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Chapter 11 – Ingot’s Adventure

Part 1

April 17th. The night grew deeper.

Most gamblers knew that in “As You Wish Gambling Hall,” the biggest gambling table was “Number One Heaven.” It was not the largest in size, but it was the biggest.

Only people with the biggest reputation and connections could gamble there.



Though smaller in size than a craps table, in most peoples’ eyes, it was the biggest table in the room.

Many things in the world are like this.

Usually, the bets placed on the table would be gold, silver, pearls, jewelry and bank notes. But Frogboy suddenly placed his belt down onto it, along with an old leather bag.

“The belt has a Burmese sword in it, and in the bag are thirteen flying flags. Whoever wants them can take them.”

No one seemed to understand what he meant.

“These are deadly weapons,” said Frogboy. “And yet, I haven’t used them to kill anyone in my entire life. I really don’t wish to be encumbered by such things.”

“Some people don’t need weapons to kill people,” said Wu Tao coolly. “Isn’t it much easier to get others to do your dirty work for you?”

Frogboy laughed, then said, “I really hope you can come to understand something, preferably before you die.”

“What’s that?”

“There are definitely people here who seek your life. And at least seven or eight who can take it.”

“What about you?”

“I’m the only one who doesn’t want to. If there’s anyone here who doesn’t want your life, it’s definitely me.” He suddenly yelled out: “President Jin, am I right or not?”

A man who had been sitting in the corner far away from them this whole time suddenly sighed, then slowly turned around. With a bitter laugh, he said, “Young Master Tian, I knew that you would call me out sooner or later.”

This short, emaciated man wore a set of ordinary, grayish clothes. Anyone would have trouble noticing someone like him.

“Does anyone here know who this is?”

Frogboy asked the question, then answered it himself: “Most likely no one can tell from looking who he is, but I’m sure you’ve all heard of him. North China has a Divine Constable who solved eight-hundred and fifty cases in ten years, unprecedented since the founding of Department Six. His name rocked both orthodox and unorthodox alike.”

Looking at the man with the goatee, he laughed.

“Well, that’s him.” Frogboy pasted a smile onto his face. “He is none other than the Chief Constable of the Eight Circuits, Five Districts and Nine Prefectures of Shandong, ‘Watertight’ President Jin.”

He went on: “With President Jin’s status, would it be difficult to cause all the lanterns in a gambling hall to be extinguished, if he wanted it to happen?”

No one seemed willing to respond to his question, but President Jin smiled and said, “It wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be hard at all.”

In a loud voice, Frogboy called out: “Great Hero Tu, shouldn’t you, too, show your face now?”

Even though he hadn’t showed his face yet, everyone knew who Frogboy was talking about.

The words “Great Hero” were not words to be spoken casually. Few Great Heroes existed in Jianghu, and among them, there was only one “Great Hero Tu.”

“Hate Evil with a Vengeance” Tu Qu’e. [1]

After the lights went back up, people had gone back to gambling. But actually, more people were watching the scene than gambling. Only one table was currently packed with gamblers.

Suddenly, the people at the table all stepped aside. A tall man with a pale, golden face sat in the seat of honor. Tu Qu’e.

Frogboy looked at him and laughed. With a smile, he said, “When did Great Hero Tu arrive?”

“When the lights went out.”

Great Heroes don’t lie. He didn’t wait for Frogboy to ask the question he knew he would ask. “Yes, I could have had the lanterns extinguished. And I can also take peoples’ lives.” In a stern voice, he said, “I want the lives of all the bandits and evildoers under heaven to be extinguished, eliminated completely.”

“Great,” said Frogboy, clapping his hands. “Great Hero Tu is truly worthy to be called Great Hero. I truly admire you.”

As he finished speaking, a “square” man walked out from behind a screen. He was not short.

But his shoulders were too wide, his frame too large, so much so that he looked like a square. Although he didn’t appear to be a perfect square, he was close enough.

Almost everyone in Jianghu knew of Head Bodyguard Dai Tianchou of the “Enmity of Heaven Protection Agency.” [2] His “Golden Bell, Iron Tunic, Severe Thirteen Officials” Virgin kung fu had been rigorously trained to the point where his body was impervious to blades and spears. [3]

Only practitioners of this type of kung fu could truly understand the sacrifices he had made to practice it, and how bitterly he had trained.

“I cannot compare to Great Hero Tu,” said Dai Tianchou. “And I don’t have the power to kill all the bandits and thieves under heaven. I only want one person’s life.”

With a hoarse voice, he continued, “Because of the enmity between me and this person, we cannot live under the same sky. The only reason I live, is to see him dead.”

Worldly-wise people all knew what he referred to.

Twelve years ago, under the careful, daring and skilled leadership of Dai Yongan, the newly founded “Eternal Peace Protection Agency,” [4] gained more fame in a three year period than most agencies earned in thirty. No one dare even touch anyone who traveled under the flag emblazoned with the character “Peace.”

But once, someone did touch one of their charges, even before they left the main gate.

The charge was a huge collection of extremely valuable sparklers and nacre. In the jargon of protection agencies, sparklers and nacre means jewelry and pearls. The owner of said jewelry and pearls was extremely cautious, never ostentatious. One night, he had two huge metal strongboxes delivered to the protection agency.

Head Bodyguard Dai personally oversaw his subordinates receive the two chests from their owner. They placed them in a small room in the rear courtyard and sealed it tight, then assigned several squads of bodyguards to take shifts to protect it. After securing the chests, he entertained the owner, during which time he had slapped his chest and guaranteed: “This charge is in absolutely no danger whatsoever.”

Even as the words left his mouth, three frightening laughs rang out from the rear courtyard.

When Dai Yongan rushed over, he found that the locked room had been broken open, the two bodyguard captains and their six men all immobilized. The two metal chests were gone.

The final result:

The protection agency went out of business. Dai Yongan wasted away and died, his wife hanged herself. Right before she died, she changed the name of her only son to “Tianchou,” and told him to never, ever give up on seeking vengeance.

And Dai Tianchou never forgot.

President Jin, Tu Qu’e, Dai Tianchou. These three men all had vastly different identities, but they were all people who no one dared to ignore.

They had all come for different reasons, but they had all come for the same person.

Frogboy looked at Wu Tao and sighed. “See, I didn’t lie to you, did I? Quite a few of your enemies showed up here.”

“Just now, didn’t you say that there were at least seven or eight? Where are the rest?”

“I can’t say the names of the others.”

“Why not?”

“Because the identities of the others are different than these three,” he said. “Of these three, one is a great hero, another is a Head bodyguard, the other is a Chief constable. They are all men of integrity and honor. Even though I called them out and revealed their position, they may curse me in their heart as a scoundrel and bastard, but they won’t do anything to me.” He sighed. “But the others are different. If I call them out when the want to stay hidden, who’s to say whether or not they will take my life? I only have one head, and I don’t want it chopped off and turned into a chamber pot this late at night.”

Ingot’s head swiveled as he looked around the room, wide-eyed. “Who are they all here for?”

“A general,” said Frogboy. “Three Frightening Laughs General Li.”

“Why are they looking for a general?” said Ingot, blinking. He purposefully lowered his voice: “Do they want to be soldiers?”

“Not really,” said Frogboy, laughing. He also lowered his voice: “This general isn’t actually a real general.”

“If he’s not a general, then who is he?”

“He’s a great bandit, who has been in hiding for ten years.”

“And no one found him in all those ten years?”

“Nope.”

“Nobody finds him for ten years, and then suddenly everybody shows up at once. What’s going on? Maybe you’re mistaken…”

“He’s not mistaken,” Tu Qu’e suddenly said to Ingot. “Kid, come over here. There’s something I want to show you.”

Why would someone as famous as Tu Qu’e have any dealings to do with a young beggar. Could it be because of his star?

Ingot walked over, then asked. “Are you gonna show me something pretty or something ugly?”

Tu Qu’e’s attitude seemed very warm. He laughed and said: “How could an old man like myself have anything pretty? It’s just a letter.”

And then he really did pull out a letter, sealed with wax. On the letter was written: “For the eyes of Great Hero Tu Qu’e only.”

The contents of the letter were clearly extremely important and top secret, not for anyone else to see.

Tu Qu’e was not an indiscreet person.

And yet, he handed the letter over to Ingot and said, “After you take a look, there’s no harm in reading it out loud for everyone.”

Ingot frowned. “You shouldn’t have me read it. There may be characters I don’t know.”

Fortunately, the letter contained only fourteen characters, characters that even young children know.

Ingot laughed, then read them out loud. “If you want Three Frightening Laughs General Li, come to Jinan on April Fifteen.”

After he finished reading, he frowned.

“These characters look horrible,” he said. “Even I can write better.”

“That’s on purpose,” said Tu Qu’e. “Whoever wrote it doesn’t want others to recognize them through the handwriting.”

“Do you know who it is?”

“I don’t.”

“Does anyone know?”

“Probably not,” said Tu Qu’e. “But I suspect that more people than me received a letter like this.”

Ingot shook his head. “You all don’t even know who wrote the letter, why do you trust him?”

Dai Tianchou suddenly laughed. “I’ve been looking for this Li for twelve years. I wouldn’t miss the chance to uncover even a little clue.”

With these words, he revealed that he, too, had received a letter.

He glared hatefully at Wu Tao: “I don’t even want to know who wrote the letter,” he said. “Because I’ve found you. Do you want to fight in here, or outside?”

Wu Tao laughed. “Not many people nowadays practice Severe Thirteen Officials Virgin kung fu. It’s simply not something people should study.”

“But I do,” said Dai Tianchou harshly. “Perhaps I can’t defeat you, but at least I can hold up against you. I can hold up against at least ten palm strikes with no problem. What about you? Can you hold up against one of my palms?”

“Why should I have to stand up to one of your palms?” said Wu Tao with a sigh. “In any case, it’s truly frightening to see someone who has trained their kung fu to your level. I might as well let you try it out.”

Dai Tianchou said nothing. With an angry shout, he flew into the air.

But he didn’t fly forward.

As soon as he flew up, two dominos flew toward him. His palms shot out, smashing the dominos into pieces and sending the fragments flying outward.

But his body stopped flying.

The dominos had shot forth from the dealer’s seat at the “Number One Heaven” table. Xiao Jun, his face expressionless, coolly said to Dai Tianchou: “I wouldn’t attack if I were you.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want to take the risk.”

“You don’t want to take the risk?” roared Dai Tianchou. “My life is on the line, not yours? What are you risking?”

“It’s because your life is on the line that I’m taking a risk.”

Dai Tianchou didn’t understand. Nobody understood.

“I can’t take the risk of letting you try to kill him,” said Xiao Jun coldly. “I can clearly see that you are not his match, but what happens if, by some lucky chance, you defeat him? What then?”

“Chamber Lord Xiao,” said Dai Tianchou, his face growing purple. “What are you talking about? I don’t understand.”

“What I mean is, you can’t touch this man. Only if I’m dead can you touch him.”

If anyone else said this, Dai Tianchou would have attacked him instantly. But the words had come out of the mouth of the Torture Chamber Lord of the Number One Sect under heaven. Not even Dai Tianchou would dare act recklessly in this situation. He could only ask, “Why?”

“Because he’s mine,” said Xiao Jun. “If I can’t kill him myself, I can’t die in peace.”

Dai Tianchou, his voice hoarse, said, “Chamber Lord Xiao, can you please give me a chance?”

At this point Ingot interrupted: “I think you guys should draw lots.” He chuckled. “President Jin, Great Hero Tu, Head Bodyguard Dai, Chamber Lord Xiao. The four of you draw lots. Others can participate as well. Whoever wins gets to make a move first. In any case, you are all his enemies, it doesn’t really matter who gets to go first.”

Frogboy immediately clapped his hands in approval. “Great idea.”

“Actually, I have an even better idea.”

“Oh?”

“Why don’t you call that moneyphobe Big Boss Tang to turn out the lights again? Just have them fight in the dark. That way no one will be able to see, and no one will get embarrassed.”

Frogboy yet again clapped and laughed loudly. “That is a really good idea.”

Suddenly, the lights went out.

Just like last time, all one hundred ninety-six lanterns were simultaneously extinguished. [5]

Within the darkness could be heard gusts of wind coming from everywhere—the sounds of rustling sleeves, flying hidden weapons, and whistling blades.

And Ingot heard Wu Tao say something to him: “Get out of here.”

Ingot didn’t obey, because he was already gone.

In that instant in which the lanterns went out, he could sense at least three people moving toward him in attack.

He couldn’t see who they were, but he could tell that they were all top notch experts.

He dodged the attacks of two of them, and actually counterattacked against one of them. But the third was able to latch onto his wrist.

This person’s hand felt as cold as ice.

And they were extremely powerful.

Ingot felt half of his body go numb. The other half had no energy whatsoever.

And then, he felt himself being tossed like a ball. He flew across the room, whereupon someone caught him.

It turned out the person who caught him was the same person as the one who threw him. He could tell, because the person had a unique scent.

It smelled like a corpse who had been soaked with herbs and sealed in a coffin.

This was not an odor one could often smell.

Ingot had struck it lucky: in a short moment, he had the chance to smell it twice.

And then he passed out.

Part 2

When Ingot awoke, he smelled something completely different, a fragrance which, if dead people were able to smell, would cause them to leap up kicking.

He had never before smelled such an entrancing fragrance.

And then he realized that he was no longer in the gambling hall, filled as it was with auras of death.

Just now, he had been sleeping on a bed, and that was the origin of the fragrant aroma.

His beggars’ clothes were stinky, stinky beyond belief. But no stink existed here.

He suddenly noticed that he lay naked on the bed, and that his entire body was completely clean, as clean as a newborn baby.

Ingot felt a wave of shock.

—How did he get here? What was this place?

—Who was that person whose smelled like a corpse and had hands as cold as ice?

Ingot didn’t know.

Even though he had received a shock, he didn’t jump up. His body still felt weak, without even an ounce of energy.

Just then, when he wasn’t sure he could cry even if he wanted to, he suddenly heard someone—he heard someone laughing.

It was a girl who seemed to be about the same age as him, or perhaps a bit younger. She had suddenly appeared at the head of the bed, chuckling. When she laughed, two dimples appeared, as cute as his own.

Other than Ingot himself, anyone in the world would most likely say that she was much more cute than him.

Ingot hurriedly wrapped himself up in the blanket. The girl giggled even more happily.

“I’m not going to do anything to you,” she said. “What are you scared of? For example, if you’re scared of me looking at you, well, I saw everything just now.”

“You saw?” asked Ingot, horrified. “What did you see?”

“Everything,” said the girl. “I just bathed you.”

Ingot gaped.

Even in his dreams, he’d never imagined he would meet a girl such as this, much less that she would bathe him.

How could this have happened?

[1] His name is interesting. The character Tu 屠 is a surname, but can also mean “to slaughter.” Qu 去 can have the meaning of “to get rid of” and E 恶 means evil. So his given name could mean “get rid of evil.”

[3] Virgin kung fu is a real type of martial art practiced by Shaolin http://tinyurl.com/qdc3c84

[5] What about the lantern Wu Tao took down… Did he put it back secretly? Haha

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