Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Chapter 119 - Cold Night


The southern border flavour was greatly different from Central Plains, just that as the years went, although the place was remote but it still had tradings with the Central Plains. And the local produced fur, ore etc had good reputations in Central Plains and attracted quite a number of Central Plains merchants to come forward to trade. And as time went by, the southern border which did not have any inn, under the influence of the Central Plains merchants, inns appeared in some of the most bustling cities and towns.

The place where Ghost Li and Xiao Bai were now, was such an inn, its name directly taken from the place and named ‘TianShui Inn’. Walking into the inn, very evidently the tables and chairs decorations were influenced by Central Plains culture but the innkeeper and waiters were all local Zhuang tribe people. Zhuang tribe in the southern border had the biggest population and in relative, their people were better off and were most influenced by the Central Plains, unlike the other tribes which still insisted on hunting as their main way of life, Zhuang tribe had already gradually started to farm and trade.

But it was also because of that, Zhuang tribe’s trait was more placid, most of the tribe people did not have that intrepid characteristic so they were not as powerful as the Miao tribe which had a smaller population than them.

Ghost Li and Xiao Bai sat down, a waiter was already coming over to serve them, by now the sky had turned dim but there was not many customers in the inn. The waiter’s appearance and clothes looked to be from Zhuang tribe but most likely he had worked here for quite a while, his language was rather fluent.

“Two customers, will you like to eat something? Our inn still have clean rooms, our prices are the most reasonable, well-known near and far.”

Ghost Li nodded, said, “Give us two clean rooms, we are staying one night.”

The waiter smiled and nodded, then said, “Two customers most probably have not eaten right, do you want to order some rice and dishes?”

Ghost Li was not hungry but glanced at Xiao Bai, decided he should order some food, spoke, “Um, give us two bowls of rice and also a few…”

“Hm!” Xiao Bai suddenly exclaimed, a smile on her face, said, “Do you have ‘Earth Stuffed Siskin’ here?”

Ghost Li was surprised, looked at Xiao Bai, that waiter was also stunned, took another glance at Xiao Bai, said, “Miss can it be that you have visited southern border before, this signature dish, naturally we have it.”

Xiao Bai’s smile deepened, her eyes gleamed, as if reminiscing something, slowly said, “Oh, right, also ‘Three Parts Snake Intestines’, ‘Roasted Bear’s Tail’, ‘Roasted Autumn Leaf’, ‘Five Little Worms’, ‘Black Heart Fruit’ …”

Her eyes sparkled, speaking while thinking, initially her speed was still slow, naming the dishes by dishes, however her speed increased towards the end, the names of the dishes were also very bizarre, unbelievable upon hearing it, definitely not what Central Plains would have.

Ghost Li was dumbfounded and in the inn, other then the waiter whose smile had turned into a gaping awkward mouth, even the innkeeper who was tabulating the accounts at a distance also came over.

After Xiao Bai had named nearly thirty dishes in one breath, she then stopped to take a breath, turned and smiled to the innkeeper and waiter, “Those dishes, do you have it here?”

The innkeeper and waiter looked at each other, after a while the innkeeper gave a dry laugh and said, “Miss you are really knowledgeable, those dishes that you have said just now, not one of them are not southern border famous dishes. However many of their ingredients are not easy to find, other than the Earth Stuffed Siskin, my inn can only make Black Heart Fruit and Roasted Bear’s Tail, I’m very sorry.”

Xiao Bai’s face revealed her disappointment but she smiled and then said, “Alright then just make those three dishes first!”

The innkeeper and the waiter hurriedly acknowledged and went off. Xiao Bai turned around and saw Ghost Li looking at herself, she smiled sweetly and said, “A few hundred years already, I do not know why too, suddenly feel like trying the local flavours of those times. You came here before, have you ever tried those dishes?”

Ghost Li shook his head, in the past when he visited southern border, his heart was preoccupied with finding the Black Shaman Tribe to treat BiYao, how would he have the mood to desire for good food, usually he would settle his meals simply in the wilderness. This time if not for the special circumstances, to avoid the pursuing FenXiang men everywhere and on top of that, Xiao Bai was girl after all (although a thousand year old evil spirit...), surely they could not be sleeping in the wilderness every night therefore they entered the city.

He was silent for a while, suddenly asked, “Earth Stuffed Siskin, I can roughly guess what is it, what is Black Heart Fruit?”

Xiao Bai laughed and said, “There is a special fruit in the southern border, emerald green in appearance with white tender flesh but the heart of the fruit is black, using oil to deep fry it, the taste is really delicious.”

Ghost Li frowned then asked again, “Then that ‘Roasted Bear’s Tail’ what is that too, don’t tell me it is the tail of a black bear? I have heard of bear’s paws and bear’s gall but have not heard that bear’s tail can be made into a dish?”

Xiao Bai smiled and said, “This bear is not a bear, there is an unique beast in the southern border, called “Long Tailed Bear’, its size is much smaller than the black, white bears that we are familiar with but the meat is tasty, far incomparable to them. Especially the long tail is where the essence is, in southern border locality, it is very famous!”

Ghost Li was quiet, Xiao Bai looked at him, suddenly asked, “Strange, you don’t usually show any interest in anything, why is it when it comes to food, you are interested?”

Ghost Li was stunned, did not speak for a while, since young he had grew up in Qing Yun Hill Big Bamboo Valley and started to cook soon after, as to cooking, he was really quite gifted and had an interest. If he was raised in a commoner family, most likely he would have become a cook and might even make some small achievements. Just that now…

Ghost Li sighed softly, suddenly his enthusiasm dried up and did not wish to speak anymore. Xiao Bao looked at him with interest, her eyes twinkled with tenderness, wondered what was she thinking in her heart?

Only Xiao Hui was looking restless, its head turning here and there, making soft noises from time to time, as if it was expecting something.

The late quiet night, TianShui Stockade which had been bustling with people for the whole day, gradually quietened down when it was nightfall.

TianShui Inn had a total of two storeys, the second storey housed the guest rooms. Ghost Li observed carefully, only Xiao Bai and him were staying in the inn this night. Although it seemed lively here but in this season, the world, disorder in succession, not many Central Plains merchants came to southern border. And the southern border locals, most of them would not stay in inns.

Xiao Bai’s room was just beside Ghost Li, separated by wooden boards, it did not offer much soundproof, indistinctly light laughters and [zhi zhi] sounds could be heard from the other room. The monkey Xiao Hui had again ran over to Xiao Bai’s room to play, although Xiao Hui still sleep with Ghost Li every night but Xiao Bai for some reasons, was especially close to Xiao Hui, and now Xiao Hui loved to stick close to this thousand year old fox spirit.

Ghost Li lay down in his room for a while, he had not stayed in an inn for a long time and was not used to it. Unknowingly after a long time, it was already late in the night but he was still not sleepy, feeling somehow vexed, he stood up and slowly walked to the window, pushed opened it and looked out.

Different from the day, in the southern border night sky, dark clouds slowly dispersing but the layers of clouds were still there, faint moonlight unveiled from from the gaps.

The clear moonlight, like frost like snow, quietly shone down, onto his body.

The vast world, was in deep slumber, the surroundings were quiet with no human sounds. Only from an unknown street corner, low insect cries could be heard, the sounds mournful.

Blackness enveloped the earth.

Through the window, gazing afar, thousands of mountains and miles, the night sky still.

Under such desolate, lonely night sky of the southern border, suddenly, the past like surging waves, rose up into his heart.

Not long before, that child in the remote village, embroiled in the seething, turbulent waves of the worldly affairs, drifting along with the waves. Occasionally looking back, that actually, he had nobody by his side.

Life was really lonely…

The man under the moon, his head bowed and silent.

[Si!]

A sound pierced through the sky in the far distance, faintly travelling over.

Ghost Li raised his head, frowning, a slight flare in the horizon, like a meteor travelling across the night sky, streaked through the horizon, past the TianShui Stockade, landing in the west.

And behind it, there were three more lights, pursuing closely.

Ghost Li was extremely sharp-sighted, with one look he could tell that the four lights were made by cultivated martial artists travelling through the sky and although the three lights behind were still unable to catch up with the first light but the fleeing person was still unable to shake off the pursue.

After a moment, the first light seemed to make a decision, dropped down from the sky, looking at its location, it was at the southwest direction from TianShui Stockade.

And then, the three pursuing lights also landed down.

Ghost Li was still for a moment, felt that tonight his mood was restless and he really did not wish to be alone here, he waved his right hand, soundlessly transformed into a dark green light, flew towards where the four lights landed.

After his figure diminished, [zhi ya] a sound, the room’s window beside Ghost Li was pushed opened too. Xiao Bai carrying Xiao Hui, gazed towards the direction where Ghost Li flew to, after a moment, Ghost Li’s figure disappeared into the darkness.

Xiao Bai’s face was still, no expression on her fair face, only her eyes, had a strange gleam.

Ghost Li soundlessly flew and soon discovered the location where the four lights landed, it was where the previous TianShui Stockade building had been, that derelict mountaintop for many years mountaintop.

Just that when he just entered the stronghold, a muffed low exclamation was heard from ahead, following an angry sound, mixed in with a familiar laughter were heard.

Ghost Li immediately frowned.

The coquettish laughter, with a faint seductive force, it was Jin PingEr’s voice.

Ghost Li hesitated, slowly moved forward from the dark corner he was hiding.

The deserted quiet streets, the ruined remaining tiles, a desolate scene.

The sky now, again cleared up a few degrees, the layers of clouds gradually dispersed, the moonlight gradually became brighter, turning this derelict stronghold a few degrees brighter.

Jin PingEr’s face still had her unchanging smile, smiling winsomely and stood in the middle of the street, facing her was a young man with an angry expression. This person was also someone Ghost Li knew - FenXiang Valley talented disciple Li Xun.

And behind him on the street, there was another FenXiang Valley disciple lying on the ground, most likely was injured by Jin PingEr, on his clothes starting from the left chest had a deep big gash slashed down and was weakly moaning.

Just that, Ghost Li’s gaze, just swept through the three people and after a moment, his eyes stopped completely on the last person.

The bleak clear night, the desolate street, behind Jin PingEr a remnant of a small derelict building, a woman in white, carrying a long sword on her back, stood on the rooftop, facing the wind, her clothes fluttering.

Her skin-like snow under the moonlight, made one felt that she was a very beautiful woman with a pale complexion.

This night, this moonlight, were actually this beautiful and bright because of her?

Lu XueQi!

The familiar eyes, whose figure was it reflecting?

Ghost Li stared blankly.

In the dark, he quietly watched the girl who seemed to have appear from out of this world, the entire world’s frost and wind, ten years of time, seemed not to have touch her at all. Therefore when one looked over, the first glance, was that she in the moonlight with that cold-and-clear-like fairy figure.

“Evil woman!” Li Xun’s handsome face was full of fury.

He and Lu XueQi, one at the front and one behind, blocked Jin PingEr but when they landed just now, the Evil Sect demonic woman suddenly launched an attack, first bewitching his FenXiang Valley junior brother behind him with ‘Heart Delusion Skill’ then injuring him with the Purple Light Sword. If not for Li Xun who intervened in time, most likely this junior brother would have lost his life.

Just that Li Xun right now was more concerned, other than this junior brother’s injury, there was still other matters, “What exactly did you do to my junior sister, YanHong. Quickly hand her over”

Jin PingEr smiled, her eyes suddenly in doubt, looked towards the darkness behind Li Xun, either with intention or unintentionally, sneaked a glance at where Ghost Li was hiding, said, “You just said it, that is your junior sister and not my junior sister, how will I know?”

“Pei!” Li Xun’s expression was enraged, evidently he cared a lot for this junior sister, angrily said, “If not for ShangGuan teacher uncle’s discerning eyes and discovered it, we would still be in the dark. You deliberately killed our FenXiang Valley disciple, we must settle this score with you. If you are smart, better hand over YanHong junior sister early!”

“Aiyo! I am so afraid!” Jin PingEr patted her chest with her hand but a smile was still on her face, not a trace of fear, instead her coquettishness increased, she softly said, “All of you are still considered Good Faction people, how can so many of you bully me this one weak girl?”

A cold snort, was instead heard from Lu XueQi behind.

Li Xun glanced at that beautiful figure standing high up, his face solemn, spoke to Jin PingEr, “Evil woman, if you still stubborn, I will not be courteous…”

An “already’ word had not even spoken out, Jin PingEr suddenly smiled sweetly, purple light suddenly lighted up in her right hand sleeve.

Li Xun immediately concentrated and prepared, this evil woman was full of tricks and her magical weapon was extremely sharp, it was indeed not a trivial object. With that strike earlier, although his junior brother behind him was under the influence of the Delusion Heart Skill but the years of training was still not her equal, it could be seen her skills were very good.

Just that Li Xun had always been conceited, his skills were high and although wary but did not have any slightest nervousness.

And now that there was a beautiful woman coldly watching, ever since he had saw her ten years ago, he had admired her for a long time and definitely would not lose his face in front of this beautiful woman.

As he was concentrating to fight, unexpectedly the tricky Jin PingEr made another false move, suddenly her figure transformed into a purple light, together with her sword, went to attack Lu XueQi behind.

In a blink of an eye the purple light was nearing, Lu XueQi’s face was as white as frost, [zheng] a sharp sound, multifarious celestial energy, blue light shone out in all directions, TianYa Celestial Sword suddenly drawn out, horizontal before her. Li Xun saw it from behind, felt an unknown anxiousness, wielded his sword and pursued after.

Unexpectedly when Jin PingEr’s Purple Light Sword met TianYa, she took the opportunity to retreat, quick as a lightning she turned back. Li Xun was shocked but for the moment could not stop his body in time to pursue back and when Lu XueQi was about to follow, she was instead blocked by Li Xun and had no choice but to suppress her action.

The two of them looked over at the same time, the direction that Jin PingEr flew in was where Li Xun was standing previously, over there, there was still an injured lying on the ground, a FenXiang Valley disciple at lost to what to do. Li Xun immediately blanched, he wholeheartedly wanted to impress Lu XueQi and actually forgot that his junior brother behind him right now was totally helpless, right now he extremely regretted and with a roar, his body like lightning, pursued with all his might.

Lu XueQi followed behind him, also heading towards Jin PingEr.

In a blink, Jin PingEr had already reached the FenXiang Valley disciple and suddenly with her feet, kicked his body up, the body flew past her, Li Xun quickly caught him but to his surprise, he felt blood and instantly his robe was already dyed red.

With this kick from Jin PingEr, it had already ended this young disciple’s life.

Li Xun’s eyes looked as if it was about to spew fire, just that with this moment of delay, Lu XueQi had already overtaken him to continue pursuing Jin PingEr. And Jin PingEr’s figure was just passing by that dark corner.

Quietly, in that short instant, Jin PingEr’s voice quietly urgently heard, “Help me block that woman.”

In the darkness, that person snorted, the disdain intention was very obvious and his body moved, evidently did not wish to be embroiled in this matter.

Unexpectedly in this flint-spark moment, Jin PingEr suddenly quickly said three words out loudly, “Seven Mile Cave!” (Note 1)

These three words, like a flash of lightning, forced Ghost Li who was about to take off, to stop, Jin PingEr’s face, was full of mysterious smile, in an instant brushed past his body.

And after a moment, Lu XueQi’s white figure, approaching, just in front of him.

Who knew, in that instant, whose figure flashed past the mind?

The dark green light lighted up, Lu XueQi’s icy cold face in that instant changed, uncertainty, perplexion, joy and anger!

[Qiang liang...]

TianYa and Soul-Absorbing, blue light with red light, reflecting each other in the night, reverberated far away.

Li Xun brushed past Lu XueQi, continued to pursue Jin PingEr, after all Jin PingEr was the more important figure, especially after she had killed his junior brother who had came with him together. Just that while he was in the air, he secretly turned his head back, watching the man and the woman silently facing each other in the derelict street, the flame which flashed in the depths of his eyes, was actually that red-hot blazing.

Far away, Jin PingEr’s laughter could be heard, that voice lovely and mocking, Ghost Li heard it and was silent.

The moonlight like water, shone on this desolate mountain, lonely streets.

The woman before him, the white clothes like snow, the long sword in her hand, bright like autumn waters.

Reflecting in the eyes, looking deeply at the person, who was it instead?


Note 1: Seven Mile Cave, the largest inhabitation of the Miao tribe in history, it got famous because it was said to be as wide as seven mile. Unable to trace when it developed, it was besieged and annihilated during late Yuan and early Ming Dynasty. It was said that the place was easy to defend and hard to attack, only a narrow path connected it to the outside world and had always been the spiritual prop of the Miao tribe.

Now that the exact location was unable to be studied and verified but after researching the materials, it seemed in 1983 Guangxi Heyang County (Heyang ??) discovered a ‘large leveled village’, the surrounding descriptions were similar and led by Miao tribe, in the nearby mountaintop there was a ‘Dog Deity Cave’, in it there was an enormous stone dog deity idol that the Miao tribe worshipped, suspected the place should be there.

Another note: Dog Deity, in the Miao tribe legend, troops suddenly entered in the dead of the night, all of the Miao tribe people were asleep, a stone dog on top of the mountain suddenly started barking loudly, awaking the tribe and then combined forces to resist the enemies, saving the entire tribe. Since then they enshrined and worshipped the Dog Deity, year after year unceasingly burning joss sticks and candles.

4 comments:

  1. I dont understand why Ghost Li stopped after she said these words, mind explaining ?

    thanks for the chapter

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh you mean after Jin PingEr's words? cos Ghost Li intended to go to that Seven Mile Cave and Jin PingEr by saying those words, subtlety her meaning conveyed that she knew his plans and if he did not do as what she wanted, then she might do something to the Seven Mile Cave. That's what I infer ^^

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks for the chapter!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm starting to hate this Jin PingEr!

    Thanks for the chapter :)

    ReplyDelete