Chapter 9 – Shaking Hands in Agreement Part 2
Bocah, I just want to clarify: if you already know the story, then you are giving spoiler, but if you are guessing, like Xu Xiong, Akolaw or Ari above, then I don't have any problem. On the contrary, I think it is interesting that we have our own guesses, and as the story unfolds, we will find out together. I am reading as I am translating this, so I don't know too far ahead into the future. Bocah, Ysabel, HPC, Jaya, Anh, Chua, you are welcome. Laoren, I find it strange that they have so many 'things' that others wanted: Secret to Long Life, Duke Yang Treasure, and Account Book. One is reasonable, but three? I think it was too much Huang Yi ... Sky, ROFL ... naughty, naughty ...
Xu Ziling’s comment was extremely formidable; it showed clearly their determination that they would rather be broken jade pieces than becoming roof tile, which matched the prowess Kou Zhong showed when he forced Tuoba Yu to retreat with just one move, yet there was also an intimidating power behind it.
In the meantime, Liu Heita and the others did their best to regulate their qi, preparing themselves to go all-out if they need to strike back.
Suddenly a charming laughter came from the outside, followed by a young woman appeared from the big window to their left. The girl was wearing a hat with beads of green-jade curtain in front on her head, and an oversized gauze gown on her body, but a pair of bare feet was peeking out from under her skirt.
Casually she leaned over the broken-down window, one leg stepping on the window sill, the other leg dangling down, swinging back and forth like a pendulum; looked like she was enjoying herself very much.
This girl was extremely charming and cute; there were freckles on her melon seed face and her two cheekbones like the stars in the sky, giving the impression of a witty, wild and brutish girl. Her handsome eyes were long and enchanting, the jet-black pupils of her eyes were twinkling with wild, untamed animal-like look as she was sizing Kou Zhong up and down with great interest, as if the other people did not exist at all.
However, everybody’s eyes were fixed on the odd-shaped dagger, which was usually hanging on the waist, but at this time was in her hand as she was playing with it.
This kind of dagger was very popular among the Tujue, the blade was slightly curved, the front part sharp, the back slanted, with no hand-protector, the hilt was only wrapped with strips of cloth, the blade started straight and curved down to pare, it was ground flat without any dent. Because the edge of the blade was only about a cun [approx. 1 inch/a thumb] wide, it was extremely sharp. Plus the dagger in this girl’s hand appeared to be of a very high quality. Under the illumination of the lantern, which was sitting high on the beam, it flickered with cold rays. Just from her sudden appearance, it was clear that her martial art skill was not inferior to Tuoba Yu.
This cute girl’s mouth pouted; she shifted her gaze toward Xu Ziling, and spoke in disdain, “Turns out the Central Earth is full of foolish conceits [orig. Yelang thinks highly of itself], no wonder Yang Guang overestimated his own capabilities and sent a military expedition to Gaoli [Korea]. I, Chunyu Wei, want to see your ‘rather die than submit’ thingy.”
Tuoba Yu laughed aloud and said, “My Shimei [martial (younger) sister] is accustomed to be favored by Shizun [venerable master]; gentlemen, please don’t mind her. This time Xiaodi received the order to request the ‘Secret to Long Life’; not to rob or seize by force. Shizun did say that after he has a quick look on the ‘Secret to Long Life’, he will immediately give it back, and in return, he will pass on a different set of consummate skills to each of Kou Xiong and Xu Xiong. I am asking two Xiongtai not to mistakenly think of our Master as someone who only want to take advantage of other people.”
Everybody exchanged a glance with each other; they all felt that Bi Xuan did not fail his poise as the grand master of this age.
Chunyu Wei smiled sweetly at Kou Zhong and said, “Your martial art skill is not bad! However, this time we came here, other than the two of us, brother and sister, there are still ‘Duobei Desert Eighteen White-horse Riders’ who are also personally trained by Shizun, every one of them is dauntless and fear no death. If we fight, I am afraid not many of you will escape alive.”
After a short pause, she continued, “I forgot to tell you that as long as you are still breathing, we will have a way to grant a new lease of life for you, then won’t we be able to get the ‘Secret to Long Life’?”
Her voice was tender and sweet with a slight foreign accent that it gave some kind of exotic flavor.
Tuoba Yu frowned and said, “Shimei, could you be a bit more polite? If we could avoid fighting, certainly that would be best.”
Two martial brother and sister, one hard the other soft, especially since Tuoba Yu had already demonstrated his power in pressurizing the group of heroes, certainly they were putting these people under a lot of pressure. Much less there were still at least eighteen powerful opponent, which were personally trained by Bi Xuan, waiting outside, hence which side was strong and which side was weak was very easy to see.
By this time they had formed a small circle, protecting Susu, who was strapped onto Xu Ziling’s back, forming a barrier that clearly demarcated the opposing sides.
Liu Heita laughed aloud and said, “It’s hard for soldiers and generals to avoid dying in battle, if the Heaven destines me, Liu Heita to die in this fight, Laozi [I, your father] will not knit half of an eyebrow. No need to talk too much, let it be decided under our hands.”
This man’s natural character was heroic and brave, immediately everybody’s fighting spirit was aroused.
Tuoba Yu took a step forward and said in astonishment, “Turns out Sire is the number one general under Dou Jiande, Liu Heita; no wonder your hands are that strong. But there is one thing Xiaodi does not understand. It is apparent that we all can exchange weapons of war for gifts of jade and silk [i.e. turning hostility into friendship], but why did Liu Xiong strongly advocate for battle?”
Liu Heita knew Tuoba Yu was trying to divide his side; inwardly he cried out, ‘Formidable!’ Yet without the slightest hesitation he said, “Supposing this time Tuoba Xiong came only to discuss about borrowing a book, there was no need to deploy so many manpower. It shows clearly that you are relying on force to demand the book. However, now that we have three more people on our side, Kou Xiongdi’s power thus exceeds your brilliant anticipation, hence you changed your tone of speech, from ‘demanding’ to ‘borrowing’. Did I say it wrong?”
Chunyu Wei laughed and said, “Of course you did. This time we came to the south, borrowing the ‘Secret to Long Life’ is just one of our missions. The other important matter is to hunt and kill that evil disciple Ba Fenghan, to cut his stinky head and present it back to Shizun. Do you guys understand?”
Susu, who had been silent, suddenly spoke out, “If we give the book to you, can you guarantee that you will no longer disturb us?”
Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong were about to speak, but then they swallowed back the words into their belly, because they simultaneously thought that even if they hand over the book to Bi Xuan, he would not be able to make any sense of what he was reading anyway. Therefore, they did not see any reason to sacrifice everybody’s life just for the sake of this book.
Tuoba Yu happily said, “It is best that Miss is so reasonable. Whatever our Master has said, he always keeps it. In fact, Zaixia [lit. under] does have the intention to make friends with Liu Xiong, Kou Xiong and Xu Xiong. If we all can be polite and amiable, nothing can be more perfect than that!”
Kou Zhong said, “Honestly my hands are itching very much right now, I really want to fight; winning or losing is not a big deal. However, not fighting also has its own benefit. It’s just that we buried the ‘Secret to Long Life’ in a secret place, it will take a considerable effort for us to get it and hand it over to you. Problem is, we need to resolve an affair before we can handle this matter. I wonder what is Tuoba Xiong’s opinion about it?”
Chunyu Wei interrupted, “You are very interesting, so amusing that I like you a lot!”
When everybody heard that, they could only stared blankly with mouth agape; nobody had ever expected that this loveable and charming girl would publicly announce her interest in some stranger man.
Tuoba Yu laughed and said, “My humble Shimei has always been this straightforward, but the number of men she likes actually cannot be counted, Kou Xiong must not take it to heart.”
Chunyu Wei crossly said, “How could Shixiong say such thing about me? This time it is different!”
Kou Zhong facetiously asked, “Isn’t every time different than the others?”
Liu Heita and the others could not help feeling amused; they never expected that the three parties who were originally with swords drawn and bows bent would suddenly be tangled up in this matter.
Chunyu Wei was going to speak, but Tuoba Yu cut her off, “We still need some time to hunt and kill Ba Fenghan anyway, supposing I give two gentlemen half a year time, would you be able to fetch the ‘Secret to Long Life’?”
For the first time everybody started to have favorable impression on this eccentric Tuoba Yu, whose hands were unspeakably ruthless, simply because he attached most importance to keeping his words. Only people who keep his own words would put his trust that other people would also keep their words.
“It should be enough,” Kou Zhong replied, “Half a year later we will meet in Luoyang. Even if we still don’t have the ‘Secret to Long Life’ in hands, we will take Tuoba Xiong to go fetch the book.”
Tuoba Yu raised his cupped fist and said in a loud and clear voice, “It’s settled then. Xiaodi asks to be excused.”
With a flash he was already outside the door.
Everybody turned their eyes toward Chunyu Wei, but this girl had already disappeared as well.
It was quite a while later that Liu Heita exhaled a mouthful of cold air and said, “This time Ba Fenghan’s little life is really in danger!”
None of the others did not share the same sentiment. If Bi Xuan’s two regular disciples were that formidable, wouldn’t that mean that Bi Xuan’s martial art skill was much higher than anybody could imagine?
 The text added最利马戏 ‘zui li ma xi’ after this sub-sentence; the closest I could find after googling it was ‘shamsir’ and ‘scimitar’. A search on ‘Turkic dagger’ returned ‘Kilij’. So I don’t really know what it is.