Part 4 - The Spared Little Fish

“Not any demon, the world’s most evil demon. Think about it, if he can learn every dirty trick of everyone in this valley nobody can be more evil, vicious, ruthless than he is.”

Ha Ha’er looked at the fallen body of Yan Nantian and laughed: “Stop this argueing! I have a good solution.”

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “What is this solution of yours?”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Hahaha, this idea of mine will prevent us from quarelling and it will be quite amusing.”

Yin Jiuyou said: “Well, tell us!”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “If we killed master Yan with one blow, it will be a waste. We should treat master Yan to the joys of torment before letting him die. I mean we as friends of master Yan, we owe him such a treatment.”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “A wonderful idea.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “So, we all take turns to test our abilities on master Yan. The most vicious one will be the winner, but whoever kills master Yan will be punished.”

Yin Jiuyou started to laugh while Ha Ha’er was explaining: “Marvellous! A great idea! I want him to sample my Sinister Wind And Soul Searching Hands, I guarantee that he will remember the pain even after his reincarnation.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “My Dazzling Beauty Skill is not inferior to your hands.”

Li Dazui loudly called out: “My Bone Scraping Sabre techniques are not inferior to your skills either!”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “And we mustn’t forget about brother Du Sha, his Heart Piercing Blood Hands and our brother Ha Ha’er here are keen to have a go too. Ha Ha’er’s Brain Cleansing Technique must have improved by a lot. Furthermore master Yan will be most disappointed if he didn’t sample those two skills either.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Allright, who will start?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Since it is your idea, you may have the honours.”

Ha Ha’er laughed happily: “Very well!” He raised his palm and gently touched the head of Yan Nantian.

Two hours later, it was early in the morning. The sky was dark and there was a cold wind blowing outside.

The once vigorous, powerful Yan Nantian was now tortured beyond recognition, anyone with a heart would not bare to see him in this state.

Ha Ha’er laughed: “I have attacked six times by now, it is brother Li’s turn.”

Li Dazui said: “No I won’t lay a finger on him now.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “If you don’t, that means you have lost.”

Li Dazui angrilly said: “He’s dead for the most part, a child could kill him with one hand. Why do you want me to strike him?”

Yin Jiuyou said coldly: “Not necessarily.”

Li Dazui asked: “Do you have a manner in preserving his life but yet inflicting pain on him.”

Yin Jiuyou said coldly: “Most easy.”

Li Dazui said: “Well, by all means.”

Yin Jiuyou said: “When it is my turn I will show it to you.”

Li Dazui said angrilly: “You know he won’t make it to your turn! You......”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Not use in quarelling now, let us ask physician Wan to examine him. He will know whether Yan Nantian can last another few rounds or not.”

Yin Jiuyou coldly sneered: “It is not difficult to make a diagnosis on Yan Nantian.”

Li Dazui said: “I will look for him.”

At this moment he had called Wan Chunliu over, Wan Chunliu was a short and skinny man with sharp eyes. His face never revealed a trace of emotion.

Li Dazui must have told him what they wanted him to do, when he entered he just nodded lightly and went over to examine Yan Nantian. After one hour he had examined Yan Nantian from top to toe, but he did not touch him.

Li Dazui impatiently asked: “Well, how is he?”

Wan Chunliu said: “All his main acupoints, tendons, veins and arteries are destroyed. It is amazing that he is still alive.”

Li Dazui asked Yin Jiuyou with a smile: “Well, what do you think?”

Yin Jiuyou said: “I think you’re wrong.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Although my martial arts are not as good as yours, but I have a lot of confidence in my medical knowledge.”

Yin Jiuyou scoffed: “Confidence?!? If it wasn’t for your superb knowledge in medicine, how was is it possible that within one night 97 people died in the city of Kaifeng? Who is responsible for their deaths? Have you forgotten?”

Wan Chunliu said coldly: “Although I killed many people in my past, but I have saved a lot of lives too in these years. I remember when you came to this valley, I was already here. And if I wasn’t present you would not be alive now.”

Yin Jiuyou was fuming with anger, but he could not retort this. When he fled into the valley he was heavily injured and his life was hanging on a thread at that time, it was Wan Chunliu who saved him. The Valley of Evil needed and still needs Wan Chunliu without any doubt.

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Well, I believe we have absolute faith in the expert opinion of physician Wan. If he says so, I can conclude that none of us have lost. Let us all kill Yan Nantian together.”

Wan Chunliu said earnestly: “Wait, I would like to ask you to spare him.”

Yin Jiuyou said angrilly: “You....you want to save him?”

Wan Chunliu stayed calm and said: “With such heavy injuries and still living is most peculiar. I have never seen this before in my life, he is useless to you but I do have some usage for him.”

Li Dazui asked: “You have use for him? How? Do you want to eat him too?”

Wan Chunliu said: “He has been wounded at 30 different places on his body, I want to test my herbal medicines on him. If I succeed all of you can benefit from my findings.”

Yin Jiuyou scoffed: “Even if there are any findings, the first one to benefit from it will be Yan Nantian. After he’s been healed, while you rescue us from his wrath?”

Wan Chunliu said calmly: “Even if he won’t die, he will remain an invalid both phsycically and mentally. You can take his life at any time, why the haste now.”

Yin Jiuyou grunted and stayed silent, Sima Yan had not said a word and was just looking at Ha Ha’er. Ha Ha’er was looking at Du Qiaoqiao.

She said: “Well, whatever physician Wan wants......”

Li Dazui loudly interrupted: “I don’t agree! He is supposed to be my meal....I.....”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “There are enough corpses in the valley now, still fresh. You can have those, why do you insist on eating Yan Nantian.”

Li Dazui angrilly said: “I said it before, the meat of a dignitary tastes differently. Ten of those cannot even match one ounce of Yan Nantian. Whoever wants to claim Yan Nantian will have to go through me first.”

Ha Ha’er shrugged and looked at Du Qiaoqiao, she shrugged too and looked at Wan Chunliu, she giggled: “I have tried, do not blame me.”

Wan Chunliu coldly said: “The 30 wounds on this man’s body could at least produce 30 new types of herbal medicine. Of those 30 new medicine one could save your lives someday.”

Sima Yan suddenly said: “I think our lives have a bigger priority than the dishes of brother Li.”

Li Dazui shouted: “Who do you think you are giving opinions here! Shut up!”

Sima Yan was not angered and smiled: “In my humble opinion, I think the chances of brother Li actually using those new medicine in the future is very big.”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “I think you’re right.”

Li Dazui wanted to protest again but he now saw the cold stares everyone was giving him. No one in the world could become angry when one saw those cold looks.

He sighed deeply and smiled wryly: “The cooked goose has flown off again.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Physician Wan, what are you waiting for? Yan Nantian is yours.”

Wan Chunliu did not look happy or pleased, he just casually said: “Thank you.” He took out a bottle of pills from his robe and put a few pills in the mouth of Yan Nantian.

Suddenly all of them heard the crying of a baby.

Li Dazui glared up and said: “Of course, there is the baby.”

Ha Ha’er looked at Yin Jiuyou and asked: “And?”

Yin Jiuyou said: “Kill it.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Brother Li must be waiting for his meal now.”

Li Dazui said with a big smile: “The meat of a child will taste wonderful too, but there isn’t too much of it unfortunately.”

He walked over with his big smile, suddenly Du Qiaoqiao said: “Wait a minute!”

Li Dazui frowned and said: “What?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “You can’t kill this child!”

Li Dazui said angrilly: “You b-i-t-c-h! Why can’t I eat this brat?”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “This time little Qiao is at wrong. This child will grow up to be a threat when we let him alive. Why not give him to brother Li and be done with it.”

Du Qiaoqiao did not respond to him but asked: “I would like to ask everyone here a question. We are all evil people, but who is the most evil one in this world.”

Li Dazui angrilly said: “What kind of question is that! Ridiculous! What are you up to?”

Du Qiaoqiao smiled: “I am just asking and you might as well just answer me. I can guarantee that the child will not lose an ounce of meat after you’ve answered.”

Li Dazui grunted and angrilly sat in a corner.

Ha Ha’er laughed loudly: “Well, the most evil one must be little Du.”

Du Qiaoqiao smiled: “Thanks for the compliment, but....”

Li Dazui angrilly shouted: “What! What does she know! The most evil fiend in the world?!? Just because she knows a few idiotic tricks? She doesn’t even have the courage to eat human flesh.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Since you put it that way, brother Li must be the most evil one.”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “Well, I agree with him that I am not the most evil one. Fair is fair brother Li isn’t either. I mean I once knew a stableboy who could eat a couple kilos of meat too.”

Li Dazui asked: “In your opinion who is?”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “I know Yin Jiuyou.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Well, old Yin is vicious, cruel and ruthless. However you can see right away that Yin Jiuyou is a bad man, so everyone will be on his guard when they see him.”

Ha Ha’er said: “So he isn’t the most evil one either.”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “Unless he learns the concealed dagger within a smile techniques. Smiling and calling one brother while reaching for your weapon......”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Hahahaha, concealed dagger within a smile.....Little Du is talking about me.”

Du Qiaoqiao smiled: “Right! Brother Ha Ha has the face of a virtuous monk and nobody will know he is an evil man. His victims won’t even know what hit them.”

Ha Ha’er laughed and clapped: “Hahaha, wonderful! If I am the most evil man on the world that would be nice. But when I see brother Du Sha I am most afraid, he is much more evil than I.”

Yin Jiuyou coldly interrupted: “The only thing he is capable of is killing. What else is he good at?”

Du Qiaoqiao said with a smile: “Exactly. That is why we are standing here, while brother Du Sha is injured. If he was the most evil person around we would be the injured ones.”

Ha Ha’er looked at Sima Yan now and said: “Right, how can we forget brother Sima. Hahaha! Who hasn’t heard of the venomous intestines gutting sword, slicing people like slicing garlic.”

Sima Yan smiled: “Although I have acquired a small, insignificant infamous name in the realm, however how can I compare to the legendary ten great malavolents. I pale in your comparison.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Right, how about the remaining five malavolents?”

Sima Yan smiled: “In my humble opinion the remaining five are not much better than you. For example the mad lion Tie Zhan should not really be listen amongst the ten great malavolents.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “The mad lion really doesn’t hold back when he is insane, he will even fight his own son if he’s gone. But only a few have died at his hands and he isn’t always mad.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “If the mad lion isn’t suitable, how about the lethal enchantress Xiao Mimi. I think the famous filial son would sell his mother to be close to Xiao Mimi.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Her mesmerizing skills are awesome but truly enchanted by her are only young lads of 17, 18, 20 year old. If she meets up with old Li Dazui here, he will eat her alive.”

Li Dazui coldly said: “Of course neither male nor female will not fall for her tricks either.”

Ha Ha’er anxiously asked: “Well, it isn’t me or you. Who is the most evil one in the world? Don’t tell me it is some faithfull old monk in a Buddhist temple.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “All of us are about the same level when it comes to being evil, ruthless, vicious. None of us is more evil than the other.”

Li Dazui said in an annoyed tone: “So all this talk was a waste of our time!”

Du Qiaoqiao ignored him and continued: “Although the most evil person has not been created yet, but soon he will be.”

When she said this everyone was very curious and asked simultaneously: “Who?”

Du Qiaoqiao blinked her eyes and said: “This crying baby.”

Everyone was stunned when they heard her.

The first one to break out in laughter was Li Dazui, he laughed loudly: “You say that he is the most evil person in the world? Hahahaha.......”

Du Qiaoqiao ignored him and continued: “This child doesn’t understand a thing now, we will teach and tell him everything. He will listen to our every word, if we tell him that crows are white he won’t say that is not true.”

Li Dazui said: “Rubbish again!”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “He will be raised by us, he will listen to us. Everything he hears and sees will be our words and actions, what will he grow out to be when he is older?”

Li Dazui could not help himself but say: “A true demon.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Not any demon, the world’s most evil demon. Think about it, if he can learn every dirty trick of everyone in this valley nobody can be more evil, vicious, ruthless than he is.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Even real demons would run away from him.”

“Right. If real demons would fear him, imagine when he will enter the realm of martial arts.”

Ha Ha’er clapped his hands and laughed: “The entire wulin will be in turmoil at that time.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Exactly! We’re forced into this valley and we can’t vent our anger on Wulin. This child is a gift, he will avenge us.”

At this point Yin Jiuyou had a smile on his face and said: “A good plan.”

Ha Ha’er laughed very loud and kept clapping his hands: “Hahaha, only little Du can think of such a wonderful idea.”

Li Dazui bit his lip and looked pensive, suddenly he said: “This idea is not good enough.”

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “Why is it not good enough?”

Li Dazui said: “Well, no doubt he will become evil. But he won’t look strange, I suggest we chop off one of his legs. So he won’t be normal and will take out his frustration on the world.”

Ha Ha’er said: “Hmmm....sounds logical.”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “Don’t listen to him, this Li Dazui just wants to taste the meat of this child here. Since he can’t have the entire baby, he wants to settle for just a leg.”

Li Dazui jumped up and cursed: “Damn you! You filthy androgynous b-i-t-c-h! I have eaten almost everything in my life, but I haven’t tasted the meat of androgynous s-l-u-t-. One of these days I will deep-fry one part of you and steam the other part.”

“You want to eat me? Aren’t you afraid you will die of poison?”

From then on there was a child in the Valley of Evil, everyone calls him Xiao Yu’er; the little spared fish in the net. Gradually Xiao Yu’er grew up, the closest people to him were uncle Du Sha, uncle Ha Ha’er (or better known as the laughing uncle), unlce Yin Jiuyou, uncle Li Dazui, uncle Wan Chunliu and another uncle-----no actually an aunt, auntie Du.

Xiao Yu’er grew up with these uncles and aunt, one month he woud live with uncle Du, the second month with uncle Li and so on.

The strictest one was uncle Du. Uncle Du only had one hand and never smiled, whenever Xiao Yu’er’s progress in martial arts was a bit too slow he would spank Xiao Yu’er. In the beginning Xiao Yu’er would often be spanked but later on the chances of being hit were getting slimmer and slimmer.

Xiao Yu’er had a wonderful time with laughing uncle Ha Ha’er, he loved to laugh and he demanded that Xiao Yu’er would laugh with him. But the awful part is that he had to laugh even when his buttocks were hurting a lot too.

Xiao Yu’er was most terrified when he spent time with uncle Yin. This uncle Yin sort of emit a cold air from his body even in the Summer. Xiao Yu’er would tremble just sitting next to him, the jaws of Xiao Yu’er would hurt when he spent a month with uncle Ha Ha. With uncle Yin he could rest his jaws for awhile, nobody could laugh in the presence of uncle Yin.

Xiao Yu’er had a horrible time with uncle Li, he would also sniff his body making him very uncomfortable. But his most peculiar time would be with auntie Du. Auntie Du would sometimes suddenly turn into a man, he wasn’t sure whether auntie Du was actually an aunt or an uncle.

The most special time would be with uncle Wan. Uncle Wan never smiled either but he looked friendlier than uncle Du. And his voice was much nicer too. He would always feed herbal medicines too Xiao Yu’er and made him bathe in medicinal herbal baths, sometimes Xiao Yu’er could not stand it.

In the house of uncle Wan was another uncle. This uncle medicine cabinet would only sit there and eat medicine and nothing else. So Xiao Yu’er called him a medicine cabinet, like a medicine cabinet it just stores all kinds of herbal drugs. Even more than Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er felt sorry for uncle medicine cabinet, because he knew the sorrows of only eating those herbal medicine. But the strange thing was that this uncle would never speak, nor move. Furthermore his eyes were always closed.

Besides them there were a lot of other uncles, one uncle made very nice figurines from clay. Xiao Yu’er was very fond of him, but suddenly he was gone one day.

Xiao Yu’er looked for him everywhere and asked a lot of other people but nobody knew where he went. So he asked auntie Du, she pointed at the stomache of Li Dazui and said: “He is in the tummy of uncle Li now.”

“How can a grown man hide in the stomach of uncle Li?”

Xiao Yu’er did not understand.

However uncle Li went missing to once.

At a certain day he yelled loudly: “I can’t stand it here anymore!”

And then he was gone.

After half a month he came back and he was covered in wounds, he almost died.

Auntie Du even laughed at him: “I told you not to leave the valley. Now do you believe me why? If we stay in the valley nobody can harm us, because no one dares to set foot in the valley. But if we go out, we will become meek sheep in the hands of butchers.”

When Xiao Yu’er was not even five years old yet, he was taken to Du Sha and was given a small dagger and there was also a dog in the room.

Xiao Yu’er was surprised and asked: “Where....where is the knife for?”

Du Sha answered: “The knife can be used to kill people, but it can also be used to kill dogs.”

Xiao Yu’er added: “It can also be used to chop meat and vedgetables, right?”

Du Sha said coldly: “This is not a kitchen knife.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I don’t want this knife, I want a kitchen.....”

Du Sha interrupted: “Stop talking and kill that dog.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “If the dog is naughty just kick it, why should we kill it?”

Du Sha said angrilly: “I told you to kill it!”

Xiao Yu’er was about to break out in tears and said: “I.....don’t.....want....”

Du Sha said: “You don’t want to kil it? Good!”

He walked out of the room and closed the door.

Xiao Yu’er shouted: “Let me out! Uncle Du, let me out! I want to go out.....”

Du Sha said from behind the door: “Kill the dog first!”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I can’t kill it, I am no match for the dog.”

Du Sha said: “If you can’t kill it, let the dog eat you alive.”

Xiao Yu’er cried and yelled, he cried so long that his eyes were swollen and his voice was hoarse now from shouting. But Du Sha did not open the door and Xiao Yu’er stopped crying and shouting.

If there is nobody around, children will often stop crying. It is as simple as that, however not many parents are aware of this little fact.

Xiao Yu’er looked at the dog and the dog was looking at him. It was not a very big dog, but it looked quite mean and Xiao Yu’er was afraid of it.

He was holding the knife and sat there. It was after a very long time he stomach started to growl, the dog started to bark too. Xiao Yu’er remembered now that he had not eaten yet.

Xiao Yu’er said to the dog: “Little dog, don’t bark anymore I haven’t eaten too.”

The dog barked louder and his red tongue was licking Xiao Yu’er, Xiao Yu’er became even more afraid and clutched tightly to his knife. He said:"Little dog, I am very hungry too but I won’t eat you. But you’re not allowed to eat me either when you’re hungry.”

The dog barked one more time and jumped at Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er shouted: “I am not tasty........ Don’t eat me......”

Du Sha who was standing outside heard the barking becoming fiercer and louder, all of a sudden the barking died out. After waiting for another few moments he opened the door.

He saw Xiao Yu’er lying on the floor with a knife in his hand, like the dog he was covered with blood. But the only difference was he was alive and the dog dead.

Du Sha picked him up and asked: “How many times did you use the knife?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Ten....... twenty, I don’t remember anymore.”

Du Sha said: “You were reluctant to kill it in the beginning, right?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “The dog wanted to eat me, I..... I had no choice but....”

Du Sha said: “Exactly, if you don’t kill it, it will eat you. If you don’t kill, you will be killed. Remember this lesson.”

Xiao Yu’er nodded: “Yes.”

Du Sha said: “If you attacked first you wouldn’t be injured this badly..... If you know you have no choice why wait till the dog attacked you? Are you dumber than a dog?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “The next time I will know what to do.”

Du Sha said: “Very good! Remember, all the people in the world are like that dog. You have to strike first and don’t wait till your opponent attacks first. Do you understand?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Yes.”

Du Sha asked: “Are you sure you won’t forget?”

Xiao Yu’er replied: “I will never forget this lesson in my life.”

Du Sha looked at Xiao Yu’er and smiled.

Xiao Yu’er had to stay at Wan Chunliu for at least ten days before he could walk again, he already had some scars but now there were even more.

After a few more days Du Sha took him him to his place again. There was another dog, this time a much bigger dog.

Du Sha said: “Do you still have that knife?”

Xiao Yu’er nodded and turned pale and could not speak anymore.

Du Sha said: “Good! Kill this dog too!”

Xiao Yu’er stuttered:"This dog is very big....."
Du Sha asked: “Are you afraid?”

Xiao Yu’er nodded heavily and replied: “Very afraid.”

Du Sha angrilly said: “Useless.”

He turned around and closed the door again.

After awhile the dog barked loudly and for a very long time. Du Sha opened the door and saw the dog was dead, Xiao Yu’er was alive.

Although this time he was again covered in blood but he was standing. There were tears in his eyes and bit his lip, he said loudly: “I killed it and used my knife seven times.”

Du Sha asked: “Are you still afraid?”

Xiao Yu’er replied: “No, but earlier.....”

Du Sha said: “What was the use of being afraid earlier? You have to kill it anyhow, regardless of the fact whether you’re afraid or not. The dog still wanted to eat you. Do you understand?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Yes, I understand now.”

Du Sha asked: “Do you know why you’re injured?”

Xiao Yu’er lowered his head and said: “Because I was afraid and did not dare to attack first.”

Du Sha said: “Allright! Will you be afraid the next time?”

Xiao Yu’er made two little fists and said: “No, I will not be afraid the next time.”

Du Sha looked at Xiao Yu’er and smiled again.

This time Xiao Yu’er recovered faster, but when he was better again Du Sha would take him to his room. The dogs became bigger and bigger and fiercer and fiercer.

However Xiao Yu’er was injured less severe every time and every time he was finished quicker than the previous time.

Till the sixth time, Du Sha closed the door there was no dog. There was a small wolf.

In the end Xiao Yu’er was lying in bed, taking medicine and lots more of medicine.
One day Ha Ha’er came to visit Xiao Yu’er. Xiao Yu’er wanted to laugh but could not laugh.

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Little Xiao Yu’er is lying here. The wolf didn’t eat you.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Laughing uncle, don’t be angry.”

Ha Ha’er asked: “Angry for what?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I want to laugh, but..... but if I laugh my entire body hurts. I can’t laugh now.”

Ha Ha’er laughed loudly: “Dumb child, let me tell you something. Sometimes when I am laughing I am in pain too, but the more pain I am in, the louder I laugh.”

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes with disbelief and asked: “Why?”

Ha Ha’er said: “You should know that laughing is the best cure in the world. Not only that, it is also a powerful weapon, I have never seen a more effective weapon in my life.”

Xiao Yu’er stared at Ha Ha’er with disbelief again: “Weapon...... Laughing can kill wolves?”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Not only can it kill wolves, it can also kill men.”

XiaoYu’er looked pensive for a moment and said: “I don’t understand.”

Ha Ha’er asked: “Do you know why you’re hurt every time?”

Xiao Yu’er replied: “I really don’t know. I.... I am not afraid anymore, I am really not afraid anymore. It must be that my martial arts aren’t good enough and I can’t kill it with one stab.”

Ha Ha’er asked again: “Why can’t you kill it with one stab?”

Xiao Yu’er started saying: “Because my martial arts.....”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “It has nothing to do with your martial arts. It is because you don’t laugh or smile. Even though dogs and wolves do not talk, that doesn’t mean they do not understand our actions. The moment you walk into the room they know you’re up to no good and are suspicious of you. So even if you strike first, it is in vain.”

Xiao Yu’er was listening attentively and kept nodding: “Yes, you’re right.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “So the next time you enter the room, always smile. It doesn’t matter whether it is a dog, wolf or even a tiger always maintain your smile. That way it won’t be suspicous of you.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “So that way I can kill it without being noticed.”

Ha Ha’er clapped his hands and laughed: “Good! If it doesn’t suspect you and regards you as a friend. You can kill it with one stab, it sounds simple. But it is most effective.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “That way I won’t be injured anymore.”

Ha Ha’er said: “Exactly! No matter if it is a dog, wolf even a human, it won’t harm someone who has no ill intentions towards him. Just smile, laugh the entire time. Even when you stab him maintain your smile, even in his final moments it won’t be suspicious of you.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “But.... but that isn’t the way of a hero....”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Silly child! It wants to kill you. So you’re bound to kill it first, since you have made up your mind to kill it, so it doesn’t matter what methods you choose.”

Xiao Yu’er smiled happily: “I understand now.”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Good child! Now you’re a good boy.”

From then on Xiao Yu’er did not get wounded anymore. He had killed five dogs, four wolves, one lynx and a young tiger. He had about 20 scars on his body and he was not even six years old by that time.

This year four people came to the Valley of Evil, but Xiao Yu’er was not interested in them. He felt that he was much stronger than those four newcomers.

After some time......

At a certain day, he suddenly asked Du Qiaoqiao: “Auntie Du, everyone says that you’re a very intelligent person. Is that true?”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “Who said that? ....... But that person is very right.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “And is it true that you have a lot of strange but funny objects?”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “You little mischief! What are you up to?”

Xiao Yu’er blinked with his bright eyes and said: “If I wanted to stand up for you, will you give me one of your funny items?”

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “Why should you want to stand up for me?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “Well, unlce Li often makes you angry, but you cannot think of a way to deal with him....”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “So in other words you have a way to deal with him?”

Xiao Yu’er nodded and smiled.

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “Well, what is that plan of yours?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Well, all I need is some herbs of auntie Du?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Herbs? For herbs you need to go to Wan Chunliu.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “He doesn’t have those herbs, but you do.”

Du Qiaoqiao shook her head and smiled: “You have me totally confused you little brat. Allright, what kind or herb do you need?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “A smelly one, the smellier the better.”

Du Qiaoqiao stared at him for a moment and suddenly started to laugh loudly: “You, little devil! Now I know.”

Xiao Yu’er blinked and asked: “You know?”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “You, little brat! Perhaps you can fool others but you cannot fool me. You hate it when Li Dazui sniffs at you, so you want to hide a package of smelly herbs on your body and let him sniff at you. However you’re afraid of him, so you come up with a plot to drag me into your scheme. Not only do you have a strong back-up but also you can get into my good books.”

Xiao Yu’er blushed a bit and laughed: “Auntie Du is very smart.”

Du Qiaoqiao praised: “You’re not stupid either.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Compared to auntie Du.....”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “Xiao Yu’er, think about it. How old are you? If you reach my age, think of your possibilities....... You’re a good child, no wonder I cherish you like treasure.”

Xiao Yu’er lowered his head and said: “The herbs....”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Of course I have those herbs, it is so smelly that it can kill.”

From that day on Li Dazui did not dare to sniff at Xiao Yu’er anymore. He vomitted for about two hours and could not eat for an entire day.

The next day he seized Xiao Yu’er and said: “You stinky Yu’er! Did you get those herbs from Du Qiaoqiao?!?”

Xiao Yu’er just giggled.

Li Dazui said hatefully: “Aren’t you afraid that I will eat you up!”

Xiao Yu’er giggled: “My meat is smelly, I taste awful.”

Li Dazui scolded and laughed at the same time: “Good! You little demon, I won’t eat you and I won’t hit you. But I want you to punish Du Qiaoqiao for helping you. If you succeed I have a present for you.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Really?”

Li Dazui said: “Of course.”

At dusk, Xiao Yu’er was having dinner with Du Qiaoqiao. There was a plate of roasted meat on the table. Xiao Yu’er kept putting pieces of meat into Du Qiaoqiao’s bowl of rice.

He laughed: “Auntie Du likes this roasted meat, eat some more.”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “You really know how to curry for favour.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Well, auntie is nice to me. So I am nice to auntie.”

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “Why aren’t you eating?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “No, I don’t want it.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Silly child! Are you reluctant to eat it? It is nothing special, you can have roasted meat every day if you want to.”

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes twinkled and said: “There is something special about this meat.”

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “What?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I took this plate of roasted meat from uncle Li, I heard that.....”

Before he finished Du Qiaoqiao turned pale and stutttered: “Yester...... yesterday.... he killed.....”

Xiao Yu’er was smiling like an innocent child and nodded: “I think so.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “You little brat.....”

Before she could finish she was throwing up, she vomitted for about an hour and could not think of food for half a day.

The quarters of Du Sha were at the remote corners of the Valley of Evil, quite desolate. The interior of his home was not too much better either. There was just one bed and that was it. It was the most simple house in the entire valley. Whenever Xiao Yu’er left the house of Du Qiaoqiao and was headed here, he was also quite gloomy. There were always maneating animals waiting for him, but he had to go anyhow.

Today, Xiao Yu’er slowly staggered towards the house of Du Sha. Du Sha was sitting at the corner of the house, not moving. He wore a white robe. There was hardly any sun shining in his house, he looked like a snowman.

Every time Xiao Yu’er saw him, Du Sha would sit at the same spot never different. Furthermore he never dared to speak to Du Sha.

Du Sha coldly observed him for a moment and suddenly asked: “I hear you have a little box.”

Xiao Yu’er lowered his head and said: “Yes.”

Du Sha said: “I hear that your box is filled with all kinds of items.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Yes.”

Du Sha said: “Tell me what you have in that box.”

Xiao Yu’er still did not lift up his head and said: “I...I have a package of smelly herbs, a very long stick and it can shoot many spikes out. A bottle of liquid that can turn both flesh and bone into water and.....”

Du Sha coldly interrupted: “Li Dazui and Du Qiaoqiao gave you these objects?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “Yes.”

Du Sha said: “I hear you’ve tricked them many times. You use the items of Du Qiaoqiao to trick Li Dazui and use the items Li Dazui ,gave you, to make fun of Du Qiaoqiao. Correct?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Yes.”

Du Sha asked: “Aren’t you afraid that they will kill you in a fit of rage?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “In..in the beginning I was afraid. However later on I discovered that the meaner and craftier I am the happier they are. Especially auntie Du, she sometimes even allow me to trick her.”

Du Sha looked at him for awhile, he turned around and said: “Follow me!”

Before nearing that awful room, Xiao Yu’er could already hear a series of fierce roars. Those roars were very frightening.

Xiao Yu’er said with fear: “A tiger?”

Du Sha grunted and opened the door and roared: “Quickly enter!”

Xiao Yu’er took up the sabre and had no choice but to go in. Du Sha was standing outside the door again, he had a special ability he could stand there for 10 hours without changing position.

But this time Xiao Yu’er was only inside for a few moments and the roaring stopped.

After awhile, Xiao Yu’er called out: “Uncle Du, you can open the door now.”

Du Sha was surprised and said: “That fast?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Thanks to the skills uncle Du taught me.”

Du Sha grunted and opened the door.

With a load roar a big tiger leapt out. Du Sha did not see this coming, he was expecting Xiao Yu’er and not a fierce tiger. In a shock he was a bit slow in his evasion and his shoulder was injured by the claws.

The tiger became fiercer after smelling blood and jumped at Du Sha again. This jump was quicker and fiercer than any martial artists could do. But Du Sha was not anybody, he leapt up and landed on the back of the tiger. In his shock he did not forget to yell: “Xiao Yu’er, are you injured?”

If the tiger was not dead, was Xiao Yu’er killed?

However he could hear Xiao Yu’er giggling now: “Xiao Yu’er isn’t hurt. I am right here.”

Du Sha looked up and saw a cute little boy eating an apple standing on a narrow beam on top of the door.

In a flash Du Sha did not know whether to be happy or angry, because of this distraction the tiger threw him off his back.

Xiao Yu’er yelled softly: “Be careful, uncle Du.”

The tiger turned around and attacked Du Sha again.

This jump was a sure hit, Du Sha could not escape from those sharp claws. However he lowered his body and slipped under the tiger. He raised his right arm, and a loud horrific cry could be heard. Blood splattered everywhere around, the tiger wobbled a bit before falling down. It was dead.

All the walls were covered with the blood of the tiger and the room was utterly chaotic. Du Sha stood up and half his body was covered in blood. After Yan Nantian broke off his right hand, Du Sha had replaced it with a metal, sharp hook. He used the hook to rip open the abdomen of the tiger.

Xiao Yu’er dropped his apple and was patting himself on the chest, he was saying: “What a terrific scene! Almost scared me to death.”

Du Sha stood there and looked at him, not showing anger at all. He was as always cold and said coldly: “Come down.”

Xiao Yu’er held on both sides of the door and slipped down, he giggled: “Although the tiger was strong, but uncle Du was much stronger.”

Du Sha said: “I told you to kill the tiger, why didn’t you?”

Half his face was covered with blood and his other part of his face was as white as paper. The wind was blowing through the room and with the body of a dead tiger next to him, the scene was horrifying.

But Xiao Yu’er was not afraid and giggled: “Uncle Du told me to kill the tiger, but I wanted to see how uncle kills the tiger.”

Du Sha said: “You wanted to kill me?”

The part of his face, which was drenched with blood, was turing purple. The other part was darkening too. If a demon from the netherworld would come and one would compare their faces, the most horrifying face would belong to Du Sha.

Xiao Yu’er was still smiling and giggled: “I would not dare to plot to kill you. The tiger was caught by uncle Du, therefore uncle Du is bound to be able to kill the tiger...... I already understood that all along.”

Du Sha coldly looked at him and did not speak.

Frankly he did not know what to say.

It was summer now, although the valley was in the shadow of the KunlunMountains, it was still very warm. And the sun would make one quite sleepy. It was noon now, the only time when the sun shone in the Valley of Evil. The inhabitants of the valley were not too keen on the sun, so they usually stayed inside when the sun shone.

Only a cat was lying in the sun and some flies were flying about, those were the only active ones in the entire valley. At this point someone from outside the valley was running towards the valley. There was no one near chasing that man at all, in fact there seemd there was not a living soul in a radius of 50 kilometres. But he was still running, like he had seen a ghost. He was panting heavily but did not dare to slow down.

His lightness martial arts were not bad, but his stamina was running out. It could be because of the running but it could also be that he has not eaten for days now. He does not look too ugly, but he has a very sharp nose. One look at him and one would dislike him immediately.

He was wearing rather expensive clothes, woven by the best tailor. But now it looked like rags and it was smelly and dirty now. The sun was shining in his face and sweat was dripping from his face, but he did not care.

When he saw the characters [Valley of Evil], he took a deep breath and felt relieved. But he did not slow down and even tried to increase his speed. When he entered the valley he was walking down the street, the sun brightened the houses but all the doors and windows were shut. He could not see anyone or hear a thing.

He was somewhat surprised and was feeling anxious now, he wanted to call out but was afraid to do that.

Suddenly he heard a voice from his left: “Hey!”

It was not very loud, but it was enough to scare him silly. He saw someone sitting on a bamboo chair under the eaves of that house. It was boy about 13, 14 years old and was narrowing his eyes to take a look at him. The young boy was topless and there were uncountable scars on his body. There was a scar from the corner of his eye to the corner of his mouth, his black hair was casually tied and he was stretching his arms and legs. He looked very carefree and it seemed he would not care even if the sky fell down.

He looked tired like an old man, but his eyes twinkled like a naughty boy with one gaze he looked like a small child. Somehow this lazy, naughty looking boy with uncountable scars had a very strong charisma.

Especially his face, even with the scar. He did not look ugly, the scar added something special, something charismatic to him.

The first impression when one sees this naughty and lazy boy was that he is very handsome. Extremely handsome even.

The man was stunned after looking once at him, he was thinking what would girls do if they saw that handsome young boy.

The young boy seemed to want to wave at him, but seemingly he was too lazy to raise his hand, he smiled: “Why are you lurking about? Come over here.”

The man walked over and coughed lightly before smiling apologetically: “My respects, young brother.”

The young boy laughed: “Do you know me?”

The man said: “No.... no I don’t.”

The young boy said: “Since you don’t know me, why would you pay respects to me?”

The man was stunned and did not know what to say, he stammered: “I....this...”

Normally he felt that he was quite eloquent but now he did not know what to say.

The young boy laughed loudly: “Hahaha! I am Xiao Yu’er and who are you?”

The man said: “I am Ba Shudong, the tiger killing constellation.”

Xiao Yu’er giggled: “Tiger killing constellation? Nice name! How many tigers have you killed?”

Ba Shudong was again stunned and stuttered: “Ehh, I....”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I have killed many tigers, even I am not called the tiger killing constellation. You haven’t killed any tiger at all and you’re called the tiger killing constellation. How unfair!”

Ba Shudong was standing were flabbergasted, if this was not the Valley of Evil he would chop off the head of this boy.

Xiao Yu’er said: “Judging by your expression, you must be running away from some enemies with some mediocre martial arts. Tell me who those people are.”

Ba Shudong remained silent for a moment before saying: “I have made many enemies, amongst them the Two Swords of Jiangnan, the Ding brothers, the Ill Tiger, Chang Feng, the dragon of Jiangbei, Tian Ba.....”

“I thought you had some impressive enemies, these people..... I have heard of them but they’re not formidable or anything.”

Ba Shudong said coldly: “My young friend, you sound quite arrogant.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “My old friend, you’re too cowardly.”

Ba Shudong gritted his teeth and said: “Perhaps these people aren’t too great, but one of them is very famous and very much feared.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Who? Some ghost perhaps?”

Ba Shudong ignored that remark and said softly: “This person is very very famous now.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “What is his name?”

Ba Shudong replied: “She is called Zhang Qing, the little fairy.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Little fairy? Sounding by her name she should be a pretty young woman, everyone would like pretty girls like her. Why should they fear her?”

Ba Shudong said hatefully: “This little wretch looks pretty, but she is very vicious and ruthless. Perhaps even surpassing Du Sha.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “That such a girl exits?”

Ba Shudong was gritting his teeth and continued: “My five brothers were all killed by her in one night, the six constellations of the tiger forest, only I have survived.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I would like to meet her, if I have the chance.”

Ba Shudong said: “You will regret the moment when you see her.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Tell me how you offended her.”

Ba Shudong said angrilly: “You have a lot of questions.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “It is a rule.”

Ba Shudong was surprised and remained silent for a moment, at last he laughed: “Allright! My brothers raped the sister and widow of the deceased chief of the the united armed guards agency of Zhenyuan, Weiyuan and Lingyuan, Shen Qinghong.”

Xiao Yu’er gazed at Ba Shudong for a moment and said: “That is an evil deed! What you did is hardly worth mentioning, similar to what ordinary crooks would do! Nothing special.”

Ba Shudong angrilly said: “It is nothing special! Although Shen Qinhong lost the treasure he was supposed to protect and has vanished without a trace for many years. But his wife and sister are still very much respected by Wulin, therefore....”

Xiao Yu’er shook his head and laughed: “No matter how you put it, with that deed you’re not fit to enter this valley yet. Unless....”

Ba Shudong asked: “What is going on here?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “It is a rule.”

Ba Shudong did not dare to break the rules of the Valley of Evil, especially now he was in it. He laughed and asked: “Unless what?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Unless you present two nice treasures to me.”

Ba Shudong said: “I rushed over here and have no presents on me.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Since you have no presents, show me a few of your special skills.”

Ba Shudong’s face changed and was stunned, after awhile he said: “Very well!”

He pulled out a flexible sabre from his girdle, he shook the sabre and started to display three of his best techniques. Flashes of light could be seen, those three stances were quite good. It was called the three tiger killing special stances. The three techniques were swift, lethal and precise.

Xiao Yu’er shook his head and laughed: “This is what you call your best skills? Exactly like the crime you commited, laughable and low. I think you’re not qualified to stay here, you must think of another way if you want to stay.”

Ba Shudong asked: “What...what kind of way?”

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes twinkled and laughed: “Kneel down and kowtow three times to me. And call me [grandfather] three times and give me your sabre.”

Ba Shudong said: “Is this another rule?”

Xiao Yu’er replied: “Yes, it is.”

Ba Shudong shouted: “I.... I never heard of such a rule of the Valley of Evil!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Who told you it was a rule of the valley?”

Ba Shudong was flabbergasted and said: “But... but...”

Xiao Yu’er giggled: “It is my rule.”

Ba Shudong was so angry he was shaking, he roared: “I will give it to you!”

He hacked at Xiao Yu’er with his sabre.

The lazy looking Xiao Yu’er was not lazy anymore, he smoothly glided away. Ba Shudong’s hack missed Xiao Yu’er and hacked the bamboo chair in two halves.

Ba Shudong was surprised and heard someone saying: “I am here, can’t you see me?”

Ba Shudong turned around to slice the speaker but missed again, laughter was coming from the roof. Xiao Yu’er giggled: “Don’t be hasty, I am right over here.”

Ba Shudong was furious and wanted to leap up too.

Suddenly someone called: “Is that second brother Ba?”

A man was running towards Ba Shudong, he was about the same age as Ba Shudong. Somewhere in between 40 and 50 years old, but his movements were much swifter than Ba Shudong.

The man was tall and skinny, he looked very mean and his right arm sleeve was swaying along with him. He had only one arm.

Ba Shudong looked carefully and said happily: “Is that the silent lightning blade third brother Song? You.... you are really here, I had been looking for you. I came to seek refuge here.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “So you two blades know each other.”

Ba Shudong looked up and was furious again, he said: “Brother Song, this little brat......”

Before he could finish, Song San pulled him away and said with a smile: “Since you’re here, I will take you to meet....”

Xiao Yu’er giggled: “Wait, wait! Before you lead him away, he has to pay for the broken chair.”

Ba Shudong angrilly said: “You....”

Song San quickly interrupted him and smiled: “Of course, of course he will pay for the chair. But how much will it cost?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Since he is your friend, just tell him to leave his sabre behind.”

Ba Shudong shouted: “That broken chair.... you want my ....”

Before he could finish Song San took his sabre and presented it to Xiao Yu’er. Ba Shudong wanted to speak but was again stopped by Song San.

He quickly pulled him away and both of them quickly ran off.

After putting some distance between them and Xiao Yu’er, Song San sighed: “Why did you antagonize that little mischief immediately after you entered the valley?”

Ba Shudong was surprised and shocked: “Brother, why are you that afraid of him?”

Song San smiled wryly: “Don’t underestimate him. Who isn’t afraid of him in the entire valley? In these recent years, this little mischief has everyone in the valley fretting and worrying. Whoever annoys him will suffer badly within three days.”

Ba Shudong was so surprised and did not know what he heard, he said: “That little brat is really that formidable?”

Song San sighed: “Listen to me, being humiliated by this little brat is not a disgrace. Think about it, there are no good men here in this valley. With his young age he was able to run amok freely in the valley, have you considered how lethal he is?”

Ba Shudong stuttered: “I...I can’t believe it. I really cann...cannot believe it.”

Now he noticed that Song San only had one arm and asked with shock: “Brother, your...your arm... was it....”

Song San sighed: “It is not his doing, but he has something to do with it.”

He looked at his own armless sleeve and sighed: “I lost my arm the day he entered the valley. 14 years, it has been 14 years. The awesome martial arts of Yan Nantian, if I did not make a prompt decision I wouldn’t have lived till today.”

Ba Shudong exclaimed with surprise: “Yan Nantian? That little brat is Yan Nantian....aarrrgggh.”

Before he could finish he shouted loudly with pain and fell down. There was a hole in his back, blood was gushing out of the hole.

Song San was terrified and turned around, he saw a ghostly apparition in a grey robe. It was floating about and was looking at him with his deep eyes.

Song San turned pale and stuttered with a trembling voice: “Mr.... Mr. Yin..... Mr.. Yin, you....”

Yin Jiuyou laughed sinisterly: “Nobody in this valley is allowed to speak of the relationship of Xiao Yu’er and that Yan fellow! Have you forgotten?”

Song San said: “I....I didn’t have the chance to tell him that.”

Yin Jiuyou smiled evily: “Before you could tell him, I already killed him. Are you unhappy about that?”

Song San backed away and stammered: “I....I....”

Suddenly he flew up about eight metres into the air and landed on the ground without a trace of injury, but he did not move anymore.

An old smiling woman was standing where Song San was before, she was holding a cane and could not stand up straight.

She laughed: “Old Yin Jiuyou, were you benevolent to him? The moment he spoke you should have killed him, why did you not kill him instantly?”

Yin Jiuyou said: “I wanted to leave him to you.”

The old woman said: “Leave him to me? I haven’t killed for a long time, were you afraid that my hands would itch?”

Yin Jiuyou said coldly: “I just wanted to see whether your delicate hands have improved or not?”

The old woman laughed loudly: “Well, did they improve? Do you want to see how delicate they are?” Her voice changed from old to clear, young and melodious. It was the voice of Du Qiaoqiao.

Yin Jiuyou said sinsterly: “If you want to accompany this ghost, I suggest you would wear better clothes.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “I am too old now, how can I keep pretending to be a young girl?”

Yin Jiuyou laughed strangely: “No matter what you say, the next time I see a young pretty girl I will think it is you. If you want to enchant this ghost you still lack the skills.”

Du Qiaoqiao said with a smile: “Allright, I know you’re clever..... Say, did that little devil hear the conversation of those?”

Yin Jiuyou said: “If you don’t know, how should I know?”

Suddenly they heard the singing laughter of Xiao Yu’er coming from afar: “A bottle vinegar, a broken nose. Marry a woman and have baby. But the baby has no nose.....”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Old Xi is in trouble again, the little brat is at his place.”

Yin Jiuyou said: “If he is at old Xi’s, he could not have heard the words of these two.”

All of a sudden a man laughed loudly: “What are the two of you talking about? Hmmm, one man and one woman. One ghost and one human-----That makes four of you, isn’t that strange?”

Du Qiaoqiao did not turn around and laughed: “Li Dazui, there are two corpses here. Stuff those in your mouth please.”

Li Dazui laughed: “I don’t have the appetite to eat those who have died at your hands.”

Yin Jiuyou asked: “Are you going to see brother Du Sha?”

Li Dazui said: “Yes, I am. Ha Ha’er called us all over, I wonder what he wants.”

So the three of them set off to the house of Du Sha, but they kept at least four metres apart from each other. It seems that they were unwilling to stand to close to their companions.

Du Sha as usual was sitting in his corner not moving.

When everyone was assembled, Ha Ha’er laughed: “Hahaha, it has been a long time since all of us have gathered.”

Yin Jiuyou coldly said: “I hate gatherings, what is it that you want? If you don’t have anything to say, I will....."
Ha Ha’er quickly raised his hands and said: “Don’t threaten me, don’t forget I am coward."
Du Qiaoqiao asked: “Did you call us over to discuss Xiao Yu’er?”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Little Du is always the smartest one.”

Yin Jiuyou said: “About that little mischief? What is there to discuss? All of us taught him something, to kill, to laugh, to cry.... Well, now he has learnt everything.”

Ha Ha’er said: “Because he has learnt everything, I called for this meeting.”

Li Dazui asked: “Why?”

Ha Ha’er sighed: “I can’t take it anymore.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “The always laughing Ha Ha’er is actually sighing, I think he really can’t stand it anymore.”

Ha Ha’er said: “This little overlord goes anywhere he wants, he eats and drinks anything he desires. Nobody dares to antagonize him, everyone fears him in the Valley of Evil. For the past few months, 30 people have come by to cry their grievances to me.”

Intestines gutting sword Sima Yan sighed: “This little mischief is becoming more formidable every day. Every time he talks to me, I have to think about my answer three times in my head before actually replying.”

Li Dazui smiled wryly: “Well, at least your situation is better. Every time I see him, I am terrified. If there was one day he doesn’t visit me, I... I can finally sleep tightly. Otherwise I will be vigiliant of him even in my sleep.”

Ha Ha’er said: “We harm people for a purpose, but he does it for fun.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Isn’t that what we hoped for?”

Ha Ha’er said: “Yes, we wanted him to harm others, but who would have guessed that this little brat is plotting everyone he sees. Friend and foe are his victims, the only one who is better off here would be little Du.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Better off? Hardly! He has learnt all those specialties of mine, in fact he even surpasses me.”

Ha Ha’er asked: “How about you, brother Du?”

Du Sha said: “Hmm.”

Du Qiaoqiao smiled: “And what does [hmm] mean?”

Du Sha remained quiet for a moment before saying: “If you lock me and him in one room, the one coming out alive would be him without a doubt.”

Du Qiaoqiao sighed: “Well, it seems everyone cannot cope with him anymore. And that is the people in the valley, imagine how the outside world would deal with him? I think it is time to ask him to depart the valley.....”

Li Dazui immediately added: “Yes, exactly! We have suffered enough, it is time for others to suffer. Luckily all of us combined can stop him, think of the day when even our combined efforts are useless. That is an awful thought.”

Yin Jiuyou said: “If he is to leave, the sooner the better.”

Du Sha said: “Today.”

Ha Ha’er said: “Hahaha! Friends of the realm... heretic friends, orthodox friends, friends of the water and friends of the mountains, now it is your turn to suffer.”

Li Dazui added: “If that little brat is gone, I will not eat human meat for a month.”

At dusk, the Valley of Evil became alive again.

Xiao Yu’er was frolicking about, until he ended up at Wan Chunliu’s place.

Wan Chunliu was cooking seven types of different herbs and was observing the changes of the cooked juices, when he saw Xiao Yu’er he asked: “What gifts did you receive today?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I managed to obtain a nice sabre.”

Wan Chunliu asked: “Where is it now?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “I gave it to old Xi.”

Wan Chunliu used a pair of chopsticks to stir the herbal contraction, the smoke from the oven made the face of Wan Chunliu look very mysterious. He was silent for awhile and asked: “Where is that little box of yours?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I threw it away a long time ago and I gave away those objects in it.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Why did you give those items away? You went through a lot of effort to obtain them.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Well, they were quite usefull, but if I have to keep them I will have to fret as to where to keep them. I also have to worry about about losing them or being stolen, most troublesome.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Good!”

Xiao Yu’er said: “If I give them away, I will also pass those troublesome thoughts to them too. I heard that there are some idiots who love to collect money and treasures, but they are too thrifty to spend. They must be mad.”

Wan Chunliu said: “If those idiots they didn’t exist, we wouldn’t look extraordinary compared to them.”

He stood up and said: “Take this pot of medicine and follow me.”

A wonderul herbal fragrance covered the entire room, behind the big house there were three seperate small houses connected to this house. There were no windows or other doors, these were the sickrooms.

Nobody disturbed Wan Chunliu when he was busy in the sickrooms. There was a possibility that they were lying in one of those sickrooms one day, so they gave Wan Chunliu the space when he was there.

There was no light in the sickroom, just like Wan Chunliu’s face it was filled with mystery. In the corner on a small bed was a figure sitting there, motionless. It seemed he was created for the purpose of just sitting there, it was the living medicine cabinet.

When Wan Chunliu entered the sickrooms he had closed the door, it was as the sickrooms was in a different world. Unrelated to the Valley of Evil.

The expression of Xiao Yu’er also changed, he pulled Wan Chunliu’s hand and softly asked: “Is there any change in uncle Yan’s illness?”

The cold and mysterious look on Wan Chunliu was gone, it made place for anxiety and care. He sighed deeply and shook his head and added sadly: “For the past five years, I have not seen any changes. I have tried every herb and every medicine I can think of......I am very tired.” He sat down and did not want to get up anymore.

Xiao Yu’er was silent for a minute and suddenly said: “I heard someone saying uncle Yan’s name today.”

Wan Chunliu was rather shocked and asked: “Who was it?”

Xiao Yu’er replied: “Dead men! The speakers are dead now.”

Wan Chunliu got up and held on to Xiao Yu’er’s shoulder and asked earnestly: “Did someone know you heard their conversation?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “How would they know? When I heard them talk, I immediately ran off and went to pester old Xi. I even deliberately scolded old Xi very loudly, that is why I gave him the sabre.”

Wan Chunliu released his grip and was silent for awhile, after some time he said softly: “Not easy, not easy at all. Although you’re young, you have managed to keep this secret to yourself. Most admirable.”

He looked at Xiao Yu’er and added with a wry smile: “If this secret leaks out, the three of us will be dead within one hour, You... you must be very cautious. Don’t take everyone to be a fool.”

Xiao Yu’er nodded: “I know. Uncle Wan has gone through a lot of danger to save uncle Yan, I.... I am most grateful, even if they chopped off my head I won’t reveal a word.”

After saying this, his eyes turned red.

Wan Chunliu sighed: “To be honest, I should not trust you. But growing up in this environment and not having lost your conscience.... You’re a good child!”

Xiao Yu’er smiled happily: “When I am bad, I am really bad. But that depends who I am facing, furthermore when I knew who uncle Yan was.... I..... I became good.”

Wan Chunliu smiled happily too: “Five years ago, when you came running to me that night and telling me you knew who the [living medicine cabinet] was, I was extremely shocked.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I am sorry.”

Wan Chunliu was pensive for a moment before saying with a frowned smile: “Try to remember, who was that person who told you that secret.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I really don’t know.”

Wan Chunliu asked: “Tell me again what he looked like?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “I really don’t know, I couldn’t see clearly.”

He thought about it for awhile, he continued: “That night, I was sleeping in the house near Du Sha’s home. During the night, I felt I was lifted from my bed.....”

Wan Chunliu asked: “Why didn’t you call out?”

Xiao Yu’er replied: “I couldn’t cry out. Furthermore, I thought it was another of those tests of Du Sha, I didn’t expect it to be someone else.”

Wan Chunliu sighed: “Indeed, who would have guessed.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I knew that the movements of that person were extremely fast, I felt like flying through the air and in a few moments we were very far away from the valley.”

Wan Chunliu asked: “Weren’t you afraid?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I am not even afraid of tigers, why should I fear men?”

Wan Chunliu said softly: “Later on, you will understand that men are more dangerous than tigers.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “That person put me down and asked: [Do you know what your family name is?] I replied: [I don’t know.] That person cursed me for being a beast, for not knowing my family name.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Afterwards, he told you your family name was Jiang.”

Xiao Yu’er added: “Hmm, he told me that my father was Jiang Feng and was killed by people from the FloralPalace. He told me to remember this and told me to avenge my parents when I grow up.”

Wan Chunliu asked: “Did he not mention the name Jiang Qin?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “No.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Very strange, because your uncle Yan came here looking for Jiang Qin to avenge your father.”

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes twinkled and said: “Maybe this Jiang Qin is one of my enemies too.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Hmm.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “And then, he told me who uncle Yan was. I wanted to ask who he was, but he was gone like a gust of wind.”

Wan Chunliu said: “I know what happened afterwards.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “It was very dark that night, I saw him wearing a black robe and using a black cloth to cover up his entire head. I remember his eyes being bright and deep. One look at those eyes, you felt fear.... one would never forget thos pair of eyes.”

Wan Chunliu asked: “Would you recognize those pair of eyes if you saw them again?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “Most certainly.”

Wan Chunliu asked: “Was it someone in the valley, you think?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “Impossible, no one in the valley has such beautiful eyes. Although Du Qiaoqiao has bright eyes too, but her eyes pale in comparison to that mysterious person.”

Wan Chunliu sighed: “This person could enter and leave the valley, as he pleases. And he knows so many secrets (*sigh). Who could he be?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “He must have extraordinary martial arts.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Of course, in the entire realm, with the exception of your uncle Yan, I really don’t know who can enter and leave this valley at will.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Not even one?”

Wan Chunliu answered: “The two princesses of the FloralPalace, but this person wants you to seek out people from the FloralPalace. It cannot be the two princesses.”

All of a sudden, Xiao Yu’er clapped his hands and said: “Yes, I remember now.”

Wan Chunliu immediately asked: “What do you remember?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “That person is a woman.”

Wan Chunliu was surprised and said: “A woman?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Although, she covered her face and deliberately made her voice hoarse. But from her movements I can tell she is a woman.”

Wan Chunliu asked: “What kind of movements?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “For example...... She had her head covered, but sometimes she would use her hands to stroke her hair. She was holding me in her arms, but she would not let me touch her breast.”

Wan Chunliu stamped his foot and said: “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

Xiao Yu’er blushed now and laughed: “I....I.... didn’t really pay any attention on who was male or female before.”

Wan Chunliu was stunned for a moment and said: “Yes, of course. You were a child then, in the eyes of children there are only adults and children. There is no distinction between male an female in the world of children.”

Xiao Yu’er added: “There is also only half a female in this valley.”

Wan Chunliu said softly: “I used to suspect it was the most famous busybody of Wulin the hero of the southern heaven Lu Zhongda. But now we know this mysterious person is a woman, that makes everything different.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Are there other female top martial artists in Wulin, except the Floral princesses?”

Wan Chunliu sighed: “If she is a woman, I have no idea. In the entire Wulin only princess Yaoyue and princess Lianxing have the skills to enter and leave the valley freely. I can’t think of any other.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “But there is. Firstly, she must know my father and know uncle Yan. Secondly, she knows exactly how my father died.”

Wan Chunliu said: “Indeed.”

Xiao Yu’er continued: “Point three; she is also aware of the animosities my family has and is very concerned about it. Point four; she must be a top martial arts expert. Point five; she must have something against the FloralPalace and number six; she has brilliant, beautiful eyes. Almost unique.”

Wan Chunliu sighed: “Amazing that you deducted this much at your young age.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “With these six points, I can surely trace her down.”

Wan Chunliu said: “I hope so.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “However.... however, I have to leave the valley first in order to find her. When can I leave this valley? When will they let me go?”

Wan Chunliu sighed: “Difficult to say, I just hope...”

Someone from outside the house was calling: “Physician Wan, is Xiao Yu’er with you?”

Wan Chunliu’s face changed and said: “Du Qiaoqiao is looking for you, go out quickly.”

When they left the sickrooms, their expressions changed. Wan Chunliu became the ever so cold and strange physician again and Xiao Yu’er became the naughty and clever boy again.

Du Qiaoqiao was standing at the door, she laughed sweetly: “What are you two up to?”

Xiao Yu’er made a funny face and said: “We were discussing how we’re going to plot against you.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “You, little mischief! You two should try to find a new smelly herb to foil Li Dazui’s nose for good.”

Li Dazui giggled: "Uncle Li is too easy to fool, tricking him is no fun.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Listen to the arrogance, be careful Li Dazui might eat you."
Wan Chunliu coldly addressed Du Qiaoqiao: “Are you here to joke around with Xiao Yu’er?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Look, physician Wan is angry.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Is there something you want from me, auntie Du?”

Du Qiaoqiao said with a smile: “I have some good news for you.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “How good?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Your laughing uncle has prepared some dishes, uncle Li has brought over a few bottles of good wine. I... I roasted some meat for you, we are inviting you to a feast.”

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes were twinkling and asked: “Why?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “You’ll know when you’ve arrived.”

Xiao Yu’er shook his head and laughed: “If auntie Du doesn’t tell me, I won’t attend that feast of yours. Otherwise I might have diarrhoea and vomit for three days.”

Du Qiaoqiao cursed and laughed at the same time: “You, little brat. Aren’t you paranoid?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I learnt that from you, auntie Du.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Well, I will tell you. We’re preparing this feast for you, because we’re going to see you off.”

Xiao Yu’er was really surprised this time and leapt up and exclaimed: “See me off?”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “You little brat, you didn’t expect that, did you?”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Why....why do you see me off?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Because you’re leaving tonight.”

Xiao Yu’er opened his mouth and looked at her with disbelief: “I.... I am really leaving tonight? Where am I to go?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Outside! It is a big world out there. Don’t you want to see it?”

Xiao Yu’er was touching his head and said: “I.... I....”

Du Qiaoqiao giggled: “Besides, you’re old enough now. You should be looking for a wife....(*sigh). A little mischief like you will dazzle many girls.”

She took Xiao Yu’er’s hand and laughed: “Physician Wan, will you join us?”

Wan Chunliu stood still for some time and said coldly: “Forgive me for not wasting my time on these matters. You may go now.”

He turned around and walked back inside.

Du Qiaoqiao pouted: “He only thinks about his herbs and roots. He wouldn’t see his own father off.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Never mind him! Let us go and have some wine! I haven’t had wine for some time now.”

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “How long is some time now?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “A very long time, half a day now.”

Within two hours several bottles were empty, Li Dazui’s face was becoming redder and redder. The face of Du Sha was becoming paler and paler, while the laughter of Ha Ha’er became louder and louder. The more Du Qiaoqiao drank the more she resembled a woman.

Only Xiao Yu’er remained the same after drinking many cups.

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Hahahah, Xiao Yu’er really knows how to drink. He is drinking wine as if it was water.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Well, if this was water I wouldn’t drink that much of it.”

Yin Jiuyou sneered: “What is so wonderful about drinking one or two cups of wine!”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Ghosts stay away from wine, but every man likes a cup or two. Except for one bad thing, you have mastered every bad skill there is.”

Li Dazui angrilly said: “What bad skills! They are all good skills.”

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and asked: “What haven’t I learnt?”

Du Qiaoqiao chuckled: “This skill... well, after one or half a year.... Nobody needs to teach you that, after seeing you. I think you will learn faster than anyone else.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “What...what is it?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Little brat, are you really ignorant or are you pretending?”

Xiao Yu’er giggled: “I am pretending.”

Li Dazui laughed: “If you’re really ignorant.... Well, you should know that with normal people, it takes to people to do it. However your auntie Du can do it by herself.”

He was very pleased by his remark and wanted to drink another cup. But suddenly his cup broke into pieces.

Yin Jiuyou said coldly: “You cannot drink anymore.”

Li Dazui angrilly shouted: “Why can’t I drink anymore! And why did you break my cup!”

Yin Jiuyou said: “If you continue to drink Xiao Yu’er won’t be able to leave anymore.”

Li Dazui hatefully looked at him and kicked down the table with wine, he gritted his teeth: “One of these days, I will pour litres and litres of wine in your stomach!”

Xiao Yu’er was chuckling at this sight: “Why are all of you in such a hurry to see me off?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “You’re so paranoid! Who told you we’re in a hurry to see you leave?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Well, it is fine with me if you don’t want to say it. I know the reason.”

Du Qiaoqiao asked: “You know? Well, tell us.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “It is because I am becoming badder and badder every day. And all of you cannot cope with me anymore, so you want to see me leave and harm others instead.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “Well, that last bit sounded good.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “You want me to leave, no problem. You want me to harm other people, no problem too. But everything works out for you, what do I gain?”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Hahaha! A good question! A worthy question, you have learnt a lot. Well, if there is nothing to gain, I wouldn’t even lift a finger to help my father.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed and clapped his hands: “Uncle Ha Ha’er spoke my words.”

Li Dazui said: “Rest assured, we will give you something.”

Xiao Yu’er giggled: “Show it first, if I don’t like it I might decide to stay.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Little brat, you’re really formidable! Brother Du, show him.”

Du Sha took out two parcels, one contained a beautiful expensive brocade, one red cloak and one beautiful hat with a golden fish embroided on it and there was a pair of boots.

Xiao Yu’er immediately wore his new clothes and was looking at himself in a bronze mirror, he laughed: “Well, this robe is just mediocre but when it is worn by me, it becomes magnificent.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Don’t you feel embarrassed? Praising yourself.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “If you don’t praise yourself, who will praise you?”

Ha Ha’er laughed: “Hahaha! Well said!”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “What else?”

Du Qiaoqiao laughed: “And there is this. Take a look!”

She opened the other parcel, and it was filled with a heap of golden leaves. Not many people can see that much gold together.

Xiao Yu’er frowned: “What is this? I can’t use this, if I am hungry, will it fill my stomach. If I am thirsty I can’t drink it. It is heavy.... I don’t want it.”

Du Qiaoqiao laughingly scolded: “Little fool, it may not serve those purposes but with it you can have anything in this world. Do you realize how many people would throw away their lives for this?”

Xiao Yu’er shook his head and said: “I am not a fool, I don’t want this.”

Li Dazui used his fingers to hold one golden leave and laughed: “Do you know, that with this leave alone you can buy three, four expensive robes similar to the one you’re wearing? A normal household could live two years on this.”

Ha Ha’er said: “Don’t you like horses? With that leave you can buy the best horse there is. If this isn’t a wonderful invention, nothing is.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “Since you say it is that good, I will reluctantly accept it. What else is there?”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “My word, you want more? You really are terrible, think about it, you already took away our best treasures for the past few years. We don’t have anything anymore.”

Xiao Yu’er looked pensive and took the parcels and stood up and left.

Li Dazui asked: “What are you doing?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “What am I doing? I am leaving.”

Li Dazui said with surprise: “Just like that?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Why should I wait? There is no wine anymore, there is nothing else to receive....”

Li Dazui asked: “Where are you going?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Outside the valley, I will head south-east and I’ll see where I end up.”

Li Dazui asked: “What do you want to do?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Nothing. If I meet someone who pleases I will drink with him. If I dislike him, I will punish him for annoying me.”

Ha Ha’er laughed loudly: “Hahah! Wonderful! That is the way of a true man!”

Du Sha suddenly asked: “Will....will you come back?”

Xiao Yu’er giggled: “After I have made everyone outside miserable, I will come back. Come back to torment you.”

Ha Ha’er said: “Hahaha! Good! If everyone is miserable outside, we would happily welcome you back. We will even let you make us miserable.”

Xiao Yu’er put his hands together and said: “Goodbye, I will return very soon.”

He was really gone and did not even look back.

Du Sha saw him off to the door and said: “He is really very determined.”

Ha Ha’er said: “We wanted him to be that tenaciously determined.”

Du Qiaoqiao said: “Wulin has been too quiet for too long, it is time that someone like him would create havoc.....It is a shame that we can’t see it.”

Xiao Yu’er in new clothes and a big parcel was walking out. He was wearing his new boots and was walking over the street.

While he was walking he shouted: “Listen everyone! Xiao Yu’er is now leaving, you can sleep tightly now!”

All the people opened either the windows or doors to look at Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er said: “After doing such a wonderful deed, you should applaude me..... If you don’t applaude I will not leave.”

Before he finished everyone applauded.

Xiao Yu’er laughed happily, when he walked by Wan Chunliu’s house, he stopped laughing. He just looked at Wan Chunliu-----just one look.

Wan Chunliu did not speak, some things need not be said.

Xiao Yu’er had finally left the Valley of Evil.

All the starts glittered in the sky, it was still very cold in the nights here even in the Summer now. Xiao Yu’er put his cloak on and was walking towards the stars. He was a bit stunned and he did not know what he felt, he had seen such nights before. But somehow tonight everything seemed different.

But he was about to enter a new, strange world. Is he afraid? No, he is not afraid! His heart is just filled with a strange emotion, an emotion he could not describe.

But he did not look back and continued to walk forward.