Wuxiaworld > Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan > Chapter 11 – Penetrating Deep Into the Tiger Cave

Chapter 11 – Penetrating Deep Into the Tiger Cave

Book 7 Chapter 11 – Penetrating Deep Into the Tiger Cave

Xu Ziling woke up the next day. Declining the offer to get together with Xiang Yushan and the others on the lower deck, he sat in meditation alone in his room.

Every time he finished training, he always felt some kind of contentment and satisfaction, a sense of self-sufficiency that did not come artificially from the outside.

Strange thing was that he used to be like Kou Zhong, who loved to eat. But as his inner cultivation grew deeper, his appetite progressively decreased. He was especially sick of meat and fish, instead, wild fruits and green vegetables became more and more to his liking. So much so that for two, three days went by without eating and he still had no problem.

The reason he wanted to stay alone in his room today was that he left a fantastic development all over his body. Unexpectedly he has shed an entire layer of his skin, just like a snake shed its skin.

The new layer of skin was smooth and tender, almost like a baby’s skin, so that his complexion looked different to ordinary men.

Xu Ziling did not care about such changes too much. Lifting both hands up, he struck various poses, while at the same time sending his true qi up to his hands. He started to have more and more confidence to his pair of beautiful, more and more sparkling and translucent, hands. When he concentrated his true qi, even blocking any divine weapon head-on, he was not afraid that he would suffer the slightest injury. Besides, there is no divine weapon that was more flexible and follow his heart desires.

When he had confrontation with Yang Xuyan the previous day, he clearly felt his progress in the martial art study. Yang Xuyan’s sword-play, in which he moved like an immortal, no longer that hard to pin down anymore. It was due to his grasp of Yang Xuyan’s fantastic sword technique that he was able to save Xiang Yushan’s little life.

Although Xu Ziling was not aggressive at all, he was fully aware of the Jianghu’s truth that the strong would rule: if you don’t kill, you will get killed; especially in this turbulent era, where justice practically did not exist.

This moment, Kou Zhong walked in in high spirits; after a quick glance, he exclaimed, “Huh? How come you look so much different than before? Your entire body seemed to be glowing.”

Xu Ziling replied indifferently, “Haven’t you also changed? Look at your smug appearance. But please, don’t tell me what happened last night.”

Kou Zhong was well-aware that he could not conceal anything from Xu Ziling. Awkwardly he sat down by the bed and said hoarsely, “Some things are bound to happen sooner or later.”

After glancing surreptitiously to the left and to the right, he went on, “I heard that Xiang kid said that Ren Shaoming’s martial art differs very little to the Ol’ Die, at most he is only one or half a notch inferior. Seems like this matter is extremely thorny.”

“Do you think Ba Fenghan is formidable?” Xu Ziling asked, “Compared to Ol’ Die, isn’t he a bit more formidable?”

Kou Zhong knitted his brows and said, “That is really hard to say. My guess is that Ba Fenghan is slightly more formidable, because he is still very young, he is still making progress on a daily basis.”

Xu Ziling said, “If we join hands against Ba Fenghan, what do you think our odds of success?”

Kou Zhong pondered silently for half a day; finally he said with a bitter laugh, “Although we have a higher chance of winning, he will surely drag one of us along to accompany him to the nether world. This kid is really difficult to deal with. That day, were it not for us attacking him while he was unprepared, I am afraid we, two brothers, will have to lie flat in that jungle forever.”

Xu Ziling smiled and said, “Forgive me, but this time I beg to differ. I disagree with your, Zhong Shao’s judgement. If we fight against Ba Fenghan again, he will undoubtedly lose, because I have figured out the Yijian Technique; better yet, I have figured out a way to chop Ren Shaoming’s stinky head.”

Greatly delighted, Kou Zhong said, “This is the first time that I am very excited that you have a different idea. Tell me, quick!”

Xu Ziling turned his gaze out of the window, at the continuously changing scenery of the river bank. With a wistful look on his face he said, “It started when we beat back Li Zitong that time, I discovered that mine and your martial art can complement each other and double our might to become combined striking power, but I could not think of how to actually carry it out.”

Taking a deep breath, he then continued word-by-word, “Last night I finally figured it out.”

Kou Zhong stared at him. “I understand it,” he said, “It’s the Yijian Technique.”

Xu Ziling sighed and said, “It’s precisely Yijian Law. Just think, supposing we can grasp the overall situation, and then transcend the battlefield like the chess board [reminder: ‘yi’ from Yijian means ‘(game of) chess’], relying on our mutual understanding, which we have cultivated since childhood, and join hands to deal with just one person; perhaps even Ning Daoqi, Bi Xuan and other martial art experts their caliber don’t dare to say, but I dare to guarantee that even Ba Fenghan, Ol’ Die and the others will lose their lives, let alone Ren Shaoming.”

Kou Zhong slapped his thigh, “I really understand!” he said, “Our chess technique’s most formidable feature is the constant permutation, completely without established rules. I am the swimming fish, you are the flying bird; moreover, one cold one hot, who could withstand? Ha! Finally we are nearly unequalled under the heavens [tian xia, China]. It’s a pity that we still have to rely on more to take unfair advantage of less.”

Xu Ziling shook his head and said, “It doesn’t matter how many are the opponents, it will still be the two of us dealing with them. Ah, right! You lost your ‘Moon in the Well’, what shall you use to replace it?”

Scratching his head, Kou Zhong said, “I am a bit tired playing with saber, but I don’t know what kind of toy I want to play with next?

Xu Ziling said, “That day I noticed that you are very skillful in using the horsewhip. Using the flexible whip to break the meteor hammer, it should be very interesting.”

‘Whoosh’

The long whip lashed across the two-zhang space on the deck. With Xiang Yushan, Yun Yuzhen, and a group of Jukun Bang disciples as spectators, first it traversed the deck like a quick snake, and then when it was about three chi away from Xu Ziling’s feet, the tip of the whip suddenly rose up like the snake’s head, and fast as lightning it struck toward Xu Ziling’s lower abdomen. Nobody did not gasp in amazement. In Kou Zhong’s hand, the two and a half zhang long whip became alive.

Xu Ziling did not even look at it, his right thumb simply pressed down, right at the tip of the whip.

The two boys were severely shaken simultaneously, and both recoiled one step back.

Losing its forward momentum, the whip flicked back toward the top of Kou Zhong’s head, where it looped around five, six times. It was very beautiful to watch.

Xu Ziling shook his head, “No way!” he said, “It did not have the same feeling as when it lashed out toward Yang Xuyan.”

Kou Zhong laughed and said, “It was simply because before I moved the whip, I had a quick look at Beautiful Shifu, so it was hard for me to concentrate.”

Standing on the side, Yun Yuzhen scolded, “You are the one who is inadequate, yet you blamed it on somebody else.”

Xu Ziling said, “Concentration is not the problem; the problem is that it had too much vestige. Flexible weapons have flexible weapon’s characteristic, unlike stiff weapon, such as saber, which is constrained by its direction and angle. Do you have a way to make the whip as if it has eyes on it, and is able to change its course automatically to attack the position the enemy least expected?”

Kou Zhong was staring blankly for half a day. Suddenly, as if the whip had a head and brains of its own, it lashed toward Xu Ziling. When the whip was about to hit, Xu Ziling suddenly sidestepped. Who would have thought that a section of the whip, about six chi long, suddenly bent and coiled itself toward Xu Ziling’s back, and brushed away toward the back of his head?

“Now, that is not bad!” Xu Ziling shouted. With a flash of his body, the whip hit empty space.

The whip seemed to recoil in Kou Zhong’s direction; suddenly the entire length of the whip vibrated in a wave-like pattern, becoming more than a dozen whip shadows, which all flew toward Xu Ziling’s face. It was brilliant to the extreme.

Watching this, Xiang Yushan, Yun Yuzhen and the others could only stare blankly with mouth agape. They all knew that it was the very first time Kou Zhong picked up a whip and used it in a practice, but it was as if he had been using whip for as long as he lived, there was not the least bit of rookie or upstart impression about him.

The most formidable thing was that not only he was able to transmit his qi through the tip of the whip, he was also able to use his true qi to control the whip that it was able to change direction randomly, to attack the enemy at the position that was impossible to defend effectively.

‘Crack!’

Xu Ziling used his palm to break three whip rings in succession, while flying backward simultaneously, and thus evaded Kou Zhong’s round of attack.

Kou Zhong casually pulled the whip back, which, like a snake, coiled itself around his waist. Raising his hands high he said, “Whip is gone!”

Xiang Yushan was shaken; he said, “If Kou Dage could use other weapon first to confuse the enemy, and then suddenly take out the whip, it could be even more difficult for the enemy to resist.”

Kou Zhong was taken aback; and then he raised his thumb and said, “General Xiang is indeed very astute, I will follow your advice. But you must find a good saber for me. Saber on the left and whip on the right, Ren Shaoming will have to bag his food before he finish eating and go to the nether world.”

A Jukun Bang disciple hurriedly took out the saber hanging on his waist and presented it to Kou Zhong, while shouting, “Saber’s coming!”

Everybody cheered and clapped; they were in very high spirit.

Kou Zhong received the saber. ‘Cha! Cha! Cha!’ he chopped the air three times, emitting a hard and sharp saber qi.

Suddenly the saber stopped. The tip pointed at Xu Ziling.

In a flash Xu Ziling already arrived in front of Kou Zhong. His two hands turned into palm shadows filling the air, ‘hiding the sky and covering the earth’ in an overwhelming offensive toward Kou Zhong.

The saber in Kou Zhong’s left hand rapidly chopped several times. Saber and palms collided, a stream of powerful qi swept through the air like a cyclone, forcing the crowd to take several steps back.

Suddenly Kou Zhong withdrew. His right hand moved to his waist, like a fierce dragon the whip left his waist and shot toward the pit of Xu Ziling’s stomach. And then abruptly it changed course upward to circle around Xu Ziling’s neck. The change was so skillful that the spectators could only stare in shock.

Xu Ziling stretched out his finger and flicked the tip of the whip. Who would have thought that Kou Zhong spun his body around? Not only the saber in his left hand hacked down, the whip in his right hand circled around toward the lower back of Xu Ziling’s body, lashing around Xu Ziling’s legs.

Xu Ziling soared into the air, the tip of his palm swept across the saber’s blade, while at the same time his fist shot toward Kou Zhong’s face. His movement looked unhurried, full of confidence and at ease, very nice to behold.

The crowd burst into cheering and applause.

Chapter 11, Part 2
Like a swimming fish Kou Zhong slid sideways to evade. He laughed aloud and said, “My mistake was using the whip too early. If I can hack on you that you forget Laozi’s whip, I would have a chance to fix you, this kid, up.”

Xu Ziling landed on the deck and solemnly said, “That is exactly the crucial point. If you could make Ren Shaoming to go all-out in warding off your attack, the whip would have a chance of success, because not even in his dream he would have thought that you would have another killer move.”

Scratching his head, Xiang Yushan said, “Even to my death I could not believe that Kou Dage has never used left hand saber before. Even more unbelievable you have never officially picked up a whip and used it to fight.”

After returning the saber to its owner, Kou Zhong walked over with a chuckle. He said, “General Xiang’s guess is right; Beautiful Bangzhu ought to have the clearest understanding. In the past, at the beach where our boat crashed against the rock and capsized, day and night Xiao Ling and I trained our martial art, both using our right hand and left hand. When we are in the mood, wild vine also became our whip. Hence now naturally we can easily master the weapons.”

Xu Ziling added, “I have to admit that we rely mainly on the fantastic true qi from the ‘Secret to Long Life’, which continuously flowing inside our bodies. Therefore, each part of our bodies can be easily controlled and has freedom of action, our training becomes half the work, twice the effect.”

Yun Yuzhen sighed in envy. She said, “It is still unbelievable. You don’t realize how useless you were back then. Even with one hand tied behind my back, I would still be able to beat you that you fall face down to the left and tumble to the right.”

Kou Zhong changed the subject, “How much longer it is to Jiujiang? I am a bit impatient.”

Xiang Yushan answered, “Two Dage may go up your cabin, Xiaodi guesses we will arrive in about five sichen.”

Yun Yuzhen said with a laugh, “One side calls General Xiang, the other side uses Dage Xiaodi; in the ears of outsiders, your relationship with each other is really hard to understand.”

Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “What about you and I? One side calls Beautiful Shifu, the other side calls Kou Gongzi or Kou Xiaozi [kid]. What’s the relationship between us?”

Yun Yuzhen cast him a stern look; she said crossly, “Who wants to talk nonsense with you?”

After casting charming eyes toward both Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling, her slim and graceful figure disappeared into her cabin.

At this time the sun was setting in the west, the sky over the Great River gradually turned grey. The big ship continued sailing speedily downstream to the east.

At the door of his cabin, Xu Ziling was about to enter to lie in his bed and cultivate his qi, but Kou Zhong pulled him forcefully toward his room next door. Wrapping his arm around Xu Ziling’s shoulder, Kou Zhong took him to the window and said, “Xiao Ling, did you see the beautiful starry sky and the open country outside? The most touching thing is that it contains countless challenges and immeasurable changes.”

Xu Ziling laughed and said, “Whatever it is, just spit it out! Do you still have to talk in circle with me?”

Kou Zhong said, “I have a feeling that after last night, I truly think that I have become an adult, and I am eligible to have any beautiful woman in the world. The most wonderful thing is the power over others and the conquering feeling. Normally Beautiful Bangzhu assumed a cold, untouchable haughty manners, but in that moment if I, Zhong Shao want her alive she would be alive, if I want her dead she would die, or perhaps she would want to live and die.”

Xu Ziling shook his head and said, “In man-woman relationship, I do not have the desire to conquer the other side at all. I only feel that when the two lovers are in harmony with each other, when they advance to sexual intercourse [orig. the joy of fish in the water], both sides will go hand in hand to pursue and break new ground in some kind of beautiful, wonderful, and boundless realm. Therefore, I can only seek sweet dreams together with a woman that I really like.”

Kou Zhong mused, “In theory, I can accept your idealized way of thinking; but in reality I am incapable to break away from the pleasure of greatly spreading out my awe-inspiring conquest. Perhaps this is precisely the difference between you and me. Didn’t you say that I am a leader who loves to issue order and be in command?”

After a short pause he patted Xu Ziling’s shoulder and said with a wry smile, “Sometimes I really worry that you will turn into a vegetarian Buddhist monk.”

Xu Ziling roared in laughter. “Get lost!” he swore, “I just have not met a woman who can command my admiration!”

Kou Zhong sneered and said, “Shen Luoyan, Shan Wanjing, which one is not beautiful woman who has both first-class wit and charm? Yet your heart was not moved at all. Apart from you basically don’t have any interest toward a woman, is there any other explanation?”

Xu Ziling elbowed Kou Zhong’s flank so that the latter yelped in pain and had to release his arm wrapped around Xu Ziling’s shoulder. Only then did Xu Ziling said indifferently, “The attractive thing about women, more important than their outward appearance is their inner essence and personality traits. Shen Luoyan’s ambition is too great, plus she is as cunning as a fox; what could possibly attract me, Xu Ziling? Presently Shan Wanjing and us are like fire and water, so we must stop mentioning her. You used these two women as an example, I should really beat you up.”

With a bitter smile Kou Zhong rubbed his painful flank; he said, “I forgot that if we succeed in assassinating Ren Shaoming, most probably we will have another deep and unmeasurable formidable opponent, because that pair of evil monk and nun under Ren Shaoming’s banner, or perhaps even Yin Gui Pai might dispatch their people to create trouble.”

Xu Ziling stared blankly for half a day. Finally he sighed and said, “This is the price of contending over the world. We are falling deeper and deeper into the trap, in the end, all around us there is no friend, only enemies.”

Kou Zhong breathed a deep sigh. He said slowly, “There is an even greater possibility that Ren Shaoming is a spy sent by Tiele King in secret mission to create trouble in the Central Earth; therefore, we may very well be offending two great powers from inside and outside. Are you afraid?”

Xu Ziling smiled and shook his head. He said lightly, “Without these challenges and pressures throughout this life, perhaps it would be difficult for us to pry into the pinnacle of the martial art way. The reason we can come this far is all thanks to every single one of those people who wanted to kill us.”

Chou hour that night [1-3am], the battle ship dropped anchor at a hidden jungle in a tributary of Yangtze River about ten li from Jiujiang. There was another ship, a freighter carrying grains, waiting at that dock. On board was Jukun Bang’s Deputy Gang Leader Bu Tianzhi and the skilled workman Chen Laomou.

As soon as they boarded the cargo ship, Chen Laomou immediately started to work to alter the appearance of these four people.

First of all he changed Kou Zhong’s appearance to that of a merchant with poor taste.

Immensely proud of himself, Chen Laomou said, “In disguising technique, the most critical application is to make others do not expect it, to create something that they cannot associate the new appearance with the old one, something that even an acquaintance will not see through it.”

Yun Yuzhen, Bu Tianzhi, Xiang Yushan and Xu Ziling who were watching nodded their heads in praise; their spirit rose up even more. Xu Ziling even gushed, “An imposing figure like Xiao Zhong here, any disguise he takes will always expose some hole. Only by disguising him as a fat man who moves slowly will conceal his disguise from other people’s eyes and ears.”

Yun Yuzhen said, “Kou Zhong must remember that you are from Yuanling [county, Hunan], taking Yuan River route, entering the Great River, to do business in rice and grain. You are delivering goods to Jiujiang’s merchant Xing Fa Long, who has a long-established reputation. Because the army needs provision, Lin Shihong’s Chu Army can’t possibly give you any trouble. Much less you do have a copy of Xing Fa Long’s purchase order and formal customs clearance document.”

Looking at his reflection in the copper mirror, Kou Zhong asked Yun Yuzhen, who was standing by his side, “So what’s my name?”

Bu Tianzhi, who was standing further down, replied on her behalf, “Kou Gongzi will be Gu An, who, with a little net worth loves to roam pleasure houses and wine shops, but you are rather stingy, hence you are not welcomed by those sisters who love gold.”

Kou Zhong smiled wryly and said, “Is it because you all are afraid that I will squander your money that you made me into such a loathsome character?”

Yun Yuzhen laughed tenderly while covering her mouth. A bit awkward, Xiang Yushan replied, “That is Yun Bangzhu’s idea; she is afraid you might really wander around the pleasure house and thus spoil our proper business. Hey!”

Bu Tianzhi went on, “Xu Gongzi is your younger brother Gu Xiang, whom you always bully; he suffers enough from your pushing him to the east and to the west, your constant maltreatment of scolding and cursing him to your heart’s content, but since his natural disposition is cowardly, he is angry, but not daring to speak up.”

Xiang Yushan added, “I am your family’s accountant, your manager; all tedious works belong to me. My name is Gu Ning, your [paternal] cousin.”

“So who is Yun Bangzhu?” Kou Zhong asked.

Yun Yuzhen’s pretty face blushed slightly as she said, “How about a young concubine you have just acquired?”

Kou Zhong roared in laughter. “I must be afraid someone might steal you away, therefore, even doing business out of town I must bring you along by my side. Ha! Don’t forget that we must stay in one room, otherwise people will be suspicious.”

By this time Chen Laomou has finished dying the hair on his temples slightly white, making him looked like a forty-something man.

Xu Ziling sighed and said, “Chen Gong [honorable gentleman] is really talented. If Zhong Shao knew how to restrain the divine light in his eyes, nobody would be able to recognize him!”

The cargo ship shuddered slightly, it raised the anchor and set sail.

Early morning, the two ships arrived at Jiujiang.

Under the potbellied merchant Kou Zhong’s supervision, the Jukun Bang people, who disguised themselves as porters, unloaded the goods onto mule carts, which were prepared well by Xing Fa Long. Xiang Yushan, who was disguised as an accountant, went with Xing Fa Long’s man to the local water transportation office to file the document and take care of formalities. It was already noon when they all followed the goods into the city.

Surprisingly the city was thriving, but by looking at their appearance and clothing, one would know that they were either traveling merchants or Wulin figures.

Bu Tianzhi was very familiar with the situation here, he informed everybody in low voice, “These past few years Tieqi Hui amassed large quantities of money and goods by plundering and looting, therefore, outsiders are thronging in here, if not for doing business, then for joining the Chu Army. Apparently many people are optimistic about this alliance between Lin Shihong and Ren Shaoming.”

Looking out the window, Xu Ziling said, “Looks like these people are well-behaved.”

Bu Tianzhi laughed and said, “Because it is still daytime. At night those Jianghu people, either because of personal vendetta or self-interest, would go into hard-fighting; the casualties are not a few. As long as it did not affect the life of the common people inside the city, Tieqi Hui and the Chu Army adopted the ‘see no evil hear no evil’ stand; but the fact is, it is really very difficult to manage anyway. Especially pleasure houses, wine shops and casinos; anybody who does not have a bit of weight [i.e. social standing] would not dare to venture out at night.”

Frowning, Kou Zhong asked, “Does Lin Shihong prohibit outsiders from entering the city?”

Xiang Yushan replied, “That would make Lin Shihong lose a lot of taxation area outside the city, plus a lot of Wulin characters are more-or-less connected to Tieqi Hui, or perhaps they know somebody in Tieqi Hui. Not to mention Tieqi Hui is extremely keen to take in new blood, hence the reason Jiu Jiang is so crowded.”

Like most cities in Jiangnan, transportation inside and outside Jiujiang relied mainly on water ways. The principal layout was cross-shaped main flagstone streets connecting four city gates, wide enough for eight horses to gallop side by side. Lanes and alleys were arranged in square grids crisscrossing the main streets, everything was clear and in good order.

Xing Fa Long was located at Sweet Green Jade Street, in the affluent part of the city. All houses along the street had their gates and multi-leveled buildings decorated with engraved roof tiles, the courtyards were lush with trees and flowers; it was a picture of serenity, without any trace of the fire of war.

River channels interweaved with the streets, the banks were lined with luxuriant trees, with weeping willows brushing the water; another beautiful scenery.

When the mule train pulled into the big warehouse behind Xing Fa Long’s shop, everybody breathed a sigh of relief.

By the time they finished freshening up and taking a rest, it was already dusk. They all gathered in a small pavilion at the rear courtyard to eat and drink. Xing Fa Long’s owner Niu Fangcai, who was actually Xiang Yushan’s subordinate whom he had sent here, was a very competent man. He took this opportunity to report Jiujiang’s situation to the party.

Hearing that Ren Shaoming would arrive the next day, Xiang Yushan said, “This time for the ceremony of forming the alliance, Lin Shihong and Ren Shaoming selected Jiujiang, obviously they want to show their fighting power to the world. I don’t believe that various powers in the north are not concerned about it; those who are coming to wreck the alliance can’t be just a few. Right now Jiujiang ought to be the place where dragons and snakes mingle, we must act with great care.”

Kou Zhong said, “Sometimes being too careful won’t work. Tonight let us go to Chun Zai Lou [see previous chapter] first to scout the enemy territory, to see if we could exploit the environment over there to slaughter Ren Shaoming.”

Niu Fangcai brought out a scroll of painting. After Bu Tianzhi moved the bowls and the dishes away to make room on the table, he spread the scroll. To everybody’s surprise, it was an aerial view drawing [orig. bird’s eye view] of Chun Zai Lou; the drawing was very fine and detailed.

Niu Fangcai said, “Chun Zai Lou’s building complex is divided into the front and rear courtyards. The front courtyard consists of three two-story buildings, which are separated by a network of overlapping winding corridors and rock garden and fishponds. It is used mainly to receive general visitors.”

Yun Yuzhen asked, “If Kou Gongzi and the others go there, could they be making merry in this area?”

Niu Fangcai nodded and said, “They should be. The rear courtyard is twice as big as the front one, it is full with trees and flowers, one of Jiujiang’s top ten scenic spots, and is known as the Spring Garden. Ten buildings are arranged symmetrically, it is used mainly to receive VIP guests [orig. with head with face] and those who are willing to spend money. One of the buildings, also called Spring Garden, is for Ren Shaoming’s exclusive use. It is the room he always go to whenever he is in Jiujiang.”

“My granny,” Kou Zhong exclaimed, “That’s it.”

Xu Ziling said, “Uncle Niu is really resourceful, you managed to investigate Chun Zai Lou’s situation very clearly.”

Kou Zhong said, “Based on Ren Shaoming’s influence in here, he could have any woman he takes a fancy to be brought into his private residence; why did he let her staying there so that other people could also enjoy her sweet taste?”

Xiang Yushan said, “That is precisely Ren Shaoming’s character. He will not let himself be preoccupied by any woman that it would negatively affect his great undertaking of vying over the world.”

Kou Zhong asked again, “You must have a spy in there, don’t you? Otherwise, how could you know Chun Zai Lou’s situation like the back of your hand?”

Xiang Yushan nodded. “Of course,” he replied, “We have had the intention to assassinate Ren Shaoming. It’s just that we never had the opportunity!”

Xu Ziling said, “Ren Shaoming is obsessed with Huo Qi, is that also public knowledge [orig. the street aware the lanes hear]?”

Yun Yuzhen shook her head. “Quite the contrary,” she said, “This is a top secret information. Other than select people at Chun Zai Lou, nobody else knows.”

“That is even better,” Kou Zhong delightedly said, “Now who can take me to Chun Zai Lou?”

“Naturally it will be Xiaodi!” Xiang Yushan hurriedly replied.

“It would be better if General Xiang stay here,” Xu Ziling said, “We only need somebody to show us the way.”