Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Nanowrimo: Ready.....Get set.....

All right! In a few more hours, Nanowrimo participants from this part of the world will be churning out their novels. Target: 50,000 words in one month.

I took a peek at who the authors are. This was what I saw.

95 authors from Bolehland at last count

166 from Kiasuland.

I think the numbers are up from last year at this time.

This year, I am a supporter rather than an active participant. However, to show solidarity with my fellow amateur writers, I will post Chapter 30 of "The Cook and the Assassin" story tomorrow.


Monday, October 30, 2006


Multiple choice question: Swearing

The silly smirk on his face tells us that:

a) He's happy about swearing

b) He's feels stupid about swearing

c) He's not even thinking about swearing

d) He's itching to swear with both hands

e) None of the above


Zen in 3 sentences: Buddha nature

“Does a dog have Buddha nature?"

If by Buddha nature, you mean that it can rise above the duality of right and wrong, then yes, a dog has Buddha nature.

From now on, if your dog chews up your mat, please do not scream and rant, but try to understand that your dog knows that a mat is just a mat, temporal in nature, and because your dog understands that all things eventually must turn to shit, that sonofabitch is actually more spiritually advanced than you.


Friday, October 27, 2006


The Cook and the Assassin - Chapter 29

Chapter 29: Agent Simit strikes back

It was late at night when Wen Yiji got back wearily to the inn. He was coughing blood and Xiang Xiang knew that he had got into a serious fight.

“Are you all right, Brother Yiji?” she asked. “It looks like somebody bashed you up really bad. You look like shit.”

“If you think I look bad, you should see the other fellow!” gasped Wen Yiji. “When I left him, he looked even shittier.”

“You must feel terrible.”

“True. But at least I can feel terrible. The other fellow can’t feel a thing.”

“You are coughing blood. That is bad.”

“It’s not that bad as the other guy whom I think will never cough again.”

Xiang Xiang ignored her brother’s cockiness and immediately made arrangements to boil some herbs in the room for him. She knew that for her brother to get hurt, it must have been a difficult fight, meaning that his injuries would not be light.

Back at the little restaurant where Si Fatt Guai lay dead, the young lad was just waking up from his bout of unconsciousness. He stumbled around in the darkness and wondered where his trousers had gone. He somehow made his way unsteadily to the stove and lit a candle from the embers. When he had a light going, he discovered the body of the dead Si Fatt Guai.

“Oh no!” he exclaimed. “Got dead body here! Die! Hey, isn’t that the stupid pig who tried to rape my ass! Good! Better he die than I die. I wonder if he got rape me successfully or not……kanineh….”

He felt around his asshole but there did not seem to be any indication of pain.

“Good! No pain!” he smiled. “But if people around here think I got ass raped, I’ll be the big time laughing stock!”

Angrily, the lad kicked the dead man’s head hard and then grumbled as he hopped around in pain “Aiyohhh….my foot so pain……his head hard like rock only. I wonder who killed him. Not me, for sure. But if people think I killed him, they may arrest me for murder! Sure die!”

The lad searched the dead body and found a sum of money. He looked around furtively. There was no one else in the restaurant.

“All this money are belong to me,” he thought. “Better I take than nobody take. No need to think one. He who hesitates is lost. But I must dispose of the body. Better no one finds out he died here. If not I die!”

The lad worked quickly in the night to tie the corpse onto Si Fatt Guai’s horse. Making use of the little moonlight available, he led the horse for a short distance up the road heading in the direction away from town. Taking his dagger, he poked the horse hard on the rump with it. The horse whinnied in pain and galloped away into the night, bearing the body of Si Fatt Guai away from Tsinkiang.

+ + + + + +

The next day, Si Liu Thung asked his father, “I noticed that none of our relatives have visited us to offer donations for the burial of Si Mm Chut. Why is that so?”

“We don’t have relatives,” replied his father to the query.

“What about the auntie in Weitou? The one they called the “Borrowing Hag”? She is your sister-in-law, isn’t she?” asked Si Liu Thung.

“That bitch? I have forgotten about her. Everytime she sees me, she wants to borrow money from me.”

“When was the last time you saw her?”

“Five years ago, I think. I am not sure.”

“We should inform her. A relative is still a relative. You won’t want my youngest brother to be buried without a single relative present, would you?”

“Oh, all right. Send a carriage to Weitou to fetch the Borrowing Hag here for the funeral.”

A servant was dispatched with a horse-drawn carriage for the purpose. The servant was at the outskirts of the city when he saw a strange sight. Group of villagers were surrounding a horse which carrying a dead body. The servant immediately recognized the face on the body as that belonging to his master’s eldest son, Si Fatt Guai.

“You killed my young master!” the servant shouted.

“No, no!” the villagers said. “The horse brought him here! Nothing to do with us!”

The servant felt squeamish about handling the dead body, so he did not untie the corpse from the horse. Instead, he merely tethered the horse to the back of the carriage and rode back all the way to the Si mansion.

On reaching the mansion, the servant rushed into the hall and shouted. “Master! Master! I found the body of eldest young master Si Fatt Guai tied to a horse outside the city! He has been killed by arrows!”

Simit and Si Liu Thung were shocked speechless on seeing the corpse of Si Fatt Guai.

So speechless were they that if they were trees that fell in the zen forest, and there was somebody there to hear them, they would still not have made a sound.

That night, the traumatized Agent Simit did not sleep at all.

+ + + + + +

Morning came. It was an auspicious day, or so the Chinese Almanac(Tong Shu) said. Wen Yiji, Xiang Xiang and Grasshopper waited for the arrival of the auspicious hour, at which, they shifted from the inn to their new house.

Grasshopper went around banging a brass gong to let the heavens know that they had moved in. He was happy to discover that Xiang Xiang had arranged for him to have a room on his own with his own bed and cupboard. By his standards, it was luxurious.

Although Wen Yiji was no more coughing blood, he rested in his room most of the time while Xiang Xiang and Grasshopper fixed and cleaned the house.

At the Si household, Simit was having a talk with his only remaining son, Si Liu Thung.

“Both of my sons were killed by arrows,” he voiced out in intense sorrow. “Do you suppose that they were killed by the same person?”

“I do not know,” replied his son. “Maybe the arrows could tell us something.”

“The arrows used in both cases were different. There were no distinguishing marks.”

“To be able to kill my eldest brother, a killer must have been highly skilled. To have shot my youngest brother, a killer would have been pretty resourceful or creative. These are not ordinary killings. Yet there is nothing to tie the two together.”

“There is nothing that we can do except bury my sons. My two sons…..taken away from me in the prime of their lives…..with their deaths unexplained!”

“I sent the servant to Weitou this morning to fetch Auntie Borrowing Hag for the funeral,” said Si Liu Thung. “She should be here by tomorrow.”

Agent Simit nodded in stupefaction. After a while, he crawled into bed to wallow in his grief.

+ + + + + +

The following day after they moved in, Wen Yiji was feeling bored. The Dark Fire Inner Energy had finally cleared his system and he had fully recovered from his injuries. He decided that it was time that he did something around the house. Not that there was much to do, but after months of travelling and excitement, he was not quite used to the idea of domestic inactivity.

Looking around the house that Xiang Xiang had fixed up neatly, he said, “Things certainly have moved fast. In autumn, I was still a prisoner in the Imperial Capital. And now, in just mid winter, I am a reasonably well-to-do man and the master of three houses. In the short time span of about a hundred days, much has happened.”

“Yes, things have happened very fast,” Xiang Xiang agreed. “I remember that in autumn, I was working in a kitchen in Fatty Kuek’s restaurant and fending off the attentions of his oily-faced son who threatened to make me his concubine! What a total moron! Today, I have a proper home. And a new kitchen! I love the kitchen layout, but I think we will have to build a duck oven for roasting ducks.”

“Maybe you should start behaving like a lady and forget about starting a restaurant,” said her brother. “You will be sixteen after the New Year and I will have to think about marrying you off.”

“If I don’t start a restaurant, I will not feel alive. Cooking keeps me sane. It makes me feel that I have a special place in the universe. That I was born to do something meaningful and not sit like the grass waiting to be fed on by the goat. Marriage can wait. I don’t need to be married by sixteen. Even twenty is not too late.”

“All right, but I do not want you to work too hard. We are reasonably well to do, so we will have to hire some servants to help around the house and restaurant. How many do we need?”

“Six should be sufficient. Four men and two women. I have it all worked out except where to find the workers.”

“Sometimes, very poor people sell themselves as indentured servants to pay for funeral expenses at home when a parent dies,” remarked Wen Yiji. “I have seen it happen.”

“All right,” said Xiang Xiang. “We’ll go near the market to see if we can get some indentured servants. All sorts of transactions occur there.”

As they walked by the market, they saw a number of people sitting by the roadside, selling themselves as indentured servants. Pirates had attacked a village nearby and the survivors were trying to raise funeral funds for funeral expenses by coming to the city.

They walked by a young man who had a sign near him that read, “Pirates killed my goat. Need money for burial expenses.”

“Oh, the poor man,” remarked Grasshopper. “He must be really in love with his goat to want to give it funeral rites.”

“He should just dig a hole in the ground and bury it,” said Wen Yiji in disgust. “Let’s move on.”

They passed by another man who had a large sign, “Pirates killed my wife. Need money to buy another wife.”

“Oh, the poor man,” remarked Wen Yiji. “His nights will be so lonely without a new wife.”

“He should just do without a new wife while he mourns his old wife for three years,” remarked Xiang Xiang in disgust. “Let’s move on.”

They then passed by a very old man who had a large sign, “Pirates kidnapped my young mistress. Need money to train up another young mistress.”

“That is disgusting,” said Xiang Xiang. “A man as old as that should have better things to do than think about a mistress.”

“You are right,” remarked Grasshopper. “Besides, if he does not have a young mistress, he can always make do temporarily with his right hand. Let’s move on.”

Xiang Xiang and Wen Yiji paused in their steps and stared hard at Grasshopper. The boy flushed red in embarrassment.

+ + + + + +

At the Si mansion the next afternoon, the servant returned from Weitou to inform Agent Simit that the Borrowing Hag was dead.

“She perished in a night time fire together with her daughter one and a half months ago,” the servant reported. “Her whole house was burnt down to the ground.”

Agent Simit felt a cold sensation clutching the inside of his stomach. His remaining son, Si Liu Thung asked, “Is our family being targeted by heaven or do you think that this is merely a coincidence?”

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” said his father grimly. “Coincidences occur only in kungfu stories. This is real life.”

Si Liu Thung stared at his father and said, “We may be next.”

“If we are being targeted, then our enemy may be someone formidable,” said a worried Agent Simit. “Nobody in this city will dare to attack us. Your youngest brother was killed within these mansion walls which we thought were safe. Your eldest brother’s Five Fairies Iron Palm did not prevent him from being killed. Who are we dealing with here?”

“I don’t know. Let’s ask Gojisan. He may know something.”

“He may not tell us.”

“Then we will torture him again.”

Moments later, both father and son were in the presence of Gojisan.

“Master Gojisan,” said Simit. “I trust that you are well.”

“You need not be hypocritical,” remarked Gojisan caustically. “Being strung up here in chains for years…..have improved my health considerably, I’m sure. To what…..do I owe the reason for this visit?”

“There is something that I wish to ask of you.”

“You wish to know…….how your sons, Si Mm Chut and Si Fatt Guai were killed.”

“How…..how did you know about their deaths?”

“I may be down in your dungeon, but I am not deaf. The commotion made by your men and the sound of funeral rites being carried out has filtered down to this cell. You must be devastated! You have no lineage now! Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Near the suspended body of Gojisan was a huge tub of cold water. Si Liu Thung took a ladle and ladled out some water. He then proceeded to pour the cold water on the body of Gojisan. The old man jerked involuntarily on being wetted by the chilly water. The water flowed down the body and then dripped down into the floor below.

“The water in winter is cold, isn’t it, sifu?” said Si Liu Thung. “I can keep on pouring more cold water until you tell us more about this One-Eyed Snake assassin of the Fire Mountain Sect.”

“I am your sifu and yet you torture me? What have I done in my past life to deserve this fate?”

“In your past life you were probably a cheap prostitute,” said Si Liu Thung. “You gave incurable diseases to your clients. Now tell us about this person who killed my brothers.”

“What makes you think…….that both your brothers were killed by the same person?” asked Gojisan. “Idiots die all the time. It may have nothing to do with the Fire Mountain Sect. I bet half the town wanted to kill them”

“Shut up! Just tell us how we can find this One-Eyed Snake,” asked Simit.

“Why should I help you? In fact, I wish that he will kill you all.”

Si Liu Thung splashed some more cold water on Gojisan’s body.

“Why don’t you try fire instead of cold water. Maybe I will talk then!” challenged a shivering Gojisan.

“Look at you….shivering like a sick dog,” noted Si Liu Thung. “Why can’t you bring out your internal energy to warm yourself up? Ahhh….I forgot…. because all your thirty six gates of movement have been blocked!”

Gojisan could withstand pain. They had driven in all sorts of metal implements into his body in the past and he had survived them all. His nerves were almost dead. However his skin still reacted to cold water. The water was not life threatening but he knew that the idea was just to drive in the message that they could make him feel miserable. They were mocking him.

“And you are totally useless as a man,” retorted Gojisan. “Do you know why? The Celestial Dragon Claw kungfu must be taught only to a pure virgin. He can have sex after he mastered the art, but not before. If he loses his virginity too early, his sexual capabilities will be attacked by the Celestial Dragon qi and he will become impotent!”

“You did not say that before I started practicing it!” shouted Si Liu Thung.

Gojisan cackled, “I asked you if you were a virgin and you said ‘yes’. I knew you were lying because I had seen you visiting a courtesan house without your father’s knowledge. Yes, I taught you the Celestial Dragon Claw kungfu knowing that it would make you sexually impotent. Hyuk! Hyuk! Hyuk! Hyuk! Hyuk!”

The enraged Si Liu Thung gripped the side of Gojisan and twisted the skinny flesh. Gojisan cackled on.

Agent Simit felt dizzy on hearing this but managed to control his fury to say tightly, “Just tell us how to find the One-Eyed Snake assassin and I will set you free.”

“I do not believe that you will ever set me free. And besides, how do you know that it was the One-Eyed Snake that killed both your two sons? Were they both killed in a similar style?” asked Gojisan.

“They were both killed by arrows,” answered Simit. “Are you saying that it could be just a coincidence?”

“Coincidences belong only to kungfu stories,” remarked Gojisan. “It is strange that Si Fatt Guai could be defeated. I trained Si Fatt Guai and so I know that he could not be easily killed. He was far too powerful to be shot by arrows.”

“That was the puzzling thing. The one thing that did not fit the manner of killing was the way my sister-in-law died,” muttered Simit angrily.

“What has your sister-in-law ……to do with this?” asked Gojisan.

“You remember my sister-in-law, the woman called the ‘Borrowing Hag’, who traveled with us to the Imperial City five years ago?” asked Agent Simit. “Her house was burnt down more than a month ago and she perished in the fire together with her daughter.”

Gojisan stared downwards silently as he digested the piece of news.

Finally, he spoke, “This is the will of Heaven! Five years ago, we slaughtered the Wang family in the Imperial City. After that event, a certain sense of dark foreboding followed me like a persistent shadow. It was like a huge arrow pointed at my head telling me that we should not have killed off the whole family….that some day, we would pay for it heavily. The day of heavenly retribution came faster for me than I expected. I was chained up by you when we reached here. The day of retribution for the Borrowing Hag came when she and her daughter perished in the fire. And now, the day of retribution for you has also arrived. Fate has determined that all of us will suffer horribly for what happened in the Imperial City. You cannot outrun your fate.”

“Stop talking nonsense, old man!” shouted Simit. “You are not making sense!”

“I am making sense,” smiled Gojisan. “All of us have no future left. Including you. With your youngest son dead, you will have no descendants! I do not know how both of you will die. But I know that it will be a terrible death. A most horrifying end. I can bet on it!”

“You need not try to frighten us,” sneered Si Liu Thung. “It won’t work!”

“I don’t have to try,” said Gojisan. “I can already smell your fear! Hee…..hee….. hee…..hee……hee…..”

His laughter ended when Simit angrily ladled cold water over his body.

As Si Liu Thung and his father left the underground cell, Si Liu Thung commented, “The old devil seems to think that this has something to do with some Imperial City killing. He must be mad.”

“We cannot preclude the possibility that he could be right,” said his father. “If there is indeed a connection, then we should keep an eye out for anything unusual. We slaughtered everybody of the Wang family except for a little girl. The Wang family called themselves the Wen family in the Imperial City. Ask our network of contacts to find out if there is any girl by the surname of either Wang or Wen who has recently come to Tsinkiang.”

“Yes, father,” said Si Liu Thung.

+ + + + + +

Ten days later, Si Liu Thung rushed to his father’s presence and said excitedly, “We found her……the Wen girl. And she has a brother who visits the House of Noble Delights regularly. He recently came to Tsinkiang and seems to have a lot of money. All the courtesans know him. His name is Wen Yiji!”

“Wen Yiji? Wen Yiji?” asked Simit in shock. “That was the name of Wang Yuan’s eldest son! He was an Imperial Guard and was supposed to have died in prison! How can he still be alive?”

“I do not know. Do you think this is the same Wen Yiji from the Imperial City?” asked his son. “Or someone with the same name by coincidence?”

“There is no such thing as a coincidence,” replied the father. “The surname Wen is not common in Tsinkiang. This Wen Yiji has to be the same Wen Yiji we were supposed to have killed! If he survived, then he must want vengeance. I know I would.”

“How did he trace you to here?”

“That I do not know. We covered our tracks so well that no one knew that there was even a murder of a whole family! This Wen Yiji must be an extraordinary person. If he is that extraordinary, then he probably was the one who killed your two brothers.”

“What do we do now?” asked his son.

“He who strikes first is the stronger one. We have to hit him before he hits us again. The best defense is a good offence. We will kidnap his sister and then lure him here to save her. Once he is in our stronghold, we will set a trap for him.”

That evening, Wen Yiji left the house after dinner to visit a courtesan house. Xiang Xiang had just finished cleaning her kitchen when Grasshopper whispered to her, “Someone is in the inner courtyard!”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“It’s not fully dark yet. I know what I saw!”

Xiang Xiang looked around for a weapon. Her Chicken Knife was in her room. So was her wooden fighting pole. She grabbed a cleaver and then tried to get to her room, followed closely by Grasshopper. As she was about to reach it, a masked figure suddenly appeared in her path.

She stopped and asked, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”

“You are coming with me,” the masked figure answered.

He rushed at her and she lashed out with her cleaver. He caught the cleaver with his bare hand in midair and twisted it out of her grip. Xiang Xiang retreated and her hand found a bamboo pole by the wall. It was not her usual fighting pole but she took up a fighting stance with it. “Run and hide, Grasshopper!” she hissed. “Run and hide!”

“But I can fight!” said the boy. “I’ll whack him till he cry father cry mother! After that, I’ll whack him some more!”

“Shut up and do as I say!” she yelled. “Hurry, run!”

The masked figure approached and she attacked his legs. He was fast, avoiding her pole strikes with an agility that confounded her. She executed a sudden pole thrust to his ribs and he caught the end of the pole with his right hand. He held it there unmoving and then with a snap, his fingers crushed the end of the bamboo pole into frayed slivers. He jerked the pole towards him and Xiang Xiang lost her balance as she was pulled forwards. The masked figure then slapped at her head with his free hand but she ducked under the blow. His other hand let go of the bamboo pole end and caught her at the throat.

Xiang Xiang struggled for air as she attempted to break the grip that was choking her, but he was too strong. She grew weaker and weaker in her struggles and then he released her and allowed her to drop to the floor. She gulped air hungrily into her starved lungs and then his fist came out of nowhere and punched her on the head. She passed out.


Thursday, October 26, 2006


3 sentences on blue skies

This morning, I got out of the door to be greeted by the grand sight of blue skies.

Yes, blue skies; something my haze-filled eyes had not seen for a long time.

A gift of nature, which many take for granted, fills my life with awesomeness.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Selamat Hari Raya

I'll be visiting a muslim relative to celebrate my Raya afterwards. She's an interesting character but is geting on in years. I visit her every year to catch up on the adventures in her life. And there's another thing; I enjoy the drive on the almost deserted streets of KL to get to her house.

Selamat Hari Raya to one and all, guys!


Monday, October 23, 2006


Zen in 3 sentences: Tree in the forest

“If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Trees are suckers for attention in much the same way that bloggers are.

If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody there to hear it, then it has every right not to make a sound for the freaky reason that it does not have a freaking audience.


Saturday, October 21, 2006


Deepavali greetings

Happy Depavali dudes!

If you have to drive outstation, then drive safely. Safe driving is a bit like safe sex; it is still enjoyable and one avoids all those unplanned consequences. I'll be hanging around the Klang valley to enjoy some peace and quiet.


Friday, October 20, 2006


The Cook and the Assassin - Chapter 28

Chapter 28: The battle with the Five Fairies Iron Palm

Agent Simit was unable to get out of bed, being too overcome with sorrow to do anything except wallow in misery. To lose a lineage was to lose everything. At noon, a servant entered the room and brought him news that his second son had returned.

Si Liu Thung’s face still bore the marks of someone who had been scalded badly. The skin was peeling off and the facial landscape was marred by broken blisters. He had decided to make one more assassination attempt on Admiral Liang before coming home, but finally he had to give up on hearing that Admiral Liang had already left Amoy for some reason. When Si Liu Thung got back to his home in Tsinkiang, he was shocked to hear that his youngest brother had been killed the day before.

“This is not the way things should happen!” he shouted in the presence of his father. “Only we are allowed to kill others but nobody is allowed to kill us! What kind of bastard could have done such a dastardly deed?”

“His name is One-Eyed Snake and he is from the Fire Mountain Sect,” replied his father glumly. “I have lost my only son.”

“You still have two other sons, father,” Si Liu Thung reminded his father.

“Of what use are my other sons?” shouted his father angrily. “You are impotent. And your elder brother is gay! Both of you will not sire any children!”

“Are you angry with us because you are impotent as well?” asked his son.

“Shut up!” snapped the father. ”Did you manage to kill Admiral Liang in Amoy like I instructed you to?”

“No father,” replied his son in embarrassment. “I was thwarted by a peddler who threw boiling soup on my face. I was going to make another attempt but then Admiral Liang had already left Amoy. I will try again when he gets back.”

“So, you failed like a miserable dog! Well, we will think about Admiral Liang only after the funeral of my youngest son.”

“We will have to ask eldest brother Fatt Guai to come back for the funeral.”

“Fatt Guai has become a stranger to me since he last quarreled with me over my arrangement for his marriage. He is not impotent. But he is screwing the wrong sex. I do not like the idea of him being a guest at Lord Tai’s home in Changchow. However, Lord Tai and I are on good terms as we have had business dealings before. Luckily, he had exchanged some courier pigeons with me so that we can communicate by pigeon post whenever the need arises.”

“You should have asked eldest brother to return home immediately when there was trouble with One-Eyed Snake.”

“I did. I sent three messages to Lord Tai by courier pigeon four days ago asking that my eldest son return for some urgent family matter. He has not turned up yet. I think he is ignoring me.”

“Maybe not,” said Si Liu Thung. “While I was on the way back here, I heard disturbing rumours that Lord Tai had been assassinated ten days ago. His funeral was reportedly carried out just three days ago after a seven day mourning period.”

“Lord Tai assassinated? No! That cannot happen. He is a most powerful man!”

“I know, father. The rumour was that he was killed inside his manor with a cheap sword. And no one saw the assassin.”

“If this is true, then this can be bad! It implies that there is a powerful assassin whom we have no knowledge of.”

“How was youngest brother killed, father?”

“With an arrow shot from somewhere. Mm Chut was standing in the inner courtyard. The archer has to be somewhere near enough to shoot. Most probably from the roof.”

“But wasn’t the roof booby trapped?”

“It was. That was a most puzzling thing. None of the booby traps were activated. The whole mansion was locked down and no one could get in and out without us knowing!”

“Could the assassin have shot from outside the mansion?’

“That’s an impossible shot, and you know it.”

“You are right, father. This is most puzzling.”

+ + + + + +

Si Fatt Guai was bored. After the funeral of Lord Tai, he had no reason to stay at the Tai residence any further. While Lord Tai had welcomed him whole heartedly, his heir and son, Tai Lan Ngong treated him with ill-concealed contempt. Perhaps it was time to find somewhere else to stay. He had not had sex ever since Lord Tai’s prisoners had escaped on the night of the assassination. This matter irked him greatly. He would need to find a man soon. Or perhaps a boy.

A servant bearing a note approached him and said, “This just came by courier pigeon for you, Master Si. It is from your father in Tsinkiang.”

Si Fatt Guai read the note and was shocked to hear of his youngest brother’s death. It was already evening and too late to start the journey to Tsinkiang. He would start first thing in the morning. If he rode his horse hard enough, he should be able to arrive home by late afternoon the next day.

+ + + + + +

Wen Yiji woke up early. He felt grumpy. The heavy rain the previous night had spoilt his plans of visiting the House of Noble Delights. Finally, he had no choice but to go to bed having a lot of money but feeling poor.

“What is the use of having money if the rain prevents me from spending it on orh kwee keng research,” he grumbled.

He looked out of the window at the morning sky. The weather looked promising. Maybe it would not rain. He remembered that he had to make a trip to the grave of Grasshopper’s mother with some offerings of joss sticks. He would do so in the afternoon, come back, have dinner with his sister and then go to the House of Noble Delights. It was a good schedule.

At breakfast, Xiang Xiang asked Grasshopper to sit with them. Wen Yiji was too preoccupied with his thoughts to ask what the special occasion was. And even if he did, Xiang Xiang usually had some answer to that.

“Something big is about to happen today. I can feel it in my marrow,” he murmured to himself.

“I beg your pardon, Master Wen?” asked Grasshopper.

“Uh….nothing,” Wen Yiji replied. Looking at the boy, he asked, “There is something that I do not yet understand. If your mother was of the well-known Wang family, how did she end up getting married off to a poor farmer like your father?”

“I do not quite know the reason,” replied Grasshopper. “My mother did not talk much about her past and she died when I was only eight years old. My stepfather’s sister’s husband once told me that my grandmother was a maid in Patriarch Wang’s household. She bore a son and then a daughter later. When the son, who was my uncle, got married, there was some kind of assassination attempt on my grandfather which failed. It turned out that the bride who married my uncle was an assassin. My uncle was forced to leave the family even though it was he who killed most of the assassins. After he left, my mother and maternal grandmother were held in contempt by the rest of the family.
A few years later, my grandfather got assassinated. The first wife had no sons, so the second wife’s eldest son, Master Wang Pa Tan, took over the reins of the household. The Wang family did not arrange to have my mother married off when she reached marriageable age. My grandmother, who was a maid, then died and my mother was then treated like a maid.
When my mother was almost thirty years old, Wang Pa Tan decided that he did not need that many people in the house because he wanted to conserve rice. He decided to marry off my mother to anyone who would be interested. However, at her age, there were no takers from the better families. So she was married off to a poor farmer, who was my father. My parents then moved to the present house where I was staying. My father died when I was two. The Wang family is quite large in Tsinkiang. I was told that my maternal grandfather, Patriarch Wang, had fathered something like thirty children. Or maybe more. Yet I have never met any of my cousins, uncles and aunties from the Wang family. I don’t remember my mother saying anything about them. We did not even visit any of them during the Lunar New Year.”

“It seems to me that the Wang family did not treat your mother too well,” remarked Xiang Xiang.

“No,” said Grasshopper. “And I think my mother did not like them as well. The only one whom she liked was her brother, the one who was forced to leave. She said that he was a good archer, and could shoot in the dark.”

Xiang Xiang kept silent. To hear of her dead father being mentioned by another party stirred up certain emotions in her. Wen Yiji was similarly quiet.

After a while, Yiji spoke, “I do not like the Wangs. We shall not have anything to do with them, understand?”

“Yes, Master Wen,” replied Grasshopper, while wondering why Wen Yiji did not like the Wangs.

“We shall be operating a restaurant in Tsinkiang in the future. If you see any of the members of Patriarch Wang’s family come into the restaurant, it will be your duty to chase them out with a broom!” Yiji said.

“We can’t do that, Brother Yiji,” protested Xiang Xiang. “We have to follow the ethics of business. If they come for a meal, and are willing to pay, then we will have to serve them.”

“All right,” remarked Yiji. “But make sure we overcharge them! If other people pay one tael, we charge the Wangs twenty taels!”

“We can’t do that either,” she said again. “Everybody pays the same amount for the same food. It’s called ‘fair pricing’ in business.”

“To hell with business ethics,” said Yiji. “I have no wish to treat the Wangs fairly.”

“Why don’t we do it this way,” suggested Grasshopper. “When we sell our food to the Wangs, we make sure that they get the toughest parts. Like the duck feet, duck wings, duck throat and duck head. I mean, they are bony and tough, but somebody has got to eat those.”

“All right, that is acceptable” said his sister. “Of course, the Wangs will not patronize our business after that.”

“I can live with that,” said Yiji smiling broadly. “You will do well in business, Grasshopper!”

After breakfast, Wen Yiji went to the market to purchase some candles and joss sticks that he intended to burn at the gravesite of Grasshopper’s mother. He did not tell Xiang Xiang and Grasshopper what he intended to do.

At the market, a man was selling swords, bows, arrows and an assortment of weapons by the roadside. Wen Yiji stopped to inspect the arrows. He needed to replenish his diminishing stock.

“These are very good arrows,” the vendor said. “I once killed a big hairy bear with one. Very good arrow.”

Wen Yiji remained silent as he inspected the barbs of the arrowheads.

“Another time, I even shot a fierce tiger through the head,” continued the vendor. “Only one shot was all it took. Very good arrow.”

Again, Wen Yiji remained silent and looked unimpressed.

“Please buy, mister. I need the money to conduct research on the effects of wine on my brains afterwards,” beseeched the vendor.

Wen Yiji grinned at the sales pitch and said, “I support wholeheartedly your noble efforts in wine research. Give me a full quiver of arrows.”

Wen Yiji paid for the arrows and left. He would test out the arrows in the afternoon. But first, he had to get back to the inn to collect his bow.

That afternoon, Wen Yiji took his bow and his new set of arrows with him when he rode his horse to visit the gravesite of Grasshopper’s mother. He lit some candles and joss sticks and planted them on the ground before the grave.

He bowed low before the grave and said, “Please accept these humble offerings from the Wen family. Much as I do not like the Wang family, I cannot deny that what is blood will forever be blood. And not only are we related by blood, fate has also chosen to deliver your son, Grasshopper, into my path. If my father were alive, I am sure that he would have wanted me to take care of your family.”

Having done what he had come to do, he took his bow and arrows and started his target practice in the wooded area behind Grasshopper’s house. The new arrows worked well at short distances. At longer distances, only a few of them were accurate enough to be an assassin’s arrows. He cursed the vendor for selling such poor quality arrows and hoped that the vendor would choke on poor quality wine during his research.

The sky rumbled.

Kanineh…..make noise for what?” Wen Yiji swore. “I have not finished my practice yet lah!”

He remembered too late that he was not supposed to scold the sky.

It was getting late in the afternoon and he thought it was best that he got back to the inn before it rained. A storm was brewing and it grew darker suddenly. He collected his arrows, said a hurried goodbye to his auntie’s grave, mounted his horse and headed towards town.

The few drops of rain on his face told him that he might not be able to outrun the storm. At the same time, he also desperately needed to shit.

“Early don’t come, late don’t come, now only you want to come!” he scolded the lump of shit inside his ass. “You are what I call a lousy piece of shit!”

He had just passed the place where he had slapped Si Mm Chut just eight days ago. There was an eating shop nearby. He decided to go in to borrow the use of the toilet. Rain or no rain, he had to shit. There was no arguing with the demands of his asshole.

Opening the door of the eating place, he walked in. The place was not small but it was practically deserted. The inside was lit by a single lantern that hung on a hook on the ceiling. Business was bad because the place had acquired a reputation for lousy food and lousy wine. A young lad was swatting flies on the counter aimlessly and was obviously bored out of his skull.

“Greetings! Are you the proprietor of this place?” asked Wen Yiji.

“No,” the lad replied. “That one is my uncle. He very sick today. So he asked me to look see look see this place for him. If you want tea, I can make. If you want food, I cannot make. You can only order what I can make. If cannot make means cannot make. What you want me to make?”

“I want to borrow the toilet,” replied Wen Yiji.

“Borrow, cannot. The toilet is for paying customers only.”

“Okay, I will come back here to order some tea from you after I have used your toilet. That makes me a paying customer. So now, can I use your toilet?”

“How do I know that you will come back? Maybe you leave quietly after using my toilet?”

Wa piang! Use toilet also you don’t trust me? What kind of place is this?”

“This is a family restaurant. We have our rules. Cannot means cannot.”

“All right. I’ll leave my bow and arrows by the wall. I will be sure to come back for them later.”

“Okay lah,” said the lad. “The toilet is behind the shop. Go out by the back door and walk twenty steps. You should find it easily from the smell. There is a jug of water there for washing after you have finished.”

Yiji walked out the back door of the shop and along a path. He soon located the toilet. He undid his trousers, squatted down and sighed in contentment.

Si Fatt Guai was riding his horse hard when the rain pelted down on his face. He would not be able to make it to his home without getting thoroughly wet. Up ahead, he saw an eating shop and he decided to take shelter there.

He opened the door of the eating place and walked in. There was nobody around except for the lad. A young lad of smooth skin; the type of male he liked.

“Hello there,” Si Fatt Guai said with a lusty smile. He sat down promptly at an empty table.

“What you want?” the lad asked.

“Some wine would be nice,” remarked Si Fatt Guai.

The boy took a pot of wine and walked towards Si Fatt Guai. He placed the wine on the table and walked back to the counter unaware that Si Fatt Guai was admiring his retreating butt.

Si Fatt Guai looked around and asked, “Are you alone in here?”

“Yes,” replied the lad.

“Good,” said Si Fatt Guai. “Bring me an empty bowl for the wine.”

The lad brought a bowl to the table and as he turned to leave, Si Fatt Guai grabbed him by the ass.

“Hey!” the lad exclaimed. “What you think you doing?”

Si Fatt Guai laughed, “Just having a little fun, honey. Don’t be shy!”

“Well, stop it, you dirty fellow! And don’t you honey me! Eeeewwwwwww!!!”

The lad hurried back to his counter.

Si Fatt Guai got up and walked to the main door. He bolted the door shut because he did not want to be disturbed. Then he smiled and walked towards the lad. The nervous lad sensed that something was not right and he brought out a dagger.

“Come any nearer and I will cut you up!” he threatened.

Si Fatt Guai merely laughed and walked right up to him. The boy lunged with the dagger. Si Fatt Guai caught the blade easily with his right hand and wrenched the weapon away. He grabbed the lad who struggled violently. Finally, he walloped the head of the lad hard and the boy fell down unconscious. Si Fatt Guai then lifted the body easily and flipped it across one of the tables. He promptly started removing the lad’s trousers.

“Nice!” he admired the smooth naked butt of the unconscious lad. He gathered the cheeks in both hand and massaged them gently. The sensation sent his hormones racing. Impatiently, he undid his own trousers and positioned himself behind the exposed butt of the lad. He was hard and ready for action.

As he was about to plunge in, Wen Yiji walked in through the back door.

Wa piang.....I can’t believe this is happening!” exclaimed Wen Yiji. “Doing this kind of thing in the middle of an eating place is not very nice leh. This one is a family restaurant, you know? Why don’t you two get a room?”

Si Fatt Guai stared at Wen Yiji open mouthed in shock.

Wen Yiji stared back, and then proceeded to stare downwards. Si Fatt Guai felt embarrassment, and then anger. His hardness had subsided and his mood was gone. He pulled up his trousers quickly.

“I say…….did I spoiled your party?” asked Wen Yiji. “Your face looks familiar. I may have seen you before somewhere. But where?”

“You are a nosy busybody!” snarled Si Fatt Guai. “Many men have died for spoiling my good time. I will have to teach you a lesson.”

“Why isn’t that lad moving?” asked Wen Yiji in a puzzled tone. “Did you knock him out cold? Hey! That is not consensual sex! Nabeh……this type of thing also you can do! Have you no shame? I will have to tell your family about your improper behaviour. It’s simply not socially acceptable!”

“What I do is none of your business,” shouted Si Fatt Guai. “Interfering busybody! You won’t be telling anybody! Now die!”

Si Fatt Guai lashed out at Wen Yiji with an iron palm strike. Yiji automatically countered the strike with his own iron palm and matched palms with Si Fatt Guai.

It was the power of the Five Fairies Iron Palm against the power of the Dark Fire Iron Palm.

They had both used only a fraction of their strength, and had expected each other’s opponents to fall down hard.

On seeing that Wen Yiji was not so easily subdued, Si Fatt Guai increased his strength. He snarled, “So, you know a bit about the iron palm as well! No matter! Your insignificant life will be over within three breaths!”

“Is that right?” countered Wen Yiji. “He who talks big often does not know with whom he is dealing with!”

Si Fatt Guai suddenly hit out with his other hand and Wen Yiji met it with his free hand. Two palms against two palms in a combat of dark energies. The power of the Five Fairies was brought out into full play attempting to blast Wen Yiji into an exploding mass of gory flesh. Wen Yiji’s Dark Fire Energy pushed back Si Fatt Guai’s energy equally forcefully, seeing to overpower the opposing force.

The air crackled with energy pulsating through the bodies of both men and filtering out into the atmosphere. The raw energy so released lifted up both men into the air and they swirled around each other joined at the palms. The wind howled noisily outside and the rain fell heavily. Thunder boomed at great frequency but both men did not notice the weather, being totally intent on destroying one another. For a long time they kept swirling. Then the energy weakened and they slowly floated down to the floor.

The moment they reached the floor, the energy broke them both apart with a powerful explosive blast. Si Fatt Guai crashed bodily into the wooden wall while Wen Yiji crashed hard into a table before tumbling onto the ground and ending up at the wall on the opposite side of the room.

“Who are you?” gasped Si Fatt Guai. “What kungfu are you using?”

“I’m someone better than you,” gasped Wen Yiji.

“You are not better than me,” croaked Si Fatt Guai. “Nothing except the Buddha Palm can match my Iron Palm!”

At that moment, Wen Yiji suddenly realised that his opponent was none other than Si Fatt Guai. He had seen Si Fatt Guai in Changchow from afar. This was the first time he had seen him at close quarters.

“Shit!” Wen Yiji muttered silently to himself. “I should have recognized him. And I should not have matched iron palms with him! He uses the Five Faries kungfu….known to have powerful hands, but slow in feet. I should have used my superior speed to defeat him! Shit! Shit! Shit!”

He tried to pick himself up. The pain in his body told him that he had suffered serious internal injuries. He could not get up. Peering at the other end of the room, he saw Si Fatt Guai was already sitting up in a cross legged position.

Si Fatt Guai also had suffered internal injuries. However, he managed to get into a sitting position. Ignoring his pain, he clasped his palms together and attempted to heal himself. He concentrated his awareness inside his body and the inner energy swirled in him as the cells worked to repair the damage. Soon, smoke came out from his head.

From the ground on the other side of the restaurant, Wen Yiji was trying to heal himself internally. The Dark Fire energy swirled within slowly in the healing process. Slowly. Much too slowly.

Wen Yiji started to understand, “So, the Dark Fire Iron Palm is actually a match for the Five Fairies Iron Palm. Although my Dark Fire energy may be fast in recovering from the effects of poison, it is very slow in recovering from the effects of internal injuries! Can’t be good in everything, I suppose. Damn! If Si Fatt Guai recovers faster than me, he will come over here and I will be dead!”

He stared at the smoke trails floating out from Si Fatt Guai’s head for a few moments and thought, “That bastard is recovering too fast for my own comfort. I have to slow down his recovery pace! Maybe I can try being friendly.”

Aloud, he shouted, “Hey! Si Fatt Guai! Si Fatt Guai!”

Si Fatt Guai opened his eyes in surprise. “How do you know my name?” he asked. The smoke stopped coming out from his head as his attention was distracted.

“We have met before in Changchow,” yelled Wen Yiji. “I am Master Tai Lan Ngong’s friend. We sat down at the same table for food and wine one day, remember?”

“I don’t remember.”

“How can you not remember? I paid for the meal that day, remember?”

“No, I don’t remember.”

“We have met before! If not, how do I know your name? Try to think back!”

Si Fatt Guai tried to think back, searching his memories for a shred of evidence that they had met before. Wen Yiji carried on with his struggle to move. He managed to recover sufficiently to push himself up to sit cross-legged. He breathed rhythmically, and concentrated his awareness within

After a while, he noticed that smoke was coming out from Si Fatt Guai’s head again. It was time to try more delaying tactics.

“Si Fatt Guai!” he shouted. “Are you still trying to remember where we met?”

“No,” replied Si Fatt Guai. “Please don’t disturb me. Even if we have met before, I will still have to kill you afterwards.”

“Why do you have this great need to kill me?”

“I kill anyone who interferes with my good time. Nothing personal. The iron palm you use was better than I had expected. What kungfu are you using?”

“I am not using the Five Fairies Iron Palm like you,” replied Wen Yiji.

“How did you know that I am using the Five Fairies Iron Palm?”

“Easy. The Five Fairies Iron Palm slowly turns the exponent more and more feminine. You look every inch a fucking faggot!”

“Thank you. This may be flattering, but I will still kill you!”

“Not if I kill you first. You don’t want to mess with me, Si Fatt Guai. I know many of the big shots in Tsinkiang.”

“Is that all? I have killed many of the big shots in Tsinkiang. And let me tell you this; I have killed more people than I can count.”

“If you can’t count, try using all your fingers and toes. That usually helps. Don't let the fact that you are retarded slow you down.”

“Go to hell.”

“You first.”

“Go suck on a goat’s ass.”

Wen Yiji fumed. He could see that friendliness was not going to work. He would have to try something else. Like lust.

“Hey, Si Fatt Guai!” he shouted again. “There is something strange about that lad’s butt. I think one butt cheek is bigger than another!”

Si Fatt Guai turned his head and looked. The lad was still flopped over a table with the naked butt visible to him. Mentally, he compared both cheeks. They were about the same size. For a long while he admired the smooth fair skin of the ass while Wen Yiji proceeded on with his internal healing.

In time, Si Fatt Guai got tired at just looking at raw butt. He needed to heal himself first before he could do anything about it. He concentrated within himself and soon, smoke started flowing out of his head again.

Wen Yiji opened his eyes and noticed the smoke coming out of his opponent’s head. Lust might have worked for a while, but he would have to try something else. Something like anger. If he could get Si Fatt Guai angry enough, it might prevent him from concentrating on internal healing.

“Hey, Si Fatt Guai!” he shouted.

Si Fatt Guai ignored him.

“Hey, Si Fatt Guai, I know you can hear me!” he shouted. “You used to have three men in Lord Tai’s private prison to serve you sexually!”

The smoke stopped coming out of Si Fatt Guai’s head. No smoke meant no concentration, so Wen Yiji knew that he had his opponent’s full attention.

“On the night that Lord Tai was assassinated, they escaped. One of them blabbed about what happened to them. He said that your dick was so small that when you raped his butt, he never felt a thing!”

Si Fatt Guai was silent.

Wen Yiji continued, “He also said that he did not even know that he was getting buttfucked all those times until many months later when the guard told him about it!”

Si Fatt Guai remained silent.

Wen Yiji rambled on, “He actually thought that you were massaging his ass with a dickless groin! Ai yaaahhhhh…….imagine that!”

Leaving Si Fatt Guai to stew in anger, Wen Yiji concentrated on his own internal healing. The pain was still in him, but the feeling of numbness he had earlier was gone.

Si Fatt Guai forced himself to concentrate on the job at hand. It was a long and difficult struggle to control his anger, but he finally settled his thoughts. He ignored all of Wen Yiji’s jibes after that.

Wen Yiji was dismayed. He watched the smoke wallowing out from Si Fatt Guai’s head and he knew that Si Fatt Guai was recovering at a much faster pace than him. He looked out of the window. The afternoon had turned to night and it had stopped raining. It was a good thing. From the light of the single lantern hung in the ceiling, he could see that Si Fatt Guai was already going through some hand exercises while still seated on the floor.

Wen Yiji shouted out, “Say, Si Fatt Guai…..do you have a vagina?”

Si Fatt Guai opened his eyes and stared coldly at Wen Yiji. He sneered, “The sound of you voice tells me that you are still struggling to recover from your internal injuries while I am almost totally recovered. You miserable bucket of shit. I think I shall cut out your tongue before dismembering you!”

He stood up and stretched himself confidently.

Wen Yiji got up unsteadily and grabbed the nearest chair.

With a nasty expression on his face, Si Fatt Guai took two steps forward and Wen Yiji lifted up the chair in readiness to throw.

“That stupid chair is not capable of hurting me and you know that!” sneered Si Fatt Guai in contempt. “You even have trouble standing up! In your weakened condition, I only need one little finger strike to kill you!”

He swirled his body into a kungfu stance, felt his Five Fairies energy circulating in him, and then he rushed at Wen Yiji to deliver a blow.

Wen Yiji threw the chair, not at Si Fatt Guai, but at the lantern in the ceiling. The chair knocked the lantern violently off the ceiling and the candle flame within went out, plunging the whole restaurant into darkness.

Si Fatt Guai’s Five Fairies Iron Palm landed in empty air. Wen Yiji had taken advantage of the darkness to move aside surreptitiously. The delaying tactics were successful. Wen Yiji had managed to prolong Si Fatt Guai’s recovery from late afternoon till night. He hoped that with his superb eyesight, he would have an advantage in the darkness.

Both men were standing near to each other and they knew it. Both kept quiet without making a sound, waiting for the other to reveal his position in the blackness of night.

There was a very tiny glow near the counter where the tea kettle was sitting on a stove. The light from the old fading embers was not helpful but low light level was nearly enough for Wen Yiji. His eyes adjusted quickly to the dark and he tried to see where his opponent was. He needed just a movement to tell him where Si Fatt Guai was so that he could focus onto the spot.

Wen Yiji waited silently.

Then he noticed the faintest dark shape of a movement just to his front. The next moment, he had to move fast to avoid a powerful iron palm strike from Si Fatt Guai. Wen Yiji swerved his body away just in time and leapt backwards. He stumbled awkwardly behind a table and retreated further away.

“How did he know I was in front of him?” he asked himself. “Does he have the same good eyesight as me?”

He focused on where Si Fatt Guai was, and in the darkness, he saw Si Fatt Guai looking in his direction.

Si Fatt Guai took two steps forward towards Wen Yiji and promptly banged into a table.

“He did not see the table,” thought Wen Yiji. “His eyesight cannot be as good as mine. If so, he must be depending on his hearing to locate me!”

Another thought occurred to him, “Since he could not have seen me, how did he know that I was in front of him just now? I was not moving and I did nothing except breathe. Oh shit….he heard my breathing……his hearing must be acutely sharp!”

Si Fatt Guai spoke, “Do not think that you can hide from me in the darkness for very long. I can easily locate you! Faster than you can sing a hokkien song!”

In the darkness, the two men were only five steps apart. Wen Yiji took great care to breathe slowly so as to be as noiseless as possible. The fact dawned on him that he could not kill Si Fatt Guai in his present condition.

“My arrows!” he thought. “They are by the wall. If I can just get to my arrows, I’ll have a chance! But I have to first get past Si Fatt Guai. The bastard probably can hear my every step! This is going to be a contest between good eyesight and good hearing.”

Very, very gently, Wen Yiji removed his fur hat. Then, with a gentle flick of his hand, he tossed it three steps to his right. It felt on the floor softly. The sound was soft enough to pass for the sound of a footfall.

Si Fatt Guai turned his head and tracked the sound. He tiptoed towards the fur hat step by step. Wen Yiji was already prepared for that. He tiptoed to his left to detour past Si Fatt Guai. Each time Si Fatt Guai lifted up a foot, Wen Yiji did the same. He timed his steps to synchronize with Si Fatt Guai’s steps to avoid being heard. That way, the sound of his footfall was masked by the sound of Si Fatt Guai’s footfall.

Si Fatt Guai reached the spot where Wen Yiji’s hat was. He pulled back his hand and delivered the Fire Fairies Iron Palm in the direction where he thought Wen Yiji would be. The blow landed in empty air. He tiptoed forward one more step and tried again. And again his blow landed in empty air. He took a step to the right and felt around. There was no Wen Yiji as usual. Each time Si Fatt Guai took a step, Wen Yiji took one step towards his arrows.

Si Fatt Guai waited in the darkness for some time, hoping that his opponent would give his location away. Wen Yiji remained motionless. He would move only if Si Fatt Guai moved.

Finally, Si Fatt Guai lost patience. He spotted the faint glow coming from the tiny embers at the stove. He decided that he would go to the stove and throw in some tinder. The resulting fire should be bright enough to allow him see where his quarry was. Quietly, he moved towards the stove, and at the same time, Wen Yiji moved towards his arrows.

Wen Yiji reached his bow and arrows just as Si Fatt Guai reached the stove. Picking up the bow, Wen Yiji swiftly retrieved an arrow. The sound of the arrow being pulled out of the quiver alerted Si Fatt Guai who immediately turned around.

Swiftly, Wen Yiji loaded the arrow to his bow.


The arrow was released. It sped through the darkness towards Si Fatt Guai who tracked its flight with his sharp hearing. Unlike a slow projectile that is almost soundless, a fast projectile rushing through the air sends out more sound.


Si Fatt Guai had caught the arrow in his right hand! Although he could not see it in the dark, he knew it was an arrow.

“So, you managed to get your hands on a bow!” Si Fatt Guai said. “With my kungfu, I can keep on catching your arrows until you run out of them!”

Yiji was surprised that Si Fatt Guai had been able to intercept his arrow at that short distance. He remembered that during his first assassination attempt on Lord Tai in Changchow, Si Fatt Guai had also caught his arrow. His hands were certainly fast. Yet Yiji had been told that the Five Fairies Iron Palm kungfu was supposed to be powerful but slow.

“A normal kungfu exponent would rather move to avoid the arrow rather than catch it.” Wen Yiji reasoned. “The fact that Si Fatt Guai chose to catch the arrow may mean that he is slow on his feet!”

“Hey, muthafucka,” shouted Wen Yiji as he quickly reloaded his bow. “Since you like catching arrows so much, why don’t you just stand there and not move while I keep shooting at you?”

“I am not that stupid! The only reason you can see me to shoot is because I am standing too close to the stove and its embers. Once I move away from it, you will not know where to shoot. Even a skilled archer will not be able to shoot in the dark!”

In answer, Wen Yiji fired his second arrow. Si Fatt Guai heard it coming through the air towards his right foot. He attempted to lift his leg safely away, but he was too slow.


The arrow pierced through his foot and pinned it to the ground.

Si Fatt Guai screamed silently. While forcing himself to bear the pain, he wrenched his foot off the ground.

Swiftly, Wen Yiji fitted three arrows into his bow. He would fire all three together. It was a difficult trick that few archers could master. The arrows would lack the power and accuracy of a single fired arrow, but at that short distance in the darkness, they might just prove effective.

Si Fatt Guai hopped as noiselessly as he could away from the stove. He had to stop when he came up against a table. At that precise moment, Wen Yiji released the three arrows. They diverged slightly in their flight paths even as they sped through the night air.

Si Fatt Guai keen ears heard the sound of a projectile speeding towards him. Ignoring the pain in his foot, he caught an arrow in a sweeping motion. His hand movement brushed a second arrow and deflected it away from him.


The third arrow slammed into his stomach and pierced through his intestines.

“Three arrows!” a shocked Si Fatt Guai muttered stupidly. “How can there be three arrows?”

Wen Yiji reloaded his bow without wasting a moment. He fitted only one arrow this time and shot fast before his target could recover himself. Si Fatt Guai heard the twanging of the bow and reached out to catch the arrow but his fingers closed in on empty air. The pain in his foot and stomach had marred his concentration and slowed him down considerably. The speeding arrow pierced him deep within the chest.

Si Fatt Guai dropped to the ground and crawled desperately behind a table. Wen Yiji also dropped down low and shot yet another arrow. The arrow flew straight and powerfully between the legs of three tables and then buried itself deep between the ribs of Si Fatt Guai.

“This is impossible,” muttered Si Fatt Guai disbelievingly. “I have the Five Fairies Iron Palm! I cannot lose……to a stupid bowman!”

“Of course you can!” the sound of the bowman’s voice came from somewhere nearby. Wen Yiji had moved in close for the kill.

“Who…….are you?” gasped Si Fatt Guai. The three arrows inside his torso were making movement extremely painful.

“My name does not matter,” replied Wen Yiji. “I just want you to know three things before you die.”

“What…..three…..things?” asked Si Fatt Guai in agony.

“One; your assumption that I could not shoot in the dark led to your downfall. If you go around simply assuming….you will make an ass out of you and Ah Ming. Of course I can shoot in the dark, you dumb shit! A long time ago, the Imperial Guards called me Arrow Eye.”


“Two; it was me who killed Lord Tai in Changchow and freed the three prisoners whom you had enjoyed so much. Frankly, I don’t think they missed you.”


“And three; I exterminated your youngest brother Si Mm Chut. He was quite a bastard, already killing people for no good reason at such a young age. I am sure he would have become a mass murderer one day if I had not stopped him. I got a payment of only two ducks for the job, but considering that your youngest brother was such a useless lowlife, I would have done it for almost free. I cured him of his constipation though. The daifu said that he had been shitting fearfully in his pants, till the day he died. Lots and lots of shit.”

Si Fatt Guai screamed in fury.

Wen Yiji sent his next arrow into Si Fatt Guai’s head at close range and the screaming stopped.


Thursday, October 19, 2006


64 Spermatozoa (Disclaimer: impolite language content)

The haze was bad this morning.

How bad was it?

So bad that some of my colleagues were arguing if the haze was a gas, liquid or solid.

“It’s a gas,” one said, “coz you can inhale it.”

“It’s a liquid,” said another, “coz you can see it flowing in from a neighboring country.”

“It’s definitely a solid,” said the tea lady.

“How did you figure that out?” we asked.

“Simple, mah,” she answered, “The whole country is getting fucked solidly by it.”

+ + +

I am hoping that some more of you will take part in the Nanowrimo(National Novel Writing Month). You have to do this thing at least once in your life. Sure, producing 50,000 words in a headlong rush within one month may not make much sense to many of you, but then the roller coaster does not make much sense either and yet people climb onto it!

Oh….look….the cheer squad for the writers is warming up.

Cheering is serious business. Let’s move on.

Somebody sent me one of those IQ program type questions yesterday.

29 D in F in a L Y

So I typed:
29 Days in February in a Leap Year

The program told me that it was correct. Yeah, I am good!

There was another one that proved too difficult for me:

64 S on a C B

So I typed:
64 Spermatozoa on a Chee Bai

Apparently, that was not the answer. Fuck lah.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Cheer squad

The haze was really bad this morning.

How bad was it?

Each time I tried to shit, the shitty lump would fall onto the haze and bounce back into my ass again.


+ + +

Have you heard the latest method in counting?

It goes somewhat like this:

“- 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 18.9 - 46 - ”

+ + +

For my billions of fans out there who are still expecting me to take part in this year’s Nanowrimo, let me point out an obvious reason why it would not be possible. My current wuxia(The Cook and the Assassin) project is expected to be wrapped up only some time in mid November. By that time, I expect it to surpass 120,000 words.

Well, it is good to hear that Dabido and Dr Tan are taking part in the Nanowrimo. Great! Any more of you out there wishing to take part? We will give you moral support! And maybe some immoral support also. In fact, we will be setting up an e-cheer squad to shout “Add oil!” all the way.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I do the supporting

Let’s have some business news for a change.

The haze was bad this morning.

What has that to do with the business news?

The haze has caused the sales of face whitening cream to fall drastically. The sale of white talcum powder has already plummeted to zero. Local departmental stores are complaining that the population has withheld spending on all whitening products when the stuff is freely available in the air. This reduction in spending is threatening to trigger a massive downturn in the economy.

Let’s move on to some foreign news.

Michael Jackson is like totally sick and fedup with all those unfair accusations that he had undergone artificial whitening. Sick and fedup. An official statement issued by his media representative said that there was nothing artificial about him. The sick and fedup pop icon is chartering a plane to Melaka for a much needed vacation. Unofficial reports speculated that he is actually coming here for some natural whitening.

+ + +

It seems to me that my millions of fans…..ooooops, sorry……billions of fans……. want me to take part in the Nanowrimo.

I have a much more terrific idea.

This time YOU PEOPLE will do the writing and I WILL DO THE SUPPORTING!!! Aha!!!


Monday, October 16, 2006


Not crazy enough to do it twice

The haze was bad this morning.

How bad was it?

A black car parked in the open last night was covered it with fine dust particles by morning. Yep, overnight the car turned white.

Near the car, there were some stoopid-lookimg white pigeons pecking at stuff on the ground.

Or rather, I thought that they were white pigeons until I heard them crying “Caw! Caw!”


The Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) people have emailed me:

“Dear Esteemed Wrimo,

It's that time again. NaNoWriMo has officially opened for its eighth noveling season, and we'd love to have you back for another raucous and productive November.”

Such a polite email. But I know that what they are really saying is this:

“Dear undeserving Wrimo,
The 3-in-1 Kungfu Girl bullshit that you tried to pass off as a decent novel last November was nothing but total radioactive crap. We are of the opinion that you need to go through the whole exercise again in order for you to obtain a passing grade.”

Go through the whole exercise again?

Yannow, I may be a lot of things, but I am definitely not crazy. Hah!


Thursday, October 12, 2006


The Cook and the Assassin - Chapter 27

Chapter 27: The fate of Gojisan

From under the shelter of a tree, Wen Yiji examined the Si mansion in the cold bleak morning. Agent Simit’s home stood alone surrounded by a high wall and the nearest neighbouring house was at least two hundred steps away on its right. Behind the mansion and on its left were forested areas. This was a place meant for seclusion.

He walked unobtrusively around the mansion, reconnoitering the layout of his enemy’s abode. It was a big place. There were three guards stationed outside the main gate of the mansion. Simit was not a man who took his own security lightly. Inside, the sound of dogs barking revealed the presence of a huge number of guard dogs. This was not a place to easily enter unnoticed.

Wen Yiji muttered to himself inaudibly, “Three days ago, Si Mm Chut killed Grasshopper’s uncle. Now, for a payment of only two ducks, I have to deliver justice to Grasshopper’s uncle by killing Si Mm Chut. A life for a life. Now how do I want to do this?”

He thought about the people he had killed for the past half a month and was surprised that so much had happened in so short a time.

“Just fifteen days ago, I reached Level 7 of the Dark Fire Iron Palm,” he muttered again. “Fourteen days ago I destroyed the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Thirteen days ago, I killed Sah Mi and his five men. Twelve days ago, I met Mrs Pak. Eleven days ago, I made my first assassination attempt on Lord Tai in Changchow. The assassination attempt was screwed up by the interfering Si Fatt Guai. Six days ago, I finally assassinated Lord Tai. Five days ago, I killed the Whiz Twins, Whirlwind and Blizzard, of the Fire Mountain Sect. The very same night, I scalded the Celestial Dragon Claw assassin, Si Liu Thung in Amoy. Three days ago, a bald fighter attacked me and I hit him with the Uber Slow Walk Heart Stopping Strike. So many men have come to a violent end on meeting me. What does it all mean?”

He mulled over it for a long time and then he finally concluded, “I understand now! I must be living life on the fast lane!”

He scratched his chin thoughtfully and looked at the mansion walls. He could leap over it in a flash, then search room by room for Si Mm Chut before disposing of him. However, the dogs would detect his presence. Also, if the mansion had booby traps and hidden rooms, the whole operation could get complicated. He did not want to kill more people than he had to. Perhaps the best way to kill his quarry was to wait until Si Mm Chut came out of the mansion. Which could take a few days. Or maybe a long time. He did not know.

“No,” he decided. “Agent Simit had a hand in killing off my family. I want him to know what it feels like to have a family member killed. I want him to know what’s coming, and feel totally helpless at not being able to prevent it! I want him to experience dread every day in everyway, knowing that death will strike at any moment, but not knowing the exact time it will occur!”

Another idea struck him and he mulled over it for several moments.

“On the other hand, a wise man will kill two birds with one arrow. This may be the perfect opportunity to trick Simit to lead me to Gojisan!”

He pulled a cloth mask over his face and then purposefully, he walked up to the three guards at the main gate and greeted, “How do you do!”

“How do you do!” one of the guards answered back. “What is the nature of your business here?”

“I have come to deliver death to Simit’s youngest son, Si Mm Chut!” Wen Yiji replied.

“Oh, you mean that you want to kill that stupid useless Young Master Si Mm Chut,” asked the guard with a grin. “Half the town wants to kill him, but dare not voice it out aloud. You are very brave, mister. But why do you want to kill him?”

“I am a paid assassin. I don’t ask the reason why I should kill a target. However, you can tell him that the reason he is going to die is because he has been beating people to death indiscriminately and also because he is extremely ugly. Very yong suay. His ugly face is lowering the standards of beauty in this city.”

“Hey, who are you? Where are you from?” asked another guard as he pointed his spear at Yiji.

“I am One-Eyed Snake from the Fire Mountain Sect,” answered Yiji.

“The Fire Mountain Sect has good connections with our Master Simit,” said the third guard. “They would not send an assassin after his family.”

“Is that right?” asked Yiji. “Then your Master Simit can easily tell our chief to call off the assassination, right? Well, if the assassination is not called off before I kill your young master, then……..too bad!”

“I think you are bluffing. If you are really an assassin thinking of killing our young master, why are you giving us an advance warning?” asked the guard with the spear.

“Master Simit is known to have a long association with professional assassins. I am extending a professional courtesy to Master Simit by giving him a chance to contact the Fire Mountain Sect to call off the assassination,” replied Yiji. “After I kill Si Mm Chut, it will be difficult to bring him back to life. Very, very difficult.”

“You certainly can talk big,” commented the guard with the spear. “We see people like you all the time. Talk more than can fight. Saliva more abundant than tea. Empty vessels make the biggest cacophony.”

“Trust me,” replied Yiji. “I can kill Si Mm Chut easily. I spit on him also he will die.”

“Listen, you arrogant assassin,” said the guard with the spear. “You don’t have a chance in hell while I am on duty today! I can handle three fighters at any one time! So can my two colleagues here! Together, we can fight off……three times three equals……seven attackers!”

Wen Yiji looked nonplussed for a moment and then he remarked, “Your mental arithmetic is very impressive! Tell me, which is of higher standard? Your kungfu or your arithmetic?”

“They are both equally high standard,” replied the guard. His other two friends nodded in agreement.

Yiji bent over in laughter and said, “In that case, I will try not to hit you too hard!”

The three guards did not like his laughter, and anger crept into their faces.

“Although I do not know what you mean, I sense that you could be trying to insult us,” said one of the guards.

“Oh,” laughed Yiji. “Please excuse me! How about if I bribe you, and you go inside and bring out Si Mm Chut for me to slaughter? I shall give you seventeen taels of silver to divide among yourselves. That should work out to one hundred and forty two taels each if my mental arithmetic is as good as your mental arithmetic.”

The guards looked at each other and then whispered among themselves. Finally, one of them turned to Wen Yiji as said, “We will need to confirm first with an abacus to see if it really works out to be that much!”

“What, you can’t work out that sum in your head? Everybody knows that seventeen divided by three is one hundred and forty two!” said Yiji. “Don’t you trust my mental arithmetic?”

“No,” replied the guard. “We think the answer should be nearer to three hundred and twelve!”

Wa lau eh,” swore Wen Yiji. “The first time….your arithmetic was funny. The second time around…..it became unfunny and boring. The sum of your three brains added together is less than that of a beetle’s brain divided by two thousand and two.”

“I still think that you are trying to insult us!” remarked the guard.

Aiyohhhh!!!” sighed Wen Yiji. “Of course I was insulting you! Do you really think that I really need to bribe you three pathetic sausages with actual money?”

There was a moment of awkward silence.

Then the guard with the spear shouted in fury, “Die like a dirty dog, you!”

He thrust his spear at Wen Yiji who avoided it deftly and leapt over the guard. Just as he was passing overhead, Yiji kicked the guard in the head and the guard collapsed heavily to the ground unconscious.

The other two guards drew their swords. The next moment, they flew into the air and their bodies crashed into the mansion door. They fell down in an untidy heap, one atop another.

Wen Yiji walked up to them and grinned behind his mask, “Hey, tell that muthafucka Simit not to wait too long to call off the assassination! I can wait one day at the most. After that, his youngest son will be dead!”

Wen Yiji then vanished from the scene quickly. He would keep a close watch on the Si mansion and hoped that Simit would try to make contact with Gojisan. With luck, Agent Simit would lead him to his family’s main murderer.

The two guards slowly picked themselves up painfully from the ground. Moments later, they were in the presence of their master, Agent Simit.

“You said that the masked man turned up at the main door to announce that he was going to kill my son?” asked Simit. “That he was from the Fire Mountain Sect?”

“Yes,” answered a guard. “He said that he would only be willing to wait one day at the most. If the assassination is not called off by then, young master Si Mm Chut dies.

“It is not possible that he is from the Fire Mountain Sect,” murmured Agent Simit. “Not possible!”

“Why not possible?” asked the guard.

“Shut up! I am trying to think!” rapped Simit. “The ease by which this man in the mask beat the crap out of you useless dogs tells me that he is obviously a kungfu master. Damn! I wish my other two sons were here.”

After a long pause, one of the guards ventured a question, “What do we do now, master?”

“We will lock down this mansion. All booby traps are to be set for activation night and day. Nobody is to get in and out unless absolutely necessary. I am unable to contact my second son. However, I will try to contact my eldest son to come home.”

Hurriedly, Simit wrote three notes and took it to the pigeon loft. Moments later, three pigeons flew from the Si mansion and headed west. Their flight activity did not escape Wen Yiji’s sharp eyes. As they flew over the forested area, three arrows came in quick succession out of nowhere and pierced them through their bodies. All three pigeons fell down to the ground one after another.

Thud! Thud! Thud! Croak!

The last arrow that bore a dead pigeon fell down onto an unfortunate frog and skewered it as well.

Wen Yiji grinned and waited for more pigeons, pleased with his own marksmanship. However, there were no further pigeons from the Simit residence. Removing the notes from the dead pigeons on the ground, he read them. All three were addressed to Lord Tai of Changchow requesting him to persuade Si Fatt Guai to return home because of urgent family matters.

“Simit is getting panicky and calling his eldest son back,” he laughed to himself. “He must think this is highly urgent as he sent three pigeons bearing the same message just in case one or two pigeons don’t make it through! He is aware that his son is staying at Lord Tai’s place, but he does not know that Lord Tai has already been dead for six days. Well, eldest son Si Fatt Guai is definitely not getting these messages!”

He tore up the notes into tiny little pieces, threw them into the wind and continued observing the Si mansion. However, all was quiet.

+ + + + + +

Agent Simit descended down a flight of steps to the dungeon beneath his mansion. It was a place for keeping special prisoners and only one trusted henchman was allowed inside.

“Open the door, Siao Kau,” he yelled.

The door of the dungeon opened from within and Siao Kau peered out at his master. The man was not very bright, but he was trustworthy and obeyed instructions without question.

“Stay here, and keep the door locked,” Simit instructed Siao Kao. “I need to have a few moments alone with the old prisoner.”

Walking along a passageway, he made a turn and came across a cell. Using a key, he unlocked the door of the cell and walked in. In the middle of the room, an aged male prisoner hung suspended face downwards horizontally from the ceiling by chains, with each chain ending in a giant hook that pierced through a part of the prisoner’s body.

“Master Gojisan,” Simit greeted. “I trust that you are well!”

“Curse you to hell,” replied the suspended prisoner slowly. “Have you come to free me?”

“No, I will keep you here longer as my guest,” said Simit.

“You are untrustworthy. You promised to give me my freedom.”

“Did I?”

“It has been five years since you kept me here. You promised to free me if I taught your sons kungfu of the highest level. That I have done. You have not kept to your part of the bargain!”

“You taught my eldest son, Si Fatt Guai, the Five Fairies Iron Palm, knowing that it would cause bodily changes in him. The Five Fairies Iron Palm has turned him into a gay! Now I cannot persuade him to get married. This is your fault!”

“You forced me to become his trainer while being suspended by these hooks. I did as best as I could. Don’t blame me. He wanted to learn the Five Fairies Iron Palm.”

“But you must have known the effects! Then you taught my second son, Si Liu Tung, the Celestial Dragon Claw, which turned him into an impotent man. Now even if he wanted to get married, he would not be able to produce children. You are very vicious.”

“I am not as vicious as you. I thought you were my friend. You invited me for a drink in your home, but you drugged me with the Beh Ting Tang potion and I was unable to move. Then you use these hooks to pierce through the thirty six gates of my body causing me to become immobile. All my tendons have been perforated. You kept me alive for the purpose of passing my kungfu to your sons. It is you who are vicious!”

“You cunning old bastard! You almost ended my bloodline. By the time you started instructing my youngest son in a new type of kungfu, I knew that something was wrong. Fortunately, I managed to stop his practice before you can do any damage.”

“So, you are now depending solely on your youngest son to father descendents of your lineage. Who knows, he may die tomorrow.”

“He will not!”

“Who is to say what can or cannot happen? Your other two sons are not capable of sex. Neither are you. Ah yes, I injured your balls, five years ago, didn’t I?”

They both remember the incident. After Gojisan was drugged, his thirty six gates of movement had been rendered useless by metal hooks pierced through his tendons. The wrist tendons of Gojisan’s right hand had already been pierced by hooks, but the job was not properly done. Agent Simit had stood near to Gojisan who suddenly flicked his palm and slapped Simit’s balls. The pain in the balls was so intense that Agent Simit could not walk for the next ten days. When he recovered, he discovered that he could no longer perform the sex act. The sexual injury was permanent. The unfortunate man who had performed the badly done job of piercing Gojisan’s wrist tendons, was brought before Agent Simit and then beaten to death.

Gojisan continued, “I take it that no daifu could cure your condition yet! Ha ha ha!”

“You have a most dirty mouth!” snarled Agent Simit. “I should kill you now!”

“Why don’t you?”

“No. I will leave you hanging there. Live cannot. Die also cannot. That is the price you pay for trying to end my bloodline. You have no one to blame but yourself. I helped you exterminate Lady Red Leaf and her family. You owe me big. Yet you originally refused to take my sons as your disciples. I would not have taken you prisoner if you had been more cooperative. You forced my hand, Master Gojisan. Consider this fate as the result from the karma that you have earned!”

“I have killed many a man in my time,” remarked Gojisan slowly. “Perhaps this is my karma. Maybe I should not have killed Lady Red Leaf and her family.”

“It is too late to think of such things now,” remarked Simit. “Tell me, do you have an assassin in you sect called the One-Eyed Snake?

“Every man has a one-eyed snake between his legs. Except maybe you.”

“I mean as a name.”

“No. Why do you ask?”

“An assassin who called himself the One-Eyed Snake and claiming to be from the Fire Mountain Sect just appeared at the main door and threatened to kill my youngest son. Since you have not heard of him, he could be bluffing.”

“He could be speaking the truth. It has been five years since I have been absent. The Fire Mountain Sect must already have a new leader. Probably there are now new members whom I have not heard of. The One-Eyed Snake will kill your son.”

“That is what he thinks. I will keep my son secure behind these walls and set a trap for him. Every corner of this mansion is booby trapped with poisoned darts. Once a poison dart hits him, the assassin will be rendered harmless, and I will then deal with him thoroughly and most painfully.”

+ + + + + +

Something was happening. Wen Yiji could feel it. Some of Simit’s henchmen were up on the roof of the mansion, doing something.

“Probably setting their booby traps!” guessed Wen Yiji.

He picked up a stone. Then running swiftly to the wall, he threw the stone powerfully into the air. The flying projectile hit a henchman on the head and he slipped. However, he managed to cling tightly onto the roof.

Yiji heard somebody shout out, “Hey! Are you all right?”

He heard the henchman exclaim, “I think I poked myself with a poison dart! Oh…..shit!”

There was a silence.

Then the next moment, the henchman’s grip on the roof weakened and he fell down to the ground.


“Woof! Woof! Woof! Wou! Wou! Woof! Woof! Woof! Wou! Wou!” the noisy dogs within the mansion walls swarmed around the fallen man.

Wen Yiji sped back to his hiding place. He had heard enough. Poison darts! He had a high regard for poison darts. If ever he was poisoned, his Poison Field Inner Stance would be able to prevent the poison from spreading until he could expel it. But in the meantime, he would be vulnerable as he would not be able to exert more than one third of his strength. The strategy was obvious. He would have to kill Si Mm Chut without getting inside the mansion.

Dusk came. No one had left the mansion. Wen Yiji was disappointed. Agent Simit had not sent anyone to make contact with the Fire Mountain Sect. Either the agent did not know how to contact Gojisan or there was some other reason.

“If Simit is not going to lead me to Gojisan, I may as well kill Si Mm Chut first,” he murmured. Gathering his stuff, he went back to the inn.

It was dark when Yiji got back. Xiang Xiang was waiting for him at the inn and she asked, “Brother Yiji, where have you been? We were waiting for you for dinner.”

“I was out hunting,” replied her brother.

“I see that you have shot three pigeons and a frog,” she commented. “How did that arrow go through both a pigeon and a frog? One flies in the sky and the other hops on the ground!”

“Either the frog was jumping too high or the pigeon was flying too low,” guessed Grasshopper. “What would you like me to do with them, Master Wen?”

“Take them to the kitchen and ask the cook to cook the pigeons and frog legs,” replied Yiji. “We’ll have them for supper.”

“Pigeons! I love pigeons!” exclaimed Grasshopper.

“Good,” remarked Xiang Xiang. “Then you can sit down with us afterwards to eat them.”

Grasshopper remained silent. He was not supposed to sit at the same table as Master Wen unless it was a special occasion.

“What’s the special occasion?” asked Yiji.

“Shooting a pigeon and a frog with the same arrow is a special occasion,” replied Xiang Xiang airily.

+ + + + + +

For the next two days, Wen Yiji went with Xiang Xiang to book new furniture for their new house. Although Yiji had bought three houses, he decided to just furnish one unit and leave the other two units empty.

The men in the Simit mansion were on edge. They were told to expect an assassin night and day but so far, there did not appear to be any visible threat. A constant state of alertness was very tiring when one did not know when to expect the enemy. The dogs were freed to run around at random. If there was an assassin, they would provide an early warning.

“Young master is shitting a lot these past two days,” remarked a servant to Simit.

“That is good!” beamed the father. “His constipation problem must be getting cured at last.”

“I think this condition is caused by fear,” said the servant. “Young master is so scared of the assassin that he is unable to hold his shit. Kia ka lao sai.”


“He is shitting non-stop. It would be best to bring in the daifu,” suggested the servant. “Young master may shit himself to death.”

“All right. Tomorrow, you will go to town and get the daifu to come with his acupuncture needles.”

+ + + + + +

The next day the daifu was brought to the mansion to treat Si Mm Chut. When the treatment was over, the main door was opened for a short moment and the daifu was let out. He walked for a distance towards the city centre before he was stopped by a masked Wen Yiji who placed a dagger to the daifu’s throat.

“You just came out of the Si mansion. You must be carrying a lot of money!” suggested Wen Yiji, pretending to be a robber.

“No no no!” cried the daifu. “I have no money!”

“What were you doing in the Simit mansion then?”

“I was treating the young master, Si Mm Chut. He had a problem with loose shit. Hampalang chut ka liao.”

“Are you a daifu?”

“Yes, yes! I am only a simple daifu!”

“I will let you go if you tell me what I want to know.”

After some thorough questioning, Wen Yiji found out Si Mm Chut’s daily habits and which room he was in. He released the daifu with a warning, “I am going to kill Si Mm Chut based on the information you have given me. For your own safety, make sure that nobody knows that you have talked to me. If Simit knows that his son was killed because of the information you have provided, he will slaughter your whole family. Do you understand?”

The daifu nodded in fear and hurried off.

Wen Yiji approached the Si mansion from the forested western side.

He looked at the sun.

“It’s the hour of the horse,” he murmured. “The daifu said that Si Mm Chut is usually in the inner courtyard around this time. I will have to approach fast, take a shot and then withdraw swiftly.”

From the forested area, he ran towards the wall and took a giant leap upwards. He sprang through the cold air and was soon above the rooftop level of the Si Mansion while still remaining outside the mansion walls. From the high altitude, he peered over the roof into the inner courtyard and spotted Si Mm Chut in the inner courtyard, partially blocked by a young tree.

Wen Yiji dropped back onto the ground. He would kill his target with an arrow. It was going to be an extremely difficult shot. Without landing on the roof, there was only one angle by which a shot was possible. For a moment he contemplated leaping to the roof to shoot, but the thought of the booby traps of poison darts on the roof made him exercise prudence. There could be booby traps in the inner courtyard as well. No, he would have to shoot from outside the mansion.

He shifted his position on the ground, fitted an arrow to his bow and got ready. A dog within the walls had already detected his presence and had started barking. He would have to hurry.

Si Mm Chut was handling a bamboo pole trying to disturb the pond turtles out of their hibernation. It was a daily ritual with him. It was not as much fun as beating someone up but tormenting turtles kept him busy until he could find someone to beat up. While he was thus engaged in poking a turtle with his bamboo pole, a masked figure leapt up high outside the mansion walls. A lone arrow sped over the wall, over the rooftop and into the inner courtyard, through between the branches of a young tree and buried itself into Si Mm Chut’s head. He was still holding on to his bamboo pole when he died.

“Si Mm Chut,” breathed Wen Yiji as he dropped down to the ground. “Killing someone as useless as you was like killing a useless rat. I did not enjoy doing it, but still, it had to be done. Grasshopper’s uncle is waiting in hell to greet you. In a town where justice can be perverted by gold and silver, justice can also be delivered for the price of two ducks.”

The barking of the dogs grew noisy and the men came to investigate. They were shocked to discover their young master Si Mm Chut’s dead body. Wen Yiji had vanished as silently as he had come and nobody saw him.

Agent Simit went into shock and had to be helped to his bed. He broke down and sobbed in the privacy of his bedroom. With the death of the only son who was capable of fathering descendents, his lineage had ended. He blabbered uncontrollably.

Wen Yiji felt obligated to inform Grasshopper’s uncle about what he had done. He made a detour to Grasshopper’s house and stood before the grave of Grasshopper’s uncle.

“Old man,” he said. “You asked me for two favours before you died and I have fulfilled them both. You asked for justice, and so I have sent Si Mm Chut to accompany you in hell. You got more than your money’s worth for your two ducks. My duty as your assassin ends here. I have also taken Grasshopper as my servant, as you have requested. You can now move on in peace.”

He stared at the grave for a long moment. He felt a bit foolish talking to a cold grave that could not talk back, but he had come to present his accountability report and this he had done. It was time to leave.

He turned away from the grave and as he did so, a movement caught his eye. It came from another grave. He was about to ignore it, then he changed his mind and walked towards it. It was only a squirrel. It scampered away from the grave as soon as Yiji approached.

Seeing that it was only a squirrel, Yiji was about to turn and leave when he realized that the grave was that of Grasshopper’s mother.

He stared at it for a long time and memories of his father flooded his mind. He knelt down in front of the grave and whispered, “Auntie, if you are truly my father’s sister, then I should greet you as Auntie Ying. My father must have been really close to you to have given you half of his arrowhead. Wen Yiji has taken your only son as his servant. He will be well taken care of. My sister treats him like a younger brother. When your son is old enough, I shall give him one of my houses to call his own. May you rest in eternal peace.”

He stood up. Perhaps he should have brought some joss sticks to burn at her gravesite. It was the proper thing to do. He would have to come again with the joss sticks, perhaps within the next two days.

+ + + + + +

That evening, Xiang Xiang noted that her brother was quiet and solemn.

“We should be able to take delivery of the furniture tomorrow afternoon,” she said. “Tomorrow night, we can move in.”

“Not yet, be patient,” said her brother. “We will have to consult the Chinese Almanac, the Tong Shu, before we can select an auspicious date to move in.”

Grasshopper was sent to borrow the Tong Shu from the innkeeper. After pouring over the dates, they selected one that was deemed highly auspicious. They would have to wait for three days before moving in.

That night, Wen Yiji went to pay a visit to the House of Noble Delights. He remembered how Ah Lian and Ah Huei had beaten him up the previous month. Ah Huei was with another customer, so Wen Yiji booked the services of Ah Lian for the whole evening. A servant girl led Wen Yiji to Ah Lian’s room.

“You look familiar Master Wen,” noted Ah Lian after all the perfunctory greetings were over.

“Of course I look familiar,” Yiji replied. “You and Ah Huei beat the shit out of me the last time I was here.”

“Where got?”

“Got lah!”

“We did arh? Oh, please forgive us Master Wen. You big man with a big pardon please do not place this inside your big heart.”

“I told you girls that I’ll be back. Tonight I want my revenge.”

Kanineh! You want to beat me up, is it?”

“I want to fight with you.”

“Come lah…..you think I scared arh.”

“I fight naked.”

“I also!”

Moments later, they were both naked on the bed and wrestling away. Ah Lian had big tits and he was almost smothered by them. He fought them well but they came at him from all directions. Finally, he pinned her down and impaled her with his hardened tool. It took a while before he got it all in. He stroked her slowly, very slowly. She writhed sensuously under him. He pounded her with long strokes and increased the tempo.

She screamed, “Oh my Tao! Oh my Tao! Oh my Tao!”

While continuing to rock her powerfully, Wen Yiji asked, “Why can’t you say “Oh my God! Oh my God!” like everybody else?”

“I’m a Taoist!” she replied breathlessly.

“Oh, all right then, please carry on.”

“Oh my Tao! Oh my Tao! Oh my Tao! ……………..”


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