Legend of Great Tang’s Twin Dragons - Volume 48 C4
Book 44 Chapter 4 – Hard-to-solve Misunderstanding
The three looked at Wanwan at the same time. Translated by foxs
Wanwan revealed her snow white, neat and orderly beautiful teeth, as she smiled sweetly, as if she wanted to leave an indelible impression in their hearts. Only then did she gracefully and charmingly stand up and said, “We’ll meet again tonight. I hope by that time you will have a comprehensive plan. With each passing moment, we lose a fraction of the chance of success. Remember that!”
She was so understanding and tactful, they all felt that the favorable impression in their hearts toward her had just gone up a notch.
Hou Xibai sprang up and said, “Let me welcome the guest!” he darted out of the room like a whirlwind, he seemed to be more excited than the two, so that, looking at him, the two boys looked at each other with a smile on their faces.
The two automatically focused their power into their pair of ears to listen to Hou Xibai’s situation from a distance, because if the newcomer was not Shang Xiuxun, they must immediately hide.
The door was opened.
Bowing and uttering polite phrases, Hou Xibai said, “It sure is Shang Changzhu honoring us with your presence, which brings light to my humble dwelling. Welcome, welcome!”
The two boys breathed a sigh of relief, a warm and touching feeling welled up in their hearts. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Shang Xiuxun’s pleasant voice was heard, “Hou Gongzi, no need to stand on ceremony. Is Ziling home?”
Inside the hall, Kou Zhong said to Xu Ziling, “Unexpectedly she is coming alone to see you! Shall I temporarily withdraw?”
Xu Ziling answered with a sneer, “You think she might pull a large group of entourage parading herself ostentatiously around the city to come here? Go to your Naynay!”
Outside, Hou Xibai replied, “Not only Ziling is here, Kou Zhong is also waiting respectfully for Changzhu’s good self. Changzhu, please come this way.”
The two boys hurriedly stood up; they were about to leave the table and head toward the door when their countenance changed at the same time.
Earlier, their mind was focused on Wanwan’s departure, and then it shifted to their ears to listen; only this moment it returned to its normal state. They suddenly sniffed that Wanwan’s unique fragrant was still lingering around the place where she sat.
A hundred secrets cleared away, Kou Zhong promptly remedied the situation. Using his sleeves, he brushed away the chair where Wanwan was sitting, hoping to disperse the remaining scent. For a martial art master of Shang Xiuxun’s caliber, her senses were acute; if she smelled the scent of a woman, if would be strange indeed if she did not grow suspicious. Moreover, girls are usually exceptionally sensitive to other girls; perhaps she could even recognize the scent of her foe.
This moment, Hou Xibai and Shang Xiuxun were climbing up the steps to the entrance, the two did not dare to be negligent, they welcomed her with a smiling face. Translated by foxs
Shang Xiuxun was wearing men’s clothing, presumably she wanted to hide from people’s eyes and ears, but the bluish-green warrior outfit she wore was made of famous and valuable material, the craftsmanship was exquisite; on her, it made her heroic spirit exuberant, her vigor more impressive.
Her facial features were picturesque, the outline of her pretty face was clear as if it was pared with a knife. Forget about Hou Xibai, a passionate guy who was very fond of women, even the two boys also had their heart bewildered, their spirit intoxicated.
Seeing Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling, a smile, which evolved from a heart brimming with delight, bloomed on the beauty’s face, but the tone of her voice feigned coldness, as she said, “Good kids! Where the hell did you go; year in, year out, there was not the least bit of message.”
Hou Xibai laughed calmly and said, “If they are not chasing people to kill them, then they are being chased to kill; it should be pardonable. Shang Changzhu, please sit down and we’ll continue talking.”
Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling originally wanted to intercept Shang Xiuxun and talk with her outside the hall first to stall for time, to let the fragrance dissipate, but Hou Xibai destroyed their plan with one sentence. Without any better option, they echoed him in asking her to take a seat. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Kou Zhong leaned over and whispered in her ear, “Meiren’er Changzhu is getting more and more beautiful!”
Shang Xiuxun’s capable-of-absorbing-the-soul-and-hooking-the-spirit [note: the first soul was mortal, the second, which I translated as ‘spirit’, was immortal soul] beautiful eyes cast him a sidelong glance, she spoke in displeasure, “Please behave for me, otherwise family law [the rules and discipline that apply within a family] awaits.”
Xu Ziling took the initiative by rushing to pull away the chair he was sitting in and spoke respectfully, “Changzhu, please sit down!”
Perhaps it was Nature [as the mother of all things] toying with people, Shang Xiuxun rolled her eyes at him and said, “Since when did Xu Ziling become this good at waiting upon girls? I’ll sit here, you can sit there yourself!” Unexpectedly she sat on the chair that Wanwan was sitting just now; immediately her jade countenance changed slightly.
‘Thump! Thump!’ Immediately Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling’s heart was thumping wildly, while crying ‘Not good!’ inwardly, because even from their position, they could still smell Wanwan’s fragrance. It really did not make any sense; Kou Zhong’ sleeves ought to be able to disperse the scent. This moment, he had a faint feeling that it was possible that Wanwan intentionally wanted to harm them by destroying their relationship with Shang Xiuxun. The question was how did she know that Shang Xiuxun was going to pay a visit? Translated by foxs
Hou Xibai was oblivious of what happened, he laughed aloud and said, “Why don’t Shaoshuai and Ziling sit down? Naturally pouring tea and serving water will be Zaixia’s domestic duty.”
Steeling themselves, Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling took their seat under Shang Xiuxun’s growing-grave-mixed-with-suspicious gaze, just like two serious criminals being pushed out to the execution ground.
Finally Hou Xibai sensed the peculiar atmosphere between the three; he spoke in amazement, “Changzhu …”
Displaying the dignified air of a Ranch Master, Shang Xiuxun signaled him to stop, her eyes shifted between Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling’s faces, she spoke heavily, “Do you know why I took the long and difficult trek to Chang’an?”
Hou Xibai sat down with blank expression on his face, but then his body shook; he realized where the problem was.
Kou Zhong’s scalp went numb, he respectfully said, “Changzhu, please explain.”
Shang Xiuxun’s lucid and elegant, intimidating countenance no longer had the least bit of smile, her pair of beautiful opened eyes emitted deep hatred, the tone of her voice tranquil and resolute, she slowly said, “Qin Lao and He Lao were tragically killed by Yin Gui Pai’s female demon in the past, our Flying Horse Ranch, from top to bottom, no one dares to forget that even for a moment. These past few years, we made open enquiries and secret searches, before we finally discovered some spider’s thread and horse track. We are positive that since the Sui dynasty founded the country, the Yin Gui Pai’s old nest has always been hidden in Chang’an. This time I am coming to Chang’an for only one purpose, which is for the female demon to pay the debt of blood with blood. This matter does not concern Hou Gongzi, but Xiuxun has always regarded the two of you as my own people; which side are you actually standing on?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Sure enough, their prediction has come true, unexpectedly Shang Xiuxun identified the scent that extremely likely Wanwan has deliberately left behind to harm them. It should be noted that warriors with qi training, because their physique was different from ordinary people, they all have distinctive scent. For this kind of martial art master who cultivated innate true qi, were it not for they deliberately restrain and conceal it, they would automatically emit some kind of distinct scent. And someone with acute senses like Shang Xiuxun would be able to identify the person based on the scent.
In his heart, Xu Ziling agreed with the result of Shang Xiuxun’s investigation. In Luoyang back then, Song Shidao, from the utensils and the tealeaves that Yin Gui Pai people used – had pointed out that they paid particular attention to their lifestyle, unlike people who had lived in seclusion deep in the mountains or destitute valley, or even some destitute village for a long time. Furthermore, Yin Gui Pai had the intention of contending for the hegemony over the world, so they should live in big city or big metropolitan where the transportation and communication were convenient; only then would they be able to grasp the latest and the truest situation. Moreover, it would also be convenient to do business and make money. Therefore, Shang Xiuxun’s guess that Yin Gui Pai’s secret nest was located in Chang’an, even if it wasn’t accurate, it should not be far from it. In addition, Zhu Yuyan and Wanwan were able to come and go in here unobstructed; not only they must know Chang’an well, they also had to have good identity as a cover. Translated by foxs
Weakly and without strength Kou Zhong said, “Of course we stand on Changzhu’s side; we all are on the same side!”
Hou Xibai could only worry about the two boys for nothing, but he could not butt in.
Shang Xiuxun’s eyes moved to Xu Ziling, she said, “Since that’s the case, please tell Xiuxun, did you or did you not just see that female demon?”
Bracing himself, Xu Ziling replied, “We did indeed see her; she …”
Shang Xiuxun angrily said, “Why did you allow her to leave alive?”
Kou Zhong said with a sigh, “This matter is hard to explain in a few words. Changzhu, please allow us to explain in details, because currently …”
Shang Xiuxun’s countenance turned as cold as ice; standing up abruptly, she furiously said, “I do not want to hear your graceful words, flowery speech. Starting from today, we are two segments with a single cut [idiom: to make a clean break]. Our Flying Horse Ranch’s affair, there’s no need for you to care about.” Finished speaking, she stormed out in a huff. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
The two boys you looked at me I gazed at you, they remained silent in distress. It was quite half a day later that Kou Zhong sighed and said, “I wonder if this time it is a disaster without being presumptuous, or Wan Yaonu is intentionally harming us, to make us and the Meiren’er Changzhu have a falling out, so that we won’t seek revenge on her on behalf of the Flying Horse Ranch.”
Shaking his head, Xu Ziling said, “How could this matter be described as ‘disaster without being presumptuous’? Our explanation is practically groundless, because Wanwan is certainly a female demon whose death cannot wipe out her crimes. Furthermore, due to various circumstances, we spare the rod and spoil the child [orig. to tolerate is to nurture an evildoer (idiom)], so being repeatedly placed in the harm’s way, we only have ourselves to blame.”
Hou Xibai said, “If this time Wanwan intentionally left her scent, then she is indeed so brilliant that it chills people heart; but how did she know that Shang Meiren was going to come?”
Muttering to himself irresolutely, Kou Zhong said, “That is precisely the key whether Wan Yaonu was actually intentional or unintentional. Ling Shao, what do you think?”
Xu Ziling spoke slowly, word-by-word, “She was intentional. Otherwise, you used true qi to brush away her scent, the scent ought to be dispersed instead of lingered in.”
Turning to Hou Xibai, he asked, “What was the occasion when you saw Shang Xiuxun last night?” Translated by foxs
Hou Xibai replied, “It was the banquet with Zhang Jiehao [sic] and Yin De Fei acting as the hosts. Hu Xiaoxian was present as well.”
Slapping the table, Kou Zhong said, “That’s it! Most probably … ay! But according to reason, Yin De Fei shouldn’t have told this matter to Wanwan. Otherwise, what Wan Yaonu told us about training alone was all a lie.”
His countenance changed, Hou Xibai said, “In that case, won’t all those joining hands to work together be just a trap?”
Xu Ziling said, “In a word, we can no longer trust this female demon.”
“How about Ling Shao go to explain and apologize to Meiren’er Changzhu?” Kou Zhong proposed, “Tell her our secret trouble, tell her that from now on we will wash our heart and renew our face [idiom], to completely correct our former misdeeds [idiom]. Ay! His Niang’s Wan Yaonu. Meiren’er Changzhu’s favorable impression toward you has always been a bit better than toward me. With you explaining it, it would have more power.”
Shaking his head to indicate his disagreement, Hou Xibai said, “The higher the favorable impression, the more uneasy it is. Especially since it involves the feeling between a man and a woman. This is called the deeper the love, the deeper the hatred. Moreover, her anger is in the head, if you look for her now, you will definitely hit the wall and come back.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Smiling ruefully, Xu Ziling said, “What nonsense are you talking about? She and I are just friends!”
Kou Zhong said, “You are in the game, naturally you are confused, while as outsiders, we can see things more clearly. Ah, right! This time, the person explaining to her must be a bystander, otherwise, if either me or Ling Shao is going to see her, we will only suffer the tragic, dismal fate of being driven away.”
“In that case, Xiaodi is not going to pass my responsibilities to others,” Hou Xibai volunteered himself, “Let me go as the mediator. Such a good-looking and intelligent Meiren’er like her, she ought to understand reason.”
Knitting his brows, Kou Zhong said, “Hou Gongzi acted as if you haven’t had sharing-the-stage relationship with Wanwan? How could you be considered a bystander? All three of us are out of question. To find Lu Zhonglian [Lu Zhonglian 魯仲連, also called Lu Lian 魯連, was a political advisor during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent-221 BCE) – ChinaKnowledge.de, famous lobbyist and strategist that help solve problem for two parties (Courtesy of Akolaw)], it must be someone outside the three of us. Ay! Who might be the suitable candidate?”
His haze turned toward Xu Ziling, just at the same time as the latter’s gaze was also turning toward him; both of them had their heart’s moved at the same time.
Shaken, Hou Xibai said, “Naturally it’s the Song Family’s Er Gongzi, right?”
Kou Zhong exhaled slowly, as if he has solved the matter, and said, “Even if we look around the world beating the gong and beating the drum, we may not necessarily find anybody more suitable than Song ErGe. We’ll immediately go to ask him to throw his cap in the ring. This matter should not be delayed, if we are too late, I am afraid there will be other changes.” Translated by foxs
Pressing the table and standing up, Kou Zhong said, “Get a good sleep! Tonight we are going to visit Yin Mansion again; even if we cannot find the picture scroll, we’ll grab Yin Zuwen and torture him for his confession, and then we’ll kill him to shut his mouth. His Niang’s! Right now I really want to kill and burn to vent the hatred in my heart!”
※ ※ ※
Each of the two boys wore the new mask that they obtained from the Duke Yang’s Treasure and stepped into the bustling-with-noise-and-excitement streets of Chang’an.
Kou Zhong wrapped his arm around Xu Ziling’s shoulders, he was overwhelmed with the touching feeling of brothers-meeting-again. He said, “Dealing with Shi Zhixuan this time, we can’t rely on Wanwan, and we can’t implicate Hou Gongzi even more; we can only rely on our own strength.”
Xu Ziling said, “If we join hands, we shouldn’t lose to him too much, but to kill him is absolutely impossible, unless he is willing to determine life and death against us.”
Proud of himself, Kou Zhong said, “Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans; naturally I have a detailed plan. Shi Zhixuan’s Dade Shengseng must be inside Wu Lou Si’s meditation room to recuperate from his injury. If we could create a situation that will force him to escape that tiny room via the underground tunnel, then we could ambush him over there, to kill him that he has no time to deal with it, plus there is no way out. Although fighting a trapped beast is a bit more dangerous, but we could use the many to take advantage of the few, no matter what; we will occupy a bit more advantageous position.”
Muttering to himself irresolutely for a moment, Xu Ziling said, “Who will have the ability to force him to flee the underground tunnel? We only have one chance to try this, to uncover his Shengseng [holy monk] identity; afterwards it will be difficult for us to grasp his movement and his hiding place.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Kou Zhong said, “Xiaodi can be considered without a plan; how could I miss this crucial point? In Chang’an, only one person has that ability, which is Li kid’s Ol’ Die, Li Yuan.”
Shaken, Xu Ziling said, “You are playing with fire; one thing goes wrong, even we have to pack and leave before we finish eating.”
Kou Zhong laughed and said, “This matter still needs detailed deliberation. In brief, the plan is more or less like that, the details have yet to be studied and deployed. We are here!”
※ ※ ※
Finished listening to the two boys’ request, Song Shidao said, “Afterwards, are you planning on drawing a clear dividing line with Wanwan? Or perhaps you will help the Flying Horse Ranch avenging this profound hatred? These two points are extremely important. Otherwise, even if my tongue is as lustrous as lotus flower, I won’t be able to move Shang Xiuxun. She and I had the predestined affinity to meet once, hence I rather understand her.” Translated by foxs
Lei Jiuzhi asked, “What kind of a person is she?”
Song Shidao replied, “She grew up in a very unique environment. In the Ranch, everybody treats her as a deity, and she manages the Ranch according to the Jiafa [lit. house rules; the rules and discipline that apply within a family] that is passed on from her ancestors, eternally keeping a distance from, and associating with, people outside the Ranch. The two of you are perhaps the only outsiders that she rarely trusts, hence the incident hurt her particularly badly.”
Blowing out a mouthful of air, Kou Zhong said, “We naturally stand on her side. However, due to Zhu Yuyan’s death and Shi Zhixuan recovering from his injury, the situation within the demonic school turned complicated and delicate, hence the top priority is to deal with Shi Zhixuan first before we turn to everything else. We precisely ask ErGe to explain our miserable plight to Shang Xiuxun. Ay! What should we say?”
Song Shidao nodded and said, “I understand, but all of us have different standpoint, I’m afraid it won’t be that easy to approach her.”
Xu Ziling noticed Ren Jun, who was sitting on the side, disguised as Situ Furong, seemed to want to say something but then hesitating; knowing that he did not dare to interrupt, he said, “Situ Laoban has something to say?”
Ren Jun bashfully said, “Xu Ye is also teasing me? I just want to remind Song Ye that a guest is going to pay a visit, Song Ye must go back quickly.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Lei Jiuzhi also said, “Almost forget to tell you, yesterday Xiao Yu sent someone to deliver a letter, saying that today at noon he is going to pay a visit to our Situ Da Laoban. It could be said that Li Yuan is giving Furong Ye enough face.”
Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling were emotionally moved. Xiao Yu, just like Pei Ji and Liu Wenjing, was the cabinet minister closest to Li Yuan, while also the old Sui emperor’s wife’ maternal uncle. Among the Tang ministers, he was a person of virtue and prestige, his status was special. He casually gave honor and dropped by to see a newly rich like Situ Furong, he must have done it with Li Yuan’s consent, he might even received order to come here.
Ren Jun stammered, “Hey, I was wondering if Xu Ye should disguise yourself back as Situ Furong. Xiaozi [kid], hey! Xiaozi …”
It was only then did everybody know the real reason he wanted to say something but then hesitating. It was simply because he grew timid as the battle approached, and wanted to avoid this military service.
Xu Ziling teased him, “If Xiao Yu is coming to plead you, Da Laoban, to write out a banknote for him, how am I going to deal with it?”
Ren Jun smiled bitterly but did not say anything. Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong spoke with serious expression, “This is precisely the opportunity to learn through experience. It is called jade will not become what it is without any cut [the word refers to cutting gems]. If Ling Shao deal with Xiao Yu on your behalf, Xiao Jun is going to miss this opportunity.”
Ren Jun respectfully replied, “Kou Ye’s lesson is right; Xiaozi understands!”
Standing up, Song Shidao said, “Xiao Jun spoke well. Where is Shang Xiuxun staying?”
Kou Zhong and the others busily stood up as well. Xu Ziling replied, “According to Hou Xibai, she has a property at the Wang Xian [lit. gazing toward the immortal] Street north of the Sheng Ye [lit. successful business] of the East Market. It’s the place she is staying whenever she is here.” And then he gave him the detailed address.
Song Shidao said, “Just to see her will entail some effort on my part, but I will think of something. Are you going to wait for my news here?”
Xu Ziling replied, “I have an appointment to meet with Du Fuwei in Beiyuan [lit. north park]; after our meeting, I will come back to see the situation.”
Greatly delighted, Kou Zhong said, “You are going to see Ol’ Die?”
Lei Jiuzhi said, “It’s not suitable for you to leave together, it won’t be good if you are seen by others.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “Naturally ErGe is leaving from the main entrance. Since we must not be exposed to the light, we came here climbing over the wall, we must also leave climbing over the wall; we come and go freely.”
Song Shidao smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Shang Xiuxun must give me a bit of face no matter what, at least she will listen to me until I finish. But my record acting as the peacemaker for you guys is not too splendid, I failed to resolve the gratitude and grudges between you and Junqiang.”
Kou Zhong sighed and said, “We have had enough! We no longer have too much hope with Meiren’er Changzhu.”
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