Home Flying Eagles in the Ninth Month (九月鹰飞) Flying Eagles in the Ninth Month 01
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Wednesday, 02 July 2008 14:03

Chapter 1: Deadly gentlemen from Qing Cheng  (Qing Cheng Si Shi)



Early morning ….

The first clear morning after a long period of snow, yet the cold was bitter enough to turn the snow that had gathered on the long streets into ice. Icicles hung in staggered lengths under the eaves, as if they were the teeth of wolves that waited for the opportunity to sink themselves into their chosen victims.

But there was nobody on the street, all of the windows and doors of the homes were tightly shuttered, dense fog hung near the ground. The heaven and earth were like inseparable, creating an environment that freeze and kill any signs of life.

There was no wind, even the wind had been frozen completely like it was dead.

Tong Tong-shan gathered his fur coat around him, sitting on a tiger-skin-chair at the head of the long street, facing this deathly stillness in the long street, feeling very smug in his heart because his order had already been carried out thoroughly.

He had warded off this long street for the battlefield. In not even half an hour, he would take Xi Cheng’s (the western city) Du Huo-tang’s blood, to cleanse the amassed snow on this street.

Before that moment arrived, if there were a single person who dared to step on this long street, he would cut off his foot. This was his city, anyone should just gave up the idea of entering a foot in his domain, including Xi Cheng’s Du Huo-tang.

Besides Eight Master Wei, he definitely would not allow anyone else to stand in front of him, blocking his path. He wore simple striped blue clothing, his hands bunched together in front of his body.

Beside him, there were also two similar tiger-skin-chairs. A young person with a pale complexion and a face full of arrogance, lazily leaned against the left side of one of the chairs. He wore a purple sable worth one thousand pieces of gold on him. He used his little finger to hook the handle of the gem-decorated sheath of a long sword, swinging it back and forth without stopping. To him, this matter was very boring and very senseless. Because the one that he wanted to kill was not this Du Huo-tang, this person was not even worthy of him to make a move

The person on the right was rather young and was using a snow-bright goose feather sabre to manicure his own fingernails. He wanted to maintain a calm appearance as much as he could, however his long face, filled with youthfulness, was turning red with excitement.

Tong Tong-shan really understood this young person’s state of mind. He was similarly anxious the first time he performed a task for Eight Master Wei. However, he also knew that this young person held the twelfth position among 13 great protectors in Eight Master Wei’s organization, moreover he handled a goose feathered sabre, therefore he would not disappoint him.

Inside a shut-tight room, suddenly a child’s crying erupted, breaking the silence in this world. The sound of crying just resounded and then muffled. The child’s mouth had been obviously clamped by the grown-ups.

A furry old dog then darted off from a dog-hole in the corner of a wall, wagging his tail, and fled along the long street.

That long faced youthful person looked at that dog running to the heart of the street, with a very strange expression in his eyes. The left hand slowly went inside his coat, then suddenly it came out very quickly.

With one flash of the sabre, the dog was nailed to death at the heart of the street. The sabre skillfully penetrated its throat, its blood flowing through the snowy area, painting it brightly red…

Tong Tong-shan spirit was aroused, he approvingly said, "Good, Twelfth brother moves really fast."

This youth was also obviously very satisfied with his move and proudly said, "When Old Man Tong issue an order, no matter whether it is a person or a dog, so long as it dares to rush through here, I, Duan Shier (12) will want his life."

Tong Tongshan with a big laugh said, "It’s good to have fourth brother Xin and twelfth brother, two young heroes here. Even if ten, and not one, Xi Cheng old man Du’s who come here, what is there to fear?"

Xin Si however coldly said, "I only fear that today is not my turn to make a move."

His little finger that hooked the long sword suddenly stopped rocking, Tong Tongshan's laughter also suddenly stopped.

A change occurred, there was somebody else on the long street, a group of people very quickly approached. A group of 26-28 people, all wearing the black short coat, the foot-binding trousers, and the thin boots on the foot, were treading on the snow and ice, causing the "rustling" sound.

The person heading the group, with dense eyebrows, big eyes, and an energetic face, was precisely the number one bandit of western city, "big eye" old man Du.

Seeing this person, Tong Tongshan's face tautened immediately, his pupil contracted. A sturdy-cloth youth with a sabre emerged from behind, leaping forward one step, holding a sword. At the same time, they could hear the sound of the series of swords leaving the sheaths and held upfront of the body by the dozens of people behind the black-clothed person. The aura of thick enmity blended with the rustling sound of the footsteps. Besides this noise, there was no other sound in the world.

They saw with their own eyes the opposite group of pedestrians walking nearer and nearer. Who knew at this moment, in the nearby street, a narrow door was suddenly opened. 13-14 person in whites walked one after another, and approached Xi-cheng’s old man Du. A person said two sentences in a low voice. Xi-cheng’s old man Du unexpectedly did not say a word, and halted on the spot. This group of white-clothed people then all walked to Tong Tongshan.

Tong Tongshan now at last saw that they had very thin clothing on their body without any jacket. Each of them carried a straw mat behind them, a short walking stick in the hand, with the straw sandals on their feet.

In this kind of bitter cold weather, these people did not looked like being afraid of the cold at all. Only the hands and the feet had all been frozen and turned bluish. The faces were also pale white, devoid of any expression. These faces looked unexpectedly similar to dead people’s faces, that evoked surreptitious horror in the heart.

When passing through nearby that dead dog, one of them suddenly bent down his body, loosened the straw mat, and tucked in this dead dog with a long rope into the straw mat bundle just like before. Then he hung this on the wooden stick, and strode forward to overtake his companions.

Duan Shier complexions had changed, the left hand slowly entered the bosom, as if ready to wield the sword. Tong Tongshan actually cast a meaningful glance to stop him, and lowered his voice, "All these people look very strange, we should first find out their purpose in coming, then we can decide."

Duan Shier sneered and said, "They may look a little strange now, but after they have become dead people, they would not look strange anymore.” Although he said this, he did not move after all.

Tong Tongshan actually lowered his voice and called, "Tong Yang!"
The youth that hold the saber in the front immediately responded, “Yes.”

Tong Tongshan said, "As soon as they meet you, try to estimate their wugong skill first. You cannot be too hasty, surely you can still fight further on when it comes to fighting for your dear life."

Tong Yang’s eyes had flickered, while holding the sword  he said, "The disciple understands!"

They saw that person in white who spoke a moment ago, gave a signal with his hand. As soon as he did that, the group of pedestrians stopped ten feet away.

This person had a horsey face, blue penetrating eyes, and high cheekbones. As soon as he spoke out, everyone else would follow. Although his attire was not any different from the other people, he showed that he was worthy to be looked at, and he was surely the leader.

Tong Tongshan certainly also saw that, a pair of shining eye was staring at this person. He suddenly asked, "Your honored name?"

This person said, "Mo Bai (White Ink)."

Tong Tongshan said, "Comes from where?"

Mo Bai said, "Qing Cheng (Blue City)."

Tong Tongshan said, "What are you doing?"

Mo Bai coldly said, "See if we can turn the spears into the silks of a king."

Tong Tongshan suddenly released his breath and smiled, said, "Turns out this friend wants to act as a mediator for this quarrel."

Mo Bai said, "Precisely."

Tong Tongshan said, "How will you enforce this wish?"

Mo Bai’s face and others did not show any expression, all did not say any words.

Tong Yang was already eager to try, this moment he stepped forward quickly, in a severe voice, "If you want to mediate a quarrel, it is easy. But I must ask first whether this sword will comply."

He pulled with his hand, "trang", the sword already left its sheath.

Mo Bai had not looked behind but behind him the thinnest smallest person in white actually had stepped forward. He was unexpectedly just a 14-15 years-old child.

Tong Yang knitted his brows, "What do you little rascal want?"

The white-clothed young lad's face was unexpectedly icy, devoid of any expression. He lightly said, "I am asking your sword to comply."

Tong Yang said, "This would depend on you?"

Said the young lad, "You are with a sword, by chance I am also with a sword."

He suddenly laughed wildly and said, "Good, I will first dispatch you and then we can talk again."

Silently, he thrust the sword forward with “the poisonous snake spit” style, straight at this white-clothed young lad's chest. The white-clothed young lad split his hands, he had unexpectedly also extracted the narrow sword from the short club. The child raised the sword forward with "the poisonous snake spit" style also. He unexpectedly did not evade nor dodge from the sword, all parts of his body did not flicker including the eye. They listened to the "rip" sound, when the child raised his sword, his chest is pierced.

The blood red splashed similarly, when his sword also using "the poisonous snake spit" style, pierced Tong Yang’s chest.

Suddenly, all movement stopped including the breathing, as if the world had stopped completely. In one instant, this battle had ended!

Each person's complexion had all changed. They could not believe there was really such a person in this world, there was really such a matter.

The rain of blood had splattered, the fog had dissipated.
In the snowy area, there were already many spots of blood splashes, bright like the hungmuy(?) tea.

There was no expression at all on the white-clothed young lad's face, only a pair of cloudy sad eyes protruding like a dead fish. He looked like he was just leaving his childhood, his eyes looked like he was callously ridiculing this matter.

Tong Yang’s face on the other hand, was completely distorted, his eyes were filled with surprise, anger, and fear. In his mind, he could not believe there was really this kind of person, this kind of matter. He died in disbelief!

They presented such appearance standing there, suddenly both persons' eyes becoming empty with no life. They were just two dead people.

A person in white slowly went out from behind, loosened the straw mat behind him, tucked in the dead corpse, tied it up the straw mat with a long rope, hung it behind him, and slowly walked. There was no expression on his face, just an icy look that was quite similar to his companion’s when tucking in that dead dog a moment ago.

The strong winds broke out, blowing from afar, bringing the icy feeling from the far mountain.

The people behind Tong Tongshan could feel their palms sweating.

Mo Bai stared emphatically at Tong Tongshan, before he lightly said, "Would your excellency be willing to turn swords into plowshares?"

Duan Shi-er suddenly raised his stern voice, "You must also ask my willow sword... "

A person in white slowly emerged behind Mo Bai and said, "I ask you."

Duan Shi-er claimed, "You also use a sword?"

This person in white, "Right."
His hand split, from the center of the stick, he had really extracted a sword.

Duan Shier now at last saw that the sticks in their hands had different width and thickness, obviously the weapons inside them were also different. If the other party used a sword, they would use a sword to cope with him. If the other party used a sabre, they would also used a sabre.

Duan Shier sneered to him, "Good, you must first have a look at this knife."
He turned in a half circle, his wild goose feather sword swooshed in the fresh wind, aiming to cut this person in white's left shoulder. The person in white unexpectedly did not evade nor dodge, but used the sword style "stands by Huashan ravine", aiming to cut Duan Shier’s left shoulder also.

But Duan Shier’s wugong was obviously not comparable to Tong Yang’s, his style was more mature. Just before the final execution, before commiting the same mistake, the sword reversed the direction, using the ‘Eight sides swordstyle’ suddenly aimed at the center, and instead thrust towards the person in white's chest.

Who would have thought the person in white also reined in his sword at the last moment, using the ‘Eight sides swordstyle’ suddenly aimed at the center!

Although, he moved slower by half move, if Duan Shi-er continued with his move, the opposite party would be executed under his sword, but he himself would not be able to avoid the other’s sword.

The person in white did not feel awful about it, but he did.

When his knife moved, he had guarded against this possibility. He suddenly changed direction again, raised his arm and flew high, brandished his sword aiming at the person in white's left neck.

He occupied the attacking position from above, the person in white’s whole body seemed liked had been covered in his knife wind. Not only he would be unable to make any changes, including defending himself. But the fearful thing was, he did not want to defend himself.

When Duan Shi-er’s sword chopped his neck, his knife also pierced Duan Shi-er’s lower abdomen! Three feet long sword was slammed completely to the hilt. Duan Shi-er crazily roared, his entire body flew upward like a rocket for about 20 feet!  The blood fell heavily like raindrops, falling all over this person in white's body. His white clothes was suddenly dyed red, but there was just the icy look, no expression on the face.

When Duan Shi-er had dropped down from the midair, he would only then dropped down also. To him, dying was just like going home, there was nothing to be dreaded about it.

Tong Tongshan complexion had changed, suddenly shouted, "What kind of wugong is this?"
Mo Bai lightly said, "This does not really count as any kind of wugong."

Tong Tongshan got angry, "What does this count as?"
Mo Bai said, "This can count only as a lesson."

Tong Tongshan said, "A lesson?"
Mo Bai said, "This lesson tells us that if you must kill others, others can also kill you similarly!"
 
Xin Si suddenly sneered said, "Not necessarily."
He pulled out the little finger from the sword ribbon, and slowly walked, the sword towed behind in the snow and ice, sending out intermittently a grating sound.

But there was a light on his pale face, with a sparkle in his eyes he coldly said, "When I kill you, you will give up any hope of killing me."

A person in white lightly said, "Not necessarily."
His speech said, the person arrived in front of  Xin Si, his skill was obviously much better than the two people a moment ago.

Xin Si, "Not necessarily?"
The person in white, "Regardless of any vicious swordstyle, someone would be able to break it."

Xin Si sneeringly said, "Nobody can break a killing swordstyle."
The person in white, "Only a certain person can."

Xin Si, "What kind of person?"
The person in white, "A person who is not afraid of death!"

Xin Si, "You are a person who is not afraid of death?"
The person in white coldly said, " What happiness does living bring? What is to be feared of dying?"

Xin Si sneered said, "You are living because you are preparing yourself to die?"
The person in white, "Perhaps!"

Xin Si said, "Such being the case, I have to help you."

His sword suddenly left the sheath, punctured seven times in an instant, the sword wind like the bamboo Reeds, the sword light like the lightning, one could only see the sword shadow like the colorful rain splashing all over the sky, it would be difficult to distinguish how he move from his position.

But the person in white simply did not want to distinguish his moves, he also did not want to fend the moves, he just calmly stood there, calmly waiting. He was ready to die, from which direction the opponent’s sword struck, he did not really care.

Xin Si struck with the sword seven times, but this person in white unexpectedly had not moved at all. Xin Si’s sword went around several times, but these seven moves were all empty moves.

Then, he suddenly slid sideways to be behind the person in white. He had calculated that this spot was precisely the person in white's weakest point, nobody could move in this weakest spot.

He must kill this person, and he did not want this person to have an opportunity to kill him. When the sword pierced, the empty move had changed to a solid move, the sword light flash pierced towards the person in white's back.

With a "rip" sound, the sword had entered the flesh! He even felt the sword glancing on the opponent’s bone, but at this moment, amazingly he discovered that this sword had not pierced his opponent’s back, instead it was his chest.

During that brief period when he executed his style, the person in white had unexpectedly turned around quickly and received his sword on the chest.

Nobody could imagine that any person would be willing to use his own flesh and blood to receive the sword. The person in white had used himself as a weapon.

Xin Si lost the color on his face. He made an effort to withdraw the sword, but the sword had been gripped within his opponent’s ribs.

When he wanted to let go, the person in white's sword silently moved forward. It was like a young gentle girl slowly inserting fresh flowers in the vase, slowly the sword got inserted on his chest.

He did not feel the pain at all, only some coldness on the chest. Then, his entire body suddenly felt cold completely.

The blood splashes came sputtering out, they stood face-to-face, you look at me, I think of you!

There was no expression on the person in white’s face, however Xin Si’s face were actually surprised and twisted with fear.

Although his swordskill was much higher, also he could move much quicker than the person in white, but the result was actually the same. This fight had suddenly ended.

Tong Tongshan suddenly stood up, then sit down again, with no color at all on his face. This was not his first time looking at a killing, nor the first time looking at a killer, but he actually never thought that a killing could be so cold, so fearful.

The killing and the killer were similarly cold, frigid, similarly fearful. He suddenly wanted to vomit.

Mo Bai stared and said, "If you kill other people, the others can also similarly kill you, you can certainly believe this lesson now."

Tong Tongshan slowly nodded, could not say any word, because he had been radically stupefied.

Mo Bai said, "Therefore you should understand also that the killer and the person who got killed, often suffer a similar pain."

Tong Tongshan acknowledged that, he had no alternative but to acknowledge.

Mo Bai said, "Then why do you still have to kill people?"

Both Tong Tongshan's fists tightened and suddenly said, "I only want to understand why you do such things, actually why?"

Mo Bai said, "No reason!"

Tong Tongshan said, "You are not Lao Du’s person?"

Mo Bai said, “No, I do not know you, I also do not know him!"

Tong Tongshan said, "But, you actually do not want him to die."

Mo Bai said, "We do not, we who died for him, only want other people to live."

He looked at the corpses in the pool of blood and continued, " Although these people have died, they have allowed at least 30 individuals to live on."

Tong Tongshan gave a startled look and said, "You really come from Qing Cheng?"

Mo Bai said, "You do not believe it?"

Tong Tongshan really did not believe it, he thought these people must have come from hell. There was just no such kind of people in the world.

Mo Bai said, "Do you comply?"

Tong Tongshan said, "Comply with what?"

Mo Bai said, "Turning the swords into plowshares."

Tong Tongshan suddenly sighed, said, "It is a pity that even if I comply, it would not be useful."

Mo Bai said, "Why?"

Tong Tongshan said, "Because, there will be someone who will not comply."

Mo Bai said, "Who?"

Tong Tongshan said, "Eight Master Wei!"

Mo Bai said, "You might as well tell him to look for me."

Tong Tongshan said, "Look where?"

Mo Bai desolate eyes suddenly looked into the far off distance. After a very long time, he slowly said, "In Chang An city, the plum blossom in the cold fragrant garden’s, should have already bloomed now... "

*****

When Eight Master Wei’s mood was good, he would be similar to any other person, smiling and patting your shoulder, or laughing at his own joke. But when he was angry, he would become quite a different person. Usually he would have a glowing healthy face, but this would change to look like a hungry and angry lion, the eyes project a swift, fierce and fearful look. He just looked like an angry lion who will snap and grasp at anyone near him, ripped him into fragments and swallowed them pieces by pieces.

He was angry now.

Tong Tongshan knitted his eyebrows, standing in front of him. This prestigious person in this town’s martial arts world were usually very bold, but now he just looked suddenly like a lamb, was restless yet he hardly dared to breathe in a low noise.

Eight Master Wei with a pair of red flushed eyes stared at him and while clenching his teeth, he repeated, "You said this son of a bitch is called Mo Bai?"

Tong Tongshan said, “Yes."

Eight Master Wei said, "You said that he comes from Qing Cheng?"

Tong Tongshan said, “Yes."

Eight Master Wei said, "In addition, you don’t know anything else?"

Tong Tongshan's head hung low and said, “Yes."

Eight Master Wei sent out an angry lion's roar, "That bastard has killed my two good apprentices, you actually do not know his origin, you also have some face to see me. Your old grandmother, I can’t think why you shouldn’t die." (obviously some derogatory remarks)

He suddenly jumped from the chair and seized Tong Tongshan's front clothes, ripped it suddenly apart, and from side to side gave Tong Tongshan 16-18 boxes on the ears.

Tong Tongshan's corners of the mouth which had been hit did not stop bleeding, but he did not have any angry painful expression at all, instead he looked like he was very, very relieved.

He knew when Eight Master Wei hit ominously or scolded ominously, this expression meant that he was still taking the person’s side as his own. As long as Eight Master Wei wanted him to be on his side, his life could be considered as safe.

If Eight Master Wei was being polite to him, he should give up any idea of leaving this room alive today. After 16-18 hits around the ears, Eight Master Wei kicked him additionally on the belly.

Although Tong Tongshan was bleeding profusely from the hits, drenched in cold sweat, he actually just stood there obediently, not daring to move an inch.

 Eight Master Wei finally while breathing heavily, stared at him roaringly shouted , "Do you know those helpers are supposed to help you kill people?"

Tong Tongshan said, "I know it."

Eight Master Wei said, "Now they were killed by these persons, you instead joyfully come back, what thing are you?"

Tong Tongshan said, "I am not a thing, but I’m not worthy."

Eight Master Wei said, "Your bastard, you are unworthy? Couldn't you clamp your tail and run away to faraway places, as to avoid this old person’s anger?"

Tong Tongshan said, "I also know you would be angry, therefore if you must hit, go ahead and hit, if you must kill just kill me, I do not have any word to say, but I will not run away, I am not willing to die like that."

Eight Master Wei stared at him, suddenly loudly approved with a smile, "Good, you have guts!"

He put out a hand to pat Tong Tongshan's shoulder and loudly called out, "All of you have a look, now at last this is my good son, you should completely imitate him. Why would you be afraid when you make a mistake? His old grandmother, anyone makes mistakes in his lifetime, all make mistakes, including me, Wei Tianpeng, even more so."

As soon as he smiled, the ten people in the hall immediately breathed a sigh of relief.

Eight Master Wei said, "Does any of you know who this bastard Mo Bai is?"
Although this speech included everybody, but his eye actually only stared at one person.

This person had a vain face, with two slivers moustache and small beard, he looked very refined, and also very friendly. Who wouldn’t recognize this person, who couldn’t see this refined young bookworm, was the most fearful character in Eight Master Wei’s clan, "hard awl Han Zhen". He indeed was described as a hard awl, regardless of how hard was your shell, he could still drill a big hole in you. But he looked like a very friendly person, with a constant serene smile on the face, he spoke in a slow and stable voice.

He had made sure no one else would reply to the question, and only then he slowly said, "Many years ago, there was a person surnamed Mo, to evade the calamity he lived in seclusion in Qing cheng, this person was perhaps Mo Bai."

Wei Tianpeng smiled, casting a sidelong glance in all directions he loudly said with a smile, "I have already said, this boy seems knowledgeable in any world matter,."

Han Zhen smilingly said, "But actually I do not know their hiding place, only every 35 years, they actually must come out."

Wei Tianpeng said, "Why do they comes out?"

Han Zhen said, "To meddle in other people's business!"

Eight Master Wei face sunk, he always did not like a person who meddle into other people's business.

Han Zhen said, "They have no alternative but to barge into other people's business, because they call themselves as Mo Zhai's descendant, the Mohist school descendant, the Mohist school disciple, originally he was a recluse which try to improve his own moral’s worth."

Wei Tianpeng knitted his brows, "What thing is Mo Zhai again?"

Han Zhen revealingly said, "He is not a thing, but an individual."

Wei Tianpeng had instead smiled, there certainly weren’t many who would dare to contradict him in front of him. The majority would call him "the old man", occasionally he also liked some people to contradict him.

Han Zhen said, "Mo Zhai Jiu is Mozi, the Mohist school spirit, he is eager to help the distressed, even he does not hesitate to undergo any hardship for the sake of good, to go through fire or water, therefore the Mohist school disciple, cannot be just a recluse, but need only to be a chivalrous person as well."

Wei Tianpeng sank the face, said, "That bastard Mo Bai is also a chivalrous person?"

Han Zhen smiled, said, "There are many kinds of chivalrous persons."

Wei Tianpeng said, "Oh!"

Han Zhen said, "A chivalrous person would have guts, although he may seem pompous, actually he would secretly make the attempts."

Wei Tianpeng said, "This kind of chivalrous person can be handled easily."

Han Zhen said, "How?"

Wei Tianpeng said, "By killing a few of them."

Han Zhen said, "You can’t kill them."

Wei Tianpeng said, "Why not?"

Han Zhen said, "The chivalrous person is the same with the gentleman, regardless of the genuine and fake, we can’t kill them."

Wei Tianpeng unexpectedly laughed, said, “Right, if you kill them, there are bound to be some people who say that you are cruel, not righteous, a villain."

Han Zhen said, "Therefore you can’t kill them."

Wei Tianpeng stared and said, "Certainly we can’t kill them! If someone suggests killing them, I will kill him first!"

Han Zhen said, "Moreover, it is also not easy to kill them."

Wei Tianpeng said, "Does that bastard really have real skill?"

Han Zhen said, "His skill perhaps is not fearful, what is fearful is the deadly gentlemen under him."

Han Zhen again said, "These deadly gentlemen are all prepared to die for him as necessary."

Wei Tianpeng said, "These people are not skilled?"

Han Zhen nodded said, "Not so skilled person is the most fearful person, not so skilled wugong is the most fearful wugong."

Wei Tianpeng waited for him to explain.

Han Zhen said, "Because if you kill him with a knife, he may similarly kill you with a knife."

Wei Tianpeng was obviously unsatisfied with this explanation.

Han Zhen said, "Even if you act much faster than him, when you kill him he could still kill you, because when your knife attacked, he simply does not want to fend, therefore when the knife enters his flesh, in that flash he still has enough time to kill you!"

Wei Tianpeng suddenly made a break through, patting his shoulder, he said, "Well said! Truly spoken!"

Han Zhen looked at him, understanding his meaning. If not the foe, make them your friends. If I could not kill you, I would make you as friends. This was not just Wei Tianpeng’s principle, but also people in the martial arts world through the ages, this principle was without doubt absolutely correct.

Han Zhen said, " Tong Tongshan had said that they would go to Chang An city."

Wei Tianpeng slowly nodded and said, "Heard Leng Xiangyuan (Cold fragrant garden) is a good place, I already want to have a look."

Han Zhen said, "Leng Xiangyuan encompasses thousand acres of good soil, with 11,000 plum blossoms, now is precisely the most colorful plum blossom blooms, therefore... "

Wei Tianpeng said, "Therefore?"

Han Zhen said, "Since we must go, might as well go in full force."

Wei Tianpeng said, "That’s true."

Han Zhen said, "We can invite Mo Bai, let him have a look at Eight Master Wei’s might, if he is not a simpleton, he will think twice later before opposing us!"

Wei Tianpeng said, "He is not a simpleton?"

Han Zhen said, "Certainly is not!"

Wei Tianpeng clapped his hands and said, "Good, great idea."

*****

It was very peaceful in the corridor, while the plum blossoms filled outside the porch. Tong Tongshan and Han Zhen slowly walked on the corridor, they were originally old friends, and haven’t seen each others for many years. The wind was very cold, yet filled with the plum blossom's fragrance.

Tong Tongshan suddenly stopped, he was staring at Han Zhen and said, "I have a matter which I find continually to be strange."

Han Zhen said, "What matter?"

Tong Tongshan said, "Why as long as you say the word, the old gentleman thought it is a great idea?"

Han Zhen smiled and said, "Because that is already his idea, I just say it for him."

Tong Tongshan said, "Since it is his idea, why does he want you to say it?"

Han Zhen hesitatingly said, "How long were you with the old gentleman?"

Tong Tongshan said, "More than 10 years."

Han Zhen said, "Do you see what type of person is he?"

Tong Tongshan hesitatingly said, "What do you see?"

Han Zhen said, "I think you certainly considered him very boorish, very hot tempered, always do not understand small details kind of person."

Tong Tongshan said, “Isn't he?"

Han Zhen said, "Across Jiangnan, there were eight outstanding individuals in the years past. The most astute was Liu the third master, the fiercest is Li the seventh master, and the most confused is Wei the eight master."

Tong Tongshan said, "I have also heard about it."

Han Zhen had smiled and said, "But now, the most astute Liu the third master and the fiercest Li the seventh master have all died, and the most confused Wei the eight master is actually living, moreover fares very well."

Tong Tongshan smiled too, he had suddenly understood Han Zhen’s meaning. Only a person who looked confused and acted confused, could really be the most astute and the fiercest.

Tong Tongshan suddenly also sighed and said, "It is a pity that acting confused is not an easy matter."

Han Zhen said, "Indeed it is not."

Tong Tongshan said, "It seems like you cannot act confused."

Han Zhenku said with a smile, "If I want to appear confused, I simply can’t reveal this confused appearance."

Tong Tongshan said, "Why?"

Han Zhen said, "Because nearby a confused person, you have to have an astute person! Now I am playing the role of an astute person."

Tong Tongshan said, "Therefore as long as you say it, the old gentleman think that is a great idea."

Han Zhen said, "Even if afterwards it is discovered that it is not a great idea, the one who is wrong is me, not the old gentleman."

Tong Tongshan said, "Therefore the others will disparage you, not the old gentleman."

Han Zhen sighed, said, "Therefore you should understand by now, why an astute person always die early."

Tong Tongshan suddenly smiled and said, "But there is a gutsy person who could die earlier compared to an astute person."

Han Zhen said, "What kind of person?"

Tong Tongshan said, "A person who opposes the old gentleman."

Han Zhen also smiled and said, "Therefore I have great sympathy with this kind of person, they can’t really have an easy life."

*****

Feng Liu slowly walked through the snow, from afar, he could see the bright colored plum blossoms in Leng Xiangyuan.

"Reserve the entire Leng Xiangyuan, if there were anyone there, just expel him/her, whether living or dead, just expel them."

This was Eight Master Wei’s order, a typical order from Eight Master Wei. He sent you simply to complete a task, where not being successful was not an option. As far as how you did it, he didn’t really care, no matter how difficult it was, it didn’t matter. If there was any difficulty, he wanted you to take care it, if you can’t overcome it, you are simply not worthy as Eight Master Wei’s disciples.

Feng Liu was ordered to come here. He was always a discrete person, extremely discrete. He had assessed the difficulty which might occur, considering everything carefully.

Making way through this snow trail, he found the Leng Xiangyuan’s gatekeeper. He hoped this steward was a smart person. The smart people all knew that Eight Master Wei’s request could not be turned down.

The steward of Leng Xiangyuan on duty today was a middle-aged person over 30 year-old, although he didn’t appear to be intelligent, he didn’t seem stupid.

"You can tell me, Yang Xuan, everything. Whether the master would like to enjoy the view, drink wine or just want to linger in this place for several days."

Feng Liu reply was direct and brief, "We must reserve this whole place!"

Yang Xuan appeared very disturbed, but he was smiling as he said, "Here altogether there are 21 courtyards, 14 buildings, seven halls, 28 reception rooms, more than 200 guest rooms, master wants all of these to be reserved?"

Feng Liu, “Yes."

Yang Xuan hesitated, "How many people will come altogether?"

Feng Liu, "Even if only one person comes, this whole place must also be reserved."

Yang Xuan’s face became clouded, he coldly said, "This has to be a certain kind of person."

Feng Liu, “It is Eight Master Wei!"

Yang Xuan changed his countenance and said, "Eight Master Wei, Baoding’s government officer Eight Master Wei?"

Feng Liu nodded with high satisfaction in his heart, after all Eight Master Wei’s reputation was known by almost everyone.

Yang Xuan looked at him, suddenly he exposed a very sly happy expression and said, "I won’t dare to violate Eight Master Wei’s, only... "

Feng Liu, "Only what?"

Yang Xuan said, "There was also a customer a moment ago who wanted to corral this whole place, moreover he pays 1,000 silver tael per day, if I promise master this place also, where will I move this customer?"

Feng Liu had wrinkled his brow and said, "Where is this person?"

Yang Xuan had not replied, he just looked over his shoulder.

Feng Liu had turned round, then he saw a bluish face with no expression. A person stood behind him, with a very frail hemp clothing on his body, carrying a mat behind, and a short stick in his hand.

When Feng Liu came in a moment ago, he certainly did not see this person, now this person did not seem to have seen him, a pair of cold eyes with no expression, eyes fixed at a distant point.

In this world, all person, all matters, he only viewed them momentarily with the tail of his eyes. He only cared for a distant illusory place. Only there, could he obtain the true tranquility, the peace and the happiness.

Feng Liu looked at that person, not recognizing who this person was, he certainly did not want to look too carefully nor to speak with this person, he knew talking to this person would be an extremely stupid thing to do. In Yang Xuan’s eyes, there was also that gleam of sly happiness.

Feng Liu smiled and said, "Do you do business?"

Yang Xuan said, "I am a businessman."

Feng Liu, "Why do you do business?"

Yang Xuan said with a smile, "Certainly to make money."

Feng Liu, "Good, I will give you 1,500 silver taels a day, and 1,000 silver taels for the sales commission." He knew discussing the transaction with a businessman was much easier than talking to that reserved person. After many years with Eight Master Wei, he knew how to make the correct judgement and choice.

Yang Xuan was obviously moved, before he heard that person in white coldly said, "I will pay 1500 silver taels, and add this."

Feng Liu heard a swift and gentle swish of knife behind him, he could not stop himself from turning his head. The person in white had extracted a thin knife from the short stick and cut a piece of flesh from his thigh. He slowly put it on the table, he had no expression at all on his face, like it did not cause him any pain at all.

Feng Liu looked at him, and felt the corner of his eyes keep flickering. After a very long time, only then he slowly said, "I will also pay for this price."

The vacant indifferent eyes of the person in white only looked at him, but also kept staring at the distant place.

Feng Liu slowly extracted his short knife, and also cut a piece in his thigh. He did it very slowly, very carefully. Regardless of any matter, he was always very careful, the flesh being cut, although very painful, but Eight Master Wei’s order if he was unable to complete, certainly could be more painful. His surmise and his choice were similarly correct, perhaps he had no choice anyway. Two pieces of bloody flesh were put on the table, Yang Xuan had already become quiet.

The person in white looked at Feng  Liu, suddenly brandished a sword, and cut his own ear. Feng Liu thought his own arm became very stiff. He had sheared others' ear, at that time he only thought that was a pleasing brutality, but shearing his own ear was actually another matter.

He might have brandished his sword and killed this person in white rightaway, but he had not forgotten Han Zhen’s speech. Even if you move much quicker than him, when you kill him, he could still kill you. A discrete person would treasure his own life.

Feng Liu was a discrete person, he slowly regained his composure, he started cutting his own ear, shearing slowly and carefully. The person in white's shoulder was dyed red with his blood dripping from where the ear was, but suddenly there was a brutal pleased expression in these pairs of indifferent vacant eyes.

Feng Liu’ ear looked different from his own. The two bloody ears were put on the table, Yang Xuan’s body could not stop shivering.

The person in white looked at the blood that kept flowing from Feng Liu’s ears before he coldly said, "Can you also pay this price?" He suddenly brandished his sword and chopped at his own left wrist.

Feng Liu’s heart sank with this swing of the knife. However at this moment, he suddenly felt a rushing wind, with a strange fragrance in it.

Then he saw a person. A woman. In a short interval, Feng Liu thought he certainly had not seen such a beautiful woman, that was like a fresh picture blown by the wind.

When the person in white saw her, he detected immediately that his own knife was grasped by her hand.

She kept smiling while looking at him. With a gentle and happy voice, she spoke happily, "If the knife cut on the flesh, it can hurt very badly."

The person in white coldly said, "This is not your flesh."

This beautiful woman said gently, "Although it is not my flesh, I can also love it dearly." She sprung her bamboo-like slender fingers gently, like a sweetheart plucking a fresh flower from the vase.

The person in white noticed the knife in his hand had been transferred to her hand. This knife was tempered from fine steel, thin and sharp.

This perfect slender figure, with a ‘trang’, unexpectedly broke this fine steel knife into several broken pieces. "Moreover, this place has been reserved by me, why do you have to fight it?"

While speaking, she hold the broken pieces with her two fingers, and slowly putting them in the mouth, swallowing them one by one. Then on her beautiful face, she revealed a very satisfied expression, just as if she was swallowing delicacies or candies.

Feng Liu was astounded, he nearly could not believe his own eyes. Even the person in white's eyes were also to unable to restrain revealing his extreme fear. How could there be such strange and fearful wugong in this world? Wasn't she afraid of getting an ulcer or a decaying stomach?

This beautiful woman kept swallowing the broken pieces until the last one, before gently sighing and smilingly said, "This knife is actually really good, not only it is made from very good steel, but it is also made very purely, it tastes much better than the knife I ate yesterday."

Feng Liu could not bear saying, "You eat a knife everyday?"

This beautiful woman said, "I certainly do not want to eat too many, every day only three knives. Eating a knife or a sword is also similar to eating pork, if you eat too much, the stomach would not feel comfortable."

Feng Liu’s eyes kept looking at her. He realized he was being very rude in front of the beautiful woman, but right now he completely had no control over himself.

This beautiful woman looked at him before saying, "Like the knife in your hand, this one is not very delicious."

Feng Liu could not bear saying, "Why?"

She smiled and lightly said, "Your knife has been used to kill a lot of people, the smell of blood is too heavy."

The person in white looked at her, before he suddenly turned walked away. He did not fear death, but if he were supposed to eat pieces of a knife, he could not manage it. Nobody could manage it, that was just an impossible achievement.

She smiled and said, "He doesn’t really want to fight me, how about you?"

Feng Liu did not open his mouth, he just couldn’t open it.

This beautiful woman also said, "A real man, even if he wins against a woman, that still wouldn’t be an honorable matter, right?"

Feng Liu finally sighed and said, "I need your honored name, so next time I will be able to recall this meeting."

She also sighed and said, "I am only a maid, even if you ask my name, that would not be helpful." So, this peerless grace and talent, beautifully illuminated person, immeasurably skillful wugong woman, was just a maid. Then, how unique would be her master?

“You might as well go back to Eight Master Wei, and say that this place has been reserved by Nanhai Niang-zi (the South Sea Lady), if he has some spare time, then he may please come to visit after several days."

Feng Liu asked again, "Nanhai Niang-zi?"

This beautiful woman nodded and said, " Nanhai Niang-zi is my master, You go back and tell Eight Master Wei, he would certainly know."

(END OF CHAPTER 1)
Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 July 2008 21:57 )