Chapter 31 ~~ Juedai Shuangjiao/ Legendary Siblings / Handsome Siblings / The Proud Twins

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The Legendary Siblings Chapter 31

The torchlight flickered before Xiao Yu’er’s eyes. Instantly he shifted and parried Jiang Yulang’s palm. Both of them were flung against the earthen wall from the shock.

Xiao Yu’er cried out with bulging eyes: “You…you want to kill me?”

“Of course.”

“If you’re going to die anyway,” Xiao Yu’er protested, “why bother…”

Jiang Yulang explained, “These supplies would only last me a month. With you, I have one less half month to live. By killing you, I save half a month.”

Incredulously Xiao Yu’er sputtered: “You would kill me for one more day of life?”

“I would kill you for one hour’s worth!” hooted Jiang Yulang.

Xiao Yu’er snickered: “I knew you were a bad one, but I had no idea just how evil. You have got to be number one when it comes to being evil.”

“And you?” Jiang Yulang retorted.

“Compared with you,” Xiao Yu’er asserted, “I’m like an old granny on a vegetarian diet.”

He had hardly finished speaking, when his hands flashed before Jiang Yulang. Because this cave was so small, he hardly needed to move before he had reached Jiang Yulang’s face.

Perhaps Xiao Yu’er had struck out too quickly, or maybe Jiang Yulang had not anticipated an offensive move from him. In any case, Jiang Yulang had no time to dodge at all before he was soundly smacked. With a “pak” sound, half of Jiang Yulang’s face turned crimson, and he crumpled to the floor.

Xiao Yu’er laughingly mocked him: “You might seem quite scrawny, but your cheeks are rather well padded. If I hadn’t seen clearly that I had slapped your face, I might have thought I was spanking a cheek from a woman’s ***.”

His hand on his injured cheek, Jiang Yulang’s voice quivered: “You…what are you going to do?”

“Since you want to kill me, can’t I kill you?” Xiao Yu’er barked. With the back of his hand, he slapped Jiang Yulang again.

Jiang Yulang’s face was now beginning to resemble the underbelly of a dead fish. He trembled: “You and I, we’re going to die anyway, why are you…”

Xiao Yu’er laughed out loud. “You’re right, but you just reminded me, if I kill you, I’ve got an extra half month to live.”

Jiang Yulang lowered his head, whimpering: “I…I deserve to die…it’s all my fault…” Without warning he lashed out like a morningstar and launched his head toward Xiao Yu’er’s abdomen. Although his head might not be that hard, it certainly had to be a lot harder than a stomach.

Although Xiao Yu’er had been tracking Jiang Yulang’s hand and leg movements all along, it was true that he had not been keeping an eye on that little ball of a head. He was knocked into a corner, rather like a baby shrimp, with a curved out middle(?). Clutching his stomach, he could not catch his breath for a few minutes.

Laughing coldly, Jiang Yulang sneered, “I think you know now who deserves to die.” He used his full strength to smash his foot onto Xiao Yu’er’s chin.

Xiao Yu’er lay there as if unable to raise his head. But when Jiang Yulang Jiang Yulang’s foot had just reached his face, Xiao Yu’er’s hand which had been clutching his own tummy, flew up. Together his hands reached, as if they were snatching at the embroidered silk ball flung into the air by the minister’s daughter. (1) He grabbed Jiang Yulang’s right foot, and wrenched it sharply to the left.

Jiang Yulang shrieked in pain, and flipped over his entire body like a fish. He collapsed on the floor, blood pouring out from his nostrils.

Xiao Yu’er immediately jumped on his back and laughed: “Now I really do know who deserves to die.”

Wheezing and puffing, Jiang Yulang dragged himself on the floor, panting: “All right, you win, you are stronger than me in all things. But I know you won’t kill me. If you had really wanted to, you didn’t need to wait until now.”

The little rascal was actually trying for pity, trying to flatter Xiao Yu’er. Although this should have been easy to do, Xiao Yu’er was not pleased at all and in fact felt uneasy(?). He knew that Jiang Yulang would love nothing more than to plunge a sharp dagger into his throat, or some other place, some other more vulnerable place. But at this moment he had no dagger, and even if he did it would be useless. When someone else is riding on your back, it’s impossible to stab them in the throat.

He was merely waiting for an opportunity, when he could take his time to stab slowly, over and over.

You might not be able to consider Xiao Yu’er the most evil and ruthless person. But at least you could say he was extremely clever. He knew exactly how Jiang Yulang felt. And yet, although he knew Jiang Yulang wanted to kill him, he would still give the rascal chances to kill him. He wanted to see just how Jiang Yulang would try it.

This would certainly be a fun thing to see. And with regard to curious and interesting things, Xiao Yu’er would never pass up an opportunity. Especially when he didn’t have long to live.

As he pondered in fascination, he seemed to have forgotten his imminent danger of dying.

Just as he was getting really excited, Jiang Yulang vaulted his body back into an upright position, and flung Xiao Yu’er off his back. Normally, this would hardly be a problem at all, but such a confined space now made it dangerous.

With a “dong” sound, like a drum being struck, Xiao Yu’er’s head hit the roof of the cave. Then his body fell to the floor.

Jiang Yulang took a long while to get up. He grabbed Xiao Yu’er’s neck and sneered coldly: “I know you won’t really try to kill me, but I am really going to kill you.”

His fingers dug in forcefully, but Xiao Yu’er did not react.

Jiang Yulang’s grip relaxed. He did not wish to kill Xiao Yu’er while he was unconscious. He wanted to see him struggle, wanted to see his expression while he was unable to breathe.

Xiao Yu’er, irritatingly, refused to regain consciousness. Jiang Yulang reached out one hand and grabbed the wine jar which had rolled off to one side. He dumped all of the leftover wine straight onto Xiao Yu’er’s head.

Before he was done, Xiao Yu’er’s hands suddenly reached in between Jiang Yulang’s arms. One fist sailed into Jiang Yulang’s throat. Jiang Yulang’s face contorted in pain, but he still managed to remember to smash the wine jar on Xiao Yu’er’s head.

Of course Xiao Yu’er had predicted this maneuver. He rolled his body to one side, then his foot lashed out and kicked Jiang Yulang in his private parts. The wine jar was smashed to bits. Jiang Yulang was curled up in exquisite agony, unable to move or breathe.

This kick was certainly effective, but also clearly not sportsmanlike. In fact you couldn’t really consider it a real martial arts move. Indeed, from beginning to end, neither of them had used proper techniques. Because they were confined in this rat’s nest-sized cave, they were unable to use proper martial arts at all. Luckily they weren’t fighting for other people to watch, nor were there any spectators.

The torchlight appeared to gradually dim down.

Xiao Yu’er suddenly sprang up, and said, “Oh no.”

Jiang Yulang snarled, “What, we aren’t in enough trouble, that something more could go wrong?”

Sighing, Xiao Yu’er explained, “Even before we starved to death, we would die from suffocation in here.”

Since the tunnel entrance was blocked up, the oxygen in the air was slowly thinning out. The light from the torches would soon extinguish. He felt that his breaths were become stifled, that his eyelids were growing heavy.

Jiang Yulang said in a trembling voice, “I thought of everything, except this…”

Xiao Yu’er said, “Now even if you killed me, at most you would only gain an extra half hour.”

Jiang Yulang mumbled repetitively, “Half an hour, half an hour…” His teeth began to chatter. Xiao Yu’er’s expression was also despairing, he mumbled to himself: “Suffocating…I wonder how it feels?”

“I’ve heard that suffocating is the worst,” moaned Jiang Yulang. “Before suffocating, people go crazy, they even claw out their own faces!” The only reason why he was going into such detail, was because he didn’t like being scared alone, he wanted Xiao Yu’er to share in his misery.

Xiao Yu’er was silent for a bit, then broke into a laugh: “It’s all right! I only fear dying too ordinary a death, now at last I have found a unique way! The number of people in this world who have suffocated to death must not be many.”

Jiang Yulang disagreed, saying slowly, “It might not be many, but it’s also not a small number! The builders of this place, were also buried alive.”

Xiao Yu’er winked at him: “Even at this point, you are still thinking of ways to upset me?”

“You are far too calm and happy, I want to see how long your happiness can last,” snarled Jiang Yulang.

“You really hate me that much?” Xiao Yu’er asked in surprise. “Hmph!” retorted Jiang Yulang.

“You hate me, because I am better than you in every way, isn’t that right?” Xiao Yu’er said.

Jiang Yulang said, “Perhaps you and I were born to be enemies!” When he said this, he had no idea how accurate his words were.

The firelight had weakened still further. Xiao Yu’er saw it grow dim, and mumbled, “Wine! That d*mn wine, was wasted by that d*mn fool.” He glanced about. The smashed pieces of the wine jar were quickly drying out on the floor. The odd thing was, the spilled wine itself was not seeping into the earth.

The ground was uneven, of course the wine would flow towards the lowest level. Xiao Yu’er suddenly jumped up, and spilled a tub of water on the floor. The water also followed the wine. He screamed wildly: “Wai, look…look!”

Jiang Yulang mumbled, “What’s there to look at.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “The water…it’s flowing…”

“Of course water flows, and it flows downward,” Jiang Yulang said.

Xiao Yu’er jabbed his finger at a corner of the cave, so excited that he could not speak properly. He stuttered, “Look. The water is flowing in that direction, yet it is not pooling in here.”

He continued excitedly: “The water is not pooling here! That means it’s flowing outside, where there must be a hole. But we are already underground, how could there be another exit for water to flow outside?”

He stopped talking and snatched up a broken piece of wine jar. He started digging at the corner as though his life depended on it. Jiang Yulang watched him in a daze, his hands shaking.

It was getting even harder for the two of them to breathe. The weak light suddenly went out. They were surrounded by blackness, so complete that you could not see your fingers in front of your face. Jiang Yulang could not see what kind of progress Xiao Yu’er was making, he could only hear him panting for breath. He himself was also panting.

Unexpectedly, there was a “ping” sound, as if a wooden board had split apart. Then Xiao Yu’er cried: “I’ve dug a hole…it’s empty out there!”

His voice trembling, Jiang Yulang said, “You…you’re sure?”

Xiao Yu’er ordered: “A flint, light a torch. In the name of heaven, don’t tell me you don’t have a flint.”

But what use was a flint? Xiao Yu’er looked as though he would faint.

However, the torch was lit. Xiao Yu’er’s body could not be seen, and in the cave there was suddenly a gaping hole.

Gusts of a damp, stinking breeze was blowing out from the hole.

Jiang Yulang felt his breathing relax and become more easy. He cried out in delight: “Jiang…young master Jiang, brother Jiang.”

Xiao Yu’er’s voice echoed through the hole: “Quickly, get over here.” His voice sounded surprised and wildly happy. Jiang Yulang half rolled, half dived into the hole. Then, he stood there stunned.

They stood in an octagonal room. The eight walls were constructed differently; one of steel, another of bronze, one was stone, and there was even a wall of solid gold.

Thank heaven that the wall they had been facing was made of wood. Otherwise they would most likely have suffocated to death.

In this octagonal room, there were no tables or cupboards. Because they were underground, there were also no spiderwebs. The air came from an unknown source.

The room only contained a collection of knobs(?). Large and small, or different designs. Some were made of metal, others of stone, and of course, some were made of solid gold.

Jiang Yulang could hardly catch his breath. He wailed: “Oh heaven! Heaven…what is this kind of place. You could kill me and I wouldn’t come in! And…”

Xiao Yu’er had made several circuits around the room, and was still unsure of what to do next. Indeed, what kind of a place was this? And for what purpose were those knobs intended? He looked and looked, but could not figure out any special purpose. The knobs were lined up one after another, and who knows how much work it took to make them.

Jiang Yulang moaned, “Have you figured it out yet? What kind of a place is this?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed bitterly: “I think the only ones who know are ghosts now.”

Jiang Yulang dashed over and wiped at a wall with his sleeve. After a while, he cried out: “Oh my, this wall really is made of gold.”

Xiao Yu’er said, “That’s not too surprising. What’s strange is, this place is ventilated somehow. Unless the maker were crazy, there must be a purpose behind this.”

“What purpose?” Jiang Yulang repeated.

Heaving a long sigh, Xiao Yu’er said, “This purpose may be the biggest secret you and I have ever encountered.” With one hand he pressed down on a knob.

Jiang Yulang said, “You’re going to move it?”

“Could you bear not to?” Xiao Yu’er retorted. He winked at Jiang Yulang, joking: “Maybe this is the gateway to hell, if I twist this knob, I may release its demons.”

Gritting his teeth, Jiang Yulang said, “What a good joke, this joke is very funny indeed.”

Together they shivered, as with a “jee!” sound, the knob twisted. The stone wall suddenly turned and a door was revealed.

Xiao Yu’er chuckled: “Look, the gateway to hell appears.” His chuckles sounded shrill and full of fear, and he knew it.

Jiang Yulang returned to their cave and grabbed a lantern. Xiao Yu’er went ahead with the torch. As they advanced, gusts of a rotting stench floated towards them. Xiao Yu’er had never smelled such decay, and never wanted to again.

Bravely, they continued on. Corpses, inside the doorway dead bodies lay everywhere! Jiang Yulang’s hands began to tremble and wouldn’t stop. The way they died, and the way they looked, this writer would rather not say. Besides, I don’t think I could properly express it, and neither could anyone else.

On closer examination, these were skeletons covered in clothes. Xiao Yu’er trembled and sneezed- before him, a skeleton’s clothing had suddenly crumbled to dust.

Xiao Yu’er felt a chill creep through his back. He said, “I’m afraid these people have been dead here for more than ten years.”

Jiang Yulang stammered, “I think they…starved to death. Look at them, they must have gone crazy before they died, look at their hands.”

Xiao Yu’er thought he would go crazy himself. He looked, and suddenly could not resist the urge to vomit. He threw up all the wine and meat he had eaten earlier.

“I wonder what kind of people these were?” Jiang Yulang mused.

Xiao Yu’er coughed up a final mouthful of spit before he panted: “It seems their clothing was quite rough and common, they must have been the construction workers.”

Jiang Yulang sneered, “What a pack of idiots.” “Idiots?” Xiao Yu’er echoed.

“If they weren’t idiots, why would they build such a secret place? They must have known that after they built it, their lives would be in danger.”

Xiao Yu’er asked in disbelief, “You see these people and the horrible deaths they died, and you feel not one bit of pity?”

“Who will pity me if I die?” Jiang Yulang retorted.

Sighing, Xiao Yu’er said, “Wow, I’m really impressed. I have been raised and taught in a gathering place for the villains of this earth, and I can’t even compare to you. In fact I think I need to learn from you.”

Jiang Yulang ignored him and said, “The strange thing is, Xiao…”

Before he had finished speaking, footsteps sounded from above. They were very slow, yet heavy, as if carrying a huge load.

The hairs shot up on Xiao Yu’er’s skin. Even if he were the bravest man alive, at this moment, he could not help being afraid.

Jiang Yulang’s hands, of course, were shaking. He said, “This…this…” Although he was spiteful and vicious, his courage was lacking, and he was speechless with fear. With a “dong” sound, the lantern in his hand hit the floor. The footsteps came nearer and nearer.

Xiao Yu’er felt his arms and legs weaken. His torch had also fallen to the ground. Everywhere was darkness, all this d*mned darkness.

The heavy footsteps seemed to crush their courage. They wanted to escape, but could not lift their legs!

Suddenly, an opening appeared from above, and a thread of yellow light shone through. The two of them held their breaths and did not dare to move.

They saw a pair of feet. The feet were small and delicate, and were encased in a pair of embroidered shoes. Above the feet was a green dress. Above that no more could be seen.

They stole a look at each other- almost unable to keep from crying out: “Xiao Mimi!”

This was not a female ghost, but indeed was Xiao Mimi.

They heard her mutter: “You can rest a bit here, this place is not bad, but a bit quiet…”

A person fell down into the room. Who else was that monster trying to kill?

With a chill, they realized this person was already a dead body. One by one, bodies were dropped in.

Xiao Mimi continued speaking: “To be able to rest in such a luxurious grave, I don’t think you could have any complaints. Farewell, all of you…I will think of you sometimes.”

With a “peng” sound, the opening closed, and once again all was blackness.

Jiang Yulang and Xiao Yu’er stayed motionless for a long time, before they relaxed and took a deep breath. Xiao Yu’er suddenly laughed out loud: “Jiang Yulang, these bodies belong to the people you killed. Aren’t you afraid they’ll seek revenge?”

Jiang Yulang shot back: “I never feared them when they were alive, why would I start now!”

Xiao Yu’er felt around and found the flint and torch by his feet. He struck up a light. Jiang Yulang’s face hardly seemed human. Xiao Yu’er giggled: “If you’re not afraid, why does your face look so funny?”

Jiang Yulang snatched up the lantern and dashed back into the cave. Xiao Yu’er hurriedly followed, he did not want Jiang Yulang to seal him inside the octagonal room.

What Xiao Mimi had labeled as a “luxurious” place, Jiang Yulang could not tolerate. He stood off to one side and began to vomit. Mouthful after mouthful.

Xiao Yu’er reflected: “I suspected from the beginning that this place was not made by Xiao Mimi. Women, how could their designs be so grand…now we know that my suspicions were correct.”

Jiang Yulang could only say, “Hmph.”

Xiao Yu’er went on, “By some odd chance, she stumbled onto this place. But upon seeing all the dead bodies, she did not dare to explore further. She did not know that she had only discovered a part of this underground palace. It could have been the worst part, in fact. The best part may be yet to come.”

He sighed, then added: “But then who did construct this place? Who could have been this ambitious?”

Laughing coldly, Jiang Yulang sneered, “At the very least, it wouldn’t be you.”

Xiao Yu’er made a face at him, and said: “Don’t forget, my martial arts are better than yours, I could kill you at any time.”

Jiang Yulang sprang backwards a step. His expression changed. “You…you…”

Xiao Yu’er laughed merrily, teasing: “But you don’t need to get quite so worried, I just want you to have some manners when speaking.”

Jiang Yulang stared at him for a while. With his head lowered, he said, “I’m young and I don’t know anything. If I have offended you, please forgive me, I…in my heart, I see you as my older brother.”

Laughing, Xiao Yu’er said, “Fortunately you aren’t really my younger brother.”

Carrying the torch, he made another circuit around the octagonal room. With one hand, he touched here and knocked about there, his eyes darting back and forth. He said, “Of these eight walls, only one is made of earth. Seven left, and two are stone and wood. That leaves gold, silver, bronze, steel, and tin.”

Jiang Yulang commented, “To use eight different kinds of material to construct eight walls, there must be some kind of meaning.”

“Precisely,” Xiao Yu’er agreed. “And what kind of meaning would that be?”

Smiling, Jiang Yulang said, “I’m sure I don’t know, that’s why I’m deferring to you, big brother.”

Xiao Yu’er looked at him for a while. Slowly he said, “Listen to me, I want to tell you two things.”

“Your wish is my command.”

With a fixed stare, Xiao Yu’er declared: “First, never call me big brother again. I find it disturbing.”

Surprised, Jiang Yulang lowered his head, and said, “Yes.”

“Second,” Xiao Yu’er continued, “you will never again play dumb in front of me. I know you are an intelligent person, very clever, there’s no point in pretending to be stupid.”

“Yes.” Jiang Yulang obediently nodded.

With a smile, Xiao Yu’er spoke again, “Now, what were you saying about the maker’s intent?”

Jiang Yulang said falteringly: “I’m not sure if my guess is right…in making these walls, one reason would be to signify that there is something different behind each wall.”

“Not bad,” Xiao Yu’er said. “And another reason?”

“Another reason,” Jiang Yulang added, “would be related to the knobs. The stone knob was made to control the stone wall. Therefore the golden knob must control the gold wall.”

“Excellent,” Xiao Yu’er smiled. “Go on.”

Jiang Yulang continued: “The wall of wood was where we came from, so there’s nothing special behind it. Behind the stone wall was a mass grave, we don’t need to go there again. As for the earthen wall, it seems to be solid, so probably there’s nothing of interest there. The only remaining choices are the walls made of gold, silver, bronze, steel and tin.”

“Just so,” agreed Xiao Yu’er. “There must be something interesting behind these five walls.” He winked and added, “Here, you choose, which wall shall we explore first?”

“Gold,” Jiang Yulang replied at once.

“Very good,” Xiao Yu’er approved. “This time you were honest. I also wanted to try to the gold wall first. Who wouldn’t?”

He reached towards the gold knob.

End of Chapter 31

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