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The Thrush Chapter 17

CSI

Extreme Cruelty

“Precisely,” Chu Liuxiang replied.

He immediately went on to say, “Just because those people never expected that she would launch this treacherous assault, hence they completely did not guard against her. Otherwise, relying on her, one person’s power, how could she kill so many people in such a short moment?”

Li Yuhan said, “So, you think that because she is the closest person to Shi Guanyin that she wanted to kill you, right?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Apart from this, there seems to be no other explanation.”

Li Yuhan said, “What about me?”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “I’m afraid you’ve also been fooled by her, that she is taking advantage of you. Maybe she was a spy sent by Shi Guanyin to Jiangnan to go undercover, so she married you and used the ‘Yong Cui Shanzhuang’ Shao Zhuangzhu Furen [madam young manor master] title as a cover; naturally nothing is better than that.”

Li Yuhan said, “Since she is Shi Guanyin‘s inseparable sidekick, why did she neutralize Hu Tiehua and the others’ poison?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Just because at that time I already killed Shi Guanyin, seeing the great momentum already gone, she went to save them, so as to leave a way out in the future. In any case, if Hu Tiehua and the others died, it would not do her any good.”

Li Yuhan suddenly burst out laughing as well.

Unexpectedly his laughter was brimming with grief and indignation, as if his heart was full of resentment.

He laughed loudly and said, “Chu Liuxiang, oh, Chu Liuxiang, you are really too smart, only too bad you are excessively too smart.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Could it be that I am wrong?”

Li Yuhan hissed, “Of course you’re right, how could the omniscient Chu Liuxiang be wrong? No matter what you say now, it won’t matter anyway.”

His eyes emitted fire, he said, “Just because in any case, you have to die now, otherwise, I will kill them [feminine] immediately.”

Shocked, Hu Tiehua said, “Are you crazy?”

Li Yuhan roared, “That’s right, I’m indeed crazy, but if you were me, I’m afraid you’ll be even more crazy than me.”

His hands were trembling, he might activate the spring mechanism of the ‘Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails’ any moment. If it were someone else, how could he dare to provoke him again?

But Hu Tiehua did not care that three times seven is twenty-one, he still roared, “Until now, you still want to protect her?”

Li Yuhan also roared, “Of course.”

Hu Tiehua roared even louder, he said angrily, “Until now, you still don’t believe that she is that female demon Shi Guanyin’s disciple?”

Liu Wumei originally hung her head down, suddenly she raised her head and spoke with stern voice, “That’s right, I am originally Shi Guanyin‘s disciple, but I never concealed it from him.”

Hu Tiehua was stunned. He glared at Li Yuhan and said, “You already knew that she was a spy sent by Shi Guanyin to Jiangnan to go undercover, yet still wanted to marry her as your wife. Other than her, could it be that all the women in the world are dead?”

Liu Wumei held Li Yuhan’s arm tightly, preventing him from speaking.

Her own hands were shaking, she spoke in a trembling voice, “You have already said all the vicious words, can you let me say a few words too?”

Chu Liuxiang chuckled and said, “Zaixia is listening with respectful attention.”

Liu Wumei said, “The disciples that Shi Guanyin accepted, only me and Qu Wurong followed her since childhood and grew up with her. Both of us are orphans, we don’t even know the names and surnames of our birth parents. Originally she picked a name for me, but after I got here, I picked Liu as my surname and changed my name to Wumei.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Qu Wurong’s name, could it be that it was changed after her appearance was destroyed?”

“That’s right,” Liu Wumei said, “She was originally called Wusi, and I was originally called Wuyi.”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh, he spoke in regret, “Wusi, Wuyi, Wuhua … Ay!” [lit. no consideration/pondering, no recollection, no flower, respectively. Reminder: Wumei’s name means ‘no eyebrows’, while Wurong means ‘no countenance’.]

Liu Wumei said, “Although she wanted us not to think [Wusi] and without any memory [Wuyi], but we are human beings with flesh and blood. When one grows up, anybody will miss their parents, naturally we are no exception, yet all along she still refused to tell us who our parents were. We only need to mention this matter, she would immediately lose her temper.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed, “The way she treated her own disciples, I have seen it with my own eyes.”

Liu Wumei said, “Only toward me and Qu Wurong she was particularly better, but Qu Wurong’s temperament is rather reclusive and strong-willed, nothing you say could please her, while I am rather …”

Hu Tiehua cut her off with a cold laugh, “You are more able to pat other people’s horse’s butt, I know that. If you want to please people, those who hear it would have oil coming out of their ears.”

Liu Wumei practically did not pay him any attention, she simply continued, “In the eyes of others, Shi Guanyin seemed to be really made out of carved stone [reminder: Shi Guanyin means Stone Avalokitesvara], but she was also a human with flesh and blood, so she also has human weaknesses.”

“Oh?” Chu Liuxiang said.

Liu Wumei said, “Sometimes, she might also feel anxious, distressed, lonely and hurt. At such times, she might also drown her sorrows in wine, moreover, she often drank until she was totally drunk.”

Hu Tiehua blurted out, “I never thought Shi Guanyin still had such a good point.”

Liu Wumei said, “Because she was relatively close to me, she often asked me to drink with her. One day she got drunk, unexpectedly she told me a secret.”

Chu Liuxiang asked, “What secret?”

Liu Wumei said, “That day we drank until almost dawn, she was so drunk that her eyes were blank, suddenly she told me that Qu Wurong’s parents were killed by her.”

Emotionally moved, Chu Liuxiang said, “Could it be that in order to take Qu Wurong as her disciple, she killed his parents?”

“Precisely,” Liu Wumei replied.

Her voice was hoarse with emotion. She was silent for half a day before continuing, “When I heard what she said, I was both shocked and scared. At that time, I thought that since Qu Wurong’s father and mother were killed by her, then how about my parents?”

Hearing to this point, Hu Tiehua could not help but was emotionally moved as well, he was unable to bear asking, “Why didn’t you ask her when she’s drunk?”

Liu Wumei said, “Naturally I asked her, but she said, my life experience is different from Qu Wurong, I am someone else’s abandoned baby, even she didn’t know who my parents are. When I asked her again, she would pull me and cry bitterly, saying that she didn’t even have a single relative, and that she always regard me like her own daughter.”

Hu Tiehua could not help saying again, “Once she cried, you then believe her?”

Liu Wumei rubbed her eyes, she said, “Although I did not believe it, I could not find any proof, I did not dare to tell Qu Wurong the secret even more, because if I tell her, it would be tantamount to harming her instead.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “That’s right, if Shi Guanyin knew that Qu Wurong had discovered the secret, she would definitely not leave her alive in the world.”

Liu Wumei said, “Since that night, although on the surface I looked the same as before, my heart has changed, I could no longer be as close to her as before.”

Sighing gently, she continued, “Qu Wurong’s change was greater than mine, the older she got, the more alienated she was from Shi Guanyin, she was like a secluded orchid in the empty valley, always appearing cold and detached, so noble, so melancholy, so beautiful; although I am a woman, even I consider her really beautiful, so beautiful that people do not dare to taint her, do not dare to snap her off [referring to the stem of a flower] even more.”

Wringing his hands, Hu Tiehua let out a long sigh and said, “It’s a pity that we did not have the chance to see her countenance at that time.”

Liu Wumei said sadly, “It’s a pity that the heaven is jealous of a beautiful woman, I … I really never thought that Shi Guanyin would destroy her appearance …”

Hu Tiehua said, “You also know that it was Shi Guanyin‘s poisonous hand?”

“I do,” Liu Wumei replied.

She gritted her teeth and continued, “After I found out about this, I felt even more unable to get along with Shi Guanyin. Although she told me again and again to reassure me that she would never use poisonous hand against me, but in my eyes, she has turned into a poisonous snake, she only needed to cast me a glance, I already found it intolerable.”

Chu Liuxiang’s eyes flashed, he said, “Could it be that you escape?”

Liu Wumei said, “I didn’t escape, if I wanted to escape, I wouldn’t be able to live until now.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Then you …”

Liu Wumei said, “I simply said, I’m already a grown up, I should go out to see the world. I grew up in that desert and destitute valley since I was a child, I didn’t even know what the outside world was like, so I begged her to let me go.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “What did she say?”

Liu Wumei said, “She didn’t say anything, she only asked me, ‘When are you leaving?’”

Chu Liuxiang asked, “What did you say?”

Liu Wumei said, “At that time, I only felt that I couldn’t last a day, so I said: tomorrow would be best.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Did she actually agree?”

Liu Wumei said, “After hearing my answer, she was silent for a long time. She suddenly said, ‘Very well, I will give you a farewell dinner tonight.’ I never thought she would unexpectedly agree either; I was really happy.”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh, he said, “I’m afraid it was too early for you to be happy.”

Liu Wumei said, “That night, she really prepared food and drinks to give me a farewell dinner, I … I was, after all, raised by her, thinking that I would leave her tomorrow, I couldn’t help feeling a little sad. Thinking that unexpectedly she let me go so readily, inevitably I felt very grateful to her, so that day, I drank with her the whole night.”

Listening to this point, Hu Tiehua also seemed to get a faint feeling of the malice in what she said, unexpectedly in his heart he felt a little nervous for her, so he could not help asking, “What about the next day?”

Yet Liu Wumei face was wooden, without expression at all, she spoke indifferently, “The second day in the morning, she sent me out of the valley and let me go.”

Hu Tiehua was stunned, he said, “She let you go just like that?”

Liu Wumei was silent for a long time, although there was no expression on her face, her countenance was dreadfully pale, her eyes were brimming with bitter resentment even more.

She spoke slowly, word by word, “She let me go just like that, because she has calculated accurately that I would definitely go back.”

“Why?” Hu Tiehua asked.

Liu Wumei said, “I have not walked five hundred li before I felt the pain in my stomach. It was like a tiny poisonous snake wriggling inside my intestines, using poison to bite my heart and liver.”

Hearing that, all the hair on Hu Tiehua’s body stood on its end. He said, “The wine … the wine was poisonous?”

Liu Wumei gritted her teeth, she said, “That’s right, the wine was poisonous, so she calculated accurately that I would surely crawl back to beg her, otherwise I would die in the desert, there wouldn’t be anyone even to collect my corpse.”

Hu Tiehua said angrily, “Since she has agreed to let you go, why did she have to put poison in the wine?”

Liu Wumei hissed, “Because she wanted me to know how formidable she was, so that I would never dare to betray her, so that I would kneel on the ground and beg her … She loved to see other people’s demeanor when they were begging her.”

Hu Tiehua let out a long, long sigh, he muttered, “Fortunately, this person is already dead now.”

Liu Wumei then continued, “Although she was treacherous and murderous, she still forgot one thing.”

“What thing?” Hu Tiehua asked.

Liu Wumei said, “She forgot that when she was drunk, she told me a lot of secrets.”

Hu Tiehua asked, “Did she also tell you the secret to neutralize poison?”

Liu Wumei said coldly, “I am her disciple, naturally I also learned not a few skills of putting poison and neutralize poison, otherwise, I’m afraid Gexia [Sire] would not have lived until now.”

Hu Tiehua could only rub his nose, he had nothing to say.

Chu Liuxiang said, “But the poison she put on you must have been something she never taught you how to neutralize. Practically you did not even know what poison she gave you, how were you going to neutralize it?”

Liu Wumei said, “Naturally I also understand that logic, but she told me that although poppy can make people pass into oblivion, sometimes it is also a good medicine to relieve pain and neutralize poison, because it could completely anesthetize people and make them practically forget the pain, hence I have secretly hidden a box of white powder of poppy extract, because I was always on guard against her poisonous hands.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Once a person is under anesthesia all day long, how is it different from death?”

Liu Wumei said, “I naturally know that using poppy to relieve pain is really no different from drinking poison to quench thirst, but at that time my pain was unbearable, and I would rather die than go back to beg her and be her slave forever.”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a deep sigh and said, “Thereupon you become poppy’s slave.”

Liu Wumei hung her head down sadly, she did not want anyone to see her face.

Her face was contorted with pain.

Hu Tiehua stared blankly, he said, “I heard you screaming inside the room, how did you come out and plot against people? You … do you have the skill to replicate yourself [referring to supernatural power of immortals]?”

Liu Wumei said, “Although poppy’s pain relief is not as effective as it used to be, it did not take that long. I could hear you guys already went out to the courtyard, thereupon I had a little servant girl to imitate my voice to moan. When in pain, everyone’s voice changes, therefore, even if you think the voice is different, you wouldn’t be suspicious.”

Hu Tiehua said, “You threw the Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails in the woods, naturally it was for fear of being discovered by us.”

“Uh huh,” Liu Wumei said.

Hu Tiehua said, “You practically did not go to the seven-fingered Lao Qianbei, because practically there is no such person in the world, right?”

Liu Wumei chuckled and said, “Not only there is no such person, but even ‘Xiong Laobo’ is a fabrication.”

Hu Tiehua said, “You deliberately said you were going to look for someone, just because you already spent 200,000 taels of silver to hire an assassin. When he assassinated, you must not be present, otherwise you did not have to look for him.”

“Precisely,” Liu Wumei said.

Hu Tiehua said, “Who would have thought that he was caught by Chu Liuxiang? You were afraid the secret would be leaked, so you could only kill him to shut his mouth.”

Liu Wumei said, “Not wrong the slightest bit.”

Hu Tiehua looked at Chu Liuxiang, smiling wryly, he said, “Only now do I know that you are really a living Zhuge [Zhuge Liang from the Three Kingdoms], you practically prophesy with supernatural accuracy.”

Liu Wumei’s face could not help showing a surprised look, she said, “These things, could it be that you have already guessed?”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “But I really can’t guess why you want to kill me? Since it’s not to avenge Shi Guanyin, then for what?”

Liu Wumei was silent for a long time, then slowly said, “It’s for myself.”

Astonished, Chu Liuxiang said, “For yourself? Could it be that you have any enmity against me?”

Liu Wumei said, “Between you and I, there is no enmity at all, but if you don’t die, I will die.”

Chu Liuxiang was even more astonished, “Why?” he asked.

Liu Wumei spoke sadly, “For the past few years, the number of times the poison flares out has become more and more frequent, the amount of poppy I need is also growing in quantity, the box I brought out has long been used up. To search and buy in Jianghu, I don’t know how much more difficult it is, I also know that if I go on like this, even if I don’t die from Shi Guanyin’s poison, I will die from the poppy’s poison.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “That’s true.”

Liu Wumei said, “I suffer hardship, it’s nothing, but … but I really can’t bear to drag him down. For my illness, in order to find poppy, I don’t know how much money he has spent, how much suffering he has endured.”

Li Yuhan’s countenance deathly pale, he gritted his teeth and said, “You don’t need to talk about this.”

Liu Wumei spoke in distress, “Things have come to this, I must tell everything …”

Hu Tiehua said, “You should have told everything long ago.”

Liu Wumei said, “As far as I know, in all her life, Shi Guanyin was only afraid of one person. She once said that this person was practically her nemesis. All her skills, if used in front of this person, it would become worthless.”

Hu Tiehua blurted out, “Oh! Is there such a person in the world? Who is it?”

Liu Wumei did not answer at all, she merely continued, “Therefore, it got me thinking, perhaps this person could neutralize Shi Guanyin’s poison.”

Hu Tiehua said, “When you found out that you are poisoned, you should have gone to this person.”

Liu Wumei said, “Although I have long wanted to look for him, I have never dared.”

Hu Tiehua asked, “What are you afraid of?”

Liu Wumei said, “Just because not only he is the person with highest martial art skill in the world, but also the most terrifying person on earth. His personality is completely unfathomable, and his temper is even more volatile. He neither knows right from wrong nor distinguishes between good and evil. When he is happy, he can do anything, killing a man is easier for him than squeezing an ant.” [Translator’s note: the word ‘he/him’ here is a generic term that can be used for either sex when the sex is unknown or unimportant.]

Hu Tiehua spoke coldly, “Such a person, I want to fight with.”

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