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Laughter of the Sword God Chapter 2

CSI

Chapter 2 – An extremely poor man.

(One)

Plateau, yellow sandy soil, sand storm.

The town of Huangshi was located in this sand storm-prone plateau. From a distance, rolling waves of yellow sandy soil looked like rolling waves of golden sand.

In this small town, there has always been a legend. Around here somewhere, there was a huge amount of buried treasure. There was nothing else in this treasure, except gold; a lot of gold, that nobody could even estimate how much there was.

Regrettably, nobody could find it, nobody has ever seen these gold. All they could see was the continually rolling waves of golden sand, blown by eternal wind on this plateau.

Gold is everybody’s dream, but boundless golden sand was like nightmare. The dream of gold died out, the people who looked for gold have left. Over time, the small town slowly sank, so that nowadays it was a desolate town, with almost nobody ever travelled to it.

The only people left as inhabitants of this town were those who had nowhere else to go; they were already prepared to grow old and die in this place. Seeing an unfamiliar visitor from afar, they would always feel very happy and excited.

When Lu Xiaofeng arrived in this town, their attitude towards him was exactly like that.

Upon entering the town, Lu Xiaofeng felt that he had never seen such warmth and excitement. But the first thing he saw was a very poor street, and an extremely poor man.

Actually, this man could not be considered a man yet, because he was still a half grownup, but not a little child anymore. His clothes could not be considered clothes, it was no more than tattered rags. He was wearing an extremely languid posture as he sat under the eaves of a house on the corner of the street.

Actually, he could not be considered sitting either, rather, he curled up, just like a caterpillar curling up right there, or a small turtle curling up in its shell.

He had no money, he had no family, he had no friend, and had no future. He had nothing.

He was afraid.

He was afraid of everything. Therefore, he could only curl up in a ball, withdrawing into his shell, hiding from the most terrifying poverty, hunger, contempt and setback.

Because he was a kid, he actually did not know that he should be afraid of these things. No matter how he hid in his shell, he would never escape these things.

But when he saw Lu Xiaofeng, his eyes suddenly lit up. His pair of shiny eyes turned out to be a pair of big, lovely eyes.

When this pair of eyes saw Lu Xiaofeng, it simply looked like a hungry dog seeing a pile of dung, or a tortoise seeing a grain of mung bean. Fortunately Lu Xiaofeng was neither a mung bean nor a dog poo. When Lu Xiaofeng walked over to him, Lu Xiaofeng only wanted to ask a question.

When someone came to a strange place, and he was planning on staying in this place for a day, the first thing he wanted to ask was naturally where the inn around this place was, he wanted to find out where he could meet his most basic necessity of board and lodging.

“Inn?” the kid laughed until even his nose was wrinkly. “You want to know where the inn is? This place is so poor that even rabbits won’t come here to crap, so poor that even flies and rats are dying of hunger; how could there be any inn?”

“Not even one inn in this place?”

“Not even half an inn in this place.”

“Then what happen if there is a traveler passing through and wants to spend the night?”

“Nothing.” The little beggar said, “Because basically nobody wants to pass through here. Even if they have to travel several dozen li farther, they would rather not pass through this place.”

Lu Xiaofeng stared at this dirty, annoying, lazy, and talkative little beggar for half a day. [Translator’s note: this is literal translation, I leave it to the readers to interpret it as 12 hours or simply as a figure of speech.] He could not help but asking, “Is this place really that poor?”

The little beggar sighed. “Not only poor,” he said, “It will practically drag the people to die in poverty. Not only it will drag me down to die in poverty, even if there are other people who won’t be dragged down to die in poverty, they will be dragged down to at least half dead in poverty.”

“But it looks like you are not dead yet,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

“It’s because I still have a bit of skill to survive.”

“What kind of skill?”

“I am a little beggar, I don’t need much rice to survive. Poor people like me, no matter where we are, we will be able to survive.”

Lu Xiaofeng laughed. “I seem to remember you saying that the people in this place are so poor that they are going to die in poverty, how could they have any leftovers to feed you?”

The little beggar also laughed, “Da Shaoye [big young master], you look like a real Da Shaoye; the affair of a little beggar like me, naturally you won’t understand.”

“Oh?”

“A little beggar like me, in a poor place where I am almost butchered and made into soup daily, yet I am still able to survive, naturally I have side business.”

“Side business?” Lu Xiaofeng asked, “What side business?”

“Speaking about this kind of things, it really involves a great deal of knowledge.” The little beggar suddenly sat up straight and puffed his chest out, “In this aspect, I can be considered an expert.”

Lu Xiaofeng seemed to have more and more interest toward this little beggar.

The little beggar said, “To tell you the truth, I have more than one side businesses. Too bad from among seventy, eighty businesses, only two can really be used to earn money.”

“Which two?”

“The first and most profitable is running into people like you, an outsider with more money than sense, who come to this place.” He pointed to Lu Xiaofeng and continued, “People with more money than sense like you, if I don’t cheat some money, then I am not cheating in vain, but if I cheat your money, I am also cheating in vain.”

“You are damn right,” Lu Xiaofeng said with a wry smile, “And now I seem to admire you a little bit.”

He asked the little beggar again, “But if there is no sucker like me, what do you do?”

“Then I will have to rely on my second side business.” The little beggar continued, “My second side business is stealing; if there is any opportunity to steal, I steal, if I see money, I steal. There is no friend or relative, no matter what, no matter how much, I steal everything, leave nothing.”

It was the little beggar’s doctrine of survival. But Lu Xiaofeng did not feel any disdain toward him at all, neither did he have any desire to curl his fist and give a big punch on his face; he felt a gut-wrenching grief instead.

Aren’t there many, many reputable people in this world whose survival doctrine is exactly the same as this shameless little beggar?

(Two)

This small town was indeed very poor. Lu Xiaofeng has travelled everywhere, even to the other end of the world, yet has never seen any place more desolate and more impoverished that this place.

He really could not imagine why someone like Liu Chengfeng would come to a place like this? Even more difficult to understand: how could anything happen in this kind of place, something deserving Liu Chengfeng’s attention that disregarding the distance of a thousand li he came here? Not only that, whatever it was, it made Liu Chengfeng felt that there was a life or death danger in it.

A small, unknown town. A world renowned master swordsman. These two are not supposed to mix together.

The strange thing was that Liu Chengfeng seemed to have some kind of mysterious and strange relationship with this little town.

Stranger still, Liu Chengfeng seemed to really disappear from this little mysterious world.

Therefore, Lu Xiaofeng was determined to find the relationship between the little town and his good friend.

Unfortunately, the only person he met so far was this wretched, pitiful, yet a bit endearing, little beggar.

Lu Xiaofeng had been to a lot of places, he had wandered to the ends of the earth, he had roamed big and small, all kinds and sorts, of cities, towns, villages, and desolate places. No matter where he went, there must be a least one grocery store.

Even if that place did not have any hotel, no brothel, no linen and silk fabric shop, no bakery and pastry shop, no horse and mule market, no grain store, but at least there must be a grocery store.

Because grocery store is where people find supplies of their most basic needs.

Throughout his life, Lu Xiaofeng has seen countless strange, curious grocery stores. Some grocery stores could even supply some unusual, special requests. But Lu Xiaofeng has never seen any grocery store as peculiar as this grocery store.

Naturally this grocery store was located in this small town, yet the name of the grocery store was ‘Big Eye’. Naturally it was that little-turtle-like little beggar who brought him to this store.

The signboard above the store has already become like a piece of gravestone by the wind, the sand and the soot. It was engraved with a large eye. ‘Big Eye’, the ‘Big Eye Grocery Store’.

Lu Xiaofeng shook his head, “The name of this store is very strange.”

“It’s not strange at all.” The little beggar said, “The owner of the store is called Wang Dayan [lit. big eye], it’s only natural that his grocery store is called the ‘Big Eye’.”

Even after hearing this explanation, Lu Xiaofeng still did not understand it.

In fact, anybody who has not seen Wang Dayan would never fully understand the meaning of those words.

Because people like Wang Dayan were indeed rarely seen.

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