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Friday, April 19, 2013

Joy of Life: Volume 1 Chapter 6

Volume One: The City by the Sea
-- written by Maoni

Chapter 6: The Man was a Guest

With an unconscious assassin lying on his bedroom floor, Fan Xian didn’t have any time for questions, so he said in a straight forward manner.
“Someone came to kill me. I knocked him unconscious, and he is still lying on the floor.”
The blind youngster turned his head slightly sideway. Although his heart skipped a beat, he didn’t show any expression on his face. He lowered his head in a salute.
“What is Young Master Fan joking about?”
“There’s no time for playing serenity right now. You have to take care of me.”
With a broad grin, Fan Xian grabbed hold of the blind youngster’s hand and started pulling him toward the Count’s Manor, thinking to himself, “Still pretending that you don’t know me? Whatever! Not right now. Let’s go!”
“The Young Master is still talking nonsense.”
The blind youngster knitted his brow slightly as though he was baffled by how the little kid could have known his relationship to the kid – at the time when he had delivered Fan Xian to Port Danzhou in a swaddle, Fan Xian had only been a few months old, and shouldn’t have remembered anything about it – Could the Old Madame at the Count’s Manor have told Fan Xian about him?
It was very late. The night was silent with only a few occasional shrill dog barks toward people getting into the wrong house after late bathroom runs.
The blind youngster Five-Bamboo finally moved. With the still blank and apathetic face, he shut the door of the grocery store and began walking toward the Count’s Manor. Fan Xian let out a big sigh of relief and then quickly followed behind in small steps.
When the two arrived at the Count’s Manor, they went inside through the dog hole. Once they were inside Fan Xian’s bedroom, the blind youngster “looked” at the still unconscious assassin on the floor.
Fan Xian stared at the man on the floor nervously, not knowing whether the man was dead or alive. So he turned around and asked.
“Uncle Five-Bamboo, why didn’t you come to see me in the last several years and always kept yourself inside the grocery store?”
The blind youngster named Five-Bamboo turned his head slightly sideways once again and only spoke after a long pause.
“My Young Lord, you really surprise me.”
He was indeed caught by surprise. Although he had expected the kid to be naturally out of the ordinary since he carried the bloodline of Her Ladyship, but Five-Bamboo had never imagined a four-year-old to behave with such maturity and was even capable of…successfully plotting against Mr. Fei from the Capital City.
“Let’s deal with this guy first,” Fan Xian suggested. With quite some effort he managed to flip the assassin on the floor over and removed his cloth mask, revealing the true identity of the assassin.
The assassin had a very thin face and appeared to be quite old. The beard under his chin looked like it was already turning gray, but for some unknown reason, the grayish color was mixed with some spooky green, which made the beard look somewhat disgusting.
Fan Xian was startled. He quickly hid behind Uncle Five-Bamboo and grabbed his sleeve.
“Uncle, this assassin is ugly!” he mumbled with a bitter face.
“This is Mr. Fei, the Assistant Director of the Empire Bureau of Investigation Third Division.” Five-Bamboo squatted down slowly and reached for the assassin’s lower jaw. “He was considered to be one of the top three poison masters in the entire world. He is skilled in deploying, distinguishing, and detoxifying various poisons. A formidable one he is indeed, yet you took care of him with a mere porcelain pillow. I wonder whether you were really lucky or he was really unlucky.”
“He was really unlucky,” Fan Xian thought to himself.
Although he was quite surprised by the fame and high status of the man on the floor, he had to admit that the man was truly unlucky to have met him, a monster with lives from two worlds in the disguise of a young kid.
“Don’t touch him with your hands. What if there’s poison on his body?” Fan Xian reminded the blind youngster Five-Bamboo.
Five-Bamboo did not stop his action, neither did he explain. Fan Xian somehow got the feeling that this was his way of making a statement: There is nothing in this world poisonous enough to kill him.
“Uncle, what do we do with him?” Fan Xian asked with a bitter face, knitting his brow intensely.
He was not the natural socializer type. However, in this world, the blind youngster was the first person he had ever known and the only person he could trust wholeheartedly. Besides, he knew how capable the youngster was in his Kung Fu skills, so he deliberately acted even more lovable and respectful, never sparing any opportunity to address him as uncle.
He glanced all over and finally fixed his stare on the dagger. He ground his teeth hard and the idea of stabbing this Mr. Fei to death soon occupied his entire mind.
Noticing Fan Xian’s intention, Five-Bamboo stood up and shook his head.
“Your temperament is so different from Her Ladyship. How can you be so cruel at such a young age? Who taught you?”
“I taught myself,” answered Fan Xian respectfully, having no guts to offend the Kung Fu master, the only one he could lay his trust in. “I know uncle has been staying in the grocery store all these years so he can protect me. I also know that uncle only stayed away from the Count’s Manor because he is afraid that my mother’s enemies might find me here through him. That’s why I had to learn to be cruel myself.”
Five-Bamboo shook his head again and didn’t speak.
Fan Xian could tell that his mother’s servant plus Kung Fu master had grown suspicious of him, so he asked with a cackle, “Uncle, what should we do now?”
His intention was obvious: maybe Uncle Five-Bamboo should take care of the serious business such as killing. But Five-Bamboo’s reply caught him by surprise.
“Young Master, you made a mistake. You hit the wrong man.”
“What? Wrong man?”
Fan Xian froze in great shock. He slowly turned toward the assassin lying on the floor and gazed at his blood-stained face in disbelief.
“What’s done is done. No need to worry,” Five-Bamboo declared calmly. “Mr. Fei is the Assistant Director of the Third Division in the Empire Bureau of Investigation. But he also has a secret identity… Actually he works for someone who works for your father. Therefore he didn’t come to Port Danzhou to kill you. If he had really come to kill you, I believe you would have died many times already, regardless of how skillful you are.”
Now Fan Xian remembered. The assassin lying on the floor seemed to have mentioned before that he was sent by Fan Xian’s father, but….
“Damn, he looked totally like T-Bag[1]. Who’s gonna believe a dirty old man like him?”

For the past many years, Mr. Fei Jie[2] had always stayed in the research institute of the Empire Bureau of Investigation at the Capital City. Although with fine titles such as Master of Poison and such, at the age over fifty, he was already kind of semi-retired. If it had not been because of the request from an influential person asking him to come to Port Danzhou to teach, and of course it was a request he did not have the courage to reject, he would never have left the Capital City and made the journey.
He had never expected to be greeted with two heavy strikes on his head, which drew half a bowl of blood and almost ended his old life, when he met his student for the first time.
He stared at the young boy in front of him only to discover that the boy’s face had innocence and loveliness written all over it. The two big eyes blinked again and again as if they carried a sense of fear and shame. Such a lovable small face, together with the young boy’s important status, successfully prevented him from blowing off his stomach full of anger onto the little kid.
When he turned his head and spotted a servant-like man, he finally found a vent for his anger.
“Hey! You! Untie me quickly! I am Mister Fei, a private tutor the Count invited himself,” he yelled.
However, the servant seemed to be even more arrogant than him. Paying no attention to his demand, the man said coldly, “I don’t recall the agreement I had with your superior included the part where you play the role of a teacher.”
“Mr. Five?” Fei Jie opened his gloomy and queer eyes wide and took a good glimpse of the servant-like man. Then he was shocked. “Mr. Five, it’s you!”
Hearing the assassin calling himself Fei Jie[3] after he regained his consciousness, Fan Xian found the entire matter truly obscure.

[1] Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell, a fictional character from the American television series Prison Break.
[2] The name Fei Jie sounds like another Chinese word that means obscure or unintelligible. Picking this name shows the author’s humor.
[3] “Fei Jie” means obscure and difficult to understand in Chinese.

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