(3) Travel together
Before going to the ancient city of Nanyang, it is necessary to go through Dengzhou. Dengzhou seems to be more prosperous than Fangjia Village. There are many shops on both sides of the street. The hustle of the market is as much as that of the sun. Qianqian and Teng Kuanrou came to a tea break. A cup of fragrant tea, a few buns, they ate with relish. The tea drinkers in the tea shack are mostly marketers. They are either porters or butchers. They carry bamboo sticks, squat on the stools, drink tea, eat buns, play with dices, shout loud, as there is no one else. Qianqian of a young girl mixed among these stinky rude men. She dropped her head and talked quietly.
Suddenly she heard a person slammed the table and said: “You yelled at me? Have I lost that much money?” The whole tea shack has a glanced at that man. The man’s shoulder as wide as a tiger, waist as thick as a bear. The man is about twenty-seven years old, dressed as a coolie. The banker who is holding the dices in his hand, squatting on the wooden bench, said: “How can it not? You can’t count it! Including those the old man you borrowed a few days ago. And what about interest? Who you think you are? Don’t you pay interest for borrowing money?” As he stood up, he slapped the table then the cups jumped high and shattered.
The man looked at the old man who cringed at the corner, patted his chest and said : “My promise is like gold, as heavy as my head. I do what I said. I said I will pay you back in 30 days, that will not be one day earlier.”
The banker stepped one foot on the stool, said with contempt: “Your promise is like gold, as heavy as your head? ha ha! So let see how much gold your head is carrying!” After saying that, several big guys grabbed his shoulders. One grabbed the leg. One hugged the waist, but was all waved by his arms. The man was alone, but bold. He took out a little bag from his collar, held it high, said, “The money is here, but the money is left for treating the disease of my mother, I can’t pay you back now. I Wangji have said that 30 days, I will pay back, I will surely do, not one day earlier one day late, my words is gold, as heavy as my head. You want gold or head, you choose now!”
These words are so powerful. Qianqian and Teng Kuanrou looked at each other. Both are thinking: “There is such a heroic figure in the market.”
The banker spit on the ground, waved his arm, said. “Go to hell, I want to have gold and head as well!”
After all, more than a dozen big guys rushed to surround the man, kicked and pouched, and grabbed. Although this Wangji is strong, but the so-called double fist is difficult to against four hands. He just hold the bag of gold with all his strength, but l et people beating him up. Qianqian couldn’t watch anymore. She was about to save him. All of a sudden, everyone stopped moving. Everyone’s nostrils and ears were inserted a chopstick. Everyone was astonished. They looked around and saw Teng Kuanrou, who is the only one still sitting. Qianqian was also taken aback, standing stunned, said: “When did you do that? It is fast and accurate.”
Teng Kuanrou was drinking tea silently without lifting his eyelids. The guys snarled: “Dam it! What a busy body!” Then all of them swarmed to Teng and Qianqian. The two saw this situation, immediately jumped above the table, crossed over these men. Landed in front of that Wangji, hold his arms side by side and lifted him to the roof, broke a few pieces of tiles, then disappeared. Everyone chased outside of the tea shack, saw Wangji was dropped into the carriage, the two whipped the horse and drove away the carriage in a second. These furious men have just yelled for nothing.
Wangji was dropped on the carriage. He was at a loss. He saw these two persons laughing while driving. It has been already for the while, they didn’t looked at him. Finally the carriage slowly stopped by a creek. But they were still talking and laughing. The girl said cheerfully “It was so fun. When I saw those chopsticks, I knew that must be you …”
Wangji stepped out of the carriage, and the two looked back to see him at last. Wangji knew that although they dressed like peasants, but the girl is too neat and the man is too noble. As well they were able to do such a marvelous martial arts. They are not just normal people. He bowed his head deeply, said: “Thank you for helping me, heroes. Can I asked the honorable names of the two.”
Qianqian were about to say, but Teng Kuanrou interrupted. Qianqian instantly gave him a glare, but he did not seem to see it. He smiled and said: “You are welcome, my name is cowhead, and this is my sister, cowtail.”
Wangji knew that they did not want to tell their true names. He does not dare to be forceful, said: “I am Wangji, from Zhangzhou, who has always been keeping promise. Once I promised, I never regret. Today I have to be saved by two heroes. In the days of future, if the two had something to use Wangji, just tell me, and I must do it.
After saying that, patted his chest and laughed. Qianqian think that this Wangji is very strange, always hang on his lips of the sentence of keeping promise. Teng Kuanrou knows that he is very bold, smiled and said: “We are the brothers in the four seas, should have help each other, there is nothing to be thank.
Wangji said that he could not stay in Nanyang anymore. After that, he just ran into the bushes and disappeared.
Qianqian turned to Teng, asked: “This Wangji is a kind of heroes. It isn’t so bad to make friend of him. Why didn’t you just tell him your real name?”
Teng Kuanrou didn’t want to be serious with her, just said: “You like to tell your great name to people, but this is not my style.” Qianqian was provoked, glaring at him without saying a word. Teng Kuanrou finally exhaled a big sigh, and tell the truth, “I am not the same kind of people as Wangji. He is a vagrant, at any time, he will become bandit, and I am… a bureaucratic family after all…”
Listening to his excuse, Qianqian seemed to understand, said: “You have looked him down.”
The reason why Teng was not willing to say is because he knows she would think like that. She is a bird in the sky. Even though she is not necessarily happy, she is free. Teng Kuanrou gave her a vulnerable look, but did not explain. The two got on the carriage, continued on the road, but the Nanyang ancient city, they did not go.
Two days later, They arrived Xianzhou. In front of Xianzhou City was the Hanjiang River. The river was under a stormy sky. Teng Kuanruo stopped the carriage, went up to the pier, stood by the shore. The fishing fire of fishermen boats flashing in the drizzle. Teng Kuanrou turned back, talked to Qianqian: “Let’s change the boat here! down the river and we will be Baling tomorrow morning.” Teng Kuanrou feels a little excited. In the past few years he has been drifting. Although he went home several times, but he was never so excited as now. Qianqian was facing the river without saying anything. Teng moved to her side, looked at her, speaking softly: “Sister, don’t you like it?” in the twilight, his eyes looked so sincere. Although Qianqian have been born in a family of martial arts, she oftenly feel that she is an orphan. Is the family of his will be related to her? The two gazed at each other in the whisky wind. Qianqian slowly released a smile, as if she answered the question! Abruptly, a whistle sounded from the river, a fishing boat was driving into the pier.
Teng Kuanrou immediately waved to the fishermam and cried, “Hey! I want to go to Baling with my sister. Is it convenient for you?”
The fisherman boat had just parked on the shore. There was an old man at the stern, taking the rudder, but he did not seem to see Teng Kuanrou, did not look back nor answer.
Teng Kuanrou was thinking this old man maybe deaf, the other person plunged his head out of the cabin. He said loudly: “ I am convenient for you, are you convenient for me?” Although this person is dressed as a fisherman, wearing a bamboo pole, but the voice is clearly a young girl. Teng Kuanrou of course understood the meaning of her words. He went down to the pier with Qianqian, smiled and said: “Yes, is it convenient for everyone?” He took out a silver ingot from his sleeve and handed it over to the girl. The girl bite the silver ingot, tilted her mouth, raised the eyebrows, looked at Teng Kuanrou from top to bottom, then said: “only that much?”
Qianqian looked at her insatiable look and hated it. “This silver ingot is almost of twenty, enough for you to get a dowry!” The girl immediately turned over her face and yelled: “You are a bitch. You must be very itchy…” Teng Kuanrou quickly slipped between them and apologized: “We came from the capital of long distance travel. Our money is used up. Please my girl yield a convenience!”
“What kind of dog raised bitch you are?” The girl fiercely glared at Qianqian, then said to Teng: “Got on board!”
Teng Kuanrou happily boarded the boat, but Qianqian kicked him from behind and rushed to his front.
The two were taken to the cabin and the cabin was dark. Except a short table, nothing else was there. Teng Kuanrou sat on the floor. The floor is icy cold. Qianqian was squatting and grumbling while the old man walked in with lampstand and quilt, said politely, “Sorry, there is nothing on the boat. The two guest will have to tolerate!” On a few mintues, the quilt was laid, cleaned and warmed. The two guests were asked to sit, and then he went out.
Teng Kuanrou looked at Qianqian, proudly said: “Not bad! You can sleep well now.”
Qianqian are not satisfied still, said: “I have to eat a full meal before I have a full sleep!” The words were just finished, a zestful relish of meat passing in, and the old man turned back with dishes of steaming fish and rice, said, “Although there is no silver fish like Dongting Lake, please try our Hanjiang fish! Please enjoy it slowly!” After that, he shut the door and went out.
Teng Kuanrou saw that there was even a bottle of wine accompanying with these dilecicas in front of him. He picked up the chopstick started eating without thinking. But Qianqian did not move a finger, said coldly: “Be careful it is poisonous!” Teng Kuanrou knew that she was angry at the vicious girl, otherwise she wouldn’t be so careful, said while eating: “Poison is usually wrapped in sugar. You see that vicious girl is already so vicious. Is there still necessary to have poisoning inside?” Qianqian listened to his twisted logic, she laughed and no longer angry. They gulped and ate, just ate, after a while, they felt dazzling, fluttering, then fell down asleep.
Teng Kuanrou should be cautious normally. However, this time, he didn’t. When the door was opened, the vicious girl said: “See they sleep like a dead pig just with a little drug.” Then she started to search their bags and said: Hey, look at them, they are smooth and sleek, white and clean. There is no farmer could be like that. I think this man must be rich, and this girl is so savage, definitely a lady of officier.” But after searching their bags, It has nothing worthy. There are only a few dirty clothes, that’s all. Then the old man came in and said, “It is all right, even if no more valuables, we have already taken his silver ingot.” But the vicious girl was not satisfied, she saw something leaning on the wall. It is a long thing, wrapped tightly with a piece of satin. While guessing what kind of the treasure it is, she torn off the satin immediately, bang! Something fell to the ground. It was a three-footed sword.
The vicious girl was stunned. The old man took the sword and looked at it. He couldn’t help but fearfully uttered : “It is the Qingyang sword of the Qingcheng school!”
The vicious girl asked: “Hey! What is that demon sword, are these two Taoist priests?”
The old man put down the sword but did not answer. He only said: “People in the rivers and lakes, troublesome! we don’t want to provoke it. You just put things back.” The old man thought for a moment then said again, “If they woke up, find out that we put drug in their meal, isn’t it bad?” The vicious girl grinned and said: “Hey, no need to worry, they sleep like dead pigs. They won’t wake up so fast. Tomorrow morning, when the boat is parked, we move them on the shore. When they wake up, they have hands and feet, are you afraid that they will not go home?”
The old man nodded and said helplessly: “Seems like this is the only way to do so.”
The boat was flowing along the current. It is not dawn yet when it arrived at Baling. The father and the daughter quickly moved the two guests on land not far from the shore. The sky was not yet bright, and the girl quickly moved all their belongings with them, including the sword.
After doing this, the old man felt relief, said: “All right now! Let’s leave this place quickly before any trouble comes up.” The daughter was unhappy, kicked Qianqian with her foot, said: “what a fucking bitch, you are lucky!” then went back to the boat with the old man.
Teng Kuanrou actually woke up. This little drug didn’t really work for him. But he pretended to sleep in order to listen to their conversation. He was a little surprised that the old man recognized the Qingyang sword at a glance. This old man shouldn’t be just a fisherman. But It is strange that he is so timid and afraid of the people in rivers and lakes. He is waiting for them to go far, then wake up. Unexpectedly, the morning light has revealed a several black shadows coming close to him. Teng Kuanrou was slightly shocked, said: “Well, after all, these black clothes gangs caught us up.”
They have about five or six people, two of them have come to the front, looked at Teng Kuanrou and Qianqian, said, “Yes, it is them.” It is a female voice. Right after her words, the two men showed their weapons. The two short swords shone brightly in the morning beam. The old man happened to see these sword beam from the boat. He saw some people by the shore showed their weapons to Teng, and he could not help but shouted : “Is there a robber?” after that, he flew from the boat back to the shore. Surprisingly his light power was so good. In a second, confronted those men, said: “Robbers, stop!”
These men dashed ahead their swords to attack him. The old man received with palms and feet only, but good martial arts surely. Teng Kuanrou was feeling so absurd, think: He himself is also a robber. Why does he called robbers stop? After a while, he saw that these men obviously couldn’t defeat him. But he just retreated and try to leave, those men of course do not let him go easily. If they keep fighting this way, they have to take some time. Just let them robber fight robber! We better hurry to leave this place. Teng then pushed Qianqian, called softly: “Sister, Qianqian, wake up!” Qianqian was still sleeping, no response. Teng Kuanrou put Qianqian on his shoulder without hesitation, He picked up the sword then sneaked into the woods.
Just passing through a forest, he saw someone stand by a tree. Teng Kuanrou stopped and watched. A man called out, “It’s me.” Teng Kuanrou was relieved to see this person, walked ahead and smiled. “Uncle Liu, How come you appear here?”
Liu Yicun said: “Walk while I am saying.” Then pull Teng onto the road. said: “I know that you will come to Baling. You must go south along the river. So these days, I am here waiting for you to appear.” Then they came to a path. There was something covered with hay. Liuyicun pushed the hay away, revealing a donkey carriage. Teng Kuanrou put Qianqian on it. Looked at her, was still sleeping unconsciously. Teng and Liu smiled at each other helplessly.
When the vicious girl saw Teng Kuanrou sneaking away, she shouted from the boat: “Oooh! Don’t fight anymore, the two of them have slipped away already” The old man heard his daughter called, immediately stopped fighting, bowed and said : “I have just offended. I am deeply apologized.” Then he turned around, about to leave. One person shouted from behind, and her voice was crispy. It sound like Qiman: “This martial artist is extraordinary. Why not leave a name?”
The old man sneered, didn’t turned back, said: “I am just an old man in the Han River. There is no name and no surname.” At this time, the vicious girl also came over and said, “Dad! forget it, you often hold on to these kind of fight, what good is it for yourself? Let go back to the boat!” The two are about to leave. RuoXian said rapidly: “This little girl is right. You have helped these two people with no benefit.”
The old man turned back and asked, “Why did you say that?”
Qiman said: “The two men stole a very precious thing from our master. We just want to get it back.”
The vicious girl immediately shouted: “Oh! They are actually thieves.”
“Ah Wu, don’t talk nonsense!” The old man scolded and waved his hand to her. Then turned to those people, said gravely: “The mistake is already made. Please excuse me of this foolish old man!” After the words, took Ah Wu returned to their boat. He rowed the boat away from shore ten feet, then heard those people on shore started reading some scriptures together. The old man didn’t want to pay attention to it, just hurriedly get into the cabin and closed the door. AhWu has never seen the old man like that, she dare not to bother him. At that time, the pier was in a misty fog. There was no other sound at all, except the sorrowful chanting on the shore was left.