Read Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan Book 40 – Chapter 12 – Living Declaration of War

Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan is a Webnovel made by Huang Yi.
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Read WebNovel Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan Book 40 – Chapter 12 – Living Declaration of War

After dinner at Dao Xiang Lou [sic; lou – multi-storied building, guan – shop/establishment], they told Luo Yi and Ou Liangcai to return to the foreign guesthouse first with not a word or movement, while the three returned to the courtyard house at the east side of the city, and reverted back to their original attire and appearance. Borrowing a horse-drawn carriage from Shuwen, they drove straight toward the foreign guesthouse, parked at the street corner, and waited patiently.

In this prosperous and bustling with noise and excitement time, pedestrians and vehicles were coming and going, their carriage did not attract any attention at all.

The driver, Ba Fenghan, putting on a wind cap, which was popular over there, covering the top half of his face, sat on the driver seat, wearing Han attire. Unless someone knew him well, even up close, he surely would not be easily recognized.

Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling were hiding inside the carriage, peeking through the curtain to watch the main gate of the foreign guesthouse, where Luo Yi and the others were staying.

Kou Zhong sighed and said, “Bai Ziting’s money-making methods are despicable and vicious, not only he sent men to rob clean a dozen or so Han merchants both of their money and goods, he also detains people, lending money at high interest rate, requiring them to pay the cost of their food and lodging. Da Dao She men were evicted back to the Central Plains, to raise huge sums of money and come back to redeem themselves. Although the method is slightly different, it is no different than robbing Da Xiaojie’s eighty-thousand sheets of sheepskin and then demanding the gold; how could there be somebody who is that despicable?”

“I wonder if Jing Kang is their accomplice?” Xu Ziling said.

Kou Zhong spoke heavily, “If Jing Kang is an accomplice, perhaps Gao Kaidao is also slightly related. His granny’s bear, the more I thought, the more furious I am; I really want to storm the Palace City to chop Bai Ziting and Funantuo, two men’s heads. Once the main problem is solved, all troubles are solved.”

Xu Ziling nodded and said, “I understand your sentiment. But if you do that, you will be unable to accomplish anything but liable to spoil everything [idiom]. Didn’t we say we are going to use deceit to fight deceit? How can we cheat Bai Ziting for a large sum of money?”

Kou Zhong spoke fiercely, “Previously, we felt sorry for Guan Ping, that muddled egg, since his martial art skill is so low, hence we were unwilling to use martial art to overcome him. But now, since we know that Bai Ziting is the mastermind behind his back, how could we still pay attention to using deceit to fight deceit? We are going to, by all means, do whatever it takes to deal with him, so that not only his founding a country will fail, but also he won’t be able to cheat, trap, and harm people in the future.”

Xu Ziling said, “Just like martial art masters facing each other off, we must first find all his flaws and weak points, and then we’ll make our move, to do whatever it takes to break the enemy in one move, without giving him the opportunity to free himself.”

“He is out!” Kou Zhong exclaimed in low voice.

They saw the hateful Guan Ping unhurriedly stepping out of the guesthouse, down the basalt-rock-paved steps, to join the stream of people on the street. They promptly informed Ba Fenghan outside, and the carriage started to move.

Guan Ping was strolling leisurely along the street, totally oblivious that his demon star has arrived, his good days of cheating would be over.

The reason Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling particularly detested him was because he helped foreigners to deal with his fellow citizens, which was an unforgivable sin.

The carriage sped up and pa.s.sed Guan Ping.

Suddenly it stopped, in a flash Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling already out of the carriage and blocked the road.

Caught off guard, Guan Ping was startled, when suddenly he saw two men, immediately he was so scared that his soul flew away and scattered, his countenance dramatically changed, but before he had time to react, Kou Zhong already laughed aloud and said, “Guan Xiong, I trust you have been well since we last met. We are going drinking, and will not go home until we are drunk.”

The pa.s.sersby thought they were old friends, hence n.o.body paid them any attention. The two already waited upon him left and right, and lightly escorted him into the carriage.

Guan Ping sat inside the carriage, his countenance was as pale as a dead man; he struggled hard to remain calm, but his hands and feet trembled uncontrollably.

The two looked at him with smile on their faces.

Kou Zhong laughed and said, “Why does Guan Xiong panic? We are not robbers who kill anybody for his belongings; as long as you are willing to obediently answer some questions, once we are done asking for guidance, we will immediately release you.”

Guan Ping took a deep breath and recovered his senses. Smiling bitterly, he said, “Between me and two gentlemen was just a misunderstanding. That day I was forced and had no choice but … ay, indeed I was wrong.”

Xu Ziling spoke indifferently, “Are you Duan Zhu?”

Rolling his shifty eyes, Guan Ping nodded and said, “That is my real name. Because I offended Huanghe Bang’s Da Peng [Great Roc] Tao Guangzu, I was forced to hide my name and conceal my surname, and went to Pingyao to find employment, working under Yu Sheng Chang’s Li Weng. Before that, I was indeed an employee of Meiyan Furen, specializing in purchasing goods for her from the Central Plains. Ay! Just because of a business deal with Huanghe Bang went wrong that I am in this plight today.”

Kou Zhong turned to Xu Ziling and spoke in astonishment, “It appears that Guan Xiong really does not have any idea who we are; otherwise, how could he dare to tell us such a ridiculous lie with eyes wide open like that?”

Guan Ping’s pair of eyes revealed a shocked expression; evidently he did not know which flaw he has exposed in his speech.

Xu Ziling smiled and said, “How old is Meiyan Furen?”

Guan Ping was able to reply quickly and fluently [idiom: having a ready answer], “Her real age, no one knows. She looks to be only around thirty, her appearance is as lovely as a flower, with ten thousand kinds of charm.”

Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “Ling Shao! Let this LaoGe look over that thing.”

Xu Ziling fetched the Five-Colored Stone from his pocket and held it in front of Guan Ping’s eyes.

Severely shaken, Guan Ping said, “You are …”

Kou Zhong’s pair of eyes emitted sharp, acute, fierce and severe divine light. Letting out a cold humph, he said, “You finally know who we are!”

The carriage stopped in a deeply dark side alley. Ba Fenghan got into the carriage, he laughed coldly and said, “I see the two of you are like chicken hands and duck feet, totally unlike people who would do things properly. Evil person must be worn down by evil person. Let me wait upon him, I guarantee he won’t dare to speak half a sentence of lie.”

Guan Ping’s already pale countenance was even more without any trace of blood. His lips quivering, he spoke in trembling voice, “Whatever it is, we can talk about it. Ah!”

Ba Fenghan took Kou Zhong’s seat; one hand pinched Guan Ping’s throat, five fingers tightened, Guan Ping could not breathe, his hands and feet were struggling. Ba Fenghan’s other hand fetched a dagger and pressed it against his genital. Grinning wickedly, he said, “Even the most valiant horse thieves, so far no one is able not to supply the truth under my, Ba Fenghan’s torture. Don’t look down on my pinching-the-throat technique; this is actually one kind of first-cla.s.s technique. It can reduce the blood flowing into his head, so that he can’t be as clear-headed as usual, plus his brain will feel like being p.r.i.c.ked by the needle, being bitten by ants. Any man of steel or hero of iron will become a yes-man.”

And then his five fingers loosened up slightly, Guan Ping’s eyeb.a.l.l.s, which had rolled up to show only the whites, began to show the black part, but the veins on his head suddenly appeared; his face twisted, his expression revealed a terrifying pain.

Remaining calm and unruffled in the midst of chaos, Ba Fenghan said, “I ask one you reply one. One word wrong, I’ll cut your eggs. Understand?”

Guan Ping’s raspy voice replied, “Understand!”

“Do you know who I am?” Ba Fenghan asked.

“You are Ba Fenghan,” Guan Ping replied.

Blurted out laughing, Kou Zhong said, “Indeed you, Old Ba have a real skill, you made Guan Xiong suddenly become so well-behaved.”

Ba Fenghan’s expression turned stern, he said, “Your only chance of living right now is to own up to the facts. I guarantee not to harm half a strand of your hair; otherwise I’ll simply cut off your pair of eggs and feed it to the wolves. You should know that I, Ba Fenghan am not the kind of man who wouldn’t do such a trivial matter.”

Xu Ziling said, “What we are going to ask you, many of the questions we already know the answer, so you’d better speak a bit more carefully.”

Guan Ping’s entire body was shaking, he tried hard to resist the pain in his head, his entire being was caught in the brim of a nervous breakdown. “Ask away!” he spoke hoa.r.s.ely.

Kou Zhong threatened, “This man is a habitual liar, he is an expert in telling lies. Old Ba, if you think something is not right, just cut off his eggs and be done with it.”

Ba Fenghan’s dagger emitted cold energy. Severely shaken, Guan Ping said, “No, don’t. Xiaoren will tell you everything.”

Ba Fenghan smiled and said, “Now that’s a good boy. The goods that Bai Ziting robbed, are all laundered via the ‘Zang Shou’ [dirty hand] Ma Ji?”

These two sentences were extremely fierce and severe. It showed that they already knew a lot of the inside story, while also made it hard for Guan Ping to quibble. One item dirty, two items are also dirty; as long as they could start Guan Ping to tell the truth, it would be the most critical thing, other minor things, naturally they need not be afraid that he would not reveal, not to mention this matter concerned the survival of his eggs.

Ba Fenghan, Kou Zhong, Xu Ziling, three men’s name shook inside and outside the Central Plains, even Xieli was not considered worthy in their eyes. Even if Guan Ping was able to conceal something momentarily, eventually the three would find out, and then he could forget about saving his life, since no one would be able to protect him.

Guan Ping’s pair of eyes revealed a too-late-for-regret expression; as he was slightly hesitating, Ba Fenghan’s five fingers quickly tightened up, hastily he said, “I’ll talk! I’ll talk! Ay, you already know everything, why are you asking me? Ay! I’ll tell you! Were it not for acc.u.mulating wealth via Ma Ji, how is Bai Ziting going raise such a huge army? Moreover, he would not be able to build a city of Longquan’s scale. Ma Ji is also the main supplier of the military; no one knew this secret.”

Kou Zhong remembered Pusa’s remark, also, from Shuwen he knew that Ma Ji setup his camp outside the city. He said, “I hear that this time Ma Ji coming to Longquan, it is also to negotiate a large military deals; I wonder if it is true.”

With a bitter expression Guan Ping said, “Shaoshuai knows a lot more than I do. Ma Ji is indeed outside the city, but the vast situation within it, it is beyond Xiaoren’s qualification to know.”

“How long have you been working for Bai Ziting?” Ba Fenghan asked.

“Almost fifteen years,” Guan Ping replied, “I originally was going to wait until the ceremony of founding the country before returning to the Central Plains to spend my last years. Ay!”

Kou Zhong happily said, “Then you ought to be very familiar with Bai Ziting. Now I am going to ask you one sentence, you answer one sentence; if you want to preserve your eggs, you shouldn’t tell me half a word of lies.”

Ba Fenghan released his palm. He watched as Guan Ping, like a soft mud, slunk into the chair. He spoke without any emotion, “I fixed his three meridians and seven chakras using a very special technique. Without anybody’s help, he could forget about waking up within three days. Even if he did, he will lose consciousness, the previous things will become blurry, everything will be completely forgotten.”

Aghast, Kou Zhong said, “Unexpectedly there is such a formidable sealing-acupoint technique between the heaven and the earth; Old Ba, I wonder if you could teach me.”

Displeased, Ba Fenghan said, “The acupoint-sealing technique did not make him like this; rather, it was caused by my earlier method of restricting the qi and blood into his brain. As for why it is like this, I am not quite sure. I only know that whenever I forced confession using this technique, they would lose consciousness, and then when the person wakes up, he would be like this.”

Xu Ziling reached out to press his hand on the side of Guan Ping’s neck. Nodding, he said, “This kind of sealing the three meridians and seven chakras technique is extremely hard to solve; without a long period of time and considerable waste of true energy, they could forget about resolving it.”

Kou Zhong cheerfully said, “If Ling Shao say so, then those who don’t understand three meridians and seven chakras won’t know how to begin even more.”

Ba Fenghan spoke heavily, “Other than the three of us, there is only one person in Longquan who can wake up Guan Ping quicker.”

Kou Zhong nodded and said, “That person is the Tianzhu Kuang Seng Funantuo.”

Ba Fenghan said, “We will throw Guan Ping outside the Palace City as a living declaration of war, so that he’d suspect everyone. Perhaps he would think that his Tianzhu enemies are coming here to give him bad luck.”

Kou Zhong slapped the chair and cried out, “Definitely a good plan!”

“What is the next step?” Xu Ziling asked.

Ba Fenghan said, “From Guan Ping’s mouth, we obtained a great amount of precious intelligence, no longer like before, where we were like blind people touching an elephant [idiom from Nirvana Sutra: unable to see the big picture; if you are interested, just google it: blind men and the elephant (Hindu/Buddhist parable)]. Tonight we’ll visit our old friend Ma Ji to drink wine and reminisce about the past; tomorrow we’ll look for Yuekepeng and go to Dao Xiang Guan to drink morning tea. Two gentlemen, what do you think?”

Kou Zhong sighed and said, “Ma Ji! Da Xiaojie’s eighty-thousand sheets of sheepskin and Pingyao merchants’ goods, all depends on you, LaoGe!”

The three jumped over the wall to get out. Following Shuwen’s direction, they went to Ma Ji’s camp by the Jingpo Lake south of Longquan. There were more than thirty tents. Hanging outside the door of each tent was a wind lantern. There were also torches erected all around the tents, so that it was as bright as day. The water of the lake reflected the light. From the distance, they could see people’s shadow dancing in the light. The security was very tight.

Upright and unafraid, the three arrived outside the camp. Someone immediately shouted in Tujue, “Who’s there?”

Ba Fenghan did not halt his steps at all; he kept walking straight toward the more than a dozen men swarming out of the camp. “I am Ba Fenghan,” he shouted, “Ma Ji, do you want to come out to meet me, or do you want us to fight our way in?”

Hearing Ba Fenghan’s name, the originally-rushing-out-to-intercept-and-fight men immediately withdrew.

A peal of simple and honest, heavy laughter came from the tent by the lakeside, followed by someone speaking, “Turns out it’s Ba Fenghan. I, Ma Ji, am only a small businessman, how could I deserve Fenghan Xiong coming at night to pay a visit? I wonder if Shaoshuai and Ziling Xiong are coming with you?”

He spoke Han language with a heavy Tujue accent; it was very unpleasant to hear, but he spoke very fluently.

Kou Zhong chuckled and said, “Turns out Ma Ji Xiansheng himself is a martial art master, no wonder you are able to move unhindered across the prairie complacently. Kou Zhong is calling to pay his respects.”

All of Ma Ji’s men swarmed out of the tents. The number of men reached two hundred, all were martial art masters from various tribes in the prairie; a group of warriors that must not be taken lightly.

Upright and unafraid the three pa.s.sed through the troops glaring like a tiger watching its prey straight toward where Ma Ji’s voice was coming from.

In front of a particularly large and gorgeously decorated tent by the lakeside, stood eight people, tall and short. But in just one glance the three was able to recognize Ma Ji like panning for gold from the sand.

Outside the Great Wall, or even in the Central Plains, they had never seen anybody dressed more luxuriously than Ma Ji, more pearl’s l.u.s.ter and treasure’s air. Whether it was his inner clothes or outer robe, it was entirely Han attire. Not only it was tailored to fit, the embroidery was elaborate, using sun, moon, and stars motif, resulting in multi-colored, sumptuous effect. On top of his head, Ma Ji was wearing tall crown, and jade belt wrapped around his waist, studded full of precious stones, which flickered dazzlingly under the torch flame. Any part that anything could be hung, worn, or wrapped around, not a single one narrowly and luckily escaped.

Kou Zhong and the others thought that it looked c.u.mbersome, but he appeared comfortable.

This most-famous-person-in-the-prairie-specializing-in-receiving-stolen-goods’ appearance was less than impressive. He was short and fat, his head small his belly large, his face was fat and swollen so that it was hard to distinguish. Both his eyes and belly were bulging, the appearance of a man indulging excessively in wine and women. But inside his eyes, which often squinted to become just two slits, there was a sudden flash of peculiar light. Not only it was a sign of profound power, it also gave up the impression that he was astute and formidable, as well as extremely shrewd; not at all a man who was easy to deal with.

Ma Ji took a step forward, chucked, and said, “To be able to have the three gentlemen honoring me with your presence, it is my, Ma Ji’s privilege. What can’t possibly be discussed nicely? Let us get into the tent to drink and have a heart-to-heart chat.”

The three secretly wondered whether this was another Xu Kaishan. Fortunately, they have obtained a bargaining chip from Guan Ping’s mouth, hence they would never allow Ma Ji to confuse them; thereupon they gladly followed him into the tent.

The long wind was blowing, the dark clouds were covering the sky. It looked like another rainstorm was coming.

———-

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