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Saturday, 05 July 2008 18:24

Chapter 1: Five assassins




(1)


Dusk.

Under the setting sun, Gao Li was standing below the gold-lettered signboard of  "Head of Sovereign Teahouse". He stood under the shadow, which was also covering his face.
It seemed as if his face was hidden forever in the shadow.

He was wearing an oversized blue taoist robe, extremely large, because he must hide a heavy and sharp silver spear under this taoist robe. With a sharp spear rubbing against his rib, that white shirt underneath was already drenched by the cold sweat. Before each subsequent killing, he was always very anxious.

This street was the most prosperous and lively place in the city, moreover it was also the liveliest time of the day.

He scanned through the bustling crowd, and saw in the opposite a water peddler.
This peddler's name was Ding Gan.

Ding Gan was a very big person. Although he was somewhat extremely fat, he actually had a very deft pair of hands. Presently, he was squatting in the roadside with a small knife, pouring the water into the basket. His technique did not look very skillful... That’s because he usually only used the knife to kill. It was said that when he killed someone, the basket could be used for more than just to hold the water.
 
The store in the opposite diagonal side of the teahouse was a very crude wineshop. It only sold the wine, but not the food.

The big wine jugs that were sitting on the table made the drinking person looked small, they were sitting on a bamboo stool and bringing their own food.
In this wineshop, there was only a person who did not drink.

This person's name was Tang Ye.
Tang Ye was very short yet strong, the disheveled hair was tied up with a white cotton strip.
Nobody knew who he was, nobody knew where he came from. They only knew that his mouth never stop chewing some kind of sunflower seed.

Some people said that originally he was a pirate in the east and an outlaw, but actually no one had ever confronted him with it. It was said that when someone dared to ask him, all he got was getting his tongue cut in the midnight.

Nearby him was a long pole that could be suspended on his shoulder, just like the one used by a coolie for carrying a burden. But he was certainly not carrying any burden, just like Gao Li was not a real taoist priest.

In this shoulder pole that was four feet three inches long, there was hidden a knife that could cut a horse down!
There was also another person with a coolie's appearance, sitting opposite eating the soup.
This person was very young, all the others called him Little Wu.
 
Little Wu was certainly Tang Ye’s friend, yet he actually did not look like Tang Ye’s friend.
They were radically two different kind of people.

Little Wu looked a very casual, a very sluggish person. When happy, he laughed very heartily, and he liked the wine very much.
Nobody could imagine how quickly and accurate he was when he killed people.
If he wanted to pierce your eyes, his sword would not pierce you in any other place.
His sword was also hidden nearby in the shoulder pole.

Gao Li saw ten paces further toward the right side a very large carriage under the tree shade.

The driver of the cart was very sleepy, the long horsewhip lying loosely on his hand. He was called Ma Bian. He had this long whip, this whip was also his life. If he did not have this whip, he would have died many many times. But this whip had always been in his hands, therefore he had not died. Instead, the others had died!

These five people came together.
Gao Li, Ding Gan, Tang Ye, Little Wu, Ma Bian.
When these five were together, they had to cause some surprising news.
This news would always involve blood!

(2)


July 15 (qi-yue-shi-wu-ri) was the middle of the year, and also the spirits' festival day.

"In July 1, the underworld lords decided the good and evil in the world, thereupon the taoist priests read the sutras trying to convict and extricate the spirits."
This was the explanation for why we should "lead a pious life" on this day.

But we should also say that "July 15" was not about a day, but about a secret organization.
A secret killer organization.
They decided others' good and evil, and then went about themselves to extricate the souls for the others.  - To kill was also a way to extricate the souls.
 
Gao Li, Ding Gan, Tang Ye, Little Wu, Ma Bian, were precisely the five most fearful assasins in this organization.

Today they must kill Baili Zhang-qing.
"Liaodong Hero" Baili Zhang-qing!

Perhaps Baili Zhang-qing’s wugong was not the highest in jiang-hu, nor the most prominent person by reputation, but his "Zhang-qing-piao-ju" (Zhang-qing escort bureau) was without a doubt the most successful escort bureau.

The Zhang Qing escort bureau had branches in all Liaodong cities, so wherever the Zhang Qing escort flag went, all things would be taken care of. Because not only Baili Zhang-qing was good to his people, but also his system worked quite effectively. This time he entered the pass, because of the plan to unite four big escort bureaus in the Central Plains.

The rumor in jiang-hu said that these four big escort bureaus wanted to merge with "Zhang Qing", to manage together an unprecedented unified escort bureau. From then on, any goods that was transported from the northern six provinces to Liaodong area would all be handled by them alone. From then on, if an outlaw gang wanted to plunder the escort, the day they decided to do it would not be a good day for them.

This was indeed a very important matter, this kind of matter that could only be managed by Baili Zhang-qing alone. Therefore there were many people who thought he should not die, also there were many people who thought he should obstinately refuse this arrangement!

The twilight had gradually settled in.

Baili Zhang-qing would appear by himself ultimately on this street. He was a busy person, therefore his traveling schedule would always be tight. It was estimated that he would arrive here between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. to eat in the restaurant under the teahouse, immediately he needed to rush away again.

But in "July 15"’s estimation, he would never be going anywhere else.
His group included four Zhang-Qing escort leaders, but aslo Zhen-Yuan escort bureau master (Zhen-Yuan = a town in Guizhou), and Zhen-wei escort leader (Zhen-wei = rising power).
This line of seven people were all masters.

But "July 15" actually already had plans to cope with them, this method was extremely thorough and extremely effective.
The people they wanted to kill would never slip away.

Six days ago, they started to practice, they had practiced more than 60 times up to now.
They planned with great detail, each movement, that they know them like the back of their hands. Now what they only must do, was wait for Baili Zhang-qing.
He first must die!

(Updated on July 6, 2008)

(3)


"Baili Zhang-qing cannot die!"
Gao Li clenched his fists, the wind blew along the long street, blowing on his already soaked clothes.
His whole body felt ice-cold, his heart felt colder.
Each detail, each step, already had been arranged earlier.

As soon as Baili Zhang-qing stepped on the street, Ma Bian on the large cart would start to take the action.
Six steps of motions.
Ding Gan would throw the hidden weapon to alarm Baili Zhang-qing’s horses.
After these two horses were frightened and ran away, Ma Bian emerged with the large cart and tried to cut him from the rest of his group.
Tang Ye would cut the 2 horses's front hoof with his horse knife.
Then, Gao Li and Little Wu would attack from both sides.
Ding Gan’s again used the sabre aimed at his back.

They had practiced for themselves, these six steps of motions. When they felt they had achieved the quickest speed, they kept practicing completely completing the task.
After they had practiced 40 times, they could achieve this speed, but in order to be more reliable, they had practiced again 20 more times.
"Only successful task is allowed, never fail!"
Their motions would never fail, nobody could avoid the speed of this strike!
Certainly none!

"Zhen-Yuan Escort Bureau" master Deng DingHou, was perceived as the most skillful, bold person amont the four escort bureaus masters in Central Plains. He had initiated this plan, therefore he went as far as Liaodong to greet Baili Zhang Qing to enter the pass.

Deng DingHou person "Heavenly fist young Zhuge", originally was Shao Lin’s common disciple, younger brother of Yu Zhong. His hundred steps of heavenly fist had practiced to 80-90% excellence, it was said that he would not be lower than the four law-protectors of Shao Lin Temple.

But Central Plains’s four big escort bureaus' first master was certainly not him, but "Zhen-wei" escort leader "the universe pen" XiMen Sheng. His accupoint-sealing and his palm techniques could not be found anywhere else in Central Plains.

In addition, there were four more guards from "Zhang Qing" bureau, each had inborn uncommon strength. It was said that with their practiced skills, each of them could master and capture a tiger alive.

After "July 15" five assassins strike very quickly, could they drew back also quickly as a whole?
Sure!
Their retreat plan, was similarly nearly as thorough as the attack.
Ma Bian in the large cart, had packed it with expensive gunpowders, bought from the Guanxi thunderclap hall.

They first use the large cart to separate Baili Zhang-qing from the rest of his group. As soon as the strike was successful, they would initiate the gunpowder.
Then they retreated to the west.
By now the path would certainly be apparent, the horse of Deng DingHou would certainly be startled by the gunpowder detonation, therefore the five assassins could randomly draw back, and each person could disappear without a trace.
This motion was called the "heavenly clothes."
Because this original plan was really flawless!

Now Baili Zhang-qing’s only opportunity was to change his travelling schedule inadvertently and did not go on this road.

"Divination, divination, divination"
The blind person selling the divination, had suddenly transferred from the corner, the left hand knocked the bamboo clappers, the right hand was lifting up plain white cloth face high.
"Heavenly clothes divination, sure to come".

Ma Bian’s hand grasped his whip immediately, Tang Ye had taken up the shoulder pole, Little Wu laid down the wine bowl, Ding Gan’s water movement had also immediately stopped.
heavenly clothes’ motion soon started!

Because this blind person's incurred shout was the signal which they had agreed upon.
This cloth incantation had started in one fell swoop, that Baili Zhang-qing had come according to his travelling schedule.
Since he had come, the plan could not simply fail!

Gao Li’s heart sank for Baili Zhang Qing - Baili Zhang-qing could not die!
Now the only one who could rescue Baili Zhang-qing was him.

"July 15" was a very strict organization, he understood this very much. If anyone betrayed the  organization, they could not live anymore, to just die was even more difficult. But he must rescue Baili Zhang-qing, if possible, because Baili Zhang-qing had rescued him before.

His palm was dripping with perspiration, he slowly put out a hand into his bosom, and gripped his silver spear. He saw seven people riding a horse slowly around the corner.

The first person who came had long eyebrows like the phoenix, wearing dark blue gown, and dried shark skin saddle. He sat well on the saddle, the waist was very straight, the eyes shone brightly, just like 11 years ago.

Some people simply would not grow old, Baili Zhang-qing was certainly this kind of people without a doubt! Moreover, even if he had changed a lot, people could still recognize him!
Some people originally had the fountain of life that would dismiss old age  from mind with ease.

Gao Li only felt his blood welled up in his chest, like his whole body and throat had gelled up completely, not able to utter any sound at all.
He certainly must control himself with every effort.
He certainly wanted to shout loudly, to warn Baili Zhang-qing of the danger, of the assassins!

Seven horses had walked along the lane.
Behind him was Zhen-wei’s  "the universe pen" XiMen Sheng with white face, calm Deng DingHou, followed closely behind Baili Zhang-qing’s horse.

Behind  were young, formidable people, with brown yellow shirts embroidered with the tiger grain, the front jacket was open wide.
Their chest looked like they were made of steel and iron.

People on the road felt the imposing manner of this line of troops and could not help walking away and evading them in abundance, creating the path for them.

Now Baili Zhang-qing horse, are only 20 feet away from that coarse thread which would start the heavenly clothes motions.

Gao Li had gotten ahold of his spear, was preparing to run out, at the same time he would shout loudly to alert the police, at the same time he would attack.

But at this moment, he suddenly felt an equally ice-cold hard item, touching his back.
A knife! A pointed knife!

Besides the knife he also heard an incisive sound behind his neck that said, "We have found out that Baili Zhang-qing have made a favor to you before, so as to avoid you awkwardly not doing your part, your position has been replaced, this time you may withdraw."
Gao Li’s whole body was cold stiff like ice.

The pointed knife moved from behind, the knife point was in between his chest rib.
If the knife punctured him, he would never be able to utter any sound.

Only a person with the strictest training could understand this method on how to kill people.
He certainly understood.
Therefore, he completely could not move.

At this moment, Baili Zhang-qing’s horse issued a startled hissing sound, and fled to the front.
Ma Bian’s large cart had also run out to the middle of the street.

Baili Zhang-qing would die without a doubt.
Once heavenly clothes was in motion, it would never fail.
 
Any kind of accident, any possible change that might occur, had all been calculated.
That was why five assassins unexpectedly had come.

That selling-the-divination blind person walked to under the sign of the teahouse, suddenly from the supporting bamboo pole which he had, he had drawn out a long sword, and threw himself forward to attack Baili Zhang-qing.
He was not a real blind person.

On the other side, Tang Ye and Little Wu had also sprung into action.
 
”Runaway horse!”, the crowd called out in alarm.
The large cart had separated Baili Zhang-qing from Deng DingHou and the rest of the group.

Tang Ye’s four feet three inch long horse knife had flashed brightly, like dividing the rainbow.

Little Wu was following close behind him, in the hand the sword was dexterous and sharp.
Immediately Baili Zhang-qing had changed his color, reined in his horse.

But the long knife had attacked.

Little Wu’s sword had also pierced forward.
The blood splashed suddenly, someone shouted miserably!
The startled shout was unexpectedly coming from Tang Ye, Little Wu’s sword unexpectedly had pierced his back.

The blind person was startled, the sword movement became slow.
Having fought many battles, Baili Zhang-qing would certainly not let go of this opportunity, he flew off from the saddle quickly.

Just by the crashing sound heard, the flash seen, seven sabres would have severed him, if he had not flew off his horse.

Gao Li was staked by the person behind him, never imagining such turn of events could suddenly come up.

They have put these five people under close investigation: not only Little Wu had no relationship with Baili Zhang Qing, but he also absolutely did not have any interaction with the four escort bureaus in Central Plains.
 
He had also never put a step beyond the great wall.
Why did he want to betray the organization? Why did he have to rescue Baili Zhang-qing?
This person was first startled, but then he became angry. It’s just that he did not know how to relieve this strain, when he suddenly heard the sound of a broken bone within him.

Gao Li’s fist had hit on his rib.
When Gao Li attacked again with his fist, he attacked fiercely.
By the time this person dropped down, he had fled quickly.

Ma Bian had not lighted the gunpowder when the change had occurred.
Under his startled anger, he wielded his whip to entangle Baili Zhang-qing legs.
Baili Zhang-qing body flew above, he could not fend against this new danger, he could only watch the long whip poisonous snake came closer, when suddenly a silver light had flashed.

A silver spear had welcomed the whip and fended against Ma Bian.
Ma Bian himself crouched down, in case Baili Zhang-qing attacked back by sword.

Suddenly the sound of a thunderclap was heard, the spacious solid horse-drawn cart suddenly exploded.

The four persons with tigers grains yellow clothes, the brave fighter broke through. Two people... waved their hands, lifted themselves over the dead horses, with arms ready, flowing to Ding Gan.

Ding Gan’s second flying dagger had just been released, another dead horse splashed the blood.
Seven sabres had unexpectedly all hit on the horse corpses.
He had not withdrawn when a pair of black iron judge pen had been waiting for him.
When the universe pen hit the accupoint, the world all knew about what happened.

Little Wu had met the blind person’s three moves.
Two swords moved very quick, Little Wu sword was quicker, the sword light in a flash, in front of the blind person the chest part had been sheared open.

Little Wu had not pursued him, because by now Baili Zhang-qing sword had also attacked.

Baili Zhang-qing wielded his sword on, but he was also busily saying to him: "Many thanks."

Little Wu had smiled.

Baili Zhang-qing’s sword flash quickly and attack three times, while saying, ”What is your surname, big helper... "

Little Wu had smiled and without waiting to say anything, he had fled from the place very quickly.
He knew that he was no longer needed.

Gao Li used his double spears.
By now but his double spears had remained still, because Deng DingHou's hundred steps of heavenly fist had compelled Ma Bian backward.

Ma Bian himself could not display his best moves, he got compelled into the corner.
The Shao Lin hundred steps of heavenly fist really had not allowed him to move his best.

Baili Zhang-qing swordstyle ruled over Liaodong, after all, he was one of seven big swordsmen at the moment.

Gao Li knew that he was no longer needed.
He was determined to pursue Little Wu.
He had felt an extremely strong interest to this mysterious youth.

Baili Zhang-qing seemed to shout, "Gao Li, brother Gao, wait, wait... ... "
Gao Li had not waited, he had also crossed over the ridge.

Baili Zhang-qing’s benevolence had finally been repaid, he was not willing to implicate the others again.
Because he knew that "July 15" would not let any rebel be untouched.

He was a fugitive now!
Once he became a fugitive, he would never stop be a fugitive, until he died, this was his desperation fate, his destiny.

But he finally no longer owed a favor to someone.
For him, this was more than enough!

END OF CHAPTER 1

 

<Chapter 2>

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 July 2008 19:22 )