The White Jade Tiger

aka: Bai Yu Lao Hu [白玉老虎], Baak Yuk Lou Fu [白玉老虎], Bạch Ngọc Lão Hổ, Bach Ngoc Lao Ho, Harimau Kemala Putih.

This novel was written in 1976.

book baiyulaohu

The twenty-seventh day of the third month -- an auspicious day for taking lives.

Everything would go well.

Zhao Wuji tumbled into bed.

Having ridden lightly in a swift horse for three hundred li, he had rushed indoors as soon as he dismounted and had tumbled into the bed.

A fragrant and soft bed.

It was Xiang Xiang's bed. Xiang Xiang was a woman -- a fragrant and tender woman whose smile was as sweet as sugar whenever she saw Zhao Wuji.

The sun shone brightly outside the window. The weather was pleasant, with the fragrance of flowers in the breeze.

Looking at the piece of blue sky in the window, Zhao Wuji eventually heaved a gentle sigh. He muttered: "It is a very good day today."

But Xiang Xiang did not smile that day. "The day is good indeed," she said blandly. "Good for killing people."

Zhao Wuji propped his head up with a hand, looked at the woman and asked: "Are you thinking of killing people?"

"Only one," answered Xiang Xiang.

"Who?" asked Zhao Wuji.

"You!" said Xiang Xiang.

The statement did not cause Zhao Wuji to jump in shock. Instead, he laughed ... he laughed as if he was still very happy.

Xiang Xiang bit her lips and said, "I really wanted to kill you, but I gave it another thought because it even crossed your mind to come and see me today, something that I would consider as not undemanding on your part."

"You know about it?" asked Zhao Wuji.

"Of course, I do," answered Xiang Xiang. "Today is the wedding day of Gentleman Zhao."

Suddenly, her beautiful eyes glazed over with tears: "I also know that Gentleman Zhao has come here today to do nothing more than tell me that henceforth, the relationship between him and me would be severed with a single stroke. Even if I were to see him again in the future, I should treat him as a stranger on the road."

Zhao Wuji could not deny her words; neither could he stop himself from feeling a little upset. "I brought something for you," he said. Taking out a string of pearls, he added, "This is what I promised you. I have not forgotten about it."

The pearls sparkled with a mellow crystal-clear glow, just like the pure and untainted tear-drops of a young maiden.

Xiang Xiang took the pearls and carressed them gently. "I know that you would certainly bring me these," she muttered. "You have always been a trustworthy man."

It was quite a surprise that she did not cry.

But her hands were already trembling. Suddenly, she jumped up and flung the string of pearls at Zhao Wuji's face. "Who cares about your stinking strand of pearls!" she shouted. "Who cares about you, you little bastard!"

The string of pearls did not hit Zhao Wuji on the face, but flew out of the window instead.

Zhao Wuji laughed again: "The little bastard does have his strengths here and there."

"What are they?" asked Xiang Xiang, jumping up again. "Tell me!"

"A little bastard is at least better than an old bastard," said Zhao Wuji, "or a dead one."

He wanted Xiang Xiang to laugh.

Although there were no terms or conditions between them, the separation would still bring unavoidable sorrow.

He had always hoped that they would still be able to laugh at the point of separation.

But before Xiang Xiang could laugh, the string of pearls that she had thrown out of the window earlier came flying back into the room.

A thud sounded as an arrow three- chi-and-six- cun long nailed the pearls to a pillar.