Use the translation feature to translate novels into different languages

The Embroidery Bandit Chapter 5


Chapter 5 – Risks of Clues

The wind was still that gentle, the night was still that serene. But Lu Xiao Feng knew full well that this quiet night could hide within it countless traps, that his gentle wind could at any moment carry with it fatal arrows.

“Inside the RoyalPalace, there are actually only 620 guards, at night they are split up into three shifts.”

“There are 200 men per shift, and every shift is split up even more into 6 teams.”

“Of these 6 teams, some patrol throughout the Palace, some permanently stands guard outside the Prince’s quarters, and some are hide inside the yards and the halls waiting to ambush anyone.”

“The one team that patrols outside of the Vault consists of 54 men in total. They are split up into groups of nine. Starting at 8pm, they start patrolling the area surrounding the Vault, at most 5 minutes of time window between the patrols.”

The Snake King had already found out a great deal about these things. Obviously, he had contacts inside the RoyalPalace. To enter the RoyalPalace, there is only one way – through a small little yard in the Northwest corner. That was where the quarters for the guards was situated, and was also the least guarded place in all of the RoyalPalace. The guards that was not on shift were probably all exhausted and was in deep sleep before they even land on their beds. Lu Xiao Feng had already scaled over the wall, but he still did not feel right inside. He had not wanted to say those things to Xue Bing, but he had to, he could never allow Xue Bing to take this risk with him.

Even though all he wanted to do was finding out whether or not a person could get into that Vault all by himself, even though all he wanted to do was to find out how the Embroidery Bandit got into the Vault so he would have a clue to follow. But he also knew full well that entering the RoyalPalace was like putting one foot into death’s door. As soon as one was discovered, then one was doomed to die under a flurry for blades and arrows.

The guards inside RoyalPalace would never bother to listen to his explanations. He could never allow Xue Bing to take this risk.

But then why was he taking this risk? Even he himself was not too convinced that he knew the answer to that question. Maybe it was nothing more than the fact that he was a born risk taker. Maybe he was motivated not only by curiosity but competitiveness as well. No matter what, he had swore to himself that he would unmask that Embroidery Bandit.

Inside the yard was a row of rather plain looking buildings, once in a while snoring could be heard coming from inside of them. Behind them the light in the huge kitchen facility was still on, obviously someone was busy preparing some night meals for those guards about to return from their shift. Right now was precisely the time that the first shift of guards come off their shift and the second shift goes on. The third shift of guards were still deep in their dreams.

Lu Xiao Feng was not the King of Thieves, because he never steals. But stealing an uniform from a group of sleeping youths was far from difficult for someone like him.

So now that he had a full set of guard uniform, he put it on over his tight thief outfit. The guards were all big and strong young men, so all of them had similiar height and built to him. But he still must be quick. During the change of shift, some small bit of confusion and chaos was unavoidable, and because of the confusion some lapses in awareness was also unavoidable. This was his best chance. He had already found the quickest and most direct route to the Vault on the map.

On the way he ran into some guards that had just got off their shift, but he did not avoid them in anyway, and they did not pay him much attention either.

Someone showing up late during shift changes was not unusual. Besides, of the 800 or so guards inside the RoyalPalace, there were some relatively new recruits anyways. The Vault premise actually covers a large area of land. To the left was a wood of peach trees, but their blossoms had already whithered away. Lu Xiao Feng hid in the wood until a group of patrols walked by before lightly and quietly jumping out and getting in line behind the last man.

His movements was, of course, made in absolute silence. And those other patrols that they walked by obviously would not notice that his group had an extra man at the back. This particular group’s job was to patrol around the outside of the Vault itself, so he followed them around the entire Vault one time. His heart was growing cold. The walls of the Vault were constructed out of giantic boulders with nary an opening anywhere, nevermind windows. It looked as if not even a fly could get in.

After waiting for the man in front of him to turn the corner, Lu Xiao Feng suddenly flew up onto the roof of the Vault. Maybe there was an air hole up on the roof, even if the roof was covered in tiles, they would not be too hard to move out of the way. He knew that quite a number of people in the shadier side of the martial world liked to go this route. So now he made like a gecko and searched the roof thoroughly. He still could not find any way in.

He removed a couple of roof tiles only to discover that underneath was 3 layers of steel wires that looked impossible to cut even with the sharpest of blades. This Vault was practically like one of those air tight steel chests, forget flies, even wind could not get in. So how did that Embroidery Bandit get in? Beside the Vault was a rather small structure, it was pitch black inside.

Like a bird, he took off. By now he had completely given up and only wanted to find a way out as soon as possible. At the moment that he took off, he suddenly noticed a person stood up inside of that small building. It was a pale faced man with a light beard who was dressed completely in a snow white robe. Inside of the darkness, his eyes were like a pair of cold stars. Lu Xiao Feng’s heart sank, and his body sank as well.

With a sudden “Thousand Ton Boulder”, he landed on the ground. At this precise moment, he saw the flash of a sword speeding directly towards him from the opposite roof top. He had never in his life seen such a spectacular and fast sword flash.

Suddenly, it was as if his entire body was enveloped inside of an aura, the aura of the sword, an aura that chills a man, any man, to the very center of his bones. The flash of the blade seemed, unbelievably, to be even scarier than Xi Men Chui Xue’s. Almost nobody in the world could defend against this strike. Lu Xiao Feng could not either, could not even if he tried. He tapped the ground with his foot and began backing up. The sword flash followed him, chased after him. No matter how fast he backed up, he could not get away for the strike, nevermind that he had just ran out of space to back up.

His body was already flat against one of the walls of the Vault. The sword flash, like a bolt of lightning, hurled towards his chest. It was no use to try and dodge to either side, even if he could. Whatever move he could pull off now would be too slow, too late. He was staring at certain death!

But at this moment, his chest suddenly caved in, caved in to the point where it looked glued to his spine. The sword strike had been precisely measured in terms of strength and position, but could not have, and did not, take into account that his body could suddenly become thinner. This change was something that was unimaginable for anyone. So when the sword flash reached him, it stopped where it was supposed to, because by now his chest should have been pierced and there was no point in putting in more energy and thrusting the sword any further.

Real masters are very precise and miserly about every bit of energy they expend so as to not waste even a little. Not to mention that this man was a Master among masters! He could have never imagined that this strike would not hit its target. But Lu Xiao Feng still had no where to go, all he had to do was simply push his sword forward a little bit more and Lu Xiao Feng would still be dead.

But, at this crucial instant, Lu Xiao Feng struck! He suddenly reached out with two fingers and caught the blade with them! Nobody could describe the quickness and dexterity of this move, for if you did not see it with your own eyes, you would have never believed it. The white robed man descended back onto the ground. He did not exert anymore force onto his sword but instead merely coldly stared at Lu Xiao Feng with those star like eyes of his.

Lu Xiao Feng returned his stare.

“Master of WhiteCloudCastle?” He suddenly asked.

“You can tell?” The man coldly replied.

“Other than Master of White Cloud Castle, who else in the world could make a strike like that?” Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

The man finally nodded.

“Lu Xiao Feng?” He suddenly asked as well.

“You can tell?”

“Other than Lu Xiao Feng, who else could with stand that strike from me?” Lu Xiao Feng smiled. Anybody would be joyous after hearing “Master of White Cloud Castle” say that. It was said that he never complimented or praised anybody, but that sentence was undoubtly a praise.

“Four years ago, you used the same move and caught a sword strike from the Wooden Taoist.” Ye Gu Cheng continued. “To this day he still proclaims that move is absolutely peerless in this world.”

“He’s my friend, a lot of people likes to exaggerate a little about their friends!” Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

“Four months ago, he saw me using that strike: ‘Heavenly Angel’. He also proclaimed that move to be without equal in the world.”

“It truly is!” Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

“But he still thought that you could stop that move of mine!”


“I didn’t believe it, so I had to give it a try!”

“You actually knew that I was going to come here?”

Ye Gu Cheng nodded.

“And you were waiting here for me?”

Ye Gu Cheng nodded again.

“What if I couldn’t catch that strike?”

“Then you are not Lu Xiao Feng!” Ye Gu Cheng plainly answered.

“Even Lu Xiao Feng might not have caught that strike of yours!” Lu Xiao Feng meekly smiled.

“If Lu Xiao Feng did not catch that strike, then Lu Xiao Feng would not be Lu Xiao Feng now.”

“If Lu Xiao Feng did not catch that strike, then Lu Xiao Feng would be dead by now!”

“Correct!” Ye Gu Cheng coldly agreed. “A dead man is just that, a dead man. A corpse don’t have any names!”

He suddenly pulled back and the sword returned to its sheath. He was also the first one to pull his sword out from between Lu Xiao Feng’s fingers.

“Looks like you don’t want to kill me after all!” Lu Xiao Feng smiled.


“Because if you want to, right now is another opportunity to do it.”

Ye Gu Cheng stared at Lu Xiao Feng’s face.

“There aren’t that many foes like you in this world. For every one killed is another one less of you!” He slowly said. Within those star like eyes of his there suddenly flashed a hint of loneliness. “I’m a very proud man, so I don’t have any friends. I don’t care about that. But to live in a world without any worthy opponent, now that is real loneliness.”

Lu Xiao Feng was staring at him as well.

“If you want a friend, you can always find one!” He smiled.


“Well, at least you can find one right at this moment!”

“Looks like they weren’t lying about you, you really are a person who likes to make friends!” Ye Gu Cheng’s eyes seemed to show a little bit of joy in them.

“They? Who are they?”

Ye Gu Cheng did not answer, nor did he need too. Because Lu Xiao Feng had already noticed Jin Jiu Ling and Hua Man Lou.

Lu Xiao Feng suddenly noticed that Ye Gu Cheng and Xi Men Chui Xue had a lot in common. They were both very lonely and very proud men. Neither of them held lives in great regards – be it their foes lives or their very own, it was the same to them. Their moves were always merciless, because their styles consists entirely of fatal moves and strikes. Both of them also liked to wear white clothes.

And both of them were cold like those far away glaciers on those distant mountains. -Could it be that only this kind of man can master that kind of peerless, unmatched sword skills? When Lu Xiao Feng lifted up his wine cup, he noticed another thing. Ye Gu Cheng also did not touch alcohol, he did not even drink tea. The only thing he drinks was pure water. As soon as Lu Xiao Feng lifted his cup, the wine had entered his mouth.

Ye Gu Cheng looked at him, as if he was very surprised.

“Do you drink quite a lot of wine?” He asked.

“And I drink them quite fast as well!” Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

“That’s why I’m puzzled!”

“You find drinking to be a very puzzling thing?”

“Wine can damage one’s body and could distort one’s mind. But yet you are still at your peak both physically and mentally!”

“Actually, I don’t often drink this much,” Lu Xiao Feng smiled. “Only when I’m sad do I drink as viciously as this!”

“You are sad?”

“How can a guy not be when he’s been betrayed by his friends?”

Hua Man Lou smiled, of course he knew what Lu Xiao Feng was saying.

“Do you think that we had betrayed you?” Jin Jiu Ling was smiling as well.

“You guys knew I was going to come here, and you guys knew that there was peerless sword waiting for me here. And yet you two made like a pair of Cao Cao’s and watched the show on the sideline.” Lu Xiao Feng put up a serious face.

“We knew that you were going to come here because we knew that you had to see for yourself if anybody could have gotten into the Vault!” replied Jin Jiu Ling.

“So that’s why you guys were waiting here for me, to see if I could get in!”

“But only when you jumped onto the roof did we notice you!” admitted Jin Jiu Ling.

“And then you waited to see if I would really be killed by Master Yie!”

“You know very well that he did not really want to kill you!” Jin Jiu Ling protested.

“But that strike was real!”

“Lu Xiao Feng was real too!” Jin Jiu Ling laughed. He was truly a man who has a way with words. It was impossible for anyone to get mad at him. “Before you came, we had all arrived at a conclusion!”

“What’s that?”

“That if Lu Xiao Feng could not get in, then there’s not a human in the world that could.”

“Is that Embroidery Bandit not a human?”

Jin Jiu Ling did not reply.

“I really could not find a way inside; even if I had the keys to the Vault, I could not have opened the doors without the guards noticing; even if I did open the doors, there’s no way that I could have lockd the doors from the outside.”

“When Jiang Chong Wei entered the Vault that day, the door was locked from the outside!” said Jin Jiu Ling.

“I know.”

“So, logic dictates that there must be another way inside the Vault and that’s the way that the Embroidery Bandit used!”

“But in reality a way like that does not exist.”

“It must exist,” Hua Man Lou suddenly said. “It’s just that we can’t find it.”

Ye Gu Cheng had been quietly and coldly sitting there watching them, seemingly completely uninterested in this matter. He was only interested in one thing.

“Xi Men Chui Xue is your friend?”

Lu Xiao Feng nodded.

“There’s a person waiting for me outside, can you guys guess who this person is?” He suddenly asked. He was afraid that Ye Gu Cheng would start asking about Xi Men Chui Xue, so as soon as he asked, he changed the subject.

But Ye Gu Cheng did not want to change the subject.

“Have you ever exchanged moves with him?”

“No!” Lu Xiao Feng had to answer this time.

“How is his sword skills?”

“Not bad.” Lu Xiao Feng forced a smile.

“Did Du Gu Yi He die under his sword?”

Lu Xiao Feng had to nod.

“Then that means that his sword skills are already above that of the Wooden Taoist’s.” A look of joy and excitement suddenly appeared on Ye Gu Cheng’s cold face as he slowly continued. “If I could test myself against him, then that would truly a joy of my life!”

“Wine, how come there aren’t any wine here!” Lu Xiao Feng suddenly stood up and declared.

“Let me go fetch some for you.” Jin Jiu Ling offered.

“Fetch some from where?”

“There’s a wine cellar here.”

“That you can get in?”

“There probably isn’t a place in this RoyalPalace that he couldn’t get in now!” Hua Man Lou laughed at Lu Xiao Feng’s question.


“You infiltrated the RoyalPalace and yet don’t know who’s the newly appointed Warden of the RoyalPalace?” asked Hua Man Lou.

“Could Warden Jin please lead the way to the wine cellar?” Lu Xiao Feng laughed and requested.

The wine cellar was in that small little building beside the Vault. Jin Jiu Ling opened the door with his keys. A guard had already like the lantern for them.

After entering the room, they had to lift up one of the stone slabs and walk down several flights of stairs before arriving at the wine cellar. And such a huge wine cellar it is!

“If I was a real alcoholic, then you couldn’t force me to leave this place even if you had a knife up against my neck!” Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

“I know plenty of people who thinks that you have problems, but you certainly isn’t an alcoholic!” Jin Jiu Ling smiled.


“You came here simply because you are afraid that Ye Gu Cheng might force you to take him to Xi Men Chui Xue!”

“I really am afraid of those 2 meeting.” Lu Xiao Feng sighed. “Once either one of them unsheath his sword, almost nobody in the world coule make them put the sword back in!”

“But they will meet sooner or later!”

“And what would happen on that day is something that I’m too scared to even think about!” Lu Xiao Feng smiled a tired smile.

“You are afraid that he might kill Xi Men Chui Xue?”

“I’m also afraid that Xi Men Chui Xue might kill him!” Lu Xiao Feng sighed. “Both of them are one of a kind swordsmen. If either one of them died it would be an inreconcilable loss. The scariest thing is that both of them only know killing moves. Once the sword becomes unsheathed, then somebody has to die!”

“Absolutely have to die?”


“But there’s no such thing as an “absolute” in this world!” Jin Jiu Ling smiled.


“That Vault was supposed to be ‘absolutely’ inpenetrable, but yet somebody did get in it. He couldn’t have very well fell out of the sky or popped up from the ground could he?”

Lu Xiao Feng’s eyes suddenly lit up.

“Is this wine cellar underneath the Vault?”

“Seems like it!”

“If the two of us dig a hole in the ceiling of this place, could we not get into the Vault?”

Jin Jiu Ling’s eyes lit up as well.

“The outside of this wine cellar might not be tightly guarded, but one would still have to have a key to get in here!” Jin Jiu Ling observed.

“Did Jiang Chong Wei have the key?”

Jin Jiu Ling nodded.

“But he would never give the key to the Embroidery Bandit!”

“Of course he wouldn’t, but somebody else would!”


“Someone that could get close to him, someone that could take the key off of him and make an imprint of it!”

“Do you think it could be Jiang Qing Xia?” Jin Jiu Ling’s eyes were glowing.

“Looks like you aren’t known as the smartest man inside of the Six Doors for nothing!” Lu Xiao Feng heavily patted him on the shoulder.

Carrying a huge jug of wine with him, Lu Xiao Feng made his way back. He had decided to have a real celebration. He was not sure if he had ever been this happy before.

“What are you two so happy about? Did you guys find some treasure in the middle of the wine cellar?” Hua Man Lou asked upon hearing their laughter.

“That’s right!” Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

“What kind of treasure?”

“A thread!”

“A thread? What kind of thread?” Hua Man Lou did not understand.

“The kind that you can’t see, but all we have to do is to follow this thread and we’ll be able to find that fox’s tail!”

“What fox?” Hua Man Lou was still a bit confused.

“A fox that knows how to embroider, of course!” Lu Xiao Feng laughed.

Now, finally, he could be sure of something. Jiang Qing Xia and that Embroidery Bandit was from the same organization. So all he had to do was find Jiang Qing Xia and he would be able to find the Emboirdery Bandit.

“Are you sure that you can find Jiang Qing Xia?”

“A little bit.”

“How are you planning on going about looking for her?”

“I’m planning on finding a pair of red shoes. A pair of red shoes that shouldn’t be worn, but was for some reason was worn!”

“Your ideas are getting less and less comprehensible!” Hua Man Lou sighed and smiled.

“I guarantee that you’ll understand one of these days!” Lu Xiao Feng laughed. He suddenly noticed that someone was missing in the room. “Where’s Ye Gu Cheng?”

“He doesn’t like drinking, and doesn’t like watching other people drink, and now it had gotten to the time for him to go to sleep!” Hua Man Lou answered.

“Do you really think he’s gone to sleep?”

“I only know that if he really wants to go find Xi Men Chui Xue, then nobody can stop him!” Hua Man Lou sighed again.


Lu Xiao Feng did not get drunk often, but he often liked to pretend to be drunk. Because when he pretends to be drunk, he could make all the noise he wants without getting in trouble for it. Hua Man Lou did not mind him making all that noise, but this was the RoyalPalace, he did not want Lu Xiao Feng to smash Jin Jiu Ling’s meal ticket.

Lu Xiao Feng banged his chopstick on the wine cup to keep beat.

“Yellow River travels among the white clouds,

“Lonely castle sits upon the blade like mountain.

“Why must the flute use the willows to say goodbye,

“The spring wind could never pass Yu Men Gate.”

Those were the famous words of the Tang poet Wang Zhi Huan, and also happened to be the Master of White Cloud Castle Ye Gu Cheng’s favorite poem. Obviously, he was still thinking about Ye Gu Cheng, obviously, he was still not drunk.

{I apologize for the crude translation of this wonderful poem. For those who understand Chinese:

Huang He yun shang bai yun bian,

Yi pian gu cheng wan ren shan.

Qiang di he xu chou yang liu,

Chun feng bu du yu men guan.

This poem is one of the greatest and most famous poems in China. It actually has quite a number of things to do with Ye Gu Cheng. The “Gu Cheng” in Ye Gu Cheng’s name means “lonely castle/city” and his nickname fits perfectly with this poem. Yu Men Gate itself is symbolic and is the gate most often alluded to in Chinese poetry. It is situated where the Great Wall meets the Yellow River. Also, it suggests something about the character of Ye Gu Cheng. When the last lines talks about how the spring winds never pass the Yu Men Gate, it means that the willow trees would never flourish, due to the lack of Spring.}

He finished singing one poem and moved onto the next. Finished that one and moved onto another one. As if he was just itching to sing these poems out loud.

“You said someone was waiting for you outside, who is it?” Hua Man Lou suddenly asked.

Lu Xiao Feng stopped singing. Of course, he was not really drunk, but Xue Bing could very well be. When a person is anxious and mad, it is always very easy to get drunk. Lu Xiao Feng jumped up and charged out.

“So who do you think is waiting for him outside?” Jin Jiu Ling asked.

“It has to be Xue Bing!” Hua Man Lou did not even have to think about that one.

“It has to be!”

“I know that Xue Bing has always liked him very much, and he has always liked Xue Bing a lot!”

But Xue Bing was not waiting for him at the inn. In fact, she had not even returned there since he left her. Lu Xiao Feng knew that, at this moment, there was only one way for him to find Xue Bing – the Snake King. This time he had no need for someone to lead the way.

The night was deep, but the Snake King was still not asleep. He was not surprised at the sight of Lu Xiao Feng either.

“I’ve been waiting for you!”

“You were waiting for me? Did you know I was going to come here?”

The Snake King nodded.

“Have Xue Bing been here?” He probed further.

The Snake King nodded again.

“She had been here for a long time, drinking. Drinking a lot. And she said a lot as well!”

“What did she say?”

“She said that you were a jerk and a half, and that you were not a man at all.” Even though he was smiling, a hint of worry could be discerned from his smile.

“She must have been drunk!” Lu Xiao Feng meekly smiled.

“But she insisted on leaving, insisted on going to find you. I couldn’t stop her, but I couldn’t just let her go like that. So all I could do was sent 2 men to tail her and protect her in case anything happened!”

“Have those two men returned?”

“They won’t be coming back!” The Snake King sighed.

“Why not?” Lu Xiao Feng’s expression changed.

“Someone has already found their bodies, but Lady Xue was no where to be seen!” The Snake King’s expression was very serious.

The bodies were found in a dark alley. The fatal blows were inflicted on their eyes. By the time they died, they were already blind.

“The Embroidery Bandit!” Lu Xiao Feng’s body went cold. Could Xue Bing have already fallen into that Bandit’s hands? Could she have possibly know that Lu Xiao Feng has already discovered her secret? At least this proved one thing – that clue that Lu Xiao Feng found was correct! To be able to find an unchallenged fact in these swirling clouds of doubt and conjectures was suppose to be a joyous thing. But Lu Xiao Feng felt as if his heart had sank to the bottom of his feet and was being stepped on by himself. He suddenly discovered that his feelings towards Xue Bing was much more intense than he had ever suspected. Upon his return to the little pavilion, he found the Snake King still waiting for him. Without a word, the Snake King poured a cup of wine and pushed it towards him. Lu Xiao Feng picked up the cup, but then placed it back down.

“Don’t you want a drink?”

“I just want to clear my head a little!” Lu Xiao Feng forced a smile onto his face. His smile made him look as if he was crying. The Snake King had never seen him so sad before.

“I have over 3000 brothers working for me, as long as Lady Xue is still inside the city, I will find her!” His words were not meant to console Lu Xiao Feng, he really did have that power. But, by the time he finds Xue Bing, her body might be cold as well.

“Have you ever heard of a bearded guy who sews?” Lu Xiao Feng suddenly asked.

“Even though I nevered, I figured that you were here because of this matter!” The Snake King nodded.

“Those two men died into that person’s hands, so….”

“So you are afraid that Lady Xue has also fallen into this person’s hands?”

Lu Xiao Feng picked up the cup once again.

But this time it was the Snake King that stopped him.

“If you really want to clear your head a little, then the best way to do that is to sleep for a bit!”

“If you were me, could you sleep?” Lu Xiao Feng smiled a tired smile.

“I haven’t slept a night in 10 years now,” The Snake King smiled a tired smile as well. “This is an illness too. But this illness had made me an authority on this, so I have some medicine specifically for this problem.”

It was a white powder and it came inside a green, transparent, jade flask. The Snake King poured out a little into the wine.

“You could sit here and stare out into space for the next 10 years and you would still not be able to save Lady Xue. But if you could sleep a little and clear your thoughts up, maybe you could figure out a way to save her.”

Lu Xiao Feng hesitated before finally gulping down the cup of wine.


By the time he woke up, it was already day, the sunlight poured in through the green silk curtains. The Snake King was sitting underneath the curtains and, with a snow white piece of cloth, polishing a sword. A very thin and narrow sword that was made from top quality iron smelt over hundreds of times. Normally, this sword could be wrapped around one’s waist like a belt. This was the Snake King’s famous weapon: “Nimble Snake Sword”.

“What are you doing?” Lu Xiao Feng frowned as he sat up.

“I’m polishing my sword.”

“But you haven’t used that sword in at least 10 years.”

“I’m only polishing it, I’m not preparing to use it.”

He did not look Lu Xiao Feng in the eye, as if he was afraid that Lu Xiao Feng might find a secret of some sort. Even bathed in sunlight, his complexion was scarily pale. Only those who truly suffers from insomnia can know how frightening and how painful it is. It is not a sickness or illness but a punishment and torture more frightening than any sickness or illness. This man had already been tortured for 10 years.

Lu Xiao Feng stared at him.

“And I have never asked you about your past!” He finally said slowly after a long time.

“You haven’t.”

“I didn’t ask, maybe only because I already knew!”

“What do you know?” The Snake King’s expression immediately changed.

“I know you did not start off being the Snake King. A person like you would never be a Snake King unless you were trying to get away from something very painful.”

“Being the Snake King isn’t exactly an unseemly thing,” The Snake King coldly replied. “Can’t you tell that I live a much more comfortable life than most of the people in the world?”

“But you are not this kind of a man. If not for escape, you would never hide yourself inside of the dark alleys of the city!”

“What kind of a man am I then?”

“I don’t know, I only know that you are my friend. And between friends there should only be truths!”

The Snake King’s complexion turned even paler before he suddenly let out an exhausted sigh.

“You weren’t supposed to wake up so soon!”

“But I am already awake now!”

“What do you think I’m running away from?”

“Hatred and revenge! There’s not that many things in the world that can cause as much pain as that kind of hate!”

The Snake King’s expression was truly very painful.

“You came here in order to escape that hate and hid yourself within the dark alleys of the city. Because you know your enemy, your nemesis, could never imagine that you have turned into a Snake King.”

The Snake King wanted to refute this, but did not open his mouth.

“But you could never forget this hatred either. That’s why as soon as you get the chance, no matter what, you are going to finish this whole ordeal!” He suddenly walked over, placed his hands on the Snake King’s shoulder, stared him straight in the eye, and said, emphasizing every word. “Did you find your chance now? Did you find information on your nemesis’ whereabouts?”

The Snake King’s mouth remained closed, but his expression became even more painful!

“Who is your nemesis? Is that person inside the city?”

The Snake King’s mouth still remained closed.

“You don’t have to tell me, but then I don’t have to let you leave either.”

“You have enough things to worry about by yourself, why are you meddling in other people’s business?” The Snake King coldly demanded with a straight face.

“I know full well that you don’t want other people to return your favors, that’s the reason you are not telling me.”

The Snake King closed his mouth again.

“And I don’t want to repay you any favors either, I just want to work out a trade with you!”

“What trade?” The Snake King could not help but ask.

“Let me go deal with that person for you, and you find Xue Bing for me!”

“You are right,” The Snake King tightly balled up his fists, but those thin and pale hands of his could not stop shaking. “I do have a nemesis, and I do have unfinished business that I want to address with that person.”

“So my guesses were right!”

“Since this is entirely my own personal matter, why should I let you go in my place?” The Snake King snickered.

“Because your hands are shaking,” Lu Xiao Feng snickered back. “Because you have been sick for 10 years, because you have been tortured to the point where you don’t even look like a man anymore. Because if you go now, it would be just suicide!”

The Snake King’s stiff body suddenly went limp on his chair, as if his entire body had just collapsed.

But Lu Xiao Feng still did not relent. “Maybe that’s what you wanted all along, to die. Because you feel that staying alive was much more painful than death. But I don’t want to see you die in that person’s hands, and do not want to see the person that condemned you to this state live on in this world.” He grabbed those cold hands of Snake King’s tightly and continued, emphasizing every single word. “Because we are friends!”

The Snake King looked into his eyes, suddenly, tears began to flow out as if from a fountain.

“Have you ever seen my wife? Of course you haven’t. So you will also never know how warm and gentle of a woman she was.” He mumbled. “Have you ever seen my 2 sons? They were both smart and cute kids, they were only 5 and 6….”

“Have they all died in that person’s hands?” Lu Xiao Feng asked through his tightly clenched jaw.

“She’s not a person!” The Snake King began sobbing even more, his voice croaked even more. “Her heart is more poisonous than those of snakes or scorpions, her methods are crueler than those of monsters. Maybe she’s just a demonese that had escaped from the depth of hell!”

“She’s a woman?”

The Snake King nodded.

“What’s her name?”

“First Madame Gong Sun.”

The Snake King explained some more. “Her real name is Gong Sun Lan, ‘Lan’ as in orchid. Rumor say that she is the descendent of that famed beauty First Madame Gong Sun of the Early Tang. So people who know her all call her First Madame Gong Sun as well.”

“But I don’t know her, I haven’t even heard of that name before.”

“She’s not famous, nor does she want to be famouse. She thinks that fame would only bring with it trouble.”

“At least she could be described as a very intelligent woman.” sighed Lu Xiao Feng. Who else could know more about the troubles and worries that came along with being famous better than Lu Xiao Feng?

“But she had used many other names, those names you probably do know about!”


“Female Butcher, Peach Flower Wasp, Lady Five Poison, Soul Robbing Granny…. You should have heard of all these names before!”

“They are all her?” Lu Xiao Feng’s expression changed.

“Every last one of them.”

“Looks like she truly is a very powerful and frightening woman.” Lu Xiao Feng sighed and asked. “If her movements are so secretive, then how did you find her?”

“I didn’t find her, she found me.” The Snake King reached into his shirt and took out a wadded up but later flattened envelope.

“I know who you are, and I also know you must really want to see me. The dusk of the full moon, I’ll be waiting for you in the WestGarden. It would be best if you bring some silver with you and invite me to some of those famed vegetable cookings there.”

The handwriting was very pretty, very elegant. Where one signs one’s name was drawn a single orchid instead.

“She handed that to one of my men in the southern part of the city with instructions to give it to me personally!”

“She didn’t give this to you personally, maybe it was because she didn’t know where you live!” Lu Xiao Feng mused after thinking it over.

“There aren’t that many that could get in this little place of mine!”

“WestGarden, is it that the WestGarden that has a row of plum trees in it?”


“And today is the day of the full moon?”

“Today is the 15th.”

“She arranged the meeting to be at night, it’s still early and you are all ready to go?”

“What time do you think this is? Morning?”

Lu Xiao Feng suddenly noticed that the sunlight outside was fading, it was getting close to sunset.

“That dose was suppose to make you sleep until tomorrow morning, but it seems like no medicine is strong enough to be effective on you.”

“Maybe it’s because I’m about to go completely numb anyways.” Lu Xiao Feng meekly smiled.

“I know I’m absolutely not a match for her,” The Snake King stared at Lu Xiao Feng. “But you….”

“You don’t have to worry about me. I have ran into people 10 times deadlier than her and I’m still here.” He did not let the Snake King reply and continued. “But, there’s still one thing that worries me!”


“I’m worried that I might not find her. Since she has all kinds of different names, then she must have all kinds of different incarnations. Besides, all some women have to do is change their clothes and hair and they would look completely different.”

“Her disguises are truly works of art and she very rarely shows her true face to anyone. But she has a flaw, as long as you know this flaw, then you would always recognize her!”

Seems like every woman has a flaw of some kind or another.

“What’s hers?” Lu Xiao Feng giggled a little.

“Her flaw is very unusual.” Seems like the smarter and prettier the woman is, the more unusual her flaw is. “She has a habit. No matter what she wears, no matter who she pretends to be, the shoes she wear never changes!”

“What kind of shoes does she wear?” Lu Xiao Feng’s eyes lit up.

“Red shoes!”

Lu Xiao Feng literally jumped.

“Blood red embroidered shoes, like those that brides wear on their wedding days. Except it’s not loons that are sewn on them, but owls!”

Post a Comment