Happy Heroes 26 Print
Friday, 11 July 2008 11:46

Chapter 25 – The Final Attack

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It is true that there are very few friends in the world who will go through life and death with you. It is even rare for husbands and wives, let alone friends. But this sort of friend is not non-existent. At least Guo DaLu and the others were this type of friend.

They knew that Wang Dong was at the crossroad of life and death. How could they be willing to leave Wang Dong alone in the danger? How could they leave?


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The straw men had gotten fatter. Fat people have lots of blood. Cui MingFu’s “Double Attack Flying Wandering Soul Piercers” had thrust deep into their hearts. But there was no blood. Not a single drop. This time, it was not Wang Dong’s expression that transformed; it was Cui MingFu’s.

When the look on Cui MingFu’s changed, a spark had lit up in the eyes of Scarlet Serpent. And in that same moment, Wang Dong grabbed tightly onto Hong NiangZi’s hand.



The stinger of a bee is poisonous. Cui MingFu’s piercers were more poisonous. Once a bee’s stinger has pierced someone, it is no longer poisonous. Right now, Cui MingFu’s piercers were still stabbed into the straw men's hearts. How could Scarlet Serpent pass up this opportunity? Aiming directly into Cui MingFu’s face, he blew forcefully. From the light shining in through the window, it could be seen that the breath he blew out was a pale green color.

Cui MingFu had seemed to be frozen in shock, but in the instant that breath was released, his sleeve suddenly became a sheath and encased Scarlet Serpent’s head. It also contained that breath of air. Scarlet Serpent let out a ghastly scream. It was a sharp and short cry. Cui Ming Fu was already flying up now, and he hooked one arm around a roof beam. As he hung from that beam, he gazed down at Scarlet Serpent.

Scarlet Serpent’s eyes appeared to have become completely blind, incapable of seeing anything now. Resembling a blind dog, he charged forward, swaggering and bounding erratically. One step, two steps, three steps… His face had turned green. He had only managed to dash out a few steps before collapsing to the ground. No one poisoned by Scarlet Serpent’s venom was able to take more than seven steps. Even Scarlet Serpent, himself, was not an exception.



Wang Dong released his hold on Hong NiangZi’s arm. There was still no emotion on his face, but his pupils were starting to contract. He was gradually starting to realize what this was all about, that it was not very amusing at all.

But Hong NiangZi evidently thought it was extremely amusing. She had been chortling the whole time and was now laughing incessantly. The sound of her laughter was like the chime of silver bells. It was this same laughter that had captivated him when he had first laid eyes on her. Even after seeing her several hundred times, he had still believed that there was absolutely no one else whose laughter could be so lovely or pleasing to the ear.

Now, though, all he wanted to do was vomit. No matter what, Scarlet Serpent was a partner and companion whom she had lived with for many years. Anyone who could laugh so delightedly while standing over the corpse of their companion was sickening and would make people want to vomit.

Hong NiangZi’s eyes twinkled. “Are you finding it odd and wondering why I am laughing?”

Wang Dong: “It is not odd.”

Hong NiangZi: “Why?”

Wang Dong: “Because you are not human.”

This was also Wang Dong’s conclusion.



Cui MingFu was still staring at Scarlet Serpent’s body, as if he was afraid that he was not completely dead. Scarlet Serpent was completely dead. In reality, even when he was still alive, he had offered up his entire life to poisons. He did not have any other friends, and in fact, it could be said that he had nothing else. Poisons were his life.

After a long time had passed, Cui MingFu finally turned around slowly and stated, “That is a very loyal person.”

Hong NiangZi asked incredulously, “You’re saying he is loyal?”

With a nod, Cui MingFu explained, “At the very least, he was loyal to what he did. His poisons really have never once failed.”

Hong NiangZi gave another laugh. “So you have even more reason to be grateful to me. Were it not for me, you would be the one who is now dead.”

“I truly did not think that he would ever betray me,” Cui MingFu said in a detached tone.

Hong NiangZi chuckled, “If you honestly had not thought about it, how could you have already devised a method to take care of him?”

Cui MingFu: “Because I, too, am a very loyal person.”

Hong NiangZi: “What are you loyal to?”

Cui MingFu: “Myself.”

“Why have you never said that I am a very loyal person?” she sighed.

Cui MingFu’s tone was frosty. “Because you are not even loyal to yourself. You often betray your own self.”

Hong NiangZi: “But I have never betrayed you, nor have I ever deceived you.”

His voice was still cold as he retorted, “That is only because no one is able to deceive me.” Turning unexpectedly to Wang Dong, he said, “And that is why you have been an honest person in front of me also.”

Wang Dong did not answer him.

Cui MingFu: “You said your friends have already left, and sure enough, they are not here.”

Still, there was no response from Wang Dong.

Cui MingFu: “Right now, though, I only want to know whether you are more loyal to money or to me.”

Wang Dong: “That will depend on circumstance.”

Cui MingFu: “How?”

In a nonchalant sort of tone, Wang Dong replied, “Normally, I would be more loyal to money, but at the moment, I am loyal to you.”

Cui MingFu: “Very good. Hand it over.”

Wang Dong: “Hand what over?”

Cui MingFu: “What do you have?”

Wang Dong hesitated. At last, he seemed to resolve himself. “There are several flagstones underneath the table that are actually loose. Beneath them is a cellar.”

Cui MingFu jeered coldly, “Did you think I could not tell?”

Wang Dong: “If you know, then why are you not going over to retrieve the stuff? It is all there.”

Hong NiangZi jumped in, “I will go get it.”

Cui MingFu cut her off, “I will.” In a blur, he had already soared in front of her. This was the first time in his life that he had ever walked in front of someone – and it would be his last time.

A streak of light flew out slowly from Hong NiangZi’s sleeve and struck the “Yuzhen” [Jade Pillow] acupoint on the back of his head. Not only was this fatal attack not executed quickly, it was in fact extremely slow, yet somehow, he was unable to avoid it. He crumpled to the ground immediately – no resistance, no pain. Indeed, he did not even utter a sound. A live human being had suddenly become a dead human being. No one would ever have believed that he would die so easily. And moreso, he had never thought that the one who killed him would be Hong NiangZi.



Laughter like the chime of silver bells rang out. “This time, you should understand why I am laughing,” Hong NiangZi chortled.

Wang Dong: “Don’t understand.”

Hong NiangZi: “Do you know what I used to kill him?”

Wang Dong did not answer.

Giggling, she told him, “It was the Wandering Soul Piercers that I learned from him.” She laughed hysterically while she continued, “He just finished using Scarlet Serpent’s own poison to kill Scarlet Serpent, and then I immediately used his piercers to stab him to death. This is such a funny situation; even if I tried not to laugh, I would not be able to stop myself.”

Wang Dong: “The only thing I find strange is why he would teach it to you.”

Hong NiangZi: “Because he did not teach me all the key techniques and so he knew that I would never be able to completely learn it.”

Wang Dong: “It is true that you are not quite as fast as he was.”

Hong NiangZi: “Nowhere close. That is why, even though I had learned it, it was useless to me. It could not be used against anyone else. Wandering Soul Piercers are still his exclusive weapon.”

Wang Dong: “So if it is useless, why did you bother learning it?”

Hong NiangZi: “It is not entirely worthless. There is only one use for it; it can only be used against one person.”

Wang Dong: “Who?”

Hong NiangZi: “Himself.”

Puzzled, Wang Dong asked her, “You cannot use it against other people, yet you can use it against him?”

“Many things in the world are that bizarre,” she stated with a giggle.

Wang Dong: “I do not understand.”

Hong NiangZi: “There are many more things that you do not understand.”

Wang Dong: “Oh?”

Hong NiangZi: “I intentionally left you and Scarlet Serpent alone together so that you would have a chance to talk.”

Wang Dong realized, “So you had actually run off on purpose.”

Hong NiangZi explained, “I first deliberately let slip his greatest secret that he did not want others to know and then left so that he would be livid. Of course, when you saw this opportunity, you definitely would not let it pass.”

Wang Dong: “You knew that I would try to find a way to convince him to betray you?”

Hong NiangZi: “It was not you that convinced him; he had that intention for a long time except he had never had the opportunity.”

Wang Dong: “You purposely handed the opportunity to him and then told Cui Laoda to be cautious of him?”

Hong NiangZi: “I knew that Cui Laoda had already thought of a way to take care of him. He only needed to attack, and then he would be dead.”

Wang Dong: “Your calculations were very accurate.”

In her sweet tone, she praised herself, “I do not need to be humble regarding this point.”

“I understand that part now,” Wang Dong sighed. “What else is there?”

Blinking her eyes, she offered up, “Do you know what Cui Laoda’s biggest secret is?”

Wang Dong: “No.”

Hong NiangZi: “His hearing was not very good, basically not much different from being deaf.”

Wang Dong: “But when I spoke to him, my voice was not very loud and he was still able to hear what I said.”

Hong NiangZi: “That is only because he would watch the motion of your lips and he was able to read what you said.”

Sighing again, Wang Dong admitted, “That truly is a big secret.”

Hong NiangZi: “Aside from me, no one knows this secret. Because his hearing was poor, he never walked in front of anyone for fear that they would sneakily attack him from behind.” With a laugh, she clarified, “It was not because he was being more cautious than other people; it was only because he was unable to hear the wind sound created by projectile weapons. If someone was to sneak attack him from behind, he had no way of dodging.”

Wang Dong: “If that wind sound was loud and sharp, he still would be able to hear it, but if someone was to strike slowly at him from behind, then he had no choice but death.”

“Precisely,” Hong NiangZi chortled. “Therefore, there was actually nothing better than using those Wandering Soul Piercers that I would never learn properly against him.”

Wang Dong: “And you had it all calculated out that once he heard where the money was, he wouldn’t be able to restrain himself and would rush forward?”

Hong NiangZi: “If it had been anyone else with him, he might still have been able to maintain his patience and keep his guard up, but when he was with me, he always tended to be a little more careless than normal.”

Wang Dong: “Why?”

Hong NiangZi: “Because he always believed that I needed to rely on him, that if he died, I would not be able to live either.”

Heaving a sigh, Wang Dong commented, “And, he always had believed that no one was able to deceive him…”

Hong NiangZi: “It is true that no one was able to deceive him. Only he was able to deceive himself.”

Puzzled, Wang Dong repeated, “You are saying that he was deceiving himself?”

She smiled charmingly at him again. “There are not many men in the world who do not know how to give themselves an ego trip. If men did not build up their own egos, how would women get by?”

Wang Dong was quiet for a long while. “Your calculations were very accurate, as were your judgments.”

Hong NiangZi: “But my judgment of you was wrong.”

Wang Dong: “Oh?”

Laughing, she told him, “I had always thought that you never told lies. I never imagined that, when you told a lie, you would act so natural that you could deceive someone into death without even having to compensate with your own life.”

Wang Dong: “What lie did I tell?”

Hong NiangZi: “You said the ‘items’ are underneath the table. Is that a lie?”

Wang Dong: “Yes.”

Hong NiangZi laughed delightedly, “But I was the only one who knew you were not telling the truth. That is because I am the only person in the world who knows where they are actually hidden.”

Wang Dong: “You should know.”

Her eyes were sparkling. “Tell me the truth: just now, did it ever occur to you that I was the one who took the money?”

Wang Dong: “No.” For a long moment, he did not say anything. At last, he said, “I did not think of any of that. I do not know anything. I only know one thing.”

Hong NiangZi: “What is that?”

Wang Dong: “A person should never become too arrogant. It does not matter who. Anyone who thinks that no one is able to fool him is merely fooling himself.”

That sweet smile of hers seemed to slip a bit, and she could not help asking, “What is that supposed to mean?”

His tone was indifferent as he replied, “The meaning behind that sentence is: if you can design a trap to ensnare people, someone else can also design a trap to ensnare you.”

This, too, was a conclusion.

Conclusions are very rarely wrong. The ones that are wrong usually are not conclusions.

*****

Daylight. In daylight, women always seem to look a little older, a little more haggard.

Hong NiangZi was no longer able to laugh. When women who laugh suddenly cease laughing, they also tend to look older and more haggard. And so, now, Hong NiangZi [Red Lady] practically seemed to have the reached the extent of becoming “red granny.”

There was no treasure under the table, not even a single copper coin. But there were people – two people. Although Wang Dong was unable to move, these two people were able to. One moved relatively faster while the other moved slightly slower. The faster person was Yan Qi; the slower one was Guo DaLu.

For someone like Guo DaLu, in a time when his friend was in danger, even if you took a whip to drive him away or held a knife against his neck, he still would not go.

Only now did Hong NiangZi realize that she had fallen into a trap herself. But how did she manage to fall in? She had no idea; she had not even noticed a hint of a trap.

A house will always have one corner where the light tends to be a little dimmer. Usually, there will always be a chair in this corner. Hong NiangZi walked over there slowly and lowered herself into that chair. Nobody tried to stop her; there was no longer any need to. After a very lengthy moment passed, she suddenly spoke. “Wang Dong, I know you have always been a very fair person.”

Guo DaLu jumped in to respond. “Of course he is.” When Guo DaLu was around, the number of occasions that Wang Dong needed to speak would increase.

Wang Dong: “What must be done to be fair?”

Hong NiangZi: “I already told you about my trap a moment ago. Now what about you?” The target of her questioning was Wang Dong. Aside from him, she had not glanced at anyone else.

Yan Qi, though, was glaring with wide eyes at Guo DaLu, and so, it was best for Guo DaLu to keep his mouth shut.

Another long while passed before Wang Dong finally opened his mouth to ask, “From what point did you start telling your side of things a moment ago?”

Hong NiangZi: “From when I gave you the opportunity to speak to Scarlet Serpent alone.”

Wang Dong: “Do you know why I said all those things to him?”

Hong NiangZi: “No.”

Wang Dong: “Because I needed to find out which one amongst the three of you was the person who had taken the money.”

Hong NiangZi: “You said those things to Scarlet Serpent because you wanted to test him?”

Wang Dong: “Correct. If he was the person who stole the items, he would not have acted as he did.”

Hong NiangZi: “How did you know the person was not Big Centipede?”

Wang Dong: “If it was him, he would not have taken such a dangerous risk. When someone who is worth tens of millions liang sits under a roof, he will fear that one of the roof tiles may fall down on him and crack his head open.”

Hong NiangZi forced a smile onto her face. “Why didn’t you just be a little more concise? ‘Son of thousand gold [son of a wealthy family] sits not beneath the eaves.’ I do know what that saying means.”

Wang Dong: “There were only five potential people that could know where the money was hidden. Eliminating three left only you and Cui Laoda.”

Hong NiangZi: “But you still were not able to ascertain, between Cui Laoda and I, who was the person who actually took it.”

Wang Dong: “At the time, I was not able say with certainty, but I was already confident that, sooner or later, I would be able to find out.”

Hong NiangZi: “You truly were confident?”

Wang Dong: “One: I knew that Scarlet Serpent was definitely not a match for Cui Laoda. So long as he made a move, he would undoubtedly die.”

Hong NiangZi: “Your judgment is very accurate also.”

Wang Dong: “Two: I knew that, between you and Cui Laoda, one of you would have to die.”

Hong NiangZi: “Why?”

Wang Dong: “Because no matter which one of you had the items in your possession, that person absolutely would not let the other live.”

Hong NiangZi: “Why do you say that?”

Wang Dong: “Because if there was even one other person amongst us five that still lived, the thief would not be able to enjoy all those riches in peace. But now, it was equivalent to only one other person left; it was the greatest chance ‘he’ had.”

“It truly was too good an opportunity,” Hong NiangZi sighed.

Wang Dong continued, “This person had waited so long before this opportunity finally arose. Of course, ‘he’ would not let it pass him by.”

Hong NiangZi: “If you were in that position, you definitely would not have let it pass either.”

Wang Dong: “Plus, that person used to be able to put all the blame on me, but now, since I had been located, ‘his’ secret was going to be revealed sooner or later. Even if ‘he’ did not want to kill anyone, there would be people who wanted to kill ‘him.’ ”

Quietly, she confessed, “I originally had not intended for them to find you, but…” She gave a small laugh, a very miserable-sounding laugh. In a soft voice, she resumed, “But in my heart, I hoped that they would be able to find you. It would allow me to see for myself, how have you changed in these last several years? How has life been?”

At last, Guo DaLu could not restrain himself any longer and blurted out, “His life has been great; perhaps a little poor, but very happy all the same.”

Hong NiangZi nodded her head slowly as she murmured, “You are all very good friends of his, much better, indeed, than the friends he had before.” She was silent for quite a while before carrying on, “You had calculated things out, and you had figured out a long time ago that only one person would be left and that person would be the one who stole away the items.”

Wang Dong: “This calculation was as simple as one plus one equals to two.”

Hong NiangZi: “Is it possible that you had already calculated everything out when you came to meet us?”

Guo DaLu jumped in, “If that was not the case, how could we have been okay about letting him see you?”

Hong NiangZi gave a sigh. “I should have known. I had already perceived that you were not those types of people who would sneak away when they see their friends in danger.”

Wang Dong: “They truly are not.”

Hong NiangZi: “But there are still some points that I do not understand.”

Wang Dong: “You can ask.”

Hong NiangZi: “When you fell into our trap and were captured, don’t tell me that was deliberate?”

In a detached tone, he replied, “I only knew that an abandoned grave could not suddenly just appear in that place.”

Hong NiangZi: “You purposely let them capture you, but were you not scared that they would immediately kill you?”

Wang Dong: “Of course there was a bit of that fear.”

Hong NiangZi: “But yet, you still went ahead and did it?”

Wang Dong: “That is because I had already deduced that you guys definitely would not come for the sole reason of killing me. There had to be another purpose.”

Hong NiangZi: “You had already guessed what that purpose was?”

Wang Dong: “Correct.”

Hong NiangZi: “And you had confidence that you could lure us here?”

Wang Dong: “Just a little bit. Not too much.”

Hong NiangZi: “And you still did it?”

Wang Dong: “If a person is only willing to do things when he is absolutely confident about it, then he will never be able to accomplish even a single thing.”

Hong NiangZi: “Oh?”

Wang Dong: “Because there is nothing in the world that you can be absolutely certain about.”

Hong NiangZi: “You wanted them to hide in here, but were you not concerned that we would discover them first?”

Wang Dong: “That chance was very slim.”

Hong NiangZi: “Why?”

Wang Dong: “In order to explain, it needs to be split up into a few scenarios.”

Hong NiangZi: “Oh?”

Wang Dong: “At the point in time when there were still three people, at least two of them thought the riches were hidden under the table. Naturally, they would not allow anyone else to first get their hands on it. Even if someone tried to go over and have a look, one of those two would stop him. So, under this circumstance, they [Guo DaLu and Yan Qi] would definitely be safe.”

Hong NiangZi: “What is the second scenario?”

Wang Dong: “When there were only two people left, for example, you and Cui Laoda.”

Hong NiangZi: “No need to say ‘for example.’ It was the two of us.”

Wang Dong: “At that time, you had already resolved that you would not allow Cui Laoda to live. Even if he wanted to go over for a look, it was certain that you would make a move first. Therefore, under this scenario, they would also be safe.”

Hong NiangZi: “The third scenario, of course, is the one where only I am remaining.”

Wang Dong: “Correct.”

Hong NiangZi: “Your acupoint that was sealed is still sealed.”

Wang Dong: “Yes.”

Hong NiangZi: “If I discovered that they were hidden in there, is it not possible that I could have trapped them inside first?”

Wang Dong chuckled, “But you knew that the treasures were not hidden there, so why would you go over to look? You would not even bother to pay any attention to it. Therefore, in this scenario, they, too, would be safe.”

Hong NiangZi: “You truly were able to calculate things out so perfectly, so precisely?”

Wang Dong: “No, it is fake.” He gave a little laugh, then added, “Humans’ calculations will always be inferior to Heaven’s [fate] calculations. No one is able to calculate things out to ensure one hundred percent certainty of success.”

Hong NiangZi: “But you still went and took the risk?”

Wang Dong: “This was our ‘lone wager on a single throw,’ [to put all the eggs in one basket], our final attack.”

She heaved a lengthy sigh. With a bitter smile, she told him, “Your courage was perhaps a bit too excessive.”

Wang Dong: “We did not have a lot of courage, nor was our strategy as precisely planned out as yours. Even our strength was weaker than your group. We should have lost this battle.”

Hong NiangZi: “Yet you won.”

Wang Dong: “That is only because we have something that you guys did not have.”

Hong NiangZi: “Friendship.”

He continued in a deliberate tone, “Although it is something that you can neither see nor touch, the enormity of its power is something that all of you never could have even dreamed of.”

Hong NiangZi was listening. She could not stop herself from listening because she had never heard words like these before.

Wang Dong: “We had the courage to put our lives out there, to take that risk, because we each knew that we were not alone and unaided.” His gaze shifted over towards Yan Qi and Guo DaLu. “If a person knows that, no matter what the circumstance, he will have true friends there standing beside him, willing to go, through life and death with him, and ready to endure trials and tribulations together, he will immediately become filled with courage and confidence.”

Hong NiangZi lowered her head. She seemed to again have aged immensely.

Wang Dong: “I had originally intended for them to leave, but they said one thing that made me change my mind.”

Unable to stop herself, she blurted out the question, “What did they say?”

Wang Dong: “They told me, if we lived, then we would all live happily. If we died, then we would also die together cheerfully. So life or death, what is the big deal?”

These, too, were words that Hong NiangZi had never heard before. She nearly could not make herself believe it, yet right now, she had no choice but to believe. She gazed at these three people. One was covered in wounds. The fact that he was still able to stand was already an uneasy feat. One looked so fragile and thin, as if he was both starved and exhausted. And even Wang Dong was the same. It would have been inconceivable for someone to say that these three people would be able to force Scarlet Serpent, Cui MingFu, and Hong NiangZi into a place of death. But this inconceivable situation had now become a reality.

What did they possess that could allow them to do this?

Hong NiangZi’s head hung low. All of a sudden, she felt as if all her blood was rushing upwards, and she nearly started to weep. She had lost track of how long it had been since she had last truly cried, had nearly forgotten what it felt like to shed tears.

Yan Qi had been watching her all this time, and a look of sympathy gradually started to show in his eyes. He asked suddenly, “You have never before had friends?”

Hong NiangZi shook her head in reply.

Yan Qi: “That is certainly not because friends would not have you, but rather, it is because you would not have any friends.”

Hong NiangZi: “But I…”

Yan Qi: “Use your sincerity.”

Unable to restrain himself, Guo DaLu jumped in and added, “If there had even been half an ounce of sincerity amongst the three of you, I am certain that you still would all be living happily together today.”



Evil can never overcome good. Justice will surely prevail over might. Power that arises because of righteousness and friendship is bound to triumph over aggression that conspires because of personal benefit. Truth and friendship will ever be present.

This was not a slogan. Definitely not. If all of you have heard Guo DaLu and Wang Dong’s story, then you know it is absolutely not a slogan. Even if you have not heard it, it does not matter. That is because, at any time and any place, there are people out there like Guo DaLu and Wang Dong. So long as you are willing to use your earnestness and sincerity to search, then you will surely be able to find friends like these.



End of Chapter 25