Afraid that his spirit was hurting too much, Xu Ziling secretly performed image method and called next to his ear, “Xiaomei!”
Hearing that, Yin Xianhe was severely shaken and came to his senses. With blank expression on his face, he swept his gaze around, at Kou Zhong sitting right in front of him, at Ba Fenghan on his right side, and at Song Shidao on the far corner, whom he met for the first time, and lastly he realized that Xu Ziling was behind him, injecting the qi onto his back. Stunned, he said, “What’s going on here?”
Ba Fenghan explained to him, also introduced Song Shidao to him, and then he asked, “When Yin Xiong was drunk, you called Xiaomei, this name. I wonder if she is Yin Xiong’s close relative?” Translated by foxs
Revealing a strange expression, Yin Xianhe sighed and shook his head; like a defeated rooster, he dejectedly, and appearing to be at a loss – said, “Past events are too unbearable to mention, ay! I am leaving!” He struggled to get up.
Xu Ziling grabbed his shoulders and pushed him back into the chair. He spoke earnestly, “Yin Xiong must have a sad past. If you consider us as brothers, then you will tell us. Five persons’ head is always better than one person’s.”
Kou Zhong was a very smart man, he already guessed that Yin Xianhe was not like they originally guessed that he was secretly in love with Zong Xianghua, but that he just mistook her for his little sister. After Zong Xianghua denied it, he could not take the pain from the heavy blow and the lost of hope, hence he used wine to dull himself, which led to this abnormal situation.
“Yin Xiong is looking for your Xiaomei?” Kou Zhong spoke gently, “We all are brothers, your trouble is ours as well; with many men working on it, no matter what, it would be better than if you are trying your luck alone.”
Ba Fenghan chimed in, “Outside the Great Wall, Shaoshuai has a certain influence, it will be a bit more convenient for him to do things, certainly surpass Yin Xiong trying your luck alone.”
Xu Ziling came to his side and sat down, “How about you trust us?” he asked.
Yin Xianhe’s gaze moved toward Xu Ziling. After staring blankly at him for half a day, his body suddenly trembled, he spoke dejectedly, “Xiaomei is the only family I have in the world, she … ay!” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling shot out a look of encouragement, he softly said, “How did you separate from your Xiaomei?”
The strange light in Yin Xianhe’s pair of eyes flaring greatly, he revealed a hatred that even exhausting all the water from five lakes and four oceans still cannot wash it down, as he spoke heavily, “It was Guaizi Bang [lit. crutch gang (Guaizi could also mean kidnapper or lame person, so it could just be ‘gang of kidnappers’)] who abducted her; not only that, they beat me until I only had half a life left.”
Kou Zhong hurriedly asked, “How old was Yin Xiong at that time?”
Yin Xianhe replied, “At that time I was only twelve, Xiaomei was seven. Afterwards I heard that at that time Guaizi abducted more than a dozen local girls not older than twelve years old. Ay! I don’t want to talk about it!”
His eyebrows wrinkled, Ba Fenghan said, “That was more than a decade ago.”
Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling both had big headache; more than a decade ago, a little girl was abducted by devoid-of-conscience child traffickers, in the boundless sea of people, how could they search for her? Zong Xianghua must look a bit like Yin Xianhe’s little sister, hence his misunderstanding. He repeatedly appeared before her eyes, it was because he was hoping to evoke her childhood memory, so that she would recognize him as her elder brother. Translated by foxs
This was certainly a tragedy of the human world! No wonder Yin Xianhe often appeared melancholy, as if he had been abandoned by everybody in the world, because of the childhood tragic memory of seeing with his own eyes his sister being abducted has made him unable to live like normal people.
Song Shidao rose up to his full height and said, “Fortunately Yin Xiong is willing to tell us this matter, because I have also heard about this old matter, the Han Family even sent people to investigate it.”
Severely shaken, Yin Xianhe’s pair of eyes emitted red-hot longing, but he could not utter single word, and could only gasp with his mouth wide open.
Song Shidao moved to the table and sat down; he said, “According to our investigation, the main culprit in this matter was actually that tyrant Yang Guang, and the hunting dogs carrying out his order was Baling Bang. My understanding is that one day Yang Guang suddenly got an idea, he wanted to use underage girls as the palace maids in his several temporary imperial residences, thereupon the flattering ministers on his left and right notified Baling Bang to implement it. At that time, Baling Bang’s Da Longtou [big boss] Liu Kangshou knew that this matter would definitely provoke multitude of anger, hence he ordered his subordinates to secretly go to all parts of the country to collect, kidnap, and capture pretty, delicate, spirited girls, and then release a diversion. The rumor was that the girls were sold outside the Great Wall.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
His voice trembling, Yin Xianhe said, “So which temporary imperial residence was that group of girls sent to?”
Song Shidao said, “Yang Guang turned a blind eye on this and forget everything, and then he went on the military expedition to Gaoli. That group of girls must still be in Baling Bang’s hands.”
Enraged, Kou Zhong said, “Unexpectedly it’s that Xiang Family’s father and son’s fine thing indeed! His Niang! I hope that Xiang kid is coming with Xieli, so that we can question him to his face. Yin Xiong, don’t worry, we’ll take care of this matter. As long as your honorable younger sister … Oh! No! We will definitely find your honorable younger sister.”
Yin Xianhe muttered softly, “Baling Bang! Baling Bang! Isn’t Xiao Xian Baling Bang’s Da Longtou?”
“Yin Xiong must not act blindly without thinking,” Xu Ziling said, “Because this matter is not something that military [or martial] force can solve. We must have a thorough plan; we cannot beat the grass to scare the snake and thus spoil the whole thing even more. We have an old friend called Lei Jiuzhi; he has been thinking of a way to deal with Baling Bang, he is very familiar with the Xiang Family’s father and son’s movements, he will be the most ideal good helper.”
Muttering to himself irresolutely, Kou Zhong said, “I remember something else. Logically speaking, Zhao Deyan and Xiang Yushan ought to be two poles-apart [orig. southern sky northern earth], even-big-cable-cannot-pull-together – men, how come Xiang Yushan all of a sudden did obeisance to Zhao Deyan as his master? I wonder if Zhao Deyan and the Xiang Family, or perhaps Baling Bang have always been closely related? Because Baling Bang’s conduct and deeds definitely follow demonic school’s by-fair-means-or-foul, making-all-gods-and-men-indignant style.”
Recalling past events, Xu Ziling said, “The root of your analysis makes sense. I remember Xiang Yushan said that his qigong took a wrong turn; he was harmed by an elder of Yin Gui Pai. If half of that is the truth, then his relationship with the demonic school is not simple.” Translated by foxs
The murderous aura in Kou Zhong’s pair of eyes flaring greatly, he said, “Because the demonic school knew that they provoked public anger, they turned from light to dark [or from open to secretive]. On the surface it seems to have nothing to do with them, yet the fact is it’s their people. Lin Shihong is like that, Fu Gongyou and Qian Duguan are also like that. And now it seems like we need to add Xiao Xian to that number. Yin Xiong, rest assured, your enemy is my, Kou Zhong’s enemy. His Niang, Baling Bang is our mortal enemy from the start.”
Yin Xianhe’s pair of eyes emitted brimming-with-hope expression, his spirit was greatly aroused.
Comforting him, Xu Ziling said, “When we return to the Central Earth, I will take Yin Xiong to look for Lei Jiuzhi. Your honorable sister’s matter will be resolved satisfactorily.”
The sound of footsteps was heard. Ke Dazhi and Du Xing arrived together.
Seeing Du Xing, Yin Xianhe revealed a look of disgust. He got up and said, “I’ll take a walk outside!” Without saying anything else, he brushed past the two men, and on to the street, recovering his lone and cold natural color.
Du Xing turned his head around to look at his back, he asked in surprise, “Isn’t that Die Gongzi?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Ke Dazhi was dissatisfied, “What’s wrong with him?” he said, “Meeting someone he did not even say hello.”
“Don’t mind him,” Kou Zhong said, “He is just like that. Sit down and have a drink first, and then we’ll talk.” At the same time he introduced Song Shidao to Du Xing and vice versa. Finding out that he was the son of the ‘Heavenly Saber’ Song Que, whose name shook the world, the latter’s attitude differed greatly.
After two rounds of wine, Ke Dazhi said with a dejected sigh, “Xiaodi’s guess is indeed unmistaken.”
Kou Zhong’s countenance changed, he blurted out, “So it’s really Liexia, that kid?”
Although Xu Ziling did not have the slightest wild schemes toward Shang Xiufang, he was feeling deeply uncomfortable as well. His sword-shaped eyebrows deeply knitted, he said, “How could Liexia have the spare time to accompany Shang Xiufang?”
Letting out a cold snort, Du Xing said, “What kind of ‘thing’ is Liexia? Let’s join hands and kill Da Ming Zun Jiao people until not even half remains.”
Ba Fenghan spoke indifferently, “Shall we start with Xu Kaishan? I wonder if he is still in the city?” Translated by foxs
Du Xing was slightly startled. Displeased, he cast a fierce stare at Ba Fenghan, and spoke heavily, “I call one as one, two as two. I already said I don’t regard Xu Kaishan as a brother, then I don’t regard him as a brother. How many more times do I have to say it before it’s enough? His granny’s! I don’t even know where he is now. If you have the skill, then you, Ba Fenghan go take him out, see how Laozi is going to do to him.”
A burst of vexing, loathing feeling appeared in Xu Ziling’s heart, he stood up and said, “I’ll go see Die Gongzi.”
Leaving his seat he walked out to the street. The clear, cold and empty Vermilion Bird Boulevard extended to the left and right. Seeing Xu Ziling, the horses excitedly came over to be petted. Standing alone outside the door, Yin Xianhe coldly said, “The Xiang Family father and son, who are they? What connection do you guys have with them?”
Xu Ziling understood his frame of mind; he always wanted to know, the more the better. He raised his head to look at the brilliant starry sky over this marvelous city beyond the Great Wall, which fate was difficult to divine. He sighed and said, “I really am a bit loss as where to start. At that time our experience was still shallow, we did not understand the danger of the human world, thinking that when we treated people from inside our heart, people would treat us the same in return. Who would have thought that it was entirely different from as-it-should-be-by-rights matter? From then on, we no longer trust people easily.”
Yin Xianhe spoke indifferently, “I never trust people, you are the only exception.”
Xu Ziling gladly said, “Yin Xiong makes Xiaodi feels overwhelmed by favor from superior.” And then, muttering to himself irresolutely, he said, “I have a question: I wonder if when the last time Yin Xiong came to Longquan, you already suspected that Zong Xianghua was not your honorable younger sister?” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Yin Xianhe’s countenance turned gloomy, he nodded and said, “Xiaomei would never send people to chase me away and beat me. Since the thief soldiers started a rebellion and harm us that our family bankrupt and the people perished, the two of us, brother and sister wandered to the end of the world, relying upon one another for survival. If she was really my Xiaomei, she would certainly be able to recognize me. I still remember her eyes when she was taken away. At that time I was lying in a pool of blood. I will never forget that as long as I live. Even when she was little, she was already very strong, I knew she would definitely survive.”
Xu Ziling was dying to ask him how did he learn the sword technique with which he fought his way throughout the northeast, but in the end he restrained himself from asking. Responding to his earlier question, he said, “The Xiang Family father and son are in charge of Baling Bang’s brothel and casino operation. It is rumored that human trafficking is also under their responsibility. It is also extremely possible that Chang’an’s Six-Happiness Casino’s boss Chi Shengchun is Xiang Gui’s oldest son. Ay!”
Shaken, Yin Xianhe said, “Brothel?”
Xu Ziling understood his feeling; changing the subject, he asked, “What is Yin Xiong’s Xiaomei’s name?” Translated by foxs
Obviously Yin Xianhe thought that there was high possibility that his little sister was sold into a brothel; his countenance turned deathly pale, his breathing ragged, he said, “If I don’t kill Baling Bang dog thieves, I swear I am not a human.”
Xu Ziling could no longer find any word to comfort him.
Yin Xianhe spoke heavily, “I want to take a walk outside the city, alone. Tomorrow morning I will be waiting for you at Little Longquan.” Finished speaking, he strode toward the north city gate.
Looking at his lonely, slender back, Xu Ziling secretly determined to pull up Baling Bang, that devoid-of-conscience evil organization – by the roots.
Yin Xianhe suddenly halted his step and spoke softly, “My Meizi is called Yin Xiaoji.” Finished speaking, he continued his strides.
Xu Ziling’s heart was moved – Yin Xiaoji. The jade countenance of Chang’an’s chief famous courtesan Ji Qing [in Book 35 Chapter 10 it was Ji Qian] appeared in his mind; her pair of continuously changing nimble eyes, as if every moment might spurt out new idea, new plan. She also had a pair of long legs, which looked pleasing to the eye when she was dancing; her reason for wanting to learn gambling technique from Xu Ziling was intriguing. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
He nearly wanted to catch up with Yin Xianhe to tell him about this matter, but he was afraid that it might just be a misunderstanding on his part, and thus would only add to his trouble.
The sound of hoof beats suddenly arose, a single rider was speeding along from the direction of the south gate.
The rider was rapidly approaching, the sound of hoof beats shattered the thick silence of the Little Chang’an, Longquan Upper Capital. Xu Ziling recognized the rider as one of the personal guards who came with Zong Xianghua when they were breaking through the palace jail. This moment he appeared to be in panic; he nearly rolled down the horse as he shouted, “Not good! Tujue Wolf Army is starting to advance here.”
“What?” Xu Ziling blurted out asking.
Zong Xianghua’s personal guard replied, “Great Khan Xieli’s main army had just arrived, the besieging army thus quietly started to move, to press down toward us.”
Xu Ziling was stunned.
Kou Zhong, Du Xing, Ke Dazhi, Ba Fenghan, and Song Shidao, five men rushed out of the shop; receiving the news, none of their countenance did not change.
Unexpectedly Xieli arrived one step ahead of Tuli. If Tuli intentionally arriving late, then he must be harboring unfathomable motives, allowing Xieli to have a free hand in massacring everyone in the captured city. Or perhaps Xieli was rushing ahead to besiege the city. Once the battle started, both sides would have casualties, which would then inflame the hatred between the tribes, to such an extent of going out of control and difficult to curb. Translated by foxs
Various tribes of the prairie have always been fighting the war of attrition, where the victor would massacre and loot the defeated side as much as they like; unless they did not have enough strength, they would always want to put the other side in the extermination-of-the-entire-tribe ending. For Tuli, he must treat any disobedient tribe without mercy and uproot them completely.
All eyes fell onto Ke Dazhi, since the latter was a representative of the cold-hearted Tujue warrior, while also one of most outstanding figures of their younger generation. Were it not for his relationship with Kou Zhong and Shang Xiufang, he might, without the slightest hesitation, endorse the massacre. This moment however, he appeared to be helpless as he said with wry smile, “Let me go out of the city to see Great Khan to understand the situation.”
Shaking his head, Song Shidao said, “Ke Jiangjun must not do so; otherwise it will cause no end of trouble in the future. You may return to your Great Khan’s side, but you must not speak any good word on Longquan’s behalf; you can only report things as they really are.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Kou Zhong and the others all nodded in agreement. If Xieli found out that Ke Dazhi was standing on their side, he might be regarded as a traitor by Xieli.
Du Xing said, “In my opinion, this is more of a military show of force rather than real attack. I don’t believe he does not know that Tuli’s brothers are inside the city.”
Kou Zhong asked the Sumo imperial guard, “Did you see any movement on Pusa’s troops?
The imperial guard replied, “Pusa’s Huihe Army and Abaojia’s Sparrow Hawk Army are still not moving, only the Tujue Wolf Army is approaching the south gate.”
Xu Ziling spoke indifferently, “Ke Xiong, please return to your unit immediately, leave the matter here for us to handle. Remember Song ErGe’s words, we can’t possibly blame Ke Xiong under any circumstances.”
Ke Dazhi sighed and said, “This is the first battle that I am unwilling to fight. But I still don’t believe Great Khan would really besiege the city, he just want to strengthen his bargaining chip in the negotiation with you. Gentlemen, please take good care of yourselves! Ke Dazhi is leaving.” Finished speaking, he summoned his warhorse and flew onto the horseback. With a shout, the warhorse started to move its four legs and rapidly went far away.
Song Shidao said to Du Xing, “It is not suitable for Du Ba Wang to get involved in this matter, it would be best if you take your honorable gang’s brothers to leave the city via the north gate, to show your position.”
Du Xing hesitated for half a day. “Ay!” he finally said, “I, Du Xing, have made friends with you, three gentlemen. In the future, I will definitely keep an eye on Da Xiaojie’s business, I won’t neglect it. Anything happen, you can come to me and hold me accountable. See you in Shanhai Pass!” Translated by foxs
After only the four men plus the imperial guard remaining, Song Shidao said, “Ke Dazhi’s analysis on Xieli certainly does not miss much. Xieli currently only adopts the stance of besieging the city, to increase the psychological pressure on us. The people of the prairie attach most importance to trust and promise; since they already fixed sunrise as the deadline, they would definitely not launch offensive before sunrise. The problem is that we are caught in passive situation; if we cannot reverse this position, we would be in the disadvantageous position during negotiation.”
Xu Ziling nodded and said, “He can use the Sumo tribe unable to hand over the Five-Colored Stone as an excuse to besiege the city, which is very difficult for Tuli to blame him.”
Kou Zhong spoke heavily, “Let’s go to the south gate to see the situation clearly before deciding our next move.”
Outside the south gate, rows upon rows of orderly torchlights were covering the mountains and the plains, so that the moon and the stars lost their splendor, the night sky was painted red. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
The nearest vanguard unit was advancing toward the south gate until they were only about half a li away. Xieli’s command banner was on top of a hill about a li away. At a glance, their military strength was approximately twenty thousand men, all were cavalry of the same unit. No war machines to besiege a city were seen; most likely they were kept inside the dense forest some distance away, it looked like they were relying on strong men and robust horses, the morale was like a rainbow.
Pusa’s Huihe Army stayed in place without moving.
Kesubie, Zong Xianghua, and the others, a group of Sumo high-ranking military officers, were congregating on top of the south wall, everybody’s countenance was heavy.
At the present time, under the low morale circumstances, while the enemies were unleashing their offensive from four sides, eight directions, if Longquan could hold out for half a day, it could already be considered not bad at all.
Kou Zhong swept his gaze around to look at the enemy’s momentum. Suddenly he revealed a hint of smile as he said, “Xieli is forcing us to go out of the city and kowtow to him, begging for mercy. Good kid! He is really worthy to be the ambitious and ruthless character who is able to move unhindered across the prairie.”
Ba Fenghan pointed to the dots of lights on Pusa’s right-hand side a bit to the north; frowning, he asked, “Whose troops are those?”
Zong Xianghua replied, “Those are Tiefuyou’s Black River Mohe warriors, which are of the same root as Xieli; their strength is around eight thousand. Within our Mohe divisions, Tiefuyou is the most intense opponent to us establishing our kingdom.”
Hearing that, Xu Ziling’s heart sank down. The strength of the enemy’s allied armies was several folds of Longquan army; how could they fight this battle?
Regaining his self-confidence, Kou Zhong calmly said, “Ke Xiang [(prime) minister] and Zong Weizhang, is it possible to give me and Ziling the full power to negotiate with Xieli?” Translated by foxs
Zong Xianghua and Kesubie you look at me I gaze at you, because this matter was of great importance, and all along Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling were outsiders; once they agreed on the terms with Xieli, their allotted share was only to comply with the agreement.
Song Shidao said, “Lady and gentleman, please discuss this matter with your colleagues in private, when you have the answer, you may tell us.”
Xu Ziling earnestly said, “Everybody, please trust us.”
While waiting for Zong Xianghua and the others talking on the side, Kou Zhong spoke to Song Shidao, Ba Fenghan and Xu Ziling in low voice, “The present situation is very obvious, which is Tuli puts his people’s interest above brotherly sentiment; therefore, we cannot rely on him, we must find a way to reverse this situation ourselves.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Although Ba Fenghan had ample confidence in Kou Zhong’s ability to lead military operations with extraordinary skill, seeing the Sumo soldiers guarding the city’s look, where everybody was hanging his head dispiritedly, he could not help smiling bitterly and said, “How are you going to turn this situation around?”
Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “Whoever hung the bell on the tiger’s neck must untie it [idiom: fig. whoever started the trouble should end it]; I wonder if this remark can describe the situation aptly?”
This moment Kesubie came back and said, “We decided to have Shaoshuai and Xu Gongzi as our plenipotentiary; there is only one condition: if Xieli demands that we hand over the heir apparent, we would rather choose fighting to the death and be buried with the city.”
Kou Zhong cheerfully said, “That will do! The more that you can show that you do not hesitate to fight to the death and be buried with the city, the more I have the confidence that I can win favorably condition for Xieli to withdraw his troops.”
‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’
The unequaled-in-the-prairie Tujue Wolf Army just started to beat the battle drums; each strike entered deep into the heart of the warriors guarding the city.
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