Happy Heroes 07 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2008 07:37

Chapter 6 – The Secret Underneath the Bed


Anyone who first heard the name “Wealthy Manor” before actually going there was guaranteed to be shocked when they arrived. It was not often that you saw a manor that was “wealthy” in the way that this one was.

Guo DaLu laughed. “Normally this place does not have lamps or oil, but fortunately, I bought some candles today or else we would all have to eat in the dark.”

Wang Dong: “Actually, eating in the dark can be quite entertaining.” Once he returned home, the first thing he usually did was take off his shoes and climb onto his bed. Today, though, he did not even walk in that direction, but rather, sat down far away from it and said, “If you do not mind that it is dirty, please feel free to take a seat on the floor.”

Golden Lion laughed. “That is an ancient practice anyway. Our ancestors originally sat on the floor.”

Guo DaLu: “We have captured the spirit of ancient customs more completely than anyone else then. We even sleep on the floor.”

Golden Lion: “So what about the bed?”

They had all been trying to prevent the guests from focusing their attention on the bed, but anyone who walked into the house could not help but notice it.

Wang Dong: “I sleep on the bed by myself.”

Guo DaLu: “It’s not because this owner of the bed is being selfish. It’s because we think it’s too dirty.

They were the only three in the house who were speaking. Lin TaiPing, Yan Qi, and GunZi had not even opened their mouths, and the black-clothed man still had not stepped through the doorway. He stood in the courtyard holding his hands behind his back, blending into the gloominess of the night.

Golden Lion: “Young friend, may I ask who taught you your martial arts?” Everyone was relieved that he had changed the topic away from discussing the bed.

Guo DaLu: “I have several shifu, but they have only ever taught one student.”

Golden Lion: “And may I ask who they are?”

Guo DaLu: “The teacher who taught me basic skills is ‘Divine Fist Expert,’ Mr. Liu Hu. Then there is ‘Invincible Sabre,’ Mr. Yang Bin; ‘Spear Piercing Nine Dragons,’ Teacher Zhao Guang; ‘Divine Sabre Iron Arm,’ Mr. Hu DeYang; …” Golden Lion’s eyes widened as he listened. The more names Guo DaLu rattled off, the wider his eyes became, as if he was in shock. He really had never heard of any of these names.

In the martial world, there was an interesting reality: the more intimidating a person’s martial name, the more average and insignificant his martial arts, especially names along the lines of “Spear Piercing Nine Dragons” or “Divine Sabre Iron Arm,” which sounded like names of street performers. If a reputable martial arts master chose such a martial name for himself, people would laugh so hard that their front teeth fell out.

After spitting out all these elaborate martial names, Guo DaLu smiled and asked, “Have you ever heard my shifus’ names mentioned before?”

Golden Lion coughed a couple of times. “I have long heard of these names. Ahem… long heard of them.” With a sudden lift of his leg, he darted to the bed. Grabbing the edge of it, he jumped into the air and lifted the bed with him. Guo DaLu, Wang Dong, Yan Qi, and Lin Tai Ping felt as if their hearts were also being tossed upwards. Should the five boxes underneath the bed be discovered that day, even if they could ward off Golden Lion’s sabre, GunZi’s claw, and the black-clothed man’s sword, they still would never be free from the stigma of being a thief. They were still young; if they had to carry the shame of being a thief, when would they ever be able to hold their heads up again?

But there was not a single box under the bed; there was nothing at all.

Guo DaLu nearly shouted out in surprise. Golden Lion also appeared to pause for a moment before he slowly lowered the bed. Forcing a smile, he said, “I was certain that I just saw a mouse. Where did it suddenly disappear to?”

With a cool tone, Wang Dong asked, “Was it a white mouse or a black one?”

Golden Lion: “Um… I could not see it very clearly.”

Wang Dong: “A white mouse indicates wealth. White mice are frequently seen in places where gold is hidden. Tomorrow, I’ll still go dig in that spot to be sure; perhaps there really are a few boxes of gold buried there.” His face was still cold and did not show a hint of expression on it.

Guo DaLu shot a glare at him. “Perhaps if you, Brother Jin, stayed here for a while, you might gain a small fortune as well.”

Golden Lion forced another smile. “No thank you. I was not destined to have easy money.”

Even though the manor was old, much attention had been paid during its original construction. The ground was paved with bluestone tiles, but moss had grown in the gaps between the tiles. Anyone could see that the tiles had not been moved for at least ten years.

GunZi suddenly stood. “I feel drunk. We will say our farewells.” He had not drank a single drop of wine and was obviously lying, but no one was going to point this out. Everyone felt that the lie had been spoken at the perfect moment.

GunZi and Golden Lion had left for quite some time before Guo DaLu could breathe easy again. Smiling, he said, “Our Wang Laoda [*biggest brother] is brilliant. If he hadn’t moved the boxes, we would have been caught red-handed.”

Wang Dong: “Who is Wang Laoda?”

Guo DaLu: “You, of course.”

Wang Dong: “Do you actually think that I am the person who moved those five boxes and then hid them?” Guo DaLu paused. It was probably easier to tell the boxes to move Wang Dong than to get Wang Dong to move boxes.

Scratching his head, Guo DaLu asked, “But if it wasn’t you, who was it?” He turned his head and saw YanQi.

Yan Qi: “Don’t look at me. I’m not necessarily much more hardworking than Wang Laoda.”

Lin TaiPing: “I have never moved boxes in my entire life.” His hands were white and small and nearly softer than a young girl’s face.

Guo DaLu scratched his head until his scalp nearly bled. “So if none of you moved the boxes, did they grow legs and run away themselves?”

Guo DaLu scratched his head until his scalp nearly bled. “So if none of you moved the boxes, did they grow legs and run away themselves?”

Wang Dong: “The boxes may not have legs, but Sour Plum Soup does. And, she should definitely have a pair of nice-looking feet.” Wang Dong’s sentences usually were a conclusion. Aside from Sour Plum Soup, they simply could not think of anyone else who would know that there were five boxes under the bed, much less move those boxes.

Yan Qi: “She accomplished her purpose, so naturally, she would not leave us those five large boxes for free.”

Lin TaiPing: “And she took advantage of the opportunity to move the boxes out when she saw us all head down the mountain.”

Wang Dong stretched lazily. “It’s actually good that she moved them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep comfortably on my bed.”

Lin TaiPing: “I find one thing strange, though. None of us even glanced in the direction of the bed. Why would Golden Lion be suspicious that there was something under the bed?”

Wang Dong: “Perhaps he was suspicious because of the fact that none of us cast a single glance at the bed.” This was also a conclusion: the more you deliberately demonstrate that you do not care about something, the more it shows that you actually do care. This is especially true with girls. If a girl is friendly and pleasant to everyone and only ignores you, then that possibly means that in her heart, there is nobody but you.

Lin TaiPing let out a sigh and said, “It seems that this Pekingese is truly a formidable individual.”

Yan Qi: “The man is shrewd and cunning. Behind his smiles, he hides daggers. He is much more fearsome than GunZi.”

Guo DaLu had not spoken in quite a while but suddenly said, “The boxes were definitely not taken by Sour Plum Soup.”

Yan Qi: “If it wasn’t her, who was it?”

Guo DaLu: “If she had really wanted to transport the boxes, she would not have stayed here yesterday.”

Yan Qi: “Why?”

Guo DaLu: “Moving those five boxes out of the city would have been a lot more difficult today compared to yesterday. Why wouldn’t she have chosen to do it yesterday instead? Is she a fool?”

Yan Qi laughed sarcastically. “Of course she’s not the fool. I am. But I still cannot think of anyone else who would have moved the boxes.”

Guo DaLu suddenly laughed. “Why is it that every time Sour Plum Soup is mentioned, you become grouchy? Could it be that you have taken a fancy to her as well? Would you like me to give her up to you?”

Yan Qi: “Why do I need you to give her up? Does she belong to you?”

Lin TaiPing sighed. “You haven’t even had the chance to drink your sour plum soup, and you have already drank several bowls of vinegar [*to drink vinegar is to be jealous]. Why would you do that to yourself?”

Yan Qi smiled. His smile was unique and very attractive. When people smile, some smiles start at the eyes, others start on the face. His smile, though, started at his nose, which would wrinkle up into a little spot. It would then spread until two deep dimples slowly appeared on his face. Guo DaLu stared at him. Shaking his head, he said, “If this guy did not act the way he does, I would definitely think that he was a woman.”

Yan Qi glared back at him. “If I am a woman, then you’re a big flirt.”

Guo DaLu: “Of course I know that you’re not a woman. But your smile, your dimples…”

Yan Qi: “So what if I have dimples? Don’t you know that dimples only mean that you can hold a lot of wine?”

Guo DaLu suddenly reached out and grabbed his hand. “Let’s go! We’ll go drink some wine.”

Yan Qi: “Where?”

Guo DaLu: “At the foot of the mountain.”

Yan Qi: “The wine here has not even been finished. Why would you want to go down the mountain?”

Guo DaLu blinked. “I have heard that Mai LaoGuang barbecues his meats in the middle of the night. I want to eat a barbecue duck fresh out of the furnace.”

Yan Qi: “I’m not as gluttonous as you are. Go by yourself.”

Guo DaLu: “You know I never drink alone.”

Yan Qi: “You can bring Wang Laoda with you.”

Guo DaLu: “Even if held a knife to his throat right now, he still would not get out of his bed.”

Yan Qi: “If he does not go, I’m not going either.”

Guo DaLu laughed. “You’re not some lady. Why would you not feel comfortable going with me?”

For a moment, it seemed as if Yan Qi’s face had turned pink. “I said I’m not going and I mean it. Why won’t you let go of me?”

Guo DaLu laughed. “I am going to make you go. I don’t care if you are a guy or a girl, you’re going with me.”

Wang Dong gave a sigh. “In my opinion, you should just go with him. You have only yourself to blame for not being more careful when you chose to befriend him. Now if you don’t go, I will not be able to get any sleep either.”

Yan Qi also sighed. “It is fortunate that I am a man. If I was a woman, I really would not be able to put up with him.”

Laughing, Guo DaLu replied, “If you really were a woman, I think I would be the one who wouldn’t be able to stand it.” When you cross paths with someone like Guo DaLu, you never know what to do with him.

In the end, he finally managed to drag Yan Qi out with him. However, they had just stepped out the front door when the two of them paused in surprise. It was already deep into the night. The people of the mountain city should have been fast asleep, and some would actually soon be rising out of bed. But the foot of the mountain was illuminated by the light of lamps and candles. In the three months since Guo DaLu had arrived, he had never once seen the city lit up so brilliantly. Guo DaLu asked, “Could it be that today is the New Year?”

Yan Qi: “I don’t think so.”

Guo DaLu: “If it’s not New Year’s, then why is it so lively?” He grabbed Yan Qi’s hand again. “Let’s hurry and join in with the excitement.”

Yan Qi: “I know how to walk. Why do you feel the need to always hold onto my hand?”

Guo DaLu grinned back at him. “If you don’t want me to hold your hand, then you should hold my hand instead.”

Yan Qi sighed. “It seems that I should change my name to Yan Ba.” [*ba = eight]

Guo DaLu: “Why?”

Yan Qi: “Meeting someone like you makes me want to go die one more time.”

End of Chapter 6