Saturday, November 3, 2018

Spring Once More ch29

Translator: ayszhang
Editor: Marcia
Beta reader: Dairytea

Spring Once More chapter 29
(Traditional Chinese cover scanned by Dairytea)

Chapter Twenty-nine

I reckon with all that’s happened, Fu Qingshu probably wants to just end me with a qi-charged palm. But who is he? The young Marquess Anguo, of course! He grew up drinking the milk of the Four Books and eating the meat of the Five Classics.[1] Even if his face is as green as an unripe persimmon, he still forces his lips up into what could be called a smile and squeezes out a greeting.
“What brings you to my lowly house at this late hour, Master Ma?”
I sigh inwardly. I know this is painful for both him and me. I straighten my face and my thoughts before asking him seriously, “Master Fu, I can see that you are a martial artist. Do you know the way of xia, the righteous hero?”
“No, please enlighten me.”
The bright moon above, the twinkling stars, the tranquil garden – I adjust my angle so that I catch the wind and clasp my hands behind me. The breeze makes our robes dance. Suddenly the air clears, the world seems to open up, and I sense a flow of qi rising from my stomach.
“To be a xia is to be a hero and act righteously, to hold a sword in hand and the world in heart, to steal from the rich and aid the poor, to support the elderly and help the young – only then can you be called a true hero! You practice martial arts, Master Fu, so you have a duty towards this ideal. So this favour I have for you, you must agree to.”
His lips jerk as if he is about to speak, but I beat him to it.
“I see you have not spoken, so I will take that as a silent affirmation. Just as I expected, you are full of righteous heroism. I truly admire you!”
Now his face has turned from green to outright black. He opens his mouth, but I interrupt. “And since you’ve agreed to help me, Master Fu, I will come out and say it: this matter has to do with the tanhua and dozens of lives. I will tell you the steps, and you will be prudent when executing them!”
His face is a ghastly, wax-yellow now, and he pulls a hopeless smile. “Please.”

When the moon is dark, it is ripe for murder; when the wind is strong, it is ripe for arson.
With a long, soft sword across my neck, I kick down Wang-tanhua’s door.
One in bed, one sitting on the side, two standing to the side – everyone’s eyes are round like plates. We sure have got ourselves a nice assembly: Wang-tanhua, Hua Yingxiong, Su Yanzhi and Master Liuyun, in that order.
“Everybody,” I instruct, “do not move or call. Your prince is being held hostage. He will kill me if you make noise.”
Hua Yingxiong and Master Liuyun are wide-eyed, seeming to be genuinely concerned. Good people.
Su Yanzhi stays in his spot. Maybe he recognizes Fu Qingshu. I guess it’s not farfetched since the li’l marquess is in the exact same outfit as the last time. I mean, he didn’t even bother to add an eyepatch or anything.
The tanhua springs up from bed, his eyes burning with hatred. I stop him. “Master Wang, one moment. If I lose my life now, the dozens of lives of the Wang house shall perish also. The dog, too.”
He halts by the bed. I point behind me. “This hero is named Batwing, and he has come to rescue you. Since I am his hostage, there is little I can do but ask you to leave with him.”
Wang-tanhua keeps his eyes locked on me without a word. I continue with a smile. “I know you are bent on taking my life, but currently you possess no skill to accomplish that. Come find me after you’ve learned the finest martial arts, and when the moon is full, at the top of the Forbidden City,[2] we shall have a duel and finish this once and for all.”
I can see that he is hesitant and struggling with the idea. I add, “Rest assured, Batwing made me take a dose of Ten-Day Soul Disperser. If I do not release your family, I shall not live past ten days.”
Goddamn, it’s tiring to explain every little detail.
Wang Rui’s gaze wanders beyond me towards Fu Qingshu, filled with gratitude and a seedling of determination.
I cough, and the blade by my neck gleams. A dull pain hits the back of my head, and my vision blackens. Fuck! I thought we agreed upon a fake hit just for show!
The next day, the tale of Wang-tanhua replaces that of Imperial Sister Zhou as the new gossip of town.
“So at this point of our story, the hero, Batwing, has rescued the Wang household from the evil grasp of Prince Tai and brought the tanhua to a secret location. This location is none other than the home of the famous recluse, the formerly legendary swordsman, Nan Batian, who has left the jianghu for many years. Tune in next time for the continuation...”
At the snap of a shutting fan, the teahouse erupts into applause and wild cheers. I toss a few coins into the basket of Blind Man Hu before leaving. A few kiddos are fooling around on the street. One has an apron tied backwards as a cape and points a stick at another’s face.
“I am the hero, Batwing! You scum of a prince had better hand Wang-tanhua over to me!”
I rub my nose. Acting as antagonist really is a shitty job – hard work, low pay. You think I have it easy! I almost died getting the empress dowager to release members of the Wang household! I only pulled it off by taking half a bottle of pollen and pretending to have an attack in front of her.
I heave a long sigh as I head towards the manor. There is some good left in this world. After I woke up from the Li’l Marquess’ neck chop, I found all nineteen masters by my bed. I have to say I was truly moved. Even Fu Qingshu spared me a comment after the fiasco: “It doesn’t seem like you’re having an easy time being prince.”
Well said, my man.

[1] A set of classics all students were expected to learn and memorize.
[2] A famous quote from the wuxia classic, The Legend of Lu Xiaofeng, by Gu Long, used often to declare ultimate duels between two master martial artists whose skills are so great they are above even the emperor.

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Dairytea: Manhua clip of the day~
Fuck! Acting as antagonist really is a shitty job.

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