The Celebrity - Chapter 2
Chapter 2 - One Hundred and Eight Sabres
Tian SiSi reclined on the golden silk-carpeted, bamboo couch. The thick shades by the window were drawn tight.
The breeze carried a hint of lotus fragrance. She held a jade bowl, in the bowl was some chilled lotus seed soup.
Someone rode over a hundred li on a fast horse to some foreign lands to retrieve the ice. Although Jin Xiu Manor also stored a supply of ice, Tian SiSi preferred the ice from that faraway place.
For no other reason than that she thought the exotic ice seemed a bit colder.
Even if she thought the moon was square, nobody would argue with her.
As long as Ms. Tian was happy, no matter what she did, no one would dare to oppose her.
This wasn’t merely because she was the mighty marquis, “Second Master Tian” - Tian BaiShi’s only daughter. It was also because she was truly a sweet person. Not only was her person sweet, her words were sweet, and her laughter was even sweeter. Such that no one wished to refuse any of her requests.
Everybody’s only regret was that they didn’t get many opportunities to see this sweet person.
Only during the annual lantern festival, when Second Master Tian released the flower lanterns, would she briefly show herself. During the rest of the year she would hide in her quarters and nobody can catch a glimpse of her.
His nickname being “The High Class of ZhongYuan”, Second Master Tian was obviously not a short-tempered, petty person. He wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if he squandered away all his riches, but he would not allow anybody an opportunity to become intimate with his daughter.
His daughter was a hundred thousand times more valuable than all the treasure in the world combined.
The lotus seed soup was no longer cold. Tian SiSi only took a small sip before handing it over to her servant Tian Xin.
Tian Xin was not just her handmaiden, she was also her best friend, her only friend.
If she didn’t have Tian Xin, she couldn’t imagine how lonely it’d be.
Right now Tian Xin was sitting on a small bench in front of Tian SiSi with her head lowered, embroidering. The liquid in the golden stove gradually started to cool down, the wind blew the bamboo leaves, and a young girl fantasized and spoke wistfully to herself.
Tian SiSi suddenly snatched the embroidery needle away from her maidservant’s hand, and tenderly chided her: “Can’t you stop it with the sewing? Is someone waiting for you to finish embroidering that pillow to use for a wedding dowry?”.
Tian Xin laughed, and lightly tapped her waist with her pale little hands: “If not embroidering, then what else is there to do?”.
Tian SiSi said: “Chat with me.”.
Tian Xin pouted her lips: “We talk all the time, what is there left to chat about?”.
Tian SiSi’s eyes danced: “Tell me a story.”.
Jin Xiu Manor entertained guests all year round. These guests come from all over. Tian Xin would hear all kinds of fearsome and interesting stories from them, and then relay them to her lady.
Tian Xin said: “These past few days, all the guests have been boring dummies who wouldn’t even tell any stories. Every day, they only look forward to sucking up the wine, as if afraid that drinking a bit less would mean they weren’t cool enough.”.
Tian SiSi’s eyes shone, but she intentionally acted bored and casually said: “Then you can tell me the story of the Battle of Tiger Hill once more.”.
Tian Xin: “I’ve forgotten that story.”.
Tian SiSi: “Forgotten? You’ve told that story seven or eight times, how can you forget all of a sudden?”.
Tian Xin pouted her lips even more, and with a stern expression on her face said: “Since I’ve already told that story seven or eight times, you also cannot forget it. Since you haven’t forgotten it, why do you need to hear it again?”.
Tian SiSi blushed and jumped up as if to use the needle to sew up this spoiled servant girl’s lips.
Tian Xin giggled, drew back and gasped: “Ok Miss, if you want to listen I will tell it. As long as your Ladyship is happy, it doesn’t matter if I tell it a hundred times.”.
Only then did Tian SiSi spare her. She glared at her and said: “Speak quickly, and be mindful that I don’t sew up your little lips.”.
Tian Xin sat up straight on the bench, cleared her throat on purpose several times, and then slowly started speaking: “The Battle of Tiger Hill was the young knight Qin Ge’s claim to fame. For the past seven years, no other battle in the martial society has been more stirring, and no other battle has caused more blood to be shed than this one.”.
She has certainly told this story many times. Like a teacher reciting a familiar fable, even if she were dozing off she wouldn’t miss a word.
But Tian SiSi’s eyes shone even more brightly, as if this was the very first time she has heard the story.
Tian Xin said: “That day was May 5th, the Dragon Boat Festival. Every year on that day, the Seven Tigers of ChiangNan would gather on top of Tiger Hill. These Seven Tigers were not nice tigers. Not only would they eat people, they wouldn’t even bother to spit out the bones.”.
Tian SiSi: “If this is so, then other people must be very afraid of them?”.
Tian Xin: “Of course they’re afraid, frightened to the extreme. Therefore even though everybody wanted to act the part of the tiger-fighting hero, and knew that they would all meet on Tiger Hill on this date, nobody dared to go look for them. Until five years ago, on that day......”.
Tian SiSi: “What happened that day?”.
She was obviously already familiar with this story, and knew the right moment to interject with a question to let Tian Xin move the story along.
Tian Xin said: “That day when the Seven Tigers went up the hill, they encountered a very beautiful young lady along the way. The Seven Tigers seeing a beautiful young lady were like hungry dogs eyeing a meaty bone. Without hesitation, they kidnapped the girl and carried her up the mountain.”.
Tian SiSi: “Did they know who this young lady was?”.
Tian Xin: “At the time, of course they didn’t know that this young girl was Qin Ge’s sweetheart, but even if they did know, they still wouldn’t be afraid. They didn’t fear anyone, because nobody had ever dared to bother them.”.
Tian SiSi: “But this time they would encounter one who would.”.
Tian Xin: “At that time, Qin Ge wasn’t famous yet. Nobody imagined that he had that much guts. When he said that he was going up the mountain to fight the Tigers, everyone thought that he was just boasting. Who knew he really went.”.
Tian SiSi: “He went alone?”.
Tian Xin: “Of course he did. He singlehandedly rode a horse up Tiger Hill and found those Seven Tigers. Even though he wounded two of the Tigers, he himself suffered over a hundred slashes from the Tigers’ sabres.”.
Tian SiSi: “One hundred and some sabre cuts?”.
Tian Xin: “No more, no less. It was exactly 108 sabres, because this was the Tigers’ custom. When they captured someone alive, they would not slay him quickly with one stroke, they must stab him muliple times and allow him to die slowly.”.
Tian SiSi sighed: “I’m afraid there are very few people in this world who can withstand 108 sabres.”.
Tian Xin said: “Not only very few, there simply isn’t anyone who can withstand it. But our Qin Ge stubbornly gritted his teeth and took it, because he did not want to die. He still needed to take revenge.”.
Tian SiSi: “He still dared to take revenge?”.
Tian Xin: “Not only did his body appeared to be made out of iron, but his courage was also iron cast. Everybody thought that since he was lucky enough to make it out alive this time, he would change his outlook.”.
She sighed and continued on: “Who knew that on the second year, he arrived at Tiger Hill and searched out the Seven Tigers again. This time, he heavily injured four of them.”.
Tian SiSi: “And himself?”.
Tian Xin sighed: “He suffered over a hundred sabre cuts. This time, the Tigers naturally used more force, but he still withstood it. Afterwards, people who saw him said that after he suffered these 108 sabres, not a single spot on his body was unblemished, the blood he shed was enough to completely dye the rocks on the summit of Tiger Hill red.”.
Tian SiSi chewed her lips and said: “Why didn’t those Tigers just kill him?”.
Tian Xin: “Because that was their custom, if they were to give a person 108 slashes with the sabre, they will not cut any less, and their 108th slash must bear the same force as their 1st slash. They never imagined that someone could still live after suffering over a hundred sabre slashes, much less have the guts to find them and take revenge.”.
Tian SiSi: “But Qin Ge still withstood 216 sabres.”.
Tian Xin: “He withstood 324 sabres.”.
Tian SiSi: “Why?”.
Tian Xin: “Because on the third year he went up again, and suffered another hundred plus sabre cuts. But this time he injured five out of the Seven Tigers.”. [* Qin Ge reminds me of that guy from The Princess Bride - “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die! <IMG SRC="smilies/smile.gif" border="0"> ]
Tian SiSi: “After coming across this type of person, weren’t they the least bit afraid? Why would they dare to let him live?”.
Tian Xin: “It’s because they found it difficult to ‘dismount from the tiger’s back’. News of that event had already stirred up the martial world and there were a lot of people who arrived at Tiger Hill for the sole purpose of watching this confrontation.”.
Tian SiSi: “Therefore they couldn’t just finish off Qin Ge on the 107th slash, their final strikes cannot be any more heavier than the first.”.
Tian Xin: “That’s right. People like them, they must not lose face in front of members of the martial society no matter what. Otherwise who would fear them like before?”.
Tian SiSi: “But five of them were already injured, why didn’t the other people just finish them?”.
Tian Xin: “Because they all knew how much hardship Qin Ge had endured, how much bitter pain he had suffered through. Nobody wanted his efforts to be wasted, everyone hoped to see him kill all Seven Tigers by himself. Also, everyone knew that this 324th sabre was the last one.”.
Her eyes also started to shine: “Therefore after this final blow landed, and Qin Ge still haven’t died, everyone couldn’t help but cheer loudly.”.
Tian SiSi said: “Didn’t those Seven Tigers realize that this was their final blow?”.
Tian Xin: “They already prepared for this, therefore during that 3rd year, they hired many helpers. That’s another reason why the others didn’t just attack them.”.
Tian SiSi: “And on the fourth year?”.
Tian Xin: “On the fourth year they found even more people to aid them, but even their own friends couldn’t help but feel admiration towards Qin Ge. When Qin Ge attacked, not a single person helped them. After Qin Ge killed the last Tiger, the cheers coming from the summit of Tiger Hill were so thunderous they could be heard from ten li away.”.
Tian Si Si’s attention was focused on the smoke curling up from the stove. She seemed to be seeing a black clothed young man with a red silk handkerchief tied around his neck. Within the smoke, came the distant sounds of cheering and laughter.
Tian Xin said: “Right then, Qin Ge’s face broke into a smile for the first time. His laughter was so spirited, and yet so bittersweet. Because by then, his sweetheart was already dead. She was no longer able to see this glorious day.”.
She sighed lightly: “After that day, ‘Iron Man’ Qin Ge’s name resonated throughout the martial world!”.
Tian SiSi also sighed quietly: “He truly is a formidable big time celebrity.”.
Tian Xin said: “It’s really hard to find a second person in this world as courageous and romantic as him.”.
Tian SiSi suddenly jumped up and grabbed her hand: “That’s why I must marry him.”.
Her face carried a red glow. She looked determined, excited, and beautiful.
Tian Xin let out a laugh: “You want to marry him too? How many people do you actually want to marry?”.
She tugged her finger and said: “Before you said you must marry Yue HuanShan, then you said you have to marry Liu FengGu, and now you want to marry Qin Ge. Who do you really want to marry?”.
Tian SiSi said: “Whoever is the best, thats the one I will marry.”.
Her eyes grew excited, she blushed and said: “In your opinion, which one of these three men is the best?”.
Tian Xin laughed: “How should I know? Even though these three are all formidable big time celebrities, I haven’t even seen a single one.”.
She thought a bit, her own face getting red and hesitantly said: “I only know that Qin Ge is sentimental and couragous; Liu FengGu is the world’s wisest person, no matter what the problem, he always comes up with a solution that nobody can dispute. If a girl can marry him, she would not have wasted her life.”.
Tian SiSi: “What about Yue HuanShan? Would marrying him not be good?”.
Tian Xin nipped her lip: “He won’t do. He’s not any younger than Old Master.”.
Tian SiSi also chewed her lips: “What has being old got to do with it? As long as he’s the best, even if he were 70 years old I’d still want to marry him.”.
Tian Xin laughed abruptly: “What if he already has a wife?”.
Tian SiSi said: “Having a wife also doesn’t matter, I’d be willing to be his second wife.”.
Tian Xin couldn’t help but bust out laughing again: “What if the three of them are equally good? Are you willing to marry all three at once?”.
Tian SiSi appeared to have not heard her speech and spaced out for a brief moment. Suddenly she lifted Tian Xin’s hand and whispered: “Sneak outside and buy me some men’s clothes, ok?”.
Tian Xin became still: “Lady, what are you going to do with men’s clothes?”.
Tian SiSi was quiet for a moment, and said softly: “Have you ever heard the story of Liang ShanBo and Zhu YingTai?”.
Tian Xin smiled: “It was I who smuggled you those ‘silver tales’, how could I not have heard of it?”.
Tian SiSi said: “It is said that if a young girl wants to go outside, she won’t be harrassed if she disguised herself as a man.”.
Tian Xin’s eyes widened in surprise: “My Lady wants to leave the house?”.
Tian SiSi nodded and bit her lips: “I want to see for myself which of the three is actually the best.”.
Tian Xin was so shocked she couldn’t even laugh anymore: “Lady, you must be joking.”.
Tian SiSi: “Who’s joking with you? Hurry up and find me some clothes.”.
Not only couldn’t Tian Xin laugh, she was almost ready to cry. She threw up her hands and frowned: “Lady, please listen to me. If Old Master finds out, it’d be a miracle if he didn’t break my leg”.
Tian SiSi narrowed her eyes: “If you don’t go, I’m going to break both your legs right now.”.
She suddenly blinked her bright eyes and smiled. She pinched Tian Xin’s cheeks lightly and giggled: “Besides, you’re not that young anymore. Don’t you want to go out and find yourself a husband?”.
Tian Xin couldn’t brush away a feeling of shyness, but she leaped up and held onto her Lady: “You’re willing to bring me with you?”.
Tian SiSi laughed: “Of course, how could I bear to leave you all alone and bored in this house?”.
Tian Xin’s previously frightened pale face gradually flushed red, her pupils began to shine. She stared out the window and zoned out.
Tian SiSi’s voice was gentle: “The world outside is so beautiful and so broad, especially ChiangNan. Right now there are a multitude of purples and reds, this being the time when the flowers are blooming. If a person has never visited ChiangNan during his lifetime, he would have wasted his life.”.
Tian Xin seemed to be dreaming and wandered over to the window. Her mind appeared to have flown out towards ChiangNan. Beside the gentle flowing waters, underneath the gentle willow, there is a gentle and romantic young man waiting for her.
What 16 year old girl didn’t like to daydream?
Tian SiSi: “Hurry up and go. As long as you don’t tell and I don’t tell, Old Master will never know. After we bring back a son-in-law, he’ll be so pleased.”.
Even if Tian Xin’s heart was willing, her mouth couldn’t follow through. She shook her head vigorously: “It won’t do, I still don’t dare.”.
Tian SiSi’s face became stern: “Fine, little devil. Since you dare to disobey, I’m going to hand you over to Wang DaGuang in the stables.”.
To use the term “Big Shine” to describe his face may not be appropriate, but no words can better describe his head. [*Big Shine is a rough translation of DaGuang]
His head was like a peeled hard-boiled egg, not a single strand of hair remained.
Unfortunately his face was not very bright. Each side of his face carried at least two to three hundred dark freckles, more spotted than a tangerine’s skin.
The thought of this person made Tian Xin want to vomit. The thought of having to marry this type of person made her legs weaken and she nearly had to kneel down.
Tian SiSi lightly said: “Whatever I say is a promise, whether you go or not is up to you.”.
Tian Xin immediately said: “Go, go, go. I’ll go now. Don’t know if my Lady perfers to play the part of a heroic Hua MuLan or a graceful Zhu YingTai?”.
A sky blue light satin shirt, a sky blue elegant cloth. Tian SiSi put them on her body and looked at her lone reflection in the copper mirror, appearing very satisfied with herself.
She made a serious expression with her face and then suddenly laughed: “Little Pouter, don’t I look like a worldly gentleman?”.
Tian Xin also pressed her lips together and smiled: “Truly sophisticated and dashing. Even if Pan An was still alive to see you, he’d scurry back in the coffin.”.
Tian SiSi wrinkled her brow: “Now I’m only worried about one thing.”.
Tian Xin: “What’s that?”.
Tian SiSi: “When a man like this steps outside, he’ll be sure to catch the eyes of many young ladies. Before I’d even find my husband, a girl will have chased me down to marry her. How will I manage?”.
Tian Xin also wrinkled her brow: “This actually is a concern. If I didn’t know you were a woman, I’d marry you for sure.”.
Tian SiSi: “Fine, I’ll have you then.”.
She turned around, stretched out her hand and grinned: “Come my darling, let me hold you tight.”.
Tian Xin squealed, shook her head, and ran.
Tian SiSi chased after her and grabbed her waist: “Don’t you want to? Even if you don’t, you still can’t escape.”.
Tian Xin panted: “Even if I wanted to embrace, it wouldn’t be with someone of your appearance.”.
Tian SiSi: “What’s wrong with this appearance?”.
Tian Xin: “This behavior is so malicious, it’d be a wonder if easily-frightened girls won’t be scared to death by you.”.
Tian Xin sighed: “Actually I have some news, but my Lady probably wouldn’t want to hear it so I don’t dare say.”.
Tian SiSi chewed on her lips, after a moment she said warningly: “What don’t you dare say? Where’s your spine?”.
Tian Xin said: “How can a servant have a spine.”.
Seeing that her servant girl was feeling a bit bullied, even a lady’s heart becomes softer. She turned around and hugged Tian Xin: “You don’t want to speak, fine. I’ll just squeeze you until your little pouty lips open wide.”.
Tian Xin was already laughing so hard she could barely breathe: “Ok my Lady, please release me, I’ll talk......I’ll talk......”.
She panted for breath, then quietly said: “It’s been rumored that Old Master already has a mind to pair you up with Yang Third Master’s son.”.
Tian SiSi perked up: “Which Yang Third Master?”.
Tian Xin: “Naturally it is that government official Yang Third Master.”.
Tian SiSi became very still for a moment, then suddenly said: “Hurry up and gather up the clothes, we’re leaving tonight.”.
Tian Xin: “What’s the hurry?”.
Tian SiSi: “I heard that Yang Third Master’s son is a weirdo, since childhood he’s spent time in a Buddhist Temple. Even the old monks all say he’s a strange monster from the skies. How can I stand to be with someone like this?”.
She suddenly said again: “Let me take care of the clothes. You go hire a carriage and wait for me outside the gate to the rear garden.”.
Tian Xin said: “Why hire a carriage? Wouldn’t riding a horse be somewhat faster?”.
Tian SiSi: “We’ll have at least six or seven trunks to carry with us, how can we travel without a carriage?”.
Tian Xin’s eyes opened wide: “Six or seven trunks? What does my Lady want to bring along?”.
Tian SiSi was pensive: “Theres too many things I need to bring. For example, a powder case, a washbasin, a mirror, all these things need to be put in a trunk. Although we’re dressing up as guys, we can’t just stop washing our hair and cleaning our faces.”.
She moved her eyes: “And then theres the bed cushions, pillows, these will also need a trunk, you know I never use other people’s things - oh yes, go wrap up my plate, bowl, chopsticks, and napkins, as well as this incense burner and chessboard too.
Tian Xin listened until her eyes bulged: “My Lady, are you preparing a wedding dowry? You haven’t even found in-laws yet and you’re already preparing a dowry, don’t you think it’s a bit too early?”.
Tian SiSi burst into laughter: “How should I behave then?”.
Tian Xin: “Be a bit more gentle, a bit more considerate, first hold their hand and say something sweet to get them worked up, then allow them to come to you for a hug.”.
Tian SiSi: “What should I say?”.
Tian Xin: “For example, say you are lonely and that you’ve never seen a girl such as her, and after seeing her, your life took on new meaning. All you can think about is her and you can’t live without her.”.
Before she even finished speaking, Tian SiSi was already doubling over in laughter: “These words are too cheesy, how can they be coming out of any man’s mouth?”.
Tian Xin: “This is what you don’t understand, girls like to hear cheesy words, the cheesier the better.”.
Tian SiSi giggled: “I wouldn’t have guessed you’d have so much experience in these matters, you must have heard these words from others quite often.”.
Tian Xin blushed and pouted her lips: “A person is speaking seriously here, and you still joke with them.”.
Tian SiSi: “Fine, I’ll ask you a serious question then.”.
Tian Xin: “What?”.
Tian SiSi winked: “I ask you, has a Little Pouty Mouth like you ever been intimate with anyone before?”.
Tian Xin pounded on the bed, buried her head in the bedsheets, and covered her ears with her hands: “I’m not listening, I’m not listening, how can you say such an embarrassing thing.”.
Tian SiSi’s face also got a little rosy and said softly: “Who knows how often other people our age have already experienced this kind of thing, what does it matter if I mention it?”.
Tian Xin said: “Listening to you speak, it’d be really hard for people to believe you were a sheltered and high-class young lady.”.
She sighed and shook her head: “This can only be blamed on Old Master, why hasn’t he already married you off? If you had a husband sooner, you wouldn’t be thinking such crazy thoughts every day.”.
Tian SiSi flung her arm, turned her head and frowned: “Little devil, your words are becoming out of place.”.
Seeing that her lady was about to lose her temper, Tian Xin became timid, shuffled over, and smiled: “I just heard some news, would my Lady like to hear it?”.
Tian SiSi said: “I don’t want to listen.”.