“Who else are you gonna kill?” Said an aged voice.
Xu Ying lifted his head in amazement. At some point that he didn’t realize, his 49ers were all cornered by other guns. The chief elder of Xiao Qi Tong, Uncle Yuan, who leaned on the Dragon Head Cane and was supported by Cui Dongdong, came out from the door with a group of people following.
After him, the other elders in Xiao Qi Tong, Elder Ge, Prince Duan, and Uncle Qiu, all came in one after another. Among them, there was Elder Ge, the former Deputy who accepted Xu Ying to swear and join the gang in person and recommended him to Azure Dragon later. Elder Ge had always stood on Xu Ying’s side for the business of the gang, but this time, he could only shake his head for Xu Ying’s failures.
Xu Ying panted heavily. He fiercely pressed Xia Liuyi’s head with a gun and laughed with extreme anger, “You deliberately had the student kid lead me here and found others to watch a play?!”
Xia Liuyi, who had his face sticking to the floor, sniggered, “The college student from a top-ranked school, the golden screenwriter, the best actor – is my new 49er cool enough, Boss Xu?”
He Chusan, who was watching from the sidelines, could not make any argument but kept being anxious – can’t you stop taking advantage of me in such a moment? You have a gun to your head!
“Xu Ying, put down the gun so that you can be left with a complete body.” Said Uncle Yuan.
Xu Ying laughed out loud, “Making such a life, I’ve anticipated such a day for me! What the he*l could make a complete body matter to me!”
“Xia Little Liu,” He smiled twistedly and lowered his body, “On my way to the nether world, I’ll make you the mat of my corpse!”
He pulled the trigger abruptly, but Xia Liuyi had been on the defensive as soon as he began talking. He lifted his elbow and hit Xu Ying hard! After two terrifying gunshots, the gun fell far away. Xu Ying was flipped onto the ground and was shot in the abdomen. Xia Liuyi crumpled onto the ground. On his broken shoulder, there was a big hole, and his blood spurted out crazily!
He Chusan’s mind turned blank. His instincts made him rush forwards, but he was pulled back by the hands of Little Ma behind, and was smashed onto the wall on the side!
Little Ma, who had snatched the protagonist’s part openly, jumped across He Chusan and ran to Xia Liuyi with a few 49ers. He threw himself on Xia Liuyi and stopped the bleeding. The others soon advanced and encircled. Many guns pointed at Xu Ying, who was right in the middle. Xu Ying was pressed onto the ground and kneeled down with both his legs.
“Boss Liuyi! Boss Liuyi!” Little Ma kneeled over him and called for the heavens and earth. When he saw Xia Liuyi opening his eyes slowly and frowning at him because of the noise, he could finally rest assured.
He Chusan was blocked outside the crowd. He stood on his tiptoes and looked for a few times but couldn’t see Xia Liuyi, so he put the big-sized backpack under his feet and climbed onto the frame nearby.
He just saw that Xia Liuyi was surrounded by a few underlings. Beside him, a few people were pressing down on Xu Ying. Uncle Yuan leaned on the Dragon Head Cane and walked in front of Xu Ying slowly.
He pulled up the head of the Dragon Head Cane and took out the Dragon Head Knife hidden inside. He threw it by Xu Ying’s knees.
“Xu Ying, you betrayed our gang and plotted to murder the Big Boss,” Uncle Yuan said coldly, “According to the rules, it’s ‘three stabs six holes’. Since you’ve worked a lot for our gang in these years, I’ll give you a chance to end your life for yourself. What else do you have to say now?”
Xu Ying covered his bleeding abdomen and looked at him, frowning and sneering. Uncle Yuan was indifferent to his glare. His face was still solemn and cold. Suddenly, Xu Ying broke out into a creepy laugh. He said “Great!” three times, and said hoarsely, “What else do I have to say? I’ve devoted my life to Azure Dragon, to all you walking corpses, and in the end, all the benefits were given to this brat! The things you won’t give me shall be taken by me myself! Am I wrong?! Three stabs and six holes……I won’t accept this!”
He grabbed the Dragon Head Knife and jumped up abruptly. He stabbed the knife at Uncle Yuan! Cui Dongdong, who was standing nearby, moved suddenly. She turned and kicked away the knife in his hand! She kicked Xu Ying over with another hit.
She hadn’t walked forward and given another kick yet before Xia Liuyi, who had his entire body blood-stained, pushed Little Ma off ferociously. He grabbed the Dragon Head Knife on the ground, yelled, and attacked straight on. He stabbed it into Xu Ying’s heart like thunder! Strongly nailing Xu Ying onto the floor!
The blood that gushed down from his shoulder fell onto Xu Ying’s face. Xu Ying opened his eyes wide and glared with his face twisting. The two men fought in the air with their gazes full of extreme hatred. Xu Ying struggled and locked his hands to Xia Liuyi’s throat.
Xia Liuyi pressed the blood-stained handle and turned it ruthlessly!
A weird grunt came from Xu Ying’s throat. He left ten bloody fingerprints on Xia Liuyi’s neck with his shivering hands, “Xia……Little……Liu……”
He struggled to lift his head and leaned his mouth close to Xia Liuyi’s ear. He laughed grimly and said a few sentences in a low volume.
None of the people around heard it clearly, but Xia Liuyi’s eyes widened abruptly. As he was gonna step back, Xu Ying bumped upward forcefully and forced the whole edge into his body!
The ambitious man vomited his blood into an overwhelming red fog. Glaring into his eyes like bells, he eventually stopped breathing.
Xia Liuyi pulled the knife out with his face filled with amazement.
He shook Xu Ying, and Xu Ying gave him no reactions but the huge amount of blood that spurted out along with his shaking. He had his face splashed crimson in this shower and looked at the totally lifeless Xu Ying silently. The hatred in his eyes got deeper and deeper, and eventually stung his bones! As if evil came to him, he lifted the knife and stabbed down ferociously again! Then he pulled it out again and stabbed down again! He pulled it out again and stabbed down again……
“Shh!” “Shh!” “Shh!” “Shh!”
The sound of the knife going in and out of the flesh was echoing repeatedly in the silent room. Mince splashed onto the ground along with globs of blood. Climbing onto the frame, He Chusan turned his pale face and dared not watch anymore.
“He’s already dead. That’s enough.” Said Cui Dongdong.
She grabbed Xia Liuyi’s muscle-tensed arm and grasped hard enough to tell him to be conscientious. Xia Liuyi turned to her slowly, having a blank expression on his face. After a long time, he finally exhaled a deep breath, as if he just got his soul back.
He dropped the bloody Dragon Head Knife. Losing all his strength, he fell onto Cui Dongdong’s shoulder.
Little Ma called at his underlings hurriedly. He made a simple stretcher with the desk board and lifted Xia Liuyi onto it. Uncle Yuan led a few elders and came close to show solicitude. Xia Liuyi’s face was pale. He smiled and compared to his previous craziness, he looked like a completely different person. He seemed to be vulnerable, modest, and amiable, “Elders, thank you for saving me in that crucial moment.”
“Little Liu, you’ve suffered. Just rest first.” Said Uncle Yuan. He waved his hand to let the 49ers send him to the private hospital as fast as possible.
Cui Dongdong followed the stretcher and walked forwards a few steps. Seeing Xia Liuyi shake his head to her, she turned back and supported Uncle Yuan, “Uncle Yuan, you’ve had such a long journey to come here. Shall I send you back first?”
“No, girl,” Uncle Yuan patted the back of her hand, “I know you are nice. I’m not in a hurry to get back. Real business matters more. Old Ge, Old Qiu, Prince Duan, let’s hold the election for the new ‘Dragon Head’ in Liuyi’s ward. We can send him to the hospital together.”
A group of people surrounded the stretcher and squeezed out from the gate of the film company. A few 49ers remaining dragged the corpse of Xu Ying, wrapped him with a sack, and took him away. Only He Chusan who climbed onto the frame was left. Because of his weak existence, no one noticed him.
After a long time, he eventually floppily climbed down from the frame. He leaned over and picked up his heavy little backpack. Being stunned, he looked at those fresh bloodstains on the floor. His mind was blank and he could merely hear a humming roar in his ears.
The triad Big Boss called Xu Ying used all his schemes and killed people to usurp, but all he got eventually was a death without a complete body. On the other hand, Xia Liuyi was wounded so heavily and he looked like a demon a moment ago, but now he was weak and was carried outside……would he really be alright?
He felt hazy and worried, but these emotions had nowhere to go. Standing for a while in the empty studio, he held his little backpack tight and left with uneven steps.
In the early morning, he appeared at the door of his home. Yellow paper covered the space above the alleyway, and there was the smell of the poor-quality incense. Mrs. Liu who lived upstairs was crying out to heaven with a group of relatives and friends surrounding her. She kneeled and kowtowed to the sky, begging for the life of her son, who had his belly opened and had died miserably. She didn’t know what had happened at the rooftop but hit the earth, crying and snapping— you triads deserve miserable deaths!
No one noticed He Chusan, who was under a black jacket, absent-mindedly ignoring the yellow paper on the ground for a while and passed by quietly with his head lowered.
Dentist He let his son into the clinic, hissing and sighing. He closed the door and chattered to his son, “Wasn’t her son himself also a triad member? What a karma, tsk tsk……Where did you go yesterday?! Did the Xia Liuyi leave?!”
In barely twenty hours, He Chusan not only knew about the twisting romance of the Big Bosses, but was hunted, jumped off a building, held an adult man and ran across a few streets, escaped from the city and ran for miles to find the mafia big sister, escaped back to be the best actor, and watched a revengeful kill of the triad……The richness and bloodiness of his experiences greatly shook his young and innocent heart. His brain was still blank. He simply put down the little backpack he held tight absently and took off the costume black jacket that he stole from the studio.
Dentist He instantly inhaled. There were messy bloodstains on his son’s bare upper body.
“Eek! Eek!” Dentist He yelled out.
“Dad, I’m fine,” He Chusan said quietly, “The blood isn’t mine. Can you get some water for me to take a shower?”
After that shower, the College Student He fell onto his bed and didn’t get up because of a high fever. He was sick for an entire three days, struggling on the line between life and death. He was dizzy and drowsy in his dreams and felt like there was a pole stirring brutally in his brain. His instincts intended for him to stir those love and hate feelings into a mess and pack it to throw it out of his mind.
His dad went to school for him and returned the big books to the library, then asked the school for days off, saying that he was in bed for a severe illness, and applied for later makeup tests.
On one side, He Chusan was dreaming about life and death on the little shady, wet, and broken bed; on the other side, Xia Liuyi was in a VIP ward of a private hospital, being bandaged seriously into a VIP mummy by the doctor, and he was also trapped in vague dreams.
The anesthesia was still working. His mind was in chaos as if he was walking in the endless darkness. Beside his ears, it was the grim laughter before Xu Ying died and the extremely malicious words that Xu Ying said by his ear.
“Xia Little Liu……You cheap bastard……I’ll let you never know……How Azure Dragon died……”
--How did Azure Dragon die? Didn’t you kill him?! Who else could it be?! Nonsense!
He suddenly gripped his fist and awoke with his throat twitching! The elders beside his bed were concentratedly listening to the will and didn’t notice him.
Uncle Yuan brought in a thin and shrewd lawyer and introduced the private lawyer of Azure Dragon. Azure Dragon had told Uncle Yuan that if he accidentally died, take the Dragon Head Cane out and find the private lawyer for his will.
“Mr. Hao Chengqing’s will can be separated into two parts, generally,” introduced the lawyer, “The first part was that all the private legacy would belong to his wife Xia Xiaoman; The second part was that he recommended Xia Liuyi as the succeeding ‘Dragon Head’.”
Xia Liuyi’s eyes were closed. His unwounded hand shivered and gripped at the sheet.
The elders stared at each other. Uncle Yuan said, “Azure Dragon has already given his vote. What’s your positions?”
“I’ll follow Azure Dragon,” said Uncle Qiu, who had the least experience among them, “Little Liu is clever and brave. Azure Dragon was right, he can take the great responsibility.”
“Little Liu’s experience is insufficient, after all,” said Elder Ge, who was the oldest, “Moreover, he had never been a Deputy. Promoting him directly as a Mountain Master doesn’t fit the rules.”
“Rules were made by people and they’re not absolute,” said Uncle Qiu, “Little Liu has been in charge as a ‘Red Pole’ for years and has gained many benefits for the company. He has made contributions and efforts. I think he has sufficient experience.”
“How old is he?” said Elder Ge, “If he becomes the ‘Dragon Head’, I’m afraid people under him won’t buy it.”
They argued for a few sentences. Prince Duan who sat on the side quietly spoke, “Azure Dragon became the ‘Dragon Head’ when he was twenty-five, and there were people who didn’t buy it then. How were they like afterward?”
Elder Ge choked. The bloody scene during Azure Dragon’s thunderous cleaning instantly emerged in everyone’s mind. This triad Big Boss who looked modest and debonair managed to stay on the throne of “Dragon Head” for ten years peacefully. He must possess some ruthlessness.
Prince Duan continued slightly, “Moreover, wasn’t Xu Ying the one who refused to buy it the most strongly? He left, and who else could we find?”
Elder Ge’s face abruptly turned dark. He twisted his eyebrows and spoke no more.
“I vote for Xia Liuyi,” said Prince Duan, “Old Yuan, what about you?”
Uncle Yuan nodded, “Of course I’ll respect Azure Dragon’s will. Since Old Ge is the only one against it, we can settle the matter like this. It’s still time to mourn for Azure Dragon, everything shall be simple. Three days later, we can hold a simple ‘ceremony of rising dragon’ in the head office and send the ‘Dragon Head’ to his place officially.”
Hearing this, Xia Liuyi closed his eyes and exhaled silently.
He wouldn’t show any modesty like giving the “Dragon Head” to someone else. Azure Dragon died; Xu Ying died; Big Mouth Cheng was also killed by him, and all the elders wanted to have peaceful days instead of standing out to be a significant target. It was easy to see who else in the gang could take up the great responsibility. Although Cui Dongdong was also brave and wise, she was dissolute and thought that having fun was the most important thing. She had no thoughts about being a Big Boss and had raised her limbs to vote for Xia Liuyi being the Dragon Head.
Only if he becomes the Dragon Head, Xiao Qi Tong would be greater, and only if he becomes the Dragon Head, the truth of Azure Dragon’s death would be found……
He lay on the bed, closing his eyes, and didn’t speak. The elders had discussed the important business. They condoled the “unconscious” Xia Liuyi and respectively withdrew. Little Ma sneaked in flatteringly to greet him, “Boss Liuyi! Don’t fake sleep!”
“F*ck off,” Xia Liuyi opened his eyes, “Water.”
Little Ma brought a glass of water to him flatteringly and raised up the head of the bed. He got a straw and let his Big Boss enjoy the water, “Boss Liuyi, it’s great that you’re doing alright! For whatever things you need me to help with like pooping or peeing, just command me as you wish!”
“F*ck off. Could I still pee when I’m facing your ugly face?” Said Xia Liuyi, “I heard you sneaked off quickly at that time?”
Little Ma answered with pride, “Of course! I was beaten by Boss Liuyi! I got millions of miles away with a single somersault and directly rushed to Boss Dongdong’s home. Her little sing-song girl hid me immediately! Who am I as Little Ma? A reliable soldier under Boss Liuyi! If The Third Xu caught me, how many troubles would I bring to Boss Liuyi!”
“A f*cking rat,” Xia Liuyi laughed and cussed again, “You switched the safe?”
“Beforehand! I reported to Boss Dongdong as soon as she was back that you told me there was an important box, and it needed to be switched out at once if something happened. Boss Dongdong switched it on the exact same night! Boss Liuyi, this time my brain is not in my ass and I don’t need to be beaten by a pole, right?”
“You do! What about beating you with the ‘Red Pole’?”
“How painful it would be, if it’s the red pole,” Little Ma muttered and suddenly jumped far away in surprise, “B-Boss Liuyi w-what did you say!”
“Brave and wise, and having a menacing face, you’ll be able to make the gang obey,” said Xia Liuyi, “I’ll recommend you as the new ‘Red Pole’ to the elders tomorrow.”
Little Ma raised his throat and cried out, “Weren’t you just lightly wounded, Boss Liuyi? How could you need to retire? I’m a natural little 49er and how could I take your business? Please do me a favor and take it yourself!”
“F*ck,” Xia Liuyi couldn’t help cussing once more, “Don’t curse me! What the he*l would I retire for?! Call me ‘Big Boss’!”
“Eek? E-eeek?!” Little Ma screamed sharply.
“Shut up,” Xia Liuyi had his head ache. He moved his chin to let Little Ma come closer, “After you are in charge, help me investigate one thing: before Azure Dragon died, who did Xu Ying have contacts with. Catch his henchmen and grill them one by one.”
Little Ma’s face paused, “But all the henchmen under Xu Ying were already thrown into the sea last night. None of them are left.”
“What?! Who made the order?”
“It said that it was decided by the elders, saying stuff like ‘they had wild ambition and it’s useless to leave their lives’.”
Xia Liuyi frowned hard. He was silent for a while, “Continue investigating. There should be some tiny signs left. Watch out while investigating. Don’t be found out by anyone else.”
Xia Liuyi wanted to promote Cui Dongdong to be the Deputy. Cui Dongdong didn’t want to take this position that others couldn’t even beg for, saying she doesn’t want to manage people and only loves managing accounts, so don’t push f*cking business to her. Big Boss Xia who was wrapped into a mummy glared from the bed – if you don’t take it, the elders would “penetrate” their people in. Do you consider me as your brother? Take it or not?!
After thoughtful consideration, Cui Dongdong said that to protect my dear brother from being “penetrated”, I can manage it, but every year you must give me a doubled red packet. Big Boss Xia smashed her out with a pillow – so sweet your dreams are!
On this side, Xia Liuyi had begun to be the Mummy Big Boss – so-called “Double-Knives Big Boss”, but this Big Boss had never taken out his knives after leaving the hospital and had instead changed the dynasty that he was in, by starting to use guns – on the other side, He Chusan just had the high fever go down and got up weakly to review his books. He attended the various makeup tests after a week, and of course, he passed with straight As.
As a high-IQ person who was good at doing introspection, He Chusan’s brain possessed a very great filtrating ability and burned the virus together with black memories, and banished them out. When this high fever withdrew completely, it was already time for summer holidays. Before the school closed, he wheezed and borrowed bags of books from the library. He worked at A-Hua Bing Sutt during the days, lit the candles at night and self-studied hard in his home. For every early morning, he changed the place when practicing. He walked for a few alleyways to the little square before the Lung Tsun Yi Xue*1 - which was the ruins of a school left by the Qing dynasty – in the walled city, and kept practicing his Yang-style t’ai chi ch’uan. Uncle A-Hua got an apprentice when he was old, and thinking He Chusan was worth teaching, he was passionate about training his apprentice. He made He Chusan practice this palm for two hours today, and practice that sweeping foot for three hours tomorrow!
He was abused terribly by Uncle A-Hua every day. Having such a busy life, he didn’t even remember the triad Big Boss who beat him and cussed him out once, but on an early morning he was woken up by a scare from a dream. He forgot the content of the dream immediately, but unexpectedly, he felt his right shoulder aching.
He covered his right shoulder and sat absently on the bed which had been taken up by someone for tens of nights. Eventually, he couldn’t help remembering that night with sparse stars, the tears glimmering like stars on the merciless triad Big Boss’s face, and his frustrating sleeping face with sadness hidden on it.
He remembered his hoarse grunt when he was stabbed by the bamboo pole, the angry but soft and feeble palm he slapped with when he was on his back, and his giggling tease when he had a gun to his head.
The malicious mafia had saved him twice, and he had paid him back twice. There was already no debt between them and he felt that they should have no more association. However, he couldn’t peel the black silhouette from his mind, just like how he forgot those depressive and harmful bloody scenes.
What Xia Liuyi left him was not darkness, but a belligerent and unbending, warm and lively, touch on his heart. It was like the ferocious high tide, splashing and hitting his heart and leaving a deep and long stroke over there. No matter how hard he tried to soothe it, he would hear the thundering beat of tides instantly whenever he remembered that name.
He covered his shoulder and lay down again, burying his head into the sheet. Realizing how he was, he couldn’t do anything but heave a long sigh.
The peaceful life lasted for two months and the start of school was imminent. This morning, he had practiced cutting legs and his entire body was sore. He walked from Lung Tsun Yi Xue to A-Hua Bing Sutt floppily. Right in the alleyway in front of his home, which he had marked as his black area, he encountered a villain who blocked his way to rob him.
Xia Liuyi was in a black suit, lifting his chin, leaning on the alleyway’s wall, and smoking. His hands were in his pockets lazily. He stepped his long leg horizontally on the opposite wall and blocked the way easily.
The thundering sounds of tides appeared in He Chusan’s ears immediately. Being blank for a while, he greeted obediently, “Boss Liuyi.”
“I came to buy the beef entrails,” said Xia Liuyi. He took off the cigarette casually with his left hand and breathed out a small, rounded white circle, “and take my knife back on my way.”
I forgot to state that the Azure Dragon knife he used to threaten He Chusan’s neck last time was still packed and hidden in the stove of the He family.
He Chusan nodded, “Dad is keeping it. You can follow me and take it back from upstairs.”
Xia Liuyi dropped the cigarette ash coldly with pride, “Bring it down for me.”
“It needs to be dug from the stove ash and cleaned. You can go up and take a seat,” He Chusan suggested patiently, “Don’t be afraid. Dad won’t extract your teeth anymore.”
“Huhh!” Xia Liuyi was unexpectedly choked by the smoke! And soon he was burned by the end of the cigarette! “Ahem……F*ck! Who’s afraid of your dad?!”
He took his leg back awkwardly and threw the cigarette away. He patted off the ash that dropped on him, and when he lifted his head, he saw that this kid had lowered his head silently and that his shoulders were quivering!
Xia Liuyi clutched his neck and pulled him close, “You dare to make fun of your Big Boss? You don’t want your f*cking life anymore?!”
He Chusan laughed and hid. He kept coughing because of the pressure on his neck.
Xia Liuyi grabbed him into his arms and slapped his head, “Go back and kowtow to swear to heaven for me. See if I’ll get in the mood to forgive you!”
“I won’t be your 49er,” He Chusan earned a head of messy hair. There was only happiness in his voice, “How are your wounds? Did you recover from all of them?”
Xia Liuyi easily stated, “The tendon in my right arm was cut. I have the strength to hold chopsticks left.”
Noticing He Chusan turning stiff, Xia Liuyi began laughing, “What are you afraid of? Boss Liuyi won’t ask you to compensate for it! I can beat your teeth off even with a single hand!”
He Chusan still stood there quietly, saying nothing. The atmosphere turned awkward at once. Xia Liuyi pushed at him annoyed, “Come on, don’t wait! Go get the knife!”
He Chusan stumbled under his push. He walked a few steps away slowly, and Xia Liuyi suddenly said behind him, “Hey! Kid, can you play billiards?”
He Chusan turned back immediately. He opened his mouth but could only say, “No.”
“I opened a few billiard rooms in Kowloon, and there’s one just in front of your school. Come there after school from now on. It’s fine if you can’t play. Boss Liuyi will teach you himself.”
He Chusan hesitated for a moment, “‘White flour’ is not sold inside, right?”
“F*ck, why would you sell ‘white flour’ for billiard games?! They do have ‘white powder’ for wiping their hands! Do you want me to give you pounds of it?!”
He Chusan nodded again. He said quietly in the darkness, “Then I’ll go.”
Hence, his endless entanglement with the triad Big Boss began.
- *An “Yi Xue” was a school for free and could be private or public. The Lung Tsun Yi Xue mentioned here exists in the real world. It was one of the oldest and most famous buildings in Kowloon Walled City. ↑
TN: Edited by our thoughtful editor Mio Rio :D