Legend of the Bat 06 Print
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 00:38

Chapter 6: The white candle (Bai LaZhu)




While Hu TieHua and Zhang San bickered here, Chu LiuXiang and Ding Feng noticed that something was astir at the side of the ship.

Although that ship was bigger compared to Zhang San’s boat, it was not actually very big. There were only two people manning the ship. Besides the person on the bow master, the strange guest wearing the grey robe, there was the boatman who sculled the boat. He was also the one who came to the bow carrying the box of gold.

By now, he had brought up the other three boxes to the bow, that grey gown stranger was encouraging him in a low voice, the incessant nods, without a word, like a mute.

There were only 50-60 feet between the two ships.


Hai KuoTian and Ding Feng had not lowered down the rope ladder of the boat, obviously they wanted to test these two people, to see whether they had a way to transfer these four boxes of gold. They only saw that boatman tying up the four boxes with a thick rope. This effort took a lot of wind to wind around the boxes. This rope was obviously made of iron, and there was something like a small anchor.

With a “shout” sound, the long rope shot into the sky, and with a “seize” sound, the anchor planted itself on the ship’s bow, it entered the wood unexpectedly very deep.

That boatman made an effort to pull the rope with a lot of vigor, and tied the other end of the rope of the small bow's cross bar.

Hai KuoTian smiled and said: “They evidently want to walk on this string.”

Ding Feng said lightly: “I hope that they don’t fall to the water, and that everything goes well.”

Hai KuoTian said with a smile: “If they really fall, that’s also interesting, although it would be troublesome to fish them.”

Actually walking on the rope was not really excellent lightness kungfu, even a wandering wushu performer that did tightrope walking to earn their living could walk 30-50 feet on the rope.

Although by now Ding Feng and Hai KuoTian could see that this grey gown person’s style was grandiose, his wugong was actually not high. If he could just walk on it to the ship, that would already be lucky. His boatman should help him with the four boxes, because whether or not he had the physical strength to carry the four boxes was a big question.

The rope was attached good, the person in gray leapt forward in a crouching posture, with two leaps, he had jumped forward by 40-50 feet, however his posture was not steady, as if he did not have real power.

Everyone including Chu LiuXiang were sweating with worry that he would fall into the water. But with a “thud” sound, he finally landed on the bow, as if the was like a bag on stone that fell from the air, shaking the lantern at the entrance to the cabin non-stop.

It seemed that not only his endogenic force was not deep, his lightness kungfu was also not good. Such a person unexpectedly dared to bring four boxes of gold to step on the Purple whale clan’s ship, his courage was actually not small at all.

Hai KuoTian folded his arms across his chest, smilingly looking at him. That meaningful glance was like looking at a fat sheep ready to be slaughtered.

Chu LiuXiang sighed, secretly thinking: “This dear friend is really joining a gang of evildoers.”

“Joining a gang of evildoers” was originally a northern proverb, which precisely described a person that delivered himself into the tiger’s mouth, very appropriate to describe this excellent friend.

Hai KuoTian smilingly said: “Your excellency is also a master in the martial arts world.”

The person in gray lowered his head, breathing heavily he said: “I’m old, old and useless.”

Hai KuoTian said: “That person on that boat, will he be traveling with you?”

The person in gray said: “That is precisely my young apprentice, I have told him to pay respect to Leader Hai.”

Hai KuoTian said with a smile: “Thank you for the compliment, you outstanding disciple's skill must indeed very good.”

The person in gray unexpectedly was not modest at all and summoned loudly: “The white candle (Bai LaZhu), you also come! Pay attention to those four boxes.”

He shook his head, and said with a smile: “My apprentice has been like a candle since childhood, he needs to be lit up to get moving. I have called him `White candle’ since childhood, please everyone don’t laugh.”

Gou ZiChang could not bear saying: “Do you want me to help him?”

Although he wanted to show off his lightness kungfu, he was also showing his good intention.

Who would knew that this person in gray actually shook his head and said: “There’s no need, he can actually get here.”

Hai KuoTian smiled. This shi-fu nearly fell into the water, and yet the apprentice could walk just fine?

They saw that “White candle” take up the ship's wooden oar, the four boxes respectively on the two ends. He had lifted them on his shoulder, with a sudden crouching leap, he had jump onto the long rope.

Everyone’s heart almost stopped with the thought that he might fall or the string might break by the burden.

The total weight of the four boxes of gold was very heavy, just carrying it would not be easy, and then to balance it with the display of the lightness kungfu?


Who knew that this “white candle” seemed to walk on the rope as if he were walking on the solid earth.

Hai KuoTian could no longer smile.

Gou ZiChang also stared straight at this spectacle, he was extremely proud of his lightness kungfu, if he was the one carrying the four boxes, it would be easy to fly 60-70 feet across the rope. But if he were to walk so slowly, he might not be able to do it. In measuring the lightness kungfu of “tightrope walking”, the slower it was, the more difficult it was.

They heard the person in gray gave a light shout, the white candle’s foot seemed to slip, and the boxes seemed to be falling into the water. But who knew that with the slight adjustment, he made a quick recovery – it turned out that he was showing off his skill to everyone on that ship.

Nobody originally paid attention to him, but at this moment everybody did a double-take on him, and then, everybody realize why he was called “the white candle”.

His skin was very white, under the light, his skin seemed transparent, as if one could see the blood vessels within. Although this kind of skin was some kind of a disease, this look also had its own strange charm.

His face was very straight, the feature was also very delicate, but he carried some kind of panic-stricken stupid expression, just like a child that had received a big scare.

The clothes on his body was originally white, but at present, it was so dirty that it was so hard to distinguish its original color.

Such a person would have difficulty to incite other people’s favorable impression.

But who knew that Chu LiuXiang did not feel that he was so bad. When he saw him, he felt like he was a wronged dirty child, he would pity him, but he would not feel disgusted.

But his master was a totally different proposition. When everybody saw him the first time, his face was mostly covered by the big hat. But after entering the cabin, the light was bright, therefore his hat could no longer cover his entire face, maybe a third of his face was exposed.

Although it was only a third of his face, that was actually still too much - - looking at only this part of his face, everybody's back felt somewhat chilly and damped.

Just like a snake had climbed over your body.

This face looked like a wrinkled pomegranate, or a steamed bun that was not steamed properly, or an egg that was boiled badly, or a rotten persimmon that had shed its skin.

Also nobody could find the nose and the mouth. At the original location of the nose, there were only two holes left, and these holes expelled a faint hissing noise that sounded like a cobra.

At the original location of the mouth, there was a distorted red flesh. Whenever he spoke, this swollen vermilion-colored flesh would suddenly split open, and some teeth would show between the slit.

Chu LiuXiang was perhaps a person who was very discreet and calm, but even Chu LiuXiang, after looking at the person, could not bear this appearance. He simply could not look again at this face.

This person was luckily very tactful. As soon as he walked into the cabin, he looked for the gloomiest corner to sit, his apprentice also kept close, followed behind him, his hands were clasped closely throughout this time.

Chu LiuXiang knew that whoever was impolite to his master, this pair of fists would retaliate  immediately. Chu LiuXiang also felt that not many people in the world could block his fists.

This master and disciple were equally strange, Hu TieHua and Zhang San’s mouths seemed to have ben sewn up, Ding Feng finally opened his mouth.

He laughed first – every time he spoke, he would not forget to laugh first.

He smiled: “Everybody is in this same boat, everyone will become friends in the end, may I know  your excellency’s honored name?”

While he said this to that person in gray, his eyes were actually looking at the wine pot on the table - this wine pot was indeed a lot more attractive than that person in gray's face.

The person in gray said: “The humble one is Gongsun Jieyu, but some can say Shang Can as well.”

He gave a long sigh, and then said: “Everyone could see the appropriateness of these two words, ‘injured’ (=shang), and ‘disabled’(=can). As I am a sadly injured, disabled person.”

Actually he did not need to spell it out, because everybody could also see that. This person must have experienced some extremely fearful past events, it was not easy for him to live up to now.

Nobody could look like that when he was born.

Ding Feng said: “Your disciple’s wugong is extremely high, so rare in jiang-hu, everybody admires him very much ......”

Gongsun Jieyu said: “He is called the white candle (Bai LaZhu), he does not have any other name, nor does he have any friend.”

Ding Feng was silent briefly, then smiled and said: “There are several friends here, mostly are world-famous heroes, let me present them to Mr. Gongsun.”

Gongsun Jieyu said: “The humble one is ignorant and know the limitation of myself. Any person who has eyes could see my appearance, must unavoidably yield and withdraw. In the last decade, I no longer hope to make friends, I only hope to have a small space to take shelter, then I would be deeply grateful.”

He unexpectedly clarified that he did not hope to make friends, not even to know the names of the people. Even if Ding Feng’s eloquence was very good, he could not speak any further.

Xiang TianFei stood up suddenly, cupped his fists together and said loudly: “Many thanks, many thanks.”

Gongsun Jieyu said: “What is your excellency thankful for?”

Xiang TianFei said with a smile: “I am thankful that you are not willing to become friends with me, otherwise that would have been troublesome.”

Gongsun Jieyu only said lightly: “That is precisely why I don’t want it to be troublesome.”

He was unexpectedly not angry.

Actually even if he was angry, others could still not look at him.

Hai KuoTian said with a smile reluctantly: “Mr. Gongsun does not want to disturb some people, I will prepare two quiet guest rooms, but presently ......”

He lifted up the wine cup, and then said: “The two must oblige me as the host, and have some food and wine first!”

Xiang TianFei coldly said: “Good, even if one does not become friends, one must have some food.”

The white candle said suddenly: “Are you the host here?”

Xiang TianFei said: “No.”

The white candle said: “Good, I will eat.”

He walked suddenly from the corner, took up the wine pot on the table, “Gurgle gurgle”, with one breath he had drunk all the liquor in the pot.

This wine pot had a wide body and had a large capacity. Although Hai KuoTian had poured out several cups, there was still 3-4 catties of liquor in that pot.

The white candle had drunked it all with one breath without turning a hair.

Hu TieHua’s eyes had shone and said with a smile: “That is a nice amount of wine, extremely wonderful, wonderful.”

When a person who liked to drink, saw someone else’s alcohol capacity was also good, he would always feel very happy.

The white candle actually did not have the time to listen to other people’s words. His two hands had not stopped working on eating clean the soy-sauce stir-fried pork dish.

This small dish of soy-sauce pork was originally prepares for ten persons to eat, at least 3-4 catties of meat. This youth did not look very big, but his appetite was actually very astonishing.

Hu TieHua smiled and said loudly: “Good, he’s really a young hero, a hero!”

Xiang TianFei sneeringly said: “If you call a person who can have a large amount of liquor and rice, a hero, there would be too many heroes in the world.”

The white candle did not seem to have heard his words, and he actually slowly went out. When he was outside, he called out to Xiang TianFei, and word by word said: “You come out.”

Xiang TianFei’s complexion changed, sneeringly he said: “I will go out, who is afraid of you?”

Hai KuoTian wanted to mediate them originally, but a wink from Ding Feng prevented him.

Gongsun Jieyu was also sighing and said: “I have already said that he has the candle temperament, when he is lit up, he will burn, why do you have to annoy him?”

Gou ZiChang coldly said: “That person has a little problem, day in and day out he wants to cause trouble, someone might as well teach him a lesson.”

Hu TieHua said with a smile: “As long as I may have a look, I don’t care who teaches whom.”

Everybody went out of the cabin, but then discovered that the white candle basically had not paid attention to Xiang TianFei, he had slowly walked onto the bow.

The ship had not travelled, the boat that he rode on was still afloat in the river.

The white candle put out a hand to draw out the anchor on the bow, with a quick shout, the boat had flew up miraculously.
At this moment the entire boat flew up to the sky, its weight must have been several thousand catties. Listening to the whooshing sound, the two sailors who originally stood on the bow scampered away very quickly with fright.

They felt that if the boat hit the white candle, he would lose his life very quickly. Who knew that he squatted down, and steadily met the flying boat.

Everybody could not help but shout out: “Good!”

The white candle’s face was not red, nor was he breathing heavily, with both hands he held up the boat, then when he was near the cabin, he gently put down the boat. Only then, he turned around to face Xiang TianFei, and word by word said: “You don’t talk.”

Xiang TianFei’s face turned into blue and white, he stamped his feet suddenly, and walked to the helmsman. With one hand, he shoved that helmsman aside, held the rudder and stared ahead at the dark river, not turning his head anymore.

After this, nobody had seen him go down into the cabin again, nor heard him speak a few words again for the rest of that evening…

*****

The wine pot on the table was topped up.

The white candle had walked into the cabin slowly, unexpectedly took up this pot of liquor, without taking his mouth out of the pot, he had drunk the pot completely.

Only then he turned back to the corner, stood behind Gongsun Jieyu, the face still had that kind of panic-stricken stupid expression, like a frightened child.

Hu TieHua lifted up his thumb, and blurted out his approval: “The old stinking insect, you saw that? If your drinking is compared to him, you would seem to be just licking the liquor.”

He shook his head immediately and said: “Not even licking the liquor, just smelling the liquor.”

Jin LingZhi said suddenly: “Have these six pots of liquor to be filled again.”

No one knew to whom she said this, but Zhang San actually immediately said: “I submit!”

Actually he did not know where the liquor was, also there was no need for him to actually pour out the liquor.

But he took the wine pot out anyway, muttering between his lips: “After spending tens of thousands of money on me, I just need to pour out the liquor. Isn’t that too trivial?”

Hu TieHua sneeringly said: “You do not need to worry, later she will utilize you better, just wait!”

Jin LingZhi only stared at him unexpectedly not responding. Zhang San had also walked away.

After a while, six pots of liquor were ready on the table.

Jin LingZhi said: “You drink four pots, I will drink two pots.”

No one knew who she said it to, but everyone’s eyes were looking at Hu TieHua.

Hu TieHua rubbed his nose and said with a smile: “Miss Jin is speaking to me?”

Ding Feng said with a smile: “I’m afraid so.”

Hu TieHua was looking at the four pots of liquor, muttered: “A pot of liquor weighs five catties, four pots weigh 20 catties. Even if I do not get drunk, I do not have such a big belly!”

Zhang San said easily: “If you don’t have such a big belly, how can you blow such big gas?”

Hu TieHua said: “It looks like this person has really good skills to follow exactly what his boss is saying, just like a skill he was born with.”

Jin LingZhi stared while saying: “Are you going to drink, or are you just blowing bubbles? Are you going to drink?”

Hu TieHua said: “I will, naturally I will drink, but presently is not the time.”

Zhang San said with a smile: “Drinking is not like getting married, you must also pick the most favorable date?”

This time Hu TieHua did not pay any attention to him and said with a smile: “I am well-known as “Dying when exposed to light”, now the sun has arises, when the day is bright, I cannot drink a single drop of liquor.”

Jin LingZhi said: “Until when do you want to wait?”

Hu TieHua said: “Tomorrow, when it’s getting dark - -”

Jin LingZhi sneered and suddenly said: “Good, it’s tomorrow, it’s not like you will be able to escape anyway.”

Hu TieHua glanced at Ding Feng and said lightly: “When people are here, they will never want to leave again, right?”

Gongsun Jieyu word by word said: “Leave, people will always leave, but when to leave, how to leave, that is still unknown.”

*****


There are two stories of ship cabin altogether.

The lower level was the berths of the 17 sailors, mixed with the grain and clear water cargo, it was dark and stuffy.

On the deck, besides the place to eat and drink, there were four cabins at the aft. At that time, this ship would be considered big.

Gongsun Jieyu and the white candle occupied one cabin, Jin LingZhi had one cabin, Gou ZiChang and Ding Feng slept reluctantly in one room.

Chu LiuXiang, Zhang San and Hu TieHua slept in the other room. The visitors fully occupied the rear deck, so Hai KuoTian set up a temporary bed in the fore of the ship.

Hu TieHua’s light feet were sitting on the pillow while staring at Zhang San. The first thing he did after returning to the room was to take off his socks.

He felt that everyone’s feet need to be ventilated often, but washing them, was a totally different matter.

Zhang San was pinching his nose and wrinkled his brows: “If the nose is not working, there’s an advantage, because at least you do not have to smell other people’s feet.”

Hu TieHua stared: “You don’t like the smell of my feet?”

Zhang San said: “Not just smelly, but the smelliest of all.”

Hu TieHua said: “If I were to spend 12,000 taels to buy a lackey, even if I place my feet in front of his nose, he will not dislike the smell, right?”

Zhang San said with a smile: “That’s right, even if a rich man breaks the wind, it would smell fragrant, what if that’s just the feet?”

Hu TieHua said: “Such being the case, why don't you smell that extravagant master's feet?”

Zhang San said easily: “I want to go originally, but I’m afraid that some people might get jealous.”

Hu TieHua got angry: “Who is jealous, you say it, who is jealous?”

Zhang San paid no attention to him, but he actually pasted his ear to the wooden partition.

The cabin was separated by the wooden wall, next door was the place of Gongsun Jieyu and the white candle.

Hu TieHua sneeringly said: “A lackey is really a lackey, backing up his boss, agreeing completely, listening secretly to others’s speech, these are precisely what lackeys are for.”

Zhang San paid no attention to him, his face's expression was actually very strange. He wrinkled his brows suddenly, smiled suddenly, unceasingly shaking his head, then nodding gently, probably just like a theater fan listening to a major Chinese drama.

Actually what are the two people doing in the room next door? What was said?

Hu TieHua could not bear this anymore and quietly asked: “What have you heard?”

Zhang San seemed to have been lost in his thought and did not hear him at all.

Hu TieHua only endured this briefly, before he could not stop himself from pasting his ear to the wooden partition.

The room next door was quiet like a grave, no sound at all coming from there.

Hu TieHua wrinkled his brows: “How come I don’t hear anything?”

Chu LiuXiang smiled and said: “There is no sound in the first place. If you can hear something, that would be strange.”

Hu TieHua was stunned and said: “No sound? Then what did he hear that was so interesting?”

Zhang San had also smiled and said: “This is called `the silence triumphs over the sound'. I got tired of listening to you that if I could just let my ears rest, that would already be very interesting.”

Hu TieHua jumped up, he stood with his palm in the midair as if he was going to hit, but then he smiled and said: “You haven’t met the old stinking insect for long, but you have learned all of his bad habits, why don’t you learn his other useful skills?”

Zhang San said with a smile: “This is called learning bad things easily, learning good things with difficulty. Moreover, I do not really want to learn his good skills, as long as I can get his skills that can make you mad until you’re half dead, I am well satisfied.”

Chu LiuXiang said lightly: “If some people were listening in the room next door, they would have thought that I have two mad dogs nipping at each other in this room.”

Hu TieHua said: “I am a mad dog, what are you? A sexual harasser (a wolf)?”

Zhang San said: “But, a sexual harasser is at least better than a mad dog, a sexual harasser nips only a woman, a mad dog actually nips any person he sees.”

Hu TieHua just stared at him without speaking.

Suddenly someone outside spoke out: “In this room is there a wolf? Or a dog? This is totally wrong, because the room should have been cleaned in the first place.”

This was Hai KuoTian’s voice unexpectedly.

Chu LiuXiang made a hand signal to Zhang San and Hu TieHua, then he opened the door and said with a smile: “Leader Hai cannot sleep well?”

Hai KuoTian had not replied, actually he looked around the room and muttered: “A wolf is here? Where is the dog? Are they hiding?”

Chu LiuXiang did not know whether he was really stupid of just pretending, and said with a smile: “By the appearance of Leader Hai, even if there is a disturbance maker here, he would have fled this place with fright.”

Hai KuoTian had also smiled, but at this moment he seemed to be worried, his complexion was also very serious, although smiling, he only smiled very reluctantly, moreover he continued to look around, while closing the door, as if he was terribly suspicious and afraid.

The others did not know what he was up to, so they just looked at him.

After Hai KuoTian locked the door, he breathed out and said quietly: “Is there a sound in the room next door?”

Hu TieHua interrupted: “No, after drinking and eating to the full, they must be sleeping.”

Hai KuoTian hesitated, and wrinkled his brows: “Commander Chu has traveled around the world, and have made friends everywhere, is it possible that you have seen them before?”

Chu LiuXiang said: “No.”

Hai KuoTian said: “Commander Chu should try to think again ......”

Chu LiuXiang said with a smile: “If someone has seen either one of them, he would never forget them.”

Hai KuoTian nodded and said: “I am not a terribly suspicious person, but these two persons’ origins are really too suspicious. In particular, the apprentice looks like a simple idiot, but his wugong is also immeasurably deep.”

Hu TieHua said: “Right, especially when he supported the boat with his hands, that requires exquisite strength. If he doesn’t have the unique ‘taking advantage of the strength, carrying thousands of catties’ skill, even if his strength is enormous, he still wouldn’t be able to catch that boat.”

Hai KuoTian said: “But his master's wugong is not even a tenth of the apprentice’s. He may be hiding his true mastery, but when one looks at him carefully, he doesn’t look like he has the capability.”

Hu TieHua said: “Right, his appearance doesn’t really hide the truth from many eyes.”

Hai KuoTian said: “Therefore, in my opinion, these two persons are certainly not master and disciple.”

Hu TieHua said: “What is their relationship if not master and disciple?”

Hai KuoTian said: “I think that white candle is surely Gongsun Jieyu’s protector, a martial arts world master. To hide the truth from anyone else, he intentionally confuse everybody by calling him his apprentice.”

Chu LiuXiang traced his nose and said: “What Leader Hai means…  the name white candle is actually false?”

Hai KuoTian said: “The name, Gongsun Jieyu must surely be false, too. This person must surely have a famous identity and prominent status, moreover ......”

He continued: “His face is most probably not as ugly or fearful as we saw him. He just does not want people to look at him, so people cannot detect his weaknesses.”

Chu LiuXiang said: “Leader Hai is really on fire, your analysis is so penetrating, I admire you very much.”

He said this, because he had thought similarly about them, so that high praise was not just fake.

Hai KuoTian's view was indeed worthy of a wise person.

Hu TieHua said: “These two people have expended so much effort to board this ship, but for what?”

Hai KuoTian gave a forced smile and said: “This is indeed highly suspicious, but ......”

His voice became lower and he said quietly: “Actually let me bring the three of you to look at something.”

Hu TieHua wrinkled his brows: “What is so mysterious?”

Hai KuoTian had not replied, when there was a rustle on the door.

His complexion changed immediately, he put his ear against the door. After a very long lull, he finally opened the door. After looking around briefly outside, he said quietly, “ Please the three of you come along with me, as soon as you see it, you will understand.”

Outside the cabin, there was a narrow gangway, at the end of it, there was a small staircase.

This staircase led down to under the cabins. Hai KuoTian showed the way first, he walked very lightly, very carefully, like he was afraid of being heard.

The place down there did not receive any sunlight all year long, therefore it was gloomy and damp. When they went down, they could hear the soft snoring sound from the sailors.

17 sailors worked day and night in shift, therefore when they were asleep, they fell into deep slumbers – when a person worked hard, it would be difficult to wake him up from sleep.

The piles of cargo were also in the area, inside a room and under heavy lock. Two people were standing on guard on both sides of the door. Their palms gripped tightly around their sabres in their waists, their faces were filled with surprised.

When Hai KuoTian got there, he lowered his voice: “After I left, had there been anyone else who came?”

Both of them bowed together and said: “No.”

Hai KuoTian said: “Good, open the door. Whoever may come after this, you cannot let them in!”

Immediately, the door opened, Hu TieHua had smelled a strange fragrance: smelly and nauseating. Like the smell of salted fish or seaweed, or maybe the smell of a rotting corpse. Nobody could tell exactly what was the smell.

Zhang San wrinkled his brows, he snatched a moment to eye Hu TieHua’s feet - - maybe when he saw Hai KuoTian’s secrecy, he forgot to put on his shoes coming out.

Hu TieHua stared at him while saying:”What are you looking at? My feet are not that smelly.”

Hai KuoTian said with a reluctant smile: “This is the characteristic smell of a sea cargo place. But food and clear water are kept near the kitchen in that small cabin.”

Hu TieHua gave a long sigh: “Thank heaven and earth, otherwise I will not dare to eat anything after this.”

Zhang San said: “But the liquor is actually placed here, do you later dare to drink after this?”

In this cargo hold, there were many piles of different things, including several hundred pot of liquors. In the middle, there was an open area, in which a pile of something was being covered by some oil cloth.

Hu TieHua had not spoken anything, he saw Hai KuoTian raise suddenly the oilcloth and said: “Everybody, please look at what this is?”

Under the oilcloth, unexpectedly there were six coffins.

Hu TieHua laughed inadvertently and said: “We have seen many coffins. Leader Hai beckoned us here, mainly just to look at these coffins?”

Hai KuoTian’s was stern as he said: “There was no coffin on this ship originally.”

Hu TieHua said: “Why? Someone has died on the ship?”

Hai KuoTian said: “For a person living on the sea, if the person dies, he will just be buried at sea, no need for a coffin.”

Hu TieHua wrinkled his brows: “Then, where do these coffins come from?”

Hai KuoTian said: “Nobody knows.”

Hu TieHua said: “Did nobody see some people moving these six coffins on the ship?”

Hai KuoTian said: “No.”

His complexion is more dignified and said: before “Each time we set off, I will take inventory of the cargo hold, as usual. Therefore, after everyone went to the room to sleep, I came here.”

Hu TieHua said: “Only then you discovered these six coffins  here?”

Hai KuoTian said: “Right, therefore I immediately questioned the persons who manage the cargo hold, but that person actually did not know who send these coffins. These two person have worked for me for many years, usually they are very faithful to me and will not lie.”

Chu LiuXiang hesitated and said: “If Leader Hai do not trust the person, you will not want them to manage the cargo hold.”

Hai KuoTian said: “Precisely.”

Hu TieHua said with a smile: “Some people with no reason at all delivered six coffins, that is not a problem! Moreover, these six coffins were made of good wood, these can be exchanged for some very nice wine.”

Zhang San said: “This person is really never going to stray from drink – but, can’t you think clear, Leader Hai’s ship cannot tolerate any one to just wander around on the ship? Besides, they brought six big coffins here, is it something that is easy to achieve?”

Hu TieHua said: “This is not easy, indeed.”

Zhang San said: “They have made such an effort to deliver the coffins here. If they are not trying to do something, these people must have a big problem.”

Hu TieHua's brows also wrinkled and said: “Then, you tell us what they are trying to do?”

Chu LiuXiang was rubbing his nose and said suddenly: “I ask you, this time we embark, how many people do we have?”

Since Hu TieHua learn to copy his tracing the nose, he seldom rubbed his nose anymore. But now, he actually unconsciously returned to his old habit, obviously he had an extremely difficult problem to solve.

Hu TieHua hesitated and said: “You, I, Zhang San, Jin LingZhi, Gou ZiChang, Ding Feng, Gongsun Jieyu, the white candle, adding Leader Hai and Xiang TianFei, there are ten people altogether.”

He seemed to have remembered something suddenly, his complexion had also changed as he muttered: “Ten people embark the ship, but actually there are six coffins here. Are they trying to tell us that from these ten individuals, six people will die here!”

Zhang San said: “This person has some good intention actually. They know that we are born on the mainland, when we die we like to buried on earth, therefore they have taken special care to deliver these six coffins for us.”

He glanced at Hai KuoTian, and then said: “Leader Hai and Xiang TianFei are people of the sea, therefore you don’t need any coffin.”

Hai KuoTian showed a calm face and said: “Therefore he means that among the ten people, eight people could possibly die, I and Xiang TianFei will surely die?”

Hu TieHua wrinkled his brows: “If so, two people will return alive, who are they?”

Hai KuoTian word by word said: “The people who are alive must have killed the other eight!”

Zhang San was looking at these six coffins, and muttered: “I seem to see six dead people already lying down inside.”

Hu TieHua could not bear saying: “Which six people?”

Zhang San said: “One is Chu LiuXiang, one is Hu TieHua, another one is probably a female ......”

He said this sofly and slowly, while staring fixedly at these six coffins, which brought an indescribeable gloom.

Even if Hu TieHua knew perfectly well that he was talking nonsense, he still could not help feeling cold inside, and some of the fine body hairs started to tingle with fright, as he could bear shouting, “Another one is you, right?”

Zhang San acted like an expert historian, and gave a long sight, “Right, I will also lie down in the coffin, this coffin!”

Immediately, his hand extended towards one coffin, everybody's heart seemed to have jumped as well.

He unexpectedly also shivered a bit, he felt a cold sweat seeping down.

Hai KuoTian’s face whitened, and said: “What about the other two people? Can you see?”

Zhang San wiped his perspiration and said with a forced smile: “I cannot.”

Chu LiuXiang said: “Is it possible that Leader Hai suspects Gongsun Jieyu and the white candle might be the murderers?”

Hai KuoTian was silent.

Chu LiuXiang’s eyes flashed and said: “That Master Ding and Leader Hai seemed to have a good relationship, why don’t you discuss this matter with him?”

Hai KuoTian was silent for a very long time, then he gave a long sigh and said: “This brother Zhang has not misread his premonition. I know that the three of you and Miss Jin will not be the murderers, therefore I get the three of you to discuss this.”

Chu LiuXiang said lightly: “Does Leader Hai suspect Master Ding?”

Hai KuoTian was silent, only cold sweats started to seep through, too.

Chu LiuXiang actually did not seem to be willing to stop, he continued asking: “It seems that Leader Hai has known Master Ding fo many years?”

Hai KuoTian hesitated, he nodded finally.

Chu LiuXiang’s eyes brightened, he pressed forward: “If that’s the case, Leader Hai should know the background of Master Ding.”

Hai KuoTian’s corner of his eyes never stopped twitching and he said suddenly: “I have never suspected him, but ......but ......”

The corners of his mouth seemed to twitch as well, he couldn’t say anything.

Hu TieHua could not bear asking: “Just what is it?”

Hai KuoTian did not seem to have heard him, he was staring fixedly at in front of him, as if he was looking at a very, very far thing.

Also a very long time, he said slowly: “I don’t know, after Leader Yun CongLong’s death, I often became fearful and apprehensive, as if my time of death is not far away.”
Hu TieHua said: “Why?”

Chu LiuXiang’s eyes brightened and he said: “What is the relationship between Leader Yun’s death and your sea gang?”

Hai KuoTian said: “I ......I ......I only felt that he died somewhat strangely.”

Hu TieHua wrinkled his brows: “Strange? What is strange?”

Hai KuoTian said: “Wu Weiyang, Leader Wu is known as the `heavenly arrow shoots the moon', his arrow shooting skill is at the present age unparalleled, but if we discuss about wugong skills  toughness against toughness, he may not be that higher against Leader Yun.”

Zhang San added on: “Right, as far as I know, those two people are equal on fist palm, sharp weapon, lightness kungfu or hidden weapon. But Wu Bangzhu is better on the bow and on the horse, while Leader Yun is stronger in the water.”

Hai KuoTian lowered his voice: ”But last night in the Three harmonies building, when Leader Wu and leader Yun fought, the two of you were there, they fought just for a moment, no more than ten moves, and yet Leader Yun already died under Leader Wu’s palm ......That is strange that he would die so quickly?”

Hu TieHua hesitated, glanced at Chu LiuXiang and said: “Maybe Leader Wu also learn an extremely formidable family skill, just like Jin LingZhi?”

Chu LiuXiang said: “This is certainly possible, but Leader Wu is already a 60 years-old person. Even if he were hale and hearty, the physique would always be inferior to a younger man, his memory would not be as fluent. If he were to learn wugong, his capacity to absorb the new skills would be a lot inferior to a younger person, therefore, studying wugong needs to be done when one is still young.”

He sighed, then said: “This is the bane of the older person, there is no alternative.”

Hai KuoTian said: “Right, I also think that it is impossible for Leader Wu to learn a skill that can kill Leader Yun in ten moves.”

Hu TieHua said: “Then according to you, what happened?”

Chu LiuXiang and Hai KuoTian looked at each other, the meaningful glance seemed to exchange a fearful thought that nobody dared to say.

After looking at each other, both of them still were not willing to speak out.

Hu TieHua was pondering while talking slowly: “Yun CongLong fought with Wu Weiyang many times. Yun CongLong must know very well the nature of Wu Weiyang’s skill.”

Zhang San nodded, ”Right, I’m afraid nobody else in the world knows better than him.”

Hu TieHua said: “But yesterday evening, in Three Harmonies building, before the two people fought, Yun CongLong’s facial expression was actually very strange.”

Zhang San said: “How strange?”

Hu TieHua said: “As if he already knew that when he and Wu Weiyang went out the door, he would not walk out of it alive. As if he knew earlier that he could no longer be competitive against Wu Weiyang?”

Zhang San said: “Wu Weiyang only practiced his own family’s wugong. If he was preparing against Yun CongLong specifically, naturally he would not tell Yun CongLong about his skills. How did Yun CongLong know anything about it?”

Hu TieHua wrinkled his brows: “Then why was Yun CongLong certain that he must die in the fight? Had he discovered a secret suddenly? ......What secret?”

He shifted his vision to Chu LiuXiang, then said: “Before he went out, he wanted you to drink a cup of liquor for him, right?”

Chu LiuXiang said: “Mmm.”

Hu TieHua said: “By his alcohol capacity, there is no way he cannot drink that small cup of liquor, right?”

Chu LiuXiang said lightly: “Perhaps that is because he is not a drunkard, he felt that he had drunk enough, therefore he did not want to drink some more.”

Hu TieHua shook his head and said: “In my opinion, he surely must have an intention.”

Chu LiuXiang knitted his brows and said: “What intention?”

Hu TieHua said: “He gave something to you in that cup of liquor, did you pay any attention to it?”

Chu LiuXiang said: “He gave me a cup of liquor. I have drunk it, I haven’t seen anything.”

He smiled, then said: “I always use my mouth to drink, not my eyes.”

Hu TieHua sighed and said: “Recently your eyes did not work so well anymore! I am urging you to stay away from women from now on. Otherwise within two years, you would just become a deaf and blind old man.”

Zhang San said with a smile: “That is not a problem actually, some women like an old man, not only because an old man sympathizes more easily compared to the young people, moreover they also have more money than the young people.”

Hu TieHua sneeringly said: “A woman who likes an old man, is certainly like you, a lackey who is destined to do so from his birth.”

Hai KuoTian was continuously lost in his own thought. His face was filled with consternation, as if he was thinking of a question that was very difficult to solve.

Only at that moment, he gave a long sigh and said with a reluctant smile: “I felt close already to all of you, I want to request something… hopefully the three of you can agree to it.”

Although he said “three”, his eyes kept looking at only Chu LiuXiang.

Chu LiuXiang said: “As long as it is within my power, I will not decline it.”

If anyone else had said these words, this might just be a perfunctory sentence that was meaningless. But coming out from Chu LiuXiang’s lips it was different.

Chu LiuXiang’s character was well recognized in jiang-hu.

Hai KuoTian relaxed a little, his complexion brightened substantially and said: “If I happen to suffer a mishap, Commander Chu,  please......”

While he spoke, at the same time, he took out a small sandalwood chest from his bosom.

But then they heard “thump” sound twice, as if someone was knocking on the door.

Hai KuoTian blanched, he immediately hid this box case back in his bosom, and quickly went to the entrance and barked lowly: “Who?”

The door was latched on the inside, there was no sound from the other side of the door.

Hai KuoTian said fiercely: “Wang DeZhi, Li DeBiao, who came?”

Wang DeZhi and Li DeBiao must be naturally the two guards standing outside the door. But these two people had not responded.

Hai KuoTian’s complexion became more fearful, he pulled open the latch, and walked outside.

Chu LiuXiang walked with him and saw his face hardened and turned gray, as he just stood there. The cold sweat filled his face as if they were raindrops.

The two people who had stood guard outside, had became two corpses.

 

<Next: Chapter 7>

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 December 2008 02:44 )