Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cin cu ling

This is the first Tonghong Giok's work I have read. It's a very interesting story, quite captivating. The Indonesian title was 'Left-handed swordsman', although I think the main character, 21 year-old Ling Kun-gi, was not left-handed. His teacher, an ex-Shaolin-monk, was. So kungfu-moves taught to Ling Kun-gi were left-handed version, which confused his opponents. Ling Kun-gi's teacher was also a master of disguise.

This book was published in 1979, the original title is 'Zhen zhu ling' (Cin cu ling). It referred to a peanut sized pearl with the word 'Ling' on it. Ling means 'order'.

Tong family in the north was famous with their secret weapons and poisons, while Un family in the south famous with anesthetic/drug. Head of the family of both were missing. Under each of their pillows, a pearl with character 'Ling' was found. Then a Shaolin monk who excelled in medicine was also missing. Ling Kun-gi happened to have a similar pearl from his heirloom, so his teacher asked him to see if the pearl found in the Shaolin monk's case was the same as his. Ling Kun-gi's mother had been missing for a year, so he also used this opportunity to see if the cases were connected. Ling Kun-gi's pearl and the pearl from the case turned out to be different in size. [Ling Kun-gi's pearl was the size of a quail egg.]

It seemed that Mr. Tong, Mr. Un and the Shaolin monk had been kidnapped by the same group. Following this pattern, then a Mr. Cu would be the next target. Ling Kun-gi went to the Cu's and disguised himself as Mr. Cu. He was kidnapped and met the 3 missing persons. The kidnappers wanted them to make an antidote to counteract a very deadly poison. Ling Kun-gi's pearl, le liong-cu, could treat any kind of poison, so when he put the pearl in a bowl of poison, the poison turned into water. Knowing that "Mr. Cu" could make the antidote, a group called pek-hoa-pang (White Flower), kidnapped "Mr. Cu" from the previous kidnappers.

The first group of kidnappers was from hek-liong-hwe (Black Dragon), an enemy of pek-hoa-pang. Pek-hoa-pang was afraid of hek-liong-hwe because the latter had the deadly poison. But now as pek-hoa-pang had the antidote, they made a plan to attack hek-liong-hwe. Ling Kun-gi was made the leader of the attack, but later he found out that the master of pek-hoa-pang had planned to sacrifice him and his group.

In hek-liong-hwe's headquarters, Ling Kun-gi found the secret of his own family. His father was the previous leader of hek-liong-hwe, killed in a betrayal; and his mother, who was pregnant- had to flee. His mother had taught him the 3 moves of their family swordsplay, but in the heart of hek-liong-hwe's headquarters, Ling Kun-gi learnt the rest 9 moves. Our hero's next move was, of course, to avenge his father's death. I think when he killed the last enemy he forgot to ask about his father's remains.

It's not clear why the first group of kidnappers left cin-cu-ling under pillows. It was an obvious clue that the three kidnappings were connected. Perhaps the leader of the kidnappers wanted to fish out the owner of the le-liong-cu. Le-liong-cu was originally belonged to the leader of hek-liong-hwe, and when Ling Kun-gi's mother ran to save herself 21 years ago, she had taken the pearl with her. With this pearl in his pocket, the leader of hek-liong-hwe could went under a pool of deadly poison in their headquarters, into a secret cave.

Ling Kun-gi was described as a handsome young man, perhaps too handsome, that all girls whom he met fell in love with him. It doesn't really make sense, but as it's entertaining, it's ok then. He ended up with four wives, looked like the author didn't want the readers felt sorry for any broken-hearted girl.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pedang Kiri Pedang Kanan

Published in 1977, it is not clear who the author of this book.

Sau Cing-in, the leader of Pak-cay (pak=north), invented an unbeatable swordplay called Siang-liu-kiam-hoat. He showed the swordplay to 3 other leaders, each from Tang-wan (tang=east), Se-koan (se=west) and Lam-han (lam=south). Sau Cing-in never went home after the meeting.

Months later, the martial arts world heard about the unbeatable Siang-liu-kiam-hoat. A team led by a Bu-tong priest tried to find Sau Cing-in, dead or alive; but those people who went looking for him also never returned.

Seven years later, Soat Ciau-hoa and her boyfriend, Tio Tai-peng, found the missing people on top of snowy Ki-lian mountain. The missing people had been all dead and it looked like they killed each other in their greed to get the swordplay manual. The dead Bu-tong priest carried a rare red pearl which could repel cold. Tio Tai-peng agreed that the red pearl should be kept by Soat Siau-hoa. Inside a cave, Soat Ciau-hoa found Sau Sing-in's dead body with the manual. Tio Tai-peng didn't want to share the manual with her, so he grabbed the manual from her and cut off her left hand. Soat Ciau-hoa, in return, made Tio Tai-peng lost his right hand. She also told him that they should go separate ways and that she was pregnant with his kid, but he would never see the kid.

Tio Tai-peng never knew that the swordplay manual consisted of 2 books. Siang-liu-kiam-hoat should be played with two swords: one with left hand, and one with right hand. Luckily he got the left-hand swordplay manual, on the other hand, Soat Ciau-hoa got right-hand-manual.

Fifteen years later, Tio Tai-peng met a servant boy named Soat Peng-say who had a red pearl. He thought the boy was his son. The family name was correct anyway. He took the boy to his home and taught him the left hand swordplay. Although the boy never knew his real father, he also didn't believe that Tio Tai-peng was his father because when he asked Tio Tai-peng to guess his mother's name, the answer was wrong. Soat Peng-say told his teacher that his mother had been dead when he was 10. This caused a misunderstanding because Soat Peng-say's mother was not Soat Siau-hoa. Tio Tai-peng thought Soat Siau-hoa had been dead and that he would never see her again. He wanted to tell her that he had regretted for cutting off her left hand.

Five years later, Soat Peng-say had finished the lesson and returned to his employer. Actually he was the employer's mother's grandson. That same night, someone saw how he played the left-hand-swordplay and kidnapped him with his cousin Cin Yak-leng who was with him in the garden. The kidnapper worked for Sau Cing-in. As Sau Cing-in had never been found, when she saw Soat Peng-say played the left-hand swordplay, she thought she had found a clue. The mistress of Pak-cay told Soat Peng-say the story of Siang-liu-kiam-hoat and asked his help to find Sau Cing-in. Soat Peng-say agreed to help because he didn't believe his teacher killed Sau Cing-in in order to get the swordplay manual.

Meanwhile, the young lord from Tang-wan kidnapped Cin Yak-leng, thought that she was the mistress of Pak-cay. The Tang-wan's young lord wanted to marry the mistress of Pak-cay, who was actually his own sister. In his way to rescue his beloved Cin Yak-leng, Soat Peng-say met Soat Koh, a swordswoman who could play the right-hand-swordplay from Siang-liu-kiam-hoat. Easy to guess that Soat Koh was Tio Tai-peng's real daughter.

If the left-hand or right-hand swordplay was played alone, it was like any ordinary swordplay. But if Soat Peng-say and Soat Koh worked together, the teamwork became unbeatable. However, they hardly worked together. Soat Peng-say even decided to learn the right-hand swordplay so he could use both swords himself.

In his journey, Soat Peng-say would find his real father and changed his name to Sau Peng-say.

Apart from the swordplay which used two swords, there was also a song called Siau-go-yan-he which should be played with a flute and a zither. If played by a flute or zither alone, near the end of the song, the player would suffer a grave inner wound and spit blood. The song, played individually, could make its audience morose; but played in a duet, it was a happy song. If the players were both male, they would have eternal friendship; if played by a couple, they would love each other until the end of the world. The song also could make its audience stunned, which was very dangerous if it was played during a fight.

The book was quite enjoyable to read, although there were minor annoying things. Soat Koh left Sau Peng-say after knowing that he was only after her right-hand swordplay (though it was not the case); but she returned to help him at a critical moment and taught him the right-hand swordplay after all. Tonghong Kui-le, the daughter of Mokau-leader [Mokau was considered a devil sect] who played the zither to accompany Sau Peng-say's flute, did not win Sau Peng-say's love; even though the duet supposed to make them eternal lov3rs. Sau Peng-say's hatred was very strong, though, as Tonghong Kui-le's father killed his father and all his students.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Graceful Swordsman - Gu Long

First published in 1966, this book had a very good plot. I myself like this one better than Little Li's Flying Dagger, so this is my 3rd favorite among all Gu Long works I have read. [No.1 The Legend of Coh Liu-hiang, No.2 The Remarkable Twins].

Ji Hong-ho - the chief of Bu-kek-pay - had retired from the martial arts world. His only son, a young man named Ji Pwe-giok, was the hero in this story. Ji Pwe-giok saw his father being murdered in front of him. Soon after that, his fianceƩ Lim Tay-ih came to tell him that her own father and 4 of his friends - each of them first class swordsman - had also been murdered. However, those 5 people who Lim Tay-ih had said had been dead, came to Ji Pwe-giok's house - all alive - and it seemed his father had not been dead as well.

Ji Pwe-giok thought he went crazy. None believed his story and Lim Tay-ih also denied what she had said before. In desperation, Ji Pwe-giok ran from them and went to the big meeting of the 13 clans (Shaolin, Butong, Hoasan etc) [with Bu-kek-pay, all were 14 clans, but since Ji Hong-ho had retired, originally only 13 clans had been scheduled to attend the meeting.] in Hong-ti, hoping to find an answer. On his way to Hong-ti, Ji Pwe-giok made friends with the Beggar's Clan's chief, who would be a great help to him in the future.

In the Hong-ti meeting, the fake Ji Hong-ho were chosen to be the chief of the martial arts world. [The real Ji Hong-ho was the initiator of the first Hong-ti meeting 70 years ago, so this old man was very respected. I don't know if the '70 years ago' was mistranslated. Even if Ji Hong-ho was 20 years old then, that made him 90 years old in the beginning of his story. I'd like to think Ji Pwe-gion's age was 25 years old. The book only said that he was 'a young man'. But probably he was younger, perhaps 18 years old. He had never met his fianceƩ at the beginning of the story and not much older than Cu Lui-ji who was 11-12 years old.]

With the power given to him, fake Ji Hong-ho was now the most powerful man in the martial arts world. The 13 clans were ready to do what he commanded. Since Ji Pwe-giok was the only person who knew his secret, fake Ji Hong-ho wanted the young man dead.

Being slandered with the murder of two clans' chiefs and hunted by everyone, Ji Pwe-giok ran into Sat-jin-ceng, a place where one could freely kill another, no question asked. In this place, he met an old man who hid him and changed his face (=facial surgery) so he could go out and investigate the mystery behind his father's death. The old man gave him a perfect handsome face, which would soon got 2 cuts by a desperate young woman, despite what his 'friend' believed: "With a face like that, no woman will harm him."

The story in this book spanned 6 months and in his journey, Ji Pwe-giok met characters with higher and higher fighting skills, that in the middle of the book, the 13 clans chiefs were nothing. Ji Pwe-giok himself learned more and more martial arts, and with his patience and intelligence, in the end he finally could avenged his father's death, solved the mystery and cleaned his name.

I really liked the idea of how things started and enjoyed reading this book a lot. I almost couldn't put it down. Ji Pwe-giok was described as: polite, clever, attentive, patient, and meek; all these traits made me like him very much. The dialogues were funny at times and made me giggle. The way how a woman's face was compared to a wall, for example. Khu Lung wrote about it a couple of times that I began to think this was a common thought in China.

I read that the epilogue had been written by someone else (not Gu Long). Gu Long forgot several things, like: 1)Ji Pwe-giok's name had not been cleaned concerning the murder of Tong Bu-siang, Cia Thian-pi and the Kunlun's chief, and 2)Ji Pwe-giok's relationship with Lim Tay-ih. The epilogue given was enlightening, but I don't like how he ended up with three women as his wives.

Mi Jian Shen Sing

This book was first published here in 1979. Some people speculated that it had been written by Gu Long, but some people thought it had not. I myself think this was enjoyable enough to read, although the plot was not complicated, compared to [my favourite] Gu Long books.

The Indonesian title is 'Kemelut di Ujung Ruyung Emas' which loosely means 'Chaos caused by the golden rod/whip'. I couldn't find the right English word for 'ruyung', which is one of weapons used in martial arts world. It's like a bamboo horse-whip, but made of metal. I couldn't find any picture of it with Google, but I have a comic book where 'ruyung' is pictured. See below.
'Ruyung' is used by the man on the left side.
This pic comes from Sie Jin-kui comic, adapted & illustrated by Siauw Tik-kwie
The story spanned for 2 years. The main character was a young man named Bok Ji-sia. Bok Ji-sia was handsome, but very proud and stubborn. He had a very embarrassing past, that he lived only to avenge his parents's deaths and after it was completed, he planned to commit suicide, for he had no face to live anymore. In his bitterness, he refused every girl who loved him because he believed the relationship would come to nothing.

The story began with Bok Ji-sia secretly broke into Thian-seng-po (name of a fortress), to 'borrow' a manual, to cure his illness. This illness made him weak that he couldn't use his fighting skill to start his revenge. In Thian-seng-po, he met the real owner of the fortress who had been prisoned for 18 years by his two brothers. The dying old man cured his illness and gave him his powerful inner strength. He also gave Bok Ji-sia a famous gold rod and made the young man promise to guard it, for it was a key to open a big secret. The gold rod would put Bok Ji-sia in danger because many swordsmen wanted the weapon. Readers could guess that the secret would involve a manual of a unbeatable fighting skill.

The actions in this book came right after another that at points I felt tired reading them. Bok Ji-sia wanted to pay revenge but he didn't know who his enemy was. He didn't know who had killed his parents and who had harmed him that he had no face to live. At several points, although he was clever, he was stupid enough not to realize that his so-called friend wanted to kill him. When he knew who he enemy was, it was not through his own investigation, for he had not even a tiny clue where to start, but he was told by someone who directly connected to the tragic event.

The story could end in a happy ending, but the author probably made Bok Ji-sia an arrogant young man that readers would feel it was okay if he was dead in the end. It was no matter how talented Bok Ji-sia was nor he could be a great swordsman in the future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Lonestar Swordsman - Gu Long

The story in this book (first published in 1960) started and developed well, but there were too many twists in the end, which I think didn't quite make sense a bit... or perhaps I was just irritated because things didn't go as I had guessed.

Little Hui Giok lost his father and uncle, both murdered by a mysterious masked man who robbed the Jade Frog they had been guarded. [They were from a shipping expedition.] At this time many shipping companies's owners were murdered by the masked man, leaving only Tham Beng. As a sole surviver, Tham Beng's shipping company prospered quickly, for he was the only one they could hire. A dead masked man was later found dead that they thought the dead man was the mysterious murderer. Case closed.

Tham Beng took Hui Giok - and other children from murdered shipping companies' owners - to his home and raised them. He separated them and 'intimidated' them. Hui Giok, for example, was told that he was stupid. He was taught fighting skill but he didn't even could defeat a servant. He spent his days lamenting his stupidity. Too bad he fell in love with Tham Beng's daughter, Tham Bun-ki.

Knowing he would never win her hand with his current situation, Hui Giok ran away from Tham Beng's house. He hoped he could become a successful man so Tham Bun-ki could admire him. In his journey, he met interesting people with high skilled kungfu, made a couple of friends, but also became deaf and mute for a while. Due to his good luck, he became the leader of people's union from the south, and became Tham Beng's main rival. Hui Giok gradually learned that he was actually not as stupid as he had believed and his confidence grew. He realized that he was basically very talented and smart and Tham Beng had been afraid of him that Tham Beng had not taught him anything.

Readers could guess that Tham Beng was the masked murderer and he had murdered all his rivals, but had it been really the case? If Hui Giok avenged his father and uncle by killing Tham Beng, how could he face Tham Bun-ki, whom he always loved? Tham Beng was not all guilty for all he had been accused. In the end he got what he deserved and Hui Giok could live happily and peacefully with Tham Bun-ki.

Lady Siang's Sword - Gu Long

First published in 1960, this book was one of Khu Lung's early works. The plot was very interesting and I plan to re-read this sometime in the future. Siu Tok, a high-skilled swordsman, was actually not a bad man; but because of his strange nature, people misunderstood him and believed that his character was bad. Ten people known as 'jit-kiam-sam-pian' [it means seven of them carried swords and three carried flogs/whips] surrounded him when he was alone. When they confronted him for his sins, Siu Tok stayed silent, believing that he had done what was right.

They eventually could kill Siu Tok because he had been paralyzed from waist below, due to Mao Kau's trick. Mao Kau was one of the 10 people. Siu Tok had fallen in love with his sister and Mao Kau used her to harm Siu Tok. Several people from 'jit-kiam-sam-pian' also wanted to kill Siu Tok because they wanted to cover their own crimes. They hated him so much that they ruined his dead body.

Mao Kau's sister regretted what she had done to Siu Tok and she went away. At that time she was pregnant with Siu Tok's baby. She went to a mysterious island inhabited by high-skilled kungfu masters. It can be predicted that Siu Tok's kid would avenge his father's terrible death.

Years passed and appeared this handsome young man who claimed that he came from a rich family and wanted to see the world. Easy to guess that this was Siu Tok's son. He looked like someone who never learned martial arts, but actually it was because he had already perfected his skill, so he was very dangerous, that was, of course, to his enemies. He was also very clever and smart and already had schemes how to deal with his enemies. At this time, Mao Kau had a high position in the martial world and was very respected.

As this story was written by Khu Lung, things didn't go well as planned. Siu Su (it's Siu Tok's son's name) was very smart, but he had lived in a deserted island all his life so he lacked experience. Although he was only appeared for a couple of months in martial art world, it turned out his enemies were not merely those who had killed his father. His life was in great danger when his real identity had been exposed.

To get to his main enemy Mao Kau, Siu Su used Mao Kau's daughter, Mao Bun-ki. Using his handsome face, soon Mao Bun-ki was crazy about Siu Su. Mao Bun-ki had a sworn sister, Buyung Siok-sing. Knew that Siu Su only played with Mao Bun-ki's feeling, Buyung Siok-sing captured Siu Su and took him to look for Mao Bun-ki. It was a pity that during this capture, the author didn't put more effort to tell what had happened [but he did a good job years later in 'The Remarkable Twins'], the next thing we knew, when Siu Su and Buyung Siok-sing appeared again, they were attracted to each other. Mao Bun-ki found out about how Siu Su and Buyung Siok-sing had betrayed her love and she went crazy. She ruined her own beautiful face.

Like The Count of Monte Cristo, Siu Su found a hidden treasure and used it to finance his schemes. This story ended with a happy ending, at least for Siu Su and Buyung Siok-sing, with forgiveness for both sides... quite a rare thing in the martial art world, where men should take revenge for their father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, grandmother, grandfather, student, uncle, friend ... or anyone who has any relation to them.

The title means the unique sword used by Mao Bun-ki. It was a magnetic sword and used by high-skilled Mao Bun-ki, it could beat any sword... except swords not made of steel. I think it was a 'bad' title, for Mao Bun-ki's sword was not major issue in this story.

Flower-Guarding Bell - Gu Long

This book was first published in 1962. The story was the adventures of Lamkiong Peng, the 5th student of the Powerful Dragon. Powerful Dragon was number one swordsman at that time. The story began with the long-waited duel between Powerful Dragon and his ex-lover Yap Jiu-pek, to determine which one of them was the best. It ended with Powerful Dragon missing. However, he had a time to left a message to his 5th student, his youngest and most talented student, to keep his sword and guard a coffin.

Separated from other students, Lamkiong Peng, who was the only son of a wealthy merchant, found that the coffin contained a beautiful lady. She was known as an evil woman, but as it was his master's last wish, Lamkiong Peng did what he could to guard her and protect her. As soon as the news about her re-appearance known, people came to kill her. Actually it was a misunderstanding that made the Powerful Dragon fought her ten years ago and it ended with her imprisoned in the coffin since. During that time she did not age and she was still as beautiful as ever. [Like a fairy tale, right?] Lamkiong Peng and she fell in love with each other, but Powerful Dragon also left another wish, that was for Lamkiong Peng to marry Miss Yap Man-jing, the student of Yap Jiu-pek.

Meanwhile, a mysterious man tried to rule the martial world. He gathered best swordsmen to work for him, and those who refused were given drugs that they forgot everything but subdued his commands.

There was also a mysterious island inhabited by legendary swordsmen. Lamkiong Peng was given a task by his parents to deliver all the Lamkiong's wealth to the island as a part of a pact made hundreds of years ago by their anchestors. Those who had gone there would never go back, but as Lamkiong Peng was our hero in this story, he of course came back to the mainland, with high-skilled kungfu to beat the mysterious man and his gang.

As for the title, Lamkiong Peng's parents and uncle used 3 pairs of bells to signal each other if there was a danger. The bells were later given to Lamkiong Peng and he could give them to the woman he liked.

The web of the plots was quite complicated, but still could be enjoyed. This was one of Khu Lung's first works anyway. But because there were so many to tell in this little book, the characters's development was limited. The previous book I read 'Tale of A Wandering Swordsman' was better in this aspect.

The Tale of A Wandering Swordsman - Gu Long

First published in 1961, this was one of Khu Lung's early works. From articles I had read, I had an impression that his works before The Remarkable Twins in 1967 were unworthy to read. However, I think the Tale of A Wandering Swordsman is enjoyable to read.

I wonder why for the English title 'a wandering swordsman' was chosen. The main characters were 2 swordsmen, although one of them was not 'wandering', because he was the son of a wealthy man, meant he had a big home.

The two main characters were Liong It-hiong and Pang Bun-hiong. They were of the same age, about 25 years old. [More or less they were of the same age as the author.] Liong It-hiong was known as The Dragon and Pang Bun-hiong as The Tiger. They both enjoyed good life and frequented brothels, definitely not model swordsmen, at least in the moral aspect. From their first meeting, they competed with each other, tried to find which one of them was the best swordsman. As time passed, the duel never came, instead they became good friends and helped each other.

Liong It-hiong met a dying old man when he was on his way for a duel with Pan Bun-hiong. The dying old man gave him a little black box and asked him to deliver it to a certain hill, the headquarters of a powerful group of bandits led by a mysterious man. Along the way, many people tried to rob the black box away from him. The rumour was the black box contained a treasure map belonged to a well-known previous bandit leader, Oh Kiam-lam. The ones who wanted the black box were mainly Oh Kiam-lam's seven sworn-brothers, who had taken his place after his death.

In wuxia stories, a promise should not be broken, so Liong It-hiong did whatever it took to deliver the black box, although he didn't know what was inside. He also had a task from a retired detective to find a prostitute named Giok-nio, who later turned out to be Oh Kiam-lam's sister. Until the end I didn't fully understand what the black box contained, perhaps I missed the part when it was mentioned, or perhaps it was really empty - because it was merely a trap to lure Oh Kiam-lam's seven brothers to kill each other.

The identity of the mysterious leader was easy to guess, but this little book was worth my time. The dialogues between Liong It-hiong and Pan Bun-hiong were quite funny, although not as very good as the dialogues in Khu Lung's later works i.e. The Remarkable Twins or The Legend of Coh Liu-hiang [This two are my most favourite]. People said that among the first five books (or perhaps all) of Coh Liu-hiang books, the Great Desert was the best. I myself cannot decide between The Great Desert and The Thrush, and I also liked The Legend of The Bat a lot; because Oh Thi-hoa were in those three books. In Coh Liu-hiang movies, Oh Thi-hoa was described as a wine-devil who was drunk a lot; but in the books, he was a great friend and I enjoyed reading his conversations with Coh Liu-hiang. Coh Liu-hiang was not arrogant like Sherlock Holmes and Oh Thi-hoa was not a stiff British gentleman like Dr. Watson, so although in most of those dialogues Coh Liu-hiang, as the cleverer, explained things to Oh Thi-hoa (and us readers), they were enjoyable to read, amusing and sometimes made you giggle.

Smile of The Sword God (Lu Siao Feng) - Gu Long

If I am not mistaken, this is the last book from the Liok Siao-hong series. In this book (first published in 1981), the author wanted to tell an incident, the only incident, that made the Sword God smile/laugh. In Liok Siao-hong's world, there was only 1 Sword God, and that was Sebun Jiu-soat. To become a sword god was not an easy matter and that was why the people never saw Sebun Jui-soat smile, thus this story was created. However, after I read this story, I didn't find the incident extraordinary enough to make Sebun Jui-soat smile. It was hardly funny enough to make me smile.

Liok Siao-hong's friend went missing after going to a deserted poor small town to examine something [he was an escort for a shipping company]. Liok Siao-hong went to the small town to find about his friend's fate. During the investigation, he saw the dead body of his friend and felt that his own life was in great danger, because although the town was small and poor, the inhabitants were of interesting characters. Which one of them had killed hid friend? From the clues, it must be someone whom he had really trusted. At the end of part 1, there was a news that Liok Siao-hong had died in the small town.

His friend Beef Soup (I have no idea why Beef Soup became his friend. In the previous book, Beef Soup was his enemy.) went to Sebun Jiu-soat's house to ask for his help. Because he was the number 1 swordsman, she thought the Sword God could handle Liok Siao-hong's enemies in the small town. But the enemies were too clever and both Beef Soup and Sebun Jiu-soat fell into their hands. The whole thing was the bad guys's scheme to rob a shipment of gold passing through the little town. Liok Siao-hong also didn't die because of the help of his friend Sukong Ti-sing, the king of thief and a master of disguise. The disguise thing was very interesting to read and it was clever enough to fool the clever bad guys... and made the Sword God smile.

As for the murder mystery, the conclusion was similar to the Murder on the Orient Express.