Use the translation feature to translate novels into different languages

Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain Chapter 9.2 Snare

 Chapter 9.2 Snare 

Nonsense was all that Fan the Ringleader ever uttered. Phoenix did journey to the Imperial Jail in person. Though he eluded capture, he failed to free Fan the Ringleader from prison. Neither had the Cathay Outlawry

stormed the jail in the capital. Seeing his foremost evil design wrecked, Sai contrived another scheme. A lengthy discussion with Fan then took place inside the Imperial Jail. Sai threatened to dispatch him; but Fan was

stubborn and unbending, shaken neither by threat nor by bribery. Sai was a shrewd old man to whom the years had given a reliable understanding of human weakness and an ability to divine others' thoughts. A few days' observation led Sai to shape his new actions accordingly. The crafty and

shrewd Commissioner was convinced that Fan had a weakness for flattery and the more flamboyant forms of deference. Blandishment was the only tool that could bend the stiff neck of such an iron nature, as he would

succumb to neither offers of wealth nor position. Having hatched his crafty scheme, Sai invited Fan to move into his residence and even saw him to his mansion in person. Then Sai ordered flattering minions talented in

sycophancy to toady to Fan, gratifying him with such titles as "Ultimate

Hero Fighter of the Outlawry" and "Might of the Ringleader Overawes the Banditry". From morn till night, unction like this pampered his ears. At first Fan the Ringleader found it rather offensive. However, within a few days, Fan's headstrong opposition had considerably weakened. This fulsome praise eventually caused him to laugh and talk. By then the time was ripe for Sai to join the knot of adulators to dispel whatever residual resistance remained in Fan. Commissioner Sai deployed his talents to the full and

continued to lavish more flattering words on him. Eventually the question

came up of who deserved the title Hero Fighter of the Age. Though Fan had every reason to think very highly of himself, he still decreed Phoenix to be the Invincible Under the Sky. But Commissioner Sai speedily cajoled,

"Master Fan is being too modest. Little brother tends to think the Gilt-faced Buddha may not necessarily possess the prowess to overpower your good

self, even though he bears the sobriquet the Invincible Under the Sky." This unctuousness thrilled Fan's heart. Fan began to convince himself that, after all, he may not necessarily be that far off from Phoenix, who, as he noted, was a fighter endowed with martial accomplishments.

Commissioner Sai and Fan the Ringleader carried on the discourse well into the early hours. And the next morning, Sai suddenly introduced his own feats. Soon his guardsmen also added their comments. They claimed that in a recent combat between the Commissioner and Phoenix, the first two hundred tricks saw neither side gaining any vantage. Nearing the end of the battle, just as Sai was on the verge of outmanoeuvring Phoenix, the latter took to his heels when the first opportunity offered itself. Had he stayed on, the Commissioner would certainly have beaten him after unravelling another few hundred moves. This immediately produced an expression of doubt on Fan the Ringleader's face.

Commissioner Sai, however, continued to fabricate, wreathed in smiles, "I have long admired the unique series of eighty-one styles in your Quintet Swordplay of the Tiger. Our venturing to tamper with the might of the tiger, though itself decreed by the Emperor, is largely due to our fellow

guardsmen's wanting to see the Ringleader himself parading his martial arts. As we were eager to earn our merits, we therefore resorted to mustering the forces of all eighteen Champions of the Imperial Court. Only by contriving thus could we succeed in persuading you to accept our invitation. It is regrettable that little brother has never been given the opportunity to meet fairly with the Ringleader, man to man and sword to sword. Now that we have become better acquainted, why not test a few of your moves here and now?"

Soothed by such flattery, Fan the Ringleader replied peremptorily, "As the Commissioner has beaten Phoenix, I am afraid you may find my humble self too weak for you."

"Your excessive modesty does us both injustice," answered Commissioner Sai with a smile.

After exchanging a few more words, the two contestants fell to testing their feats in the arena of the Commissioner's residence.

The Ringleader brandished a knife. The weapon wielded by the

Commissioner was rather unusual: a pair of spiked cudgels with short hafts. Mighty blows he struck with this weapon. And an adept in martial ability Sai truly proclaimed himself to be. The battle raged fast and furious, and

went on for three hundred or so tricks without either side gaining much advantage. The combatants were so evenly matched that neither struck

decisive blow at the other. A short while later, Sai began to look weary and to show signs of defeat. He was cornered by Fan hurling his blade. Try as he might, Sai could not manage to elude the circle swept by his opponent. Sai had landed himself in a tricky situation. He had to admit defeat, saying, "The Ringleader has proven himself a fierce fighter. I humbly acknowledge myself beaten." Fan broke into soft laughter and leapt away, whirling his

weapon. With bitter wrath Sai flung his cudgels to the ground, sighing, "I have always been swollen with the pride that I am unbeatable. Heaven knows that there is a sky beyond the sky, a Master above another Master." Thereupon he wiped his sweat away with his sleeves, panting heavily.

After the contest, Fan relented further, allowing himself to be cajoled into believing that he had attained the rank of deity. Even the guardsmen had now become his fast friends. And increasingly, Fan bent to Sai's imperious will. Fan, a loutish fellow, never saw through Sai's trick. The Commissioner had contrived this contest deliberately to let Fan overpower him. Had they met in fair play, man to man and sword to sword, Fan would certainly have been beaten by the cudgels in less than a hundred tricks.

Why did Commissioner Sai go to such lengths to design innumerable schemes to win Fan's friendship? Though Fan was far from being a

champion fighter himself, he was, after all, endowed with an esoteric killer trick unsurpassed by any fighter: it was the series of twenty-three styles in the Grappling Claws of the Dragon which would inflict tormenting pain on its victims. Those beaten would feel as if holes were being bored in their tendons and muscles, and nails driven through their feet. No matter how mighty a fighter his combatant might be, once any part of his body was pinched by Fan, he would be grappled, and unable to escape unscathed. Sai had heard from Pastoral that capturing Phoenix was the key to finding the treasure. As Phoenix had already eluded capture when he contrived his

scheme the "Web Within the Imperial Jail", Sai then hit upon the idea of

counting on Fan to practise his killer trick on his behalf to capture Phoenix. As the Gilt-faced Buddha was a truly accomplished fighter, were he and Fan to meet in fair play, Fan would never find the opportunity to practise the Grappling Claws of the Dragon against him. Since both had been close friends for years, Fan might have a chance to use this killer trick against Phoenix, provided the latter was caught completely off guard.

Post a Comment