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The Thrush Chapter 22


Men Die for Wealth

This person’s qinggong was superior, it really shocked Chu Liuxiang.

Hu Tiehua spoke heavily, “I never thought that we did not look for him to give him trouble, yet he came to give us trouble.”

Chu Liuxiang knew that the ‘he’ he was referring to was the swordsman in black, who was unwilling to show his true face, but Chu Liuxiang was somewhat in doubt, he said, “I don’t think this person is he.”

“Why?” Hu Tiehua asked.

Chu Liuxiang said, “He is too afraid to hide his identity, why would he come to us?”

Hu Tiehua said, “If not he, then who? Don’t forget, such a martial art master, there are not many in the world.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Don’t you forget either that this place is already within the restricted area of ​​Shen Shui Gong.”

Hu Tiehua chuckled, he said, “But this person is a man, definitely not Shen Shui Gong’s disciple, could it be that you can’t even tell whether he is male or female?”

As they were talking, their shenfa slowed down, so that they were farther away from that shadow.

Knitting his brows, Hu Tiehua said, “Quickly chase him.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Since he is coming to look for us, he will definitely wait for us, why should we worry?”

They saw that sure enough, the figure ahead slowed down, unexpectedly he stopped on a short and small roof ridge, repeatedly waving his hand toward the two men.

Chu Liuxiang suddenly said, “Go back to watch over Rong’er; don’t fall for other people’s luring the tiger from its domain in the mountains tactic.”

Hu Tiehua really wanted to find out the identity of this nightwalker with supreme shenfa, and why he came to look for them; he was really reluctant to go back.

But by this time Chu Liuxiang had already flown far away.

Hu Tiehua could only sigh and turn around, he muttered, “Being with the old stinky bug, good things will never happen to me.”

In the dead of the night, most of the lanterns in the inn had gone out, only two rooms still had the lantern lights. One room was where the inn attendants slept, the other room was Chu Liuxiang’s room.

Su Rongrong naturally stayed next door to Chu Liuxiang.

The three rooms at the side of the courtyard were where those Jianghu people slept. The lantern in their rooms have already been extinguished, other than the sound of their snoring, he could not hear any other sign of activities.

But the moment Hu Tiehua returned to the inn, the lanterns in these three rooms suddenly lit up, flickering human shadows appeared behind the window paper.

In the dead of the night, these people suddenly got up, what were they doing?

There was no unusual movement in Su Rongrong’s room, Hu Tiehua pondered for half a day, he decided to hide behind the roof ridge to spy on these three rooms …

He had felt early on that these people did not belong to the good way, yet if they got up in the middle of the night to do something bad, there was no target worthy of their operation in this mountain city.

They lodged for the night here, apparently it was for another purpose.

Hu Tiehua’s eyes widened, he mused inwardly, “Whatever it is that you want to do, since you bumped into me today, you deserve to meet with bad luck.”

After waiting for half a day, the lantern in the room on the left suddenly went out, two shadows quietly swept out and flicked a finger on the window of the room in the middle, saying, “It’s the third watch.”

The person inside laughed and said, “We are ready, just waiting for you!”

During this exchange, two men carrying a big bundle came out and said, “You carry this bundle first, we need to relieve ourselves.”

The two men outside laughed and cursed, “You are really country bumpkins; if not amassing wealth, you drink wine and pee.”

They were laughing and cursing and were barely lifted up the bundle when the two men coming out of the room suddenly produced sharp daggers from under their sleeves, ‘Chi!’ and pierced the dagger into the two men on the outside’s necks

The two men let out a muffled groan and fell down immediately.

The other two men extracted sharp knives with their right hands, while their left hands already stuffed a ball of cotton cloth into the knife cut, not even a drop of blood was spilled. Their technique was really neat and clean, and also fast, obviously they were old hands in killing people.

This change was greatly beyond Hu Tiehua’s expectations, he never thought that these people were not going out to commit murder, they were not going out to commit crime, but to massacre each other first instead.

At this time, two men also swept out of the room on the right. When they saw the situation outside, they were obviously shocked. The two men took a step back, each holding a dagger backhandedly. One spoke sternly, “Lei Lao Er [lit. ol’ two, the ‘number two’], what are you doing?”

That Lei Lao Er wiped the blood from the dagger on the sole of his shoe, he giggled and said, “I am not doing anything, I was just thinking that four people sharing one thing would be much better than six people sharing the same thing.”

Those two men looked at each other, they all laughed.

Lei Lao Er said, “Although we got rid of those eagle claw’s [government/law enforcement officers] grandsons completely, but the number of people who look at this batch of goods and able to recognize it is still too many, maybe some people are still following behind us closely, we’d better go quickly!”

It was then that Hu Tiehua realized that these were all big robbers of the rivers and oceans, and that they had just completed a good business transaction, and that it was in order to escape being hunted that they came to this mountain city.

The big bundle was full and bulging, but it was unclear what was inside. Only seeing that they were willing to kill each other for this loot, obviously whatever inside was not anything ordinary.

Hu Tiehua’s heart was itching, and so were his hands. He mused inwardly, “If I don’t see what’s in this bundle, I won’t be able to sleep tonight.” Actually, he naturally did not just want to see; these four men were like fat pigs that dropped by his door, if he pushed them back, he would really do himself a disservice.

This moment, Lei Lao Er had already lifted the bundle. Hu Tiehua was about to flash over when he suddenly saw a white shadow floating down like a snowflake.

It seems like Lei Lao Er and the other have not seen it, until the white figure floated and landed in front of them, and only then that they were shocked.

Hu Tiehua was also shocked, because this white figure’s qinggong was indeed brilliant, he would never have guessed that such a small mountain city, unexpectedly there were so many absolute top martial art masters coming to it.

He could not see the person’s face either, only to see that the build was very light and graceful, the hair was very long, just like a very young, a very beautiful woman.

Because although the surprised expressions on Lei Lao Er and the others’ faces had not disappeared, but their eyes had narrowed, as they stared lustfully at the woman in white.

If she could make a man’s eyes narrow, this woman definitely would not be ugly. Hu Tiehua has always had much experience in this kind of thing.

He heard the woman in white say, “These two men on the ground, did you kill them?” Naturally her voice was also very pleasant to the ears, only a bit icy-cold.

However, Lei Lao Er laughed and said, “Whether these two men were killed by us, what does it have to do with Guniang? Such a beauty like Guniang, could it be that you still eat your food in the Yamen [government office in feudal China]?”

The woman in white slowly said, “If you kill people in other places, forget about killing two, even if you kill two hundred, it has nothing to do with me, but here …”

Lei Lao Er said, “Could it be that this place is different?”

The woman in white said, “In this place, you can’t kill people.”

Lei Lao Er laughed and said, “But now that I have killed people, Guniang, what do you think I should do?”

He was originally afraid of this woman, because he had already seen that this woman’s qinggong was extremely brilliant, but now it seemed like his spirit and soul had been somewhat turned upside down by this woman’s good looks, his guts had gradually increased. Because men’s vigilant toward beautiful women has always been especially lacking.

Hence the reason beautiful women can often make men fall into their trap.

The woman in white said, “Since you have already killed people, there are only two options.”

“What option?” Lei Lao Er asked.

The woman in white said, “The first option is you eat the corpses of these two people, and use your tongue to lick the blood on the ground clean.”

Lei Lao Er laughed aloud and said, “I, this person, eat everything, only, big meat, I don’t eat dead people, small meat, I don’t eat houseflies …”

His laughter suddenly stopped, as if he had just realized that the woman was not joking. Although Hu Tiehua could not see her face, he knew that her countenance must have changed.

The woman slowly continued, “If you don’t want to eat dead people, it’s not a problem, in any case, there is the second option.”

Lei Lao Er said, “What … what option?”

The woman in white said, “This second option is much easier: you guys come with me!”

She lightly turned around, her person already flew up over the wall.

The night was as cool as water, the evening breeze blowing from the mountain over yonder was as soft as a swan’s feather. The faint starlight shone on her body, her light and graceful body seemed to dissolve in this gentle autumn night.

Right this moment, Hu Tiehua finally saw her face.

She might not be very beautiful, but in such a quiet night, under such dim starlight, there seemed to be some kind of irresistible attractive force around her.

Lei Lao Er and his three companions seemed to have forgotten everything again. The four men only hesitated for a moment, before flying out together to follow her.

There was still no sign of activity in Su Rongrong’s room, she must have been sleeping soundly. After the last lesson, Hu Tiehua did not dare to be careless now.

He also knew that he should be guarding here. If Su Rongrong fell into someone else’s plot again, not only would he have no face to see Chu Liuxiang, he simply would not have the face to conduct himself.

But the woman in white was so beautiful, her person was mysterious. She told the four Jianghu men to follow her, what did she want? Where was she taking them? That big bundle, what was actually inside?

Hu Tiehua practically was about to explode from curiosity, if he did not follow them to find out, he might go crazy right away.

He rubbed his nose desperately. While he was at a loss on what to do, who would have thought that at this moment, Su Rongrong suddenly stuck her head out of the window and waved to him.

Hu Tiehua’s entire body went cold, he said, “Turns out you aren’t asleep yet.”

Su Rongrong pursed her lips and said with a laugh, “The sound of your talking after drinking will wake up even the deaf. How can I fall asleep? Besides, the courtyard tonight is also very lively.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Turns out you’ve seen it all.”

Su Rongrong said, “I saw you guys chasing someone out, and then you came back alone.”

In normal times, Hu Tiehua would definitely seize this opportunity to tease about her and Chu Liuxiang, to make her blush, or to make her worry about Chu Liuxiang .

But now, his interest was not in this. Therefore, he immediately asked, “What had happened a moment ago at the courtyard next door, did you also see?”

Su Rongrong rolled her fluid glance, she said, “You want to follow them to see their whereabouts, am I right?”

Hu Tiehua’s eyes lit up; greatly delighted, he said, “You want to go too? Let’s go and have a look together, shall we?”

Su Rongrong said, “I can’t go, because in case that woman sees me too, there might be trouble, but you won’t have any problem.”

“Why?” Hu Tiehua asked.

Su Rongrong said, “Because she knew me, but she does not know you.”

Hu Tiehua immediately pursued further, “She knows you? And you know her as well? Who is she?”

Su Rongrong said, “She was the person sent by Shen Shui Gong to find Chu Liuxiang, she is called Gong Nanyan.”

Hearing that, Hu Tiehua was stunned. He muttered, “No wonder her martial art is  not weak, turns out she is ‘Shui Mu’ Yin Ji’s disciple.”

Su Rongrong said, “Now you want to see her even more, am I right?”

Hu Tiehua stroked his nose again, he said, “But you …”

Su Rongrong spoke sweetly, “You should just go, I’m not a child, could it be that I can’t take care of myself?”

Greatly delighted, Hu Tiehua said, “You are indeed a good girl, no wonder that old stinky bug really wish he could put bridle in your mouth all the time, perhaps if he is not careful, he might swallow you.”

He finally said something that made Su Rongrong’s face red. After he flew out of the wall, he still felt very happy, because he liked to see beautiful girls blushing very much. He liked to see young men and young women loving each other, he always thought that it was the most beautiful thing on earth.

He was also very happy for Chu Liuxiang, because he thought that Su Rongrong was indeed not bad.

Letting out a long, long sigh, he muttered, “That old stinky bug is really luckier than me.”

But now, there was something else that bothered Hu Tiehua, which was, in the short time they exchanged these few sentences, the woman in white and Lei Lao Er and the others, even their shadows had disappeared.

He knew as well that Gong Nanyan’s leg power could not possibly be much slower than his, but based on the other four’s martial art skill, he was confident that even if he had to hop on one leg, he would still be able to catch up with them.

The question now: which direction did they go? The road to the left led to the city street, and the road to the right led to the official road. Ahead was the direction he and Chu Liuxiang took to follow the mysterious nightwalker.

Thereupon he swept straight ahead, because if he took this route, even if he could not find Gong Nanyan, he could at least meet Chu Liuxiang.

There was no road ahead, only layer upon layer of roof ridges.

He remembered that when he passed over these roof ridges just now, the lanterns below were all extinguished. Everyone in the mountain city knew to be careful with fire and candles, very few people slept with the lanterns lit.

But now, he suddenly discovered that ahead, there were homes where the lanterns were very bright, plus there were bursts of clanking noise coming from the courtyard.

This house’s courtyard was full of logs of wood, and the lanterns were hanging from the eaves.

Originally Hu Tiehua wanted to go around this house, but out of the corner of his eyes he caught a glimpse of two people in the courtyard, unexpectedly they were hammering on a coffin.

This house was unexpectedly a coffin shop.

No matter how small a town is, there will always be a coffin shop, because there are people everywhere, and everyone will die one day.

This is not surprising at all.

The people in the coffin shop naturally had to nail the coffin, and naturally there must be dead people inside the coffin.

This was not surprising either.

The strange thing was: why did these two men suddenly got up in the middle of the night to nail the coffin? Could it be that someone nearby suddenly died in the middle of the night?

Even so, they could have waited until tomorrow to nail it! The dead would definitely not be in a hurry … The living would naturally not be in a hurry to enter the coffin either.

Hu Tiehua could not help his curiosity being piqued again, he could not help but stop, thereupon he immediately realized that unexpectedly there were four coffins in the courtyard.

Out of four coffins, three had not had their lid nailed in.

All three coffins were occupied by dead people.

Hu Tiehua did not hesitate any longer, he flew down the courtyard. The two men nailing the coffin were startled, even the hammer in their hands flew out.

Hu Tiehua did not pay them any attention, he was just anxious to see the dead people in the three coffins. He only took a glance, his countenance immediately changed; blurted out he cried, “Turns out it’s them.”

The dead people in the coffins were unexpectedly Lei Lao Er and his friends.

Hu Tiehua had seen them with his own eyes jumping up and down only a moment ago, he would never dream that these four men were now lying inside the coffin.

The two men already knelt down and exclaimed, “Daye [big master], please spare our lives, this has nothing to do with Xiaorenmen [little/lowly people, plural].”

Seeing their ashen faces, Hu Tiehua knew that these men must have thought that he was Lei Lao Er’s friend. He could only force a laugh and said, “I know this has nothing to do with you, but what happened?”

The older of the two, who seemed to be the boss of the coffin shop, proceeded even though he was scared, saying, “Xiaorenmen were already asleep, suddenly a fairy-like Guniang woke Xiaorenmen up and told Xiaoren to prepare four coffins and wait in the courtyard.”

Hu Tiehua asked, “Was it a Guniang wearing white clothes?”

The coffin shop boss replied, “That’s right, although Xiaorenmen found it strange, there are often legends about fairies’ appearances in here. It is said that there are many fairies on this mountain, so Xiaorenmen did not dare not to disobey.”

Laughing coldly, Hu Tiehua, “Those are not fairies, those are water ghosts.”

The coffin shop boss sucked in a mouthful of cold air, he spoke in trembling voice, “After half a day, that fairy … water … Guniang came back with four … four heroes [strong and courageous person]. Looking how she treated them, she did not seem to be fierce and malicious, she only told one of them to pay me twenty taels of silver first.” [This is hard to explain in a few words: fairy, orig. immortal woman (xian nu), he started to say ‘xian’, but then instead of ‘nu’, he said ‘shui’ (water), lit. means ‘immortal water’.]

Hu Tiehua said, “What did the man say?”

The coffin shop boss said, “That … that hero still seemed to be very happy and said, ‘They were originally friends of mine, so buying coffins for them, it is only proper.’ When Xiaoren heard that, I heaved a sigh of relief, thinking that some of their friends had died, so that Guniang brought them here to buy coffins. This is concerning Xiaoren’s business, in here, very rarely Xiaoren was able to sell four coffins in one day, who would have thought …”

His teeth were chattering, he could not even continue.

Hu Tiehua looked at Lei Lao Er inside the coffin, inwardly, he was somewhat unsure whether he should laugh or cry.

When Lei Lao Er realized that he was paying the money to buy a coffin for himself, what did he feel in his heart? This kind of feeling, perhaps very few people could imagine.

Only after half a day did the coffin shop boss continued, “Who would have thought that after they paid the money, that Guniang suddenly said, ‘The second option is just I want your lives, it is really very easy.’ Xiaorenmen were just shocked, before we could see what happened, these four heroes have all collapsed one by one.”

He was shaking all over, his voice trembling, he said, “In all my life, Xiaoren have never seen anyone dies so quickly, the four living people suddenly turned into corpses.”

Hearing that, Hu Tiehua was also dumbfounded, he said, “Then what happened?”

The coffin shop boss said, “Then … then that Guniang suddenly disappeared.”

He continued with a bitter face, “If I tell this kind of thing to others, others definitely will not believe it, hence Xiaorenmen decided to nail coffins and send them out this very night. And then Daye, you … you …”

Hu Tiehua chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, I will disappear very soon too, and I won’t interfere in your business. However, these four men were carrying a big bundle, did you see it?”

The coffin shop boss said, “It seems that … that Guniang took it away. Xiaoren was so frightened that my eyes were blurry, I really did not see clearly …”

He had not finished speaking, Hu Tiehua indeed disappeared suddenly.

Afterwards, the coffin shop boss was ill for seven consecutive days. If someone asked him what he was doing the night seven days ago, he would swear that he did not do anything, he was just having a nightmare.

Next to the tiny local god temple, there was a single-story house, there were a lot of tables and chairs inside. Turned out it was a private school [in former times], but the teacher did not live in it, while the students naturally have already been dismissed early on. There was no one inside, but a candle was lit. The flame was flickering, it appeared to be a bit eerie.

Chu Liuxiang chased to this place, the figure ahead suddenly stopped.

This person was unexpectedly a very withered, a very thin old man, all his hair and his beard had turned white, but his body was still very robust, he stood upright there, straight like a spear.

He suddenly turned around and chuckled at Chu Liuxiang, he said, “Chu Xiang Shuai‘s qinggong indeed enjoys a well-deserved reputation, it is unparalleled in the world, it really opened Lao xiu’s eyes.”

Chu Liuxiang cupped his fist and said, “Qianbei praises me too much.”

While he was talking, he took the opportunity to observe the old man carefully. This moment he suddenly laughed again and said, “In all the world, if there is anyone that Zaixia is unable to catch up, it must be the ‘Wanli Du Xing’ [Walking Alone Ten-thousand Li], Dai Lao Qianbei. Qianbei is the one that opens Wanbei’s eyes.”

The old man laughed in a bright and loud voice, he said, “Listening to Xiang Shuai‘s words, Lao xiu appears to be petty instead. Actually, Lao xiu did not deliberately want to show off this shameful martial art skill, Lao xiu lured Xiang Shuai to come here only because in the inn where Xiang Shuai is staying, there were several loathsome people also staying there, so it was inconvenient to speak.”

Many people think that the older people get, the more modest they become, but actually, the older a person gets, the more they are unwilling to concede, the more they like to hear others fawning on them.

If the flattery is spoken by someone whose skill was more or less the same as his own, it would be even more satisfying-without-equal, no one in the world would not like to hear it.

If Dai Duxing did not want Chu Liuxiang to see his skill, why didn’t he walk slower?

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