Happy Heroes 03 Print
Friday, 11 July 2008 05:53

Chapter 2


Wang Dong had been awake for a long time now, but he was still lying on the ground motionless.

He had first rolled up the cotten blanket into a tube, and then slowly squeezed into it until his entire person was inside the cylinder, all four sides were sealed airtight.

A mouse was running back and forth next to his body, it was cautious at first, not daring to crawl over toward him, but afterwards it gradually began to see him as a dead person and even crawled up onto his head.

Wang Dong was still motionless.

Lin TaiPing’s attention had been focused on him for a long time, after a while he couldn’t stop himself anymore, silently walked over, and reached out his hand towards his nose to check if he was still breathing.


Wang Dong suddenly said: “I haven’t died yet.”.

Lin TaiPing jumped, startled, and pulled back his hand: “A mouse is crawling on your body, you don’t care?”.

Wang Dong: “I’ve never had any interactions with mice, nor do I see them as equals, only a cat would bother to pick a fight with a mouse.”.

Lin TaiPing paused, and said: “This place really is in need of a cat.”.

Wang Dong: “This place used to have a cat, it was Yan Qi who brought one here.”.

Lin TaiPing: “Wheres the cat?”.

Wang Dong: “It eloped with a tomcat from the base of the mountain.”.

Lin TaiPing widened his eyes and stared at him, stared at him for a long time.

The snow had stopped, the stars and moon appeared.

The moonlight came in from the window, and shone on his face.

The outline of his face was very clear, his forehead was broad, his nose was high, even if he wasn’t an extremely handsome man, he still exhibited a kind of magnetism.

“This person doesn’t appear to be a lunatic, nor a retard, so why does he still seem to have some kind of madness.”.

Lin TaiPing sighed and looked around: “Where are your two friends?”.

He really wanted to find someone to talk to who was not crazy.

Wang Dong: “They went down the mountain to hunt.”.

Lin TaiPing: “Hunt? Hunt in this weather?”.

Wang Dong: “Mm Hmm.”.

Lin TaiPing couldn’t say anything else, he suddenly realized a truism:

Friends of a lunatic are also lunatics.

After a while, a sound “GU LU” suddenly came from the darkness, then another “GU LU” sound followed.

Wang Dong mumbled: “Strange! How come today, even a mouse’s cry is different than how it was in past days?”.

Lin TaiPing’s face reddened, and stammered: “It wasn’t a mouse, it was......was......”.

Wang Dong: “What was it?”.

Lin TaiPing suddenly said loudly: “It was my belly calling, don’t you guys ever eat?”.

Wang Dong laughed: “When there is rice to eat, of course we eat. When theres no rice to eat, we can only listen to our stomachs call.”.

Lin TaiPing paused again, he really couldn’t understand, how a person who didn’t even have rice to eat could still be so happy?

Wang Dong suddenly spoke again: “Today your luck is not bad.”.

Lin TaiPing forced a smile: “Me? My luck is not bad?”.

Wang Dong: “Today I have a feeling, that the results from their hunt will definitely be good, what they bring back might even allow you to eat......”.

He originally wanted to say “eat well”, but before he could finish his words, he actually gave a start.

Guo DaLu had returned, entering the doorway, he actually did bring something back, something that could run, jump, climb trees, and make confusing “ZHI ZHI” sounds.

It was a monkey.

If there was ever a time when Wang Dong’s face would become pale, that time would be now.

Seeing Wang Dong’s expression, Guo DaLu laughed until his intestines hurt and panted for breath: “You don’t need to worry, this is a male monkey, not a female.”.

A tender voice came from behind him: “Your friend is afraid of female monkeys?”.

Guo DaLu laughed even harder: “He really is a little afraid, how many people in this world are not afraid of their wives?”.

Wang Dong’s face became stern and said: “Very funny, very funny. How can the world have such a charming man, it is really a strange thing.”.

Lin TaiPing didn’t know what was so funny, nor did he want to know.

He only saw something bright in front of his eyes, within the dark room it suddenly seemed that thousands or hundreds of lamps had ignited.

All the bright light originated from one person, someone who was wearing coarse clothing, carried two baskets, and had already walked in behind Guo DaLu.

Following her were three more people: One adult and two children. The children were dressed very neatly, the adult was wrapped in a leopard skin.

These few people were already enough to look at for half a day, but there was still more. Besides them, there were two dogs, a large bundle of sabres and spears, three or four gongs, and five or six bamboo poles.

Wang Dong muttered: “I always knew he wanted to compete with Yan Qi to see who was more skilled, who could bring back the most things, but he should at least leave a little face for him, and not make him lose so pathetically.”.

Yan Qi leaned on the door and smiled: “Although I have lost very wretchedly, I willingly admit defeat. I went out twenty times, and the stuff I brought back were fewer than what he brought in one trip.”.

Guo DaLu laughed: “Although my friends’ mouths are bad, their persons are not too bad. Come, let me introduce you guys, this young lady is......”.

That young woman smiled: “Allow me to speak. I am called Suan MeiTang [*Sour Plum Soup], this is my clan brother ‘Flying Leopard’, and these are my two little cousins, one is called ‘Xiao LingLong’, the other is called ‘Xiao JinGang’.”.

Which one was ‘Flying Leopard’? One didn’t even need to introduce him, and others would understand from just one look.

But the two children looked exactly the same, both had large eyes, both had a topknot, and when they smiled they had dimples.

Moreover, their dimples weren’t such where one had it on the left side, and the other had it on the right side.

Both of them showed their dimples on their right side.

Wang Dong couldn’t help but ask: “Who is Xiao LingLong? And who is Xiao JinGang?”.

The two children spoke at the same time: “Take a guess.”.

Wang Dong winked and said: “The one next to Xiao JinGang is Xiao LingLong, and the one next to Xiao LingLong is Xiao JinGang, am I right?”.

The two children laughed at the same time, one of them ran over, quietly whispered a few words into Wang Dong’s ears, and then laughed: “This is our secret, you can’t tell anybody else.”.

Guo DaLu held the other child’s hand and said: “Xiao LingLong is your older sister, right?”.

This male child shook his head and said: “No, she’s my little sister.”.

Before the words were finished, Xiao LingLong had already yelled out: “Dummy! I knew that all boys were dummies, letting someone trick you so easily like that.”.

Xiao JinGang’s face turned red, and he shouted: “You’re not dumb, you’re smart, then why are you dressed up like a boy?”.

This child’s words really pricked like a needle -- women don’t look up to men, thinking they were all stupid, yet they still wish they were men, this was a woman’s greatest weakness.

Lin TaiPing had been staring at Sour Plum Soup this entire time, and now suddenly said: “Of course these are not your real names.”.

Sour Plum Soup sighed, and said quietly: “For people like us who wander martial society and sell our talents, who have already lost touch with their ancestors, what kind of real names can there still be?”.

Lin TaiPing also sighed: “What can be so bad about wandering the martial world and performing? Some people aren’t even able to wander the martial world.”.

Sour Plum Soup looked at him once more: “It seems like you have a lot of matters of the heart......”.

Guo DaLu suddenly interrupted her: “This person originally seems like a girl.”.

Lin TaiPing glared at him, his face became a little discolored.

Sour Plum Soup chuckled: “Are you saying that only girls can have matters of the heart? If this is true, how can men not become heartless and lungless imbeciles?”.

Lin TaiPing looked at her, his eyes filled with gratitude.

Guo DaLu shrugged his shoulders and said: “Even if men didn’t have hearts and lungs, at least they have a stomach.”.

Sour Plum Soup giggled: “If you hadn’t reminded me, I’d almost forgot......”.

She put down the baskets and lifted the paper from the top. She first ripped off a chicken leg for herself and smiled: “A real woman’s stomach is not much smaller than a man’s, just that sometimes it’s not too polite to eat too much.”.

Xiao JinGang said: “But then how come you’ve never felt that it was not too polite before?”.

She hit him on the head with the chicken leg. Xiao JinGang stole half a chicken and ran away, the monkey was jumping non-stop on the ground, the two dogs were calling “WANG WANG”.

Wang Dong shook his head and mumbled: “This place has not been this lively for over ten years.”.

Guo DaLu: “Don’t worry, this place will still have a few more days of liveliness.”.

Wang Dong: “A few more days?”.

Guo DaLu watched Sour Plum Soup’s slender back: “Many more days......I heard they were looking for a place to stay, so I have already rented them the five rooms in the back”.

Wang Dong nearly choked on the wine he was drinking: “How much was the rent?”.

Guo DaLu raised his eyebrows and said: “What kind of a person do you think I am? A petty man? To demand rent from them? If it wasn’t for me, we wouldn’t even be able to invite these kinds of guests.”.

Wang Dong looked at him, looked at him for a long time, and then sighed and forced a smile: “There is something I’m getting more and more confused about.”.

Guo DaLu: “What thing?”.

Wang Dong: “Is this house originally yours, or mine?”.

If there is anything in this world that can still make a crude and lazy man become attentive, that would be a woman.

Early on the second day, Wang Dong was still lying in the “tube”, Guo DaLu went to get water, and Lin TaiPing was searching around in the room.

Wang Dong couldn’t help asking: “What are you looking for?”.

Lin TaiPing: “A face-washing basin, a face cloth, and a mouth rinsing cup.”.

Wang Dong laughed: “Not only are these things I haven’t seen for a long time, I’ve never even heard of them.”.

Lin TaiPing looked as if he just got whipped, he opened his mouth wide and stuttered: “You...... you guys don’t even wash your face?”.

Wang Dong: “Of course we wash, except we take a small wash every three days, and take a big wash every five days.”.

Lin TaiPing: “What does a small wash consist of? What is considered a big wash?”.

Wang Dong: “Yan Qi, wash and demonstrate for him.”.

Yan Qi stretched lazily: “I washed yesterday, today should be your turn.”.

Wang Dong sighed: “Then at least you should bring over the washing utensils.”.

Just then Guo DaLu entered with two buckets of water, Yan Qi used the broken bowl to scoop out a large bowl of water, and took something down from the wall that was both so yellow and black, that you couldn’t tell what color this washcloth was originally.

Only then did Wang Dong make an effort to sit up, he first drank a mouthful of water and held it, used his hands to spread out the towel, gargled, and then with a “PU” spat out the water onto the towel in his hands, casually wiped down his face with it and let out a relaxed sigh: “Good, I’m finished washing.”.

Lin TaiPing looked like he’d just seen a ghost, his complexion turned green and said: “This...... this is what you consider a small wash?”.

Wang Dong: “Not a small wash, a big wash. If a small wash was this much trouble, how would one still manage?”.

Even Lin TaiPing’s lips turned a little green, it looked like he was about to become faint, after a long time he finally breathed out and said: “If anyone can find someone more dirty than you people, I’d be willing to kowtow to them.”.

Wang Dong laughed: “You might as well bow now, the streets are filled with people dirtier than us.”.

Lin TaiPing shook his head vigorously: “I don’t believe it.”.

Wang Dong said softly: “Although we are dirty, our hearts are not dirty, not only are they not dirty, but they’re very clean. If a person’s heart is dirty, even if they scrubbed themselves with soap each day, they cannot be considered clean.”.

Lin TaiPing slanted his head, thought for a moment, and suddenly clapped his hand: “Makes sense, a lot of sense. If someone were to live happily, and has no regrets in his heart, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have rice to eat and it doesn’t matter whether or not you wash your face.”.

He raised his head and laughed loudly three times, then ran to the courtyard, rolled on the ground and laughed loudly again: “I’ve thought it through, I’ve thought it through...... how come I never figured it out before?”.

Wang Dong and Yan Qi held their laughter and watched him, it appeared as if they were also happy for him, because they could also tell that he had been carrying something very heavy in his heart.

All along, he wasn’t sure if what he had done was correct or not. Now he realized it was not wrong.

While a person lives, he has to live with no regrets, that is most important.

But Guo DaLu still washed his face, and mumbled: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t wash, and it doesn’t matter if you do, right?”.

After he finished washing his face, he used the towel to wipe his clothes and scrub his boots.

Yan Qi looked at him coldly: “Why didn’t you just take off your boots and wash your feet?”.

Guo DaLu smiled: “I had actually thought of this point, but unfortunately there isn’t enough time.”.

He suddenly rushed out the door: “They must be awake also, I’ll go back there and take a look.”.

Lin TaiPing: “I’ll also go.”.

Both men charged out, like they’re hurrying to put out a fire.

Wang Dong gave Yan Qi a look and laughed: “A graceful girl makes a good match for a gentleman, why aren’t you going?”.

Yan Qi’s expression sunk and said softly: “I’m not a gentleman”.

Wang Dong: “It seems like you’re not attracted to that Sour Plum Soup girl at all.”.

Yan Qi was silent for a while and then suddenly asked: “What do you think they’re actually doing?”.

Wang Dong rolled his eyes and asked: “Aren’t they all wandering performers?”.

Yan Qi: “If you really think they’re just wandering performers, then you’re also an idiot.”.

Wang Dong: “Why is that?”.

Yan Qi: “Couldn’t you tell that neither the monkey nor those dogs listened to them at all, it’s obvious they were being temporarily acquired to further the pretense. And that Flying Leopard fellow, purposely wearing that strange outfit, actually acts like a person who follows the rules, not even daring to speak very much, his hands were white and fine, how does that look like someone who carries boxes and pulls dogs around every day?”.

Wang Dong listened quietly, and finally nodded his head: “I didn’t realize you were so cautious. But if they weren’t wandering performers, then what are they?”.

Yan Qi: “Who knows, they might even be powerful bandits.”.

Wang Dong laughed: “If they were really bandits they wouldn’t come here, what is there around here that they would be interested in taking?”.

Before Yan Qi could say anything, they heard a startled shout come from the back.

The sound came from Guo DaLu.

For someone like Guo DaLu, even if he saw a ghost he wouldn’t be startled enough to shout.

Very little in this world can make him call out.

Yan Qi was the first to rush out.

Wang Dong also moved.

The courtyard in the back was somewhat smaller then the one in the front, and planted full of bamboo. In the past, whenever there was a clear summer night, the owner would lie down in there, and listen to the ocean wave like sounds of the rustling bamboo.

Therefore this place was similar to other courtyards with a lot of bamboo, and called a “bamboo listening yard”. And that row of five alcoves were called “bamboo listening porches”.

However when Wang Dong became owner, they changed to another name, and were called “porches with bamboo but no meat”. Because he felt that although the name “bamboo listening” was originally quite elegant, it had now changed into something very vulgar.

He believed that although the first person to name a yard “bamboo listening” must have been a very refined and clever person, the 80th to use the term “bamboo listening” for his yard was an incurably vulgar dummy.

Now not only was this yard “meatless”, even the bamboo had nearly all been chopped down.

Bamboo could be used for hanging clothes out to dry, and also be used to setup tents, so Wang Dong would frequently take the bamboo and trade it for meat. When a person’s belly gets hungry, he would frequently forget the meaning of elegance.

Sour Plum Soup, Flying Leopard, and the rest of them lived there the night before. But now the people, the dogs, and the monkey have all vanished. Only Guo DaLu and Lin TaiPing remained standing there staring blankly.

There was a box placed beside their feet, a brand new box.

Wang Dong: “Your guests departed without saying a word?”.

Guo DaLu nodded.

Yan Qi coldly said: “If they left, they left. No need to make such a commotion and startle everyone for no reason.”.

Guo DaLu didn’t say anything, and handed over the piece of paper he was holding.

On the strip of paper were a few words written in charcoal: “Five boxes containing our rent.. respectfully request that you accept.. may we meet again.”.

Yan Qi: “One should pay rent when he stays at a place, this also isn’t anything strange.”.

Guo DaLu sighed: “Although it isn’t really strange, it’s just a bit too much.”.

Wang Dong: “What is in the box?”.

Guo DaLu: “Nothing much, just several boxes of stinky coppery things.”.

If you said that money emitted a coppery stench, then the items in these five boxes were enough to suffocate 38,000 people.

The other four boxes didn’t contain anything else, only precious coins. There were coins of every kind, the smallest ones weighing at least tens of ounces, even if they didn’t offend you to death with their smell, they’d probably crush you.

The remaining box was full of gems, all types of precious gems. Rare pearls, jade, agate, and even a few gemstones whose names don’t spring to mind.

No matter which box you were talking about, it was enough to buy up Wealthy Manor.

Wang Dong and Yan Qi were stunned.

After a long moment, Yan Qi let out a deep breath: “When they arrived yesterday evening, they didn’t bring these five boxes.”.

Guo DaLu: “Nope.”.

Lin TaiPing: “Then where did these boxes come from?”.

Yan Qi said coldly: “If they weren’t taken by force from someone, they must have been stolen in secret.”.

Guo DaLu: “These coins are stamped differently on the back.”.

Yan Qi: “Of course they’re different, nobody would store so many coins in their homes. They must have been taken from many different households.”.

Wang Dong sighed: “To be able to rob so many homes in one night, you’d surely need to have a lot of ability.”.

Yan Qi: “That isn't strange, master thieves are able to scope a thousand households in a day and rob a hundred at night.”.

Guo DaLu: “They worked so hard to steal these things, and still gave them to us. A thief like that would be very rare in this world.”.

Yan Qi: “Maybe they’re trying to frame us.”.

Guo DaLu: “Frame us? Why frame us? We don’t have any enmity with her.”.

Yan Qi: “You think she’s really fallen for you, and delivered these boxes here as a wedding dowry?".

Lin TaiPing: “None of these things are relevant, the question is what should we do with these five boxes?”.

Guo DaLu: “What should we do? Since they’ve given them to us, of course we should take them.”.

Yan Qi sighed: “This person has a really great ability, no matter how tangled the affair may be, once he begins to speak it changes into a simple matter.”.

Guo DaLu: “This matter was originally very simple.”.

Wang Dong: “Not simple.”.

Guo DaLu: “What part isn’t simple?”.

Wang Dong: “They definitely wouldn’t give us so much treasure for no reason, there has to be a motive.”.

Yan Qi: “And also, since they might be stolen, if we keep them then wouldn’t we become thieves as well?”.

Wang Dong: “Anything can be done, but thievery is one thing we must not fall into. Once you begin to steal, once you get a taste of it, you won’t want to do anything else and will steal for the rest of your life.”.

Yan Qi: “And even your children will steal. Old thieves give birth to big thieves, big thieves give birth to little thieves.”.

Guo DaLu laughed: “You don’t need to dissuade me, although I’ve stolen once, it wasn’t a pleasant taste and I compensated for it with my last remaining sword.”.

Wang Dong: “Stealing requires knowledge, not everyone can do it.”.

Lin TaiPing: “I think our best choice is to take these things and return them.”.

Guo DaLu: “Who do we give it to? Who knows who these things belong to?”.

Yan Qi: “If we don’t know, we can investigate?”.

Guo DaLu: “Where do we go investigate?”.

Yan Qi: “Down the mountain. Since these things were all brought here last night by them, I’d imagine they brought it up from below.”.

Guo DaLu glanced at the box of valuables and sighed: “You didn’t speak wrongly, the place certainly wouldn’t be in a poor area...... any place that contains this much gold wouldn’t be poor.”.

Suddenly he laughed: “Therefore this Wealthy Manor, at least for today, is really worthy of it’s namesake.”.

Although Wealthy Manor became worthy of it’s name for a short while, they were still happy.

Because they had come to a very intelligent decision.

Perhaps its because this was the closest they’ve been to such riches, but they were not greedy, covetous, mean, or try to find a sneaky way to take the money. So they remain merry, like a flower bathed in the spring sunlight.

They knew that happiness was much more lovable then wealth.

End of Chapter 2

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 July 2008 06:00 )