Post by Lone Crane on Dec 31, 2022 16:45:10 GMT
Full Moon, Curved Sabre is one of Gu Long's late period works, originally published June 21, 1976 to May 1, 1978 in Wuxia Chronicles magazine《武俠春秋》issues #282-348. Its original title there was《刀神》Sabre God. In issue #293 publication cut off and did not resume until issue #298. It was in this issue that fellow wuxia author Sima Ziyan 司馬紫煙 took over and finished the novel. That corresponds to a little more than midway through Chapter 11 in the current 32-chapter edition of the novel. So Gu Long only wrote about the first 1/3 of the novel himself, then Sima Ziyan wrote the rest.
Now Sima Ziyan is a fine wuxia author himself. I'm currently reading one of his novels and liking it very much. And he began writing wuxia in 1963 so he was a veteran author when he took over for Gu Long here. But he did not do a great job of it here. The writing is not as good, the characters' personalities change, etc. This novel is one of the big sighs of regret in the wuxia community, wondering what could have been had Gu Long finished the novel himself because it was shaping up to be a classic.
I don't know how much of this I will be able to translate, but no matter what I will be stopping after finishing Chapter 11. I only plan to translate the Gu Long section of the novel, as well as the bit of Sima Ziyan at the end of Chapter 11. After that (if I make it there), someone else can take over and finish the rest if they want. In the most recent 3-volume edition of Full Moon, Curved Sabre that I have, published by Storm & Stress, the Gu Long section covers the first volume and about 21 pages of the second volume. Like I said, 1/3 of the novel.
Full Moon, Curved Sabre is a sequel to Sword of the Third Young Master《三少爺的劍》as it features Xie Xiaofeng and his daughter, Xie Xiaoyu, though they are not the main characters. The main character is a new character, Ding Peng, a no-name swordsman looking to make his reputation.
Sword of the Third Young Master was also published in Wuxia Chronicles, and Full Moon, Curved Sabre began just three months after Third Young Master finished. Around the same time that Full Moon was ongoing, Gu Long was also writing Jade Tiger《白玉老虎》 (February 3, 1976 to July 22, 1977 in Singapore's Nanyang Shangbao, and also in Wuxia World magazine). He also had Righteous Blood Cleanses the Silver Spear《碧血洗銀槍》 going in China Times and Wuxia World magazine beginning September 2, 1976 to February 17, 1977 in China Times).《大地飛鷹》Land of Soaring Eagles was also going from October 5, 1976 to November 11, 1977 in Lianhebao. So that puts this novel in context and maybe it was just because he had so much going on that he dropped Full Moon? I don't know. Jade Tiger was never finished either. He wrote in an afterward to that novel that he would come back in a few weeks and finish it, but he never did.
I will post in small bits as I finish them like in the old days. First off I have the Prologue and all of Chapter 1 finished. The rest of the chapters are longer. Also, yes, I am still working on Ximen Ding's Assassin's Lament. I will be working on these two simultaneously.
Post by Lone Crane on Dec 31, 2022 16:46:37 GMT
Full MoonThe moon waxes and wanes. What we’re talking about now is the full moon because this story takes place on a night with a full moon.
The moon this evening is even more beautiful than usual, mysteriously beautiful, a melancholic beauty, a beauty to shatter one’s heart.
Our story is the same, brimming with mysterious and beautiful appeal, brimming with beautiful and mysterious fantasy. In some ancient and mysterious legends, it is said that when the moon rises, elemental spirits appear along with the moonlight, flower and tree elementals, gem and stone elementals, even netherworld spirits and ghost foxes will appear and prostrate themselves before the full moon and absorb the full moon’s essence.
Sometimes they even turn into humans and appear among people in all manner of appearance and do some unimaginable things.
These things sometimes amaze people, sometimes move people, sometimes put people in a panic, sometimes delight people, sometimes make people feel things difficult to imagine. They can save someone from a bottomless abyss and can push someone off a mountain peak.
They can make you obtain all the glory and wealth in the world and can also make you lose everything.
Though no one has ever seen their true appearance, no one can deny their existence.
Curved SabreSabres can be straight or curved. What we’re talking about now is a curved sabre, curved like Qingqing’s eyebrows.
The curved sabre originally belonged to Qingqing. Qingqing was a beautiful and mysterious girl, just like the moon that day.
A sabre is a sharp weapon for killing.
Qingqing’s curved sabre was the same. One flash of that curved blade and disaster would come.
A disaster no one could avoid no matter who they were, because no one could ever dodge that curved sabre light.
The sabre light was not fast but was like the moonlight you see. By the time you see it, it’s already on you.
There’s only one moon in the sky. On earth there was just this one curved sabre.
When it appeared in the world, what it brought with it was not necessarily disaster. Sometimes it brought with it justice and fortune for people.
This time when it appears in the world what will it bring? No one knows.
Qingqing’s curved sabre was green, green as the distant mountains, green as spring trees, green as lake water in a lover’s eyes.
On Qingqing’s curved sabre there was a small, fine line of text: “Listening to spring rain all night in the small loft.”
Post by Lone Crane on Dec 31, 2022 16:48:03 GMT
Chapter 1Storms gather without warning, the moon is occluded or clear, waxes and wanes.
Standing Out From the Crowd
It has been thus since ancient times.
One wishes for longevity, a thousand miles apart viewing the moon’s beauty.
Daybreak. Fog, thick fog.
Ding Peng pushed open the window of the small room, the thick, milky white fog drifting in like willow catkins, brushing against his face.
His face was refined and handsome, body healthy, looked full of vitality, vigorous and lively. When he laughed he was like a an innocent child, like a boy you watched grow up from a young age.
But Ding Peng was no longer a child.
In the past three months he had defeated three well-renowned swordsmen in succession.
Sunlight and moisture made flowers and grass and trees grow strong. Victory and success likewise made a boy mature and grow up.
Now he was not only a real man but coolheaded and steady, brimming with confidence.
He was born in the third month, and this year he was twenty. On his birthday he used the move “Outer Space Shooting Star” to defeat the famed swordsman of Baoding prefecture, Shi Ding.
Shi Ding was a master of the Northern School Green Duckweed Sword. He took this victory as a birthday present for himself.
In the fourth month he used the same Outer Space Shooting Star move to defeat Windchaser Sword Ge Qi. Ge Qi was the first disciple of the Mount Hua Sword School. His swordplay was swift and peculiar and his attacks were vicious. He was a conceited person.
But in that duel he lost soundly and surprisingly acknowledged to those gathered, “Even if I train for ten more years I would never be able to block that sword stroke of his.”
In the fifth month, the head of the Iron Sword Sect, the Songyang Swordsman Guo Zhengping was defeated by his Outer Space Shooting Star stroke.
Guo Zhengping remarked on that sword stroke and the person himself that, “Like a goral hung by its horns it leaves no trace. Within a year this young man will be famous throughout the jianghu and will stand out from the crowd.”
× × ×
The Iron Sword Sect was not an illustrious sect among the jianghu, but it had a long history with integrity, so it carried more weight for someone like Guo Zhengping as head of the sect to say that.
Till now, when Ding Ping thought of what he said he still felt unspeakable excitement.
“Famous throughout the jianghu, will stand out from the crowd!”
He trained diligently for thirteen years, practicing seven double-hours a day until his palms and the soles of his feet were raw.
And especially on those bitter cold winter nights he would often grab a snowball and stuff it in his pants whenever he felt himself getting lax and in order to rouse his spirit. That was a feeling that others would never even be able to imagine.
He tortured himself thus only because he was determined to stand out from the crowd and vindicate his father who had accomplished nothing his whole life.
× × ×
His father had been an unknown armed escort agent who had inadvertently acquired a page from a sword manual.
It was one page, one book.
On the page of the sword manual was the move Outer Space Shooting Star.
—A shooting star from outer space that suddenly disappears. That split second ray of light was so fast no one could stop it. But back then his father was already old and his intellect was in decline, his reactions slow, unable to practice this swordplay. So he gave the one-page sword manual to his son.
On his deathbed his final words were, “You have to master this sword stroke, you have to vindicate me and let people know that I have a standout son.”
× × ×
Whenever he thought of this, Ding Peng would get fired up and he couldn’t hold back the tears from falling.
Now he would never again shed tears. Tears were for those weaklings to shed. What a real man sheds is blood!
He breathed deeply the fresh morning air and took his sword out from under his pillow.
Today he was going to used this swordplay to claim another victory.
Today if he succeeded, it would be a real success.
Shi Ding, Ge Qi, and Guo Zhengping were renowned xia of the jianghu, but those three duels were nothing compared to the one today.
Because his opponent today was Liu Ruosong.
The Green Pine Swordsman Liu Ruosong, one of the world-renowned “Three Steadfast Friends” .
The master of Myriad Pine Mountain Villa, Liu Ruosong.
The only lay disciple of Perfected Celestial Unity of Establishing Perfection Temple on Mount Wudang, Liu Ruosong!
He had heard that name many years ago. Back then that name for him was like Mount Tai or the Norther Dipper, so high, so remote and unshakable.
But it was different now. Now he was confident he could defeat this person.
He used the most proper method to seek a duel from this senior so that Liu Ruosong could not refuse.
Because he had to defeat this person in order to take the next step and enter the ranks of the true masters of the jianghu.
The time and place for the duel were decided by Liu Ruosong.
“The fifteenth day of the sixth month, noon. Myriad Pine Mountain Villa.”
Today was the fifteenth day of the sixth month.
Today’s duel would decide his fate.
× × ×
Yesterday evening he had washed, evened out, and hung up his clothes to dry on a rack by the window, and they were almost dry.
Though they weren’t completely dry, they would dry quickly once he put them on.
This was his only outfit that his sickly, aged mother had closely sewn for him before he left home. Now it had been washed so much it was faded, worn out in some places, but as long as he washed it good and clean it would be presentable for him to wear out.
There’s no shame in poverty. What’s shameful is laziness, dirtiness.
He dressed and retrieved his money bag sewn from the same blue cloth from under his pillow.
Inside there was just one small bit of silver left.
This was everything he owned. Once he paid the inn fee probably all that would be left would be a few dozen coppers.
Usually he slept in places where he didn’t have to pay rent, inside temples under the spirit altar, on the grass in the woods, these were his beds.
For this duel he reluctantly bore it and got a room at this small inn because he had to get a good night’s sleep in order to have ample energy and strength to win the duel.
He paid his bill and unexpectedly made the painful decision to use his remaining money to buy half a catty of stewed beef, ten pieces of dried tofu, a large bag of shelled peanuts, and five steamed buns.
For him this was not just an extravagant splurge, it was simply an unforgivable waste. Normally he only ate three hard biscuits to get him through a day.
But today he decided to pardon himself this once. Today he needed strength, and to have strength he needed to eat well.
Besides, after today his circumstances could be completely different.
Reputation didn’t just bring with it glory and self-respect, it could also bring you many things you normally could only dream of, wealth and status coming with it.
He understood this point well, so he always gritted his teeth and endured poverty and hunger.
He never let himself be sullied by any dishonorable matter. He was resolved to go the proper course to stand out from the crowd.
Right now there was still more than two double-hours before noon. He decided to find a good place to enjoy his food.
× × ×
He found a spring at the foot of the mountain near Myriad Pine Mountain Villa. There was a meadow, red flowers, a scenic area surrounded by flowers and trees and a clear blue sky.
The thick fog had cleared, the sun was rising, and dew glittered on the green leaves, shining like pearls.
He sat on the soft grass and tore off a hunk of beef. It tasted better than he imagined it would.
He was extremely happy.
Just then, a girl ran into his secret little area like a hunter chasing a goral.
The girl was completely naked.
The girl was gently and lovely and young.
× × ×
Ding Peng felt like he had stopped breathing, and his heart beat three times faster than normal.
He had never been near a woman.
It wasn’t that there were no young girls in his hometown, or that he had never seen any.
He always made a desperate effort to control himself. He’d used every method, stuffing snowballs in his pants, dunking his head in the stream, stabbing himself in the leg with a needle, running, climbing, doing somersaults…
Before he made a name for himself he would never let anything distract him, never let anything drain his physical strength.
But now he suddenly saw a naked woman, a young, beautiful naked woman.
That snowwhite skin, firm breasts, slender, strong, smooth legs…
It took all of his power to turn away, but the woman leapt over and grabbed him, panting. “Save me, you have to save me.”
Her so close to him, her breath warm and fragrant. He could even hear her heartbeat.
His mouth felt dry. He couldn’t say a single word.
The girl noticed the change in him and she blushed and covered herself with her hands. “Can… Can… Can you take your clothes off and let me borrow them?”
These clothes were his only clothes, but he took it off without hesitation.
After the girl draped the robe over her she calmed down a bit and said earnestly, “Thank you!”
Ding Peng finally calmed a bit himself and finally managed to say, “Is there someone after you?”
The girl nodded, tears in her eyes.
Ding Peng said, “This is a remote place, difficult for someone to find. If someone does come after you there’s not need to fear.”
He was a man, he had the innate instinct to protect women, especially one as beautiful as this girl.
He held her hand. “With me and this blade here, you have nothing to fear.”
The girl was fairly relieved and said softly, “Thank you.”
She had already said that. Saying it again, she nodded and closed her mouth.
Ding Peng didn’t know what he should say.
He ought to have asked, “Why are you fleeing, who’s chasing you? Why are they chasing you?”
But he forgot to ask and she didn’t say.
Though she had a robe draped over her, it was a short robe, not enough to completely cover a mature girl like herself.
There were too truly too many arousing places on a girl like her.
His heart was still pounding, pounding quickly.
A long while later, he noticed she was staring at his package of beef.
This meal might very well be his last meal. He only had a single copper on him.
But without hesitating he said, “All this stuff is clean, have some.”
The girl said, “Thanks!”
Ding Peng said, “It’s nothing.”
The girl really didn’t stand on ceremony.
Ding Peng never expected a girl like her could eat like a wolf.
She had definitely been hungry for a while and suffered a lot.
He could even imagine the miseries she’d faced.
—A lone girl, stripped naked by a band of thugs, locked in a cellar with nothing to eat. She had thought of every method before finally managing to escape.
As he was imagining what she had suffered, she ate up all of his property.
Bot just the beef, but all of the tofu too, even the steamed buns, leaving him only a dozen peanuts.
She seemed a bit embarrassed and shyly handed him the peanuts and said meekly, “These are for you.”
Ding Peng laughed.
Before he had not only not been able to laugh, he simply couldn’t cry either, but now he couldn’t keep from laughing.
The girl laughed too, blushing, red as the flowers under the sunlight.
Laughing, it not only made one happy, it made others happy, and it closed the distance between people.
They became more natural with each other, and the girl finally said what had happened to her.
Ding Peng told her what he had imagined and it was more or less what she told him.
The girl really had been kidnapped by a band of thugs, stripped naked and locked in a cellar and had not eaten so much as a grain of rice in several days. Those thugs knew she was too hungry to move, so they relaxed their guard and she took that opportunity to escape.
Of course she was unspeakably grateful to him. “It’s my good fortune to run into you.”
Ding Peng’s hand continuously stroked the hilt of his sword. “Where are they, I’ll go with you to find them!”
The girl said, “You can’t go!”
Ding Peng said, “Why?”
The girl hesitated. “There’s some things I can’t tell you right now, but I will definitely tell you later.”
She seemed to be hiding something, but since she couldn’t say it, he didn’t ask.
The girl said, “Now I’m going to find someone, then I’ll rest easy.”
Ding Peng said, “Who are you going to find?”
The girl said, “A senior of mine, already in his seventies, dressed in crimson. If you saw him you’d recognize him at once.”
She raised her head, her beautiful eyes imploring. She asked softly, “Can you help me look for him?”
× × ×
of course Ding Peng couldn’t, he really couldn’t, he absolutely couldn’t.
Now there was only a double-hour separating him from the duel that would decide his fate.
He was still hungry and he hadn’t practiced his sword. He really had to get his emotions in order, conserve his strength to deal with Liu Ruosong. How could he go with a strange girl to look for an old man he’d never seen before?”
But he just couldn’t get the words “no” out of his mouth.
To say “no” to a beautiful girl was really not an easy thing to do. You needed not only a lot of courage, you needed thick skin.
A man had to go through a lot of pain and suffering in order to learn how to say “no”.
Ding Peng sighed to himself and said, “Where is this old gentleman?”
The girl’s eyes brightened at once. “You’ll help me look for him?”
Ding Peng just nodded. The girl leapt up and hugged him. “You really are a good person, I’ll never forget you!”
Ding Peng was convinced it would be hard for him to forget this girl as well as long as he lived.
× × ×
“Follow the stream uphill till you get to the headwater and you’ll see an unusually shaped old tree. When the weather is good he will be there for sure playing weiqi.”
Today the weather was good.
When you see him, you have to mess up his game board before he will listen to what you have to say. Only then will he come with you!”
Weiqi enthusiasts were like that. Even if the sky was falling they would insist on finishing their game before anything else.
“I’ll wait here. Hurry back here quick, whether you find him or not.”
× × ×
The stream water was clear.
Ding Peng followed the stream uphill, going fast.
Of course he had to get back quickly, he still had a lot of things to do. The sun rose gradually and he suddenly felt hungry, incredibly hungry.
Today might very well be the most important day of his life. The moment that would decide his fate was before him.
Yet here he was like an idiot, hungry, helping a girl without clothes look for an old man wearing red.
If someone else had told him such a tale he wouldn’t believe it.
The only true thing was the girl was really beautiful. Not just beautiful, but there was a special manner about her that made it hard to refuse her request, made it unbearable to refuse.
There were not many men who would be able to say no to this girl.
Fortunately the stream wasn’t very long.
At the end of the stream of course there was an old tree, and of course there were two people playing weiqi, and of course one of them was an old man dressed in red. Ding Peng at long last breathed a sigh of relief and strode over and reached out to mess up their game board.
He really was quite obedient.
But when he reached out his foot suddenly stepped on nothing. There was a hole in the ground there and his foot went in.
Fortunately the hole was not very big, he didn’t fall in. Unfortunately, he had just pulled his foot out of the hole when his other foot was snared. There had been a rope snare on the ground which closed around his foot as soon as he stepped into it.
His other foot was still raised up, so when this foot was snared he lost his balance and couldn’t hold steady.
Even more unfortunate was this rope snare was tied to a tree branch, and the branch had been bent to the ground. Once the snare moved the branch snapped back and he was launched up with it.
Most unfortunate was when he sprang up he happened to slam into another tree branch, and where it hit was a soft acupoint on his back. Just that light collision and he couldn’t let out a single bit of strength.
And so he was hanging there confused, head down feet up, like a hanging fish.
× × ×
The hole in the ground, the rope snare, the tree branch, was that all planned out?
Did that girl have him come here to set him up? There was no enmity between them, no ill will, why would she want to harm him?
× × ×
The two people under the tree were absorbed in their game. They didn’t even glance at him, as if they didn’t even know anyone had come and was now hanging there.
These two really were weiqi enthusiasts.
When weiqi enthusiasts played, they never let anyone disturb them.
Maybe they set that trap to guard against being disturbed, maybe it wasn’t to deal with him.
The girl of course didn’t know about the trap.
With that thought, Ding Peng felt much better about things. He calmed down and said, “Gentlemen, could I trouble you to let me down?”
The players didn’t hear him. Ding Peng said it two or three more times, but they didn’t seem to hear a single word. Ding Peng couldn’t control himself anymore and yelled, “Hey…”
He yelled out just that one word, only that one word was voiced.
As soon as he opened his mouth something flew over and stuffed his mouth.
A stinking, soft, sticky, reeking something. He didn’t know if it was mud or something worse than mud.
It had flown over from a tree branch opposite. A little monkey dressed in red sat astride a branch grinning and giggling.
What the red monkey threw at him was nothing good. If it had been mud he would have considered himself lucky.
Ding Peng was so mad he almost passed out.
After so many long, arduous years, with success right in front of him, he had to run into this!
End Chapter 1
Post by Lone Crane on Jan 1, 2023 6:35:23 GMT
One Step Ahead
A hole, a rope, a tree branch to hang up someone who’d been diligently training in martial arts for thirteen years.
Ding Peng really hated himself. Why hadn’t he been more careful? Why was he such a failure, so useless?
Actually the hole, the rope, the position, distance, and force of the tree branch, all seemed to have been precisely calculated. Not only was it the work of an exceptional mind, but it was also one with years of experience to be able to calculate it so precisely.
The red-robed old man’s head looked much bigger than a normal person’s, with a headful of silvery white hair and a ruddy face like an infant, and he had the body of a plump child.
The other old man was light and skinny with a dark, gloomy face. He wore a long black cloth robe and looked like an air-dried fig.
They were both absorbed in playing, taking a long time before setting down each stone.
The sun gradually rose and then gradually fell westward. Noon had long since passed. If it hadn’t been for this, Ding Peng ought to have defeated Liu Ruosong by now, and his name would have already spread throughout the jianghu.
Too bad right now he was still hanging from the tree.
When would their game be finished? And would they then prepare a way to deal with him?
The gloomy black-robed old man played gloomily as well, holding a stone and thinking a long time before lightly, slowly placing it on the board.
The red-robed old man stared wide-eyed at that move, beads of sweat appearing one by one on his forehead.
Anyone who saw his expression would know that he had already lost.
He had been a bit too careless this game, he had been distracted, he had intentionally yielded a move.
A losing player always found a lot of reasons to explain it and would never admit to losing.
Of course he wanted to play another game.
Unfortunately the black-robed old man had already stood up and was walking away without looking back.
The red-robed old man jumped up and yelled and went after him.
“You can’t go, we have to play another game.”
They were chasing one after the other, apparently not using their lightness skill, so they weren’t going very fast, yet in the blink of an eye they were nowhere to be seen.
The red-clad monkey on the tree opposite also disappeared.
It was getting dark out. They seemed to have gone for good, as if they didn’t know there was someone hanging here.
The desolate mountain was quiet and still as night came on. Of course no one would be coming here.
A person hanging in a place like this could be there seven or eight days without anyone coming by to rescue him.
Being hanged to death was no rare thing.
Ding Peng was really anxious.
Not just anxious but also cold, hungry, and he head was flustered and his limbs were tingling and going numb.
He suddenly realized he was simply a pig, the world’s dumbest pig, the world’s most unlucky pig.
Even he didn’t know how unlucky he was.
Up to now, he didn’t even know the girl’s name, yet he had given her his only robe, and everything he owned was eaten up by her, and because of her he had been hung up here like a dead fish and didn’t know how long he would remain hanging here.
He really wanted to smack himself seventy or eighty times and just have a good cry.
Unexpectedly, the rope snapped and he fell and landed hard, but it unsealed the acupoint that had been sealed in the collision earlier.
These things must have been planned as well.
They just wanted him to suffer a bit, that’s all. They weren’t really trying to hang him to death.
But they had no quarrel with him, no grudge. Why did they punish him like this?
He didn’t think about it and couldn’t figure it out.
Now the first thing he had to do was take the mud out of his mouth.
The second thing he had to do was hurry back to where he had been and find the girl and get to the bottom of this. Too bad the girl had already left, taking his only robe with her.
Since they parted, it was quite possible that he would not be able to find her. Of course he wouldn’t see the red-robed old fogy again either.
What was all this about?
He might not know for the rest of his life.
Right now the only thing he could do was go to Myriad Pine Mountain Villa half-naked, on an empty stomach, with bad breath and a bellyful of resentment and apologize.
It was late now, but late was better than never.
If anyone asked him why he was late, he would just make up a story to explain it.
Because if he told the truth, no one would believe it.
× × ×
Myriad Pine Mountain Villa was much more imposing than he had imagined, even the gatekeeper who opened the doors wore a dignified satin patterned robe.
After learning he was “Young Xia Ding Peng” the gatekeeper was polite, very polite, his eyes never taking a second glance at his half-naked appearance, nor at his dirty face.
The gatekeeper at a big wig’s place was usually very courteous and well-mannered.
But this mannered, this courteous, was really hard to take.
He was led into the hall and the gatekeeper and said urbanely, “Young Master Ding arrived too early, today is the fifteenth, not the sixteenth yet. Our master and the friends he has invited over ought to wait here for Young Master Ding’s arrival, even three to five days is really nothing.”
Ding Peng was slightly blushing, his voice quivering, “I actually earlier had…”
He had come up with a story, but the courteous gatekeeper didn’t want to hear it and quickly said, “It’s just that unfortunately our master happened to have some matter to attend to today and has certainly gone to the city.”
He was smiling, smiling very courteously. “Our master instructed me over and over again that I must beg your pardon, Young Master Ding, because he only waited three double-hours before some matter called him away.”
Ding Peng was at a loss.
He couldn’t blame Liu Ruosong. No matter who you were waiting for, waiting three double-hours was already a lot.
“But what do I do?”
Right now he only had a single copper on him. He didn’t even have a robe and he was starving to death.
Where could he go?
The gatekeeper fortunately was very polite to him, but he had no plan to invite him in to sit.
Ding Peng finally couldn’t bear it and said, “Can I wait here until he comes back?”
The gatekeeper smiled. “If Young Master Ding is willing to wait here, of course that’s alright!”
Ding Peng breathed a sigh of relief, but the gatekeeper continued, “But we don’t dare make Young Master Ding stay.”
He was still smiling. “Because when Master goes out he will be gone for at least twenty to thirty days. How could we make Young Master Ding stay here for twenty or thirty days?”
Ding Peng’s heart sank.
The gatekeeper said, “But Master notified me that he will definitely be back before the fifteenth of next month. He will be free then, so if he has to wait three to five days that will be no problem.”
Ding Peng held in his anger. “Alright, I’ll come back on the fifteenth of next month. I will be here before noon for sure.”
The gatekeeper smiled. “Like I said, Master is free that day, so it’s alright if Young Master Ding arrives a bit late.”
He smiled very politely and spoke very politely.
But Ding Peng had already turned around and walked out without looking back.
He didn’t want to see that polite, well-mannered person’s face again.
He really couldn’t take it.
He swore that on the day he makes a name for himself and accomplishes his goal, he will definitely come back and make that gatekeeper look at his smiling face.
But that was later. Right now, he really couldn’t smile, nor did he know what he should do for the next month.
No matter what, he still had a copper.
One copper could buy a hard biscuit and if he drank more cold water it would fill his stomach.
But when he went to retrieve his final copper he discovered that it was gone.
Had it fallen out of his bag when he was hanging back there? He suddenly recalled that he didn’t put the copper in his money bag. After buying beef he had put the remaining copper in his robe pocket.
Right now his robe was being worn by that girl, his final copper of course carried off with her.
He didn’t even know her name.
Ding Peng suddenly laughed, laughed loudly, nearly crying from laughing so much.
× × ×
Post by Lone Crane on Jan 2, 2023 23:31:30 GMT
Night! A summer night.
A moonlit night. The bright moon hanging high, the sky full of stars, the springwater under the moonlight like a belt of brocaded satin, the evening wind permeated with the scent of flowers.
The delicate scent of the trees and flowers mingled and extended over from the distant mountains.
A moonlit night is beautiful, the most beautiful of course being the bright moon.
A full moon.
But Ding Peng rather wished the round moon was instead a round baked sesame cake.
It wasn’t that he was completely ignorant of elegance and refinement, but when a person is that hungry they forget the words elegance and refinement.
This was where he had met the girl before. He came back here just because he really had nowhere else to go.
With his skills, stealing or robbing would be an easy matter.
But he would never do something like that. He could never let himself be stained with a blemish that could never be washed off.
He was going to use the proper course to stand out from the rest.
Had that coin dropped out from his robe? If he had dropped out here he might be able to find it.
He didn’t find the coin, but he did find a peanut.
He carefully picked it up and shelled it and prepared to slowly chew it one piece at a time.
Just then, a girl suddenly came scurrying over as if she were a goral being chased by a hunter and knocked his last remaining peanut out of his hand.
But this time Ding Peng didn’t feel he was unlucky, rather he leapt for joy. “It’s you!”
× × ×This girl who’d caused no end of trouble was surprisingly here again.
Ding Peng really didn’t think he would see her again. Under the moonlight she was even more beautiful.
Though this was only the second time they’d met, Ding Peng seeing her now was like seeing a close friend.
The girl looked happy too and clung tight to his hand as if afraid he would suddenly slip away.
“I thought I’d never see you again.”
That was a sentiment they both wanted to say, and they both said it at the same time.
They both laughed.
Ding Peng clutched tight to her hand as well as if afraid she might suddenly slip away.
She looked at him and said, “Earlier I told myself that if I saw you this time I had to remember one thing.”
Ding Peng said, “What thing?”
She said charmingly, “Remember to ask you your name.”
Ding Peng laughed again. He had just been telling himself that this time he had to ask her her name.
Her name was Kexiao.
× × ×“Did you say Kexiao?”
“Kexiao as in ‘funny?’”
Ding Peng contained his laughter. “That name is really strange.”
Kexiao said, “Not just strange, but funny. It’s even funnier when you add in my surname.”
Ding Peng said, “What’s your surname?”
Kexiao said, “Li.”
She sighed. “A person with the surprising name Li Kexiao, you tell me, is that funny or what?”
Ding Peng surprisingly was still able to not laugh.
Kexiao said, “I really don’t get why Dad gave me such a name.”
Ding Peng said, “Actually there’s nothing wrong with that name.”
Kexiao said, “But ever since I was little people ask me; ‘Li Kexiao, what’s so funny about you?’ When people ask me that I get a headache, how can I laugh at that.”
Ding Peng finally couldn’t keep from laughing out loud.
Kexiao laughed too.
All the bad luck of the day was wiped clean by laughing.
× × ×Unfortunately, there’s some things that you can’t forget, and even if you do forget it for a while you will quickly remember it again.
For example: hunger!
Laughter can’t fill your belly and could not solve their problems.
Kexiao definitely still had a problem.
She was still wearing Ding Peng’s robe, that short robe that could not completely cover her body.
The moonlight shining on those parts that couldn’t be covered made her look even more alluring.
Ding Peng had even more problems.
But for some reason, what he was most concerned about at the moment was not himself but her.
Kexiao said, “I know you want to ask me why I had you go find that red-clad old man, right? Why didn’t I wait for you here? Where did I go all that time?”
Ding Peng admitted this was so.
Kexiao said, “But it’s best if you don’t ask.”
Ding Peng said, “Why?”
Kexiao said, “Because even if you ask, I won’t answer.”
She grabbed his hand again. “There’s some things it’s better for you not to know. The more a person knows the more worrisome it is, and I don’t want to give you more to worry about.”
Her hand was soft and smooth, her eyes gentle and sincere.
Though Ding Peng had never been close to a woman, he could tell that she was being sincere with him.
As far as Ding Peng was concerned, that was enough.
He held her hand as well and said, “I’ll listen to you. If you don’t want to say, I won’t ask.”
Kexiao smiled charmingly. “But there’s still something I want you to do for me.”
Ding Peng said, “What?”
Kexiao said, “Follow the stream downstream where there’s a little building with a greentile roof.”
Ding Peng said, “You want me to go there?”
Kexiao said, “I want you to go now.”
Ding Peng said, “And then?”
Kexiao said, “Once you get there, someone there will take you to see the master of the place. You have to listen to what he says. You have to do what he tells you to do.”
She watched him closely. “You have to trust me. I would never harm you.”
Ding Peng said, “I trust you.”
Kexiao said, “Are you going or not?”
× × ×No, of course he wasn’t going, he would never go.
Last time he suffered plenty on her behalf. He’d suffered enough.
This time it sounded even more absurd, how could he go?
But still he did go.
Last time he had to “follow the stream upstream”, this time he had to “go downstream”. Last time it was a “red-clad old man”, this time it was a “small greentile roofed building.”
Last time he was hung up like a dead fish and had to eat a pile of stinking mud. What would he run into this time?
This time would he be even more unlucky than last time?
× × ×