A shadow flashed. Bai Ziting, on the street where Funantuo dropped dead, picked the corpse and hugged it tightly. The old tears fell unhindered, he cried bitterly, “Three years ago Guoshi said that before the Bohai Kingdom is established, you would encountered death; I never thought the prophecy would really happened. Guoshi is not dead, you will forever live in our hearts. Sumo tribe definitely will not fail to live up to Guoshi’s expectations.”
Hearing that, Kou Zhong, three men looked at each other. This was clearly Bai Ziting seeing the turn of events not too encouraging, being quick witted, he concocted a lie to raise his men’s spirit by pushing everything to Laotianye. Laotianye wanted him to die, surely Funantuo would not escape calamity; it was the same as Laotianye wanted Sumo tribe to rise suddenly, Tianwang Laozi [lit. old man king of heaven] could not stop it. What’s rare was that he was speaking so emotionally and eloquently, so full of expression.
Kou Zhong suddenly staggered two steps, opened his mouth and vomited a spurt of fresh blood, showing that in order to kill Funantuo, it was not that he did not pay the price. Translated by foxs
Hundreds of high-ranking military officers, army and civilian of Longquan city were crowding the top the city wall and both sides of the streets, yet it was still so quiet that a falling needle would have been heard. No one could accept the cruel reality that Funantuo, whom they viewed as man of heaven, would die by violence on the street.
The atmosphere was heavy to the extreme.
Ba Fenghan signaled with his hand, telling Kou Zhong to come to them. Dangerous situation could happen at any moment, it was no longer within their control. If the City of Longquan’s army and civilian were furious and staked their life to rush over, they could pound the three into mincemeat, any martial art skill would be useless.
However, Kou Zhong did not dare to act blindly without thinking. He stood still, not even daring to move his finger the slightest bit.
Holding Funantuo by the waist, Bai Ziting roared, “Longquan will prevail! Bohai will win!” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Longquan’s army and civilians roared in response, their shouts soared straight up to the sky over the City of Longquan.
Bai Ziting’s round-like-copper-bell eyes shot at Kou Zhong, he shouted sternly, “We will use their, three men’s blood to offer sacrifices to the soul and spirit of Guoshi in heaven.”
All around battle cry shook the heavens and reverberated along the entire length of the Vermilion Bird Boulevard. Whether they had weapon in their hand or not, the soldiers, generals, and common people, as if they were mad, all swarmed around from everywhere to attack.
Kou Zhong and the others already guessed that this might happen. Other than thinking about how to wash and disperse Longquan’s army and civilian’s grief and indignation and resentment, they had no time to haggle with Bai Ziting for not keeping his promise.
Ba Fenghan shouted loudly to Kou Zhong, “Into the shop!”
While shouting, he and Xu Ziling were already retreating toward the restaurant where they had negotiation with Bai Ziting and the others a moment ago.
Dense rain of arrows and darts arrived. Kou Zhong leaped up to evade. The moment before Zong Xianghua, Gongqi, and the other high-ranking military officers rushed to intercept, he darted toward the restaurant’s door as well.
Gongqi’s cavalry sword and Zong Xianghua’s sword followed closely behind. Like a tide, the crowd, with blazing hot hatred, surged over; mob mentality burst forth. This moment, even if Bai Ziting changed his mind, he would be unable to stop it.
The sound of shouting and yelling drowned everything else, the noise was so loud that no one could hear anything else. Translated by foxs
Two large round tables spun out of the shop, leaving a gap between them just enough to let Kou Zhong pass through.
Kou Zhong roared wildly, he took a breath and accelerated; evading a spear thrown from the left side dangerously closely, he swiftly darted into the shop.
Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling were constantly throwing spinning tables to the outside, to block the swarming enemies; otherwise, they would be trapped and would undoubtedly die.
Kou Zhong threw the last tabletop, squarely hitting more than a dozen people, sending them falling to the east and rolling to the west. “Get out from the back street!” he thundered. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Without waiting for his order, Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling already stuck close behind him and rushed out through the back door.
Right that instant, the restaurant filled with Longquan’s army and civilians, who, as if they were insane, wanted to devour everything and were simply smashing everything that could be crushed.
The three men bolted through houses and leaped over buildings, until they reached a two-storied building and crouched behind the roof ridge. They discovered that the east gate was only a street away. Although there were guards on top of the city wall, but if they rose up to make trouble, they were certain that it would be easy to leap over the wall and leave the city.
On the other side, the commotion at the south gate was still shaking the heavens, and it was gradually spreading to the entire city. But presently, across the street from where they were, the place could still be regarded as quiet; there were barely any pedestrians on the street.
Kou Zhong pulled his big head back from looking at any sign of activity in the direction of the city wall; he sighed and said, “We definitely cannot simply clap our hands and leave. If we did, we may not be able to come back.”
Leaning against the roof ridge, Xu Ziling turned his head toward him and nodded his agreement, “Without Song ErGe, Shuwen and his brothers, as well as our two horses, we definitely must not leave,” he said.
Kou Zhong spoke in distress, “Why did it become like this? Was I wrong in killing Funantuo? Could it be that Bai Ziting is not in a hurry to expel us and guard the city, which is actually more important?” Translated by foxs
Lying down on his other side, Ba Fenghan coldly said, “You have done nothing wrong, because when Bai Ziting invited us into the city, he already decided not to let us leave alive. This man, Bai Ziting, is not only proficient in the art of war, he is also a warmonger; we can’t measure him with common sense.”
Xu Ziling agreed, “The reason why we repeatedly suffer losses is because we are normal people, while he is a madman.”
Kou Zhong took a deep breath. He was about to speak when suddenly there was a gust of wind, someone was leaping to the roof tile from the side alley below. The three were shocked. After looking clearly, unexpectedly it was the ‘Hegemon King’ Du Xing. They all were unsure whether they ought to continue to be nervous or to feel relieved.
Du Xing shouted, “His granny’s bear, if you still want to live, come with me!”
Kou Zhong signaled the other two with his eyes, ‘Come with him and see’, before taking the lead to ran behind Du Xing; thereupon they all left.
Du Xing put his famous long-handled ‘Hegemon King Axe’ horizontally on the table. Smiling in distress toward the three, he said, “This ghost thing is clumsy and heavy. When I had it made, I only told him to put enough material, the result is that the weight reaches 108 jin. Carrying it on my back is so inconvenient, normally I just have my pageboy carried it for me, but in situation like this, I have no choice but to work hard myself. If I had known earlier, I would have picked something a bit lighter to train.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Although the three men regarded him as the enemy, they could not help but were amused.
This was another one of Du Xing’s hideouts, located in a small lane at the neighborhood opposite to the imperial palace, it could clearly be seen that this big boss of the dark road [criminal ways], who proclaimed himself hegemon in Shanhai Pass, has already taken root in Longquan.
Du Xing slapped the table with his palm, his spittle flew all over, he said, “His granny’s bear, Funantuo unexpectedly got killed by Shaoshuai. I am afraid before this thing happened, no one in the entire prairie would have thought of it. Now that Little Longquan and a large quantity of Old Bai’s supply have fallen into your hands, Old Bai’s great momentum is gone, it’s difficult for him to succeed.”
Kou Zhong said, “We also have our people and horses in his hands. I wonder if Du Ba Wang has any good suggestion?”
Having a card up his sleeve, Du Xing smiled and said, “As long as you say ‘Da Zuorong’, three-word magic spell to Bai Ziting, I guarantee that Bai Ziting will surrender obediently.” Translated by foxs
Knitting his brow, Ba Fenghan asked, “What thing is Da Zuorong?”
Du Xing laughed aloud and said, “His granny’s bear! What thing is Da Zuorong? Da Zuorong is not a thing at all, rather, he is Bai Ziting’s beloved five-year old son, the heir to the Sumo Clan Chief position, Bai Ziting’s darling and lifeline, whom the imperial concubine Bai Ziting’s most doted on gave birth to. Furthermore, this beloved concubine died of childbirth, so that Bai Ziting regards Da Zuorong as a pearl, as a jewel even more. This moment Da Zuorong is safely in Wolong Bie Yuan, under protection of his trusted warriors; even if Longquan fell, Da Zuorong will be able to leave safely, so that in the future he will avenge Bai Ziting. This is Bai Ziting’s real vital part; as long as you could make Bai Ziting sense the crisis that his son is no longer safe, three gentlemen Dage will be able to play with Bai Ziting in the palm of your hands.”
Emotionally moved, Kou Zhong said, “I’ll go to Bai Ziting immediately.”
Pleased with himself, Du Xing laughed and said, “Shaoshuai keep calm, don’t get excited. I already sent my men to pass on a letter to Old Bai; the letter only says, ‘Wolong Bie Yuan Da Zuorong, presented by Shaoshuai,’ very few characters, enough to make Old Bai not daring to act blindly without thinking. Just consider this a small gift that I, Du Xing present to three gentlemen.”
Hearing that, the three looked at each other. Why did Du Xing suddenly become this cooperative and wanting to help? foxswuxia.wordpress.com
“What is this all about?” Xu Ziling wondered aloud.
Snorting coldly, Du Xing said, “Brothers can become enemies, enemies can become friends and brothers. Going out and mingling in Jianghu, naturally one must see situation and change accordingly. Don’t blame me for speaking frankly. His granny’s! Your Da Xiaojie wants to do business outside the Pass in the future, she still has to look at my, Du Xing’s face. Jing Kang can be considered an old character. Were it not for Gao Kaidao is watching for him, Laozi would have sautéed his skin and torn apart his bones. Tell me, after completing last night’s sheepskin business, will Da Xiaojie wash her hands on golden tray [i.e. retire] and hide at home and bear child?”
Blurted out laughing, Ba Fenghan said, “I’m beginning to like you a bit! Because you are really fascinating.”
Patted his chest, Du Xing said, “This is what you earn back. People always have different sides. Toward friends, even if sabers are piercing my two flanks, I, Du Xing, will endure it gladly. Toward enemies, I will be more ferocious, ruthless, without any mercy – than anyone else. If not, how am I going to survive? However, I am not here to argue with you; you need not argue with me either. Whether we are friends or foe, it’s entirely your decision.”
Smiling wryly, Kou Zhong asked, “Can we make something clear first?”
“Of course,” Du Xing replied, “Otherwise, Laozi would suspect that you don’t have the sincerity to be brothers instead.” Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong said, “Why did you, right after talking to Ke Dazhi and us, immediately go to Xu Kaishan and tell him about this matter?”
Slightly startled, Du Xing cursed, “Your granny’s bear, unexpectedly you have the guts to have someone follow me. His Niang! Whatever I want to do, that’s my business. Xu Kaishan dares to deceive me, naturally I want to f*ck his eighteen generations ancestors on his face. His granny’s, clearly he is Da Ming Zun Jiao evildoer, yet he pushed it away neat and clean. From now on, Xu Kaishan is no longer my brother! Do you hear that? Xu Kaishan is no longer my ‘Ba Wang’ Du Xing’s brother. Even if someone chop his dead body into five pieces, I won’t give it a fart.”
While speaking, the blue veins on his forehead were bulging, his big, copper-bell like eyes looked like they were spouting fire, his expression extremely excited, giving up the impression that the fire of hatred really came from his heart, and not an act at all.
Seeing this, Kou Zhong and the others were staring blankly; momentarily they were speechless.
Du Xing was panting heavily. After calming down somewhat, he sighed and said, “You are in Longquan for only a few days, naturally you can’t understand the real situation clearly in just a short period of time, but I am one of the key players here, I know a lot of things that you don’t know.”
The three began to believe that Du Xing indeed had the good faith to reconcile with them, the key was still personal interests, because, just like he said, Bai Ziting’s great momentum has gone, Du Xing must make plans for himself.
Ba Fenghan asked in astonishment, “Aren’t you half Tujue? How come you help Bai Ziting to go against Xieli and Tuli?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Laughing coldly, Du Xing said, “But I am half Qidan as well. All along Xieli is looking for someone to replace me, to be his steppingstone in his endeavor to invade the Central Plains. As for the details, I don’t want to talk about it. You guys already know that much, it’s enough. And if Bai Ziting can control Xieli, that’s also enough; then the coastal business will be the thing in my, Du Xing’s bag. You also know that there are ten thousand people working for a living under me, so even if I don’t think of myself, I still have to think about them.”
Xu Ziling asked, “What is it that we don’t know?”
Revealing a hint of strange smile, Du Xing said, “Do you know Meiyan, whom you entrusted me to find her fragrant tracks, whose daughter is she?”
The three were startled.
Du Xing slapped the table and said with a laugh, “Ha! Very funny! Such a fat pig like Ma Ji unexpectedly has such a cute daughter.”
“What?” the three blurted out together. Translated by foxs
Laughing heartily, Du Xing spoke with glee, “What do you mean ‘what’? Meiyan is Ma Ji’s little girl, Funantuo’s little sweetheart. Funantuo personally taught her Tianzhu’s Kama Sutra in bed. All those stories about Persian Da Ming Zun Jiao Ramo’s direct disciple or what have you are mere nonsense; only fools would believe that. It’s not that Ramo did not have any direct disciple, but I hear that early on he had been hunted to be killed, and his entire family exterminated by the Huihe Da Ming Zun Jiao, so that he was forced to flee into the Central Plains. Do you understand?”
The three men you look at me I gaze at you, they felt all this was difficult to accept.
Du Xing sighed and said, “Do you know that by killing Funantuo, you are actually doing Bai Ziting a big favor?”
The more the three listened, the more they were confused. They felt that their conjectures, which were based on what they saw on the surface – were very different from the facts.
However, they only needed to look at Guan Ping, the fraudster, who worked for Bai Ziting but he himself was Meiyan’s man; from this, it was clear that Meiyan was definitely problematic. It’s just that they were bewitched by her outward appearance that they did not think too deeply.
Du Xing did not keep anything at all, he went on, “It began five years ago when Funantuo arrived from the west to pass on his teachings. At that time Bai Ziting was still quietly became the Big Chief of his Sumo tribe. Year after year he endured Xieli’s severe demand on him, until Funantuo, by his famous divination, told him about founding his kingdom; not only his fate changed, the entire Sumo tribe’s fate also changed.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Ba Fenghan shook his head and said with a sneer, “Bai Ziting is a shrewd man, unexpectedly he did not think that this was a divine-stick cheating technique, and just like that he put the entire tribe’s life and property at stake?”
Du Xing impatiently said, “You listen to me first. Naturally Funantuo’s trick did not stop there. Not long after his divination on the founding of the kingdom, the news arrived that Qidan’s Abaojia lost the Five-Colored Stone, which he had kept for many years, by theft. This matter increased Bai Ziting’s confidence even more, believing that it agrees with the divination. Plus, a lot of things happened between Tuli and Xieli that caused friction. And then Xieli put Zhao Deyan in an important position, his demand became without limit even more, alienating the people who had always been close to Xieli. Under all kinds of circumstances like these, Bai Ziting thereupon carried out large-scale construction and built Longquan, expanded his armed forces and prepared for war. His Niang, it was actually Funantuo who had wild ambition; Bai Ziting was just his pull-string puppet. Our guess is that even if Bohai succeeded in establishing the kingdom, Funantuo might kill Bai Ziting and set up Da Zuorong as his puppet emperor, while he himself would become Taishanghuang [father of the reigning emperor, fig. puppet master]. When the time is ripe, he would remove and replace him. If you look at the mob on the street, you would see Funantuo’s sacred-divine-inviolability position in their hearts.”
“When did Bai Ziting find out Funantuo’s threat toward him?” Kou Zhong asked.
Muttering to himself irresolutely, Du Xing said, “It’s really hard to say. My guess is that only after more than two years ago, when Funantuo began to have dealings with Gesuwen of Gaoli – that he started to be on guard, and so he wooed the Da Ming Zun Jiao’s whose ambition is thriving – in the dark to counter Funantuo’s steadily increasing power. As for when Ma Ji and Funantuo started to hook up, it should be before Funantuo arrived in Longquan. But the relationship between Funantuo and Bai Ziting deteriorated. It should be the reason why Meiyan entrusted the Five-Colored Stone to you to be brought to Longquan. You should know that were it not for the Five-Colored Stone appearing, Xieli and Tuli might not necessarily make peace that quickly, Longquan would not need to face the bad luck of the Wolf Army pressing down on their territory either.”
Kou Zhong did not understand, “By doing that, what benefit was there for Funantuo?” Translated by foxs
Du Xing spoke heavily, “That is a grand gamble planned by Funantuo. The most ideal would be Bai Ziting died in battle, Funantuo acted on his behalf to lead the troops to repel the Wolf Army, Gesuwen would seize the opportunity to take over Gaoli’s king Gao Jianwu’s position. In the end Funantuo and Gesuwen would divide the gold, silver and jewels that Bai Ziting accumulated over many years, pat their butts and return to their respective home country. The only one dying would be the Sumo people, while they did not even lack half a strand of hair. If they succeeded, the benefits would be difficult to estimate.”
The three finally understood why slaughtering Funantuo was unexpectedly doing Bai Ziting a big favor, because Funantuo had become the god-among-the-people in Sumo people’s heart, just like Bi Xuan to the Tujue and Fu Cailin to the Gaoli, so that even Bai Ziting was also incapable to move him.
Moreover, they recalled the three big chests of gold and treasures on Ma Ji’s ship; most likely those were Funantuo’s private property. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Kou Zhong could not help asking the most crucial question, “What is actually the relationship between the wolf-bandits and you, LaoGe?”
Immediately the murderous aura in Du Xing’s eyes flared out. Gnashing his teeth, he said, “All along I only knew that wolf-bandits are Bai Ziting’s men, all the stolen goods are handed over to Ma Ji to be dealt with. As long as he did not violate me, I, Du Xing can have one eye open while the other eye closed; killing a few Han people is not a big bird deal. It was not until the Anle Tragedy occurred that I realized things are not like they appear. Plus you guys revealed that the wolf-bandits are related to Da Ming Zun Jiao. That was the first time I was alerted. F*ck his granny’s ancestors. When you guys told me that Xu Kaishan is either Da Ming Zun Jiao’s Da Zun or Yuanzi, I began to realize the truth of the matter. Xu Kaishan is not the only one covering up for the wolf-bandits, there is also Jing Kang, that old fellow Sha Qian Dao [lit. killer thousand sabers]. Only because Anle Bang discovered the relationship between Jing Kang and the wolf-bandits that the Bangzhu’s entire family met treacherous assault. This matter I absolutely did not guess wrong. In fact, I am very grateful to you guys, otherwise, even if someone killed me, I would not know what’s going on, and then when I died, I would become a confused ghost.”
The truth was certainly bizarre and winding. Were it not for the three men already knew that when the Pingyao merchants came to Shanhai Pass they were met by Jing Kang, that even Ren Jun was unable to stop Pingyao merchants from coming to the north, they definitely would not be able to accept Du Xing’s explanation, at least for the time being.
Four men’s eight eyes met each other. Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong blew a mouthful of air, he said, “If the wolf-bandits really have nothing to do with Du Bazhu [overlord/hegemon], henceforth we are friends.”
Du Xing laughed aloud and said, “The reason Xu Kaishan and I became sworn brothers was entirely due to Bai Ziting threading the needle in the middle. My real brother is Huyan Jin. I hope three gentlemen would look at my face and speak a few good words in front of Xieli and Tuli; don’t give him any trouble.”
The three had a sudden realization; they began to understand that the reason Huyan Jin wanted to make peace with them last night was due to Du Xing’s influence.
Ba Fenghan said, “That warning letter that Du Ba Wang sent to Bai Ziting on our behalf is beating the grass to scare the snake. Is it possible that Bai Ziting would immediately move his son away?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Du Xing said, “That is not possible. Gesuwen is not a benevolent-man-trusted-woman; only with Da Zuorong in his hands will he not be afraid that Bai Ziting would betray him. This is a business deal, Bai Ziting has no choice but to come!”