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Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan

84 Votes
This story sets place during the end of the Sui Dynasty, a time where multiple powers struggle for supremacy and power. Into the fray enters two orphans Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling; these two youths by many chances and luck obtain 'The Secret to Long Life' allowing the two to obtain profound martial abilities and a chance to rise to the top in this age of turmoil.
84 Votes
This story sets place during the end of the Sui Dynasty, a time where multiple powers struggle for supremacy and power. Into the fray enters two orphans Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling; these two youths by many chances and luck obtain 'The Secret to Long Life' allowing the two to obtain profound martial abilities and a chance to rise to the top in this age of turmoil.

Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan


Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan

(84 Votes)
The History of the Tang Dynasty Two Dragons; มังกรคู่สู้สิบทิศ; 大唐双龙传
Huang Yi
Action;  Adventure;  Comedy;  Historical;  Romance;  Wuxia;  
This story sets place during the end of the Sui Dynasty, a time where multiple powers struggle for supremacy and power. Into the fray enters two orphans Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling; these two youths by many chances and luck obtain 'The Secret to Long Life' allowing the two to obtain profound martial abilities and a chance to rise to the top in this age of turmoil.
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This story sets place during the end of the Sui Dynasty, a time where multiple powers struggle for supremacy and power. Into the fray enters two orphans Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling; these two youths by many chances and luck obtain 'The Secret to Long Life' allowing the two to obtain profound martial abilities and a chance to rise to the top in this age of turmoil.
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Chapter 1
Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan Volume 1 Chapter 1 part1
Legend of Great Tang's Two Dragons
大唐双龙传 [Da Tang Shuang Long Zhuan]
Written by Huang Yi
Translated by Foxs

Book 1 Chapter 1 - Depending on each other for survival

Yuwen Huaji stood straight up on the command deck of a warship, his eyes scanned both sides of the canal. It was not dawn yet. The lantern light of these five huge warship overshadowed the moon and the stars in the sky. Just like under the rising of his Yuwen Clan, the landlords[1] of the South had also lost the glory of their former days.

Yuwen Huaji was in his thirties; tall, thin, with long arms and legs, but his face looked old with repressed emotion, looked cold and detached. His pair of eyes was immeasurably deep, giving others the impression that he was a very cold and ruthless man, while striking fear in their hearts with his domineering air.

These five warships were built under the personal supervision of late Chancellor Yang Su during the founding of the Sui Dynasty; they were called the Five-Fang Battleships. Each ship had five decks, with total height reached twelve zhang [unit of length, 1 zhang approx. 3m or 10ft]. Each ship could accommodate eight hundred soldiers.

The five main sails were fully open, the ships glided on the water as fast as runaway horses, heading toward Jiangdu [county level city in Yangzhou, Jiangsu] further downstream of the canal.

Yuwen Huaji's eyes caught sight of the top of the palace towering beyond the treetops lining the bank; it was one of more than forty palaces built by Yang Guang, the Emperor Yang of Sui [569-618, reigned 604-618], along the river to be his imperial residences.

When Emperor Yang of Sui ascended the throne, to link the North and the South, he commissioned the people to dig the canal. Whether it was for military or economic purposes, there was indeed a practical need in linking the North and the South. However, carrying out large-scale construction, building imperial residences, and planting willow trees along the river, were a major waste of manpower and resources.

Zhang Shihe, his trusted aide, who was standing behind him, leaned forward and respectfully said, "We will arrive at Jiangdu before daybreak. If in this trip Zongguan [lit. chief manager] manage to obtain ‘The Secret to Long Life' and present it to His Majesty, it would indeed be a great merit.”

A mysterious smile escaped from the corner of Yuwen Huaji's mouth; he said indifferently, "His Holiness is fascinated with immortality technique concocted by the Daoist School[2]; it is indeed ludicrous. If there really is this pill of immortality, there ought to be immortals long ago, but looking at former sages of the Daoist School, which one did not avoid death? If it were not that this book is woven out of black [or mysterious] gold thread, impervious of water and fire, we can randomly find someone to make a fake one and muddle our way through.”

Zhang Shihe said with a laugh, "After more than ten years of open enquiries and secret search His Holiness has discovered that this book has fallen into the hand of ‘Mountain-Pushing Hand' Shi Long, who is regarded as the number one expert of Yangzhou. Funny thing is, that Shi Long obtained the book with an extravagant hope that he wouldn't die, yet he will definitely die. It is indeed extremely ironic.”

Yuwen Huaji let out a cold snort and muttered Shi Long's name under his breath. Immediately the blood in his body was boiling.

Over the years, due to his high position, he rarely fought hand to hand with anybody. Now the opportunity has finally come.

Great General Jiao Xie, under the ‘Sky King' [orig. ‘fill the sky' king] Wang Xuba, leading a dozen highly-skilled martial art experts under his command, was speeding along the Yangtze River, destroying the tranquility of the river banks. Wang Xuba was one of the militia leaders who wished to topple Sui Emperor from his rule over the land under the heaves [i.e. the whole China]; he had considerable fame and power.

Since Yang Guang assumed the title ‘Emperor', because he always strived to achieve extraordinary things, he repeatedly conducted military expeditions abroad. Furthermore, he indulged in a life of luxury, building numerous palaces and gardens, and went on inspection tour everywhere; hence he indiscriminately levied heavy taxes and made the people endured unspeakable hardship. As a result, robbers sprang up everywhere, those with power rose up to declare themselves ‘kings'. Sui Dynasty could no longer return to the grandiose of its founding days.

In that darkest hour just before dawn, outside the city of Yangzhou, which was established as the capital of Jiangdu County by the Sui Dynasty, lots of ships and boats, big and small, were moored on the dock upstream of the Great River. Specks of lantern lights filled the air, carrying with it some kind of unspeakable desolation in the midst of bustling atmosphere!

Yet Jiao Xie's mind was loaded with the antique jade piece in his bosom, a jade piece carved with two characters ‘wan sui' [lit. ten-thousand years, long live!]

It was the well-known treasured jade belonging to the Great General Shi Wansui of the founding of the Sui Dynasty. In those days, because he listened to slanderous report, the first Sui emperor Yang Jian [541-604, reigned 581-604] deposed Yang Yong as the Crown Prince and set up Yang Guang in his stead. Shi Wansui was implicated and died of injustice. The minister who searched and confiscated his house was Yang Su.

This Yang Su was perhaps the most influential minister at that time. He went to war left and right, and triumphed in every battle; his merit was even more earth shattering than his Lord, hence he was at the receiving end of considerable suspicion and jealousy of the Emperor Wen Di [regnal name of Yang Jian].

Actually, Yang Su himself was unlike his contemporaries; he did not take part in conspiracy of rebellion, in amassing weapons, army provisions, wealth and riches; therefore, when not long afterwards Yang Su fell ill and died, and Emperor Wen Di wiped out his clansmen in one night, the Emperor failed to find Yang Su's treasure-trove.

Henceforth there was a rumor that whoever could find the ‘Duke Yang's Hidden Treasure' would be able to unify the world [again, i.e. China].

And now the treasured jade has appeared, it has become an important trail in tracking down the treasure trove.

Seven days ago, somebody found this piece of jade in a pawnshop in Danyang [county, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu]. As soon as Wang Xuba received the news, he sent out his men everywhere to track it down for hundreds of li [1 li is approx. 1/2km or 1/3 of a mile] before he was able to zero in on his target.

What's hard to understand was that if the pawnshop did indeed obtain the treasure, where were the other articles? Why was it that only this lightweight and well-known piece of jade managed to get out and thus revealed the secret of the treasure?

Right this moment, Jiao Xie's wandering mind abruptly came back to reality, for just beyond the place where the Great River met the canal, he saw the dark shadow of the sail, as well as the lantern lights of the five large ‘Five-Fang Battleships'.

Jiao Xie's heart was shaken; immediately he waved his hand, signaling his men to leave the riverbank and entered the forest next to the shore.

Just east of Yangzhou city wall, there was a manor abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. For the most part the structure had already been worn down by years of disrepair. Eroded by the wind and the rain, invaded by termites, it was practically ready to collapse. Only one small brick room on the corner, under roof tiles full of holes, covered by wooden board, could barely be used for shelter.

From inside the dark room came the noise of someone moaning in pain, followed by the sound of a body rolling against the floor.

A voice that sounded like it belonged to a child called out softly, "Xiao Ling! Xiao Ling! [Little Ling] Is it still painful?”

After more groaning, another young voice replied, "That damn Yan Laoda [boss, leader of a (usually criminal) gang], it's really awful. Ay! Next time we have the goods, we must not go to that dead grass to do business. Not only he is mean and depressed prices, he still have to tell that dog-thief Yan Laoda. I just wanted to keep half a word hidden from him, and had to suffer extreme beating.”

The speakers were two street urchins who lived at that broken-down house. Their parents and family were fleeing the war and were killed by robbers, hence they became orphans. Two young boys met by chance and hit if off immediately, henceforth they depended on each other for survival, their relationship was closer than real siblings.

The slightly older one, Kou Zhong, turned seventeen that year, the younger one was called Xu Ziling, he was barely sixteen.

Kou Zhong crawled over on the woven mat on the floor in the dark toward Xu Ziling, trying to comfort him, "It's alright as long as you are not beaten till your hands and feet are maimed. Even if he, Yan Laoda is as crafty as a ghost, he will suffer our wrath. Hey, once he drank the water to wash our, two Yangzhou dragons, feet, as soon as we can grab hold of two more piece of silver, we will have enough travel expenses to renounce the dark and seek the light; we can join the militia.”

Disappointed, Xu Ziling lay down on the floor, while stroking his still burning jaw. "Actually, how much more do we need?” he asked, "I really don't want to see that Yan Laoda's crafty face anymore.”

A bit awkward, Kou Zhong replied, "Hey, we still need two taels [unit weight, approx. 50g (modern) or 1/16 of a catty (old)] and a half, a total of twenty-five qian [unit weight, 1/10 of a tael] to go.”

Xu Ziling sat up in shock, his voice breaking, "Didn't you say a tael and a half? How come now it is two taels and a half?”

With a deep sigh Kou Zhong said, "Actually, how much more money we still need is not a big deal, the most disappointing thing is that Peng Xiaocai who failed to live up to expectations; only two, three times, and he is already fixed by the authority.”

And then he got excited as he grabbed Xu Ziling's shoulders and said, "But don't worry, when I went to Chun Feng Lou [Spring Breeze Inn, ‘lou' refers to two-story building] to steal something to eat last night, I heard people say that nowadays the most powerful one is Li Zitong. The valiant generals under him are as numerous as the cloud, such as Bai Xin and Qin Chaowen, who are top experts of the Wulin [martial art] world. Recently they subdued another militia army led by Zuo Xiaoyou; their fame and power are flourishing even more.”

Doubtful, Xu Ziling asked, "Didn't you say earlier that the most formidable is Peng Xiaocai? And after him it was Yang Gongqing, who once defeated Yang Guang's army in a surprise attack? How come now it is suddenly Li Zitong? Other than he, you also mentioned some Li Hongzhi, Hu Liumiao, Wang Deren, and so on; what roles are they playing?”

Obviously Kou Zhong was unable to answer his question. He hummed and hawed, and then with a sheepish smile he said, "In this whole wide world we only have each other, brothers; if you don't believe me, whom would you believe? How can I point out a ‘black' road for you to take? Based on my insight, I am sure we will be able to pick the most promising militia army. When we gain the whole world, based on our, two boys, vision and competence, I, Kou Zhong, will become, at least, the Prime Minister, and you will definitely be a great general.”

With a bitter smile Xu Ziling said, "Merely Yan Laoda is able to beat us that we cannot crawl up; how can I have the competence to be a great general?”

Puffing his chest, Kou Zhong said, "That's why I force you to eavesdrop Bai Lao Fuzi's [old master/teacher] lecture every day; also go to peek and steal martial art skill from under the large tree by Shi Long's training field. Vision and competence must be fostered; we will definitely be a pinnacle of virtue and ability. At least we can go back to become a state official in Yangzhou. When that time comes, Yan Laoda will be in big trouble.”

With a deep frowned Xu Ziling said, "Right now I am hurting really bad, Bai Lao Fuzi is as boring as watching bird hatching eggs. How about early in the morning tomorrow?”

After thinking about it for a while, Kou Zhong yielded, "I'll let you go tomorrow, but you must take care of the early morning meal first. I want to eat the veggie steamed bun from Zhen Sao's [sister-in-law] graceful hands.”

Xu Ziling groaned and lay back down on the mat.
[1] From the dictionary: land-owning class, esp. during Wei, Jin and North-South dynasties.

[2] From the dictionary: Daoist School of the Warring States Period (475-221BC), based on the teachings of Laozi (c. 500BC) and Zhuangzi (369-286BC).

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