LXF02-02 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 August 2008 21:57

Chapter 2 - Visiting Divine Needle Xue



Hillside. Under the light of the dusk, the green hillside seemed to change into a strange and surreal deep purple. The time now was dusk, and the mountainside was covered with all different types of roses in full bloom. Two young girls with their hairs done in pig tails were picking flowers. From their mouths emanated the soft, sweet tunes of mountain hymns.

Their song was softer and gentler than the warm summer breeze, they themselves were prettier than the flowers. When Lu Xiao Feng walked onto the side of the hillside, their song suddenly stopped as both of them stared at Lu Xiao Feng with their big, bright eyes. Luckily, Lu Xiao Feng was used to having women stare at him, so he did not blush but instead smiled.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” This young lady had big eyes and some small hints of freckles on her nose, all of which made her look even more cute and adorable.

“The flowers are so pretty here, can’t I just be looking at the flowers?” Lu Xiao Feng replied, still smiling.

“No!” The freckled girl’s eyes got even bigger. “This place is ours, we don’t welcome men!”

“Little girls shouldn’t have such short tempers,” Lu Xiao Feng sighed. “Girls like that might not find a husband!”

“That’s why I’m never mean!” The other girl had a round face, and when she smiles two dimples appear, making her look sweet and tender, just like she says.

“If you like flowers so much, how about I give you two?” She was still sweetly smiling.

“Great!”

The girl with the dimples walked up and, still smiling sweetly, reached into her flower basket. What she took out from the flower basket was not flowers, but scissors as she suddenly attacked Lu Xiao Feng. This sweet and tender little girl’s moves were unbelievably quick, fierce, and vicious.

Even Lu Xiao Feng was caught by the surprise. Lucky for him, this was not the first time that a woman tried to stab him with a pair of scissors and he even seemed to be expecting it. With a quick spin of his body, he quickly back off 5 or so meters.

“This man doesn’t look like anything better than scum, don’t let him get away!” The freckled girl shouted. A pair of scissors appeared in her hand as well as she charged into the fray. Her moves were not slow either.

“Scissors are for cutting flowers, since when did they start being used to cut people?” Lu Xiao Feng miserably joked. He had dodged the first couple of moves, but the girls’ attacks became more and more vicious. He fought hard to fight off the urge to yank the scissors out of their hands, to have a huge hole poked onto your body was not exactly a fun idea.

At this moment, another person suddenly appeared on the hillside.

“If you want to cut him, only cut off those 2 little mustache of his, but make sure you don’t actually cut him to death!” Smiling, the she instructed. Her cloths were snow white in color, the material looked light and soft. She stood elegantly and lightly on the top of the hill, as if at any moment she could be carried away by the wind. She was staring at Lu Xiao Feng with eyes that were overflowing with an indescribable warm and tenderness.

The two girls suddenly stopped and somersaulted back to in front of her.

“Miss know this person?”

“Mmhmm!”

“Who is this person?”

“Can’t you tell that he has four eye brows?”

“Lu Xiao Feng? This person is Lu Xiao Feng?” Both of the girls started to giggle uncontrollably at the realization. “No wonder he looked like a criminal when he smiled!”

“The Miss is a female tiger, but who would have thought that her servants are also that vicious.” Lu Xiao Feng sighed and meekly smiled. “If I was a bit slower, there’s probably already 17 or 18 holes on my body.”

“Well, who’s fault is it that you took so long to come to see me?” The Miss bit her lip. “I’m really tempted to actually poke 18 holes in you. But...”

She did not finish her sentence, but her face was already red, red like the setting sun on of the faraway mountains. Incredibly, she was very shy.

Lu Xiao Feng stared at her, seemingly mesmerized.

The Miss blushed even more.

“Why are you staring at me, it’s not like a flower on my face.” She lightly said.

“Such a shy and proper little lady, who would have guessed that she’s ‘The Cold Ruskha’, Xue Bing, the mere sight of whom would give everyone in the martial world a headache?” Lu Xiao Feng sighed again and mumbled to himself. “It’s a strange world isn’t it?”

“Do you get a headache when you see me?” Xue Bing asked.

“No, no head ache.” Lu Xiao Feng sighed. “But my heart is beating three times faster than it normally does!”

“This guy might have a pair of criminal eyes, but that mouth of his is sweeter than honey!” The dimpled girl laughed and whispered.

“If his mouth wasn’t sweet, how could he get Miss to think about him every second of everday?” The other girl whispered back.

“Don’t you girls know when to be quiet? Who said that I think about this heartless low life at all?” Xue Bing shot an angry look at the two girls and said, blushing. She was pouting but smiling, mad but embarrased, but the bright and vibrant sunset had seemed to have lost all of its color.

“I really should have came earlier, why did I wait until today?” Lu Xiao Feng mumbled to himself again, and sighed.

“I know why.” Xue Bing elegantly replied.

“You do?”

“You see me and forget the others, but when you see others, you forget all about me.” Xue Bing bit her lip again. “You are a heartless man without a bit of care through and through!”

“If I knew I was going to get reprimanded, I probably shouldn’t have came!” Lu Xiao Feng meekly smiled.

“You think I can’t see through your little ideas? If you don’t have some pressing need, would you have came?” Xue Bing coldly said.

“I really do have a pressing need,” Lu Xiao Feng confessed. “But not to for you!”

“Well? Tell me! Who are you here to see?” Xue Bing put up a serious face.

“For Madame!”

“What are you trying to pull now?” Xue Bing found this all very strange. “Why do you want to see Madame?”

“I have something to ask of her!”

“I’m not going to allow you to trouble Madame. If you have a question, just ask me, it’s the same.”

“But there’s absolutely know way you could help with this!”

“And what is that?”

“Embroidery.”

“Embroidery? You want to learn to sew? When did you become a tailor?” This was getting stranger by the minute to Xue Bing.

“Only tailors are allowed to learn to sew?”

“Even if you kill me, I still won’t believe that you actually want to learn to sew!”

Once again, Lu Xiao Feng had to fess up.

“But I really have something to ask Madame, could you take me to her?”

“I’m still ‘Divine Needle’ Madame Xue’s descendent, remember? Why don’t you ask me?”

“Because I know you never wanted to touch sewing needles at all.” Lu Xiao Feng sighed. “You told me yourself, as soon as you pick one up, you fall asleep!”

“You actually still remember that?”

“I remember every word you have ever said to me. So it’s best if you take me to Madame as soon as possible!”

“Well, I’m not going to. What are you going to do about that?” Xue Bing mysteriously smiled.

Madame Xue was already 77 years old this year, but nobody could ever tell that she was 77 years old. In certain not well lit situations, quite a number of people would actually mistake her for someone who was not a day over 38. Her manners and bearing are forever appropriate and perfect, her eyes were still as bright and moving as they were in days of old. This was especially true whenever she sees a young person that she liked, then a glimmer of maiden innocence could even be spotted in her eyes.

Lu Xiao Feng just happens to be a young man that she liked. Lu Xiao Feng liked her very much as well. He had always wished that every woman could be as beautiful as her at her age - He always wished that the world would be more beautiful that it already was.

“You should come and see me more often you know.” Madame Xue smiled. “A woman as old as I am are no longer a danger to the likes of you now. At least you shouldn’t be afraid of me trying to force you to marry me!”

“I would come more often, but Xue Bing wouldn’t let me!” Lu Xiao Feng purposefully exaggerated a sigh.

“Oh?”

“Just today, she wouldn’t lead me here to you!”

“Why?”

“I don’t know why either.” Lu Xiao Feng blinked innocently. “If you ask me I think she must be jealous.”

Madame Xue laughed some more. Her eyes began to glow and the wrinkles on her face disappeared.

“And could you please take a look at this?” Lu Xiao Feng took this opportunity to present the piece of red satin cloth to her.

“What about it?” Madame Xue only needed to glance the satin out of the corner of her eyes for the look of disapproval appeared on her face. Shaking her head, she asked further. “I sewed better when I was just 6 years old!”

“I’m not asking you to inspect the flower,” Lu Xiao Feng smiled. “I’m requesting you to take a look at the satin and the thread.”

“I have seen millions of these things in my life, and you want me to look at some more?”

“That’s why I’m asking you to take a look at this, precisely because you have seen so many of these. Could you determine where the satin and the thread are from, and which shop sells it?”

Madame Xue took the piece of satin into her hand and lightly touched it with her finger nail.

“The satin is from Lucky Omen from the capital, the thread is bought from Lucky Symbol. Both of these shops are owned by the same boss, located at Sticky Partition Wall.” She immediately concluded.

“And only at their headquarters in the capital can you buy these goods right?”

“Both of these shop only has one location, there aren’t any other branches!”

“Do they ship or sell to other shops?”

“Even if other shops have these goods, they got it from personally going to these stores and buying them!” Madame Xue explained further. “These two stores make top quality stuff that they sell themselves. They don’t make alot, nor do they advertise much. Their boss, Yan Ah Fu is a very modest person that’s not trying to get rich in the business!”

“Where is his shop at in the capital?”

“In a very remote alleyway off the street behind the ColdPalace. All these years he has never advertised a bit. Other than real experts, very few people know about it!” Madame Xue suddenly smiled. “Be honest, did you fall for this girl here but couldn’t find her because she’s hiding from you? Is that why you want to find her using this?”

{Note: The ColdPalace is the traditionally the palace where the wives and concubines of past Emperors reside until their deaths.}

Lu Xiao Feng was already in shock, only after a long time did he snap out of it.

“Woman? Did a woman sew this?” He finally uttered.

“Of course a woman sewed this.”

“Are... are you sure?”

“Would you make a mistake when looking at women? Would you mistake an old hag for a young girl?” Madame Xue straightened her face, seemingly a bit annoyed at the question.

“No.”

“I am at least 10 times more of an expert of these things as you are with women. If I’m wrong, then I’ll willingly lose my little baby over here to you.”

“Even if you really did lose her to me, I won’t dare to collect my prize.” Lu Xiao Feng played along.

“Why not? Do you think she’s ugly?” Madame Xue’s eyes were wide in anger.

“Oh no, not ugly at all.” Lu Xiao Feng smiled. “Just a bit on the mean side. Last time she nearly bit my entire ear off.”

Xue Bing had been obediently standing there, not making the slightest sound. But now her face was flush red and her head bowed even deeper.

“All of you say she’s mean, but when I look at her, not only is she not mean, but is nice and obedient like an angel!” Madame Xue smiled as well. She took Xue Bing’s hand in hers. “My child, your only problem is that you are way too shy. What’s there to blush about? Women biting men is something that’s natural and right!”

Now even root of Xue Bing’s ears were red with embarrasement.

“Why would I want to bite him? He stinks!” She lightly replied.

“If you didn’t bite him, then how do you know he stinks?” Madame Xue laughed out loud.

“Mmmm!” Xue Bing let out a spoiled pout before running off in embarrasement. But even then she did not forget to secretly shoot a look towards Lu Xiao Feng and whisper. “Careful!”

Lu Xiao Feng watched her leave, seeminly mesmerized again.

“You want to chase after her don’t you?” Madame Xue was smiling so wide that her eyes were little slits. “Well go then! What’s stopping ya?”

Lu Xiao Feng hesitated, not taking his eyes off of that piece of red satin in her hand.

“What are you staring for? Do you actually think that I would keep it?” She laughed at Lu Xiao Feng and tossed the cloth back to him. “If there were two pieces, then I would be able to make a pair of shoes for that girl there, but there’s only one....”

“What did you say you could make?” Lu Xiao Feng cut her off before she could finish.

“Shoes, what else. That’s actually the surface cloth of a shoe.”

Lu Xiao Feng seemed shocked again.

“Could you make a pair of red shoes?” He mumbled.

“Of course red shoes.” Madame Xue laughed and shook her head in disbelief. “How could you make black shoes from red cloth? You look so smart, since when did you turn into an idiot?”

“Just then,” Lu Xiao Feng sighed, “got scared into one.”

“What are you scared of?”

“I’m scared that she’s waiting outside the door to bite me!”

He really was bit as soon as he walked out of the door. Xue Bing was really waiting outside for him, and it was quite a bite.

“I’m turning into a regular soothsayer, I’m getting way too good at predicting things.” Lu Xiao Feng tiredly laughed, fervently rubbing his ear.

“Well it’s your fault you embarrased me just then. And what were you trying to do saying that I won’t take you here?” She furiously stared at him and angrily reprimanded. “If it wasn’t for me, then how did you end up here? You are lucky I didn’t really bite that ear of yours completely off.”

All Lu Xiao Feng could do was keep his mouth shut. When a girl is fully intent on looking for trouble, the smart men would all keep their mouth shut tight.

Suddenly, Xue Bing snatched the red satin out of his hand.

“So tell me, who sewed this for you? Why are you treating it like some priceless treasure?”

“Because it is a priceless treasure.”

“Priceless treasure my foot,” Xue Bing sneered. “Looks to me like it’s not even worth a single tael!”

“Well, this time you are wrong. It’s worht at least 18 bushels of diamond studs, 800 thousand tales of silver, and 9000 pieces of gold leafs!”

“You have gone crazy!” Xue Bing stared at him with shock in her eyes.

“I haven’t.”

“If not, then why are you telling such preposterous lies?”

Lu Xiao Feng sighed. He knew even if he did not tell her now, sooner or later she would find out herself. So he decided that it was probably best to tell her himself right now.

Xue Bing silently listened to his story, her eyes began to glow as well as she listened.

“Other than this little goodie, there isn’t any other clue?” She asked after he had finished.

“No.”

“And that’s why you are planning to go to the capital and visit this Lucky Omen shop to inquire about when they sold this piece of cloth and to whom? Am I right?”

“I’m just hoping that there hasn’t been much red satin being sold recently.”

“Textile shops and maker do seem to keep track of these things for at least a year.” Xue Bing blinked and offered.

“That’s why I must be on my way right now!”

“Good, we’ll leave tomorrow!”

“We?” Lu Xiao Feng seemed surprised.

“We.”

“And this ‘we’ includes you?”

“Of course!”

“Well, if this ‘we’ includes you, then it doesn’t include me!” Lu Xiao Feng matter of factly told her.

“You don’t want to take me there?” Xue Bing incredulously stared at him.

“No.”

Xue Bing stared at him for a long time before her eyes suddenly rolled around for a bit.

“When Madame said something about red shoes just a bit earlier, you seemed to be surpirsed.”

“Mm!”

“Did you see someone wearing red shoes?”

“There’s alot of people going around wearing red shoes!”

“But in that group there are some people who are special. Like, for example, some people that shouldn’t be wearing red shoes, but still do wear a pair red shoes.” The expression on Lu Xiao Feng’s face changed. He had still not forgotten that the fake Golden Roc Emperor, even in death, was clutching a red shoe tightly in his hand.

“Do you know why these people wore red shoes?” Xue Bing casually asked, noticing the look on his face and knowing that she had him.

“No.”

“Do you know who these people are who wear these red shoes? Do you know what kind of secret these red shoes have?”

“No.”

“Well I do.”

Lu Xiao Feng took a deep breath, his heart began to pick up speed again. This “secret of the red shoes” had truly moved him. But he did not ask. Because he knew that even if he asked now, Xue Bing would never answer it.

“Do you want to know these secrets?” Xue Bing casually asked, looking at him out the side of her eyes now.

“Yes.”

“Well then, do you want to take me to the capital?”

“Yes!” Lu Xiao Feng exasperratingly smiled. “Very much so!”

______________________________

Lu Xiao Feng really dislikes riding in carriages, he would rather ride horses, or even walk. But at this moment he was sitting inside of a carriage, because Xue Bing likes it. Xue Bing had always been a very well mannered and shy girl, to the point where she would never take big steps while walking - at least she always liked to pretend to be like that.

Luckily, the carriage was very steady, because the road was very smooth. Highways leading to the capital were all very smooth. Sitting in the coach, Lu Xiao Feng was massaging his chin, because his chin was very sore. He suddenly realized that he seemed to be smiling and laughing meekly and tirely way too often recently, so much so to the point where his chin was getting sore. Xue Bing was sitting on the other side, facing him, watching him; her eyes once again filled with that tenderness and joy that nobody could even hope to describe.

“Well, can you tell me the secret now?” Lu Xiao Feng could not restrain himself anymore.

“Secret? What secret?” Xue Bing amazingly looked like she had completely forgotten about this matter!

“The secret of the red shoes of course, what else?”

“Oh, that secret. It’s not time to reveal that secret yet!!”

“When will it get to be time to reveal it?”

“When I’m happy, and I’m not very happy right now.”

“Why aren’t you happy?”

“Nobody would be happy if there’s a huge idiot sitting across from them.”

“Who’s the idiot?”

“You.”

Lu Xiao Feng suddenly realized that he was meekly laughing again.

“So what am I? A heartless low life? Or a huge idiot?”

“Both.” Xue Bing leisurely laughed a little. “Because if you weren’t a heartless low life, then there’s no way you would treat me so terribly. And if you weren’t a huge idiot, then you wouldn’t waste a trip all the way to the capital!”

“Why am I an idiot for going to the capital?” Lu Xiao Feng was confused.

“Tell me, what do you plan on doing there?”

“You know exactly what I’m planning on doing!”

“To ask the vendors at Lucky Omen who bought this piece of satin right?”

“Correct!”

“Do you know how much pieces of cloth like this they sell every day? Even if somehow, they remember all of the sells, are you really planning on following up on every buyer?”

“But there can’t that many that buy only red satin and black threads.”

“And besides, this person had been doing all of these heists by himself. So he would naturally buy these commodities himself.” Xue Bing added.

“Yes, this matter is very secretive to begin with, so it’s most wise not to let a second person in on this!”

“But why do you think that she only bought black threads and red satin?” Xue Bing suddenly snickered.

“Because she only used these!”

“And that’s why she could only purchase these 2 things and nothing else? Is there some law that’s preventing her from buying more?”

“But she only used these 2 things!”

“And because she didn’t use it, she couldn’t buy it? Does she have to go and purchase huge amounts of black threads and red satin so as to attract other people’s attention and make it easy for you?” Xue Bing coldly sneered. “Do you actually think that she’s a huge idiot like you?”

Even Lu Xiao Feng could not responde to that.

“Because of how secretive and risky this matter is, then why would she leave such a huge and easy to follow clue for you to find? Even if she had left a miniscule clue there, by the time you make it to Lucky Omen you would probably find it burned to the ground.”

Only after a long pause did Lu Xiao Feng finally gather himself and sighed.

“Well, it looks like I really am an idiot.”

“And a heatless jerk!”

“And therefore it’s pointless to go to the capital!”

“It would be a wasted trip anyways.”

“If we are not going to the capital, then why did you want to get on this road earlier?”

“Because I know that there’s a place with some great wine up ahead. And I know that you have always been a very generous guy and would surely invite me to a drink or two.” Xue Bing cutely answered.

“Turns out not only am I an idiot and heartless, I have a good trait as well.” Lu Xiao Feng laughed meekly. “At least I’m not miserly.”

“As long as a man have that going for him, there would always be alot of girls liking him.”

Pushing the curtains aside, a small river bank could be seen in the distance. In the willow forest, a green flag with the word “WINE” stuck out.

“This is the wine place.” Xue Bing’s eyes lit up.

“Pretty refined and elegant place!”

“And the wine is really good too; great, in fact!”

Looking at how her eyes lit up, Lu Xiao Feng could not help but smile.

“Since when did you become an alcoholic?”

“Recently.”

“Haven’t been feeling well recently?”

“Recently Madame would not allow me to drink, the more she forbids me, the more I want to, and besides....” She glanced toward Lu Xiao Feng and bitterly continued. “When we parted last time, I told you to come and visit, but you never did, so how could I be feeling well?”

Lu Xiao Feng did not dare to reply, because he knew if he did, his ear would probably get bit again.

He did not want to become a person who has only one ear. One ear really do not go well with four eye brows.

The place turned out to be really quite elegant. The little river snaked through the landscape, the willow caged them in green. Espcially now, during dusk, when the green water of the river reflected the red glow of the sun onto people’s faces, making them red like peach flowers. Beyond the willow trees were a couple of out houses. The wine tables were all placed outside on the sandy river bank with several bushes of cape jasmine planted nearby to further enhance the mood. Xue Bing suddenly discovered that this was not Lu Xiao Feng’s first time here, he even knew where to go to relieve himself. Yet just a little while ago he pretended to have never even heard of this place.

“This jerk seemed to have actually learned how to act stupid now. Now what I’m suppose to do? This could be trouble.” Xue Bing sighed. She decided that he was just like a fish, almost impossible to catch. It was probably best to try and figure out a couple of new and better ideas to use against him.

The waiter had walked up. He was a normal rural guy with vertical eye brows, horizontal eyes, and thick limbs.

“First give us 500 grams of Bamboo Green with 4 dishes of cold dishes, 4 more dishes of hot stir-fry. Then go to the back and kill an old hen for a soup.” Actually she did not eat that much at all, but she liked to watch - quite a number of people liked to look at all the food laid out in front of them when they drink, Miss Xue was one of them.

“That much food for two people? Are you trying to stuff yourself to death?” The waiter shot a look at her and coldly said. Xue Bing was shocked, she certainly had never met a waiter like this before. The waiter snickered and continued on his rant. “A woman who eats too much would never get married, if you want to marry that little mustache over there, then it’s best to not eat much. Or else he wouldn’t be able to afford to feed you.”

“Who are you?” Xue Bing was even more shocked. “Do you recognize that little mustache over there?”

That waiter’s eyes rolled about for a while before he suddenly went down and whispered something in her ear. Xue Bing’s eyes got bigger and bigger the more she listened to him until, finally, she could not control herself and let out a little laugh. Grabbing the waiter’s arm, she whispered something back to him. The two of them looked quite friendly from the look of it. There were other costumers here besides her, and by now all of them were staring at her so much that their eyes were about to pop out of their sockets.

A shy, well mannered, elegant, and refined beauty like her would actually act so intimate with this farmer looking waiter? Xue Bing did not seem to care how weird everyone else found this to be, the waiter seemed to care even less. Finally, after having cleared out the commodities in his belly, Lu Xiao Feng returned, seemingly very unhappy.

“We are about to drink, why aren’t you happy?” Xue Bing’s eyes were vibrant with activity. Lu Xiao Feng responded with a cold snicker and a straight face.

“When did you learn to get so friendly with men in public?” He had to ask.

“Men?” Xue Bing blinked. “What men?”

“That waiter just then was a man was he not?” Lu Xiao Feng kept a straight face. No man would be happy to see the girl that he was accompanying getting friendly with another man.

“You really are an idiot aren’t you?” Xue Bing laughed and whispered to him. “I act a little friendlier toward him now, and later on when he gives us the bill, it’ll be a little bit cheaper. You understand that logic don’t you?”

But Lu Xiao Feng did not understand, Xue Bing was not this type of a girl.

By now that waiter had returned with cups and chop sticks.

“Bang!” He roughly placed the cups onto the table and shot a bitter look at Lu Xiao Feng.

“Such a pretty flower, why is it wasted on this pile of bullshit?” He mumbled to himself. This time even Lu Xiao Feng was rendered speechless. Just what was this waiter on? Xue Bing was covering her mouth so as to not laugh out loud.

Lu Xiao Feng watched that waiter walk off and suddenly laughed as well. He was just about to say something when he suddenly noticed a man walking drunkenly over, barely able to keep from falling over. He had a wine cup in one hand and patted Lu Xiao Feng on his shoulder with the other.

“I recognize you, we have met before.” He said with a silly smile on his face.

All Lu Xiao Feng could do was smile along. He did actually meet this man, met him at somebody’s banquet on some particular occasion. He still remembered that his name was Sun Zhong, heard he was pretty famous in the pugilistic world too. That time, like this time, he was intoxicated to the point that his tongue was swollen.

Lu Xiao Feng had two principles. He does not go and bother sober people when he is drunk, and when he is sober he does not go and bother drunk people.

But Sun Zhong wanted to bother him, so much so that he actually sat down.

“I still even remember this mustache of yours, but I don’t remember your name.”

It was probably for the best that he did not remember. But Lu Xiao Feng did not tell him that, of course.

Sun Zhong suddenly turned his head and stared at Xue Bing.

“This little lady that you have with you is quite something else you know, just like a narcissus flower, if you squeeze it water would come out.” So it turned out that he came for Xue Bing. When he saw how friendly Xue Bing was with that waiter, he could not help but be tempted as well. Xue Bing blushed and bowed her head, seemingly too shy to even lift her eye lids.

“My friend, you seem to drunk, why don’t you get some rest?” Lu Xiao Feng sighed. He really did not want any trouble, for himself or Sun Zhong. Nobody has ever troubled “Cold Ruskha” and came out better for the wear. But it seemed as if Sun Zhong did not even hear him and continued to stare at Xue Bing. Suddenly he forcefully patted Lu Xiao Feng on his shoulder again.

“My friend, I gotta give it to you. If you let me have this girl for today, then you could always come to me if you ever get in trouble in the martial world.”

Lu Xiao Feng, incredibly, was able to keep his cool.

“I won’t run into any problems,” He replied matter of factly. “But it looks like you are about to have some, my advice to you is....”

“I’m giving you face by asking you!” Sun Zhong did not even let him finish before shouting back in his face. “Are you going to yield?”

“Why don’t you ask her yourself?” Lu Xiao Feng gave up and sighed.

“I don’t need to ask, I know she likes me.” Sun Zhong laughed loudly. “What do you have that I’m not better at?”

Xue Bing’s face turned even redder, her face bowed even lower, looking ever more beautiful and innocent.

“Little miss, how about you and I have a little drink over there?” Sun Zhong was practically drooling. Blushing, all Xue Bing could do was shook her head.

“Well you have to whether you want to or not!” Sun Zhong actually reached out and took Xue Bing’s hand in his own.

“Can you let go of my hand?” Xue Bing lowered her head even more and quietly asked.

“No!” Sun Zong laughed and replied.

“You absolutely won’t?” Xue Bing asked, her face suddenly turning pale.

“Even if you cut my hand off, I won’t let go!”

“Good!” She suddenly grabbed the sabre attached to Sun Zhong’s waist. As soon as he saw her face turn pale, Lu Xiao Feng knew something was not right. He was just about to say something, but by that time the sabre had already been unsheathed. With a sabre flying through his view, Sun Zhong seemed to sober up a bit as well as he tried to snatch the sabre back. With a flash, his hand had been cut off and flopped onto the ground, dripped with blood.

His pupil suddenly dialated and his eyes bulged out as he stared at his own cut off hand and looked back up at Xue Bing, seemingly not able to believe what had just taken place. And at the moment when he finally began to believe it, he collapsed onto the ground accompanied by a blood curdling scream. An intoxicated man always reacted a bit slower. Only now were his friends, who had been happily crousing on the other side of the place, charging furiously over.

“Why did you cut off his hand?” Lu Xiao Feng frowned, purposefully not paying any attention to the men charging at him.

“He told me to!” Xue Bing answered with an angry face.

“But he’s drunk!”

“But he’s still a person.”

Lu Xiao Feng suddenly snatched the sabre from out of her hand and, gently putting the blade between two of his fingers, lightly flicked.

“Beng!” The steel sabre snapped in two. He followed it up by doing it again.

Using only those two fingers and a couple of light flicks, a sabre that had been made from steel that had been smelt and refined 100 times over was reduced to 10 small pieces.

“Weird, how could trash like this cut off someone’s hand?” He frowned. Those men who were charging at him had collectively came to stop, utterly shocked and not quite believing at the display that they just saw.

“Friend, what’s your name?” One of them finally asked.

“My surname is Lu!”

“Lu as in road?”

“Lu as in Lu Xiao Feng!”

“You... you are Lu Xiao Feng?” The dumbfounded faces had been replaced by sickly green faces. Lu Xiao Feng nodded.

Nobody spoke another word as they picked up their man on the ground, turned around, and began to file out.

“Not recognizing Lu Xiao Feng, you deserve to have both of your hand cut off!”

“So it seems like the words Lu Xiao Feng could fend off evil as well, who knew?” Xue Bing sweetly laughed.

“I knew you were trouble all along,” Lu Xiao Feng was exasperated and sighed. “I shouldn’t have brought you along!”

“Was that his fault or mine?”

“But you shouldn’t have cut his hand off.”

“He told me to!”

“He was drunk!”

“And does being drunk give him the right to bully others around?”

“Drunk people are still people,” The waiter just happened to be coming with the food and wine and commented. “This kind of people deserves to be cut at least 180 times.”

“That’s right, at least you are reasonable!” Xue Bing sweetly replied.

“Hmph!” The waiter, once again, roughly placed the tray carrying the food and wine onto the table and walked off, not even looking in Lu Xiao Feng’s direction at all.

“And a person like you deserves to be cut at least 360 times.” Lu Xiao Feng coldly declared. His face darkened as he suddenly attacked. He picked up a section of the blade with two of his fingers and sent it howling towards the back of the waiter. The waiter did not even turn around but instead took off, as if he had suddenly grew a pair of wings. How could a waiter at a wine place like this have such great martial arts ability?

“I knew you didn’t look like a good guy, turns out you are a flying criminal!” Lu Xiao Feng snickered. He flicked his hand and another section of the blade flew like lightning towards the waiter’s waist. The waiter was in midair with nothing around him to avoid or deflect the attack. Lu Xiao Feng’s attack was truly too fast, it looked as if there was no way he could get out of the way.

“Are you really going to kill him?” Xue Bing asked despite of herself.

“Don’t worry, he won’t die.” Lu Xiao Feng coldly replied. Before he even finished that reply, the waiter had already somersaulted three times in midair, caught the section of the sabre, and gently floated back down onto the ground.

Xue Bing stared at him, then stared at Lu Xiao Feng, and then burst out with a bright smile.

“So you already knew who he is!”

“I only know he’s criminal!” Lu Xiao Feng put up a serious face.

“If I’m criminal, then what are you?” The waiter suddenly laughed.

“A particular criminal’s daddy!”

This waiter did not even go and bring any more dishes, but instead sat down.

“Shame that you are not law breaking material, the most you could do was dig up a couple of earth worms!”

“Digging worms?” Xue Bing blinked.

“Oh you didn’t know?” The waiter laughed. “He’s not very good at other things, but is an expert at earth worm excavation. In 10 days he actually dug up 680 worms for me!”

“What did you need all those worms for?” Xue Bing could not help but wonder.

“I did not need one single worm, I just liked watching him dig for worms.” Xue Bing laughed.

“Have you seen him dig for worms?”

“No!”

“Oh had I known that earlier I would have invited you to have a look as well.” The waiter sighed. “When he dig for worms, that pose and style is just too perfect. Graceful and elegant you know, puts even the best opera singers to shame. It’s really quite a shame you missed out on it.”

“No worries, there’s always next time.” Xue Bing managed to stop laughing long enough to reply.

“There’s a next time?” The waiter wondered.

“Of course!” Xue Bing answered with a straight face. “Earth worm excavation is like drinking wine: addictive! Once a person dig worms once, you can’t stop him from digging more even if you want to!”

“The next time I dig up some worms, I’ll be sure to stuff all of them in your mouth!” Lu Xiao Feng coldly interrupted.

That waiter that was on something was, of course, none other than Si Kong Zhai Xing.

The other customers had long been frightened away. So the three of them actually ended up with quite a peaceful little place for chat. The only one who was suffering was the boss that ran this little wine shop.

“You were having such a good time being a thief, why are you changing into the wine selling line of work?” Xue Bing inquired while pouring a cup of wine for Si Kong Zhai Xing.

“Because he’a addicted too!” Lu Xiao Feng answered instead. He still had not forgotten the last time when Si Kong Zhai Xing disguised himself as Pot Face Zhao. That kind of thing was not something that one forgets.

“Last time I fooled you, but doesn’t seem like I did this time.” Si Kong Zhai Xing laughed.

“Doesn’t seem like you were really trying to fool me this time either.” Lu Xiao Feng stared directly into Si Kong Zhai Xing’s eyes. No waiter in the world could have such a huge attitude problem. If he was not purposefully trying to get Lu Xiao Feng’s attention, then why would he act like that?

“Ever since last time when you charged into a raging inferno to save Pot Face Zhao, I suddenly discovered that you are quite a nice friend to have!” Si Kong Zhai Xing suddenly sighed.

“But yet you still made me go and dig worms for you.”

“What are you? Afraid that others don’t know about that?” Si Kong Zhai Xing laughed again. “Everywhere you go, everyone you meet, you have to bring that up!”

“So you have already met Hua Man Lou and Jin Jiu Ling?” Lu Xiao Feng’s eyes lit up.

“Mm!”

“And they told you that I would was going to look for Xue Bing?”

Si Kong Zhai Xing nodded.

“So you figured that we must past through this place and stop here for a drink?”

“So I waited here!”

“Waited here just to drink some wine?”

“You know that’s not it, and I don’t want to lie to you!” Si Kong Zhai Xing suddenly sighed.

“I only know that we are friends.”

“Weird thing is, there just happen to be alot of people who want me to steal something of yours!” Si Kong Zhai Xing sighed.

“What is it now?”

“Do you have a piece of red satin on you?”

“You know I have it, and I don’t want to lie to you.” Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

“And is there a black peony embroidered on that red piece of satin?”

“Is this piece of cloth what you are here to steal?”

“Correct.”

“You have already admitted we are friends, and yet you are still going to rob me?”

“Because I have already promised someone!”

“Why did you make that promise?”

“I had to!”

“Why?”

“Because I owed this person a favor!”

“Who is this person?”

“You know I won’t tell you, why ask?” Si Kong Zhai Xing let out a tired smile.

“You seem to owe me a favor too.” Lu Xiao Feng laughed. “Not only did I save you, I dug up 680 worms for you as well.”

“And that’s why I’m being honest and telling you this right now!”

“But even though you told me, you are still going to steal from me?”

“A piece of red satin like that is not worth much of anything.”

“And you never steal anything that’s worth anything anyways!”

“Since you havea already seen it, you don’t have much use for it anymore do you?”

“Do you actually want me to just hand it over to you?”

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to say!”

Lu Xiao Feng blinked.

“Why don’t we make a deal?”

“What kind of deal?” Si Kong Zhai Xing asked.

“As long as you tell me who asked you to steal it from me, I’ll let you steal it!”

“No can do on that deal!”

“Well, if we can’t make a deal, then all that’s left to do is to bet.” Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

“How do we bet?”

“Do you know how many guest rooms there are in the back?”

“Six.”

“I’ll stay the night here tonight and wait for you to come and steal it from me!”

“If you know I’m coming to steal it, how can I possibly succeed?” Si Kong Zhai Xing frowned.

“You are the King of Thieves, remember?” Lu Xiao Feng laughed. “Never failed trying to steal anything. I’m sure you’ll come up with something.”

“And what if I really do have a plan to steal it away?” Si Kong Zhai Xing’s eyes suddenly began to glow.

“The thing is with me right now, if you can steal it away, then I’ll be perfectly willing to dig up another 680 worms for you!”

“I can use whatever method I want?”

“Of course. Whatever you want!”

“Some methods I would rather not use on a friend!”

“Well, for tonight only, you can stop considering me as your friend!”

“Alright! The bet is one!” Si Kong Zhai Xing suddenly picked up a cup and finished its contents in one gulp. “And if I lose, I’ll be perfectly willing to dig up worms for you as well!”

“I don’t want you to dig worms!”

“Do you still want me to kneel down and call you ‘Uncle!’ everytime I see you?”

“This time, the ante is upped to ‘Daddy!’“ Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

“Alright! It’s a deal!”

“And whoever backs out is a son of a turtle!”

“Well, looks like no matter who wins, I’m in for a treat!” Xue Bing laughed and happily observed.

“But it’s not night yet.” Si Kong Zhai Xing observed.

“So we are still friends!”

“So I’m going to invite you to a drink!”

“I only hope that you didn’t put any poison in the drinks.” Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

“And I only hope that you don’t get me smashed!” Si Kong Zhai Xing smiled in return.


 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 August 2008 04:06 )