White Horse Neighing in the West Wind Chapter 21

White Horse Neighing in the West Wind Chapter 21

Su Pu saw Chen Dahai hide by the door, his sword drawn. As soon as someone entered, he would immediately stab that someone. The situation was extremely precarious, so he cried, “Don’t come in!” Chen Dahai glared at him and shouted, “If you make any more noise, I’ll kill you immediately.” Su Pu knew his father was in a dangerous situation, so he grabbed a stool and threw himself towards Chen Dahai. Chen Dahai turned his body to avoid the blow. With a swish, his sword pierced Su Pu’s leg. Su Pu yelled loudly, and fell over onto the ground. He was quick and agile; afraid that his enemy would deliver another blow, he quickly rolled over, covering quite a distance. Chen Dahai did not pursue him, but continued to guard by the door with his drawn sword, thinking, “I can easily settle this Kazak lad in the twinkling of an eye, so I’ll let him live a little longer. But I must quickly defeat the two people outside.”

They heard Su Lu’ke speaking loudly outside, “If you enter that damnable Han’s home, I’ll hit you!” As he spoke, his fist hit Che Erku’s chest. Normally, if he was dealt a heavy blow by Su Lu’ke, he would not retaliate as he knew Su Lu’ke was a drunken man. But this time, the wine in his stomach also gushed upwards, and he stretched his leg out to catch Su Lu’ke leg. Su Lu’ke was already in an unstable position, so he stumbled, and immediately fell down. But he took advantage of his fall to cling to Che Erku’s leg. The two men fought each other, rolling about in the snow.

Suddenly, Su Lu’ke grabbed a handful of snow from the ground and stuffed it into Che Erku;’s mouth. Cher Erku scratched and scrabbled madly, while Su Lu’ke was so amused that he laughed heartily. Che Erku spat out the snow. With a resounding punch, he caused Su Lu’ke’s nose to bleed profusely. Su Lu’ke did not even feel any pain, and continued to laugh, but grabbed hold of Che Erku’s hair, refusing to let go. Both men were Kazak warriors, their names known for a thousand li around, but when they fought each other in a drunken state, they were exactly like naughty children fighting.

Su Pu and A’man were extremely anxious. They both hoped Su Lu’ke would win, for then he could stop Che Erku from entering. They heard a never-ending volley of crashes and knocks coming from outside. You hit me, I hit you; they laughed and scolded, full of drunken words. Suddenly, the wooden door flew open with a rumbling crash. The icy wind blew snow into the house; then Su Lu’ke and Che Erku who were hugging each other, also rolled into the cottage. The sudden opening of the door trapped Chen Dahai behind it, preventing him from dealing his blow. Su Lu’ke and Che Erku continued to fight even though they had entered the cottage.

Che Erku laughed, “Aren’t you inside now?” Incensed, Su Luke tried to choke Che Erku with his arm, yelling, “Get out, get out!” The two men were struggling on the floor. One man wanted to drag the other out, while the other man wanted to suppress the other party, to prevent him from moving. Suddenly Su Lu’ke began to sing, and yell, “You can’t defeat me, I’m the top Kazak warrior, Su Pu’s second, Su Pu’s future son will be third… You, Che Erku are fifth…” Chen Dahai saw that they were two drunkards, and decided that he need not fear them. Then the wind blew strongly, sending sparks from the fire flying everywhere. Chen Dahai shut the door forcefully.

Su Pu and A’man saw their fathers rolling towards the fire, and rushed over to help them, crying out in unison, “Father, father.” But they were both heavy men, and could not be helped up easily. Su Pu cried, “Father, father! This man is a Han bandit!” Although Su Lu’ke was thoroughly drunk, but these ten years he had not forgotten the deep hatred he felt towards the Han bandits. As soon as he heard the words ‘Han bandit’, his mind cleared. Leaping up, he cried out, “Where is the Han bandit?” Su Pu pointed at Chen Dahai. Su Lu’ke wanted to grab the sabre at his waist, but after his struggle with Che Erku, the saber had fallen in the snow outside. Coming into contact with air, he cried, “Where’s my sabre? Where’s my sabre? I will kill him!” Chen Dahai flicked his sword and pointed it at Su Lu’ke throat, ordering, “Kneel down!” Angered, Su Lu’ke threw himself forward. But he had lost his strength after drinking much wine. Before he could leapt in front of the enemy, he had crashed to the ground. Chen Dahai laughed coldly, and slashed down, and Su Lu’ke’s shoulder began to bleed. Su Lu’ke yelled in pain, and wanted to get up and fight. But both his legs seemed as soft as mud, and he was completely unable to stand up. With an angry roar, Che Erku got up and rushed towards Chen Dahai. Chen Dahai thrust his sword forwards, piercing his right leg. Che Erku immediately fell down.

Old man Ji turned to look at Li Wenxiu, and saw that her expression was calm, with absolutely no hint of fear.

Chen Dahai laughed coldly, “You Kazak dogs, today I shall kill all of you.” A’man rushed forwards, blocking her father. In a trembling voice she said, “I promised to leave with you, so you cannot kill them.” Che Erku was furious, “No! You cannot leave with this bandit dog, just let him kill me:” Chen Dahai removed a goat’s leash from the wall, and placed the hoop around A’man’s neck, and laughed evilly, “Good, you are my prisoner, my slave! You must swear that you will never betray me from this day onwards, then I will spare these Kazak dogs!” Tears rolled down A’man’s face. She thought, “If I don’t agree to his request, my father and Su Pu will be killed.” So she swore, “Great Allah above, from this day onwards, I am the slave of my master. I will listen to all his commands, and never dare to escape, or dare to disobey his orders! Or else, I will land in a burning pit after my death, and suffer for all eternity.” Chen Dahai laughed uproariously, extremely pleased with himself: he had obtained the map of the Gao Chang Labyrinth and this beautiful young girl. He was happier than if he had become an immortal. He had stayed in the Muslim Region for a long time, and knew that the Kazaks were pious Muslims, and woukld never dare to break an oath made in the name of the Great Allah. Pulling at the leash, he said, “Come over and sit at the feet of your master!” A’man felt greatly humiliated, but could only walk over to his feet and sit down. Chen Dahai stroked her hair, and A’man began to cry.

Su Pu could not control himself, and leapt up, throwing himself at Chen Dahai. Chen Dahai’s sword shot out, pointing at his chest. If he moved forwards by half a chi, the tip of the sword would pierce his chest. A’man called out, “Su Pu, get back!” Su Pu’s eyes blazed. He gritted his teeth and stood there. After quite some time, he retreated, and sat on the ground dejectedly.

Chen Dahai poured a bowlful of wine, and took a mouthful. He took out the handkerchief, then placed it onto his knees for scrutiny.

Suddenly, old man Ji asked, “How do you know this is the map of the Gao Chang Labyrinth?” He spoke in the Chinese language. Chen Dahai thought, “Since all of you are going to die anyway, there’s no harm in telling you.” He had searched for twelve years, and his heart’s desire had finally been fulfilled. Full of joy, he would not be comfortable if he did not get it off his chest, so he would have talked about the matter to himself had old man Ji not asked him about it. Holding the handkerchief with both hands, he said, “We have proven beyond doubt that the map of the Gao Chang Labyrinth was in the possession of White Horse Li San and his wife. Since we could not find it on their bodies, it must be with their daughter. This handkerchief belonged to that little girl surnamed Li, and there are mountains, rivers and roads depicted on it, so naturally it must be the map.” He pointed at the handkerchief, and said, “See, this handkerchief is made of silk. Those depictions of the mountains and rivers in the desert, are sewn in the middle using cotton thread. The silk is yellow silk, while the cotton thread is yellow thread. Normally one would not be able to see it, but once it is stained with blood, the cotton thread absorbs more blood than the silk, and the two can be told apart.”