BTW, I am traveling tonight, so next several updates will not be at the 'regular' time.
Immensely proud of himself, Kou Zhong narrated what had happened; and then he said, "This is very strange, Yun Yuzhen and the others had just left, Li kid's men already seized him away, but not killing him. It looks like they were going to transport him someplace else. There must be crafty plots and machinations in here somewhere."
Frowning, Xu Ziling said, "Is it possible that Yun Yuzhen, that poniang knew Bu Tianzhi is secretly in contact with us? I am afraid this is a killing two birds with one stone scheme; not only to take care of her own disloyal subordinate, but also to betray us, hoping that Li kid would be able to get rid the two of us too?"
Kou Zhong hatefully said, "This poniang is very fierce and malicious! Merely because of Su Jie's affair, I will not spare her. Anyway, what did you find?"
Finished listening to Xu Ziling recounting what happened, Kou Zhong stared blankly at him. Grabbing his head, he said, "There is such thing? Logically, you wouldn't be able to fool her, would you?"
Xu Ziling sneered and said, "No matter how formidable Zhu Yuyan is, she is still a woman. Just think, how could she ever think that Lu Miaozi would create a mask in the likeness of Yue Shan? Much less she believes that Yue Shan has mastered some his mother's Huan Ri Da Fa.
Kou Zhong nodded and said, "You have to preserve this identity well; if you can fool Zhu Yuyan, who knows your real identity, then you can fool anybody. Perhaps you can even make female demon Wan to call you Die!"
Xu Ziling laughed and cursed him, "Screw you! It's you who have relationship with the Zhu witch. Ay! I am really tired of Luoyang. Just now it looked like Dong Da Xiaojie [big miss], riding on a carriage, has arrived at Rong Mansion. Are we going to inside to capture her, or wait here for an opportunity to seize her on her way out?"
Kou Zhong spoke heavily, "This matter should not be delayed; of course we must go in and grope our way. Otherwise, if that loose young woman stay for the night, must we stay all night without sleeping? It would be best if while we are at it, we can kill that kid Yang Xuyan as well, to save us a lot of future trouble."
Xu Ziling rose up to his full height and stepped out, saying, "In that case, let us spread our wings by doing something that will turn his mother's sky and earth upside down!"
※ ※ ※
Under cover of darkness, the two boys climbed over the courtyard wall; but before they were able to see the situation clearly, they heard strange sound, something like a dog walking around. Quickly they apply their internal power to close up the pores on their entire body, so that no scent would leak out, while at the same time soar high and landed on the slope of the roof or the nearest building.
Sure enough, there were two huge vicious dogs rushing over. Although they did not find anything, they still sniffed to the east and sniffed to the west for quite a while before walking away.
The boys swept their gaze around, and discovered that inside the high wall, there were more than a hundred building, big and small, linked together by corridors and landscape gardens and courtyards. Other than three towering master buildings at the front courtyard, the rest of the buildings were like a maze that would make people dazzled and stunned, so that the boys had a feeling of not knowing where to start.
Frowning, Kou Zhong said, "How do we look for her?"
Xu Ziling replied, "If we can find Rong Jiaojiao's fragrant chamber, then we can find our little dissolute girl. You ought to remember Chen Laomou's teaching, right?"
Smiling bitterly, Kou Zhong said, "This place has at least several hundred courtyards and buildings, with courtyard within courtyard, building within building. Chen Laomou's teaching is a simple thing; it is completely useless here."
Shaking his head, Xu Ziling said, "Actually, although the Rong Mansion covers a vast area with many buildings, it is not difficult to distinguish the master-slave relationship. It is only because there is a lack of clear central axis that you are confused and disoriented!"
Kou Zhong nodded and said, "Now that you mentioned it, I can see this point. It could be that I was overwhelmed with the trees and lights in this residence that I felt there are dots of light everywhere. In your opinion, which courtyard might Rong Jiaojiao live?"
This moment the bright moon at the horizon revealed its immortal beauty, sprinkling its light onto the courtyards and pavilions of the Rong Mansion, creating some kind of indescribable yet extraordinarily gentle beautiful scenery.
Xu Ziling took the lead to climb onto the top of the roof ridge; he spoke in low voice, "This place is arranged according to the natural Bagua [trigrams] direction; therefore, if we can grasp this portal, it would be easy to find out the general direction of where Rong Jiaojiao's fragrant chamber might be."
Kou Zhong was amazed, "Since when did you understand Bagua?" he asked, "And how do you know this is natural (or innate) Bagua and not acquired Bagua?" [Translator's note: this is difficult to carry over to English. Xiantian means inborn/innate/natural (lit. 'before the day'. Houtian means day after tomorrow/post-natal/acquired, not innate (lit. 'after the day').]
Xu Ziling smiled and said, "This is called diligent accomplishment! If I was as lazy as you, tonight we wouldn't be able to embrace the beauty and must return. Tell me, this residence is facing which direction?"
"It should be from south to north?" Kou Zhong replied.
Xu Ziling said, "Lu Fuzi [master/teacher] said, in natural Bagua, a building seated on the north facing south followed the Xun [symbolizing wood and wind, ancient Chinese compass point 135° (southeast)] position of the southeast gate. A building seated on the south facing north followed the Qian [symbolizing heaven, compass point 315° (northwest)] position of the northwest gate. And now the main gate is in qian position; therefore, the Rong Mansion is built according to the natural Bagua. Gua has its own Gua qi, nowadays what works is the Three Green Jade Application [not sure about this; 三碧运], even the most incompetent ground expert ought to know that the main residence ought to be located on the east!"
Kou Zhong happily said, "Xu Lao Fuzi indeed have a little bit of skill; why don't you lead the way?"
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The two boys soared from house to house, passing through corridors stepping across gardens, running fast toward the target area as if they were entering an uninhabited land.
They escalated their senses to the peak, so sensitive that the walking ants and moving bugs within several dozen zhang radius around them could not escape their eyes and ears.
Therefore, every single one of their movements, whether it was leaping high or crouching low, flashing to the left or darted t the right, would just avoid anybody in the Rong Mansion. Sometimes they evaded detection by just one step, but this one step was precisely the reason they did not leave any traces. Therefore, both covert and undercover guards keeping watch could not stop them.
A moment later, with no surprise, no danger, they reached the courtyard of their target building. After climbing over the separating wall, in just one glance the two boys knew that they have arrived at the right place.
Compared to other courtyards, whether in terms of foundation, construction, railings, doors and windows, wall and fence, landscape garden, rockery, stone structure, or pond, this residence was a lot more exquisite.
The entire courtyard consisted of five structures clustered together, interlinked with passageways, promenades, winding corridors, and open garden areas, establishing the connection among the five buildings, so that different reception halls, main halls, rooms, study rooms, offices, upper floors, balconies, pavilions, boudoirs, rotundas, all kinds of diverse structures, blended together into one entity.
Pointing to an especially grand in scale multi-level building located in the center, Kou Zhong said, "I seem to hear Rong Fengxiang is talking inside."
Focusing his power into his ears, Xu Ziling indeed heard faint voices inside. Laughing and cursing, he said, "Your ears are better than mine, unexpectedly you know whose voice it is that you hear. So what's he saying?"
For some reason, Kou Zhong was in a very good mood. Patting Xu Ziling's shoulder, he said, "Kid, just follow your Master!"
Increasing their alertness, the two boys cautiously crept toward the building, which ought to be the building where the main hall was located.
When they got close, they found out that the building was surrounded by large open area. Under the bright illumination, anyone wanted to go to the inner hall would not have any covering. In term of building plan, it was similar to the Copper Hall of the Jing Nian Chanyuan.
The two boys crouched in the underbrush surrounding the building. After a group of maids and servants from the side corridor passed by, Kou Zhong whispered in Xu Ziling's ear, "Rong Fengxiang must have used this building for secret meetings quite often; otherwise why would he design it with so much empty space like this? Perhaps Dong Shuni is also inside, I just heard women's voices talking."
Surveying the surroundings, Xu Ziling said, "The height of this building is a bit not proportional. I think there is another layer at the top, intended for people to watch all around without raising outsiders' suspicion."
"That must be it," Kou Zhong spoke with conviction, "But what do we do now?"
Pointing to a two-story building on the left, Xu Ziling said, "That small building is only half a zhang shorter than this inner hall. If we can jump fifteen zhang from there, and then traversing the thirty-zhang distance, we could avoid watching eyes. Even if they hear the gust of wind, they would only think it is a big bird flying over. Do you want to give it his mother's a try?"
Kou Zhong cried out involuntarily, "You are not kidding! If jumping up from the ground, at most I can cover ten zhang distance, not even half a chi farther."
Xu Ziling said, "Alone, it won't work, but working together, the two of us could do it!"
Kou Zhong was puzzled, "Even if we pull each other, halfway in the air exerting our strength to throw the other, at most we will only add a few zhang; aren't you overestimating our skill a bit?"
Xu Ziling laughed and said, "That's why people say the most critical thing is using your brains. Remember Dugu Feng attacking Wang Shichong using a large iron disc? That old fellow Huang Gongcuo flying over by riding on the disc like soaring over the cloud, riding on the fog? I am surprised that you can't even think of such primitive method. Men are creatures who know how to utilize tools; do you understand?"
Kou Zhong grabbed his head and said, "Where is the tool? Xu Ye?"
Xu Ziling reached out and pulled Kou Zhong's Moon in the Well; he spoke heavily, "Come on! Whether we eat porridge or rice, it will depend on this one."