Immortal - Book 1: Chapter 27
A Trick of the Trade from Jianghu
“Zhong Shan!” exclaimed Tianling-er.
Hearing Zhong Shan was like receiving an adrenaline shot for Tianling-er, for reasons unknown, ever since that incident with the freezing crows, Tianling-er trusted Zhong Shan unwaveringly, as if he was invincible and could do anything.
Everyone began to part to let Zhong Shan walk up slowly.
Zhong Shan carried his machete on his back and next to him was a man in white wielding a long spear.
“Tang Xiaoyou?” asked Zhao Suoxiang as he looked confusedly at the man in black robes who was carrying a sword.
“Zhao Shixiong.” greeted the sworded man in black robes, however his tone held no respect at all.
“Your Shidi?” asked Zhong Shan, raising his eyebrow at Zhao Suoxiang.
“No, he’s a disciple of the Bright Sword House, but the Bright Sword House and my Iron Spear School are somewhat close and often have contacts.” explained Zhao Suoxiang.
“Alright.” nodded Zhong Shan. It’s good that he isn’t Zhao Suoxiang’s Shidi.
“Zhong Shan, you finally arrived! That guy… my money… He won it all away!” Tianling-er said frustratedly.
The man in black, Tang Xiaoyou, turned and talked with the Golden Brick House host.
“Everyone, the Golden Brick House is closing for the day, so everyone come back tomorrow.” urged the host of the Golden Brick House immediately.
“What the hell? You can’t just close whenever! We haven’t seen enough yet!” complained everyone, chaotically.
However, everyone was rushed out very quickly.
Inside, the only people left were six people: the host, the dealer, Tang Xiaoyou, Tianling-er, Zhong Shan and Zhao Suoxiang.
“Since you’re friends of Zhao Shixiong, then I’ll let you off.” laughed Tang Xiaoyou.
“Unacceptable. Since this is a gambling table you can’t just ‘let us off’. You want to gamble? Let’s gamble.” said Zhong Shan unforgivingly. It’s also for Tianling-er’s sake, avenging her as it were, because Zhong Shan saw that earlier, TIanling-er was on the verge of crying.
Shaking his head, Zhong Shan sat down at the gambling table.
Hearing Zhong Shan say this, Tang Xiaoyou furrowed his brows, watching Zhong Shan, with a hint of ridicule in his eyes.
“Fine, since you want to bet, then let’s continue, although, this is a Kong Ling Gem, what will you wager?” asked Tang Xiaoyou.
Hearing that, Tianling-er immediately started to bring out a magical item, she was too afraid to bet with it earlier, but now with Zhong Shan here, Tianling-er wanted him to bet with it without hesitation.
“Could you hand me my small wooden box.” Zhong Shan asked Tianling-er.
“Eh?” Tianling-er furrowed her brows, but nodded and obliging, flick her hand and a small red wooden box appeared in her palm.
Seeing the wooden box that appeared, the dealer and the host both stared, with eyes wide in shock, at the unbelievable scene before them, desperate measures? or gambling of the gods?
“Zhong Shan, what is this?” asked Tianling-er.
Softly, Zhong Shan opened his little wooden box, revealing a vial containing just one pill.
“A Rejuvenation Pill, this should be of enough value right?” smiled Zhong Shan towards Tang Xiaoyou, whose eyes shone with longing.
“A tier three pill?” asked Zhao Suoxiang incredulously.
Tianling-er also had a face of disbelief. How did Zhong Shan obtain a tier three pill? Where did it come from? Too uncanny, is this real?
Tianling-er immediately grabbed the box and carefully opened it. Upon opening, a waft of a strange scent floated into everyone’s noses, who all immediately felt an overwhelming sense of calm and comfort.
“It truly is a Rejuvenation Pill.” stated Zhao Suoxiang.
“And yours?” smiled Zhong Shan, with a mischievous look in his eyes.
“Kong Ling Gem.” Said Tang Xiaoyou as he brought out his Kong Ling Gem and placed it on the table.
“Alright then dealer, let’s start.” said Tang Xiaoyou. The dealer then began to move slowly as he reached over.
“Hold one.” called Zhong Shan suddenly.
Hearing Zhong Shan’s call, the dealer’s hand stopped immediately.
Zhong Shan carefully opened the dice cup, and inspected one of the dice. Both the host and the dealer’s expressions grew apprehensive.
“A weighted die? Let’s use a new shall we?” said Zhong Shan, shaking his head.
“Weighted?” exclaimed Tianling-er. She then grabbed another die, and with motion of her hand, the die was split open. Immediately, it was obvious that there was a small block of lead inside, and seeing its position in the die, Tianling-er immediately understood how she kept losing all those times.
“Oh I see, you guys are cheating.” shouted Tianling-er angrily. Waving her hand, he red silk shot out and was just about to destroy the gambling table.
“Hold it.” Called Zhong Shan, to Tianling-er.
“They conned me, conned my silver notes.” called Tianling-er.
“It’s only silver notes.” said Zhong Shan.
That’s right. To Zhong Shan, silver notes were worthless, they couldn’t even be used as toilet paper cuz they were too hard. What was a silver note worth in comparison to a Kong Ling Gem?
“But, but…... “ protested Tianling-er not having any counter argument.
“It’s fine, I’ll just win it all back.” said Zhong Shan reassuringly.
“Okay then, but you better win!” said Tianling-er.
“Definitely.” nodded Zhong Shan.
Tang Xiaoyou frowned whilst watching Zhong Shan whilst the host was afraid to delay, and soon, he brought out three more dice, this time the dealer didn’t dare pull any more tricks.
“Alright then, you can inspect it.” said Tang Xiaoyou.
Zhong Shan believed that after the previous scene, the host didn’t dare try anything else, but Zhong Shan still said, “Testing the dice is a must. Not only am I going to test the dice, but the dice cup as well.”
“Be my guest.” sneered Tang Xiaoyou.
Zhong Shan grabbed a die and carefully inspected it, carefully feeling its edges and corners, and only after carefully feeling it until he was positive that there were no problems with it, did he put it back down and then moved onto the dice cup, when he placed the dice into the cup and shook it a few times himself. Finally he decided that everything was standard and without problems.
“Since there are no problems with the dice, then shall we have a someone neutral to throw the dice? What do you think?” smiled Zhong Shan.
“Someone neutral?” frowned Tang Xiaoyou.
“I’ll do it, I’ve rarely played before anyway, so there shouldn’t be any cheating if I do it.” said Zhao Suoxiang suddenly.
“Alright.” Tang Xiaoyou nodded.
“Okay.” nodded Zhong Shan.
The dealer and the host both made space for him and his spear which he placed to one side. He picked up the dice cup and gave it a shake.
After listening to the dice shake around inside for a while, finally Zhao Suoxiang place the dice cup down on the table, letting the dice have their final rolls until they all stopped.
“Alright, let’s start.” said Zhao Suoxiang.
“I want large.” guessed Tang Xiaoyou.
“I also want large.” smiled Zhong Shan suddenly.
“You also want large? How does that work?” stared Tang Xiaoyou.
“How about, we guess the number, see who’s more accurate?” said Zhong Shan with a meaningful smile.
“The number? How could you guess that?” asked Tang Xiaoyou immediately.
“So if I guess it correctly then what happens?” smiled Zhong Shan.
“Guess it correctly? If you guess it right then you win. But if you don’t…... “ sneered Tang Xiaoyou as he watched Zhong Shan.
“Well if I don’t guess correctly then naturally you win.” smiled Zhong Shan.
“Alright.” answered Tang Xiaoyou immediately, if he didn’t agree to this than he would be stupid. Guessing the number? What a joke, with that many dice, how could it be possible to guess the number?
“Alright then.” said Zhong Shan.
At that moment, Tianling-er suddenly grabbed Zhong Shan’s sleeve, and looked at Zhong Shan worriedly. Guess? How would that be possible? She couldn’t guess it right a single time before.
“4, 4, 6, 14 large.” Said Zhong Shan.
After he said it, Zhao Suoxiang had feeling of suspicion, as he slowly lifted the dice cup.
At that moment, everyone was watching in anticipation, awaiting the result. Whilst Tianling-er originally was holding onto Zhong Shan’s sleeve lightly, now she’s grasping at it with worry, so much so that the sleeve would almost be torn off.
“4, 4, 6, 14 large”
The moment when the dice cup was lifted, everyone was stunned, 14 points, it was really 14 points.
“We won… We won!!” exclaimed Tianling-er excitedly, as she hopped up and down energetically whilst still holding onto Zhong Shan’s sleeve. Her face was red with emotion as she kept chanting, ‘We won! We won! We won it all back!”
“Zhong Shan, you’re good.” said Zhao Suoxiang with an air of disbelief as he looked at Zhong Shan.
“Merely luck.” said Zhong Shan as he shook his head. However, at that time, anyone who isn’t an idiot didn’t believe him at all.
After she calmed down, Tianling-er sped to the table and swept it clean of wagers.
Watching the Kong Ling Gem be taken by Tianling-er, Tang Xiaoyou felt a heartache, at the same time, he watched Zhong Shan with a poisonous expression.
“Zhong Shan, it looks like the weather is turning sour, there might be heavy rain soon, you better find somewhere to stay soon, or you can come to my place, and we can catch up properly.” offered Zhao Suoxiang smilingly.
“Alright.” nodded Zhong Shan.
Hearing Zhao Suoxiang say that, Tang Xiaoyou frowned and his eyes shone as if he thought of a good idea.
“Ling-er those dice that helped us win all of that are lucky dice, take it with us, maybe in the future if we meet other gamblers, we can rely on its luck.” laughed Zhong Shan as he lead them out.
“Yeah.” Tianling-er immediately grabbed the three dice, and following Zhong Shan and Zhao Suoxiang, she skipped away.
“Zhong Shan, that was unbelievable. How did you guess it?” asked Zhao Suoxiang as he walked in front.
“It’s the trick of the trade from jianghu, say it and it wouldn’t work anymore, haha.” Laughed Zhong Shan, who neither answered nor denied it.
Tianling-er walked behind them holding the ‘lucky dice’, also frowned, because Tianling-er suddenly discovered that the dice, the eight corners were all different, as though they’ve all been chafed, somewhat, were all dice like this?
Of course, what Tiangling-er didn’t realise is, when Zhong Shan was inspecting the dice, he made his own moves, using the dice cup to test it out was so he could hear the different sounds of the dice corners hitting the sides.
Zhong Shan, being someone over the age of eighty, had already gained the wisdom that comes with age, gambling techniques like this, he had perfected and knows like the back of his hand, all it was using the sounds to pinpoint its position. Each corner is different and makes a different sound, when it finally falls, by listening carefully, one can discern the numbers. After all, Zhong Shan himself owned a gambling house, in comparison to the Golden Brick House, his was on a whole other level, there was no comparison between the two.
- ^ Jianghu litereally means 'rivers and lakes,' but here its referring to the world or environment where the martial artists live and operate outside of mainstrem society.