose Yan Qi’s lie. Forcing a chuckle, he replied, “It’s your own fault you didn’t have enough patience to wait a little longer. So because of you, I had to manage several girls at once. It was such a pain!”

    Yan Qi shook his head, moaning and sighing continuously, as if he regretted his mistake incredibly. Guo DaLu’s spirits were lifted a little, so he added in a kinder tone, “You really don’t need to be too disappointed. You will always have your chance next time. There was this really cute girl who was not only pretty but gentle and considerate as well. You didn’t even need to ask for something, and she would already know what you wanted and would prepare it for you.”

    Yan Qi listened with his eyes wide. “If that’s the case, she is practically like a merciful clay Buddha who rescues the needy.”

    Guo DaLu paused in surprise. “Clay Buddha? Where did you suddenly get a clay Buddha from?” His mind was whisked back to the temple and the clay Buddhist statue from the previous night."

    Yan Qi gave a little laugh. “I meant that type of female ‘Buddha’ who specializes in ‘rescuing’ men.”

    In relief, Guo DaLu let out the breath he had been holding. The heart of a thief [*thief in this context is meant to encompass someone who knows he has done something wrong] always responds with more guilt.

    Yan Qi: “So, what special dishes did your female Buddha make for you to eat this morning?”

    Guo DaLu swallowed his saliva hungrily as he answered nonchalantly, “Oh, it was really nothing special. Just some yan wo [*swallows nest that is edible and considered a delicacy], chicken soup, noodles, baozi [*steamed buns with some sort of filling], ham, and eggs.”

    He wished he could name every food that he wanted to eat right then. Even if he couldn’t eat them, at the very least, hearing their names might lessen his hunger. Alas, though, he had to stop. If he continued any further down his list, he would start salivating in front of Yan Qi.

    Yan Qi sighed again. “It seems that not only do you have good fortune with the ladies, your mouth also has good fortune when it comes to food. But I’m so hungry I’m about to starve to death. I have to find a place to eat.”

    He had not even finished speaking before Guo DaLu asked eagerly, “Where are you going to go? I’ll go with you.”

    Yan Qi: “Oh, there’s no need. I know you’re already full. I would feel bad asking you to come along.”

    Guo DaLu was getting so anxious he could barely contain it, and he was just about to tell the truth. Luckily for him, Kui Yuan Guan’s door suddenly opened a crack. A head peered from around the door at them, the eyelids only half open, as if the person was never fully awake. With a lazy expression on his face, the person cast a sideways glance at them and said casually, “Our little restaurant here has food for you to eat. Dear patrons, why would you forfeit something so close to find a place further away?

    Yan Qi and Guo DaLu’s faces broke into large grins.

    “Wang Dong!”

    Guo DaLu could not help but laugh. “You are always so mysterious in your ways. When did you arrive here? When did you become one of Kui Yuan Guan’s employees?”

    Wang Dong: “It is a rare occurrence to be treated to a meal by our Guo Dashao [*dashao = young master]. Don’t you think it would have been a huge loss to me if I overslept and missed this opportunity? So instead, I decided to come here last night and stay the night. It saved me a trip in the morning, too.”

    Yan Qi let out a laugh. “What a great idea. Everything Wang Laoda does is well thought out. I’m sure our host is extremely touched that he has the privilege of treating such a sincere guest to a meal.”

    Guo DaLu felt victimized and miserable but yet, could not say anthing. He could only respond with a dry laugh, “Haha. I am so tremendously touched. In fact, I’m so frigging extremely touched.”

    Wang Dong: “You don’t have to feel touched quite yet. Wait until we all start eating; that’s when you should feel touched.”

    Yan Qi: “That’s right. We’ll make sure he’s so frigging touched he’ll be shedding tears.”

    Kui Yuan Guan was a relatively larger place. In addition to its main level, which already had seventeen or eighteen tables, it had an upstairs level. At night, the tables were pushed together, and the staff would lay out some bedding on top to sleep. The seven staff members now were slowly arising, the sleep still heavy in their eyes. One by one, they greeted Wang Dong in a respectful, yet at the same time, familiar tone of voice.

    “Wang Dage [*dage = big brother, in a respectful tone], the people you were waiting for have arrived?”

    “Hurry; come take care of Wang Dage’s guests.”

    Guo DaLu’s eyes were bulging in amazement. He was tempted to ask Wang Dong when he had become these people’s dage. He suddenly realized that not only were Wang Dong’s ways mysterious, he also had a couple tricks up his sleeve when it came to making friends. He knew that he, himself, would never be able to befriend a restaurant’s employees.

    Yan Qi, though, could not control his urge and asked, “Did you used to come here often?”

    Wang Dong: “This is my first time here.”

    Yan Qi’s eyes also widened in surprise, and he could not help feeling admiration for Wang Dong. In one night, he had earned the respect of the restaurant’s entire staff. That was not a simple feat.

    Wang Dong: “Feel free to order whatever you want to eat. I’ll tell them to go start the fires in the kitchen.”

    Yan Qi: “I’ll have a bowl of noodles with chicken and three eggs cooked in the soup. Also, bring me a couple of pan-fried spareribs. If there is fish and other meats, bring me some of that as well.”

    Wang Dong: “I will have an order of the exact same. Now, what will it be for Guo Dashao?

    Hungrily, Guo DaLu swallowed his saliva again. “I’ll …”

    The words had not even left his lips before Yan Qi interrupted, “He doesn’t want anything. He has eaten so much already he is stuffed to the brim.”

    Guo DaLu was fretting and fuming at the same time. He was so angry his teeth were chattering and his hands were shaking. He would have liked nothing more than to stuff his fist into that mouth that was being so lippy.

    Yan Qi’s stared back at him innocently, his eyes sparkling as if they were secretly laughing. All of a sudden, he asked, “Where’s Lin TaiPing? Has he arrived yet?”

    Wang Dong: “He’s here. He is still fast asleep upstairs.”

    Yan Qi: “I never would have known that he has such a strong talent for sleeping as well.”

    But there was no one upstairs, not even the shadow of a ghost.
    Last edited by Hoju!; 11-07-07 at 11:11 PM.

  17. #157
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Chapter 8 continued.....
    --------------------------------------------------

    But there was no one upstairs, not even the shadow of a ghost.

    Several tables had been pushed together in the corner of the room. Blankets were on top of the tables, but there was nobody in the blankets.

    Yan Qi: “Where is he?”

    Wang Dong had also paused in shock. “When I went downstairs, he was still sleeping here. Where could he have disappeared to?”

    Yan Qi: “You didn’t see him go downstairs?” Wang Dong shook his head as he fixed his stare upon a window.

    Yan Qi chuckled. “The lad’s way of doing things is also a bit mysterious. No one is telling him to pay the tab so why sneak off?” His eyes followed Wang Dong’s gaze. There were a total of eight windows upstairs, but only that window in particular was open. “Was that window open a little while ago?”

    Wang Dong: “No. I do not like sleeping with windows open because I am afraid I may catch a cold.” He walked slowly over to the open window. Directly below the window was Kui Yuan Guan’s back door, which faced a brook. A small bridge was built over the brook.

    The water was dirty and had a foul smell, and the bridge was old and crumbling. But the sun had just risen. Its soft light shone upon the water. The mist of dawn had not yet dissipated. A gentle breeze whispered among the drooping leaves of the willow trees growing along the bank. The faint cry of a chicken’s call carried on the wind. Looking at the scene, it almost suggested something from a poem or a painting.

    The setting was spoiled, though, by a married woman, squatting beside the brook with a child on her back, washing a toilet receptacle.

    Yan Qi wrinkled his brow, then wrinkled his nose as well before shouting down, “Excuse me, Madam. Someone just jumped down from this window a moment ago. Did you happen to notice him?”

    The woman lifted her head briefly to glare at him before lowering it back down again. “It is so early in the morning still. Could it be this person saw a ghost?”

    Seeing that he got nowhere with his question, Yan Qi gave a wry smile. “Where could he have gone? Maybe he has fallen into the brook and drowned?”

    Guo DaLu’s temper was rising as he felt his stomach getting emptier and emptier by the instant, and he felt like picking a fight with someone. Scowling, he said, “That’s one less annoyance if he did drown. My only fear is that he didn’t drown.”

    Wang Dong looked at him from the corner of his eye. “Why does this guy have such a flaming temper so early in the morning? Did he not release most of his fiery energy last night?”

    Yan Qi sniggered, “Someone had both stinking bugs and a female Buddha last night. No matter how big his fire was, it should have been completely channelled out of him.”

    Wang Dong: “Female Buddha? Bugs? Could it be that he slept in an abandoned temple last night? If that is the case, he would have been better off to come here and sleep on some tables instead.”

    Guo DaLu’s whole face flushed red in that instant. Fortunately, a waiter was coming up the stairs carrying two bowls of noodles – two very large bowls of noodles. There were also two big plates of fish and spareribs on the side. Waves of delicious smells wafted up into Guo DaLu’s nose with the steam of the dishes. How could Guo DaLu bear it?

    Guo DaLu suddenly focused intently at something under the table, as if there were several little monsters putting on a performance there. Even though Yan Qi and Wang Dong’s mouths were chewing on noodles, their eyes could not help but follow his gaze under the table. Seizing this opportunity, Guo DaLu’s arm flew forward towards the biggest sparerib and tried to snatch it up.

    But his hand had just touched the sparerib when, all of a sudden, a pair of chopsticks was flying horizontally towards him, and “bam!” solidly struck the back of his hand.

    Yan Qi had been looking sideways at him. Laughing, he said, “You’ve just eaten seventeen or eighteen different dishes and you still want to steal other people’s meat. Could it be that you are really a hungry ghost reincarnated?”

    That guy truly was born with a pair of sneaky, thieving eyes.

    Guo DaLu’s face grew red as he withdrew his arm and muttered, “Can’t even tell good from bad intentions. I was being nice and shooing away a fly for him, and he turns around and accuses me.”

    Yan Qi: “Such a cold day, where would a fly come from?”

    Wang Dong: “There may not be any flies, but at least there are a few stinking bugs.”

    Guo DaLu didn’t know what the problem was with these two today. At every moment possible, they were trying to harass him; every instant available, they were acting against him. The only thing he could do was ignore him. For a long while, he stared off into space.

    Suddenly, he grinned and asked, “Do you know what I am thinking right now?” No one answered because their mouths were stuffed with meat. Guo DaLu had to answer the question himself. “I am thinking that this bowl of noodles must taste pretty good.”

    Yan Qi swallowed a mouthful of the noodle’s soup to help wash the noodles into his belly before replying with a sweet smile, “You are right. We rarely get to eat such tasty noodles.”

    Guo DaLu: “Do you know why that bowl of noodles tastes particularly different?”

    Yan Qi blinked. “Why?”

    Guo DaLu replied nonchalantly: “Because that bowl of noodles was made using water from the brook. Water used to wash toilet buckets will naturally taste particularly different.”

    Yan Qi, surprisingly, showed no reaction but instead, laughed and said, “Even eating noodles made from foot-washing water would be better than being starved and not having any noodles to eat.”

    Guo DaLu was silent for a long moment. Suddenly, he jumped up, spread his arms, and shouted, “I want to eat too! I must eat! Anyone who doesn’t let me eat, I will fight him with my life!”

    Lin TaiPing sat, staring in silence.

    He had returned long ago, sitting in silence the whole time, as if he was waiting for someone to ask him, “Why did you suddenly disappear? Where did you go? What did you do?”

    But no one asked him; it was as if he had never even left. So, he had to reveal the answer himself. He first cast a glance at Guo DaLu before saying in a low tone, “I just saw someone; you will never guess who it was.”

    As expected, Guo DaLu could not contain his curiosity and asked, “Do I know that person?”

    Lin TaiPing: “Even if you don’t know him, at the very least, you have seen him before.”

    Guo DaLu: “Who is he?”

    Lin TaiPing: “I do not know who he is either because I don’t know him.”

    Guo DaLu paused, then smiled wryly as he said, “What country’s language is this person speaking? Which one of you understands what he is saying?”

    Lin TaiPing paid no attention to him as he continued, “Even though I don’t know him, I recognize his clothes.”

    Guo DaLu could not help asking again, “What clothes are those?”

    Lin TaiPing: “Black clothes.”

    Guo DaLu guffawed. “The entire street is filled with people wearing black clothing. You can choose a place at random and find several dozen of them.”

    Lin TaiPing: “Aside from his clothes, I also recognized that person’s sword.”

    Guo DaLu finally caught on to something. He immediately asked, “What type of sword?”

    Lin TaiPing: “A sword, one foot seven inches in length, paired with a four foot long sheathe.”

    Guo DaLu exhaled loudly. “When did you see him?”

    Lin TaiPing: “When the two of you arrived.”

    Guo DaLu laughed unexpectedly. “Do you think this situation is very strange?”

    Lin TaiPing: “You do not believe it is strange?”

    Guo DaLu: “He was supposed to come to Xiancheng to report on the completion of his mission. It would be strange if you did not see him here.”

    Lin TaiPing: “He was supposed to hand Golden Lion, GunZi, Feng QiWu, and the stolen goods over to the yamen [*a government office], correct?”

    Guo DaLu: “Yes.”

    Lin TaiPing: “But no one within the yamen has heard anything about this. In the last couple of days, no prisoners have been brought into custody.”

    Guo DaLu finally felt a little alarmed. “How do you know?”

    Lin TaiPing: “I have already gone to the yamen and inquired about it.”

    Guo DaLu thought for a moment. “Perhaps he is going to transport the prisoners to a different place to be put in custody.”

    Lin TaiPing : “There are no prisoners.”

    Guo DaLu frowned. “What do you mean, ‘no prisoners?’ ”

    Lin TaiPing: “ ‘No prisoners’ means Golden Lion, GunZi, and Feng QiWu have completely disappeared; even the loot is gone. I followed his trail all the way to where he is staying. He was the only one there.”

    Guo DaLu paused in shock.

    Yan Qi and Wang Dong were also silent.

    Lin TaiPing grabbed the wine in front of Guo DaLu and guzzled it down until there was nothing left. Nonchalantly, he said, “Now do you think it is a little strange?”

    Guo DaLu: “Indeed.”


    End of Chapter 8
    Last edited by Hoju!; 11-07-07 at 11:12 PM.

  18. #158
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    Indeed even I think it is a little strange!! :-) thanks Hoju!

  19. #159
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    What a shocking plot twist! If Lin TaiPing is implying that the black clothed man was in cahoots with those corrupt officials, then I admit that I was swindled along with Guo DaLu and gang. People with jiangwu experience are terrifyingly ruthless!

    Still curious how Guo DaLu lost his fortune. From the way Yan Qi teases, it would appear that he may be responsible just to teach Guo some humility.
    Last edited by 9Dragons; 10-19-07 at 11:40 AM.

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    Perhaps Yan Qi is indeed a woman in love with Guo DaLu and prevented her lover to visit brothels. This novel is great with all these little mysteries!

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