01 Undercover 卧底
by Cold Month Desolation (Cheng Siliang)

      Li from the Southern Fists and Zhang from the Northern Legs had competed against one another several times at Martial Forest meets. There was never a clear winner, leaving the position of Chief of the Martial Forest Alliance vacant for many years.
      One evening four years ago, when Zhang was taking a walk outside his village in the mountains, he encountered a young man collapsed by the side of the road. He ordered his disciples to carry the fellow into the village.
      The young man bowed and kowtowed when he recovered consciousness a short while later. He said he wanted to get revenge for a wrong done to his family, and had come seeking a master to teach him the knowledge and skills necessary to do so. Three years later, the young man left his master and came down from the mountains.
      At the next Martial Forest meet, Li from the Southern Fists and Zhang from the Northern Legs entered the arena for the final match. To everyone's surprise, after a hundred moves, Zhang from the Northern Legs had met defeat.
      At this time, a young man jumped down into the arena.
      Li from the Southern Fists was shocked: "You?!"
      The young man said, "Master, please forgive me, but I have several moves that I didn't learn from you."
      Two hundred moves later, the Martial Forest Alliance had a Chief.


02 No Inscription 无题
by Yellow Fish

      Grandpa was originally a driver in Shanghai, and later he served as a company commander in the Red Army.
      When K was about to go to Shanghai to lead the underground, he chose grandpa to escort him.
      When they got to Shanghai, K identified himself as a business owner and grandpa as his driver.
      Both of them died in a car accident the day before a meeting of the Municipal Communist Party Committee leadership which K had convened.
      K was posthumously recognized as a martyr, but disciplinary proceedings were initiated against grandpa.
      K's son received a lot of care and benefits, but my father was oppressed for many years.
      The good news is that K's family didn't bear a grudge against grandpa. Our two families became friends, the kind of friendship born of shared sorrow.
      The older generation passed away one by one. Then, one day, K's grandson came to my grandpa's grave and handed me some decrypted Kuomintang materials.
      It seems that, before he died, K had already defected.

03 Notification
by Du Xiaoguang

      The Director tossed me the address book. He wanted me to notify everyone in it that we would get together tomorrow morning at eight o'clock to take part in a colleague's memorial service.
      "I know, I'll get here early and wait for you."
      "Good, see you."
      I sighed in relief when I hung up the phone after the last call. At last I was finished notifying everyone.
      You'll never guess what happened when I reported to the Director. He sprang up out of his chair with a surprised look on his face and exclaimed, "Did you really notify everyone? Nobody left out?"
      When I answered in the affirmative, the Director broke out in a cold sweat. He pointed to the last name in the address book and, his voice trembling, asked, "You were able to notify this one? I forgot to tell you, he's the one who's memorial service I wanted you to notify people to attend…."


04 The Spy 间谍
By Ma Changshan

      I'm a spy. I've been a sleeper for 30 years.
      I'm a real person by day and a ghost at night, and I don't want to live that life anymore.
      But whenever I think of Ting, I lose the courage to give myself up.
      Ting is just like a fragile little girl. She's sentimental and credulous, and feels bad if she sees anyone in even the least bit of difficulty. She even sheds tears over puppies....
      How could she live without me?
      Christmas Eve, we take off our clothes....
      "Turn off the light," she says, blushing.
      "But we've always...."
      "Turn off the light."
      "What are you saying?"
      "Turn off the light!"
      My God. "Turn – off – the – light!"
      That's what my superiors told me back then. It's the code for me to rendezvous with my handler.…

05 A Fatal Blow 致命一击
by Zou Haipeng

      A setting sun like blood.
      The swordplay gradually slows, and the knives move even more slowly.
      Finally the sword flies up, the knife drops, and the knight falls to the ground.
      His sword hanging, the Iron-Faced Man leans against a dead tree, worn out.
      "Join the Rights and Power Gang," the Iron-Faced Man says through his heavy panting. "In the future, the Gang will be yours, and the territory will be yours, too."
      "No, I want only justice for the innocent lives destroyed under the Rights and Power Gang." The knight rises slowly. "That, or I die!"
      "You'll be sorry!" The Iron-Faced Man trembles as he speaks, and slowly raises his sword.
      Suddenly he slips, and the flash of a knife shoots out from the knight's hand.
      A fatal blow.
      "You're the sorry one!" The Iron-Faced Man collapses in a stupor.
      When the knight pulls open the iron mask, it's as if he's been struck a thunderous blow on the head. Behind the mask is his father, who'd gone missing fifteen years before.

06 Eliminating an Evil Plot 除奸计
by The New Liu Yi*

      The company's trade secrets continued to leak, and General Manager Li's brow was furrowed from worry.
      He met privately with the marketing manager to discuss the problem.
      With a few drinks in him, it seemed that General Manager Li couldn't hold his liquor. He stumbled over his words but talked more and more. "We won't be pressured by Wuyou Commercial Mansion ever again. We'll even be able to crush it. We've got one of your peers over there in our pocket. Ha ha...."
      Wuyou's marketing manager was given the sack very shortly thereafter.
      A few days later, General Manager Li had a showdown with his marketing manager. "I'm reporting this to the police. It was you that leaked our trade secrets to Wuyou."
      "That's a trumped-up charge!"
      "The story that we'd bought off one of their marketing guys was false, and you were the only one who knew about it."

*[Liu Yi was a government official in the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316 A.D.). He is famously known as "the Incorruptible". (See this
article in Chinese).​]

07 Prison Break 越狱
by Wang Haoming

      At last he spotted his chance and went over the iron gate.
      On the road he was a bit apprehensive and kept looking all around. A beat cop came up to him. Since it was suspicious for him to be in that location, the cop asked him where he'd come from. "Prison," he replied, his voice full of resentment. Quite surprised to hear that, the cop reached out to grab him, so he got it in gear and ran....
      Half an hour later, the shrill screams of police sirens shook up the neighborhood. He was surrounded by dozens of armed police.
      Suddenly a woman rushed up, grabbed him and scolded him in a harsh voice: "What was so bad that you had to run away?"
      He stood there blankly, not understanding at all. Why does a man who leaves home to go for a walk get hunted down and arrested?
      He looked toward his home, which wasn't far away. He began to weep and wail.


08A Last Words 遗言
by Cold Month Desolation (Cheng Siliang)

      Horn and Baker agreed to go explore a mysterious prehistoric cave together.
      Baker inadvertently nudged a big stone. It fell and smashed his leg, and also completely blocked the way out. Horn tried to call for help on his mobile phone but couldn't get a connection.
      Three days without food. Suffering from excessive blood loss as well as hunger, Baker was close to death. Horn, mired in delirium, saw his beautiful and gentle wife, Helen, walking toward them. He shouted, "Helen!"
      "Helen? Heh, heh, you're not the one she loves," Baker announced, his breath as thin as gossamer.
      "Father Mark knows," said Baker as he drew his last breath.
      On the third day after Horn was rescued, he sought out the priest.
      "Kind-hearted Baker, blessed and protected by the Lord Our God, rests peacefully in heaven."

[Once again, Fannyi is able to translate a story but is unwilling to hazard a guess as to what it might mean.​]

08B Live and Learn 吃一堑长一智
by Liu Yixin

      Zha Bin, a pirate who thought he had no equal in the world, was captured.
      His third night in prison was dark and windy, and Zha Bin was unable to get to sleep. When a man in a mask came to rescue him, he thought it was one of his compadres, so he followed the fellow out.
      But it was a police trap. Zha Bin was caught and had time added to his sentence.
      Another late night, Zha Bin's compatriots did come to rescue him.
      But Zha Bin suspected that his compatriots had been bought off by the police. No matter what, he was unwilling to go with them.
      While Zha Bin and his rescuers were at an impasse, a guard alertly noticed that something unusual was happening and captured all of them at once.
      The warden picked up a lock that had been broken by a pry bar and tossed in a corner. "My strategy," he said pompously, "worked much better than this thing!"

09 Bought Off 收买
by Yellow Fish

      Zheng the Straight and Zheng the Just were highly skilled in the martial arts, and were also very furtive and mysterious. People in the territory called them the Twin Forces of the Desert.
      The Great Power Organization issued an ultimatum to them. They could either be bought off or killed off.
      The Twin Forces of the Desert flatly refused to be bought off.
      The Great Power Organization dispatched skilled warriors, who trapped the Twin Forces of the Desert in Wolf’s Lair Gully.
      After three days and three nights of fierce fighting, the Twin Forces of the Desert broke through the surrounding enemies and escaped to places unknown.
      The Great Power dug in.
      The land is vast and heaven high, the breeze is cool and the moon bright. The Twin Forces of the Desert lifted their cups to toast each other.
      "This drink.... It’s poison.... You!" Zheng the Straight pointed at Zheng the Just.
      Zheng the Just’s face turned dark. "I'm sorry. They bought me."
      Zheng the Straight smiled sadly. ".... Me, too!"
      Zheng the Just saw the sky start to spin. He heard a raven’s caw, and his face grew even darker.

10 Martial Arts Competition 比武
by Bladeless Sword

      The swords came out of their scabbards, along with murderous intentions. Today's battle between the Sword Master and the Bladesman would decide which of them was best in the world. After [they'd fought for] a long time, the Bladesman sighed. "Another battle tomorrow," he said.
      The Sword Master's entire body was suffused with the spirit of swordsmanship. Truly no flaws could be found in his style.
      The following day, his sword quivering slightly after a lengthy battle to a stalemate, the Bladesman stole a look at the crowd and saw a flash of green clothing. Whose daughter was that? The Bladesman smiled. Once again, he asked to continue the battle.
      "Tomorrow will end it between us," the Sword Master said coldly.
      The final battle attracted countless onlookers to the arena. When the Women in Green arrived, the swords began to flail viciously. Cold steel flashed, and the Sword Master slowly fell to the ground. He'd died without getting his revenge.
     The Bladesman put his weapon back in its scabbard. Before the amazed and envious eyes of the crowd, he sailed out of the arena hand-in-hand with the Woman in Green.

11 The Most Revered Martial Arts Idol 武林至尊
by Cold Month Desolation (Cheng Siliang)

      Cold moonlight. Unmarked graves. Will-o'-the-wisps adrift.
      Black Shadow comes forth abruptly.
      Soon thereafter, a gray shadow glides up. The two rays of cold light are facing each other.
      Black Shadow steps back quickly and snaps, "Who are you?"
      Gray Shadow: "I've come to keep an appointment"
      Black Shadow: "No, you haven't!"
      Gray: "I've come on behalf of my father."
      Black: "Tell the old fool to come himself!!"
      Gray: "My father translated to the spirit world two years ago. As he was dying, he asked me to come here on this night to keep an appointment."
      Black: "And your mother?"
      Gray: "She was excessively aggrieved when my father passed, and passed as well."
      An image of a face glided up before Black Shadow – his Master's daughter! Suddenly Black Shadow turned his face toward Heaven and let out a cry of anguish. He drew his sword and cut his own throat.
      Before long, a new martial arts idol made his appearance in the territory. It was a young knight.

12 The Protagonist 主人公
by Wang Haoming

      I hated the man, but I don't any more. Or maybe I should say, I have to be grateful to him.
     The man, D, was a famous writer. He wrote a small supporting role for me, the humblest, most unremarkable role. I'd talked him into modifying the novel to change my destiny.
      My plan was carried out in secret starting three months ago.
      It's a brisk, clear autumn day today, a good day. D the Writer told me that, two hours from now, I'll be the hero of the story. When I got that exciting phone call, I rushed over to D's home right away.
      The door opened even before I could ring the bell. A masked man carrying a knife dashed out.
      It was already too late to do anything. D was dead!
      God! Who was the murderer?

13 The Assassin 刺客
by Crazy Ancient Pride

      Suoyi, an assassin, was hired for a big job. In taking the Year Master's life, Suoyi's work had been neat and tidy, and he had become renowned in the territory as the second best assassin. This job was to kill the number one assassin, Ying Wei.
      Suoyi had been choking with resentment over Ying Wei for a long time. "What's the basis for calling him number one and me number two?" Suoyi had been planning to do him in even without payment.
      Suoyi snuck into the Ying household at night and lay flat against the roof tiles, checking things out. It seemed that Ying Wei had not made even the slightest defensive preparations. Suoyi dropped down behind Ying Wei without a sound and stuck his dagger into the middle of the man's back. Strangely, the dagger actually failed to penetrate.
      Before he could recover from his amazement, Ying Wei whirled around with his own dagger and Suoyi immediately fell to the ground.
      "You didn't expect that, huh?" Ying Wei said with a hideous grin. "I'm wearing quilted armor. And it was me who put up the money to pay you for this job!"
      Suoyi stared blankly. There was nothing he could say.

14 The Killer 杀手
by Poet Caravan

      The weather was hot and humid that night, very gloomy.
      "Help! Help!" Just as the killer was about to make his move, a shout resounded through the darkness. It was especially terrifying on such a quiet night.
      The killer paused. After a few minutes, the calm returned.
      "Help! Help!" When the killer started to move a second time, the shout resounded once again through the darkness.
      "Shit!" The killer was not happy.
      After a few more moments, the shout started again.
      The killer decided not to wait and jumped through the window in one leap.... A thunderclap immediately exploded through the air.
      After the sun came up, the killer was found dead in the room.
      People wondered, "Who is the more ruthless killer?"

15 Big Secret 重大秘密
by Cold Month Desolation

      The Countries of A and B were evenly matched rivals and the arms race between them was heading toward white-hot intensity. If one of them got ahead in the development of cutting-edge weaponry, the consequences for the other would be unthinkable.
      When A chanced to find out that B was developing a sophisticated secret weapon, it hastily dispatched Special Agent Gordon to go into the enemy's country under cover. He was ordered to steal information related to this secret weapon no matter what the cost.
      Gordon used all available means and spent almost a million U.S. dollars. He finally ascertained the truth.
      He reported to his boss in dismay: "It was like using a guided missile to strike empty air. I could not get the information you wanted for the simple reason that B is not doing research on any such secret weapon."
      His boss, on the other hand, was happy to get the report. "That's an important secret in itself!"

16 Who Goes First? 谁先走
by Ma Changshan

      1949, toward the end of the Chinese Civil War.
      Chongqing, the Nationalist capitol.
      Strong, an undercover Communist Party member, has just succeeded in stealing some intelligence when he is captured by Lily, a female Nationalist major.
      He remembers he's supposed to say "horizon" in an emergency.
      He whispers the word.
      Lily says excitedly, "Comrade, the Party put me here to protect you."
      "Thank you!" Strong suddenly hears a noise outside. "Someone's coming."
      "There's a side door", Lily says crisply. "Get going."
      Strong won't do it. "You take the intelligence and go. I'll cover you."
      As the two of them are playing Alphonse and Gaston, the door suddenly opens....
      A man with a big beard enters. "Both of you go! You're fired!"
      Turns out it's a movie being filmed.
      Big Beard is the director.

17 Terrorists 恐怖分子
by Crazy Ancient Pride

      The New York Police Department received a mysterious phone call at five o'clock one afternoon. "Hello, I want to report a terrorist attack."
      The operator was very agitated. "Where do you live?"
      "Twenty-three Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn."
      "Do the terrorists have any identifying characteristics?"
      "The man is dark and thin. He's ugly, with a ferocious look. The woman has long hair and is pretty, but she's the most vicious."
      "Can you provide us with the approximate time and place?"
      "Around 8:00 p.m. at my house."
      "What's the object of their attack?"
      "Me, of course."
      "Why do they want to attack you?"
      "Well, uh, it's because they'll get a phone call from my teacher saying I got in trouble again."

18 Old Xuan's Death 老宣之死
by Ma Changshan

      "Take really good care of yourself. Old Xuan was a good comrade." I held the hand of Deputy Director Xuan's wife, my tears falling like rain.
      Old Xuan was killed last week.
      The murderer was really too vicious. He dismembered Old Xuan and threw the pieces into the river.
      Old Xuan was resolute in his work, and incorruptible. He offended many people when he presided over the bureau's discipline and inspection work. It's really a shame that he's dead!
      The murderer was soon caught, and he gave it all up as soon as they brought him into the precinct. He'd done it under orders from his big sister's husband, Director Zhang of the city Department of Transportation.
      The murderer was crude but subtle. He'd secretly recorded the private conversation between him and his brother-in-law.
      I really didn't see that one coming!
      I'm former Director Zhang San.
      I wonder how many years the court will give me.


19 Finding Treasure 获宝
by Ba Ren

      Wang Tsai dug up a small earthen jar while he was reclaiming some wasteland at the edge of his field. "I've really struck it rich this time," he thought. "There's got to be gold in the jar!"
      He held the jar under his arm and opened it very carefully. Inside was a small bag wrapped in wax paper. "If there's no gold, there must be a treasure map," he thought.
      So he unwrapped the bag cautiously and found a small strip of paper inside. These words were reflected in his eyes: "Liu Lanxiang, she can't be with you in this life, but will definitely marry you in the next!"
      When he read that, Wang's eyes turned dark and the jar smashed to the ground.
      In his small village, the only woman called Liu Lanxiang was his wife.

23 History 历史
by Hou Jianzhong

      Two generals received orders to build a wall in northern Shanxi Province, a vast land of boundless sandstorms. Each would be responsible for two sections. In order to construct a sturdy wall, one general had the foundation for his sections dug very, very deep. The other had his sections put up flat on the ground in order to save time and effort. As a result, the first general lost his commission because the construction proceeded rather slowly, while the other was quickly promoted to a more important position.
      Several hundred years have passed. The sections of wall built by the general who lost his commission are still standing tall in the vast lands of northern Shanxi. The sections built by the general who was promoted have collapsed into a formless mass.


To get Chinese text by return email, send name of story to jimmahler1@yahoo.com

11 Most Revered
12 The Protagonist
13 The Assassin
14 The Killer
15 Big Secret

Selections from Undercover (Chapter 4: Suspense)
All stories from 卧底:闪小说精选300篇 Undercover: 300 Choice Flash Fiction Stories
Published by 出版社:百花文艺出版社 Baihua Literature and Art Publishing House
Index at http://lz.book.sohu.com/chapter-9511-110873650.html; Translated from versions cited below

01 Undercover
02 No Inscription
03 Notification
04 Spy, The
05 Fatal Blow
06 Evil Plot

16 Who Goes First?
17 Terrorists
18 Old Xuan's Death
19 Finding Treasure
23 History

07 Prison break
08A Last words
08B Live and learn
09 Bought off
10 Martial Arts Competition

​​         Chinese Stories in English