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Fragrance in the Sea of Blood Chapter 6


Chapter 6 – One Red Dot Under The Sword

Zhang Xiaolin acted as if he was suddenly awakened from a dream, “Anybody here?” he mumbled, “Who is it?”

The female assassin was startled, as if she was afraid the men outside the window would be alarmed.

She did not talk; she just looked back and laughed, the black mask on her face was gone. The moonlight shone on her face; it was indeed a beautiful and touching face.

Zhang Xiaolin deliberately opened his eyes wide, but did not talk either.

The female assassin smiled sweetly at him, she looked sweetly at him. A slender lily-white hand unexpectedly started to untie the long row of buttons on her chest.

Zhang Xiaolin said, “You … you are …”

The female assassin waved her hand, signaling him not to speak. Lightly twisting her waist, she shed the skintight black clothes off her body as if it was a flexible skin.

The moonlight immediately illuminated her ivory-colored, naked body.

Zhang Xiaolin appeared to have forgotten how to breathe. He felt an ice-cold, sleek, soft, yet elastic body, like a snake slithered into his quilt.

Her body carried some kind of fresh soap scent, as if she had just taken a bath.

The aroma of soap was not something good to smell, but the strange thing was that when the scent was emitted from her body, it was capable of evoking the deepest desire of a man.

Her satiny skin, like a snake, was already wrapped around Zhang Xiaolin.

Zhang Xiaolin muttered, “In the depth of the night, suddenly a remarkably beautiful woman stripped naked and slipped into your bed. This story, I am afraid even the most absurd scholar would not be able to write.”

The girl leaned over to his ear, let out her silver-bell like soft laughter, and whispered, “A man has such sexual encounter, yet you are not satisfied?”

“Are you a fox spirit? Are you a ghost?” Zhang Xiaolin asked.

The girl purred, “That’s right, I am a fox, I want to charm you to your death.”

Zhang Xiaolin’s body suddenly shivered, “Honestly speaking,” he said, “I … I am very scared!”

The girl gently stroked him; she laughed tenderly and said, “Don’t be afraid, even if a fox cultivate herself to perfection, she would still have a tail. Feel me; do I have a tail?”

She guided his hand …

Zhang Xiaolin said, “Then … then, who are you?”

The girl spoke quietly, “Leng Gongzi is afraid you are lonely, he sent me to accompany you. And now, can you relax?”

Zhang Xiaolin muttered, “Leng Gongzi is very nice … it’s very kind of you. Whatever you want me to do, I promise I’ll do it.”

The girl said, “Strange, Leng Gongzi is always cold, but why is he so good to you? Could it be that … he has something he wants you to do?”

“Um …” Zhang Xiaolin mumbled.

The girl shifted her body to meet his, “Good man,” she said, “Tell me, what did you say to him?”

“Ay …” Zhang Xiaolin said.

The girl twisted her waist, and spoke quietly, “This evening, Leng Gongzi seemed to be very busy. I wonder if something has happened …? How come not a single one of the elders was here?”

“Oh …” Zhang Xiaolin said.

The girl pushed him away; acting like a spoiled child she said, “You are ignoring me, I am going to ignore you as well.”

Zhang Xiaolin muttered, “Now it’s not the time to speak.”

The girl laughed softly and said, “But now you must …”

Before she finished speaking, suddenly she felt her entire body went numb; she was not able move a single muscle.

This time she was really shocked. “You … what are you doing?” she blurted out.

Zhang Xiaolin sat up suddenly, giggled, and looked at her. “You tell me first, who the hell are you? And then I will tell you,” he said.

The girl said, “Didn’t I tell you? Leng Gongzi told me to come.”

Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “How could the person Leng Gongzi sent climb down from the roof?”

The girl’s charming eyes were filled with horror. “You … you saw everything?” she asked.

“Terribly sorry,” Zhang Xiaolin replied, “Unfortunately I did.”

The girl said, “You … why didn’t you tell me?”

Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “You didn’t ask! Besides, I just don’t want anybody to snoop around my secret. But a beautiful girl undressed in front of me, that is something that I seek, but fail to get.”

Gritting her teeth, the girl said, “You … you are a demon!”

Zhang Xiaolin spoke gently, “Now, shouldn’t you talk?”

The girl stared at him; her eyes seemed to be shooting fire. “I really wish I killed you!” she hissed.

“You don’t want to talk?” Zhang Xiaolin asked.

The girl was so angry that her teeth chattered, “If you don’t kill me quickly, you will regret it.”

Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “All right, you don’t want to talk, someone else will make you talk.”

Suddenly he wrapped her inside the quilt, and shouted loudly, “Thief … I caught a spy!”

The girl’s countenance immediately turned deathly pale; she had never expected that he would be this heartless.

But this moment the men in black outside were already rushing in, “Where’s the spy?” they chorused.

Zhang Xiaolin pointed to the girl on the bed and said, “Right here. Quickly send her to Leng Gongzi, interrogate her background carefully.”

The men were pleasantly surprised, but in the end they still carried the roll of quilt away.

The girl could not move; she cursed and yelled, “You are a beast, you are a dog … you … you won’t die a good death.”

Zhang Xiaolin lightly scratched his nose, laughed, and muttered softly, “People called me a lecher, I can still endure, but people consider me a fool, I have no choice but to give them a lesson.”

The willow-leaf saber was still lying on the ground.

Zhang Xiaolin picked it up, looked at it, frowned, and said, “This woman is from Tian Xing Bang [celestial star gang]? How could Tian Xing Bang come over here?”

He pondered for half a day, put on his clothes, and inserted the willow-leaf saber into his belt. His shoulders shook lightly, he flew out of the room via the small hole on the roof.

And then, crouching on the roof, he looked around for half a day, and muttered to himself, “She came from the east. Turns out Tian Xing Bang has been staying for a while in the east.”

Unleashing his lightness skill, he jumped from roof to roof, like a floating grey cloud. Houses flew past under his feet, the cool evening breeze blew on his face.

The high-speed thrill excited him, and he felt very happy.

There were all kinds of roof, just as under the roof, there were all kinds of life. But who could say that his life was more colorful than his?

The heaven and the earth were absolutely quiet. Most of the courtyards were without any light, only occasionally there was one or two babies’ cries, or husband and wife’s happy laughter …

Other than these delightful sounds, naturally it was hard to avoid the sound of unhappy couples’ spitting and scolding each other, or the sound of a cat chasing a mouse, the sound of men snoring, or the crisp noise of dice falling into the bowl.

This late at night, flying above other people’s roof, enjoying the wind on his face, nothing could replace this kind of pleasure, a delight that give people some kind of superior feeling.

And he loved this kind of feeling.

Suddenly he saw a courtyard ahead that was brightly lit, and on the corners unreachable by the lantern light, he seemed to see human shadows and flickers of the blade.

Zhang Xiaolin abruptly halted his steps, “Perhaps it’s here,” he muttered.

He hid himself behind the roof ridge, and took a long look around.

He saw a man came out of the house, spat out a mouthful of phlegm, and said, “Third Miss has not come back?”

The man hiding in the shadow on the corner replied, “I haven’t seen her.”

The man stretched out his limbs and said, “That’s strange. I wonder if something happened?”

Someone inside the house replied, “Based on San Mei’s [third (younger) sister] astuteness, nothing should happen.”

Zhang Xiaolin suddenly tossed the willow-leaf saber and shouted, “Your San Mei has already fallen into our Bang’s hands. It’s up to you now!”

‘Pop!’ the willow-leaf saber was nailed to the door.

A shadow suddenly sprang out of the house, just like an arrow being shot out. He wore skintight black outfit, and there was a sword in his hand. Clear light flashed.

Looking at his shenfa [pose or motion of the body in martial arts. Translator’s note: I haven’t been able to find good, concise Engish equivalent, so for the time being, I keep it as is], Zhang Xiaolin was shocked. “This man’s agility is still above ‘Seven-Star Soul Snatching’ Zuo Youzheng. How could there be such a martial art master in Tian Xing Bang?”

Like a light smoke he swept across. The man in black followed closely behind.

He deliberately slowed down and looked back.

In the moonlight, the man in black’s face was like a dead man’s, but his pair of small eyes was sharp and bright; it seemed even more terrifying than the sword ray.

Finally Zhang Xiaolin stopped; the man in black rushed over, the sword ray fluttered in the air, ‘swish, swish, swish!’ in an instant he already thrust the sword three times.

These three sword strikes were not only pressing and fast, not one of the targets was not a vital point on Zhang Xiaolin’s body. His swordsmanship may not be considered as reaching great heights, but the ruthlessness of his move, very few people in Jianghu would be able to match. His eyes were flickering with cruel green-jade rays like a wild beast, as if the greatest hobby in all his life was just to kill people, that the purpose of his existence was just to kill people.

The posture with which he brandished his sword was extremely peculiar; his arm, from the elbow down, did not seem to move, he was stabbing his sword only by using the strength of his wrist.

When it was not necessary, he did not waste any energy.

Looking at his dead-man like face, looking at his unique peculiar way he moved the sword, Zhang Xiaolin’s heart was moved. Suddenly he remembered someone.

The man in black’s wrist moved skillfully, the sword ray shooting out of his hand was like exploding sparks; nobody could see the changes clearly.

In an instant he already stabbed the sword thirteen times, Zhang Xiaolin had already flitted across four layers of roof ridges. Like a viper the sword ray wound around him, yet all along it failed to even touch his clothes.

The sword was faster than lightning, but the shenfa was also faster than lightning.

By the time the sword stabbed for the fourteenth time, suddenly it stopped about one chi in front of Zhang Xiaolin’s throat. Although the momentum of the sword stab was pressing, it stopped just as naturally; even the sword did not quiver the least bit. Zhang Xiaolin’s shadow also stopped abruptly. The two men stood face to face; unexpectedly they appeared as if they suddenly froze in the air.

The man in black’s dark green eyes shot a demonic, unusual light, as he spoke word-by-word, “You are not Zhusha Bang disciple.”

His voice was also strange and unique; it was grim, deep and low, hoarse, and curt. Unexpectedly it did not sound like it came from a human’s throat. Although the voice was low and hoarse, there was some kind of magical power piercing other people’s heart, so that no one would ever forget any word that he said.

Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “How do you know I am not from Zhusha Bang?”

The man in black replied, “Because within Zhusha Bang, no one can dodge my thirteen sword strikes.”

Zhang Xiaolin said with a laugh, “Naturally you are not Tianxing Bang disciple as well.”

“That’s right,” the man in black replied.

While speaking, the paused sword suddenly shot out.

The speed of this sword strike was even more inconceivable. When his sword moved, practically no one in the world would be able to evade it from a chi away.

But just as the sword was about to move, Zhang Xiaolin already retreated three chi back. Although the man in black wanted to skewer Zhang Xiaolin’s throat in one sword stab, Zhang Xiaolin was not angry; he laughed instead and said, “Since you don’t belong to Tianxing Bang, and I don’t belong to Zhusha Bang, it can be said that you and I both are total strangers; why do you want to kill me?”

He said less than 36 words [Translator’s note: I counted 32 characters], and he spoke very fast, yet at the same time, the man in black already sent out 36 sword strikes. The sword momentum was very ruthless, very malicious.

He usually did not like to talk, simply because before he spoke, the sword in his hand has already given the most concise answer.

Death! This was the answer he usually gave to others.

Zhang Xiaolin smiled and said, “What a fast sword technique, what a cruel sword technique; it is indeed worthy to be called ‘The Fastest Sword in Central Plains’ … What a Soul-searching Shadow-less Sword, Zhongyuan Yidian Hong [lit. one red dot of the Central Plains].”

The opponent still did not reply. After 36 sword strikes, he followed-up with another set of 36 sword strikes.

Zhang Xiaolin still did not counterstrike, he still carried a smile on his face, as he said, “Seeking an assassin, one must look for Yidian Hong … Rumors in Jianghu say that as long as one is willing to pay high price, even your own flesh and blood and friends, you are still willing to kill. Is that true?”

Zhongyuan Yidian Hong coldly said, “I have no friends to kill!”

As soon as he finished speaking the third set of 36 sword strikes was launched.

Zhang Xiaolin sighed in admiration and said with a smile, “I have already heard all kinds of rumors about you in Jianghu; too bad you are not willing to talk. Otherwise, I really wanted to look for you and chat. That would be a lot more interesting than swinging swords and moving sabers.”

Yidian Hong’s sword stopped abruptly. His cold eyes were fixed at Zhang Xiaolin; suddenly he laughed, revealing rows of white dense teeth, and said, “The Bandit Chief loves the ecstasy, leaving fragrance [i.e. liuxiang] secretly in the moonlit night … you are Chu Liuxiang!”

This time Zhang Xiaolin could not help but was stunned; laughing in spite of himself, he said, “You said who was Chu Liuxiang?”

Yidian Hong said, “Under my one hundred and fourteen killer strikes, unexpectedly still did not fight back, unexpectedly still smiling. Other than ‘Bandit Chief’ Chu Liuxiang, how can there be a second person in the world?”

Zhang Xiaolin laughed aloud and said, “Perhaps you are right. I really don’t like to use force. Shedding blood to kill is indeed the stupidest thing that human beings can do.”

Yidian Hong’s eyes flickered, “You have never killed?” he asked.

Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “You don’t believe it?”

Yidian Hong laughed hoarsely and said, “You never killed, how do you know the joy of killing?”

Zhang Xiaolin retorted, “You have never been killed; it may be assumed that you don’t know the pain of being killed either. If one can only derive his happiness based on other people’s suffering, this kind of person is unavoidably too useless!”

Yidian Hong’s eyes burst with sparks again.

But before he responded, suddenly someone was shouting, “Yidian Hong, do your job! Why haven’t you made your move?”

Turned out by this time Tianxing Bang’s side was rushing out; four people stood far away on the side, only one man wearing brocade clothes jumped onto the roof ridge. Stomping his feet, he said, “We spent silvers to invite you here, it was not to invite you to talk.”

Yidian Hong did not even look at him. But Zhang Xiaolin smiled and said to him, “With this kind of swordsmanship, I wonder how much Gexia [your distinguished self/Sire] must spend to hire his sword?”

The man in brocade clothes replied with a cold laugh, “Even two fen [pennies, smallest money denomination] are already too much. People say how outstanding Yidian Hong was, who would have thought that he is, unexpectedly, a seeing-people-and-does-not-dare-to-fight coward.”

These two characters ‘coward’ [nuo fu] had just come out of his mouth, suddenly sword ray flashed, without even uttering any cry, the man already collapsed. From the tian tu acupoint on his throat seeped out a deep scarlet dot of blood.

Only a dot of fresh blood.

Under the starlight, his face looked twisted, soybean-sized beads of sweat appeared on his entire head. Although exhausting his strength, he was unable to utter any sound, he could only pant like a beast.

One red dot. Such a formidable one red dot. Unexpectedly in killing people he did not even spend the least bit of energy. By lucky coincidence he pierced a vital part, by lucky coincidence he was able to kill someone. The sword did not need to go in the least bit more.

The sword in Yitian Hong’s hand slowly drooped down, from the tip of his sword there was also only a little bit of blood dripping down to the ground. His eyes were fixed on this drop of blood. Without looking up, he slowly said, “Among the living, there is not a single one who can call me a coward.”

In the midst of gradually weakening gasps, no one among the Tian Xing Bang people did not have his countenance changed.

Zhang Xiaolin looked up to the sky, heaved a deep sigh, and said, “Such a killing without the shedding of blood, one red dot [yitian hong] under the sword.”

He slowly pulled out a snow-white silk scarf, with which he covered the face of the big man.

This moment, one after another the people from Tian Xing Bang side shouted, “Yitian Hong, you … you always talked about righteousness and justice, how come today … today …”

Yitian Hong coldly cut him off, “What I am selling is my sword, not my person. Whoever insults my person, death will be his only choice!”

The Tian Xing Bang disciple stomped his feet and roared, “But we hired you to kill people, why is it that you do not dare to fight with him?”

Yitian Hong cast a glance toward Zhang Xiaolin, he slowly said, “You are asking me to deal with Zhusha Bang, this person is definitely not a Zhusha Bang disciple.”

‘Qiang!’ the sword returned to its sheath. Unexpectedly he jumped down the roof ridge, and swaggered off.

The Tian Xing Bang people were both surprised and angry. Suddenly one of them shouted, “This man played tricks with Leng Qiuhun this evening, the one Third Miss was looking for was precisely him.”

Zhang Xiaolin laughed and said, “That’s right. If you want to bring her back now, there is no harm in visiting the Kuai Yi Hall …”

While his voice was still lingering in the air, his shadow flashed away. By the time the Tian Xing disciples rushed over, he was already more than a dozen zhang away.

Fifteen exquisite copper lamps, ingeniously layered into pagoda shape, were covered in a shiny cylindrical shaped copper lampshade, so that the light was focused into a strong beam of light.

This strange-looking lamp was originally hanging above the spacious green-velvet-covered gambling table. But this moment, this spacious gambling table was used by Leng Qiuhun as a torture platform.

He unexpectedly bound the girl, whom Zhang Xiaolin wrapped inside the brocade quilt, on the torture table. The strong beam of light shone precisely on her beautiful, yet pale, face.

Her eyes were wide open, the pupil of her eyes was enlarged, but her mind has completely fallen apart. Her entire body was like in some kind of delirious condition, her mouth murmured continuously, “My surname Shen, my given name Shangu … My surname Shen, my given name Shangu … I am Tian Xing Bang disciple … I am Tian Xing Bang disciple …”

Leng Qiuhun sat in the wide chair in front of the gambling table, with cold and detached expression, without showing the least bit of emotion, only his eyes were flickering with a hint of cruel smile.

Zhang Xiaolin walked in; he shook his head and said with a sigh, “This cunning female wolf seems to have turned in a sheep; has she been willing to say anything?”

Leng Qiuhun spoke indifferently, “Women with staunch appearance are oftentimes very weak. If a man wanted a woman to keep his secret for him, that man must be an idiot.”

Zhang Xiaolin sighed and said, “This kind of risky business is not suitable for women to do. In the kitchen, beside the cradle, are the places that they ought to be. Too bad the more intelligent a woman, the more she does not understand this truth.”

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