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Anurman, Xiaohu, Jaya, Ysabel, HPC, you are welcome. Akolaw. End of Book 26 tomorrow.

Book 26 Chapter 13 - Crafty Retribution For Crafty People

Ling Gu leaned close to Lei Jiuzhi again, her fragrant lips brushed against his ear, she said, "Where will Chen Laoban take me to seek pleasure? I won't be going home before the third watch of the night [midnight, between 23:00 - 01:00]!"

While shuffling the cards, Lei Jiuzhi acted as if he was a man of outstanding soul; laughing lewdly, he said, "Let's not say about the third watch, even if a year or a half, I will still wait for you."

Liu An was constantly sending signal to Kou Zhong. Suddenly Lai Chaogui blew a mouthful of thick smoke, so that the table was immediately clouded by the smoke. Right this instant, when everybody's sight was obstructed, Lai Chaogui unleashed his swift-beyond-comprehension trick; he piled up his tiles following a certain combination.

The cleverest thing was that while Lai Chaogui was focusing his mind in piling up his tiles, Liu An was busy sending signals to Kou Zhong to distract his attention, while Ling Gu also unleashing her charm toward Lei Jiuzhi, but Lei Jiuzhi, using an exquisite technique, also swapped the dice.

None of these things could escape Kou Zhong's sharp eyes.

Only after stealing a kiss on Ling Gu's fragrant cheek did Lei Jiuzhi use both hands to pile his tiles.

Ling Gu sat her tender body down, and said with a laugh, "Chen Laoban, please roll the dice."

Lei Jiuzhi cupped the dice inside his hands, while his mouth mumbled something, and then, after blowing the dice in his hands, he tossed them onto the table.

Lai Chaogui and Liu An's countenance immediately changed.

Lei Jiuzhi laughed aloud and said, "Seven points. Ling Gu, quickly deal the cards."

His face turned ugly, Lai Chaogui shouted, "Hold on! The dice are rigged."

Kou Zhong reached out to pick one of the dice; slightly exerting his power, the ivory die immediately turned into powder. Knitting his brows, he said, "What do you mean rigged? Is it because the iron fillings inside are gone so that the magnet does not work anymore? Now, that would be rigged!"

Lai Chaogui, Liu An and Ling Gu were intimidated at the same time; their faces were as unsightly as dead people.

It should be noted that ivory dice were durable and sturdy, even martial art experts must spend a bit of effort to crush it.

Yet Kou Zhong was able to crush it and turn it into powder without any difficulty. Merely this skill, no one in Jiujiang would be able to imitate.

Lei Jiuzhi spoke coldly, "If you agree to bet you must accept to lose. Jia Chong, are you or are you not going to admit defeat? One word will suffice."

Being called by his fake name 'Jia Chong', naturally Lai Chaogui knew that from doing the cheating, he was now being cheated. Beads of sweat forming on his forehead, he spoke heavily, "Sire, who actually are you?"

Lei Jiuzhi stroked Ling Gu's face, who kept quiet out of fear, before waving his hand to Kou Zhong, indicating that he ought to gather all the gold on the table into his pouch, and said proudly, "I am 'Dian Shi Cheng Jin' [touching stone and turning it to gold, 'Midas touch' see Chapter 8] Lai Chaogui. Jia Chong Xiong must not forget."

Lai Chaogui, three persons, were immediately shaken. They were beginning to realize that the other side have already seen through their ins and outs, and that they were the real target of this operation. Only too bad they found out about it too late.

Kou Zhong heaved the heavy sack hanging on his waist and spoke indifferently, "If Jia Chong Xiong can block ten saber strikes from me, this bag of gold will be all yours. But if you cannot block, I am afraid I will have to chop both of your hands. This is called proper behavior is based on reciprocity [idiom: to return politeness for politeness]. Would Jia Chong Xiong like to try your luck outside of gambling?"

Lei Jiuzhi brushed his sleeve as he rose to his full height. The dice with iron fillings hidden inside his sleeve shot out and embedded themselves inside the sturdy tabletop, until they were flush with the surface of the table; not a fen more, not half a hairsbreadth less, in full display of his beautiful skill.

Lai Chaogui slapped his palm on the table heavily, leaped up, and shouted wildly, "All right, tonight I, Lai Chaogui, accept misfortunes as decreed by fate!"


Kou Zhong pulled the Moon in the Well from his back, and sprang out of his chair, sweeping his saber toward Lai Chaogui.

Lai Chaogui did not even have the opportunity to shoot the more than a dozen iron pellets hidden inside his hand, his entire body was already enveloped by the swift and severe saber qi. He could only look on helplessly as the blade slashed his left hand, which was holding his secret projectiles - and was unable to evade at all.

"Ah!" Letting out an alarming-the-heaven-moving-the-earth miserable scream, Lai Chaogui fell backward. 'Bang!' His back slammed against the wall by the door.

His severed-at-the-wrist left hand, along with the iron pellets inside it, dropped to the floor, producing a series of clear and crisp 'Tink! Tink! Tink!' noise.


Kou Zhong returned the saber into its scabbard. His eyes swept passed Liu An and Ling Gu, who did not dare to move even half of a finger of their hands - as if they were nothing. Smiling, he said, "Lai Xiong indeed have guts; you dare to stake your life for gold. Too bad you overestimated your own capabilities too much, unexpectedly you cannot even block one move from Xiaodi."

And then, turning to Liu An, he said, "Next time you see fat sheep, don't forget to find me another Jia Chong to cooperate with me."

Naturally Liu An did not dare to answer.

Lei Jiuzhi left the table to walk to Kou Zhong's side; turning toward Lai Chaogui, who was so much in pain that his face was devoid of any blood, and was applying his power to seal his acupoint to stop the bleeding, he laughed and said, "I hope Lai Xiong is using your right hand in putting your 'Dian Shi Cheng Jin' skill to use; otherwise I am afraid you may have to change your nickname in the future."

The two men roared in laughter together, before disdainfully pushed the door and left.

Xu Ziling stepped out of the casino door and into the street where there was endless stream of horses and carriages, and walked in the direction of Chun Zai Lou.

Prostitution and gambling are like a pair of loath-to-part, in-search-of-home - lovers. When you see one, chances are you will see the other nearby.

Chun Zai Lou's bustling atmosphere was not inferior in any respect to Yin Ru Ge. The warm sound of woodwind and string instrument, mixed with voices talking and laughing, filled the air. Thinking about how in the past they lay in wait for the enemy in miserable condition, and assassinated the 'Green Dragon' Ren Shaoming in nine-deaths-and-still-alive dangerous situation, time seemed to flow backwards to that moment.

At that time, Susu already married Xiang Yushan; Yun Yuzhen, Bu Tianzhi, Xiang Yuzhan, and the others were working together as a team. But now the situation was entirely different.

He no longer had any hatred toward Yun Yuzhen. In fact, perhaps even she herself could not explain why she treated the two boys the way she did.

In life, myriad changes could happen in an instant. Momentary lapse of judgement might lead to dire consequences, which could not be predicted beforehand.

Under pressure of the situation, as well as influence from all sides, it would be difficult for those without resolute will to be their own master. Yun Yuzhen was definitely not someone with resolute will, even more so in relationship between men and women.

Her initial goal might be just to make Jukun Bang even more magnificent. But after coming across the crafty and eloquent Xiang Yushan, the development of the matter was no longer under her control.

He also believed that Yun Yuzhen really did not have any intention to harm him and Kou Zhong; she just wanted to draw them to throw their lot into Xiao Xian's side. But because they were unwilling to submit, the situation deteriorated to such a degree where there was this deep hatred, with enmity that could not be resolved - between the two parties.

After all, Yun Yuzhen was just a pitiful creature who did not know what she was doing. After she was abandoned by Xiang Yushan, she suddenly and completely realized her own stupidity of letting others exploited her. The criminal ringleader, the main offender was still Xiang Yushan.

He entered a secluded side street and strode toward his destination, following Lin Lang's directions.

He felt some kind of tiredness and emptiness that came from the loss of excitement of gambling, and it was not a good feeling. After personally tasted gambling, the less he liked this kind of game. The only benefit for him was that it made him understand gamblers' mentality. Probably there existed in everybody's heart some kind of hidden tendency to prevail over his opponent, the pursuit of some kind of pleasure in overpowering other human beings, which sprang up unbidden in the heart.

The combination of using the gambling table to nurture the lust for material possession and the intellectual thinking behind the skill - in opposition to each other with equal harshness, certainly provided incomparable excitement.

But this was precisely the most dangerous aspect of gambling. Once one was addicted to gambling, it was difficult to free oneself from its power. Furthermore, it fostered greed, cunning, and lucky mentality, so that one could no longer be normal person who was in control of one's life, and would bring about grave destruction not only to himself, but to his entire family as well.

War was just another form of gambling. The stake was no loner money, but human life. Its destructive power was ten-million times more terrifying than gambling. But just like gambling, no one is able to really put a stop to it.

While thinking about all these things, suddenly an alarm went off in his heart.

From the wing, the two men returned to the main hall, still in a very high spirit. Kou Zhong laughed and said, "Perhaps Lai Chaogui has never imagined, not even in his dream - that a day like today would come. This is called cheating man is being cheated. LaoGe, you are really good. I clearly see that you did not look at the table even for half a glance, how did you know that they stacked the tiles in certain way and even throw the appropriate points on the dice, so that even Lai Chaogui's pants were lost to you?"

Lei Jiuzhi replied happily, "Simply because LaoGe has a mirror hidden in my sleeve; don't think that by stroking Ling Gu's cheek, I was taking advantage of her. The fact is that I was letting my sleeve slipped down so that I was able to spy on the enemy."

While pulling him toward the exit, Kou Zhong, with great interest, asked, "Did you have mercury inside your dice? How could you lightly and easily throw whatever points your heart desires?"

Enormously proud of his success, Lei Jiuzhi put his hand on Kou Zhong's shoulder, and whispered in his ear, "First of all, you have to have a good grasp of the shape of the dice, and hold them between your fingers in a certain way. Next, you need to select the angle, to understand the property of the wood of the table. And then by using certain strength and technique, you want a 'ma' you can throw a 'ma', you want a six you can throw a six. Zhong Xiaodi, if you are interested, LaoGe will definitely not conceal it from you. Ha! Your saber technique has reached the great expert's perfection. You and Ziling walk together, I am afraid even Ning Daoqi will have to give way in the face of superior strength [orig. to retreat three day's march]." [Translator's note: I have no idea what 'ma' (么) is, definitely a gambling term, but I could not find any reference in all the usual places.]

Greatly delighted, Kou Zhong said, "It's rare that someone like you, LaoGe, would be so generous and open-minded. I do want to learn this art so that I could make the treasure stick to my body, but unfortunately nobody gave me instruction!"

Lei Jiuzhi burst into laughter; he said, "You want to learn this art to make the treasure stick to your body; you really know how to crack jokes."

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