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Laughter of the Sword God Chapter 7

CSI

Chapter 7 – Fairy of the Ninth Heaven descending to mundane world

(One)

Bamboo fence, a gate made of twigs, half a courtyard of plum blossom. Looking past the bamboo and plum blossom, Lu Xiaofeng could vaguely see three or two pomegranate wood buildings.

In his imagination, even though an imperial concubine has fallen from grace, her residence ought to be a lot more lordly from this place.

Evidently this prince’s concubine was not someone who paid particular attention to show of extravagance, unlike that Big Boss Sha who valued face more than his life. As long as she could pass her days in peace and comfort, she was perfectly contended.

Therefore, before Lu Xiaofeng even saw her, he already had an extremely favorable impression on her.

An exiled prince’s concubine, a plum-blossom-like body with flesh of ice and bones of jade, a past that no one knew about, unforgetable old dreams flowed in her bosom; how mysterious, how romantic.

Even though Lu Xiaofeng was not drunk, he seemed to be drunk. All along Jin Qiliang paid a close attention to his expression; he suddenly sighed. “Now I realize that I should not have brought you here,” Jin Qiliang said.

“Why?”

“I am really afraid that as soon as you see her, you’ll forget your manners.” Jin Qiliang said, “In front of someone like her, you need to say only one wrong word for someone to die.”

Lu Xiaofeng patted his shoulder, “Don’t worry, what kind of person have I not seen?”

Yet Jin Qiliang was not convinced, he still sighed, “I know that you have met not a few people, all kinds and sorts of people you have seen. It’s a pity that the one you are about to see is practically not a person.”

“Not a person? Then what is she?”

“A fairy of the ninth heaven being banished down into the mundane world.”

(Two)

There was a string of bells hanging on the underside of the eaves above the door. The bells have been rung for a long time before someone came out to answer the door.

The one answering the door was not a boy, but an old woman, the entire hair on her head was white, in fact, her entire body has withered, the number of teeth remaining inside her mouth was at most only three or five. Yet Jin Qiliang spoke to her in a very respectful manner, “Popo [grandma], I am surnamed Jin, I have been here before, I am sure you still remember me. Last time it was also you who opened the door for me.”

The old woman looked at him with squinted eyes; it was not clear whether she still remembered this kind of man, it was not clear either whether she even heard what he said, so much so that perhaps she did not even see this man.

But Jin Qiliang acted like he was very familiar with the old granny; pulling Lu Xiaofeng’s shoulder he said to her, “This is my friend, his name is Lu Xiaofeng; I am taking him here to see your gongzhu [imperial empress/milady, see Book 6 Chapter 9 for more on ‘gong zhu’].”

Jin Qiliang said, “I am sorry to trouble you, please tell your Gongzhu that she must invite him for a nice dinner, and some nice cups of wine.”

The old lady who answered the door was still looking at him with a bewildered, totally-lost expression, yet Jin Qiliang acted as if he had accomplished great success. He actually said to Lu Xiaofeng, “Lu Xiaofeng, you must take a good care of yourself, pay attention to everything, I am sure we’ll meet again someday.”

It was as if someone had just whipped Lu Xiaofeng on the buttocks with a chain; his entire body seemed to stiffen and was about to jump. “You mean, you are leaving now?” he asked Jin Qiliang.

“That’s right.”

“How can you go now?”

“Why can’t I go now?” In a right and self-confident manners Jin Qiliang said, “You wanted to see Gong Susu, and now I have brought you here. Not only that, I have asked her to invite you for a dinner, for a drink.”

He went on, “I have done everything I promised you; if I don’t go now, what am I waiting for?” He said he would go, and indeed he left; not only that, he left very quickly.

With a bitter expression and squinted eyes the old lady was still standing at the door, she did not show the least bit of sign that she was going to let Lu Xiaofeng in.

If the one blocking the door was an eight-feet tall, intimidating and powerful looking burly man, Lu Xiaofeng had at least eight hundred ways of how to deal with him; but toward an old lady, whose teeth were about to fall off completely, Lu Xiaofeng could not think of even one way to deal with her.

The old woman seemed to be determined not to let Lu Xiaofeng in. It’s not that she did not hear Jin Qiliang, it’s just that she considered everything he said dog fart.

Lu Xiaofeng understood this fact.

In this kind of situation, any sensitive or tactful person would just leave. It’s not that Lu Xiaofeng was not sensitive or tactful, rather, he was a man who would not stop until he reached the Yellow River [idiom: persevere until reaching one’s goal].

Moreover, he always considered himself as an expert in dealing with women. When women saw him, they would become like Zhu Bajie [pig-like character in Journey to the West] eating ginseng, became muddleheaded that they could not distinguish east, west, north and south. Women from the age of eight to eighty were just the same.

Right now he raised his own spirit, ready to deal with this old woman, and he had high confidence in his heart.

Dealing with an old woman, it would be best to consider her to be a little girl. Precisely like when you are facing a little girl, never say that she has not grown up yet.

Naturally he had already thought about a plausible story to tell. But suddenly he discovered that there was another person standing at the end of the garden path, staring at him with fiery eyes.

It was a woman, her age probably twenty-six or twenty-seven years. According to the norm at that time, she could not be considered a young woman anymore, the distance between her current age with the criteria of youthfulness of jade-maiden was already too far.

But Lu Xiaofeng was convinced that when the woman was fifteen, sixteen years old, nobody would possibly consider her because of her character and mean demeanor; her face always carried an expression as if everybody in the world owed her money and did not pay.

In all his life this kind of women was what Lu Xiaofeng fear the most; just at the sight of them was enough to make him wanted to fight.

The woman was bent on staring at him; she looked at him from head to toe, from toe back to his head. Her pair of black and bright eyes looked like two charcoal briquettes that have just been scooped out from an icehouse.

“Hey, you, what are you doing here?” she asked Lu Xiaofeng. Unexpectedly she spoke with a Beijing accent, it was very pleasant to the ears.

Being stared at by her, Lu Xiaofeng already wanted to explode, yet he could not not answering her, “I came especially to pay my respect to Gongzhu, I have a friend who told me that Gongzhu will definitely see me.”

“What kind of ‘thing’ is that friend of yours? And what kind of ‘thing’ are you? What made you think that you have a right to barge in here?”

“I am not a ‘thing’, I am a man.” Lu Xiaofeng sighed, “I already told people this I don’t know how many times, why do people always fail to see this point?”

“Fortunately, I have already seen it.”

“You saw what?”

“I saw that you are basically not a ‘thing’, therefore, you’d better hurry up and go away, lest I get angry.”

“I was going to go away. If you are Gongzhu, I would have gone away.” Lu Xiaofeng flashed a very pleasant smile, “Fortunately, I have already seen it.”

“You saw what?”

“I saw that you are not Gongzhu.” Lu Xiaofeng said, “On your whole body, from top to bottom, there is not the least bit of Gongzhu quality at all.”

The woman’s wooden, stiff face was unexpectedly now aglow with anger, her eyes shot fire, as if the charcoal briquette have been lit.

Yet Lu Xiaofeng was still trying to annoy her more.

“Actually, I don’t blame you at all, although all along you have been shouting and yelling at me, throwing tantrums at me, I can still forgive you.” Indeed Lu Xiaofeng’s voice seemed to be brimming with sympathy and understanding, “Because I know that if a woman your age has not yet married, the anger inside will be inevitably big.”

If Lu Xiaofeng’s reaction was a bit slower, those words would be the very last words he said in his life.

A split second more, a short dagger, one-chi three-cun long [about 15”/40cm], would have pierced his heart.

This dagger came very fast, it was even faster than Lu Xiaofeng could ever imagined.

The woman whom Lu Xiaofeng provoked to half-dead was originally standing on the flower path more than a zhang away [1 zhang is about 10ft/3m], but suddenly she had arrived in front of Lu Xiaofeng, and a dagger suddenly appeared in her hand, with the tip of the dagger suddenly arrived in front of the pit of Lu Xiaofeng’s stomach.

The way she moved the blade was not only fast, but strange as well; the way she positioned the blade was also very unusual, very weird.

Actually, very few people ever evaded this blade. Therefore, Lu Xiaofeng did not even try to evade. He simply stretched out his two fingers and gently nipped the blade.

After all, what kind of fingers were Lu Xiaofeng’s two fingers? Weren’t the fingers blessed by deities and spirits in heaven, and cursed by demons? Wasn’t there some sort of unfathomable magical power on those fingers?

No one knew.

But everybody in Jianghu knew that these two fingers worth ten times the value of diamond of the same size as the fingers. It was said that once someone was willing to spend five-hundred-thousand taels to buy these two fingers.

Because he only needed to stretch these two fingers and pinched lightly, absolutely nothing in the world that they could not clamp; even a lightning fast blade was no exception, it was clamped by these two fingers.

It was said that these two fingers had completely interlinked with his heart and mind. Nobody knew how many killer weapons in the hands of wulin experts had been caught, nobody knew how many times these two fingers had saved his life.

This time was no different. Naturally the blade was also caught.

The woman wielding the dagger plainly saw that the blade was about to enter Lu Xiaofeng’s heart. She had always had high confidence in her skill and speed in using the blade, and originally this blade was not supposed to miss.

Yet the fact was that the blade did not pierce its target, and could not be pulled back either. It was as if it suddenly pierced a piece of rock, and was suddenly got stuck inside.

And then her face paled.

In all her life she had never imagined that her blade would be caught by just two fingers, not only that, it happened only in an instant.

This kind of thing would never have happened.

She exerted her strength to pull the dagger out, but she could not. She exerted her strength to push it forward, yet it did not move even one tiny bit. Practically her blade seemed to grow roots in Lu Xiaofeng’s fingers.

She raised her left foot to kick. When she kicked, her shoulder did not move, her eyes did not blink. Her kick did not give any warning at all; surprisingly, the kick she was using was the extremely-difficult-to-train ‘shadowless kick’. Therefore, her kick immediately went toward Lu Xiaofeng’s hand.

Her feet were natural, they were not bound. The shoes she was wearing were embroidered satin that was as soft and as light as skin. When caught inside Lu Xiaofeng’s hand, it felt just like a bare foot. Therefore, her pale face suddenly blushed pink, even her breathing seemed to be a little bit shorter but faster.

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly felt that she was not as ugly nor annoying as a moment ago, so much so that he started to feel that she was a bit alluring, a bit touching.

But the tone of her voice was still as harsh, “What are you doing?” she asked Lu Xiaofeng.

“I am not doing anything.”

“Why did you catch my foot?”

“Because you were kicking me.”

“Let me go.”

“I can’t.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want to be kicked to death by you.”

The toothless old lady has been standing on the side, watching them with a wide grin on her face, as if she was watching an opera. At first Lu Xiaofeng thought that she was a mute; unexpectedly now she smiled wide and asked, “You can’t let her foot go, are you going to hold her foot in your hand like that for the rest of your life?”

The pink face blushed deeper red now, the heart was beating even faster, the situation did not look too good.

Right this moment, suddenly from the small house deep inside the flowers and trees came a voice, “Gong Ping, don’t fool around in front of Lu Gongzi [young master], quickly invite him in!”

Not only the voice was noble and graceful, it was also gentle, soft and sweet; what kind of person had such voice? One could only imagine.

Lu Xiaofeng’s face seemed to blush a little as well. Under any circumstances, holding a young woman’s foot in his hand was definitely not something that a gentleman would do.

Yet the toothless old lady plainly took this exact moment to speak to him, still with a wide smile on her face, “Young man, if I were you, I would never let her go. I guarantee that as soon as you let go, your belly will be kicked.”

Lu Xiaofeng still loosened his grip.

To him, being kicked in the stomach was not a big deal, even if he was kicked seven, eight times, he would not die, but if he was being despised by a noble, beautiful, and a wine lover woman, he could really die.

The old woman looked at him, she laughed that the wrinkles on the corner of her eyes grew even deeper, “Lu Xiaofeng, you are indeed not a ‘thing’, now even I, an old woman, who is not only old, but my eyes are almost blind, can see that.”

Not only Gong Ping did not lift her leg to kick Lu Xiaofeng’s abdomen, it seemed that she did not even dare to look up. With her head down she walked away, leading him along the flowery path.

Lu Xiaofeng followed behind her.

There are two types of women in the world. The first type walks like a coffin on the move. The other type walks with their waists swaying like fresh, beautiful flower in the wind.

Gong Ping belonged to the second type, but she deliberately trying to control herself, intentionally putting up a very rigid appearance, never letting her body parts below the waist to sway the least bit, never letting the person walking behind her to see any movement.

Too bad no matter how hard one tries, one’s posture is very difficult to conceal; no matter what, one simply cannot turn a coffin into a flower, and vice versa, no one can change a flower into a coffin.

Walking behind her, Lu Xiaofeng was extremely delighted. Ever since he came to this small town, which even bird did not lay eggs, his mood has never been better.

But by the time he saw Gong Susu, he felt more unbearable than if his stomach was being kicked.

There was neither flower nor burning incense inside the room, but there was a distinct smell of fragrance similar to the newly sawed wood deep in the mountains, clean and fresh. A woman wearing violet robe was standing with her back to the door. She stood in front of the painting ‘Ferocious Hunting in The Fall’.

Drawn in the picture was a king, riding on a white tall steed, with a bow in his hand and arrows in the quiver, a hawk perched on his shoulder, while his entourage followed behind him, shouting and cheering, and the hunting dogs jumping and howling by the horse.

A clear and boundless sky, blue sky, crisp autumn weather, the king was high-spirited and vigorous, the painting looked alive on paper.

But the one looking at the painting was as thin as paper. Lu Xiaofeng sighed inwardly.

Naturally he had already guessed who the king on the painting was, and the one looking at the painting was, of course, the Gong Susu that he wholeheartedly wanted to see.

Those two people, one in the painting, one in a dream. Dreams are like smoke, lingering from the past, passion and enmity intertwined, love and hate intersect; even if the one in the painting could forget, how could the one looking at the painting deal with it?

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly felt that perhaps he should not have barged in on her at this kind of time, yet he could not bear not to see her just for a quick glance.

This feeling made him really wanted to give himself a couple of heavy slaps on the face.

When she turned around, Lu Xiaofeng only had one kind of feeling. He felt that he was a complete fool.

This imperial lady was definitely not the person he was looking for.

Although her hair was still jet-black and shiny, although her body was well-maintained, her facial features were also still as noble and graceful as before, but her prime years had passed long ago.

Based on her age, she was old enough to be Lu Xiaofeng’s mother.

A woman like her, nobody would ever associate her with a murder case.

Like a confused man, Lu Xiaofeng has blindly come to this place, furthermore, he insisted on seeing her, as if he would die if he did not see her.

But now Lu Xiaofeng did not even have the courage to take a glance toward her.

Yet Gong Susu was looking at him. With some kind of extraordinary elegance she smiled and said, “Lu Gongzi, we have never met before, we have not had any dealings with each other either, yet you insist on seeing me; is there any particular reason?”

“There isn’t,” Lu Xiaofeng hurriedly replied, “Not the least bit of reason.”

“Why did you insist on seeing me then?”

Lu Xiaofeng could only laugh wryly. Naturally he could not tell her that ‘a friend’ has swindled him to come; he could not tell her even more that he was here to investigate a murder case, that he was following a clue. Sometimes he could not even tell a lie.

He could only stand there with a foolish look on his face; just like a child that has just been caught doing something wrong by his teacher.

Suddenly Gong Susu’s eyes were brimming with sympathy and understanding. “I understand your feeling. Right now you must be very disappointed in your heart, because you have never expected that I am this old.” Her laughter was extremely gentle and warm, “Women who are old are like wine that have been kept in the dark for a long time; Lu Gongzi can’t possibly interested in it.”

Now Lu Xiaofeng really wished he could dig a hole and crawl into it, or perhaps find a place where there is no one else, and then crash his own head against the wall. If Jin Qiliang were around right now, he would definitely strung him with a very long rope, and hang him till he was dead.

Gong Susu laughed again and said, “It’s just that Lu Gongzi’s illustrious name, I have long looked forward to meeting you. Since you are already here, I must ask you to stay and have a cup of wine.” She said, “But I also know that this cup of wine, you would drink it with very much difficulty.”

She was a woman who understood men very well, plus she was very gentle. This kind of women was not too many then, and now it is getting less and less.

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly raised his head to look straight at her; with much difficulty he said, “I really want to say a few words, but I am not sure if I should say it.”

“Speak.”

“No matter how old you are, you are the most gentle and the most lovely women that I have ever treasured in my life.” Lu Xiaofeng looked at her eyes, “I am telling you the truth, I don’t know if you believe me or not.”

“I certainly believe you,” Gong Susu said. Suddenly she smiled sweetly, “Even if you said those words just to please me, I would rather believe it as the truth.”

Lu Xiaofeng also laughed. With this laughter he reverted back to his unique, pleasant and bright personality. “I also hope that what Gongzhu said just now is also the truth; you really wanted me to stay and have a cup of wine.”

“If it is the truth?”

“Then I wish that Gongzhu will not give me just a cup of wine.” Lu Xiaofeng said, “To be able to drink wine with such a beautiful woman like Gongzhu, I want to at least drink three, five hundred cups.”

On Gong Susu’s smiling face suddenly appeared a young-girl-like blush, even her eyes seemed to be brightened. “No wonder people say that Lu Xiaofeng is a lovely man, even an old woman like me is also fond of you, much less those young misses.”

Drinking wine was undoubtedly a delight, therefore, since time immemorial, there are always people who drink wine, moreover, the number of those who drink is not necessarily less than those who don’t.

People who drink can also be divided into two groups. The first group will be drunk as soon as they drink, once they are drunk they will vomit, speak mouthful of nonsense, crawl on the ground, run wildly around the house naked, so much so that they might set the house on fire; anything can happen.

Some people are not easy to get drunk, or even if they are drunk, others are not able to see it. No matter how much they drink, not only they do not throw up, make noise or go wild, their faces do not even change. Sometimes after drinking a bit of wine, they are much more clear-headed than people who don’t drink; even their reaction becomes much faster than usual.

Lu Xiaofeng was such a person.

He himself did not deny that when he first came here, his brains was a bit not too clear.

An invaluable Persian dagger, a bewildering murder case, plus a banished imperial lady very full with romantic fantasy. His head seemed to be stuffed full of confusing, mixed up matters. It was not until he downed seven, eight cups of zhuyeqing [green bamboo leaf (wine)] in one go that he felt that all these confusing things were flushed clean.

His mind suddenly became clear again. Something that he did not notice a while ago, suddenly reappeared on his mind, and also suddenly became very important to him.

First of all, he recalled Gong Ping’s feet and legs. When he grabbed her foot, he could feel the firmness of her leg, the strength and elasticity of her flesh and muscles. At that time he should have thought about the pair of long and firm legs underneath the purple long skirt. At that time he should have thought about trying to look at Gong Ping’s legs.

The first time he met a woman, he should have looked at her legs; although he would be going a bit too far, for the sake of a good friend’s death, going a bit too far is excusable.

Next, Lu Xiaofeng thought about Gong Susu’s voice. Her voice was gentle and graceful. Only an extremely educated lady of a prestigious family could be so touching.

The first time Lu Xiaofeng heard her voice, he was still on the flower path in the courtyard, but her voice came from the wooden cabin, “Gong Ping, don’t fool around in front of Lu Gongzi, quickly invite him in.”

At that time they have not met, how did she know that the visitor outside was Lu Xiaofeng?

The little cabin was some distance away from the flower garden, the gentle, soft and sweet voice was definitely not a shout or scream. She spoke gently, yet from far away Lu Xiaofeng was able to hear every single word very clearly, as if the speaker was right next to him.

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly realized that it was not a case of friend of a friend swindled him to come here, there was totally no reason behind it.

Sometimes, although drinking a bit of wine can make people become more clear-headed and keen, unfortunately, this time it was not so much.

Drinking till this time, one is usually not too far away from being drunk. Sometimes one would feel that he is as sober as Han Xin[1], who was able to move his troops like deity, whose prediction of enemy’s movement never missed; but then suddenly one would feel so drunk that he did not even know what nonsense he was talking about.

Lu Xiaofeng’s condition was like that.

All this time Gong Ping stayed by Gong Susu’s side, to wait upon her. All along Lu Xiaofeng was staring at her legs. Noticing his gaze, Gong Ping was so angry that her face paled, but like a leering thief Lu Xiaofeng was still staring at her, and he was giggling at her.

“Miss Ping, I bet you look better wearing skirt than wearing trousers, and if you don’t wear any skirt at all, I bet you will look even better.”

What kind of bulls1t was it?

Gong Ping suddenly made her move. From the ribbon wrapped around her waist she suddenly pulled a blade forged from best quality Myanmar steel. Stirring the air around it, the blade vibrated into a random pattern, and was thrust into Lu Xiaofeng’s eye.

A lot of people actually thought that Lu Xiaofeng’s eyes should be blinded.

If he were blind, there would be no way he could use his two demon-possessed fingers to clamp other people’s weapon.

If he were blind, a lot of other people’s secrets would be safe, because he would not be able to see a lot of things that other people did not want him to see.

Too bad in this world, eight or nine out of ten matters did not go as one wish. Oftentimes God did not do as humans’ desire.

Therefore, Lu Xiaofeng did not go blind yet. Therefore, he saw that when Gong Ping pulled the dagger, a piece of jade pendant fell from her belt.

Seeing this piece of jade pendant, immediately his countenance changed, as if he was really stabbed by the blade; furthermore, the blade was piercing his vital point.

The blade was only seven cun, seven fen long [approx. 20cm/8”], a short dagger. The technique used was appropriate for this kind of dagger, the style and variation were very fast, the way she moved was very vicious. It was indeed the main principle of dagger technique.

Gong Ping held the dagger in an upside-down manner, with her thumb inside the ring at the end of the hilt. As soon as her strike missed, the tip of the dagger slashed horizontally across Lu Xiaofeng’s face.

Looking at the speed with which she changed the direction of the blade, making an ‘X’ on other people’s face seemed to be easy enough; piercing the enemy’s heart in one stab did not seem to be a too-difficult-matter either.

Looking at the viciousness, efficient and straightforward way in which she moved, without the slightest degree of hesitation at all, it was obvious that it was not the first time she attempted to do this thing.

Unfortunately, this time unexpectedly her blade failed to slash; in fact, she could not even move the blade half a cun. Because her blade was suddenly clamped by Lu Xiaofeng’s two fingers.

She has always been very wary of Lu Xiaofeng’s two fingers. With the lesson she learned the previous time, she was confident that this time she would not ‘follow the track of an overturned cart’.

Yet for an unknown reason these two fingers suddenly popped out of nowhere and caught her blade; as if the fingers suddenly materialized out of thin air.

Worse yet, this time Lu Xiaofeng was not as polite as the last time.

While his right hand’s thumb and index fingers clipped the tip of the dagger, his left hand clutched around her neck. In an instant his foot also stepped on hers, so that she was tightly under his control.

Gong Ping was so angry that her eyes seemed to be shooting fire, yet she was absolutely unable to move.

The imperial lady sighed, “Lu Gongzi, I always heard that you are a man with the most compassion toward fragrance and appreciation toward jade, but looking at your manner right now, you are really unworthy of the compliment.” She sighed and then added, “You are really disappointing.”

Lu Xiaofeng also sighed, “To be honest with you, even I am a bit disappointed at myself.”

“In my opinion, a man who carry [on a shoulder pole] manure for a living will have a bit better manners toward a girl than you do.”

“In my opinion, most probably they are not just a bit better, but seventy, eighty, or even ninety percent better than I am.”

“Then why did you do it?” Gong Susu asked, “Are you drunk?”

“I am not.” Lu Xiaofeng replied in deadly earnest, “I can guarantee that I am at least seventy, eighty, or even ninety percent more sober than any manure carrier in the world.”

“By doing that, what is it that you actually want?”

With a devious chuckle Lu Xiaofeng said, “Actually, I don’t want anything; I just want to ask her trousers to leave her momentarily, so that I can take a look at her legs.”

What kind of dog fart was that? Compared to the worst smelling dog fart in the world, it was at least seventy, eighty, or even ninety percent more stinky. Could it be that this man was crazy?

He was not crazy. The one nearly went crazy from anger was Gong Ping.

With a very shocked expression on her face Gong Susu looked at him, up and down from head to toe, for half a day, and then she sighed and said, “Now I finally know what this is all about.”

“Oh?”

“Lu Xiaofeng would never do such thing, yet you are doing it; hence, essentially you are not Lu Xiaofeng.”

“I am not Lu Xiaofeng? What kind of toy am I?”

“You are not much of a toy,” Gong Susu drily said, “You are no more than an anthomaniac.” [Translator’s note: not sure, 花痴. My dictionary did not give me any definition that makes sense, Bing translator gave me a simple ‘s1ut’, Google translator came up with ‘anthomaniac’, which, upon further search, yielded ‘a person who suffers an extravagant passion for flowers’. Additional note (courtesy of Lu DongBin): 花 (hua), flowers – allusion to women; 痴 (chi) pertaining to mind, something psychotic. Combined it means an unhealthy erotic appetite for women, a skirt chaser, womanizer.]

She went on, “If a woman is an anthomaniac, perhaps men would love her. But anthomaniac men are different; when a woman sees an anthomaniac man, there is only one way to deal with him.”

Unexpectedly Lu Xiaofeng acted like he was very interested, “Which way?” he asked.

The imperial lady spelled out word by word, “This way.” [Orig. 就是这种法子 – ‘exactly this kind of way’.]

This sentence only has six words. Before she even finished speaking all six words, five different objects already flew toward Lu Xiaofeng.

A pair of chopsticks, a wine cup, a small dish of soy sauce, and a big bowl full of soup.

The bowl was the first to fly. Because the bowl was still more than half full of winter bamboo shoots and chicken soup, when the bowl flew, the soup splashed. Even though it did not splash onto Lu Xiaofeng’s eyes, it did obstruct his line of sight, so that as behind the bowl a series of attack came one after another, he could not see it clearly.

This attack was textbook style ‘poti’ [‘po’ – break/defeat, ‘ti’ – topic/subject’; writing style in which the main subject is approached directly from the outset]. Those without learning won’t be able to break [po] this problem [ti].

After that, the wine cup flew. When it was flying, it already disintegrated into seventy, eighty pieces, just like seventy, eighty pieces of irregularly shaped objects, some had sharp corners like sharp secret projectiles.

The pair of chopsticks flew as two flying nails, one flew toward Lu Xiaofeng’s hand that was clamping the blade, the other toward the small of his back.

The wide and flat soy sauce dish was spinning incessantly in the air, nobody knew the target of its attack, which part of Lu Xiaofeng’s body would it strike? The saucer was round, as it spun, how could anybody tell its direction?

Lu Xiaofeng was not mistaken. This delicate, gentle and graceful dying king’s concubine was a martial art expert with consummate skills.

Obviously she was able to speak from several zhang away, yet made the hearer felt as if she was speaking right next to his ear. It was a feat no ordinary people could do. The strike that she just launched, even less people would be able to accomplish.

The five objects were plain utensils that people use daily during meals, yet in her hands, these objects have become deadly weapons. Moreover, with just one attack, she had completely sealed the opponent’s escape route.

A prince’s concubine who had fallen from grace due to disfavor, how did she acquire this supreme feat that was able to kill people in an instant? How could her move be this accurate, experienced, carefully planned, and impenetrable?

Is it because her killing experience was much richer than anybody could ever imagine?

Looking at the way she made her move just now, most probably it was very seldom that she failed to kill her target. She made her move this time, naturally she was also confident that she would succeed.

Every angle, every situation, had been very carefully considered. Only one thing that she did not consider.

She did not consider the chicken soup.

People may have different views on chicken soup, yet chicken soup treats everybody equally.

Chicken soup in a bowl, you drink it, it is chicken soup; other people drink it, it is still chicken soup. Chicken soup splashed out, the liquid splashing onto people’s eyes is still chicken soup. While it is true that the chicken soup obstructed Lu Xiaofeng’s line of sight, Gong Susu was equally affected.

By the time the chicken soup filled the air like droplets of rain, Gong Susu suddenly discovered that Lu Xiaofeng has disappeared.

Lu Xiaofeng was gone, it was not a big deal, but even Gong Ping has also disappeared. So much so that the jade pendant that was falling on the floor just now also disappeared without a trace.

To top it off, Lu Xiaofeng still wholeheartedly wanted to see the pair of legs belonging to Gong Ping.

[1] Han Xin (-196BC), famous general of first Han emperor Liu Bang.

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