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The Thrush Chapter 32

CSI

Difficulty in Leaving the Palace

Hu Tiehua said, “When she did that, even we were shocked, because how strict ‘Shen Sui Gong’ school rules are, everybody in Jianghu knows. By doing that, it would be no different from admitting that she is in collusion with us. Deceiving the master and collaborating with the enemy, the crime is not light. But after making her move, she calmed down instead, she only told us to quickly come looking for you, she said that you may have fallen into Shui Mu’s grasp, perhaps … perhaps even encountered her deadly blow.”

Chu Liuxiang anxiously asked, “What about herself?”

Hu Tiehua said, “She … she seems to have made up her mind to give no thought to her life. She only told us that the deaf and mute nun at the Puti An was originally her Da Shijie [oldest martial sister]. Because she violated the school’s rules, she fell into such plight. She hoped that when we have the chance, to take a good care of her.”

Stomping his feet, Chu Liuxiang, “In that case, clearly she is afraid of falling into the same tragic fate of her Da Shijie, hence she intends to die …”

Hu Tiehua sadly said, “It seems that that is the case. When we left, she closed the stone prison from the inside, locking herself inside the stone prison. We realized the turn of events not too encouraging; we begged her to open the door again, but no matter what happened, she practically refused to answer.”

Chu Liuxiang interrupted him, “Who would have thought that in term of pride, ‘Shui Mu’ Yin Ji and her disciple are unexpectedly the same, so much so that they are so proud that they don’t want others to see them die. Could it be that they want to live forever in other people’s heart?”

Hu Tiehua did not fully understand the meaning of this sentence, because he really did not think ‘Shui Mu’ Yin Ji’s death would be completely identical. He only said in distress, “No matter what, we are always grateful to her.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed for a long time before asking, “How did you come here? Did Rong’er finally tell you the way to enter the palace?”

Smiling wryly, Hu Tiehua said, “After you left, we pleaded with her to tell us, she was originally unwilling, but after a day, she also began to worry about you.”

Chu Liuxiang hurriedly asked, “Did she herself come with you?”

Hu Tiehua said, “She was afraid that coming with us would be a bit inappropriate.”

Chu Liuxiang was even more anxious, he asked, “Then what about her person?”

Hu Tiehua said, “She said that she would rush to Puti An to meet with Tian’er and the others, and then see if she could come here. I was going to persuade her not to worry, but she consoled me first instead.”

He chuckled, and then continued, “She has great confidence in you, saying that no matter what danger you encounter, you will have a way to get away.”

Smiling wryly, Dai Duxing said, “It seems that she was just a bit worried about us, she even advised us thrice not to fight, but as soon as we got here, we forgot all her advice.”

At this time Huang Luzhi also came over, he spoke slowly and woodenly, “Who my humble friend is, Xiang Shuai must have found out by now. Although what he did in his early years was unforgivable, but in recent years he has reformed and started afresh [idiom: turning over a new leaf].”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “I already know everything about him, and I really feel sorry for him, it’s a pity that he …”

Huang Luzhi’s countenance drastically changed, he said, “He … Could it be that he has met with deadly blow?”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a deep sigh but did not say anything.

Huang Luzhi spoke hoarsely, “In light of what he did in the past, his crimes indeed deserve his death, but … but … Zaixia still want to know, who actually killed him?”

Chu Liuxiang interrupted him, “The person who killed him has also been killed, moreover, it was the Shen Sui Gongzhu who avenged him. Now, their family of three must have been reunited in heaven, why should Qianbei grieve for him?”

Huang Luzhi sadly hung his head and spoke gloomily, “That’s right, with his sins, to end up like this, Laotian [God] can’t be considered treating him unfairly!”

Even so, it was hard to avoid hot tears from flowing down his eyes.

Hu Tiehua patted Chu Liuxiang on the shoulder and said, “What about you? How did you escape from Shui Mu’s grasp? Could it be that you also …” He laughed mysteriously but shut up.

Chu Liuxiang glowered at him, he said, “I’ve already escaped, no need for you to worry anymore, but Rong’er and the others, why haven’t they arrived yet? Could it be that something happened to them?”

He suddenly turned toward the Divine Water Palace disciple, with a smile on his face, he said, “Guniang’s fragrant name, can you tell me?”

All along the girl was listening with blank expression on her face, she did not dare to walk away. This moment she was startled, and said haltingly, “My name is Nan Ping.”

Chu Liuxiang spoke softly, “We want to go to Puti An on the outside to look for people, I wonder if Nan Ping Guniang can show the way?”

Nan Ping looked at the tightly closed door, she said, “Shifu did not tell me to take you there, I don’t dare to make decision myself.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Guniang, no need to worry. You take us there, she definitely is not going to blame you.”

Nan Ping clenched her teeth and closed her mouth, as if she did not know what to do.

Chu Liuxiang gently took her hand and said, “Let’s go!”

Nan Ping’s face turned red, she wanted to throw off his hand, but she hung her head down, she wanted to say something, but she could not say it, surprisingly, she followed him out in a daze.

Hu Tiehua sighed, he shook his head and said, “No matter how mean a girl is, as soon as she sees this old stinky bug, she seems to be at a loss. I really don’t understand how could it be?”

Dai Duxing also laughed and said, “Laodi [ol’ younger brother], such a simple logic, you don’t understand?”

Hu Tiehua said, “Could it be that he really has some magic power towards girls, how come I cannot see it at all?”

Dai Duxing laughed, “If you can see it, that would be really bad.”

The waterfall is pouring down into the lake, the water of the lake flows out via the underground river, the waterfall is inexhaustible, the water of the lake does not overflow, it flows and flows, never stops. This is the mystery of nature.

Chu Liuxiang and the others walked along an underground water stream, only to feel the terrain was getting higher and higher. At the end, there were more than ten stone steps, and at the top of the stone steps was precisely the exit.

Nan Ping said, “Upstairs is precisely Puti An, also one of the portals of this Palace. If someone wants to enter the Palace, this is the most convenient way, because although Da Shijie appears to be mean, she is actually very soft-hearted. If others entreat her piteously, she very seldom has the heart to refuse.”

After traveling this distance, she seemed to have become very familiar with Chu Liuxiang, not only was she no longer afraid, but all along she let her slender hand be pulled by Chu Liuxiang, she did not break free.

But inwardly Chu Liuxiang was anxious. Since their Da Shijie was very soft-hearted, why haven’t Li Hongxiu and the others come until now?

Only to hear Hu Tiehua said, “I heard that people who enter the Palace from here are all sent in in a trunk, is that right?”

Nan Ping said, “That’s right, because Da Shijie cannot leave Puti An, so the only way to send people in is to put them inside a bamboo trunk and let the trunk float downstream along the water channel.”

Hu Tiehua cast Chu Liuxiang a glance, he said, “Looks like Liu Wumei did not lie this time.”

Chu Liuxiang could only smile bitterly.

He already discovered that Liu Wumei was really a good liar, because only this kind of person knew that if some truths are added to the lie, it would most likely make people believe.

Nan Ping said, “This exit is under the putuan where Da Shijie is sitting. Normally we very seldom come here, because since Da Shijie was convicted, Shifu forbids the sisters to have dealings with her.”

Hu Tiehua could not help asking, “What crime did she actually commit?”

Nan Ping said, “This … I’m not quite sure.”

Obviously she did not want to talk about it again, so she hurried up the stone steps and lightly knocked the iron ring on the wall, only to hear the clanking noise just like the roar of a dragon, echoing thru the stone walls on all four sides.

Nan Ping said, “Because Da Shijie sits on the putuan all day and seldom walks around, as long as the iron ring knocks, she will know immediately.”

Hu Tiehua stopped talking, inevitably he felt a bit nervous in his heart, hoping that this door would open quickly, so they could see what actually happened to Song Tian’er and the others?

Who would have thought that after half a day, there was still no movement above the tunnel?

Knitting her brows, Nan Ping said, “That’s strange, could it be that Da Shijie happens not to be above right now?”

Although Chu Liuxiang was anxious, he comforted her instead, he said, “Maybe she happens to go out, it’s just human nature.”

Nan Ping said, “She definitely will not leave Puti An, the place upstairs is not big, no matter where she is, as long as the ring sounded, she should have heard it, unless something bad happened above.”

Naturally Chu Liuxiang was more anxious than her, because he …

Since Liu Wumei knew that as soon as they entered the palace, her lies would immediately be exposed, naturally she wanted to stop them with thousand ways, a hundred plans.

Although Li Hongxiu had wide learning and retentive memory, she had no scheming ability at all, Song Tian’er was even more innocent and unaffected, completely without any understanding of the treacherous human heart of the world.

What’s more, both of them were very fond of Liu Wumei, so if Liu Wumei wanted to harm them, it was indeed as easy as a hand’s turn.

He heard Hu Tiehua said, “If the door is not opened from above, could it be that we do not have any way to go in?”

Nan Ping said, “There is no way, the exit of this tunnel can only be opened from above, because Shifu is afraid that we would go out to play …”

Hu Tiehua suddenly slapped his forehead and blurted out laughing, he said, “I forgot one thing, but I did not expect that even you also forget.”

Nan Ping was stunned, she said, “What did I forget?”

Hu Tiehua said, “Your Da Shijie is deaf and mute, only by sitting on the putuan will she be able to feel you tapping on the iron ring underneath. If she is someplace else, how could she still hear the sound?”

Nan Ping sweetly said, “She can hear it.”

Hu Tiehua said, “How? Could it be that she is neither deaf nor mute, but she just deliberately appears to be so?”

Who would have thought that Nan Ping still shook her head and said, “She is indeed deaf and mute, she is not faking it at all.”

This time Hu Tiehua was also stunned, he said, “Since she is really deaf and mute, how could she hear noises?”

Nan Ping chuckled and said, “This reason, after seeing her, you may understand.”

Hu Tiehua was stunned for half a day, suddenly understood, he said, “I understand now.”

“Oh?” Nan Ping said.

Hu Xuhua said, “Some people, as long as they see the movement of other people’s lips, they can guess what they are talking about. Presumably your Da Shijie also has the same ability.”

Nan Ping let out a long sigh, she said, “Not only she is deaf and mute, but … but her eyes are not good anymore.”

Hu Tiehua was stunned again, he spoke in shock, “Could it be that she is also blind?”

“Mm hmm,” Nan Ping responded.

Hu Tiehua urgently rubbed his nose, smiling wryly, he muttered, “Someone who is deaf, mute and blind, but can hear others entreating piteously, also can hear the sound of knocking on the door; Old Stinky Bug, you have always been very smart, I’m afraid this time you are also confused?”

Only to hear the knocking ring was sounded again.

This time Nan Ping knocked louder.

But after half a day, while, there was still not the least bit of response from above.

Chu Liuxiang could not help walking up the steps and put his ear against the stone wall above.

Hu Tiehua urgently asked, “What do you hear?”

Knitting his brows, Chu Liuxiang said, “It’s not too clear, as if there is no sound at all.”

Hu Tiehua stomped his feet and said, “Your nose is not working, could it be that your ears are faulty too?”

Dai Duxing suddenly took out an iron bowl from the burlap bag on his waist, he said, “Hold the iron bowl against the stone wall, you will be able to hear it a bit more clearly.”

At that time, naturally Hu Tiehua did not understand the principle of sound waves, he asked in surprise, “Really?”

Dai Duxing laughed and said, “Everybody in Jianghu knows that the Beggar Gang’s disciples’ skill in imitating the dog and stealing the chicken is the best under the heavens, could it be that you haven’t heard?”

With a smile on his face, Chu Liuxiang took the iron bowl, pressed it against the stone wall, and put his ear against the iron bowl; his eyes gradually lit up, but his brows were knitted even tighter.

Hu Tiehua said, “Do you hear anything?”

“Uh huh,” Chu Liuxiang said.

Hu Tiehua said, “What is it?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Seems like someone is talking.”

Stroking his nose, Hu Tiehua blurted out laughing and said, “Could it be that a mute can speak?”

Nan Ping wanted to laugh, but she did not laugh. Knitting her brows, she said, “That is definitely not Da Shijie’s voice, she can’t speak.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Perhaps Tian’er and the others are still begging her.”

Chu Liuxiang pondered and said, “No … it’s a man’s voice, but the voice is very deep, it does not sound like Li Yuhan either.”

Shocked, Nan Ping said, “A man? A man is talking?”

Blurted out laughing, Hu Tiehua said, “Men are also some kind of people, every now and then they can also talk, just like women, why is Guniang so surprised?”

Nan Ping said, “But for many years, no one has ever dared to disturb Puti An. Few people even know about this place, Puti An.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Even Shen Sui Gong, now there are men coming in, let alone Puti An?”

Nan Ping’s countenance changed again, she said, “But the people coming to Shen Sui Gong must have very urgent reasons, hence they did not hesitate to take risks, but Puti An is just a desolate temple, there is nothing to attract people at all, plus Da Shijie definitely did not have a grudge against anyone, so why did they come?”

Hu Tiehua said, “Perhaps they wanted to sneak into Shen Sui Gong secretly from here.”

Nan Ping said, “In my opinion, they may have come for your friends.”

Hu Tiehua frowned. He also put his ear to the iron bowl while asking, “Can you hear what they are saying?”

Smiling wryly, Chu Liuxiang said, “I can’t hear it, they have stopped talking now.”

Silence, sometimes it deserves to be cherished more than any speech. Silence, sometimes it is more terrifying than any sound.

At this moment, Puti An was a dead silence, there was not even a least bit of noise. Could it be that all the people above were dead in an instant? Otherwise, why would it suddenly become silent?

Unconsciously, the hollow of Chu Liuxiang’s palms was already breaking out with cold sweat.

Everybody was waiting nervously. After a very long time, Hu Tiehua could not help asking, “No sound yet?”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “No.”

Nan Ping said, “Maybe … maybe Da Shijie already repelled all the people who wanted to get in.”

Hu Tiehua said, “In that case, why hasn’t she opened the door yet?”

Nan Ping was startled, cold sweat broke out from the tip of her nose.

Hu Tiehua spoke anxiously, “I think something bad must have happened to Hongxiu and Tian’er, otherwise they definitely would not stop talking, especially Tian’er, to keep her mouth shut is really not easy.”

Dai Duxing coughed lightly, he said, “Perhaps they haven’t arrived here yet.”

Chu Liuxiang suddenly said, “Let’s get out now. To get to the Puti An from the outside, how long will it take?”

Nan Ping said, “Then we must go around a big circle.”

Hu Tiehua asked, “How big is the circle?”

Nan Ping replied, “Very big. Someone with the best qinggong still has to take at least three or four sichen.”

Hu Tiehua stomped his feet, he said, “What do we do? It’s driving people crazy. Old Stinky Bug, how come you cannot think of something?”

Chu Liuxiang pondered silently, and then suddenly he asked, “If your Da Shijie agrees to send people into the Shen Sui Gong, is it true that she would give them a cup of tea with knock-out drugs first, so that they would not be able to see the way into the Palace.”

“That’s right,” Nan Ping replied.

Chu Liuxiang said, “Tian’er and the others also know about this, so even though they were aware that there is drug in the tea, they would happily drink it.”

“That’s right,” Hu Tiehua said, “Since they know that as soon as they drank this cup of tea they would get into Shen Shui Gong, naturally they have no choice but to drink it.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “After they drink it, they passed out, naturally they can’t speak, hence the reason we cannot hear their voices.”

Hu Tiehua clapped his hands and said, “It makes sense.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “But before this Da Shijie sent them down, an outside enemy came to the Puti An. Maybe they really came for Tian’er and the others, so they asked Da Shijie to hand them over.”

Nan Ping hurriedly said, “Da Shijie will never agree. When they arrive at the Puti An, they are Da Shijie’s guests, whatever the case, Da Shijie can’t possibly hand them over to others.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Hence those people had to negotiate with your Da Shijie. When the negotiation broke down, they were unwilling to take action against Shen Sui Gong’s disciple.”

Hu Tiehua said, “That also makes sense, but why aren’t they talking now?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “This is perhaps because they wanted to give Da Shijie a deadline, to have her think about it before giving then an answer.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Since that is the case, this moment she must be in danger.”

“That’s right,” Chu Liuxiang said, “If the person coming in was not her match, there is no need for any negotiation.”

Hu Tiehua anxiously said, “In that case, why didn’t she quickly open the door and let us in?”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “She is surrounded by powerful enemies, how could she dare to reveal the entrance of Shen Sui Gong?”

Nan Ping looked at him, her eyes were brimming with admiration. Although she did not say anything, if a woman looked at a man with admiration in her eyes, it was indeed more pleasing than any word she said.

Chu Liuxiang stroked his nose, he smiled wryly and said, “This is just my guess, whether the actual situation is like this, no one dares to be certain.”

Nan Ping spoke softly, “But I’m certain that your guess must be correct. Because other than that, practically there is no other possibility.”

Hu Tiehua sighed and said, “But I really hope that he guesses wrong, otherwise since Tian’er and the others remain unconscious and your Da Shijie does not dare to open the door, we will not be able to get there in time … this kind situation is really bad.”

Thinking about the danger that the girls were in, everybody could not help appearing worried. But other than waiting anxiously here, no one could think of any other way.

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