Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Natural disasters

I am now entering the second phase of my hibernation.

Things have been happening. Once in a while, I poke my head out to take a look at the world. Oh.....holy shit....Asia is under attack. We are assailed by natural disasters left, right and centre. Yup, the aliens have been busy.

Cyclone in Myanmar.
A lot of people affected.
Terribly bad news.

Earthquake in China.
Also a lot of people affected.
Definitely bad news.

Typhoon in the Philippines
A lot of water buffaloes affected.
Come on, you have to call it bad news.

Tsunami in Malaysia.
Five states affected.
I'm calling it bad.....bad.....bad.....sorry....I can't seem to be able to call it bad news!

Okay, after this little posting, I am going back into hibernation mode again. If anyone askes for me, just say that I'll be in London's Hyde Park inspecting some horses and maybe doing a spot of riding. So stop bugging me already to come back. I do have responsibilities. So many horses and so little time. And another thing; I don't visit my own blog when I'm in hibernation.



Wednesday, December 26, 2007



I first started blogging four years ago. It was more a harmless pastime rather than a vehicle for a real social message. Yeah, like I would have a real social message! During these four years, I discovered my love for writing fiction, which was mostly on wuxia.

However, I consider the 'Chronicles of Gaia' to be my best work. That was my one and only attempt at science fiction. I still love the line that appeared in the second chapter, which said, “The Universe’s mentality is Complementality!”

Then came the story of Swordsman Wu of the Lantern Tales. Now that wasn't wuxia, I know. Still, it was great fun. After that, I started writing wuxia and even found time to take part in the Nanowrimo event. Putting out a story online, chapter by chapter, is not something that I would recommend to anyone. Once a chapter is out, you can't go back to change it again in case you want to change the storyline.

Blogging time is something that I don't seem to have these days. I think I must have put out a lot of words during these past four years; a lot of it inane. It is time to take a long break. And I mean long!

So, goodbye, everyone, and best of luck in all that you do. May the Force be strong in you!


Friday, December 21, 2007


The Kungfu That Ruled The Night - Chapter 30

Chapter 30: Conclusion

Xiang Xiang could see that her brother Yiji was glad to be home. She hoped that the homecoming feast that she had prepared for him and her new sister-in-law was to their satisfaction. Shi Mei impressed her. She noticed the easy manner by which Shi Mei chatted with Wen Yiji and the respectful manner by which he accorded her.

“He seems so domesticated!” Xiang Xiang mused to herself. “Almost a totally different character! Not like the ruffian that he was last year! And Shi Mei exudes a confidence that is unusual for a girl her age.”

Shi Mei’s voice sounded in her direction, “Your brother once told me that you were a great cook, sister-in-law. I can see that he was not exaggerating!”

Xiang Xiang blushed and said. “It is nothing! My skills are very rough. I hope that you find the food suitable to your taste!”

“Where I come from, many men will fight to marry a girl with your culinary talents!” laughed Shi Mei.

“Oh…..many men want to marry her!’ contributed Grasshopper. “They are just waiting for Master Wen to come back before they send their matchmakers!”

“Who are these many men, Grasshopper?” asked Wen Yiji.

“Let me see,” said Grasshopper deep in thought. “According to my sources, there is Master Si Khiaw Khiaw, whose father owns a funeral parlour. Then there is the pig seller Master Lao Tu. He is willing to give twenty pigs as dowry. Twenty pigs…man…..chiak beh liao! Then there’s Master Sim Tua Tua who has two wives and is looking for the third. That one no need to consider lah. Become third wife….what for? After that there is Master Kao Chap Cheng whose mother is a Chinese and father is a dunno-what-nese. It may be interesting to see what the offspring of the union will look like..…”

“What? All rubbish people!” cried Wen Yiji. “My sister will marry better than that!”

“I do not have to marry, brother Yiji,” said Xiang Xiang. “I am quite content to stay with the Wen family and work in this restaurant for the rest of my life!”

“You have to marry well, Mistress Xiang Xiang,” said Grasshopper. “You marry dog, you become dog. You marry chicken, you become chicken. After that you work like cow and horse. If I can offer you my considered opinion…..”

“We have enough of your opinions, Grasshopper,” interrupted Wen Yiji. “Now help clear the table. I want everyone to be safely in their rooms by nightfall!”

As by their custom, the servants ate only after the master of the house had eaten. The only exception was Grasshopper, who had sat at the same table as the Wen family. The servants had learned long ago not to question why Grasshopper was accorded special treatment. It was the way of the Wen family and they accepted it.

Wen Yiji escorted Shi Mei to their bedroom. Instead of walking along the corridor, they took the route through the inner courtyard.

“This courtyard looks a bit bare, husband,” commented Shi Mei. “Would you mind if I do a little gardening here now and then?”

“Maybe you should expend the effort in our own garden,” said Wen Yiji. Then he explained, “I have three houses, side by side. This one will go to Xiang Xiang when she gets married. The next one will go to Grasshopper when he grows up. As for us, we will take the last unit. It is not furnished yet, so I will have to get a team of carpenters to work on it. Then we will choose a good date to move in. And you can landscape the courtyard according to your wishes.”

Shi Mei looked at him. Her curiosity was aroused and so she commented, “There must be a good reason why you are providing a house for Grasshopper. It cannot be because of his exemplary skills as a servant boy. What is the real reason?”

“I have certain family obligations to Grasshopper. He thinks that he is only a servant boy in this house. However, he is related to the Wen family,” he said. “But I have not told him yet. When he is much older, I will explain certain things to him.”

They stopped at a weird looking contraption and Wen Yiji looked at it with displeasure.

“What is this rope?” asked Shi Mei.

“Oh, that….” explained her husband. “That is Grasshopper’s new booby trap to catch the intruder if he comes again. What an ugly looking contraption!”

“Interesting design!” she commented. “It looks like something that will snare the leg of an intruder with a rope and lift him high up.”

“He claimed that he could trap wild boars with it! That boy has an imagination far bigger than his talents. I told him that it would most probably end up trapping the dog! But he said that the lazy dog sleeps most of the time. And that it would be too lazy to even go near the trap!”

“In that case, let the trap be.”

“Better not. I will get him to deactivate the booby trap later. I don’t want to have to rescue the dog from it in the middle of the night!”

“And what are those stones strewn on the ground?” asked Shi Mei. “They appear to follow a rough pattern.”

“Oh….that! If you look carefully, the stones follow the loshu pattern. They are to mark the loshu path on the ground. Grasshopper uses that to learn his footwork when he practices his pole work. Xiang Xiang is teaching him how to use the pole in kungfu.”

“The loshu path?” she asked. “I have heard my father mentioned it. However, I am under the impression that it is used in geomancy and not kungfu.”

“The loshu path represents the flight of the nine stars of the Pei Tou,” he said. “The taoist masters step in a way so as to follow the star flight pattern as part of their magic rituals. It is a fanciful way of learning footwork in kungfu so I thought that it would be interesting to adopt it.”

He bent down and picked up a fighting pole from the ground. “I wish that the boy would not leave his poles strewn all over the place!” he said.

“You should get him a rack,” Shi Mei suggested.

“I did!” he replied. “But Xiang Xiang broke it!”


“While I was away, she thought that the wooden rack for the poles looked crooked to her. A few days ago, she attempted to twist it back into shape. But then it suddenly came apart in her left hand. She claimed that the wood was inferior when I questioned her today. I told her that the wood was not inferior. She should have been more careful about the Celestial Dragon Claw of her left hand!”

“Celestial Dragon Claw?”

“My sister has this amazing grip with her left hand called the Celestial Dragon Claw. It can crush almost anything! If you ever hold her hand, make sure that it is her right hand!”

“Quite an amazing family you have,” commented Shi Mei. “I see that you have planted a number of young lime plants.”

“That was also my sister’s work. She planted them haphazardly. Gardening is not one of her talents obviously. But she does need a regular supply of lime leaves in cooking her ducks.”

On reaching their room, Shi Mei sat down. She was feeling tired. Maybe she had eaten more than she should, but the food was good. She felt slightly nauseous.

“It’s almost nightfall,” Wen Yiji said after he had closed all the windows. “The intruder may appear any time after that. I had better go and make sure that everybody is in their rooms. Bar the door when I am gone. ”

He took a long bronze fighting pole from a corner of the room. He had purchased it from a weapon maker on his way home. Although a normal person would find the pole too heavy, he could handle it easily with the power of his Dark Fire inner energy.

“Do you wish to take your short bow with you?” Shi Mei asked.

“I don’t think it will be necessary,” he said.

“I’ll leave it outside the door in case you need it,” Shi Mei suggested.

“Oh, all right,” he said.

“And if you need me to blow on the Devil Flute, just give me a signal.”

“You look tired lately. I do not wish you to take part in any fighting.”

“You can lure the intruder to outside the room and I will play the flute from here. As long as he is within twelve steps of me, he will feel the effect of the sounds!”

“All right,” he said, humouring her. “I’ll call if I need your services. But I do not expect that the intruders will give me trouble.”

“And if the intruder can turn invisible, then you must remember that the invisible man can be detected by what cannot be seen.”

“What do you mean?”

“Before we were married, there was a time when I bathed naked by a stream,” explained Shi Mei. “You were crouching somewhere nearby in your shroud of invisibility but I knew you were there looking at me.”


“I knew that there was a little plant at a certain spot. When I could not see it, there could be only one explanation; you had moved too close to it and your shroud of invisibility had covered it. That was how I knew that you were there!”

“If you knew that I was there, why didn’t you scream or say something?”

“I did not want to embarrass you!” she replied.

Slowly, he grinned. “Damn!” he said. “So the invisible man can be detected by what cannot be seen! Well, I did not intentionally peeped at you! I was there first and then you came along and took off your clothes!”

“You could move away and not look,” she retorted.

“My legs refused to obey me,” he explained. “First time that I peeped at you and I got found out….this is really embarrassing!”

“You don’t look embarrassed!”

“Actually, I am very embarrassed inside!”

“I would say that you are very thick skinned outside!” laughed his wife.

Wen Yiji was still grinning when he left the room. He felt pleased; she knew that he was looking and she allowed him to look! As he left, Shi Mei placed the short bow and a quiver of arrows outside the bedroom before she barred the door. She took out her acupuncture needles and placed them on the table. Fondling her Devil flute, she murmured, “I hope I don’t have to use this.”

Wen Yiji went to the hall outside that served as the restaurant. The restaurant was closed, as it usually was in the evening. The staff occupied one table and was eating their dinner. For a moment, Yiji was tempted to ask the staff to hurry. However, it was his first day back, and so he decided to be patient.

Xiang Xiang had lighted up several lanterns in the restaurant premises while the servants were eating. The sun was just going down. She too wished that the servants would hurry up with their dinner so that they could start on the washing up.

Suddenly, to her shock, Kotekichi and Grandmaster Hattori walked into the restaurant from the door to the inner courtyard. She recognized them as the two foreigners.

“The restaurant is closed,” she gasped. “How did you two get in here?”

“We have our ways,” said Kotekichi.

Everyone turned to stare at the two strangers.

Finally Wen Yiji said, “I am the master of this house. May I be so polite as to inquire what it is that you want?”

Grandmaster Hattori stared at Wen Yiji and said, “Several months ago, you killed three of my disciples! Their ghosts trouble me at night!”

“If their ghosts trouble you, then you should hire a taoist master to capture their ghosts and send them to the eighteenth level of Hell. Then they won’t be able to come out to trouble you again!” suggested Wen Yiji.

“Let me try to make you understand,” said Grandmaster Hattori calmly. “What was taken in cold blood will be paid for in cold blood! Tonight, I will have my revenge!”

“Ahhhh…..I understand now,” said Wen Yiji. “You came here to pick a fight. Whatever I did to your disciples, it was in self defense. I do not kill people for no reason. They have to be very evil or very ugly. But if it is blood that you want, then it is blood that you will get.”

“My disciples were not ugly,” retorted Grandmaster Hattori.

“Actually, they were,” commented Wen Yiji. “We must be very honest about the way they looked. Although they wore face masks, they could not completely veiled their ugliness to the world.”

“I have not told you who my disciples were. Yet you seem to know whom I was referring to,” remarked the grandmaster.

“Of course I do,” explained Wen Yiji. “All of you have the same killing qi that make its presence felt wherever you go.”

“Tonight, we will slaughter everyone in this house!” claimed Kotekichi. “You will wish that you have not met us at all!”

“Hey, will you apply a little bit of common sense here?” asked Wen Yiji. “First I killed some ugly people in self defence. That is understandable. In fact, even commendable! Now you come and say that you want to slaughter everyone for no reason. That is totally immoral! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!”

“You dare to call me immoral? The last man who called me that got opened up like a pig with my blade,” claimed Kotekichi. “Prepare to receive death with open arms!”

Wen Yiji sighed. He said, “It looks like you two will not leave without a fight. If we really must fight, then I suggest that we pick a time and place. Let me check my calendar and give you an appointment. I should be free some time in autumn next year.”

“No need to set an appointment,” said Grandmaster Hattori. “The time is now and the place is here. We will battle to the death!”

“No,” said Wen Yiji. “If you fight here, you will end up breaking all the stuff in the restaurant. Then how am I going to run the restaurant properly after I kill you? Please be more considerate!”

“All right,” smiled Grandmaster Hattori. “We will fight in the courtyard outside.”

“Good,” agreed Wen Yiji. “But you must promise to leave my family and servants alone even if you win.”

“I promise,” said Grandmaster Hattori.

“After you,” said Wen Yiji.

Grandmaster Hattori turned to Kotekichi and whispered. “Slaughter all of them once we start fighting in the courtyard!”

Then the grandmaster and Wen Yiji walked out of the hall to the inner courtyard. As soon as they left, Kotekichi closed the door to the courtyard and barred it. He announced fiercely, “Nobody leaves this hall!”

Xiang Xiang was at a loss as to how to respond to Kotekichi. There were two other doors in the hall; one door which was already barred led to the street outside and the other door led to the kitchen.

Grasshopper whispered to her, “Are we going to let this ugly monkey tell us what not to do?”

“Let us wait for a while,” she whispered back. “I want you to gather the servants and take them to the kitchen. This monkey is well armed. If there is trouble, the unarmed servants will be the first to die!”

Grasshopper nodded. Quickly, he gathered the servants to the kitchen while Xiang Xiang faced off Kotekichi.

In the courtyard, Wen Yiji and Grandmaster Hattori stood facing each other in the moonlight.

“You do not appear to be afraid of fighting in the night, Master Wen,” remarked Grandmaster Hattori.

“Of course not, Grandmaster Hattori,” said Wen Yiji.

“You know my name?” asked the older man in surprise.

“Just a lucky guess,” replied Wen Yiji.

“You did not seem surprised at all to find me here tonight. The fact that you are carrying a weapon implies that you have been expecting me. How did you know that I would come tonight?”

“Another lucky guess. By the way, how did you trace me to this place?”

“A lucky guess.”

“We cannot both be so lucky all the time.”

“True,” agreed Grandmaster Hattori. “For one of us, the luck will end tonight! And it will be you!”

“Why is that?”

“Because I have the Kungfu That Rules The Night!” announced Grandmaster Hattori. “Death will come to you in a direction that you will not expect.”

“The Kungfu That Rules The Night?” mused Wen Yiji thinking hard. That could mean only one thing! Invisibility! He thought back to the day when he battled the Kansai Killers. They were so fast that they could avoid his arrows most of the time. Water Spider technique! That was what they were using! It all suddenly became very clear to him. However, he suspected that Kotekichi did not have the power of invisibility yet. Only the old man has it. That was why Kotekichi had to call his grandmaster to come.

“Tell me, Grandmaster Hattori,” he said. “What is your connection to the Ghost Ninja?”

A surprised Grandmaster Hattori said, “You knew the Ghost Ninja?”

“Only very briefly,” replied Wen Yiji.

“Where is he now?”

“He is dead. Killed by one of his enemies.”

“Dead? Hahahahaha! I knew he would come to that sorry end one day!”

“You do not appear to be sorry to hear that the Ghost Ninja is dead. Why is that?”

“The Ghost Ninja’s real name was Banyataro and he was from the Eastern Islands. A long time ago, he and I had the same teacher of the martial arts. When our teacher died, he imparted all his skills to both of us. Banyataro and I became ninjas of the highest repute and we could command a good price for assassinations. But, assassination is a cutthroat business. We had earlier agreed on the price that we would charge for each kill. However, Banyataro started offering promotional discounts. Not content with that, he also started offering group discounts. For every five people, he will kill one extra one for free! My business suffered because of his pricing practices. The last straw came when in instituted a loyalty card programme.”

“What is that?”

“It is a system whereby a customer collects points for having somebody killed. Once you have collected enough points, then you can collect free gifts like a cutlery set or wood carving. Or even a bonsai plant. My business plummeted soon after that. It was obvious to me that one mountain cannot have two tigers. So I challenge him to a duel. The loser would have to leave his sword behind and leave the Eastern Islands for good. I won. Banyataro then handed his sword to me and came over here where he became known as the Ghost Ninja. As for me, I became the most powerful ninja on the Eastern Islands.”

“If you were going to banish him, you could at least give him back his sword.”

“Well, I did not. Which was a good thing, because my own sword fell into the sea one day. This sword here that I am using, is the sword of the Banyataro!”

“Interesting story! So the old man’s real name was Banyataro!”

“What was his relationship to you?”

“I gave him a lift once because it was raining. And I was there when he got killed by his enemy.”

“Enough of this talk. Prepare to die!” said Grandmaster Hattori as he drew his sword. Wen Yiji lifted his bronze fighting pole. Then they charged at each other.

Ping! Ping! Pang! Pang! Ping! Ping! Pang! Pang!

The sound of the sword glancing off the metal pole signified that the battle had begun in earnest. The two men moved around the courtyard fluidly matching each other speed for speed.

On hearing the sounds of fighting, Kotekichi drew his sword with a flash. Xiang Xiang sensed trouble and immediately drew her twin butterfly swords as well. As the ninja advanced on her, Xiang Xiang shouted, “Your grandmaster promised to leave my brother’s family and servants alone! Have you forgotten?”

“I have not forgotten,” sneered Kotekichi. “He promised, but I did not!”

“You people have no honour,” she exclaimed. Then she commanded, “Grasshopper, bar the door in the kitchen! Make sure that the servants are safe!”

“I can fight!” insisted Grasshopper from the kitchen door. “I will beat the shit out of this Bakayaro!”

“You will be the first to die, boy,” snarled Kotekichi. He moved towards the boy but Xiang Xiang blocked his path. Angrily, he slashed down with his blade.


Xiang Xiang’s Chicken Knife blocked the blow.

“Kill the Bakayaro!” shouted Grasshopper in encouragement from the open kitchen door. “Chop him up like a roast duck!”

“Will you stay in the kitchen, Grasshopper!” she shouted. “And close the door!”

There was not time to say anything more as Kotekichi attacked. He was faster than Xiang Xiang and she found herself retreating under his onslaught of rapid strokes. Watching from the kitchen door, Grasshopper suddenly leapt upwards to pull on a string along the wall.

“You are in the perfect position for our Surprise Water trap, Bakayaro!” the boy smirked.


Kotekichi was drenched with water that came from above him. He had moved instinctively away but there was no avoiding the massive amount of water that Grasshopper had unleashed.

Kotekichi looked around him and snarled, “Who did that?”

“The gods did,” replied Xiang Xiang. “They must have decided that you needed a bath because you smell like a pig! I am going to institute a rule that only those who bathe regularly can visit this restaurant!”

“Die, you stupid girl!” he shouted angrily and delivered a powerful side blow at her with his sword. She blocked the blow with her left butterfly sword.


Xiang Xiang’s left sword broke into two under the great impact. She was stunned momentarily. The street girl in her emerged and she swore colourfully.

Kani nai nai….it broke!” she exclaimed, looking at the broken sword. In disgust she threw it away. She knew that the left blade was just an ordinary blade, unlike the Chicken Knife in her right hand. Still, she was unnerved by the easy manner by which Kotekichi had broken her left blade. She hoped that Chicken Knife could stand up to the ninja’s sword.

Kotekichi lashed out mightily again expecting to break the right blade as well.


Chicken Knife withstood the test.

Paaaannnng! Paaaannnng! Paaaannnng! Paaaannnng! Paaaannnng!

Xiang Xiang retreated once more before the powerful onslaught blocking every attack with her Chicken Knife. Kotekichi was moving slower that he usually did because his wet clothes were slowing him down. It was not the most comfortable thing to be wet in the cold wintry air. He would have to take off his wet clothes.

Holding his sword in the right hand and using just his left hand, he tried to slowly remove his upper garment. However, Xiang would have none of that. She recognized the advantage of her enemy in wet clothes so, to his surprise, she attacked. She slashed downwards hard on him with her blade and he had to parry the blow hurriedly with his sword.


He retreated and stared at his sword. It was slightly bent but still useable. He had not expected the little butterfly sword to inflict such damage.

“You should not attack me when I was taking off my clothes. It is not honourable!” he scolded.

“You should not take off your clothes in front of a lady,” she countered. “It is not moral!”

He gave up the idea of taking off his clothes. Then, using a combination of strokes, he attacked. However, the slightly bent blade caused him to forego precision in his strokes and Xiang Xiang defended more easily this time. She retreated before him and led him into a position that she wanted. Then she leapt upwards and hit a wooden stop high up on a wooden column with her weapon. Landing on her feet, she retreated again, carefully positioning herself. The next moment, ten darts from a booby trap sprung out from the wall behind her. The darts missed her and flew towards Koteckichi who was four steps in front of her. He leapt sideways to avoid most of the darts and used his blade to deflect those darts that he could not avoid. His bent blade was no more precise and one dart got past the sword and buried itself deep in his left shoulder, causing him to stumble backwards.

Baka! Baka! Baka!” he cursed in pain. The girl was getting to be a nuisance to handle. He had already fallen prey to two booby traps. The pain in his left shoulder meant that it could be painful to use the two handed grip on his sword. It was time to use another tactic.

Holding his sword in his left hand, he reached inside his body with his right and took out a smoke bomb. He threw it at the girl who parried it away with her weapon.


The smoke bomb was wet and it could not perform as was expected.

He threw another one.


The second one was even worse than the first one.

In disgust, he took out the whole lot and threw them at Xiang Xiang. They were all wet, except for one. The only dry one hit Xiang Xiang’s Chicken Knife with a brilliant flash of light and splattered her with smoke. Momentarily, she was blinded. Coughing madly from the smoke, she realized that she could not see a thing and did not know where her enemy was.

Kotekichi moved to his right. Xiang Xiang turned in tandem to face him, tracking him by the sound of his wet squishy shoes on the floor. He suspected that she could have been blinded by his flares but he could not be sure. She seemed to know where he was. He approached her carefully and she retreated, moving around the tables in the restaurant, all the time listening to his squishy footsteps. He walked carefully, mindful of any unknown booby traps.

In the courtyard, Wen Yiji had heard the unmistakable sounds of fighting coming from inside the hall. He knew that Xiang Xiang would not be the aggressive one. It had to be Kotekichi.

“You disciple Kotekichi is attacking my people!” he snarled. “You promised to leave my family and servants alone!”

“True!” replied the older man. “I promised, but Kotekichi did not promise.”

“Call off your rabid dog!” shouted Wen Yiji.

“I cannot,” said the old man. “The door to the hall is closed. What happens inside, happens inside. I think my disciple is happily slaughtering your family. Har har har!”

"You fight dirty!" Wen Yiji snarled in fury. "You will soon learn that I am equally capable of fighting dirty!"

Wen Yiji hoped that his sister would be able to get on top of the situation. There was nothing he could do for her at the moment. If he attempted to enter the hall, the grandmaster would surely follow. With the power of invisibility, Grandmaster Hattori could kill everybody in there easily. No, it was better to take care of the grandmaster in the courtyard.

Although they were both evenly matched in speed, Wen Yiji knew that he had the greater strength from his Dark Fire Iron Palm stance. Wielding the metal pole against the foreigner’s sword, he had already begun to exert his advantage. Even though the grandmaster could parry off the blows of the metal pole, each parry sent reverberations up his body and rocked his bones. The old man could feel the power emanating from this younger man. It was time to use his specialty.

Leaping away to avoid one of Wen Yiji’s pole strikes, Grandmaster Hattori suddenly disappeared from sight. Wen Yiji guessed at once what had happened. As the foreigner bore down on him from another direction, Wen Yiji leaped away and crouched down into a state of invisibility. His small shroud of invisibility could not encompass the long metal pole so he had to drop it. The two men could not see each other.

For a while, nobody spoke or breathed. Finally, Grandmaster Hattori spoke, “I see that you have the ability to turn invisible as well! The Ghost Ninja must have taught you that!”

Wen Yiji turned towards the direction of the voice and spoke, “He passed me his manual on Invisibility just before he died. In a way, you can call him my sifu.”

The next moment, five shuriken were thrown in his direction. Grandmaster Hattori had used Wen Yiji’s voice to track down his location. Wen Yiji had been crouching down and the shuriken flew over his head. But one passed very close to his cheek. Quietly, he shifted his position. He did not know where Grandmaster Hattori was, but he would need his short bow. Carefully, he surveyed the surroundings.

“Shi Mei said that the invisible man can be detected by what cannot be seen The crafty old fox is avoiding all the plants just in case his shroud of invisibility covers a plant and gives away his position to me,” thought Wen Yiji. “He has the advantage. I think he has full invisibility whereas I have only half!”

In the restaurant hall, Kotekichi was wondering why the girl did not appear keen to fight but instead kept fleeing from him. Xiang Xiang knew the restaurant by heart and could walk in there blindfolded without banging into a table. However, when she started banging into some tables that Kotekichi had moved out of their old position, he started to realized that Xiang Xiang was tracking him by the sounds his shoes were making on the floor. He took off his shoes and walked. This time, the girl had to turn her head in several directions. However, the temporary blindness had lifted partially and she could detect shapes out of the corners of her eyes.

Quietly, Kotekichi approached Xiang Xiang from her left and slashed down with his sword. She saw a shape coming at her and instinctively lifted her butterfly sword to block it. Kotekichi held his sword against her Chicken Knife and pressed down, expecting her to give way. Xiang Xiang decided that she would have to break his sword with her fingers. She reached out her left fingers expecting to grip the bottom part of his blade. She missed and found herself gripping his wrist instead. Kotekichi was surprised to see Xiang Xiang reached out with her free left hand and gripped his right wrist that was holding the sword.

“Trying to get friendly?” he leered in her face. “You wanna hold my hand?”

The next moment, he uttered a soundless scream of agony as the Celestial Dragon Claw of Xiang Xiang’s left hand asserted its force. The fingers of steel crushed his wrist into a bloody pulp in one rapid motion. In a moment of wild desperation, he kicked out with his leg and it landed on her stomach sending her flying. Her head banged against the edge of the table and she fell to the ground almost unconscious. Kotekichi gritted his teeth and hit two yuedao points on his right arm using his left hand. His right hand went numb immediately and thus he could not feel the pain. His long sword had dropped to the floor. Instead of picking it up, he used his left hand to pull out the shorter sword tucked in his waist. It was lighter and would be easier to handle with his injured left arm. He would have to kill the girl fast before she got up.

“Xiang Xiang is down!” exclaimed Grasshopper who was peeping at the scene from a crack in the kitchen door. “But the intruder is hurt also! We can take him!”

The boy opened the kitchen door immediately and rushed out with a wooden pole. He was followed by two other male kitchen hands; one carried a meat chopper and the other carried a wooden stool. Grasshopper plunged his pole into the face of Kotekichi who avoided it easily. The ninja stepped backwards as Grasshopper unleashed a combination of pole strikes that he had learned from Xiang Xiang. Kotekichi stared at the young boy and the two kitchen hands who did not look at all like fighters. He would have laughed if his right wrist had not been crushed.

Grasshopper attacked again. His strokes were very basic and not particularly powerful and so Kotekichi used his legs to block them. A powerful kick from the ninja sent Grasshopper’s pole flying away. The two kitchen hands suddenly became very nervous and retreated slightly.

Xiang Xiang stirred groggily. Her head had hit a table and the pain caused tears to flow from her eyes. The tears cleared her vision somewhat and she could see slightly better. Grasshopper had bought her the time she needed. She got up and swore, “Kick me in the stomach, did you? Bakayaro! I’ll chop you up like dead fish and feed you to my ducks!”

Holding up her Chicken Knife before her, she advanced two steps, trying hard not to wince at the pain in her stomach. Kotekichi retreated. He realized that he was at a disadvantage. His right hand was practically useless and he was wielding a sword in his left hand, his weaker hand. On top of that, and there was still a barb in his left shoulder. On the other hand, the girl did not appear seriously hurt and her eyesight seemed to have recovered. She was still blinking furiously but he knew that she could see. Her grip had told him that she possessed an internal energy that was greater than his. This was a dangerous opponent. He would have to get out of the hall and let his grandmaster handle her. He would fight his way to the door if necessary. The girl did not appear to be particularly aggressive so it should not be a problem.

“Let’s get him with another booby trap!” suggested Grasshopper. He had magically produced another pole from somewhere.

“Good idea,” answered Xiang Xiang. “What do you suggest?”

“Let’s get him with the Watermelon Surprise booby trap where the secret arrows shoot at his head like a watermelon,” the boy suggested. “He is in the correct position.”

Kotekichi immediately jumped away from where he was standing. Xiang Xiang smiled. There was no such thing as a Watermelon Surprise booby trap. She knew that she could kill Kotekichi if she wanted to. However, she did not want to. This was her restaurant. Nobody had ever died in her restaurant. It was a record she intended to keep.

In the courtyard, Grandmaster Hattori noticed Wen Yiji’s metal pole lying on the ground. He knew the reason why; the shroud of invisibility had its limitations and would not be able to cover a long pole fully. A partially visible pole would give away his position. That meant that his opponent was without a weapon! The grandmaster smiled. He could swing his sword wildly without having to worry about a return strike from the metal pole.

Silently, Wen Yiji made his way to his room where his short bow and arrows were outside the door. He had to use the open spaces and avoid passing near to any pot or plant that might give away his position. Suddenly, he froze. He was sure that the foreigner was somewhere nearby but he did not know where. The slight sound of the wind bouncing off the sword reminded him of the danger that he was in. He leapt skywards immediate even as the Grandmaster Hattori swung the sword.

Grandmaster Hattori saw the lower legs of Wen Yiji momentarily even as the younger man leapt away.

“What? You are only half invisible!” he sneered. “You did not complete the full course! Har! Har! Har! I defeated your sifu once! Today, I will defeat his student as well!”

Learning from experience, Wen Yiji kept quiet. He reached his short bow and arrows where Shi Mei had left them. Swiftly, he took them.

Grandmaster Hattori thought that he heard the clatter of arrows. He looked towards the master bedroom. He was sure that he had noticed a short bow on the floor moments before. It was gone now. That could mean only one thing; Wen Yiji’s shroud of invisibility was covering it! The next moment, he rained loads and loads of shuriken at the spot.

Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!

Shi Mei was in the room when she heard the sound of projectiles hitting the wall and floorboard outside. The fighting had gotten near to her. She held the acupuncture needles in her hands and got ready.

A short distance away, Wen Yiji waited. Sure enough, the grandmaster approached the bedroom to see if Wen Yiji had been killed. The grandmaster saw the shuriken all over the place in the corridor outside the master bedroom. There was one patch that the shuriken had not landed. Maybe they had, and maybe Wen Yiji’s invisibility was covering it. Should he continue raining shuriken or should he use the sword? As a fighting weapon, the shuriken could create a nuisance for the enemy but the sword was much more reliable as a killing instrument. The grandmaster’s plan was to rush through the corridor swinging his sharp blade at anything and everything. His blade was very sharp. A half-invisible being would be sliced open just the same as a visible being. He stepped onto the corridor.

A tiny creak of the floorboards alerted Wen Yiji. In the room, Shi Mei too knew that someone was outside. She was not sure if it was an intruder or her husband. Suddenly, she heard her husband call, “Play your music, Shi Mei. Now!”

Swiftly, she inserted two acupuncture needles at the back of her neck as she breathed in. On the outward breath, she lifted her Devil Flute and blew.

Grandmaster Hattori was within twelve steps of Shi Mei when the Sounds of Hell hit him. He froze as his head filled with an intense pain that was totally unfamiliar. The old ninja had never felt such a great terror enveloping his body before. He did not know what it was, but whatever it was, it emanated from the room. He had to get away fast. Struggling, he moved his feet. The Sounds of Hell interfered with his invisibility and for a brief moment, he could be seen. Then he became invisible again. But during that brief moment, Wen Yiji saw his frame and knew where he was standing. Wen Yiji shot at the spot even as Grandmaster Hattori sprang away.


The arrow hit the ninja in the calf of the left leg.

“Urgnnnnhhh!” sounded the grandmaster as he tumbled to the ground in the courtyard. He had successfully broken out of the twelve step radius of the Devil Flute. Drunkenly he moved about trying to clear the pain his head.

“Where the hell is he?” asked Wen Yiji silently. “The loshu path… of the stones is missing! I know where the old bastard is!”

Wen Yiji shot again.


The second arrow pierced the thigh of the left leg of the grandmaster. The ninja overcame his pain and hurriedly changed his location. He stumbled away drunkenly in time as Wen Yiji fired a few more arrows at the spot.


Wen Yiji turned around. The ridiculous booby trap that Grasshopper had fixed had been sprung!

Sono kuso yaro!” the grandmaster cursed as his left leg was pulled upwards by a rope. It was a crude trap and the rope did not quite succeed in suspending the intruder upside down in midair from a tree branch as intended. Seeing that a rope had pulled his leg upwards to the level of his chest, Grandmaster Hattori angrily flashed his sword at the offending rope.

Wen Yiji could see only part of the rope and guessed that there was would be an invisible subject attached the other end which could not be seen. He shot off an arrow wildly even as Grandmaster Hattori’s sword sliced off the rope.


The speeding arrow hit the body of the grandmaster in the left knee.

“I think I hit something invisible!” thought Wen Yiji. “Anyhow shoot also on target!”

“Oh…..baka… left leg again” cursed Grandmaster Hattori silently. “Why is this idiot always shooting at my left leg?”

He tried to leap away, but the three arrows in the left leg prevented him from using his lightness kungfu effectively. He landed somewhere that he hoped to gain some respite temporarily. The archer was somewhere near, but where? Blood dripped out from his left leg to the ground. He decided to stand still and not make a sound while he tried to figure out how to get on top of the situation.

Crouching low somewhere behind, Wen Yiji tried to detect signs that would give away the location of Grandmaster Hattori. He could not hear a thing except for some sounds that emanated from Shi Mei’s flute. Suddenly, Shi Mei stopped playing.

A drop of blood from the thigh of Grandmaster Hattori dripped out of the wound and hit the ground.


The sound came from just three steps in front of Wen Yiji, near enough to be heard, and he released the arrow unthinkingly.


The arrow hit the grandmaster even as he moved away swearing silently, “Baka! That’s the fourth arrow in my left leg already! Why is he targeting only my left leg?”

Grandmaster Hattori knew that his options were limited. With four arrows piercing his left leg, his lightness kungfu was ineffective. He could limp and hop but he would not be able to jump over the rooftop and escape. Not only that, he would leave tracks on the ground as he walked. He shuffled away as silently as he could, looking for an exit from the courtyard.

Wen Yiji leapt from place to place, attempting to detect a trace of his enemy. The moonlight was enough to allow him to see that the grandmaster had left footprints on the ground.

“Footprints!” he thought to himself. “This Hattori is not using lightness kungfu. Why? Judging from the footprints, he must be injured in the left leg. The footprints have ended on harder ground and now I can’t make them out. Not unless I turn visible and allow my eyes to see more clearly. But that would make me a target!”

A movement near a lime bush made him swing his bow around. He was about to shoot when he noticed that the target was not the intruder, but the dog. The lazy dog. It was looking in front of it and growling softly.

“The dog can smell the foreigner!” thought Wen Yiji excitedly. He dropped down behind the dog, pulled back his bow and fitted three arrows. Then he aimed at the direction where he thought the dog was looking.

Shiiiuuukkk!!! Shiiiuuukkk!!! Shiiiuuukkk!!!

Grandmaster Hattori avoided two arrows successfully but he went down as a fifth arrow thudded into his left leg. He screamed in anger and frustration, “Why are you always shooting at my left leg! Can’t you find somewhere else to shoot?”

Wen Yiji fired off another arrow at the direction of the voice but the grandmaster had already changed his position and the arrow sailed past him harmlessly.

Suddenly, there were flares and smoke clouds appeared everywhere in the courtyard.

“The ninja is trying to escape!” guessed Wen Yiji. “He is trying to confuse my senses with the flares and smoke bombs that he has! There are only two exits from this courtyard. One north and the other south. Which one will he take?”

Grandmaster Hattori could not put his weight on his left leg anymore. It was too painful. He could walk on his hands alone and lift his body upside down in the air, but that would make him an easy target for a chance arrow. He decided that it would be better to stick close to the ground and therefore make a smaller target. All thoughts of killing Wen Yiji were gone. Only one thing occupied his mind; escape!

Silently, Grandmaster Hattori sheathed his sword and dropped down to the ground. Then, by shifting his weight alternatively to his hands and right leg, he moved around, trying to make his way to the north exit.

The lazy dog had been growling quietly beneath a lime bush. It smelt Grandmaster Hattori moving past him slowly. It smelt the blood flowing from the grandmasters left leg.

The dog thought, “This thing that I cannot see……it hit me the other day! It made me bled! I should take revenge and bite it back! But maybe, I should learn to let bygones be bygones. There should not be a vengeful bone in my body! Forgive and forget! An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind!”

Grandmaster Hattori took another step past the dog.

The lazy dog thought again, “This thing that I cannot see….it is trespassing on my territory! My territory! How dare he? I should show him who is boss around here! I am the top dog here and no one else! But, again, perhaps this world was meant to be shared. We are all creatures of the same universe. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving. We are the world!”

Grandmaster Hattori had now moved past the dog.

The lazy dog thought once more, “This bleeding thing that I cannot see… is tempting me! It is fresh meat! It is foreign meat……and therefore imported meat! What kind of self-respecting sonofabitch am I if I were to pass up this fantastic opportunity? The world can go piss on itself!”

With its animal mind made up, the dog then darted forward. Guided by smell alone, it located the bleeding leg of Grandmaster Hattori and sang its fangs into his ankles. Then it attempted to drag the grandmaster backwards, growling noisily as it did so.

Attracted by the commotion, Wen Yiji leapt towards the dog. He could not see the head of the dog, which was shrouded in invisibility, so he knew roughly the location of Grandmaster Hattori. Sailing in the air over the dog, Wen Yiji shot an arrow.


Grandmaster Hattori had unsheathed his sword and was about to kill the dog when the arrow hit him in the chest. He gasped and clutched at the arrow sticking out from him.


Another arrow from Wen Yiji hit him in the abdomen. The old ninja knew that he was done for. There would be no escape. And it was all the fault of the stupid dog!

With his internal system in a mess, the grandmaster turned visible momentarily. Remembering how he used to turn off his invisibility by inserting an acupuncture needle in the collarbone area, Wen Yiji shot an arrow into Grandmaster Hattori’s collarbone area. The arrow had the same effect as the acupuncture needle; it prevented the grandmaster from turning invisible again.

Wen Yiji stared down at the fallen grandmaster who was lying on his back on the ground. He then reached down and hit Grandmaster Hattori with a sequence of punches on the body. When he was through, the ninja’s body went inert.

The door to the restaurant hall suddenly opened and Kotekichi ran out into the inner courtyard.

“Grandmaster!” he called out, confident that his grandmaster must have been victorious in battle. “Grandmaster!”

Grasshopper would have followed him out but Xiang Xiang stopped him. She took up a position at the door just in time to see the Kotekichi’s body flying backwards through the air. She at once guessed what had happened; she had seen the Dark Fire Iron Palm at work before. However, she could not see her brother. Suddenly, he appeared nearby and instructed her, “Tell everybody to stay inside, Xiang Xiang. I don’t want anybody out here!”

Xiang Xiang was glad that her brother was okay. She told everybody to go back to the kitchen again, including Grasshopper. They acquiesced obediently. Nobody argued with Master Wen in the Wen household. Wen Yiji then called Xiang Xiang out and they went to check on Shi Mei.

“Listen,” he told the two women. “We want to keep a low profile in this town. It is not good for people to know that we had people dying here! The two intruders have been immobilized but are not dead yet. I will take them somewhere to make their disappearance permanent. Officially, we will tell the servants and everyone else that the two intruders had escaped!”

Shi Mei and Xiang Xiang nodded. Wen Yiji then tied the bodies of the two intruders to horses. Then he led the horses out into the night. Somewhere near the cliffs by the sea, he stopped the horses. He took down the bodies of Grandmaster Hattori and Kotekichi. They were still alive but barely. Wen Yiji held up the sword that Grandmaster Hattori had been using earlier.

“You said that this sword once belonged to the Banyataro, the Ghost Ninja,” said Wen Yiji. “He was my sifu. Therefore, his sword belongs to me now!”

“He has ……. a worthy…….student in you,” gasped Grandmaster Hattori.

“Thank you,” replied Wen Yiji. “You are almost dead. I can wait for you to die or I can make it a quick death for you. Which do you choose?”

“Make……..quick…..” gasped Grandmaster Hattori.

“And Kotekichi?” asked Wen Yiji.

“You want to kill, kill lah!” said Kotekichi bravely. “Talk so much for what?"

“Make……..quick…..for the bakayaro too…..” gasped Grandmaster Hattori.

"Wait!" yelped Kotekichi. "Let's not be hasty! You don't have to kill me!"

“You heard your grandmaster,” said Wen Yiji. He swung the sword and Kotekichi’s head dropped off the shoulders. Another swing took off the head of Grandmaster Hattori. He threw both the heads far out into the raging sea below the cliffs. As he was about to throw in the bodies, he searched them on impulse. On Kotekichi’s body, he found a porn book.

“How to Copulate Successfully with a Female Ninja without getting Killed,” he read the title. “Naaaahhh…..I don’t need this shit. Too basic!”

He threw the book away and the searched the body of Grandmaster Hattori. Again, he found a book.

“Well, I’ll be!” he exclaimed softly. “The Manual of Invisibility! So you also had a copy!”

Quickly, he leafed through the pages. Slowly, he grinned and said, “I think I shall take the full course and achieve full invisibility! Yes! I will master the Kungfu that Rules the Night!”

Without further hesitation, he swung the two bodies over the cliff far out into the sea where they sank into the watery depths.

When he got back home much later that night, the servants had already been sent to bed. Shi Mei was in Xiang Xiang’s room tending to her injuries.

“How do you feel?” asked Wen Yiji.

“Much better now,” answered Xiang Xiang. “The pain has subsided.”

“I held peeled onions under her nose to induce crying,” said Shi Mei. “I think the tears had cleared out the tiny particles that landed in her eyes. The bleeding on her head has dried. She took a nasty kick in the stomach which caused internal injuries. I boiled her some herbs to drink and inserted six needles in her just now. She should be all right in a few days.”

“Thank you, sister-in-law,” said Xiang Xiang. “You do have the healing touch. I feel quite safe in your hands.”

“Just try to rest,” said Shi Mei. "You will be fine."

"I am sorry to be so much trouble," said Xiang Xiang. "I have never been injured like this before. I think I am not cut out to be a fighter."

"Actually, you fought well," remarked Wen Yiji. "With his skills, the bakayaro guy could easily slice through ten Imperial Guards. You did well to hold him off. Did any of the servants get injured?”

“No,” replied Xiang Xiang.

“What about Grasshopper?” asked Wen Yiji.

“He is all right,” replied Xiang Xiang. “He was very helpful. He set off the trap that drenched Kotekichi to the skin. Then when I was down, he challenged the intruder with his pole to buy me time to get up. I am grateful to him.”

“I am glad that boy has some sense in him,” said her brother.

“Brother Yiji?” said Xiang Xiang. “Don’t you think that we should tell Grasshopper about our connection to him? I believe he has earned the right to know!”

“All right,” grunted her brother. “He is twelve years old. I will find a suitable time to tell him.”

+ + + + + +

Several days later, the Wen family knelt down before the new graves at the family gravesite. They offered prayers while a taoist priest conducted the ceremony.

“That is it,” said Wen Yiji. “All of the bones of our family members that we took back from the Imperial Capital have now been reburied here. It is a good spot.”

Shi Mei turned to her husband and said, “It was very kind of you, husband, to dig up the graves of my father and mother and to bring their bones here for reburial as well.”

Wen Yiji looked at the new grave of Physician Zheng and said, “Your parents had no sons and you were their only child. It is only right that I transfer their remains here so that you can visit their graves to offer respect.”

After they had paid their respects to the dead, Wen Yiji stood before his father’s grave and called Grasshopper over.

“Grasshopper,” he said. “This grave here is my father’s grave. He was your mother’s brother. That makes him your uncle.”

Grasshopper did not know if Master Wen was serious. He looked towards Xiang Xiang for guidance.

“It is true, Grasshopper,” explained Xiang Xiang. “We are about to let you in on a big secret. Your mother and my father were siblings, both born by the same mother in the household of Patriarch Wang. My father was driven out of the Wang household and he changed his surname to Wen after that. We have come back to Tsinkiang but we do not wish people to know that we are in any way connected to the Wangs. You will have to keep this a secret!”

Grasshopper thought for a while before answering, “I will keep this a secret. I understand now why you do not like the Wangs. But are you really, really sure that your father is my uncle?”

“Of course” she replied. “Do you remember that you have half an arrowhead belonging to your mother that had been given to her by her brother? I have the other half. I have matched my half with your half and they matched perfectly! Your mother and my father are sister and brother!”

She took off the piece of metal that she wore around her neck and showed it to Grasshopper. The boy’s eyes opened in surprise.

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” he blurted.

“We did not think that it was time for you to know yet,” she said. “But even though you were our servant, we treated you differently from the other servants.”

“So that was why I got my own room, and I sit down at the same table as Master Wen at mealtimes,” Grasshopper said, understanding now. “That was why you taught me kungfu. That was why you had a teacher come to the house every few days to teach me to read and write! All this while, I thought that you were training me up so that I can be sold as a sex slave to some rich lady at a hefty price later!”

Wen Yiji rolled his eyes skywards and Shi Mei laughed.

+ + + + + +

That night, Wen Yiji took a very slow walk in the courtyard. The winter had gotten colder, but it was still mild compared to the winters he used to spend in a cold prison cell in the Imperial Capital up north. He looked back at the happenings of the year and had reason to be satisfied.

"I set out to bring back the bones of my family," he told himself. "I achieved that. In addition, I came back with a wonderful woman as my wife! And now, I have the power of full invisibility!"

Seeing no one around in the dark night, he turned fully visible without a break in his stride. Then he walked to his bedroom. As usual, Xiang Xiang and Grasshopper were there chatting with Shi Mei. They love to spend the evenings chatting together until it was time for Wen Yiji to chase Xiang Xiang and Grasshopper out of the room.

"It is late," said Wen Yiji. "Go to sleep!"

"Yes brother Yiji," said Xiang Xiang.

"Yes, cousin Yiji," said Grasshopper obediently.

The two of them said their goodnights and left.

Wen Yiji got into bed and Shi Mei curled up against him. He held her gently in his arms.

"Husband," she said. "I am glad that I came here!"

"Any particular reason?" he asked.

"Well, the food is good, the house is nice, and I have servants. What more can a girl ask for?"

"Is that all?"

"Of course not! On top of that I have a husband who has the kungfu that rules the night!"

" appreciate my power of invisibility!"

"I do not mean that kungfu that rules the night! I meant the other kungfu that rules the night!"

"Which other kungfu that rules the night?"

"The kungfu that you use to get me pregnant!"

Wen Yiji was silent for a moment. Then he blurted out, "You mean you are....."

"Yes!" she answered. "I am pregnant!"

" wonder you have been feeling nauseous lately!" said Wen Yiji. "This is wonderful! Alright.....from now on you will not take any risks. No carrying of water or anything heavy. Even if you drop a hankerchief, you will not stoop to pick it up! You will call me, and then I will call Grasshopper to call a servant to pick it up for you. You will stay in bed from morning till night......"

"Dear husband!" Shi Mei giggled. "Do not forget that I am a daifu's daughter! I know what and what not to do!"

Wen Yiji kissed her passionately. As she slept, he stayed awake and listened to her breathing. Looking into the dark, he whispered, "At one time, being the only remaining son, I was afraid that the Wen family would end with me. Not anymore. I have survived the darkest of nights! I have gotten up more times than I have fallen!"

Then, laying a gentle hand on her womb, he breathed softly and gratefully, "Indeed, Heaven has been kind to me! The Wen family lives on!"

The End


Monday, December 17, 2007


Thanks to crappy booze

Last week could have been my last posting for the next several years. I knew that if nobody paid any dues to Master Vin, then the honourable thing for me to do was to leave the wuxia story unfinished. That would mean walking away from a project that I had started in May. This is quite a serious matter to me. It is not inconceivable that I would give up half a year of work just to satisfy this principle. Of course, there will be a certain sense of loss, but I can deal with that.

Blogger crappy booze changed all that. His willingness to pay the dues means that I can start writing the final chapter. It is a relief. Thanks, crappy booze! You came through when no one else did! Once the final chapter is out, it will be a long hiatus. How many years? I don’t know yet. Not less than two, I'm sure.

Hey, did anyone catch the Asian Idol results last night? Through some unfathomable reason that I can’t even begin to understand, I voted for the Singapore guy. And he won. By a thin margin, the emcees said.

On to the next topic. There was a puzzle given in yesterday’s one star publication. It was found in the kids section on frogs. The puzzle went like this:
A frog is in a well that is 6.1 m deep. In the daytime, it can climb up 1 metre. But during the night, it slips back 0.6m. How many days would it take to climb out of the well?

Any good primary schoolkid should he able to figure out the answer as 14 days.

The incredible answer that we got from the paper? !8 days! No less!

If that is what they are teaching the kids, it is no wonder that we are having this debate about teaching science and mathematics in English.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Fengshui site

The conclusion to my story is still some days away. The battle scene requires a bit more work than usual because it involves Xiang Xiang as well. It has been fun writing the story so far although I was squeezed for time for the most part. Nevertheless, the journey is about to end and I will then say goodbye to all the story characters.

You would have noticed that I have used some fengshui theories in several parts of my story. That is because I am truly fascinated by the topic.

Much of the fengshui inspiration came from the excellent site run by by Master Vin Leo of Australia.

There is a Chinese belief that if one takes knowledge from a fengshui master, it is good to give something back, usually in the form of an ang pow(red packet). Master Vin is most likely to be unaware that this blog exists, nevertheless, dues have to be paid. I am unable to give him an ang pow. However, I will attempt to give him a bigger web presence instead.

Therefore, I wish to appeal to all my readers to put a link to his site in any one of your postings. Just a short sentence like “A fengshui master” in your blog posting or website will do. And of course, a link to his site.

His URL is:

If you have posted a link, please say so in the comments column below so that I can thank you.


Monday, December 10, 2007


Weather woes

It’s been raining, raining and raining. It is a cause for concern. Studies have shown that rainwater obeys gravity, Meaning that it will flow into the Smart Tunnel. The tunnel may be smart, but the water is smarter.

There has to be a good reason why the Smart Tunnel is called the Smart Tunnel. I wish that someone, anyone, would tell me what it is. Time for some statistics again; studies have shown that in 99 percent of the time, calling a dumb thing ‘smart’ will not make it so.

I'm polishing up my swimming skills in case I get caught in a flood.

If you had been one of those who felt the earthquake at Bukit Tinggi last night, do not panic. That was no earthquake. A friend of mine claimed that he was there with his girlfriend and he said that he must have exerted a pumping force greater than usual, thus causing some earth tremors. No cause for concern, he says.

Now, that is a cause for concern; I know that he does not have a girlfriend. That can only mean that the tremor was from geological sources. So, stay away from hills and rivers.


Thursday, December 06, 2007


The Kungfu That Ruled The Night - Chapter 29

Chapter 29: Homecoming

The pirate ship anchored off the coast and a rowboat from the ship was seen heading for the shore. When the boat, which was filled with several men, reached land, a distinguished-looking bearded man got out. He stared at the surroundings as the boat headed back to the pirate ship. He was glad to be on land. It was the beginning of winter and he hated sailing at that time of the year.

A lone swordsman on the shore walked briskly up to the bearded man and knelt down. The kneeling man greeted, “Humble pupil Kotekichi greets Grandmaster Hattori!”

The bearded man looked at Kotekichi and grunted, “I got your message. Tell me again; how did the Kansai Killers meet their death?”

“They were killed by a lone archer by the surname Wen, Grandmaster,” answered Kotekichi. “Arahkiri, Kaninaya and Bunuhsuma the Savage all died! In some sugar cane fields.”

“Who is this Wen fella?”

“He is a carriage driver from Tsinkiang.”

“Did you engage this Wen in battle?”

“No, Grandmaster. I arrived at the scene just in time to see Bunuhsuma die at his hands! I was hidden in the cane fields and so I was not seen.”

“Why did you not go to Bunuhsuma’s aid and confront the archer?” demanded Grandmaster Hattori.

“I would not be his match,” Kotekichi admitted shamefacedly.

Grandmaster Hattori glared at him. Then he said, “Take me to the graves of my three dead disciples.”

Kotekichi led him to a tree under which two horses were waiting. Together, they rode off without a further word exchanged between them. Towards late afternoon, they stopped by three small mounds on the ground.

“Grandmaster Hattori,” said Kotekichi respectfully. “These are the graves of Arahkiri, Kaninaya and Bunuhsuma.”

Bowing before the graves, Grandmaster Hattori swore grimly, “My disciples! Your death will not go unavenged! Or I would not be considered the greatest ninja in the whole of the Eastern Islands!”

Turning to Kotekichi, the older man commanded, “Now, take me to this Wen archer.”

“I do not know where he is, Grandmaster!” said Kotekichi.

“What do you mean? Did you not say that he was in Tsinkiang?”

“Yes I did! I found out from one of the waiters of one wayside inn that the archer was called Wen and came from Tsinkiang. I went to Tsinkiang to trace out all the Wen families. There were more than a hundred Wen families living there. I traced every Wen family, but could not detect the Wen archer among them!”

Grandmaster Hattori fumed. “You are a useless dog!” he shouted. “Baka yaro!”

Kotekichi knelt before him, not daring to get up. Finally, Grandmaster Hattori instructed him, “Take me to Tsinkiang! I will look for the man myself!”

Together, they traveled to Tsinkiang. On arrival a few days later, Grandmaster Hattori threw some yarrow sticks on the ground and examined their pattern before pronouncing, “Let us conduct our search in the eastern sector of the town!”

Kotekichi was amazed. He had heard that Grandmaster Hattori was capable of using the ancient art of divination. However, this was the first time that he had seen Grandmaster Hattori perform it.

There were only three Wen families in the eastern sector. None of them appeared to fit the bill.

Grandmaster Hattori threw his yarrow sticks on the ground again. He frowned.

“What is it, Grandmaster?” asked Kotekichi.

“The duck restaurant,” said the older man. “Blood will flow!”

“Oh, you mean the Wen family duck restaurant? Of course blood will flow. They slaughter a lot of ducks!”

“I do not mean duck blood!”

“I hear that they also slaughter chickens for the menu.”

“I don’t mean chicken blood either, baka yaro!”

“I do not know what you mean, Grandmaster. But the restaurant is run be a young girl. According to my information, she has an older brother who has not been seen for months.”

“Something tells me that we need to keep that restaurant under observation!”

“Yes, Grandmaster.”

+ + + + + +

Grasshopper, the servant boy, came up to Xiang Xiang and whispered, “Mistress Xiang Xiang. The two foreigners are here again!”

“Locals or foreigners, they are our customers, Grasshopper,” said Xiang Xiang. "We do not disciminate!"

“But they like to order duck backsides all the time!” said Grasshopper. “They don’t seem to understand that one duck can have only one backside! Where got so many backsides to sell?”

“You leave the business aspect to me, Grasshopper! Now go and pour them some tea!”

Obediently, Grasshopper went to the table and politely asked, “Would you gentlemen like more tea?”

“Ahhh so,” said Grandmaster Hattori.

“You mean ‘yes’?” inquired Grasshopper.

“Ahhh so,” said Grandmaster Hattori again.

Grasshopper pour out the tea for Kotekichi and Grandmaster Hattori. He looked at them curiously.

“Where are you from?” the boy asked.

“Mind your own business!” said Kotekichi. “And bring us a couple of duck backsides!”

“Sorry, no more duck backside!” said Grasshopper. “Chicken backside you want or not?”

Kotekichi glared at him and said, “No!”

“Suit yourself,” remarked Grasshopper airily as he left.

Grasshopper was sweeping the front yard when Kotekichi and Grandmaster Hattori left the restaurant. As they walked past him, Grasshopper noted to himself, “Dunno what kind of shoes they are wearing. Looks like some imported design.”

He examined the footprints that they left in the sand and pursed his lips. “These men have small feet!”

That evening, Kotekichi asked, “We have been eating at that duck restaurant for ten days now. I think we are starting to attract attention.”

“Of course we will attract attention!” fumed Grandmaster Hattori. “How can we not attract attention if you keep on consuming so many duck backsides?”

Kotekichi hung his head and then asked, “How long are we going to continue to survey the duck restaurant?”

“I do not know,” replied Grandmaster Hattori. “Something tells me that this duck restaurant has something to with the death of your fellow Kansai Killers. We will wait for the return of the owner of the restaurant and then decide what to do.”

“And if the owner does not return for a few years, do we also wait for a few years?”

“Ahhh so……you have a point,” said Grandmaster Hattori. “I think I will go to the duck restaurant tonight to snoop around. I may find something.”

+ + + + + +

“Grasshopper! Where are you?” the sound of Xiang Xiang’s voice called out in the night air.

Grasshopper froze. He was up a tree in the inner courtyard. A bird had made a nest in one of the branches and he hoped to catch it while it was sleeping. He planned to sell it to young Master Chuen down the road for a tidy profit. However, he also knew that Xiang Xiang had forbidden him from catching the birds in the courtyard. She would have him punished if she found out. He kept very still inside the tree. Soon Xiang Xiang’s voice trailed off. Grasshopper heaved a sigh of relief, but he remained very still.

Suddenly, the sound of a footfall nearby alerted him that someone was around.

“Oh shit!” he thought. “Xiang Xiang is here looking for me! Better have an explanation ready! But what?”

He peered out among the leaves of the tree hoping that it was not Xiang Xiang. The moon was bright enough for him to see Xiang Xiang if she was there. However, there was no one there.


The sound of a footfall on the wet ground near the well in the courtyard alerted him to the direction to look.

Again, he saw no one.

Then, under the bright moonlight, he thought he saw a footprints appearing before his eyes, one after another.

“That is impossible!” he thought. “Footprints do not form on their own!”


The lazy dog that usually slept in the courtyard woke up with a growl. It sniffed the air and stared ahead. It growled continually without barking. Then, it walked forward hesitantly to investigate.


Grasshopper thought he heard somebody hit the dog. The next moment, the dog fell to the ground yelping with pain.

“What on earth happened out there?” the voice of Xiang Xiang called out. “Grasshopper, are you out there bullying the dog again?”

A few servants came out to the courtyard to investigate. The dog stopped yelping but it growled in the direction of the roof.

“What is wrong with the dog?” asked Xiang Xiang as she entered the courtyard. “Do we have an intruder?”

Grasshopper quickly emerged from the tree. He went to look at the dog which had quietened down by now.

“The dog is bleeding,” he announced. “Somebody hit it!”

“That means that we have an intruder,” said Xiang Xiang. “Bring the other dogs here and conduct a search!”

Grasshopper went over to the well and then called Xiang Xiang over. Pointing to a footprint on the ground, He said, “This footprint was made by the intruder!”

Xiang Xiang held a lighted torch to the ground to take a better look.

“Oh, it’s him!” cried Grasshopper.

“Who?” asked a mystified Xiang Xiang.

“Him!” answered Grasshopper. “The bearded customer who kept saying “Ahhh…so......Ahhh…so” all the time! I recognize the footprint made by his shoe!”

“Did you see him?” she asked.

“No,” he replied. “But I saw the footprint forming on the ground! That man must be a ghost!”

“Do not talk nonsense!” rebuked Xiang Xiang. “Where were you when you saw the footprint being formed?”

“I was up the tree,” he replied.

“And what were you doing there?”

“Nothing! I was doing nothing! I swear!”

“So you went up the tree to do nothing and then you saw the foot print being formed by a ghost…..a ghost who whacked the dog until it bled. Is that it?”

Grasshopper nodded.

Xiang Xiang kept quiet. The whole thing sounded ridiculous. Yet there was the hard evidence of the bleeding dog and the footprint in the courtyard. It was very puzzling. However, Grasshopper stuck to his story.

“Let us confront the two foreigners about tonight’s episode,” the boy suggested.

“No!” said Xiang Xiang firmly. “We have no witnesses.”

Grasshopper tried to argue, but Xiang Xiang silenced him.

+ + + + + +

At the inn where they were staying, Kotekichi asked Grandmaster Hattori, “Did you find out anything?”

“Yes,” the older man replied. “I saw an assortment of weapons inside the house. The girl keeps a pair of butterfly swords in her room. This is not an ordinary restaurant family, but a kungfu family. We shall continue to keep them under observation.”

+ + + + + +

In a little back alley, two young boys met among the stray cats.

“Little Knife greets Big Brother Grasshopper,” said the younger boy respectfully.

“No need to be formal,” said Grasshopper. “Does Little Knife have the information I want?”

“Of course. Little Knife has done as Big Brother requested!”

“Good. Let’s hear it!”

“I followed the two men to the Tiam Tiam Khoon Inn where they were staying. Then I made casual inquiries. The chamber boy told me that the two men were from the Eastern Islands. The older one was called Grandmaster Hattori and the younger one was called Bakayaro.”


“Yes, Bakayaro. On some occasions, Grandmaster Hattori called him Kotekichi. But it was mostly Bakayaro!”

“What business brings them here to Tsinkiang?”

“Nobody knows. They do not appear to be traders and they also do no work. The chamber boy told me that on one occasion they both got drunk and then Bakayaro declared that they will avenge the death of the Kansai Killers!”

“You mean the Kanasai Killers.”

“No, no! The chamber boy was positive that it was ‘Kansai’ and not ‘Kanasai’.”

“Hmmmmph……very odd.”

“Big Brother, I think that these two men are ninjas. Two years ago, some foreigners came to Tsinkiang and I overhead somebody say that they were ninjas. They walk in a certain manner. Grandmaster Hattori and Bakayaro have the same kind of walk. That makes them ninjas.”

“Thank you for your information, Little Knife.”

“If Big Brother has any further instructions, Little Knife will be honoured to comply,” said Little Knife respectfully. He was proud to be a member of the loose network of street kids who serve Grasshopper. He was old enough to know that being loyal to Grasshopper paid dividends. Huge dividends.

“That will be all. Keep your eyes open and inform me about anything unusual,” said Grasshopper.

“Yes, Big Brother!”

Grasshopper then handed over a package to Little Knife and said, “This is for your trouble.”

“Thank you, Big Brother!” said Little Knife happily. Quickly, he opened the package. In it were two chunks of meat from a roasted duck. As Grasshopper walked off, Little Knife munched away happily in his own little heaven.

+ + + + + +

Several days passed. Grasshopper was busy serving the guests. He poured tea for every table except for the table where Grandmaster Hattori and Kotekichi were seated. Xiang Xiang had forbidden him from confronting the two foreigners and so he had reacted by refusing to pour tea for them.

A carriage pulled up in front of the duck restaurant and a man got out. He then helped a lady down from the carriage and they stretched themselves after the long and arduous journey.

“Brother Yiji!” shrieked Xiang Xiang as she ran out excitedly to greet her older brother. “Brother Yiji! You are back!”

“Yes, Xiang Xiang! How is everything at home?” asked Yiji.

“Everything is fine, brother Yiji,” she replied. “What about you?”

“I am fine,” he replied. Turning to Shi Mei, he introduced, “This is Xiang Xiang, my little sister!”

“I see that you brought home a friend,” said Xiang Xiang.

“Xiang Xiang,” said Wen Yiji. “This is your sister-in-law, Shi Mei.”

Xiang Xiang’s jaw dropped. “You got married?” she asked.

“Yes,” laughed Wen Yiji. “About two months ago! Shi Mei is from the Zheng family. Our two families had a betrothal agreement.”

“Oh!” she cried, trying to remember a betrothal agreement. “The Zheng family…..Zheng family. That sounds familiar. Something to do with a Physician Zheng?”

“Ah….you remembered!” exclaimed Shi Mei.

“Yes!” said Xiang Xiang bowing. “Xiang Xiang greets her sister-in-law!”

Shi Mei acknowledged the greeting. She could feel that she would like her new home.

At the table in the restaurant, Kotekichi stopped biting on the duck backside and garbled, “That’s him! That’s the one who killed our men!”

Grandmaster Hattori stared in the direction of Wen Yiji and made no reply. “Continue eating!” he instructed Kotekichi curtly.

Grasshopper had just walked into the restaurant from the kitchen. He looked over at the two foreigners and saw that their attention was occupied by the carriage outside. He looked in the direction of the carriage and saw Wen Yiji.

Wa piang! My master has returned!” he exclaimed as he rushed out to greet his master.

Wen Yiji introduced Grasshopper to Shi Mei and then they all went inside. Xiang Xiang and Grasshopper left the restaurant chores to the other servants as they both went to prepare the master bedroom for Wen Yiji.

“I was expecting you in mid autumn! Not early winter!” said Xiang Xiang, ”Why were you so late?”

“I got delayed!” explained the brother. “Has Grasshopper been behaving himself while I was gone?”

“Of course!” said Grasshopper indignantly. "Nobody behaves better than me!"

Xiang Xiang laughed and said, “He has kept himself very busy observing two of our foreign customers. He thinks they are ghosts!”

“No, they are not!” said Grasshoppers. “They are ninjas!”

Wen Yiji’s attention picked up. He asked, “Why do you think that they are ninjas, Grasshopper?”

“Well,” said Grasshopper. “A few days ago, some intruder came into our inner courtyard during the night. He left a footprint which has the same size and pattern as that of one of the two foreign customers!”

“Did you see him?” asked Wen Yiji.

“That’s the weird thing; I did not see him!” answered Grasshopper. “But I heard him! And the ground….one moment there was nothing, and the next moment there were footprints. This intruder was like a ghost. However, everybody knows that ghosts walk on tip toe. But the intruder left a full footprint! So he was not a ghost! I think he was a half-ghost… of those hybrids between man and ghost. Maybe a ghost father and human mother. Or human father and ghost mother!”

“First, you said that he was a ninja. Now you say that he was a half-ghost," said Wen Yiji with amusement. "You have a very rapid imagination. What happened then?”

“Then the dog growled at the intruder. But suddenly the dog got hit until it bled! It was all very mysterious!”

“Why didn’t the intruder attack you?”

“I was hiding in the tree so he could not see me.”

“What were you doing in the tree at night?”

“Er….I forgot. I think I must have been just minding my own business.”

“In the tree?”


Turning to his sister, Wen Yiji asked, “Was anything stolen?”

“No,” replied Xiang Xiang. “Nothing was taken. Maybe the intruder was snooping around when he got frighten by the dog!”

“I will beat the shit out of him if I catch him snooping around here again,” declared Wen Yiji. "And then, I will hold him for the dog to bite!"

“I will help you beat him up, Master Wen!” declared Grasshopper. “He won’t find it so easy to get away this time! I have prepared a special Super Category No Comparison booby trap for him that will string him up in the air like a dead chicken hung up to dry after seasoning! Do you know what I think? I think that the two foreigners are involved! I’m sure of that! I do not know why they are so interested in us but my source tells me that they are in town to avenge the death of some Kansai Killers.”

Wen Yiji froze. He remembered the Kansai Killers. And they were ninjas. In a calm voice, he told Grasshopper, “Tell me what you know about them.”

“There are two of them,” explained Grasshopper. “Both are from the Eastern Islands. One appears to be the sifu and the other appears to be the disciple. The older man is called Grandmaster Hattori and the younger one is called Bakayaro,…..sometimes called Kotekichi as well. The younger one can really eat a lot of duck backsides. The older one eats duck backside also but not so much. They drink their soup by slurping noisily from the bowl. Currently, they are both staying at the Tiam Tiam Khoon Inn.”

“How did you manage to find out all that?” asked Wen Yiji.

“I have connections all over town,” declared Grasshopper. “If you want to know anything important, I am your man!”

“How long have the two foreigners been here?” asked Wen Yiji.

“Half a month now,” the boy replied. “Everyday, they would come here for lunch and occupy one table for a long time. Did you see them just now? They were looking at you intently when you returned.”

“Let’s go out and take a look at them,” said Wen Yji. Grasshopper followed him out.

A short while later, they returned. In response to Xiang Xiang’s inquiring look, Grasshopper said, “They are gone!”

Xiang Xiang looked thoughtfully at her brother for a moment. She sensed that something was bothering her brother. She sent Grasshopper out of the room and then asked, "Brother Yiji. Is something the matter?"

Wen Yiji paused for a few moments before answering. "Several months ago, I came across an assassination attempt just a few days’ journey north from here. The assassins chased their quarry through some sugar cane fields. I knew one of the men that they were chasing. He told me that the assassins were ninjas and had already killed a hundred of their men. Their blades were so sharp that they sliced through the wooden shafts of their spears. He then told me that there were only three or four of those ninjas but yet they did considerable damage."

"They sound formidable," commented Xiang Xiang.

"Yes," said her brother. "I then raced my carriage out of there, but one by one, the ninjas came out of the cane fields to attack me and so I killed them one after another. There were three of them. I suspected that there was a fourth Kansai Killer hidden in the cane fields who did not reveal himself."

"The one called Kotekichi!" guessed Shi Mei.

"Yes," said Wen Yiji. "I do not know how he traced me to my home. He must have gone to get the Hattori guy to help him take revenge. Very likely, they will come to kill me tonight!"

"Just two of them?" asked Xiang Xiang. “They must be really confident!”

"Or very skillful," said Wen Yiji. "Thy have very good swords and they move at great speed. From now on, I want you to be prepared for any eventuality. Keep your butterfly swords close to you at all times.”

“Yes brother Yiji,” said Xiang Xiang. “What about the servants?”

“At nightfall, I want everyone of you to lock yourselves up in your rooms. Bar all the windows. I want you to stay safe in case we come under attack! I will deal with the two foreigners myself.”

"Shall I fight them together with you?" asked Xiang Xiang.

"No, Xiang Xiang," replied Wen Yiji. "Your Celestial Dragon Claw may be good, but the Kansai Killers are faster than you. Besides, you don’t have the killer instinct! I would rather that you lock yourself up in your room. Have the booby traps in the house been kept in good condition?"

"Yes, brother," she replied. “They were checked periodically.”

“Good,” he said.

“After Xiang Xiang had left, Shi Mei turned to Yiji to say, “It is strange that the intruder left footprints without being seen. Do you suppose that he could turn invisible like you?”

“Highly unlikely,” replied Wen Yiji. “It can’t be so coincidental. Grasshopper always had a vivid imagination. He once said that he saw a bright object hovering above the air. It was shaped like a saucer, he claimed. That boy would say just about anything. I wonder what he was really doing up that tree. Some mischief, probably.”

“Boys will be boys, husband,” said Shi Mei. “All boys tend to do a lot of stupid things when they are young.”

“You are right about that,” he said.

“We must not preclude the possibility that the intruder has the power of invisibility,” she said. “Then you will not be able to see him. I cannot help wondering about the outcome if two invisible men were to fight. Who will win?”

“That will be a most unusual situation,” he laughed. “Two invisible men will not be able to see each other. How then can they fight each other?”

“I think that the one who can detect the other first will win!”

“And how can one do that?”

“I don’t know. Either by sound or by smell. Take your pick.”

“By the way, I do not wish anyone in this household to know of my invisibility. I have no wish to seen as someone who is not entirely normal.”

“Actually, you are not entirely normal!” laughed his wife.

“True!” he countered. “But I do not wish anyone to know that!”

That evening, Xiang Xiang prepared a good homecoming feast for her brother and new sister-in-law.

“This is the best duck that I have ever tasted, Xiang Xiang!” declared Shi Mei.

Xiang Xiang beamed with pride. She was the same age as her sister-in-law and she instinctively knew that they would bond well together.

A simple ceremony was held and Xiang Xiang knelt down and offered a cup of tea each to Wen Yiji and Shi Mei.

“My brother and sister-in-law,” she said. “I wish both of you white head till old.”

In return, she received a red packet from her brother and sister-in-law.

Next was Grasshopper’s turn. Offering the tea, he said, “lim ta ta, nseh lam pah!”

“What’s that?” asked Shi Mei, not understanding.

“He means that you should drink till the cup is dry so that you will give birth to a male offspring!” explained Xiang Xiang.

Shi Mei laughed shyly. The couple drank the tea and Grasshopper got his red packets.

One by one, the servants offered the tea and Shi Mei was acknowledged as the mistress of the Wen family. This place would be her home for the rest of her life.

Next chapter: Conclusion


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