Happy Heroes 34 Print
Friday, 11 July 2008 20:09

Chapter 33 – Commander Jin’s Questions

--------------------------------------------------

There is a certain type of person who seems fated to live much more happily than other people. Even problems as big as the heavens he could set off to one side. Guo DaLu was this sort of person.

Who paid off his debts for him? Why would they do that? In his eyes, these issues had stopped being issues a long time ago, and so, the instant he lay down in bed, he fell fast asleep. He slept all the way until the afternoon and only awakened when Wang Dong came to his room.

It was still difficult for Wang Dong to move about so the instant he walked in, he found a very comfortable place and sat down. But even if his movements were unhampered, regardless of where he was, he still would immediately find the most comfortable place and seat himself. No matter whose room it may be, there are very few places more comfortable than the bed, and therefore, Wang Dong told Guo DaLu to pull his legs up while he leaned himself sideways on Guo DaLu’s heel. Guo DaLu tossed a pillow over to him so that he could prop it against his back, then rubbing his eyes, asked, “What time is it now?”


Wang Dong: “Still early. There is still more than half a shi chen [more than an hour] until it is time for dinner.”

Guo DaLu sighed and groaned, “Really, you should have just let me sleep for another half a shi chen.”

Wang Dong also sighed. “What I find strange is, how can you actually sleep?”

Guo DaLu seemed more perplexed than him. Opening his eyes, he asked, “Why would I not be able to sleep?”

Wang Dong: “If you were willing to use your brain a bit and actually think, maybe you wouldn’t be able to sleep.”

Guo DaLu: “What is there to think about?”

Wang Dong: “There’s nothing?”

Shaking his head, Guo DaLu said, “Seems like there is nothing.”

Wang Dong: “You already know who paid everything for you?”

Guo DaLu: “In any case and regardless of who paid it for me, the debts have been paid off already. If he does not want his identity to be revealed, what is the point of me thinking about it?”

Wang Dong: “Can you not use your brain to think for a bit?”

Guo DaLu: “Yes, of course I can.” He really did ponder for a moment before he carried on, “The most likely person who paid everything for me would be Madam Lin.” They had told Wang Dong about their encounter with Madam Lin after.

Wang Dong: “Madam Lin is the same person as the Madam Wei that you spoke about before?”

Nodding, Guo DaLu explained, “Since she knows that Lin TaiPing is here, then of course, at any point in time, she would send people to scout things out here. Once she learned that we were owing on a bunch of bills, naturally, she would send someone to pay them for us.” He paused a moment before adding, “However, she did not want Lin TaiPing to know that she had found this place so that is why she tried to conceal the truth from us.”

Wang Dong: “Sounds quite reasonable.”

Guo DaLu beamed back at him. “Of course it is reasonable. Even though I am too lazy to use my brain sometimes, it does not mean that it is any worse than other people.”

Wang Dong: “Aside from Madam Lin, who is a second person who could have repaid everything for you?”

Guo DaLu: “There is an eighty percent certainty that it was Sour Plum Soup.”

Wang Dong: “Why would it be her?”

Guo DaLu: “When I saw her flee the instant I told her I had a bunch of debts, I was thinking it was rather bizarre because she never seemed to be that sort of person.”

Wang Dong: “So you suppose that she went back to borrow money from Commander Jin and then hurried in front of you to pay everything off for you first?”

Guo DaLu: “That is right. It’s because she has always fancied Yan Qi, but she was also afraid that Yan Qi would not accept this gesture from her so she deliberately did it this way.”

Wang Dong: “But how would she know which businesses you owed money to?”

Guo DaLu: “That would be very easy to find out. You should know how clever a girl Sour Plum Soup is.”

Slowly, Wang Dong nodded his head. “That also sounds rather reasonable,” he said at last.

Guo DaLu grinned at him. “See. Isn’t this issue really very simple? I did not even need to use the effort that would be required to blow away some ashes, and I have already thought of two possibilities.”

Wang Dong: “Don’t forget there still is a third person.”

Guo DaLu: “This person surely is…” As his words reached this point, he suddenly could not continue. He had originally thought of many people who could be possibilities, but as he thought about it carefully, it did not seem likely that it was any of these people.

Wang Dong: “Those petty bandits who tricked you before, even if they do not think of you as some sucker and fool and even if they really do feel grateful to you in their hearts, they still would not have that much money to have paid off your bills."

Guo DaLu: “Those people were so poor that they practically could not even afford to wear pants. Otherwise, why would I have taken compassion on them?”

Wang Dong: “And neither can you count Mei RuJia. He took a fist in his stomach from you. He is already being very courteous by not returning a couple of punches.”

The smile on Guo DaLu’s face was forced as he responded, “So even if I was pressured to the point of death, he still would not shed a single tear over it.”

Wang Dong: “It would not just be more convenient for him to merely shed some tears but a lot cheaper for him too.”

Guo DaLu: “So it is definitely impossible for the third person to be him.”

Wang Dong: “Not only is it impossible for it to be him, it is impossible for it to be any other person either.”

Guo DaLu: “Why?”

Wang Dong: “Because even if people know that you are here, they could not possibly know that you were being pressured to pay debts.”

Guo DaLu: “What if someone heard about our clash with Cui MingFu and Thirteen Sabres and knew that we had sustained some injuries so they decided to hurry over here?”

Wang Dong: “And for what reason would they come here?”

Guo DaLu: “Maybe they wanted to watch the excitement, or maybe they wanted to rush here and help us as a way to repay our kindness.”

Wang Dong: “Repay kindness?”

Guo DaLu: “For example, those Ma Yi [Ants] could have come to repay our kindness for not killing them.”

At last, Wang Dong nodded his head. “That is very reasonable also.”

With a smile on his face, Guo DaLu concluded, “So since it is reasonable, that means there is no issue, right?”

Wang Dong: “That is where the real issue is.” The expression on his face was very somber, very serious.

Guo DaLu could not stop himself from asking, “The real issue? What issue is that?”

“If it is possible for people to come here to watch the excitement or rush here to repay kindness, then it is also possible that people could come here to cause us trouble or seek revenge,” Wang Dong explained.

“Seek revenge?” Guo DaLu repeated.

Wang Dong: “You believe that we have shown a kindness towards the Ants by not killing them, but maybe they actually now view us as their enemy? You only recall the instance when we let them go free; why did you not think about the moment when we completely kicked their a**es?”

Guo DaLu was speechless.

Wang Dong: “Besides, Cui MingFu and Thirteen Sabres may also have some very loyal friends who may rush to this place to avenge them when they hear that they were trounced here.”

“That is very reasonable,” Guo DaLu agreed with another sigh.

Wang Dong: “You may not have forged your way through jianghu before, but that is not the case for us. It is unavoidable for anyone who has spent time making their way in jianghu to somehow unintentionally end up offending some people. If these certain people learn of my whereabouts, they, too, may hurry here to settle some old scores.”

Guo DaLu exhaled a long breath and smiled bitterly. “It seems my brain really is not very bright.”

Wang Dong: “But these people still cannot be considered as the biggest issue.”

Guo DaLu got a big scare hearing this. “Even that can’t be considered the biggest issue?”

Wang Dong: “The biggest issue is, since many people already know about our activities, then that indicates that, regrettably, we have become famous.” Heaving a great sigh, he lamented, “Once a person becomes famous, troubles big and small will follow very quickly.”

Guo DaLu: “What sort of troubles?”

Wang Dong: “All sorts. Troubles that you cannot even imagine.”

Guo DaLu realized, “For instance, someone hears that your martial arts are very profound and wants to come here to seek you out for a duel. Even if you do not want to fight him, he will think of all sorts of ways to force you so that you have no choice but to make a move.” The smile on his face was self-mocking as he added, “I do understand this point.”

Wang Dong: “You understand?”

Sighing, Guo DaLu admitted, “It is just like how I forced Commander Jin to fight. We just never thought that our retribution would come so soon.”

Wang Dong: “Besides people who want to engage in martial arts duels with you, there are other people who may come and request your aid or ask you to solve their problems or borrow money for travel expenses. Regardless, these people could come find you at any time, any second. You will never know when they will be at your door asking for you.” Exhaling another sigh, he remarked, “Once a person has become famous in jianghu, I’m afraid it will not be a very easy task if he would like to continue on living his days in peace and quiet.”

Guo DaLu let out a long breath as well and mumbled, “So it turns out that being famous is not really something to be happy about.”

“Possibly only one type of person would think that being famous is a happy thing,” Wang Dong told him.

“People who have not yet become famous,” Guo DaLu stated in response.

Wang Dong said unexpectedly, “Actually, the people who are really in trouble may not necessarily be you or me.”

Guo DaLu: “You are alluding to Yan Qi and Lin TaiPing?”

Wang Dong: “Yes.”

Guo DaLu: “Why would they have more troubles than us?”

Wang Dong: “Because they both have secrets that cannot be spoken about with other people.”

Guo DaLu suddenly hopped up from the bed and shouted, “That’s right! Yan Qi really does have a big secret that he just will not tell me.”

Wang Dong: “Up until now, you still have not been able to guess it?”

Guo DaLu: “Does that mean you have figured it out?”

Breaking out into a chuckle, Wang Dong teased, “It appears that not only is your brain not all that bright, your eyes also…” He broke off unexpectedly. Someone had arrived.

Guo DaLu also immediately heard the sound of someone entering the courtyard just outside. Not just one person. Slipping down slowly from the bed, he asked in a measured tone, “What you said really is true. People have come looking for us at our doorstep.”

Wang Dong could only put on a forced smile in response. This was because he had not thought that these people would come so quickly.

What sort of people had arrived? And what sort of troubles would they bring to them?

********************

 

Five people in total had arrived. The four individuals in the back had very strong, husky builds, and the clothings they wore were very splendid. Looking at them, they appeared fierce and grand. However, relative to the person in front, these four individuals suddenly seemed to become four little chicks. In truth, the person in front was not much taller than them, but he carried with him an indescribably commanding aura. Even if he stood within a crowd of ten thousand people, you would still be able to identify him in a single glance. Striding forward confidently as he looked around with a proud and imposing manner, he swaggered into the courtyard without even bothering to knock on the door, as if he was a general returning to his own home after hundreds of battles.

Obviously, Wang Dong knew that this place was not that person’s home. Guo DaLu knew this as well. He had actually been planning on rushing out. If trouble came looking for them at the door, he was always the first to dash forward. But this time, as soon as he saw this person, he immediately shirked back inside.

Frowning at him, Wang Dong asked, “You know this person?”

Guo DaLu nodded.

Wang Dong: “He is Commander Jin?”

Guo DaLu: “You know him too?”

Wang Dong: “No.”

Guo DaLu: “If you do not know him, how would you know that he is Commander Jin?”

Wang Dong: “If he is not Commander Jin, then who else could possibly be Commander Jin?”

With a bitter smile, Guo DaLu agreed, “True. He really does have the look of a commander.”

Commander Jin was standing in the courtyard now, his hands clasped behind his back as he surveyed every direction. “This courtyard should be swept,” he commented unexpectedly.

The people following behind him responded submissively, “Yes.”

“The China Roses and peonies over there need to be watered a bit, and the grass needs to be clipped,” Commandered Jin ordered. “The wicker chairs under that tree should be changed out for some stone benches. And also prune those branches slightly.”

His attendants answered again, “Yes.”

Wang Dong had been inside watching from through the window. All of a sudden, he asked, “So, whose house is this?”

“Yours,” Guo DaLu told him helpfully.

Sighing, Wang Dong said, “I had originally believed, too, that this is my house but now, I am a little unclear on that.”

Guo DaLu could not stop himself and wanted to laugh but instead, his brows knit together as he wondered, “Why hasn’t Yan Qi come out yet?”

“Maybe he is just like you; he saw Commander Jin and his conscience felt a bit guilty,” Wang Dong speculated.

Guo DaLu objected, “Commander Jin does not even know him. Why would he feel guilty?”

Wang Dong’s eyes were sparkling as he suddenly asked, “Did you ever consider a certain question?”

Guo DaLu: “Which question is that?”

Wang Dong: “Yan Qi’s technique in launching projectile weapons can already be considered first class, and his skill in catching projectiles weapons should certainly be quite good also.”

Guo DaLu: “I would think it would be quite good.”

Wang Dong: “Well then, why did he not go find Commander Jin himself? Why did he want you to go instead?”

Guo DaLu paused. “This… I never really thought about this.”

Wang Dong: “Why wouldn’t you think about it?”

There was a cynical smile on Guo DaLu’s lips. “Because… because as long as it is something that he wants me to do, it seems like it is perfectly justified that I ought to be the one who does it.”

Wang Dong stared at Guo DaLu like a big brother looking at his little brother – a little brother who had had his tang hulu [candied haws (or other fruit) on a stick] tricked away from him by someone.

Guo DaLu contemplated for a moment. “You are implying that he did not go find Commander Jin himself because he was afraid that Commander Jin would recognize him?”

Wang Dong: “What do you say?”

Before Guo DaLu had a chance to reply, they heard Commander Jin’s deep voice bellow, “Who is that hiding sneakingly inside the house whispering away? Hurry out now!”

Wang Dong cast another glance over at Guo DaLu before finally pushing open the door slowly and sauntering out. Since Guo DaLu was not willing to move, then he would have to be the one who did.

Commander Jin was glaring at him. “What were you hiding in there whispering about?” he snapped.

In an indifferent tone, Wang Dong replied, “I do not need to hide, and you are not able to control what I whisper about.”

“Who are you?” Commander Jin demanded.

Wang Dong: “I am the master of this place. I can sit wherever it pleases me, and I will say whatever I feel like saying.” He gave a little grin before adding nonchalantly, “When a person is in his own home, even if he feels like ripping off his pants and farting, no one is allowed to have any say in it.” Normally his words were not so harsh, but now, he was purposely trying to take Commander Jin’s arrogance down a few notches.

Instead, though, Commander Jin smiled at him. Eyeing Wang Dong up and down a few times, he chuckled, “This person really does seem like someone who would be surnamed Wang.”

Wang Dong: “I do not seem like someone surnamed Wang. I am surnamed Wang.”

Commander Jin: “It would appear that you must be Wang Laoda’s [recall, Laoda means ‘biggest brother’] son.”

Wang Dong: “Wang Laoda?”

Commander Jin: “Wang Laoda is referring to Wang QianShi, who is also your dad.”

This time, it was Wang Dong who was taken aback. Wang QianShi really was his father. Of course, he knew his own father’s name but not many other people did. Most people only knew Mister Wang’s formal name, Wang YiQi. A person who knew the name Wang QianShi must undoubtedly be Wang QianShi’s old friend. Wang Dong’s manner immediately transformed and became much more polite. Probing, he asked, “Do you, sir, know my father?”

Commander Jin did not answer him and instead, with large strides, marched down the corridor. The door to Guo DaLu’s room was open. He strode in boldly and seated himself in a chair directly in front of Guo DaLu. Putting on a forced smile, Guo DaLu greeted, “How are you?”

Commander Jin: “Hmph. Still doing fine. At the very least, I have not yet been maddened to death by someone.”

Guo DaLu coughed drily a few times. “You came here to find me?”

Commander Jin: “Why would I want to find you?”

Guo DaLu paused in surprise. “Then, what is Commander doing here?”

Commander Jin: “Am I not allowed to come here?”

Guo DaLu: “Allowed. Of course you are allowed.”

Commander Jin’s tone was chilly. “Let me tell you this: when I was coming to this place, you were not even born yet.” This person’s entire stomach seemed to be filled with gunpowder that was ready to explode.

Guo DaLu was not afraid of him; it was just that he was feeling some guilt in his heart. No matter what, Commander Jin’s ploy last time really was worthy of admiration, and his lesson had not been the least bit wrong. Unable to think of any way to deal with him now, Guo DaLu could only try to slip away. However, Commander Jin’s eyes truly were very sharp. His foot had just started to budge before Commander Jin ordered, “Halt!”

And so, Guo DaLu could only smile apologetically. “Since you did not come to find me, why would you want me to stay?”

Commander Jin: “I have a question I want to ask you.”

With a sigh, Guo DaLu gave in and said, “Alright. Ask away.”

Commander Jin: “What will all of you be eating tonight?” This question was completely unforeseen.

Guo DaLu could not hold back a giggle as he answered, “I just caught a whiff of the aroma of simmering pork. It will probably be something like bamboo shoots stewed with pork.”

Commander Jin: “Good! Hurry and serve up the meal. I am hungry.”

Astonished, Guo DaLu could only gawk. Now, even he was starting to become unclear about who was actually the master of this place.

Commander Jin barked again, “I told you to serve up the meal. Why are you standing there and staring off like an idiot?”

Guo DaLu threw a glance over at Wang Dong, but Wang Dong appeared as if he had not seen anything nor heard anything. Guo DaLu could only groan and mutter, “It’s about time to serve up dinner. I am so very hungry also.”



Dinner was being brought out onto the table. As expected, there was stewed pork with bamboo shoots. Commander Jin did not bother with courtesies and plopped his buttocks down at the head of the table. Wang Dong and Guo DaLu had no choice but to sit along the side of the table and accompany him. Commander Jin picked up his chopsticks, then suddenly inquired, “What about the other people? Why are they not here eating dinner?”

Guo DaLu: “There are two who are sick. They can only have porridge.”

Commander Jin: “And what about the other one who is not sick?” It seemed he was very aware of the whole situation in this place.

Fumbling to find an excuse, Guo DaLu answered with a bitter smile, “I think he is in the kitchen.” Yan Qi really was in the kitchen. He had not been willing to come out because he was too filthy and did not want to see other people. Since he had already stated this outright, Guo DaLu could only listen and obey because, if he had asked any further questions, Yan Qi would have glowered at him. The instant Yan Qi directed a glower at him, Guo DaLu would grow weak.

Commander Jin: “He is not a cook. Why is he hiding inside the kitchen?”

Sighing, Guo DaLu relented, “Alright, I will go get him.” But the instant he stood up to go, Yan Qi shuffled into the room with his head hung low, as if he had been eavesdropping outside of the door the whole time.

Commander Jin looked him up and down a couple of times. “Sit.” Surprisingly, with his head still lowered, Yan Qi really did take a seat. This guy seemed to have changed to become a lot more obedient today. “Good. Eat now,” Commander Jin ordered them. Wolfing everything down like a tornado sweeping away scattered clouds, he emptied the table of the food in a very short while. Guo DaLu and the others practically had very few chances to reach forward with their own chopsticks.

Only when the plates had been cleared so that the bottoms were facing up did Commander Jin set down his chopsticks. A pair of forceful-looking eyes surveyed them, from Wang Dong to Guo DaLu and then from Guo DaLu over to Yan Qi. “Whose idea was it to scheme against me?”

His head still hanging, Yan Qi confessed, “Me.”

Commander Jin: “Hmph. I knew it had to be you.”

Yan Qi’s head lowered even further.

Shifting his gaze over to Guo DaLu, Commander Jin said, “You were able to catch five rounds of my Pellets in Rapid Succession. The type of technique you used is extremely rare in jianghu.”

Guo DaLu was unable to contain his grin. “It is passable.”

“Who taught you that technique?” Commander Jin demanded.

“Me,” Wang Dong spoke up.

Commander Jin: “I knew it had to be you.”

Wang Dong could not help asking curiously, “How did you know?”

Commander Jin: “I not only know that he was taught by you, I also know who you were taught by.”

Wang Dong: “Oh?”

The expression on Commander Jin’s face grew cold all of a sudden as he interrogated, “When your father taught you this skill, what else did he tell you?”

Wang Dong: “Nothing.”

Commander Jin: “How could it be nothing?”

Wang Dong: “Because he [original term laorenjia; literally means ‘old man or woman’ but is a respectful way to refer to an elder] was not the one who taught me.”

“You are lying,” Commander Jin snapped.

Wang Dong’s expression also hardened, and he stated coldly, “You will hear me speak all sorts of words, but you will never hear me speak a lie.”

Commander Jin fixed his eyes on him. After a long time, he finally asked, “If your father did not teach you, then who did?”

Wang Dong: “I do not know who it was either.”

Commander Jin: “How could you not know?”

Wang Dong: “I do not know means precisely that I do not know.”

Commander Jin began gazing intently at him again. Another long while passed, and then, he rose abruptly to his feet. “You come with me outside,” he commanded. In long strides, he marched out to the courtyard. Wang Dong followed slowly behind him. This person, too, seemed to be a little abnormal today.

Guo DaLu exhaled a sigh and murmured, “I now know what this commander came here to do.”

Yan Qi: “Oh?”

Guo DaLu: “I defeated his Pellets in Rapid Succession but he is not willing to admit defeat in his heart. Therefore, he came to seek out the person who taught me in order to challenge him to a contest.” As his lips spoke, he had already gotten to his feet.

Yan Qi: “What do you want to do?”

Guo DaLu: “The wound on Wang Laoda’s leg is not completely better yet. How can I just watch as he…”

Yan Qi interrupted in a cold voice, “It would be best if you stayed seated.”

Guo DaLu: “Why?”

Yan Qi: “Could you not tell that he came here to find Wang Dong, not you?”

“But Wang Dong’s leg…” Guo DaLu protested.

“The legs are not used to catch Pellets in Rapid Succession.”



The night was clear and bright.

Commander Jin watched as Wang Dong walked over towards him. He gave a sudden frown. “Your leg?......”

“I rarely use my legs to catch projectile weapons,” Wang Dong answered without emotion. “I still have my hands.”

“Good!” Commander Jin extended out his hand, and immediately, someone handed him his golden bow and leather pouch. With one swift motion, he had taken up the bow. Then, in that same instant, the entire sky was filled with shimmering gold light.

No one had seen how he had launched his attack. Guo DaLu inhaled a sharp breath of cold air as he gasped, “How is it that his assault this time is so much faster than last time?”

“Maybe he did not want to buy a coffin for you,” Yan Qi replied in an indifferent tone.

Guo DaLu: “But if he was not willing to use a lethal attack on me, why is he using one on Wang Dong? Could there be some sort of enmity between them?”

Even Yan Qi was not able to answer this question. Although he had perceived that there must be a peculiar purpose behind Commander Jin’s visit, he still was not able to deduce what that purpose was.

In that same moment when Guo DaLu was worrying about Wang Dong, the golden lights in the night sky suddenly all disappeared. Wang Dong was still standing there alive and well, and two nets in his hands were filled with gold pellets. Nobody was able to see the technique he used; in fact, no one had been able to see when he had actually made his move.

Heaving yet another sigh, Guo DaLu mumbled, “It turns out his technique is also much better than mine.”

Yan Qi: “This skill is certainly not something that can be mastered in one day of practice. Why would you think you could learn it all in one day? Did you really believe that you are a genius?”

Guo DaLu: “No matter, I have now learned and understood the key principles behind this skill.”

Yan Qi argued, “That is only because the shifu [teacher, mentor] taught you well.”

With a wide grin, Guo DaLu countered, “Of course the shifu is good, but the student is not bad either. Otherwise, he would have climbed into a coffin a long time ago.”

Yan Qi stared at him and gave an unexpected sigh. “If you get rid of your bad habit of BSing, I will….”

“You will what?” Guo DaLu jumped in. “Will you tell me that secret of yours?”

Yan Qi suddenly grew quiet.

Even after this whole exchange of more than ten sentences, Commander Jin still stood in the courtyard. Wang Dong, too, was standing. The two stood there, you look at me and I look at you. After what seemed like half a day had passed, Commander Jin suddenly hurled his golden bow to the ground, strode back inside, and sat himself down forcefully in a chair. Yan Qi and Guo DaLu had already been sitting there, and now, they stared at him. Another long moment passed until Commander Jin yelled unexpectedly, “Where is the wine? Could it be that all of you never drink?”

Chuckling, Guo DaLu answered, “Occasionally we will have some to drink, just that we do not do it frequently. Everyday, at most, we will drink four or five times, and we will not drink too much. Each time, the limit will be seven or eight jin [1 jin (catty) = 0.5 kg].”

Wine jugs had been brought onto the table. Early in the morning that day, as usual, someone had brought wine up to them. They had not drank any yet because they were not really a bunch of drunkards. Until they fully understood what Commander Jin’s purpose there was, none of them were willing to get drunk. However, Commander Jin had already started drinking first. When he drank, he really did somewhat have the air of a commander. Each backwards toss of his head would down another large bowl of wine. And since he was drinking, of course Guo DaLu was not willing to fall behind. From the way he consumed his wine, it would seem that sooner or later people would also be calling him commander. Commander Jin watched him as he guzzled down seven, eight bowls in a single breath, and suddenly laughed, “It appears that you really can drink seven or eight jin of wine at one time.”

Guo DaLu cast a glare at him from the corner of his eye. “Did you think I was giving you BS?”

Commander Jin: “You never have appeared to be an honest person.”

Guo DaLu: “I may not appear to be an honest person, but I actually am one.”

Commander Jin: “What about your friends?”

Guo DaLu: “They are even more honest than I am.”

Commander Jin: “You have never heard them tell a lie before?”

Guo DaLu: “Never.”

Commander Jin stared at him for a long time, and then all of a sudden, he turned his attention to Wang Dong. “That technique of yours really was not taught to you by your dad?”

Wang Dong: “No.”

Commander Jin: “Who taught it to you?”

Wang Dong: “I have already told you; I do not know either.”

Commander Jin: “How could you not know?”

Wang Dong: “He never told me.”

Commander Jin: “You should have at least seen what he looked like.”

Wang Dong. “No, because when he taught me, it would always be at night, and he would also cover his face.”

Something flashed across Commander Jin’s eyes and he pressed, “What you are saying is, a mysterious person with an unknown identity came to find you every night….”

Wang Dong: “Not ‘find’ me. Every night, he would wait for me in the forest by the graveyard.”

Commander Jin: “Even if the wind was gusting or there was rainstorm, he would still wait?”

Wang Dong: “Besides the few days of New Year’s Celebration, even if it was so cold that it could freeze the tears in your eyes, he would still be waiting there for me.”

Commander Jin: “He did not know you nor did you know him, yet he would wait everyday for you for the sole purpose of teaching you his martial art, and furthermore, he did not ask for any sort of repayment. Is that correct?”

Wang Dong: “Yes.”

Commander Jin laughed. “Do you honestly believe that such good things occur in the world?”

Wang Dong: “If someone else had told this to me, perhaps I would not believe it either, but in fact, the world really does have things like that. I have no choice but to believe it.”

Commander Jin fixed his eyes on him for a long while. “Did you ever follow him? Did you try to find out where he lived?”

Wang Dong: “I tried, but I never succeeded.”

Commander Jin: “If he came everyday, he must not have lived very far away.”

Wang Dong: “Correct.”

Commander Jin: “Are there any other households in the vicinity?”

Wang Dong: “None. The only household on this mountain is my family.”

Commander Jin: “Why would your family live here?”

Wang Dong: “Because xian fu [respectful way to refer to your father who has passed away] enjoyed the peace and quiet.”

Commander Jin: “So if there are no other people living on this mountain, does that mean that person crawled out from a coffin?”

Wang Dong: “Perhaps he lived somewhere off of the mountain.”

Commander Jin: “Did you ever go to look?”

Wang Dong: “Of course I did.”

Commander Jin: “But you were never able to find someone who seemed to possess such high martial art? Not many people live at the foot of this mountain. If there really was such a martial master, you should at least have been able to find hints of his whereabouts, yes?”

Wang Dong: “Mm.”

Commander Jin: “What do you say? Since he taught you martial arts every night, he would have to have slept during the day. In such a small city, a person who spent everyday sleeping during the daytime would, naturally, not be able to avoid attracting the attention of other people, yes?”

Wang Dong: “Mm.”

Commander Jin: “If that is the case, then why could you not find him?”

Wang Dong: “Perhaps he was not living in the city.”

Commander Jin: “If he wasn’t living on the mountain or in the city, where could he have stayed?”

Wang Dong: “A true martial arts expert is able to sleep in any place.”

Commander Jin: “Even if he could sleep in caves, what about eating? No matter how great a martial arts master, he would not be able to not eat.”

Wang Dong: “He could go buy food in the city.”

Commander Jin: “A person who ate out every day, yet no one knew where he actually lived – would that not attract even more attention?”

Wang Dong glared back at him. He stared for a long moment before finally speaking coldly, “Do you know how many questions in total you have asked since you stepped through the front door?”

“Are you complaining that I am asking too much?” Commander Jin asked.

Wang Dong replied, “I only find it odd that you insist on asking all these questions that have no relation to you whatsoever.”

Commander Jin suddenly let out a laugh, and the expression on his face seemed to grow mysterious. In a single breath, he downed another three bowls of wine before saying unhurriedly, “Do you want to know who that masked person is?”

“Of course I do,” Wang Dong answered.

Commander Jin: “Then why have you never asked?”

Wang Dong: “Because even if I asked, no one would be able to provide an answer.”

Commander Jin nodded his head slowly. “That is true. There are very few people in this world who would know who he is.”

Wang Dong: “Apart from himself, nobody knows, not a single person.”

Commander Jin: “There is one.”

Wang Dong: “Who?”

Commander Jin: “Me!”

As this one phrase was spoken, even Yan Qi was taken aback. Wang Dong stood stunned for quite a while. “Do you know how long ago this all occurred?”

Commander Jin: “No.”

Wang Dong: “Yet you know who he is?”

Commander Jin: “Correct.”

Wang Dong: “You never saw him and, in fact, do not even know when this all took place, yet you know who he is?”

Commander Jin: “Correct.”

Wang Dong: “Do you really believe something like that would happen in this world?”

Commander Jin: “Even if I do not want to, I still have to believe.”

Wang Dong: “And on what basis can you be so certain?”

Commander Jin did not answer this question. Instead, he drank another three bowls of wine first and then asked slowly, “Do you know how many pellets are launched in one round of my Pellets in Rapid Succession?”

Wang Dong: “Twenty-one.”

Commander Jin: “And in those twenty-one, do you know how many are fast? How many are slow? How many will change their rotations? How many are prepared to collide with other ones?”

Wang Dong: “I do not know.”

Commander Jin: “If you do not even know these points, how could you catch my Pellets in Rapid Succession?”

Wang Dong paused in surprise.

“I became famous due to my Pellets in Rapid Succession and to date, it has been thirty years already. There are not many people in jianghu who are even able to evade my attack, but yet you are able to catch them easily.” Commander Jin heaved a sigh and continued, “And not only are you able to catch them, even the person you taught is able to also. That is basically regarding my Pellets in Rapid Succession as if they were a child’s play things. Do you not find this the least bit strange?”

Wang Dong was silent for another long moment. “Perhaps that is because I used the correct method,” he suggested.

Commander Jin suddenly smacked his palm loudly down on the table. “That is right. What you are using is not only the most correct method but also the most ingenious technique. This technique is not only able to defeat my Pellets in Rapid Succession, it can also be called the bane of all projectile weapons.”

Wang Dong could only listen because even he himself did not know that this skill was so profound.

Looking carefully at him, Commander Jin inquired, “Do you know how many people in the world know this technique?”

Wang Dong shook his head in response.

Commander Jin: “Only one.” Breathing a long sigh, he told him, “I have been searching for this person for more than ten years.”

Wang Dong: “You… why are you looking for him?”

Commander Jin: “Because of all the fights in my lifetime, the time I lost most terribly was at his hands.”

Wang Dong: “You want revenge?”

Commander Jin: “It is not completely for revenge.”

Wang Dong: “Then what is it for?”

Commander Jin: “Since my Pellets in Rapid Succession can be defeated, that must mean it has a weakness, but I have contemplated this for several decades and still have not been able to figure out what that crucial factor is.”

Wang Dong realized, “And since he was able to defeat your Pellets in Rapid Succession, he must also know what the weakness is.”

Commander Jin: “Correct.”

Wang Dong: “You think the masked person is him?”

Commander Jin stated confidently, “It is definitely him. It cannot be any other person. The technique that you used to catch my pellets is nearly completely identical to his.”

An eager, hopeful look suddenly flooded Wang Dong’s eyes.

However, Guo DaLu was even more impatient than him as he jumped in, “You have been talking on and on. Just who is this person you are referring to?”

With his eyes fixed intently on Wang Dong, Commander Jin spoke each word clearly. “This person is Wang QianShi, your father.”



Even at the time when Cui MingFu had reached out his hands from the grave and grabbed his legs, Wang Dong’s expression had not been as astonished as it was now.

But Guo DaLu was even more astonished and blurted, “You’re saying that masked man was his father?”

Commander Jin: “Correct.”

Guo DaLu wanted to laugh but was not able to. Instead, he exhaled a long breath and said, “Do you honestly believe such bizarre things can happen?”

Commander Jin: “This cannot really be considered bizarre.”

Guo DaLu: “It still cannot be considered bizarre? What logic is there?”

Commander Jin’s voice was calm as he answered, “At first, I was not able to figure it out, but once I saw that he lived in a place like this, I thought of one point. Then, after I saw your group of friends here, I thought of a second point.”

“Why don’t you first tell us about the first point?” Guo DaLu urged.

Commander Jin: “In his youth, Wang QianShi had another name. He was also called Wang FuLei [fu means 'to bring in submission'; lei is 'thunder']. Its meaning was to say that he could even catch the thunder and lightning that Heaven sent striking downwards.” He drank another cup before carrying on, “This name may have been cocky, but by the time he was twenty-three years old, it was already accepted in the martial world that he was the number one master of catching projectile weapons in the entire world. Even if he was a little arrogant, other people could not say anything.”

Everyone was listening. Even Guo DaLu did not interrupt.

Commander Jin: “It was only when he got older and his haughtiness was brought into check that he changed his name to Wang QianShi. By then, he very rarely moved about in jianghu anymore. Another two years passed, then he suddenly disappeared.”

At this point, Guo DaLu could not hold himself back and cut in, “It must be because he had grown weary of the struggles and killing in jianghu, so he decided to retire into the forest. This sort of thing has happened often since the ancient times, and there is nothing strange about it.”

Commander Jin shook his head. “That is not the main reason.”

Guo DaLu: “Oh?”

Commander Jin: “The main reason is because he had become enemies with a very powerful person, and he knew that he was not a match for this person. Hence, he buried his identity and went into hiding in this secluded place.”

Wang Dong suddenly spoke up, “Who is this enemy of his?”

Commander Jin: “It is because he did not want you to know who this enemy is that he did not come outright to teach you kungfu.”

Wang Dong: “Why?”

Commander Jin: “Because if you knew about his past, sooner or later, you would also hear how he had made this enemy. As a youth filled with vigour and spirit, if you had known who this enemy was, then naturally, it would have been unpreventable that you would seek him out for revenge.” He let out a sigh. “But this enemy was truly too formidable. Not only would you certainly not have been a match for him, I am afraid nobody within jianghu would have been able to withstand fifty stances from him.”

There was not a trace of expression on Wang Dong’s face. “I only want to know who this person is.”

Commander Jin: “Even if you know now, it will be of no use.”

Wang Dong: “Why?”

Commander Jin: “Because even if he had been unequalled in the world, there are some things that he was not able to defeat.”

WangDong: “What are those?”

Commander Jin: “Aging, sickness, and death!”

Wang Dong’s face shifted suddenly. “He has already died from illness?”

Exhaling a long breath, Commander Jin responded, “Through all the ages, which hero has been able to escape these things?”

Wang Dong started to ask anxiously, “But who is…”

“The person is already dead,” Commander Jin interrupted, “and his name has also followed him and been buried into the ground. Why, then, should you keep asking?” He did not allow Wang Dong to open his mouth as he quickly added, “Ever since he came to this place, Wang FuLei was considered dead. As a result, he never again mentioned martial arts, not even in front of his own son.”

“This is just the first point,” Guo DaLu piped up.

Commander Jin: “Seeing what sort of people and friends all of you are, I can imagine that Wang Dong was a very mischievous child when he was young.”

Although Guo DaLu did not say anything, the expression on his face was inadvertently admitting to Commander Jin’s words for Wang Dong.

Commander Jin: “A mischievous child can cause trouble at any time. Wang QianShi worried that his son would eventually take a beating, and so, he could not help wanting to teach him some martial arts that could be used for self-defense.” With a smile, he carried on, “But trying to get a child to stay at home nicely and learn martial arts is even more difficult than taming a wild horse. Therefore, Wang QianShi came up with this method that could both conceal his identity and arouse Wang Dong’s interest in learning martial arts – children are always particularly attracted to matters shrouded in mystery.”

Guo DaLu chuckled, “It is not just children; adults are the same.”

A shadowy dark night, a forest beside a graveyard, and a masked martial arts master… a situation filled with such mystery that even old men would not be able to prevent their interest from being piqued.

Commander Jin: “You should now understand everything.”

Guo DaLu: “There is still one thing I do not understand.”

Commander Jin: “Oh?”

Guo DaLu: “How would you know what Uncle Wang [original Wang Laobo; laobo is also a polite form of address for an older man] had been thinking?”

Commander Jin: “Because I, too, am a father.” With a lengthy sigh, he explained, “Only those who are fathers can truly empathize with the love and painstaking effort that a father pours into his son.”

Wang Dong suddenly stood and dashed outside. Did he want to find a place where there were no other people so that he could let himself weep bitterly?

Yan Qi’s head had been lowered the whole time. Now, Guo DaLu lowered his head also. “Why is it that sons must wait until it is is too late for remorse before they finally understand their father’s love and pains?”

Commander Jin was staring at them. All of a sudden, he raised his wine cup and boomed loudly, “Do all of you never drink?”



Many strange and mysterious questions do exist in the world, but there are surely answers to them also, just as gold and springs of water can definitely be found in the ground, fairness and justice exist undoubtedly in the world, and warmth and friendship are certainly present on this earth. Even if you cannot see them, hear them, or find them, it does not mean that they do not exist. So long as you believe, then one day, you will find them.

********************

“Are there people in the world who never become drunk?”

The most correct answer to this question is, “Yes.” People who never consume alcohol will never become intoxicated. As long as you drink, you will get drunk. If you do not stop and continue the drinking, then you will definitely not be able to avoid getting drunk.

And so, Guo DaLu was drunk. Commander Jin’s head was wobbling back and forth nonstop. Guo DaLu suddenly felt that this Commander Jin did not seem at all like a commander. In fact, he suddenly felt that he, himself, was much more like a commander and moreover, the commander of commanders.

Commander Jin was staring at him also and suddenly chortled, “Why is your head wobbling nonstop?”

Guo DaLu burst out into laughter. “Look at this guy! It’s his head that is wobbling, yet he goes and says that the other person’s head is wobbling.”

Commander Jin: “Who is this ‘other person?’ ”

Guo DaLu: “ ‘Other person’ means me.”

Commander Jin: “So if it’s you, why is it also ‘other person’? ”

Guo DaLu mulled over this for a moment and then gave an unexpected sigh. “Do you know what the biggest problem about you is?”

Pausing to think as well, Commander Jin guessed, “Is it that I drink too much?”

Guo DaLu: “It is not that you drink too much; it is that you ask too many questions, to the point that people cannot stand it.”

Commander Jin howled in laughter. “Alright, I will not ask any more. I have said I won’t ask, so that means precisely that I will not ask… Could I ask one last question?”

Guo DaLu: “Go ahead.”

Commander Jin: “Do you know what the actual reason is for my visit here today?”

Guo DaLu pondered over the question, then guffawed, “Look at this guy. He does not even know himself what he came here to do and asks me instead. I am not a roundworm in his belly. How would I know?”

It seemed as if Commander Jin had not even heard any of what he said. His eyes were fixed on that empty bowl in his hand, as if he was going to break out into sobs at any moment. After a long time, he said, “I practiced my Pellets in Rapid Succession at home for ten years and had believed that I could take on Wang FuLei, but it turns out that I cannot even defeat his son. I….. I…..” He suddenly leapt up, as if he, too, wanted to tear outside, find a place without any other people, and have a good cry.

Guo DaLu: “Wait.”

Glaring at him, Commander Jin snapped, “Wait for what? Wait to lose face yet another time?”

Guo DaLu pointed to the gold pellets inside a large soup bowl sitting on top of the table. “If you are going, you should take that stuff with you.” The bowl had originally been filled with simmered pork. He was the one who had poured the gold pellets into it.

Commander Jin: “Why should I take them with me?”

Guo DaLu: “These things were yours to begin with.”

Commander Jin: “Who said? Why don’t you ask them and see if they are surnamed Jin or not?”

Surprised, Guo DaLu did not answer.

All of a sudden, Commander Jin broke out into loud laughter again. “Those things are neither simmered pork nor meatballs. You cannot eat them or bite into them. Whoever likes those is a b**stard.”

Guo DaLu: “Are you not going to use Pellets in Rapid Succession anymore?”

Commander Jin: “Whoever uses Pellets in Rapid Succession is an even bigger b**tard.” Staggering unsteadily amidst his own roars of laughter, he dashed out. As he reached the door, he suddenly turned around to ask, “Do you know why in the past, I was so fond of using gold to fire at people?”

Guo DaLu: “No.”

Commander Jin: “Because everybody likes gold. If you shoot out gold, everyone wants to catch it to have a look, so they will forget that they need to evade. Catching is harder to do than evading and plus, gold will dazzle the eyes, so whoever uses gold as a projectile weapon will always have a big advantage.”

Guo DaLu: “Then why will you not use them now?”

Thinking over this for a minute, Commander Jin finally replied, “Because having an advantage is a disadvantage and having a disadvantage is an advantage.”

“It appears that you are not really drunk,” Guo DaLu giggled. “You are still speaking very clearly.”

With a glower, Commander Jin retorted, “Of course I’m not drunk. Whoever says I’m drunk is the b**tard of b**tards.”



Commander Jin had left at last. It was true that he was not completely drunk; he was merely eighty, ninety percent drunk.

But what about Guo DaLu? He was staring fixedly at the golden pellets inside the bowl and was lost in thought for a long while before giving a sigh and muttering, “Some things in this world are so strange. When you want it, you cannot even get one, but then when don’t even think about it, a whole stack arrives. Is that annoying or not?”



End of Chapter 33