Chapter 25 ~~ Juedai Shuangjiao/ Legendary Siblings / Handsome Siblings / The Proud Twins

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The Legendary Siblings translation Ch. 25

In surprise, Xiao Yu’er whipped his head around. He found himself staring at some monkeys. Dozens of monkeys, who knows where they came from. They began aping his expression and movements, bodies pressed to the cliff wall, heads turning to look outwards. Xiao Yu’er had heard of these Mount Emei monkeys, that they were numerous, and they loved to mimic people.

But now, upon his first real-life encounter with them, he couldn’t help feeling both angry and amused. He wasn’t sure quite how to get rid of them; he pursed his lips: “Hey…get out of here…”

The monkeys made faces at him, and copied his lip movements, screaming and yammering. Some of them had really red cheeks, making their expressions quite scary. Xiao Yu’er worried that these monkeys would draw the attention of Hua Wuque, and he began to get nervous. Without thinking, he put out a hand to hit and shoo them away. At once he realized his mistake.

The monkeys suddenly surrounded him like a nest of angry bees. Together they thrust out their paws.

Normally Xiao Yu’er wouldn’t even be concerned. But right now his body hung from the cliff wall and his arms were not free to exert any sort of strength. As the monkeys swarmed him, he could only tumble straight down.

He was fearful, and anxious, and he did not even dare to call out. His arms scratched and grasped wildly at the cliff face. His knife fell from his grasp and also plunged downward. Only after a long interval did he hear a “pok” sound. The cliff wall happened to slope inward(?) and thus the blade was able to fall straight to the bottom. The echo took a long time to reach his ears; the precipice must be terrifyingly deep.

Xiao Yu’er’s entire body was slippery with sweat. His hands could no longer grip properly. At the point where the cliff face began to slope inward(?), he would also plummet straight to the bottom, where inevitably his body would shatter to pieces.

The most intelligent man in the world, succumbing to a troop of monkeys…at this thought, Xiao Yu’er didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The monkeys were also falling downward, but unexpectedly, as they chattered away, each one grabbed the hand of another. Dozens of monkeys, hand in hand, used their feet to climb the slope. They hung in a chain down the side of the cliff, like a string of gourds(?). Not a single one fell off.

Xiao Yu’er, unfortunately, did fall, and his hands couldn’t grasp anything!

He could only close his eyes tightly, and laugh bitterly: “It’s over, Xiao Yu’er dies at the hands of apes…”

At this moment, unexpectedly, a hairy monkey’s paw flew out from nowhere and grabbed his shirt at his chest. This monkey’s grip was frighteningly strong, but the pull of gravity was stronger. Although the paw still clenched the shirt, it ripped, and Xiao Yu’er continued to fall. Without warning, another monkey paw snatched out like lightning, and seized his hair.

Although the pain made tears stream from his eyes, Xiao Yu’er’s body had finally stopped. He saw the chain of monkeys still there, watching him, making faces and shrieking. And then he saw that the pair of paws grasping him had reached out from a small cave within the cliff face.

Xiao Yu’er thought to himself, “Probably the one who saved me is the monkey king, otherwise how could it be so strong? Monkeys most likely bear no good will toward humans; surely this one wants to torture me once it has pulled me up into the cave.”

Xiao Yu’er was indeed a rapidly decisive man. Upon this thought, at once he secretly gathered his chi(?) and prepared to immediately ascend and secure himself to the cave entrance. Then he could deal with the monkey.

Before he could even make a move, a person’s voice issued from the cave. Its thin and shrill tones warned him: “Don’t move – a single movement and I’ll let you fall!” This voice sounded seven tenths ape-like, but clearly it spoke human language. Was it possible that on Mount Emei, monkeys could converse with words?

As Xiao Yu’er listened, his body grew clammy with perspiration. In a trembling voice he asked, “Who…what are you?”

The voice cackled, “Whatever you are, so am I.”

“You…you are human then?” Xiao Yu’er demanded.

The voice teased: “Take a guess.”

Xiao Yu’er sucked in a breath before asking: “What do you want?”

“Lower your hands and don’t move.”

Xiao Yu’er could only let his hands fall accordingly. His body was tugged straight up through the air, like riding clouds or floating through fog. All of a sudden the monkey’s paw tapped once on each of his shoulders, squarely on his acupoints. Xiao Yu’er could no longer lift his arms.

Consequently, as he was pulled into the cave, Xiao Yu’er did indeed resemble a fish.

The mouth of the cave was not big, yet its interior could not be considered small. Xiao Yu’er’s entire body was sore and hurting from the dragging. His head felt dizzy and close to fainting. He opened his eyes to find a monkey looking at him, its mouth split wide in laughter.

The monkey was quite large, not much shorter than Xiao Yu’er himself. Upon further inspection, the monkey was actually dressed in material which, although ragged and tattered, was indeed human clothing. Certainly, the monkey’s body was covered in long hair. Undeniably, its bottom was also sprouting long hair. But those eyes, that nose, definitely resembled a man’s. The strangest thing was, the monkey not only had long body hair, he also had a lengthy beard.

The monkey screeched with laughter: “Do you see now? Which do I resemble?”

Xiao Yu’er swallowed hard, then said: “You seem three tenths human.”

The monkey finished for him, “But still I look seven tenths an ape, right?”

“If it weren’t for hearing you speak words with my own ears, you wouldn’t seem human at all,” Xiao Yu’er admitted. In such a weird situation, it never occurred to him not to be honest- thoughts of life and death were entirely forgotten. Consequently he did not worry about what this creature might do to him.

Oddly enough, the monkey was not angry at all and instead laughed loudly: “Let me tell you, I am an ape among people, but yet, among the apes, I am the most human. If you called me a man you would be correct, but to label me a monkey would not be wrong either.”

Xiao Yu’er cried out, stunned: “An ape among humans, but a human among apes. Could it be…you are…”

Abruptly someone’s voice said coldly, “Don’t listen to him, of course he is a man. It’s just that he was born looking like a monkey, and after having spent so much time living among them, he seems even less like a human.”

The cave was huge. Sunlight streamed through the small entrance, leaving the back of the cave largely dark and poorly visible. The voice came from this area, and it sounded entirely human(?). Xiao Yu’er jumped again: “And what are you?”

A person stepped out slowly from the shadows. Thin and withered, his entire head covered in hair and fur, at first glance he also appeared barely human. But his eyes were very clear(?), and seemed to be full of intelligence. Other than man, there was no other animal with eyes like these.

Xiao Yu’er released his breath. “That’s right. You are a man…but who are you exactly? And exactly how did you wind up here? And how did you become like this?”

This man let out a long sigh: “You’d better ask him.”

Before he had finished speaking, the monkey jumped up and started yelling: “Ask me? If it wasn’t for you, why would I be trapped in this place like a living ghost? And how would I have become like this, not even recognizable as a human?”

The man sneered, “Did you ever look human from the day you were born? Of the Twelve Zodiacs, who even resembled a human?”

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes had been darting back and forth between the two speakers. Although he had felt frightened, this was also mixed with amusement and curiosity. Upon hearing these last words, however, he stared in shock and fear at the monkey: “You…you really are one of the Twelve Zodiacs?”

The monkey straightened his back and proudly declared: “That is correct. I am the Lord of Monkeys(?)….of the Twelve Zodiacs!”

Xiao Yu’er unconsciously recoiled , his back against the wall. Turning to the man, he said, “And…you are?”

The man smiled bitterly: “At your young age, of course you’ve never heard of my name…” He, too, drew himself up straight. From his eyes shone a sudden light, and he thundered, “But fourteen years ago, if you mentioned the name “Countless blossoms in the sky, soundlessly descending(?)”, who wouldn’t know you meant Shen Qinghong?”

The Lord of Monkeys barked out a sarcastic laugh: “Dog crap, you were never more than a mere protection agency guard. Upon hearing the name of the Twelve Zodiacs, you would have been cowering in fear.”

Shen Qinghong laughed mockingly: “Is that so? If the Twelve Zodiacs were really that powerful, why weren’t you able to take a single penny from me? And how did I trap you in here fully fourteen years?”

As the two ridiculed and jeered at each other, Xiao Yu’er listened in astonishment; only thus did he know that these companions of fourteen years were hardly friends and in fact were bitter enemies. He could not imagine how they had passed all this time, and still survived.

The monkey and the man glared at each other. Both tensed up like arrows on the drawn bow, ready to go off at the slightest touch. But before either made a move, the Lord of Monkeys burst into ferocious laughter: “But you forget, now this little pipsqueak is here, I’m not afraid of being alone anymore. I could care less if I killed you right now.”

Shen Qinghong snapped coldly: “It’s only because you loathe me, you resent me so much that you couldn’t bear to let me die first. That’s why you’ve lasted so long. If I really died, heh, you’d be following me soon after.”

Before he could stop himself, Xiao Yu’er blurted out: “You mean that it was only the mutual hatred that has sustained you for so long? That you even had to compete at living the longest?”

The Lord of Monkeys growled through gritted teeth: “How could the Twelve Zodiacs allow this lowly guard to die first?”

Xiao Yu’er repeated, “And these long fourteen years, you have spent bickering and fighting with each other all the while?”

“Without that, how could we have endured the passage of time?” Shen Qinghong retorted.

“Otherwise, I would have slaughtered him a long, long time ago!” the Lord of Monkeys agreed.

Xiao Yu’er asked, incredulous: “But why didn’t you both try to think of a way to escape out of here?”

The Lord of Monkeys explained, “If I could think of a plan, wouldn’t I have left a long time ago, instead of waiting here for this pipsqueak to suggest it?”

“But if you can’t leave,” Xiao Yu’er persisted, “then how did you get here in the first place?”

The Lord of Monkeys said fiercely: “Only because those goods(?) were hidden here, I forced him to bring me here! At the time I almost didn’t believe it, so I made him enter first. I then followed…obviously we came down by rope.”

Most likely it was due to his long abstinence from normal conversation, or perhaps it was hatred that had made him overly emotional. In any case, his words made no sense.

He blinked his eyes, thinking to himself, then slowly continued: “He originally was a guard assigned to escort a pile of goods. I knew this and tried to steal it. But who could have guessed, he pulled the “cicada shedding its husk” strategy, first hiding the goods here.(1) If I had tried to make my move, I would have stolen a whole lot of nothing!”

The Lord of Monkeys ground his teeth again and muttered: “His mother must be a real b*tch for sure.”

Xiao Yu’er said, barely containing his laughter, “I think it was only because your martial arts were too strong for him, so he had no choice, yet he was smarter than you and eventually trapped you in here.”

“Yes, although there were certain other twists and turns, in general you have the story right, “admitted Shen Qinghong.

Xiao Yu’er, continuing to think through the tale, said to the Lord of Monkeys, “The two of you descended on a rope together. Of course he would have been in front, and you behind, since you would be afraid of him cutting the rope.”

The Lord of Monkeys concurred: “That treacherous protection agency mongrel, I wouldn’t put it past him to do anything. Of course I had my guard up.”

“But what happened to that piece of rope?” Xiao Yu’er demanded curiously.

The Lord of Monkeys ground his teeth –scrunch, scrunch- and snarled: “I was so happy to see the pile of goods that I forgot to keep my eye on him. How would I know that the scoundrel would set fire to that rope?”

Xiao Yu’er sighed, “Of course you wouldn’t know. This plan was too clever for you to figure out; he must have already planned for you to die trapped in here. And he must have prepared himself beforehand to die with you, otherwise why would he bring you to the treasure’s true hiding place?”

Shen Qinghong sighed as well: “Amazing, that at such a tender age, you could know me inside and out. At the time, I kept thinking and thinking, and could only settle on this method to ensnare him. Otherwise I’d rather die than lead him here.”

Xiao Yu’er was still puzzled on one point: “But during all this time, what food did the two of you live on?”

The Lord of Monkeys boasted loudly: “Of course, that all depended on me…”

Unexpectedly bursting into laughter, Xiao Yu’er said, “Yes, yes of course it would. You are the Lord of Monkeys, of course you would have ways to make the monkeys bring food to you.” (2)

His words were sarcastic, perhaps even scornful, but the Lord of Monkeys, was paradoxically pleased and laughed, “The temperament of monkeys, no one understands better than I. I just need to throw a stone from the cave; when it hits them, they will try to hit me back, and wind up pelting fruit into the cave…”

“And what if they cast stones instead, and not fruit?” Xiao Yu’er interrupted.

The Lord of Monkeys cackled twice before replying: “Outside, the steep precipice is so deep, where could they conveniently find stones?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled and nodded in agreement: “That makes sense, it would be a lot easier for the monkeys to pick fruit rather than searching for stones. But…but, are such small amounts of fruit enough to sustain you?”

“Whatever the monkeys eat, is good enough for us,” the Lord of Monkeys declared. “Although the monkeys don’t eat a lot, then again, we don’t need to eat that much either.”

Xiao Yu’er glanced at their thin and withered bodies. Suppressing his laughter, he said: “Indeed, I can certainly see that.”

The Lord of Monkeys bared his teeth in a grin: “Don’t get smug yet, little pipsqueak- from now on you’ll be eating like this too. But don’t worry! You’re the first new person I’ve seen in years, I won’t let you starve.”

Shen Qinghong said, “I’m so sick of looking at that monkey’s face, even if he wanted to starve you to death, I wouldn’t permit it.”

Xiao Yu’er paid no attention to him; instead he stared out of the cave, lost in thought.

The Lord of Monkeys laughed: “From now on we’ll be family. Who knows, we could be living together thirty, fifty years. Hey, what’s your name? You should tell us that first.”

“Jiang Yu,” Xiao Yu’er answered automatically. After a pause, he asked, “Where is the pile of treasure now?”

Shen Qinghong said, “You want to look at it?”

“After all, it’s treasure, who wouldn’t want to?” replied Xiao Yu’er.

“Very well. Follow me…” Shen Qinghong started to say, but was cut off by the Lord of Monkeys: “The treasure is mine- you touch it, you die!”

He glared at them for a while, but eventually relaxed. With a smile, he said, “But perhaps we’ll let this little fish see it, and let him see the might of the Twelve Zodiacs.”

As he spoke, he pulled out two chests from a corner in the darkness.

Although the dark metal(?) chests were covered in rust, their contents shone with the light of jewels and treasure. Their brightness stung the eyes; the Lord of Monkeys was so dazzled that his eyes had become slits in the dark. With mad glee he giggled: “Do you see now, Xiao Yu’er?(3) All this is mine; I would only need to bestow a thousandth of it on you for you to live comfortably the rest of your life.”

Xiao Yu’er took no notice of him. He ruminated, his eyes fixed on the gleaming hoard. A long pause. Unexpectedly he gave a deep sigh and lamented, “What a pity. A pity, I say!”

He spoke again slowly and wistfully: “It’s a shame that you two have only met me now, a bit late.”

“And so what if we had met you earlier?” the Lord of Monkeys asked, startled.

“If you had met me one year earlier, “ Xiao Yu’er stated, “at this moment you would have savoured one year’s worth of freedom in the wide, wide world. Had you met me a decade before now, you would have escaped for ten years already.”

The Lord of Monkeys, just like a real monkey, blinked over and over while saying, “You mean…”

Xiao Yu’er chimed in, “I mean that the sooner you met me, the earlier I would have rescued you.”

The Lord of Monkeys stepped backward three paces. He stopped blinking. He stared open-eyed at Xiao Yu’er, as if flowers had suddenly started sprouting on Xiao Yu’er’s nose.

Recovering himself, he hooted loudly: “You crazy nut, you madman, how could you get us out?”

He grabbed Shen Qinghong, he was laughing so hard that he could hardly catch his breath. He went on, “Did you hear that? This buffoon said he could get us out of here! Who does he think he is, a god?”

Shen Qinghong focused his gaze on Xiao Yu’er. He saw the other man’s clear, bright eyes. He saw the smile playing at the corners of his mouth. The words fell one by one from Shen Qinghong’s lips: “He might just have a way. It is possible.”

Disbelievingly the Lord of Monkeys cried out: “You…you actually believe the words of this little runt?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled slightly: “It is only because my brain was built just the tiniest bit different from yours.”

Infuriated, the Lord of Monkeys shouted: “What, you’re saying your brain is more useful than mine?”

“Not at all. My brain might not be too much superior to yours, only about ten or twenty times,” Xiao Yu’er smiled soothingly.

The Lord of Monkeys jumped: “Bull sh*t.”

“But there’s no need to get upset,” Xiao Yu’er continued. “Your type of brain probably isn’t bad at all. As for my kind of brain, you probably couldn’t find a second one like it on this earth.”

Emitting a strange screech, the Lord of Monkeys yelled, “All right, in that case, if you don’t come up with an idea, I’ll murder you.”

Xiao Yu’er wagered: “If I can’t get you out of this godforsaken place within three months, my head is forfeit.”

The Lord of Monkeys echoed, “Three months…ha, ha ha! I think your head must be deranged, even three years…”

“Three years won’t be necessary,” Xiao Yu’er cut in. “I only need three months. And if in three months time, I really do manage to lead you away from here, how will you repay me?”

The Lord of Monkeys said, “I wouldn’t care if I lost my head to you.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed, “Well, your head is too cumbersome to carry, and even Li Dazhui wouldn’t want to scavenge it. Even one head would be too much; if there were eight, I’d be crushed under all the dead weight.”

He held up a hand to prevent another outburst from the Lord of Monkeys. Smiling, he said, “If you lose, I just want you to turn a few cartwheels(?) for me to see, that will be enough.”

The Lord of Monkeys sprang up, his face like thunder. “You dare insult me…fine. If I lose, I will do as you wish. But if you lose, I must have your head.”

“You have my word,” Xiao Yu’er agreed. “But, as long as I can get you out, you can’t object to any method I may use.”

The Lord of Monkeys replied, “Whatever, you could use your mother, it’s entirely up to you.”

“All right then,” Xiao Yu’er declared, “three months. We will commence our wager now.”

Without warning, he snatched up the largest piece of deep green jade, and flung it out of the cave.

End of Chapter 25

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