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Thread: Bordertown Wanderer (cont.)

  1. #81
    Senior Member Cesare's Avatar
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    Waiting anxiously, too... :-)
    Many many thanks for continuing with the story, RWX...
    别想把黑暗放在我的面前
    太阳已经生长在我心底
    不再有封闭的畏惧
    奔腾的灵魂飞上天际
    太阳 我在这里

  2. #82
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    RWX, knew we could count on ya!

  3. #83
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 43: The Descendants of an Aristocratic Family

    Night. Deep, dark night.

    The cold, desolate light of the crescent moon shone upon his pale face. It also shone on his pitch-black sabre!

    Fu Hongxue quietly stood there, beneath the moonlight. In front of him, there was a desolate forest. Behind him, there was a desolate mountain.

    Alone, he faced the boundless desolation and darkness. He seemed to have already left the world behind.

    The world seemed to have forgotten him as well.

    He had not a single coin to his name. He was cold, hungry, and weary.

    He had no place to go, because although he had a home, he could not return to it.

    He had personally buried his lover. He wanted to avenge her, but did not even know who caused her death.

    He knew that one of his enemies was Ma Kongqun, but didn’t know where he should go to seek him out. Ye Kai treated him as a friend, but not only did he refuse the gesture, he fled from it.

    But aside from Ye Kai, there was no other person in the world who considered him as a friend. Even if he died on a street, no one might pay him any mind.

    Although the world is large, it didn’t seem to hold a place capable of accommodating a person such as him.

    His continued existence in this world seemed to be unnecessary.

    But he absolutely had to keep on living.

    So what if he could keep on living? Which road should he take? Where should he go? He didn’t know.

    He didn’t even know where he should go tonight. He didn’t even dare enter the darkest, shabbiest of guesthouses, because he didn’t have a single copper on him.

    Could it be that he was just going to stand here and wait for sunrise? But what to do after the sun had risen? Fu Hongxue tightly gripped his sabre. His heart was suddenly filled with an inexpressible emptiness and fear.

    In the past, at least he had someone he could think about. Although longing is painful, at least he had someone to long for. But now? What did he have now? What was left? He only felt that his heart was empty. Even that bone-deep hatred had become very distant, very illusory.

    This is what is truly terrifying.

    He ground his teeth and forced himself to stay under control. Although no witnesses were present, he still didn’t want to let tears flow down his face.

    Just at this moment, he suddenly saw someone rush out from the dark, desolate forest.

    It was a man in black whose face was covered with blood.

    He looked as though she was being pursued by evil spirits. He didn’t even look ahead, nearly colliding with Fu Hongxue.

    When he did see Fu Hongxue, he could no longer look away. That bloody face which had been smashed in by someone suddenly became even more deformed from his shock.

    Fu Hongxue didn’t think this was strange. No one would imagine that, so late at night, someone would be standing here like he was.

    He seemed disinclined to so much as spare the man in black another glance.

    But the man in black stared at him in shock. He retreated, one step at a time. After taking a few steps back, he suddenly said, “You are Fu Hongxue?”

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t help but feel this was a bit strange. “Who are you? How do you know me?”

    The man in black didn’t answer his question. Instead, he pointed at the barren forest behind him. “Ma Kongqun is right behind me. You…you should go kill him, quickly!”

    Every single muscle in Fu Hongxue’s body seemed to immediately tighten.

    He had undergone many bitter experiences and walked for so long that his feet had calluses, but still remained unable to find any trace of his enemy. He couldn’t believe, didn’t dare believe that this stranger in the night could suddenly reveal his enemy’s location.

    The man in black seemed to have already understood what he was thinking. He immediately continued, “The two of us aren’t acquainted. Why would I deceive you? You should at least go check it out. You won’t lose anything from checking it out.”

    Fu Hongxue asked no more questions.

    Regardless of who the man in black was, it was true that he had no reason to lie to Fu Hongxue. In addition, so what if he was lying? If a person had nothing whatsoever, why would he be afraid of losing anything? Fu Hongxue slowly turned around, and then he suddenly charged into the desolate forest.

    The man in black never would have imagined that such a crippled, weak looking young man could move so quickly and gracefully.

    A look of worry appeared in his eyes. He suddenly shouted in a loud voice, “That man, Ma Kongqun isn’t just your enemy, he’s also my enemy! No matter what he says, don’t believe him!”

    He’d always been an extremely careful, meticulous man. Clearly, he was afraid that after hearing Ma Kongqun’s words, Fu Hongxue would turn back and seek him out.

    He couldn’t have guessed that in saying these words, he made the deadliest mistake he had ever made in his entire life.

    Just after he finished speaking, Fu Hongxue suddenly appeared in front of him again. There was a strange, terrifying expression on his ashen face. Staring at him, he said, one word at a time, “What did you say about Ma Kongqun?”

    His cold, weary eyes suddenly appeared sharper than knives.

    Pierced by his gaze, the man in black involuntarily took two steps back. “I said…I said that man is my enemy!”

    “That man…man!” Fu Hongxue stared at him. His entire body seemed to have stiffened like a wooden log.

    “Whenever he says the word ‘man’ [Ren], he doesn’t seem to be totally capable of curling up his tongue. It always sounds a little bit like ‘able’ [Neng]…”

    The words of Third Madame Shen roared in his ears like a thunderbolt.

    His pale face suddenly began to blaze.

    His entire body began to tremble.

    Only that hand, that sabre-wielding hand, was still steady.

    He had already concentrated every single bit of his strength into that hand. That pale hand. That pitch-black sabre.

    The man in black stared at him in surprise. He couldn’t help but ask, “You…don’t you believe me?”

    Fu Hongxue didn’t seem to even hear his words. He suddenly turned around and then knelt while facing the east.

    The man in black was stunned. He simply could even guess at what this strange young man was doing. The cold, desolate moonlight shone down on Fu Hongxue’s face. His eyes seemed to be shining as well. He murmured to himself in a low voice, “I’ve finally found your enemy for you. Now, in the underworld, you can finally close your eyes in death.”

    The man in black didn’t understand what he was saying either, but suddenly felt an eerie, ominous feeling of doom. He couldn’t help but continue retreating, one step at a time, preparing to leave.

    But Fu Hongxue suddenly once more appeared in front of him. He coldly said, “Where is your dagger?”

    The man in black was stunned. “What dagger?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Flying dagger.”

    An unspeakable terror appeared in the eyes of the man in black. He cried out in fear, “What flying dagger?”

    Grinding his teeth, Fu Hongxue glared at him. “I should kill you with this sabre immediately, but I have questions to ask you first!”

    Fu Hongxue’s voice had turned hoarse. He fiercely said, “I ask you, why did you do something like that? Why did you harm Cui Nong? Who are you?”

    The man in black said, “I…I don’t have any clue what you are talking about. I don’t even know you!”

    Livid, Fu Hongxue trembled. But that sabre-gripping hand was still as steady as a rock.

    Suddenly, the sabre left its sheath! The sabre flash flew out like a lightning bolt, but the man in black had already fallen to the floor and rolled twenty feet away.

    As soon as the sabre flash was seen, he had immediately dropped to the ground.

    Not only had he long ago taken precautions against this sabre, he seemed to also have devised many methods to dodge it.

    Once this sabre struck out, its keen, sharp, overwhelming force was simply all-conquering. There was no one in the world capable of blocking it.

    But he was actually able to dodge it.

    As soon as the sabre flash appeared, he had immediately dropped to the floor. In this situation, there was no better way to dodge than this.

    Such a dodging method definitely couldn’t have been devised on the spot. He clearly had practiced for a long time in order to dodge that blow.

    As his body flipped up, his hand made a waving motion.

    His flying dagger finally shot out.

    With a clanging sound, sparks flew about as the two bolts of lightning intersected. And as they did, his flying dagger fell to the ground.

    With another roll, the man in black tumbled up the mountain slope. He suddenly felt an extreme pain coming from his lower chest. It was the area where Ma Kongqun had struck just earlier. Right now, piercing pain was shooting from his chest.

    He wanted to stir up his energy but no longer was able to.

    Another sabre flash. The cold tip of the sabre reached his throat.

    The energetic, irresistible sabre suddenly halted.

    The sabre-wielding hand had already totally brought all of his force under control again. The sabre only slightly lacerated the throat of his flesh, causing a thin trickle of blood to flow forth. Fu Hongxue angrily stared at him. In a fierce voice, he said, “Are you going to answer my questions or not?”

    The man in black finally let out a sigh. “Fine. I’ll talk. I have no enmity towards you. The person I hate is Ma Kongqun. The reason I killed that woman was only because she was Ma Kongqun’s daughter.”

    Fu Hongxue’s body suddenly turned stiff again. He suddenly roared furiously, “You lie!”

    The man said, “I’m not lying. But there really aren’t many people who know of this…”

    Gasping, he stared at Fu Hongxue.

    Fu Hongxue’s body began to shake again, even more strongly than before.

    The man in black continued, “She and Ma Fangling weren’t born from the same mother. Her mother originally was the wife of a ginseng gatherer from the central Shaanxi plains. When she followed her husband away from the plains, Ma Kongqun forcibly took her. That’s why that group of ginseng gatherers have always hated Ma Kongqun to the core. Once, they organized a hundred and thirty people to ambush Ma Kongqun at Mt. Changbai, precisely because of the hatred between them. Elder Hero Bai was present at that bloody battle as well.

    That battle was an extremely famous battle in the annals of the martial world. Fu Hongxue had heard his mother mention it in his youth as well.

    Can it be that the man in black was telling the truth? Fu Hongxue only felt as though every single blood vessel in his body was filled with flame.

    Looking at him, the man in black spoke again, “Cui Nong had been secretly obtaining news for Ma Kongqun all along. I imagine you know of this as well. She betrayed Third Madame Shen as well as Hua Mantian. She was always faithful to the Hall of Ten Thousand Horses, precisely because she knew that her father was Ma Kongqun. Her mother told her this secret just before her death.”

    He sighed before slowly continuing, “Blood is thicker than water. No one can blame her for this. The only reason I killed her was to gain revenge on Ma Kongqun.”

    Cold sweat poured down Fu Honxgue’s forehead like the rain.

    The man in black said, “You are Ma Kongqun’s enemy as well. Are you going to kill me in revenge on behalf of his daughter?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I still don’t believe you. No man would be willing to send his own daughter to Xiao Bieli’s place.”

    The man in black coldly said, “It’s true that no man is capable of doing such a thing. Only, Ma Kongqun simply can’t be considered a man.”

    He suddenly gritted his teeth, letting out a loud, hoarse cry. “He’s a vermin, he’s a beast!”

    Fu Hongxue’s head was covered with cold sweat. His entire body was trembling. He had totally fallen apart.

    Could it be that the lover whom he would never forget in life and death, who stirred his soul and filled his dreams, really was the daughter of an absolutely irreconcilable enemy? He didn’t dare to believe it, but he couldn’t disbelieve it.

    He suddenly felt the muscles around his lips begin to twitch. That detestable, terrifying illness was once again beginning to stir!

    His heart sank.

    Watching him, a satisfied look appeared in the eyes of the man in black. He coldly said, “I’m done speaking. If you want to kill me, go ahead!”

    Fu Hongxue gritted his teeth. He didn’t speak.

    He couldn’t speak, didn’t dare speak. He had to use all of his strength and all of his focus to oppose his terrifying illness.

    If he spoke, he might immediately collapse, might fall down like a wild dog who had been struck by a whip.

    The man in black’s eyes shone. He already felt the sabre on his neck slowly sliding down, slowly weakening…

    Only, the sabre was still in Fu Hongxue’s hand. That terrifying hand. That terrifying sabre.

    The man in black suddenly used all of his strength to roll away from underneath the sabre. Crawling with both hands and feet, he scuttled up the mountainside like some wild beast on all fours. While hurriedly fleeing, he even managed to toss out a dagger.

    But he didn’t even dare to turn around to take a look. Right now, his only hope was to flee far away from that terrifying sabre, the faster the better.

    Everything he had said and done had only one motive; to enable him to stay alive. Some people are willing to use any means necessary in order to stay alive.

    Naturally, he wouldn’t have guessed that the dagger he threw out hastily actually didn’t miss.

    This dagger had already pierced Fu Hongxue’s chest! Fresh blood oozed out along the sides of the cold dagger. Fu Hongxue collapsed.

    Collapsed onto the cold, moist earth.

    The cold, cheerless crescent moon sank behind the barren mountains.

    The earth became even darker. Was the person who had collapsed still capable of standing back up? Who exactly was the man in black? Was he speaking the truth or not? Many successful people had once collapsed, but they stood back up again!

    Many had even collapsed more than ten times, but they always got back up.

    They weren’t afraid of others attacking them! Because they knew that so long as they had strength and the courage to stand back up, there was nothing wrong with falling down.

    Fu Hongxue slowly stood up.

    The dagger was still stuck in his chest.

    The blood was still flowing. But the vicious illness seemed to have flowed away along with his blood.

    The agonizing pain had suddenly awakened him and made him clear-headed.

    But this clear-headedness immediately made him realize how tired, weak, and hungry he was! The hunger was especially acute. He had never imagined that hunger could be such an unendurable sensation.

    The man in black had already scurried up the barren mountain and disappeared.

    Fu Hongxue didn’t pursue him. He knew that right now, based on his current condition, there was no point to pursuing him.

    He had exhausted all of his strength.

    A golden light was flickering beneath the grass at the foot of the mountain. It was a good luck charm made of pure gold.

    It had fallen out of the bosom of the man in black when he scurried up the mountain and threw that dagger.

    Fu Hongxue stared at the flickering golden light. He slowly walked over to it, then quickly lifted it up.

    Three months ago, perhaps he would rather starve to death than pick up someone else’s dropped belongings. He might not even glance at it.

    But during these past three months, he had learned a great deal and changed a great deal as well. He had come to understand that success had its costs.

    The most important thing was that he needed to continue living.

    Right now, he definitely couldn’t die. He wasn’t willing to quietly die like this.

    Even if he was going to die, he would make the people who harmed him pay a price!

    Right now, if it would give him the strength to stand up and to remain alive, he would be willing to steal, to plunder!

    He ran past the desolate forest. Past the forest, at the foot of the mountain, there was a dark and shabby old inn. He had just passed it earlier.

    He no longer hesitated. He immediately walked in with the greatest speed he could muster, not even daring to pull out the dagger in his chest. He couldn’t lose any more blood. Blood loss had already made him weak.

    There was actually still a lit lamp within the inn.

    There was a lamp, but neither people nor sound. The door was still open.

    Was it because the owner of this inn no longer had enough strength to close the door, or because there simply was no reason to close the door of a place like this? There was no one behind the counter either. The fallen leaves in the courtyard rolled about in the wind. The light was coming from a small room inside.

    Judging from the chimney at the top of the room, this was probably the kitchen.

    Isn’t a kitchen like a symbol of warm flame? Piping hot food…isn’t this what gives one strength in life? Fu Hongxue walked over very quickly, but found neither food nor strength in the kitchen.

    He only found death yet again!

    The stove was cold, and the lamp was almost dead as well.

    A white-haired, rickety old man lay collapsed on the floor, facing the sky. A blood clot was visible on his throat. He was still tightly clutching a pair of chopsticks, but his body was already cold and stiff.

    Not far from his body, there was a torn, ripped purse, but the purse was empty.

    Clearly, while this old man was eating his noodles, someone had punched him in the throat, killing him immediately.

    He was still clutching his chopsticks in his hands. Clearly, he hadn’t even finished eating his noodles.

    Who ate the noodles in the bowl then?

    Most likely, the few scattered bits of silver in his pouch had been taken by the murderer as well.

    But could it be that after killing him, the murderer would actually eat the dead man’s remaining half bowl of noodles?

    On the old man’s cold, stiff face, there was a look of terror and disbelief as well.

    Even he himself could not believe that someone would be so vicious towards a half-blind, half-deaf old man for the sake of a few broken bits of silver and half a bowl of noodles which he had spat into.

    He really did die with an everlasting grievance.

    Fu Hongxue’s heart was filled with anger and pain as well, because he was in the process of asking himself a question.

    In this world, there were very few people who understood better than him what it felt like to be hungry and poor.

    Yet he didn’t know if he himself could bear kill someone for half a bowl of noodles and a few bits of silver!

    Only when a man has set upon the road to ruin will he do such a thing.

    Who was the murderer?

    Can it be that he really had stepped upon the road to ruin?

    Fu Hongxue suddenly remembered what the man in black had said. He suddenly thought of Ma Kongqun.

    Right. It must be Ma Kongqun.

    He must have already seen Fu Hongxue, which is why he had to flee.

    But he was simply too hungry. He had to eat something, even if it was just a half-bowl of noodles.

    But what taste must have been left in his heart for him to eat this half bowl of noodles and to kill this man? When he thought of his glorious past, how must this half bowl of noodles tasted in his mouth?

    Fu Hongxue tightly clenched his fists. He suddenly wanted to vomit.

    He hated, he raged, but he could also feel that misery and grief in his heart.

    The illustrious, world-renowned, incomparable lord of the Hall of Ten Thousand Horses, who dominated northeast China…would actually murder someone over half a bowl of noodles!

    After eating this bowl of noodles, did he want to vomit as well?

    Ma Kongqun really did want to vomit.

    But he used all the strength in his body to resist the urge. No matter what, he could not vomit right now.

    The noodles in muddy water, the spittle in the soup, the broken yellow teeth of the old man, and his eyes filled with scorn and cynicism…everything made him want to vomit.

    But any type of food can provide one with strength.

    If he were to vomit the food out, it would be just as though he were vomiting his own strength out. Right now, it was imperative for him to be strong!

    He needed every ounce of strength he could get!

    Because right now, he was about to exert every ounce of strength he had, just like that day at Mt. Changbai when he had to flee.

    That time, he had even drunk his own urine.

    But this situation was more dangerous than that one, because this enemy was far more dangerous, far more terrifying than the previous ones!

    He had personally witnessed Fu Hongxue’s irresistible, swift-as-the-wind sabre!

    He seemed to have once more seen that long-departed man, in front of whom he would never dare to raise his head! Once more he seemed to see how, with each flash of the sabre, blood would blossom out even more gaily-colored than the plum blossoms.

    Perhaps what he really was afraid of was not Fu Hongxue, but that man!

    He once more seemed to see that man’s terrifying spirit and strength within Fu Hongxue’s sabre!

    He no longer dared to meet that man again, be it in the world of the living or the dead. He no longer dared to face that man’s sabre!

    He feared death, precisely because he knew that man was waiting for him in the underworld!

    Thus, he must flee, must stay alive!

    But how much longer could he survive for?

    The night grew deeper still, as was autumn.

    The chilliness of the autumn wind was becoming more severe.

    Before much longer, all the leaves would have fallen from the trees. The north wind would sweep down at dusk. And then, one cold morning, he would open his window and see the earth covered with ice and snow.

    A penniless old man in thin, flimsy clothing would find it very difficult to survive in a world of ice and snow.

    Ma Kongqun balled up his fists, tightening his grip around ten or so copper coins. He had found them within that old man’s purse. Perhaps he could use them to purchase two bowls of warm noodles or something.

    But what then?

    Based on his skills, he could have easily plundered several rich households. He could even have robbed an entire team of escorted carriages.

    It wasn’t as though he’d never done these things in the past. But now, he definitely could not do it.

    It wasn’t because he was tired of that sort of lifestyle. It was because right now, he definitely couldn’t leave behind a single clue for Fu Hongxue to follow.

    Raising his head up, he stared at the nearly bare branches, stripped of its leaves by the autumn wind. Right now, there was only one place for him to go.

    There was only one more path he could take.

    He originally didn’t want to take this path, but now, he had no choice whatsoever!

    Beneath the bed behind the counter, there was half a pouch of flour and a rusty metal box.

    Within the box, there was an embroidering handkerchief. Within the handkerchief, there was a neatly folded banknote worth just ten taels of silver, a very fine steel dagger, and an exquisitely made matchbook.

    Aside from these three things, there was just a bunch of random little bits of things. Clearly, they had all been left behind by customers who had passed by. The old man had actually carefully collected them and kept them here, waiting for them to retrieve their items.

    He had always been a very honest man, even though he knew that there was no way the rightful owner of these things would ever come back to retrieve them.

    The embroidering handkerchief had been left behind by a young married woman.

    One night, she had quietly arrived in a broken down carriage and met with a young man who had already waited three days and three nights for her here. In the middle of the night, she had quietly snuck out again.

    When the young man woke up, he didn’t see what she had left behind. He stood there by himself in the courtyard, wildly sobbing for a long time before lifting his chest up and striding away.

    Had that young woman been forced to marry into a rich family, but managed to secretly slip out and meet with her old lover one final time? In the future, would that man bestir himself to vigor and forget about those miserable past events?

    The old man didn’t know, nor did he want to know. He just hoped that the young man wouldn't become like him and be forevermore downhearted.

    The dagger and matchbook had been left behind by a big fellow dressed up in night-black clothes. When he came here during the middle of the night, he was injured.

    In the wee hours of the morning, before dawn, there was a storm of abuse and curses which came from his room. The sound of weapons clashing could be heard as they battled their way into the courtyard.

    The old man just covered his ears and slept. Only after all sound came to an end did he put his clothes on and get up.

    There were a few bloodstains in the courtyard. The matchbook and dagger were left behind on the pillow in the room. But that injured man in night-black clothes had disappeared.

    After these people left, of course they would never return. The only reason the old man kept their things was to keep a few interesting memories to accompany his dull, uninteresting life.

    Fu Hongxue left the banknote and matchbook behind.

    Using that pouch of flour, he cooked himself a large bowl of paste-like noodles. Mixing in a few dregs of oil, he ate it.

    And then he went into the room where Ma Kongqun had been staying, washed his face, and prepared to go to sleep.

    The room was dark and damp. It was filled with the smell of mold. The wooden planks of the bed were cold and hard, but for Fu Hongxue, this was comfortable enough.

    There is no such thing as an ‘absolute’. It is all a matter of perspective.

    He quietly lay within the dark room. He wanted to sleep, but could not fall asleep.

    He was thinking too much.

    Ma Kongqun’s serious, solemn face. The man in black’s bloody face. Ye Kai’s ever-smiling face…

    One face after another seemed to float up in the darkness, suddenly transforming into a different face. A beautiful face, with beautiful eyes, staring at him with a sorrowful yet joyful gaze.

    It didn’t matter who she once was, or if she was Ma Kongqun’s daughter. She died for me.

    If one didn’t sincerely feel a fierce love for another in their hearts, how could they be willing to sacrifice themselves? Fu Hongxue felt a piercing pain in his own heart. He knew that for the rest of his life, he would never be able to find someone who shared such a deep love with him again.

    His destiny was already fixed. He would forevermore be alone.

    Right at this moment, he suddenly heard someone’s voice, a voice even softer than satin.

    “When did you arrive?”

    Someone suddenly pushed the door open and entered, like a ghost in the night.

    Although Fu Hongxue couldn’t see this person, he recognized her voice.

    He would never forget that voice…

    In that lonely border town, in that gloomy alleyway, in that small, dark, and yet warm room.

    She was waiting for him. He seemed to remember that on that first night, her words had been, “When did you arrive?”

    “I will make you into a real man…”

    He remembered her hands guiding him, making him into a real man.

    “…because there are many things which only real men can do…”

    He could never forget her body, as soft and as sleek as satin. He could never forget that moment of amazing, overwhelming joy.

    Cui Nong! Could it be Cui Nong? Could she be Cui Nong?

    Fu Hongxue suddenly jumped up, tightly embracing the figure in the darkness.

    Her body was still as soft, still as warm as before. Her breath was still filled with that irresistible, unforgettable sweetness.

    She whispered into his ear, “You didn’t think that I would come, did you.”

    Fu Hongxue’s throat was sealed. He couldn’t even breathe.

    “I know that your life has been very miserable, but you cannot give up hope. You will definitely be able to find Ma Kongqun. If you sink down, all of us will be very disappointed.”

    Fu Hongxue’s hand was trembling. He slowly reached into his clothes.

    Suddenly, a flame blossomed.

    The dark room suddenly became bright again. He had lit that match.

    He immediately saw this person, the first woman he had ever enjoyed.

    The woman who had changed his life and whom he would never forget…was not Cui Nong.

    It was Third Madame Shen!

    Beneath the light of the flickering flame, Fu Hongxue’s face became even paler. He couldn’t help but let out a shocked shout, “You!”

    Third Madame Shen’s face was also pale, terrifying pale. Was it due to her loss of blood, or because she didn’t imagine that there would be a source of light here?

    She half-turned, as though she wanted to cover her face with her clothes. But then, she turned back and smiled at Fu Hongxue. She sweetly said, “It’s me. You didn’t think it was me, did you.”

    Fu Hongxue stared at her in shock. After a long time, he nodded.

    Third Madame Shen said, “You thought it was Cui Nong?”

    Fu Hongxue didn’t answer her. He had no idea how to respond. He didn’t even dare to look at her.

    But Third Madame Shen’s beautiful eyes were fixed upon him. She slowly said, “I know that she’s already dead, and that this has been a great shock to you. The reason I came here was in the hopes that you would no longer be too miserable over her death.”

    Biting her lips, she hesitated for a moment. She seemed to only be able to force out these next words with a great deal of effort. “Because the person you should have fallen in love with was not her, but me!”

    Fu Hongxue stood ramrod stiff. His pale face seemed to have turned stiff and translucent.

    Third Madame Shen sighed. “I know that all this time, you mistook her for me, and that you didn’t know a person like me existed in the world. That’s why you…”

    Fu Hongxue interrupted her. “You’re wrong!”

    Third Madame Shen said, “I’m wrong?”

    Fu Hongxue lifted his head up. He stared at her with a very strange expression in his eyes. He slowly said, “Although I didn’t know who you were, I knew long ago that you were not Cui Nong.”

    Third Madame Shen was stunned.

    This time, she was the one to be shocked. She was even more shocked than Fu Hongxue was earlier.

    After a long time, she managed to speak. “You knew? How could you know? Did she actually tell you herself?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “She didn’t tell me, nor did I ask. But I could feel it…”

    He didn’t continue, because he didn’t need to continue.

    With a man and a woman are in love with each other, there are some sweet, subtle moments which others cannot possibly understand.

    Third Madame Shen was a very mature, very intelligent woman. Naturally, she understood this.

    A very subtle feeling suddenly arose in her heart as well. For whatever reason, this feeling made her very uncomfortable. After a long time had passed, she forced herself to nod. She softly said, “Looks like you didn’t make a mistake in loving her after all.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “No, I didn’t.”

    His bearing suddenly became very solemn, very tranquil. He slowly continued, “The reason I loved her is because of her. The person I fell in love with her, because of who she was. There definitely were no other reasons.”

    Third Madame Shen lightly sighed. “I understand.”

    She really did understand. Although he knew that she was his first woman, the person he loved was still Cui Nong.

    Love is without conditions and without regrets.

    She suddenly thought of Ma Kongqun. Even she herself was not sure; did she truly love him? Did she make a mistake in loving him?

    Fu Hongxue suddenly said, “Where’s Ye Kai?”

    Third Madame Shen said, “He…he didn’t come.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Was it his idea for you to tell me about this?”

    Third Madame Shen said, “The only reason I told you about this was because I thought you had the right to know the truth.”

    Fu Hongxue was silent. After a long moment, he slowly said, “But I only wish that I can forever forget about this.”

    Third Madame Shen forced out a chuckle. “I’ve already forgotten.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Very good, very good…”

    The two of them stared at each other, as though they were nothing more than ordinary friends.

    When they thought about what had happened within that small, dark room, it was as though they were remembering things which happened to someone else.

    Because at that time, although their bodies had become one, there was no love between them at all. This sort of union will never leave behind any marks behind in one’s heart.

    Right at this moment, the match in Fu Hongxue’s hand went out.

    The small room once more became dark.

    Although the darkness was the same and the people were the same, they were now in totally different frames of mind.

    Earlier, Fu Hongxue’s entire body felt blazing when he imagined her hot lips and warm body.

    But now, although she was standing right in front of him, he didn’t have the slightest desire to touch her. They no longer spoke, because they no longer had anything to say to each other.

    And then, Third Madame Shen heard the sound of Fu Hongxue’s particular walking gait as he slowly strode out.

    “I didn’t make a mistake in loving her. The reason I love her is because of she herself. There are definitely no other reasons.”

    Ye Kai quietly listened as Third Madame Shen finished speaking, but he was still pondering over these words.

    He also felt many things in his heart as well. Was it sweetness, sourness, or pain?

    Ding Linglin watched him. She suddenly laughed. “What he just said, I said to you long ago.”

    Ye Kai said, “Oh?”

    Ding Linglin softly said, “I told you that you are the person I am in love with. No matter whom you are or what type of person you are, I will love you just the same.”

    Ye Kai’s eyes once more seemed to be filled with an indescribable look of pain and worry. Uplifting his head, he turned to stare east, at the slowly brightening horizon. He suddenly asked, “You won’t regret it?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Definitely not.”

    Ye Kai chuckled. His chuckle really was a bit forced. “What if, hypothetically speaking, I did something unforgivable to you? You still won’t regret it?”

    Ding Linglin’s expression became very resolute as well, just like Fu Hongxue’s earlier expression.

    Smiling, she said, “Why would I regret it? I love you willingly, of my own free will. There’s no other reason at all. Nobody compelled me to; I just do.”

    Her smile was just like the brightening light of dawn, filled with inexhaustible, boundless hope.

    Looking at her, Third Madame Shen thought of Fu Hongxue. She suddenly thought that they are really the fortunate ones.

    Because they dared to love, and could love sincerely.

    She couldn’t resist letting out a light sigh. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have come to see him this time.”

    Ye Kai said, “But you weren’t wrong in coming to see him either.”

    Third Madame Shen said, “Oh?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because this meeting of yours let us all understand something.”

    Third Madame Shen couldn’t resist asking, “What?”

    Ye Kai said, “He wasn’t wrong to love Cui Nong, because his love for her was sincere and whole-hearted.”

    Smiling, he continued, “This made me understand that sincere, genuine love can never be wrong.”

    Facing the door, Fu Hongxue watched the people who walked inside the small restaurant and the people who left it. He suddenly felt as though he were more tired and more sallow than any of them. Only now did he realize how terrifying this sort of aimless, wandering lifestyle could be.

    This sort of lifestyle made him feel exhausted, an exhaustion bordering despair.

    He had already spent the banknote worth ten silver taels which had been wrapped within that embroidered handkerchief. He didn’t know who it belonged to, nor did he want to find out.

    But he very much wanted to discover the owner of that golden good luck charm. Unfortunately, although the charm was exquisitely made, it didn’t have a single inscription engraved onto it. At the moment, he no longer had any choice but to sell it for some money, and then use the money to aid him in his search for its owner. If it weren’t for the charm, he might not even be able to remain living. And yet, he had made up his mind to kill the charm’s owner. This really was a form of mockery. For events like this to happen in the world…this is life.

    Sometimes, life is the biggest mockery of all.

    Fu Hongxue suddenly wanted to go drinking again. Just as he was forcefully controlling his urges, he suddenly saw a very striking figure stroll in through the door.

    This person’s clothes were very gaudy, and there was an expression of great self-assurance on the person’s face. He was very satisfied with everything he had, and very confident regarding his future as well.

    And he truly was a very handsome, very cocky young man. He seemed to be cut from a very different cloth from the likes of Fu Hongxue, as the latter now appeared. And perhaps it was for this reason that Fu Hongxue suddenly found himself filled with an indescribable sort of disgust. But perhaps the person Fu Hongxue was truly disgusted with was not this youngster, but himself.

    The young man’s shining eyes scanned the four corners of the room. Suddenly, he walked over, actually seating himself in the chair facing Fu Hongxue. Although there was a smile on his face, the smile looked very false and very haughty. He suddenly said, “I am Nangong Qing.”

    Fu Hongxue had no intention of paying this man any heed, and so he acted as though he could neither see nor hear this person. The name “Nangong Qing” thus was meaningless to him. Even if he knew that Nangong Qing was the eldest scion of the aristocratic Nangong family, he would not have cared.

    Although the “Nangong Family” was very illustrious, it was just as meaningless to him.

    This attitude clearly took Nangong Qing by surprise. He stared at Fu Hongxue’s snow-white face for a moment, then suddenly removed that golden good luck charm from within his clothes. “Was this the item which you, sir, just traded to the waiter for silver?”

    Fu Hongxue finally nodded.

    Nangong Qing suddenly smirked. “That’s strange.”

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist from asking, “Strange?”

    Nangong Qing icily said, “Because I know that this charm does not belong to you.”

    Fu Hongxue suddenly lifted his head up, staring at him. “You know? How do you know?”

    Nangong Qing said, “Because I gave this to a good friend of mine as a gift. The reason I came here was to ask you how it fell into your hands.”

    Fu Hongxue’s heart rate suddenly sped up. He barely managed to control himself in time. “You’re saying this golden charm originally belonged to you. Can you be sure of this?”

    Nangong Qing smiled coldly. “Of course. This was forged by the illustrious smith of the “Nine Rosy Clouds” silvershop, Old Dong. Unfortunately for you, that waiter had brought this charm to the “Nine Rosy Clouds” silvershop, with the intention of trading it for some silver. Even more unfortunately for you, I just so happened to be there.”

    This really was an extremely unlikely coincidence. And yet, sometimes, this sort of thing happens. That is why life is filled with so many unpredictable tragedies and comedies.

    Fu Hongxue was silent. Suddenly, he smiled coldly as well. “Even if this golden charm originally belonged to you, you shouldn’t have come to ask me about it.”

    Nangong Qing said, “Why not?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Because you already gave it to someone else.”

    Nangong Qing said, “But he definitely wouldn’t have given it to you, and even less would he have sold it to you. That’s why I said this is strange.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “How do you know that he wouldn’t give it to me?”

    Nangong Qing composed his face. Hesitating for a moment, he finally said, slowly, “Because this was originally a token by which I engaged my sister to him.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Truly?”

    Nangong Qing angrily said, “How can this sort of matter be faked? In addition, there are many people in the martial world who know about this matter.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “How many sisters do you have?”

    Nangong Qing said, “Just one.”

    He realized that this pale-faced youngster’s questions were become more and more odd. The only reason he answered this questions was because he was growing curious as well. He wanted to see what Fu Hongxue meant by all this.

    But Fu Hongxue suddenly stopped asking questions. He no longer needed to ask any more questions.

    Since many people in the martial world know about this matter, he already knew enough to discern the identity of the man in black by himself.

    Nangong Qing said, “Are you done with your questions?”

    Fu Hongxue looked at him, looked at his handsome, arrogant features, his luxurious, gaudy clothes. Looked at his slender, clean, and elegant hands. Upon one of his fingers was an enormous jade ring…all of this suddenly once more filled Fu Hongxue with an indescribable disgust towards the man.

    Nangong Qing was watching him as well. He coldly said, “Are you done talking?”

    Fu Hongxue suddenly spoke. “I have one more thing to say.”

    Nangong Qing said, “Speak.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I urge you to cancel your sister’s wedding agreement as quickly as possible.”

    Nangong Qing’s expression changed. “Why?”

    Fu Hongxue coldly said, “Because the person to whom your sister is engaged will not live for long!”

    He slowly lifted his hand, then rested it on the table. His hand was still tightly gripping his sabre.

    A pale hand! A pitch-black sabre!

    The pupils of Nangong Qing’s eyes contracted. He involuntarily cried out, “You!”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Me.”

    Nangong Qing said, “I’ve heard of you. Over these past few months, I’ve often heard others speak of you.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Oh?”

    Nangong Qing said, “I’ve heard that you are like a pestilence, that any place you visit will meet with disaster.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “What else?”

    Nangong Qing said, “I’ve heard that not only have you laid waste to the Hall of Ten Thousand Horses, but that you’ve laid waste to many illustrious martial arts masters. I imagine that you are very skilled in martial arts.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You aren’t impressed?”

    Nangong Qing suddenly laughed. Sneering, he said, “You want me to be impressed by you? Why don’t you go die?”

    Fu Hongxue stared at him coldly. He waited for Nangong Qing to finish laughing, before slowly saying four words. “Draw your sword, now!

    A three foot, seven-inch long sword was hanging off a golden hook attached to his silk belt. The sheath was made from exquisitely worked sharkskin leather, and upon it was seven gleaming gemstones. Nangong Qing’s hand was already gripping his sword’s hilt. His hand had turned pale white as well.

    He sneered. “I hear that people only have a chance to see your blade in the moment before they die. But my sword is different. There’s no harm in letting you take a look.”

    Suddenly, he charged forward, his sword having already left its sheath. The flashing light from his sword seemed to carry with it a clear, high-pitched, dragon-like roar as it flew towards Fu Hongxue.

    With a ‘Ding’ sound, the bowl of noodles in front of Fu Hongxue had already been chopped into two pieces. Next, with a swishing sound, the sturdy wooden table was also chopped into two pieces.

    Fu Hongxue watched as the two halves of the table slowly fell apart. He didn’t even move.

    But there were many people off to one side who were cheering!

    Nangong Qing lightly stroked the flat of his blade. He swept a glance out of the corner of his eyes at Fu Hongxue. He arrogantly smiled. “What do you think?”

    Fu Hongxue flatly said, “I also seem to have heard people discuss this sword technique, used for chopping firewood.”

    Nangong Qing’s expression changed. He fiercely said, “Only, my sword can do more than just chop wood. It can also kill.”

    With a quiver of his hand, the steel sword in his hand, which had been refined over a hundred times, suddenly shone with tens of points of light.

    Then, all of those points of light suddenly coalesced into a flying rainbow, chopping towards Fu Hongxue’s arm.

    Fu Hongxue didn’t draw his sabre. He still didn’t even budge, as he sat there, staring at the approach of this sword light which was akin to a bolt of lightning. Only just as the sword was about to pierce the skin of his arm did he suddenly drop his arm. With a flip of his hand, the pitch-black scabbard struck Nangong Qing on his wrist.

    This attack seemed to be very ordinary and commonplace, but the timing of it was absolutely perfect. Only after he had calculated when the opponent’s technique was coming to an end did he strike.

    But if one didn’t have nerves of steel, how could one wait so long before making his move? How could one dare!

    Nangong Qing only felt his wrist suddenly go numb. Then, he realized that his sword had already flown out from his hand and had nailed itself into the wall.

    Fu Hongxue was still seated there. Not only was his sword still sheathed, he still hadn’t even budged.

    Nangong Qing ground his teeth. He suddenly stamped his foot and charged forwards, flipping over Fu Hongxue’s head. Stretching his hand out, he seized his sword. Then, kicking off from the wall with his right leg, he flipped over and flew towards Fu Hongxue with a “Slender Chest, Ingenious Somersault” attack. His sword, aimed at Fu Hongxue’s throat, shot down with great practiced skill. Off to the side, cheers could once more be heard.

    Although this youngster had lost a moment ago, it surely must have been only due to him overly underestimating his opponent.

    His strike truly was neat and nimble. Not only were his movements graceful and beautiful to behold, the ingenious transformations of his sword art appeared akin to the dancing of a dragon in the heaven, capable of making people sigh in admiration. They simply did not see Fu Hongxue make his move. They simply couldn’t see.

    They only heard a swishing sound. The sword had pierced the chair, but Fu Hongxue had disappeared from the seat.

    Once again, he waited until he was just a hairs-breadth away from death before he dodged this sword.

    Nangong Qing had clearly seen his sword pierce into Fu Hongxue, and yet, in the blink of an eye, his adversary had disappeared.

    He didn’t even have the chance to change his move. He could only watch his sword pierce into the chair.

    Only then did he feel the pain. An intense pain in his ribs, as though someone had pounded him there with two massive clubs.

    Before his body had landed on the ground from his charge, it had already been knocked flying backwards. He slammed into the wall. Only after forcing himself to summon up his strength did he slowly manage to slide down the wall. But he was no longer capable of even standing steady.

    Fu Hongxue was coldly staring at him. “Impressed yet?”

    Gasping for breath, Nangong Qing suddenly shouted, “Go die!”

    As he shouted, he once more pounced forwards. His sword swished through the air, sounding like the shattering of bamboo. He had already launched four forehand strikes and three backhanded strikes.

    Although these seven chain strikes lacked the power and impetus of the earlier strokes, they were even sharper and deadlier. Each attack was a killer move!

    Fu Hongxue’s body flickered. In the blink of an eye, he had dodged all seven strokes.

    Although he was a cripple, when he moved, his movements appeared poised, graceful, and natural.

    Someone who had not seen how he normally walked would never know that he was a cripple.

    But he himself knew. It was precisely because he knew that he was a cripple, that he was able to train himself to move three times faster than most people. He put three times more effort and bitter toil into his training than most people as well; three times, at the least.

    After finishing his seven strokes, Nangong Qing wanted to change to a different attack. But he suddenly realized that a sabre was already in front of him.

    The sabre had not yet left the sheath. The pitch-black sheath.

    Just as Nangong Qing saw this pitch-black sheath, it smote him heavily across his chest.

    He suddenly could see nothing. When the golden stars in his vision disappeared, he realized that he was sitting down on the floor. His chest felt as though it were being scorched by flames. He couldn’t even breathe.

    Fu Hongxue was standing in front of him, coldly staring at him. “Impressed yet?”

    Nangong Qing did not speak. He couldn’t speak.

    But this scion of an illustrious family still appeared to have an unimpressed, arrogant look on his face.

    Struggling, he rose to his feet, puffed out his chest, and glared angrily at Fu Hongxue.

    Fresh blood was already flowing from his lips without pause, but he actually still used all the strength in his body to bellow out, “Go die!”

    Fu Hongxue coldly said, “I haven’t died yet, and you still have your sword in your hand. You can come kill me.”

    Nangong Qing ground his teeth. He forcefully brandished his sword, but as soon as he lifted his arm up, he felt a splitting pain in his chest. How could this thrust contain any killing power?

    Fu Hongxue no longer needed to dodge. As the sword neared him, it fell to the floor.

    The earlier shouts of acclaim had turned into sympathetic sighs. To a proud young man, this sort of sympathy can be even more unendurable than mockery and laughter.

    Nangong Qing’s body suddenly began to tremble. He suddenly said in a loud voice, “Since you hate me, why don’t you go ahead and kill me?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I hate you?”

    Nangong Qing said, “There’s no enmity between us, but I know that you hate me. You hate me because you know that you’ll never be able to match up to me.”

    A cruel, vicious, mocking light suddenly appeared in his eyes.

    Although his sword no longer had the power to harm Fu Hongxue, he knew that sometimes, vicious words could harm far more deeply than a blade can.

    He loudly continued, “You hate me because I am a dignified, honorable man, while you are nothing more than a pathetic cripple. A bastard who can’t stand the light of day. If Bai Tianyu were still alive, he definitely wouldn’t accept you as his son. You don’t even have the right to take revenge on his behalf.”

    Fu Hongxue’s pale face had turned crimson. His body began to tremble as well.

    Nangong Qing couldn’t help but reveal a trace of self-satisfaction on his face. He sneered, “That’s why it doesn’t matter how you choose to humiliate me, because I will always be better than you and never submit to you.”

    Blue veins were bulging from the hand with which Fu Hongxue gripped his sabre. He slowly said, “You will never submit to me?”

    Nangong Qing said, “Even if I were to die, I still would not submit to you!”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Truly?”

    Nangong Qing said, “Of course!”

    Fu Hongxue stared at him. He suddenly sighed. “You really shouldn’t say such things…”

    His sigh seemed even grimmer and more callous than Nangong Qing’s cold laughter. In the midst of this bizarre sigh, his sabre left the sheath.

    Nangong Qing only felt a cold wind pass by his left cheek as something fell onto his shoulder.

    He couldn’t help but reach out and pick it up. He suddenly realized that his hand and his shoulder were both splattered with fresh blood. Spreading his palm, he realized that this cold, icy object was actually an ear. His own ear.

    Only now did he suddenly feel an intense pain where his ear once was, a pain more intense than that of being roasted by flames.

    His upper body suddenly became rigid and stiff, but his legs went soft. With a plopping sound, he sat down.

    A countless myriad of poisonous snakes seemed to be writhing on the arm with which he held his ear. Cold sweat was already pouring from his forehead like raindrops. His handsome, arrogant face now looked like the face of a corpse.

    Fu Hongxue coldly said, “I haven’t died yet. I still have my sabre in my hand. And you?”

    Nangong Qing looked at the ear in his hand.

    His teeth were chattering. He couldn’t even speak.

    Fu Hongxue said, “You still would rather die than submit to me?”

    Tears began to flow from Nangong Qing’s terror-stricken eyes. His voice quavering, he said, “I…I…”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Do you submit or not?”

    Nangong Qing suddenly shouted as loudly as he could, “I submit. I submit!”

    As he shouted, tears began to flow down his face. He had always fancied himself as a person who would never surrender, even in the face of death. But now, he realized that terror is as unstoppable as a hurricane or a flood. In the blink of an eye, it destroyed his courage and self-confidence.

    He was totally incapable of controlling himself now.

    Fu Hongxue’s face had turned so pale, it was almost translucent. He no longer even bothered to spare Nangong Qing another glance. He slowly turned around and slowly walked out.

    His walking gait looked queer and clumsy, but right now, there was no one who would consider him a laughable cripple.

    There definitely was no one!

    ______________

    As promised, so I delivered! 2 AM now, time to get some sleep.

    Btw, fyi, the word Fu Hongxue and Nangong Qing were discussing was 'fu' 服, which cannot be directly translated, as it is equal parts being 'impressed' by someone, as well as 'submitting' to someone, depending on usage. I ended up deciding to use 'impressed' where appropriate and 'submit' where appropriate.
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 10-19-09 at 02:04 AM.
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

  4. #84
    Senior Member Justin13's Avatar
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    Thanks RWX! Sorry for you missing your sleep

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    Senior Member Cesare's Avatar
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    Thanks very very much, Ren Wo Xing...
    Wonderful chapter.
    别想把黑暗放在我的面前
    太阳已经生长在我心底
    不再有封闭的畏惧
    奔腾的灵魂飞上天际
    太阳 我在这里

  6. #86
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Ren delivers once again! Thanks for updating. That a great.

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    thank you very much.

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    I am always lurking around here reading and never had a chance to post. I just want to say all of the translators did an excellent job. Keep up the good work. And thank you for making our days.

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    Senior Member balikpapan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    He came, He saw, He conquered the Wuxia. He is Ren Wo Xing.
    Thanks a lot for the story. Really worth to wait.

    .

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    Wow! .
    Man is glue. You are man. How then can you step away from glue?

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    Talking Thank you!

    Woo. What a big update.

    Thanks very much RWX! *tips his hat stylishly*

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    RWX, that just made my weekend man...best thing to do before having to go to work is read Bordertown. FYI, "The Sabre" has now passed "The Dagger" as my favorite JY weapon.

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    Chapter 44: The Two Heroes of the Ding Family

    Autumn. The autumn wind was extremely solemn.

    Fu Hongxue slowly walked past the long street. The wind blew against his chest, which suddenly felt filled with a ruthless joy.

    He wasn't actually a ruthless person. He was never willing to hurt others, nor was he willing to allow others to hurt him.

    But there are some people in the world who have believed since birth that they are entitled to being superior, and are entitled to hurt others, even though others are not allowed to hurt them in the slightest.

    Perhaps they weren't truly evil people. But this extreme sense of superiority is not only abominable, but also hateful.

    Perhaps the only way to deal with this type of person is to chop off his ears, to make him understand that when he is hurting others, others can also hurt him.

    Fu Hongxue had already come to a realization that this method was both proper and effective.

    Just as Manager Chen of the "Nine Rosy Clouds" silvershop sat down and picked up a bowl of tea, the tea splattered all over him.

    His hand continued to tremble, and his heart continued to jump wildly. He never would have imagined that the young master would be weeping miserably. Right now, he wished he could pretend that he didn't see any of this at all.

    Right at this moment, he suddenly saw that ashen-faced youngster from earlier suddenly walk over from across the street. The tea-bowl immediately fell from his hands, splintering on the floor.

    Fu Hongxue had already walked inside, passing under that very ancient plaque which was covered with fresh lacquer. Coldly staring at him, he said, "You are the manager of this place?"

    Manager Chen could only nod.

    Fu Hongxue said, "I delivered that golden good luck charm here in trade for silver. Where's the silver?"

    Manager Chen smiled ingratiatingly. "The silver is right here. All of it is here. Sir, feel free to take it."

    He actually brought out all the silver in the shop, as though he had taken Fu Hongxue for a plundering bandit.

    Fu Hongxue suddenly felt extremely amused.

    Naturally, he didn't laugh. Hardening his expression, he continued, "Nangong Qing has only one sister?"

    Manager Chen said, "Just the one."

    Fu Hongxue said, "Who is she betrothed to?"

    Manager Chen said, "The third master of the Ding family. His name is Ding Lingzhong!"

    The expression on Fu Hongxue's face changed.

    Manager Chen was all the more shocked. He never would have imagined that Fu Hongxue's expression could turn so terrifying after hearing this name.

    The rays of the setting sun shone in from outside the door, resting upon his pale face.

    His face had turned as translucent as crystal.

    The poisoned wine of the Hero's Manor, Yi Dajing's source of information, Wang Dahong's poison sword, the death-dealing flying dagger, and that 'man' outside the Plum Blossom Convent...was everyone all neatly lined up, now?

    Suddenly, all of these events, along with this name, coalesced with in his heart.

    His thoughts turned as clear as crystal as well.

    There's no such thing as a secret which can lie hidden forever. It seemed as though the time for all secrets to be revealed had come.

    Fu Hongxue suddenly laughed loudly. Roaring with laughter, he left, leaving behind a totally baffled Manager Chen, who sat there, scratching his head.

    He had never imagined it possible for someone's laughter to be so terrifying.

    The enormous courtyard was dark and silent. Only a few scattered points of light could be seen, dispersed throughout the trees.

    The wind carried with it the fragrance of chrysanthemums and laurels. The moon was full.

    Ma Kongqun was lying on the ridge of the roof. The cold, dreary wind and the freezing rooftop once more set his blood to boiling.

    It seemed as though he was once more transported back to his younger days, where he would commit murder by moonlight.

    Under the cover of darkness, he would sneak into a stranger's house, always ready to unsheathe his sabre to kill someone, and always ready for an ambush.

    He had almost forgotten that intense, stimulating lifestyle.

    But right now, he wasn't afraid of being discovered by patrolmen, because this place was one of the three most famous, long-standing manors in the martial world. No patrolmen would ever dare to come to this place, nor was there a need for any patrolmen to come here. The light grew fainter, and the darkness roiled and bulged out. It was already midnight.

    The people in the manor probably were all asleep. The household rules of this place definitely would not allow people to oversleep and wake up late. Naturally, everyone went to bed early as well. Ma Kongqun's eyes scanned the area like the gaze of an eagle. First he decided upon a good place to alight, before he jumped down.

    He wasn't actually afraid of being discovered, but he couldn't help but be cautious. The many life-and-death experiences he had accumulated over the years had caused him to become an extremely prudent person.

    After flitting across a number of roofs, he suddenly saw a very unique courtyard. The courtyard was refined and clean. Lights could be seen on the other side of the snow-white paper windows. The strange thing was, not a single flower or blade of grass could be seen in this courtyard. It was filled with nothing but yellow sand.

    There were cacti growing in the sand, covered in long, sharp needles. Beneath the cold, dreary moonlight, they looked indescribably ferocious and cunning.

    Ma Kongqun's eyes immediately shone. He knew that this definitely must be the place he was looking for. The person he was seeking had not died yet.

    No sound came from within the room. The light from within was dim and cold.

    Ma Kongqun let out a quiet sigh. Suddenly, he let out a very peculiar sound, much like the dreary howling of a wolf in the mountain wilderness.

    The light in the room was immediately quenched. The tightly closed door suddenly opened.

    A low, hoarse voice asked from within the darkness, "Which man are you?"

    When he said the word 'man', his voice became lower still.

    Ma Kongqun let out another sigh. "An old friend of the Plum Blossom."

    The voice in the darkness suddenly fell silent. After a long time, it icily said, "I knew you would come, sooner or later."

    The door tightly shut once more, but the light remained quenched.

    The room remained dark. No one could possibly discern the features of the person inside, who disliked flowers and grass but liked cacti.

    The person's voice was so hoarse and low that one could not even discern if it belonged to a male or a female, to a person young or old.

    Now, within the darkness, this person and Ma Kongqun began to speak in whisper-like voices.

    Ma Kongqun said, "Do you feel that I should not have come?"

    The person said, "Of course you shouldn't have come. We agreed long ago that after the affair at the Plum Blossom, we would never meet again."

    Ma Kongqun said, "I remember."

    The person continued, "You promised me that no matter what happened, you wouldn't implicate me in your affairs."

    Ma Kongqun suddenly smirked. "But the person who broke faith was not I."

    The person said, "No? Are you saying that I did?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "You shouldn't have ordered me killed."

    The person said, "Who did I order to kill you?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "You know what I am referring to. Why ask me?"

    The person was silent for another period of time, before slowly saying, "You've already met the third master?"

    Ma Kongqun laughed coldly. "So it was the third master after all. I've long heard people say that the third master of the Ding family is the most intelligent and capable. I never would have imagined, though, that not only would he master all of your skills, but that he would also learn how to use flying daggers."

    The person said, "Flying daggers? What flying daggers?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "That day at the Plum Blossom Convent, you took away two possessions of Bai Tianyu. One of them was a dagger which Little Li gifted to him. You thought I didn't know about it."

    The person was silent. It seemed as though the person was forcefully grinding his teeth.

    Ma Kongqun said, "Although the fame of Little Li's Flying Dagger shook the world, there weren't many people who had actually met him. Aside from you, nobody could possible duplicate one of his daggers."

    The person said, "Only, even I didn't know that he had mastered Little Li's Flying Dagger."

    Ma Kongqun coldly said, "Fortunately, he didn't reach a very high level of mastery. That's why I managed to reach this place alive."

    That person was silent for another long period of time. The person suddenly said angrily, "I also know that your Hall of Ten Thousand Horses has been demolished by someone. I hear that a young fellow named Fu Hongxue did it. Can it be that he's Bai Tianyu's son, whom that **** gave birth to?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "Precisely so."

    The person said, "Just based on his own skills, he was able to demolish the Hall of Ten Thousand Horses?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "When his sabre strikes out, it definitely isn't at all inferior to that of Bai Tianyu's in the older days."

    The person said, "How could he have mastered that type of sabre technique? Can it be that Bai Tianyu had transmitted the secrets of his godlike sabre technique to that *****?"

    Ma Kongqun flatly said, "Bai Tianyu was very genuine and sincere towards Princess Bai Feng."

    The sound of teeth being gnashed could suddenly be heard from within the darkness. It sounded like swords grinding against each other, capable of causing listeners to shudder involuntarily. It seemed as though this person really did feel a deep, irreconcilable enmity for Bai Tianyu.

    Ma Kongqun said, "But if Ye Kai hadn't been helping him in secret, Fu Hongxue wouldn't necessarily have succeeded."

    The person said, "Ye Kai? What sort of relationship does he have to the Bai family?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "His background is very murky, and his movements are mysterious. At first, even I was taken in by him, and I took him for nothing more than a person who coincidentally came at just the wrong time."

    The person coldly said, "If he can even fool you, it would seem he is a very capable person."

    Ma Kongqun said, "Although he is very young, he is extremely shrewd. His skill in martial arts is difficult to fathom as well. He really is even more difficult to deal with than Fu Hongxue."

    The person said, "How well do you think he compares to the third master?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "Third master Ding is also an exceedingly smart man. Unfortunately..."

    The person said, "Unfortunately what?"

    Ma Kongqun sighed again. "Unfortunately, exceedingly smart people generally do not live exceedingly long lives."

    The person cried out involuntarily, "You killed him?"

    Ma Kongqun flatly said, "I only beg that he not kill me. That would more than satisfy me. How could I kill him?"

    The person said, "Then who killed him?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "Fu Hongxue."

    The person said, "How do you know? Did you personally witness it?"

    Hesitating for a moment, Ma Kongqun finally nodded.

    The person said in a fierce voice, "You personally witnessed Fu Hongxue murder him but didn't go help?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "I should've gone to save him, but unfortunately, I was wounded and could barely even save myself."

    The person said, "Who wounded you?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "He did, with his flying daggers."

    The person could no longer speak.

    Ma Kongqun said, "No matter what, since I'm already here, there's no way for you to back away from this matter."

    The person said, "What are you planning to do?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "Nineteen years ago, you and I plotted out the bloody event at the Plum Blossom Convent. Not a single soul in the martial world knows of this. No matter how talented Fu Hongxue might be, there's no way he could possibly guess of this matter."

    The person said, "So you intend to hide here?"

    Ma Kongqun said, "Right now, that's my only option. Later on, in the future, I'll finish the job we started and kill Fu Hongxue."

    The person said coldly, "Although the two of us are not friends, since things have already come to this point, I naturally cannot turn you away."

    Ma Kongqun suddenly chuckled. "Of course, nor can you kill me to shut my mouth. You're a smart person. I'm sure you must realize that I would not have dared to come here if I had not made preparations in advance."

    That person sneered. "Rest your mind. Although, over the course of the past few years, I've all but closed off this place from the rest of human society. Even if I were to kill an entire group of people within these walls, no one outside would ever know."

    Ma Kongqun laughed dully. "It would seem as though I really can put my mind at rest and stay here."

    The person suddenly said, "That Ye Kai fellow you mentioned earlier. I've heard of him before as well."

    Shocked, Ma Kongqun said, "Oh?"

    The person said, "Even if Fu Hongxue doesn't come here, sooner or later, Ye Kai will."

    Ma Kongqun said, " Oh."

    The person said, "Because right now, he's already all but the son-in-law of the Ding family."

    Ma Kongqun cried out involuntarily, "No matter what, that can't be allowed!"

    The person coldly said, "Why not? If he were to become the son-in-law of the Ding family, wouldn't I be able to sit back and relax more? In addition, the daughter of the Ding family will not marry anyone but him. At first, I wasn't willing to agree to this, but now, I intend to fulfill their desires."

    Ma Kongqun suddenly smirked. "You want to give them your blessings? And when has anyone ever fulfilled your desires?"

    The person fell silent once more. Then, within the darkness, the sound of footsteps could be heard. With a thudding sound, the person pushed the door open.

    Ma Kongqun seemed to laugh again. Smiling to himself, he mumbled, "Oh, Ye Kai, Ye Kai...it's best if you don't come. Otherwise, I guarantee that you'll regret it."

    The dim starlight shone into the room. Remarkably, there was a kettle of wine on the table.

    He lifted it up and took a taste. Smiling, he continued, "This really is excellent wine. When a man is feeling lonely, he really should drink..."

    But before he finished the thought, the smile on his face froze and he fell to the floor.

    The night was as cold as water.

    Ye Kai was hugging his knees as he rested on top of the ice cold stone steps. He stared at the bright moon, shining above the tops of the parasol trees. His heart felt cold as well.

    The moon was now round, but the people were now separated.

    Why must people inflict so much pain on one another? Why must people so often part from one another?

    Since there must be a parting eventually, what was the point of having come together to begin with?

    He suddenly once more thought of Xiao Bieli, once more thought about those events at that border town, once more thought about that lonely old nun at the Plum Blossom Convent, once more thought about that tomb on top of the mountain.

    Right now, he seemed to have come to an understanding about all things. There was just one thing he still did not understand.

    And there was just one more problem he could not solve.

    Perhaps this was simply a problem that could not be solved, because no matter what he might do, it would be difficult for him to avoid hurting others, and it would be difficult for him to avoid hurting himself.

    Although parting is painful, why is it that coming together must also be so vexing? The cold mountain wind blew past him, bringing with it the sound of footsteps from behind, as well as the clear, joyful sound of bells.

    He suddenly turned his head and said, "You came at just the right moment. I was just about to go hunt you down."

    Ding Linglin pursed her lips in a smile. "Why didn't you?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because just then, I hadn't made up my mind yet as to whether or not I should tell you about this matter."

    Ding Linglin said, "About what matter?"

    Ye Kai said, "At first, I didn't want to let you know about this, but I didn't want to deceive you either. No matter what, you've always been very good to me."

    His expression was very solemn, and his voice was extremely indifferent.

    This was not how Ye Kai usually behaved.

    Ding Linglin was no longer able to smile. She seemed to have already realized that he definitely would not be telling her anything pleasant.

    Forcing out a smile, she said, "No matter what you want to say to me, I don't care to hear it."

    Ye Kai said, "But you must hear it, because I am going to leave before the sun rises."

    Ding Linglin cried out involuntarily, "You're leaving? Why didn't you tell me earlier?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because this time, you cannot come with me."

    Ding Linglin said, "You...you are going alone? To where?"

    Ye Kai said, "I'm not going alone either."

    Ding Linglin let out a cry. "Are you taking Third Madame Shen with you?"

    Ye Kai said, "Correct."

    Ding Linglin said, "Why?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because I like her. I've always liked her. You're just a kid, but she is the woman who I hold dearest in my heart. For her sake, I can give up anything."

    Ding Linglin stared at him in shock, as though she had never seen him before. In a trembling voice, she said, "She...can it be that she is willing to go with you?"

    Ye Kai chuckled. He flatly said, "Of course she is willing. As even you've agreed, I'm a very likable man."

    Ding Linglin's face turned ashen, but her eyes had begun to turn red, as though she had been struck heavily on the face by someone.

    She retreated, one step at a time, as her tears began to fall, one drop at a time. She suddenly turned around and rushed out, forcefully ramming Third Madame Shen's door open.

    Ye Kai didn't stop her, because he knew that Third Madame Shen would say the same thing to her.

    Third Madame Shen had already promised him.

    But just at this moment, he suddenly heard a cry of alarm coming from Third Madame Shen's room, as though someone had suddenly seen a ghost.

    The cry came from Ding Linglin.

    The room was still bright with light.

    The cold, cheerless light shone upon Third Madame Shen's pale face. There was a very peaceful expression on her face.

    But she was already dead.

    A dagger was stuck in her chest. Blood had already dyed her clothes crimson.

    But her death was a very peaceful one, because she had only taken her own life after very long and serious contemplation.

    Aside from death, she had no other way to free herself.

    There was a short letter. "Miss Ding is a very good girl. I can tell that she cares for you deeply. I'm a woman as well, and therefore, although I gave you my word, I still can't bear to help you lie to her. And I definitely cannot bear to watch you go kill Ma Kongqun."

    These were the last words of Third Madame Shen. She believed that Ye Kai would understand her meaning.

    But Ding Linglin did not understand.

    Turning around, she stared at Ye Kai. Tears flowing, she said, "So you were deceiving me after all. Why did you lie to me? Why did you want to hurt me?"

    A look of pain appeared on Ye Kai's bright and cheerful face as well. He finally let out a long sigh. "Because you will be hurt no matter what, sooner or later!"

    Ding Linglin shouted loudly, "Why? Why?"

    Ye Kai was no longer willing to answer her. He prepared to leave.

    But Ding Linglin seized him by his clothes. "You already promised that you'd go to my home with me. We're already almost at my home now. Why did you suddenly change your mind?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because I suddenly find you distasteful."

    He forcefully pulled her hand away. Without even turning his head, he walked away.

    He didn't dare to look back, because he was afraid to let Ding Linglin see his eyes. Tears had appeared in his eyes as well.

    A single lonely parasol tree was groaning as it was blown to and fro by the wind, as though it were sighing on behalf of all affectionate, loving men and women.

    Beneath that parasol tree stood a man.

    A lonely man, whose face was even more pallid than those of corpses.

    Fu Hongxue. He seemed to have arrived long ago and had heard everything. As he stared at Ye Kai, a look of shared pain and understanding seemed to appear in his cold, callous eyes.

    Ye Kai cried out involuntarily, "You! You came as well?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "I should have come."

    Ye Kai suddenly chuckled. His chuckle was very mournful. "The person who shouldn't have come was I? I really shouldn't have come?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Not only should you not have come, you also shouldn't have treated her in such a way."

    Ye Kai said, "Oh?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Because this affair has absolutely nothing to do with you, nor is there any enmity between you and the people of the Ding family. The only reason I came to find you is to have you take her away from here. Never interfere in this affair again."

    Ye Kai's face was pale as well. He let out a miserable smile. "It seems as though you have discovered many things over the past two days."

    Fu Hongxue said, "I know everything now."

    Ye Kai said, "You are certain?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "I have already met Ding Lingzhong!"

    Ye Kai asked nothing else. He seemed to feel as though these words explained everything.

    But Fu Hongxue couldn't resist from asking him, "Do you know quite a bit about this as well?"

    Ye Kai nodded.

    Fu Hongxue said, "How did you find out?"

    Ye Kai avoided answering. Instead, he sighed and said, "I'm just surprised that Ding Lingzhong would act in such a risky way by seeking you out."

    Fu Hongxue coldly said, "I'm just surprised that you insist on entangling yourself in this affair."

    A person suddenly laughed coldly. "That's because he's a person who, by nature, likes to make trouble. That's why trouble follows him as well."

    The sound came from the other side of the rooftop.

    There was only the voice. No person was there.

    By the time the voice was finished speaking, the sight of peanuts being tossed in the air and falling down could be seen.

    And then, a hand stretched out, tossing out those peanut shells.

    Ye Kai cried out involuntarily, "Lu Xiaojia."

    The person laughed. He stood up, a smile on his face. "Yes, it's me."

    Ye Kai said, "Why did you come here as well?"

    Lu Xiaojia let out a sigh. "I didn't want to come, but I had no choice but to come."

    Ye Kai said, "To do what?"

    Lu Xiaojia sighed, "Aside from killing people, what else do I know how to do?"

    Ye Kai said, "Who did you come to kill?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Aside from yourself, who else would I kill?"

    Ye Kai laughed as well.

    Lu Xiaojia said, "You didn't expect it?"

    Ye Kai said, "From the very first day I met you, I knew that you would come for my life, sooner or later."

    Lu Xiaojia laughed. "I didn't know that you knew how to tell fortunes."

    Ye Kai smiled. "At the same time, I also accurately predicted that there is no way you would be able to kill me."

    Lu Xiaojia flatly said, "I'm afraid this time, your predictions were wrong."

    Ye Kai said, "I also know that no matter what, you will at least make the attempt."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "But I don't know if you'd like to battle now, or wait to see the "Twin Swords Shatter the Divine Sabre" technique of the two scions of the Ding family."

    Ye Kai said, "Twin Swords Shatter the Divine Sabre?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "The two swords combine into eighty one different stances which flow together without a single gap or opening. The brothers of the Ding family practiced this technique, expressly for the purpose of defending against the Bai family's sabre technique. I imagine you haven't seen it either."

    Ye Kai said, "Correct, I have not."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Right now, you have the rare opportunity to see a never-seen sword technique. Wouldn't it be a pity for you to miss it?"

    Ye Kai said, "It really would be a pity."

    Turning his head, he saw that Fu Hongxue's face had once more turned translucent in its paleness.

    Right at this moment, with a dragon-like roar, two swords struck out like bolts of lightning from the opposing room.

    From the midst of the brilliant sword like, one could see two men. One was tall and stood as erect as jade. The scar could still be seen on his handsome face. It was the elegant and graceful Third Master Ding.

    The other man was dressed as a Daoist and wore a priestly hat. His face was cold and emotionless. The sword in his hands shot out rays of light in all directions. He was none other than the man who was rarely seen in the martial world, the First Master, Ding Yunhe.

    Just as the tips of their feet touched the ground, their swords struck out three times. Their two swords blended together in complete harmony, as flawless as a robe woven in heaven. Their swordwork really did flow together without a single gap or opening.

    Ding Linglin's eyes widened. Standing beneath the roof, she was riveted as she watched. She was the only person who still had no idea at all what was going on.

    In the blink of an eye, those two swords seemed to suddenly turned into dozens of swords. Dozens of sword flashes enveloped Fu Hongxue, preventing others from even seeing him.

    Ye Kai sighed. "It seems as though the deadliest aspect of these eighty one strokes is the fact that it prevents their opponent from even drawing his blade."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "You really do have excellent eyesight."

    Ye Kai said, "It seems this sword technique really was developed for the express purpose of dealing with the Bai family's divine sabre."

    Lu Xiaojia chuckled. "The only good way to deal with the Bai family's divine sabre is to not let it be drawn out to begin with."

    Ye Kai said, "The inventor of this sword art is a genius who must have labored mightily over this technique."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Because he knows that the descendants of the Bai family hates him, and he hates the Bai family as well."

    Ye Kai sighed. "That's the only thing which I do not understand. What is the cause of the hatred between the two?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Sooner or later, you'll understand."

    Ye Kai suddenly chuckled. "And sooner or later, won't these eighty one strokes be exhausted as well?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "There's one more marvelous aspect to this sword technique. After the strokes have been exhausted, they can be reused."

    At this time, the two Ding brothers really had just used up all eighty one strokes. With a clear whistle, the two swords spun about in a circle as they started again from the very first stroke. From beginning to end to beginning, there was not a single break or opening.

    Fu Hongxue's indescribably, unthinkably marvelous footwork was now on full display. Those twin, lightning-like swords couldn't hurt him in the slightest.

    However, all of his own skills had been totally neutralized. He had no opportunity to draw his sabre at all.

    Ye Kai suddenly said, "The Ding family brothers definitely could not have invented this sword technique."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Oh?"

    Ye Kai said, "The inventor must have personally witnessed Bai Tianyu strike before. That's why he is able to seal off every chance of the sabre being drawn."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Logical."

    Ye Kai said, "Mere bystanders couldn't hope to have a deep enough understanding. I imagine that he must have personally fought with Hero Bai."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "That's very likely."

    Ye Kai dully said, "It's possible that he was one of those assassins who slew Bai Tianyu that night, outside the Plum Blossom Convent."

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Oh!"

    Ye Kai stared at him. He slowly continued, "Perhaps that person is Ding Chengfeng."

    Ding Chengfeng was Ding Linglin's father.

    Ding Linglin was listening off to the side. Her expression had changed greatly, as though she had suddenly understood.

    But she wished that she would have never come to understand this.

    By this time, the brothers of the Ding family had struck out with around seventy more sword strokes. The sound of Fu Hongxue's panting was now clearly audible to all.

    Clearly, he was no longer capable of holding out for much longer. But the combination sword art of the Ding family still flowed smoothly and without pause, as though it could go on forever without stopping.

    Ye Kai couldn't help but lightly sigh.

    Lu Xiaojia stared at him. "Are you thinking of giving him a hand and helping him out?"

    Ye Kai said, "No."

    Lu Xiaojia smirked. "Really?"

    Ye Kai smiled. "Really. Because he has no need of my help at all."

    Lu Xiaojia's forehead wrinkled as he frowned. Turning his head, he stared at the shadow hidden within the sword flashes. The expression on his face suddenly changed as well.

    The two brothers of the Ding family had finished the second rendition of the eighty one sword strokes.

    Their swords spun around again. Just at this moment, when they were right about to change into the original strokes but had not done so, a loud roar could be heard!

    Within the roar, a snow-bright flash of sabre light struck out!

    Fu Hongxue's sabre had left the sheath!

    ___________

    Fu Hongxue is @%@#$# badass! I think that, like KChill, The Sabre may have replaced The Dagger in my heart.
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

  14. #94
    Senior Member Han Solo's Avatar
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    Thank you for the translation.

    The Saber is in the heart,
    The Saber is The heart,
    The heart is the Saber,
    There is no Saber,
    There is No heart.

    Han Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

  15. #95
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    wow, great translation

    I've always been a passive reader but the last few post were excellent. Felt obligated to convey my deep thanks

    Thanks again and hope we will get to read the entire works soon.

  16. #96
    Senior Member Justin13's Avatar
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    Thanks RWX... Soon another great novel will be completed!!!

  17. #97
    Senior Member CC's Avatar
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    Ha! Typical Gu Long! He will describe some special flowery unbreakable secret flawless perfect peerless unparalled unbreakable unbeatable technique for busting LXF's fingers/FHX's Sabre/Flying Dagger/SMCX's sword etc etc but we all know the ending before it even starts.
    Its BIxie Jianfa Gawdammit you guys!!!!

  18. #98
    Senior Member Cesare's Avatar
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    It's getting better and better and better.
    Another awesome chapter. Thanks for translating, RWX.
    别想把黑暗放在我的面前
    太阳已经生长在我心底
    不再有封闭的畏惧
    奔腾的灵魂飞上天际
    太阳 我在这里

  19. #99
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 45: Benevolence and Hatred are Resolved

    As the sabre flashed, Ding Linghe's body suddenly flew out upside down, flipping through the air before slamming into the eaves of the roof, then falling down. Not a single hint of blood could be seen on his face, but a bloody hole could be seen in his chest.

    Fresh blood was still spurting out. Letting out a cry of alarm, Ding Linglin threw herself towards him.

    Lu Xiaojia was sighing. "I didn't imagine that the eighty one sword strokes of the Ding family still could not overcome a single sabre stroke from the Bai family."

    Ding Lingzhong's sword was still flickering about in the air as he fought on by himself, but a look of terror had appeared in his eyes.

    And then, a flash of the sabre.

    With a loud cry, the sword was knocked out of his hands. The sabre flashed again, preparing to sever his throat.

    Lu Xiaojia suddenly let out a loud cry as he flew towards them.

    With a clanging sound, his sword intercepted Fu Hongxue's sabre.

    What a quick sword! What a fast sabre!

    The sword and the sabre clashed against each other, causing sparks to fly in all directions. Flames seemed to be burning in Fu Hongxue's eyes.

    Lu Xiaojia shouted loudly, "No matter what, you cannot kill him!"

    Fu Hongxue said in a fierce voice, "Why not?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Because if you kill him, you will definitely regret it."

    Fu Hongxue sneered. "If I don't kill him, I'll regret it all the more."

    Lu Xiaojia hesitated for a moment, before making up his mind. "But do you know who he is?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Are you saying he has some sort of relationship with me?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Of course. Because he is Bai Tianyu's son as well, by a different woman! He is your brother!"

    After he said these words, everyone was shocked. Even Ding Lingzhong was no exception.

    Fu Hongxue was stunned.

    Lu Xiaojia said, "If you don't believe me, why don't you go ask his mother?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Who is his mother?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "The younger sister of manor-master Ding Chengfeng, Ding Baiyun."

    There was no wind. There was no sound. Every breath had stopped. The entire world seemed to have frozen.

    After an unknown period of time, Lu Xiaojia's low voice could be heard, as he revealed this secret. "Bai Tianyu encountered Lady Ding as she was roving about in the wild areas beyond the Great Wall. Although Lady Ding was very arrogant and looked down upon all men, she fell in love with Bai Tianyu as soon as she saw him. Without a care for the world, she gave herself to Bai Tianyu."

    This is an event which would be written deep within her bones, a love which she would never forget. Naturally, the two of them had exchanged solemn pledges of love. She really believed that Bai Tianyu would give up everything else to be with her for the rest of their lives. But she didn't know that Bai Tianyu was a dissolute playboy by nature, and that this sort of affair was nothing more than a temporary game to him. When she returned home, she realized that she was pregnant. By this time, Bai Tianyu had long since forgotten her. The Ding family's reputation naturally could not allow for an unwed daughter to become a mother just like that. By coincidence, at that time, Master Ding's wife was pregnant as well, and thus they decided to graft one twig onto another and claimed that Lady Ding's child was Master Ding's wife's as well, while giving up her own child to others. This was because she had already given birth to two other children.

    Master Ding deeply cared for his sister. He wanted to allow her to often see her son, which is why he chose this path.

    This secret had been hidden for many years. Even Ding Lingzhong himself did not know.

    As Lu Xiaojia unhurriedly narrated this tale, a look of pain and suffering appeared in his eyes. Anyone could tell that he was definitely telling the truth.

    Ye Kai suddenly asked, "Since this secret had been hidden for so long, how is it that you know?"

    Lu Xiaojia sadly said, "Because I..."

    His voice suddenly stopped. His face suddenly contorted in pain. Slowly, he turned around to stare at Ding Lingzhong.

    A dagger had pierced his ribcage, passing directly through the ribs.

    Ding Lingzhong hatefully glared at him. A venomous look on his face, he suddenly jumped to his feet. In a hoarse voice, he said, "Since nobody knows this secret, why is it that you had to reveal it?"

    Lu Xiaojia was in such pain that his head was covered in cold sweat. He didn't even seem to be able to remain steady on his feet, but he managed to stutter out, "I knew that after I revealed this secret, you would be deeply hurt, but since things have reached such a point, I have no choice but to do so. I..."

    Ding Lingzhong said fiercely, "Why did you have to reveal all of this?"

    Ye Kai couldn't help but let out a long sigh. "Because if he didn't, then Fu Hongxue would have killed you no matter what."

    Ding Lingzhong sneered, "Why would he have to kill me? Just because I killed Ma Kongqun's daughter?"

    Ye Kai coldly said, "Do you think that no one knows what you have done?"

    Ding Lingzhong said, "What did I do?"

    Fu Hongxue ground his teeth. "You...you insist on me saying it aloud?"

    Ding Lingzhong said, "Speak."

    Fu Hongxue said, "You poisoned the wine and killed Xue Bin."

    Ding Lingzhong said, "How do you know that I was the one who poisoned the wine?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Originally, I didn't know. I only found out when I realized that the poison on the sword which killed Cui Nong was the same poison that was placed within the wine, and when you yourself admitted to being the mastermind behind her death."

    Ding Lingzhong's face suddenly turned ashen, and he could no longer speak.

    Fu Hongxue continued, "You bribed the manager of the wine cellar of the Hero's Manor, but were afraid that your actions were too obvious, which is why you hired all of the former employees and brought here."

    Ye Kai said, "And you were the only person to know of swordsman Fei's whereabouts. You intentionally told Yi Dajing, luring him into using that vile scheme of 'borrowing someone else's knife to commit murder'."

    Fu Hongxue said, "When that scheme failed, you wanted me to have a falling out with Ye Kai, but unfortunately, a girl named Ding Linglin was by his side. You were afraid that she would bear witness on behalf of him, and so you arranged for her to be taken away."

    Ye Kai let out a long sigh. "I don't blame you for passing off your crimes onto me. But you really shouldn't have killed that child."

    Fu Hongxue stared at Ding Lingzhong. He icily said, "I ask you, did you do all of those things or not?"

    Ding Lingzhong lowered his head, cold sweat pouring down like the rain.

    Ye Kai said, "I know that you didn't do these things for your own sake. I just wish that you will clearly name the person who told you to do all of this."

    Ding Lingzhong said, "I...I can't."

    Ye Kai said, "Actually, you don't need to name him. I already know."

    Ding Lingzhong suddenly raised his head. "You know?"

    Ye Kai said, "Nineteen years ago, a man outside the Plum Blossom Manor said something which he should not have said. He was afraid that others would recognize him by his accent, and so he had you go around eliminating all of the people who had survived that night."

    Ding Lingzhong once more lowered his head.

    Staring at home, Fu Hongxue said, one word a time, "Now, I am going to ask you this. Was that person Ding Chengfeng?"

    Ding Lingzhong gritted his teeth, as pain suffused his features. But he wasn't willing to say a single word.

    Had he already admitted it? The love between Ding Chengfeng and his sister was deep. When he saw how his sister had been humiliated and would suffer pain all her life, of course he would seek revenge.

    He was justified in seeking revenge on Bai Tianyu.

    Lu Xiaojia leaned against a parasol tree. Panting, he suddenly shouted out loudly, "No matter what, I refuse to believe that elder Master Ding is a murderer!"

    Ye Kai's eyes shone. "Are you saying you understand him better than others?"

    Lu Xiaojia said, "Of course I understand him best."

    Ye Kai said, "Why is that?"

    Lu Xiaojia suddenly chuckled. His laughter was strange and desolate. He slowly said, "Because I am that child which was sent away to be raised by another family. My name should have been Ding Lingzhong."

    This, too, was unexpected.

    Everyone was stunned once more.

    Ding Lingzhong stared at him in shock. He involuntarily cried out, "You...you are...you are..."

    Lu Xiaojia smiled. "I am Ding Lingzhong. You are also Ding Lingzhong. Today, Ding Lingzhong actually killed Ding Lingzhong. Isn't this a comical thing?"

    Smiling, he stood up. Once more, he began to shell a peanut. He threw the shell up, high in the sky.

    But before the peanut fell down, he himself collapsed.

    But when he collapsed, he still carried a smile on his lips.

    But he himself would never be able to laugh again.

    Only Ding Linglin was left crying, tears flowing as she murmured to himself, "Was he really my third brother? Was he really..."

    Ding Linghe stiffened his expression, but an irrepressible look of pain appeared on his face as well. He coldly said, "No matter what, there is no shame in having a third brother like him."

    Ding Linglin suddenly charged in front of Ding Lingzhong. Crying, she said, "Then who are you? Who told you to do those things? Why won't you speak?"

    Ding Lingzhong said in a low voice, "I...I..."

    Suddenly, the sound of urgent hoof steps interrupted his words. A strong horse galloped their way.

    The rider wore black clothes, and was covered in sweat. As soon as the horse charged into the courtyard, he jumped down and collapsed to the floor. "This humble one is Ding Xiong. By order of the old Master Ding, I have come to invite masters Fu Hongxue and Ye Kai to meet with him. The old master has already prepared some wine at the Heaven's Heart pavilion, where he is respectfully awaiting your arrivals."

    Fu Hongxue's face changed again. He coldly said, "Even if he didn't invite me, I would still go. But he can keep his wine for himself."

    Ding Xiong said, "Sir, you would be Fu Hongxue?"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Correct."

    Ding Xiong said, "The old master ordered me to tell you something, sir."

    Fu Hongxue said, "Speak."

    Ding Xiong said, "The old master insists on you honoring him with your presence, because he has prepared to give something to you, master Fu."

    Fu Hongxue said, "Return what?"

    Ding Xiong said, "Justice!"

    Frowning, Fu Hongxue said, "Justice?"

    Ding Xiong said, "The old master intends to give you justice!"

    "Justice" really is a very marvelous thing.

    Although you can neither see it nor touch it, no one can deny that it exists.

    When you believe that it has forgotten you, it often will suddenly appear in front of you.

    The Heaven's Heart pavilion was not at the heart of heaven. It was at the heart of the lake.

    The lake wasn't very large, and most of the lotus flowers were incomplete. But the lotus leaves were still green, forming a gently billowing green wave which reflected light upon the cinnabar railing of the pavilion. Several light boats were anchored beneath the pavilion.

    All four windows in each direction were open. An old man with dreary white hair and a solemn face was leaning against the railing alone, staring at the waterline.

    He looked just as desolate as those fragmentary late autumn lotus leaves, but his eyes were bright and steady.

    Because he had already made up his mind.

    He had already made up his mind to give someone justice!

    The night grew deeper. The stars scattered.

    With a creaking sound, a light boat left the far shore and headed towards the pavilion. At the head of the boat stood an ashen-faced youngster who wore black clothes, and who tightly gripped a sabre in his hands.

    A pale hand! A pitch-black sabre! Fu Hongxue slowly walked up the pavilion.

    He suddenly felt very tired, like a man who, after having crossed thousands of mountains and tens of thousands of rivers, had finally arrived at his destination. And yet, he was missing that sense of joy and completeness.

    "Everyone is assembled?"

    He had finally located all of his enemies. He was certain that Ma Kongqun must be hiding here as well.

    Because this old man clearly had nowhere else to go.

    A deep enmity spanning nineteen years was about to be repaid in blood. Why, then, did he not feel the slightest bit excited?

    Even he himself did not understand.

    He just felt his heart was in turmoil.

    Cui Nong's death, Lu Xiaojia's death, that child's death...those people should not have died. They were like fresh flowers who had just bloomed but suddenly became withered.

    Why did they die? Who killed them? Cui Nong was the person whom he loved the most, and yet she was his enemy's daughter.

    Ding Lingzhong was the person he hated the most, and yet he was his brother.

    Could he kill his own brother just for the sake of avenging Cui Nong's death? He definitely could not!

    But after having watched Cui Nong die, how could he just turn around and acknowledge her murderer as his brother?

    When he arrived in the martial world, he arrived for the sake of vengeance. The hatred in his heart was extremely deep, but it was very simple and pure. His hatred was originally a simple and pure emotion.

    He never imagined that love and hatred would suddenly entangle each other and become so complicated.

    He almost no longer had the courage to face it.

    Because he knew that even if he exterminated all of his enemies, he would still be unable to extricate himself from the pain in his heart.

    Right now, even though he knew that the cup of wine in front of him was bitter, he still had to drink it.

    He had no way to retreat. He suddenly realized that he was now facing Ding Chengfeng. He suddenly realized that Ding Chengfeng was far more composed and tranquil than he was. The lamp light was very bright. It shone upon the old man's face, his solemn, cold and detached face.

    Fu Hongxue could clearly see every single crease and wrinkle on his face.

    His steady gaze was fixed upon Fu Hongxue's pale face as well. He suddenly said, "Please be seated."

    Fu Hongxue did not sit down. Nor did he speak. At such a moment, he suddenly realized that he did not know what to say.

    Ding Chengfeng himself already slowly sat down. Unhurriedly, he said, "I know that you definitely will not sit down with your enemy under one roof or drink with him."

    Fu Hongxue acknowledged that.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "By now, you of course know that I was the mastermind behind that bloody affair at the Plum Blossom Convent of nineteen years past. The person who ordered Ding Lingzhong to go and do those things was also I."

    Fu Hongxue's body began to tremble again.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "I had my reasons for killing Bai Tianyu. You have your reasons for wanting to take revenge on me. No matter who is in the right or in the wrong, I have decide to give you justice!"

    His face was still as still as before. Staring at Fu Hongxue's face, he coldly continued, "I just want to know, what type of justice do you want?"

    Fu Hongxue tightly gripped his sabre. He suddenly said, "There's only one type of justice!"

    Ding Chengfeng slowly nodded. "True. There's only one type of true justice. Unfortunately, this type is often deliberately misinterpreted by others."

    Fu Hongxue said, "Oh?"

    Ding Chengfeng said, "What you feel to be true justice is definitely different from what I feel to be true justice."

    Fu Hongxue smirked.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "I killed your father. You will kill me. Naturally, you feel that this will be justice. But if a dearly beloved relative of yours was ruined by someone else, wouldn't you have acted the same way I did and killed that person!"

    Fu Hongxue's ashen face suddenly contorted.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Right now, my eldest son has suffered a severe injury, my second son has become a cripple, and although my third son did not die by your hand, he also died over this affair."

    Pain could be seen on his cold, calm face. He continued, "Although the person who killed him is a descendant of the Bai family, I personally raised him and nurtured him. Where am I supposed to go to find justice?"

    Fu Hongxue lowered his gaze, staring at the sabre in his hand.

    He really had no idea how to respond. He didn't even want to face this old man, filled with grief and indignation, any longer.

    Ding Chengfeng let out a light sigh. "But I am already an old man. I've already come to understand many things. If you really want your justice, and I insist on getting my own brand of justice, then this hatred will go on without stopping."

    He dully continued, "Today, if you kill me for your father's death, that truly would be a form of justice. In the future, if my children or grandchildren seek you out and kill you, wouldn't that be the same sort of justice?"

    Fu Hongxue discovered that Ye Kai's hand was trembling as well.

    Ye Kai was standing by his side. The pain in his eyes seemed more intense than that of Fu Hongxue's own.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "No matter whose justice is true justice, this cycle of hatred cannot be allowed to continue. Too many people have died for this hatred. Therefore..."

    His eyes shone all the more. Staring at Fu Hongxue, he said, "Therefore, I have decided to give you your justice!"

    Fu Hongxue couldn't resist from lifting his head to look at him.

    "Is this old man a vicious, sinister murderer? Or is he an honest and upright gentleman?"

    Fu Hongxue couldn't tell.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "But I hope you can agree to one thing as well."

    Fu Hongxue was listening.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "With my death, this cycle of hatred must come to an end. If anyone else dies as a result of this hatred, no matter who the victim is or who the killer is, my netherworld spirit will not forgive him!"

    His voice was suddenly filled with a sad, shrill, indignant power, forcing listeners to tremble with fear despite themselves!

    Fu Hongxue gritted his teeth. In a hoarse voice, he said, "But Ma Kongqun...it doesn't matter if I live or die. I will not forgive him."

    A very peculiar smile suddenly appeared on Ding Chengfeng's face. He dully said, "Naturally, I know that you won't let him off. Unfortunately, no matter what you do to him, he won't care."

    Fu Hongxue's expression changed. "What do you mean?"

    Ding Chengfeng chuckled again, a very peculiar chuckle. A look of indescribable sadness and pain appeared in his eyes.

    He no longer answered Fu Hongxue. Instead, he slowly lifted up the bowl of wine in front of him, cupping his fists towards Fu Hongxue.

    "I just hope that you will always remember that hatred is like debt. When you hate someone, it is like adding a great debt to your account. If there is too much hatred in your heart, then for as long as you live, you will never have a happy day in your life."

    After saying these words, he prepared to drink this bowl of wine. But just at this moment, there was the flash of a dagger.

    The dagger flashed like lightning!

    With a clanging sound, the bowl of wine in Ding Chengfeng's hand was shattered. A dagger fell down on the ground along with the shattered shards of the bowl.

    A flying dagger! A flying dagger which was four and a half inches long!

    Fu Hongxue suddenly turned his head around, staring at Ye Kai in surprise.

    Ye Kai's face had turned just as pale, but his hands were very steady as well.

    He was staring at Ding Chengfeng, and Ding Chengfeng was looking back at him in surprise. "Why? Why did you do this?"

    Ye Kai's voice was very firm. "Because I know that this bowl was filled with poisoned wine, and I also know that you should not be the one to drink it."

    Ding Chengfeng's expression changed. "You...what do you mean?"

    Ye Kai sighed. "Can it be that you truly do not understand what I am saying?"

    Ding Chengfeng looked at him. The expression of surprise on his face suddenly once more turned into grief and pain. He sadly said, "Then why is it that you do not understand what I was doing?"

    Ye Kai said, "I understood. You want to use your own life to wash away this hatred. Only, it should not be your blood which flows."

    Ding Chengfeng's expression changed again. "What business is it of yours whether or not I shed my blood?"

    Ye Kai said, "Of course it is my business."

    Ding Chengfeng said in a fierce voice, "Who are you?"

    Ye Kai said, "A man who isn't willing to see an innocent lose his life."

    Fu Hongxue's expression couldn't help but change as well. He interrupted, "You're saying he is innocent?"

    Ye Kai said, "Right."

    Fu Hongxue said, "Nineteen years ago, that murderer who asked, 'Everyone is assembled?'...can it be that he is not that person?"

    Ye Kai said, "Definitely not!"

    Fu Hongxue said, "How do you know? How can you be so certain?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because anyone, after having frozen in the cold for four hours, would sound a little strange when saying the word 'Everyone'. There was no reason at all for him to kill people in order to silence them."

    Fu Hongxue said, "How do you know that at such a time, a person's voice would change when saying the word 'Everyone'?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because I've tested it out before."

    He didn't let Fu Hongxue speak. He continued, "In addition, nineteen years ago, on the day which that bloody affair at the Plum Blossom Convent took place, he didn't leave the Ding family manor by a single step."

    Fu Hongxue said, "You are certain?"

    Ye Kai said, "Of course I am certain!"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Why?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because on that day, his right leg was badly injured and he couldn't even take a single step. Ever since that day, he has never left the Ding family manor, because up until this very day, that injury has not fully healed. He's just like you, a person for whom moving about is inconvenient."

    Ding Chengfeng suddenly rose to his feet. Staring at Ye Kai, he let out a long sigh before slowly sitting down again. His cold, tranquil face suddenly seemed to have aged by many years.

    Ye Kai continued, "I also know that the person who injured his right leg was the number one swordsman of the 'Golden Coin Clan' of bygone days, that elder of the martial world who shares equal fame with swordsman Fei."

    Fu Hongxue cried out involuntarily, "Jing Wuming?"

    Ye Kai nodded. "Right. It was Jing Wuming. Only today did I come to understand why he was willing to teach his quick sword skills to Lu Xiaojia."

    Sighing, he continued, "I imagine it is because after he competed against manor master Ding, the two of them felt great mutual admiration and respect for each other, which is why he was willing to take away with him a child of the Ding family and raise him. Alas, although his peerless sword techniques gave Lu Xiaojia a world-spanning fame, his extreme disposition harmed Lu Xiaojia his entire life."

    Ding Chengfeng really did lower his head, old, unshed tears appearing in his eyes.

    Fu Hongxue stared at Ye Kai. In a fierce voice, he said, "How could you know all these things? Who are you?"

    Ye Kai hesitated. That strange look of pain appeared in his eyes once more, as though he could not make up his mind as to whether or not he should answer that question.

    Fu Hongxue couldn't resist from asking, "If he is not the murderer, then who ordered Ding Lingzhong to kill people for the sake of silencing them?"

    Ye Kai did not answer this question either. He suddenly turned around to stare at the head of the stairs.

    Someone from below coldly said, "He did it for me."

    The voice was hoarse and low. Anyone who heard it would find it unpleasant. But the woman who accompanied this voice was an elegant, peerless, out-of-the-world beauty. She wore a long, light, soft robe and a black, mist-like veil which only added to her cold, desolate beauty. She was so beautiful that one would find it almost impossible to resist her charm.

    Seeing her walk over, Ding Chengfeng's face immediately changed. He cried out involuntarily, "You shouldn't have come."

    This peerless beauty said, "I must come."

    Her voice was totally at odds with her face. No one could imagine how such a beautiful woman could have such an ugly voice.

    Fu Hongxue couldn't help but ask, "You say that Ding Lingzhong killed those people for your sake?"

    "Correct."

    Fu Hongxue said, "Why?"

    "Because I am your real enemy. Bai Tianyu died in my hands!"

    Her voice was once more filled with hatred and venom. She continued, "Because I am Ding Lingzhong's mother!"

    Fu Hongxue's heart seemed to have sunk down once more. Ding Chengfeng's heart sank as well.

    What about Ye Kai? Who could discern his heart?

    Ding Baiyun's eyes were focused on his through the black veil. She coldly said, "By now, you can tell what type of a person Ding Chengfeng is. For this disappointment of a sister, he was willing to sacrifice himself, but he didn't know that there was no point in doing so."

    Sighing, she continued, "If you hadn't interfered, the aftermath of this affair would be unthinkable. Thus, no matter what, I am very grateful towards you."

    Ye Kai smiled bitterly. Aside from doing that, he had no idea what he should say.

    Ding Baiyun said, "But I find it strange as well. Who are you? How do you know so much?"

    Ye Kai said, "I..."

    Ding Baiyun interrupted him. "No need to tell me. I don't actually want to know who you are."

    She suddenly turned her head, fixing her dagger-like gaze through the black veil upon Fu Hongxue. "I just want him to know who I am!"

    Fu Hongxue tightened his fists. "I...I already know who you are!"

    Ding Baiyun suddenly laughed hysterically. "You know? You really know? How much do you know?"

    Fu Hongxue could no longer answer. He suddenly felt as though he knew very little about anybody, because he had never before cared to understand people, nor had he ever tried to.

    Ding Baiyun was still laughing, her voice hysterical and desolate. She suddenly reached out and forcefully ripped away the black veil.

    Fu Hongxue was stunned. Everyone was stunned.

    Although the face hidden behind the black veil was beautiful, it was totally stiff and rigid.

    Although she was still laughing wildly, there was no expression on her face. This definitely wasn't a living face. It was just a mask.

    When she removed her mask, Fu Hongxue suddenly felt his entire body turn stiff. Can it be that this was her real face?

    Fu Hongxue didn't dare to believe it. He couldn't bear to believe it.

    He had never encountered anything in the world which shocked him more than this face, because it could no longer be considered a face. This face no longer had any features on it at all; the only thing that could be seen was a countless number of intersecting knife scars. It looked like a clay mask which had been cracked upon falling to the floor.

    Wildly laughing, Ding Baiyun said, "Do you know what happened to my face?"

    Fu Hongxue could not respond. All he knew was that the 'goddess Baiyun' was once a legendary beauty in the martial world.

    Ding Baiyun said, "I carved this face out myself, using a dagger. In total, I cut myself seventy seven times, because I accompanied that traitorous man for seventy seven days. When I thought of those days, I cut myself, but the pain from those memories was far greater than the pain on my face."

    Her voice became hoarser. She continued, "I hate my face. If it weren't for my face, he wouldn't have taken a fancy to me. Why, then, would I have suffered such anguish and pain?"

    Even Fu Hongxue's fingertips had turned icy cold. He could understand this sort of feeling, because he had felt this sort of pain before as well. Up to this very moment, whenever he thought of what had happened during those days when he was wildly drinking in abandon, he felt as though his heart was being stabbed by daggers.

    Ding Baiyun said, "I'm unwilling to let others see my face, because I don't want to be mocked. But I know that you definitely will not mock me, because I know that your mother definitely isn't any better looking than I am right now."

    Fu Hongxue could not deny it. Once again, he could not help but think back to that room...there was no color in that room, only darkness!

    As far back as he could remember, his mother had lived in pain and darkness.

    Ding Baiyun said, "Do you know why my voice sounds like this now?"

    She continued, "It's because after that night at the Plum Blossom Convent, when I said some things which should not be said, I was no longer willing for others to hear my voice. I ruined my voice as well."

    Her voice was once as beautiful as she was.

    "Everyone is assembled?" When she said these words, her voice was still beautiful, like the sound of orioles in a summer valley. Only now did Fu Hongxue understand the meaning of Ye Kai's earlier words. She was afraid that others would recognize her by her voice, not because of the word "Everyone", but because she knew that there were very few people in the world whose voices were as beautiful and pleasing to hear as hers.

    Ding Baiyun said, "Ding Lingzhong killed people because I told him to. He is not at fault here. Although he did not know that I was his mother, he has always been very obedient towards me. He...he's always been a very obedient child..."

    Her voice once more became gentle and soft. She continued, "At least I know that he is still alive. I know now that you won't kill him, and so I can die peacefully. Perhaps there was no need for me to stay alive for all those years..."

    Ding Chengfeng suddenly said fiercely, "You cannot die either! So long as I am alive, no one will kill you in my presence!"

    Ding Baiyun said, "There is...perhaps one person who can."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Who?"

    Ding Baiyun said, "Myself."

    Her voice was very peaceful. She slowly continued, "None of you can stop me, because before I came here, I had already decided to die."

    Ding Chengfeng suddenly shot up. He cried out involuntarily, "You've already...already poisoned yourself?"

    Ding Baiyun nodded. "You should know that my poisons have always been very effective and are incurable."

    Staring at her, Ding Chengfeng slowly sat down as tears began to flow from his eyes.

    Ding Baiyun said, "Actually, there's no reason for you to be sad for me. Ever since I personally killed that traitorous man, I knew that I had no more regrets left in life. In addition, I burned his head into ashes and drank it down along with the poison. Now, no one will ever be able to separate us. You should feel happy that I can die in such a manner."

    Her voice was still tranquil, as though she were narrating a very commonplace matter. But everyone present was absolutely terrified, as their hairs stood on end. Only now did Ye Kai realize that Bai Tianyu's head was not taken away by the Lady of the Plum Blossom. But he really could not tell if Ding Baiyun had done all of this out of love or hate. Regardless of whether it was out of love or hate, her actions were too insane, too terrifying!

    Ding Baiyun stared at Fu Hongxue. "You can go back and tell your mother that all the murderers of Bai Tianyu are now dead, but Bai Tianyu has become one with me. From now on, he'll always be with me, whether we be in heaven or hell."

    Not allowing Fu Hongxue to speak, she continued, "Right now, I just want to let you see one person."

    Fu Hongxue couldn't help but ask, "Who?"

    Ding Baiyun said, "Ma Kongqun!"

    She suddenly turned around and beckoned towards the stairs. And then a smiling man walked up the stairs.

    The man looked very cheerful, as though there were nothing in the world which might worry or frighten him. Upon seeing Fu Hongxue and Ye Kai, he still remained smiling and cheerful.

    But this person was actually Ma Kongqun.

    Fu Hongxue's ashen face suddenly became suffused with red. His right hand was already tightly gripping his sabre!

    Ding Baiyun suddenly called out loudly, "Ma Kongqun, this man still wants to kill you. Why aren't you fleeing?"

    Ma Kongqun was still smiling as he stood there, not budging in the slightest.

    Ding Baiyun smiled as well, her smile contorting all seventy seven scars on her face, making her all the more unspeakably terrifying to behold.

    Smiling, she said, "Of course he won't flee. Right now, he no longer fears death. He no longer fears anything. All his worries and fears have totally disappeared, because he has already drank of the 'worry-forgetting wine' which I specially prepared for him. He's even forgotten who he himself is."

    But Fu Hongxue had not, could not forget. Ever since he learned how to speak, the first words he heard was, "Go kill Ma Kongqun and take revenge on behalf of your father!"

    He had once sworn an oath, "So long as I see Ma Kongqun again, I definitely will not let him continue to live, nor is there anyone in the world or anything which can stop me."

    In the blink of an eye, his heart became filled with nothing save hatred. The hatred had taken root in his heart like poison grass.

    He could no longer even hear Ding Baiyun's voice. Hatred had thrust his entire person into a great furnace.

    "Take your enemy's head, or else never come back to see me ever again!"

    There was no color in the room. Only darkness! This room suddenly seemed to transform into darkness. The world seemed to become nothing but darkness. All he could see was Ma Kongqun.

    Ma Kongqun was still sitting there without moving. He seemed to actually be smiling towards Fu Hongxue.

    Fu Hongxue's eyes were filled with hatred and a killing spirit, but Ma Kongqun's eyes were filled with a confused, illusory smile. This wasn't just an obvious contrast; this was nothing short of satire.

    Fu Hongxue's killing hand tightly gripped his sabre. The blue veins on the back of his hand were bulging out.

    Ma Kongqun suddenly laughed, "Why is it that you always grip that black thing so tightly? I wouldn't want it even if you gave it to me. Are you afraid that I'll take it from you?"

    This sabre had taken countless lives. Who knew how many more people had been tyrannized and terrified by this demonic blade? But in his eyes, it was now nothing more than a dirty black thing.

    This sabre, which had once been acclaimed as the number one demonic sabre in the world, was now worthless in this man's eyes. Could it be that this was the sabre's real value? Isn't it true that the vision of a madman is the clearest of all? Fu Hongxue's body began to tremble once again. He suddenly pulled out his sabre and chopped down at Ma Kongqun's head like a bolt of lightning.

    But right at this moment, there was another dagger flash! With a clanging sound, the sabre in Fu Hongxue's hand split into two.

    The severed tip of the sabre fell to the ground, along with a very short dagger. A dagger which was four and a half inches long.

    A flying dagger!

    Fu Hongxue suddenly spun around. Staring at Ye Kai, he said in a hoarse voice, "You?"

    Ye Kai nodded. "Me."

    Fu Hongxue said, "Why won't you allow me to kill him?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because you have no need to kill him, nor a reason to kill him."

    That strange look of pain once more appeared on his face.

    Fu Hongxue stared at him. Flames seemed to be burning in his eyes. "Are you saying that I have no reason to kill him?"

    Ye Kai said, "That's right."

    Fu Hongxue said in a fierce voice, "My entire family died in his hands. This bloody debt has been unpaid for nineteen years. If he had ten lives, I should kill him ten times."

    Ye Kai suddenly let out a long, long sigh. "You are wrong."

    Fu Hongxue said, "What am I wrong about?"

    Ye Kai said, "Your hatred is wrong."

    Fu Hongxue angrily said, "What, I shouldn't kill him?"

    Ye Kai said, "No!"

    Fu Hongxue said, "Why not?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because he isn't your father's killer. There is no enmity at all between you and he."

    These words were like a suddenly erupting volcano. Nobody in the world could say anything which was more shocking than these words.

    Staring at Fu Hongxue, Ye Kai slowly said, "The only reason you hate him is because someone wants you to hate him!"

    Fu Hongxue's entire body was trembling. If anyone else had said these words to him, he definitely would not have listened.

    But the speaker was Ye Kai. He knew that Ye Kai definitely was not a person who spoke nonsense.

    Ye Kai said, "Hatred is like a blade of poisonous grass. If someone plants it in your heart, it will take root there. You aren't born with hatred in your heart."

    Fu Hongxue tightly clenched his fists. He finally forced out three words. "I don't understand."

    Ye Kai said, "Hatred is taught, which is why anyone can be mistaken about their hatred. Only love is never wrong."

    Ding Chengfeng's face had already turned red from excitement and agitation. He suddenly shouted loudly, "Well spoken! Brilliantly spoken!"

    Ding Baiyun's face became even paler. "But I still don't understand a single thing he says."

    Ye Kai let out a long sigh. "You should understand."

    Ding Baiyun said, "Why?"

    Ye Kai said, "Because only you know that Ding Lingzhong was not old master Ding's own son."

    Ding Baiyun's face changed. She involuntarily cried out, "Are you saying that Fu Hongxue, too, is not the descendant of the Bai family?"

    Ye Kai said, "Definitely not!"

    These words came out like a thunderbolt amongst them.

    Everyone stared at Ye Kai in shock.

    Ding Baiyun said, "You...you lie!"

    Ye Kai laughed again. His laughter was very dreary and desolate. He didn't deny it because there was no need to. Anyone could tell that he wasn't lying."

    Ding Baiyun said, "How do you know this secret?"

    Ye Kai sadly said, "This isn't a secret. It's just a tragedy. If you yourself are one of the actors within this tragedy, how could you not know the story?"

    Ding Baiyun cried out involuntarily, "Can it be that you are Bai Tianyu's son?"

    Ye Kai said, "I am."

    Fu Hongxue suddenly charged over. Seizing Ye Kai by the shirt, he angrily roared out, "You lie!"

    Ye Kai's laughter became all the more desolate. He still did not deny it. Fu Hongxue, of course, could also tell that he definitely was not lying.

    Ding Baiyun suddenly asked, "Can it be that not even Hua Baifeng herself knew this secret?"

    Ye Kai nodded. "She doesn't know either."

    Astonished, Ding Baiyun said, "She doesn't even know who her own son is?"

    Ye Kai mournfully replied, "Because the plan was to deceive her about this from the very beginning."

    Ding Baiyun said, "How exactly did all this come about?"
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

  20. #100
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    Chapter 46: Love is Eternal

    Ye Kai hesitated, appearing to be in great pain.

    Originally, he didn't want to discuss this matter, but now, he was at a point where he had no choice but to discuss it.

    As it was, when Hua Baifeng was pregnant, Madame Bai found out. Without a doubt, she was a very deep and subtle woman. Although she knew that her husband was having an affair, she didn't reveal her knowledge in the slightest.

    She had long ago thought of a way to get her husband to sever all contacts with this woman. Only, no matter what, Hua Baifeng's child would have the Bai family's blood in him. She wasn't willing to leave behind one of her own blood-related kin in another's hands, because she knew that so long as the child stayed with Hua Baifeng, there would forever be an unbreakable bond between herself and Bai Tianyu. Sooner or later, Bai Tianyu would go to visit his own child.

    Thus, Madame Bai hit upon the idea of bribing Hua Baifeng's midwife to exchange someone else's child for Hua Baifeng's own child.

    After having given birth, Hua Baifeng was lost amidst a world of pain and weariness. Naturally, she had no way of realizing that the swaddled child was someone else's child. By the time her mind cleared, Madame Bai had long since taken her own child away.

    Before Madame Bai was married, she had a very close female friend who had married a master of darts from the Ye family named Ye Ping. This person was just like his name, ordinary and honest [Ping can mean 'ordinary']. Although he wasn't a very famous figure of the martial world, he was a secular disciple of the orthodox Shaolin school.

    It's always relatively easy for a disciple of a famous school to make his way in the martial world. By happy chance, the Ye family had no children, and so Madame Bai gave them Hua Baifeng's child to raise. For the moment, she was unwilling to let Bai Tianyu know about this matter yet.

    From that day forward, only she herself and Madame Ye knew of this secret. Even Ye Ping himself did not know of the origins of this child.

    The third person who found out about this secret was Li Tanhua, who was already venerated in the martial world as the saint-like Li Xunhuan!

    This was because although Madame Bai was a very subtle and deep woman, she wasn't an evil or a venomous one. Whenever a woman discovers that her husband is having an affair, she will become deep and subtle.

    After Madame Bai carried out this matter, she always felt apologetic and remorseful towards this child. She knew that based upon Ye Ping's proficiency in martial arts, there was no way he could teach the child to become a master martial artist. She wished for every member of the Bai family to be able to become a respected figure within the martial world. Thus, she divulged this secret to Li Xunhuan, because Li Xunhuan had once promised to teach his flying dagger skills to a son of the Bai family.

    She trusted that Li Xunhuan would definitely carry out his promise, and she also trusted that Li Xunhuan definitely would not divulge this secret.

    There definitely was no one in the world who distrusted Li Xunhuan. Even his enemies were no exception.

    Li Xunhuan really did follow through on his promise and really did not reveal her secret. But he knew that there was no such thing as a secret which could be kept forever. Sooner or later, this child would discover his true family background.

    That is why, ever since the child was young, he taught the child that hatred could bring nothing but pain and ruin to a person. Only love is eternal.

    He told this child that learning how to love people is infinitely better than learning how to kill people.

    Only a person who truly understood this concept was worthy of learning his martial arts technique, Little Li's Flying Dagger. And only a person who truly understood this concept would be capable of grasping the marvelous intricacies of Little Li's Flying Dagger technique!

    Only then did he transmit his flying dagger skills to Ye Kai.

    This really was a tragic story, which Ye Kai had never been willing to divulge. This was because he knew that revealing the truth would hurt many people.

    The person who would be hurt the most, naturally was Fu Hongxue.

    Fu Hongxue had already loosened his grip. He retreated one step at a time, almost unable to even remain standing.

    He had been living solely for the sake of his hatred. Now, he was like a man who was standing on a tightrope held up high in the air, whose center of gravity suddenly disappeared.

    Although hatred brought him pain, it was a solemn, holy pain.

    Now, he felt that he was very laughable, very pitiable and laughable.

    He had never pitied himself before, because no matter what setbacks he suffered, he could still take refuge and honor in his family background. Now, he didn't even know who his real parents were.

    When Cui Nong died, he believed that he had encountered the most painful, the most unfortunate event in the world. Only now did he realize that there are more painful things and greater misfortunes.

    Watching him, Ye Kai's eyes were also filled with pain and remorse.

    Madame Ye had told him this secret only upon her deathbed, because Madame Ye felt that every person had the right to know the truth of their family background.

    Fu Hongxue was also a person. He also had that right.

    Ye Kai sadly said, "I really should have told you long ago. Several times, I almost did, but..."

    He really had no idea how to express his thoughts. Fu Hongxue interrupted him, not letting him continue.

    Fu Hongxue had been avoiding Ye Kai's gaze this entire time, but now, he suddenly said two quick sentences. "I don't blame you. Because you weren't wrong."

    He hesitated, before finally saying something which Ye Kai would never forget. "Nor do I hate you...and in the future, I will never hate anyone ever again."

    Before he finished saying those words, he turned around and walked down the stairs. His walking gait was still peculiar and clumsy looking. His entire existence was nothing but a tragedy. Staring at him, Ye Kai did not try to bar his way. Only when Fu Hongxue reached the end of the stairs did Ye Kai loudly shout, "You weren't wrong either! Hatred is what's wrong. By its nature, hatred has always been wrong to begin with."

    Fu Hongxue did not turn around. He didn't even seem to have heard those words.

    But by the time he reached the bottom, his posture became erect. Although his walking gait was still as clumsy looking and peculiar as before, he still walked without pause. He didn't fall down.

    There were several times when even he himself thought he would collapse, but he did not.

    Ye Kai suddenly let out a long sigh, as he mumbled to himself, "He will be fine."

    Ding Chengfeng was watching him, a pondering look in his eyes.

    Ye Kai continued, "Right now, he is like a person who has suffered a heavy injury. But so long as he stays alive, he will recover from it, no matter how deep the wound."

    He suddenly chuckled. "People are sometimes like geckos. Even if you chop off a gecko's tail, it will quickly grow a new one."

    Ding Chengfeng laughed as well. Smiling, he said, "This is a good analogy, a very good analogy."

    The two of them stared at each other. Suddenly, they felt as though a peculiar, shared understanding existed between them.

    It felt as though they had been good friends for many years.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "You originally did not want to reveal this affair?"

    Ye Kai said, "Originally, I always felt that if I had revealed this affair, no good could come of it at all."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "But now, your way of thinking has changed."

    Ye Kai nodded. "Because now, I have come to realize that all of us have paid too high a price over this affair."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Therefore, you decided to bring this affair to an end?"

    Ye Kai nodded again.

    Ding Chengfeng suddenly glanced aside at Ding Baiyun. "What if she were to stay alive and not die? Would you still consider this affair to be ended?"

    Ye Kai said, "There was no need for her to die to begin with."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Oh?"

    Ye Kai said, "Even if she acted wrongly, she has paid the price for her actions long ago."

    Ding Chengfeng silently agreed.

    Only he truly understood what a terrible price she had paid.

    Ye Kai stared at him. Suddenly, he chuckled. "And of course, you knew all along that she wouldn't die, didn't you."

    Ding Chengfeng hesitated a moment before finally nodding. "That's right. She won't die. She doesn't need to die."

    Ding Baiyun looked at him in shock. She cried out involuntarily, "You...can it be that you..."

    Ding Chengfeng sighed, "I knew long ago that you had prepared a bottle of poisoned wine for yourself. Therefore..."

    Ding Baiyun's countenance changed. "So you exchanged that bottle of wine for an unpoisoned one."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "I exchanged every last bottle of poisoned wine you possessed a long time ago. Even if you drank every last drop of wine from those 'poisoned' bottles, you would just become terribly drunk and have an awful hangover."

    Smiling, he continued, "Even an inflexible old fogey like myself will pull a crafty trick from time to time."

    Ding Baiyun stared at him for a long time before beginning to laugh loudly.

    Ding Chengfeng couldn't refrain from asking, "What are you laughing about?"

    Ding Baiyun said, "I'm laughing at myself."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Laughing at yourself?"

    Ding Baiyun said, "Hua Baifeng hasn't died yet. Why, then, must I die?"

    Her laughter sounded miserable and tragic. One couldn't tell if it was laughter or crying. "Only now do I know that she is even more pitiable than I am. She doesn't even know who her own son is. If even she can go on living, why can't I?"

    Ding Chengfeng said, "You should go on living anyhow. Every person should."

    Ding Baiyun suddenly pointed at Ma Kongqun. "What about him?"

    Ding Chengfeng said, "What about him?"

    Ding Baiyun said, "If the 'poisoned' wine I drank wasn't really poisoned, then the wine which he drank..."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "The wine you had him drink was nothing more than a bottle of centuries-old hard liquor."

    The expression on Ma Kongqun's face suddenly changed.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Perhaps he knew all along that you would move against him."

    Ding Baiyun said, "Which is why, as soon as he saw the wine on the table, he rushed over and purposefully drank it down."

    Ding Chengfeng nodded. "You should understand that he isn't the sort of person who would casually drink alcohol!"

    Ding Baiyun said, "And then, he pretended to be affected by the poison in order to see how I was going to move against him."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "And how did you move against him?"

    Ding Baiyun forced out a smile. "I actually told him that the wine he drank was made from the 'worry-forgetting grass'."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Naturally, he knew what the result of drinking that wine would be."

    Ding Baiyun said, "So he intentionally put on an act and pretended to have been affected. Not only did he deceive me, he also deceived all those people who wanted to kill him."

    Ma Kongqun's face was suddenly filled with fear and dread. He suddenly extracted a short blade from his boots and stabbed towards his own chest with it.

    But just at that moment, once again a dagger flash appeared. The knife was immediately knocked out of his hand. Naturally, it was knocked out of his hand by a four and a half inch long flying dagger.

    Ma Kongqun suddenly turned his head. Staring at Ye Kai, he said hoarsely, "You...you won't even allow me to die?"

    Ye Kai dully said, "I just wanted to ask you why you suddenly desired to die."

    Ma Kongqun balled his fists. "Aren't I allowed to want to die?"

    Ye Kai said, "If the wine you drank really was poisoned, wouldn't you be able to go on living?"

    Ma Kongqun couldn't deny it.

    Ye Kai said, "But now, precisely because the wine wasn't poisoned, you want to die? Isn't this absolutely comical?"

    Ma Kongqun couldn't find a way to respond. Suddenly, he also felt that this was very comical, so comical he wanted to cry.

    Ye Kai said, "You thought that if the 'worry-forgetting wine' took away your worries and the hatred in your heart, that others would forget their hatred for you?"

    Ma Kongqun could only admit to it. He really had thought that.

    Ye Kai sighed. "Actually, aside from the 'worry-forgetting wine', there's one other thing which will allow you to forget your worries and your hate."

    Ma Kongqun couldn't resist from asking, "What is that?"

    Ye Kai said, "That would be forgiveness."

    Ma Kongqun said, "Forgiveness?"

    Ye Kai said, "If even you yourself cannot forgive yourself, how can you expect others to forgive you?"

    He continued, "But only when a person can whole-hearted forgive someone else, can he forgive himself as well. Thus, if you can whole-heartedly forgive others, others can also forgive you."

    Ma Kongqun lowered his head.

    He didn't really understand this reasoning. Within the world in which he lived, he had always felt that 'vengeance' was far more manly and far more proper than 'forgiveness'.

    But all of them had forgotten that in order to reach the level of 'forgiveness', one must not only have a truly magnanimous heart, but also great courage; far more courage than is needed for vengeance. Forgiveness truly is far more difficult to achieve than vengeance.

    Ma Kongqun would never understand this line of reasoning. That is why, even if others had forgiven him, he would never be able to forgive himself.

    Perhaps the pain and remorse he felt came not from his mistakes and his viciousness, but because others had discovered his mistakes, his viciousness. "This should have been a secret which no one would ever discover. I should have done better."

    He tightened his fists, cold sweat beginning to pour down from his brows. All types of remorse, no matter from whence they come, are equally agonizing to bear.

    He suddenly rushed forward and seized the pot of wine on the corner of the table, lifted it up, and poured its contents into his mouth.

    And then he collapsed like a pile of mud, dead drunk.

    Watching him, Ye Kai suddenly felt an indescribable sense of pity and sympathy for him.

    It was no longer necessary for others to punish this man, because he was already punishing himself.

    The room was peaceful and quiet. All the pain and bitterness had passed away.

    Without question, it is a joyful thing to see an affair which was born from hatred be resolved by forgiveness.

    As Ding Chengfeng looked at Ye Kai, a look of unspeakable gratitude appeared within his tired, pale eyes.

    It exceeded the bounds of gratitude; it was an emotion that was far more noble than mere gratitude.

    Just when he wanted to speak, he saw his daughter rush up the stairs.

    Ding Linglin's face was pale and anxious. She gasped out, "Third brother left."

    She suddenly remembered that Lu Xiaojia was also her third brother, so she quickly continued, "Both of my third brothers have left."

    Ding Chengfeng furrowed his brows. "Both third brothers?"

    Ding Linglin said, "Ding Lingzhong left by himself. We wanted to stop him but he insisted on leaving."

    Ye Kai understood what Ding Lingzhong was thinking. He felt that he no longer had any face to remain here. He must perform some great deed which might help him atone for his transgressions.

    Ding Lingzhong was, by nature, a kind and charitable young man. So long as he could have a good beginning, he would definitely be able to do good deeds.

    Ye Kai understood him and had faith in him.

    Because they were brothers who came from the same bloodline!

    Ding Linglin spoke again, "Lu Xiaojia has gone as well. He was taken away by someone."

    Ye Kai couldn't refrain from asking, "He didn't die?"

    Ding Linglin said, "At first, I thought that there was no way to save him, but that man said that he still had a method to rescue him."

    Ye Kai said, "Who was that man?"

    Ding Linglin said, "I didn't recognize him. I didn't want to let him take third brother away, but we simply had no way of stopping him."

    A look of fear suddenly appeared on her face. "I've never before met anyone who had such a level of skill in martial arts. With a gentle wave of his hand, he prevented all of us from getting close to him."

    Ye Kai's countenance changed. "What type of man was he?"

    Ding Linglin said, "He was a one-armed man. He wore a very strange yellow long robe. His eyes seemed to be deathly grey. I've never met anyone with eyes like him."

    Ding Chengfeng's countenance had changed as well. He cried out in shock, "Jing Wuming!"

    Jing Wuming! This name also seemed to carry with it a terrifying magic force.

    Ding Chengfeng said, "He has neither family nor friends. He's always treated Lu Xiaojia like his own son. Since he was willing to take Xiaojia away, Xiaojia definitely will not die."

    This old man was clearly consoling himself. Ye Kai had already discovered that this old man wasn't as grim and cold-hearted as the legends about him said he was.

    His cold, grim face was filled with gratitude. He mumbled to himself in a low voice, "Since he came, he should pay me a visit."

    Ye Kai forced out a smile. "He definitely won't come, because he knows that Li Tanhua's disciple is here."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Can it be that you think he still has not forgotten the enmity which exists between himself and Li Tanhua?"

    Ye Kai sighed. "He will never forget it, because..."

    Because Jing Wuming was the same sort of person as Ma Kongqun. He would never understand the meaning of the word 'forgiveness'.

    That is what Ye Kai thought, but he did not say it aloud. He didn't expect everyone to be as lenient as he was.

    Right at this moment, a half-shuttered window was suddenly blown open by the wind. A very strange gust of wind.

    And then, he heard someone speak from outside the window, "I've been here all along. Unfortunately, you simply did not notice me."

    These words were spoken by a very cold, very arrogant voice. Each word came out very slowly, as though the speaker was no longer used to using words to express his thoughts. When he wanted to express his thoughts, he would usually use a different, more direct method.

    Nor was it usually necessary for others to understand his thoughts.

    Jing Wuming! Upon hearing this voice, Ye Kai immediately knew that it must be Jing Wuming.

    Turning around, he saw a man wearing a long yellow robe who was standing as straight as a javelin beneath a withered willow at the side of the pond.

    He couldn't see the expression on this man's face. He could only see that strange pair of eyes, which shone in the darkness like the eyes of a beast.

    Those eyes were staring at him as well. "You are Ye Kai?"

    Ye Kai nodded.

    Jing Wuming said, "You know who I am?"

    Ye Kai nodded again. Clearly, he didn't wish for Jing Wuming to take him as an overly talkative blabbermouth, which is why he avoided speaking whenever he could.

    Jing Wuming stared at him. After a long time, he suddenly let out a sigh.

    Ye Kai felt very surprised. He had never imagined that the time would come when this man would sigh as well.

    Jing Wuming slowly said, "It has been many years since I have encountered Li Xunhuan. I've always wanted to seek him out."

    His voice suddenly went higher. "Because I still want to compete with him and see if his dagger is faster, or if my sword is faster!"

    Ye Kai listened. He did nothing but listen.

    Jing Wuming actually sighed a second time. "But now, I've changed my mind. Do you know why?"

    Ye Kai obviously did not know.

    Jing Wuming said, "Because of you."

    Ye Kai was very startled yet again. "Because of me?"

    Jing Wuming said, "After seeing you, I now realize that I will never be able to surpass Li Xunhuan."

    His cold voice actually carried a hint of sentimentality within it now. After a long time, he slowly continued, "Lu Xiaojia only knows how to kill people. But just then, you struck out three times, each time for the purpose of saving someone's life!"

    Daggers were originally designed for the purpose of killing.

    It isn't difficult to learn how to use a dagger to kill someone. But learning how to use a dagger to save someone's life is difficult indeed.

    Ye Kai did not expect that Jing Wuming would understand this as well.

    Those long years of solitude and loneliness had clearly caused Jing Wuming, the killer, to have understood many things.

    Loneliness and solitude has always been best suited for contemplating things.

    Jing Wuming suddenly asked, "Do you know who 'Bai Xiaosheng' is?"

    Ye Kai nodded.

    Bai Xiaosheng wrote the 'Book of Weapons', which ranked all the heroes of the world. It had already become an inerasable, enduring mark upon the history of the martial world.

    Jing Wuming said, "Although he wasn't an honest person, his 'Book of Weapons' was very fair."

    Ye Kai believed it.

    Something which wasn't fair could not remain standing for long, but Bai Xiaosheng's 'Book of Weapons' had stood to this very day.

    Jing Wuming said, "Although Shangguan Jinhong died by Li Xunhuan's hands, his skill in martial arts truly was above that of Li Xunhuan."

    Ye Kai was listening.

    The battle between Shangguan Jinhong and Li Xunhuan had already become a myth in the martial world.

    Myths are always beautiful and moving to hear, but are rarely accurate.

    Jing Wuming said, "The reason Li Xunhuan was capable of killing Shangguan Jinhong was not because of his skill in martial arts. It was because of his confidence."

    Li Xunhuan had always been confident that righteousness would prevail over wickedness in the end, and that justice would endure forever. That is why he won.

    Jing Wuming said, "When they fought, I was the only witness to their battle. I could tell that his skill in martial arts truly was inferior to that of Shangguan Jinhong's. All this time, I could not understand how he achieved victory."

    He slowly continued, "But now, I understand. The true value of a weapon lies not in the weapon itself, but what it is used to do."

    Ye Kai agreed.

    Jing Wuming said, "The reason Li Xunhuan was able to kill Shangguan Jinhong was because he wasn't fighting for the sake of killing itself. Every action he took, he could justify with a clear conscience both to heaven and to men."

    If a man is to fight on behalf of justice and righteousness, he definitely will not be defeated.

    Jing Wuming said, "If Bai Xiaosheng understood this logic, he should have ranked Li Xunhuan's dagger as the number one weapon."

    Ye Kai was looking at him. Suddenly, he felt an unspeakable reverence and respect towards this difficult-to-understand man.

    Anyone who could understand this type of logic was a man worthy of respect and reverence.

    Jing Wuming was staring at him as well. He slowly said, "That is why, if someone else were to compile another 'Book of Weapons' in the modern age, your dagger should be ranked as the number one weapon. This is because no one else is capable of doing what you have just done. That is why no other weapon can be of greater value than your dagger!"

    A gust of wind blew by, and Jing Wuming disappeared within it.

    He had always been a man who was as unfathomable as the wind itself.

    Ye Kai stood erect, facing the wind. He only felt that the blood in his chest was pounding, making it difficult for him to calm down.

    Ding Linglin stood by his side, staring at him in a daze. Her eyes were filled with love and reverence as well.

    The love of a woman is a strange thing. If you cannot gain their respect, you cannot gain their love either.

    They are not like men.

    For a man, love can arise from sympathy or pity. But women will only love a man whom they respect.

    If you ever see a woman fall in love with someone out of sympathy or pity, you can be certain that her love definitely is not genuine, and that it definitely will not be lasting.

    Ding Chengfeng naturally understood how his daughter was feeling. He himself felt great pride towards this young man.

    Anyone would feel proud of a young man such as this.

    Ding Chengfeng walked to his side. He suddenly said, "Now, there no longer is any need to hide your identity."

    Ye Kai nodded. "But I still cannot forget the benevolence the Ye family showed me in raising me."

    Ding Chengfeng continued, "Aside from you, do they have any other children?"

    Ye Kai said, "They do not!"

    Ding Chengfeng said, "So your surname will still be Ye?"

    Ye Kai said, "Correct."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "Ye as in 'leaf', and Kai as in 'open and forthright'?"

    Ye Kai said, "Correct."

    Ding Chengfeng said, "I'm sure you feel very strange as to why I asked you these questions. But I must have a clear understanding about this, because..."

    Glancing at his daughter, a hint of laughter appeared in his eyes. He slowly continued, "Because I only have one daughter. If I am to give her over to someone else, at the very least, I must know what that man's name is."

    Now, he knew that this man was named Ye Kai.

    He believed that in the very near future, every single person in the martial world would know this man's name.

    FINIS
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

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