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The Silver Hook Gambling House Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – Ocean of Vinegar*, Waves of Prosperity

*[Translator’s note: vinegar is often used to symbolize jealousy]

The Lucky Inn’s courtyard was surrounded by four building complexes. Yin Kid’s party seemed to stay on the fourth complex. They seemed to rent the entire complex.

Just a moment ago Lu Xiaofeng seemed to hear the voices of women singing and laughing, but now the voices had ceased.

He walked around and entered the complex from the back door, and did not see even a single human being. Apparently this place was not enjoying good business.

Although the lanterns around the courtyard were lit, not even a sound of breathing or coughing was heard. Could it be that nobody was home?

Lu Xiaofeng stood on tiptoes and then leaped up the short wall. The lantern light shone through the window, but not a single shadow was to be seen.

There seemed to be a faint trace of the fragrance of women’s cosmetic and the aroma of wine and meat in the courtyard. Apparently there was a joyous gathering in that courtyard not too long ago. When people gathered to have a good time, wine and women were never absent.

But where were the people now?

A breeze came. Lu Xiaofeng suddenly knitted his brows. The breeze brought the smell of not only the wine, meat and perfume, but also a very particular smell, a special odor that usually can be found only around the slaughter house.

He deliberately created some noise, but nothing was stirring in the room. While he was still hesitating, unsure whether he should just break into the room, suddenly he heard a miserably scream.

The scream was ear-piercingly sharp; it did not sound like a human being’s voice.

If you insist that that was a human’s voice, then this human certainly was a deformed monster.

Immediately Lu Xiaofeng remembered the ‘lacking-half’ person. Could it be that the Sui Han San You had beaten him again by one step?

He flitted across the roof ridge, his shadow floated like a light smoke. The scream came from the back, the two rooms at the very back. He could see the dim light far ahead. The two window panels and the door were actually half open.

The smell of the reeking of blood was getting thicker.

Lu Xiaofeng flew in and stopped right in front of the door. He gently pushed the door open with two fingers.

Immediately someone was laughing fiendishly inside the door, “You are really here. I knew that as soon as the box was delivered, you will come here. Come in, quick.”

Lu Xiaofeng did not come in.

Not that he did not dare to come in, but he could not bear to come in.

The situation inside the room was a lot more horrible than the slaughter house, a lot more nauseating.

Three teenage girls, young girls who had not completely matured, like slaughtered white sheep were lying askew on the edge of the bed; their pale and slender bodies were still bleeding, with blood flowing through their tender legs, dripping to the floor.

The ‘lacking half’ person, like the grim reaper sat on the head of the bed. He raised a dagger in his hand, with blood still dripping from the blade.

“Come in!” his voice was sharp and ear-piercing like an owl in the night, “I tell you to come in, you must come in, otherwise I am going to cut these stinky three girls into eight pieces.”

Lu Xiaofeng gritted his teeth, trying hard to stop vomiting; because vomiting can usually weaken one’s body.

Yin Kid laughed fiendishly: “Although these three stinky girls do not have any relation with you, too bad you are known as a man who always shows tender compassion, you can’t bear to see them die in your presence!”

This malicious monster indeed knew how to capture Lu Xiaofeng’s weakness; Lu Xiaofeng’s heart had already sunken.

He indeed was not able to bear it.

His heart was not as hard as he wanted it to be. He knew perfectly well that sooner or later these girls could not avoid death, yet he still could not bear to see them die in his presence.

All he could do was to brace himself and step in.

Yin Kid laughed out loud: “At first we did not want to kill you, but you should not …”

His laughter suddenly stopped; three cold rays of light flew in through the window. With the flashing of these rays, three star-like objects penetrated the young girls’ throats.

The Yin Kid roared wildly and flew out instantly, but he did not pounce on Lu Xiaofeng at all, instead, he dashed out to pursue the person who launched the secret projectiles.

But Lu Xiaofeng was unwilling to let him go.

The young girls had already died, Lu Xiaofeng had nothing to risk, why would he let him go?

The Yin Kid made a somersault in the air, the iron hook on his left arm grabbed the beam, and his body spun around the beam just like a spinning top. His fake leg created a strong gust of wind, turned out it was made of cast iron.

As soon as he executed this strange trick, anybody would have to give up any idea of coming close to him.

Lu Xiaofeng also could not come close, he had no choice but helplessly watch him spinning continuously. Suddenly his iron hook came loose. Borrowing the centrifugal force of the spin, his body shot out the window like an arrow.

Turned out he was not trying to score any victory, but was only hoping to escape. Obviously he realized he was not Lu Xiaofeng’s match.

Too bad he still underestimated Lu Xiaofeng.

As his body flew, Lu Xiaofeng’s hand suddenly reached up. With two fingers outstretched, he pushed lightly.

‘Wham!’ The Yin Kid was thrown heavily outside the window, his prosthetic leg struck the ground and sparks flew in all directions.

Lu Xiaofeng did not intend to kill him. With a lightning fast speed he simply sealed his acupoint with the intention of leaping out after him to interrogate his origin and the purpose of his trip.

Again a cold ray of light flashed in the courtyard and a nail pierced Yin Kid’s throat.

“Who’s there?”

The night was dim, the stars and the moon were not shining, not a single shadow was visible. Since he could not see anything, how could he pursue?

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. “Luckily there were seven of them,” he muttered, “There remain six living mouths.”

He had just finished talking when suddenly from behind him came a cold voice, “It’s a pity that now even half a living mouth is no more.”

Only one person spoke, but there were three shadows on the ground, three long shadows because of the light from the window.

Sui Han San You.

Lu Xiaofeng slowly turned around. With a bitter smile he said, “So the other six people are no longer alive?”

One old man coldly said, “If they were still alive, you would not get out of that room that easily just a moment ago.”

Presumably the other six people were setting up an ambush in the darkness; so Lu Xiaofeng was actually walking into a trap. Pity that they all lost their lives silently in the dark.

Without a doubt these six people were martial art masters. Killing them all might not be too difficult but killing them all together silently was not an easy matter.

Sui Han San You’s martial art skills were high, the way they made their moves was ruthless and accurate; truly astonishing.

Lu Xiaofeng sighed and silently reminded himself that no matter what, he must not act blindly without thinking.

Surprisingly, this old man’s hand was still holding a wine cup, and there were still wine inside the cup. Other than Mr. Gu Song [lit. lone pine (tree)] of Sui Han San You, how many people in the world would be able to kill people in an instant with only one hand?

Mr. Gu Song sipped the wine in his cup, then with a cold laugh he said, “Actually, we wanted to keep this half mouth alive. It’s a pity that although you have the skill to kill, you don’t have the ability to save.”

“So it wasn’t you just now?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Mr. Gu Song arrogantly said, “This kind of scrap copper and rusty iron, Lao Fu [old man, referring to self] has not touched for many, many years.”

The secret projectile on Yin Kid’s throat was a very elaborately manufactured three-corner bone-penetrating nail. The girls also died under this kind of nails. In just a short period of time their faces turned black and their bodies started to shrink. It was obvious that the nails were dipped into some kind of throat-sealing violent poison.

Lu Xiaofeng also knew that this kind of secret projectiles could not possibly be used by the Sui Han San You. If one was capable of throwing a flower or a leaf to harm others by his internal energy, one could casually pick a pebble to strike down the enemy’s arrow or flying dagger, one would not need to use such a poisonous secret projectile like this.

He simply needed to ask, because he really could not figure out who had acted so ruthlessly?

With a cold look Mr. Gu Song sized him up: “I have long heard that among the younger generation martial art experts, you are the most astute and the best, but I cannot see the least bit of that sign in you.”

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly laughed: “Sometimes when I looked into the mirror, I would feel disappointed in myself.”

Mr. Gu Song: “Still, you’d better be more careful along the way, you need to take a better care of yourself.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Because before I find your Luocha Tablet, I must not die.”

Mr. Gu Song laughed coldly. With a flick of his long sleeve, ‘Whoosh!’ the trees around the courtyard swayed, autumn leaves fluttered, and the three of them disappeared.

Their qing gong had reached perfection, their temperament was extremely hard to deal with, whoever had these three as adversaries cannot possibly be too happy in his heart.

Lu Xiaofeng pinched a fallen leaf with his two fingers. He looked at the leaf and then let it fall again, while muttering, “The leaves have dried up. Two more days farther north, snow will start to fall. Those who are not afraid of cold are free to follow me.”

The room was still lit.

When he left just a moment ago, the light was very bright. Right now it had dimmed quite a bit.

The door was half ajar, exactly like when he left a moment ago. Suddenly he asked the question he had never thought of before: “Is she still waiting for me?”

At first he was hoping that Ding Xiangyi would leave quickly; the sooner the better. But now? If she really had left, he would certainly not feel too good.

Regardless of what kind of person you are, when you know someone was waiting for you in your room, your heart will certainly grow warm. This feeling is similar to those of a lone hunter, when he returned home on a cold winter night and found out that someone has lighted the fire for him at home, then he would not feel lonely anymore.

Only an adventurer like Lu Xiaofeng can understand how precious this kind of feeling can be. Therefore, when he pushed the door open, he was a bit nervous.

Right this moment, with this kind of feeling in his heart, he truly did not wish to walk into a cold and empty room.

Someone was inside, she had not left.

With her back facing the door, she sat next to the light, with her soft jet-black long hair hanging loosely on her shoulder.

She was slowly combing her hair with an ebony comb. Why is it that women always like to comb their hair to pass lonely time?

Seeing her, Lu Xiaofeng suddenly felt the light was a lot brighter.

No matter who you are, you would feel better when you know someone was there for you. Suddenly he realized that the older he got, the more unbearable loneliness was to him.

However, he did not show the feeling in his heart; he said lightly instead, “At last I am back alive.”

“Mmm,” she did not turn her head.

Lu Xiaofeng: “I am not dead, and you haven’t left. Looks like it is not time for the two of us to bid goodbye yet.”

She still did not turn her head, but saying gently, “Do you wish I will never leave you forever?”

Lu Xiaofeng did not answer, because he suddenly realized the woman who sat in his room combing her hair was not Ding Xiangyi at all.

She seemed to be smiling coldly, the hand that hold the comb was so white that it looked almost transparent, her fingernails were very long.

She was still combing her hair, she was combing hard, as if she wanted to take her own hair to vent her anger.

Lu Xiaofeng’s eyes shone. “It’s you?” his voice hoarse.

She was laughing coldly, “You did not think it was me?”

Lu Xiaofeng admitted, “I really did not think it was you.”

“I also did not think that you are such a lover, see one woman love one woman.”

At last she turned her head. Her face pale, her nose straight, her eyes shone like the cold stars in the autumn night.

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. With a bitter smile he said, “This time I don’t want to climb an iceberg, but the iceberg actually wants to climb me?”

If Fang Yuxiang was really an iceberg, then there comes a time when an iceberg can also blush.

Right now her face was red, with her big eyes she hatefully stared at Lu Xiaofeng. “Is it true that you are not capable of speaking like a human being?”

Lu Xiaofeng smiled: “Once in a while I am capable of speaking one or two sentences. But it is only when I see a human being.”

“So you think I am not a human being?” Naturally these words were not spoken, but her big eyes grew even bigger as she stared at Lu Xiaofeng.

Lu Xiaofeng chuckled. “A couple of days ago I heard someone said that although your appearance looks mean, actually you are a very warm-hearted person. Too bad that try as I might, I fail to see it.”

Fang Yuxiang: “Someone said I am a very warm-hearted person?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Uh huh.”

Fang Yuxiang: “Who was it?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “I am sure you know.”

With a cold laugh Fang Yuxiang said, “Isn’t she the full-of-affection little biaomei [younger female cousin] of mine, Ding Xiangyi?”

Lu Xiaofeng coughed lightly twice in reply; suddenly he felt that his face was blushing a little bit.

He always thought his heart was not too black, his face was also not too thick; as soon as the content of his heart was revealed, he would blush a little bit.

Fang Yuxiang coldly looked at him. “These last two days, she was always with you, I presume?” she asked.

Lu Xiaofeng could only admit.

Fang Yuxiang: “Where is she now?”

Lu Xiaofeng was startled. “You don’t know where she is?”

Fang Yuxiang: “I have just got here, how would I know?”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed: “Perhaps she was afraid when I come back I would turn into a freak who lacks a nose and lost an eye. She could not bear to see me like that, so she decided to walk away.”

Fang Yuxiang coldly said, “She is indeed a soft-hearted woman, she always shut her eyes when she kills people.”

Suddenly from outside came a giggle. “Of course Da Biaojie [elder female cousin] understands me best. Because the last time killing someone I closed my eyes, blood spattered all over my body.”

Amidst the silver bell like laughter, like a swallow Ding Xiangyi flew in gracefully.

Although her laughter was delightful, her appearance was actually a bit distressing; even the front lapel of her gown was torn. She looked more like a swallow that has just been hit on the tail by a hunter’s crossbow.

Fang Yuxiang’s face was devoid of any feeling. “I didn’t think you would come back.”

Ding Xiangyi laughed. “Knowing Da Biaojie is here, I have no choice but to come back.”

Fang Yuxiang also laughed. Her laughter was also very sweet. “Although sometimes I am mad at you, I also know that no matter what, you are still my good Biaomei, you are always good to me.”

Ding Xiangyi: “It’s a pity that the opportunity for us to see each other is not always many, you are always with Da Biaoge [older male cousin], leaving me all alone on my own.”

Fang Yuxiang’s smile was even sweeter: “Your words are so pleasant to hear, but don’t you think that I do not know that you have already forgotten us long time ago.”

Ding Xiangyi: “Who says that?”

Fang Yuxiang smiled while casting a glance toward Lu Xiaofeng. “When the two of you are intimate, do you still remember us?”

The two women were smiling sweetly, they both also spoke very pleasant words, but the more Lu Xiaofeng watched, the more he felt something was amiss.

Amidst the laughter as merry as silver bells, suddenly he heard ‘Crack!’ The comb in Fang Yuxiang’s hand turned into a chain of swift arrows. One comb has at least forty, fifty teeth; just like a rainstorm these forty, fifty sharp arrows all flew toward Ding Xiangyi.

Ding Xiangyi’s hand also suddenly launched seven cold rays of light, all flew toward the seven vital acupoints on the front of Fang Yuxiang’s torso.

These two women made their moves together, unexpectedly both were launching fatal blows, each one wanted to take the other’s life in this split second.

They both did not close their eyes, but Lu Xiaofeng did.

When he opened his eyes, he saw seven cold stars nailed on the wall in front of him, Fang Yuxiang was lying on the bed, and Ding Xiangyi had already flown seven, eight zhang away.

He heard her voice from the distant darkness, a voice filled with hatred: “Remember this: I will never forgive you!”

But before she even finished speaking, her voice had turned into a scream. The scream was immediately cut short, replaced by an eerie silence.

The autumn fog had dispersed. The fog was noiseless. The wind was still blowing, but even the wind did not create any noise.

The whole earth was silent.

Fang Yuxiang was still lying motionless on the bed, so much so that her breathing was not heard.

Lu Xiaofeng sat down. He looked at her breast.

A very mature and firm pair of breasts.

Suddenly Lu Xiaofeng laughed: “I know you are not dead yet.”

A dead person’s breast would not be as enticing as her breast, but like a dead person, she did not show any reaction.

Lu Xiaofeng stared at her for half a day. Suddenly he stood up, walked over, and lay down by her side.

And then he also turned into a dead person, while the other dead person actually started to revive.

Her hand was moving, her leg was also moving.

Lu Xiaofeng was motionless. Fang Yuxiang suddenly guffawed. “I know you also are not dead yet.”

Finally Lu Xiaofeng showed some reaction. He grabbed Fang Yuxiang’s constantly moving hand.

Fang Yuxiang: “What are you afraid of? I am not Blue Beard’s legally married wife; you are not his friend.”

She laughed again: “Don’t tell me you are scared of Ding Xiangyi? I guarantee she won’t be coming back this time.”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. He knew that if Ding Xiangyi managed to come back this time, she might really turn into a freak who lacks a nose and lost an eye.

But he was not too concerned about it, because he noticed that the seven stars nailed onto the wall were precisely the tree-corner bone-penetrating nails he saw earlier.

He suddenly asked, “Did she come to find me on your order?”

Fang Yuxiang: “I have neither enmity nor grudges against you; why would I want to harm you?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Harm me?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Right now she is like a volcano which might erupt anytime. No matter who she is following, that person may die under her hands anytime.”

With a bitter smile Lu Xiaofeng said, “Looks like my luck recently is not too bad. I met two women, one is an iceberg, the other is a volcano.”

Fang Yuxiang: “Volcanoes are a lot more dangerous than icebergs, especially a volcano who hides three hundred taels of gold on her.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Three hundred taels of gold? Where did she get that much gold from?”

Fang Yuxiang: “She stole it.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “What sort of place has that much gold for her to steal from?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Black Tiger Hall’s treasury.”

Lu Xiaofeng exhaled slowly. “Black Tiger Hall, black linen belt …,” he muttered.

Fang Yuxiang: “That’s right, all of the Black Tiger Hall’s various section leaders [orig. ‘xiang zhu’, lit. fragrance/incense host/master, and ‘duo zhu’, lit. helmsman. I do not know how to translate these two titles properly, so I refer to them as ‘leaders’.] wear black linen belts.”

Although the Black Tiger Hall was a new organization within the Jianghu, their organization was tight and their influence was enormous. Some said that it had already surpassed the Green Shirt Pavilion of the former days. It was backed by strong and solid financial resources that even the Beggar Clan and the Diancang Sect could not compete.

The Beggar Clan has always been the biggest clan of the Jianghu, while Diancang’s disciples were all of rich families; plus there was a gold mine on the Diancang mountain. Therefore, these two organizations have always been the richest.

But Black Tiger Hall was actually richer.

Money will make the Devil turn millstones, they say. The main reason the Black Tiger Hall was able to rise so rapidly was exactly because of its riches.

Lu Xiaofeng: “They say the Black Tiger Hall is fearsome because it has too much money. Naturally the defense of their treasury is very strict.”

Fang Yuxiang: “I believe so.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “These last couple of days I found out that the number of martial art masters who work for Black Tiger Hall is a lot more than I imagined. What ability does Ding Xiangyi have that she was able to empty their treasury?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Her ability might be superficial, but whatever little ability she has is enough.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Oh?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Who is the Hall Leader of Black Tiger Hall?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Flying Jade Tiger.” [orig. ‘Fei Tian Yu Hu’, lit. jade tiger flying to the sky]

Fang Yuxiang: “She is Fei Tian Yu Hu’s wife.”

Lu Xiaofeng was shocked.

Fang Yuxiang: “I heard when Fei Tian Yu Hu was not home recently, Ding Xiangyi seized the opportunity to clean up the Black Tiger Hall’s treasury and eloped with one of Fei Tian Yu Hu’s pageboys.”

She laughed, and then continued, “Actually, you shouldn’t be surprised. She is not the first, and definitely won’t be the last of women who steal their husbands’ valuables and elope with a ‘little white face’ [see my previous note in Chapter 3].”

Finally Lu Xiaofeng sighed: “Looks like this ‘little white face’s ability is not to be trifled with; he was able to make her brave this kind of danger.”

Fang Yuxiang laughed: “Are you jealous?” [orig. ‘eat (or drink) vinegar’]

With a straight face Lu Xiaofeng said coldly, “I just want to see what kind of man he is, that’s all.”

Fang Yuxiang: “Too bad you will never see him now.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Why?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Because he has been chopped into eight pieces by the Five Warriors of Liao Clan, stuffed in a box and shipped back to the Black Tiger Hall.”

The Five Warriors of Liao Clan must be the five men who followed him earlier.

Now Lu Xiaofeng understood, they were not following him at all, but tailing Ding Xiangyi.

Fang Yuxiang: “After the ‘little white face’ was dead, she realized that the Black Tiger Hall was hot in pursuit. Only then did she get scared, therefore …”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Therefore, she looked for me.”

Fang Yuxiang: “Everybody in Jianghu knows that the Four-eyebrowed Lu Xiaofeng is not someone to be messed up with. Even the Emperor is his good friend. Even the Master of the White Cloud Castle and Yan Duhe have fallen under his hands. With an escort of this caliber, surely the Black Tiger Hall would not dare to act rashly.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “But they did not know that I have three even fiercer escorts protecting me in secret.”

Fang Yuxiang: “That’s why out of the thirteen people who came, twelve have already died.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Who is the last one?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Fei Tian Yu Hu.”

Lu Xiaofeng’s countenance changed. “He is also coming? Where is he?”

Fang Yuxiang: “He seemed to be outside a moment ago. I think he must be going home now.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Why?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Because he must have found the person he was looking for. In handling his business, he always draws a clear line between gratitude and grudges. He knew that you are merely a puppet exploited by Ding Xiangyi. Therefore, he will not come looking for you.”

Lu Xiaofeng coldly said, “Therefore, I should feel relieved, because Fei Tian Yu Hu’s martial art skill is simply too high, his ability is so awesome that if he comes looking for me, I will definitely die.”

Fang Yuxiang sweetly said, “I have no doubt that you are not afraid of him, but it’s always best to avoid this kind of troublesome issue.”

Lu Xiaofeng turned his head around to look at her. Suddenly he asked, “Probably Ding Xiangyi’s knowledge of Black Tiger Hall is not any clearer than yours.”

Fang Yuxiang sighed: “To tell you the truth, I was the one who introduced her to him, consequently, when she offended him like this, I also am losing face.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Also because he did not marry you but married Ding Xiangyi instead, you were very angry and then went out to gamble everything you have, in the end you married the Blue Beard.”

Fang Yuxiang nodded. She said softly, “That’s why I do not have any emotional attachment toward the Blue Beard. In all honesty, I regret ever marrying someone who owns a gambling establishment like him.”

It does not matter whether it was a man or a woman, when one is going through a heart-breaking experience, one would usually drink to drown one’s sorrow or gamble to gain happiness, and then casually pick just anyone to be one’s partner. But when one’s head is clear afterwards, it usually is already too late to regret.

This is a tragic story, but also a very common one.

The man is too busy dealing with his business outside, the woman cannot bear the loneliness, and thus cheating with someone else, so much so that they eloped together.

This kind of affair is also very common.

Ding Xiangyi was afraid Lu Xiaofeng would pay no attention to her if he knew the truth; hence she did not give the Yin Kid any opportunity to speak, and thus she took the initiative to strike the first blow to silence the witness.

Seeing Fang Yuxiang had arrived, originally she wanted to slip out unnoticed; but as soon as she went out, she discovered Fei Tian Yu Hu’s trail. Without any better option, she was forced to return to the room. Unfortunately, Fang Yuxiang forced her out again.

There was a very plausible answer to each of his questions. But Lu Xiaofeng was still not satisfied. For some reason he always felt that there was a conspiracy in the midst of all these, a secret he was not able to penetrate.

“They say Fei Tian Yu Hu is a very mysterious character; he has never revealed his true identity.”

A leader of a secret organization must always maintain his mystery, only then can he live quite a long life.

Lu Xiaofeng: “But you are an exception, you must have seen him.”

Fang Yuxiang concurred. “I have seen him many times.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Actually, what kind of person is he?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Lately, many people believe the Jianghu’s two most mysterious personalities, the two most fearsome people, are the Two Jades of the North and West.”

The west had a Jade, the north also had a Jade. Bumping into these two Jades, the game was as good as lost. [Translator’s note: the character ‘yu’ in both ‘Yu Luocha’ and ‘Fei Tian Yu Hu’ means ‘jade’.]

Fang Yuxiang: “Since he shares the same reputation as the Western Region’s Yu Luocha, he must be similarly vicious and ruthless, a similarly astute and fierce character.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “What does he look like?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Although he is more than forty years old, he looks about thirty-six, thirty-seven years old. His stature is short and small, his eyes look like a hunting hawk.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “What is his surname? What is his name?”

Fang Yuxiang: “I don’t know.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “You don’t know?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Perhaps he has a very bitter past that he has never revealed his real name and origin in front of others. I am no exception.”

Her hand suddenly started moving again.

Lu Xiaofeng was still motionless.

In a tender voice Fang Yuxiang said, “Now that you know everything, what are you afraid of?”

Lu Xiaofeng did not respond.

Fang Yuxiang: “The night is very deep, the wind outside is also very strong, are you cruel enough to drive me out?”

Her voice was sultry, full of passion, her hand was even more stimulating.

Finally Lu Xiaofeng sighed and said, “Of course I won’t drive you out, but I …”

Fang Yuxiang: “But you what?”

Lu Xiaofeng stopped her hand, “I only want to clarify one thing.”

Fang Yuxiang: “What matter?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Ding Xiangyi came to me because she wanted to use me as her shield. What about you?”

Fang Yuxiang: “Do you think I am here to exploit you as well?”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed: “I truly wish you came here because you had a liking for me. Too bad I would still not believe it even after I drank thirty catties of wine.”

Fang Yixiang: “Because you know you are not someone who thinks himself to be a gift to women?”

With a bitter smile Lu Xiaofeng replied, “I was, in the past; and that is the reason I still live even today. It truly is not easy.”

Fang Yuxiang also sighed. “If you must know the truth, I will tell you the truth. I came here to strike a business deal with you.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “What business deal?”

Fang Yuxiang: “I want to trade your Luocha Tablet with my body. I will give you my body first then when you get the Luocha Tablet, you must give it to me.”

She laughed, then continued, “I am the Blue Beard’s wife, if after finding the Luocha Tablet you give it to me, you can be considered successful in your mission, hence you won’t suffer the least bit of loss.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “And if I cannot find it?”

Fang Yuxiang: “That’s a risk I am willing to take. I will not blame you at all.”

Her voice was even sultrier, even more passionate: “The night is already this deep, the wind outside is so strong, in any case I do not dare to go out.”

Unexpectedly he did indeed stand up and walked out the door without turning his head. Suddenly a ‘Crack! Bang!’ was heard, the spacious and sturdy wooden bed collapsed.

Lu Xiaofeng laughed.

Hearing Fang Yuxiang cursing and swearing, his laughter was even more cheerful. “You prevent me from having a good night’s sleep, I won’t let you have a good night’s sleep as well.”

He was not a sage, nor a gentleman.

Fortunately, he was Lu Xiaofeng, the one and only Lu Xiaofeng.

Who can imagine where he would sleep tonight?

He slept on the roof. Hence by the time he woke up the next morning, he was almost dry blown by the wind, blown until he turned into a ‘wind chicken’ [not sure, orig. 風鷄 Can anybody tell me what a ‘wind chicken’ is?].

Apparently someone sometime should think oneself to be a gift to women so that one would sometimes enjoy better days.

He sighed and strained to stretch his body really well before he was able to move his hands and feet. Luckily Fang Yuxiang had left. Nobody would be able to spend the night on a shattered bed.

Nobody would want to go up the roof to vent her anger to him, therefore, she unleashed her rage on his clothes.

When he wanted to change clothes, he found out that all his clothes had been torn to pieces. Except one long robe, on which someone had written these characters using the rouge Ding Xiangyi had left behind: “Lu Xiaofeng, your guts is smaller than that of a chicken; why don’t you change your name to Lu Xiaoji?” [Translator’s note: ‘Xiaofeng’ – Little Phoenix, ‘Xiaoji’ – Little Chicken.]

Lu Xiaofeng laughed.

“Even if I am a chicken, I won’t be a ‘little chicken’.” Feeling his blown-dried face he said, “At least I should be a ‘wind chicken’.” Wind chicken was very nourishing.

Other than wind chicken, there was a dish of cured meat, a dish of scrambled eggs, and a dish of cucumber pickled in soy sauce.

Lu Xiaofeng drank four large bowls of sweet smelling and hot sticky rice porridge before he finally put his chopsticks down. Although he was a bit sore all over his body, his heart was very happy.

It was a pity that his happiness has always been short-lived.

He was about to order the fifth bowl of porridge when someone coming from the outside delivered a letter for him.

The stationery was very exquisite, the handwriting was also very delicate. “Has that troublesome fox left yet? I do not dare to call on you. Do you dare to call on me? If you don’t, you are a grandson of the turtle.”

Lu Xiaofeng recognized the courier as the inn’s attendant. From the tone of the letter, Lu Xiaofeng also recognized it as Ding Xiangyi’s.

So she had not died yet?

“This Miss Ding is the same Miss Ding who came in with Mister Guest yesterday.”

Indeed she had not died yet.

Immediately Lu Xiaofeng forgot all the soreness on his body, just like someone who suddenly hears the singing of the ‘Tan Appeals to the Heaven’ opera outside. He sprang up instantly, “Where is she? Take me to her, quick! If I don’t go, I am the grandson of a turtle’s grandson.”

The door was unlocked.

Pushing the door open, he smelled a scent even sweeter than the osmanthus flowers.

There were no osmanthus flowers inside the room, but there was someone, someone who was lying on the bed.

It was not the first time Lu Xiaofeng smelled this kind of fragrance. It was precisely the scent of Ding Xiangyi’s body.

Ding Xiangyi was indeed very fragrant.

The person lying on the bed was indeed a very fragrant person.

The sunlight streamed in through the window. The room was serene and elegant, making one’s heart full with joyful and warm feeling.

She was lying on a spacious soft bed, covered in cotton quilt embroidered with a pair of mandarin ducks playing on the water.

Scarlet quilt, emerald-green mandarin ducks, her face captivating pink, her jet-black hair shiny; obviously she had just finished grooming herself.

The woman was pleased and ready, she was waiting for him.

Lu Xiaofeng felt warmness creep into his heart again, but he deliberately maintained a straight face as he said, “Why do you want me to come? Are you going to return those fifty-thousand taels of silver banknotes to me?”

Ding Xiangyi also deliberately closed her eyes and ignored him.

Lu Xiaofeng sneered: “If one already has three-hundred thousand taels of gold, why would one want to take fifty-thousand taels of silver?”

Ding Xiangyi still did not pay him any attention, but from her tightly shut eyes two streams of tears suddenly flowed down.

Crystal clear tears, flowing slowly along her captivating pink cheeks, just like dews on the petals of a rose.

Lu Xiaofeng’s heart softened again. He slowly walked over. He was thinking of saying some rather gentle words.

He had not said anything. Because suddenly he realized something strange – Ding Xiangyi’s body seemed to be a little bit shorter. The lower part of the quilt seemed to be empty.

Why?

Lu Xiaofeng did not even dare to think. He grabbed the corner of the cotton quilt embroidered with a pair of mandarin ducks playing on the water and raised it up. Suddenly he felt as if he sank into cold water. His body, from top to bottom, was ice-cold.

Ding Xiangyi was still fragrant, she was still pretty, her breasts were still full and tender, her waist was still soft and slender, but her pair of hands, her pair of feet, had disappeared!

The sunlight was still streaming in through the window, but the warm bright sunlight had turned more dazzling than the tip of a sharp needle.

Lu Xiaofeng closed his eyes; immediately he saw a thin small face with eyes like a hawk, filled with malicious hatred. The face was grinning fiendishly at Ding Xiangyi, as if he was saying, “I cut off your hands, I want to see if you still dare to steal my gold. I cut off your feet, I want to see where can you run?”

Lu Xiaofeng clenched his fists, tight.

A man has every right to get his eloped wife back. He did not resent Fei Tian Hu Yu for this. When he knew Ding Xiangyi was captured, he only felt sourness and sadness, nothing more.

But this was a different story.

Nobody has any right to harm others. He abhorred violence, just like farmers hate locusts.

When he opened his eyes, he found out that Ding Xiangyi was looking at him. She had been looking at him for a while.

Her eyes did not contain any anger, only sadness. All of a sudden she softly uttered two words, “Go away!”

Originally she wanted him to come; now that they have met, why did she want him to go away? Was it because she did not want him to see her wretched condition? Or was she afraid Fei Tian Yu Hu would return unexpectedly?

Perhaps she wrote the short note under Fei Tian Yu Hu’s coercion. Perhaps it was a trap.

Lu Xiaofeng gently set the quilt down. He pulled a chair and he sat by her bed. Although not a single word came out of his mouth, his meaning was loud and clear: “I will not go away.”

It did not matter the reason she wanted him to go away, he was determined to stay, to keep her company.

Because he knew that this time was definitely a time when she needed company the most. When he was lonely, didn’t she also come to keep him company?

Lu Xiaofeng was not a narrow-minded person. Although others had wronged him, he would quickly forget those offenses.

He preferred to remember only other people’s kindness.

Obviously Ding Xiangyi also understood his intention. Other than sadness, now her eyes were brimming with unspoken gratitude. “Now I am sure you know my story.” Her voice was so low, as if she was afraid others would hear her. “Obviously I have no way of taking those three hundred thousand taels of gold everywhere with me. In order to force me to reveal the whereabouts of the gold, he tortured me like this.”

“And now certainly you have returned the gold to him; but why did you wait until he tortured you like this before you were willing to return it to him? Those gold were his to begin with, you should return it to him.”

Lu Xiaofeng’s mouth stayed shut; of course he did not utter these thoughts. In reality he could not bear to hurt her anymore.

The wind was blowing outside the window; one by one the falling leaves hit the shutters like a weary hand fiddled a zither bow, grating it across a rough tangerine-peel surface. Although it created a sound, it was a very distressing sound.

What should he say now? Any consolation would be unnecessary, because whatever comforting words he was trying to say, she would not be comforted.

After a long distressing silence she suddenly asked, “Do you know why I stole those three-hundred thousand taels of gold?”

Lu Xiaofeng shook his head, he could only pretend he did not know.

But Ding Xiangyi’s explanation was beyond his expectation. “It was also because of that Luocha Tablet.”

It was not a good explanation, that’s why it did not sound like a lie.

Ding Xiangyi: “I know Li Xia took the Luocha Tablet. I also know that she has returned to Lao Wu [lit. old house].”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Lao Wu?”

Ding Xiangyi: “Lao Wu is Rahasu. Rahasu is the local dialect, it means the Old House.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “You know Li Xia?”

Ding Xiangyi nodded. Her face suddenly showed a very strange expression. After hesitating for a long time she softly said, “She is actually my stepmother.”

This reply was even more beyond Lu Xiaofeng’s expectation; she explained further, “Before Li Xia married the Blue Beard, she was my father’s wife.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Your father …?”

Ding Xiangyi: “He is dead now. But Li Xia and I still keep in touch with each other.”

Li Xia was her stepmother, Fang Yuxiang was her older cousin. Her cousin had actually snatched her stepmother’s husband, and her cousin actually introduced her to her current husband.

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly realized that these three women had a very complex relation with each other. If she did not tell him, he would have never guessed it.

Ding Xiangyi could see through his mind; she said mournfully, “Women are weak; there are a lot of who women have fallen into very unfortunate situations, they are often forced to do things they were unwilling to do. Not only men do not show the least understanding toward them, oftentimes men would also look down upon them.”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. “I … I understand.”

Ding Xiangyi: “This time, although what Li Xia did was wrong, I sympathize with her.”

“She stole her husband’s Luocha Tablet, you stole your husband’s gold. What you did were the same, of course you sympathize with her.”

Obviously Lu Xiaofeng did not say this thought out loud, but Ding Xiangyi could read his mind.

“I said she did something wrong, not because she stole the Luocha Tablet,” it was the first time her expression revealed grief and indignation, “If a woman has been abandoned by her husband, whatever she did to retaliate is justifiable.”

This is a woman’s idea; most women will have this idea.

Ding Xiangyi was a woman.

Therefore, Lu Xiaofeng could only express his agreement.

Ding Xiangyi: “I said she did something wrong, because she should not agree to sell the Luocha Tablet to Jia Leshan.”

Lu Xiaofeng’s countenance changed. “Jia Leshan of Jiangnan?”

He knew this man.

Jia Leshan was a well-known rich man from Jiangnan; he was also known locally as a benevolent warrior. Only a very small number of people knew that in the past he was a notorious pirate of the four seas that even more than half of ‘wokou’ [my dictionary says ‘Japanese pirates of the 16th and 17th century’] of the eastern world [orig. Dong Yang – modern day Japan] was under his command.

The ‘wokou’ had always been known as bloody and cruel, vicious bandits, they were valiant and unafraid to die. Not only that, their natural disposition was capricious. The fact that Jia Leshan was able to subdue these people showed just how formidable and fierce he was.

Ding Xiangyi: “I know Li Xia has had a negotiation with Jia Leshan’s secret envoy who was sent to the Central Plains, even the price has been agreed upon. The transaction will be conducted at Rahasu. Payment is cash on delivery.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Since they have reached an agreement in the Central Plains, why must the transaction be at the remote small town way up north?”

Ding Xiang Yi: “That is also one of Li Xia’s conditions. She knew Jia Leshan is always vicious and ruthless. For fear that he would eat her alive, she insisted that the transaction must be done at Rahasu.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Why?”

Ding Xiangyi: “Because that is my father’s hometown. Also, she had lived there for ten years, she is very familiar with the people and the area. Even Jia Leshan would not dare to be reckless there.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “It seems like she is an unusually astute and fierce woman.”

Ding Xiangyi sighed: “She has no choice but be astute, because she has fallen into men’s treachery too many times.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “But she told you this secret anyway.”

Ding Xiangyi: “Because right after she got hold of the Luocha Tablet, the first person she looked for was me.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Oh?”

Ding Xiangyi: “She also made a promise that if I could get two hundred thousands taels of gold by the end of the year, she would sell the Luocha Tablet to me …”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Why do you want that Luocha Tablet?”

Ding Xiangyi: “Because I want revenge.”

Clenching her teeth, she continued, “I have known long ago that Fei Tian Yu Hu has another woman, he has always considered me a hindrance; that woman obviously dislikes me even more. If I live a day longer, she could give up the idea to be Madame Clan Leader of the Black Tiger Hall forever.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Are you saying that they want to kill you?”

Ding Xiangyi: “If not for my vigilance, I am afraid I would have died under their hands long time ago. But if I have the Luocha Tablet in my hand, they would not dare to deal with me.”

If a woman is willing to spend two hundred thousand taels of gold on something, she must have a strong reason.

Lu Xiaofeng: “Why?”

Ding Xiangyi: “Because if I have the Luocha Tablet, that means I am the Cult Leader of the Luocha Cult. Even Fei Tian Yu Hu cannot help not to have at least a third part of fear toward the Cult Leader of the Western Region’s Demon Cult.”

Her tired and sad eyes suddenly shone as she told a very astonishing secret:

The Western Region’s Yu Luocha was dead. He died suddenly as his son was entering the Great Wall.

“When my hundred years is over, whoever I pass on the Luocha Tablet to, will become the next generation Jiaozhu of our Cult. Whoever defy this order will have to suffer ten thousands cuts, will be dismembered by poisonous ants. After death will be imprisoned as a ghost and will not be redeemed for ten thousand years.”

The Western Region’s Yu Luocha was certainly astute and fierce character. He was afraid after his death his disciples would massacre each other in their fight for power, and thus destroy the Cult he founded with his own hands.

Therefore, when he opened up the mountain to establish his school, the first thing he did was personally drawing up this demonic jade law.

Also because of this, he had already passed on the Luocha Tablet to his son. Too bad that Yu Tianbao was no different from children of affluent and wealthy families, he was a spoiled brat, the black sheep of the family.

Ding Xiangyi: “If Yu Luocha knew that his precious son has pawned the Luocha Tablet, even in the netherworld he would certainly vomit blood in anger.”

Lu Xiaofeng exhaled slowly. Now he finally understood why there were so many people fighting with everything they got over the Luocha Tablet.

“For the purpose of holding a memorial for Yu Luocha, and also inaugurating the new Jiaozhu, the Law Protecting Elders and various leaders within the Cult have decided that on the seventh of the first month next year, all important disciples will gather together on the Great Brightness Mirror of the Kunlun Mountains.”

“And if on that day you manage to bring the Luocha Tablet to that place, you will become the new Jiaozhu of the Devil Cult. From now on, absolutely nobody will dare to mess with you.”

The Western Region’s Devil Cult not only possessed such a deeply rooted power and influence, their disciples were spread all over the world. Whoever became the next Cult Leader would immediately turn into the most influential character in Jianghu. With power and influence, naturally fame and riches would follow.

No matter who you are, you would find this kind of enticement nearly impossible to resist.

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. He suddenly realized that this matter had become increasingly complex, and his mission was also getting more and more difficult.

But there was something he did not understand: “Why won’t Li Xia personally take the Luocha Tablet to the Kunlun Mountains?”

Ding Xiangyi: “Because she is afraid that she would die along the way before she reaches the Kunlun Mountains. She is even more afraid that she would not live to see the seventh of the first month next year.”

Before the seventh of the first month next year, regardless of who had it, this Luocha Tablet would be like a bomb, which could go off anytime, frying the holder into a torn body and crushed bones.

Ding Xiangyi: “She has always been an astute woman; she knew the safest option would be to sell it to other people.”

She sighed before continuing, “A woman her age, who does not have anybody to lean on, whose spirit is always restless, would usually do everything she could to make more money, therefore …”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Therefore, although you have a special relationship with you, she still wants you to pay her the two hundred thousand taels of gold.”

Ding Xiangyi grimly said, “It’s a pity that my condition right now is more wretched than hers. I really don’t have anything left in me.”

Forcing a laugh, Lu Xiaofeng said, “At least you still have a friend.”

Ding Xiangyi: “You?”

Lu Xiaofeng nodded. Suddenly he felt an unexplainable feeling bubbling up in his heart. Originally they were not ‘friends’, but their relationship was actually closer than friends. Yet now…

Ding Xiangyi looked at him. Her eyes revealed an unspeakable emotion. Who can say if it was sadness? Comfort? Or was it gratitude?

After a long time, she suddenly asked, “Can you promise me a favor?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Tell me.”

Ding Xiangyi: “Now, even a Luocha Tablet is useless for me, but I still wish to be able to see it, because … because I have sacrificed everything for it. If I cannot even look at it, I will not die peacefully.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “So after I find it, you want me to bring it here and show it to you?”

Ding Xiangyi nodded, her gaze was fixed on him. “Will you promise?”

How could Lu Xiaofeng not promise?

“But it will take me at least a month; will you still be here at that time?”

“I will,” Ding Xiangyi was suddenly mournful, “Now I am no more than just a trash. It doesn’t matter if I live or if I die, they will not pay me anymore attention.”

Her eyes turned red, and tears started to stream down. “Besides, for somebody like me, where else there is go?”

The moon was gradually rising, outside was getting more quiet, the guests who should have hit the road have already left.

Lu Xiaofeng gently wiped the tears on Ding Xiangyi’s face with his sleeve then he sat back down.

After another long pause, she sighed gently and said, “You should also go.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “You want me to go?”

Ding Xiangyi laughed: “Certainly you cannot stay here with me forever?”

Although she was laughing, her expression was actually more forlorn than when she was crying.

Lu Xiaofeng was about to speak, but he stopped.

Ding Xiangyi: “Do you want to say something?”

Lu Xiaofeng nodded. There was something he originally thought he should not ask, because he did not want to rub salt into her wound; on this matter, however, he had no choice but to ask: “What kind of man is Fei Tian Yu Hu, actually?”

Ding Xiangyi’s answer was the same as Fang Yuxiang’s. To his surprise, even she did not know Fei Tian Yu Hu’s actual name. His life experiences stayed secret, his actions were unpredictable, his stature was thin and small, his eyes like a hawk. He would never trust anybody, his own wife was no exception. But his martial art skill was definitely very high, all throughout his life he had never met any who could be his match.

The above points were the known facts.

Lu Xiaofeng could not help but ask, “What kind of place is Rahasu?”

Ding Xiangyi: “That place is just like Fei Tian Yu Hu, mysterious and frightening. The locals are usually narrow-minded, often show hostility towards foreigners and newcomers. Other than two people, it is best if you do not believe whatever anybody else is saying.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Who are these two people I can trust?”

Ding Xiangyi: “One is called Lao Shanyang [lit. old mountain goat]; he was my father’s old business partner. The other is Chen Jingjing, she grew up with me. If they knew you are a friend of mine, they would certainly spare no effort in helping you.”

Lu Xiaofeng committed these two names into his memory.

Ding Xiangyi: “Right after the Mid-autumn Festival [15th day of the 8th month of Lunar Calendar], the weather turns cold, day in and day out. By the middle of the tenth month, the river freezes.”

Lu Xiaofeng had also heard that once the Songhua River turned into ice, it became a strip of a flat and vast main street.

Ding Xiangyi: “People who have never been there will have no idea how cold that place actually is. On the coldest days, the snoot flowing down from your nose will freeze into ice, even the breath from your mouth will become particles of ice.”

Lu Xiaofeng groaned inwardly, without realizing it he pulled his collar higher.

Ding Xiangyi: “I know you are a Jiangnan person, so you must be very sensitive to cold weather. Therefore you’d better leave as soon as possible before the weather turns really cold. It’s best that when you are outside the Great Wall, you buy a fur-lined coat to protect you against the cold first.”

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly felt warm again. Regardless of what had happened, she cared about him after all.

Knowing that somebody in this world cares about you is always a pleasing matter.

But he still had one matter he must ascertain.

After hesitating a moment he asked, “With the death of Yu Luocha, inside the Devil Cult there must be some unavoidable turmoil. His death must be kept a secret until today to prevent outside forces from entering by exploiting their weakness.”

“Not too many people knew about this secret,” Ding Xiangyi agreed.

Lu Xiaofeng: “Then how did you find out?”

Ding Xiangyi: “In the Black Tiger Hall, there are three sections: White Pigeon, Grey Wolf and Yellow Dog …”

The Yellow Dog’s responsibility is to trace and pursue. The Grey Wolf’s mission is to fight and kill. The White Pigeon’s task is to gather and distribute information.

The Black Tiger Hall’s rapid rise could be attributed in part to these three highly efficient and well-managed major sections.

Nearly all famous characters of the Jianghu; their lives’ stories, their appearances, martial art skills and origin, as well as personal strengths and weaknesses, including their hobbies and indulgences, were all documented properly in the White Pigeon section.

“That’s why before I even saw you, I already know what kind of person you are,” Ding Xiangyi concluded.

Was it because she knew he had a weakness against women, so she came to him to make him her shield?

Lu Xiaofeng did not want to think about this aspect. Others wronged him, he did not want to think too much about it. That was the reason he was able to maintain a bright, cheerful and open-minded attitude.

Ding Xiangyi laughed suddenly, a forlorn and bitter laugh. “Actually, I used to occupy two positions in the Black Tiger Hall.”

Lu Xiaofeng: “Oh?”

Ding Xiangyi: “Not only I was the Hall Leader’s punch bag, I was also the Head of the White Pigeon Section.”

Finally Lu Xiaofeng left.

Ding Xiangyi was right, certainly he could not accompany her in this place for the rest of their lives.

The weather was still very clear. The sun was still shining with the same brightness. But his mood was actually not as cheerful as only a moment ago.

His mind was burdened with his mission, which was growing in complexity and difficulty. Thinking about how he was implicated in all these troublesome matters, he wished he could just jump into the river.

The courtyard was full of falling leaves. Amidst the continuously falling autumn leaves, a girl of thirteen, fourteen was standing alone underneath a tree, as if she was going to be swept away by the autumn wind any minute.

She had a letter in her hand. Her frightened eyes were looking at Lu Xiaofeng, from top to bottom.

Lu Xiaofeng came over to her and smiled suddenly. “Are you waiting for me?”

The girl was startled; she pressed her back closer to the tree. With a frightened voice she stammered, “Are you … are you that Four-Eyebrowed Lu Xiaofeng?”

Lu Xiaofeng smiled. “I am Lu Xiaofeng. Who are you?”

The girl replied, “I am Qiu Ping.” [lit. autumn duckweed]

Looking at her frail stature and timid appearance, perhaps her life story was as sad as floating duckweed.

Women are weak creatures. Too many girls have a tragic life story, encountering a very pitiful experience.

But isn’t this world a man’s world?

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. With a gentle voice he said, “Didn’t Fei Tian Yu Hu tell you to come?”

Qiu Ping nodded.

Lu Xiaofeng: “Didn’t he want you to give this letter to me?”

Qiu Ping nodded again. Holding the letter with her pair of pale hands, she gave it to Lu Xiaofeng.

The stationery and the ink were of a top quality, the handwriting was also surprisingly very elegant.

To Mr. Xiaofeng:

Mister is a great hero of this age, an absolutely extraordinary man, Di [younger brother, referring to self] has long admired you, it is a great regret that I fail to make a personal acquaintance with you. About my wife Xiangyi, since she has already been bequeathed by Mister’s kind affection, Di can only give up my treasure and offer her to you, as a token of my meager appreciation, wishing Mister would kindly accept.

Another day, when we are destined to meet, there will be food and wine at the Green Plum Pavilion, where Mister and I will commune and drink for ten days.

Also, the board and lodging expenses of this place, Di has paid in full until the end of the month. Enclosed please find the receipt from the Inn, please accept accordingly.

In addition, here is the divorce certificate of my wife to clear all formalities, please also accept accordingly.

The signature underneath was indeed Fei Tian Yu Hu.

Suppressing his anger, Lu Xiaofeng read the letter until the end. Suddenly he discovered that his self-cultivation had made some progress, he did not tear the letter away.

Qiu Ping was still standing there, her pair of big eyes was still scrutinizing his face. She seemed to be very interested in this four-eyebrowed handsome man.

Lu Xiaofeng smiled: “Are you waiting for my reply?”

Qiu Ping nodded. Fei Tian Yu Hu naturally wanted to know very much how would Lu Xiaofeng respond after reading his letter? How was his expression?

Lu Xiaofeng: “Go and tell him that I very much appreciate his gift, and thus I also want to give something to him.”

Qiu Ping: “Do you want me to deliver it back to him?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “You have no way of bringing it back; he must personally come and get it from me.”

Qiu Ping seemed to be afraid. “But… “

Lu Xiaofeng: “But there is no harm in me telling you what kind of gift I prepare for him, so you can go back and tell him.”

Qiu Ping relaxed. “What do you prepare for him?”

Lu Xiaofeng: “I want to give him an a$$h01e.” [Translator’s note: I am not sure about this, the original was 屁眼, pi yan, pi – fart, yan – eye (or classifier for big hollow things)]

Qiu Ping was startled.

She did not understand. She wanted to ask, but she did not dare to ask. She wanted to laugh, but she did not dare to laugh.

Lu Xiaofeng did not laugh. “I want to give him an a$$h01e on his nose.”

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