Happy Heroes 11 Print
Friday, 11 July 2008 11:12

Chapter 10 - The Scholar of Unknown Origin

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There was nobody inside the house. It was as if the lamps had lit themselves.

Brand new lamps burned brilliantly, glimmering like gold, on a brand-new table made of wood from a pear tree. And this new table stood on top of a new Persian rug. Freshly picked flowers had been placed next to the lamps – everything you could possibly need was there. So long as it was something that you would see in a house, this manor had it. It was like a miracle had happened there.

The lone thing that had been left in its original position was Wang Dong’s large bed. But new sheets had been arranged neatly on it, and someone had even a laid a flower blossom on the blankets.

Guo DaLu’s eyes were ready to fall from his head as he stared in awe from the doorway. He muttered, “Have we gone to the wrong place?”


Yan Qi smiled dryly. “Not possible. No other place would have such a large bed.”

Guo DaLu: “It appears that a supernatural deity has taken care of this place for us. I wonder if it was a female fairy?”

Yan Qi: “I would guess that it is because Wang Laoda, like Dong Yong[6], is a filial son and a fairy in heaven has been moved by his actions.”

Guo DaLu: “Perhaps the fairy came to find me. I am a filial person also.”

Yan Qi: “You’re a foolish person.”

Though they were saying this with their lips, in their hearts, they understood that a person had to have brought all these items there. This person could very likely have been the one who paid for their meal at Kui Yuan Guan. Their jesting was merely a way to conceal their surprise and apprehension because they could not deduce who this person was and, furthermore, why he would do all this for them.

Wang Dong slowly strolled over to his bed, lazily removed the shoes on his feet, then speedily plopped himself onto the bed. Everything he did was always nice and leisurely, never one bit hurried. But when it came to lying down in bed, he was extremely quick about it, as if his life depended on it.

Guo DaLu frowned at him. “You are going to sleep, just like that?”

Wang Dong gave a loud yawn. That was his answer.

Guo DaLu: “Do you know who brought all these things?”

Wang Dong: “No. All I know is that when I am tired, I should sleep.” Whether these items were brought by a fairy or left by an angry ghost, he did not care one bit. Even if all the fairies and angry ghosts of the world were to arrive at the moment, he still would not let it disturb his slumber. All he needed to do was to close his eyes, and he would be able to fall asleep.

Guo DaLu sighed, “I do admire this ability of his.”

Yan Qi bit his lip as he said, “I am going to the courtyard in the back to have a look. Maybe the person is there.”

There was a row of dwellings along the rear courtyard. These were where Sour Plum Soup and the others had stayed.

In the front of the manor, in addition to the main hall and the flower hall, there were seven or eight rooms. Besides the one that Wang Dong slept in, comfortable-looking beds had been set-up in three other rooms. Guo DaLu mumbled to himself, “He actually knew that there are four of us living here. How considerate.”

Yan Qi’s voice was suddenly heard yelling loudly from the rear of the house, “Hurry and come look! There is a… a …” Whatever there was, he could not seem to say it.

Guo DaLu was the first to dash out to the back. Lin TaiPing followed closely behind him.

The courtyard had been swept clean. Even more surprising, from some unknown place, tall bamboos had been moved and placed there in neat rows. There were also clusters of chrysanthemum flowers.

Yan Qi was standing among the chrysanthemums, staring dumbstruck at an object.

He was looking at a coffin – a brand new coffin.

There appeared to be a row of words engraved onto the lid. As they looked closely, they saw that it read, “the coffin of NanGong Chou."

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[6] Chinese folklore. Dong Yong was a filial son who worked hard to support his father. When his father passed away, he did not have enough money to properly bury him, and hence, he sold himself to get money for the funeral. This act touched the Seventh Fairy (seventh daughter of the Jade King of Heaven), who went down to earth (and ended up marrying him), and in 3 months, helped him earn the money he needed to repay his debt. There is more to the story, of course… Dong Yong is believed to have been a true person who lived in the Han dynasty, who’s filialness became the subject of folklore.

 
Lin TaiPing’s body grew icy cold, and the color in his lips disappeared.

Even Guo DaLu felt his heart seize slightly when he saw the writing. Addressing Lin TaiPing, he asked, “Where did you kill him?”

Lin TaiPing: “Just… just outside.”

Guo DaLu: “Outside of where?”

Lin TaiPing: “Outside of the place he was staying at.”

Guo DaLu: “After you killed him, did you bury the corpse?”

Lin TaiPing gnawed on his lower lip nervously. He shook his head.

Guo DaLu sighed. “You cared only about killing and not about burying.”

Lin TaiPing looked as if he was about to break down into tears.

Yan Qi spoke up in his defense. “Anyone who kills for the first time would feel frazzled and nervous at that moment. And after he has done the deed, he does not even dare cast another glance. He would not be in any mood to care about other little details.”

Guo DaLu: “You seem to be speaking from experience.”

Yan Qi: “Don’t forget, I may never have killed anyone, but I have been killed by people before.”

Guo DaLu turned back to Lin TaiPing. Exhaling another sigh, he asked, “At the time it happened, was there anyone present who could have seen you?”

Lin TaiPing shook his head again.

Guo DaLu: “If there had been no one there, who could have put the body into the coffin? And who could have brought the coffin here?” A giggle suddenly escaped from him. “The dead man could not have jumped in himself, then sent the coffin here, could he?” Guo DaLu had a bad habit: no matter what the situation, he could not help cracking jokes. He knew, himself, that this last joke was not very funny at all.

The expression on Lin TaiPing’s face grew even more miserable. Clenching his teeth even harder on his lip, he stammered, “I… I hadn’t intended…”

But he had not finished his sentence when a “dong” sound was heard echoing from within the casket, then another “dong.”

Even Yan Qi and Guo DaLu’s faces paled slightly.

“Is it possible the dead man in the coffin has returned from the grave?”

Guo DaLu gave a comforting pat on Lin TaiPing’s shoulder. Putting on a forced smile, he reassured, “There’s no need to be frightened. We were not scared of him when he was alive. What is there to fear now that he’s dead?”

Yan Qi: “Since we’re not afraid, let’s just open the casket and let him out.” He stepped forward, as if he really intended on opening the lid.

“Wait!” The word slipped out of Guo DaLu’s mouth.

Yan Qi: “Didn’t you say you were not afraid?”

Guo DaLu: “Of course I’m not. It’s just that… it’s just that…”

“Dong, dong dong!” This time, several successive bangs rang out, louder and more persistent than before, as if the corpse inside was desperate to escape. A fainthearted person would have fled the scene long ago.

Lin TaiPing suddenly spoke up. “Let me open it. He came to find me.”

Guo DaLu: “You cannot go over there. Let me do it.” While he was speaking, he had already leapt towards the casket.

In reality, his heart was also trembling with fear, perhaps even more so than anyone else there. If he had been in Lin TaiPing’s place, there was a chance he would have run away already. But Lin TaiPing was his friend, and so long as it involved his friend, even if he was terrified, he would still force himself to persist with the task.

Yan Qi’s eyes had a tender expression in them as he gazed intently at Guo DaLu. “You are not scared you’re going to be snatched away by a ghost?”

Guo DaLu: “Who said I’m not scared?” As the word “scared” left his lips, his hand had already reached forward. He raised the coffin lid.

In a flash, something alive and moving jumped out of the casket, making loud cries at them.

It cried, “Woof woof woof!” It was a dog. A black dog. A live and moving black dog.

Guo DaLu stood frozen in shock for an instant, then wiped away at the beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead. He wanted to laugh but somehow could not force anything out. A long time passed before he finally let out a long breath and said with a dry smile, “That was not a very clever practical joke. Only an idiot would play a prank like that.”

Yan Qi: “He definitely is not an idiot, and that most certainly was not a prank.”

Guo DaLu: “If it wasn’t a prank, then what was it?”

Yan Qi: “Not only does this person know that Lin TaiPing killed NanGong Chou, he also knows where Lin TaiPing lives.”

Guo DaLu heaved a sigh. “Yes, he does seem to know a great deal of information. But, why would he do this?”

Yan Qi answered with a sigh of his own. “Maybe he has some sort of ulterior motive, or maybe it is simply because he is bored and has nothing better to do with his time. Regardless of the reason, one thing is certain: now that he has started, he will not stop.”

Guo DaLu: “Do you believe he is going to cause more trouble?”

Yan Qi nodded. “That is why, as long as we are patient and wait, we are certain to find out who he is eventually.” Patting Lin TaiPing on the shoulder, he smiled and said, “Therefore, we should all just go get some rest now. There are some comfortable beds waiting for us, and the individual who chooses not to sleep is the true idiot.”

Wang Dong’s voice could be heard echoing from far away within the house. “Correct answer.”

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The next day, Guo DaLu was roused from his sleep by the jingling of a bell. By the time he was fully awake, the sounds of “ding ding dong dong” could still be heard. They seemed to be coming from the flower hall.

In general, a person is usually more ill-tempered when he has just woken up, particularly if he was aroused from his sleep against his will. This is called “out-of-bed temper.”

Guo DaLu could not contain his temper as he bellowed from his bed, “Who’s the one shaking that blasted bell non-stop? Does your hand have an itch?” He seemed to faintly hear Wang Dong yelling at the same time.

The bell’s tinkling sound continued.

Throwing himself out of bed, he tore barefoot out of his room, all the while grumbling under his breath, “It must be the brat, Yan Qi. His hands always seem to have a tendency to itch.”

A laugh was heard as someone replied, “My hands only like beating people up when they get itchy. They do not shake bells.”

Yan Qi had come out of his room also. He was dressed already, his clothes neat and orderly. It was as if he never took off his clothes to sleep.

Guo DaLu rubbed his eyes sleepily, gave a wry little smile, then frowned as he said, “It cannot be Lin TaiPing, though, unless he really has been hypnotized by a ghost.”

The bell jingled again.

This time they heard it very clearly. It had definitely come from the flower hall. The two of them exchanged a glance, then at the same time, dashed towards that room.

Lin TaiPing was in the flower hall, but he was not the one shaking the bell. He only stood there, staring in surprise. The one doing the ringing was a cat – a black cat.

A bell hung by a string from a planter while the other end of the string had been tied to one of the legs of the cat. The cat was jumping unceasingly, and so the bell continued its non-stop ringing.

The table in the center of the flower hall had been laden with several different items, and each one of them was edible. There was chicken, duck, baozi, mantou [*a steamed bun, usually with no filling], and even a large jug of wine.

The black cat was jingling the bell to call them over to eat breakfast.

Guo DaLu rubbed his eyes again, this time in disbelief. “Is there a problem with my eyesight?”

Yan Qi: “The only time your eyes have a problem is when you are staring at women.”

Guo DaLu smiled sarcastically back at him. “Maybe this is a female black cat.”

Yan Qi: “It’s a male.”

Guo DaLu: “How do you know?”

Yan Qi: “Because it seems like he has not taken a fancy to you yet.”

Guo DaLu blinked. “Even if it is a lady cat, she wouldn’t be interested in me. She would definitely fall for Wang Laoda.”

It was Yan Qi’s turn to be perplexed. He could not contain his curiosity as he asked, “Why?”

Guo DaLu: “Because lady cats are attracted to lazy cats.”

Wang Dong’s voice suddenly rang out from the back of the manor, “In my opinion, this one is a female.”

This time, both Yan Qi and Guo DaLu did not understand and they yelled, nearly in perfect harmony, “Why?”

Wang Dong: “Because she knows how to cook.” A cat, naturally, cannot cook.

Guo DaLu tore off a drumstick from the chicken. He shoved it into his mouth, before pulling it back out again. “The chicken is still warm.”

Yan Qi: “The baozi are still piping hot as well.”

Guo DaLu: “It looks as if the food was brought here not long ago.”

Yan Qi: “Correct answer.”

Guo DaLu: “Who could have brought it? Could it really be the person who paid for us in Kui Yuan Guan?”

Yan Qi: “Another correct answer.”

Guo DaLu: “But why would he try to suck up to us? He wouldn’t really want to be a godson of mine, would he?

Yan Qi: “Mew mew… mew mew…”

Guo DaLu: “You’re going to turn into a cat. I don’t understand cat language.”

A “pffft” was heard as a laugh escaped from Yan Qi. “I was talking to your godson.” He ripped off a little bit from every item on the table and placed them in a dish. The cat bounded over to them. Stroking the fur on its neck gently, he cooed, “You were the one who brought all this good stuff. You should get the first taste.”

Guo DaLu laughed. “What a filial person he is! It almost seems like he is the cat’s godson.” In actual fact, he knew, of course, that Yan Qi was doing it to test if the food had been poisoned.

Yan Qi was attentive to every detail in everything he did, but yet judging from his appearance, he did not seem to be a person with this type of characteristic. Attentive people should not be so filthy; he looked as if he had never bathed before.

There was no poison in the food. Guo DaLu’s drumstick had already disappeared into his belly.

Yan Qi: “Well, it looks as if this person, whoever he may be, does not want to harm us. But he does act like he has some psychological issues.”

Guo DaLu: “Not just some psychological issues, a lot of issues. Do you think he would have done this if he just had a few issues?” He swallowed another baozi. Then, unexpectedly, he said, “This person has to be a woman.”

Yan Qi: “How do you know?”

Guo DaLu: “Because only a woman would do something insane like that.”

Yan Qi bit his lip and actually nodded his head in agreement before he replied, “And the reason why she did it could be because she fancies you. She wants to butter you up because…”

Guo DaLu gave a nonchalant laugh, but he could not stop himself from asking, “Because what? Because I have a manly air? Because I’m handsome?”

Yan Qi: “None of those.”

Guo DaLu: “Then what is it?”

Yan Qi answered offhandedly, “Because she is an insane woman, and only an insane woman would ever fall in love with you.”

Guo DaLu tried to pull his face into a scowl, but laughter still escaped from his lips as he countered, “An insane woman is better than having no women.”

Outside, the sun drenched the earth in its brilliance. On such a beautiful day, in such lovely weather, no matter what anyone said to him, he would not be offended. He especially would not get angry at Yan Qi.

He liked Yan Qi. He was slowly realizing that, amongst his little group of friends, he was fondest of Yan Qi. What was bizarre, though, was that it seemed as if Yan Qi made a deliberate effort to disagree with him in everything. It almost appeared as if he was looking for opportunities to squabble with him.

However, even more strange was, the more Yan Qi squabbled with him, the more he liked Yan Qi.

Wang Dong would observe from the sidelines as the two of them bickered back and forth. And as he watched them, his eyes would be filled with a peculiar sort of laughter.

Guo DaLu’s hand had just finished stuffing another baozi into his mouth before he started reaching for the jug of wine. Yan Qi glared at him and snapped, “Drunkard! Can you not just wait until the sun has set before you drink your alcohol?”

Guo DaLu smiled, and he actually set his wine cup down. He grumbled, “Who said I was going to drink? I was just going to use the wine to wet my throat a bit.”

Right at that moment, he suddenly heard someone outside speak in slow tones, reciting poetically, “Travelling far up Hanshan [* Han mountain], the rocky pathway is steep. In the depths of the white clouds there is a dwelling. Halting the cart to sit gazing lovingly upon the maple grove. Frosted leaves grow red amongst flowers of the second month. Aaah… So lovely is this scenery. So lovely is this dwelling.”

Guo DaLu sniggered. “A suanding [*slang; word used to describe scholars and mock them for being poor] has arrived.”

Wang Dong: “Not one. Three.”

Guo DaLu: “Why are you so certain?”

Before Wang Dong could respond, another voice was heard floating in from outside, “Since gongzi [*an honorific used to address a young man from a wealthy or honourable family] you like this place, why don’t we rest here for a while? My legs are sore from walking.”

A third voice chimed in, “I wonder who the master of this dwelling is. Do you think he will let us go in to sit and rest?”

Judging from the two new voices, the speakers were not past their adolescence. But, a youth is still a person. As Wang Dong predicted, three people really had arrived at the manor.

Guo DaLu let out a sigh of admiration. “Such an acute pair of ears. Even though he is just a lazy cat, his hearing is still sharper than a normal person.”

With a “mew,” the black cat scurried outside. A cat’s sense of hearing truly is very sensitive. Even Wang Dong had to laugh.

They heard the gongzi speak again [Note: - Anytime this gonzi speaks, the style is very flowery and poetic in the original Chinese, stereotypical of how a scholar would speak]. “The tall doors may be closed, but they are not unwelcoming. This intelligent servant [referring to the cat] has already come to receive the guests. It would appear that not only is the master of this dwelling a hospitable person, he is also refined.”

Guo DaLu could not help laughing in amusement. “Perhaps not exactly refined but definitely hospitable.” He was the first to step outside in greeting.

The light of the rising sun was brilliant, fresh like a mantou just off the stove. Gazing upon it, one could not help but feel a warmth rise from the depths of the heart. On such a lovely day, everyone would feel especially friendly.

A cordial smile filled Guo DaLu’s face as he looked at the three strangers outside the door. Two children with bangs covering their foreheads, one with a book chest on his back, the other with a carrying pole on his shoulder and loads hanging from the ends of the pole, stood behind their master. The sun had turned their two little faces into overripe apples.

Their master was a suave and cultured scholar. He was quite young, very handsome and elegant-looking, and carried himself with a gentle and gracious manner.

Nobody could possibly take a disliking to this threesome.

Guo DaLu flashed a grin at them. “Did you come here to look at scenery? You’ve chosen a great day and great weather.”

The scholar bowed deeply, his hands clasped in front of his breast and replied humbly, “Xiao ke [*a very humble way of saying ‘I’ or ‘me’] has gratuitously intruded and has disturbed your mood, master of this dwelling. Please pardon my offense.”

Guo DaLu: “I’m not the master, either, just a guest. That’s how I know that the master of this place is hospitable.”

The scholar smiled. “Wherein does the master reside? Would xiao ke perchance be granted the privilege of meeting him?”

Guo DaLu: “The master here may be hospitable, but he has a bit of a sickness.”

Scholar: “May I enquire what this sickness may be? Xiao ke has a modest knowledge in regards to the art of medicinal practice.”

Guo DaLu laughed. “This sickness of his cannot be healed. He has developed the disease of laziness. If you would like to see him, you will have to go inside yourself.”

The scholar smiled and answered, “Should that be the case, then ‘obedience is better than politeness.’ ” Even the manner in which he walked was very cultured, to the point that he looked so delicate he would not be able to stand a gust of wind. However, the book chest and carrying loads that the two boys were bearing appeared to be quite heavy.

The child with the long pole was at the back, carrying the burden easily on his shoulder. As he walked along, something within the load rang “dong dong” with him.

Guo DaLu rubbed the child’s head gently. “What is inside this load you are carrying? Is it heavy?”

The child’s large eyes blinked back at him. “Not very heavy. Only a few bottles of wine. Maotai [*a type of wine] should be kept in bottles. Our gongzi loves drinking wine the most. He also enjoys composing poetry. I don’t know how to write poems. I only know how to drink wine.”

Guo DaLu laughed in delight and asked, “You know how to drink too? How old are you?”

The child answered, “Fourteen. Tomorrow I’ll be fifteen. My name is DiaoShi [* diao = to fish or the act of fishing; shi = poem or poetry]. He is SaoSu [*sao = to sweep or clean; su = secular, of this world, coarse, unrefined]. Our household’s gongzi is surnamed He. We come from Damingfu. Because our master enjoys travelling around to view the sceneries of mountains and rivers, in one year, there is seldom a day that we are at home.”

For every question that Guo DaLu asked, this child would respond with at least seven or eight sentences.

The more Guo DaLu watched him, the more he found the boy extremely entertaining. Deliberately teasing him, he asked, “Why are you called DiaoShi? Poems are not fish. How can you fish them up?”

DiaoShi’s mouth twitched slighly, as if he looked down on Guo DaLu. “You haven’t even heard of this allusion before? Wine has another name. It is sometimes called diaoshigou. [*diao = to fish, shi = poems or poetry, gou = hook; combined, it can be translated as, “the hook that fishes poetry” because drinking wine can bring the inspiration required to compose poetry] Because I always carry gongzi’s wine for him, I am called DiaoShi. And because reading can cleanse your mind of things that are worldly and coarse, he is called SaoSu.” He eyed Guo DaLu up and down a few times. “You probably haven’t had all that much education?”

Guo DaLu threw his head back and laughed approvingly. “Good child! It is true that under a strong general, there are no weak soldiers. Not only does the boy appreciate wine, he is learned too.” He let out another guffaw. “I may not have read all that many books, but the quantity of wine I have consumed is not small either. Would you like to drink a few glasses with me?”

DiaoShi: “If your drinking ability really is that good, why won’t you drink with our gongzi?”

It was only then that Guo DaLu noticed that, by now, He Gongzi had entered the flower hall for quite awhile and was starting to make small talk with Wang Dong and the others. Observing them through the window, he could tell that Wang Dong and Lin TaiPing had already developed a good impression of the stranger. Yan Qi, though, appeared to be preoccupied with something and was constantly twisting his head around to look outside. The instant he saw Guo DaLu looking at him, he stood up and, with his back to everyone else, made a furtive hand signal in Guo DaLu’s direction as he walked outside.

When he walked out the flower hall, Guo DaLu greeted him and asked, “Were you looking for me for a reason?”

Yan Qi glared at him. “Why is it that you never seem to grow up? You show more enthusiasm conversing with a child.”

Guo DaLu chortled, “That boy’s ability to speak is stronger than a lot of adults. Sometimes, as you are chatting with a child, you will discover that you suddenly feel a lot younger also.”

Yan Qi did not reply. Instead, he walked slowly along the long hallway, in the direction of the rear courtyard. Guo DaLu had no choice but to follow him but could not help asking again, “Do you have something you want to tell me?”

Yan Qi walked another distance before he suddenly turned around. “What do you think of this He Gongzi?”

Guo DaLu: “He appears to be a very cultured and refined person. And I’ve heard rumours that he can drink.”

Yan Qi: “Do you think he might be that…”

Understanding flashed across Guo DaLu’s eyes as he interjected, “That person who paid for our meal in Kui Yuan Guan?”

Yan Qi nodded. “Do you think it’s possible?”

Guo DaLu: “Mm. I hadn’t thought of this point at first, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s possible.”

Yan Qi: “This place here does not have any known sights or scenery. Why would a traveller somehow roam all the way over here? Plus, he decides to arrive, not a little earlier, not a little later but, coincidentally, on this particular morning.”

Guo DaLu: “Life has many coincidences, but this case does seem a little too coincidental.”

Yan Qi: “Have you ever seen him before?”

Guo DaLu: “No.”

Yan Qi: “Think a little harder.”

Guo DaLu: “No need to think. I would never forget it if I saw someone like him.”

Yan Qi nibbled on his lip. “And judging from Wang Laoda and Lin TaiPing’s expressions, they don’t seem to know him either.”

Guo DaLu: “What is his name?”

Yan Qi: “He says that he is called He YaFeng, but that could be an alias.”

Guo DaLu: “Why would he use an alias? Do you think he intends to do us harm?

Yan Qi: “Up to this point, I have not perceived any bad intentions from him.”

Guo DaLu: “Not only are there no bad intentions, you could practically say he is treating us much too nicely, to the point that it is unreasonable.”

Yan Qi: “It is because he is being so nice to us that my suspicions were raised – when a person acts overly kind to others, he more or less has some sort of hidden motive.”

Guo DaLu gave an unexpected laugh.

Yan Qi: “What are you laughing about?”

Guo DaLu: “It just occurred to me, it is really difficult to know how to conduct yourself in this world. If you treat others too nicely, they will think you have a hidden motive. But, yet, if you treat them badly, they will call you a b*stard.”

Yan Qi glowered at him. “I knew you would defend him.”

Guo DaLu: “Why?”

Yan Qi: “Because he can drink. Drunkards always think that as long as someone enjoys drinking, he cannot be a bad person.”

Guo DaLu smiled in reply. “That is a true statement. Those who drink without restraint are usually forthright people. You would never see a person who is intoxicated still thinking up schemes to hurt others.”

Yan Qi: “You are not drunk yet.”

Guo DaLu: “Soon. I’m planning on going inside right now and getting him drunk.” He laughed before continuing, “Once he’s drunk, we won’t have to worry about whether he’s telling the truth or not.”

Yan Qi suddenly laughed also.

Guo DaLu asked curiously, “Why are you laughing?”

Yan Qi: “I was just thinking, at the very least, you have one good thing about you that you do better than others.”

Guo DaLu: “I have several good points; at least 300 or more of them. Which one are you talking about?”

Yan Qi: “You know how to exploit those opportunities.”

Guo DaLu: “What opportunities?”

Yan Qi: “Opportunities to drink!”

Guo DaLu was mistaken about one thing: people do not all behave the same when they are sober, so neither do they all react in the same way to being intoxicated. Not everyone was like him who, once he was drunk, would disclose anything that he had in his heart.

After drinking, some individuals will boast and exaggerate, saying a bunch of nonsense so that even they themselves do not know what they are talking about. But when their head clears, they have completely forgotten what they had said.

There are others who do not say anything after they have had much to drink. This type of person may weep his heart out, or collapse into a fit of laughter, or perhaps just put his head down and fall into a deep slumber, but for certain he will not utter a single word.

Should he cry, it will be like a son grieving the death of his mother. Furthermore, each sob will be more heart wrenching than the previous one, as if he is the only miserable person remaining in the world. Even if you kneel down and plead to him and give him two hundred liang of silver, he will only be more inconsolable. But when he awakens and you ask him why he was crying, he himself will be completely baffled.

If he laughs, it will be as if the sky has suddenly opened up and littered the ground with ingots of gold, and he is the only one who can pick them up. Even if his home has been burned to the ground, he will still continue to laugh. Should you go and “smack smack smack,” slap him over a dozen times across the face, he may howl even harder.

Now, when this type of person falls into a drunken sleep, it is even harder to handle. All the people in the world could come and give him a kick, and he still would not awaken. Even tossing him into the river will not rouse him from his slumber. As chance would have it, He FengYa was this type of person.

In the beginning, he appeared to be a skilled drinker and actually drank rather quickly as, cup after cup, he poured the wine into his throat. But then, in the blink of an eye, he was sound asleep.

Once he was sleeping, Guo DaLu started to laugh. Yan Qi snapped angrily, “Are you drunk too?”

Guo DaLu: “Me drunk? Do you see one thing that suggests I am drunk?”

Yan Qi: “Not one thing, eight or nine things.”

Guo DaLu: “You’re mistaken. Right now I am as alert as Confucius.”

Yan Qi: “But you laugh like a mutt.”

Guo DaLu: “I’m laughing at him because we haven’t even started and he has already let me get him drunk.”

Yan Qi: “Do you still remember why you wanted him drunk in the first place?”

Guo DaLu: “Of course I do. I had wanted to get him to speak the truth.”

Yan Qi: “And has he said it?”

Guo DaLu: “Yes.”

Yan Qi: “He said it? What did he say?”

Guo DaLu: “He said, if he really had malicious intentions, he would not let himself get drunk and moreover, not drunk to the point that he looks like a dead pig.”

Yan Qi looked him up and down, then shook his head as he said, “Sometimes I really cannot see through you. Are you drunk? Or are you actually clear-headed?

Guo DaLu giggled and looked over at Wang Dong.

Wang Dong: “What are you looking at me for?”

Guo DaLu: “For you to say, when I seem clear-headed, I am actually drunk, but the times when I am drunk, I am in fact clear-headed.”

Wang Dong had to laugh. That was something that he would say.

Guo DaLu: “Is that a correct answer?”

Wang Dong laughed. “Correct answer.”



Two beds had also been set-up in the row of dwellings at the rear courtyard. It almost seemed as if these beds were placed there in anticipation of drunken guests. He FengYa was carried in, like a dead body, and laid onto one of the beds.

Guo DaLu chortled, “He chose a good day to come. If he came a couple days earlier, he would have had to sleep on the floorboards.”

Wang Dong: “I just hope this snooze of his lasts until tomorrow morning.”

Guo DaLu: “Why?”

Wang Dong: “So I don’t need to pawn some items.”

Guo DaLu: “Why would you need to pawn anything?”

Wang Dong: “To treat the guest to dinner.”

Guo DaLu: “Perhaps we won’t need to pawn anything. All we need to do is wait for the cat to ring its bell.”

Yan Qi: “You think dinner is going to be provided by someone?”

Guo DaLu: “Mm.”

Yan Qi could not help letting out a giggle. “You are acting as if you will be eating that meal for sure.”

Guo DaLu laughed hysterically. “Completely correct. I am ready to eat his food for the rest of my life and let him support me into my old age.” His voice was especially loud, as if he deliberately wanted someone to hear him.

Had that person been hiding the whole time, secretly spying on them? Was that person He YaFeng? Was he really intoxicated?



People who get drunk easily typically sober up quickly as well. It was not yet sundown when the two youths suddenly ran from the rear courtyard to the front of the manor. They stood respectfully in front of the foursome and presented an invitation card to them.

DiaoShi: “Our household’s gongzi said that this morning he intruded upon everyone, so tonight should be his opportunity to return the hospitality. He instructed that we must successfully persuade you to accept the invitation.

Guo DaLu cast a look over at Wang Dong and winked. Wang Dong mumbled under his breath, “Looks as if we do not even need to wait for the cat to ring its bell.”

DiaoShi did not hear what he had said, but even if he had heard, he would not have understood what he was saying. Unable to restrain his curiosity, he asked, “Wang Daye, what was that you just said?”

Without waiting for Wang Dong to open his mouth to respond, Guo DaLu jumped in and said, “He said we definitely will accept”

Yan Qi let out a sigh and shook his head. “This guy’s skin isn’t very thin, is it?”

DiaoShi blinked his eyes as he asked Yan Qi, “This daye, what is that you said?”

Guo DaLu barged in once more and replied for him, “He said that we are leaving immediately.”


End of Chapter 10

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 July 2008 11:56 )