It was a bright, sunny day in early fall.
The sunlight illuminated through the paper window, shining against her
smooth, satin skin.
With the sunlight making the water warmer, she languidly laid down in the
tub, lifting a pair of elegant feet on the edge and letting them enjoy the
sunlight, caressing them gently like a lover's hands.
She was pleased.
After traveling for more than half a month, what could compare to the
relaxing feeling of a hot bath? Her entire body submerged, leaving only her
half-open eyes which were admiring her pair of feet.
This pair of feet had climbed over mountains, crossed rivers, endured the
scalding hot desert for three days and three nights, and also crossed a
great distance of nothing but ice-bound rivers and streams in cold winter.
This pair of feet had not only kicked to death three lustful people, a
mountain cat, squashed countless poisonous vipers, but also kicked the
bandit, Man Tian Yun, from off Mount Chilien, letting him fall ten thousand
This pair of feet should not look so delicate but they were delicate. Not a
single scar in sight. Even the young lady of a rich household who had never
left home could not have such a perfect pair of feet.
She was extremely pleased.
On the stove, the water was still boiling. She poured more hot water into
the tub. Although the water was still hot, she wanted to it to be hotter.
She liked the excitement brought by this kind of heat.
She liked all kinds of excitement.
She liked riding the quickest horses, climbing the highest mountains, eating
the spiciest food, drinking the strongest wine, and using the finest sword
to kill the most ruthless person.
People often said that, "Excitement makes one age faster." But these words
certainly did not apply to her. Her chest was still young, her waist still
slender, her stomach still smooth, and her slender thighs still firm. The
skin on her whole body did not have the slightest wrinkle.
Her eyes were very bright and her smile could melt people's hearts. If one
saw her, no one would ever believe that she was already thirty-three years
For thirty-three years, Feng Sinian had never maltreated her body. She knew
what type of clothes to wear to any type of occasion, knew what words to say
to any type of person, knew what type of food to eat with any type of wine,
and also knew what style to use to kill a person. She understood life and
knew how to enjoy it.
There were not many people like her in the world. Some people were envious
of her. Others were jealous. She was almost completely satisfied with
herself. There was only one exception: She was lonely.
No amount of excitement could dispel such loneliness.
Now that the last of her weariness vanished in the water, she at last stood
up and used a snowy white silk washcloth to dry her body.
When the smooth silk washcloth rubbed against her skin, she felt wonderful
but she was secretly wishing that this was a man's hands.
The hands of a man she liked.
No matter how soft the silk washcloth was, it could never compare to a pair
of lover's hands. Nothing in this world could replace those of a lover's
She looked down at her body, the smooth, translucent, almost flawless skin,
but in her heart, there was only a deep feeling of melancholy...
Suddenly, several holes were dashed simultaneously on the window, the door,
and the wooden wall. A head extended from each hole, the face bearing
A group of strange men were leering at the young lady. Some were staring
with bulging eyes, while others could not even smile. When they saw a
beautiful, naked woman, most men turned into dogs - rabid dogs.
That hole in the window was best because it was away from the rest, allowing
one to see clearly. The head of the man bore a huge lump. It looked like
there two heads on the same place. His appearance was so disgusting it could
make one sick. Compared to him, the other people even looked attractive. If
a man took a bath and suddenly these bandits rushed in, he would be
frightened half to death.
However, Feng remained unfazed as she continued to lounge inside the tub,
gently wiping her hands with that silk washcloth.
With half-opened eyes, she stared fixedly at her slender fingers. When both
of her hands were wiped clean, it was only then that she smiled pleasantly,
saying: "You haven't seen a woman take a bath before?"
The men simultaneously laughed. One young fellow with a pock-marked face and
big, bulging eyes leered at her, laughingly saying: "I have not only seen a
woman take a bath before. Bathing women is my specialty. You want me to
scrub your back, your satisfaction is guaranteed."
Feng smiled and said: "It so happens that my back is itching. Since you
offered, then come in!"
The young fellow's big eyes narrowed as he laughed, then with a "peng"
sound, he opened the window, intending to jump in. But before he could do
that, he was grabbed by the guy with the lump. The young fellow's smiling
face stiffened immediately, growing pale. He said: "Second Brother Jie, you
already have several wives. Why must you take this one from me?"
Second Brother Jie did not wait for him to finish before he gave him a
backhanded slap, sending his whole body flying.
Feng said musingly: "If you scrub my back with the same force as you hit
that person, I cannot bear it."
Second Brother Jie looked at her and suddenly his eyes turned cloudy and
poisonous like a snake's, his voice also sounding coarser than the
sidewinder's. He said: "You know what place this is?"
Feng said: "If not, why would I come."
Then, she smiled before saying: "This place is called Mount Luandan, also
called Mount Qiangdao (Bandit Mountain) because everyone who lives in
this mountain is a bandit. Even that small innkeeper who looks very honest
is a bandit."
Second Brother Jie said: "Since you knew what place this is, why do you
Feng replied: "If I didn't come to fight but only to take a bath, what does
Second Brother Jie grinned fiercely: "Your place does not have good baths.
That's why you came here?"
Feng lowered her eyes, saying softly: "Perhaps I like bandits watching me
while I bath. How could it not be exciting?"
Second Brother Jie suddenly sent a palm towards the window, breaking the
wood into several pieces with the force of the blow. It was obious that his
Iron Sand Palm was not weak.
Feng simply looked. Then, sighing gently, she muttered: "Fortunately, I did
not invite this person to scrub my back. Thick hand, thick foot."
Second Brother Jie angrily shouted: "Stop rubbing our eyes with sand and
tell us, why are you here? Be honest!"
Feng smiled and said: "You didn't guess wrong. I didn't come this far just
to take a bath."
Second Brother Jie's eyes flashed and he said: "Did people send you to spy
Feng replied: "Of course not. I came here to look for a friend."
Second Brother Jie said: "But your friend certainly isn't here." Feng was
quiet for a moment before she laughingly said: "How do you know he's not
here? Can't I be friends with a bandit? Perhaps, I'm also a bandit!"
Second Brother Jie scowled and asked: "Who is your friend?"
Feng said without any hurry: "I have not seen him for a very long time. I
heard that these past years have been very good to him. He works as the
leader of a group of bandits in Guanzhong. Do you know him?"
Second Brother Jie's face darkened as he asked: "There are thirteen groups
of bandits in the Guanzhong region. Every group has its own leader. Which
one do you mean?" Feng said slowly: "He's the leader of the thirteenth
Second Brother Jie was stunned for a moment. Then, suddenly he laughed,
pointing at her as he said: "How can a woman be a friend of our chief?"
Feng said: "Why can't I be friends with him? Do you know who I am?"
Second Brother Jie's laughter subsided. He eyed her from head to toe before
asking coldly: "Who are you? Could you be Feng Siniang, that enchantress
whom even monsters can't resist?"
Feng did not answer his question but said instead: "Are you not Two-Headed
Snake (Liang Toushe) Jie Bude?"
A self-satisfied smirk appeared on Second Brother Jie's face. He sneered and
said: "That's right. Whoever sees the Two-Headed Snake must die. I spare no
Feng said: "Since you are the Two-Headed Snake, then I have to be Feng
The Two-Headed Snake's head looked as though it was going to crack, making
it look like he had four, five heads.
This naked woman sitting in the bathtub, was she really the notorious Feng
Siniang? The one whom everybody called the Enchantress?
He could not believe the simple truth of it, yet how could he dare not to?
He started to take several steps back and the others naturally drew back
Suddenly, they heard Feng Siniang lightly call out to them: "Stop!"
They all halted but all they saw on her face was a smile, a gentle and
In a soft tone, she said: "You watched a woman taking a bath and then expect
to casually walk away like this?"
The Two-Headed Snake said: "What...what do you want?"
Although his voice trembled a little, at the sight of Feng Siniang's bared
chest, his eyes bulged. His confidence returned and he sneered at her: "Do
you want us to take a closer look?"
Feng laughed: "Oh...you thought that because I am not wearing any clothes,
you can bully me and I wouldn't dare pursue you?"
The Two-Headed Snake smiled: "That's right. If you're taking a bath and a
fellow comes in, you can't kill that person if you're sitting in the
Feng raised her hand and said: "Does this look like the hand of a murderer?"
Both her hands showed ten slender fingers, soft and supple like an orchid.
The Two-Headed Snake replied: "It doesn't."
Feng said: "I agree but the strange thing is, sometimes it can kill people!"
As soon as she said this, both her hands gently stroked the air, sending out
ten silver flashes.
Afterwards, a succession of miserable shouts could be heard as each person's
eye were hit by a needle. No one saw where these needles came from and
nobody was spared.
Feng sighed, muttering: "Who peeps at a woman taking a bath gets 'needle
eye.' Haven't you heard of this saying?" (NOTE: Needle eye is Chinese
slang for stye.)
The group of bandits were scratching their eyes, the intense pain causing
them to sway back and forth.
The miserable sounds they made was jarring but Feng did not even have to
cover her ears. She was completely absorbed with studying both of her hands
After looking at it for a long while, she then closed her eyes, sighing as
she said: "It's a pity that the same hands used to embroider a flower are
also used to kill people..."
Suddenly, the shouting stopped. The quiet was instantaneous.
Feng knitted her brows and called out: "Hua Ping?"
There was no sound outside. Only the sound of the wind blowing and the
rustle of the leaves could be heard.
After a while, a sound was heard, the sound of a saber being sheathed.
The corners of Feng's mouth slowly lifted into a smile and she said: "I knew
you'd come! You managed to kill those people outside in a flash! Who else
can wield such a quick saber?"
Outside, no one replied.
Feng said: "I know you killed them swiftly to inflict as little pain as
possible. But since when did your heart turn soft?"
After a while, the person outside said slowly: "Is that Feng Siniang?"
Feng laughed: "You don't often hear my voice but it seems you have not
Hua Ping said: "Who else but Feng Siniang would take a bath to lead them on
while secretly planning evil?"
Feng bit her lip and chuckled: "So you were also peeping. Otherwise, how
could you know I'm taking a bath?"
Hua Ping ignored her.
Feng said: "If you want to watch, then why don't you come in?"
Huang Ping sighed and said: "You went beyond the great wall and everyone
thought you disappeared to live a peaceful life. Why have you come back?"
Feng smiled, saying: "Because I missed you."
Hua Ping kept his mouth closed.
Feng asked: "You don't believe I miss you? If I didn't, why would I come
looking for you?"
Hua Ping was sighing.
Feng asked: "Why are you sighing? You think my being here is no good?
Persons change but does that mean old friends do?"
Hua Ping said: "Put some clothes on. I'll wait."
Feng replied: "I already have my clothes on. You can come in!"
Hua Ping's figure finally appeared at the doorway. His face was usually pale
but when he saw Feng Siniang sitting in the bathtub, naked, it turned even
Feng laughed and said: "When people take a peep at me while I bathe, I kill
them. But when you don't want to look, I must insist that you do."
Hua Ping was actually short, but nobody would ever think he was a dwarf
because his body was tough and strong like that of a large person.
He had on a very long black cloak, which revealed the hilt of a red saber.
Hua Ping became chief of the Guanzhong bandits because of this saber.
Feng said: "I heard you killed 'Taiyuan Yi Jian' (First Sword of the High
Order) Gao Fei, is that right?"
Hua Ping only said: "Mmm."
Feng added: "I heard too that 'Tai Hang Shuangdao' (Twin Sabers of
Taihang), the Ding brothers, were also defeated by you, is that true?"
Hua Ping said: "Mmm." He was not only willing to look at Feng Siniang, he
was also unwilling to say anything. Feng said with a smile: "Gao Fei and the
Ding brothers are all first class martial artists but you were able to kill
them. Obviously, your saber skills are quicker than before."
Hua Ping did not say a word.
Feng said: "I came here today so I could have a look at your saber."
Hua Ping asked in a suspicious tone: "You want a demonstration?"
Feng replied: "Don't be anxious. I am not asking for a duel. I am not
willing to die under your saber and I am not willing to kill you either."
Hua Ping took a very long time to recover his composure. Afterwards, he
said, "Then, you need not look."
Feng asked: "Why?"
Hua Ping replied: "Because my saber is only used for killing people. It's
not for display!"
Feng's eyes twinkled and she smiled, saying: "And if I insist?"
Hua Ping was quiet for quite a while before he suddenly said: "Alright.
Then, have a look." He spoke very slowly but even though his words were
slow, there were only five syllables there. No matter how slowly he spoke,
it could not have taken very long. But before he even finished speaking, his
saber had left its sheath and returned. In that flash of his saber, the
wooden stool near the entrance had been cut in half.
The swiftness of Hua's saber was truly astonishing.
Feng Siniang chuckled, shaking her head as she said: "I meant your saber
skill for killing people, not your saber skill for chopping firewood. In
front of an old friend, why bother keeping it secret?"
Hua Ping asked: "Secret?"
Feng replied: "Although you can use your saber with either hand, who in
Jiang Hu doesn't know that you always use your left hand? Your left hand is
at least twice faster than your right."
Hua Ping's pallor changed. He was silent for a long time before he finally
said: "You really want to see me use my left hand?"
Feng said: "I've decided."
Hua Ping sighed and said: "Alright, you look!"
He suddenly whipped off his cloak.
Feng had been smiling but suddenly, she stiffened and her smile died. Noted
all over Jiang Hu for his "Zuoshou Shendao" (Left Handed Divine Saber),
Hua Ping's saber was renowned all over the Central Plains. But his left arm
had been cut off at the shoulder. After a long silence, Feng exclaimed in
surprise: "This...was this cut off by someone?"
Hua Ping said: "Mmm."
Feng said: "Did he use a sword? Or an axe?"
Hua Ping replied: "A saber!"
Feng paled. "Saber? Is there someone whose saber is faster than yours?"
Hua Ping closed his eyes and said: "Only one person!"
Although he looked miserable, there was no grief or indignation visible. He
had obviously been convinced by the person's saber skill that he actually
thought to himself his injury was justified.
Feng could not refrain from asking: "Who is this person?"
Hua Ping's gaze was distant as he spoke slowly, pronouncing every word
distinctly: "Xiao Shiyi Lang!"
Xiao Shiyi Lang!
As soon as the name was spoken, an odd change occured in Feng's countenance.
But who could say if it was anger? Was it joy? Or was it sadness?
Hua Ping muttered: "Xiao Shiyi Lang, Xiao Shiyi Lang... You should know
Feng nodded slowly and said: "Yes, I know him.... Of course, I know him!"
Hua Ping stopped staring into the distance and turned to look her fixedly in
the eye. He said: "Do you want to see him?"
He added: "Sooner or later, you'll want to see him."
Feng glared at him. "What shit."
Hua Ping replied: "You can't fool me. I know you came back here for
Feng stared at him. "Who said that?"
Hua Ping said: "I don't know what your reason is but I know that it must be
important. You're afraid that you can't do it alone so you wanted to ask me
Then he smiled miserably and said: "It's too bad you came to look for me.
I'm the wrong person to look for help."
Feng Siniang sneered, saying: "Let's say you guessed right but I can still
find other people to help me. Why should I ask for Xiao Shiyi Lang's help?
Are all the masters of the Martial Order dead?"
Hua Ping said: "Who else can help you but him?"
Feng rose from the tub, still naked, saying defiantly: "Who said there are
no others? I'll find someone, you'll see."
Hua Ping immediately closed his eyes. He said slowly: "Who do you want to
look for? Fei Daifu (Flying Doctor)?"
Her eyes shone. She said: "Who else can compare to Xiao Shiyi Lang but Fei
Daifu? His qinggong (lightness kung fu) is high. He can run faster
than anyone. Not even ten Xiao Shiyi Langs can compare to him."
According to the rumors in Jiang Hu, "Fei Daifu" Gongsun Ling only needed to
use one finger to stop a speeding horse; His "Yanzi San Chao Shui
(Swallow Thrice Floating on Water)" lightness kung fu was unequalled in
the Martial World; In addition, his medical skills and ethics bordered on
the miraculous. Many people in the Martial World reverred him as "Gongsun
San Jue (Three-Titled Gongsun)."
Gongsun lived in a very odd place. He lived inside a tomb built with stones
and he rested on a bed that was actually a coffin.
He thought that this was convenient. Because once he died, no one had to do
hardwork and move him someplace.
He had no family save for a young lad who answered the door. This lad was
not only thin, he was also quite ugly. Feng Siniang asked him: "Is Mr.
Gongsun in?" Then added: "Where is Mr. Gongsun?" Again, she asked" "Will Mr.
Gongsun come back today? When is he coming back?"
Feng had already fired several questions but this boy had yet to utter a
When he finally answered, he spoke only two words: "Not in."
Feng was so mad she wanted to slap him with both her palms.
But then she thought about what would keep Fei Daifu from home: The doctor
must be visiting his patients.
Although Fei Daifu's temperament was strange, his compassion was not
She also knew that Fei Daifu would not rest anywhere else tonight. He always
slept in his coffin, thinking that if he died in his sleep, he didn't have
to be moved.
Feng wanted at first to wait for him until he came back but a living person
never wanted to sit in a grave. There was something better than sitting on a
So, she sat near the street instead.
Twilight soon grew heavy and the autumn wind brought a chill in the air.
Feng found a comfortable place on a roadside cliff where she could lie down.
She looked up at the darkening sky, waiting for the first star to rise.
Only very few people noticed how the first star rises.
Feng is one such people. Regardless of the situation, she always found
something interesting to do. She never wasted her time.
Oh! How many people in the world understand this kind of quiet pleasures?
The night grew deep and the stars were finally out.
In the twilight, the sound of heavy footsteps could be heard. Two people
carrying a palanquin were trotting up the mountain trail. Above sat a gaunt
old man dressed in a blue gown.
The old man's facial expression was haggard and sagged. His eyes were closed
The two people were tired and haggard as well, gasping for breath as they
climbed up the hill. The one in front turned and said: "It's still a long
way to the top. Let's rest for a bit." The person behind him said: "I'm
getting really tired. When climbing up, it's much more strenuous for the
person in the back."
The person in the front ridiculed: "Little bastard, you're being lazy again!
Is it possible you saw Xiao Tiangua again last night? Sooner or later,
you're going to die on her belly."
As the two people continued to exchange banters, their footsteps slowed
down. No one could tell if that old person was really sleeping or just
pretending not to hear. He never opened his eyes.
When they reached the top of the hill, the two men stopped and slowly
lowered down the palanquin. Suddenly, the two of them simultaneously drew
two pairs of long swords. They sent these towards the palanquin, two swords
aiming for the old man's chest and the other pair aiming for his back!