Legend of Great Tang’s Twin Dragons - Volume 48 C5
Book 48 Chapter 5 – Mistakenly Hitting the Secondary Vehicle
Lei Jiuzhi sent the two boys off passing through the rooms crossing over the buildings toward the rear garden. This magnificent residence occupied a large parcel of land, the buildings continuous; if the previous owner was not rich, then he must be a nobility, that it ended up as a collateral and became Situ Furong’s property, it really made people sigh in lamentation. Translated by foxs
The three walked along the gravel path of the rear garden. Frowning, Kou Zhong said, “Such a big courtyard house without any maid or servant to clean, it feels quite strange.”
Lei Jiuzhi said, “We intentionally do it this way. The cleaning crew is sent by Chen Fu; they leave after half a morning of work, only the kitchen crew stays longer. All are trustworthy people of our own. We are here to take refuge! Nobody will suspect us for hiding our track.”
“How’s the progress of getting some martial art teachers as the guards?” Xu Ziling asked.
Lei Jiuzhi replied, “From time to time within these past couple of days, someone dropped by to apply for the job, but I deliberately made things difficult. Without deciding who’s going to be employed, I only asked them to leave their detailed information, and then sent it to Chen Fu to verify their identity. This method is reasonable and fair. Otherwise, how do we know that those people are not related to Chi Shengchun?”
Kou Zhong laughed and said, “If they are really Chi Shengchun’s people, they must be demonic school’s people; how could you, LaoGe easily see through their identity?”
Proud of himself, Lei Jiuzhi said, “Don’t forget that I and your Song ErGe are Jianghu veterans, not easy to be deceived. Besides, I can turn your concern around: each time we encounter someone with unclear identity, it is extremely possible that he is a crafty villain of the demonic school, and we precisely want to hire such person. Ha!” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
The three reached the outer wall of the rear court. Outside the wall was the small alley that separated this residence with the neighbor. For Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling, climbing over the wall to get in was very easy, because they could see first the situation of the surrounding area before starting their operation. However, climbing over the wall to get out would pose a greater problem, because it was not easy to grasp the situation outside the wall.
Xu Ziling was listening attentively to any sound in the alley on the other side of the wall. Kou Zhong laughed and said, “I dare to make a bet that there are people being sent by certain power to watch the main entrance and the front door, and there must be government officials among those, because Furong Ye has aroused the attention of various parties.”
After a short pause, he said, “Supposing Ling Shao and I swagger out of the back door, what might happen?”
Xu Ziling replied with a sneer, “Our grand plan of punishing the Xiang might be dead on arrival, all is lost.”
Shaking his head, Kou Zhong said, “The difference between this time and last time is that last time everybody knew that we were coming to Chang’an for the treasure hunt. This time, no one did not know that I was at Cijian in a hopelessly muddled relationship with the Li kid; therefore, the chance of being discovered is quite slim. Besides, we could design our own identity; coming and going will be a bit more convenient.” Translated by foxs
Lei Jiuzhi cheerfully said, “We already thought about the problem you are thinking about. Xiao Zhong will be called Cai Yuanyong, Xiao Ling becomes Kuang Wentong, both are martial art masters of Taihang Bang [Taihang Gang; Taihang Mountains on the border between Hebei and Shanxi], jointly known as the ‘Taihang Shuang Jie’ [twin outstanding men of Taihang]. Taihang Bang’s Da Longtou [big boss] Huang An has always had friendly relations that surpasses life itself with Situ Furong. Situ Furong in trouble, he sent two capable hands to come to protect Situ Furong; this is as it should be by rights.”
Xu Ziling was puzzled, “There seems to be a hole in your plan. Xiang Family’s spies are all over the world, as soon as they investigate, they would immediately know that those ‘Taihang Shuang Jie’ are still by Huang An’s side and have not come to Chang’an; wouldn’t our original identity be fully revealed then?”
Lei Jiuzhi laughed aloud and said, “That is precisely the brilliance of this plan. According to our spies, Huang An indeed dispatched these two fellas to protect Situ Furong, only they are not coming to Chang’an. I originally thought I would discuss this matter with you later, but now that I see Xiao Zhong wants to go out of the back door in style, I might as well mention it!”
Running his eyes over his own clothes, Kou Zhong asked, “What do these two guys look like? What weapon did they rely on to make their name and establish their prestige?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Lei Jiuzhi proudly said, “I already took care of that, you guys please feel reassured. Come with me! I guarantee that by the time you step out of the door, those with a bit Jianghu experience will know that you guys are Shuang Jie and not Shuang Long [twin dragons]. Ha!”
※ ※ ※
Kou Zhong’s Moon in the Well became a strange looking saw tooth saber, while Xu Ziling had a long sword hanging on his waist, their hair ornaments and their clothes were slightly altered to match the ‘Taihang Shuang Jie’ Cai Yuanyong and Kuang Wentong’s outside appearance.
Stepping out of the back door, the moment Xu Ziling was closing the door behind him, Kou Zhong swept his gaze around. He sighed and said, “Usually it happens just like this: when you wanted to be discovered, contrary to expectations, nobody paid you any attention.”
“It would be best if no one pay any attention,” Xu Ziling replied, “I am most afraid that Lao Die has been waiting too long so he became impatient and left. Let’s go!”
The two boys walked side by side. Kou Zhong laughed and said, “I wonder when are we going to be able to wander on the streets of Chang’an ostentatiously in our original appearance and identity?” Translated by foxs
Xu Ziling replied indifferently, “One, when you are willing to surrender and pay allegiance to the House of Tang, two, when you succeed to put Li Shimin in order. Other than these two options, there are no other possibilities.”
From the long alley, they cut into a rather more spacious side street in the neighborhood [or district] block. Walking to the left, they would leave the neighborhood block.
Suddenly there were shouts coming from left and right, from both ends of the street, more than a dozen big men were rushing toward them; everybody looked menacing, clearly they were coming for them.
The two boys looked at each other in astonishment with hundreds of questions in their hearts. According to reason, if anybody could see through their real identity, the ones coming to get them would be martial art masters, Li Yuan’s personal guards, rather than these twenty something men who appeared to be from the local gangs. At least the roof, far and near, should be full of ambushing archers to prevent them from coming and going from above to break the siege and escape.
If they did not know that they were Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong, whose name shook the world, it did not make any sense even more. Could it be that as soon as they left Situ Furong’s Chang’an residence they already offended these people?
In the blink of an eye, all around them, both ends of the street were blocked by these murderous-looking men that not one drop could trickle through. The passers-by in the vicinity scattered in all directions to avoid trouble.
In front of them, one of the men stepped out of their ranks, pointed his halberd-finger at them and shouted, “This is called heaven has a way you don’t take, hell has no door you charge inside. Persisting in evil brings about self-destruction [idiom]. You two, give your life to me.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling focused his eyes to look, wasn’t the speaker Guanzhong Jian Pai’s Xiao Xiuming? Last time when he joined Xing Chang Long as Mo Wei, he has had some contact with him. Xiao Xiuming’s Da Shixiong [oldest martial art brother] Duan Zhixuan was one of the core generals of the Heavenly Policy Mansion, who had been put in a very important position by Li Shimin. This time, perhaps there was a flood rushing into the Dragon King Temple, people of the same family were beating people of the same family.
Changing his voice, Kou Zhong said, “This Renxiong must be mistaken. Between you and us, there was no complain in the past, there is no animosity at the present. Blocking our way, shouting about beating, shouting about killing, what kind of behavior is that?”
Another man from the back shouted, “Of course you don’t know us. Otherwise, even if you have guts as high as the heaven, you wouldn’t dare to come to Chang’an to display shockingly bad behavior. We already received the news that you, these two kids who don’t know life and death [acting recklessly (idiom)] will come to throw away your life. If you are tactful, lay down your weapon to save us some work.”
Without needing to look back, Xu Ziling immediately recognized the speaker as Xiao Xiuming’s younger martial brother Xie Jiarong. Both Xiao and Xie were Xing Chang Long people, they belonged to the same Guanzhong Jian Pai with Xing Chang Long’s big boss Bu Wannian’s son, Bu Ting. Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong groaned for the big headache; holding his temper in check, he said, “Hands tied and waiting to be captured is not a problem, but at least you should make us understand, how exactly did we offend gentlemen Xiongtai?”
Revealing an unashamed look, Xiao Xiuming cursed, “All right, let me explain to you, these two little thieves, according to Jianghu rules. If you remember the Xiuwu City’s Lu Yan’s daughter Lu Zhi’er, what good thing did you guys do to her, there’s no need for me, Xiao Xiuming, to waste too much lips and tongue!”
From behind, Xie Jiarong angrily shouted, “Swindling money and swindling countenance [i.e. tricking someone into having sex], you implicated a lady of respectable family to nurse a grievance and commit suicide, Cai Yuanyong, Kuang Wentong, can you two be considered human? You are really beasts worse than a dog or a pig.”
Xiao Xiuming continued, “Fortunately we knew that you were coming to Chang’an to see that bloodsucking vermin, hence we are waiting here day and night. If you don’t lay down your weapons, we are going to chop your dead bodies into pieces.”
The two understood, musing that Lei Jiuzhi really had a good ability, instead of disguising themselves as anybody, they had to disguise themselves as these two swindling-money-and-swindling-countenance depraved thieves. In the matter before their eyes, fighting was not right, not fighting was not right even more. Even if they slipped away, they could only slip away momentarily; they really did not know how to resolve this matter. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Seeing the two did not show any reaction, Xiao Xiuming angrily said, “Charge!”
The two boys sighed inwardly. Exchanging a glance, they made up their mind to slip away. Their only hope was that this matter would not reveal even more inside information; other than that, they did not ask for anything else.
Xiao Xiuming looked toward the voice, immediately his brows were deeply knitted, he was rooted on the spot with blank expression on his face.
Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling cried inwardly that this big matter has turned even worse, because the newcomer was Er Wenhuan of Chang Lin Army, a trusted aide under Li Jiancheng’s command. Next to him, there was another tall and slim man wearing military officer’s uniform, followed by more than a dozen city guards. If he saw through their identity, their only way out would be to forcefully charge through the city gate. Naturally the grand plan to deal with Chi Shengchun would fizzle out, Chen Fu and the others would be implicated, the consequences would be extremely grave.
With his hands behind his back, remaining calm and unruffled in the midst of chaos, Er Wenhuan pressed down straight toward Xiao Xiuming and the others. Wearing a sinister smile on his face, he said, “Xiao Xiong does not seem to be aware that Huangshang strictly prohibit personal fight. In the full light of the day you publicly going on the rampage, fully armed, on the street, I wonder if you are acting under your Da Shixiong Duan Zhixuan of Qin Wang’s Mansion’s order, hence you consciously going against the rules [orig. to know the law and break it (idiom)]?”
Xiao Xiuming’s countenance slightly changed, he ordered his men to put away their weapons first before responding, “I wonder if Er Jiangjun know who these two men are?” Translated by foxs
Er Wenhuan signaled his more than a dozen city guards to stay outside the encirclement, while he himself, along with the tall and thin military general went straight toward them. Xiao Xiuming and his Guanzhong Jian Pai brothers had no choice but to step aside to let the two men pass through, and came to Xiao Xiuming’s left and right.
Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling were somewhat relieved, because they knew that Er Wenhuan has not seen through their disguise.
Er Wenhuan turned his gaze to size up Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong, seemingly without any malice; he even had a smile on his face as he nodded his head to greet them. But his words was still directed to Xiao Xiuming, “Who they are, would Xiao Xiong please give advice?”
Xiao Xiuming said, “These two men ran amuck without any scruples in the Taihang Mountains region, committing multifarious evil, swindling innocent women of their money and body, harming the lady of respectable families that they took poison to kill themselves.”
The tall and thin military general with long face like a horse’s and sloping eyebrows [orig. shaped like the character ‘eight’ (八)] squinted his eyes until they became a pair of slits and shouted, “That being the case, Xiao Xiuming, why didn’t you make a report to me, City Guards, but took the matter into your own hands in a private fight? Are you regarding my City Guards as nothing, and do not consider me, Yao Luo to be worthy in your eyes?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Er Wenhuan laughed aloud and said, “Turns out it’s really Cai Xiong and Kuang Xiong whose name shook the Taihang Mountains.” And then he respectfully said, “Cai Xiong and Kuang Xiong, what do you say about Xiao Xiong’s accusation?”
Anyone who is not a fool would know that Er Wenhuan was trying to exonerate the two boys. Although Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling a thousand times unwilling, ten thousand times disinclined to accept Er Wenhuan’s ‘good intention’, they hated it that they had no other choice.
Clearing his throat, weakly and without any strength, Kou Zhong spoke up, “Hey! How could we, Taihang Shuang Jie commit that kind of violating-Heaven’s-law thing? He, Xiao Xiuming, clearly makes false accusations against us for some purpose. Er Daren and Yao Daren, please preside over justice for us, two brothers.”
Er Wenhuan sent a ‘Please don’t worry’ signal to the two boys with his eyes, plus a slight nod of his head, before speaking coldly, “Whether it’s government official or Jianghu matters, we speak of nothing but of one word ‘reason’. Xiao Xiong’s accusation toward Cai Xiong and Kuang Xiong is extremely serious; I wonder if you have any witness or material evidence?” Translated by foxs
Xiao Xiuming was stunned, he was dumbstruck and unable to say anything.
Putting on big government official’s air, Yao Luo said, “Since there is no reliable evidence, forcefully accusing others, ignoring our Great Tang’s law and order, Xiao Xiuming, how brazen you are! Guards! Arrest these rebels and bring them back to the City Guards.”
Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling your eyes look into mine, they thought that this was an outrage, framing Xiao Xiuming and his men who upheld justice; how could their heart be at peace?
Fortunately, while the City Guards were shouting and started to move, Er Wenhuan suddenly turned into a good person; he said, “In my opinion, this is just a misunderstanding. As long as Xiao Xiong agree from now on you won’t harass Cai Xiong and Kuang Xiong anymore, we all can end this matter politely.”
Inwardly Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling were greatly surprised, but they quickly thought that this might be the order that Li Jiancheng passed on to his men, not to provoke the King of Qin’s people in a very unusual period, hence he could easily speak to Yao Luo of the City Guards, which were directly under Li Yuan’s control.
Everybody’s eyes were on Xiao Xiuming to see how he would react.
Xiao Xiuming’s countenance turned red and white indeterminately, obviously the anger in his heart was difficult to pacify, yet he clearly had no choice. It was quite half a day later that he dejectedly admitted defeat, saying, “This time we were reckless, hereafter we won’t offend the two gentlemen anymore.”
Completely occupying the upper hand, Er Wenhuan let out a long laughter and said, “Xiao Xiong is really understanding.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xiao Xiuming angrily shouted to his own troops, “Let’s go!”
After the group of Guanzhong Jian Pai men left, Er Wenhuan spoke cheerfully, “Your name has been known to me for a long time [idiom], it’s hard to come by that the two gentlemen are coming from afar to Chang’an, please let Xiaodi act as the host a little bit by inviting the two gentlemen to enjoy some ordinary meal; what do you think?”
How could the two boys refuse? Although they would not be able to keep their appointment with Du Fuwei, but looking at Er Wenhuan’s cordiality, as if he was harboring some other scheme, it was indeed an ‘unexpected delight’; thereupon they hurriedly agreed with similar enthusiasm.
This trip to Chang’an, the situation has become even more tangled and complicated.
After three rounds of wine, sitting around the table by the east window overlooking the Yuema Bridge on the third floor of Fu Ju Lou, the most famous restaurant in Chang’an, the four men were drinking and chatting merrily, the atmosphere was friendly. Translated by foxs
After some polite remarks, Yao Luo turned into the main issue, “About Cai Xiong and Kuang Xiong coming to Chang’an, we already received the information, hence early on we paid particular attention to the people entering the city, to see whether two Xiongtai are among them; who would have thought that it was not until two gentlemen were intercepted by Guanzhong Jian Pai that we realized two gentlemen’s good-selves are already inside the city. Two gentlemen are really resourceful.”
He was speaking politely, but he was actually interrogating Kou and Xu, two boys.
Kou Zhong laughed aloud first in order to strive for the timing of the interrogation; he spoke in astonishment, “Our trip to Chang’an this time, we actually deliberately keep it a secret, how come it looks like everybody in Chang’an already knew about it?”
Er Wenhuan laughed and said, “Anything pertaining to Situ Da Laoban currently become something that no one is not concerned. Song Que is so brutal and overbearing, he openly persecutes Da Laoban, no one in Jianghu can overlook it. Fortunately Da Laoban made the right decision to come to Chang’an. I, Er Wenhuan dare to pat my chest to guarantee that Chang’an is the only place where Song Que will not dare to display shockingly bad behavior.”
Answering Yao Luo’s previous question, Xu Ziling lowered his voice and said, “To be quite honest, Furong Ye did not wish for us to see the light, hence we were hiding inside firewood cart to sneak into the city, hoping that two Daren would forgive us.”
Frank and straightforward, Er Wenhuan said, “That’s not a problem. Yao Daren could complete the formalities of two gentlemen entering the city. Come! After drinking this cup, we all will be brothers.”
The four men toasted each other loudly.
Pretending to be curious, Kou Zhong looked around at the other guests on the third floor, some of whom he even recognized, like Li Mi, Wang Bodang and Huang Gongcuo, who sat on two separate tables. These three ought to be Fu Ju Lou’s regular customers. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Seizing the opportunity, Xu Ziling said, “Isn’t that Mi Gong of the Wagang Army?”
Revealing a look of disdain, Er Wenhuan spoke indifferently, “Although Wagang still exists, Wagang Army is already like scattering cloud, vanishing smoke.” And then he laughed and said, “I hear Situ Da Laoban is extremely suspicious of others, he rarely trusts anybody, is that true?”
Kou Zhong knew that he was fishing for information, to assess how much value would Taihang Shuang Jie worth for him. He nodded and said, “Da Laoban is indeed very cautious, the only person he trusts is precisely our An Ye, each time he made a business inspection trip to various parts of the country, An Ye always sent us to accompany him as his escorts. Not concealing anything from two gentlemen, we have repeatedly gone through fire and water for Furong Ye, hence the reason this time Furong Ye has difficulties, his first thought was us, two brothers.”
Er Wenhuan’s eyes revealed a happy expression, it looked like his heart was glad that he did not make mistake in finding the right helpers, the right people.
Yao Luo said, “I hear Da Laoban wants to engage local martial art teachers as protector of the courtyard, two gentlemen’s martial art skill is outstanding, there is no need to hire other staffs, he is not afraid that people with other intentions might infiltrate inside?” Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong said, “We have only arrived today and have just met Furong Ye; listening to him, the Senior, he was afraid that we might not be able to rush over due to other matters, but now naturally there won’t be any problem in this regard.”
Xu Ziling was afraid he might reveal everything, he said, “However, if we could engage several reliable men to be in charge of patrolling the courtyard, it would ease our burden. We came to Chang’an, it would be wonderful if we could spare a little time to go sightseeing all over the place.”
Yao Luo laughed and said, “Er Daren knows Chang’an well, plus he is a frequent visitor of pleasure houses and casinos. With him as your guide, I guarantee that two gentlemen have not made the trip in vain.”
Patting his chest, Er Wenhuan said, “You can leave it to Xiaodi, but no need to speak Daren this, Daren that! From now on we call each other Xiongdi, it will be a bit more fun to play!”
His heart was moved, Kou Zhong spoke with evil smile, “The two of us have no hobby, at most when we are idle, we like to gamble a couple of hands. Too bad right now we have heavy responsibility and have to give up this only hobby.”
Immediately Er Wenhuan’s pair of eyes lit up. Lowering his voice, he acted mysteriously and said, “Gambling a couple of hands, who would find out? As long as I, Er Wenhuan make the arrangement, I guarantee that not even half a rumor will enter Situ Da Laoban’s ears. Just leave such a trivial matter to me, I guarantee two gentlemen will be able to satisfy your craving in gambling.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling secretly praised Kou Zhong, in just a sentence he tested out that it was very likely that Er Wenhuan was somehow ‘related’ to Chi Shengchun. Now it was clear that Er Wenhuan wanted to control them, by fair means or foul, including by beguiling them, luring them with gain, intimidation, all the way to using fairy trap. Only through them, this pair of Taihang Shuang Jie, the Xiang Family would obtain accurate intelligence pertaining to Situ Furong.
Yao Luo spoke seriously, “Somehow, with two gentlemen, I feel familiarity at first sight. This is perhaps some kind of destiny. Cai Xiong, Kuang Xiong, please don’t blame Xiaodi for talking intimately while being comparative strangers [idiom].”
Xu Ziling nodded and said, “Toward two gentlemen Daren, we also feel like we are kindred spirits very much, to the point of feeling a bit overwhelmed by favor from superior [idiom]. Yao Daren, please bestow more instruction.”
This time it was Kou Zhong’s turn to secretly praise him. This move of Xu Ziling’s was called ‘desiring to capture indulgence first’. With one sentence ‘overwhelmed by favor from superior’ he indicated that he was a Jianghu veteran, that he was not completely without wariness toward Yao Luo using respect and speaking about honor to fawn on the two boys.
Er Wenhuan was about to speak, a city guard was climbing the stairs and heading straight toward their table, immediately attracting all the third-floor guests’ attention that they turned their eyes toward Kou Zhong and the others’ table.
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