Happy Heroes 35 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2008 20:13

Chapter 34 – The Ghost Gentleman

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What if you lived in a secluded place, and what if someone knocked on your door in the middle of the night and requested politely, “I am tired and thirsty, and I missed my opportunities for lodging. I am hoping I could stay here for the night, and I kindly ask for a bit of water to drink.”? Well then, as long as you were a person, you would certainly respond with, “Please come in.”

Guo DaLu was a person. He was already normally a very forthright and hospitable person, and after he drank wine, he was even more forthright and hospitable. Right now, he had just finished drinking, and the amount he drank was not trivial.

Not long after Commander Jin left, he heard someone knocking on the door, and he rushed out to open it. The person who had knocked on the door said politely to him, “I am tired and thirsty, and I missed my opportunities for lodging. I am hoping I could stay here for the night, and I kindly ask for a bit of water to drink.”


Guo DaLu, of course, should have replied, “Please come in,” but these words unexpectedly would not come out of his mouth. When he saw this person, he suddenly felt as if something was jammed in his throat and not a single word would come out.

The person who knocked on the door was a black-clothed person. He was covered in black clothing, black pants, and black boots. Even his face was veiled with a black cloth so that only a pair of shimmering, deep black eyes was exposed. On his back, he carried a long sword in a black scabbard.

A sword more than five feet in length.

There were no lights in the doorway. As this person stood there, he seemed to be the incarnation of darkness itself. The instant he laid eyes on this individual, Guo DaLu’s drunkenness seemed to clear up by several notches. He nearly could not restrain himself and almost blurted out, “NanGong Chou!”

 

In reality, he had never seen what NanGong Chou really looked like. The one he had seen was actually Mei RuJia. Although this man’s attire and appearance, even the sword that he carried, was completely identical to Mei RuJia the time he had appeared with GunZi at Mai LaoGuang’s barbecue meats shop, Guo DaLu was absolutely certain that this was not Mei RuJia. It was not because he was slightly taller than Mei RuJia or because he was a little thinner – what could it be? Even Guo DaLu himself did not really know.

When Mei RuJia was dressed in the black attire, he seemed to carry a fierce and menacing aura of death. This man did not have that. He neither had an aura of death or the aura of a human being. In fact, he did not seem to carry any sort of aura at all, as if he would not have any reaction even if you gave him a solid kick.

But Guo DaLu was willing to guarantee that, regardless of who it was, no one would be willing to even touch one of this man’s fingers. The pupils of his eyes were very black and very bright, not all that different from any other ordinary person who practiced martial arts, yet for some reason, he only needed to take one glance at you and your entire body would seem to grow uncomfortable.

Right then, he was looking at Guo DaLu.

Guo DaLu’s whole body was feeling uncomfortable, like awakening on the second day from a drunken stupor. His palms were clammy and his head was pounding so hard that he wished he could snatch up a sabre and chop it off.

The black-clothed man’s eyes were still on him. It was obvious that he was waiting for Guo DaLu’s response. However, Guo DaLu seemed to have forgotten to answer him. The black-clothed man did not say a word. Turning around abruptly, he began slowly walking away. The way he walked was also very normal except that the pace he was moving at was particularly slow. With every step, he would first take a look in front of him before he would set his foot down, as if he was afraid that his next step would be on thin air and take him tumbling into a ditch filled with water or as if he was worried that he might kill an ant on the ground. At the way he was going, he would still not be off the mountain by the following afternoon.

Guo DaLu could not help himself as he spoke up unexpectedly, “Wait a minute.”

The black-clothed man did not even turn his head. “No need to wait.”

Guo DaLu: “Why?”

Black-clothed man: “Since it is inconvenient here, then I will not force it.” After he finished these couple of sentences, he walked forward another two steps.

With a loud laugh, Guo DaLu said, “Who said it would be inconvenient? Within an eight hundred li radius, there is no other place that is as welcoming to guests as this one is. Please hurry and come in.”

The black-clothed man was still hesitant. It was only after quite a lengthy moment that he finally turned his head around. Guo DaLu had to wait for another long while before he walked back to the door. “You are really inviting me inside?” He spoke extremely slowly, but he used very few words. Something that would require ten words for other people to say, he would only need at most six or seven words.

Guo DaLu: “Yes, honestly. Please come in.”

Black-clothed man: “You will not regret it?”

Smiling, Guo DaLu answered, “Why would I regret it? You need not even mention one night; even if you stayed for three or five months, we would still welcome you just the same.” His generous tendencies were starting to flare-up again.

Black-clothed man: “Thank you.” He finally stepped into the courtyard, his eyes fixated only on the path before him and not looking over at anything else. Yan Qi and Wang Dong were watching him from the window and their expressions, too, showed shock. As the black-clothed man reached the corridor, he halted.

“Please go in first and have a cup of wine to drink,” Guo DaLu invited with a pleasant smile.

“No.”

Guo DaLu: “You never drink?”

Black-clothed man: “At times I will.”

Guo DaLu: “And when are the times that you will?”

Black-clothed man: “After I have killed someone.”

Stunned, Guo DaLu paused a moment before muttering, “If that is the case, it’s best if you don’t drink then.” But then right after, as he thought about it, he found this hilarious. Mr. Guo would actually tell someone not to drink. This was a first.

The black-clothed man stood motionless at the start of that corridor. “There are guest rooms in the back. Since you will not be drinking wine, then please head over there,” Guo DaLu told him.

“That will not be necessary.”

Guo DaLu paused again. “Not necessary? What is not necessary?”

Black-clothed man: “It is not necessary to go to the guest room.”

Guo DaLu: “Don’t tell me that you want to sleep right here.”

Black-clothed man: “Yes.” As if he could not be bothered to speak to Guo DaLu anymore, he slowly closed his eyes and leaned himself against a column at the head of the corridor.

Guo DaLu could not help asking again, “If you are going to sleep here, are you not going to at least lie down?”

Black-clothed man: “Not necessary.”

Guo DaLu: “Not necessary to lie down?”

Black-clothed man: “Yes.”

Guo DaLu was speechless. The look on his face was as if he had seen a talking horse.



“Horses do not talk.”

“But only a horse would stand up to sleep.”

“He is a horse?”

“No.”

“Who do you think he is?”

“NanGong Chou!”

Yan Qi nodded. This time, he was finally agreeing with what Guo DaLu was saying.

The black-clothed man stood resting against the column, and he actually appeared to be really asleep. He himself looked like pillar – straight, cold, hard, responseless, emotionless.

With a sigh, Guo DaLu remarked, “If this person is not NanGong Chou, then there is no one else in the world who could be NanGong Chou.”

“Regardless of whether he is a horse or NanGong Chou, he has nothing to do with us in the least bit,” Wang Dong spoke up.

“He does,” Guo DaLu contradicted.

Wang Dong: “What would he have to do with us?”

Guo DaLu: “For someone like NanGong Chou, if he did not have a purpose, why would he come here?”

Wang Dong: “Why couldn’t he come here?”

Guo DaLu: “What would he come here for?”

Wang Dong: “No matter what sort of person he is, he still needs to find a place to sleep at night.”

Guo DaLu: “Do you really believe he came here just to sleep?”

Wang Dong: “He is sleeping right now.”

Guo DaLu: “If he is going to sleep that way, he could sleep anywhere. Why would he deliberately come here just to sleep?”

Wang Dong: “Regardless of what his purpose is, nevertheless he is still sleeping now, and so…”

Guo DaLu: “And so what?”

Wang Dong: “And so we should all go to sleep too.” This was his conclusion. And so, he went off to go sleep. When Wang Dong said he was going to bed, it did not matter what else you wanted him to do as it would not get done.

However, Guo DaLu still stood by the window staring. “Why are you not going to bed yet?” Yan Qi asked him.

Guo DaLu answered, “I want to see if he really is sleeping and how long he can sleep like that.”

Yan Qi was gnawing on his lip as he protested, “But this is my room. I want to sleep.”

“Then go have your sleep. I won’t be noisy and disturb you,” Guo DaLu told him.

Yan Qi: “You can’t.”

Guo DaLu: “Why can’t I?”

Yan Qi: “I cannot sleep when there is someone else in my room.”

Guo DaLu chuckled, “If you get married and have a wife in the future, will you tell her to go sleep in a separate room?”

Yan Qi’s cheeks seemed to redden slightly. Glowering, he snapped, “How do you know for sure that I am going to get married and have a wife?”

Guo DaLu replied, “Because there only two types of people in the world who won’t take a wife.”

“Which two?” Yan Qi asked curiously.

With a wide grin, Guo DaLu said, “One type is monks. The other type is those half-male-but-not-female people. In any case, you would not fall within one of those types.”

Yan Qi was getting somewhat irritated and retorted, “Even if I must marry and take a wife, I would definitely not marry someone who was a stinky man like you.” He had been a little annoyed before, but after he said this sentence, his face flushed an even deeper red color.

Suddenly, Guo DaLu pulled Yan Qi close to himself. “Look. What is that over there on the wall?” he whispered.

Just when Yan Qi was ready to fling him off, he noticed a head peeking up over the top of the wall. The night was very dark. He was not able to clearly see this person’s face, only a pair of bright, clear eyes that was looking every way. Fortunately, they had not lit any lamps, and therefore this person had not seen them. After surveying all four directions, the head suddenly withdrew back down.

Smirking quietly, Guo DaLu gloated, “See, my guess was correct. That person not only has malicious intentions, there is also more than just him alone.”

Yan Qi: “You believe that he came here first so that they could have someone acting from the inside?”

Guo DaLu: “It must be.”

Although the black-clothed man was still standing there unmoving, Yan Qi could not help staring at him as if mesmerized. Lack of action often can be a very frightening type of action. Even if Yan Qi really had wanted to sleep, by now, he had completely forgotten about it. An unknown period of time passed when he suddenly heard Guo DaLu muttering, “Weird. Really weird.”

Yan Qi: “What is weird?”

Guo DaLu: “How come your body is not the least bit smelly?”

Only then did Yan Qi notice that he was standing very close to Guo DaLu, practically resting in his embrace. It was fortunate there were no lights in the room so the color of his complexion or the expression on his face could not be seen. Taking two steps back immediately, he nibbled on his own lip and snapped, “Am I allowed to not smell?”

Guo DaLu replied, “No.”

“Why?” Yan Qi could not stop himself from asking.

Guo DaLu: “Because I have never seen you bathe or change your clothes. You should stink horribly.”

Yan Qi: “Bull***t!”

Guo DaLu: “Bull***t stinks even more."

Yan Qi glared fiercely at him, as if he wanted to box his ears, but luckily for him, right at that moment, someone swept nimbly over the top of the wall like a wisp of smoke and landed inside the house. Obviously, this person was not really like smoke but he was indeed very light. After soaring three zhang in that single leap, he touched down on the ground and surprisingly, did not make even the slightest bit of noise. His body was not only very light, it was also unusually thin and slight, virtually like the build of a child. However, on his face, he had a long beard that almost seemed to have grown together with his loose and unkempt hair that covered half of his face and showed only a crafty, fox-like pair of eyes.

Those eyes swept quickly over everywhere, then came to rest on the black-clothed man leaning against the column. The black-clothed man still had not stirred or opened his eyes. All of a sudden, the person gave a wave of his hand and then immediately, three other people flew in from outside the wall. As would be expected, the physiques of these three people were bigger, but their lightness kung fu was not weak. They were dressed in dark clothing suitable for slipping through the night and in their hands, they carried weapons. One used judge’s brushes, another used a curved sword [弧形剑], the third used a chain dart[链子枪], while the thin, withered old man carried a pair of steel rings. All four were razor sharp unorthodox weapons that were extremely difficult to master. Anyone who had the ability to use them would not have weak martial arts skills.

But the black-clothed man was still motionless as he stood in that place, not showing any bit of reaction. The expressions on these four people’s faces were very tense as their eyes fixed unblinking upon him. One step at a time, they pressed toward him. It was apparent that they were ready to strike out with a deathly blow at any time and take his life in an instant.

Guo DaLu threw a look at Yan Qi, as if to say, “So they are not together.” Yan Qi gave a quick nod of his head. The two of them made no move. They both had the same plan in their minds: to see how these four weapon-carrying midnight robbers would contend with the mysterious black-clothed man.

Who could have guessed that at this moment, the front door would unexpectedly open? Guo DaLu very clearly remembered that he had bolted up the door, but now, it had somehow noiselessly opened again. A man dressed in a long robe of dark green, one hand lightly waving a folding fan, leisurely stepped inside. His garments were very magnificent and the expression he carried on his face was cool and suave. He looked like a playboy who frequented brothels.

When Guo DaLu got a clear look of his face, though, he could not help getting a scare. It did not look like a face that belonged to a human at all. Even the demon masks inside Tibetan lamaseries were not as dreadful as this face. That was because this truly was a living, breathing face, and furthermore, it showed an expression on it – a sort of expression which, after one glance at it, would cause someone to awaken in the middle of the night in terror. Had Guo DaLu not seen it for himself, he would never have believed that such a face could be found on a human body.

Those four people carrying the unorthodox weapons had not yet detected that someone had entered into the house. The footsteps of this man in the green robe were so light that it appeared as if he was not even treading on the ground. Drifting over until he was behind the person with the judge’s brush, he reached out and lightly tapped him with the fan. Immediately, like a rabbit that had just been struck by an arrow, the person jumped up and, with a flip in midair, dropped down beside the gaunt old man. Only now did they all notice the man in the green robe, and their faces instantly were flooded with fright.

Another glance passed between Guo DaLu and Yan Qi: “So these people are not together either.”

These people seemed to be miming a soundless play, but it was all very mysterious and exciting. The man dressed in green was still gently waving the fan in his hand, appearing very cool and composed. On the other hand, the four people who used the unorthodox weapons were extremely tense as they gripped tightly onto the weapons in their hands. The man in green unexpectedly raised his fan and pointed it first at them, then out the front door. Clearly, this meant he was telling them to leave.

The four people with the weapons exchanged a glance among themselves. Then, the old man clenched his teeth together and shook his head. Using the steel rings, he pointed first at the house, then at themselves. The meaning behind this was evident: “This territory belongs to us. We are not leaving.”

The man in green gave an unexpected smile. No one would be able to look at a smile like this one. If someone saw a smile like this one, regardless of who it was, the hairs on his body would stand on end.

The feet of the four men with unorthodox weapons shifted so that they were standing together now. Light glinted off their brows. It was apparent that their foreheads were covered in a cold sweat.

The man in green’s fan was pointing again, this time at the weapons in their hands, as if to say, “All of you, attack together.”

The four looked at one another again, appearing to get ready to strike, but at that moment, the man in green suddenly appeared right in front of them. The fan in his hand lightly tapped the head of the person with the chain dart. It did not appear to be a hard tap, but, like a pile of mud, that person collapsed limply to the ground. A perfectly fine human head had been split open, and in the dim colors of the night, the bloody gore that came splattering out looked almost like a falling blossom.

While this person crumpled to the floor, the curved sword was already slicing towards the man in green’s chest. The sword movements were nimble, smooth, fierce, and rapid.

But the man in green was even quicker. As he stretched out his hand, a “crack” sound was heard, followed immediately by another “crack.” The curved sword fell to the ground with a “ding.” And then, its owner’s two hands had already snapped off, dangling only by a thin layer of skin still attaching them to their wrists. He had originally been standing, but as he looked down at his own hands, he abruptly fainted.

This had all happened in the blink of an eye. Terrified, the faces of the two remaining people had drained of all color, and their legs were shaking incessantly. For the most part, the old man was still able to remain calm. Bowing at the waist to the man in green, he pointed out the door with his steel rings. Anyone would have been able to tell that he was admitting defeat and was preparing to leave.

The man in green smiled again and nodded. At once, the two people picked up the two corpses on the ground and hurried away with large strides. They had just passed through the doorway when the man in green’s outline seemed to blur, and then all of a sudden, he, too, was on the the other side of the door.

Guo DaLu did not see what happened outside the door. All he heard were two cries of anguish, and after that, several objects came flying in through the doorway, landing on the ground. They were a pair of judge’s brushes and a pair of steel rings. However, the judge’s brushes were broken into four pieces and the steel rings were warped so much that they no longer looked like rings. With a sharp inhale of cold air, Guo DaLu looked over at Yan Qi. A hint of fear could be seen in Yan Qi’s eyes. This man in green’s martial art was strong, so strong that it carried an air of evilness. The most frightful part was that the manner in which he killed a person was similar to how other people would go slice up vegetables. Anyone who saw him commit murder would not be able to stop themselves from breaking out into a cold sweat.

However, the black-clothed man had not seen anything because he still had not stirred or opened his eyes. So many things had happened in the courtyard. People had died right in front of him, yet he did not show even the slightest reaction. It was as though even if everyone in the entire world died right before him, he still would not have any reaction.

By now, the man in the green robe had walked casually back in through the door, all the while gently waving his fan and looking suave and at ease. It would be a wonder if someone could tell from looking at him that he had just murdered four people in one breath. Intentionally or unintentionally, he glanced briefly over at Guo DaLu and Yan Qi’s window, but he still headed straight towards the black-clothed man.

In front of the corridor, there were a few stone steps. As he reached the second step, he halted and fixed his eyes on the black-clothed man. Guo DaLu suddenly noticed that, at some point in time, the black-clothed man had opened his eyes and was looking back at him. The two of them stood there, staring at one another. The whole scene should have been rather humorous, but Guo DaLu did not feel that it was the least bit funny. All he felt were his palms growing cold – even his palms were breaking out in a cold sweat.

Another long while passed and then the man in green spoke up unexpectedly, “Just now, ‘Evil Bird’ Kang Tong came here with his brothers.” This was the first time he had opened his mouth to speak. It turns out that, not only did he carry himself with a very poised and elegant bearing, his speaking voice was also very pleasing to the ear. So long as you did not look at his face and only listened to him speak or only saw his graceful manner, he really would appear to be a perfect gentleman.

Black-clothed man: “Hmph.”

Man in green: “I was afraid they would disturb your sweet dreams, so I sent them away.”

Black-clothed man: “Hmph.”

Man in green: “Could it be that you had already known they would come and so you waited here first for their arrival?”

Black-clothed man: “They are not worthy.”

Man in green: “That is true. Those people truly are not worthy enough for you to even bother making a move. Who is it, then, that you are waiting for?”

Black-clothed man: “Ghost Gentleman.”

The man in green smiled as he said, “I am grateful that you would think so highly of me. It is truly my great honour.”

So this man was actually called Ghost Gentleman. Guo DaLu felt that there could not have been a more suitable name for him. But who was this black-clothed man? Was he NanGong Chou? Why would he wait here for Ghost Gentleman?

Ghost Gentleman spoke again. “Since you are waiting for me, could it be that also know my purpose in coming here?”

Black-clothed man: “Hmph.”

Ghost Gentleman: “We had met before, and we had always been polite to one another.”

Black-clothed man: “It was you who was polite.”

Ghost Gentleman smiled, “True. I was certainly very cordial to you, but you once sought me out to give me trouble.”

Black-clothed man: “Hmph.”

Ghost Gentleman: “This time, I hope that we will cordially meet up here and then cordially go our separate ways.”

Black-clothed man: “Hmph.”

Ghost Gentleman: “I only wish to ask the master of this place a few questions and then I will leave.”

Black-clothed man: “No.”

Ghost Gentleman: “Only a couple questions?”

Black-clothed man: “No!”

Surprisingly, Ghost Gentleman was still very civil as he smiled lightly and asked, “Why not? Are you a friend of the master here?”

Black-clothed man: “No.”

Ghost Gentleman laughed, “Of course not. You are the same as me. We have never had friends.”

Black-clothed man: “Hmph.”

Ghost Gentleman: “Since you are not a friend, why must you try to involve yourself in other people’s business?”

Black-clothed man: “I am already involved.”

Something flashed across Ghost Gentleman’s eyes. “Could it be that you have the same idea as me?”

Black-clothed man: “Hmph.”

Ghost Gentleman: “It is uncertain whether Cui MingFu’s money is even here. There is no need to break the peace.”

Black-clothed man: “Get out!”

With another smile, Ghost Gentleman replied, “I will not leave.”

“If you will not leave, then you will die,” the black-clothed man stated.

Ghost Gentleman: “Who will live and who will die is still unclear. Why would you want to strike?” It appeared that he was still not the least bit angry. All along, he seemed to bear everything without making a sound, yielding in every which way in order to accommodate. Anyone who was watching right then would not have been able to determine when he would strike and what that would look like.

However, the two people who were standing and watching by the window, Guo DaLu and Yan Qi, suddenly said simultaneously, “Watch; this person is going to make a move!” They had only said the third word in that sentence when Ghost Gentleman attacked.

In that same instant, the black-clothed man lifted his two hands and gripped onto the sword hilt by his shoulder. Both of his arms were raised up, leaving the entire front side of his body open like a door, like a completely unguarded city waiting for the enemy forces to march straight in.

Ghost Gentleman’s fan had originally been closed and stabbing towards the black-clothed man’s “Xuan Ji” acupoint in a judge’s brush style of attack, but all of a sudden, the fan opened up rapidly. Carried by the momentum of the unfolding motion, the edge of the fan sliced upwards from the lower abdomen and straight towards his throat.

At first glance, there did not seem to be anything particularly special or exquisite about this variation in attack. In reality, though, the instant the fan unfurled, the direction and style of the strike had transformed so it was as if he had switched to an entirely different type of weapon. The assault had gone suddenly from stabbing to slicing and the weapon had changed from using a point to an edge to attack. The ingenuity and unexpectedness of this rapid change would truly be unimaginable for the opponent.

The black-clothed man’s back was against the column. Where he stood was a deathtrap, a place that gave no room for retreat. In addition, his hands were raised high, completely exposing himself. Any person who even only slightly understood martial arts would not have chosen such a place or position to face an enemy.

His sword was six feet in length. Under these circumstances, there was no way that it could be drawn. No other person would have been able to pull it out.

The black-clothed man could.

If someone chooses to fight in such an unfavourable territory and position and if he is not an utter fool, then he must have his own unique methods.

As Ghost Gentleman’s fan slashed toward him, the black-clothed man abruptly spun his body around so that he was now facing the column, as if he was going to embrace it tightly. Although he was able to narrowly evade the last attack, he had now offered up his entire backside to his enemy. This method that he used was stupid beyond words.

Even Ghost Gentleman was taken aback by this. In his lifetime, he had been in at least two, three hundred fights against other opponents, of which there were all sorts of people: some were very skilled while others were substandard. This was the first time, though, that he had seen someone as foolish as this person.

However, in that split second, the black-clothed man gave a sudden powerful push on the column with his hand. Simultaneously, his legs kicked forward to also shove against the column, his abdomen contracted in, and his buttocks thrust out toward the back. Like an arrow, his body shot backwards, looking as if it had been broken in half as it folded over at the waist until his hands and legs came together.

At the same time, there was a bright glare of sword light. A six-foot long sword of cold steel had been drawn out of its scabbard. This method of unsheathing a sword was not just extremely unusual but also extremely devious. As Ghost Gentleman turned around in pursuit, he discovered the tip of that cold blade was already pointed directly at him. The black-clothed man’s entire body was now behind the sword, leaving absolutely no vulnerable openings. The stupidest method had suddenly become the best method.

Ghost Gentleman realized with a start that he did not have the slightest opportunity to move in for an attack. He could only retreat. In a flash, he had withdrawn to behind the column. The column was circular and because the black-clothed man’s sword was too long, it was not possible for him to wrap it around to strike. Therefore, so long as Ghost Gentleman stayed close against the column and circled around it, the black-clothed man’s sword would not be able to touch him. He could then wait for a second opportunity to attack. This was precisely a plan that sought victory amidst defeat and survival amidst death, and it truly was not a bad plan at all.

Ghost Gentleman pressed himself against the column, waiting for the black-clothed man to come around from the front. The black-clothed man, though, was still on the other side of the column, and there was no hint of any movement. Could he, too, be waiting for an opportunity?

Ghost Gentleman exhaled a breath as he relaxed. He was not afraid of waiting, nor was he worried about wasting time. In any event, he had first placed himself into an impregnable position. Should the black-clothed man decide to attack, he would have to make a large circle, while Ghost Gentleman himself would only need to avoid him by staying against the column and stepping around in a small circle. The difference in the amount of energy that each of them needed to expend was at least three or four times. In that way, it would not be long before the black-clothed man’s strength was exhausted, and then, his opportunity would come. He had calculated everything out very thoroughly, and so, he was very much at ease.

He seemed to hear a “du” sound coming from the back of the column, like the sound of a woodpecker pecking a tree. He did not pay any heed to it, though.

But in that instant, he suddenly felt a coolness on his back. By the time he realized that something was not right, he was already feeling something icy cold piercing into his back, and then he saw that object exiting out the front of his chest.

The point of a sword, glinting with a dark light.

Drop after drop of fresh blood dripped off the point of that sword.

If you saw the tip of a sword suddenly protrude out from your chest, what would you be feeling? I am afraid very few people would actually know from experience what this feels like.



Ghost Gentleman looked down at that short section of sword, an expression of great surprise on his face, as if he had unexpectedly seen a very peculiar, very fascinating occurrence. As he gaped stupidly at it, his face twisted and became distorted from horror. He opened his mouth like he wanted to shout out, but before the cry had a chance to escape from his lips, his entire body suddenly grew cold as ice and stiffened.

Completely stiffened.

From a distance, it appeared as if he was staring at that sword, deep in thought. Blood was still dripping nonstop down from the tip. It was dripping very slowly, getting slower and slower…

His body was held in that same original pose – an indescribably disturbing and terrible pose.



Yan Qi had turned his head away, unable to keep watching. Although Guo DaLu’s eyes were opened wide, in reality, he was not really seeing anything. That scene from a moment ago had left him in a daze. He had very clearly seen the black-clothed man inhale deeply and assume a stance and then that sword had stabbed into the column. He had also very clearly seen the sword point plunge into the column, then suddenly reemerge through Ghost Gentleman’s chest. He was really having difficulty believing that what he had just seen was real – if you heard it, perhaps you would immediately believe, but yet, if you saw it with your own eyes, it would be very hard to believe.

What sort of sword was this? What sword art?

Guo DaLu sighed. By the time his eyes were able to see again, he discovered that the black-clothed man had already pulled his sword back out. But Ghost Gentleman still remained on its tip. The black-clothed man was using the sword point to carry the corpse from his shoulder.

A man in black, whose countenance could not be seen, carrying a sword across one shoulder. The blade of the sword emitted a black light, and from its tip dangled a stiff and contorted man in green robes……

The dim night was sombre; the courtyard was silent.

Even if this was merely a painting, whoever saw this painting would be overcome with a bone-chilling horror.

Let alone, this was not a painting.

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

Guo DaLu suddenly felt very chilled and wanted to find some clothing to throw over his shoulders. His only wish was that what had occurred tonight was just a nightmare.

And now, they had awakened from that nightmare. The black-clothed man had left, and there was no one in the courtyard. It was still the same courtyard as before, the same dim night. He mumbled to himself, “Right now, if anyone who comes here is able to imagine what had occurred here a moment ago, I would be in utter awe of him.”

Wang Dong spoke up unexpectedly, “What happened here a moment ago?”

“You don’t know?” Guo DaLu asked.

Wang Dong: “Nope.”

Guo DaLu: “Could it be that nothing at all happened here just now?”

Wang Dong: “Nothing.”

With a laugh, Guo DaLu agreed, “True. Things that are already in the past are really no different from things that have never occurred.”

Wang Dong: “Correct answer.”

Guo DaLu: “So really, it is better if you just do not think too much. The more you think, the more troubled you will feel.”

Wang Dong: “Another correct answer.”

Yan Qi jumped in suddenly, “This time I’m afraid that is not a correct answer.”

Wang Dong: “Oh?”

“Because whether you think or not, this matter is going to bring troubles all the same,” Yan Qi told them.

Guo DaLu inquired, “What sort of troubles?”

Sighing, Yan Qi admitted, “I cannot tell right now, and I cannot think of it either. That’s why I know that it will be a very great trouble.”

They suddenly all sealed their lips simultaneously. It was because, at that moment, the black-clothed man had slowly sauntered back in again, crossed through the courtyard, walked up the stone steps, and stood before the column. The long sword on his back had been returned to its scabbard.

Unable to restrain himself, Guo DaLu blurted, “I will go ask him.” Before anyone else could open their mouths, he had already leaped through the window and dashed over.

The black-clothed man was leaning against the column with his eyes closed, as if he was asleep again. Guo DaLu purposely started coughing loudly, so hard, in fact, that his throat really did start to itch. Only then did the black-clothed man open his eyes. His stare was cold and so was his voice as he said, “It would seem that you should hurry and find a doctor.”

Forcing a smile onto his face, Guo DaLu replied, “I do not need a doctor. I have my own medicine that can cure coughing.”

Black-clothed man: “Oh.”

Guo DaLu: “Regardless of whether I have a serious illness or just a little one, the instant I drink wine, I will be better.”

Black-clothed man: “Oh.”

Guo DaLu: “Are you wanting to down a couple of cups right now too?”

Black-clothed man: “No.”

Guo DaLu: “Why not? Didn’t you just… just kill someone?”

Black-clothed man: “Who said I killed someone?”

Guo DaLu paused in surprise. “You didn’t?”

Black-clothed man: “No.”

Guo DaLu: “Just now, you killed that…”

“That was not a person!” the black-clothed man cut him off.

Startled, Guo DaLu repeated, “Not a person? Then what is needed in order to be considered a person?”

Black-clothed man: “There are very few persons in the world.”

With a grin, Guo DaLu asked, “What about me? Can I be considered a person?”

Black-clothed man: “You want me to kill you?”

His eyes glinting, Guo DaLu prodded, “If you do not kill me, how will you get all of Cui MingFu’s loot?”

Black-clothed man: “There is no loot here. There is nothing here.”

Guo DaLu: “You knew?”

Black-clothed man: “Mm.”

Guo DaLu: “Then why did you come here?”

Black-clothed man: “Missed my opportunities for lodging. Came for a place to stay for the night.”

Guo DaLu: “But you just killed a person-who-was-actually-not-a-person for that.”

Black-clothed man: “It was not for that.”

Guo DaLu: “You killed him for us?”

Black-clothed man: “No.”

Guo DaLu: “Then for what?”

In a cold tone, the black-clothed man answered, “I need my sleep. When I sleep, I do not like being disturbed by others.” He closed his eyes again and did not say another word.

Guo DaLu looked first at him, then at the sword behind his shoulder. He suddenly felt that he had been extremely lucky.



Sure enough, the next morning, the black-clothed man was nowhere to be seen. He did not take anything with him or leave anything behind – all he left was that one hole in the column.

Guo DaLu was gazing at that hole when, all of a sudden, he broke out into chuckles. “Do you know what I am thinking right now?”

Yan Qi shook his head.

“I am thinking that I am awfully lucky,” Guo DaLu told him.

“Lucky? Why?” Yan Qi asked curiously.

Guo DaLu explained, “Because the black-clothed man I encountered last time was not this one.”

In a low voice, Yan Qi countered, “But you still encountered him this time.”

Guo DaLu: “I was not out of luck this time either. It seems that not only does he not hold any bad intentions toward us, he actually seemed to have deliberately come here to help us out.”

Yan Qi: “He is your friend?”

Guo DaLu: “No.”

Yan Qi: “Your son?”

Guo DaLu giggled, “If I had a son like him, it would already be a wonder if I did not go nuts.”

“You believe that he arrived here by accident and then, after he did us a favour, left without making a peep? He not only did not ask for any thanks from us but also refused to even drink any of our wine.” With a shake of his hand, Yan Qi said with a cold laugh, “Do you really believe that this world has such good people and good things?”

Guo DaLu asked, “Are you trying to say that he must have some other motive?”

Yan Qi: “Yes.”

Guo DaLu: “What is his motive then?”

Yan Qi: “Don’t know.”

Guo DaLu: “It is because you don’t know; that is why you believe he will undoubtedly bring us lots of troubles, right?”

Yan Qi: “Yes.”

Guo DaLu: “When do you think those troubles will come?”

As his eyes gazed off into the distance, Yan Qi said slowly, “It is precisely because we do not know what sort of troubles they will be, otherwise there would be no need for us to worry.”



End of Chapter 34