Modern Chinese Short Story: Everything must be shared in half


The bandits made a rule: if you want to cross the Hexi Corridor, you have to keep half of everything! But can they really keep anything and dare to keep anything?

Once you cross the Hexi Corridor, you get half of the jewelry

Modern Chinese Short Story

Red Water River west of the rolling hills, there is a dozens of miles of canyon, is the way to and from the merchants, known as the “Hexi Corridor”. Later, a group of bandits were cooped up here, and the government had sent people to besiege them many times, but these bandits occupied favorable mountain terrain, and each time the government lost troops and returned with a big defeat, over time, this “Hexi Corridor” has become a bandit’s paradise, so that people talk about the tiger.

Amazingly, the bandit leader, Wu Fatian, later carved a rule on the stone monument at the mouth of the valley: people passing by must leave half of the goods they brought as road fees, otherwise they would not be able to travel safely. This made passers-by complain a lot, but there was nothing they could do about it, so they had to meekly hand over half of their belongings each time to seek safety. This group of bandits is also faithful to their words: handed over, safe release; not handed over, will not be allowed to cross the border, but also rarely hurt the innocent.

This day, a middle-aged man carrying a package into the northern entrance of the canyon, just turned a corner, and met several minions. The man saw them all gathered around, not waiting to make a move, himself first handed over the package: “You do not need to search, I carry a lot of belongings, also know the rules, since you want to give you half, I have to see your fortress master, personally handed to him.” Said open the package, inside is really all the jewelry.

These minions see the man honest and deceivable, and alone, led him to see the head of Wu Fatian. When they saw the leader of the bandits, the man appeared to be very relaxed and introduced himself: “I am Li Kai, I heard that there is a rule in the Hexi Corridor that whatever goods you bring, you will accept half of it and guarantee safety across the valley, right?”

Wu Fatian laughed: “As the saying goes, there is a way to steal. A gentleman’s word is a team of horses, never go back on your word!”

Li Kai had the audacity to ask, “Have you never broken your promise?”

Wu Fatian could not help but say angrily: “You can ask around, when have I ever broken my promise? As long as you obediently hand over half of your belongings, we will send you out of the valley and guarantee your safety, and will not let the wolves, insects and tigers hurt you!”

Li Kai then nodded and said, “With this word from you, I am relieved. I have to walk this road often in the future. What if you go back on your word?” Said just about to open the package, suddenly looked up again and asked, “You really dare to accept any goods?”

Wu Fatian laughed: “There is nothing in the world I dare not accept, even the treasures of the palace, I will accept them without fail. If I go back on my word, I will give you the position of fortress master!”

Li Kai opened the package, it was full of gold and silver jewelry. He immediately gave half of it to Wu Fatian and left with the other half. Wu Fatian did not go back on his word, and had two of his men personally send him out of the canyon.

Wu Fatian was very happy to get such a large amount of money for nothing, and drank all night that night. The group is speculating, this Li Kai is who, why with so much property passing through? The most puzzling thing is that he so easily handed over so many belongings.

Two over the Hexi Corridor, the enemy share you half

So after half a month, this day, the south side of the valley entrance hurriedly run into a person. Guards of the valley of the minions just want to go over to question, a look up actually found that the last time they sent money to the big patron came again. Yes, it is Li Kai. The minions were about to ask questions, but Li Kai looked very flustered: “Take me to see the owner, the goods I brought this time is very special, I have to talk to him personally.”

The minions laughed: “As long as you have more money, you can see him every day.”

When Wu Fatian saw Li Kai coming again, he smiled and asked, “This is not the first time that Mr. Li has crossed this road, the usual rules, what do you have with you this time?”

Li Kai asked, “Did the owner of the fortress say that I should take half of anything I bring for the road fee and never go back on my word?”

Wu Fatian nodded and said, “What’s the point of all that nonsense? Even if what you bring is the treasure pearl from the emperor’s head, I will take half of it, and definitely leave you half. If I go back on my word, this fortress master will be you! What exactly has Boss Li brought this time, let me open my eyes.”

Li Kai laughed: “I am relieved to have your words, something will be sent into the valley later, you bring more people to get it.” Dare to say that there are quite a lot of things, Wu Fatian immediately led the people to follow Li Kai to the place not far from the entrance of the valley. Who knows that once there, Li Kai asked everyone to hide in the woods first, and then come out when the stuff is delivered.

Wu Fatian felt even more confused, but as long as it is here, and not afraid of him to cheat, so let the minions do as Li Kai said.

Not long after, the entrance of the valley suddenly rushed into a group of people, about ten or so, holding a knife in their hands. Wu Fatian then woke up, is Li Kai is trying to bring people to eliminate them ah, brush a knife, set up in front of Li Kai chest, sneered: “What are you in the end? You want to bring people to deal with us?”

Li Kai did not change his face and heart, laughing: “Lord, you are wrong, they are not here to deal with you. This time I got into trouble and brought a group of people who are after me. As you said, Walled City Master, whatever I bring, you have to take half of it. So, now please help me keep half of them.”

Wu Fatian froze for a moment, how could such a thing happen under the sun, and could not help but say angrily, “How can people be counted as items?”

Li Kai said, “You can’t keep your word, Zhaoge! Anyway, they are brought by me, I say they are goods, they are goods.” He grabbed the bow and arrows from one of the minions, drew the bow, loaded the arrows, and shot at the group of people who came into the valley.

Hearing a “poof” sound, the arrow hit a man right on the body, the man “ah” shouted, fell to the ground. The others took a look and rushed towards the woods with their swords. Li Kai immediately shouted: “King you promised to stay half, still not do it?”

Seeing that these people had already rushed over, Wu Fatian could not help even if he wanted to, so he had no choice but to order, “Let’s go!” The bandits swarmed out together, and the swords flew.

The remaining bandits saw that the situation was not good and fled out of the valley as they fought.

Wu Fatian slowly came back to his senses and realized that he had fallen into the path of Li Kai, so he snorted coldly and said, “So you intended to let us deal with your enemies for you.”

Li Kai laughed and said, “Good, I know you are a man of your word, so I intentionally lured them here and let you do a big favor. However, since I already gave so much money last time, even if you did me this favor this time, it would be considered even.”

Wu Fatian originally wanted to cure this boss Li who didn’t know the sky was high and dared to make a wrong move against him, but on second thought, he thought that the other party also had a point. Since people are interested in giving away so much money, it’s worth it to help him kill a few enemies, not to mention being a bandit, killing a few people is not a big deal. The first thing you need to do is to look at these people, and they are not good people. Thinking of this, Wu Fatian glanced at the corpses on the ground, this glance actually found that this Li Kai seems to be in trouble with the enemies of the country, those people look like they are not Chinese people. But people have been killed, what else can be done? So let Li Kai safe across the valley.

Afterwards, Wu Fatian thought, it seems that the rules written at the entrance of the valley should be changed from “goods” to “property”, or else people will use this rule to settle their enemies in the future, and it will be too boring to be a bandit.

Three through the western corridor, owe you half of the silver

I never thought that this word just changed not long, but Li Kai once again into the valley.

When Wu Fatian saw Li Kai, he smiled and said, “This time you see clearly the rules of the valley, I will only accept property, but do not want to kill for you.”

Li Kai said, “Don’t worry, what I brought across the valley this time is property.” He took out a piece of paper from his pocket, put it on the table and said, “Please share these belongings with me, Your Majesty.”

Wu Fatien picked it up and saw that it was an IOU, on which was written 100,000 taels of silver owed. He couldn’t help but be happy and said evenly, “I didn’t expect such a large sum of money, should I bring someone to go with you to get it?”

Li Kai laughed: “Your Majesty can see clearly, this is what I owe people. The rules are clear: after passing through here, the belongings must be shared with you in half. When I was rich, I shared half of it with you, now I owe someone 100,000 taels, so I have to give you half of this debt, so you can pay 50,000 taels for me.”

Wu Fatian took a closer look, and it was true that the word Li Kai was written on the debtor. The big bandit Wu couldn’t help but be furious, “You have teased this stronghold master repeatedly, aren’t you afraid that I will cut you down?”

Li Kai suddenly raised his arm, and the knife in the hand of the minion behind him had already reached his hand. Wu Fatian felt the momentum is not good, immediately fly up the leg, but just raised the foot, it felt a numb, Li Kai’s knife has been on his neck. Once they saw that the master of the fortress was trapped, the minions no longer dared to act rashly.

Wu Fatian realized that this Li Kai not only had many ideas, but also had much better skills than himself. So he sighed and said: “I didn’t expect you really came for me, I was too careless. If you want to kill, go ahead, you’ll be a good man again in 18 years!”

Li Kai suddenly laughed, his knife was withdrawn, and his body stepped back and said, “The fortress master is frightened, I just ask you to do one thing for me.”

Wu Fatien did not expect Li Kai to let go of his sword, knowing that Li Kai must have another intention, he could not help but sneer and said, “I know that with your ability, you can kill me at any time. But let me tell you, I, Wu Fatian, have never been threatened by anyone, not to mention that if you kill me, it will not be easy to escape from the canyon!”

Li Kai laughed and said, “How dare you? I just have one thing to ask. Do you know what half of the belongings I left behind the first time? That is the military pay for the border guard to purchase supplies. Now the border is in danger, but the garrison is short of food and clothing, do you really want the country to be destroyed?”

Wu Fatian was surprised and shouted, “Those were military pay?”

Only then did Li Kai tell the truth: the war at the border was very fierce, and the soldiers who were defending the city were not clothed and could not feed themselves. These military pay is the people of the Central Plains scrimp and save donations. However, to go to the border, you must cross the “Hexi Corridor”. Although Li Kai was highly skilled in martial arts, he did not want to clash with Wu Fatian and his men. Wu Fatian was a bandit, but as he said himself, there is a way to steal. As long as those who crossed the corridor handed over half of the items they carried, they would rarely hurt the innocent. It could be seen that they were not ten evil people. What’s more, if we rely on force alone to solve the problem, the casualties will definitely be great, and will definitely delay the delivery of military pay. So, Li Kai thought of taking it wisely. The first time, he first left half of the military payroll, transported half of it over, and first asked people to purchase part of the supplies for emergency. The second time, it happened that the enemy spies also detected Li Kai’s action and came after him, so he intentionally lured these people to the canyon to let Wu Fatian know that the foreigners had already penetrated the territory. These two attempts also made Li Kai firm his idea that this was a group of robbers who were not too bad and still had a conscience. So the last time, Li Kai came to mobilize his help on purpose, just to let the people of the cottage take the belongings to help purchase supplies and send them to the border.

Wu Fatien did not expect Li Kai’s purpose to be like this, even though he was a bandit, but now the border is in a tight spot, it is indeed too unkind to leave these belongings to save the country and the people. But to return them like this on the basis of someone’s words, is there still the professional ethics of a bandit?

Li Kai saw his hesitation and said, “In fact, we all work as bandits just for a mouthful of rice, so why don’t we use our skills at the border? Even if we die, it will be for the country. Even if we take our own lives, it will be worth it.”

Yes, who would want to be a hated bandit if they were not forced to go to the border? In less than half an hour, Wu Fatian has gathered all the minions in the canyon over. Looking at the brothers in front of him, he told Li Kai’s plan word for word to these brothers who had been born and died with him, and then asked word for word, “Who is willing to go with me to kill foreign invaders?”

These bloodthirsty men, who took this path, all had unavoidable hardships in the beginning. In an instant, all the men raised their hands and shouted, “I’ll go! I’ll go!”

The next day, a team drove out of the canyon and headed for the border.

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