Happy Heroes 46 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 01:03

Chapter 45 – Lover? Enemy?


Are there really people in the world who are born lucky? Perhaps there are, but in any case, I have not seen one yet.

I, of course, have seen many lucky people, but their luck all came because they had used their intelligence, determination, and courage to exchange for it. Luck is just like a lao bing [tortilla-like flat cake made of flour]. It must be kneaded with force, fried in oil, and baked in fire. It definitely will not just fall from the sky.

A lucky person is just like a new bride – no matter where she goes, people will give a couple more glances in her direction. Regardless of how ordinary a person she is, the instant she is a bride, it is as if she suddenly has become special.

The three of them – Wang Dong, Lin TaiPing, and Hong NiangZi – were standing in a row, gawking at Yan Qi, eyeing her from her head down to her toe and then from her toe back up to her head.

Yan Qi’s face had grown red from all their stares, looking like a freshly picked hawthorn fruit and so red it was burning. She could not help lowering her head as she protested, “It is not as if you don’t know me. What are you staring at me for?”

Hong NiangZi answered sweetly, “But you are 3600 times more attractive to look at than before.”

Yan Qi’s cheeks coloured an even deeper shade. “But I am still me. That point has not changed.”

“You have changed,” Wang Dong disagreed.

Yan Qi asked, “How have I changed?”

Lin TaiPing rushed in to answer, “Before, you were our friend, but now you have become our sao zi [sister-in-law]. Before, you were Yan Qi, but now you have become Mrs. Guo. Isn’t this change significant enough?”

Nibbling on her lip, Yan Qi protested, “I am still Yan Qi, still your friend.”

Hong NiangZi giggled, “But at the very least, this Yan Qi is a lot cleaner than before.”

Guo DaLu could not stop himself from jumping in. “Correct answer! She bathes everyday now.” He had just finished saying this and then Hong NiangZi was already bent over at the waist in laughter.

Yan Qi threw a deadly glare at him, her face flushed. “Will you just shut-up and say a few less words? No one thinks you’re a mute.”

More laughter slipped out from Hong NiangZi. “If he really was able to make himself say less, then he would not be Guo DaLu.”

Guo DaLu gave a couple of dry coughs. Then, puffing out his chest, he said, “Really, I have changed too. Why aren’t you guys looking at me?”

Frowning, Wang Dong asked, “How have you changed? How come I can’t see anything?”

“Haven’t I changed to become a little more attractive-looking?” Guo DaLu argued.

Wang Dong looked him up and down a few times before shaking his head and answering, “I can’t tell.”

Guo DaLu: “At the very least, I am a little cleaner than before too.”

Hong NiangZi suppressed her mirth to inquire, “You bathe everyday now, too?”

Guo DaLu: "Of course. I…”

This time, before the words had even come off his lips, Hong NiangZi was already doubled over in laughter again.

Yan Qi hurriedly interrupted and asked loudly, “Why is it that this place seems like it is short one person?”

Lin TaiPing jumped in to respond. “Who?”

Batting her lids, Yan Qi grinned, “Of course that day-break-arises-carries-a-flower-basket-to-the-market girl.”

“Of course we cannot be without this person,” Hong NiangZi answered with a smile.

Yan Qi: “Where is she?”

Hong NiangZi: “Off to the market again, but this time she is not carrying a flower basket but actually a shopping basket – because our Lin Dashao [Young Master Lin] suddenly wanted to eat that new product at the market, stir-fried spinach and bean curd.”

Yan Qi was stifling her giggles also now. With a deliberate sigh, she remarked, “Who would have thought that, at such a young age, she would already know so well how to be kind and considerate of other people’s needs.”

“People who are naturally kind and considerate will, regardless of age, always be kind and considerate,” Hong NiangZi pointed out. Peeking at Lin TaiPing from the corner of her eye, she added, “They’re just like people who naturally seem to have good fortune. What do you say? Yes?”

Lin TaiPing’s face had also turned scarlet now, and he suddenly yelled loudly, “Could you two just be quiet and say a few less words too? I won’t think you are mute either.”

Guo DaLu replied for them in a nonchalant tone, “Can’t. If they were able to say a little less, they wouldn’t be women.”

Wang Dong: “Correct answer.”

The glow of sunset on the clouds filled the sky.

Drifting in again on the evening wind was the melodius, silvery sound of singing:

“Little young miss daybreak arises,
Carrying a flower basket to the market…”

Yan Qi exchanged a look with HongNiangzi, and she could not help chuckling, “Little young miss has come back from the market.”

Laughing also, Hong NiangZi reminded, “And, her flower basket is also packed full with green vegetables and bean curd.”

A clear and ringing voice like a silver bell was heard giggling as it chimed, “Not just spinach and bean curd. There is also wine.”

Sure enough, the little young miss had returned, carrying a bamboo basket as she stood in the doorway. And sure enough, her right hand held a large pitcher of wine. She seemed not as bashful as before for her cheeks were only tinged with a slight hue of pink.

Wang Dong: “Wine? What wine?”

Smiling prettily, the little young miss answered, “Of course a wedding wine [orig. xi jiu; refers to wine drunk at a wedding feast or the wedding feast itself]. I saw them at the foot of the mountain, all loving and intimate, so right away, I knew that I should buy some wedding wine and bring it back.”

Yan Qi blinked innocently at her. “Whose wedding wine is it? Ours? Or yours?”

The little young miss let out a little squeak. Her face was blushing brightly as she ran away along the wall, all the way to the rear courtyard. Yan Qi and Hong NiangZi were chortling so hard they were both bent over at the waist.

Lin TaiPing suddenly exhaled a sigh. “I really don’t get it,” he muttered. “Why do you guys always like to pick on simple and good-natured people?”

Wang Dong: “Because simple and good-natured people are getting fewer and fewer. If we do not pick on them now, we won’t have that chance in the future.”

This was not a conclusion.


A wedding celebration without wine is like a dish of food without salt. This saying of course, had been spoken by a very intelligent person, but unfortunately, he had forgotten to include the line that followed: A belly with wine in it will cause the head to hurt.

The next morning when he arose, Guo DaLu’s head hurt terribly. Not surprisingly, he was not the first one out of bed – he had just discovered that sometimes, sleeping was not considered a waste of time.

When he got up, Lin TaiPing and the young girl were already in the courtyard whispering away, but he could not tell what they were talking about. No matter what it was they were saying, though, they found it all very interesting and very happy. Even though the spring flowers had faded away now, the summer flowers were in full bloom. They were standing there in front of the flowering shrubs as the newly risen sun shone upon their blissful, happy faces. They, too, were like the sun, filled with brightness and hope. As Guo DaLu watched them, his headache seemed to ease slightly.

Yan Qi walked out quietly and nestled herself against his side. One hand was twirling her long, black hair while her other arm had looped around his arm. Her eyes were also filled with happiness and bliss.

In this space between heaven and earth, peace and tranquility were present. Life was truly worth treasuring.

After a very long time had elapsed, Yan Qi finally asked softly, “What are you thinking about?”

Guo DaLu: “I am thinking about two other people.”

Yan Qi: “Who? Wang Dong and…”

Nodding his head, he gave a sigh and said, “I was thinking and wondering how long we will have to wait before they will be affectionate like this too.”

Yan Qi was gazing at her husband. A long, long time passed before she said gently, “Do you know why I love you?”

Guo DaLu did not speak. He was waiting to hear. He liked hearing it.

In a tender voice, she told him, “Because in your times of happiness, you are still able to think of your friends’ happiness. Because, at any time, you still will not forget about your friends.”

Guo DaLu blinked at her. “You are wrong. Sometimes I will forget about them.”

“What sort of times?” Yan Qi wondered.

In a whisper, Guo DaLu replied, “Last night…” Before he could say it out, red had already flown into Yan Qi’s cheeks, and she grabbed up his hand and bit down hard on it.

Lin TaiPing’s voice could be heard saying, “I never would have thought that our Guo Dasao [Sister-in-Law Guo] actually bites people too.” Those two had turned around at some unknown time and were now watching them with little smiles on their faces.

Guo DaLu grinned, “You don’t understand. A man that has never been bit by a woman cannot be considered a man.”

“Which country’s philosophy is that?” Lin TaiPing asked.

Guo DaLu: “My country. But perhaps really soon you will be coming over to my country, too.”

The young girl’s face had also turned crimson by now. With her head lowered, she said, “I’m going to go prepare breakfast…”

Guo DaLu guffawed, “Prepare a little bit more. It’ll be good to use it to plug up our mouths.”

It was now breakfast time.

Beneath that deep blue dome of the heavens, milky-white smoke from cooking fires rose up all around. Turning his face upward, Guo DaLu muttered, “Why is this area suddenly so lively? Have there been lots of households that have moved here lately?”

Lin TaiPing answered, “No.”

Guo DaLu stared at the cooking smoke that was rising upward from the hillside. “If there are no people or families, where would the cooking smoke come from?”

Lin TaiPing was also looking in the direction from where the smoke was rising up. “Just yesterday afternoon, I was strolling around over there. There wasn’t even a single family there.”

Yan Qi mused, “Even if some people had moved here last night, there wouldn’t suddenly be so many families moving here all at once.”

Lin TaiPing: “Plus, there are no places in the vicinity that are fit for people to live.”

Yan Qi: “Except you can have also cooking fires when camping.”

Guo DaLu: “Why would there suddenly be so many people coming here to start fires? Could they really have nothing better to do?”

They heard someone say in an unhurried tone, “If you guys are just going to stay here and guess, you could guess until next year and it still won’t produce any results. Why don’t you just go have a look for yourselves?” Wang Dong walked in lazily from outside the door. There was still no trace of expression on his face.

Guo DaLu was the first to go over and greet him as he rushed to ask, “You have already gone out and looked?”

Wang Dong: “Mm.”

Guo DaLu: “Where is the smoke coming from?”

Wang Dong: “Fires.”

Guo DaLu: “Who started the fires?”

Wang Dong: “People.”

Guo DaLu: “What kind of people?”

Wang Dong: “The ones who have two legs.”

Guo DaLu gave a sigh and with a cynical smile, realized, “It seems if I keep asking like this, I could be asking until next year and it still would not produce any results either. It’s better if I go look for myself.”

“You should have gone out to look a long time ago,” Wang Dong pointed out.

Behind Wealthy Manor was the ridge of the mountain, and there was no passable route through it.

On the hillside in front of the manor, eight huge tents had unexpectedly been set-up in a single night. The tents were a very unusual shape. They looked a bit like the Mongolian yurts used by the herding people outside the passes but also a bit like the camp tents used by a marching army. In front of every tent, a fire had been started. Over the fire, a whole, plump goat was roasting, strung on an iron bar while it rotated slowly.

A big man, stark naked from waist up, was taking some pre-blended seasonings and using a brush to spread them onto the goats. His motions were gentle and attentive, like a mother giving her first baby a bath.

The smell of roasted meats was of course stronger than the fragrance of flowers.

There was meat on the breakfast table too. They had just come back from a walk outside and should have been hungry. However, besides Guo DaLu, it seemed like everyone else did not have much of an appetite. Each one of them knew in his or her heart that those tents would not be set up here for no cause or reason. Since those people were able to put up eight tents of such enormous size in a single night without making any noise or sound, it was unlikely there was anything in the world they could not achieve.

At last, Yan Qi let out a sigh and remarked, “It looks like trouble has arrived again for us.”

A melancholy expression seemed to fill Hong NiangZi’s eyes. “And what is more, the troubles this time are not small.”

Yan Qi added, “But I wonder who was the one who stirred up the troubles this time.”

“This time, it definitely was not me,” Guo DaLu immediately jumped in to say.

Yan Qi: “Oh?”

“I am not able to stir up such big trouble.” He suddenly chuckled, “I have always been a person whose little troubles are endless but whose big troubles are non-existent.”

Yan Qi: “How do you know whether the troubles are big or small?”

Guo DaLu: “Unless it was for something big, who would willingly set-up eight such gigantic tents in front of someone’s front door?”

Yan Qi: “But up until this point in time, we still cannot tell what troubles they are.”

Guo DaLu: “You can’t tell?”

Yan Qi: “They have merely gone and put up some tents on that empty piece of land outside and roasted their own meats. They have not come over to provoke us.”

Guo DaLu: “In your opinion, there is no trouble?”

Yan Qi: “Mm.”

Guo DaLu: “Just now, who was the one who said trouble had arrived.”

Yan Qi: “Me.”

Guo DaLu: “Why have you suddenly changed your mind?”

Smiling sweetly, Yan Qi answered, “Because this place is too boring. I want to have a little spat with you.”

Guo DaLu: “What if I said there is no trouble?”

Yan Qi: “I would have said there is.”

With a sigh and a bitter smile, Guo DaLu said, “From the looks of it, even if I did not want to bicker with you, it still would not be avoidable.”

“Correct answer,” Yan Qi giggled.

If a woman wants to have a squabble with her husband, in every ke [ancient division of time; 1 ke = 14.4 min], she could find eight opportunities to do so. But sometimes a squabble is not a bad thing. At the very least, it helps lighten up the mood of the people watching the bickering. That is why the instant they started arguing, people started to laugh.

Hong NiangZi chuckled, “No matter what, at least those people have not sought us out yet. Why, then, should we look for things to worry about?”

Alas, there was no need for them look for anything now for the worry had already come through their doorway. Someone had walked in slowly from outside the door.

This person was very tall, very thin. On his body, he wore a very bizarre-colored long gown that was actually a miserable-looking green color. His complexion was also very gloomy, similar to his clothing. And his pair of eyes was dull and without light, like two endless caves, so that one could not differentiate between the pupils and the whites of his eyes. He was actually a blind man.

However, his steps were very light. It was as if his feet had grown a pair of eyes on them so he never stepped on any stones and furthermore, would not fall into any holes. With his hands clasped behind his back, he slowly walked inside. Although the look on his face was gloomy, his manner appeared very relaxed.

Unable to contain himself, Guo DaLu asked, “Sir, are you here to look for someone? Who are you looking for?”

The green-gowned man seemed not to have heard him.

Guo DaLu’s brows were knit together. “Could this person not only be blind but deaf as well?”

In the flowerbed by the corner of the wall, the summer flowers were blooming brilliantly. The green-gowned walked along the flowerbed, then walked back again, all the while inhaling deeply. Although he could no longer use his eyes to admire the bright colors of the flowers, he could still use his nose to appreciate their fragrance. Perhaps what he could actually appreciate was more than what someone with eyes could.

He walked back and forth along the flowerbed a total of two times without saying anything, and then, he slowly walked back outside.

Guo DaLu could breathe easy again. “It appears this person was not really here to seek out trouble. He just came here to smell the fragrance of flowers.”

Yan Qi pointed out, “How would he know this place has flowers?”

Guo DaLu: “Naturally, his nose is more sensitive than ours.”

Yan Qi: “But where did he come from?”

Guo DaLu laughed, “I don’t know him. How would I know?”

Wang Dong spoke suddenly. “I know.”

Guo DaLu: “You know?”

Wang Dong nodded.

Guo DaLu: “So where do you say he came from?”

Wang Dong: “From the tents.”

Guo DaLu: “How do you know?”

Wang Dong’s expression seemed to have grown very grim, and he answered slowly, “Because at this point in time, no other people could possibly get to this place. We also are not able to go anywhere.”

Guo DaLu: “Why?”

Wang Dong: “Because those eight tents have completely blocked off all accesses in and out.”

The look on Guo DaLu’s face changed as he realized, “You are saying that they put up those eight tents outside for the purpose of not letting anyone come here and not allowing the people in here to go out?”

Wang Dong did not open his mouth to speak again. His eyes were fixated on the flowerbed, and his expression had become even grimmer. Guo DaLu could not help turning his head back along with Wang Dong and casting a glance there also. Immediately, his expression changed also. The flowers that had been blooming perfectly fine before had now all unexpectedly wilted away. The captivatingly red flower petals had all suddenly turned black, and when the wind blew by, they fell to the ground, one petal after another.

“What is going on here?” Guo DaLu exclaimed. “Is it poison released from that person a moment ago?”

Wang Dong: “Hmph.”

Guo DaLu: “Don’t tell me that person is a poisonous snake? All he needs to do is walk by a place and then all the flowers and grass will die of poisoning?”

Wang Dong: “I’m afraid even a poisonous snake is not as poisonous as him.”

Yan Qi remarked, “Yes. I had always thought that ‘No Opening Left Unentered’ Scarlet Serpent was the number one master of using poisons under all of heaven, but in comparison to this person, it appears he would still have been greatly inferior.”

“Still greatly inferior?” Guo DaLu repeated. This question was not for Yan Qi; it was directed at Hong NiangZi.

Sighing, Hong NiangZi replied, “Scarlet Serpent still needed the aid of other things in order to use poison. He would still need to put the poison in food or water and on weapons or concealed weapons, but this person can actually use his poisons and not even show a shadow. It is as if he can kill someone using poison in the space of a breath.”

Guo DaLu did not continue to ask. If even Hong NiangZi said this person’s poisoning abilities were higher than Scarlet Serpent, it meant there was no more doubt about it.

The questions now was, who was this person, and why would he come here and kill all their flowers with poison?

Before there was an answer to the question, though, a second problem had arrived. From outside the door, another person had walked on in.

This person was very short, very plump. On his body, he wore bright scarlet clothing, and his round face had a red glow that seemed even redder than his clothes. He, too, had clasped his hands behind his back as he leisurely walked in, and his expression was also very relaxed.

This time, no one asked him the reason why he was there and instead, only staring wide-eyed at him. In any case, all the flowers in the courtyard had died of poisoning already. Let’s see what other tricks you want to play.

This red-clothed person also simply seemed not to see them as he slowly ambled around the courtyard once. Then, with a flourish of his sleeve, he turned and left abruptly. Not only did he not say anything, he did not play any tricks either.

But on the ground, there was now a circle of footprints. Each footprint was extremely deep, like it had been carved out with a knife.

Guo DaLu sighed and looked over at Yan Qi. “I would rather let an elephant stomp once on me than have this person step on me with his foot. What about you?” he asked.

Yan Qi replied, “I would not want either.”

Guo DaLu could not help chuckling, “You’re much smarter than me.” He did not laugh for long, though, because someone had shown up outside the door again.

This time, the one who arrived was a white-clothed man. He was dressed entirely in garments as white as snow, and his expression was also cold like ice and snow. The others had slowly walked in; he did not. His body seemed airily light. A breeze had blown by, and then he had already appeared inside their courtyard. At this moment, outside the doorway, an iridescent sword light suddenly shot into the air and flew horizontally across the treetops before disappearing with a flash. At once, the leaves on the trees began drifting down like snowflakes.

The white-clothed man lifted his head to look. Then all of a sudden, with a flutter of his long gown, he made a waving motion towards the sky with his hand. The falling leaves that had filled the sky immediately vanished. Then he, too, disappeared, as if he had suddenly been blown out of there by a gust of wind.

And right at the same time, a low voice was heard from outside the door asking, “Where is Wang Zhangzhu [Manor Master Wang], Wang Dong?”

Standing beneath a white poplar tree two zhang [1 zhang = 3 1/3 metres] was an old man dressed in garments made of a rough, brown cloth and whose head was covered with white hair. In his hand, he held a large red card, and his gleaming eyes were looking right at them.

The six of them stood there in a row in front of the doorway as if they had deliberately paraded out so the person could watch them.

The brown-clothed man’s eyes moved across each one of their faces before he asked in a low tone, “Which one of you is Wang Zhuangzhu?”

Wang Dong: “Me.”

The brown-clothed old man addressed him, “I have right here an invitation card. I specially brought it here to invite Wang Zhuangzhu.”

Wang Dong: “There is someone who wants to treat me to dinner.”

Brown-clothed old man: “Precisely.”

Wang Dong: “When?”

Brown-clothed old man: "Tonight.”

Wang Dong: “Where?”

Brown-clothed old man: “Right at this place.”

Wang Dong: “How very convenient.”

Brown-clothed old man: “Yes, truly very convenient. Wang Zhuangzhu only needs to step out of your door and then you will be there.”

Wang Dong: “Who is the host?”

Brown-clothed old man: “The host will certainly be here to welcome you tonight. Wang Zhuanghu will definitely be able to see him.”

Wang Dong: "If that is the case, then why the need to specially come here and present the invitation card.”

“Customs and manners cannot be neglected,” the brown-clothed old man stated. “An invitation is always necessary. Wang Zhuangzhu, please accept it.” He lifted his hand, and then, the invitation card was gliding slowly towards Wang Dong. It was flying very slowly, very slowly, practically as if there was an invisble pair of hands beneath it holding it up.

Wang Dong gave a little chuckle before responding in an indifferent tone, “So you, sir, specially brought this invitation just so you could allow me to see this one display of qigong [i.e. chi].”

His face grim, the brown-clothed man said coldly, “Wang Zhuangzhu, you laugh at me.”

The look on Wang Dong’s face also became stern. “Just a moment ago, there were several people who displayed some very attractive martial arts also. Do you, sir, know them?”

Brown-clothed old man: “Yes.”

Wang Dong: “Who are they?”

Brown-clothed old man: “Wang Zhuangzhu, why would you need to ask me?”

Wang Dong: “If I don’t ask you, who would I ask?”

With a sudden laugh as well, the brown-clothed old man’s eyes strayed over, perhaps intentionally or perhaps not, to give Lin TaiPing a glance.

Guo DaLu could not help looking over at Lin TaiPing also, and only then did he notice that Lin TaiPing’s complexion was so pale there was no color in his cheeks at all, and his expression was almost the same as the one Wang Dong had had when he saw the kite in the sky.

Could these people be here to find Lin TaiPing?

The brown-clothed old man was gone already.

When he left, Wang Dong had neither tried to stop him nor ask him anything else. Everyone could tell that the people who had come today must have some sort of relation to Lin TaiPing. No one asked him. In fact, everyone even tried to avoid looking at him so he would not feel awkward. Guo DaLu even asked Wang Dong, “What type of qigong do you think that skill he showed a moment ago was?”

Wang Dong: “Qigong is qigong. There is only one type.”

Guo DaLu: “Why would there only be one type?”

Wang Dong: “How many types of nu’er hong wine [lit. “daughter red” wine] are there?”

Guo DaLu: “Only one.”

Wang Dong: “Why is there only one type?’

Guo DaLu: “Because nu’er hong is already the best wine. No matter what the thing is, if it is the best, then there is only one type of it.”

Wang Dong: “If you understand this principle, then why do you still need to ask me?”

Guo DaLu’s eyes darted around. “In my opinion, the most frightening thing was still that sword. It basically was like the Yu Jian [Sword Driving] technique of the legends that could behead someone from thousands of li away.”

Wang Dong: “Far from it.”

Guo DaLu: “How do you know it is far from it?”

Wang Dong: “I just know.”

Guo DaLu sighed and gave a cynical smile. “Why have you suddenly become so unreasonable?”

Wang Dong: “When have I ever been reasonable?”

Guo DaLu: “Rarely.”

Naturally, they were bantering like this because they wanted Lin TaiPing to feel more at ease. However, Lin TaiPing’s face was still pale and bloodless, and even his hands were gripped tightly together in anxiety. He paced back and forth, making several circles around the courtyard. All of a sudden, his footsteps ceased, and he announced loudly, “I know who they are.”

Nobody wanted to start the converstion, but each one of them was listening.

Staring down at the footprints on the ground, Lin TaiPing said, “That man is called Qiang Long [Powerful Dragon], and he is the one among the “Eight Dragons Beyond Heaven” who has the most powerful hard kung fu.”

Wang Dong’s brows came together in a frown. “Eight Dragons Beyond Heaven? Each one of those three people who showed up here just now is one of the Eight Dragons Beyond Heaven?”

“Every one of them,” Lin TaiPing answered.

Wang Dong: “Do you mean the ‘Eight Divine Dragon Generals’ under the Terrestrial Dragon King?”

Lin TaiPing: “There is only one ‘type’ of Eight Dragons Beyond Heaven as well.”

Wang Dong: “How do you know?”

Lin TaiPing: “I just know.”

Wang Dong looked over at Guo DaLu, and the two of them grinned. Guo DaLu remarked, “That’s called, ‘what goes around comes around’, and it certainly came around really quickly.”

A pained expression could be seen in Lin TaiPing’s eyes. His hands were clenched tensely as he paced around in several more circles. His steps suddenly halted again. “They know who I am as well,” he declared loudly.

Guo DaLu could not help joking, “I don’t need them to tell me. I know too.”

Lin TaiPing stared intently at him. His gaze seemed very peculiar. “Do you really know?”

“Of course,” Guo DaLu answered.

“Who am I?” Lin TaiPing asked.

This should have been the easiest question to answer, but for some reason, Guo DaLu could only stare blankly back at him.

Lin TaiPing heaved an unexpected sigh, and the look on his face grew even more agonized as he slowly said, “Nobody knows who I am. Even I do not want to know myself.”

Guo DaLu could not stop himself from asking, “Why?”

Looking down at his tightly clenched fists, Lin TaiPing stated, “Because I am Terrestrial Dragon King’s son.”

When he spoke this one sentence, even Wang Dong showed an expression of astonishment. Guo DaLu stood there dumbfounded. The degree of shock he was feeling was similar to what he had felt when he heard that Yan Qi was NanGong Chou’s daughter.

With a forced smile, Hong NiangZi said, “Your father moves about anywhere underneath Heaven unhindered. His aura surpasses everything of this present age. Who in the wulin world does not respect him?......”

Lin TaiPing suddenly cut her off and shouted, “Me!”

Hong NiangZi was taken aback. “You?”

Through grit teeth, Lin TaiPing said, “My only wish is that I did not have such a father.”

Guo DaLu frowned. “Even if you are unhappy about the marriage he arranged for you, you still should not…”

Lin TaiPing interrupted again, “He was not the one who arranged my marriage for me.”

“He wasn’t?” Guo DaLu said in surprise.

There were tears brimming in Lin TaiPing’s eyes now, and hanging his head, he explained, “When I was five years old, he left us. From that point onward, I have never seen him again.”

Guo DaLu hesitated, “You… you… you have always been with your mother?”

Lin TaiPing nodded. The tears had spilled over now.

Guo DaLu could not ask anymore, nor did he need to ask anymore. He looked over at Yan Qi. Both of them understood in their hearts that it was not odd for a man like Terrestrial Dragon King to dump a woman.

But if the woman who had been discarded was one’s own mother, what would the son feel in his heart?

Each one of them felt tremendous sympathy for Lin TaiPing inside, but none of them dared to show it – sometimes sympathy and pity can also stab and hurt someone’s heart.

Right then, the only person who could console Lin TaiPing was the little young miss. Everyone was trying to find a way to drop a hint to her and have her stay there alone to keep Lin TaiPing company, but they suddenly noticed that the expression on her face was not all that different from Lin TaiPing’s. Her complexion was frightfully ashen, her head was lowered, and she was biting down on her lip so hard she was going to break the skin soon. Could this innocent and kind-hearted little young miss also have a secret that could not be divulged?

Lin TaiPing suddenly started mumbling to himself, “This time, he must have come here to force me to go back with him. He was afraid I would try and escape so he first blocked off every route out of here.”

Guo DaLu could not help asking, “What do you plan on doing?”

Lin TaiPing’s fists were still clenched together tightly. “There is no way I will go back with him. Ever since the day he left us, I have not had a father.” Wiping away his tears, he lifted his head. On his face, there was a resolute expression as he looked at Wang Dong and the others and, speaking each word clearly, declared, “Anyhow, this whole matter has nothing to do with all of you; therefore, there is no need for any of you to go see him tonight. I…”

All of a sudden, the little young miss spoke, “You do not need to go as well.”

Lin TaiPing paused in surprise, staring dazedly for a very long time. “Why don’t I need to go?” he finally could not help asking.

Little young miss: “Because the one he wants is not you either.”

Lin TaiPing: ‘If it’s not me, then who is it?”

Little young miss: “It’s me.”

As these words came off her lips, everyone was even more stunned. The one who shook the world, Terrestrial Dragon King, would actually come here to find a young girl who sold flowers? Who could believe that?

But when they saw the look on her face, it was impossible for them not to believe. She seemed to have suddenly transformed into a completely different person. She was no longer shy as she looked directly at Lin TaiPing and asked slowly, “Do you know who I am?”

This, too, should have been a very easy question to answer, but Lin TaiPing stood there in a daze.

She stared at him with the trace of a mournful smile showing on the corner of her lips. “Nobody knows who I am. Even I do not want to know myself.” Lin TaiPing had just said these words and now she was saying them again. They should have found this very funny.

Looking at her right then, though, no one, no matter who it was, would be able to laugh. If Yan Qi had not been there by his side, Guo DaLu nearly would not have been able to stop himself from going over to take her hand in his and ask her why she was so sad, so miserable. She was so young, and her life was so beautiful. What problem could there possibly be that could not be solved?

Lin TaiPing had walked over and taken her hand. “It does not matter what kind of person you may be,” he soothed. “I only know that you are you.”

The little young miss allowed her icy hand to be gripped tightly by him. “I know that your words are sincere, except… you should still ask and find out who I am.”

Forcing a smile, Lin TaiPing conceded, “Alright. I’ll ask. Who are you really?”

The little young miss’s eyes closed, and she answered slowly, “I am your future wife, your mother’s future daughter-in-law, but I am your father’s enemy from the past.”

Lin TaiPing’s body all of a sudden froze over. His tightly closed hand slowly let go, falling to his side… His heart sank along with it. It seemed as if it had sunk all the way to bottom of his ice-cold feet and he was standing on it.

Yu LingLong! She was Yu LingLong!

No one could believe it was true. No one was willing to believe it. This gentle, kind, and innocent girl really was that vicious, shrewish, and arrogant “evil, female star” [orig. nu sha xing; a ‘sha xing’ (evil or malignant star) refers to a person who brings calamities, hardships, disasters]? Everyone’s eyes were on her.

Her head was lowered, her hair mussed. It looked as if her heart was broken.

Guo DaLu suddenly could not help feeling sympathy in his heart. Exhaling a long sigh, he smiled bitterly and said, “You are the wife that his mother chose, yet you are his father’s enemy? How could there be such a complicated relationship in the world? You… you must be joking.” Of course he knew that this unquestionably was not a joke, but he still would rather believe that it was not true.

Yu LingLong’s smile became even more sorrowful. “I understand your good intentions,” she said sadly, “but unfortunately, some things in the world just have to be this way.”

“I still do not believe it,” Guo DaLu insisted.

Her head hanging low, she explained, “The enmity between Terrestrial Dragon King and our Yu family has been accumulating for many years now. Twenty years ago, he had already sworn that he would see with his own eyes the entire Yu family dead and eradicated.

Guo DaLu cried out unintentionally, “Your father, was he…” He did not dare continue. If Yu LingLong’s father had died by the hand of Terrestrial Dragon King, then no one else would be able to help them resolve the hatred of your own father being murdered.

Yu LingLong was shaking her head, though. “My father did not die by his hand.” Hatred was showing in her eyes as she carried on in a cold tone, “That’s because, even if his abilities are as great as the Heavens, he still would not have been able to kill a person who was already dead.”

Guo DaLu’s breathing became easier, but he could not help drawing his brows into a frown and saying, “Your mother…”

“My mother’s surname is not Yu. It is Wei,” she told him.

“Wei?” Guo DaLu repeated. “Could it be that she is Madam Lin’s sister?”

Nodding her head, Yu LingLong continued, “It was for this reason that he let my mother go, but he did not know at the time that my mother was already pregnant with me. I am still surnamed Yu.”

Guo DaLu sighed, “He, of course, learned afterward that this person, you, existed.”

“That is why I would always avoid him,” Yu LingLong explained. “If he was in the north, I would not go to the north; if he was in the south, I would not go to the south. His fame is greater than mine, so for me to hide from him would always be easier than for him to try to find me."

Smiling cynically, Guo DaLu muttered, “I had said it before: it is not a good thing for a person to be too famous.”

Yu LingLong: “It is not too bad neither.”

Guo DaLu: “In truth, your mother should not have allowed you to become famous. If you really were just a normal girl, perhaps he may never have found you.”

Yu LingLong ground her teeth together. “To live like that, what’s the difference from being dead?”

Guo DaLu: “There are many people in the world who live like that, and what’s more, their lives are very good.”

Yu LingLong: “But our Yu family has never had people like that, and furthermore, the Yu family reputation cannot cease with my generation.”

Guo DaLu: “Where is your mother now?”

Her voice filled with sadness. “She passed away last year.” Nibbling on her lip, she said, “Before she died, she was still afraid that Terrestrial Dragon King would not leave me alone, so she deliberately sought out her younger sister…”

Guo DaLu: “She went to find Madam Lin?”

Yu LingLong nodded. “She hoped Madam Lin would be able to find some way to resolve the enmity between our two families, but alas, even Madam Lin herself was powerless to do anything. And so…”

Guo DaLu: “And so she betrothed you to her only son, hoping that the hatred of your two families could be dissolved away with this marriage.”

Yu LingLong: “I think that must have been her intention.”

With a glance from the corner of his eye at Lin TaiPing, Guo DaLu remarked, “It is unfortunate that her son did not understand his mother’s good intention.”

Yu LingLong smiled sadly. “The next generation is never able to understand the previous generation’s good intentions. Even I was the same. I, too, had not wanted to be the daughter-in-law of the Lin family.” She did not dare look at Lin TaiPing, but her eyes still seemed to unconsciously throw a look in his direction.

Lin TaiPing’s entire body seemed to have grown ice-cold and stiff. “Why, then, did you come here to find me?” he asked unexpectedly.

The smile on Yu LingLong’s face became even more miserable. In a soft voice, she returned, “You don’t understand?”

“Of course I don’t understand,” Lin TaiPing cried.

Forcing herself to maintain her composure and not allowing her tears to spill over, she asked one more sentence: “You really do not understand?”

Lin TaiPing: “I do not understand!”

Her whole body all of a sudden began trembling and she rasped, “Fine. I’ll tell you. I did it only because I had once sworn to you that one day, I would make you beg me to marry you.”

Lin TaiPing looked like someone had just struck him forcefully in the chest. He was not even able to keep himself steady on his feet.

Yu LingLong appeared as if she was going to collapse herself.

They did not know how much time had passed until, through gritted teeth, Lin TaiPing spat out each word clearly: “Now I understand… I finally understand!” He did not say anything else. Spinning around abruptly, he dashed back into his room.

“Bang!” The door closed.

Yu LingLong had not looked at him again, but her tears were falling quietly…

End of Chapter 45 

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 September 2008 05:42 )