Use the translation feature to translate novels into different languages

Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain Chapter 1.1 Casket

Chapter 1.1 Casket 

An arrow came whistling from the col to the east; it cut through the sky and sunk deep into the neck of a wild goose in mid-flight. The great bird, with the arrow still in its neck, spun a few times in the air before falling to the

snow-covered ground.

A few hundred yards to the west, four horses could be seen galloping through the glistening snow. Hearing the sound of the arrow, the riders reined in their steeds which were fine, sturdily-built beasts. The four riders thrilled at seeing the wild goose shot down. They wished to discover who it was who had fired the arrow.

They waited. There was no sign of a human soul on the col, only the sound of horses' hooves. The archer had simply vanished. One of the riders, a tall, thin, old man of agile and brave bearing, frowned, then spurred his horse on towards the col. The other three followed closely behind. They sped towards the other side of the mountain. About half a mile further on, five horses were galloping headlong, their hooves churning up the snow and their grey manes waving in the wind. There was no chance of catching up with them. The old man signalled to the others to halt. "Brother Fortune," he said.

"Something sinister is in the air. We must be on the alert."

Brother Fortune was an old man too, but more heavily built, and with a moustache which tapered at both ends. He was dressed in the pelt of a marten and had the distinguished bearing of a wealthy merchant. He nodded at the thin man's words and wheeled his horse round to where the wild goose lay. He brandished his whip, and cracked it across the snowy ground. The big bird was lifted from the ground by the tip of the thong. He held the arrow in his left hand and examined it.

He gave a cry.

Hearing it, the other three set spurs to their horses and came to him. Brother Fortune thrust the wild goose, with the arrow still in its body, towards the old man.

"See, Brother Valour!" he shouted.

The thin old man held out his left hand and took the bird. He cried out the moment he saw the arrow, "He is here! We must be quick."

Wheeling his horse round, he set off down the mountain in pursuit. The mountainside was a blanket of snow stretching into the distance,

with not a soul in sight; it was easy to follow a trail. The other two riders were men in their prime. One was tall and broad-shouldered, gallant and

dignified, riding a fine horse. The other was of medium build and had a pale complexion; his nose was red with cold. The horses panted as they galloped, their breath clouding around their nostrils.

It was the fifteenth day of the third month, of the forty-fifth year of the reign of the Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong. In the south, the flowers

were already in full bloom. But here, in the foothills of the Changbai Range in Manchuria, the heavy snow was only just beginning to melt. Spring was still far away. When the sun rose behind the mountains in the east and cast its dim rays on the world, there was no warmth in it. The riders were galloping hard and soon beads of sweat appeared on their foreheads. The tall one took off his cloak and placed it on the pommel. He was clad in a blue, silk robe lined with fur, and from his belt hung a long

sword. He looked grave and threatening and there was rage in his eyes; they seemed to dart fire. He urged his horse wildly on.

This was Curio Cao. He had recently become Grand Master of the

Northern Branch of the Dragon Lodge in Liaodong Peninsula. He was also known as Leaping Dragon Sword and was already well advanced in the double skill of pugilism and swordplay, a martial ability unique to the

Dragon Lodge. The fellow with the pale complexion was his Junior

Brother, Radiant Zhou, known as Winding Dragon Sword. The taller of the two old men was their Senior, Valour Ruan, also known as Seven Stars

Hand; he was considered champion of the Northern Branch of the Dragon Lodge. The old man with the bearing of a wealthy merchant was the Grand Master of the Southern Branch of the Dragon Lodge, Fortune Yin, known as Might of the Southern Sky. Their meeting here today was of paramount importance to both the Northern and the Southern Branches. Fortune had travelled hundreds of miles to the northeastern border to be with them.

The Dragon Lodge had been founded in the early Qing dynasty, in the mid-seventeenth century. It had started as one single house but at the turn of the eighteenth century, during the Reign of Emperor Kangxi, two elder protégés of the Founder Grand Master had fallen out with each other.

Consequently, the Lodge had divided into the Northern Branch and the Southern Branch on the demise of the Grand Master. The Southern Branch was known for its agility and bravery, the Northern Branch for its intensity and ruthlessness. The origin and structural form of the martial arts practised by the two branches were similar in every respect, but they differed drastically in their application.

Post a Comment