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The Vast Desert Chapter 15


Chapter 15 – Luck With Women Flying In

The night was getting deeper, although the aroma of roast meat and fine wine was fragrant, although the happy laughter of the people was still lively, it still failed to dilute the somber and desolate feeling that the night brought in the desert.

With a blanket wrapped around his body, Ji Bingyan sat in the shade under a tree by the pool, gazing at the stars filling the night sky, which gradually grew denser, but then gradually grew sparser.

He was sitting like that, motionless, as if he could sit still like that until the last day of the heaven and the earth. And he was like a man who would never feel lonely or weary.

Suddenly a bottle of wine was thrown over toward him, and very soon it would hit his head. It seemed like he practically did not move at all, yet the bottle of wine was suddenly in his hand.

Chu Liuxiang already walked over. He looked at the blue dome of heaven and sighed, “The cold here is really like demonically cold …” He suddenly discovered that Ji Bingyan’s hair was covered in frost. Knitting his brows, he said, “You don’t drink wine, you don’t stand up to walk around, but sitting still like this, aren’t you afraid you might freeze to death?”

Laughing indifferently, Ji Bingyan replied, “Cold cannot kill me.”

But in the end he still pulled the cork and drank a mouthful of wine, and then slowly continued, “Only by sitting here unmoving will I be able to see clearly whether there are any outsiders coming here. If I walked randomly everywhere, I could not observe thoroughly.”

Looking at him, Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh and said, “Of all the people in the world, who could see that you might be willing to go hungry and freeze to death for a friend?”

Ji Bingyan’s countenance sank, he coldly said, “I only do what I am willing to do; whatever other people think of me, what does it have to do with me?”

Chu Liuxiang only chuckled, but did not say anything. He knew that when Ji Bingyan was pulling his face, whatever you say to him, inevitably you would meet with a rebuff.

Half a day later, Ji Bingyan suddenly asked, “Xiao Hu?”

“In the bridal chamber,” Chu Liuxiang replied.

“Carried inside?” Ji Bingyan asked.

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Like a roast camel. The difference is that there is no roast sheep stuffed inside his belly.”

Unconsciously Ji Bingyan also laughed. He muttered, “A man who can be drunk and pass out anytime can be considered somewhat blessed.”

Chu Liuxiang took the wine bottle and drank a mouthful. “Is there any movement outside?” he asked.

“I am afraid the person who left that note has long gone,” Ji Bingyan replied, “This man can stick a note on a roast camel in public place with numerous people, his ability is indeed not small; even I am thinking of meeting him.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “When did you were ever moved to anger? It is very rare indeed.”

Raising his gaze, Ji Bingyan said, “You think I am a dead person?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Whatever the case, this person is mine, you guys cannot fight him.”

Laughing coldly, Ji Bingyan said, “Could it be that you are afraid I might be killed by him?”

Chu Liuxiang chuckled and said, “I am equally afraid that he might be killed by you. If this kind of person is dead, it will be a pity.”

“Humph!” Ji Bingyan replied.

Chu Liuxiang flicked his sleeve, and the egg landed in his palm. Blown by the cold wind, the egg immediately frozen solid like a rock. Chu Liuxiang said, “The silver knife already pierce the egg about half a cun or so, but only the tip, about the size of a grain of rice, turned black. From this, it seems that perhaps there is no poison in the egg white, but the poison is in the egg yolk.”

Ji Bingyan took the egg and examined it carefully. He took a small silver blade the size of a hairpin, and then he peeled the egg layer by layer. Surprisingly, he discovered inside the egg yolk a small needle the size of silk thread.

Using the tip of his blade, he lightly poked, instantly the entire sliver blade turned black. Chu Liuxiang heaved a long, long sigh; he laughed and said, “Inside the camel’s belly is a sheep. Inside the sheep’s belly is a chicken. Inside the chicken’s belly is the egg. And only inside the egg white is the egg yolk. Unexpectedly he put the poison inside the egg yolk. Really formidable!”

Ji Bingyan smiled and said, “He put the poison in such a place, yet you are able to find it. Wouldn’t it mean that you are more formidable than him?”

His countenance suddenly darkened; he said, “This egg was personally picked by the King of Qiuci and given to you, wasn’t it?”

“That’s right,” Chu Liuxiang replied.

Ji Bingyan said, “Other than he himself, perhaps nobody knew in advance to whom he was going to give this egg to. The person putting the poison … could it be the King of Qiuci?”

Chu Liuxiang replied, “If the King of Qiuci put the poison himself, why would he use silver knife to pick the egg?”

He pondered for a moment and then said, “Speaking about the opportunity to put the poison inside the egg, only the cook would have comparatively more chance.”

“Not the cook,” Ji Bingyan said.

“You already investigate?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

“Hmm!” Ji Bingyan replied.

“How do you know he did not lie?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Ji Bingyan only gave him a simple answer, “I just know,” he said.

Chu Liuxiang did not pursue further. He knew that since Ji Bingyan was so certain, then there must be no problem anymore. Although when he gave his answer it was very simple, when he asked questions, it would definitely be very detailed. Furthermore, he must have use some method that would make people cannot but telling him the truth – some people, no matter how much force you use against him, would never pay lip service to you.

Naturally Chu Liuxiang understood Ji Bingyan’s character very much.

Half a day later, Ji Bingyan said, “To put poison inside the egg, not necessarily only the cook would have that opportunity. Anybody could take advantage to shoot the poison needle inside the egg while no one was watching. It’s just that … this person must be very close to the King of Qiuci, someone on his left and right; moreover, he must have already guessed accurately that the egg was going to be given to you.”

Staring at Chu Liuxiang, he asked, “Who do you think this person might be?”

Chu Liuxiang was silent for half a day. He laughed and said, “Since we are unable to guess right now, you’d better take some time to sleep.”

“You …” Ji Bingyan started.

But Chu Liuxiang said, “You have kept watch for the first half of the night, naturally the second half of the night will be my turn.”

However, the second half of the night will be much colder than the first half of the night.

Chu Liuxiang also sat quietly for a long time, without moving at all. Ji Bingyan was able to sit like that, it could not be considered strange; but Chu Liuxiang could also sit still like that, it was somewhat unexpected.

It was very dark in here. The lantern light of the tents seemed to be very far away in the distance. No one could see him here, but he was able to see everybody clearly.

Now, the voices in the tent were gradually quieting down as well. The crowd was slowly dispersing in twos and threes, drunk, leaning against each other. Some were still singing.

But the sound of singing finally ended as well, replaced by the sound of the wind blowing across the desert, which quickly turned into the most mournful, yet full of power and grandeur – song of lamentation in the world, which turned one’s enthusiasm into misery.

In the boundless blue dome of heaven, the stars were starting to sink. In the boundless desert, it also felt like there was only Chu Liuxiang, one person – remained.

His mind gradually drifted to remember a lot of people, to recall a lot of things. Su Rongrong, Li Hongxiu, Song Tian’er. Where could they be?

Even now, Chu Liuxiang still did not have the slightest information about them.

On the contrary, his enemies have become more and more numerous. The secretive and terrifying Stone Guanyin, the assassin whose whereabouts was swiftly moving, yet the martial art skill was deep and immeasurable … could it be that his dead body was really going to be buried in this merciless desert?

Chu Liuxiang drank a big mouthful of wine. Thinking about Hu Tiehua, he could not stop a smile from appearing on the corners of his mouth. “This kid’s good fortune is indeed not bad.”

He suddenly discovered that someone was walking over toward him, wrapped in goose down quilt so thick and wide, so that it looked like a small tent was moving.

“Who’s there?” Chu Liuxiang said.

The person did not answer. But suddenly, ‘Pfft!’ she broke into a giggle.

Unexpectedly the person was Princess Pipa. The ‘bride’ unexpectedly slipped out of the bridal chamber and came here.

The last trace of smile on Chu Liuxiang’s face froze, he blurted out, “What are you doing here?”

Inside the goose down bedding, Princess Pipa teetered over while giggling tenderly and said, “You can come over here and I can’t come?”

“This is not where you are supposed to be!” Chu Liuxiang replied.

Blinking her eyes, Princess Pipa asked, “Why?”

Pulling his face, Chu Liuxiang spoke word-by-word, “If you don’t go back to he bridal chamber this instant, I will …”

He had not finished speaking, Princess Pipa’s silver-bell like laughter already cut him off. Giggling tenderly, she said, “You … you want me to go to … to the bridal chamber? What for?” [Translator’s note: there are two ‘giggling’ words here, the first above was ‘chi chi’, the second was ‘ge ge’. Just so you know …]

Chu Liuxiang loudly replied, “To the bridal chamber naturally to … naturally to …” He really did not have any idea how to continue, hence he only rubbed his nose vigorously.

Casting a glance at him, Princess Pipa said with a laugh, “Say it, naturally to do what?”

Chu Liuxiang really did not know what to do. In all his life, he practically has never seen such girl.

But Princess Pipa laughed tenderly and continued, “If I really go to the bridal chamber, it would be strange indeed if the bride did not beat me out!”

This time Chu Liuxiang was really stunned. “Bride?” he stammered, “You … you are not the bride?”

Princess Pipa laughed and said, “Who said I am the bride?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “But … but clearly …”

Princess Pipa said, “Qiuci Princesses are not only me, the one marrying Hu Tiehua is my Jiejie [older sister]! Dork …”

Chu Liuxiang blurted out, “Your Jiejie … why didn’t you say so earlier?”

Princess Pipa’s eyes lit up like the stars. Biting her lip, she laughed and said, “Why would I want to tell you earlier? I wanted you to be angry, I wanted you to worry …”

Her tender laughter was like silver bell, but there was also a ‘ding ding dang dang’ noise coming from inside her quilt. Stretching out her hand from inside the quilt, turned out she was holding two bottles of wine.

Swinging the bottle, she laughed and said, “Dork, why haven’t you come to take my bottle? If you keep rubbing your nose, you might wear off your nose.”

Fixing his gaze on her, Chu Liuxiang spoke slowly, “You are really a naughty, a crafty little bad-egg [scoundrel/b@stard].”

While talking, he stood up and reached out.

Princess Pipa giggled and said, “You … what do you want?”

Opening up his eyes wide, Chu Liuxiang said, “Why don’t you guess?”

Princess Pipa laughed and said, “I am not scared of you, I am not …”

She appeared to be retreating, yet she did not retreat. Suddenly, with a ‘ying ning’ cry [嘤拧 – I have no idea, perhaps a typo?], her hand was already caught by Chu Liuxiang, her body also fell into Chu Liuxiang’s embrace.

The bright red goose down quilt seemed to be about to slip down. It slipped over her shoulders, revealing her sleek, satin-like skin.

The quilt was slipping down some more, revealing her fresh, tender, and soft breasts.

Unexpectedly, she was naked.

The quilt continued to slip down.

But Chu Liuxiang was stunned; his hand did not dare to move anymore.

Princess Pipa’s shivering voice said, “Dork, are you trying to freeze me to death?”

She parted her hands and opened the quilt.

Chu Liuxiang only saw a perfect naked body, perfect breasts, perfect waist, perfect legs. And then he could not see anything anymore.

Because his entire person has been wrapped inside the goose down quilt as well.

Both of them fell down together; they fell onto the blanket on which he was sitting a moment ago. The bright red goose down quilt has become a small tent; the smallest tent in the world.

The tent was moving, and then it stopped moving.

Princess Pipa’s tender laughter was heard again, “I am not scared of you, but you are scared of me instead?”

Chu Liuxiang sighed. He said, “You are a little bad egg indeed.”

“Have you ever seen a little bad egg as beautiful as me in the world?” Princess Pipa asked.

Chu Liuxiang sighed, “I have not,” he replied.

Princess Pipa giggled and said, “I have never seen any dork more lovely than you are in the world either. Dork … dork …”

Her voice was getting smaller and smaller, until it was finally inaudible.

After half a day, an empty wine bottle was thrown out from inside the quilt.

And then, another bottle was thrown out. But this one still had half a bottle of wine in it.

Another half a day, a delicate and beautiful, as well as exquisite like white-jade carving – leg, shook its way out of the quilt, but it was quickly pulled back inside the quilt.

Were they cold? Why did they shiver?

Finally the sun was slowly rising.

The newborn sun was as gentle and soft as a newborn baby’s breath.

Finally, there was some noise coming from inside the quilt.

“The sky seems to have brightened up,” Chu Liuxiang’s voice said.

“Not yet, not yet,” Princess Pipa’s voice replied, “Even if it’s daybreak, it does not matter. Last night everybody in here drank until they could not get up anymore, how could they wake up at this time?”

Her speaking voice simply sounded like a moan.

Chu Liuxiang did not speak anymore, as if he did not object to her staying.

Princess Pipa suddenly spoke again, “I am treating you like this, do you know why?”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Although I am not a narcissistic man, but I really cannot think of other reasons why a girl would do this other than she likes the man.”

Princess Pipa spoke quietly, “Naturally I like you; but if there were no other reason, I would not … I would not do this.”

“Why did you do this?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Princess Pipa was silent for half a day. Finally she spoke slowly, “Because I definitely cannot marry you.”

“Oh?” Chu Liuxiang replied.

Princess Pipa said, “Not only I cannot marry you, moreover, later on … later on I am afraid our chance of meeting each other will not be many.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Oh …”

Princess Pipa suddenly cried out, “Oh, oh, oh … Other than saying ‘Oh!’, can’t you say anything else?”

“What do you want me to say?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Princess Pipa said, “You … you … you ought to at least ask me why I cannot marry you?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “If I did, would you tell me?”

Princess Pipa seemed to be taken aback. After a long time, she sighed and said, “I cannot tell you.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “I knew you could not tell me, that’s why I did not ask.”

Princess Pipa said, “You … are you saying that you do not feel uncomfortable the slightest bit? Even if in your heart you did not feel uncomfortable, you still ought to say something.”

Chu Liuxiang chuckled; cutting her off, he said, “I have already told you, I cannot lie.”

Her voice trembling, Princess Pipa said, “You … you, this scoundrel, you really do not feel uncomfortable?”

Chu Liuxiang sighed as well; he said, “To be frank with you, even if you have to marry me, whether I can take you as my wife, it is still a big question!”

Suddenly there was a sharp slap. Someone was scrambling out of the quilt. It looked like Chu Liuxiang … hey! But how could Chu Liuxiang have such a long hair? Could it be Princess Pipa? But how could Princess Pipa wear Chu Liuxiang’s clothes?

She rushed out as fast as flying, while did not stop raining curses, “You, this muddled-egg [scoundrel/b@stard]; you, this scoundrel; you … you this Old Stinky Bug. Even if all the men in world drop dead, I will never marry you …”

Everywhere was extremely quiet. As expected, no one woke up yet.

With the bright red quilt wrapped around his body, Chu Liuxiang slipped back into his own tent like a thief. Fortunately, Ji Bingyan was still sleeping soundly.

His entire body, from head to toe, was tightly wrapped inside the quilt. Even his breathing seemed to be very difficult. Chu Liuxiang was scrambling around looking for his clothes and put it on, yet he was still sleeping soundly like a dead person, without moving at all.

Chu Liuxiang suddenly laughed and said, “I know you have been awake for a long time. You don’t need to pretend to be sleeping. In any case, I am not trying to hide what I did from you. This is not a shameful thing anyway …”

Ji Bingyan’s head was completely under cover, he did not even make any noise.

Smiling wryly, Chu Liuxiang said, “A very normal man, and a very normal woman, in a cold and lonely night … tell me, what’s wrong with that?”

He was not sure himself whether he was trying to explain it to others, or whether he was trying to justify himself.

Ji Bingyan was still ignoring him.

Buttoning up his clothes, Chu Liuxiang sighed again and said, “Thinking about it, this time we bring suffering to Xiao Hu … this is practically like cheating on the marriage; his bride, unexpectedly, from start to finish, did not dare to show her face. I would be surprised if she is not an ugly person.”

Suddenly he saw someone walking in. Surprisingly, it was Hu Tiehua.

Chu Liuxiang originally thought that even if he was not extremely angry, he must be ashen-faced; who would have thought that unexpectedly not only Hu Tiehua was radiant with happiness, not only he was not angry, he was extremely happy.

On the contrary, Chu Liuxiang was stunned.

He saw Hu Tiehua sat down opposite him, looking at him with a grin on his face, as if he had just picked up a big yuanbao [silver or gold ingot in the shape of a boat] from the ground.

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