Chapter 16: Little Abacus
chapter 16: little abacus
down below, two barehanded youths were locked in close quarters combat. one was fat but held a steady composure and possessed herculean strength. this was han li’s good friend, fatty wang. fatty wang’s plump body boasted fists of mighty strength and a loud yell to accompany every punch. with each punch, a gust of wind followed. the other fighter was like a rat. he did not bother to block any of the punches thrown at him and instead chose to evade them. it appeared that he wanted to fight a war of attrition, exhausting fatty wang before finishing him off.
seeing how his good friend was in the battle, han li naturally hoped fatty wang would win.
after a while, fatty wang still showed no signs of slowing down. although han li did not practice martial arts, his intuition told him that fatty wang would not lose.
he looked around in hopes of finding someone who could explain what was happening here.
han li saw a person sitting not too far away on a rock. it was a youth constantly gesturing while crying out, “hit his head, kick his waist, ai ya! almost! that’s right, kick his butt, use all of your strength…”
this youth was beaming radiantly as he cheered.
it almost felt as if he was standing right next to fatty wang, giving words of encouragement as his personal coach.
han li concluded that this person was pretty interesting, so he slowly climbed down the tree to get to where he was.
“senior, do you know the two who are fighting and why they’re fighting?” han li asked politely.
“what do you mean ‘do i know’? is there anything that i, little abacus, don’t know? of course i know everything about the fight! who are you? how come i’ve never seen you before? did you just join the sect? no, that’s not right, there’s still over half a year until the next disciple examination, so who are you then?” this person was very enthusiastic at first, but when he realized he had never seen han li before, his expression became serious and even a little suspicious.
“i am han li, a friend of fatty wang, who is fighting there,” han li replied simply.
“fatty wang’s friend? i know all of his friends, and you’re not one of them!” the person became more and more wary.
“oh, i’ve been in closed door training for the past few years. not knowing who i am is not surprising,” han li half lied.
“is that right? you too joined the sect as a disciple 4 years ago? to think that would be something, that the omniscient me didn’t know .” he looked at han li’s clothes, appearing to believe in han li’s word.
the person known as little abacus and han li talked about a few unrelated subjects until he finally answered han li’s question.
“junior disciple, what you don’t know is that this is all because of a woman. that is…” the self-proclaimed smartypants said as he began to explain in great detail. indeed, he seemed to know most of the sect matters that were floating around.
it seemed that there were 2 people involved. one was called wang yang, who was fatty wang’s cousin, and the other was zhang changgui. the two were both disciples of the seven mysteries sect, but one was an outer sect disciple while the other was an inner sect disciple.
while these two had grown up in the same town, neither of them had ever spoken with each other. this all happened because of a girl. the girl was betrothed to wang yang from an early age, but one day, while traveling back home, the head of the zhang family had caught a glimpse of her and decided to give her to zhang changgui. using his money and influence, he had taken both her and her family, ignoring wang yang’s engagement. this grievous news had dealt a heavy blow to wang yang as he had long since been infatuated with her. knowing that there was no way he’d be able to oppose the zhang family, he jumped to his death in the river.
even though it was a tragedy, his death should have ended the matter.
but who could have guessed his close cousin fatty wang, after learning what had happened, would refuse to let his cousin go unavenged? after confronting zhang changgui, the two vowed to duel, agreeing that the loser would be the winner’s slave.
zhang changgui may have been arrogant, but he was not stupid. he understood that, in martial arts, he was inferior to fatty wang. he requested that he be allowed to bring friends who could help out and join in to fight multiple rounds. fatty wang readily agreed. afterward, zhang changgui used his money to look for disciples within the outer sect to help him. although fatty wang was poor and had no money, he was a good friend to many disciples within the sect, and many of them had decided to come to his aid
as a result, many had come to show their support, which led to a great amount of hostility on the verge of exploding.
hearing this, han li had realized that this conflict had grown too serious to settle without any bloodshed.
unexpectedly, a small spar had blown up into such an enormous affair.
“you are here to help fatty wang, right? if they don’t abide by the rules, then we will move in and beat them until they wet themselves in fear. let them know that we peasants are not easy to bully.” the youth spoke without stopping for a single breath.
han li gave a bitter smile as he realized that he should not get involved. after all, picking a side would only serve to make enemies, and because of his few years of cultivation, his impulsiveness had long since been whittled away. plus, han li had never learned any martial arts and wouldn’t be able to beat even the weakest disciple. after watching the competition, it would be better for him to return back to the valley.
“good!” suddenly, the youth cried out loud.
upon hearing the youth, han li turned his head back to look at the fight. as it turns out, fatty wang’s enemy slipped up and was struck in the forehead by a large fist, smacking him to the ground already unconscious.
immediately, a part of the crowd cheered in support while the others had nasty looks on their faces.
fatty wang’s face had a look of pride on it as he pumped his fist upward. slapping his butt, he walked swaggeringly back towards his side, smug about his victory.
from zhang changgui’s side came two people who took the fainted disciple away.
then, each side produced one individual. one was carrying a saber while the other carried a sword.
(tl: in this novel, when we mention ‘saber’, we mean dao, the chinese saber, a thick single-edged sword. when we say ‘sword’, we mean jian, the chinese sword, thin and double-edged.)
each of them had fiery looks on their faces, but neither said a word. holding their weapons up, they began to clash, the sound of ringing metal filling the air.