Pretty much the whole Chapter 64 is and very interesting about Chao Xiashu's background and NQ learn more about his friend Zhou Er:
It was dark on Lin 47th Street. The door of the Old Brush Pen Shop was pushed open, and then closed quickly. The dim light within the shop flashed like stars for a moment and disappeared.Ning Que removed his heavy weapon, tore the cloth cover off of the big black umbrella, and took off his wet coat. He passed it to Sangsang, asking casually, "I'm quite hungry. Are the noodles ready?"Sangsang gave him a dry cloth, nodding happily and said, "I'll serve it to you soon."A bowl of hot noodles was served on the table. The same as usual, four peppercorns were scattered on the top, but there were a lot more chopped green onions in the noodles today. The noodles were topped with a scrambled egg, which was very unusual. Hunting was even more tiring than hoeing, making Ning Que drenched and extremely hungry. There was nothing like a bowl of noodle with the fried egg to arouse his appetite. He put down the cloth, picked up chopsticks, and started to devour the food.Sangsang flashed a smile on her darkish face. She was delighted to see that he enjoyed the food. As she picked up the cloth to dry his hair with it, she kept reminding him not eating too fast.At that time, a man started coughing. However, no one paid attention to him. Being ignored by Ning Que and his handmaiden for a long time, the man decided to break the silence. He said, "The bowl of noodles smells very delicious."A couple of hours ago, Chao Xiaoshu said the same words when he entered the shop.Sangsang continued to dry Ning Que's hair, as if she did not see this person and did not hear his words. However, Ning Que's reaction was different from before. While he was eating, he mumbled, "Make some noodles for him."Soon, another bowl of noodles was served. Chao Xiaoshu looked around and could not find a place to sit. Without minding, he squatted down beside Ning Que and started eating, but he found his noodles were not the same as Ning Que's.Four peppercorns, thirty pieces of chopped green onions, but no fried egg.He could not help but tap at Ning Que's bowl with his chopsticks. Ning Que glanced over and almost burst out laughing loudly. He then turned to Sangsang. "It's fine, we shouldn't be mean. Give him an egg as well."Finally, a fried egg was served to Chao Xiaoshu. The both of them were eating happily, whereas Sangsang, who was not far away from them, started burning the clothes and the cloth cover in a bronze basin. No one spoke a word in the shop.After a long time, Ning Que finally put down the bowl in his hands as he leaned backward with satisfaction and rubbed his belly. He turned to Chao Xiaoshu, saying, "I killed more than five people. You should reconsider the money... Don't be mean. Remember, I asked Sangsang to add an egg for you."Chao Xiaoshu, who was holding his bowl, looked at Ning Que and produced a forced smile. "That's why you were unusually kind to me. But sure, I'll give you 2,000 taels of silver.""Deal," Ning Que said casually. In fact, he was a little excited within, and so was Sangsang, as she clenched her fist and was silently calculating how much 2,000 taels of silver would be.As Sangsang was preparing to wash the bowls, Chao Xiaoshu reluctantly handed her his unfinished bowl of noodles. He then frowned and covered his mouth with the corner of his sleeve. When he put down his sleeve, it was already stained with patches of blood.Ning Que looked at his sleeve and knew that this strong middle-aged man was hurt in the severe fight previously. He was silent for a moment before asking, "Are you okay?"Chao Xiaoshu took a cup of tea from Sangsang, smiling to show his gratitude. He took a sip and said, "Don't worry about me. I grew up in a slum in Eastern City. I fought countless times and was badly injured many times. Every time, my enemy saw me covered with blood and thought I would never stand up anymore, but I'm always able to give them a knockout blow."Ning Que said, "A thug who's immersed in his warrior days could even pursue cultivation and became so powerful. I was so devoted to cultivating, but yet I can't even enter the Initial State. How mocking it is. Master Haotian is surely blind."Chao Xiaoshu smiled without saying anything. There was a story behind how he turned from a gangster into a Great Sword Master with a superior Seethrough grade. But to him, the story was not worth mentioning."You told me, after tonight, I'll see who you truly are."Ning Que was looking at a corner of the Courtyard. "Now, I kind of guess that your backup is someone from the palace. With such a strong background, no wonder you don't need to bother about Chang'an Local Government.""After tonight, maybe everyone from this empire will admire me because of my backup," he said peacefully, "but no one will know how much I have pay for such outcome.""What do you need to pay?" asked Ning Que.Chao Xiaoshu smiled bitterly. "I've been trapped by orders all these years. Whenever that person wanted me, I had to do whatever they wanted. If it wasn't for that, maybe I would have already broken through the Seethrough State and entered the Knowing Destiny State.""That's all?" Ning Que continued to ask.Chao Xiaoshu was silent for a long time as something seemed to be on his mind. He smiled sadly and said slowly, "It also required me to not act on impulse. I always have to consider the whole situation when dealing with matters. Neither can I be hasty, because I have to force the enemies to flash all their cards. To succeed, I need to endure the torture silently for a long time, to the extent that I didn't even manage to protect my own brother."Upon hearing that, Ning Que clenched his right hand. He knew Chao Xiaoshu was talking about Darkie, someone whom he knew very well, but he did not say a thing. He lowered his head and asked, "How did your brother die?""My brother was named Zhuo Er. He was a spy. The Military Ministry sent him to check on me and to investigate whether I conspired with the Yuelun Kingdom. In fact, it was only an excuse for them to kill the people from Spring Breeze Pavilion. To achieve the goal, they even might frame me.""But my brother didn't want to do this. He told me all the things behind it. He didn't investigate me for the Military Ministry and he wouldn't frame me according to his boss's order. But he was a soldier after all. He can't betray his country and his army. So, he suffered a lot in those days."Chao Xiaoshu closed his eyes. He said, "Looking back now, I should have told him the whole truth. Maybe he would have still died, but at least he wouldn't have felt so desperate."Ning Que said, "You haven't mentioned how he died yet.""Being a spy is a very dangerous job. If he didn't work for either of the two parties, he might die at any time. If he decided to work for one party, then it's highly possible that he's going to die. That day, when he finally decided to tell me everything, the Military Ministry found out what he did and killed him. He died right here, across the street."Chao Xiaoshu looked at the direction of the wooden door of the shop. He was looking at the gray wall, far away.Ning Que was silent for a long time. He asked, "It was the Sword Master of the South Jin Kingdom that killed him?""Yes." Chao Xiaoshu turned around, looking at Ning Que, smiling. "From now on, I'll regard you as my brother."Ning Que arched an eyebrow. "Aren't you being too childish?"Chao Xiaoshu laughed and said, "In this life, we're brothers. Such a matter is always this simple."We had noodles with fried egg today, and for that, we're brothers for this life."Ning Que shook his head and said, "Brother—this word is meaningless. I know those famous brothers. If some of them died before the others, they were lucky, because if they didn't, they would have fought against each other in the end. I just wanted to help you tonight, and of course, make some money by the way. Can you not be too corny and find other meanings in life?"Chao Xiaoshu frowned as he looked at Ning Que and was surprised at such an answer. He said, "You're so young, and yet in your eyes, the world is so dark... I wonder what had happened to you. If you want to tell me in the future, remember to contact me anytime. I'll treat you to tea."Ning Que said, "I don't even want to recollect those things, let alone tell other people."Chao Xiaoshu smiled at him. "OK. So, besides noodles with fried egg, what do you think is the meaning of your life?""The meaning of life... definitely is career and love, or we can say, money and women. I know you think that this answer is amazing and I'm also an amazing person, but can you please not reveal such a profound smile?"Ning Que shook his head, and to let this powerful person understand what's the meaning of life, he pointed to Sangsang. "Who do you think is suitable to be your master's wife in House of Red Sleeves?"Sangsang wiped her hands on her apron and thought attentively for a while. "I think that day the second girl sitting at your left hand was nice.""That was Lu Xue." Ning Que thought about her soft waist, and continued asking, "Why do you think she's suitable to be my wife?"Sangsang looked at Ning Que with big, serious eyes. "She looks very beautiful with makeup. Her smile is nice looking, clean, and innocent. Her teeth are white and neat, which means she is healthy. Also, I've seen her waist and bottom, and found she's able to give birth."Ning Que turned around and smirked to Chao Xiaoshu.Chao Xiaoshu looked at the dimple on Ning Que's left cheek, thinking about what he just saw. Someone who was stuck in a shop every day and discussed with his underaged handmaiden about which prostitute was better as a wife and for giving birth—was this what he meant by the meaning of life?Suddenly, he recalled the scene of him seeing the handmaiden leaning by the door as he was about to leave the Old Brush Pen Shop, and the scene of the two bowls of noodle with fried egg when he returned to the shop, where he was being forgotten by the master and his handmaiden. He remembered how close the both of them were, to the extent that he could not interrupt them. He then slowly understood as he smiled and said, "The true meaning of life is life itself."Ning Que shook his head and laughed. "You're too sentimental."Chao Xiaoshu looked at this lad, knowing that Ning Que did not understand what he meant, but he did not want to say too much. He stood up and walked towards the door. He turned around and smiled. "It's time to go. There are still lots of things to do tonight. I'll send someone to hand you the silver tomorrow and he'll bring you to a place."
- NQ is so cynical, arrogant and know-it-all but so clueless at the same time
- Anybody who has eyes can see that nothing can come between NQ and SS (looking at you First Brother )