Chapter 4 – The Thumb of the Black Hand
[originally translated by Chowbeng and edited by RWX]
What was he then, if not human? Was he a wild animal? Ghost or demon? Block of wood? Or immortal Buddha?
Perhaps, not any of that. It merely was the uncannily ability to perform deeds that were beyond the limits of normal beings and at the same time able to endure far more than any normal being.
Yan Nanfei had a very good explanation, “Even if you are human, you are at the most an inhuman human.”
Fu Hongxue smiled, he actually smiled. Although he did not laugh out loud, his eyes did indeed have the hint of laughter.
This was already something very rare, like a ray of sunshine suddenly appearing in middle of a violent storm.
Yan Nanfei looked at him and suddenly sighed, “What I didn’t expect is that an inhuman human like you could also smile.”
Fu Hongxue quipped, “Not only could smile, but could listen as well.”
Yan Nanfei said, “Then, just follow me.”
Fu Hongxue asked, “Where to?”
Yan Nanfei replied, “To somewhere without rain, to somewhere with wine”
In the small mansion, there was wine and there were bright lights. In such a chilly cold rainy night, it might be even warmer than Fu Hongxue’s smile. But Fu Hongxue only lifted his head and with a single look, the laughter in his eyes immediately froze.
He coldly said, “This place might be for you but it is not for me.”
Yan Nanfei said, “You are not going in?”
“Certainly not”, Fu Hongxue replied.
Yan Nanfei said, “If I can go in, why can’t you do the same?”
Fu Hongxue said, “Because you are not me, and I am not you.”
It was because you are not me, you would never understand my pain and sufferings.
This was left unspoken, neither was there the need. Yan Nanfei had seen his pain, his face was already distorted with this pain.
This place was just only a brothel, a place where people seeked pleasures and joys. Why would it cause him such intense pain and suffering? Could it be that he had previously endured great pain and sufferings in such a place?
Yan Nanfei suddenly asked, “Did you see the person accompanying me to Phoenix Settlement, the one who carried my zither?”
Fu Hongxue shook his head.
Yan Nanfei continued, “I know that you had not seen it, because you never drink and never look at women.”
He stared at Fu Hongxue, and slowly said, “Is it because those two things had hurt you in the past?
Fu Hongxue had not moved, neither did he speak but every muscle in his face was already taut. Yan Nanfei’s words were like a sharp needle, stabbing into his heart.
– Couldn’t a place of happiness also have deep and painful memories?
– Without happiness, how could there be pain and sufferings?
– Isn’t happiness and pain separated just by a thin thread?
Yan Nanfei shut his mouth. He didn’t want to ask further, he couldn’t bear to ask further.
At this moment, two people suddenly flew out behind the high walls. One of them hit the ground with a “PU” and didn’t move an inch after that. The other however had already made his way up the mansion with the exquisite lightness skill, [Swallow Pecking Water Trice].
When Yan Nanfei came out, the windows were still open and the lamps were still bright. Under the lamp light, he could only made out a flash of delicatly agile shadow before it disappeared through the window.
The one on the ground, was a small, thin blackclothed old man. Long white beard and a wax yellow complexion. He had stopped breathing by the time he hit the ground.
When Yan Nanfei realised that he was dead, he flew up the mansion in the greatest haste, straight through the window.
By the time he passed through the window, Fu Hongxue was already inside.
There was nobody in the house, only a wet footprint. A delicate footprint. The swallow-like shadow was obviously a woman.
Yan Nanfei creased his bows and mumbled, “Could it be her?”
Fu Hongxue asked, “Who is she?”
Yan Nanfei answered, “Mingyue Xin.”
Fu Hongxue coldly, “There’s no moon the sky, and the bright moon has no heart. How could there then be a Mingyue Xin, the heart of the bright moon?”
Yan Nanfei sighed, with a bitter laugh, “You were wrong. I was wrong too. Only now I do I realize that the bright moon does have a heart.” The heartless one was the wild rose. The wild rose at the horizon.
Fu Hongxue said, “Mingyue Xin is the owner here?”
Yan Nanfei nodded, still silent. Outside, someone had already came knocking on the door.
The door was not latched properly, a redcheeked girl with a pair of huge eyes walked in. Dressed in a thin spring grown, carrying a food basket on her left hand and on her right, was a wine jar with a still unbroken seal.
With her pair of nimble huge eyes, she looked at Fu Hongxue for a long while before suddenly asking, “Are you the honoured guest my mistress is expecting?”
Fu Hongxue did not understand, nor did Yan Nanfei.
The young girl continued, “Our mistress said that an honoured guest is coming and had instructed us to prepare food and wine. But you don’t look the part of the honoured guest.”
She seemed reluctant to even take another glance at Fu Hongxue. For while talking she had already turned around to tidy up the table and arrange the cutlery.
The person just now was indeed Mingxue Xing.
The blackclothed old man was plotting to assassinate Yan Nanfei. She had killed the old man without revealing herself, most likely to lure Fu Hongxue into this mansion.
Yan Nanfei smiled, “It looks like her ability to invite guests greatly surpassed mine.”
Fu Hongxue pulled a long face and coldly said, “Too bad that I am not the type of honoured guest she expected.”
Yan Nanfei reasoned, “But since you are already here, then there is no point not staying.”
Fu Hongxue retorted, “Since I am already here, then why did you still waste such words?”
Yan Nanfei smiled again, walked over and broke open the clay seal of the wine jar. The fragrance greeted the nostrils immediately.
“Good wine.” He laughed. “Even when I was here, I didn’t get to drink such good wine.”
The young girl was pouring wine, from the wine jar to the wine pot and then from the wine pot to the wine cup.
Yan Nanfei remarked, “It looks like she not only recognise you, but she clearly also knows what kind of person you are.”
The wine cup was full to the brim. He drained it in a one glup, then turned to face Fu Hongxue and slowly said, “I had unfulfilled wishes because one person is still not dead.”
Fu Hongxue asked, “Who is that?”
Yan Nanfei said, “He is the kind that deserved to die.”
Fu Hongxue asked again, “You want to kill him?”
Yan Nanfei said, “Every single day and night.”
Fu Hongxue was slient for a long time before calmly said, “People who deserved to die would die sooner or later. Why must you kill him with your own hands?”
Yan Nanfei said, “Because apart from me, no one else knows that he deserved to die.”
Fu Hongxue questioned, “Who exactly is this person?”
Yan Nanfei replied, “Gongzi Yu!”
It was suddenly very dead still, even the young girl who was serving wine had momentally forgotten to pour wine!
These three characters alone was enough to frighten people into submission.
The raindrops trickled down from the roof like a curtain of beads.
Fu Hongxue faced the windows for a long time before abruptly asked, “In the last 40 years, how many people could be considered as true heroes.”
Yan Nanfei answered, “Three persons.”
Fu Hongxue, “Only three?”
Yan Nanfei said, “I didn’t include you, you…
Fu Hongxue interrupted him, calmly said, “I know I am not a hero. I know only how to kill people, but not how to save them.”
Yan Nanfei continued, “I did know that you are not a hero, simply because you have no intention to be one.”
Fu Hongxue said, “The three you mentioned are Shen Lang, Li XunHuan and Ye Kai?”
Yan Nanfei nodded, “Only those three are fit to be called true heroes. No one in the martial world could dispute that. The first decade belongs to Shen Lang, XiaoLi Flying Dagger dominated the second decade and in the third decade Ye Kai took over.”
Fu Hongxue said, “In the last ten years?”
Yan Nanfei laughed coldly, “The martial world of this age without a doubt belongs to Gongzi Yu.” The winecup was full again, he again quaffed it down in one go. “He not only have close ties with the Imperial family, he is also Shen Lang’s only successor. He is famous, charming and suave. Excellent in literary arts and unmatched martial skills. A great swordman!”
Fu Hongxue said, “Yet you want to kill him.”
Yan Nanfei slowly nodded his head, “I want to kill him but it is not for fame, neither it is for vengeance.”
Fu Hongxue asked, “Then, for what reason.”
“For justice and righteousness, because I know his secret. Only I….”, said Yan Nanfei.
He was draining his third toast when the wine cup suddenly crushed in his hands with a “BO”.
His complexion had changed, changed into a kind of ghostly dead greenish hue.
Fu Hongxue took just one look at him and shot up like wind. First, jamming a pair of silver chopstick into his mouth and then without delay sealing all the acupoints leading to his heart.
Yan Nanfei’s mouth was already clamping shut but he couldn’t bite through the pair of silver chopsticks, thus leaving a small gap. Through this gap, Fu Hongxue was then able to pour a vial of antidote into his mouth.
With his fingers, he lightly tapped a couple of times on Yan Nanfei’s forehand.
The silver chopsticks came popping out, and the antidote was already in his belly.
The young girl was already frightened to death and was about to slip away quietly. But before she could do so, she felt a pair of eyes, sharper and colder than any knife edge already boring into her.
The wine pot and wine cup were made of pure silver, the clay seal on the wine jar shown no signs of tampering.
But Yan Nanfei was poisoned, already deeply poisoned after only three cups of wine. How did the poison get into the wine?
Fu Hongxue smashed the wine jar, the bottom was exposed. Under the bright lamp, something was shining like a star at the bottom of the wine jar.
It was a three inch long needle. The jar bottom was only slightly thicker than an inch. By pushing the needle into the bottom of the wine jar, the poison on the needle would then dissolved into the wine.
He had found the answer to the question within seconds. But there was more than one question. The poison is from the needle, but where did the needle come from?
Fu Hongxue’s eyes was as cold as a knife edge, calmly asked, “You brought this jar of wine?”
The young girl nodded her head, her apple cheeks were already white with fear.
Fu Hongxue asked again, “Where did you bring it from?”
Young Girl quivering, “This is our own wine, which were all stored in the basement.”
Fu Hongxue again, “Why did you pick this particular jar?”
Young Girl replied, “It was not me who picked the wine. Our mistress told us to serve the very best for the honoured guest. That jar of wine was the best of the best!”
Fu Hongxue followed up, “Where is she?”
Young Girl replied, “She was changing because…”
Before she could finished, someone from outside already continued for her, “…because when I returned just now, I was also completely drenched”
Her voice was pleasant, her smile was attractive. Her bearing was graceful and elegant while she dressed very softly in pale hues.
Perhaps she could not be regarded as a beauty who could break up dynasties or take over cities with a bat of her eyelids. But when she walked in, she was like a light ray of moon shinning through the window in a lifeless night. Emitting a sense of unspeakable beauty and a sense of indescribable tranquil happiness.
Her eyes were gentle, just like the moon in spring. But they became much keener upon seeing the poison needle in Fu Hongxue’s hand.
“Since you are able to find this needle, then you would surely know its origins.” Her voice had also became much more incisive. “This is Tang Family of Sichuan’s unique hidden projectile. The dead old man outside is the disgrace of the Tang Family, Tang Xiang. He had been inside here before, since this mansion was hardly a heavily guarded place. In fact, the wine storage at the basement wasn’t even locked.”
Fu Hongxue didn’t seem to hear a single word of what she said. He only stared at her blankly, his pale face turned into a crimison red, his breathing ragged and urgent. Torrents of cold sweat had replaced, the rain that had only just dried on his face. Mingyue Xin looked up and only then saw these odd changes on his face. She exclaimed loudly, “You are poisoned as well?!”
Fu Hong held both his hands tightly together, but still he couldn’t stop himself from trembling. Without warning, he flipped in the air and shot out of the window like an arrow. The young girl looked in surprise as he vanished from view. Raising her eyebrowns, “This person seems to have quite a few problems”
Mingyue Xin exhaled lightly, “Indeed, his sickness is very severe.”
Young Girl said, “What sickness is that?”
Mingyue Xin answered her, “Sickness of the heart.”
Young Girl blinked, “How could his heart be ill?”
Mingyue Xin was slient for a long while before sighing again, “It is because he is a man of great grief.”
Only the wind and the rain, no light.
The town in darkness was just like a barren wilderness.
Fu Hongxue had collapsed beside an alley sewer, his body curled with spasms and was vomiting nonstop.
He perhaps did not vomit out anything but the pain and sorrow in his heart. He was indeed sick.
To him, this sickness was not only pain and suffering that he could not be freed from, but also a source of shame and humiliation. His sickness would manifest itself whenever he was in extreme anger or sorrow. He would then hide away and torture himself the most cruelly.
All because he hated himself, hated himself for having such sickness.
The icy rain pounded his body like lashs of whip. His heart was bleeding, his hands were also bleeding. He dug hard into the gravel, shoving the mixture of blood and dirt into his mouth.
He had a deep fear that he would wailed and howled like a wild animal. He much rather bleed than to let others see his suffering and humiliation.
Unforunately, someone came into this empty alley.
The delicate shadow slowly walked over and stopped in front of him. He didn’t see her person, only her feet. A pair of dainty and elegent feet. A pair of soft satin shoes, that totally matched the rest of her attire.
The colours she wore were always very soft, very pale. Pale like the moon in spring.
Fu Hongxue suddenly let out an animalistic howl, like a tiger with a belly wound.
He would much rather anyone else in the world but her, to see his suffering and humiliation.
He struggled to get up, but somehow every single muscle in his body shook violently in convulsion.
She sighed, sighing as she bended on her knees.
He heard her sigh, and felt a pair of icy hands lightly carassing his face.
Then he lost conscious. All his sufferings and humiliation were instantly erased.
When he came to, he was already back in that small mansion.
She was looking at him by the bedside. Her gown was pale like the moon in spring, but orbs in her eyes were shinning like the stars in autumn.
Seeing that pair of eyes, he felt another spasm deep inside his heart trembling like a zither chord.
Her expression was however very cool, softly said, “You need not say anything. The only reason I brought you back here is to save Yan Nanfei, the poison had already worked deeply into him.”
Fu Hongxue shut his eyes. Not only to escape her gaze but also to hide the pain in his eyes.
Mingyue Xin continued, “To my knowledge, there are at the most only three person in the martial world who can counteract the poison from Tang Family. And you are one of them.”
Fu Hongxue shown no reactions at all. But all in an instant, he already stood up, facing the window and away from her.
He was still wearing his original clothes, his sabre still by his side. These two things put him somewhat at ease, thus he didn’t shot out of the window this time. Calmly he asked, “Is he still here?”
“Still here, just right inside.”
“I go in, you wait here.”
She stood there, watched him walked in slowly. Seeing his walking posture, the orbs in her eyes could not help but to betray a kind of unexplainable grief and anguish.
It was quite some time before she heard him from beyond the door curtain, “Antidote is on the table.” His voice was still ice cold, “He is no longer deeply poisoned. After three days, he will regain conscious. After seven days, he will recover.”
“But you can’t leave now!” She said in a great hurry, as if knowing that he was going to leave immediately, “Even if you are very unwilling to see me, you still shouldn’t leave now!”
A light breeze from the window and the curtain on the door passively moved. Inside, there was no response at all.
Had he left?
“I do understand you, and also know that you had some very painful memories. The person who had hurt you deeply in the past must have looked very much like me.” Mingyue Xin said very firmly, “But you must be clear on one thing: she is she, she is not me, nor anyone else.”
So there is no need to escape, nobody needs to escape. The last sentence was left unsaid, for she believed that he would certainly understand her meaning.
The breeze was still blowing and the curtain was still wavering. He had not left!
She heard his breathing and right away said, “If you really want him to live one more year, you must agree to do two things.”
Finally he opened his mouth, “What are they?”
“You must not leave for the next seven days.” She blinks and continued, “At noon, you must also accompany me onto the streets to observe a few people.”
“What kind of people?”
“The kind that absolutely would not allow Yan Nanfei to live three more days.”
A horse carriage stopped outside the backdoor behind the rear garden, the window screens were all drawn down.
“Why must we go by carriage?”
“Because I want you to see them without being seen by them.” Mingyue Xin unexpectedly smiled a little, “I know that you don’t wish to see me too, so I had brought a mask.”
The mask she wore was one of the Laughing Buddha. The plump round face with an ear to ear doll-like grin, contrasted with her slim and slender waist, looked absolutely ridiculous.
Even so, Fu Hongxue did not give her a single look, the pale white hand was still tightly holding that pitch black sabre. In his eyes, there was already nothing that could make him smile.
Behind the mask, the pair of orbs in Mingyue Xin’s eyes was locked tightly on to him. Abruptly she asked, “Don’t you want to know who is the first person I am bringing you to see?”
Fu Hongxue did not respond.
Mingyue Xin answered herself, “It is Du Lei. Thunder Wind Sabre, Du Lei.”
Fu Hongxue did not respond.
Mingyue Xin exhaled, “I guess you have been already out of touch with the martial world for too long and don’t even know about someone like him.”
Fu Hongxue finally opened his mouth again, coldly said, “Why must I know about him?”
Mingyue Xin replied, “Because he was also one of the persons in the List.
Fu Hongxue, “What list?”
Mingyue Xin, “The martial world’s “Hall of Fame” list.
Fu Hongxue turned even paler.
He knew that in the martial world, anyone who had made a name for themselves, certainly would not bow to anyone else.
Years ago, Bai Xiaosheng’s [Weapons List] appraised all top pugilists under the heavens. Although it had been very fair handed, still it caused a long succession of killings. In later years, some had speculated that he was intentionally stirring up chaos in the martial world.
What about the present [Hall of Fame]? Could it also have some sinister ulterior motives?
Mingyue Xin said, “It is said that the List was put together by Gongzhi Yu himself. On the List there is a total of thirteen names.”
Fu Hongxue sneered, “His own name is of course not on the List.”
Mingyue Xin confirmed, “You are certainly right.”
Fu Hongxue’s eyes flashed and asked again, “What about Ye Kai?”
Mingyue Xin answered, “Ye Kai’s name isn’t there too. Maybe it is because he had completely severed his ties with the martial world, already a man above Man, already a cloud above Heaven.” Fu Hongxue, his eyes seems to have gone somewhere far away.
In the far-away place, a person danced without care in the smoothing cool breeze, almost floating in the wind.
Mingyue Xin said, “I know that Ye Kai is your only friend, even you don’t have news of him?
Fu Hongxue’s eyes instantly snapped back, as grim as the sabre’s edge and callously said, “I have no friends at all, not a single one.”
Mingyue Xin sighed quietly in her heart again before returning to the topic, “Why didn’t you ask me if your name is in the List?”
Fu Hongxue didn’t ask, because there is simply no need to.
Mingyue Xin said, “Maybe it is not neccessary to ask. Your name is of course on the List, but so is Yan Nanfei’s!”
Mingyue Xin hesitated before continuing, “Although it had been stressed that the List isn’t ranked in any order, but a list of thirteen names would naturally have some sort of order.”
Fu Hongxue finally gave in and asked, “Who is the first name?”
Mingyue Xin, “Yan Nanfei!”
Fu Hongxue’s hand on the sabre tightened momentarily before slowly relaxing.
Mingyue Xin said, “You could now understand why while as long as he is in martial world, he would never have a day of peace and quiet.”
Fu Hongxue did not reply, the carriage stopped, stopped right opposite a tall buliding.
The restaurant was 10 feet tall.
“I know that Du Lei has his afternoon meal here everyday, always leaving around this hour.” Mingyue Xin said, “He ate the same thing everyday, four side dishes, two bowls of rice and a bottle of wine. His menu had never yet changed at all.”
Fu Hongxue’s pale face still show no expression at all, but the orbs of his eyes was already contracting.
He knew that he had yet again met a fearsome opponent.
There were numerous highly skilled pugilists in the martial world, numbering in the hundreds and thousands. But there were only thirteen persons on the List. These thirteen persons certainly were the most fearsome of all.
Mingyue Xin lifted the window screen up slightly and quickly spied outside. Suddenly she exclaimed, “He is coming out.”
The sun was at its zenith.
When Du Lei stepped out of the restaurant, his feet had stepped right on his shadow.
On his feet, he wore a pair of soft soled shoes costing eighteen taels, they were still very new.
Whenever he stepped on his own shadow with new shoes, he always had this strange impulse to strip off his shoes and all his clothes, and then ran off hollering crazily in the center of the town.
He of course couldn’t do such things because he was already famous, very famous.
Presently all his actions were as precise as the night watchman’s drum.
No matter where he went, no matter how long he had stayed, he would arise and have his meals punctually everyday. Even the dishes were also exactly the same.
At times, it drove him crazy, but he was nonetheless not willing to change one bit.
All because he hoped that others would think of him as a very exact and efficent person. He knows that everyone had a certain respect and admiration for such a person. This was his greatest pride and joy.
Seventeen years of harsh training, five years of tough struggle, forty-three big and small bloody battles. What he had hoped to achieve was just that.
He must make himself believed, believed that he was no longer that barefooted street urchin.
The sabre set with precious jade was gleaming under the sunlight, on the streets many were sizing up that sabre of his, opposite in a pitch black horse carriage, two pairs of eyes seemed to be staring at him.
Recently, he had gotton used to people staring at him to size him up. Everyone could get used to it.
But today he suddenly felt ill at ease again, liked a naked girl among a large group of men.
Could it be that the two pairs of eyes in the carriage across the street had pierced his golden plated outer shell, and seen that barefooted street urchin?
Cleave the carriage open in one single move and poke out the two pair of eyes!
That was the kind of impulse he suddenly felt, but he did no such thing. He hadn’t come all the way here for these kind of trouble.
Recently, he had also learnt to endure.
He didn’t even look once in the direction, and walked back to his inn along the sunny long street. Every step he took was as exact as that of an old tailor taking measurements of a young girl. Not an inch more, not an inch less, exactly 2.3 inches.
He hoped that others would be able to understand his sabre was just as exact.
Mingyue Xin exhaled lightly, “What do you think of him?
Fu Hongxue said coldly, “Even if he doesn’t die within three years, he certainly would have turned into a lunatic by then.
Mingyue Xin sighed, “Too bad, right now he isn’t insane yet…
The horse carriage stopped again, opposite the “Top Fragrance”.
“Top Fragrance” is a very big teahouse with people from all walks of life. The bigger the teahouse, the more people in the teahouse.
Mingyue Xin inched up the window screen again, allowing Fu Hongxue to take a long good look before asking, “What did you see?”
Fu Hongxue said, “People.”
Mingyue Xin, “How many?”
Fu Hongxue, “Seven.”
It was now the peak hour and business was good, there were at least one or two hundred people inside the teahouse. Why did he see only seven?
Mingyue Xin didn’t find it puzzling at all, in fact her eyes shone with respect and asked again, “Which are the seven you saw?”
The seven Fu Hongxue saw were: the two chess players, the one peeling peanuts, the monk, the pockmarked man, the young songstress and lastly the fat man who was snoozing on the table.
These seven people were scattered all over the teahouse and didn’t look special in any way.
Why did he not see the other people but these seven particular people?
Mingyue Xin again wasn’t puzzled by his answer, on the contrary her admiration grew. Sighing softly, “I know your sabre is fast, but your eyes are even faster.”
Fu Hongxue added, “Actually, seeing just one is enough.”
He was looking at a person.
The snoozing fat man had now awaken. He yawned and poured himself a cup of tea to rinse his mouth. He spat that wash of tea onto the floor with a “PU” and dirtied the trouser leg of someone by the side. He hurriedly bent down with apologies and wiped the trouser leg with his sleeves.
If a man was too fat, his actions would naturally be a little silly and funny.
But as Fu Hongxue looked at him, the orbs in his eyes contracted exactly the same way as he looked at Du Lei just now.
Did he regard the fatty as another fearsome opponent?
Mingyue Xin asked, “You recognise that person?”
Fu Hongxue shook his head.
“But you take great notice of him,” persisted Mingyue Xin.
Fu Hongxue nodded.
Mingyue Xin said, “Have you notice anything special about him?”
Fu Hongxue held his silence for a long while before he slowly answered, “This man has a murderous aura!”
Mingyue Xin said, “Murderous aura?”
“Only an expert who had killed countless times would carry such an aura,” Fu Hongxue’s grip on his sabre tighten.
Mingyue Xin baited, “But he looked nothing more than silly fatty.”
“That is only his cover, similar to the sheath of a sword” Fu Hongxue sneered.
Mingyue Xin sighed yet again, “It looks like your eye is sharper than your sabre.”
Evidently, she recognised this person, moreover she also knew a lot about his background.
Fu Hongxue asked, “Who is he?”
“He is the Thumb.” Mingyue Xin answered
“Thumb?” Fu Hongxue queried
Minyue Xin explained, “Do you know about a very fearsome secret organisation that appeared in the martial world during recent years.”
“What is this organisation’s name?” Fu Hongxue followed up.
“Blackhand!” Mingyue Xin announced.
Fu Hongxue had never heard of it, but still he felt some sort of unexplained pressure.
Mingyue Xin said, “Presently, in the martial world there are not many people who know about the inner workings of this organisation because its dealings are totally underground, nothing it does can bee seen by the light of day.”
Fu Hongxue said, “What does it deal in?”
Mingyue Xin said, “Kidnappings, extortions and assassinations.”
As a hand has five fingers, this organisation has five heads.
This fat man is the Thumb, Thumb of the Blackhand!
The horse carriage continued its way, window screens already drawn down.
Mingyue Xin suddenly asked, “In a hand, which finger has the greatest strength?”
“The thumb,” Fu Hongxue replied.
Mingyue Xin, “Which finger is the most agile?” .
“The index finger,” Fu Hongxue suppiled.
Mingyue Xin said, “Thus, in Blackhand it is the Thumb and the Index Finger that are responsible for assassinations.”
The Thumb is fearful because he had learnt the [Destructive Virgin Art of 13 Heroes] which usually can’t be mastered by most in a lifetime.
He managed to do so because he was originally an eunuch in the palace and was trained from young by several grandmasters in the Inner Palace.
The Index Finger had an even more complicated background. He is said to have worked a stint as an usher monk in Shaolin Temple, as a six-sack elder in Beggar Sect and also had been a hall master of the 12 Docks in Jiangnan’s Fengwei clan.
They both had a team working under them, each and every one of the team had some special skill. Futhermore they had worked together seamlessly for a long time. Thus they had not failed once in their assassination operations.
Mingyue Xin said, “However, these two were not the most fearful person in the organisation.”
Fu Hongxue said, “Then who?”
Mingyue Xin said, “Ring Finger, also known as the Nameless Finger.” In a hand, the most clumsy finger is the nameless finger.
Fu Hongxue said, “Why is the Nameless Finger so fearful?”
Mingyue Xin said, “Precisely because he is nameless.”
Fu Hongxue agreed.
Being a famous big shot in the martial world had its advantages, but on many occasions nameless persons were often more terrifying. It was so because it was only after they had a knife in your chest before you realised how fearful they were.
Mingyue Xin said, “Nobody in the martial world knows Nameless Finger’s identity, much less seen his face.”
Fu Hongxue said, “Not even you?”
Mingyu Xin forced a smile, “Perhaps I too, must wait till his knife was in my chest before I know.”
Fu Hongxue was silent, only after a very long while he asked again, “Are we still checking on anyone else?”
Mingyue Xin did not reply directly, “This small town originally was not a very lively place, but many unfamiliar faces have arrived during the last few days.”
But now, these faces were no longer unfamiliar to her, because she had thoroughly investigated the background and habits of each and every one of them.
Fu Hongxue was not surprised.
He had long realised that she definitely wasn’t the delicate and naive woman she resembled. Her pair of slender and beautiful hands wielded a force of tremendous strength, far stronger than anyone imagined.
Mingyue Xin said, “I had investigated and confirmed the background of nearly all of them, with one exception.”
Fu Hongxue said, “Who?”
Before she could answer, the horse pulling the carriage suddenly neighed loudly and reared up. The carriage tilted violently and almost overturned.
Her person was already out of the compartment, only to see a man dressed in a green gown and white leggings directly under the horse’s hoofs.
The driver could no longer control the horse. The man on the ground could not move away at all and curled up like a ball.
The horse was going to trample on the poor man any moment now, but Mingyue Xin had not made any move to help him. In fact, she shown no such intentions at all and wasn’t even looking in his direction.
She was looking at Fu Hongxue. Fu Hongxue was also out of the compartment. His pale face shown no expression at all, much less any intention to help.
The crowd cried in alarm as the horse brought down its hoofs. Everyone could clearly see that the green gown man was directly beneath the horse hoofs, but yet he managed to avoid being trampled. When the horse finally calmed down, that man then slowly climbed up to his feet and panted furiously.
Although his face was very pale from fear and shock, he still looked very ordinary. He was indeed an ordinary man, not a thing special about him.
But when Fu Hongxue saw him, his eyes turned frosty.
He had seen this person. He was the person whose trouser leg was soiled by the Thumb a while ago.
Mingyue Xin smiled suddenly, “Looked like you are down on your luck today, your pants was soiled with mouthwash just a while ago and now your whole body was covered with dirt.”
This person also smiled and softly said, “Today my luck isn’t good, but who knows how many people have worse luck than me. Today I am unlucky, tomorrow who knows how many people will be even more unlucky. Life is like that, mistress doesn’t have to be so worried.”