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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Heroes: Chapter 1 (2)

Mowed my lawn today which took me 3 hours! Phew! Anyway, enjoy today's chunk of translation:

It was spring at that time. As the old sayings say, “The whole year’s work depends on a good start in spring.” Spring is a season good for many things and is also the best season for the escorting business.

The best season for the escorting business is also the best season for robbers and bandits.

Luo Zhenyi, the Chief Escort of the “Central Region Escort House”, an experienced escort despite his young age, naturally understood this very well. Therefore, he was extra careful on his escort trip. Besides, it was in the spring season and the goods he was escorting were especially valuable.

Yet, being careful alone is not enough to guarantee a successful escort trip. Also needed are fine Kung Fu skills and good luck.

Luo Zhenyi’s Kung Fu skills were not bad; nevertheless, his luck this time was no good. Of all the bandits he could have run into, he had to run into the most notorious and vicious gangster of the entire region, Brotherhood of Ouyang.

Brotherhood of Ouyang was not a gang with two, three, or more members. Brotherhood of Ouyang is the name of a single person.

Although he was only a single person, he was more difficult to fend off than a gang of forty. Wielding a short dagger in his left hand, a long knife in his right, he could still launch seven or eight types of projectiles at the same time. No one could tell where those missiles and darts were launched from.

Luo Zhenyi couldn’t, either. He had barely dodged away from three “Brocade-Back Crossbow Arrows” and a batch of “Shooting-Star Throwing Arrows”, when Brotherhood of Ouyang turned the back of his knife and shot out a pair of “Icy needles.”

These deadly needles came out from places where no one could have guessed and landed on Luo Zhenyi’s right shoulder squarely. Although these needles didn’t kill him right away, all he could do was to wait for Brotherhood of Ouyang to finish him off.

Even if Brotherhood of Ouyang didn’t kill him, once he lost the escorted goods, he would have no choice but to finish himself off, whether to hang himself or drown in the river or slit his own throat.

Right at that moment, all of a sudden, there came a galloping horse from afar. The horse was a fast horse, but the rider was even faster. Before the horse had approached, the rider had already arrived. Brotherhood of Ouyang only saw a figure falling out of the sky. He didn’t even have a chance to shoot out any one of his eight kinds of projectiles, when both of his wrists had been slashed by a sword.

The savior falling out of the sky was, of course, none other than Guo Dalu.

Luo Zhenyi not only was grateful to this savior, but also felt great admiration for him, so much that he almost groveled before him. After escorting the goods to the final destination, he firmly insisted on inviting the savior to visit the Escort House.

Naturally, Guo Dalu went. He didn’t have anything else to do anyway.

Even if he had other things, he would have gone anyway.

This was the first time he ever fought someone for real. He suddenly realized that he had not only fine Kung Fu skills, but also fine personalities.

That made Luo Zhenyi wonder, so he asked, “Brother Guo has such excellent Kung Fu skills! Why aren’t you an escort?”

Guo Dalu didn’t even ask, “Why people with good Kung Fu skills must become escorts?” He simply thought that being an escort would make him look quite awe-inspiring and sounded like a fun idea.

For a man who just barely left home to become the Deputy Chief Escort, it was awe-inspiring and impressive, indeed!

Guo Dalu had only one regret: The ‘Central Region Escort House’ was not the largest escort house in the Central Region. It couldn’t even be considered a first-class escort house.

The first business only came after he had waited for several days, and it wasn’t even a significant one. All they were asked to do was to escort a few thousand taels from Kaifeng to Luoyang[1].

The trip is short and the goods are unimportant. Besides, the Deputy Chief Escort would be going. Naturally, the Chief Escort had no worries, and felt very comfortable to stay at his comfortable home for a recovery.

It was still in the season of spring. In the morning, the escort wagons left right on time.

[1] Both Kaifeng and Luoyang are cities in the Henan Province in China.

One cannot reason with a pregnant woman!