Tuesday, July 31, 2007



The Simpsons movie inspired today’s topic – physiognomy. That’s the art of judging human character from facial features.

For instance, a protruding forehead suggests a slow decision making process.

The guy may not be stupid, but he is fucking slow to make up his mind. That is because of the extra length of internal wiring in the protruding forehead that the brain messaging system has to go through. If you go out with him for lunch, don’t ask him where to eat. By the time he decides, it will be next week.

Then there are those with foreheads that slope backwards.

There is not much space for internal wiring in their foreheads and so these people will often decide at the snap of the fingers. Can be impulsive. That’s the sort of people whom you can con into buying you beer.


Friday, July 27, 2007


The Kungfu That Ruled The Night - Chapter 15

Chapter 15: The Casino Royal

The young jailor was tired by the time he reached the last cell. Normally, there were two people distributing the food, but today his partner was unwell and so he had to carry the food all by himself. He had joined the ranks of jailors only the previous month. Being new, he was bullied into doing all the heavy work. This made him irritable and not in the best of moods

At the last cell, Warden Sai impatiently waited for the jailor. Just as the jailor reached the cell, the warden was elbowed out of the way as the five prisoners of the Luan Luan Kan Gang crowded the front of the cell for the food.

“Hey!” shouted the young jailor. “Stop rushing! And why are there six of you? I only brought rations for five people! Who is this naked bald creature?”

“The jailor from the previous shift placed the bald man here,” answered a prisoner. “He’s a monk with delusions of grandeur. He thinks he is the Emperor!”

“I am not the Emperor! I am the warden!” screamed Warden Sai weakly through his broken jaws.

“How dare you claim to be the warden!” thundered the jailor. “Look at you! You don’t even look like him! In fact, you don’t sound like him also.”

“Let me out!” cried the warden. “I am the warden!”

“Not a chance,” sneered the jailor. “If the warden hears you saying that, you will get a thorough thrashing from him!”

“Look at me properly!” cried the warden. “I really am the warden!”

“I am looking at you!” retorted the jailor. “And, my God, I have never seen an uglier looking bald monk! Swollen face, swollen eyes, swollen lips, swollen everything! Looks like got swollen ass also! And for Heaven’s sake, put on some clothes! Damn! Now I have to go back and wash my eyes!”

"Listen, you stupid jailor!" gasped Warden Sai in anger. "Who is your supervisor? Bring him here at once! He will know who I am!"

"If I do whatever you tell me to do, I where got face some more?" scolded the jailor in anger. "Stupid bald monkey!"

"If you don't listen to me, one day when I get out, I will have you beaten like a dog!" threatened Warden Sai. "And then I will throw your dumb ass in jail!"

The young jailor snarled, "You are threatening me? You dare to threaten me? No big no small! I bring food to you animals and all I hear are threats. I think I will stop bringing food to this cell from tomorrow onwards. You animals can starve to death!"

His words had an immediate effect on the five members of the Luan Luan Kan Gang. One of them hastened to reassure the jailor, "Sir! Do not worry, sir! We will make sure that this bald bastard will not speak a word when you bring us our food! We will shut him up tighter than the cheebai of a virgin ant!"

"Yes," said another member. "We will shut him up so tight that even his words cannot slide out sideways with grease! He will have no opportunity to threaten you again!"

"All right!" the jailor responded. "But if I ever hear that bald monkey threatening me again, then there will be no food for everybody in this cell! You hear?"

The young jailor then turned and left without another backward glance.

The other five prisoners glared menacingly at the warden as they ate all the food and drank all the water. They left nothing for Warden Sai. The poor warden sobbed in frustration.

The five other prisoners looked at him with derision.

Finally, one of them spoke, “It is seldom that we see a grown man sobbing. We should be sensitive and show some sympathy.”

“You are right,” spoke another voice. “What should be the most humane thing to do?”

The man with the gruff voice spoke, “The most humane thing to do is to show him some love!”

His other four gang members pondered his words and then yelled, “Hell, yes! Let’s give him some more loving!”

For the second time that day, the warden tried to fight off the men. Forcefully, they held him down and showed him their love. The warden cried woefully. He had never felt so much pain from so much love.

+ + + + + +

Wen Yiji was feeling pleased with himself. He knew how the Li-Khor prison system worked. The prison operated on only one principle; all prisoners are expendable. He was sure that in the dimly lit cell, the warden would not be recognizable without his hair. The warden would be in there for a long time before he was discovered. By then all hell would break loose. But by then, Ah Keong would probably not be working in that prison anymore, so it did not matter.

After lunch, he drank the bitter herbal stuff that Shi Mei had boiled for him. Shi Mei took his pulse and told him that he was mending nicely. The needle in the collar bone area to maintain his visibility had worked well so far. Then she advised him to rest. However, Wen Yiji was restless. There was nothing to do while he waited to recover his full physical capacity. To entertain himself, he decided to take out a samurai sword from its hiding place in the carriage for some practice. The sword had once belonged to the Kansai Killers.

He wielded the samurai sword in his hands and swung it. During his heyday as an Imperial Guard, he had been trained in many weapons, including the heavy swords that required the two-handed grip. He now used the same method on the samurai sword in his practice.

"This samurai sword is not difficult to handle if one uses the right strokes," he noted to himself.

Shi Mei was busy writing something. She looked up and said, "Brother Wen, you have been wielding that sword for a long time now. You should not be exerting yourself!" cautioned Shi Mei. "Any unnecessary strain can delay your recovery."

"Don't worry," he assured her. "I am only swinging this weapon back and forth, up and down, to and fro, left and right while running at top speed and panting heavily. I am not exerting myself at all!"

"Yes.......of course," she replied, smiling. "But my mind would be more at peace if you would stop doing all that vigorous exercises. And avoid using your Dark Fire energy as well until your system is balanced."

"I can't just keep still while waiting for my body to recover. I will feel bored!"

"Well, if you want to do some exercise, why don't you go for a quiet stroll instead?" she suggested.

"All right," he replied and put down his sword. “I think I will go and visit Ah Keong. Why don’t you stay here and finish writing your book?”

She nodded her head. She had been attempting to write a medical book for the past days while waiting for Wen Yiji to recover. Most of it was about the cures that her father had discovered. The memory of her father was still fresh in her mind. She wanted to put down on paper the things he had said before she forgot them.

Wen Yiji reached Ah Keong’s house and found that Ah Keong was recovering nicely.

“You should not be standing up, Ah Keong,” he said.

“It’s alright, Master Wen, I am able to stand up today for a short period,” Ah Keong replied. “Miss Shi Mei’s medical preparations appear to be working.”

Wen Yiji sat for a while with Ah Keong and then he left. There was one place that he really wanted to visit; the Casino Royal. Yee Ng Chai had said that Ah Long was a loan shark who operated several gambling dens in the Imperial City. But his biggest den was the Casino Royal. It was time he found out who this Ah Long was.

+ + + + + +

At the Red Cliff Mountains, Red Wind led Blackface and Phoenix to a pool at the base of a waterfall. They had been travelling from the Imperial City for days. He enjoyed travelling with Phoenix. Despite the fact that she was mourning, she was still a fun character driven by spontaneous impulses. Blackface was another character altogether; not so much fun to be with.

The Pool of the Devil fish was not known to many people because of its secret location. It was surrounded at the sides by steep cliffs. The three riders were standing on a cliff and looking down at the pool.

“Do not slip and fall into the pool,” Red Wind warned. “Or that would be the last thing you ever do!”

“It looks like an ordinary pool,” commented Phoenix. “I don’t see any fish about.”

“Watch,” instructed Red Wind. He took out a packet of mutton and threw the contents into the pool. Immediately, the water surface churned as huge fishes thrashed about to gobble up the mutton chunks.

“Look at the size of those creatures!” exclaimed Phoenix in awe. “Each one is bigger than a man! It is amazing that they can grow to such a size!”

“What a feeding frenzy!” remarked Blackface, suitably impressed. “If we throw in a cow, I bet that they will eat it up in no time!”

They stared at the pool for a while.

“Do they stay at this pool all the time? Can they go upstream?” asked Phoenix.

“They can’t go upstream,” answered Red Wind. “The waterfall is too high for them to leap.”

“What about downstream?” asked Blackface.

“There is another waterfall downstream,” answered Red Wind. “For some reason, the Devil fish do not go over the downstream waterfall. Thus, they are found only between these two waterfalls. But they are at this pool mostly.”

“I think I will go hunt a monkey and throw it in the pool,” said Blackface. “It ought to be fun to watch the fish tear the monkey in pieces!”

Blackface disappeared among the trees to look for game.

“Urgggh!” said Phoenix. “I don’t think I wish to see senior brother Blackface throw in some poor monkey.”

“I bet he is the most bloodthirsty guy in the Green Scorpion Sect,” said Red Wind.

“Not really,” she said. “Senior brother Whiteface is even more bloodthirsty! Have you been serving Prince Jin for long?”

“Yes,” answered Red Wind. “Almost eight years. He saved my life once.”


“I was attacked by bandits a long time ago. They would have killed me but as luck would have it, Prince Jin and his men happened by. He ordered his men to attack the bandits and thus I was saved. Since then, I have served him faithfully.”

Phoenix looked at the pool again. The water was now calm and the Devil fish had disappeared below the surface. The waters looked inviting.

“The day is hot and I am feeling warm. Is there a place where I can bathe?” she asked.

“I can show you a pool upstream where it is safe to bathe,” said Red Wind.

He led her to a path above the waterfall and soon they came to a spot where the river was wide and the water current was not too strong.

“This spot is safe for swimming,” he said. “My friends and I have swum here before.”

“It is a beautiful spot, thank you!” she gushed.

“I will leave you to bathe here in privacy for, say, half a joss stick’s burning time. Meanwhile, I will go upstream to another spot to swim,” he told her.

“Do not attempt to peep at me while I bathe,” she said imperiously.

“Do not worry!” he reassured her. “I am an honourable man.”

She smiled as he went off upstream.

Red Wind found another spot upstream that was suitable for a good swim. Quickly, he took off his clothes and jumped into the water. The cool waters were refreshingly invigorating to his hot sweaty body. He splashed about in the water. Something in the water caught his attention and he pulled it up.

He stared hard.

“Holy bangkali!” he uttered in shock. “This is part of the human skeleton! Someone died here!”

He examined the skeleton closely.

“Oh, shit!” he shouted as he jumped out of the water. “The Devil fish is up here above the waterfall!”

A sudden thought occurred to him. “Phoenix! She does not know that the Devil fish is up here! It will attack her!”

Without stopping to think, he ran downstream using his lightness kungfu to skim across the bushes and rocks on the river back.

Phoenix was naked on a rock on the bank of the river. She had just jumped off the rock to dive into the water when she heard Red Wind shouting, “Stop! The Devil fish is in there!”

It was too late! She was already hitting the water. She sliced through the water feet first and her momentum carried her down to the bottom. As her feet felt rock beneath her, she saw a ferocious shape heading towards her.

Phoenix remained calm. She pushed off powerfully with her feet and her body shot upwards through the water. Her whole body broke through the surface of the water as the Devil fish raced towards her. She knew that her lightness kungfu might not be able to enable her to reach the river bank safely. The fish leapt upwards towards her, with jaws wide open for a quick grab at her feet. She pulled up her legs and the fish passed just below her. With great presence of mind she stepped on the head of the fish in midair and used it as a springboard. The effort gave her a push in the direction of the bank. She landed in ankle deep waters and then quickly retreated to dry land as the Devil fish came near.

“Hahahahaha!” she cried in excitement. “You missed me, you ugly creature! Hahahahaha!”

The truth about Phoenix was that danger excited her, and extreme danger excited her extremely.

“Are you alright?” panted Red Wind with genuine concern, forgetting that he was totally naked.

“Yes!” she replied headily. “My, what a rush!”

The near-brush with death exhilarated her. She was close to having an orgasm.

She dipped her foot into the water. The Demon fish came near and she pulled out her foot with a laugh.

“Stop that!” cried Red Wind. “Do not tempt the creature!”

She moved away from the water’s edge still laughing as the Demon fish swam to the surface and stared at its intended prey. Her excitement had reached a feverish pitch.

Standing behind her, Red Wind admired the smoothness of her curves and then he felt his excitement rising. He was near enough to touch her. The wind blew across his naked body and tingled his balls.

She turned around to face him. He stared at her front without blinking. She allowed him to stare as she noticed his excitement.

“A riddle just came to my mind,” said Phoenix with a slight smile. “What did the hammer say when it encountered the nail?”

“I do not know,” he confessed.

“It said, “I can make it hard on you.” Hahahahahaha!”

He laughed and saw what she was getting at. “All right!” he said. “I admit that you have already made it hard on me!”

“Hardness is a terrible thing to waste,” she remarked, looking appreciatively at the size of his manhood.

“Yeah,” he replied stupidly. Her remarks made him grow bigger.

She could see the heightened state of his urge and it aroused her even further. Throwing decorum to the winds, she reached out with her hand and curled her fingers around his throbbing pole. Slowly, she trailed her fingers along the length of his manhood, gently teasing the head.

“Take me now,” she whispered with a suddenness that surprised him.

He was not going to argue. An invitation was an invitation. He wrapped her up in his arms and kissed her roughly. Then he pushed her onto the ground, got between her legs and pounded her with raw abandon. There was no foreplay and none was needed. Their unbridled lust for each other’s flesh was all they required.

On the nine hundred and ninety-ninth stroke, he came strongly. He collapsed over her, totally exhausted.

“Better get dressed,” she said. “Blackface will be looking for us soon.”

“My clothes are at the other spot up the river,” he said. Quickly, he got up and walked tiredly up the river to collect his clothes.

Phoenix got up and wandered to the edge of the water, still naked. She bent down and took some water from the river to wash between her legs. The Devil fish swam nearby, but could not come ashore.

Phoenix glared at the huge fish. Then she stood up and thrusted her bushy patch at the fish.

“Look all you want!” she told the fish. “But you are not getting this!”

The motion excited her again. Damn! She needed Red Wind’s tool again! Then she heard a sound as a Blackface burst through the bushes.

“Oh,” said Blackface as he stared at her nakedness. “I’m sorry! I did not mean to intrude!”

He made no move to cover his eyes.

She walked towards him and said, “Senior brother Blackface, you know that sifu will probably marry me to senior brother Whiteface. I am Whiteface’s future wife.”

“I know,” said Blackface.

“You know then why you still look?”

“I can’t help it! I am more suitable for you than that white-faced moron!”

“Do you wish to take me?” she asked. The presence of the Devil fish had excited her beyond her usual limits. She needed further satisfaction.

Blackface nodded, unable to speak.

“Then take me now,” she said. “You will not get this opportunity again once I marry Whiteface.”

Rapidly, he tore off his pants and took her. In less than twenty strokes, he was done.

“Huh?” thought Phoenix silently. “Over so fast? No time to even blink my eyes!”

She kept quiet politely. Once again, she had to wash between her legs.

“Better get dressed,” she told the exhausted Blackface while she put on her clothes. “Red Wind said that we have another long journey ahead. Go prepare the horses.”

Blackface was tired. All he wanted to do was roll over and sleep. However, he managed to pull on his pants and then went to collect the horses.

When Red Wind appeared, the three of them rode south towards the direction of Shibai. Phoenix rode with a smirk on her face. But the two men appeared exhausted.

+ + + + + +

Wen Yiji found the Casino Royal. It was a busy place and catered to a classier clientele than most gambling dens. The inside was clean and opulently decorated. It was little wonder that the place was frequented by wealthy merchants and imperial officials. Every table was occupied with gamblers attempting to pit their gambling skills against the house. Some were lucky; most were not.

Wen Yiji found himself at a taisai table. The game was taisai played with three dices shaken between a plate and an overturned bowl. The players betted on the outcome of the tumbling dices. If the combined result of the roll was between four and ten, it was termed ‘Small’. If the result was between eleven and seventeen, it was termed ‘Big’. If the result of the dice roll was a triplet (three of the same kind), then the house would win all bets. But if the player had betted on a specific triplet appearing, like three ones, then the payout would be one hundred to one.

Wen Yiji’s former cellmate Amos had once told him that the way to win was to bet against a loser. There was always some poor bastard with a losing streak. Somehow, his instincts would be faulty and everything he did would be wrong, so betting in the opposite direction as the loser made a lot of sense.

Walking among the tables of gamblers, Wen Yiji spotted what looked like a loser; a fat merchant with a big mouth. Quickly, Wen Yiji joined the table. The dealer placed three dices onto a plate, covered them with an overturned bowl, and then shook them. After a few shakes to allow the dice to tumble freely, the dealer called out, “Come ah, buy ah!”

The fat merchant placed five taels at the position marked ‘Big’ on the table. Immediately, Wen Yiji betted two taels on ‘Small’. The dealer lifted the overturned bowl from the plate to show the dice faces; one, three and four.

“One, three, four…..small!” shouted the dealer. He scooped up the money of the fat merchant and then paid Yiji his winnings. The merchant cursed colourfully.

After twenty rounds, Wen Yiji had won sixteen taels.

The fat merchant glared at him and said, “Friend! When I bet big, you bet small. When I bet small, you bet big. It looks like you have no confidence that I can win!”

“You have had a run of bad luck for some time now,” remarked Wen Yiji.

“Ahhh……but my winning streak could be just round the corner!” said the man. “Fengshui always change!”

“Hmmmmm…….you could be right!” agreed Wen Yiji. “Maybe I should follow what you bet in the next round!”

In the next round, the merchant betted on Small and Wen Yiji followed suit. The dealer opened ‘Big’ and they both lost.

“Damn!” cursed the merchant. “Why did you have to follow me? Two many bets will sink the ship! You are a jinx!’

“You are right!” commented Wen Yiji. “I should go back to my way of betting opposite to you.”

In the next twenty rounds or so, Wen Yiji won another yet another sixteen taels. He then moved to the next table and followed the same strategy. Towards closing time, he had won seventy taels.

Seventy taels was not a very big sum, but it could feed several poor families for a month. Thus, Wen Yiji was feeling very pleased with himself. He swung his money bag containing his winnings of seventy taels nonchalantly and glanced at the big table at the far end of the hall. The table was for big time gamblers only and he recognized a few ministers seated at the table. He decided to go over there to watch the action.

As he approached, one of the casino workers grabbed his arm and said, "You have a needle sticking out from your collar bone area. Let me pull it out for you!"

"Mind your own business!" he hissed at the worker, but the nosey man had already made a play for the needle. In uncharacteristic panic, Wen Yiji twisted his body and lifted his hand to block the move. Nobody knew exactly what happened, but his money bag flew into the air and landed onto the table in front of the ministers with a loud "Thump!"

The female dealer at the table looked up and said, "The minimum bet is twenty taels."

"That's my money," called out Wen Yiji in embarrassment. He turned to glare at the casino worker who had already scooted off. Shaking his head, he walked forward to claim his money bag.

However, while he was trying to walk around some of the people standing there, the female dealer lifted the bowl to reveal the position of the dices.

"One, one, one........the house takes all.......except for the gentleman who betted on the three ones!" she announced.

Before Wen Yiji could reach the table, she opened the money bag and said, "I am sorry sir, but the rule here states that the maximum bet for three ones is thirty taels!"

"What?" asked Wen Yiji, not comprehending.

"The payout is one hundred to one. You have about seventy taels here. The house rules state that even if you betted more than thirty taels, we will pay you three thousand taels only."

"What?" asked Wen Yiji, still not comprehending.

"Rules are rules!" she said and then turned to a thin assistant by her side. "Pay him three thousand."

Then Wen Yiji saw that his money bag had landed on the area of the table marked for betting on three ones. He looked at the dice on the plate and saw that the result was three ones.

"What the....I'll be....." he could only stutter in surprise. The thin assistant shoved a small sack of money containing gold, silver and a combination of paper money towards him. Automatically, he took it without thinking. Taking the sack, he walked away from the table. In his excitement, he forgot about his small bag of seventy taels.

"Stand aside," a rough voice said to the female dealer, "I'll tumble the dice!"

"Yes, boss," said the dealer. She stepped aside and allowed her boss, Ah Long, to tumble the three dices between the plate and upturned bowl.

The gamblers at the table placed their bets.

Wen Yiji realized that he had forgotten to take back his seventy taels. He turned and walked back to the table.

At that moment, Ah Long lifted up the bowl to reveal the faces of the three dices.

"Wah......three ones again!" cried a minister who was seated at the table. "Twice in a row!"

Wen Yiji saw that his money bag was still on the spot of the table marked for betting on three ones. He grinned. Then he looked at Ah Long expectantly. Ah Long stared back.

"What's taking so long?" asked the minister impatiently. "You don't have enough money to pay the man?"

"No, no, no," said Ah Long hastily. "The Casino Royal does not run out of money!"

Another sack of three thousand taels was brought out for Wen Yiji. Looking at Ah Long's taut facial expression, Wen Yiji almost died of laughter. By some weird stroke of providence, he had suddenly been richer by more than six thousand taels, enough to buy two decently large houses. He was tempted to leave his seventy taels there to see if the three ones would occur for a third time. However, Ah Long pushed the bag of seventy taels towards him and said, "Take away your money!"

"Why don't you let your lady dealer take over, Master Ah Long? Since you obviously don't have better luck than her?" suggested the minister.

Wen Yiji froze. So that was Ah Long! His face hardened as he pondered his next step. He tied his money bag to his waist, took his two sacks of money and walked away. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ah Long whispering to a few of his henchmen. They looked in his direction. Immediately, Wen Yiji was on full alert. It was already close to sundown.

When he left the casino, he knew that he was being followed. Weighed down by the two sacks of money, he staggered as he walked. Ah Long watch him go with an expectant smile. He would soon have his money back, he thought. He had a mild shock when
Wen Yiji turned around to smile at him. “That’s what you think!” Wen Yiji mouthed silently at him.

The men tailing Wen Yiji thought that they had an easy task ahead as they watched Wen Yiji walking as if under great difficulty. In the fading twilight, he turned a corner, crouched down in the shadows, pulled out the acupuncture needle in his collar bone area and waited. His shroud of invisibility covered him and the money he was carrying.

Some ten men came around the corner. One of them asked, "Where did he go? We saw him turn in here! He couldn’t have disappeared so fast!"

“Maybe he ran, or used lightness over the rooftops!” said another voice.

"Don't tell me that we have lost him!" cried another man. "Ah Long, will throw a fit!"

Immediately, three men jumped up the roofs of the nearby buildings and raced along the roof tops. The other men divided themselves up quickly and ran hither and thither, but in the deepening darkness, they soon had to give up the search. Wen Yiji was about to pick himself up and walk when the men came and gathered at where he was crouching invisibly.

"What are we to tell the boss," asked a voice. "That all ten of us lost sight of the gambler? Ah Long will never believe us.”

“We are supposed to rob the gambler and relieve him of the money he won from us,” remarked another voice. “If we do not take the money back to the casino, Ah Long will suspect that we took the money ourselves!"

"Yes," said another man. "He is a suspicious old bastard! He'll think we kept the money!"

"Let's tell him the truth; that the man ran too fast for us to catch up!" suggested somebody.

"Are you nuts?" asked another voice in the dark. "Ah Long will not believe that a man weighed down by two sacks of silver can outrun us! It is better that wel tell him that the gambler had great kungfu.....that he fought with us and then escaped in the night!"

The men argued back and forth. Wen Yiji waited patiently for the men to finish arguing so that he can get up and walk away. The night was already on them and he knew that they would not see him. However, he knew that the sound made by the silver and gold taels in the sack would give him away. He wondered if he was strong enough yet to fight ten men. He knew that he had an advantage of invisibility in the darkness of the night. The few stars in the night sky would not be of much help to his opponents. There was one other thing; Shi Mei had told him to avoid using his Dark Fire energy while his body was still recovering. He settled down in his crouching position to wait until it was safe to leave.

The men, however, showed no sign of leaving. Even in the darkness, they were still arguing among themselves.

“I am telling you,” a voice in the dark insisted. “We will look very stupid if we tell Ah Long that we lost sight of the gambler. He will think that we were in cahoots with the gambler. It is best that we tell Ah Long that we fought with the gambler and then he escaped in the darkness.”

The majority of the voices agreed with the opinion.

From his crouching position, Wen Yiji added his opinion, "He'll never believe that either.....unless you have bruises to prove that you had been in a fight!"

In the darkness, the men could not tell that the voice of Wen Yiji did not belong to any one of them.

"That is a good idea," agreed a voice. "We will have to beat each other up a bit to show some bruises. As long as our faces got red red a bit, it will look like we have been in some action!"

The rest concurred. Gingerly, they felt around for each other and then slapped each other's faces gently

Whup! Whup! Whup! Whup! Whup! Whup! Whup! Whup! Whup! Whup!

"Hit harder!" said Wen Yiji. "Or the bruises will not be believable!"

The men walloped harder.

Doosh! Doosh! Doosh! Doosh! Doosh! Doosh! Doosh! Doosh! Doosh! Doosh!

"Harder still!" insisted Wen Yiji in the darkness. “Put more effort in it!”

Whammm! Whammm! Whammm! Whammm! Whammm! Whammm! Whammm!

“Use your whole strength!” shouted Wen Yiji. “You have to feel the pain! No pain, no gain!”

Kapow!!! Kapow!!! Kapow!!! Kapow!!! Kapow!!! Kapow!!! Kapow!!! Kapow!!!

While the men were busy hurting each other, Wen Yiji gathered his sacks of money and then carefully sidestepped around them. He walked away from them in the direction he wished to go.

The men were already done with each other.

"Aiiiyoh!!!" cried one voice painfully. "Who was the one shouting all those nasty words of encouragement to us?"

Grinning in the dark, Wen Yiji turned his head towards them and said, “Shut up! It is not yet over! Ah Long will not believe that there was a fight and yet no swords were drawn! There should be some blood dripping from sword wounds to make it look real!"

There was a silence.

"That is a stupid idea!" said a voice. "Who would want to get cut by a sword? Who wants to take the lead?"

No one answered.

"Who wants to volunteer?" asked the same voice.

“Not me!” replied Wen Yiji cooly. He walked away from them as noiselessly as possible, carrying his two sacks of money with him.

One by one, the rest of the men also answered, "Not me!"

Then there was silence until a sullen voice spoke up, "That is very strange! There are ten of us! But I counted eleven voices! One of us here is an imposter!"

The silence that followed was deafening.

After a while, another voice piped up, “Whose voice was that who was shouting to us to hit each other harder?”

There was no answer. Wen Yiji had already left the scene.

Finally, one of the men was then heard to remark slowly, “I think we’ve been had!”


Thursday, July 26, 2007


1000th post

This is it; the 1000th post!

I first started blogging at the end of 2003. It has been a long journey, during which time I discovered my love of writing. I must confess that I did not always know what I was writing about, but such niceties did not seem to bother me.

I had thought of closing down the blog a few times. But the matter is not that simple. For some mysterious reason, this blog works. If I feel strongly about something and blog about it, somehow, a change does occur in the universe. I can only surmise that the extraterrestrials must have been reading my postings!

However, the demands for my time are such that I am constantly squeezed to find time to blog. I did announce before that when I reached the thousandth post, I would want to take a long break from blogging. Once my wuxia story is completed, I should be able to do that.



Monday, July 23, 2007


That ridiculous MPH melodrama

The Harry Potter book mania has left me quite unaffected since I don’t read non-adult books. I would not even have noticed that there was a new book out if not for one thing; the idiotic behavior of our local book chains. In particular, the group operated by the Mentally Phucked Heads.

Look, if foreign hypermarkets can sell foreign books by foreign writers at an alien low price, why can’t a local book chain clean up their act and compete aggressively, instead of crying pathetically like kids and then boycotting the whole process? This is after all a business; only the most competitive will survive!

Nobody is stopping them from selling their toy bears at below hypermarket prices, right? Coming from people involved in books(and thereby education) this action is just so shocking. That’s it. I’m taking my business to Borders.


Friday, July 20, 2007


The Kungfu That Ruled The Night - Chapter 14

Chapter 14: The new prisoner

Wen Yiji was nonplussed. He had not expected that the Warden would call three men to sleep in the same room with him. For a moment, he was tempted to stay there all night to slap the warden silly. However, he did not want to freak out the three jailors. He stared at their faces. They were not the same men who held him while he was getting slapped in the restaurant a few days ago. No, he did not want to scare them unnecessarily just because he wanted to mete out some justified punishment to the cruel warden.

Somehow, the idea of four men sleeping in the same room, just because the warden was scared, amused him. He chuckled softly. But not softly enough. The four men in the room heard him and they froze in fear.

What Wen Yiji really wanted was to find out the situation about Ah Keong. He hoped that the warden had not beaten him up too badly. The door was still open and Wen Yiji duckwalked through it. He duckwalked down the steps to the floor level and then wondered where he should go.

“Damn!” he muttered. “This duckwalk business is really inconvenient! If I keep on walking like this, I may go out of shape! But if I want to stay invisible, I have to do it.”

He duckwalked around and watched the jailors go about their business. Most of them were either gambling or drinking cheap wine. Ah Keong was nowhere to be seen. Wen Yiji looked at the prison walls and memories flooded his mind.

“For six long years I have been imprisoned here until I was finally freed last year,” he noted to himself. “My last cell mate was an idiotic foreigner called Amos. Hmmmmph. I wonder if he is still alive!”

Consumed with a burning curiosity, he made his way to the old wing where his former cell was. The large wooden door to the old wing was locked and there were two jailors at the door. They were half drunk. He tapped them on the head and they were knocked into the unconscious state. He got up from his duckwalking position and took the keys that were hanging from the wall, not caring if anyone saw him in the half-invisible state. He unlocked the door and walked through into the dim corridor beyond. The old wing was the worst of the wings; cold and damp. Usually, the hardened criminals were kept there.

The corridor was lit by only a single lit torch on the wall and thus most of the cells were in darkness. Wen Yiji walked past cell after cell of prisoners in his semi-invisible state. A few prisoners saw his legs walking by and they closed their eyes. They had their wits frightened out of them. It was bad enough that they were in prison; it would be even worse if they had a confrontation with a ghost.

Wen Yiji reached the last cell and peered inside. He inserted the acupuncture needle in his collar bone area and he turned fully visible. He was curious about how Amos was faring but he did not want to freak out Amos if he could help it. There were five men in the cell. In the low light level, he could not make out their faces. They too, could not see what he looked like.

“Amos!” Wen Yiji called. “Prisoner Amos! Are you in there?”

A voice called out from within, “Who wants to know?”

The voice did not belong to Amos. At once, Wen Yiji had a feeling that Amos was not in there. He did not know who the five prisoners were, but one thing he was sure; the least favourite prisoners were always kept in the last cell. The five in there must be the worst of human scum.

“I am the new jailor,” announced Wen Yiji coolly. “I am checking on the prisoner called Amos.”

“Oh……a new jailor! That stupid foreigner has died……he died late last year during the cold winter. Didn’t you know that?”

“No,” replied Wen Yiji in shock. He had not expected Amos to die yet.

“Why did you not know that the ugly foreigner died?”

“I must have gotten the old list of prisoners,” lied Wen Yiji glibly. “His name is still on it.”

“How do you expect to run a prison efficiently if your prisoner list is not up to date?” a gruff voice within the cell commented. “All good organizations should function on real-time data. Your management skills are pathetic!”

The other four laughed derisively.

"Working with obsolete data leads only to bad decisions," commented another voice. "Utterly deplorable!"

Again, more derisive laughter.

"How long do you expect to survive if you insult a jailor?" retorted Wen Yiji. "Your diplomatic skills are a disaster! Tomorrow, when I bring the food, it will have a special ingredient in it. And the water will have a certain smell!”

There was a long silence.

Then another voice spoke, "We are sorry if we offended you, Ah Sir! Please, you big person with big magnanimity, we beg you not to shit in our food or pee in our drinking water!”

"All right," said Wen Yiji. "I'll let it go this time. Don't ever insult me again!"

"Thank you, Ah Sir!" cried the chorus of voices in the cell.

"Now tell me who you people are and why Amos is not in this cell," asked Wen Yiji.

"We are the Luan Luan Kan Gang," answered a voice. "We were caught and sentenced here late last year. Initially we were in the next cell and the foreigner was in here with two other prisoners. One day, the three of them got into a fight over food. One of them died. When the jailors came to take away the dead body, one of the remaining two prisoners cursed the warden's name loudly. This incident was reported to the warden and he had the two prisoners dragged to his office and given a severe beating. Then they were thrown back into the cell. They were so badly beaten that they could not even eat. A few days later, we heard that they had died. After that, we were transferred to this cell."

"So, that was how Amos died," said Wen Yiji in an even voice. "For cursing the name of the warden."

"Actually, it was not the foreigner who cursed," said the voice. "It was the other prisoner. But the foreigner got beaten all the same. It was his bad luck, Ah Sir!"

"This is an injustice," sighed Wen Yiji. "The warden should have come down here to investigate the matter thoroughly."

"Actually, the warden has never come down here," replied a voice. "We don't even know what he looks like, Ah Sir!"

"Well, I don't think he likes you very much. This is the last cell of the wing, traditionally reserved for the most hardcore of criminals. You are the last to receive your food and drinking water. But never mind. You are all not expected to live long anyway."

"That is what you think," said a gruff voice from the cell. "My fortune teller said that I will have great prosperity and a long life!

"Hahahaha!" laughed Wen Yiji. He found the situation terribly funny. "Your fortune teller is full of shit! You are the Luan Luan Kan Gang. Let me guess......you are serial rapists. Scum of the earth. Dog excrement. Killers and murderers. And you are here because you raped your own grandmother. And you have the nerve to expect great prosperity and a long life?"

"Hey! I resent that!” replied a shrill voice form the cell. “We did not rape our own grandmothers.......only other people's grandmothers! And granddaughters! But definitely not our own grandmothers!"

"Whatever," said Wen Yiji. He had lost interest in them and so he turned to go away.

"Wait!" the shrill voice within the cell spoke. "Can I request that if you have a young new prisoner, can you send him to our cell?"

"Whatever for?" asked Wen Yiji, mystified.

"We.....uh......need some entertainment," the voice replied. "If got female prisoner, that will be best. But if got no female prisoner, then male one also okay. No fish, prawn also good mah!"

Wen Yiji swore softly. The Luan Luan Gang sickened him. He walked off without responding to the request. Then switching into the state of invisibility, he duckwalked around, but he did not manage to find Ah Keong.

He was disappointed. The ache in his thighs was killing him.

"Ni nabeh," he swore. "Walking around like a duck like this......crouching duck and hidden chicken.......damn! Maybe Ah Keong is not even here! That's it. I'll call it a night and go home.”

+ + + + + +

In the morning, Wen Yiji felt his thighs aching. He had never duckwalk so much for a long time. He remembered that he used to do it in his younger days during kungfu training.

Shi Mei was already up and practicing her 'Way of the Water Spider' technique. He admired her form and grace of movement. He glanced at the graves of his two brothers and immediately felt a tinge of guilt. She was supposed to be the bride of one of them. If things had been better, she should have been his sister-in-law. He really did not know what to do with her. His morning erection slowed down his thinking further.

Shi Mei paused in her exercises and looked at Yiji. Ever since he had saved her mother from drowning, she had always looked up to him. Eight years ago, he looked young and dashing. Now, he looked thinner and more matured. He was still her hero and she would do whatever it took to find a solution to his invisibility problem.

“You are up early, brother Wen,” she greeted. “I have already boiled your medicine. Let me pour it out for you.”

“You have been practicing your Water Spider Technique quite diligently,” he noted. “It is not a fighting art. You cannot use it to subdue an opponent.”

“True,” she replied. “But I do find it useful, brother Wen. I have used it on two occasions to evade bad people. For this, I am grateful to the Ghost Ninja.”

“Let me teach you something more useful instead……something you can use to defend yourself. “

After he had taken his medicine, Wen Yiji tried to teach her the sword, but he could see that she wasn’t going to be any good at it. He then tried the wooden pole, but she was equally bad at it. Finally, he gave up.

“You are not a natural when it comes to fighting, Shi Mei,” he said. “I think it is because you have a natural disposition to heal rather than kill. But a person must be able to defend herself.”

“Why don’t you show me how to defend myself without having to hurt people, brother Wen?”

Wen Yiji pondered her words and then laughed, “I don’t know how to do that. For me, the best defense is a good offence where I beat the shit out of my opponent! Then I beat them some more until they cry father cry mother! No defense can be beter than that!"

Shi Mei smiled. The world of viokence was not in her blood. But she would practise with the sword because her brother Wen wanted her to.

To pass the time, Wen Yiji practised his archery skills against a wooden upright pole. Arrow after arrow hit the pole. It was too easy. He pulled out the acupuncture needle that kept him visible. Immediately, his day turned into night and the low light level made visual location of the pole slightly more difficult. He took aim and released the arrow. Again, arrow after arrow hit the pole. He then knelt down and shot his arrows from that position.

"I bet you are not able to see me shooting from the crouching position," he told Shi Mei.

She smiled and said, "I can still see the top portion of your bow, brother Wen!"

“I need to get a shorter bow,” thought Wen Yiji to himself. “With a short bow, nobody will know that I am there. I will be the perfect assassin!”

“There is a wasp that is flying by the wall of the stable. Will you be able to hit the wasp from here?’ she asked.

“Of course,” he replied. “I may even be able to do it blindfolded.”

“Better not,” she advised. “I don’t want you hitting me by mistake."

The next moment, Wen Yiji's arow shot throught the air.


The arrow sliced the wasp neatly into two in midair before embedding itself onto the wall of the stable.

When noon came, Wen Yiji took Shi Mei out in his carriage for a meal. He had enough of the Liufa potatoes that they had been eating for the past few days. He ws quite sure that the muscles on his head had been thoroughly relaxed by now. After a good lunch, he took her around town to show her the sights of the Imperial City. As they were passing a quiet street, Wen Yiji looked around him and remembered the surroundings.

"This is where my friends, the Chin brothers used to stay," he told Shi Mei. "I remember that one of them told me that their cousin Ah Keong also lived on the same street as they did. Maybe I can find him here!"

Wen Yiji went to a few houses and inquired. A few housewives passing by took interest and one of them answered, "Oh....you mean the Ah Keong, the one who wanted to get married but got no money! Aiyah.......working in the infamous Li-Khor prison......where got future?"

Another housewife interjected, "Oh, that must be the same Ah Keong who got beaten up a few days ago! See daifu also got no money! Better not go and see him. His mother will borrow money from you for sure!"

"The last time they borrowed rice from me, still not yet pay back!" added a third housewife.

Wen Yiji politely obtained the directions to Ah Keong's house and he went along his way. Stopping his carriage in front of a badly upkept house, he then went in and asked for Ah Keong. An old woman greeted him. It was Ah Keong's aged mother.

"I don't know why the warden beat up my son so badly, but he is now too injured to go to work," the old woman said.

Yiji was embarassed. He knew that he was the cause of Ah Keong's beating. The old woman showed him and Shi Mei to Ah Keong's bed.

"Master Wen," whispered Ah Keong from the bed when he saw Wen Yiji.

"Do not speak," instructed Wen Yiji. "Let me see the extent of your injuries."

Ah Keong had two broken ribs. After inspecting the bruises and wounds, Wen Yiji carefully rolled Ah Keong to lie on his front. Shi Mei brought out her acupuncture needles and poked the back in twelve places. Together, they rotated the needles to keep the qi circulating in the body.

After a while, the needles were removed.

"I feel my energy slowly coming back," remarked Ah Keong.

"The stimulation of your meridian points will give him a boost. However, his system is still weak," said Shi Mei to Yiji. "He will need to take medicine."

Yiji nodded. “You had better not go back to work for the warden after this,” he told Ah Keong.

“I have to,” said Ah Keong weakly. “I do not know how to do anything else apart from being a prison jailor. Besides, I took half a month's advance salary so I still have to work that off."

"That man is vicious. He may beat you up again," said Wen Yiji. "You should take another job elsewhere."

"Oh, don't worry. He has beaten me a several times before," said Ah Keong. "I survived. And I am not the only jailor who got beaten by him."

"You may have more broken ribs in the next beating!"

"It's all right, Master Wen. I know how to take care of myself."

"That's what they all say!"

"Don't worry about me! Worry more for yourself. Ever since you kicked him in the balls, he has been the laughing stock of the courtesans when he can't perform. I hear him cursing your name almost every day!"

"Cursing my name? No wonder I have so much bad luck! That's it; I am going to slap his mouth so crooked that even his favourite courtesan will not be able to recognise him!"

"Better avoid him, Master Wen. May I know who is this lady?”

Wen Yiji introduced Shi Mei. After that, he and Shi Mei went out to a medicine shop to buy herbs.

They came back and Shi Mei instructed the mother, “There are ten packets of herbs here. Boil two packets a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. For each packet, use three bowls of water and boil until only one bowl of liquid remains. Make sure he drinks all of the medicine.”

“Thank you very much,” said the mother. “I should invite you for food except that there is no food in the house. Please excuse us.”

“I have some potatoes in my carriage,” said Wen Yiji. “I would like you to have them.”

He then took all his remaining sacks of Liufa potatoes and left them with Ah Keong’s mother.

“Oh, no,” protested the mother. “I can’t possibly take all your potatoes. You will have nothing left to sell or eat!”

“Don’t worry,” said Wen Yiji. “I have been eating these potatoes for a long time and am quite tired of them. Besides, they are about to sprout shoots soon and can’t be sold for a good price. I may as well give them to you. If you don’t like them, you can always give them to your neighbours.”

The old woman nodded thankfully. She would use them to barter for rice and vegetables later.

When Yiji left Ah Keong’s house later, he felt a dull pain in his heart. The warden would not forgive Ah Keong that easily. He was fearful that once Ah Keong returned to work for the warden, the beating would start again. Ah Keong was too slow in the head to understand that he might not survive the next beating. Warden Sai was a vicious creature with a long memory.

Wen Yiji came to a decision; he would have to pay the warden another visit.

+ + + + + +

At the Li-Khor prison, Warden Sai looked apprehensively at the mao shan sifu that had just been introduced to him by Ah Chong, one of his jailors. The sifu was a thin and dark mousy man with a moustache.

Well, sifu,” said the warden. “The problem is ….”

“Stop!” interrupted the sifu. “The yin qi.....I feel it, emanating here! The evil presence is strong! Very powerful!”

“You can feel it? You can feel that the ghost is here?”

“With my thousand li eyes, who can escape?” retorted the sifu. “The unclean spirit is high, but higher is the mao shan!”

“Is this unclean spirit dangerous?”

“Extremely. Vengeful, it is. Tonight, someone sure die! Horribly!”


“Anyone whose life force is weak! The ghost will slap first and kill later!”

The warden experienced a sudden attack of panic.

“Sifu,” he cried. “You have to help me!”

"Of course, of course," said the mao shan sifu placatingly. "I will do a ceremony to pacify the spirit. But these things cost money."

“How much will it cost?”

"The setting up of the altar will cost 10 taels. The blood of a black dog will cost 8 taels. The chanting will cost 4 taels. The talisman for every jailor will cost 1 tael each. Then the holy water will cost....."

"Wait," interupted the warden. "You add like that and it will soon be a hefty sum! All for just one ghost! Don't you have a package deal?"

"You are right! Tell you what.....since you are Ah Chong's boss, I will offer you a package. The cheapest package is the junior package, costing thirty taels. If you sign up for the junior package, I will provide one hundred talismans. Your staff will have to wear them so that the ghost will not try to hide in their bodies when I try to catch it."

"Good," said the warden.

"But boss," cried the jailor, Ah Chong. "We have more than one hundred staff. One hundred talismans where got enough?"

"They can share!" decided the warden. "Tell every jailor to stay in their rooms and then put only one talisman on their room door so that the ghost cannot enter. Like that sure enough! I am not going to pay for a more expensive package."

"Under the junior package, I will catch the ghost tonight," said the sifu. "Then I will free it someplace else."

“If you free the spirit, it will find its way back here!" protested Warden Sai. "You must kill it!”

“The ghost is already dead," noted the sifu nonchalently. "What is already dead cannot be killed anymore!”

“No, no, no!" cried the warden. "I want it gone! Totally gone!"

“Ahhh….in that case you must opt for the Superior package!" said the sifu. "I will trap the spirit in a bottle. Then I put in my Special A1 acid. It will dissolve the spirit into nothing. But expensive. One hundred taels.”

“Why so expensive?”

“Special A1 acid very expensive!”

“I don’t want Special A1 acid! Ordinary acid will do! Reduce the price of the package!”

“You don’t understand. The package also includes a trip to a temple. After the ghostbusting ceremony, I will take you to a temple so that you can soak your body in holy water. That way, no other ghost will attack you this year.”

“I don’t want to go to a temple!”

“You have to! Once one ghost has attacked you, other ghosts will follow because they will think that you are an easy victim! The soaking process in the holy water is very important. You are getting a lot for the Superior package!”

The warden fumed. The ghost was costing him money. He finally bargained the price down to eighty taels.

The mao shan sifu insisted on being paid upfront.

“Pay now,” he said. “In advance.”

“No,” argued the warden. “I pay only after you have done what you are supposed to do. How will I know that you will not disappear once I have paid you?”

“You don’t pay, I don’t come,” argued the mao shan sifu back. "No money, no talk!"

“I pay you ten taels first,” countered the warden. “Balance later!”

“Twenty!” said the sifu.

“All right, twenty,” said the warden. “Come back this evening to finish the job and you will get the rest.”

The mao shan sifu collected the twenty taels and then the jailor Ah Chong escorted him out.

On the way out, Ah Chong whispered, "Remember that I take one fifth of the amount as commission from this job. That works out to sixteen taels you owe me! Pay up!”

“Wait till everything is over!” hissed the mao shan sifu.

“When?” asked the jailor.

“After I have taken him to the temple to soak in holy water!”

+ + + + + +

That night, Wen Yiji stood outside the walls of the Li-Khor prison. He thought it strange that not a single guard was around. The outer gates were tightly shut as usual. He pulled out the acupuncture needle from his collar bone area and leapt high onto the walls. By keeping his legs tucked under him as he leaped, he became invisible. When he was perched up on the high wall, he looked down at the courtyard inside and a strange sight greeted his eyes.

A temporary altar had been set up in the inside courtyard of the prison and a man in a Taoist priest costume was waving a wooden sword in front of it. Beside him stood a young lad, his apprentice.

"Tian ling ling, di ling ling," chanted the mao shan sifu. "Tian ling ling, di ling ling."

"So, this must be the mao shan sifu that they have hired to catch me!" concluded Wen Yiji. "I wonder if he can see me!"

In the shadows behind the mao shan sifu, Warden Sai stood still and watched the proceedings. Wen Yiji leapt softly from the walls onto the ground and stayed in the crouching position, thus remaining invisible.

The mao shan sifu heard him. He picked up a bell and rang it, before chanting,
"Tian ling ling, di ling ling
Hear the mao shan sifu calling
Tian ling ling, di ling ling
Reveal your self, you hum ka ling!"

"Do you see him?" asked the apprentice to his sifu.

"He is standing over there!" said the sifu as he pointed a finger in Wen Yiji's direction. Wen Yiji had the shock of his life; he had not realized that he could be so easily detected.

The sifu and the apprentice threw a bowl of liquid each at Wen Yiji. The liquid was the blood of a black dog. Quickly, Wen Yiji moved sideways to avoid the flying blood. He was not quite fast enough and some blood landed on his shoes.

Arhhh……..tiawww,” he cursed.

“So!” exclaimed the mao shan sifu. “We have a male Hakka ghost!”

"Do you think we got him with the blood?" asked the apprentice.

"Of course!" answered the sifu.

The warden came out of the shadows and cried excitedly, "You got him? Good! Very good! Where is he?"

“He is somewhere inside the magic circle!” replied the sifu smugly. "Once splashed by a black dog's blood, he won't be able to get out!"

Wen Yiji looked around him. In the faint light of the moon, he could see that a large circle had been drawn in the sand and he was inside it.

“Did you really saw him, sifu?” asked the apprentice.

"No, but I heard him landing on the ground," answered the sifu.

“Ah!” muttered Wen Yiji to himself. “So, I am also invisible to the mao shan sifu!”

The warden was apprehensive. He asked the mao shan sifu, “How can you subdue him if you can’t see him?”

The mao shan sifu pulled out a large leaf from his bag and said, “I will use the Pomelo Leaf Vision!”

He covered one eye with the pomelo leaf and then peered into the area within the circle.

Wen Yiji waited anxiously to find out if he could be seen in this manner.

“I see him!” cried the sifu. “My, what a hideous looking creature!”

Wen Yiji fumed. He hated to be called a hideous looking creature. Worse still, he was not invisible to Pomelo Leaf Vision.

“I will go into the circle and slash the evil presense with my peach wood sword until he reveals himself!” said the sifu.

So saying, the sifu jumped into the circle in the sand and started slashing away.

“Impressive footwork!” thought Wen Yiji. “But he is slashing at the wrong spot! Obviously, the Pomelo Leaf Vision does not work!”

He duckwalked out of the circle and headed for the warden.

"Sifu! Sifu! He is over there," cried the apprentice, pointing to a spot behind Wen Yiji. “The ghost has gotten out of the circle! I can see his footprints in the sand!”

The sifu paused in his impressive strokeplay. He looked in the direction of Wen Yiji and then rushed over. Grabbing a handful of sesame seeds from a pot, he threw. The apprentice did the same.

The sesame seeds spread out in the air and some landed on Wen Yiji’s hair.

“What is that mao shan idiot trying to do?” he wondered. “Spice me to death?”

"Black sesame disperses all evil!" yelled the sifu. "Show yourself, you unclean spirit!"

Wen Yiji had enough. He leapt up in the air towards the warden who was covered with paper talismans on every side. The invisible pugilist swung his fist sharply and was rewarded with the cracking sound of a rib breaking. The impact sent the warden flying through the air.

“One broken rib for Ah Keong!” noted Yiji. “Let’s see…..Ah Keong suffered two broken ribs. I will have to break one more rib!”

"Ayoohhhh!" cried the warden. "These talismans........supposed to prevent ghost....... from touching me! Ta ma de!"

"The talismans don't work!" yelled the apprentice. "What do we do, sifu?"

"Pass me the San Kwang mirror, quick!" said the sifu. "Maybe I can see the ghost’s reflection in it!"

Wen Yiji was about to go and hit the warden a second time but the mao shan sifu was in his path and was looking in an eight-sided octogonal mirror.

"A good dog does not block the road," he commented aloud. He then palm blasted the mirror out of the hands of the shocked sifu.

"I heard him!" cried the apprentice. "He was speaking! Kill him, sifu! Kill him!"

"With what?" asked the sifu.

"Use the coin sword!" suggested the apprentice.

The sifu rushed to the table altar and picked up a long object made entirely from coins tied together with a red string to become the shape of a sword.

Wen Yiji leapt towards the warden and aimed another powerful punch at the ribs. The fearful warden had sensed a presence and he ducked instinctively. The punch landed on his jaw instead, breaking it. He flew backwards from the impact and muttered a stream of curses.

“Gidda ghod wei fum me!” he screamed. “Gidda ghod wei fum me!”

“What did you say?” asked the sifu.

The apprentice responded, “I think he said ‘Gidda ghod wei fum me! Gidda ghod wei fum me!’”

“I know what he said!” yelled the sifu at his apprentice.

“Then why you asked?” yelled back the apprentice.

“I just did not understand what he said!”

“Oh…..I think he meant to say to get that ghost away from him!” replied the apprentice.

The mao shan sifu glared at his apprentice as he waved the coin sword and chanted, "Tian ling ling! Di ling ling! Tian ling ling! Di ling ling!"

Wen Yiji was getting irritated. The mao shan sifu’s noisy antics was getting on his nerves. He delivered a palm blast and it caused the sword to be blasted apart into individual coins. The coins were strewn all over the courtyard as they fell.

"Destroy him sifu!" shouted the apprentice.

"How?" shouted the sifu.

"I don't know!" replied the apprentice. "You the sifu......not me!"

The warden had enough. It was apparent to him that the sifu had lost the fight with the ghost. "They say that the best way to confront a ghost is to run," he thought to himself as he ran to the inner gate.

Wen Yiji kicked the altar table and it fell onto the ground, scattering the paraphernalia of black magic on it. Then he leapt after the warden. The warden passed through the gate and Wen Yiji leapt in after him. The warden quickly closed the gate, thinking that he was safe.

The apprentice stared at their fallen altar and asked, "What do we do now, sifu?"

"We may have to run!" his sifu answered. "This ghost is powerful! Very powerful!”

"What about the warden?" asked the apprentice as he quickly pickup their stuff.

"The ghost is his problem! Not ours! And anyway, I did not receive full payment. This is as far as my services go."

"You are right. Also, we have no more weapons to fight the ghost."

"Wait! There is one more!"

"What is that, sifu?"

"The urine from a virgin boy!"

“Where to get?”

“You are a virgin. Start urinating!”

"Don't look at me, sifu. I am no more a virgin!"

"What? You idiot! When did you lose your virginity?"

“Two days ago!”


"Err...... your daughter said that I had a wild spirit in my pants and that was why it bulged out like a wooden rod in the morning! She said that I needed to get it exorcised!"


“It was her fault! She took off my clothes and took off her clothes. Then she exorcised my erection! She was quite successful, I might add! You have a talented daughter!”

The sifu paused. Then he screamed in fury, "I’ll kill you!"

The poor apprentice ran for his life as the angry sifu chased after him.

+ + + + + +

Wen Yiji grabbed hold of the hapless warden and the warden fainted out of sheer terror. For a moment, Wen Yiji pondered his next step. Then he took the warden to his office and shaved off the eyebrows. Not content with that, he shaved of the warden's hair. Then he shaved off the moustache and beard. He then stripped the warden down to the underclothes. Carrying the fainted warden across his shoulder, he walked to the old wing.

There were no jailors around as they had all been sent to their rooms before the ghost catching ritual. He grabbed the keys to his former cell from the wall. Turning into his visibility mode, he approached his former cell and opened the door. Then he threw the warden inside and locked back the cell door. The inmates of the cell, the Luan Luan Kan Gang were half asleep. They were surprised to see that a shaven man had been thrown into their cell.

"Hey, Ah Sir! You have thrown a monk in here with us!" a sleepy voice said. "What was his crime?"

“Delusions of grandeur,” answered Wen Yiji. “He thinks that he has the powers of the emperor!”

“That is usurping the powers of the Emperor!” noted the voice. “It is treason! Sure die!”

“Don’t let him bully you!" advised Wen Yiji. "He will tell you that he is a very important person once he wakes up!"

“Don’t worry!” replied the voice. “In this cell, the most important people are us, the Luan Luan Kan Gang!”

A gruff voice within the cell spoke, "This isn't the female prisoner that we requested."

“Look, I went to a lot of trouble to arrange for him to be in your cell!” snarled Wen Yiji. “You want me to take him away?”

“No! No! No!” said the gruff voice in a placating manner. "Never mind. No fish, prawn also good! Thank you, Ah Sir!"

"No!" answered back Wen Yiji with a smirk. "Thank you!"

Then he walked away.

The members of the Luan Luan Kan Gang were fully awake by now. It did not take long for them to decide how to greet the newcomer. They undressed the unconscious warden and took turns with him.

+ + + + + +

In the morning, the jailors woke up and wondered if the previous night’s ghost-catching activity was successful. They removed the talismans that were fixed to their doors.

“Where is the warden?” one of them asked.

“Ah Chong said that the mao shan sifu probably took him to a temple to soak in holy water,” replied another jailor.

“Which temple?”

“Ah Chong did not know.”

“Let’s hope that the ghost-catching ceremony was successful. Otherwise he will be in a terrible mood!”

“We can always drag out a poor prisoner for him to beat so that he can vent his frustrations.”

“Yes. Otherwise he will beat one of us for sure!”

Down in the last cell of the old wing of the prison, Warden Sai woke up. He discovered that he was naked and that his ass was sore. He also discovered, to his horror, that he was in a prison cell.

“Where are my clothes? Where are my clothes?” he screamed.

“I think the new prisoner has woken up,” noted the man with the gruff voice. “Do we give him back his clothes?”

“Maybe,” replied another voice. “He looks kind of obscene without his clothes.”

“What have you done to me, you animals,” snarled Warden Sai. “I am the warden!”

There was a stunned silence in the room.

Then a gruff voice spoke, “Ah......delusions of grandeur! He may not be the real warden but we can always pretend that he is! Has anyone here ridden a warden before?”

Four voices answered, “No!”

“Do you want to?” asked the gruff voice.

Four voices answered, “Hell, yes!”

The five members of the Luan Luan Kan Gang grabbed hold of the warden. He tried to fight them off but they bashed him up until his face was swollen and bleeding. Then they rode him mercilessly one by one.

At midday, a jailor came to the old wing to bring the food. The warden struggled to his feet. Impatiently, he waited for the jailor to approach the cell. Once he got out of the cell, someone would be due for a huge thrashing. He rubbed his painful fat butt as he waited eagerly.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The Air Asia debacle

First, I wish to say that it is ill-advised for the totally disabled to be travelling by Air Asia, or any other low-cost carrier. It is plainly asking for trouble. If the fit and healthy already find travelling by Air Asia such a daunting process, what more for the disabled?

The Transport Minister can ho and hum as much as he likes but the plain fact is that all low cost carriers are spartan in their facilities in order to be viable. It is not as simple as getting on and off a plane. Once in mid-air, you are very much on your own. This can be problematic for a disabled person squeezed in with other passengers on a low cost carrier.

Next, I wish to say that there is an alternative for the disabled; fly MAS. The aisles are wider and therefore it is easier to get to the toilets in case one has to go. Once Air Asia starts putting in the same kind of facilities and reconfiguring their airplane seating to match MAS, they will have to charge the same ticket prices as MAS. In which case, we will be back to square one again. We will have two airlines catering for the totally disabled but there will be no more cheap flight for the masses. No more!

The richer jet-set are not the least bit affected. It is the common folks, who cannot even afford to pay MAS economy-fare prices, that will be the most affected. There is always a cost to facilities. Always! The question you need to ask is; are the common folks willing to pick up the additional costs in order to accommodate the disabled?

Call me cynical, but after seeing the kiasu way that Air Asia passengers scramble for the airline seats, I seriously doubt if these are the sort of people who would willingly pick up the tab! Deep in our hearts, we all already know the answer to this one, except that nobody wants to come out to say it. Reality is harsh. And then you die.

Let’s move on to the Air Asia tagline, “Now everyone can fly.”

It’s a great tagline and I wonder why no other company has used it before. It’s so adaptable to other products too. Like for instance:

Maggi Mee : Now everyone can cook!

Hotel Malaya : Now everyone can be on TV. Oh, okay……CCTV!

Viagra : Now everyone can shag.

GNC Laxative : Now everyone can shit.

FAM : Now everyone can shag shit.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Nightmare on soccer street

Who is to blame for the degenerating state of our soccer?

FAM, the state FAs, or bug-eyed aliens?

We are now ranked at 149 in the FIFA world rankings. Which is good if you like the number 149. But I don't.

The Youth and Sports Minister advised, "The state FAs must look at themselves in the mirror because the FAM can set the policies but if not carried out or implemented by the states, then they are also to be blamed...."

Sheeeeeeesh.....that if the sort of mindless thing we don't want them to do.

When the state FAs look into the damn mirror, the first thing that will cross their tiny minds is that they have to comb their hair and look good for the press, conveniently forgetting that their looks cannot be improved without major plastic surgery.

When the state FAs look longer into the damn mirror, they will be hypnotized by the sight of their dumbass ugly mugs and they will faint as a result. After waking up, they will learn that, wa piang, we have drop a few more notches in the world rankings!

When the state FAs look hard into the damn mirror, the poor mirror will shatter into a thousand pieces and die a horrible death. It's cruel!

WTF.....this posting ain't even logical.

Because we know that vampires can't really see their own reflection.


Friday, July 13, 2007


Reminder : Today is Friday

If you have been shoveling the stuff that I have been shoveling, then you would agree that I thoroughly deserve my weekend.

And those respectable members of society to whom I have been diligently shoveling to…....well…….they deserve the weekend even more than me.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 12, 2007


3 sentences on fairness

Someone told me that if a woman does a man’s job, she’s known as a pioneer.

If a man does a woman’s job, he’s known as a faggot.

Can life get any more unfair than that?


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The Kungfu That Ruled The Night - Chapter 13

Chapter 13: The betrothal agreement

Wen Yiji tried to remember where he had heard the name Zheng Shi Mei before. It sounded familiar. He searched his memory but nothing came to mind.

“Zheng Shi Mei,” he said. “Zheng…….Zheng…….I do not recall any Zheng…..”

“I am the daughter of Zheng Daifu,” said the girl.

“Zheng Daifu……Zheng Daifu…….” muttered Yiji. “Yes, I remember a Physician Zheng of Chingnan. You must be his daughter, Shi Mei.”

“That is correct,” she answered.

“Shi Mei……you look different! The last time I saw you was about maybe eight years ago. Your hair was still in pigtails!”

‘That was a long time ago, brother Wen,” she smiled. “You have changed as well.”

Wen Yiji remembered the Zheng family. He had accompanied his parents and his brother Yituo on their journey to Chingnan. They were sending Yituo to a school in Chingnan to prepare him for his Imperial Civil Service Exams. The weather was rainy and they were crossing a swollen Yellow River in a boat with other passengers. Physician Zheng was also on the boat with his wife and daughter. His wife had fallen overboard and Wen Yiji had dived into the river to save her. That was how the Wen and Zheng families first met.

Yiji’s mother was very impressed with Shi Mei as the little girl had impeccable manners and beautiful eyes. He remembered that his mother thought that the girls in the Imperial City had plain-looking eyes and so she wanted very much to have Shi Mei as her daughter-in-law when she grew up. Unfortunately, Yiji’s mother could not decide if Shi Mei was to marry her second son Yituo or the third son Yifeng. Shi Mei’s sedate personality was closer to that of the studious Yituo. However, in terms of age, she was closer to Yifeng. Physician Zheng was grateful to the Wen family for saving the life of his wife and so he did not object even when the question of the groom was not settled. When Yiji went to prison, the question on which son would be marrying Shi Mei had still not been settled.

“How are your parents?” he asked politely. “I hope that they are well.”

“My mother passed away a few years ago,” informed Shi Mei. “As for my father, he passed away more than two months ago.”

“Oh…..I am sorry to hear that,” he said. “Please accept my sympathies.”

“Before my father passed away, he instructed me to present myself in the house of my betrothed. There is a marriage agreement between our two families whereby I am to become the daughter-in-law of the Wen family when I reached the age of eighteen. I have to get married within a hundred days of my father’s death, according to the traditions. Otherwise, I must undergo a three-year waiting period.”

Wen Yiji sighed and said, “I am afraid that you have made this journey for nothing. You were supposed to marry either Yituo or Yifeng. Unfortunately, both of them died six years ago. I guess your father did not know what happened here six years ago.”

“We did not know of the tragedy,” said Shi Mei. “Nobody contacted us so we assumed that everything was all right. After my mother's passing away, my father did not keep in touch with the people he knew. He just buried himself in his work as a means to escape his sorrow. It wa only when he was close to death that he told me about my betrothal. After much searching, I managed to locate your Wen family home two days ago. Your neighbour, Chan Pak, told me of the tragic fire six years ago. He informed me that you were in prison at that time and that one of your sisters survived of the fire. He said that your sister had disappeared for years and he saw you only once last year looking very thin and frail. After that, he never saw you again. The winter was particular cold last year so he assumed that you might not have survived the winter. I was truly shocked to find out that such a great tragedy had befallen your family.”

“It is shocking, yes,” murmured Wen Yiji.

“I spent the day yesterday sweeping and tidying the graves of your family members as best as I could. I thought that you were probably dead and never coming back, and so I decided not to stay. I was about to leave this morning when it rained. Had it not rained, I would certainly have left and thus we would have missed each other entirely.”

“How very fortuitous is this rain then!” remarked Wen Yiji. “This is the second time that we have met by the slimmest of chance.”

“I was told that you had a sister who survived the fire. Did you manage to locate her?”

“Happily I did. I found her in Tianjin. We have since moved to the town of Tsinkiang in the south.”


“It is a coastal town south of Fuzhou in the Fujian Province.”

“That must be far from here.”

“Very far. I have come back here to collect the bones of my family and take them back to Tsinkiang for reburial. After this, I will not come back to the Imperial City again.”

Zheng Shi Mei looked thoughtful and was silent for a while. Wen Yiji admired her eyes. He could see why his mother wanted her for a daughter-in-law.

Finally, Shi Mei broke the silence and said, “There is still the matter of the betrothal agreement between our two families to be discussed.”

“The betrothal agreement?” asked Wen Yiji. “You were slated to marry either Yituo or Yifeng. They are both dead, so I guess the agreement has lapsed.”

“No, brother Wen,” she said. “The betrothal agreement was that I was to become your parent’s daughter-in-law when I reached the age of eighteen, which I have. The agreement did not state which son I should marry. Since you are the only surviving son, by default, I will have to marry you.”

“What? No, I can’t marry you!”

“If you do not wish to marry me, I will not force you to do so, brother Wen,” said Shi Mei. “I do not think that it is proper for me to impose myself on you. However, the agreement was made in the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy and therefore it is a binding agreement which we cannot break as we like.”

“Any man with any sense in his head will marry you without hesitation, Shi Mei,” declared Wen Yiji. “However, I am a dying man and I will not make you a widow. It is best that you marry someone else.”

“If it is my fate to be a widow, then so be it.”

“No, I will not hear of it.”

“If you do not wish to marry me, then you have to give me the green elephant.”

“What green elephant? Where got green elephant?”

Shi Mei reached inside her sleeve. She took out a gold bangle before replying, “My father instructed me that during the betrothal agreement, our families exchanged gifts. Your family gave me this gold bangle and we gave your family a green jade elephant. The agreement can be annulled if I return this gold bangle. You will have to return to me the green jade elephant.”

“I don’t have a green jade elephant,” said Wen Yiji. “Everything was destroyed by the fire!”

“In that case, we are bound by Heaven to remain betrothed,” said Zheng Shi Mei. “Relax! I don’t think I will make that bad a wife!”

“I wasn’t thinking for myself!” protested Yiji. “I was thinking for you! You have all the qualities required of a good wife……..good figure, good tits, nice ass, lovely eyes, great smile…… and all the other wifely qualities. Even the other not so important qualities like character and interesting personality, you also got. You deserve better.”

“What gives you the right to say whether I deserve better or not?”

“As your betrothed I certainly have a right to say whether you deserved better or not.”

“Since you say that you are my betrothed, then it is settled. You are my betrothed!”

Wen Yiji sighed and said, "You do not know what you are getting into. I have a certain affliction that prevents me from getting married!"

"Is it serious?"

"Very serious, I'm afraid."

"I understand. There are a number of men in my village with the same affliction. It may not be totally curable, but it does not mean that you cannot live a reasonably exciting life. There are herbal drugs for this sort of thing. You need not feel embarrassed about it."

"You know what my affliction is?"

"Let me guess…...it's erectile dysfunction isn't it?"

"It's not erectile dysfunction!"

"Look, you need not go into denial. These things are more common than you think. I will have to boil you tiger penis soup everyday. Brother Wen, even though you may not feel fully functional as a man, I will still marry as long as you do not have the green elephant."

"Will you listen? I am telling you that it is not as simple as erectile dysfunction! It is worse than that! Much worse!"

"Oh no! I think I understand!"

"You do?"

"Yes! There were a few men in my village who do not get excited about women. They only get excited about men! I may not like this situation, but an agreement is an agreement and I will still have to marry you because you do not have the green elephant."

"I am not like that, okay? This has nothing to do with sex with either men or women."

"Oh heavens," cried a shocked Zheng Shi Mei. "In my village, there was this one guy who had no interest in either men or women. But every night he would take a goat into his bedroom. I am appalled by the very idea!"

Wen Yiji stared at her, wondering what she was getting at.

Shi Mei continued, “I am sorry, brother Wen, but there is no way that I will share my husband with a goat! If you bring that creature to the marriage bed, I will turn it into mutton soup. Tell you what.......tomorrow morning, I will help you search for the green elephant!”

Wen Yiji spluttered, “Will you stop guessing already? My troubles are something that you cannot possibly imagine!”

“Then tell me what it is,” said Shi Mei. “As your betrothed, don’t you think that I have a right to know?”

She looked at him expectantly. Wen Yiji sighed. He would have to tell her the truth.

“Shi Mei,” he said. “I will tell you the problem if you promise not to freak out.”

“Do not worry, brother Wen,” she said. “I am a physician’s daughter. I do not freak out.”

“All right. Give me time to greet my dead parents first.”

“Yes, of course,” she accented. “You will need to offer some joss sticks to your departed family. You look hungry. I will get you something to eat. Later on, I will take a look at the extent of your injuries.”

She went to work as Wen Yiji approached the graves of his parents. He noted that the grass had been trimmed back and the graves swept. He nodded approvingly. Most girls would be too squemish to hang around the graves alone. Zheng Shi Mei was obviously made from tougher material.

Wen Yiji knelt in front of his father’s grave and bowed low.

“Father,” he whispered. “I have come to take you back to your place of birth in Tsinkiang. I have recently purchased a plot of land with good fengshui to be your eternal resting place. You will like it there. You may be glad to know that I have found Xiang Xiang. She is alive and well. When the time is right, I will marry her to a decent family. You need not worry about her. I have also found your sister's son. He is an orphan now. I cannot remember his real name but we all call him Grasshopper. I guess you know that Zheng Shi Mei is here. Frankly, I do not know what to do with her, but we had a betrothal agreement with her family. Mother was right. This girl has beautiful eyes. I find her theories a bit unusual but she is a person whom I can easily get along with.”

One by one, Wen Yiji offered joss sticks to each departed soul. When it was done, he went inside the stable and ate a simple meal prepared by Shi Mei. She could see that he was in a bad shape and so she allowed him to eat in peace. When he had finished eating, he told her about all that had befallen him after he had given a lift to the old man, the Ghost Ninja. He told her everything including the part where he got beaten up by Warden Sai.

When he had finished his story, she queried him seriously, “You said that you are now half-invisible and that it is your Dark Fire inner energy that is suppressing the Invisibility energy to make you fully visible.”

“Yes,” he replied, wondering if she believed him.

“Do you mind not suppressing the Invisibility energy so that I can see what you look like in the semi-invisible state?”

“Promise that you will not scream?”

“I will not scream.”

Wen Yiji stood up and turned off his Dark Fire inner energy. Immediately, he became semi-invisible and she could see only his legs up to a short distance above his knees. She knew that he would look unusual but even so the sight of him gave her a mild shock. After staring at his unusual state, she stood up and walked around him. She reached out with her hand and her fingers touched his face. Then she withdrew her hand. For a long moment, she looked thoughtful

“Well?” asked Wen Yiji in an embarrassed tone. “What are you thinking?”

“I am thinking that you are not really transparent, brother Wen,” she replied.

“What do you mean?”

“If you are transparent, light will pass through your body to the other side. In your case, I believe that light bends around your body. So instead of going through you, the light bends around your body to the other side giving the appearance that you have become invisible."

“The light bends around my body?”

“Yes. I am standing in front of you. I should see you. But the Invisibility energy exerts a force on the light from behind you and swings it around your body to the front. So what I see is what is behind you and not you. That way, there is the illusion of invisibility. Anything you wear and anything you carry in your hands will not be seen by me because of this effect. You are a light-bender, brother Wen!”

Wen Yiji was silent for a moment. Then he asked, “A light-bender…..are you sure?”

“Yes,” she replied. "The invisibility of your torso is not perfect. The light bending is not evenly done. I can detect a slight wavy background change as I walk around you. In the daytime, this may be noticeable if there is relative movement between you and the observer, but at night I doubt if anybody will be able to detect that. Your invisibility works best at night, I should think."

"I think you are beginning to make a lot of sense to me."

"Pardon me, but I always make a lot of sense! Your eyes are faintly visible from where I am standing. But only just. Most of the light has bent away but a little light must be reaching your eyes to allow you to see. This little light will make it appear to you as if the world had gone dark. If my guess is correct, each time you become semi-invisible, the world will suddenly appear to be very dark to you. The day will appear like dusk.”

"Say, you are right!" said Wen Yiji. "That explains why the weather seems to change every time I am semi-invisible!"

"Stretch your hands outwards to the side, brother Wen," she requested.

Wen Yiji did as he was told.

“I can see the tips of your fingers but not your thumbs,” she remarked. “That tells me that the light bending effect starts somewhere just beyond your thumb. There is an invisibility envelope around your torso that extends from the above the knees to above your head. The centre of this envelope is probably around your chest area. The lower limit covers your ass."

"My ass is covered?"

"Yes. Your ass is covered. If my theory is correct, I will not be able to see you if you crouch down. In the crouching position, the invisibility envelop should cover your feet as well.”

Wen Yiji crouched down immediately and ask, "Can you see me now?"

Shi Mei walked around him before saying, "No, you are practically totally invisible now. The invisibility envelope has covered your legs and feet. No one will know that you are there!"

“That is good!” said Wen Yiji excitedly. “That means that I do not have to exert the Dark Fire energy to maintain visibility. All I need to do is crouch down and nobody will even know that I am there. I will be like a crouching tiger hidden from view."

“That is true,” said Shi Mei. “You, as a crouching tiger will be a hidden dragon. Hmmmmph…..crouching tiger and hidden dragon….that is a good phrase. I think I shall copyright it!”

"Say, this has possibilities!" remarked Wen Yiji excitedly.

"You mean that one day it may be a suitable title for a show?" asked Shi Mei.

"No, I mean that I can either be totally visible or totally invisible. It is this semi-invisible yin-yang situation that is killing me! However, at some stage, I will need to become visible to others. Then I will have to suppress the Invisibility energy with my Dark Fire energy again. Si beh sian leh.”

"Please, if you don’t mind, let me have your hand, brother Wen," requested Shi Mei.

"Of course," said Wen Yiji as he stood up. "Now that we are betrothed, it is all right if you wish to hold my hand. No need to be so formal and say ‘please’ or ‘if you don’t mind’. Just grab."

"Will you relax? I just want to take your pulse!"

She took his pulse on the wrist. Her touch was gentle and he felt his heart pumping madly.

“Well, what do you think?” he asked. “What is wrong with me?”

“I think you have aids,” she answered.

“Slow ass or decreasing sleep?”


“What is it then?”

“Always in deep shit.”

Wen Yiji sighed, “That’s the story of my life.”

"I am worried," she said. "Your pulse is odd. I think you will die if you suppress the Invisibility energy with the Dark Fire energy too often.”

“What should I do then?”

“Prevention is better than cure. The idea is to prevent the Invisibility energy from manifesting. If I can find the seat of the Invisibility energy, I can insert an acupuncture needle there and prevent its manifestation. Without Invisibility energy, there will be no need for you to fight it with the Dark Fire inner energy to maintain visibility. This reliance on a needle may not be a long term solution, but at least you will get your health back.”

“All right, prepare your acupuncture needles,” said Wen Yiji. “Prick me, girl.”

“It is not so simple. I have not encountered such a situation before. I do not even know where to begin.”

“I know that I am expecting too much from you,” he said. “You have already been of great help. I have had a long day. Maybe we should get some sleep first.”

“Take off your clothes,” she commanded.

“You want me to get naked so soon? We are not married yet! Not that I am complaining of course!”

“I have an idea,” said Shi Mei taking out her acupuncture needles.

“So have I,” said Wen Yiji as he removed his clothes. “But I think we will need to do it in the carriage.”

“No, here will be fine,” she said. “Suppress your invisibility. I need to see your body.”

“Of course,” he grinned. “It will be more interesting if you can see my body.”

He suppressed the invisibility and his half naked body came into view. Without warning, she inserted a needle into Wen Yiji’s hip and said, “Now release your Dark Fire energy.”

“Huh?” he asked stupidly.

“Release your Dark Fire energy,” she repeated. “I want to know if I managed to insert my acupuncture needle into the seat of the Invisibility energy. If my needle has been positioned correctly, you should be visible!”

Slowly, Wen Yiji realized that he was not getting any horny action. With a sigh, he released his Dark Fire Energy. His torso turned invisible again.

“Oh, no,” exclaimed Shi Mei. “Your torso turned invisible again. It did not work.”

“Maybe you poked the wrong spot,” said Yiji.

“You are right. I should have poked the left instead of the right.”

“Are you sure?”

“Don’t worry. I don’t make the same mistake twice.”

She poked the left instead of the right. Again it did not work.

“Hmmmmph……I wonder what went wrong?” she thought out aloud.

“Wrong spot again?” asked Yiji.

“Wait! I’ve got it. I should poke the back left instead of the front left!”

“Are you sure?”

“Don’t worry. I don’t make the same mistake thrice.”

She poked the back left instead of the front left. Again it did not work.

“Maybe I ought to poke the back right instead!”

“Are you certain now?”

“Don’t worry. I don’t make the same mistake four times.”

She poked the back right. Again it did not work.

Pursing her lips, she thought for a while before saying, “I think I know where the spot is!”

“Are you sure?” asked Yiji. “You have already poked me four times!”

“Don’t worry. I don’t make the same mistake five times!”

She poked. It was the wrong spot again. That did not stop her. She poked and she poked.

Finally Wen Yiji said, “Can we stop? I now have more holes than a sieve.”

“Don’t be such a baby,” she laughed. “I am doing all the work. All you do is just bear some pain, that’s all.”

“Maybe we can continue tomorrow when all my holes have recovered!”

“One more time.”

“Are you certain that your theory works? Maybe it can’t be done with a needle.”

“You could be right. Maybe I should be using thicker needles!”

“Heck no!”

“Hold still while I poke. And don’t worry, I don’t make the same mistake one hundred and forty-nine times!”

“That phrase sounds familiar! Maybe it’s because I have heard it one hundred and forty-eight times! Forget it. I want to sleep.”

Wen Yiji released his Dark Fire energy and turned invisible even as Shi Mei poked.

“Look what you made me do,” scolded Shi Mei. “I must have poked the wrong spot. Will you please turn visible again?”

Wen Yiji turned visible and said, “Let us continue tomorrow. My Dark Fire energy is depleted and I need to rest in order to recover.”

Shi Mei relented and said, “All right. You can release the Dark Fire energy.”

She reached out her hand to pull out the acupuncture needle that had landed accidentally on Yiji’s collar bone area. She pulled it out halfway and he turned invisible.

She paused. Then she pushed in the needle again. He turned visible.

“Tell me that you are not fooling with me with your Dark Fire energy!” she said excitedly.

“I am not fooling with you!” he said, just as excitedly. “You found the spot!”

She felt around his body, examining his subtle energies with her sensitive fingers and exclaimed, “So, this is where your seat of Invisibility is!”

Wen Yiji was elated. “All I have to do is walk around with this needle in my collarbone area and I can be visible! Hahahahaha!” he laughed aloud.

“It is not a long term solution. You can’t walk around with a needle in you all the time or the flesh may grow over the needle. Every now and then you will have to take the needle out. I suggest that you sleep in the semi-invisible state. When I was examining Old Man, or Ghost Ninja, I noticed that he had a strange energy signature. He did not need a needle to turn visible. Something about his energy profile may have something to do with turning off the Invisibility energy.”

“Do you know what it is?”

“No. I can’t even remember his energy profile. If I can, I believe that I may be able to turn off your Invisibility energy without using a needle.”

“Never mind,” said Yiji encouragingly. “You have already been a very great help to me. I will probably die soon if you had not appeared. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.”

“Your condition is still weak but I believe that you can recover in ten days,” she remarked. “You will need to drink some boiled medicinal herbs daily. Tomorrow, I will write you a prescription. Better rest now.”

“You will make a brilliant daifu, Shi Mei!” remarked a very ecstatic Wen Yiji.

“That was what my father told me,” smiled Shi Mei. “He said that I had the healing luck. Now go to sleep.”

“I am too elated to sleep,” he said in excitement. “Maybe we can play some indoor games!”

“Go to sleep, brother Wen,” said Shi Mei firmly.

+ + + + + +

Chui La Pah bowed low in front of Prince Jin.

“Master Chui,” said the prince. “I need to have an eunuch killed.”

“No problem,” said the Flute Master. “I never did like eunuchs. Which one do you want dead?”

"The dickless one."

"But they are all dickless."

"It's a joke."


“Okay, joke over. His name is Eunuch Kong. News has come to me that the Emperor will be going on a hunting trip in ten days time. He will be staying in the so-called Summer Palace in Shibai and then hunt in the nearby Red Cliff Mountains. It is customary for him to listen to music recitals together with his concubines and princes in the evenings after the days' hunt. I have plans for you to get in as a musician for the recitals. Once you have the royal audience, I would like you to play your Devil Flute and kill them all!"

The Flute Master smiled and said, "So, the big day approaches when we will make a big change in the dynasty!"

"Yes!" replied Prince Jin. "This is an opportunity not to be missed. Once you have killed your royal audience, I want you to get out of there! I will then appear and take charge of the burial. Being the only royal left, I will get the generals there to swear allegiance to me as the new Emperor. Those who refuse to do so will be assassinated later."

"May you have a long life, future Emperor!" bowed the Flute Master.

"See that no one knows of our plans," instructed the prince.

"How will I get the opportunity to play my flute in front of the royal audience?" asked Chui La Pah.

"Eunuch Kong is in charge of the evening entertainment. We will kill him first and then another eunuch will take his place. That eunuch will have a list of musicians that bears your name!"

"There is a problem," said Chui La Pah. "Eunuch Kong is known to be close to the Emperor. If we kill Eunuch Kong, the Emperor may smell a rat and cancel all entertainment! Let us see first if I can get in as a musician without killing that eunuch."

Prince Jin thought for a long while before answering, "You are right. We should try persuasion first. If Eunuch Kong agrees to your appearance at the recitals, it will save us a lot of hassle. But if he does not agree, we should launch our backup plan to send him to hell."

“Killing him will not be a problem if I know where to find him. But how will I know where to find him?”

"That is another problem. He stays beside the Emperor most of the time. However, I know of one place where he will go. In the Red Cliff Mountains, there is a secret pool in the forest that is home to the Devil fish.”

“The Devil fish?”

“Yes. They are big fish, longer than the height of a man and they stay around that particular pool which is at the bottom of a waterfall. In some years, the Emperor will go there and throw a pig into the pool to feed the fish. It is quite a sight to see those huge fishes thrashing around in the pool in a feeding frenzy. Quite entertaining. The Emperor loved it. There was one time when a careless soldier slipped and fell into the pool before we could throw in the pig. Poor bastard! But he provided some thrashing entertainment for the rest of us. I remember that some of the princes applauded merrily!”

“I find it so sick that some of the princes applauded.”

“You are right. All of them should have applauded!”

“Of course! And Eunuch Kong is somehow connected to all this?”

“Yes. Eunuch Kong makes it a point to inspect the area around the Pool of the Devil fish to make sure that there is no danger of the Emperor falling in by accident. He will be there with some workers to cordon off any slippery areas. Being a meticulous person, he will do this a few days before the Emperor is due to make a visit to the pool. I will see if Eunuch Kong is willing to cooperate and allow you to perform in the music recitals. If he disagrees, then you will waylay that stupid eunuch by the pool. Kill him and feed his body to the Devil fish. Once he is gone, another eunuch will take his place and you will be able to enter the Summer Residence without problems."

" Summer Residence? I thought that place is called the Summer Palace?"

"Summer Palace? What a laugh! That stupid place is nothing more than a hunting lodge! When I become the new emperor, I will build a proper summer palace there!”

“I do not know where this secret pool is. How do I get there?”

“My guard, Red Wind, knows the place. I will get him to show the way to one of your men. Later on, your man will guide you there when the time is right.”

Chui La Pah nodded.

Red Wind was summoned immediately.

“Red Wind,” said Prince Jin. I need you to show the location of the Pool of the Devil fish to some people.”

“What kind of people?” asked Red Wind.

“That is my business!” snapped the Prince. “Master Chui will provide some men. All you have to do is lead them there! After that, you come back here. Understand?”

“Yes, master,” replied Red Wind. He did not like Chui La Pah but he would do as he was told.

+ + + + + +

In the headquarters of the Green Scorpion Sect, the Flute Master was addressing a few of his loyal disciples.

“Blackface,” he commanded. “I want you to follow a man call Red Wind to a pool in the Red Cliff Mountains. Take note of the location. When the time is right, you will have to guide me there.”

“The Red Cliff Mountains is about six days of hard riding from here. And who is this Red Wind?”

“He is one of Prince Jin’s guards. You will start riding tomorrow. Once you know where the pool is, you don’t need to come hack here. Instead, go to the nearby town of Shibai and stay at the Green Gate Inn. There, you will await my further instructions.”

“Yes, master,” said Blackface.

“May I go along as well, master,” asked Phoenix, the young pretty widow of Fire Cloud. “Since the death of my husband, I am unable to sit or stand comfortably. Even the food tastes stale to my mouth. I need to do something. I need to be active! I wish to go with senior brother Blackface to this pool.”

“No, you need to stay here and rest!” interjected Whiteface. Master Chui had hinted that he would be allowed to marry Phoenix now that her husband was dead. Whiteface did not like the idea of sister Phoenix going anywhere with Blackface.

“I wish to go!” said Phoenix. “I will go insane if I stay here. Day and night I keep thinking of my departed husband. I need to get away for a while.”

“You are right,” said Chui La Pah. “I need one other person to help remember the location of the pool. You may go with Blackface and Red Wind to the Red Cliff Mountains. After that, you will go to Shibai and stay. But I want you to stay at the Red Lantern Inn while Blackface stays at the Green Gate Inn. Do you understand?”

“Yes, master,” replied Phoenix contentedly.

Whiteface scowled.

+ + + + + +

Wen Yiji was bored. He had been drinking medicine for four days now and was feeling a lot better. However, Shi Mei insisted that he should not exert himself. There was nothing for him to do every day except watch Shi Mei practised the Way of the Water Spider technique. She was fast on level ground. However, she could not do the high leaps of lightness kungfu.

Wen Yiji tried to alleviate his boredom by copying Shi Mei’s moves. But that bored him as well. He thought about Ah Keong and hoped that Warden Sai had not mistreated the jailor. It weighed on his mind until finally he told Shi Mei that he was going out to see a friend.

“Don’t exert yourself!” advised Shi Mei.

“Don’t worry, I won’t!” he answered.

Wen Yiji made his way to the Li-Khor prison and stared at it. The building held long memories for him; most of it unpleasant. It was already dusk and the darkness of night had descended. He walked to a corner of the building and then crouched down. There, he pulled out the acupuncture needle in his collarbone area and immediately became invisible.

He leapt up high with lightness kungfu and in the air, he kept his thighs closed to his chest so that even his legs were covered by the Invisibility envelope. None of the jailors saw him land near the inner gate. Despite his invisibility, the dogs smelt him and barked. One of the dogs came near and he pelted it hard with a stone. It ran off yelping with its tail between the legs. The other dogs kept their distance. The jailors around the inner gate stared at the dog wondering if it had gone mad.

The inner gate opened and a jailor walked out. Wen Yiji leapt through the inner gate unseen.

A flight of steps lead to the warden’s office and Wen Yiji followed it. To maintain invisibility, he had to crouch down and walk like a duck Wen Yiji pushed open the door and duckwalked in. He closed the door and then stood up.

The warden was eating a bowl of cherries when he saw a pair of legs suddenly appeared before him. The legs then walked slowly towards him. Fear gripped him and he rubbed his eyes with his hands.

“Illusion only,” the warden told himself. “No need to be so scared!”

The legs stopped in front of him. He wanted to scream but he could not.


Wen Yiji had slapped the warden hard. The warden fell to the ground. He got up.

Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak!

The warden screamed in terror.

Footstep ran up the steps. Wen Yiji leapt to a corner and crouched down. The door was flung open and three jailors burst into the room.

One of them asked, “Is there anything wrong, Warden Sai? We heard you screaming!”

“There….there…..there was a ghost in here just now!” babbled the warden. “It slapped me!”

The men inspected his face. It was red from all the slaps and his lips were badly swollen.

“Oh no!” whispered one of the jailors. “They say that if you let ghost slap, can die one!”

“What do I do?” screamed the warden.

“I have a picture of Guan Gong, the God of War. If you put his picture behind you , the ghost will not dare to approach you,” suggested another jailor.

“Go take the picture, quick!” ordered Warden Sai.

Wen Yiji smiled in amusement as the jailor rushed out and then rushed back in again with the picture of Guan Gong. Immediately, Warden Sai had the picture pasted on the wall.

“There,” said the warden with bravado. “I feel safe now! I am the warden of the most infamous prison on earth! Hahahaha! Who said I fear ghosts? Ghost come ghost die!”

The three jailors then left the room.

Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak! Piak!

The warden screamed in terror as he got slapped again. The three jailors rushed back in and calmed him down after much effort.

Finally, one of the jailors whispered, “Don’t worry, warden. I know a very powerful mao shan sifu who can catch all sorts of devils! Tomorrow, I will call him to come and he will catch this unclean thing and put it in his sack. Then he will burn the sack. He guarantee can get result one!”

“Okay okay…..tonight, all three of you sleep with me,” whispered the terrified warden. “Tomorrow, you must bring me the mao shan sifu quickly!”


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