Thursday, 28 January 2016

Chapter 110 - Sneaking


The summits of the southern border mountains were completely different from the mountains in Central Plains, less elegancy and tranquility and instead more of loftiness and sheerness.

Below the night sky, the unbroken mountain ranges rose and fell, towering, imposing and  criss-crossing, looking at it from afar, it gave off a feeling of harshness.

Ghost Li clasped his hands behind his back, gazing far away, after two slightly lower mountains and a considerably flat wildland, four majestic mountain peaks suddenly appeared towering from the ground, closely linking with each other to form a mountain valley. And behind the four lofty mountains, under the vast night sky, were innumerable shadows. Indeed it was the infinite ten thousands great mountains of the southern border.

And in the middle of the four mountains, at the fore was the renowned FenXiang Valley.

Tonight, the night was very dark, the faint moon hung high up and indistinctly a few stars were still in the horizon, twinkling faintly. Under the cold clear moonlight, a haze seemed to be in that valley in the distance, drifting lightly, like a fine veil of mist, mysterious and beautiful.

Ghost Li frowned and looked away.

It was already the third day. Ever since that night three days ago, he and Evil Sect HeHuan Sect Jin PingEr unexpectedly discovered FenXiang Valley was actually colluding with the southern border great mountains barbaric tribe and so decided to investigate further. ‘FenXiang Valley’ these three words, in the southern border here, reverberated like thunder, both of them easily obtained the location of FenXiang Valley but when it was time to slink in, they discovered that it was rather troublesome.

FenXiang Valley occupied a vast area, logically it should not be hard to sneak in. The fact was such too, both of them with their skills, easily avoided FenXiang Valley ordinary disciples who were patrolling FenXiang Valley day and night but who would have known that each time they reached an area which was relatively deep inside FenXiang Valley, no matter how they concealed their figures, a mysterious clear and melodious ring would set off nearby and immediately attracted numerous FenXiang Valley men to come search and some of them were highly skilled disciples.

Ghost Li and Jin PingEr both were sharp-witted and that few times they managed to escape in time but no matter how careful they were, they still were unable to escape that mysterious chime and in the days that followed, they still were unable to penetrate deeper and FenXiang Valley seemed alerted and already increased the number of disciples patrolling.

Ghost Li pondered for a long time but was still unable to figure out how FenXiang Valley managed to foresee their movements. Seemed like this FenXiang Valley which was listed as one of the three mighty sects of Good Faction really had concealed abilities.

And at this time, Xiao Hui who had been quietly crouching at his shoulder suddenly moved, a low exclamation was suddenly heard behind:

“Ah!”

Ghost Li turned, in a small clearing inside the forest, a campfire was burning, Jin PingEr sat before it, a wooden stick in her hand and on it, a cleanly stripped wild rabbit was roasting. She was seen frowning now and looking at that wooden stick in her hand, her expression despondent.

Ghost Li walked over.

These past three days he and Jin PingEr had tried many times to sneak into FenXiang Valley but both also failed. Their relationship was quite delicate, on the surface they seemed at peace with each other but coverty both were wary of each other and knew the other party was still a scheming, ruthless accomplice and when without warning would suddenly strike and kill.

Walking near the campfire, Xiao Hui [Zi] called out and jumped onto the ground, Ghost Li looked towards Jin PingEr and was surprised, he saw her looking helplessly at that rabbit skewered on the wooden stick and one of the rabbit leg was actually burned.

Both of them had circled around FenXiang Valley for a few days, this kind of wild countryside, naturally there was no villages or inns and while Ghost Li did not mind eating dried rations for the few days, Jin PingEr instead was somewhat unable to bear it. Tonight they happened to see a wild rabbit running past and caught it, thinking to have a change of taste and made a fire pit. Since their location was quite far from FenXiang Valley, they were not afraid of being seen.

Just that now it seemed although Jin PingEr was highly skilled but she did not had any such experience of cooking in the wild. After a few times, she could not grasp the techniques and burned the food. Right now Ghost Li stood in front of her, Xiao Hui half crouching on the ground, one man and one monkey, four eyes looking at that burned rabbit leg. Jin PingEr flushed red and slowly withdrew the stick from the fire.

[Zi zi, zi zi…] Suddenly, a burst of strange sounds, it was Xiao Hui who was grinning broadly, lying on the ground, its tail standing tall and swaying to and fro, its right hand clutched into a fist and incessantly pounding the ground, looking like it could not control anymore, it actually made this kind of inconceivable action.

Jin PingEr and Ghost Li were both stunned at the same time and then both came out of their shock, Jin PingEr were extremely stupefied and a trace of anger flashed across her face, Ghost Li also could not figure out from where did this monkey learn such ability of ridiculing people when it hardly left his side. He glanced over at Jin PingEr, coughed once, lightly kicked with his left leg and kicked that grey fur monkey, who was still beating the ground, out.

Xiao Hui, like a gourd, rolled off but [Zi zi zi zi] sounds were still being heard from a distance.

Ghost Li and Jin PingEr glanced at each other, the ambience turned somehow awkward, Ghost Li looked at the wooden stick in Jin PingEr’s hand and then grabbed a rock from nearby and sat on it, said to Jin PingEr, “Give it to me.”

Jin PingEr was surprised and saw the calm expression on Ghost Li’s face, handed over the wooden stick in her hand. He first tore off the burnt portion, placed the stick again into the fire and slowly roasted it while rotating. The way he roasted it was obviously different from Jin PingEr, the flames leapt and licked, the wooden stick slowly rotated, in a short while, a faintly discernable fragrance slowly wafted out.

Jin PingEr raised her head and looked at Ghost Li, under the firelight, his usual pale face right now had turned ruddy, in the black abstruse eyes, two small burning balls of fire reflected in it.

A man who was concentrating on roasting food for her…

The atmosphere suddenly turned quiet, nobody spoke. Jin PingEr slowly looked away, picked up a few withered twigs beside her and put it into the fire, the flames slowly burned bigger, swallowing the twigs and from time to time, emitted [pi pa] sounds.

In the distant forest end, a night breeze seemed to have blow over, the sounds of the leaves and branches rustling softly were heard, entered into the hearts…

Xiao Hui, unknowingly had ran back and carried a few wild fruits in its hands, seemed like it had plucked them from the forest. It walked to the fire, glanced around and dumped its bottom beside Ghost Li’s feet, brought the fruit to its mouth and opening its mouth wide, started to munch the fruit, at the same time its long tail swayed and lastly wrapped around Ghost Li’s leg.

They sat in silence for a long while, the fragrance in the air thickening, the fats in the wild rabbit above the fire had started to surface and slowly dripped down, the meat shining with grease, one look and it made one’s finger itched, Jin PingEr also could not help but took a few more looks.

After another while, Ghost Li carefully assessed the rabbit and withdrew the stick, with one hand holding it, the other hand stretched into his waist, felt around and took out a few small bottles and containers, from it, he scattered powder-like stuffs onto the rabbit’s body.

Jin PingEr was stunned and said, “What is that?”

Ghost Li smiled, Jin PingEr watched and without knowing why, felt some bitterness in it, Ghost Li was heard indifferently saying, “Just some salt and seasonings, it is an old habit of mine, I carry it everywhere with me.” While speaking, he passed the stick over to Jin PingEr.

Jin PingEr hesitated but did not take the stick.

Ghost Li’s eyes glinted, he smiled faintly, tore off a piece of rabbit meat and put it into his mouth and ate it.

Jin PingEr turned red for a moment, in the firelight, a coquettish look appeared on her face, captivating, after a moment, she stretched out her hand to take the stick and quietly said, “Many thanks GongZi.”

Ghost Li did not speak, turned his head and took a fruit from Xiao Hui’s hand, he put it close to his mouth and slowly bite once, started to eat it.

“Ah!”

Suddenly, another soft exclamation from Jin PingEr, the sound seemed to carry some pain, Ghost Li and the monkey, Xiao Hui, both raised their heads at the same time and looked over, Jin PingEr’s fair hand covered her mouth, her eyebrows frowning, looking slightly in pain. She suddenly realized that Ghost Li and Xiao Hui were looking at her, her face flushed red and embarrassedly said, “I wasn’t careful and burned myself…” her voice gradually turning smaller towards the end of the sentence.

Ghost Li’s lips twitched but there was no change in his expression, just that Xiao Hui beside him suddenly made [Zi zi] sounds and started grinning broadly, the half-eaten wild fruit in its right hand dropped onto the ground and following which, its fists pounded the ground, looked like it was going to do that weird action again.

Jin PingEr’s eyes stared, feeling embarrassed and angry but without waiting for her reaction, and without waiting for the monkey Xiao Hui to beat the ground with its hands, Ghost Li had already with one foot, lightly kicked Xiao Hui out like a rolling gourd.

After a moment, Ghost Li was heard faintly saying, “Animals are unrefined, don’t take offence.”

Jin PingEr glanced at him, calmed herself down, nodded and smiled, she then gently blew the roasted rabbit in her hand and used her fair white hand to tear a piece of meat off, put it into her mouth and chewed.

The moment it entered her mouth, Jin PingEr was immediately aroused. In that instant she felt that fragrance seemed to come alive, channelled into her entire body and her body seemed to feel lighter by a few degrees, her mouth salivated, this was a taste she had never tasted before. The outer skin was crisp but not burnt, thin and crunchy; in it, the meat was smooth and tender, and including the unknown seasonings, that delicious taste seemed to seep into her heart, she could not stop after this bite, almost lost her self over it. She never expected that this delicacy was actually made by this man in front of her.

Even though Jin PingEr’s skills were considered high, her resolution firmed, right now her appetite was stimulated, she tore one piece after another, in a short while she had already eaten one rabbit leg and only then she felt slightly full and stopped. She then smiled and looked at Ghost Li, said, “What good skills GongZi has, an ordinary rabbit, and it can actually be roasted to be so delicious by you!”

By this time the monkey Xiao Hui had already ran back, crouching beside Ghost Li, a pair of alert monkey eyes turning here and there, for a moment looking at Ghost Li, another moment looking at Jin PingEr.

Ghost Li indifferently said, “Just a small trick, I have embarrassed myself in front of Miss.”

Jing PingEr smiled sweetly, her beauty charming and captivating, her eyes glistened and she gently said, “In my whole life, I have never eaten such delicious rabbit!”

Ghost Li smiled faintly, was about to say something but his body suddenly shook, a perplexed look in his eyes.

This sentence, this voice, this dainty smile, suddenly surged in his mind. The faint dim night, cold night breeze, a pain suddenly felt in his heart, like an angry wave tossing and heaving.

Once at some time, he had heard these words before.

That was a memory many years ago sealed and left but without warning, gushed up into his heart.

A clear brook, sparkling with sunlight, dainty smile, gentle sound of the wind…

Kongsang Mountain, behind the precipice, two people who had just escaped death, crowded around a fire, also barbecuing.

That smiling figure in light green clothes, suddenly drowned him, occupying all of the empty spaces in his heart, he involuntarily shook.

BiYao…

“It’s very delicious, the most delicious thing that I have ever eaten in my life, is the rabbit that you are roasting now.”

That sentence at that time, faintly reverberated in his head, slowly turning into a thorn, into a needle, stabbed into his heart.


“GongZi, GongZi?” A slightly alarmed voice rang out beside his ear, pulled Ghost Li back to reality.

Jin PingEr, without knowing when, had stood up, her left hand was still holding that wooden stick but her right hand was withdrawn into her sleeve.

Ghost Li’s eyes focused, inhaled deeply, calmed himself down and immediately said, “I am alright.”

Jin PingEr took a deep look at him, the look in her eyes unpredictable, softly said, “GongZi, why is your face so pale, did something happen?”

Ghost Li met her stare, suddenly smiled and said, “What could happen to me?”

Jin PingEr looked at him, the indistinct glint in her eyes slowly disappeared, the lovely look on her face appeared again, she smiled and said, “As long as GongZi is alright.”

Ghost Li’s heart suddenly felt depressed but his face did not show it, he was about to say something when Xiao Hui who had been keeping quiet beside him, suddenly moved and glanced back.

Ghost Li and Jin PingEr at the same sensed it, stood up and looked towards the south, in the southern horizon, the air above the tranquil FenXiang Valley which was surrounded by a group of mountains, a sharp cry was suddenly heard from a far distance, a stream of red light charging towards the sky, after lighting up the horizon, it slowly dropped down.

Ghost Li and Jin PingEr’s eyes both lighted up at the same time.

x x x

Within FenXiang Valley, the lights which had died out during the late night, suddenly were lighted up again.

Human voices, either near or far, mixed with deep low cursing voices of being awaken from their sleep, gradually also became louder. But in this gradually increasing clamor, shouts of anger mingled together with strange cries like of a wild beast, drifted out from the entrance of FenXiang Valley.

After a moment, sounds of fighting had travelled over and at the same time, clear melodious rings and alarm bells reverberated in the valley. In this late night, there were actually intruders forcing their way into FenXiang Valley.

Arriving soundlessly, hiding at another mountain were Ghost Li and Jin PingEr, watching that scene of lights at FenXiang Valley entrance and also human figures frequently hurrying from within FenXiang Valley to the entrance, they were secretly shocked.

Who was it, that dared to boldly offend one of the world’s supreme Good Faction leader, FenXiang Valley? Even as the outstanding martial experts of the Evil Sect younger generation, facing the unveiled experts of FenXiang Valley, they also had to think carefully if they could sneak in.

Initially when they both arrived here, Jin PingEr could not help but softly ask, “Don’t tell me it’s your Ghost King Sect?”

Ghost Li naturally denied but he had pondered on it and could not figure out other than the Evil Sect, in this world what power could be so arrogant?

The din of human voices in FenXiang Valley in this night, after a while, there were still human figures continued to head towards the valley entrance, looking at the scene, the situation over there not only did it not subside, in fact it seemed to have worsen.

Ghost Li and Jin PingEr frowned slightly but the situation in front of them was a golden opportunity, Ghost Li quietly spoke to Jin PingEr beside him, “Let’s go in.”

Jin PingEr nodded but she glanced at Ghost Li and said instead, “I am very interested in the commotion at the valley entrance, why don’t we take advantage of the confusion and take a look there first?”

Ghost Li thought for a moment, shook his head and said, “You go ahead, I am going deeper into FenXiang Valley to take a look.”

Jin PingEr in the darkness, seemed to be surprise and then said, “Works for me, you be careful then.”

Ghost Li was slightly surprised, ‘be careful’ these two words suddenly coming out of Jin PingEr’s mouth seemed somehow odd but Jin PingEr looked straight in his eyes, smiled sweetly and then her figure transformed into a faint flowing light, glided down silently from the mountain ridge and then disappeared into the darkness.

Ghost Li frowned, a glint flashed across his eyes.

x x x

Although FenXiang Valley’s lifetime was incomparable to Qing Yun Sect and Evil Sect but it had been in operations here for over eight hundred years. Ghost Li’s figure quietly slinked in the night shadows, facing him were blocks of temple halls and buildings in a picturesque disorder. Looking at the architectures, it looked similar to Central Plains designs but in the details, like the windows lintel and eaves corners, some ferocious beasts decorated it at times, which was not found in Central Plains. Evidently in these eight hundred years, FenXiang Valley had also been influenced by the southern border local uncouth customs.

Over at the valley entrance, a hubbub was still going on. The annoying alarm bell that Ghost Li and Jin PingEr were helpless against, right now was ringing non-stopped. The place where he was hiding right now, was in the shadow of a large rock at the foot of the mountain. The last time they had tried to sneak in, the mysterious clear sound of bell started ringing when they took a few more steps from here.

Right now the bell was resounding in the far distance, an empty ground stood three zhangs in front of the big rock and then it was an ordinary-looking house, appeared to be the residence of the FenXiang Valley disciples.

Ghost Li inhaled deeply, stood straight up in the shadows and looked around, the surroundings was all quiet, comparing to the hubbub in the far distance, it was devoid of human voices. As for the FenXiang Valley disciples in that building, most likely they had already been called out to the valley entrance.

In the unusual silence, Ghost Li unhurriedly walked forward.

One step, two steps…

He walked very slow, until the fifth step, the surroundings was still the same.

But on Ghost Li’s face, he was even more solemn, because the last time he was here, it was when he took the sixth step, he was discovered by that mysterious bell.

The glint in his eyes became brighter, he slowly swept his gaze around but did not notice anything different.

The next moment, he slowly took the sixth step.

[Ding ling…]

Almost at the same time his foot touched the ground, the clear sound of bell suddenly went off in front of him, travelling far out in the silence.

Ghost Li’s body froze, a mixture of surprise and anger in his heart, the uncanny skills of this FenXiang Valley was really ingenious, no matter how he tried, he was unable to find it, it was really baffling.

But tonight naturally the circumstances was different from the previous days, although Ghost Li triggered some invisible mechanism and set off the alarm bell but the hubbub in the distance away as well as the fighting noises were even louder and soon drowned out the bell.

Ghost Li immediately decided, swept his eyes around and then flew up, keeping close to the ground and glided to the back of the house, the bell was still ringing, really exasperating.

At this moment, Xiao Hui who had been quietly crouching on Ghost Li’s shoulder, suddenly called out in a low voice, Ghost Li was startled and turned around to look at Xiao Hui.

Reflecting a bit of the faint moonlight, in front of Ghost Li who was in the shadows, Xiao Hui’s body suddenly emitted a faint sound of [ka ka] and then that scar on its forehead, suddenly deepened.

Without waiting for Ghost Li to react, Xiao Hui who seemed to be slightly abnormal, suddenly turned its head, its pair of monkey eyes gradually lighted up with a strange glaring golden light but behind that golden light, indistinctly fused with a strange red light.

“Zi zi, zi zi”

Xiao Hui’s monkey hands suddenly pointed to a far secluded corner of the building foundation.

Ghost Li carried Xiao Hui, assessed it carefully, quietly asked, “What is it, Xiao Hui?”

“Zi zi, zi zi!”

Xiao Hui softly called out, its hand was still pointing at that direction, at the same time that golden light in its eyes slowly faded.

Ghost Li frowned and nodded, placed it on his shoulder and glided over.

The dark corner of the foundation, gave off a faint moss smell. Under the careful search by Ghost Li, very soon there was a discovery, a small hole of about one chi big was concealed in the foundation.

His eyes glinted, he stretched his hand out and as fast as lightning, explored the hole, after a moment, a small sound was heard suddenly from the hole and immediately became quiet, almost at the same time, that incessant bell also suddenly stopped.

A trace of smile revealed on Ghost Li’s lips, he unhurriedly withdrew his hand out and in the next moment, in his hand, was a strange wild animal, after struggling a few times, it stopped moving.

This strange animal was covered with grey skin, about three chi big. Its body in a strange bow-shaped figure, the back arched high, the head and tail drooped low, a pair of black eyes like tiny black peas set on top of its head. But the most peculiar thing was that this animal had a strange long snout, about half a chi long, almost one third of its length, the tip of its snout had two thick nostrils and looked similar to the pigs reared by farmers.

Ghost Li stared for a moment and then snorted, quietly said, “No wonder I simply cannot hide from it, so there is actually this kind of ‘grey pig’ (Note 1) here.”

x x x

Note 1: [Divine and Evil  The strange. Spiritual beast chapter] Grey Pig: Long snout big ear, neck-less with long tail, eats ants, insects, grass, nocturnal and some say earth pig.

Again note: [Contemporary animals.Earth pig]: Mammal and also known as Africa anteater, its body stocky, body length approximately 140cm, without any incisor or canine teeth, like anteater it uses its long tongue to eat the termites. It is found in south and central of Africa, in hills or semi grasslands, it is extremely good in digging, resting in its cave during the day and hunts in the night. It is very timid and has an extremely sensitive hearing, depending on its sense of smell to forage, which is ten times and more acute than a dog.

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