Chapter 28 ~~ Juedai Shuangjiao/ Legendary Siblings / Handsome Siblings / The Proud Twins

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The Legendary Siblings Chapter 28

Xiao Yu’er had an odd habit. He liked to make jokes at any time, and no matter where he was. But this particular joke wasn’t exactly purposeless either; he wished to see if the tree was hollow or solid.

Never in his dreams would he have guessed that he would get a response. Indeed, no one answered him, but the piece of bark suddenly moved aside, and in the middle of a live tree, there unexpectedly appeared a doorway!

This was quite a shock to Xiao Yu’er. He was so startled that he flew backwards out of the doorway. The girl in green was also surprised; she fell to her knees, unable to move.

The tree was indeed hollow. Xiao Yu’er stared into the black hole and called loudly, “Is anyone in here? Ghost or human, I want you to come out right now.”

Not a sound or reply. He advanced step by step. His fists were clenched so tightly that the knuckles were white. (?) His eyes, already wide, grew even bigger and rounder.

The girl in green said to him in a trembling voice, “Don’t go in, we don’t know what’s in there.”

Xiao Yu’er said firmly, “What’s there to be scared of? Anything that’s sneaking around is nothing to be scared of, otherwise it wouldn’t be hiding from us!”

She asked, “You…are you going in?”

His body shrank back a bit. He stuttered, “Go…go in…” But then he coughed and shouted, “Of course I’m going in, this is the only lead we have. How could I not investigate it properly?”

Suddenly, a wonderful fragrance wafted outside from within.

It smelled like chicken cooking in a pot, simmering in sauces and fragrant spices.

Xiao Yu’er’s nose twitched. Right now to him this was the best smell in the world. He drooled and swallowed a few times, then cried out: “There must be people inside, ghosts don’t eat chicken. Monsters might eat chicken, but they wouldn’t cook it…therefore there’s nothing to be scared of.”

These words appeared to be spoken to reassure the girl in green, or maybe they were for his own sake. Her voice shook: “Please be careful if you insist on going in.”

He said loudly, “Of course I’ll be careful, I’m careful in all things, otherwise how would I have lived this long?” As he spoke, he scooped up a stone from the bottom of the tree and flung it into the opening.

They heard a “kwa” sound as it hit something. Xiao Yu’er observed, “This hole isn’t very big.”

The girl in green gently praised him, “You really are the most cautious person I’ve met.”

Xiao Yu’er unconsciously puffed out his chest and said: “You stay here and wait for me. I’m going to take a look.”

In a quavering voice she protested, “No…no wait. How could I wait outside all alone? I’d be scared to death. I’m coming with you, with you by my side, I’ll feel safe.”

Xiao Yu’er looked into her eyes. Finally he said, “Ai, women, women…all right, follow me then. Hold on tight and don’t stray.”

She murmured, “I wouldn’t stray if you beat me with a whip.” Xiao Yu’er felt as if he were floating on air as he stepped inside.

The interior of the tree was indeed hollow. Although it was not large, it was quite dark.

The girl in green clung tightly to Xiao Yu’er. Her voice shook: “Strange, there’s not a single person here.”

“No, there must be someone here,” Xiao Yu’er insisted.

She said, puzzled, “This place can only be so big, where could they be?”

The tree’s diameter only spanned five metres. There wasn’t a single place to hide in it.

Xiao Yu’er drew his eyebrows together. “That’s really odd. Where did that chicken smell come from?”

“It seems to be coming from below,” the girl in green realized.

Upon her words, the ground beneath their feet began to sink. The girl in green threw herself into Xiao Yu’er’s arms. In a trembling voice she whispered, “What’s happening? What are we going to do?”

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes were wide. He cried out loudly, “Don’t be scared, we may as well go down and take a look.”

They continued to descend. They were surrounded by blackness. Apparently they were standing in some sort of tube, one that could go up and down. The girl in green clutched Xiao Yu’er’s hand tightly. Her hand was damp and cold. This cold blooded killer, reduced to such a state, was actually quite surprising.

The ‘tube’ finally stopped. Xiao Yu’er opened his eyes and saw a door. A few rays of light shone from behind it into the tube.

He crouched down, and with a “shhh” he squirmed out. Outside there was a tunnel. On either side the stone walls were intricately carved, and there were bronze torches set into the walls.

Xiao Yu’er muttered, “This bastard sure knows how to treat himself. What a luxurious place. The owner of this place is no monster, but to call him a monster would be quite fitting.”

He turned his head to tell the girl in green to come out. Just then she screamed in pain. The door to the metal tube had suddenly shut itself, and the tube was going down. Her cries could be heard coming from the tube as it descended.

Xiao Yu’er heard her scream: “Fire…help me, save me…fire….” He quickly tried to pull, but there was no way he could stop that big metal tube from moving. He decided to jump in after the tube, but at that moment it stopped moving. He could still hear the girl in green shrieking: “Fire…oh I beg you, save me…fire…”

Her yells made Xiao Yu’er break out in a cold sweat. He struck out with his fists and legs, trying to break through the roof of the metal tube, but it was made of well-tempered steel. He exhausted his energy in vain.

Her cries grew weaker and weaker. “Please…I’m going to die…help me…” Suddenly the sounds stopped. Then, a deathly silence.

Xiao Yu’er’s fists also stopped. He stood there stunned. The girl in green had been burned to death in the metal tube!

Although she had been vicious, and they were not related in any way, she had still fully trusted her life to him. Having ended up like this, one could only say that she picked the wrong hero, she had chosen poorly indeed…

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes were damp. He suddenly yelled, “Listen to me, I don’t care who you are. You can’t scare me, and you won’t kill me either. I am going to murder you!”

No answer came from the tunnel. Xiao Yu’er gritted his teeth and boldly advanced.

The tunnel was short. At its end was another door, engraved with a scene of people and flowers and grass. This underground tunnel must have taken a lot of time, effort and money to create. The owner must be a strange person, to want to build such an elaborate structure underground.

The door was unlocked. With one hand he pushed it open.

He didn’t know why he was being so bold. Perhaps he felt he was invincible. If he was going to die, he would have been burnt to death just now like the girl in green. He felt somehow that the owner of this place didn’t want to kill him. He had no idea why.

He didn’t think much more beyond that. This was the secret to his thinking. Just focus on one thought, and don’t worry too much about other things. Otherwise you just got mixed up.

A hall lay beyond the door. Since even the tunnel was fancy, the hall was naturally even more lavish. Aside from not having windows, this underground hall was more than comparable with the houses of the gentry above ground. Luxurious though it was, no one was in it.

Xiao Yu’er remarked, “Well the owner might be a monster but he sure knew how to live the life. If he let this place be all dark and cold, it would scare off enemies, but he wouldn’t be enjoying it either.”

A peal of laughter suddenly sounded: “How well you know the master of this place.”

The voice was male, but the slow, gentle tone was very feminine. Xiao Yu’er turned around but still saw no one. He shouted: “Who are you? And where are you?”

The voice answered, “You can’t see me, but I can certainly see you.”

Although Xiao Yu’er couldn’t see anyone, he did see another door. He crossed over in huge strides and pushed it open. Yet another hall.

In the centre of the hall was a long table. The table held a large blue bowl, which was the source of the fragrance that had attracted him here. In the bowl, there was indeed cooked chicken, young and tender.

His eyes grew round. The voice said slowly, “Jiang Yu, this chicken is very nice, it was especially prepared for you.”

Xiao Yu’er shook. He cried out: “You…how do you know my name?”

The voice laughed, “The master of this place knows everything.”

“Who are you exactly?” Xiao Yu’er asked again.

The voice replied, “How do you know we are human?”

Xiao Yu’er stepped backward in alarm. Finally he said, “What do you want from me?”

The voice said, “Fine, we will show ourselves. Put on the blindfold in front of you first.”

Xiao Yu’er did as instructed, then said, “Hmm.”

The voice teased, “How do you know you are living and not dead? A person or a ghost? Now, open your eyes and look.”

As he spoke, torches flared up everywhere. Suddenly Xiao Yu’er saw that there were seven or eight people in chairs sitting around him.

They were dressed in large, flowing robes. Their ages seemed to be about twenty years old or so. Each person was elegant and refined in appearance.

All of them were men, but somehow they seemed feminine as well. They all lounged on their chairs as if draped across them, and smiled lazily at Xiao Yu’er.

He asked, “You are the masters of this place?”

They shook their heads simultaneously. All of them seemed to be delicate and soft, not a bone in their bodies. Although they were alive, they weren’t far off from being dead.

Xiao Yu’er hollered in frustration: “Who is your master? Why won’t he come out and see me? If he’s like you androgynous freaks, half alive and half dead, I’d rather not meet him.”

One of them said, “I wouldn’t be mocking us if I were you. In three months time, you’ll be just like us.”

Xiao Yu’er jeered, “I don’t think so.”

The speaker smiled and retorted, “You don’t think so? You have a strong body, but you can’t beat her.”

Xiao Yu’er echoed, “Her? Who is she?”

“She is our empress.”

He heard a ripple of laughter like a silvery bell: “I am, indeed, the empress of this place!”

That particular laugh was very familiar to Xiao Yu’er. He turned, and saw her. The girl in green, who apparently had been burned alive.

Xiao Yu’er stood there, stunned, his staring eyes larger than a chicken’s egg.

The girl in green laughed “ge ge” while gazing at him. She quoted him, “Oh, the most intelligent man in the world, no one can fool you, can they?”

His eyes were still fixed on her in shock. “No wonder the two bodies disappeared. No wonder you found the tree entrance so easily. Because you are the master of this place…you…you have really tricked me this time.”

“Now do you respect me?” she teased.

He sighed, “I do indeed…like I said before, you can lure people to their deaths. What I didn’t know was that you came from the underground.”

She spun around in a circle, her arms apart, and laughed, “What do you think of my palace?”

“Not bad, not bad at all,” he complimented her.

Her eyes flickered over to his, and asked, “And what do you think of my concubines?”

Xiao Yu’er’s eyes widened at her words.

She giggled sweetly, “If a man can have three wives and four brides, why can’t a woman?”

He smiled wryly, then suddenly grasped her meaning, and said with wide eyes, “You mean…you mean that I am also to be one of your concubines?”

The girl in green looked at him, and smiled: “Wrong.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed in relief, but stopped short as she said, “I want you to be my queen.”

Xiao Yu’er stood there stunned, then broke into laughter. He laughed until he became quite breathless, he had never laughed so hard in his life before.

The girl in green said, “Aren’t you happy?”

He laughed even louder, “Oh, I’m happy, I’m thrilled to death! I have imagined all manner of crazy possibilities, but I would never have dreamed that one day I would be a queen.”

“Why, you are not willing?” the girl in green teased.

Xiao Yu’er opened his eyes wide and said, “Why wouldn’t I be willing? How many men on this earth could be a queen?”

He suddenly leapt up, sat on the table(?), and commanded in a loud voice, “Hey, aren’t you all going to come over and bow to your new queen?”

The youths dressed in light robes looked at each other, hesitated, then finally shuffled over. Xiao Yu’er said, “Oh, about three kowtows each should be sufficient, not too many.”

The youths all looked over at the girl in green, who just smiled and nodded encouragement. At this point they had no choice but to kowtow.

Xiao Yu’er joked, “Well, now you’ve finished paying your respects, you may leave. Go on now, I’ve got to have a few drinks with the king…I hope none of the royal concubines are thinking of competing for his affections, because the queen will get jealous and chop your heads off.”

The youths all stared at him as if he were a monster. Without a word they all fled as one and disappeared.

Xiao Yu’er clapped his hands and laughed, “Fantastic, being a queen feels pretty good after all.”

Doubled over, the girl in green was laughing so hard that she could not lift her head. Still giggling she said, “Oh, you little flirt, you entertain me. I have been here for over ten years and never have I been more amused.”

Laughing with her, Xiao Yu’er said, “Well from now on, every day I’ll amuse you, until you die of it. Yes, you are called “the Siren, luring men to death with impunity”, and for good reason, but I still intend to charm you to your death.”

The laughter died in her throat. Her eyes wide, she looked at him and stammered: “How…how did you know my name?”

“Not only do I know this name of yours,” Xiao Yu’er went on, “I know that you are also called Xiao Mimi, of the ‘Ten Evils’. (1) You appear to be graceful and tender, but actually you are already four or five decades old. But don’t worry, I won’t be repulsed by your age. The older the ginger, the more bite it has; the more mature a woman, the more I appreciate her.”

He went on and on like a machine gun, while the girl in green stood motionless in her shock.

“Don’t just stand there,” Xiao Yu’er teased her. “One moment in a spring evening is worth a thousand pieces of gold, you should come over and show your queen just how intimate you can be.”

Still, she stared at him. At last she said slowly, “But you were inaccurate regarding one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“I am only thirty seven.”

Xiao Yu’er replied with amusement in his eyes: “It doesn’t matter if you are seventeen. ‘Never debate with a woman about her age’ – I’ve understood this since I was young.”

The girl in green retorted, “It doesn’t matter if you make any other mistake. But if you get a woman’s age wrong, she will never forgive you.”

Her hands were soft and tender, as was her smile.

Yet somehow a murderous expression shone through her smile. Those soft hands, could, in a flash, cruelly take someone’s life. Xiao Yu’er, of course, knew this well.

However, he insisted on playing dumb, and laughing he asked, “I know who you are, but do you know who I am?”

Her eyes darting back and forth, Xiao Mimi realized: “You…”

Xiao Yu’er declared, “If the ‘Ten Evils’ had one friend, it would be me, Jiang Yu.”

She said, “You dare to call yourself a friend of the ‘Ten Evils’?”

He laughed, “What, you think I am a person of upstanding and moral character?”

Xiao Mimi smiled sweetly: “Well, that you are certainly not. But you are far too young to be that smart. I think you…you must be sent here by that old monster, are you not? Otherwise how could you know who I am?”

Xiao Yu’er admitted, “Well, I do indeed know quite a few monsters.”

“Quite a few?” she echoed.

He winked at her, and then laughing he said: “ ‘Ha ha, this little monk here never follows evil, amitaba. ‘Those who follow evil must die.’ ‘When you kill, be careful, don’t spill too much blood, or the meat will not taste fresh.’ ‘Under the gates of hell, there are too many hungry ghosts. The ghosts would eat even unfresh meat.’ ‘Oh you, silly, you are definitely a wicked one.’ .”

As he quoted these phrases, there appeared the impressions of Ha ha’er, “Bloody Hand” Du Sha, “Not eating the head” Li Dazhui, “Half human, half ghost” Yin Jiuyou, “Neither male nor female”, Du Qiaoqiao. The tones and articulations were exactly identical to each of the original speakers. It was as if they had appeared and were speaking in person. (?)

Xiao Mimi widened her eyes, then laughed sweetly, “Little flirt, you know all of these people?”

“I grew up in the Valley of Evil,” Xiao Yu’er told her.

Xiao Mimi lowered her hands and relaxed. She applauded him and laughed, “Well no wonder that you are a little monster then, you grew up with these people. Do they mention me often?”

He smiled at her: “They told me that when I met you, to be extremely careful and not be tempted to my death. No matter who, friend or family, you would try your siren tricks on them.”

Xiao Mimi giggled a few times, then said, “And do you believe their naughty words?”

Xiao Yu’er stared at her as if enthralled: “To be able to meet someone like you, I wouldn’t care if I really were lured to my death.”

Another enchanting laugh. “Oh, little flirt, it is you who are charming me; at this rate, I won’t be able to kill you at all.”

He laughed back: “Now, are you going to drink with me or not?”

Surprisingly, the winebearer was a young boy. His eyebrows were elegant above clear, clear eyes. And yet he was jaundiced and emaciated, as if his growth spurt had been inadequate. He appeared to be older than Xiao Yu’er, yet his body was quite a bit smaller.

He shrank his neck into a hunched back and carried the platter with both hands, trembling all the while. But his two eyes would constantly flicker back to rest on Xiao Mimi’s bosom.

Xiao Mimi laughed and called, “Little pervert, what are you looking at?”

The boy’s face reddened and he lowered his head. “Nothing, nothing at all.”

With a tempting smile, she said, “You wanted to kiss me, is that it?”

He went a deeper shade of red as she said, “Come then, if you want to kiss me then come, what are you afraid of?”

The boy then set down the platter, and embraced her.

All of a sudden she slapped him with the back of her hand, so hard that he rolled on the floor a few times. Xiao Yu’er raised his head in time to see a murderous expression on the boy’s face as his back was turned. The hate on his face was terrifying.

Yet when he stood up and faced her, only a pitiable expression could be seen. His cheeks flushed and head down, step by step, he slowly limped out, as if even walking were a difficult task.

“Is that boy one of your concubines?” Xiao Yu’er asked.

Xiao Mimi smiled: “Jealous, are you?”

He merely said, “Ai, this is like destroying a tender young plant.”

She bit out, “I insist on torturing him, until he dies.” Xiao Yu’er said in surprise, “Why do you hate him so much? He’s only a kid!”

Xiao Mimi explained, “He is, but his father…ha, in the whole world, there is not another as vicious and cruel.”

“Oh?” Xiao Yu’er laughed. “He is crueler than Yin Jiuyou? More vicious than Li Dazhui?”

She pointed out: “So Yin Jiuyou is cruel. Li Dazhui is indeed vicious. But they at least do not hide their brutality. That brat’s father, however, would commit the most evil crimes, and people would still praise him as a hero.”

Xiao Yu’er rolled his eyes and laughed: “If even you call him evil, this person must really be unforgivable.” What his heart was really thinking was: [If she considers him bad, he probably is quite a decent sort.]

He deliberately refrained from asking the father’s name. To his surprise, Xiao Mimi did not mention it either, and merely watched the boy come in again with a fresh platter.

Xiao Yu’er suddenly said, “Before we drink, I just need to freshen up a bit.”

“Useless thing,” she scolded him while sipping her wine.

He teased, “When the queen relieves herself, she must have servants to attend to her.”(?) He tugged at the boy’s hand and ordered, “Come, lead me there.”

Xiao Mimi called after him: “Hurry up, or I’ll be done eating before you’re done. (?) The wine and food are waiting here for you.”

The young boy went ahead of Xiao Yu’er, his head lowered and neck shrunk into his shoulders like a turtle. Xiao Yu’er, looking at his profile, seemed to be thinking of something.

The underground palace was clearly designed with care. There was not an inch of excess or waste. He realized that the places for relieving oneself must be in the twists and turns of the long tunnel.

Abruptly he asked the young boy, “Hey, what’s your family name?”

“Jiang.”

Xiao Yu’er mused, “Your last name is Jiang? What a coincidence. And what’s your first name?”

The boy replied, “Yulang.”

Xiao Yu’er scrunched his eyebrows together. His eyes darted back and forth. Suddenly he laughed aloud. “Strange, this is the underground, but where do all the human wastes go? Is there some sort of tunnel underneath?”

Jiang Yulang answered, “Under here is not a tunnel, but a grave.”

“A grave?” Xiao Yu’er repeated. “Whose grave?”

“Supposedly the grave of the workers who built this place,” Jiang Yulang responded.

Xiao Yu’er couldn’t help frowning. Hurriedly he stood up and remarked, “You know quite a bit, you must have been here for a long time.”

“One year,” said Jiang Yulang.

“A year…how did you get here?”

Jiang Yulang answered him, “And how did you get here?”

Xiao Yu’er snorted a laugh: “Hmm, that’s right, Xiao Mimi would definitely find a way to get you here.” He spoke again: “There must be some sort of underground opening to the surface…would you know?”

“No.”

“You haven’t tried to find one?” Xiao Yu’er inquired.

“No,” Jiang Yulang said again.

Xiao Yu’er asked him, “Don’t you want to leave here? You don’t want to go home?”

Jiang Yulang said, “This place is very nice, it’s good enough for me.”

Suddenly Xiao Yu’er gripped his shoulder and said in a low voice, “You little trickster, I know you’re thinking about it, you’re always thinking of ways to escape. You can’t fool me. If you work with me, we can think of a way out!”

End of Chapter 28

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