LXF03-13 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 August 2008 04:38

Epilogue


 


September 16th. Dusk. The moon was about to rise once more. This night's moon would surely be even rounder than that of the 15th.

Si Kong Zhai Xing had walked up and down the entire length of the Inner Golden Water River in the yard. He had meant to count, once and for all, the total number of railings on either side of the river, but he always lost count. He had something else on his mind-

Why has Lu Xiao Feng still not come out?

What was the Emperor keeping him for?


"Circa Regna Tonat" Having a laid back and carefree person like Lu Xiao Feng at the Emperor's side was just asking for trouble. One misspoken word, one mistaken action, and he would be hard pressed to keep his head.

{Translator's note: I figured I throw in some extra cultural reference. The phrase "Circa Regna Tonat", Latin for "around the throne, the thunder roars," was written by Thomas Wyatt as he watched Henry VIII kill Anne Boleyn.}

This point did not just make Si Kong Zhai Xing worry, but all of Lu Xiao Feng's friends. Lu Xiao Feng had quite alot of friends.

Wei Zi Yun had gone in to check the situation many times, but nothing seemed to be happening inside the South Library.

Without summons, nobody dared to enter the South Library on his own, even Wei Zi Yun. Every time he came back out without any news, everyone worried that much more.

So by the 6th time he came out, some people were practically jumping out of their own skin with worry. But this time, Wei Zi Yun did not seem as upset or disappointed as before. Instead his eyes seemed aglow.

Seeing the look in his eye, Si Kong Zhai Xing immediately ran over to his side: "Do you have any news?"

Wei Zi Yun simply nodded.

"Has little bastard come out of there?"

Wei Zi Yun shook his head.

"Did you see him?"

Once again, Wei Zi Yun shook his head.

"In what world does this qualify as news?" Si Kong Zhai Xing was practically shouting at this point.

"I might not have seen him, but I did hear his voice."

"Voice? What type of voice."

"Laughter, of course."

Wei Zi Yun paused and began to laugh himself as well. "Other than laughter, have you ever heard his voice in do anything else?"

Si Kong Zhai Xing's eyes were huge at this point.

"Was the laugher really loud?"

"I trust you know much better than I what his laughter sounds like."

Si Kong Zhai Xing's eyes got even bigger.

"In front of the Emperor, he was still laughing as usual?"

"Do you think there is anything left in this world this guy isn't capable of?"

"No, I really can't." Si Kong Zhai Xing sighed.

"Neither can I."

"What's even more puzzling for me though, is what made him laugh so hard in the South Library."

"I hear they are having a drink. "Wei Zi Yun whispered.

"Who are they?"

"They are none other than the Emperor and Lu Xiao Feng." Wei Zi Yun's whisper was even quieter.

By now, Si Kong Zhai Xing's eyes looked like they were about to jump out of their sockets.

"Where did you hear this from?"

"When I went in, I just so happened to run into a young eunuch in the middle of taking some wine inside."

"And you asked him to take a look at what was going on inside while he's at it?"

Wei Zi Yun sighed.

"I had to promise to buy him an house outside the palace before he said ok."

"So what did he hear?"

"He only heard one sentence."

"A house for one sentence? Quite an expensive price on that sentence don't you think?"

"No, not expensive at all."

"Not expensive?"

"That single sentence might be worth more than a whole myriad of houses."

He was truly quite something else at holding his calm. Even at this point, he was still unwilling to just say what that sentence was straight out.

But Si Kong Zhai Xing's was frustrated to the point where steam seemed to be enmanating from his head.

"So who the hell said that sentence? What the hell was that sentence anyhow?" He was beginning to lose it.

"His Majesty the Emperor said that sentence, and he promised Lu Xiao Feng one thing."

"What?"

"Whatever he wants."

"So whatever Lu Xiao Feng wants, the Emperor has promised to give him?"

"The Son of Heaven does not utter words he does not mean. And there is absolutely nothing in this world that the Son of Heaven cannot do."

Si Kong Zhai Xing was dumbfounded, truly dumbfounded.

During this entire conversation, he might have been the only one asking the questions, but he was by no means the only one listening to the answers. At this point, everyone was dumbfounded.

To everyday world and people, the words of the Son of Heaven was literally like the magical wand of those legendary demons or gods. They could turn iron into gold, turn the poor and dispicable to the rich and famous, turn the backward and barbaric to the future and vanguard. The silence seemed to drag on forever until Si Kong Zhai Xing finally broke it with a huge sigh.

"So what did that little bastard ask for?"

"I don't know, the little eunuch only heard that one sentence."

"Actually, I don't need to ask to know what that little bastard asked for."

"Oh?"

"Within the Forbidden City, there must be all kinds of rare and delicious wine."

"So you think he'll ask for wine?"

"Are there people who don't want to live?"

"Even if there are, there aren't many of them."

"Well, wine is that little bastard's life, what would he want if not wine?"

"His livelihood!" Honest Monk suddenly pipped up.

"His livelihood?" Si Kong Zhai Xing did not understand.

"Wine might be his life, but women are his livelihood." Honest Monk observed.

"So you think he asked the Emperor to grant him a woman?" The Wooden Taoist queried.

"Maybe not one, maybe three hundred sixty five!"

The Wooden Taoist burst out with laughter.

"So this is what the Buddhist Monk thinks? This monk must have gone crazy thinking about women. We must not use monk logic to guess what Lu Xiao Feng feels or wants."

{Translator's note: Honest Monk is a dirty dirty monk.}

"So what does the Taoist think?" Honest Monk demanded.

"That little bastard might be a slave to both wine and women, but he's not an idiot. He should realize as long as he has money, he'll never be short of either wine or women. Not to mention his uncontrolled spending habit always leaves him want of money."

Honest Monk sighed.

"No wonder people say: 'the older you get the greedier you get'. The old Taoist here is a miser, a moneygrubber!"

Bu Ju had been wanting to speak up since the beginning and finally could not hold back any longer. "If I were him. I would surely ask the Emperor to make me a Marshall of the Empire. So I can lead armies to the west to conquer in the name of the Emperor and the Empire. To make my name known throughout the world and history."

Wei Zi Yun immediately agreed with this guess.

Fame, forture, women, power, are they not all a man fantasizes about? Other than these, what could he possibly ask for?

"Maybe what he asked for wasn't just one thing." Si Kong Zhai Xing suddenly suggested. "That little bastard's heart has always been quite black."

"No matter what though, the thing he asked for must have been one of the things we guessed." Honest Monk concluded.

"Wrong." A voice suddenly replied from beneath the Gate of Everlasting Calm.

{Translator's note: This is another instance where I think Gu Long has got his geography wrong. The Gate of Everlasting Calm, or Yongdingmen, is/was the front gate to the city of Beijing itself. I highly doubt the Emperor not only kicked those men out of the Forbidden City, but the entire city of Beijing as well.}

A man walked forth from within the gate, a proud and positively glowing man -- Lu Xiao Feng had finally reappeared. Immediately, everyone ran over to his side.

"Did all of us get it wrong?"

Lu Xiao Feng nodded.

"So what did you ask for?" Honest Monk demanded.

"I can't tell you, I just can't."

He parted the gathering of men in front of him and began walking away. No matter what the people around him said, he refused to open his mouth.

He seemed to have his heart set on killing these men with suspense.

Pity, for these men were not the type who gave up that easily. As Lu Xiao Feng walked along in big, casual steps, they followed closely behind.

Honest Monk gave Si Kong Zhai Xing's sleeve a little tug to get his attention.

"You are this little bastard's nemesis, if there was one person in the world who can make him talk, it's you." He whispered.

Si Kong Zhai Xing batted his eyes a couple of times.

"Damn right!" He answered as he casually stroded up to Lu Xiao Feng and gave his sleeve a little tug to get his attention.

"Are you sure you don't want to tell?"

"Yes."

"Good."

"Why is that good?"

"Because if you don't tell, then I will... I will...."

He whispered a couple words into Lu Xiao Feng's ear. Lu Xiao Feng's foot steps came to a sudden halt as he stood there, dumbfounded for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, he let out a long sigh and whispered a couple of words into Si Kong Zhai Xing's ear.

Si Kong Zhai Xing was immediately dumbstruck. His expression looking like he had just, simultaneously, swallowed whole 3 chicken eggs, 2 duck eggs, and 4 very large steamed buns.

Lu Xiao Feng resumed his old leisure pace.

Si Kong Zhai Xing blanked followed and resumed walking as well. But within the first step, he began to laugh, laugh uncontrollably, laugh to the point of tears.

Honest Monk tugged at his sleeves again.

"So what did he tell you?"

Still unable to stop laughing, Si Kong Zhai Xing shook his head and replied between bouts of laughter: "I can't tell you, I just can't."

"Don't you forget who was the one who told you to go ask him? Besides, if you don't tell me, then I will...."

He also whispered a couple of words into Si Kong Zhai Xing's ear.

Si Kong Zhai Xing's foot steps also came to immediate halt as he stood there, dumbfounded for what seemed like another eternity before finally whispering something into Honest Monk's ear.

Honest Monk was dumbstruck as well. Then he began to laugh too, laugh uncontrollably, laughing as if Buddha himself suddenly appeared an granted him three big nuns, two small nuns, and four not-so-big-and-not-so-small-but-just-right nuns.

{Translator's note: Like I said, the Honest Monk is a dirty dirty man.}

There after, the Wooden Taoist forced him to tell him as well, then Wei Zi Yun got the information from the Wooden Taoist. Eventually, Ding Ao, Du Fang, Yin Xian, and Bu Ju all knew.

Then everyone began to laugh, laugh uncontrollably....

September 16th. Night. The moonlight shone from the edge of the Heavens like pure water. Lu Xiao Feng walked assuredly along the moonlit bridge that was glowing like ice, full of energy and life, absolutely certain of himself and his purpose.

He was not laughing. But behind him everybody was laughing, laughing uncontrollably. Laughing so hard that they were either doubled over or leaning back in laughter. Laughing like a group of little children. Still laughing, they made their way off the bridge and onto the street glittering in the lamp light. Everywhere they walk, by their side on the streets, out of the windows of their houses, from the front doors of their shops, people gawked at them in shock. None of them could ever possibly imagine that these men were all the greatest martial arts masters of their era. And none of them could ever possibly guess why they were laughing so heartily, absolutely none. Maybe nobody ever will....

 

 

<THE END>