DKWSS – Chapter 1

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Chapter 1 – The Death of a Multi-Millionaire

Part 1

April 15. Clear Skies. [1]

The day started like every other day. When Sun Jicheng got out of bed, his clothing was already prepared by Liu Jin’niang, a former Imperial maid responsible for dressing the Emperor, and the sixteen young women she oversaw. [2, 3] In the hall outside his bedroom, he drank some Oolong tea from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, and then got into his special carriage and began his inspection tour of the 79 businesses he owned in Jinan city. [4, 5]

He was not the type of person who conformed to the normal patterns of everyday life. For example, he would often stay out drinking with clients all night. And yet, he would never let this interfere with his daily inspection. In fact, the route upon which he traveled would never change.

Starting businesses wasn’t easy, and maintaining them successfully was even harder. Anyone who wanted to achieve such success must pay a price.

Sun Jicheng understood that.

He loved his businesses in much the same way that a beautiful woman loves her good looks.

He would often tell his friends, “Wealth might not make you happy, but it’s a lot better than being poor.”

Sun Jicheng was about six feet tall. Stalwart and dashing, he knew how to enjoy himself, much unlike the other wealthy and powerful merchants who were his peers.

All the years of delicious food and drink had caused his belly to slowly protrude, but thanks to carefully tailored clothing, he looked much younger than his actual age. He could still race horses, drink liquor, and satisfy the most difficult to satisfy woman.

He would never forget to remind others about this, and they would never forget this fact.

Of course, a person like this had no death wish.

So every day when he left home, various experts from famous bodyguard agencies would accompany him. One of them was Qiu Budao, also called “As Stable as Mount Tai,” who in past years had successfully accomplished 91 bodyguard missions with no losses.

Sun Jicheng’s carriage was specially manufactured, impervious to blades and arrows. The horses came from the stables of the “General Who Attacks the West,” every one exceedingly fine, with unmatchable stamina and speed, capable of running over 400 miles in one day without stopping. [6, 7]

His enormous mansion was similarly protected. Day and night, multiple shifts of guards watched over everything, each one a top-notch expert.

To send someone like Sun Jicheng to the grave could not be considered a simple matter.

No one would try to do such a thing. No one would dare take the risk.

Who could ever imagine that he would die!

Part 2

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Sun Jicheng would usually eat lunch at at the Great Three Yuan restaurant.

Perhaps because he worried about his growing belly, or because of constant drinking, he would usually eat or drink nothing else during the day other than his Oolong tea. So of course he was very picky about his lunch.

There were many reasons why he chose to eat at Great Three Yuan.

It was one of the 79 businesses he owned.

Its head chef was a celebrity, specially hired from South China [8]. His “Marinated Shark’s Fin” and “Grilled Shark’s Fin” both were secret family recipes, handed down through the generations, and as luck would have it, Sun Jicheng’s favorite dish was Shark’s Fin.

The manager of Great Three Yuan, Zheng Nanyuan, was not only picky about food, but when it came to wit and conversational ability, he was just the type of person Sun Jicheng liked.

The most important thing was that Great Three Yuan was a very successful business with many customers. Sun Jicheng liked to look at people, and he liked people to look at him.

***

Today was a day like any other. Big Boss Sun ate lunch at Great Three Yuan, drank a little alcohol.

Usually he would drink Chu Ye Ching, Maotai, Daqu, Nu’er Hong, Mei Kuei Lu, and sometimes even Barley wine or Gucheng liquor shipped from distant regions. [9]

Today, he drank something even more difficult to acquire: Persian Red Wine.

Great Three Yuan was the last stop on his inspection tour. Upon finishing his meal, he would go home. He would return to his room, which others rarely visited, take a nap, then once again resume his unique living routine.

— Being rich really was much more enjoyable than being poor.

***

Sun Jicheng was richer than almost anyone in the world, and happier too.

No one had any way to kill him, nor any reason to.

How could he possibly die?

Part 3

Sun Jicheng truly understood how to enjoy himself, and wanted everything to be very exquisite, including his clothing, his food, his residence and his business.

So of course, his bedroom was comfortable and resplendent.

Anyone with a brain could imagine that, but few could imagine what exactly his room was like. This was because few people had ever entered his room.

His room was a place for rest and sleep.

When it came time for rest and sleep, he never wanted women. And when it came time for women, he never wanted rest and sleep.

— A “wife” and a “woman” are different.

A “wife” is not merely a “woman,” but someone with whom to share trials and tribulation, bitterness and sweetness, a support, a comfort, a partner, and a friend during times of loneliness, pain, disappointment and old age.

Sun Jicheng had no wife, and neither did he have friends.

Strictly speaking, the friends he had were not truly his friends.

— It is lonely at the top; if a person manages to reach the pinnacle of something, that person will often find themselves quite lonely.

***

As usual, it was about dusk when Sun Jicheng returned to that room so rarely seen by anyone else, but if seen, became the source of amazement, praise and envy.

Usually, when he returned, he would take a short nap. But this time, he made an exception. From a secret compartment located next to his bed he pulled out a necklace crafted from Persian platinum, embedded with emeralds.

Outside the bedroom was a resplendent reception hall. On the walls hung paintings by Wu Daozi and calligraphy by Wang Xizhi [10, 11], and placed on a shelf was a vase carved from pure white jade. Facing the door was a reception armchair said to have been used by the emperor himself in the Imperial palace.

As soon as he sat down, a musical clinking could be heard coming from outside. The person he was waiting to see had arrived.

It was Liu Jin’niang.

Liu Jiniang was a beautiful, gentle, mature and paid close attention to detail. Her skills in tailoring were unparalleled. She’d entered the Imperial Palace at the age of 11 and returned to at the age of 21 to manage Sun Jicheng’s clothing, footgear and headgear. No one in the world was more familiar with his physique and body structure.

That of course is a requirement for anyone tasked with creating a comfortable set of clothing.

To truly, completely understand the body of a man is not easy, and she had used the most direct and effective method.

She was a beautiful woman, healthy and strong. The spring wind that night had blown oh so gently.

But from that night on, she never brought up the incident ever again. It seemed he, too, had forgotten. The two of them maintained a very professional working relationship.

Long ago in the deep recesses of the Imperial palace, she had learned to live in loneliness.

**

The setting sun shone in through the window. Sun Jicheng looked at her cold, beautiful face, and let out a soft sigh.

“It’s been ten years,” he said with a sigh. “It’s ten years, correct?”

“Just about.”

Liu Jin’niang’s face appeared completely cold and emotionless. A woman of her upbringing would surely never allow emotions to show.

And yet, she felt a stab of pain in her heart. She knew exactly how many days had passed since that spring night. She would forever remember, completely clearly. It was ten years, one month and three days.

“Have you been happy throughout these years?”

“I would say neither happy nor unhappy,” she said coolly. “Now that I think about it, the ten years seem to have passed in the blink of an eye.”

So many frigid winter nights spent alone, so many lonely spring evenings, could they really pass in the blink of an eye?

Sun Jicheng sighed again, then suddenly stood up and walked over to her.

“I know I’ve let you down,” he said. He lifted up the necklace. “This is a little something from me. Would you allow me to put it on you?”

Liu Jin’niang nodded her head silently. And yet, as soon as Sun Jicheng reached her and placed the necklace around her neck, she suddenly wanted to weep.

Could it be that after ten years of indifference, he had suddenly recalled that one night of passion and tenderness?

Just as the tears began to pour down her face, he suddenly tightened his grip, using the beautiful necklace to send her to her death.

She did not die in suffering, because she truly did not believe that he would treat her with such vicious treachery.

No one could possibly figure out why he killed her, because, truthfully, he had no reason to.

***

The beautiful necklace hung from the beautiful neck. And yet, the beauty had long since passed.

The setting sun slowly began to fade, replaced gradually by evening gloom.

Sun Jicheng, steady and cool-headed as usual, slowly pushed open the rear window and vanished into the night like a wisp of smoke, disappearing into the darkness in the twinkling of an eye.

Part 4

The dark of evening approached. Qiu Budao still lay on his bed. Last night, he had been on duty for the graveyard shift and hadn’t been able to go to sleep until morning. When on duty, he gave it his all, just as he did when working bodyguard missions. Even though he knew nothing untoward would happen, he still refused to display the slightest negligence or complacency.

It had taken much blood and sweat to earn the moniker “As Stable as Mount Tai,” but it would take only one moment of negligence to lose it.

After experiencing countless risks to life and limb, he truly had achieved the “stability.” No matter what type of arrow or sword were thrust toward him, he would not become flustered. Even if his whole family’s fate rested on the roll of a die, he wouldn’t bat an eye if the roll turned out to be a one.

But recently, he often felt tired. In actuality, a 55-year-old man shouldn’t be doing this type of work. Sadly, a force existed behind him which lashed him forward like a donkey chained to a millstone.

It seemed the wheel of life gradually was crushing his robust frame into a bloody slab of meat.

He sighed to himself, preparing to get out of bed and light the lamp on the table. He never imagined that just as he began to walk forward, a hand would suddenly tap his shoulder from behind. His entire body instantly turned ice-cold.

Somehow, someone had entered his room without him being aware of it and then sneaked up on him. This should be fundamentally impossible.

Cold sweat broke out all over his body.

The hand neither took advantage of the situation to strike at his jugular, nor did it stab further into his shoulder. Instead, a mild voice spoke: “There’s no need to light the lamp. I can see you, just as you can see me.”

Qiu Budao recognized the voice.

The monstrous demon behind him was none other than his employer, Big Boss Sun Jicheng.

**

Sun Jicheng removed his hand, allowing Qiu Budao to turn around.

In the darkness of twilight, Qiu Budao’s face was a pale white as paper, but his expression calm and collected. He had been through countless battles, and every time he bounced back from an unfavorable situation was by relying on “stability.”

Sun Jicheng’s eyes shone with admiration, but the warmth turned to coldness in a flash.

Not allowing Qiu Budao to even open his mouth, he asked a very strange question, one word at a time: “When did you find out?”

“Find out what?” he replied, confused. The question was so sudden, he didn’t know how to answer.

Sun Jicheng laughed. But the laughter did not touch his eyes. He looked at Qiu Budao for a while, and then one word at a time said: “My secret.”

“Your secret? What secret?”

“Since you already know, do I really need to say?”

Qiu Budao said nothing.

He could see that the person standing in front of him was not someone who could be fooled easily. Trying to put on a front would do no good.

“When did you find out?” he suddenly replied. “When did you realize I’d uncovered your secret?”

This question was also a reply of sorts.

Sun Jicheng laughed again.

“You’ve always been a poor gambler, always losing horribly. And yet, during the past two months you’ve slowly been repaying your debts. Who is helping you to pay off your creditors?”

Qiu Budao refused to answer, and Sun Jicheng didn’t press him further. Instead, he continued, “Of the 72 guards in the three squads you command, 13 have been replaced in the last two months. Every three to five days, you switch someone out. When on duty, you place them as far away from me as possible.” He smiled. “Did you think I wouldn’t notice?”

“I didn’t think so.”

At that moment, just before Sun Jicheng opened his mouth to reply, Qiu Budao’s hand shot out like a thunderbolt.

**

Qiu Budao usually trained with a broadsword, and trained quite well. No one could call his technique anything but first-rate.

And yet he rarely used a broadsword.

His fists could be considered deadly weapons, even more powerful and fearsome than his broadsword.

He had always believed that if you use a weapon, there will eventually be a time when that weapon is not at hand. When his second uncle “Invincible Double Whips” Qiu Sheng’s trademark double whips had been stolen, he had subsequently died a bitter death in battle.

Fists could never be stolen. So from childhood he had trained in fist techniques. And even though it had entailed countless hardships and tribulations, he had trained under the banner of the Shaolin Temple.

Everyone acknowledged that Shaolin’s “Dragon Subduing, Tiger Vanquishing Lohan Divine Fist” was an unrivaled fist.

His fist technique was fierce and potent, incredibly swift and strong. Especially the first form.

End things with one stance, a fatal fist. When experts fight, victory and defeat are usually decided in one stance.

He had always reckoned the first stance to be the most crucial, and this viewpoint was beyond doubt correct.

As his fist shot out, although he couldn’t be completely certain it would strike his opponent, he believed that he would at least be able to open an opportunity to make an escape. Forty years of bitter, year-round training and three hundred blood-soaked battles gave him supreme confidence in his sense of judgement.

Sadly, this time he’d erred.

***

Even as his fist shot out with a power like lightning, he saw a blur, and the opponent he wished to devastate with his strike, was gone.

And in that exact moment, he felt his wrist being restrained. All the power in his body suddenly dissipated and his wrist was twisted around behind his back. He had no strength to resist.

Qiu Budao was petrified.

His iron fists, which had smashed the noses and ribs and even souls of countless Shaolin Temple experts, had been restrained in the duration of one stance. Forty years of fist training seemed like child’s play to this person.

Sweat poured down the shocked face of “As Stable as Mount Tai” Qiu Budao. He had never dreamed that a multi-millionaire playboy would be so fearsome, and would possess such demonic kung fu.

Sun Jicheng sighed. “I made a mistake,” he said. “This time it’s my mistake.”

The one who made a mistake was Qiu Budao, wasn’t it? Not him.

Qiu Budao couldn’t help but ask, “You made a mistake? What mistake?”

“You have no way to know.”

“Know what?”

“You don’t know my secret,” he said coldly. “And you don’t know who I am. I challenge you to make even one more move against me.”

“Who are you?” said Unstoppable Qiu hoarsely. “Just who are you?”

Sun Jicheng didn’t respond. Instead, he asked, “If you don’t actually know who I am, why would you betray me?”

Most people would not be willing to answer such a question. But Qiu Budao was an exception, because even more so than Sun Jicheng, he wanted to know the truth of things.

—Who was this mysterious and fearsome multi-millionaire? What was his secret?

The only way to find out the truth behind others’ secrets, is to first be honest—everyone in Jianghu understood this truth.

“Although I never believed that you built your own fortune from scratch, I never even imagined that you would be a consummate expert of the martial world. And even more unbelievable was that you are a retired master thief.”

“Why so unbelievable?”

“Because you don’t look it,” replied Qiu Budao. “You’re too ostentatious. You give off no hint that you want to hide from people.”

He continued, “In the past twenty years or so, there have only been a view thieves who have amassed great fortunes and then disappeared. Among them, only four have yet to be caught. And yet, you could not be one of those four. As far as your age, appearance and stature, you don’t match any of their descriptions.”

Sun Jicheng smiled. “As of now you can surely see that my martial arts far exceed yours.”

Qiu Budao conceded this point. Then he said, “Three months ago some people asked me about you! They wanted to know every last detail about your actions and movements!”

“Who are these people?”

“I met them at the gambling hall. They are neither young nor old, and as for their identity, it’s complicated.”

“You don’t know who they are, do you?”

“I don’t.” He thought for a moment, then continued, “They are big spenders, and it seems that they possess some good kung fu, even though they try to hide it. I’ve never heard of anyone with their names in Jianghu before, nor seen anyone like them.” His voice seemed to be filled with a strange dread. “They suddenly appeared, as if they’d arrived from a strange place that no one has ever been to.”

Sun Jicheng’s smile had disappeared; his pupils constricted. He knew that this time, he was dealing with a group of extremely mysterious, extremely fearsome opponents.

“My only hobby in life is gambling,” said Qiu Budao. “I gamble hard and I lose all the time. They didn’t require much of me. Just for me to allow them to place some people in my three squads. So…”

“So you agreed.”

“Yes,” he said. “I agreed. I don’t like being in debt, and they were the only ones who could help me get out.” With effort, he turned his head and stared at Sun Jicheng. “I’m telling the truth.”

“I believe you.”

“Do you know who they are?”

“I don’t.”

“Do they know who you are?”

Sun Jicheng was silent.

Qiu Budao yet again asked, “Just who are you?”

Sun Jicheng stood there silently in the thick, dark night. And then suddenly he laughed.

“I am who I am!” he said with a strange, mysterious smile. “I’m just a person who will die soon. Very soon.”

***

Why would someone like this have to die? How could he die?

Qiu Budao didn’t ask any more questions.

“Come with me,” said Sun Jicheng. “I’m going to take you somewhere.”

“To do what?”

“To see someone.”

“Who?”

“Someone you never imagined you would see. Even when you see him with your own eyes, you still might not believe it.”

Part 5

Who was this person? Why would someone not believe it even if they saw him with their own eyes? Was it a person who shouldn’t be alive? A person who shouldn’t exist?

Qiu Budao couldn’t wrap his mind around it.

Nor could he wrap his mind around any of the things that would happen in the following hour.

It turned out Sun Jicheng led him back to that room of his, the one that no one ever entered.

Gentle and quiet Liu Jin’niang, who had never argued with a single soul, lay there, still dead.

Surprisingly, underneath the beautifully decorated bed were two secret cellars.

One of the cellar rooms was filled with books and the smell of alcohol and food. And a person.

A person Qiu Budao never imagined that he would see. Even though he looked upon this person with his own eyes, he almost didn’t believe.

Because this person was Sun Jicheng. A second Sun Jicheng.

Part 6

Qiu Budao sat down on a bamboo chair in the corner of the cellar, as if he were worried he might collapse.

This person could not be Sun Jicheng. Two Qiu Budaos could not exist in the world, and neither could two Sun Jichengs.

It couldn’t be his brother.

Sun Jicheng had no brothers, and even twins could not look this alike.

The two of them looked exactly the same in every way. Figure, facial features, attire, manner. All the same. When Sun Jicheng stood directly in front of this person, it seemed as if he were standing in front of a mirror.

Who was he? What was his relationship to Sun Jicheng? Why would Sun Jicheng keep him hidden in this place? And why would he bring Qiu Budao here to see him?

Qiu Budao just could not figure it out.

Sun Jicheng seemed to be enjoying the expression on his face. He looked thoroughly pleased.

Finally he could show someone.

With a smile, he said, “I knew the first time you saw him you would be startled out of your skin. The first time I saw him, so was I.”

He smiled joyfully.

“At that time, we didn’t look exactly alike. If we stood next to each other, you could still tell the difference between us. But with the help of some strange and ingenious techniques, the situation changed quite a bit.”

He added, “To achieve true perfection, there were a few areas that required special attention.”

Qiu Budao waited for him to continue.

“For example, there isn’t much room for him to move about. When not laying in bed, he will sit and read. In such circumstances, it’s hard to avoid growing a bit of a belly.” He slapped his own belly. “So I had to grow a bit of a belly too.”

“What else?”

“If someone gets no sunlight for years at a time, his skin will become pale and strange looking. So, every day I take him up to my bedroom window to get some sun.”

“So that’s why you never let anyone into your bedroom.” Qiu Budao’s palms continued to sweat.

He now understood everything that had happened up to now.

A horrific conspiracy perfectly planned out by Sun Jicheng was now in motion, and no one in the world could stop it.

Sun Jicheng turned and clapped the person on the shoulder. “Your complexion has been good the past few days. You’ve been sleeping well.”

His “shadow” responded in a meek and feeble voice: “Yes. I’ve slept quite well the past few days.”

Qiu Budao suddenly called out, “No, there’s something wrong.”

“Oh?”

“His voice is completely different than yours.”

Sun Jicheng laughed. “His voice doesn’t need to be the same,” he said casually.

Qiu Budao didn’t bother to ask “why.” He’d spoken up just now only to verify a horrible notion.

After verifying it, his heart sank.

Unfortunately, Sun Jicheng had used some strange technique to seal some of his acupuncture points and drain all of the energy from of his body.

Sun Jicheng seemed to be completely at ease. He suddenly started chatting randomly with his “shadow.” When I first saw you, your complexion was not good at all, as if you hadn’t slept in a very long time.”

“Yes, at that time I hadn’t eaten for three days and nights, and hadn’t even had a chance to close my eyes.”

“Why was that?”

“Because I’d just experienced something tragic beyond compare.” His voice suddenly became very meek and quiet. “My parents, wife, and children were all ruthlessly slaughtered by a great villain.”

“Why didn’t you try to avenge them?”

“Because I am weak, I would never in my life even be able to dream of hurting a hair on that monster’s head.”

“So you wanted to die?”

“Yes.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I didn’t die, because you saved me. You killed the villain and helped me get my revenge.”

“Did I ask for compensation?”

“No,” said the “shadow.” “You just had one requirement: that I wait until the time came for you to die, and then I would give you back the life that I owed you.” He stared at Sun Jicheng, and with an indescribably calm bearing asked, “That time has arrived, hasn’t it?”

“Yes.”

The time had arrived. His life would end soon.

The “shadow” had been expecting this end for some time. Qiu Budao had also figured out what was happening.

—Of course Sun Jicheng hadn’t built up a business from scratch into a fortune. And he actually was not rich businessman, picky about food, in love with doing business.

—He was someone entirely different, a person who for some reason, because he needed to keep his true identity hidden, had brought his ill-gotten hundreds of millions along with hands reeking of blood here, to hide from his foes.

—But he knew that the net of heaven is wide, and none can escape its mesh. [12] His secret would get out eventually, and so he’d already prepared someone to die in his place.

—This person looked exactly like him in every way. Only his voice was different.

—Because by the time others found him, he would be dead, and dead men cannot speak.

***

He did not die in pain, because Sun Jicheng struck him with a mortal fist blow. A fist blow swift, accurate and vicious.

Qiu Budao’s face sank.

Sun Jicheng suddenly asked him, “Did you see which type of fist technique I just used?”

Of course he did. It was exactly the same fist technique that he had just used, that famous consummate skill which he had spent forty bitter years practicing, the Shaolin Lohan Fist.

“Well,” asked Sun Jicheng, “what did you think of it?”

Qiu Budao couldn’t speak, not even a single syllable.

He had trained in this fist technique for forty years, and yet the blow Sun Jicheng had just delivered in terms of energy, skill and efficacy, exceeded his own.

What could he say?

“A fatal blow,” said Sun Jincheng, “inuring the heart directly. That is definitely the killing method that ‘As Stable as Mount Tai’ Qiu Budao would use. So this Sun Jicheng clearly died by your hand, and had nothing to do with anyone else. Everyone will be able to see that clearly.”

He washed his hands in a silver basin and then dried them with a snow-white cloth. He suddenly sighed. “Although, they might wonder what motive you had to kill Liu Jin’niang.”

“Liu Jin’niang?” cried Qiu Budao. “I killed her too?”

“Absolutely,” said Sun Jicheng, sounding surprised. “Don’t tell me you didn’t notice the necklace used to strangle her. Who’s necklace was it again?”

Qiu Budao was seized with terror.

Because of everything that had happened, his mind was in chaos. Up to now, he hadn’t been able to see everything clearly. The necklace with the emerald pendants was actually his, something left behind by his deceased wife. He’d kept it for so long, not willing to part with it even during his worst episodes of gambling loss.

He didn’t look at it often, because the memories it dredged up were sweet, yet too sorrowful. He didn’t even want to touch it.

“How did you get that?”

“I have my ways.” Sun Jicheng smiled. “At least a hundred of them, actually.”

Anyone would have to concede that a person like Sun Jicheng would have ways to get just about anything he wanted.

“Why is it me who killed them?”

“You have your reasons.”

Sun Jicheng continued, “There are probably at least a hundred reasons why a man might kill a woman and another man. Even if you can’t think of one, others will come up with their own ideas for you.”

He laughed. “They will probably all come up with unique ideas. If you ask 50 people, they will probably come up with 100 different versions. Thankfully, whatever ideas they have don’t really affect you.

Qiu Budao stared at him for a long time, and then, one word at a time, said, “I understand what you mean.”

“You should,” said Sun Jincheng. “Sun Jicheng is already dead, as is Liu Jin’niang. You don’t have much longer to live, either.” Coolly, he continued, “I guarantee that others will figure out a reason for your death. So I’ve already prepared a glass of poisoned alcohol for you.”

Part 7

So now, Sun Jicheng was dead.

No one imagined that he would die, but he truly had died.

On the evening of April 15th he, along with his most trusted bodyguard squad leader Qiu Budao and his tender, secret lover Liu Jin’niang, all died together in a secret cellar.

Of course, there were many rumors regarding their deaths. But regardless of what they said, it didn’t affect Sun Jicheng

Because now, Sun Jicheng was dead.

***

Late in the night on April 15th, he left behind the city of Jinan as well his successful businesses and his hundreds of millions in wealth. Like a man discarding a mistress he’d grown tired of, he seemed to carry with him no nostalgia or tenderness.

***

When a multi-millionaire dies like this, is it possible for him to be resurrected?

**

[1] Considering the story takes place in Ancient China, the months listed in the book would assumably be based on the Lunar calendar not the Gregorian calendar, but for sake of simplicity I will use the Gregorian calendar names.
[2] Sun Jicheng’s Chinese name is 孙济城 sūn jì chéng.
[3] Liu Jinniang’s Chinese name is 柳金娘 liǔ jīn niáng.
[4] The tea from Wuyi mountains is relatively famous. I remember hearing about this when I used to live in Chinatown. http://tinyurl.com/24ebrvu
[5] Jinan is the capital of Shandong province. It is a coastal city that has been an administrative and economic center for thousands of years. http://tinyurl.com/pf2akvf
[6] “General Who Attacks the West” is actually one of the ranks achieved by historical General Huang Zhong, who worked for Liu Bei during the Three Kingdoms Period. However, based on later information in the story, it would seem the story doesn’t take place during that time period. http://tinyurl.com/ygg3s8t
[7] What I’m translating as “over 400 miles” is written as 1,300 li in the original Chinese. http://tinyurl.com/pqwadtf
[8] What I’m translating as South China is literally referring to an area of South China covering Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan as well as modern northern Vietnam. http://tinyurl.com/no7apxt
[9] These are all different types of alcohol, some of them very famous. Chu Ye Qing is a type of fenjiu or perhaps made from bamboo. I couldn’t find any articles about it. http://tinyurl.com/pbntk64. Maotai is probably the most famous baijiu in China. http://tinyurl.com/5l5z2e. Daqu is another type of baijiu http://tinyurl.com/ouasl23. Nu’er Hong is a type of baijiu, and if I remember correctly was mentioned in 7 Killers. http://tinyurl.com/ol8xjfv. Mei Kuei Lu is a type of rose-flavored baijiu http://tinyurl.com/mbyrfy9. The other two I was unable to find what exactly they are. Maybe Gu Long made them up, or maybe they are rare or obscure?
[10] Wu Daozi was a famous artist who lived during the Tang dynasty. http://tinyurl.com/kt7ylsc
[11] Wang Xizhi is one of the most famous calligraphers of all time. He lived during the Jin dynasty. http://tinyurl.com/3fvxyd8
[12] Yes this is the same quote from 7 Killers.


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18 thoughts on “DKWSS – Chapter 1” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. I think I’ll be reading this, thanks.
    But allow me to be a bit selfish: Could you look into a way to hyperlink the footnotes? It’s a bit troublesome to go up and down scrolling…

    1. Hey that’s a good idea and I thought about it, but not sure how to do it. I’ll look into it. RWX? Is this possible?

      As a temporary fix, you could just open the story in two tabs, and have one scrolled down to the footnotes, then you can just switch back and forth instead of having to scroll.

      1. I guess, because she knows him very well.
        She might notice his build, height, etc. if they meet.
        Or that, he knows that she will grieve too much and that’s why he killed her.

  2. If anyone reading this is still on the fence about continuing… do it!!!
    One of the funnest, most exciting action/adventure stories I’ve read in a looong time!

    What’s really going on is slowly revealed over the course of the chapters; the action never stops, and bit by bit, the intrigues and stratagems behind the scenes are made clear through twist after twist!

    Definitely keep reading!

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