Heroes Shed No Tears – Chapter 9 – Die Wu

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Part 1

The eight day of the second month of the lunar calendar.

Chang’an.

Four carrier pigeons flew from Luoyang. One lost its way in the frosty darkness. One had its wings frozen by the frigid wind, and fell to its death in the lofty mountains outside Luoyang. Only two flew all the way to Chang’an, arriving before daybreak on the eighth.

**

“Cai Chong is dead,” Zhuo Donglai calmly told Sima Chaoqun. “Yang Jian died here in Chang’an. Two more of ours died in the surprise attack. Of Zhu Meng’s Four Great Warriors, not a single one remains alive.”

Sima was enjoying his roasted beef. All his energy for the day came from this meal, and so this was the time when his spirits were the highest, and his mind the clearest.

“When did Cai Chong die?” he asked.

“Yesterday morning,” answered Zhuo Donglai. “I just received news of his death a few hours ago.”

One of his subordinates was an expert in training carrier pigeons. When he dispatched people to Luoyang to gather information, they would usually take one or two carrier pigeons with them. At the time, there was no faster method to deliver information.

“From what I heard,” said Sima Chaoqun dryly, “Cai Chong had already taken complete control of the Lion Clan. How could he suddenly be dead? Someone like him shouldn’t die so easily.”

“Anyone who gets stabbed through the heart with a sword will die easily.”

“But it shouldn’t be an easy thing to stab him through the heart with a sword. Whose sword was it?”

“Little Gao’s. Gao Jianfei.”

“Him again!” Sima Chaoqun sliced off a big chunk of meat with his curved knife. “He’s already in Luoyang?”

“It seems he arrived two days ago.”

Sima Chaoqun chewed slowly, until all the flavor of the meat was gone. “Cai Chong is obviously no match for Gao Jianfei’s sword skill, but he already took control of the Lion Clan. Shouldn’t he have been surrounded by experts protecting him?”

“It’s said the whole street was filled. Not only were there Lion Clan disciples, but at least 10 hired killers, outsiders. Any enemy of his who entered that street would have been in as much danger as a lamb in the midst of a wolf pack.”

“But Little Gao went anyway.”

“Correct. Little Gao went, alone. One person, one sword. He walked down the street like an old woman carrying a basket of vegetables to sell.”

“And then what?”

“Then he stabbed Cai Chong through the heart with his sword. In through his chest and out through his back.”

“Why would Cai Chong let him get so close? Why wouldn’t he kill him first?”

“I have no idea. I imagine Cai Chong wanted to use Little Gao to lure out Zhu Meng and kill him. And he probably didn’t take Little Gao seriously. He never imagined he would have the guts to kill him under those circumstances.”

“Then his death was not undeserved,” Sima said coldly. “Anyone who underestimates their enemy deserves to die.”

Cai Chong not only underestimated Little Gao’s speed and martial arts, he also underestimated his character and bravery.

Sima suddenly sighed. “But Little Gao must have died as well. When he went to that street, he had already prepared himself to die. Zhu Meng is really lucky to have made a friend like that.”

“There really aren’t many people like him in the world. For one to die is really a loss. But as of now, the world hasn’t experienced that loss.”

“Little Gao isn’t dead?”

“He isn’t.”

“Right now he might even be living a happier life than most people.”

“Why?”

“Because he didn’t make a mistake when he picked his friend,” said Zhu Donglai. “Zhu Meng didn’t let him risk his life alone.”

“Don’t tell me Zhu Meng was there too?” Sima looked even more shocked than before. “He watched helplessly while Cai Chong took everything away from him, and then ran away and hid like a stray dog. At a time like that, how could he have the guts to show up?”

“I thought he was finished. As finished as a walnut cracked open by a hammer, the insides so soft that even a toothless child could chew it up.”

“But now it looks like he grew another shell.”

“Yes.”

“How did he make his appearance?”

A thoughtful expression appeared in Zhuo Donglai’s eyes. He was quiet for a long time before slowly saying, “Some trees seem completely dead during winter, but as soon as spring comes and they feel the spring wind and rain, receive the warmth of the sun, they fill with life again, extruding buds and growing new leaves.” His voice seemed very distant. “Some friends can have this kind of effect. Just like the spring wind and rain, and the warmth of the sun. As far as Zhu Meng is concerned, Gao Jianfei is this kind of friend.”

Sima Chaoqun sighed softly. “He is. As far as anyone is concerned, he is.”

Zhuo Donglai became thoughtful again, his gray, wolfish eyes shining with an expression no one could understand or describe, their sharpness seeming to gradually soften.

Sima Chaoqun didn’t notice. He continued, “Most of the people Cai Chong placed on the street in ambush were Zhu Meng’s old subordinates. When they suddenly saw him return, as awe-inspiring as ever, they must have been frightened. Even more so after seeing Cai Chong die under Little Gao’s sword.” He reached his conclusion: “All Zhu Meng had to do was appear, and have some spirit, and most of those people wouldn’t dare to make a move.”

Zhuo Donglai maintained his silence.

Sima kept talking. “The people Cai Chong paid such a high price for would be even less willing to make a move.”

“Why?”

“Because they have a price. If Cai Chong could buy them, Zhu Meng could buy them too.” His voice was filled with disdain. “People who come for a price aren’t worth it, not worth even one coin.”

Zhuo Donglai said nothing.

“And so because Cai Chong forgot these two points,” said Sima, “Zhu Meng and Little Gao are still alive.” He let out a short breath, seeming to be very satisfied with his assessment of things.

When Zhuo Donglai had absolutely no reaction at all, Sima couldn’t hold back from asking, “Don’t tell me you have a different opinion?”

Zhuo Donglai shook his head.

Sima Chaoqun frowned. “After Zhu Meng arrived, what happened?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” Sima Chaoqun was almost shouting. “How could you not know?”

After a long moment’s thought, Zhuo Donglai responded coolly, “Because that information didn’t reach me. The information is carried by pigeons. Pigeons don’t talk, they only carry things. And they aren’t eagles. The road from Luoyang to Chang’an is not short; the messages they carry can only be so long.” Zhuo Donglai’s voice carried no emotion whatsoever. “This matter could only be explained fully by a very long message, and so they split the message into four parts, and put each part onto a different pigeon.”

“And how many pigeons did you receive?”

“Two. Two pigeons, two messages.”

“Which two parts?”

“The first part, and the last part.”

“What you just told me was obviously the first part,” said Sima Chaoqun. “What about the last part?”

“The last part is the conclusion, and there are only a few lines. I can read it for you.”

He read the message: “Twenty-three people died in the battle, nineteen were critically injured, eleven received minor injuries. The casualties were brutal, the stench of blood from the battle lingered for a very long time. It was a massacre, with only Zhu Meng and Gao Jianfei getting away unharmed.” (1)

**

Zhuo Donglai finished reading. Time passed, and finally Sima let out a long sigh. “More people died than were critically injured, and more people were critically injured that received minor injuries. One can only imagine how tragic it was.”

“Yes,” said Zhuo Donglai coolly. “And it’s clear that no one was unwilling to make a move.”

“The street was like a bag full of gunpowder. All it would take would be for one person to dare to make a move. That person would be the struck match. Once that person made a move, the whole bag of gunpowder would ignite, and they would all try to tear Zhu Meng and Gao Jianfei to pieces.”

“Yes. It seems that’s exactly what happened.”

“But Zhu Meng and Gao Jianfei still live.”

“Yes. They are very much alive.”

“How could only the two of them stand up to so many?”

“It wasn’t just the two of them. There were three people.”

“Who was the other person?”

“Cleats.”

“Cleats?”

“Not a pair of shoes,” said Zhuo Donglai, “a person.”

“How is his martial arts?”

“Nothing special.”

“But it seems you respect him.”

“Yes,” admitted Zhuo Donglai. “I always have respect for useful people.”

“He’s useful?”

“Very useful. Perhaps more useful than any of Zhu Meng’s other subordinates.”

“Because he was willing to die at any time for Zhu Meng?”

“Dying isn’t horrible, and he wouldn’t die at any time. As long as Zhu Meng lives, he would definitely think of a way to continue living, so that he can take care of him. He views Zhu Meng the way that a faithful dog views its master.” Zhuo Donglai continued coldly: “If he was willing to throw his life away at any time, he wouldn’t be worth paying attention to.”

Sima Chaoqun suddenly laughed. A hearty laugh. “I know what you mean,” he said. “I really do.”

Zhuo Donglai looked at him coldly, his cold eyes shining forth with a look more fearsome and furious than a blade. He suddenly spun around and strode away.

Part 2

Beneath the gloomy sky, the sound of the snowflakes slowly falling drifted in through the window. This sound can only be heard at times when people are extremely lonely.

Sima’s laughter had long since ceased, and no sign of joy could be seen in his eyes. Instead, they shone with unspeakable sadness.

He heard the sound of the falling snowflakes, but he didn’t hear the sound of his wife’s footsteps.

By the time Wu Wan entered, he had already begun drinking.

She walked in very quietly, and sat down by his side.

She never tried to prevent him from drinking, because as an intelligent woman, a kind-hearted and understanding wife, she knew that some things could not be prevented.

But today was different than usual. Today, she too began drinking, and drinking very quickly at that.

It wasn’t until she was preparing to drink her third bowl that Sima turned and looked at her.

“It’s still morning, isn’t it?”

“It seems so.”

“And you’re already drinking.”

“It seems so,” Wu Wan replied lightly.

A gentle wife, extremely gentle, she always did everything for her husband and listened to him in every matter, always speaking softly and gently even when she was upset or angry. She never lost her temper.

But what Sima Chaoqun said was: “You only start drinking this early when you’re upset. Why are you upset today?”

She didn’t respond, didn’t even open her mouth.

She poured more wine, a blank expression on her face, filling both her own bowl and her husband’s.

“I know why you’re upset,” said Sima. “It’s because of Zhuo Donglai. You don’t approve of the way he spoke to me?”

Wu Wan didn’t deny his statement, thus confirming it.

“But you should understand that he normally isn’t like this,” said Sima. “He was angry today, because I kept praising Little Gao.” His eyes shone with a derisive smile. “He never likes it when I praise others for being good friends.”

Wu Wan suddenly spoke: “Don’t tell me he’s jealous?” Her voice was somewhat raised, and filled with a sneer. “I’m not jealous, what right does he have to be jealous?”

Wu Wan was always gentle, very gentle. But as of now she had already drunk five cups of wine.

She drank Sima’s preferred alcohol, which was strong liquor. The strongest of liquors.

When a woman who doesn’t normally drink suddenly downs five cups of strong liquor, anything she says should be forgivable.

In fact, even when a man who doesn’t normally drink suddenly downs five cups of strong liquor, anything he says should also be forgivable.

So Sima laughed.

“You’re jealous. You’ve always been jealous of Zhuo Donglai, as if I would develop romantic feelings toward him.”

“I know you won’t develop romantic feelings toward him, and he hasn’t done so toward you.” She downed another drink. “You view him as a son. Without him, you wouldn’t be where you are today.”

Her voice hoarse, she whispered, “Why can’t you do something for yourself, let him know that you can survive without him? Why can’t you give him some proof?”

Sima didn’t respond, didn’t even open his mouth.

As his wife just had, he quietly poured more alcohol, filling his bowl and hers.

But Wu Wan didn’t drink any more. She fell into his arms weeping, unable to speak.

Sima shed no tears. In fact, his eyes did not contain even a single teardrop.

It seemed as if he had no tears left in him at all.

Part 3

Behind the grand and magnificent house, in a wide and beautiful garden, was a secluded corner. In that corner was a very narrow door, from behind which could occasionally be heard the faint melody of a stringed instrument. No one knew what lay beyond the door, or who played the instrument.

That was because the area beyond the door was a restricted area designed by Zhuo Donglai. If anyone dared set foot inside with their right foot, then their right foot would be cut off. If they stepped in with their left foot, their left foot would be cut off.

It was a very simple rule. Simple and effective.

**

Whether leaving from Sima’s residence or Zhuo Donglai’s, it took a long time to reach this place.

Zhuo Donglai carried an oilskin umbrella, treading carefully across the snow-filled garden. Snow covered the narrow path upon which he walked, and even though he did not use lightness kung fu, he left behind only very faint footprints.

The narrow door in the corner was closed year-round.

Zhuo Donglai knocked softly. First three times, then one time. Then he waited for a long time before the door finally opened a crack.

A beautiful woman opened it. She wore a snow-white, fox-fur cloak, and her face was as white as the cloak.

In a very low, very reverent voice, Zhuo Donglai asked, “Is the old master up?” (2)

“He’s been up for some time,” said the woman, her voice faint. “The old master always gets up early. Perhaps he knows that the days to come are few, so he wishes to treasure each and every day.”

Behind the door was a quiet and secluded little courtyard. The refreshing fragrance of plums filled the cold wind. Underneath an ancient, crooked pine tree was a small six-sided pavilion. An old man sat in the pavilion, watching the snowflakes drift down, seemingly spellbound.

No one knew his age or his name, even he himself had forgotten.

Short and emaciated, from a distance, he appeared to be a child of eight or nine years old. His head looked like a soft nut, dried out by the wind, and the wrinkles on his face seemed to have been carved out by snow and rain, and gave evidence of countless experiences and sufferings.

Even though merciless time had left his body withered and shrunken, his eyes were filled not only with the flickering wisdom of age, but also the mischievousness of a child.

Right now, his eyes looked like the sparkling sea at noon.

Zhuo Donglai stood in the small courtyard reverently, and gave a respectful salute. “The old master’s complexion looks much better than before. He looks at least twenty years younger.”

At first it seemed as if the old man had no intention of looking at him, and would just ignore him. But he suddenly turned his head and winked.

“You really think I look twenty years younger?”

“Of course you do.”

“Then you must be blind. A stupid, foolish blind person.” Even though the old man was cursing him, his tone of voice was cheerful. “Can’t you tell that I actually look forty years younger?”

Zhuo Donglai smiled.

A white-clothed woman stood by his side. The old man grasped her two hands in his.

“It’s all thanks to her service.” The old man’s eyes narrowed as he laughed. “Only a young pretty girl like this can make an old man become young again.”

“It’s also thanks to me,” said Zhuo Donglai. “It’s me that brought her here to you.”

“But I’m not grateful at all to you.” The old man winked again, his eyes flickering with a crafty naughtiness. “I know you’re sucking up to me, that you want to pick more information out of my brain.” When Zhuo Donglai didn’t deny this, the old man said, “What do you want to pick out this time?”

“A person.”

“Who?”

“Xiao Leixue.”

**

The old man’s smile disappeared, and his bright eyes suddenly looked as dead as ash.

“Xiao Leixue, Xiao Leixue.” He repeated the name over and over. “He’s still alive? He’s not dead yet?”

“Not yet.”

The old man sighed. “Now I know what kind of person you are.” He stretched out a withered finger and pointed at Zhuo Donglai. “You’re an incredible bastard. Reckless, foolish and stupid, and so you want to provoke him.”

Zhuo Donglai wasn’t upset.

It seemed that no matter how the old man treated him, he wouldn’t get upset. That was because only this old man could tell him the things he wanted to know, but couldn’t figure out.

“I don’t want to provoke him,” said Zhuo Donglai. “I just want to know two things about him.”

“What two things?”

“His martial arts, and his weapon.”

The old man suddenly seemed to grow very nervous. A man of this age shouldn’t be nervous like this.

“Have you seen his weapon?” he asked.

“I haven’t.”

“Of course you haven’t,” said the old man, seeming to relax. “Only the spirits of the dead in hell have seen it.”

“No one has seen his weapon?”

“Absolutely no one,” said the old man. “Just like no one can ever see Tearstains.”

“Tearstains?” asked Zhuo Donglai. “Whose tearstains?”

“Grandmaster Xiao’s Tearstains.”

“Who is Grandmaster Xiao?”

“Grandmaster Xiao is Xiao Leixue’s father.”

**

Zhuo Donglai always thought of himself as a very intelligent person, but now he was very confused.

He didn’t understand anything the old man was saying. “Why can’t anyone see the tearstains of his father?”

“Because when you see the tearstains, you will die under them.”

Zhuo Donglai was even more confused. “Tearstains can kill people?”

The old man stared off into the distance, his eyes filled with sorrow and fear, as if he had suddenly seen something impossible to understand and impossible to control.

After a long time, he slowly stretched out his gaunt hands and gently picked up a zither which lay next to him.

The strings of the zither made a “zeng” sound.

The old man suddenly said, “Die Wu, please dance for me.”

**

The fox-fur cloak slipped from her shoulders. The white-clothed woman’s skin was just as white as her garments.

A silvery-white top garment, and a long silvery-white skirt. (3)

The long skirt floated like flowing water as she danced. It twisted like flurries of snow, revealing a pair of long, beautiful, flexible legs.

It was impossible to describe her dance, and impossible to describe her legs.

Even the man who comprehended the beauty of women more than anyone in the world, the Marquis Di Qinglin could only say, “I simply can’t believe that anyone could have legs like this.”

**

The rising and falling music of the zither suddenly became both luxuriant and depressing, and the dance of the dancer changed as well. Now it looked like the last leaf of autumn fluttering alone in the autumn wind, beautiful, desolate and heartbreaking.

The old man’s eyes glistened with tears.

There was a “zheng” sound as one of the strings broke, and the zither music stopped. The dancer’s skirt drifted about like clouds.

She curled up on the ground, looking like a dying swan slowly drifting down from the blue sky toward the emerald green sea.

And finally there was serene and harmonious silence. Silent and beautiful.

A teardrop rolled down the old man’s old, withered face, leaving behind a tearstain.

One drop, two drops…

“Tearstains look like this,” said the old man quietly. “Tearstains look like this!”

“Like what?”

“Unparallelled, flawless. There is no more powerful sword in the world of mortals!”

“Sword? Tearstains is a sword?”

“A sword,” said the old man. “A perfect sword, as perfect as Die Wu’s dance.”

“Why is the sword called Tearstains?”

“Because you can see tearstains on it. When it came out of the forge, tears fell onto the blade, leaving behind indelible tearstains.”

“Whose tearstains?”

“Grandmaster Xiao’s. The unparalleled Grandmaster Xiao.”

“When a treasured sword appears, both gods and ghosts will tremble in fear. This I understand,” said Zhuo Donglai. “What I don’t understand is why Grandmaster Xiao would shed tears for it.”

“Because in addition to being a master sword forger, he was also an unequalled sword diviner.” Sorrow filled the old man’s voice. “When the sword came out of the forge, he could see that an indispellable evil had touched it.”

“What evil?”

“The old man sighed. “As you just said, when a treasured sword appears, both gods and ghosts tremble in fear. When this sword came out of the forge, it carried with it the curses of gods and ghosts, all the viciousness in the world. When the sword is unsheathed, it must taste blood. Not only this, it required Grandmaster Xiao to make a sacrifice of his closest relative.”

“And Grandmaster Xiao’s closest relative is Xiao Leixue?”

“Correct,” said the old man sadly. “When the sword came out of the forge, Grandmaster Xiao could see that his only son would die beneath it.”

“Why didn’t he destroy the sword?”

“He couldn’t bear to, and didn’t dare to.”

“The sword was the product of his own painstaking effort, of course he couldn’t bear to destroy it.” This point, Zhuo Donglai could understand. “But I still don’t get why he wouldn’t dare to destroy it.”

“The will of heaven is fickle, the power of heaven hard to imagine. The underworld has many arrangements that people are powerless to resist.” The old man’s eyes filled with indescribable dread. “If Grandmaster Xiao destroyed it, it’s possible an even greater calamity would befall his only son.”

Zhuo Donglai’s eyes flickered. “So how did Grandmaster Xiao end up disposing of the sword?”

“Grandmaster Xiao had three disciples. His greatest disciple inherited his sword divining skills. He traveled to the remotest corners of the earth, practicing his art on the most powerful weapons.”

“I’ve heard of this person. In Jianghu, there is an old man, a blade-sharpener, who can determine whether a weapon is auspicious or inauspicious. His ability is god-like. He must be Grandmaster Xiao’s greatest disciple.”

The old man nodded. “Grandmaster Xiao’s second disciple Shao Kongzi inherited his sword making skill, and became a great swordsmith.”

“Shao Kongzi?” Zhuo Donglai was visibly moved. “He’s the Master Shao who forged the ‘Farewell Hook?’”

“Yes, that’s him,” said the old man. “These two were otherworldly geniuses. And yet Grandmaster Xiao passed down his greatest skill to his third disciple. He also gave him Tearstains.”

“Why did he give it to him?”

“Because he was not only benevolent and merciful of heart, he also innately lacked the desire for wealth and fame. He had no such ambitions, and would not take the lives of others.”

“He inherited Grandmaster Xiao’s sword skill, of course no one would be able to take Tearstains away from him,” said Zhuo Donglai. “And a benevolent elder such as him would surely not hurt his master’s only son.”

“Furthermore, at the age of thirty, he went into seclusion in the remote mountains. He swore an oath to never again step foot in the world of mortals, and to bury Tearstains with him when he died.”

“Which mountain was it?”

“I don’t know,” said the old man. “No one knows.”

Zhuo Donglai sighed. “And so because of this, Jianghu has one less great swordsman, one less weapon master. Is this Jianghu’s good fortune, or it’s misfortune?”

“Xiao Leixue is still alive.”

“Yes,” said Zhuo Donglai slowly. “In any case, he hasn’t died under Tearstains. At the least, he’s still alive.”

Though his voice seemed filled with sadness, his eyes shone with excitement, like a lecher who catches sight of a naked woman standing at the foot of his bed.

When he raised his head and looked at the old man sitting in the pavilion, it looked as if he had already fallen asleep.

**

The snow fell, thin but heavy. The little door was half opened. Zhuo Donglai had already stepped out, and Die Wu was preparing to shut the door.

One its shut, it was as if this place was completely cut off from the outside world.

She only wished that no one would ever come knock on the door ever again, that she and the old man could live out their life here. The outside world contained no hope for her, nothing to recall fondly.

Her heart was already dead; the only things that remained behind were a numb body and a pair of legs.

Her legs were like the tusks of an elephant, the fragrance of a musk deer, the horns of an antelope; they were the most precious part of her, and also the source of all her misfortune.

—If she didn’t have these legs, what kind of person would she be? Would her life be just a little more happy?

**

Die Wu lowered her head and stood by the door, wishing Zhuo Donglai would leave.

Zhuo Donglai turned and looked at her with a very strange expression in his eyes. He stared at her for a long time.

“Has your life been well these days?”

“Very well.”

Her voice was devoid of emotion, perhaps even more desolate than Zhuo Donglai’s.

“You can stay here for as long as you wish. I can guarantee that no one will disturb you.”

“Thank you.”

“But, I can also have you sent somewhere else, too,” he said coldly. “As long as I’m willing, I can send you anywhere. I know some people who wish very much for me to do that.”

Die Wu suddenly took a step back, looking like a frightened antelope. She cowered in the corner behind the door.

Zhuo Donglai laughed.

“Of course I wouldn’t do that.” Ruthlessness filled his laughter. “I just want you to realize that you should treat me a little bit better, because of what you owe me.”

Die Wu looked up and stared at him.

“How do you want me to treat you?” she asked. “You want me to sleep with you?” Her bearing suddenly became as elegant as a noble lady, although her words were those of a prostitute. “You must have heard that my skill is unmatched. If a man sleeps with me even one time, he’ll never be able to forget me for the rest of his life. You can’t imagine what it’s like once my legs are in motion. I’m afraid even in your dreams you couldn’t imagine it.” She was beginning to laugh crazily. “But I know you won’t take me, because the person you love isn’t me. You only love one person, and you live your entire life for him…”

She didn’t finish her sentence.

Zhuo Donglai suddenly grasped her wrist and struck her face with the back of his hand.

Five blood-red finger-marks appeared on her pale, beautiful face. But the fear in her eyes was gone, replaced by scorn and derision.

Zhuo Donglai twisted her wrist, twisted it until it was behind her back, until tears of pain seeped from her eyes. Then he slowly said, “You’re mistaken.” His eyes seemed to be filled with excitement at the sight of her pain. “I want you to understand that you are horribly mistaken.”

**

Deep night.

There was no lamp in the room, only the flickering fire in the oven. Die Wu lay twisted on the sable-fur-covered couch, completely naked. In the dancing firelight, her legs were beautiful, so beautiful that they would make people willing to travel to hell for her. Her tears had already stopped flowing.

Compared to the humiliation and pain she had just endured, the suffering she had experienced in her past was like a child’s game.

She simply could never have imagined that humanity contained this kind of perverted wild beast.

The door to the outer chamber was unlocked, and Zhuo Donglai had walked out. Die Wu could hear the voice of a young man from outside.

His voice was low, but Die Wu heard him tell Zhuo Donglai that Sima Chaoqun had suddenly taken ill. The illness was serious, and already several doctors had been called in to check on him. They said he was overworked, and must rest for a period of time to recover. Therefore he was not accepting visitors.

Zhuo Donglai was thought quietly for a long time before asking the young man, “He won’t see visitors? Or he won’t see anyone?”

“It seems he won’t see anyone.”

“Not even me?”

“It seems that way.”

“So his wife specifically asked you to come tell me not to disturb him?”

“She only said, tell Mr. Zhuo to put everything on hold for a while and wait for the chief to recover.”

“Did you see which doctors she called?”

“I saw three of them.” The young man told him their names. They were all famous doctors from Chang’an.

“What did they say?” Zhuo Donglai asked. “That the chief’s illness is serious? That if it continues on it could be extremely dangerous?” He thought for a long time and then sighed. “Now is not the time for him to fall ill. It’s really unfortunate.”

“Why?”

This young man was clearly one of Zhuo Donglai’s most trusted aides, for him to dare ask such a question.

In the inner room, the muscles in Die Wu’s body suddenly grew tense. Because she once again heard Zhuo Donglai’s cruel voice. Very slowly, he said, “Because in the next day or two, Zhu Meng will be returning.

**

(1) The expression for massacre literally means that the streets were bathed with blood.
(2) Literally he uses the word “sir” or “mister” to refer to the man. But since English doesn’t usually use these as respectful ways to address people, especially when combined with “old,” I’m going to use the word “master” instead.
(3) These are obviously traditional style garments. I believe this is the type of outfit she is wearing: http://goo.gl/rgjGmT


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