Legend of the Bat 04 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 19:28

Chapter 4: Ulterior motives

Three harmonies building (san-he-lau) naturally consisted of two stories, but there was also an attic at the top. (ed: lau = storied building)

This attic was not big, but it could certainly host a table of liquor.

Hai KuoTian hosted the table of liquor in this attic.

When Hu TieHua stepped onto this attic, the first person that he saw, was unexpectedly Jin LingZhi.

Jin LingZhi had unexpectedly come.

When Hu TieHua saw her in “the free pond”, she looked just like a vixen, moreover like a  mentally-ill vixen.

In that ship’s cabin, she had changed, she become piteous, she looked like a young lamb, but a young lamb that could could turn into a fox, or a tiger.

Now, she had changed again.

She had changed into a very noble clothes, not too colorful, not wearing too many or too few pearls and jade on her head.

She sat straight and well-mannered there, not too dazzling, but not too shabby. She simply gave the appearance of what a young lady from an aristocratic family should look like.

Hu TieHua sighed in secret: “A woman can really change, some people said: ‘A woman's heart is like the weather in springtime’, the one who said it was really a smart person.”

The most incredible moment was when she saw Chu LiuXiang and Hu TieHua, she unexpectedly did not turn a hair, just like nothing had happened between them..

Just like the person who hid in the cabin was probably not her.

Hu TieHua was unable to restrain his sigh: “If I were her and she were I, when I saw here, I would have blushed through my skin and hidden under the table. It looks like, a woman’s facial skin is thicker than a man.”

He actually did not know that if someone said that a woman's facial skin was thicker than a man’s, that was just because her face was covered by powder, even if she blushed, others still could not see it.

Also someone else said: “The older the woman, the thicker the facial skin.”

Actually that was also just because an older woman would certainly put on much more make-up.

There were two empty seats on the left side of Jin LingZhi, obviously they were prepared for Chu LiuXiang and Hu TieHua. On the banquet, these two seats were the seats of honor.

But Hu TieHua actually would rather sit on the ground than over there.

Being threatened by a sword on the neck was not a very pleasant experience. Moreover, Hu TieHua's neck was still a little sore even now.

On the right side of Jin LingZhi, sat a solemn-faced old person in brocade, the beard and the hair were already gray, but the eyes actually sparkled and dignified.

Anyone could see that he must have a significant background. The most encouraging part was that he was not arrogant, when he saw Hu TieHua and others came in, he unexpectedly got up and welcomed them with a smile.

Hu TieHua also smiled back immediately.

But suddenly his smiling face very quickly disappeared.

When he came in, he felt that this old person’s face looked very familiar, but he couldn’t place him immediately. But when he saw this old person’s waistband, he immediately remembered. The waistband was formed by seven different color silk ribbons.

This old person was unexpectedly the chief of “the phoenix tail clan”, “the heavenly arrow shoots the moon” Wu Weiyang!

Hu TieHua could not stop himself from saying to Chu LiuXiang, like secretly conveying this: “Didn’t you say that Wu Weiyang is dead? Why is he well and alive now?”

Chu LiuXiang unexpectedly did not seem to turn a hair, like he never said those things. Hu TieHua often wondered that this person's facial skin was so thick that the beard could only slowly come out…

Gou ZiChang had also unexpectedly come, he sat nearby Wu Weiyang, then Ding Feng, Hai KuoTian, and the person with the sword.

While sitting there, Gou ZiChang was still taller than the others by a half head.

“But although his leg was long, his upper body was not very long.” Hu TieHua felt strange until he saw Gou ZiChang also stand with a smile and saw that he sat on his black leather suitcase. He seemed to be really afraid that someone might rob it.

After taking a seat, Hu TieHua only detected another empty seat, which was reserved for an unknown person, who were unexpectedly late.

Ding Feng’s smiling face was kind, he had raised his glass and said: “The two comes late, should you be punished?”

Chu LiuXiang said with a smile: “Should be punished, then so be it. Let’s punish me with three cups first.”

He lifted up the wine cup, and really tossed them down.

Hu TieHua also felt relieved.

When Chu LiuXiang drank the liquor, then it would not be poisoned. If the liquor were poisoned, nothing would hide the truth from Chu LiuXiang.

Ding Feng said again with a smile: “Brother Chu had already drunk, how about brother Hu?”

Hu TieHua said with a smile: “If he drank three cups, I must drink six cups at least.”

He simply poured six cups of wine into a large bowl and threw back his head to drink it.

Ding Feng clapped his hands and said: “Brother Hu’s wine capacity has really, really lived up to reputation.”

Hu TieHua said: “Your excellency can recognize us well.”

Ding Feng said with a smile: “Who doesn’t recognize the two of you. If someone says he does not recognize the two of you, then it would just be a deceitful talk.”

Hu TieHua had stared at Hai KuoTian once and said: “Leader Hai is here, so it is not strange that you can recognize us, but if I say that I can recognize your excellency, that will feel a little strange, isn’t it?”

Ding Feng said with a smile: “That would be actually indeed strange, I don’t have any illustrious name, nor I have only limited exposure in jiang-hu, how can the two of you recognize me?”

Hu TieHua said with a smile: “But strangely enough, I actually recognize you, do you believe me?”

Ding Feng said: “Oh?”

Hu TieHua said: “Your excellency is surnamed Ding, Ding Feng ......”

His sentence was not completed when Ding Feng somewhat changed color and exclaimed, “Right, I am precisely Ding Feng, but how do the two of you know me?”

When he announced his name to Master Ku Mei, he certainly did not realize that some other people were listening secretly ashore.

Hu TieHua laughed inside, but he stoically said, “We have known your excellency’s name for a very long time. We have also heard clearly of your excellency’s prowess, otherwise how can we come here today?”

Ding Feng probably suddenly felt a fist inside his mouth and briefly could not speak.

Hu TieHua enjoyed watching this person’s awkwardness and then he smiled and said, ”Brother Ding, if you think that your status is a mystery, and should be concealed, please blame me for talking too much, let me be punished by six cups again.”

These six cups, he drank quicker than the previous six cups.

Chu LiuXiang said with a smile: “This person has the biggest original story, regardless of what you say, he always manage to find an excuse to drink.”

Ding Feng immediately also smiled and said: “Among the people here, I’m afraid there is one person the two of you don’t know yet.”

That person wearing a sword stood up immediately, cupped his fist and said: “I am Xiang TianFei.”

He said only these five words, took a seat, he never looked once at Hu TieHua. The old flaming anger was unexpectedly had not been brought up.

Chu LiuXiang said with a smile: “It’s really, really fortunate to meet you. Only very few people would not know the `solitary seahawk' Xiang TianFei ......”

Gou ZiChang had interrupted him suddenly and said lightly: “I don’t know this name, I have never heard of it.”

Xiang TianFei had changed color, he sneeringly said: “That is fine, I have also never heard of your excellency’s name.”

There were many different kind of robbers who operated on the road: some were bandit gangs, some were sharing bandits, some were bandit of the hills, some were roaming bandits, some were cooperating bandits, but some were solitary bandits.

Usually, a solitary robber had high wugong skills. He did not want a helper, because he could then move about freely, conceal himself better, and most importantly, do not need to share the booty with anyone else. Actually, some robbers could achieve “a thousand by day, a hundred houses by night”.

When they made a huge haul, they could enjoy it for a very long time.

But a solitary robber also bore the higher risk, since he did not have any help. He usually had to master several sects’ unique skills to be proficient enough.

Also some had extremely high lightness kungfu, if he did not want to fight, he could draw back immediately. In brief, if one did not feel confident in his own wugong, he would not dare to be a solitary robber. Doing it on the sea was even more dangerous, because sea merchants were usually more prepared, and the sea storms were always dangerous.  Therefore, pirates usually acted as a group, very few acted as a solitary robber.

This “solitary seahawk” Xiang TianFei was precisely a unique solitary sea robber. He had high wugong skills, experienced sea prowess, and extreme skill to handle sea boats. When he made his move, it would only be for enormous ransom.

A merchant, who returned home from the east with a full load, was looted at midnight. The ship's golden treasure had been robbed completely, but the heavy silver coins were actually left intact. Not one person on the ship had seen who the robber was, but judging by his skill, this must be the footprint of the “solitary seahawk” Xiang TianFei. Everybody thought so.

Because at that time Xiang TianFei had already hoisted his sails to leave, he did not know the outcome. It was almost impossible to find a person in the boundless sea, it was just like looking for a needle in the haystack.

The temperament of a solitary robber was mostly eccentric, overbearingly haughty. He had very few friends, moreover he was easy to anger, this Xiang TianFei was not an exception.

Compared to the other solitary robbers, Xiang TianFei actually had a distinct advantage. First, he very seldom offended the victims, usually he seized only the property, and not the person.

Chu LiuXiang always felt that this person was not too bad.

But this person's temperament actually extremely bad, just a few words was enough to get him riled.

Gou ZiChang actually was very calm, he sat quietly, not moving, and said lightly: “I am just a small peon, if your excellency has never heard of me, this is nothing unusual, but your excellency, since you are known as the `solitary seahawk', your lightness kungfu must be extremely good.”

If other people heard this, then they would have declined the praise.

Xiang TianFei only coldly said: “If we discuss about lightness kungfu, mine is not bad at all.”

Gou ZiChang said with a smile: “Well that’s good, your excellency is also a frank person, that suits my temperament.”

He raised his cup and tossed down the wine before saying slowly: “One reason for me to come out is to find lightness kungfu masters who are experienced in jiang-hu. Since your excellency has said so, I must ask for advice from your excellency.”

Xiang TianFei said: “In a moment I will wait for your instruction.”

Immediately Gou ZiChang lightly smiled and said easily: “I think you do not have to wait.”

Hu TieHua laughed in his heart: “It turns out that this Gou ZiChang also likes to cause trouble. Why would he challenge Xiang TianFei, is it possible that he would use this opportunity to become famous?”

Ding Feng said with a smile suddenly: “Brother Gou’s lightness kungfu must also be extremely good?”

Gou ZiChang glanced at Xiang TianFei and said lightly: “If we discuss about lightness kungfu, mine is not bad also.”

Ding Feng said: “Brother Gou, if you to meet with lightness kungfu masters, today is the right time and the right place.”

Gou ZiChang said: “Oh?”

Ding Feng said with a smile: “Brother Gou should know that there is one person here that has unparalleled lightness kungfu. Brother Gou, if you do not consult him this time, your trip must be a worthless one.”

Hu TieHua glanced at Chu LiuXiang once, the two knew already where this conversation was going: “This boy is sowing dissension among us.”

Gou ZiChang actually did not seem to understand and said with a smile: “I will also ask for brother Ding’s advice.”

Ding Feng said with a smile: “Why do you think it’s me? Brother Gou, you must surely misunderstand  ......”

Gou ZiChang’s eyes flashed and said: “You are saying brother Ding is not an expert?”

Ding Feng laughed and said: “Although my facial skin is thick, I actually do not dare to toot my own horn toward myself.”

Gou ZiChang said: “Then who is brother Ding referring to?”

Ding Feng had not spoken, Gou ZiChang then said suddenly: “Ah, brother Ding meant Commander Chu. But there is no need to discuss it, Commander Chu’s lightness kungfu is indeed beyond me, I am ashamed of my own inferiority, but as for other people ......heh heh.”

He “heh heh” laugh twice hollowly, then said: “If anyone will give me some advice, I will gladly accompany him.”

The way he said this, he made clear that he was on Chu LiuXiang’s side.

Although Hu TieHua had favorable impression of him again, actually he also smiled secretly because he felt that in his debut, he had not behaved suavely, and for no apparent reason, he had chosen to offend the whole table. Luckily that last visitor had finally showed up.

They heard only two sounds on the staircase before he stood already outside the door. He was  obviously also a lightness kungfu master.

Hu TieHua sat opposite the door, so he saw first this person.

This person’s stature was not tall, some might say that he was skinny and shriveled-up looking, his face was yellowish white, the whole face was filled with white ringworms, the eyes were also surrounded by red lines, he did not appear well at all.

His facial expression was not outstanding, his clothes were also very casual, even already worn-out in some parts. If someone did not know the person, he would certainly felt strange: “Why would the solemn purple whale gang’s leader invite such a visitor?”

But Hu TieHua actually recognized him.

This person was precisely the bandit chief of theYangtze River “The Divine dragon clan” Yun CongLong. He was the highly regarded ruler of the river in the southern part of Yangzi River. It was said that once he stayed under the water for three days and three nights to make an ambush. The ringworms on his face was not of disease, but of staying too long in the water.

His eyes were also like that because they were so often under the water, just like people who had often soaked in the hot tub.

The Yangtze River water passage was the richest, the most plentiful of ships, therefore most of the happenings ran through this route. Since “the Divine dragon clan” was located in the majestic Yangtze River, so long as something occured in the Yangtze River area, regardless of the size, “the Divine dragon clan” would want to extend their influence on the matter.

A person who could held the highest position in the “Divine dragon clan” was not to be trifled with, everyday he would solve many disputes and dealt with many people.

Although Yun CongLong was thrifty, he was actually extremely friendly and fair in dealing with other people. He acted according to the circumstance, and he could get along in all social situations role.
But at this moment, the affable Yun CongLong was actually pale and without a smile, he was showing some anger, flustered, and unexpectedly he seemed to be completely different.

Had “the Divine dragon clan” experienced some tremendous change?

<To Chapter 5>
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 October 2008 07:03 )