LXF01-04 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 15 August 2008 21:37

Chapter 4 - Fake feelings



It was a feast. The feast was held in that room that they just met the Golden Roc Emperor in. The wine and food were both available in abundance.

The wine was real wine, a particularly fine and delicious sample of Aged Carvings.

Lu XiaoFeng downed the wine in his cup in one gulp. "This wine is great," he suddenly sighed. "But compared to the Persian Wine earlier? Not even close!"

The Golden Roc Emperor burst out laughing: "This wine was collected from dew drops from certain flowers. This type of drinking seems to be a bit wasteful doesn't it?"

"He's not drinking," Hua ManLou commented with a smile. "He's pouring. He can't even taste the wine at all, giving him this kind of wine is really quite a waste of a good thing."

The Golden Roc Emperor burst out laughing yet again: "Looks like you really know everything there is to know about him."

Not only did he act happier tonight, he actually had changed into a silk robe that had a golden dragon embroidered on it. It looked as if he was a king who's sending off a general who's about to embark on a great campaign with a feast.

Princess DanFeng also looked more dazzling and beautiful as well.

She filled the empty cup in front of Lu XiaoFeng herself. "We feel that only this kind of drinking has that manly bravado," she said coquettishly. "No girl likes those men that drink wine as if they were drinking poison."

The Golden Roc Emperor straighten up his face: "Are you saying girls like alcoholics?"

Princess DanFeng's eyes twinkled: "There are certainly a little bit of bad points about drinking."

"Only a little bit?" The Golden Roc Emperor asked.

"Like when a person drinks too much," Princess DanFeng replied. "Then when he gets old, his legs will develop problems and he won't be able to drink anymore. So then whenever he sees other people drinking he would get angry. Getting angry often ins't a good thing you know."

The Golden Roc Emperor tried to keep a straight face before finally giving up: "Tell you the truth, when I was young I used to drink like I was pouring as well. And I guarantee you that it was not a bit slower than your pouring."

All smart hosts know that the best way to treat a guest is not with great food or great wine, but with laughter.

So all guests should know exactly how to make their hosts feel that their laughter was worth while.

Lu XiaoFeng poured another cup of wine into his stomach. "I'm going to go look for XiMen ChuiXue first thing tomorrow morning," he suddenly said.

"Great!" the Golden Roc Emperor replied.

"This guys is weird," Lu XiaoFeng continued. "I have to go myself to try and convince him in order for him to get involved. Zhu Ting, on the other hand, is another matter."

He reached into his shirt and took out a piece of crumpled and dirty paper. He laid it out on the table and, with a chopstick and some soy-sauce, drew a picture of a flying phoenix. "Send anyone you got to him with this piece of paper," he said as he handed the paper over to Princess DanFeng. "He would then come with that person."

"I heard the 2 of you haven't talked to each other for a long time." Princess DanFeng doesn't quite believe him.

"I'm not going to talk to him," Lu XiaoFeng replied. "I'm just telling him to come here. Two completely different things."

"So, he won't talk to you," Princess DanFeng stared at him in disbelief. "But, upon seeing your 'signature', he would follow a complete stranger to a completely unfamiliar place?"

"Without any hesitation."

"I guess you can count this Mr. Zhu as another weirdo." Princess DanFeng cracked up and observed.

"He's not just a weirdo, he's an assholes!"

Princess DanFeng smoothed out that crumpled up paper. Only then did she realize that this worn out and dirty sheet of paper was a bank note for 5000 taels.

"Is this bank note legitimate?" She couldn't help but ask.

"You think I stole it?"

Princess DanFeng blushed.

"I was only afraid that since you 2 were such great friends that maybe this method of inviting him would anger him."

"No, it won't!" Lu XiaoFeng replied before letting out a little laugh. "The only good thing about him is that no matter how much money you give him, he'll never get mad at you."

"That's because he's not a hypocrite," Princess DanFeng replied with a smile, "and neither are you."

If you knew that a friend of yours was starving because he was poor but still complimented him for being a man of iron will and great pride that would rather die before resorting to beg.

If you knew that a friend of yours need a little money from you but instead only sent him a letter telling him everything is alright and how great of a thing for him to struggle through all of this is.

If you are really this kind of person, then I can guarantee that your only friend is yourself.

ShangGuan DanFeng wasn't such a person, so she obviously have already understood what Lu XiaoFeng meant.

Other than a pretty face, she actually has a very understanding and sympathic heart. It's truly rare to find a girl possessing both qualities.

Only the smartest girls know that understanding and sympathy will forever be more attractive than even the most beautiful of faces.

Lu XiaoFeng suddenly realized that he seemed to be liking this girl more and more. So much so that even now, he's thinking about her.

It's close to midnight and no lamp was lit in the room. The spring winds gently breezed in through the windows, carrying in and filling the room with the slight fragrance of the flowers outside.

Lu XiaoFeng was laying on the bed all by himself, but his eyes were still wide open.

What's he doing up so late? Is he waiting for someone?

He wasn't waiting for Hua ManLou, obviously, since the 2 of them had just parted ways.

The night was quiet. So quiet that you could almost hear the dew drops dripping off the flower petals. So quiet that he heard the footsteps in the hall way.

The steps were very light, and very slow. But his heart suddenly started to beat like crazy instead. By now the steps had stopped outside of his door.

The door wasn't locked as a person gently pushed it open and gently closed it.

The room was dark, so dark that there was no way to make out what the person looked like.

But Lu XiaoFeng did not ask who the person was. It was as if he already knew who she was.

This time, the footsteps were even lighter and slower than before; slowly approaching his bed, slowly stroking his face gently.

Her hand was cold but soft, and carried with it a slight fragrance of freshly cut flowers.

She felt his mustaches and proved to herself that the person lying in bed was really Lu XiaoFeng.

Lu XiaoFeng had just heard the sound of cloth hitting the floor when he felt a naked body crawl under his bed covers.

Her body had been cold and soft, but suddenly it had turned red-hot. And on top of that she was shaking, as if she was a flickering flame, exciting Lu XiaoFeng the point that his throat clugged up. Only after a long while did he finally manage a light sigh.

"I warned you before," He muttered, "I can't resist temptation. Why did you still come?"

She didn't reply. Her body began shaking even more.

He couldn't resist rolling over and grabbed her tight within his arms. Her silk like skin was immediately covered with goosebumps, like the little whirls in water when the Spring wind breezes over it.

Her chest was pressed tightly up against his chest. Her chest was like a dove, tender and delicate.

Lu XiaoFeng suddenly pushed her off.

"You are not... who are you?" He uttered out of shock.

She still wasn't willing to speak, but her body had curled up.

Lu XiaoFeng reached out again. As soon as he touched her chest, he snapped back again like he was electricuted.

"You are the little older cousin!"

"And I know you are my little younger cousin." She finally had to give in and admitted it with a little laugh.

Lu XiaoFeng suddenly jumped up like an arrow.

"What are you doing here?" He demanded.

"Why can't I come here?" ShangGuan Xue-Er shot back. "Who did you think I was just then?"

From her tone, it seemed like she was mad.

Perhaps nothing makes a girl madder than being mistaken for someone else while getting friendly with a man.

Lu XiaoFeng is usually pretty good in talking himself out of situations like this. But he really can't think of anything to say.

"So she can come," ShangGuan Xue-Er continued after a snicker, "Why can't I? Tell me!"

"Because," Lu XiaoFeng finally replied with a sigh of resignation, "next to you, I look like an old man."

"I came here entirely because I wanted to prove to you once and for all that I'm not a kid anymore so you you would believe me and not think of me as a liar! You really think that I like you? Don't flatter yourself!"

Her voice was getting gradually louder as she got angrier and angrier, as if she was almost about to cry.

Lu XiaoFeng reached over and gently stroked her hair, trying to think of something comforting to say....

Suddenly, the door was pushed open and the dark room suddenly lit up.

A person was standing in the doorway with a lantern in hand, wearing a snow white robe, but her face was even more pale than her robe.

ShangGuan DanFeng.

Lu XiaoFeng felt like just crawling underneath the bed and stay there. He just couldn't take the look that she has when she looked at him.

ShangGuan Xue-Er looked a kid that was caught stealing cookies out of the jar in the middle of the act.

But she immediately held her chest high, stood up naked, looked over at Lu XiaoFeng with her lips curled, and smiled.

"Why didn't you tell me earlier that she was coming?" She said. "I could have left sooner you know."

ShangGuan DanFeng stared at her, so mad that even her lips began to quiver. She wanted to say something, but just couldn't.

Xue-Er had already put on her robe. With her head held high, she walked by right in front of her. Suddenly, he curled her lips and smiled some more.

"You really don't need to be mad at all." She said. "All men are like this."

ShangGuan DanFeng did not move, nor did she reply. It was almost as if her entire body was petrified. Slowly and gradually, Xue-Er's footsteps disappeared into the distance.

ShangGuan DanFeng still stood there, motionless, starring at Lu XiaoFeng. Her beautiful eyes seemed to contain a slight hint of tears.

"This is good," she muttered, "I finally get to see what kind of person you really are." She stumped her foot on the floor, and turned around.

But Lu XiaoFeng was already by her side and pulled her to a stop.

"What... What more do you have to say for yourself?" She bit her lips and demanded.

"I don't really shouldn't need to say anything," Lu XiaoFeng sighed. "Because you should know that I was waiting for you."

ShangGuan DanFeng looked down at the floor. Only after a long wait did she finally let out a sigh.

"I had came here for you."

"And now?"

"And now.... now I'm going to leave."

She suddenly looked up and stared at him. Her eyes were filled with a kind of complicated and conflicting expression, somewhere between reprove and sympathy.

"Do you really belive that I would...." Lu XiaoFeng said before she stopped him by gently putting her finger on his lips.

"I know you wouldn't," she said. "But tonight... I can't stay here tonight."

Nobody would be interested in doing other things after witnessing a scene like that.

Lu XiaoFeng understood, so he loosened his grip and let her go.

ShangGuan DanFeng looked at him. Suddenly, she got on her tip toes and gently kissed him on the cheek.

"And you should know that I really don't want to go."

"But now you better leave as fast as you can," Lu XiaoFeng suddenly smiled. "Or else I might...."

She didn't wait for him to finish before pushing herself out of his arms. But she still had to turn around.

"I'm warning you," she said with a laugh, "That little girl is a devil. The next time you see her you better leave as fast as you can as well. I'll bite when I'm jealous."

The night was even more still and quiet. The world seemed to be completely peaceful and calm.

But is the human heart?

______________________________

Morning. The cobblestoned road had just been heated up by the sun, some of the little shops on the side of the road hadn't even opened yet.

There's always a couple of people that hadn't got used to that working at sunrise lifestyle in the cities.

Princess DanFeng only turned back after she had drove them all the way out here in her flower-filled carriage.

"As soon as we find any news, we'll inform you."

"I know, I'll wait for you."

"I'll wait for you," with a girl like this waiting for you, what else could a man possibly want in life?

"You know, I think one of these days she's going to end up biting you at least once no matter what." Hua ManLou commented.

Lu XiaoFeng shot him a look before finally succumbing to a laugh: "Your ear must be way better than a rabbit's, next time I better keep that in mind."

Hua ManLou smiled back: "That little devil that she talked about, is she ShangGuan FeiYan's little sister?"

"I challenge you to find another little devil her in this world," Lu XiaoFeng responded with forced smile. Hua ManLou remained quiet.

"Has she found her older sister?" He finally had to ask.

"Doesn't seem like she has, I probably should have asked ShangGuan DanFeng about it jst then. Maybe she knows where that swallow of yours flew off to."

{FeiYan means flying swallow in Chinese.}

Hua ManLou laughed a little at that remark before replying: "I think it's best that you don't ask, or else she might give you a nice little bite for asking."

"Although I didn't ask her, Xue-Er should have already asked her."

"Seems like she didn't get anything out of it." Hua ManLou observed. Even though he's still smiling, his face couldn't cover up the fact that he was worried.

Lu XiaoFeng thought for a while before suddenly asking: "Do you know how old ShangGuan FeiYan is?"

"She told me that she was born in the Year of the Goat, making her 18 years old."

Lu XiaoFeng stroked his mustache with his fingers and muttered to himself: "Can an 18 years old girl have a 12 years old older sister?"

"Depends on the situation," Hua ManLou answered with a smile.

Lu XiaoFeng was quite taken aback by that remark. "What situation?" he asked.

"If a person as smart as you can start asking questions as dumb as that, then why couldn't an 18 years old girl have a 20 years old younger sister? That 20 years old younger sister of hers will probably have an 80 years old son too."

Lu XiaoFeng laughed at that as well, then he suddenly patted Hua ManLou's shoulder rather forcibly and said: "There's no way an 18 years older sister could have a 20 years old younger sister and there's no way that ShangGuan FeiYan is in danger."

"Oh?"

"There's a chance that Xue-Er knows exactly where her older sister is and is just saying all those things to mess with me. But now I know that you can't trust a single word she says."

Hua ManLou let out another little laugh and then, as if he doesn't want to talk about this matter anymore, he suddenly changed the subject: "You said you came here to look for a person?"

Lu XiaoFeng nodded.

"XiMen ChuiXue doesn't seem to be here though."

"He's not here, I'm looking for someone else."

"Who?"

"You don't wonder the outside world very often, so you might not know about these 2 really weird old men. One of them knows a little bit everything that's ever happened. The other one is a little better, no matter how hard of a proble you have, he could help you solve it."

"You are talking about Know-It-All and Smart Guy?"

"Oh you know about them?"

"I might be blind, but I'm not deaf."

Lu XiaoFeng had a rather wrily smile on his face and commented: "Sometimes I wish you were a bit more deaf."

______________________________

By now they have walked underneath the shades of an overhang from one of the buildings. A proper looking monk with his head held low and looking down was walking head on into them.

This monk's face was rather square and his ears were big, the signs of someone with a lot of good fortune. But his clothes were dirty and torn, and that pair of straw sandals on his feet were just about all worn down.

Lu XiaoFeng ran up to the monk as soon as he saw him. With a smile, he said: "Hello Honest Monk!"

Honest Monk lifted his head up and smiled when he saw Lu XiaoFeng: "Have you been a bit more honest lately?"

"The day you stop being honest is the day that I'll start being honest."

It seemed that all Honest Monk could do when they meet is to force a smile on his face.

"You seem especially happy today, do you have some happy news?" Lu XiaoFeng continued.

"How could Honest Monk have any happy news? Only dishonest guys like you do." Honest Monk answered with a forced smile.

"But today seems to be an exception."

Honest Monk frowned before finally letting out a sigh: "Today really is an exception."

From the look on his face, anyone could tell that he does not want Lu XiaoFeng to ask him anymore questions.

"Why?" Pity Lu XiaoFeng didn't seem to have caught on.

"Because... because I just did something that wasn't very honest and proper," Honest Monk mutter with a sorry look on his face.

He didn't want to say it, but he had to say it, because he's an honest monk.

Which was why Lu XiaoFeng got even more curious and had to ask even further: "You could actually do something that's not honest and proper?"

"This is the first time in my life," Honest Monk replied.

Lu XiaoFeng got even more curious as he lowered his voice: "What did you do?"

"I just went to find OuYang." Honest Monk's face seemed to be a little red as he muttered his reply.

"Who's OuYang?"

Honest Monk stared at him, his expression suddenly turned really strange, as if he was a bit proud of himself for knowing something as well as feeling sorry for Lu XiaoFeng's naivette. He shook his head and asked: "How could you not know who OuYang is?"

"Why should I know?"

"Because OuYang is OuYang Qing," Honest Monk whispered.

"And who might OuYang Qing be?"

Honest Monk's face turned even redder as he stuttered out: "She's a... a... very famous... prostitute."

He seemed to have had to summon up every last bit of his strength to make that last word come out.

Lu XiaoFeng almost stumbled and fell from the shock. In his wildest dreams he could not imagine Honest Monk actually going to find a prostitute.

But even though he was shocked and laughing on the inside, his face was calm as can be. He actually was able to casually comment: "Actually that's not really a big deal, this kind of stuff happens all the time."

This time it's Honest Monk's turn to be shocked: "This kind of stuff happens all the time?"

With a straight face, Lu XiaoFeng replied: "Monks don't got wives, not to mention no consorts, everyone of them are strong and healthy, what would they do if they can't go to prostitutes? Go for some nuns?"

Honest Monk was speechless.

"Besides, "High Monk" and "Famed Prostitutes" are very closely related," Lu XiaoFeng continued.

"How?" Honest Monk had to ask.

"High Monk spend an entire day as a monk banging a bell, Famed Prostitutes spend an entire bell cycle banging a monk. How much closer related can you be?" He was already doubled over with laughter even before he finished the joke.

But Honest Monk was so furious that he did not know what to do next as all he could do was stare at him blankly. After a long while, he finally let out a sigh and muttered: "Merciful Buddha, why did you have me meet Big Shot Sun last night and Lu XiaoFeng today?"

Lu XiaoFeng suddenly stopped laughing: "You saw Big Shot Sun? Where is he? I'm looking for him."

But Honest Monk did not seem to hear him at all. He just kept on reciting sutras to himself: "Amida Buddha, I'll never ever do any bad things ever again. I deserve to die for my sins, Bodhisattva should punish me to crawling back to the temple."

He just kept reciting as he suddenly got down on all fours and actually started to crawl away.

All Lu XiaoFeng was look at him crawl away with a frozen smile on his face.

Hua ManLou couldn't help but walk over and ask: "Is he really crawling?"

Lu XiaoFeng sighed: "If he said he was going to crawl 10 miles, then there's no way that he would crawl only 9 and 1/2, because he is an honest monk."

"Looks like he's not only an honest monk, he's a crazy one too." Hua ManLou observed with a laugh.

"But he's only pretending to be crazy, because he knows better than anyone what's going on."

"So who might Big Shot Sun be?"

As soon as the subject of Big Shot Sun came up, Lu XiaoFeng's spirit picked up again: "Actually, Big Shot Sun's real name should be 'Mr. Big Shot Grandson of a Turtle'."

{Sun is part of Sun-Zi, which is Chinese for grandson.}

Hua ManLou let out another laugh and asked: "How did he get that name?"

"Because he always say that when he's broke he's a Grandson of a Turtle and when he's rich he's a Mr. Big Shot. Coincidentally his surname just happened to be Sun, so people just decided to call him Big Shot Sun."

"You seem to know quite a lot of this weirdoes," joked Hua ManLou.

"Know-It-All and Smart Guy are 2 weirdoes too, nobody has ever seen them, nor does anyone know where they are. Other than Big Shot Sun, nobody could find them."

"Who knew that this Big Shot Sun can actually do a couple of things?"

"He's been drinking and gambling ever since he was a little kid. Spending his life wondering and playing, he's never done a single serious thing in his entire life and couldn't really do anything really well either. But because of this one thing he could do, he's able to waste half of his life just play around completely free of care."

"How come?"

"Because if one wants to find Know-It-All and Smart Guy, then one has to go and buy him out from where ever he is."

"Buy him out? Why do you have to do that?"

"This guy is better at spending money than anyone else in the world. Hence he's never Mr. Big Shot for more than 3 days at a time before he becomes Grandson of a Turtle again. When he couldn't pay the bills anymore, he would just put himself down and wait for someone to come around and pay off his debts. He has actually spent 10 years living like that! Admiration is not a strong enough word for how I feel towards him."

"Seems like his person not only can do a couple of things, he's very lucky as well."

"Exactly. An unlucky person would go crazy in no time living like he does."

"So are you going to go and buy him out now?"

"Of course I have to go find OuYang first."

"OuYang?"

With a smile, Lu XiaoFeng casually replied: "How could you not even know OuYang? OuYang is...."

______________________________

OuYang Qing. The first name listed on sign out in front of Pavillion of Fortunate Love.

It's been said that the best thing about her is that no matter who you are, be it a monk or a cripple, she would treat you as if you were the most dashing man in the world, as long as you got money. In her profession, that's all one really needs.

Besides, she wasn't ugly either, white and clean face, ebony colored hair, and when she smiles dimples appears on both of her cheeks. And that pair of eyes always staring at you with that look that make you feel justified to spend all your money on her.

At this moment she's staring at Lu XiaoFeng with that look, staring at his mustache, as if she had never seen such a handsome man, such a beautiful mustache.

Lu XiaoFeng was feeling a little lightheaded from that stare and the banknotes in his pocket seemed like they were about to bust out of his pocket.

OuYang Qing's smile got even sweeter: "You have never been here before have you?"

"Never," Lu XiaoFeng replied.

"And you asked for me as soon as you got here?"

"The first one I asked for was you!"

OuYang Qing looked down at the ground and said softly: "If that's the case, then maybe this was meant to happen."

"Without a doubt!"

OuYang Qing's eyes flashed: "But how did you know that I was here?"

"A god told me in a dream this morning that we were destined to be together all the way back 800 years ago."

OuYang Qing let out a little laugh at that: "Really?"

"Absolutely true! That god was a monk, looked pretty honest and proper, and said that he himseld had asked for you too."

OuYang Qing's expression didn't even change as she coyly replied: "There really was a monk here last night, he just sat there and looked at me for an entire night after I got in bed. I had no idea he was a god and thought there was something wrong with him."

She suddenly walked over and sat down in Lu XiaoFeng's lap. Stroking Lu XiaoFeng's mustache, she bit her lip and smiled: "But you better not try and copy him regarding that point."

"I'm no god."

OuYang Qing put her head beside his and gently bit his ear. With a small laughter, she replied: "Actually, being a god isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just tell your friend to leave and I can make you feel so much better than a god."

Hua ManLou had been smiling all this time, sitting quietly at a rather remote corner of the room. He seemed to had enough of this chirade and suddenly cut in: "We are here to look for Big Shot Sun, do you know where he is?"

"Big Shot Sun? Heard that he's over at the Xiao Xiang Pavillion next door waiting for someone to buy him out. It'll be right in front of you just as you get out," OuYang Qing replied. She seemed to be hoping that Hua MuLan would leave as soon as possible.

But the first one to stand up was Lu XiaoFeng.

"You are going too?" OuYang Qing frowned.

"I don't really want to go," Lu XiaoFeng sighed, "but I have to go."

"Going to buy him out?"

"No, to wait for someone to buy us out together."

He patted his pocket and said with a forced smile on his face: "To tell you the truth, the money we got left isn't even enough to buy a cookie."

Although OuYang Qing was still smiling, it had turned into a different kind of smile. The kind that makes you want to leave as soon as you laid your eyes upon it.

But Lu XiaoFeng didn't seem to notice, he suddenly smiled: "But since we were meant to be, how could I leave? I think it's best if we let him...."

OuYang Qing immediately cut him off: "Since we are meant to be, then we will surely meet again. I think it's best if you go and find him right now. I... I suddenly don't feel so good, my stomach is hurting."

Lu XiaoFeng walked over, took a deep breath in the Spring breeze coming from the East, and smiled: "If you want to get rid of a girl, the best way to do it is to make her tummy ache. Any man that goes out often should know at least 3 different ways of making a girl's tummy hurt."

"I always knew you were quite smart," Hua ManLou casually replied, "but only today did I realize that you are not a good man at all."

"Why?"

"You knew what kind of woman she is, why did you still have to expose her for what she is back there?"

"Because I never liked people who fake their feelings."

"But she can't not fake her feelings, she has to survive. How could she continue to live in this kind of place if she gets real feelings for everyone?"

With a smile on his face, Hua ManLou continued: "You are a great friend, very loyal, maybe almost good enough to be called a knight-errant, but you have a huge flaw."

All Lu XiaoFeng could do was listen.

Hua ManLou contined: "In this world, there are a lot of people that are very evil and despicable. But sometimes they couldn't help but do what they did, sometimes they are forced to do it. You biggest flaw is that you have never thought things out from their perspective."

Lu XiaoFeng stared at him. Stared at him for a long time. Only then did he gently sighed and said: "Sometimes, I really don't like being with you."

"Oh?"

"Because I always figured that I'm not that bad of a guy, but when compared to you, I'm almost an asshole."

Hua ManLou smiled: "As long as a person knows that he's an asshole, there's still hope for him."

"I'm an asshole! A 'Grade A' asshole! You won't find another asshole like me in a crowd of a million!" As soon as they walked into XiaoXiang Pavillion, they could here a person screaming upstairs.

"Big Shot Sun?" Hua ManLou inquired.

Lu XiaoFeng laughed: "Correct! Not many people know how much of an asshole they themselves are."

"That's why there's still hope from him," Hua ManLou laughed as well.

Luckily, although he could not stand up, Big Shot Sun could still sit up.

So here he is, sitting straight up inside the horse carriage that Lu XiaoFeng had just rented, staring straight at Lu XiaoFeng: "I know you must be in a great hurry to go find those 2 weirdoes, but you still should at least drink a couple of cups with me."

Lu XiaoFeng sighed and replied: "I still can't understand it, those people knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you got no money whatsoever, yet they still served you drinks!"

A devilish smile appeared on Big Shot Sun's face: "Because they know that sooner or later a big head with a lot of problems like you would come and bail me out."

Actually his head wasn't really any smaller than anyone else's. If you hadn't seen him, there was no way that you could have imagined a man with such a small and frail built could have such a big head.

"Can you still find them any time soon in this condition?" Lu XiaoFeng inquired.

"Of course!" Big Shot Sun proudly announced. "No matter how weird those 2 weirdoes get, they just can't seem to do anything to me. But we need to set up some ground rules first, 3 ground rules, to be exact."

"Alright."

"50 taels of silver for every question, and I'm talking about 100%, no impurities type whatsoever, type of silver ingots. When I go in, you 2 have to stay outside. And when the time comes for questions, you have to ask outside."

"I don't get it," Lu XiaoFeng said with a wry smile. "Why don't they ever want to meet anyone?"

Big Shot Sun smiled again: "Because they feel that, other than me, everyone in the world is a bastard. The irony is that I'm the biggest bastard in the world!"

______________________________

The cave was dark and damp. The entrance was very small, the only way can get in is to crawl. And that's exactly what Big Shot Sun did.

Lu XiaoFeng and Hua ManLou had been waiting outside for a long time now, Lu XiaoFeng was getting very impatient.

But Hua ManLou smiled and commented: "I know you are getting impatient, but why don't you look around for a bit? It's so beautiful around here, even the wind makes you feel great when it breezes by you. To be able to stop here for a while is really a very fortunate thing."

"And how do you know that it's beautiful around here?" Lu XiaoFeng wondered.

"Although I can't see, I can still feel and understand it. That's why I always feel that only those with eyes but refuses to see are truely blind."

Lu XiaoFeng couldn't find anything to say in response.

It was at this moment when Big Shot Sun's voice came from inside the cave: "Alright, you can start asking questions now."

The first 50 tael-silver ingot was tossed in and the first question was: "Was there really a Golden Roc Dynasty about 50 years ago?"

After a pause, an old and raspy voice inside the cave answered: "Golden Roc Dynasty is originally in a very small country in the far South. Their customs were very different, marriages were between people of the same surnames. So most of the people in its Imperial Court had the surname of ShangGuan. Even though the dynasty was old and prosperous, it collapsed about 50 years ago. It has been rumored that its descendents has wondered into the Central Plains."

Lu XiaoFeng exhaled, seemingly satisfied with he answer he got. So he tossed another silver ingot in and asked the 2nd question: "Other than the royal descendents, were there any other survivors of note from its Imperial Court?"

"It's been said that there were 4 of them that was ordered to protect their heir on his way over here. One of them was another royal relative, his name was ShangGuan Jin. The other 3 were General Ping DuHe, Commander ShangGuan Mu, and Warden of the Treasury Yan LiBen."

There is still a little bit more to add to the answer: "The different positions in their country were very similiar to the same positions in our country."

The third question was: "So what happened to them?"

"They probably had all changed their names and went into hiding after they arrived here. When the new dynasty was established, they no doubt sent out assasins in hopes of killing off all the left overs of the last dynasty. But they were unable to find anyone. If the heir to the throne back then is still alive, he's probably an old man now."

After thinking deeply for a long time, Lu XiaoFeng finally asked the 4th question: "If there's a really difficult matter that has to require the help of XiMen ChuiXue, is there any way to get him to help?"

The question was followed by an even longer silence. Finally, the 4 word answer came: "None what so ever."

______________________________

"Spring Woods" in the city was world famous for their excellent Bamboo Green, Garlic Beef, 5-Plumed Pigeon, and Sauteed Goat with Fish. That's why they were at Spring Woods.

Lu XiaoFeng was a very picky and very knowledgeable eater.

"'None what so ever'! What kind of an answer is that?" Lu XiaoFeng said with a forced smile and downed a cup of Bamboo Green. "This entire table of food cost about 5 taels at the most, and that little son of a devil's answer was 50!"

"Does that really mean that there's no way?" Hua ManLou asked with a casual smile on his face.

"XiMen ChuiXue has money, got fame, and is about as much of a loner as you can get: he's never ever gotten into other people's business." Lu XiaoFeng replied. "Add that to the fact that he treats his relatives the same way he treats strangers and the fact that he is about as arrogant as you can get, can you think of a way to deal with this guy?"

"But sometimes he would travel 3000 kilometers to avenge someone he has never met before."

"That's because he wanted to. If he doesn't want to, even the Jade Emperor himself can't move him!"

{Jade Emperor is the supreme diety in the traditional Chinese mythology, a character not unlike Zeus in Greek mythology.}

Hua ManLou smiled: "No matter what, at least this trip wasn't completely in vain. We did manage to find out that what the Golden Roc Emperor told us wasn't a lie."

"Precisely because what he said wasn't a lie, that's why we have to get involve in this matter. And precisely because we have to get involved, that's why we must need XiMen ChuiXue."

"Is his sword skill really as frightening as the rumors say?"

"Maybe more. Since the first time he fought at the age of 15 until now, nobody has made it out alive from an fight with him."

"Why must we need him?"

"Because we are not up against just anybody, and there's more than one of them."

Lu XiaoFeng downed another cup and continued: "If DuGu YiHe really is the Boss of Green Shirt Pavilion, then there's at least 5 or 6 very troublesome people under him. Besides, E'Mei Sect is filled with great kungfu masters to begin with."

"I have also heard about the 7 Swords of E'Mei, 3 Valiants and 4 Beauties, being among the best of the best of the next generation of swordsmen."

{The 7 Swords of E'Mei is known as the "3 Ying 4 Xiu" this phrase is developed some more as the story progresses.}

"Yan TieShan's Pearl and Diamond Pavilion's warden Huo TianQing is even more troublesome than all 7 of them added together. He's not that old, but somehow he's got a lot of seniority, it's rumored that even the great Hero Shan XiYan has to call him 'Master-Uncle'!"

"Why would he be working under Yan LiBen?"

"Because a couple of years ago he was ambushed and almost killed by somebody on top of Mount QiLian when Yan LiBen saved his life."

"And Huo Xiu as the tendency to disappear for long periods of time, all his fortunes must have been left in the care of some very reliable people. Obviously they can't be all that easy to deal with either." Hua ManLou observed.

"Exactly right."

"So that's why we have to get XiMen ChuiXue."

"Right again."

"Can't we try and psych him into this? By saying let's find out who's the best among all these kungfu masters?"

"No way!"

"Why not?"

"Because not only can't you convince him to do anything the easy way or the hard way, he's also smart as hell, just like me."

Lu XiaoFeng laughed a little at the remark and continued: "If someone wants to psych me into doing something, I can tell you right now he's going to fail."

Hua ManLou sat there silently for a long time before he slow spoke: "I think I have an idea, maybe we can give it a try."

"What kind of an idea?"

Hua ManLou didn't have the chance to tell his idea when there came a disturbance and a series of screams at the front door.

A person had stumbled in, a person covered in blood.

The April sun was just slightly to the West for it was just passed noon. The sunlight came pouring in through sideways onto this man, onto his blood-covered body, causing it to shine red, so red that it chills a person to the bone.

The blood was pouring out from 17 or 18 different places; his forehead, his nose, his ears, his eyes, his mouth, his throat, his chest, his wrist, his knees, both of his shoulders, were all gushing blood.

Even Lu XiaoFeng had never seen anyone with so many wounds, this was the kind of stuff that nobody ever even dares to think about.

This person had saw him as well, suddenly rushed to in front of him, and grabbed his shoulders using those 2 blood covered hands of his. "Ge... ge...." It seemed like he was trying to say something.

But he couldn't utter a single word, because his throat had been pratically sliced in half. But he was still alive.

Was this a miracle? Or was it because he wanted to say one sentence to Lu XiaoFeng before he dies?

Lu XiaoFeng stared at that disfigured face and suddenly shouted out: "Xiao QiuYu!"

"Ge... ge...." Xiao QiuYu's throat was still making those noises. His blood covered eyes were filled with horror, anger, and hatred.

"Do you want to tell me something?" Lu XiaoFeng asked.

Xiao QiuYu nodded. Then suddenly, he let out a huge, desperate howl; a howl of a once proud wolf, lonely and wounded, just before he gives in and falls onto the snow covered ground.

Suddenly, his entire body twitched, as if someone just hit him from behind with an invisible whip.

What he wanted to tell Lu XiaoFeng was obviously a terrifying secret, but he could never utter a single word ever again.

By the time he hit the floor, his limbs had all curled back into his body because of the pain. His bright red blood was already turning into a deeper and deeper shade of purple.

Lu XiaoFeng stomped his feet and jumped. His huge body, like a huge eagle, flew over 4 or 5 tables, over all the people's heads, and out of the front door.

On the slab-stoned street, there was a trail of blood that went all the way from the center of the street to the door.

"There had just been a carriage shooting down the street, that person had fell out of that carriage."

"What kind of carriage was it?"

"Black, and the people driving it were wearing green."

"Which way were they headed?"

"West."

Lu XiaoFeng did not say another word and began running in the direction of the sun. After making it pass another big street, he heard another huge commotion and scream coming from the intersection to his left.

An ebony black carriage had just crashed into a medicine shop, knocking down several people and a couple of tables.

By now the horse had already fell down onto the ground, white foam was already spilling out of its mouth.

The person driving the carriage fell down as well, at the corner of his mouth was blood. Dark purple colored blood that fell drop by drop onto his shirt.

His green colored shirt. His face was concorted as well; suddenly, his pale yello face turned dead black as well.

Lu XiaoFeng swung open the carriage door. Resting on the seat inside the carriage was actually a pair of silver hooks.

The silver hooks had a yellowish cloth attached to it, much like the type used by Taoist priest to call the souls of the dead. Words had just been written on it, in fresh blood: "An Eye for an Eye!"

"This is what happens to those who meddle with other's business!"

______________________________

The silver hooks shone brightly in the sun.

Hua ManLou gently felt the tip of the hook. "You said these are Soul Hooker's hooks?" He asked in a slow and soft voice.

Lu XiaoFeng nodded.

"And Soul Hooker died by Xiao QiuYu's hands?"

"An Eye for an Eye!" Lu XiaoFeng sighed.

"But that other sentence is obviously a warning to us to stay out of this."

"Green Shirt Pavilion's intelligence are pretty fast, but too bad they can't judge people," Lu XiaoFeng observed with a bitter and cold laugh.

"They really did misjudge you," Hua ManLou sighed too. "Green Shirt Pavilion shouldn't have been so stupid as to do this, do they really believe they can scare you?"

"This is good for only one person."

"Who?"

"Golden Roc Emperor!"

There are people in this world that was born with this weird, unflexible chip on their shoulders; the more you try and scare him and not let him do something, the more he has to do it. Lu XiaoFeng was one of this kind of people.

So right now even if you put 180 sharp sabres on his throat, you still couldn't stop him from meddling with this business.

He grasped the silver hooks tightly and suddenly got up: "Come on! Let's go get XiMen ChuiXue right now. I have just thought of a way to get him too."

"How?"

"If he's not willing to help out, then I'm going burn down his Thousand-Plums Mansion!"