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The Thrush Chapter 24


Life and Death Friendship

This man’s voice was gentle and old, unexpectedly it sounded very familiar.

Momentarily Hu Tiehua and Chu Liuxiang could not remember who he was. The shorter man had already walked to the window. When they withdrew, they also forgot to close the window pane.

The hillside blocked the starlight, but the face of this person could still be discerned vaguely. Hu Tiehua and Chu Liuxiang could not help being a little surprised.

This man was surprisingly the mysterious swordsman in black they saw at the ‘Yong Cui Shanzhuang’, undoubtedly the other man was the ‘Gentleman Sword’ Huang Luzhi.

These two people came here in the middle of the night, and their track was so secretive, as if they were afraid of being discovered by others, what is going on?

Naturally it was hard for Hu Tiehua and Chu Liuxiang to avoid feeling strange.

In the hazy night, the man in black’s countenance looked to be very heavy, but some kind of strange light was flashing in his eyes, he seemed to be very excited, very agitated.

He stared blankly at the night outside the window, before letting out a long, long sigh and said, “These past few years I’ve always been overly suspicious, perhaps you would …”

Huang Luzhi came over and patted him on the shoulder, he said, “I don’t blame you. In your situation, being a bit more cautious is a must.”

The man in black lowered his head and said sadly, “In all the world, everybody wants to put me to death, only you … toward me, you have never abandoned me, yet not only I am unable to repay you, I always implicate you instead.”

Huang Luzhi said, “In making friends, it is worth knowing each other, no matter how you treat others, but you are always loyal to me, it seems that in my eyes, you are much more reliable than anyone in the world.”

He smiled and continued, “Friends are getting harder and harder to come by these days. I’m afraid I won’t be able to find another friend like you in my life.”

The man in black’s eyes were brimming with gratitude, he also smiled and said, “I am the one who should have said those words. If the Jianghu people know that the ‘Gentleman Sword’ unexpectedly has a life-and-death friendship with me, I am afraid that it will be stranger than hearing about Tianfeng Dashi returning to normal life [leaving a monastic order] and take a wife.”

Although there was a smile in his voice, his face was still rigid.

But who exactly was this man?

Hu Tiehua and Chu Liuxiang looked at each other, as if agreeing by chance, they both mused inwardly, “This man really wears a mask on his face.” But why did everybody want to put him to death?

He came to this empty school in the middle of the night, what evil intention he was harboring in his heart?

Hu Tiehua simply could not bear not to rush out, peeled off the human skin mask on the man’s face, looked at him clearly, and asked him clearly so that he could understand everything.

Half a day later, they heard Huang Luzhi said, “Tonight, I shouldn’t have come …”

The man in black hurriedly said, “I want you to come, because I must have you look at her.”

His eyes were brimming with excitement again, unexpectedly he could not help laughing, saying, “I’m afraid you’ve never seen a girl as beautiful as her in your life.”

Huang Luzhi also smiled and said, “I don’t need to look, I know that she must be smart and beautiful, but … I’m afraid that with an extra person on the side, it will be a little inconvenient for you to talk.”

The man in black said, “What inconvenience? She has already heard me talking about you, she can see you today, she will also feel very happy.”

He suddenly laughed again and said, “Today we must drink a couple of cups, I haven’t been so happy for a long time, and I’m afraid in the future there won’t be …”

Huang Luzhi cut him off again, he said, “If you are happy, don’t say anything disheartening. Now the time is almost here, you should put out the wine and food!”

These two really came to wait for someone, and they even wanted to drink a couple of cups.

Hu Tiehua was amused inwardly, he thought, “I did not expect this school to become a wine shop tonight, not only that, business is really good, everybody comes to drink a couple of cups.”

But Chu Liuxiang felt even more strange; listening to them, the man in black was unexpectedly waiting for his lover, but why would they want to meet at such a place?

Could it be that the girl was also like him, that she must not be seen by others?

They saw the man in black indeed brought a big bag full of things, he took everything out and arranged them on the table. He even said with a laugh, “Although fried broad beans [fava beans] and shelled peanuts are the most common things, she feels that they are more delicious than exotic delicacies. Last time she ate almost two catties all by herself.”

Huang Luzhi said, “That’s right, some people feel that the more common things are, the more precious they are. This is perhaps the sadness of those high-in-the-sky descendants of feudal aristocrats. Because although they enjoy the glory, splendor, wealth and rank of the human world, but the delight that some ordinary people can enjoy, they will never be able to enjoy instead.”

The man in black was silent for half a day, suddenly he turned around and muttered, “I really failed her, I should have taken her with me, but I was a coward, unexpectedly I bear to watch her enduring that kind terrible loneliness.”

He had his back towards Huang Luzhi, he did not want Huang Luzhi to see him quietly wiping away his tears, yet he did not know that there are three people in the darkness outside the window who could see him clearly.

At this time, Huang Luzhi lit a candle. Although the room was bright, it suddenly became silent. The light did not make the silence to become a bit more bearable.

Because they were waiting, and there is nothing in the world that can be more unbearable than waiting. Unexpectedly Huang Luzhi gradually became uneasy.

The man in black walked to the window, he stared into the distance in a daze.

The darkness in the distance was thick, he heaved a sigh and muttered, “I’m afraid it’s already past the third watch now.”

Huang Luzhi said, “It’s not that late, is it?”

The man in black shook his head again, he said, “Do you think she will come tonight?”

Huang Luzhi forced a smile, he said, “She will not fail to come.”

The man in black turned around, he spoke sadly, “Actually, it’s fine if she doesn’t come. If I were her, I wouldn’t necessarily come. I …”

Suddenly they heard a ‘knock’ outside the door. The man in black and Huang Luzhi quickly turned around, they saw an outstandingly slim figure in white standing at the door.

It was still dark outside the door. Hu Tiehua could not see the figure in white clearly, but he found that Chu Liuxiang’s jaw suddenly dropped, as if someone had suddenly stepped on it.

Just because he has seen clearly the fairy-like figure in white outside the door, he had already seen her beautiful and cold and detached eyes before, this person was surprisingly Gong Nanyan.

He could never have imagined that the person the man in black was waiting here was unexpectedly Gong Nanyan, indeed he had never thought that the as-cold-as-ice-and-frost Gong Nanyan was unexpectedly the lover that the man in black yearned day and night.

He always thought that Gong Nanyan was the most pure and holy, the most inviolable woman in the world. Who would have imagined that surprisingly, she also had an underground lover?

Chu Liuxiang sighed secretly, as if he felt that he had been fooled by others – even if the one outside was his wife, perhaps he would not be more surprised than at this moment.

Because the thing that makes men most angry was if the woman he could not get was obtained by someone else. This was intolerable for any man.

He saw the man in black happily stepped out to greet her, but stopped abruptly, and blurted out, “Gong Guniang, it’s you.”

Light and graceful, Gong Nanyan walked in, she spoke indifferently, “I suddenly have some personal affairs, hence I came late. I’m very sorry.”

Although her mouth said sorry, her tone was cold and detached, anybody could tell that there was not the slightest intention to apologize in her at all. But Chu Liuxiang suddenly breathed a sigh of relief in secret.

Because he has seen clearly that Gong Nanyan had absolutely no personal-honey relationship with the man in black. In that case, the one the man in black was waiting for was not her?

If it wasn’t her, why did she come?

The man in black stared blankly for half a day, then he hung his head and said, “Xiao Jing [little Jing], she … she can’t come, can she?”

Gong Nanyan said, “If she could come, I wouldn’t have come, right?”

The man in black nodded his head with blank expression. He muttered, “It’s fine if she doesn’t come, I’ve said it before, it’s fine if she doesn’t come.”

Huang Luzhi suddenly said, “Is the meeting rescheduled?”

Full of hope, he looked at Gong Nanyan, but Gong Nanyan did not even cast him a glance, she spoke indifferently, “She will never come again, never will.”

The man in black suddenly clenched his hands tightly, he spoke hoarsely, “Did she … Did she write me a letter?”

Gong Nanyan said, “No.”

The man in black trembled, suddenly roared wildly, “Why? Your Shifu clearly promised me that she would let me see her once every five years. Why did she go back on her promise now? Why?”

Gong Nanyan coldly said, “My Shifu did not go back on her promise, what she, the Senior said will never change.”

The man in black said, “Then why did she not come to see me? I definitely do not believe that she is unwilling to see me.”

Gong Nanyan said, “Not that she is unwilling to see you, but she can’t see you anymore.”

Suddenly the man in black’s body shook, as if an invisible lightning struck him, he drew back step by step, and spoke with a trembling voice, “Could it be that she … could it be that she already …”

Surprisingly, Gong Nanyan also sighed softly and said, “She will never have to endure the suffering in this human world again, she is really much luckier than you and me.”

Before she finished speaking, the man in black already crumpled to the ground.

Huang Luzhi rushed over to hold him up, he spoke hoarsely, “I wonder if Guniang can tell us how she died?”

Gong Nanyan was silent for half a day, she spoke slowly, “I can only tell you that she died to protect Shen Shui Gong’s honor and glory, just because she was a girl with very unyielding character, we are all proud of her.”

The man in black nodded with blank expression, he muttered, “Thank you for telling me, I … I am very happy …” When he said ‘happy’, two characters [gao xing], tears were already flowing down from his eyes.

Gong Nanyan was silent for half a day, she spoke word by word, “You have such a daughter, it was indeed your luck, because you really don’t deserve it.”

Listening to this point, Chu Liuxiang felt ashamed, he also felt it was difficult to bear.

Only then did he realize that he was completely wrong, the man in black was not waiting for his lover, but for his daughter.

He heard Gong Nanyan’s coldly added, “Now that she is dead, you have nothing to do with ‘Shen Shui Gong’ anymore, so our Shifu hopes that you better not come here in the future.”

The man in black said, “But … but her remains …”

Gong Nanyan said, “Her remains, we have buried her.”

The man in black said, “Can I go to her tomb and see?”

Gong Nanyan said, “You can’t.”

She seemed to be determined not to listen to the man in black anymore, she turned around and walked out. But when she reached the door, she suddenly turned around and spoke leisurely, “Did you know that there is a person named Chu Liuxiang in Jianghu?”

The man in black just nodded.

Gong Nanyan said, “Very good, if you see him, you’d better kill him, because Situ Jing died in his hands.”

Chu Liuxiang was so angry that his face turned pale, he really had never thought that for this ‘pure and holy’ Miss Gong Nanyan, telling a lie was like eating Chinese cabbage [bok choi], and that she insisted on taking his life.

Apart from this, he was very surprised as well, because he could not imagine even more that the man in black’s daughter was unexpectedly Situ Jing who died for Wuhua’s love.

He heard a ‘Bang!’, a table was smashed by the man in black.

He clenched his fists tightly and snorted, “Chu Liuxiang, Chu Liuxiang, I … why didn’t I kill him that day.”

Huang Luzhi was stunned for half a day, he only mumbled to himself repeatedly, “Is there such a thing? Is there really such a thing in the world?”

The man in black suddenly stood up, but then ‘plop!’, his entire body seemed to collapse, his tightly clenched hands also loosened.

Half a day later, he unexpectedly howled in laughter.

Huang Luzhi’s countenance changed, he said, “You … you …”

Laughing wildly, the man in black said, “I’m fine, I’m only laughing at myself. I don’t know how many other people’s daughters I, ‘Xiong Niangzi’ have destroyed in my life. Now other people only kill my daughter, one person. Why should I hate him? This may be a retribution, the retribution Laotian [ol’ heaven, God] gave me.”

Speaking to the last sentence, his wild laughter turned into bitter tears.

But Dai Duxing, Hu Tiehua and Chu Liuxiang were too shocked to speak. Tonight, they had also encountered many unexpected things.

However, nothing could shock them more than this.

This mysterious man in black turned out to be the ‘Xiong Niangzi’ [reminder: male/mighty woman].

No wonder he said, “Everybody in the world wanted to kill him quickly.” No wonder the mask on his face was so exquisite, and his track was so secretive. And his qinggong was so brilliant. No wonder he said, “No one would believe that the ‘Gentleman Sword’ would make friends with him.”

The number one gentleman in Wulin unexpectedly made friends with picking-flower lascivious thief, it was indeed something that no one could ever dream of. No wonder he wanted to be inseparable as form and shadow with Huang Luzhi, turned out he wanted to use Huang Luzhi’s status as a cover for himself.

No wonder Huang Luzhi repeatedly said, “He has a secret trouble that is beyond his control, hoping Chu Liuxiang will not investigate it.” Turned out he was afraid that Chu Liuxiang would discover his secret.

These incomprehensible things, now they finally figured it out.

However, wasn’t Xiong Niangzi obviously dead? Everyone in Jianghu knew that he has died at the hands of ‘Shen Shui Gongzhu’ [Palace Master]. Yet he was obviously alive and kicking in here?

The Shen Shui Gongzhu, whose words never change, why should she lie for him? The Shen Shui Gongzhu, who hated men the most in her life, yet she plainly lied for this most shameless man?

This incident made Chu Liuxiang and the others even more confused.

While Chu Liuxiang and Hu Tiehua were astonished, they suddenly heard a ‘Humph!’ Dai Duxing had flown out from their side like an arrow.

Before his person even swept through the window, he already spoke sternly, “Xiong Niangzi, do you recognize me, Dai Duxing? Twenty years ago, I was determined to remove you, this disaster, on behalf of Jianghu. What do you have to say today?”

Xiong Niangzi was still sitting there in a daze, staring at the flickering candlelight in front of him, as if he did not hear the scolding at all.

Huang Luzhi had already rushed one step forward to meet Dai Duxing, he spoke heavily, “He is not Xiong Niangzi, Xiong Niangzi is already dead.”

Dai Duxing laughed wildly, “I’ve heard for a long time that all his life, ‘Junzi Jian’ does not tell lies, who would have thought that it was exaggeration to deceive people, he is actually a man fooling the world and usurping a good name [idiom]. Until this moment, surprisingly he still tells lie.”

Huang Luzhi’s countenance did not change, he spoke slowly, “Lao xiu did not lie at all, the no-evil-is-not-committed Xiong Niangzi is already dead, now the man sitting here is just a pitiful man who has been painstakingly repenting for twenty years, a pitiful man who has suffered twenty years of pain and suffering and has never had one day of peaceful sleep, a father who just found out that his daughter was killed.”

Laughing coldly, Dai Duxing said, “Pitiful? Are those good women who died at his hands not pitiful? The sins he has committed in this life, could it be washed away from then on?”

Huang Luzhi said, “Even if the torture he suffered is not enough to make up for his sins, but he has long since repented and has become the kindest and most upright and honest person I have ever seen in my life, so if you kill him now, you are not killing a lascivious thief, but a kindhearted good person.”

He heaved a long, long sigh and said, “After you understand this fact, if you still want to kill him, please make your move! He will not resist, and I will definitely not stop you, it’s just that …”

Dai Duxing could not help asking, “Just what?”

Huang Luzhi spoke word by word, “It’s just that if I see my best friend die in front of me, I will never bear to be the sole survivor.”

Dai Duxing was stunned, he cast a quick glance out the window, as if he wanted Chu Liuxiang to make the decision for him, but Chu Liuxiang was unwilling to show himself now.

Naturally, he did not want to take on the crime of killing Situ Jing. He already knew that under this kind of circumstance, no one could explain it clearly.

Seeing that Huang Luzhi’s expression has gradually become serene, his eyes have gradually become resolute, anyone could see that such a person indeed could not possibly tell a lie.

Dai Duxing heaved a sigh, he muttered, “Xiong Niangzi can make friends with someone like you, he is really lucky. The strange thing is, how could someone like him make friends with someone like you?”

Without letting Huang Luzhi to respond, he added, “Actually, I have also thought that a vicious, lascivious, and malicious person would definitely not love his daughter as much as he does …”

Chu Liuxiang noticed that his voice suddenly changed, unexpectedly it became a little unclear, not only that, the more he spoke, the slower he got.

Yet he did not seem to notice it himself, he still continued, “Unexpectedly Xiong Niangzi has such deep affection for his daughter, this is really hard to believe. Just based on this, I should let him go.”

Before the last sentence was finished, his expression changed. When he said ‘let him go’, three characters, he rushed to Xiong Niangzi’s face and sent put a punch.

Xiong Niangzi did not dodge. The ‘Qian Li Du Xing Xia’ [sic. Walking alone a thousand li hero, in other places, it was ‘Wan Li Du Xing’ – ten-thousand li] who had made his name in Jianghu for sixty years’ punch unexpectedly became completely without any power.

Huang Luzhi’s countenance also changed greatly, staring at Xiong Niangzi, he said, “You … why did you …”

Dai Duxing hissed, “What else can you do? You and I are both blind, we misjudged people.”

By this time, Hu Tiehua could also see clearly that Xiong Niangzi had secretly cast an extremely vicious knockout drug, which affected Dai Duxing and his benevolent friend Huang Luzhi.

Others treated him like this, yet he did such a thing. Xiong Niangzi really deserved his reputation; he was indeed the most despicable and malicious person in the world.

Hu Tiehua only felt anger stuffed his breast, he wanted to rush out immediately, who would have thought that Chu Liuxiang unexpectedly pulled him back, and he did not even let him speak.

Right this moment, Xiong Niangzi already stood up, his eyes were brimming with hot tears, but it made his cold and detached face looked even more mysterious.

They saw him giving Dai Duxing a deep bow with cupped fist and spoke in hoarse voice, “Dai Xiansheng’s [mister/sir] kindness of not killing me, Zaixia will never forget, but Dai Xiansheng can rest assured that Zaixia will not let you regret not killing me.”

He turned around to look at Huang Luzhi, hanging his head low, he said, “As for you, I … I really have nothing to say, you … you …”

Speaking to this point, his throat was choked, he could no longer speak. And right this moment, Dai Duxing and Huang Luzhi could not hear anything anymore, they both fell down.

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