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Thread: Bordertown Wanderer (cont.)

  1. #41
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Sorry for the slow progression, guys. Chapter 36 is literally almost triple the length of other chapters!

    I can post everything in one big complete chapter when I'm done (should be soon), or I can post part by part. What do you think?
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

  2. #42
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    Hi Rex Wo Xing,

    I think we can wait a little longer for the chapter. I vote that you post when you have the whole thing. Once again thanks for taking on this project

  3. #43
    Senior Member Wanlie Tong's Avatar
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    I would also vote for waiting and posting the entire chapter when completed. Thanks for reviving this translation.

  4. #44
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 36: That Stage Which is Life

    Jin Fengzi was still lying on the floor, his groans sounding even more painful than before.

    Someone had lit a lamp. His face, underneath the lamp light, was ash-grey.

    The corner of his eyes and the corner of his lips were incessantly twitching, and his entire face had become contorted hideously.

    Fu Hongxue finally raised his head. “Is the Yi Dajing you spoke of, the ‘Iron Handed Gentleman’, Yi Dajing?”

    Ye Kai said, “Precisely so. The ‘Iron Handed Gentleman’, Yi Dajing, is also Zhao Dafang.”

    Fu Hongxue hatefully said, “Everyone in the martial world says that Yi Dajing is a gentleman. I didn’t imagine that he is this sort of ‘gentleman’!”

    Ye Kai said, “There’s always been many hypocrites in the world.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Why did he do all this?”

    Ye Kai said, “To kill you!”

    Fu Hongxue naturally understood this. He shouldn’t have asked.

    Ye Kai said, “But he also knew that your sabre is very fast. There truly are very few people who are faster than your sabre.”

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t help but once again think of that stranger. That strange, fascinating stranger, and his relaxed yet composed bearing.

    Based on that alone, there was no one else in the world who could compare to him.

    “Can it truly be the case that his short stick would have pierced my throat before my sabre had even left the sheath?”

    Fu Hongxue truly could not believe it, nor was he willing to believe it.

    He almost couldn’t resist the urge to chase after that person and compete with him to see who struck more quickly.

    He definitely would not admit inferiority.

    Unfortunately, he already knew that when that stranger decides to leave a place, there was no one in the world who could obstruct him, and there definitely was no one in the world who could catch up with him.

    Even if he wanted to deny this, he could not.

    The hand he gripped the sabre with was trembling.

    Ye Kai looked at his hand. Sighing, he said, “Right now, perhaps you don’t believe that he strikes faster than you, but…”

    Fu Hongxue suddenly interrupted him. He loudly said, “Whether or not I believe it is my own business. My business has nothing to do with you!”

    Ye Kai forced out a smile.

    Fu Hongxue said, “So there is no need for you to interfere in this matter at all.”

    Ye Kai could only continue to smile forcedly.

    Fu Hongxue said, “Why did you secretly follow me this entire time?”

    Ye Kai said, “I did not.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “If you weren’t following me, how would you have known about this affair?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because on the road, I saw Yi Dajing.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Many people saw him.”

    Ye Kai said, “But only I knew that he was Yi Dajing. Yi Dajing shouldn’t have been here, and he definitely shouldn’t have been dressed like that. He was always very fastidious about his choice of apparel.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “That isn’t your business either.”

    Ye Kai said, “But I couldn’t help but feel that it was strange.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “So you followed him.”

    Ye Kai nodded. “I trailed him for two days, but wasn’t able to locate his resting place, because I didn’t dare to follow him too closely. His movements were as crafty as a fox’s.”

    Fu Hongxue let out a ‘humph’.

    Ye Kai said, “But I knew that he invited Xiao Dazi from the capital, and so I changed my plan. I started to follow Xiao Dazi instead.”

    Forcing out a smile, he continued, “But afterwards, even Xiao Dazi disappeared.”

    Fu Hongxue sneered, “So there’s actually tasks which you cannot accomplish either.”

    Ye Kai said, “Fortunately, I ran into those two coffin-bearers. They were actually actors from Xiao Dazi’s theatrical troupe. They came along with him. Xiao Dazi has always treated his actors very well.”

    This really was a very complicated affair. Even Fu Hongxue couldn’t help but to begin to listen attentively.

    Ye Kai said, “By that time, they had already begun to pack their belongings and prepare to leave the city. After I located them, I finally managed to get them to divulge the location of the place they had taken Xiao Dazi, using a mixture of coercion and bribery.

    Fu Hongxue said, “Therefore, you went there.”

    Ye Kai said, “By the time I got there, you were already gone. Only Yi Dajing and Xiao Dazi remained.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Yi Dajing naturally wouldn’t tell you about this secret.”

    Ye Kai said, “He naturally would not, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to get any answers out of him. Unfortunately for him, although his plans were very careful and thorough, his tactics were a little too malicious.”

    Fu Hongxue listened.

    Ye Kai said, “He had actually already put poison in the wine. He intended to kill Xiao Dazi to make he would be quiet!”

    Only now did Fu Hongxue understand that Xiao Dazi’s agony came not from any wounds, but from poison.

    Ye Kai said, “When I arrived, the poison had already begun to take effect. After I exposed Yi Dajing’s treachery, he naturally hated Yi Dajing to the core.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Therefore, he naturally exposed Yi Dajing’s plot to you as well.”

    Ye Kai sighed. “If it weren’t for the fact that Yi Dajing’s tactics were so vile, I perhaps would never have been able to learn of this plot. His acting skills truly had reached an incredibly high level of professionalism. I couldn’t see a single flaw in it whatsoever, to the point where I actually regarded him as a modest, self-disciplined gentleman. I was almost ready to apologize him, but he had already left.”

    Ding Linglin couldn’t resist letting out a sigh as well. “If he were to become an opera singer, he would definitely become even more famous than Xiao Dazi.”

    Ye Kai said, “But it seemed as though earlier, I heard you calling him your ‘uncle’.”

    Ding Linglin angrily glared at him. Pursing her lips, she said, “He was my father’s friend. He looked like such a kind, courteous, refined person. Who would have thought that he was such a hypocrite, such a false gentleman?”

    Ye Kai sighed. “So you should now understand that a genuine scoundrel like myself is far better.”

    Ding Linglin suddenly laughed. “I understood that long ago.”

    Ye Kai forced out a smile. “Maybe it’s best that you don’t understand.”

    Ding Linglin stared at him again. She suddenly said, “Right now, there really is something that I don’t understand!”

    Ye Kai was waiting for her to ask the question.

    Ding Linglin said, “The legendary heroes of the previous generation, such as Li Xunhuan and Ah Fei, had disappeared without a trace long ago. How could Yi Dajing have known that he would be here today?”

    Ye Kai quietly chanted, “Swordsman Fei truly is a man who is difficult to locate. Sometimes, even Li Tanhua would be unable to find him.”

    Ding Linglin said, “So I feel that this is very strange.”

    Ye Kai said, “But everyone knows that ever since Bai Xiaosheng’s death, Yi Dajing became one of the three people in the martial world who had the quickest access to information.”

    Ding Linglin said, “I’ve heard that as well. There are many guests who come to his home.”

    Ye Kai said, “Perhaps he heard that swordsman Fei was coming here, and so came in advance to wait for him.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Then he must have long ago prepared the house in which he was living in.”

    Ye Kai said, “And then he thought up a way to trick Fu Hongxue into coming here.”

    Ding Linglin glanced at Fu Hongxue out of the corner of her eyes, before saying, “That isn’t too hard.”

    Ye Kai said, “Perhaps he spent every single day trying to find news of swordsman Fei’s whereabouts.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But someone actually believed that he was trying to find news of Ma Kongque’s whereabouts instead.”

    Ye Kai laughed. “This man acts in a very secretive, thorough way. I don’t think anyone can compare to him.”

    Fu Hongxue was silent the entire time. He suddenly said, “Where is he?”

    Ye Kai said, “Gone.”

    Fu Hongxue sneered. “Why did you let him go?”

    Ye Kai chortled. “Why did I let him go? Can’t he go by himself?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You didn’t stop him?”

    Ye Kai said, “You think that I am definitely able to stop him?”

    Fu Hongxue smirked.

    Ding Linglin suddenly couldn’t resist smirking as well. “Although little Ye didn’t stop him, at least he didn’t fall for his tricks.”

    Fu Hongxue’s expression changed. He turned around, indicating that he was totally unwilling to speak with her.

    But Ding Linglin circled around him to face him again. “Even if you don’t consider little Ye to be a friend, he’s treated you quite well, right?”

    Fu Hongxue refused to reply.

    Ding Linglin said, “Even a father wouldn’t necessarily treat his son better than the way he’s treated you. Even if you don’t thank him, you shouldn’t treat him as though he were your enemy.”

    Fu Hongxue refused to open his mouth.

    Ding Linglin sneered. “I know that you aren’t willing to speak to me. To tell the truth, normally, I wouldn’t even spare someone like you a single glance, even if you were to kneel down in front of me.”

    Fu Hongxue was smirking again.

    Ding Linglin said, “But right now, I can’t help but want to ask you a few questions.”

    Fu Hongxue waited for her to ask.

    Ding Linglin said, “Why is it that the better others treat you, the fiercer you act towards them? Are you afraid of others treating you well? Is there something wrong with you?”

    Fu Hongxue’s pallid face suddenly turned red. His entire body seemed to start to tremble again.

    A look of pain suddenly appeared within his cold, callous eyes. Pain so great that it seemed as though he were almost unable to bear it any longer.

    Ding Linglin was stunned.

    She had never imagined that Fu Hongxue would suddenly become like that.

    She could no longer bear to look at him. Lowering her head, she slowly said, “Actually, I was just joking around. Why do you need to be so angry?”

    Fu Hongxue didn’t even hear her words.

    Ding Linglin didn’t speak any more as well. She suddenly felt very uninteresting, very embarrassed.

    There was still wine on the table.

    She actually sat down and began to drink wine.

    Ye Kai was slowly propping up Xiao Dazi, as though he weren’t paying any attention to them at all.

    Xiao Dazi’s entire face was covered with tears. In a rasping voice, he said, “I…I am just a humble actor. I’ll act for anyone who pays me.”

    Ye Kai said, “I know.”

    Crying, Xiao Dazi said, “I don’t want to die yet…”

    Ye Kai said, “You won’t die.”

    Xiao Dazi said, “Will the medicine really work?”

    Ye Kai said, “I’ve already promised you that it would, and fed you my antidote.”

    Gasping, Xiao Dazi sat down. He finally seemed to be a bit more at peace.

    Ye Kai sighed. “In all honesty, who isn’t acting? Isn’t life the grandest stage of them all?”

    Fu Hongxue had already calmed down. He suddenly turned around and stared at Xiao Dazi. “Do you know where Yi Dajing went?”

    Xiao Dazi’s face turned white again, this time from fear. He stuttered, “I…I…I imagine he probably went home.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Where is his home?”

    Xiao Dazi said, “I heard that it is the ‘Manor of Ten Thousand Hidden Scrolls’. Although I’ve never been there before, there must be many people in the martial world who are familiar with it.”

    Fu Hongxue immediately turned around and slowly walked out. He didn’t even spare Ye Kai another glance.

    But Ye Kai said, “Wait. There’s something I want to tell you.”

    Fu Hongxue did not wait.

    Ye Kai said, “The family name of Yi Dajing’s wife is ‘Lu’.”

    Fu Hongxue ignored him.

    Ye Kai said, “Not ‘Lu’ as in ‘road’, ‘Lu’ as in Lu Xiaojia.”

    Blue veins suddenly appeared on the hand with which Fu Hongxue gripped his sabre.

    But he still left without even turning around.

    The night was deep.

    “Isn’t life the grandest stage of them all? Who isn’t acting?”

    The only real question is how one decides to go about putting on the play!

    Do you want to perform a tragedy, or a comedy? Do you want to keep all the acclaim of others for yourself, or do you want people to throw rotten persimmons at your face?

    This persimmon wasn’t rotten.

    Autumn was when persimmons were supposed to be harvested.

    Ding Linglin peeled a persimmon, then brought it to Ye Kai. In a soft voice, she said, “Persimmons are chilly in nature. If you eat persimmons while drinking, you won’t get drunk as easily.”

    Ye Kai dully said, “How can you be sure that I don’t want to get drunk?”

    Ding Linglin said, “If a person really wants to get drunk, they’ll get drunk no matter what sort of dishes they eat while drinking.”

    She delivered the persimmon to Ye Kai’s lips, and then sweetly said, “So it’s best if you ate it first.”

    Ye Kai had no choice but to eat it.

    He wasn’t a wooden log. He knew how Ding Linglin felt towards him, and felt very thankful towards her.

    Although this girl was sly, fierce, arrogant and willful, there were times when she was gentle and adorable. Anyone who had a girl like this accompanying them should feel very content.

    After watching him eat the persimmon, Ding Linglin lightly let out a sigh. “Thank goodness you are not Fu Hongxue. The better others treat him, the worse he treats them.”

    Ye Kai also sighed. “If you really think he is that sort of person, you are mistaken.”

    Ding Linglin said, “How am I mistaken?”

    Ye Kai said, “There are some people who will never allow their emotions to be written upon their faces.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You believe he is that sort of person.”

    Ye Kai said, “Therefore, the better he feels about someone in his heart, the less emotion he will reveal on his face, because he is afraid that others will see his emotion as frailty.”

    Ding Linglin said, “So you believe he is actually fond of you?”

    Ye Kai chortled.

    Ding Linglin said, “But the way he treats Cui Nong…”

    Ye Kai said, “The reason he suddenly became like that earlier was because you touched the wound on his heart. You made him think of Cui Nong.”

    Ding Linglin said, “If he really was fond of Cui Nong, why would he discard her like that?”

    Ye Kai said, “If he wasn’t really fond of her, how could he have been in such agony?”

    Ding Linglin no longer spoke.

    Sighing, Ye Kai said, “Only a truly emotionless human being can feel no pain. But I don’t admire that sort of person.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because that sort of person isn’t really a human being at all.”

    Ding Linglin let out another quiet sigh. “You men really have very strange hearts.”

    Ye Kai said, “Definitely strange, much like how you women have very strange hearts as well.”

    His words weren’t wrong.

    The strangest, most unfathomable things in the world are the hearts of humankind. Both male minds and female hearts are alike in that regard.

    Ding Linglin suddenly laughed. “Fortunately, by now I can see right through you.”

    Ye Kai said, “Oh?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Although on the surface you seem to be a worthless fellow, in your heart you are actually very fond of me.”

    Ye Kai’s face stiffened. He wanted to speak.

    But just as he opened his mouth, Ding Linglin stuffed a freshly peeled persimmon right past his lips.

    The night grew deeper still.

    Xiao Dazi had eaten another packet of medicine. He was lying on the long bench at the corner of the room, sleeping.

    The salesclerk in the store was yawning.

    He really wanted to shoo all of these people away, but didn’t dare to offend them. Strangers were always a little dangerous.

    Ding Linglin poured a cup of wine for Ye Kai. She suddenly said, “The ‘Manor of Ten Thousand Hidden Scrolls’ doesn’t seem to be too far away from here.”

    Ye Kai said, “Not far at all.”

    Ding Linglin continued, “Do you think Yi Dajing really went home?”

    Ye Kai said, “He definitely wouldn’t flee.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why not?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because he doesn’t need to flee. Fleeing would just make others all the more suspicious.”

    Ding Linglin said, “No matter what, by now Fu Hongxue should have guessed that he was one of those assassins outside the Plum Blossom Convent that night. That’s why he thought up this scheme to entrap Fu Hongxue.”

    Ye Kai said, “Fu Hongxue isn’t an idiot.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Perhaps the person who poisoned Xue Bin’s wine was Yi Dajing as well.”

    Ye Kai said, “It wasn’t.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why not?”

    Ye Kai said, “The poison he used on Xiao Dazi was a totally different type of poison.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Can’t he carry two different types of poison on him?”

    Ye Kai said, “People who are skilled in using poison generally have their own unique, distinct style, as well as their own favored types of poison. It’s much like how women using rouge.”

    Ding Linglin didn’t understand.

    Ye Kai said, “When you become accustomed to using a certain type of rouge, wouldn’t you prefer using it as opposed to switching to different types?”

    Ding Linglin thought for a moment, then nodded.

    Ye Kai said, “When you leave the house, would you bring two totally types of rouge?”

    Ding Linglin shook her head. Glancing sideways at him, she coldly said, “You really know quite a lot about women.”

    Ye Kai said, “It’s just that I know a lot about poisons. I actually don’t know anything about women.”

    Ding Linglin said, “I’d be shocked if you didn’t.”

    She suddenly snatched away the cup of wine she had just poured for Ye Kai and downed it in one gulp herself.

    Ye Kai laughed.

    Ding Linglin glanced at him sideways again. “I’m really surprised that you are in the mood to sit here and drink right now.”

    Ye Kai said, “Why shouldn’t I be in the mood?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Since Yi Dajing has already gone back home, can Fu Hongxue really find him as soon as he goes there?”

    Ye Kai nodded.

    Ding Linglin said, “Since Lu Xiaojia is his younger brother-in-law, and has been nearby these past two days, isn’t it possible that he’s there right now as well?”

    Ye Kai said, “Very possible.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Aren’t you afraid that Fu Hongxue will be at a disadvantage against them? Haven’t you always cared a lot about him?”

    Ye Kai said, “I am very much at ease about the situation.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Truly?”

    Ye Kai said, “Truly, because I know they won’t come to blows at all.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why not?”

    Ye Kai laughed. “If you knew what type of person Yi Dajing was, you’d understand why.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Only a devil could understand him.”

    Ye Kai said, “All his life, he has never liked to openly be enemies with anyone. Even if others went to his house to cause trouble, he would retreat and show forbearance. That’s why others believe him to be a gentleman.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But that sort of forbearance is useless in this case.”

    Ye Kai said, “But he can use other methods.”

    Ding Linglin said, “What methods?”

    Ye Kai said, “He can stubbornly deny everything and refuse to acknowledge any of this.”

    Ding Linglin said, “The truth is the truth. Even if he denies it, what good will it do?”

    Ye Kai said, “He can say that recently, he hasn’t stepped outside the ‘Manor of Ten Thousand Hidden Scrolls’ at all. He can even say that he’s been very sick recently.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Will Fu Hongxue believe him? He isn’t an idiot.”

    Ye Kai said, “No doubt, Yi Dajing has already prepared many people who are willing to testify on his behalf. People like him always prepare avenues of escape in advance, in case their plans fail.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But Fu Hongxue wouldn’t necessarily believe the testimonies of others either.”

    Ye Kai said, “But the people Yi Dajing convened are surely some of the most famous, most lofty people of the martial world. Their words carry a lot of weight. People can’t help but believe them.”

    Ding Linglin said, “This sort of people would be willing to lie for him?”

    Ye Kai said, “He isn’t necessarily asking them to lie for him, only that they testify on his behalf.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Testify that he left?”

    Ye Kai said, “He naturally would have thought of a way to make these people genuinely believe that he had been at home the entire time.”

    Ding Linglin said, “I can’t think of what he would be able to do to make them believe that, unless he was able to split himself into two.”

    Ye Kai said, “That’s not too hard to accomplish. Hypothetically speaking, he could find somebody, disguise them, then have them stay at home, recuperating from ‘illness’ on his behalf.”

    He added, “The sickroom of a patient will naturally be very dim, and the sick person’s appearance will naturally be very poor. His voice would be different from normal as well. Thus, those friends of his naturally wouldn’t believe that this bedridden Yi Dajing is actually another man in disguise.”

    Ding Linglin said, “In addition, Yi Dajing has always been known as a gentleman. Others simply wouldn’t believe he would do something like that.”

    Ye Kai said, “Absolutely correct.”

    Ding Linglin sighed. “It seems you know a lot about dishonest practices and crooked ways.”

    Ye Kai said, “And thus, I’ve managed to stay alive.”

    Ding Linglin sighed again. “I recommend you leave now, while you’re still alive, before you drink yourself to death here.”

    Ye Kai said, “You can leave.”

    Ding Linglin said, “What about you?”

    Ye Kai said, “I’m definitely going to stay here.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Do you think this is a very good place?”

    Ye Kai said, “Not at all.”

    Ding Linglin glanced at the frowning salesclerk, then said, “Do you think others want you to stay here?”

    Ye Kai laughed. “He would like nothing better than for me to pay my bill and leave, the faster the better.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Then why are you staying here?”

    Ye Kai said, “I’m waiting for someone.”

    Ding Linglin’s eyeballs spun around. “A woman?”

    Ye Kai laughed. “I never wait for women. Women wait for me.”

    Ding Linglin bit her lips. “Who exactly are you waiting for?”

    Ye Kai said, “Fu Hongxue!”

    Ding Linglin was stunned. “He’s going to come back?”

    Ye Kai confidently replied, “He will definitely come back to find me, because he believes I deceived him.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Can’t he tell that Yi Dajing is Zhao Dafang?”

    Ye Kai said, “Can’t Yi Dajing say that it was someone else who dressed up as him in order to intentionally frame him?”

    Ding Linglin was speechless again.

    That salesclerk was listening off to the side the entire time. After hearing this, he couldn’t help but let out a long sigh.

    But as he was sighing, someone outside began to laugh.

    “I didn’t imagine that there would still be wine for sale here. Heaven treats me quite well. It doesn’t want to let me die of thirst.”

    A man drunkenly staggered in. He was wearing new clothes and a new hat. There was a brandy nose on his round face. He absolutely, totally looked like a drunkard.

    As soon as he walked in, he pulled out some silver and tossed it onto the table. He loudly said, “Bring me all your fine wines and fine dishes. I don’t have anything on me besides silver!”

    If there is silver, there will naturally be wine available.

    This man drank a few cups by himself, then suddenly turned around and waved towards Ye Kai.

    Ye Kai waved towards him as well.

    The man laughed loudly. “You’re an interesting fellow. You look like a good fellow. Fine, I’ll invite you to some wine.”

    Ye Kai laughed. “Wonderful. I have everything in the world except for silver!”

    He actually immediately walked over.

    This was one of the good traits of Ye Kai. He was curious about everything. As long as any strange or interesting things were to happen, he definitely would not miss it.

    He had already noticed that this man’s hands and feet were very thick, and that the brandy nose came from drinking hard liquor. Normally, he must be a man who did crude labor, but now he is wearing new clothes, a new hat, and has a large quantity of silver on him, enough to invite others to drink.

    This was naturally a bit strange.

    A slightly strange matter often leads to many other strange and interesting matters. Ye Kai had discovered many strange and interesting events in such a manner. In addition, he recently had been searching for someone.

    Watching him walk over, Ding Linglin couldn’t help but let out a sigh. She murmured to herself, “Looks like there’s nothing easier in the world than one alcoholic befriending another.”

    By this point, not only had the man’s nose became redder, even his tongue had tripled in size.

    He was clapping Ye Kai on the shoulder repeatedly, loudly saying, “Drink as much as you want! I have plenty of money!”

    Ye Kai lowered his voice intentionally. “Old boy, it looks like you’ve really struck it rich. If there’s any road to riches nearby, I hope that you can give me a few tips, so that I can treat you the next time we meet.”

    The man laughed loudly. “What do you take me for, a bandit? A robber?”

    He suddenly removed an ingot of silver, tossing it heavily upon the table. Staring at it, he said, “Let me tell you this. My money isn’t dirty. It took me over ten years to make this money.”

    Ye Kai said, “Oh.”

    The man said, “To tell you the truth, I’m not a bad person. I used to be a groom who washed horses.”

    Ye Kai laughed. “A groom can make so much money? Looks like I should go be a groom as well.”

    The man shook his head. “I could have introduced you in the past, but it’s too late now.”

    Ye Kai said, “Why?”

    The man said, “Because not only does that place no longer have horses, it doesn’t even have people there now.”

    Ye Kai said, “What place is that?”

    The man said, “Hero’s Manor.”

    Ye Kai’s eyes lit up.

    He had been looking for people from the Hero’s Manor for some time now. The strange thing was, he had found no trace of them at all.

    Forty or fifty people with no work to perform, but four or five hundred taels of silver in their hands. It would be bizarre indeed if they didn’t go drinking or playing with women.

    But none of the brothels or bars nearby had any news of them whatsoever.

    Now, Ye Kai finally found one of them. Naturally, he wouldn’t slacken off. He probed, “I’ve been to the Hero’s Manor before. The wine cellars’ steward, old Gu, is a friend of mine.”

    That person immediately pointed at his nose and started laughing. “That’s just talk. The steward’s surname isn’t Gu, it’s Zhang. His name is Weirdo Zhang.”

    Ye Kai asked, “Why do you call him a weirdo?”

    The man said, “Because although he is in charge of the cellar, he doesn’t touch a drop of wine himself.”

    Ye Kai laughed. “Maybe it’s precisely because he doesn’t drink wine, that he was placed in charge of it.”

    The man clapped his hands. Laughing loudly, he said, “Absolutely correct! Kid, you aren’t stupid at all.”

    Ye Kai said, “Where is he now?”

    The man said, “He went to the Ding family. All the people who left the Hero’s Manor have gone to the Ding family for employment.”

    Evidently, they were employed immediately upon leaving the Hero’s Manor, and so had to rush to their new place of work.

    No wonder Ye Kai couldn’t find any of them.

    Ye Kai said, “They were all hired by the Ding family? Which Ding family?”

    The man said, “Naturally, it is the richest, most famous of Ding families. Otherwise, how could they suddenly hire so many people?”

    There was only one Ding family which could be considered the richest and most famous of them all.

    Ding Linglin’s family.

    Ye Kai couldn’t resist glancing at her. Ding Linglin was looking at him as well.

    The man was still vaguely mumbling, “Although Weirdo Zhang didn’t drink wine, he had an excellent grasp of all other affairs. I’ve always ****ing admired him.”

    Ye Kai said, “If everyone else had been hired by the Ding family, why didn’t you go?”

    The man laughed. “I haven’t drank away all of these five hundred taels of silver yet. Even if the Ding family asked me to go be their son-in-law, I still wouldn’t ****ing go…”

    The word ‘go’ is one which requires one to spread open one’s mouth.

    Just as he said the word ‘go’, with a clanging sound, something struck his teeth.

    Ye Kai immediately heard the sound of a tooth shattering.

    The man was already bent over with pain. First, he spat out a peanut shell, and then he spat out a tooth. Next, he spat out blood. After smelling his own blood, his stomach clenched, and he began to vomit nonstop.

    A peanut shell was the object which shattered his tooth.

    Ding Linglin wasn’t eating peanuts. Naturally, she shouldn’t have any peanut shells.

    The window was open. The night outside was as dark as ink.

    Ye Kai suddenly chuckled towards the open window. “I was actually waiting for someone else. I didn’t expect you would be one to come.”

    Someone laughed from outside the window.

    There was a very unique cynicism in that laughter. Then, with a flutter of a shadow, someone appeared seated on the windowsill.

    Lu Xiaojia. Naturally, it was Lu Xiaojia.

    Ding Linglin suddenly said, “I was just about to teach him a lesson. I didn’t expect you’d act on my behalf first.”

    Lu Xiaojia laughed flatly. “It really is the greatest of honors to be able to act on the behalf of the young lady of the Ding family.”

    Ding Linglin said, “When did you learn how to blow smoke up people’s asses?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “When I suddenly realized something.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Realized what?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Realized that up till this very day, I’m single and alone. Therefore…”

    Ding Linglin said, “Therefore what?”

    Lu Xiaojia smiled. “Therefore, I might still have the chance to be the Ding family’s son-in-law.”

    Ding Linglin started to laugh again.

    Lu Xiaojia said, “How can someone who wishes to be the Ding family’s son-in-law not flatter the young lady of the Ding family?”

    Ding Linglin glanced sideways at Ye Kai, then said, “You should say these words to him.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “I did say them to him.”

    Laughing loudly, he jumped down from the windowsill. Looking at Ye Kai, he said, “You ate several of my peanuts. Aren’t you going to invite me to drink tonight?”

    Ye Kai smiled. “Naturally I will. Unfortunately, I also know that you didn’t come here for drinking.”

    Lu Xiaojia let out a sigh, then said, “It seems as though I can’t hide anything from you.”

    Ding Linglin couldn’t resist asking, “How did you come here?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “I came with someone.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Who?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “The person you are waiting for.”

    Ding Linglin wrinkled her forehead. Just as she turned around, she saw Fu Hongxue slowly walk in.

    Fu Hongxue’s pale face seemed to have turned ashen.

    Even before he walked inside, his gaze became fixed upon Ye Kai, as though he were afraid that Ye Kai would run away.

    Ye Kai actually smiled, then said, “I knew you would definitely come back. I didn’t miscalculate.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “There’s only one thing you miscalculated.”

    Ye Kai said, “Oh?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Why did you want me to go kill Yi Dajing?”

    Ye Kai said, “Was I the one who had you go kill Yi Dajing?”

    Fu Hongxue coldly said, “Did you hope for him to die? Or did you hope for me to kill someone wrongly?”

    Ye Kai let out a sigh. “I only hope that you can see this matter clearly.”

    Fu Hongxue smirked. “You still don’t understand?”

    Ye Kai shook his head.

    Fu Hongxue said, “Zhao Dafang isn’t actually Yi Dajing.”

    Ye Kai said, “Oh?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “During the past two weeks, he hasn’t left the ‘Manor of Ten Thousand Hidden Scrolls’ at all.”

    Ye Kai laughed.

    Fu Hongxue said, “You don’t need to laugh. This is the truth.”

    Ye Kai said, “Are there many people willing to testify on his behalf?”

    Fu Hongxue nodded. “Many reliable people.”

    Ye Kai said, “Naturally, he has been sick this entire time, very sick.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You know?”

    Ye Kai laughed again.

    He had predicted all of this ahead of time. He didn’t miscalculate in the slightest.

    Ding Linglin was shaking her head, off to the side. Sighing, she said, “Who was the one who earlier claimed he wasn’t an idiot?”

    Lu Xiaojia looked at her, then looked at Ye Kai. He suddenly laughed. “I understand now.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Now what do you understand?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “You must believe that Yi Dajing found someone to pretend he was ill on his behalf, while he himself slipped out.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Is that not possible?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Of course it is possible. Unfortunately, his sort of sickness cannot be feigned.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why not?”

    Lu Xiaojia sighed again. “Perhaps it isn’t known to very many people in the martial world as of yet, but his left leg was chopped off by someone half a month ago!”

    Ding Linglin was stunned.

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t help but be shocked as well.

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Song Changcheng, Wang Yiming, Ding Lingzhong, and Xie Jian all rushed to see him after hearing this news.”

    The names he just recited really were some of the most famous, most illustrious names of the martial world.

    The most jarring of names, naturally was Ding Lingzhong.

    Ding Linglin almost cried out in surprise. She loudly said, “My third brother is there as well?”

    Lu Xiaojia chuckled. “I hear that the people of the Ding family are all gentlemen. Don’t gentlemen like to be acquainted with other gentlemen?”

    Ding Linglin could only listen.

    Lu Xiaojia leisurely said, “I don’t know if the third young master is a liar?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Of course he isn’t.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Then you can go ask him if Yi Dajing’s leg is chopped off or not, and whether or not this Yi Dajing with the chopped off leg is someone else in disguise. He’s still at the manor right now.”

    What else could Ding Linglin say?

    Ye Kai could only force out a smile as well.

    Watching him, Lu Xiaojia smiled. “Actually, there’s no need for you to feel unhappy either. Everyone is wrong from time to time. As long as you can admit to your mistakes, everything will be fine.”

    Ye Kai coughed.

    “Naturally, I know that you’ll never verbally admit to being wrong. But so long as you admit to being wrong in your heart, that’ll be enough.”

    He didn’t let Ye Kai speak. “The only question we have now is, since Yi Dajing was not Zhao Dafang, then who precisely was Zhao Dafang?”

    Ye Kai couldn’t respond.

    Fu Hongxue said, “I definitely will find this person.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Of course you have to find him. Maybe he is one of your enemies.”

    Ye Kai suddenly spoke. “Maybe he is one of Yi Dajing’s enemies as well.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Why?”

    Ye Kai said, “If he wasn’t Yi Dajing’s enemy, why would he use such a tactic to frame him?”

    Lu Xiaojia was forced to agree.

    Ye Kai muttered to himself, then said, “Naturally, he doesn’t know about Yi Dajing’s leg being chopped off. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have used this tactic.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Having your leg chopped off isn’t a very glorious thing. No one would want to go around publicizing it.”

    Ye Kai said, “Do you know who chopped his leg off?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “No clue!”

    Ye Kai said, “He didn’t tell you?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “He was totally unwilling to discuss this matter further.”

    Ye Kai said, “Why?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Because he doesn’t want others to take revenge on his behalf. He’s always felt that it is better to make friends than to make enemies. If everyone were to demand an eye for an eye, when would it end?”

    Ye Kai sighed. “It seems as though he really is a gentleman. It is your sister’s good fortune to be able to marry such a man.”

    Staring at him, Lu Xiaojia was unable to tell if his words were words of genuine praise, or of satire.

    Ye Kai chortled, and then said, “Regardless, I should first invite you to drink a cup of wine.”

    Suddenly, someone said, “Leave me a cup as well.”

    The voice came from very far away, but everyone present was able to hear it distinctly and clearly.

    Naturally, the speaker was far away as well. And yet, he was able to hear every word which the people here said.

    What type of person was this?

    This question would be answered very shortly, because just after that sentence was finished, this person appeared outside the door.

    He came so very quickly.

    He wore a set of very ordinary clothes. A very ordinary wooden stick was stuck around his waist. But in his hands, he held a very large bundle.

    Ding Linglin almost couldn’t resist jumping to her feet.

    That ordinary and yet godlike stranger had actually returned.

    It was very dark outside. The light was dim inside.

    The stranger had already walked in, lightly placing the bundle in his hands on the floor.

    What a large bundle.

    The stranger casually found an open seat, then flatly said, “Normally, I never drink wine, but I am willing to make an exception today.”

    No one asked him why. No one dared to ask.

    The stranger suddenly turned to face Lu Xiaojia. “Do you know why?”

    Lu Xiaojia shook his head.

    The stranger said, “Do you know who I am?”

    Lu Xiaojia shook his head, then nodded. A look of fear had appeared within his rock-steady gaze.

    The stranger said, “But I recognize you and recognize your sword.”

    Lu Xiaojia lowered his head, staring at the sword stuck slanted into waistband, as though he were wishing that this sword wasn’t on his body.

    The stranger was looking at his sword as well. He emotionlessly said, “You don’t need to feel apologetic because of this sword. Although the person who taught you to use this sword is my bitter enemy, he is also my friend.”

    Lu Xiaojia hanged his head down. “I understand.”

    The stranger said, “I have always respected him, just like how he has always respected me.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Yes.”

    This arrogant, conceited youngster had never shown such respect and fear towards anyone before.

    The stranger said, “Is he still doing well?”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “I haven’t seen him in a long time as well.”

    The stranger chuckled. “He is just like me. He’s a man without roots. It isn’t an easy thing to locate him.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Yes.”

    The stranger said, “I’ve heard that you’ve killed many people with this sword.”

    Lu Xiaojia didn’t dare to reply.

    The stranger slowly said, “I only hope that the people you killed were all people who deserved killing.”

    Lu Xiaojia dared even less to reply now.

    The stranger suddenly said, “Strike at me with your sword.”

    Lu Xiaojia’s face changed.

    The stranger said, “You should know that I always do what I say I will do.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “But I…I…”

    The stranger said, “Don’t feel awkward. I’m telling you to do this. Naturally, I won’t blame you.”

    Lu Xiaojia was still hesitating.

    The stranger said, “Naturally, I won’t counterattack either.”

    Lu Xiaojia finally was able to let his breath out. “As you command.”

    His hand was already resting on the hilt of his sword.

    The stranger said, “You had best use all of your strength, as though I were your hated enemy.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Yes.”

    Suddenly, the entire world seemed to have turned silent. Everyone held their breath, widening their eyes. Everyone knew that something like this rarely happened, and even more rarely could be seen.

    Lu Xiaojia’s sword was extremely fast. There were already very few people who could compare to him.

    What about this stranger? Was he really as godlike as the legends made him out to be?

    Suddenly, with a flash of sword light, Lu Xiaojia’s sword struck towards him, piercing towards the stranger’s throat!

    Fu Hongxue was forcefully gripping his own sabre as well.

    This strike came out as fast though he was the one who executed it. Even he couldn’t help but admit that it was fast, as fast as his own sabre!

    At this moment, with a ‘ding’ sound, the sword suddenly snapped!

    Only people with the sharpest of eyesight would have noticed that just after the sword shot out, the flashing shadow of a short stick could be seen. And then the sword snapped in half!

    But right now, the short stick was still stuck around the stranger’s waist. Everyone couldn’t help but feel suspicious.

    Only Lu Xiaojia wasn’t suspicious. Naturally, he knew how his sword had been broken. He held a broken sword in his hands. Cold sweat was already beginning to flow from his forehead.

    The stranger picked up the broken half of the shattered sword. After staring at it for a long time, he suddenly said, “This sword is still too heavy.”

    Lu Xiaojia glumly said, “I still can only use swords of this weight.”

    The stranger nodded. “Right. The lighter the sword, the more difficult it is to use. Unfortunately, very few people understand this concept.”

    Lu Xiaojia said, “Yes.”

    The stranger said softly, “Do you know why I broke your sword in half?”

    Lu Xiaojia did not know, nor did he dare to ask.

    The stranger said, “Because this sword has already taken too many lives.”

    Lu Xiaojia lowered his head. “I will definitely remember your lesson, elder.”

    The stranger looked at him, then looked at Fu Hongxue and Ye Kai. A trace of a smile appeared on his lips. “I know that you people of this generation are both intelligent and hard-working. Compared to us in our time, you are not inferior.”

    No one dared to reply.

    Especially Fu Hongxue. Only now did he understand that if he had struck out with his sabre at the stranger, he definitely would have paid a price for it!

    The stranger said, “But I still hope that you can understand something.”

    Everyone listened.

    The stranger said, “Truly great martial arts comes not from intelligence or hard work.”

    Why not? Everyone asked this in their hearts.

    Isn’t intelligence and hard work the two most important factors for people who train in martial arts?

    The stranger said, “You must have a great heart before you can practice truly great martial arts.”

    That warm glow once again appeared on his face. He continued, “Of course, this isn’t easy at all. As far as I know, out of all the martial arts experts in the world, only one person has been able to achieve this level.”

    Naturally, everyone knew who he was referring to. Everyone’s heart suddenly began to beat faster.

    Ye Kai’s heart beat the fastest.

    The stranger said, “Aside from this principle, I have something else I wish to give you.”

    Was he planning to give them whatever was inside the bundle? Lu Xiaojia suddenly realized that the bundle was moving. A look of shock appeared on his face.

    The stranger was looking at him. He slowly said, “If you think this is strange, why don’t you open it up?”

    Everyone was intrigued, but no one could guess what was inside.

    “If you wish to practice truly great martial arts, first you must have a great heart.”

    Of course this was not an easy thing. To reach such a level, one must often undergo some extremely painful experiences.

    The bundle was opened. There was a person inside the bundle, a person whose left leg had been chopped off.

    “Yi Dajing.”

    Everyone nearly cried out in alarm. The person who was the most surprised, naturally was Yi Dajing himself.

    It seemed as though he had just awakened from a bad dream, and then realized he was in a place more terrifying than a nightmare. He looked at Ye Kai, then looked at Fu Hongxue and Lu Xiaojia.

    And then his face suddenly contorted, because he finally saw that stranger.

    The stranger was looking at him as well. “Do you remember me?”

    Yi Dajing nodded, appearing respectful and terrified.

    The stranger said, “We met ten years ago. At that time, your leg hadn’t yet been chopped off.”

    Yi Dajing forced out an apologetic smile. “But elder, your elegant bearing is just as it was before.”

    The stranger said, “When was your leg chopped off?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Half a month ago.”

    The stranger said, “Who chopped it off?”

    A look of pain appeared on Yi Dajing’s face. “That’s already bygones. Mentioning it will just stir up more trouble.”

    The stranger said, “It seems as though you are very forgiving towards others.”

    Yi Dajing said, “I try my best.”

    The stranger said, “But it’s best if you learned to do something else first.”

    Yi Dajing said, “What?”

    The stranger said, “Telling the truth!”

    A fiery light suddenly shone forth from his eyes. Fixing his gaze upon Yi Dajing’s face, he said, one word at a time, “You should know that the type of person I hate the most is liars.”

    Yi Dajing lowered his head. “How would I dare to lie in front of you, elder? No one would dare.”

    The stranger coldly said, “I know that it isn’t easy for you to tell the truth, because after you tell the truth, you might die. Naturally, you don’t want to die.”

    Yi Dajing didn’t dare to respond.

    The stranger said, “But you should also understand that there are some things in the world which are even more terrifying and painful than death.”

    Cold sweat began to flow from Yi Dajing’s forehead.

    The stranger said, “I brought you here today because I swore an oath many years ago that I would never be deceived by others ever again.”

    His steely face revealed a look of pain, as though he were suddenly thinking of bygone events that caused him great anguish.

    Yi Dajing no longer dared to even raise his head to look at him.

    After a long time, the stranger slowly continued, “You imitated Li Tanhua’s handwriting style and asked me to come here to rendezvous with him. To tell you the truth, I knew right away that the writing wasn’t authentic. The only reason I came was to find out what sort of trap this was.”

    Yi Dajing said, “Even in his youth, Li Tanhua’s was world-renowned. His handwriting was spread all throughout the world as well. There are many people who can imitating his handwriting. Elder, why are you so certain that I did it?”

    The stranger said, “Because I found some samples in your room of you imitating his writing style.”

    Even more cold sweat flowed from Yi Dajing’s forehead.

    The stranger’s face sunk. “You should have heard of my conduct as a youth. Thus, you should believe that I still have methods to force you to tell the truth.”

    Yi Dajing suddenly let out a long sigh. “Fine. I’ll talk.”

    The stranger said, “How did you know about my whereabouts?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Third master Ding told me.”

    The stranger said, “Ding Lingzhong?”

    Yi Dajing nodded.

    The stranger said, “I know that he is a very intelligent young man. But he doesn’t know my whereabouts.”

    Yi Dajing said, “But Daoist Qing knew that you were travelling in Jiangnan.”

    The stranger said, “He knows Daoist Qing?”

    Yi Dajing nodded again. “Since you came to Jiangnan to travel, you definitely would take this route.”

    The stranger said, “Oh?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Because the first time you met Li Tanhua, it was on this road.”

    The stranger’s gaze suddenly became distant, as though he was once again remembering the past. But this time, his gaze was filled with nothing but warmth and joy, with no pain in it.

    He had always believed that his meeting Li Xunhuan was the most fortunate event of his life.

    Yi Dajing said, “Thus, I had someone wait for you in the pavilion. When you passed by, they passed the letter to you.”

    The stranger said, “You thought that I would actually believe that Li Tanhua had someone deliver it to me.”

    Yi Dajing said, “I knew that regardless of whether nor not you believed the letter to be real, you would come here nonetheless.”

    The stranger lightly sighed. “When I look at you, I think of someone.”

    Yi Dajing couldn’t resisting asking, “Who?”

    The stranger said, “Long Xiaoyun.” [Li Xunhuan’s sworn brother]

    Sighing, he continued, “Long Xiaoyun was just like you. He was a very careful thinker. Unfortunately…”

    He didn’t continue speaking. He couldn’t bear to.

    After a long time, he suddenly asked again, “When was your leg chopped off?”

    Yi Dajing’s response shocked everyone. “Today.”

    The stranger said, “Who chopped it off?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Myself.”

    This answer was even more shocking. The only people who appeared unmoved were Ye Kai and the stranger.

    It seemed as though they had realized what happened long ago.

    Yi Dajing said, “First, I found someone who looked like me, chopped his leg off, then dressed him up like myself and had him rest in my house.”

    The stranger no longer questioned him. He knew that since Yi Dajing had begun to speak, he would finish the tale.

    Yi Dajing said, “The room is very dark and dim, due to the very thick curtain on the window.

    All sickrooms are like that.

    Yi Dajing said, “Thus, even though friends came to see me, they wouldn’t suspect that someone else was lying on the bed. Since they wouldn’t want to disturb me too often, they wouldn’t suspect me either.”

    Ding Linglin glanced at Ye Kai, secretly astonished. “Why is it that this bad man seems to know everything?”

    Yi Dajing said, “At this time, I snuck out. First, I invited Xiao Dazi to come, then brought Fu Hongxue over. I knew that when Fu Hongxue kills people, he strikes very quickly.”

    Fu Hongxue’s pallid face revealed a look of pain. He didn’t actually wish to be thought of by others as this sort of person.

    Yi Dajing said, “I also knew that you, elder, deeply hate people like that, who kill others wantonly. I believed that you wouldn’t let him live.”

    He let out a long sigh. “This plan originally was very thorough. One can even say that it was flawless. But I didn’t imagine that there would be a busybody such as Ye Kai in the world.”

    Ding Linglin couldn’t resist saying, “If you thought this plan of yours was flawless, you should have faked a different illness. Otherwise, even if your plan succeeded, you would still have to chop off your leg.”

    Yi Dajing stared at his leg. “I planned to chop this leg off long ago, regardless of whether the plan succeeded or not.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why?”

    Yi Dajing slowly said, “Because even if this plan succeeded, I didn’t want anyone to suspect me.”

    Ding Linglin sighed. “You have such a ruthless mind. You are ruthless towards yourself as well.”

    Yi Dajing said, “But I didn’t use to be this sort of person.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Oh?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Perhaps I am a bit sly by nature, but I whole-hearted wanted to be a genuine gentleman. Although I am perhaps a bit hypocritical at times, I’ve done things in accordance with how a gentleman acts.”

    You are defined by what you do. If you do things in accordance with how a gentleman acts, you are a gentleman.

    On the other hand, even if you have a kind heart, if you do bad things, you will not be forgiven.

    Ding Linglin sighed. “If you could have continued acting in such a way, no one would claim that you aren’t a gentleman. Only, you changed.”

    A look of pain appeared on Yi Dajing’s face again. “Right. I changed. But I myself didn’t want to change.”

    Ding Linglin said, “What, are you saying someone forced you to change?”

    Yi Dajing did not reply, only appearing to be in even greater pain.

    The stranger said, “Since you have already told the truth, you might as well reveal everything in your heart.”

    Yi Dajing said, “I didn’t tell the truth because I was afraid that you would use vicious tactics against me.”

    The stranger said, “Oh?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Because I know that you aren’t a vicious, cruel person.”

    He seemed to be worried that others would misconstrue this as flattery, and so he quickly continued, “I decided to tell the truth because I suddenly felt that I should reveal this matter.”

    Everyone was listening.

    Yi Dajing said, “Nineteen years ago, my assassination of Bai Tianyu truly was not honorable, nor was it open and upright. But if I were to return to that day of nineteen years past, I would do it all over again.”

    These words he just said were identical to the words Xue Bin said.

    Yi Dajing said, “Because Bai Tianyu had left me with no other options. Not only was he forcing me to join his Heavenly Sabre Clan, he also wanted me to ‘donate’ all my possessions to the clan, in exchange for his promise to make me world famous.

    His face had already become distorted by pain. He continued, “But all I would ever be was his puppet. Even if I was world famous, what was the use of it all?”

    The quiet was suddenly broken by the sound of rapid panting. It was Fu Hongxue’s panting.

    Yi Dajing said, “Bai Tianyu wasn’t a base, despicable man, and he definitely was a hero. His talent was astonishing, he had a heroic, majestic appearance, and his skill in martial arts was high. He was definitely not at all inferior to the Shangguan Jinhong of the past.

    Fu Hongxue’s panting became even stranger.

    Yi Dajing said, “His actions weren’t as vicious and as cruel as that of Shangguan Jinhong. If someone was truly in distress, he definitely would boldly step out to save them. In order to save others, he would be willing to sacrifice everything.”

    The stranger suddenly let out a long sigh. “If this was the case, perhaps it wasn’t necessary for your group to kill him yourselves.”

    Yi Dajing sighed as well. “But he really was a man who was very hard to get along with. He never allowed anyone to go against his decisions. If he felt something was right, it was right.”

    There weren’t too many people like this in the world, but there definitely were some.

    Yi Dajing said, “He was arbitrary and peremptory, and once he started to do something, he would not care about success or failure, would not care about repercussions. This was his strength, but this was also his greatest flaw, because he was never willing to think about others.

    Ding Linglin glanced at Ye Kai. She suddenly realized that Ye Kai looked very sorrowful as well.

    Yi Dajing said, “Those who would be successful and perform great tasks should have this sort of resolution and courage. Thus, although I hate him, I also hold great respect for him.”

    This was a very contradictory feeling, but it wasn’t difficult to understand.

    Yi Dajing said, “I’ve never said that he is an evil man, and he did not do bad things. Many people definitely were well-treated by him. But those closest to him were the most miserable.”

    He glumly sighed, then continued, “Because once one became close to him, they would find themselves under his total control and totally obey him. If they wanted to regain their freedom, he would kill them!”

    The stranger said, “Can it be that his killers were all his friends?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Most of them were.”

    The stranger coldly said, “Perhaps he made many mistakes, but I think his greatest mistake was in his choice of friends.”

    Fu Hongxue gazed at him. His eyes were suddenly filled with a grateful look.

    The stranger spoke again. “He was peremptory, arrogant and arbitrary, but he still considered you to be his friends. He didn’t scheme to stab you in the back.”

    Regardless of whether your friends are good or bad, so long as they are your friends, you can’t stab him in the back.

    Yi Dajing shook his head. “I didn’t say that we acted properly. I only said that we had no other choice but to do what we did, at the time.”

    The stranger said, “No choice but to do what you did?”

    Yi Dajing said, “Yes.”

    The stranger’s gaze turned distant again. Unhurriedly, he said, “When I was young, I also believed that there were many things which I had no choice but to do. Afterwards, I would slowly realize that there actually isn’t anything which one has no choice but to do. The only question lies in how you approach things in your heart.”

    Fu Hongxue slowly lowered his head as well.

    The stranger said, “So long as you can be patient for a time, many things which you might have felt had to be done no matter what may become things which you can’t even be bothered to do.”

    His expression became all the more solemn. He continued, “There are two sides to every situation. From your perspective, perhaps you felt that you acted properly. That’s only because you didn’t consider things from the other perspective.”

    Yi Dajing said, “But…”

    The stranger interrupted him. “Your group killed Bai Tianyu because he wasn’t willing to show consideration for others, but in doing so, weren’t you all just like him?”

    Yi Dajing glumly said, “Perhaps we really were wrong.”

    The stranger said, “I’m not saying that you were necessarily wrong. Perhaps there is no one who can judge the truth of this matter and the right and wrong of it.”

    Yi Dajing said, “Thus, I would rather sacrifice a leg, rather than see the hatred spread any further.”

    He really did look very miserable. He continued, “That day, there were only seven or eight people who made it back alive from the Plum Blossom Convent. Over these past few years, I’m sure that they are just like me. Their lives must be very miserable!”

    If someone lived in the midst of self-doubt and fear every single day, they really would be living in the midst of indescribable misery.

    Yi Dajing said, “That day, there was a heavy snowfall. The ground was covered with silvery snow, but after that battle, the entire snowy ground was stained red with blood.”

    His face had become distorted once more from pain and dread. He continued, “No one who had not witnessed it with their own eyes can possibly believe or understand that sight. I really do not want to let something like that happen again.”

    Ye Kai suddenly said, “Why don’t you think, who caused that battle?”

    Yi Dajing sadly said, “All I know is that the blood which dyed the snowy ground red did not belong solely to the Bai family. There was even more blood from others.”

    Ye Kai said, “Thus, you believe that this chain of hatred should have died on that battleground as well.”

    Yi Dajing said, “Although perhaps we did not do right by Bai Tianyu, the price we paid that day was enough.”

    Ye Kai said, “The dead have definitely paid their dues, but what about the living?”

    Yi Dajing no longer replied. He could not reply.

    Ye Kai said, “I’m not saying that this cycle of hatred and vengeance must go on. But everything must be fair. If the living were to believe that the dead have paid the price on their behalf, then they are greatly mistaken.”

    He continued, one word at a time, “The debt you owe must be repaid using your own blood. Something like this can never be repaid by others.”

    Yi Dajing looked at Ye Kai. It was as though he saw Ye Kai for the first time…and perhaps, in the past, he really had not seen this person clearly.

    Ye Kai always carried within his stable composure a hint of a strange carefree aura. No matter what dangers he faced, he would never reveal a hint of fear or alarm.

    He definitely wasn’t born with this sort of composure. This sort of composure can only be slowly obtained after experiencing countless sufferings and miseries.

    But no one ever knew his past histories. It was as though he had sprung out of a boulder like the Monkey King, suddenly appearing in the martial world. Ever since the day he appeared, he was like this.

    This situation was almost identical to the appearance of Fu Hongxue. Fu Hongxue suddenly appeared out of nowhere as well.

    Clearly, he too had appeared only after receiving very strict training.

    His past history was a blank slate as well. No one knew where he had been, what he had done. His life experiences were extremely secretive because he came to the martial world with a very terrifying goal.

    Then what about Ye Kai? Did Ye Kai, too, have some goal of his own? Was there some sort of strange connection between the two of them?

    Yi Dajing was staring at Ye Kai. He had stared at him for a long time. He suddenly said, “Who, exactly, are you?”

    Ye Kai said, “You should know who I am.”

    Yi Dajing said, “Your surname is Ye, and your name is Kai?”

    Ye Kai said, “Ye as in leaves [shu ye, tree leaves], Kai as in happy [kai xing, happy].”

    Yi Dajing said, “You really are Ye Kai?”

    Ye Kai chortled, then said, “Who do you think I am?”

    Yi Dajing suddenly let out another sigh. “I don’t care who you are. I just hope you understand something.”

    Ye Kai said, “I’m listening.”

    Yi Dajing looked at his chopped off leg, then slowly said, “I didn’t actually want others to repay my debt. And I long ago paid for the mistakes I made. If you feel it isn’t enough, I’ll wait for you right here. You can kill me whenever you wish.”

    Ye Kai flatly said, “You should have said these words to Fu Hongxue.”

    Yi Dajing said, “It doesn’t matter who I say them to. I am speaking nothing but the truth right now.”

    And then he closed his eyes, no longer saying anything.

    The stranger looked at Ye Kai, then looked at Fu Hongxue. He suddenly said, “He really is telling the truth.”

    No one could speak. No one could deny it.

    The stranger’s gaze finally came to rest on Fu Hongxue. “I brought him here for the purpose of him telling the truth. Not for you to kill him.”

    Fu Hongxue was listening. He seemed to be in far greater pain than Yi Dajing.

    The stranger said, “He’s already exposed everything. No one is qualified to judge the rights and wrongs of this case.”

    Was even Fu Hongxue himself unqualified to judge the merits of this case?

    The stranger said, “But he truly does owe you a debt. If you feel he hasn’t paid enough yet, you can still kill him at any time. He already has lost all ability to resist.”

    CHAPTER END

    __________________

    I had more time than I thought. Enjoy this HUGE chapter!
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

  5. #45
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    wow .

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    Senior Member Han Solo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the translation.

    click to show/hide spoilers
    GL was really setting things up so that the real identities of Yip Hooi and FHQ are revealed. Also this Ah Fei is definitely smarter than the young Ah Fei


    Han Solo
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    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

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    Just a nitpick:

    kai xin, not kai xing.

    Nice work on the translation.
    Last edited by junny; 07-24-09 at 07:30 AM.
    玉木宏

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    thank you.

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    Thumbs up

    Thank you, Ren Wo Xing. This is truly an amazing story. Just by a conversation, it is more intense than a duel.

    Great translation, also. (Thank you) x 1,000

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    Chapter 37: The Prodigal Son Returns

    The wind was howling. Who knows when it had become so impatient? The sound of the autumn wind suddenly seemed just as desolate and dreary as the sound of the wind over the plains.

    Dawn was still very distant.

    Fu Hongxue tightly gripped his sabre. Cold sweat filled the palm of his hand. The sweat came not from fear, but from pain; a pain which he had never before experienced.

    The stranger no longer spoke.

    No one spoke.

    His enemy was seated in front of him, waiting. Waiting for death.

    He had endured all sorts of unspeakable suffering, solely for the purpose of finding these people, one by one, and having them die by his sabre.

    But now, as he stared at this man, whose face had long since become wrinkled and old from fear and pain, stared at his old, tired, and decrepit appearance, stared at his chopped off left leg…

    He suddenly didn’t know if he should kill him.

    “I made a mistake, and I’ve paid a price.”

    These words weren’t wrong. If it wasn’t because he was still experiencing pain and terror caused by an old wound which was nonetheless still fresh, why would he be willing to chop off his own leg?

    A person who had lived in that sort of nonstop torment for nineteen years had perhaps paid a greater price than death.

    “All these years, I’ve whole-heartedly wanted to be a true gentleman.”

    These words weren’t false either. All these past years, he truly had been being tolerant and showing restraint, never daring to make another mistake.

    Was this because he already knew that he had been wrong? Was it because he was using all of his energy to repent for the past?

    “Right now, you can kill him whenever you wish. He no longer has any power to resist you!”

    “But right now, the question is not whether or not this person deserves to die.”

    “But whether or not this person is worth killing.”

    No one could answer this question for Fu Hongxue.

    He had to choose for himself. Should he kill him, or should he not?

    Everyone was watching Fu Hongxue. In their hearts, they were asking the same question.

    Was he going to kill Yi Dajing, or wasn’t he?

    The wind was still howling; it had grown even more frantic. Upon hearing the sound of the wind, the listeners couldn’t help but think of the boundlessly vast grasslands, the ceaseless, endless sandstorms. Think of the scent of blood in the wind…

    But the border town’s moon was still beautiful. Beneath the desolate, dim moonlight, one could still reminisce about many happy memories. Within those memories, there were still many people worth missing.

    Some people who were detestable, and yet lovable.

    Could it be that every person had a detestable side to them, as well as a lovable side to them?

    Right now, Ye Kai was thinking of Xiao Bieli.

    He didn’t know why he suddenly thought of this person either. Perhaps it was because, all along, he had felt this person should not have died.

    And yet, there were many people who deserved to die who still remained living.

    “I am not going to kill you, because you are already no longer worth killing!”

    “But I definitely will not spare Ma Kongqun! Not only was he my father’s friend, he was also my father’s brother. No matter what, he should not have done such a thing. I am definitely going to make sure he dies beneath my sabre!”

    These were Fu Hongxue’s final words. This was also his final choice.

    He did not kill Yi Dajing, nor did he spare anyone else a second glance. He slowly walked outside, taking one step with his left foot, then dragging his right foot along. His walking gait was strange and painful, just like himself.

    But his sabre was still pitch-black.

    Was he gripping the sabre, or was the sabre gripping his destiny?

    “The only thing this sabre can bring people is death and ill fortune!”

    Ye Kai seemed to once more hear Xiao Bieli’s voice, which seemed to be like a demonic incantation from the netherworld.

    He watched as Fu Hongxue walked away, being swallowed up by the boundless, infinite darkness.

    The wind outside was both cold and rushed. His disappearing back appeared so lonely, so cold…

    A sheen of tears seemed to have appeared in Ye Kai’s eyes.

    Ding Linglin was watching him. It seemed as though she would forever pay attention to just one person.

    She suddenly asked quietly, “Why are you sad?”

    Ye Kai said, “I’m not sad. I’m happy.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why are you happy?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because he didn’t kill Yi Dajing.”

    Just after he said this, the sound of Yi Dajing crying could be heard. Yi Dajing had collapsed to the ground, crying loudly.

    Perhaps it had been a long, long time since he had truly cried. He wasn’t the type of person who would allow his true feelings to be shown.

    “Sometimes, is living worse than dying?”

    Right now, only Yi Dajing himself could answer this question.

    The stranger glanced at him, then glanced at Lu Xiaojia.

    Lu Xiaojia stood there like a stone statue, not moving and no longer peeling his peanuts. There was no expression on his face at all.

    But perhaps showing no expression is, at times, an expression of the utmost pain.

    The stranger suddenly sighed. “Now, you can take him back.”

    The wine was in the cup.

    The light shone in pulses. The wine was pale yellow in color. This wasn’t very good wine.

    But the quality of wine lay not in the wine itself. Rather, it lay in whether or not you were in the mood to drink. If a person was filled with misery, even the finest wine in the world would taste bitter in his mouth.

    The stranger suddenly said, “Today, I am very happy.”

    Ye Kai said, “Was it because he did not kill Yi Dajing?”

    The stranger nodded. He said something which Ye Kai would never forget throughout the rest of his life.

    “It isn’t hard to kill someone. Sparing a hated enemy whom you can kill whenever you wish is what’s truly difficult.”

    Ye Kai carefully mulled over these words. He felt as though his chest was filled with both bitterness and sweetness. He couldn’t resist draining his wine cup at one go.

    The stranger drained his own cup as well. Smiling, he said, “It’s been a long time since I drank like this. My alcohol tolerance used to be very high, but afterwards…”

    He no longer spoke.

    Ye Kai didn’t ask either, because he had already noticed the emotions that had suddenly been revealed within those heartless eyes.

    It was filled with a very complicated emotion. There was bitterness, there was sweetness, there was joy, and there was sorrow…

    Although his sword was ruthless, the man himself was sentimental.

    Naturally, he had many memories as well. Regardless of whether these memories were happy or sad, there were much deeper and much more profound than the memories of most people, and much more worth treasuring.

    Ding Linglin was watching him the entire time.

    This was the first time she had ever watched another person while Ye Kai was by her side.

    She suddenly asked, “Are you really Ah-…”

    The stranger chuckled, then said, “I really am Ah Fei. Everyone calls me Ah Fei, so you can call me Ah Fei as well.”

    Ding Linglin blushed, then laughed. Lowering her head, she said, “Can I offer you a toast?”

    The stranger said, “Of course you can.”

    Ding Linglin rushed to drain her own cup of wine, her eyes shining. Anyone who had a chance to exchange toasts with Ah Fei would feel very proud and fortunate.

    Seeing her youthful, shining eyes, the stranger couldn’t help but feel a little sorrow in his heart. He himself knew that he would never again be that Ah Fei.

    That Ah Fei of the past, who travelled across the breadth of the martial world, had simply become an unknown man in the martial world. Even he himself was now unwilling to listen to others bringing up those past affairs, which were more than enough to stir up the blood and rouse the spirits of the listeners.

    Ding Linglin naturally would not be able to understand these sorrowful sentiments right now. Thus, laughing, she said, “I’ve always heard that you are the fastest striker in the world. But only today do I believe it.”

    Ah Fei chuckled dully. “You are wrong. I’ve never been the fastest striker in the world. There’s always been one faster.”

    Ding Linglin’s eyes widened.

    The stranger said, “Do you know who taught Lu Xiaojia to use that sword?”

    Ding Linglin shook her head.

    The stranger said, “This man has a very strange name. His name is Jin Wuming.”

    Ding Linglin laughed. “Jin Wuming? He’s without life?” [Wuming literally means ‘without life’.]

    The stranger said, “Everyone person has life. Of course he does as well. But he’s always felt that his life didn’t belong to himself.”

    Ding Linglin said, “This name really is quite strange. This attitude is even stranger.”

    The stranger said, “He’s always been a very strange person.”

    Ding Linglin said, “His sword is also very fast?”

    The stranger said, “From what I know, there’s no one in the martial world in this age whose sword is faster than his. In addition, he is equally fast with either hand. Only someone who has actually witnessed his speed can believe how fast he is.”

    A cold, lonely shadow once more crossed Ding Linglin’s eyes. She slowly said, “I imagine he is a very proud person.”

    The stranger said, “Not only is he conceited, he is also callous. He can kill others because of a single sentence they say. He can also kill himself for that sentence.”

    Ding Linglin said, “I imagine others must fear him very much.”

    The stranger nodded. A sorrowful look appeared in his eyes again, and he slowly said, “But right now, he’s just an unknown man in the martial world…”

    Ding Linglin said, “What about Little Li’s Flying Dagger? Does he strike even more quickly than Jin Wuming?”

    The stranger’s eyes suddenly brightened. “The word ‘quick’ can no longer be used to describe his strikes.”

    Ding Linglin blinked. “I understand. Whether or not his attacks are quick no longer matters, because he has already reached that level of greatness in martial arts which you described earlier. Thus, there is already no one capable of defeating him.”

    The stranger said, “There definitely is no one at all.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Thus, even though Shangguan Jinhong had already reached an unbeatable, peerless level of martial arts, he was still defeated by him.”

    The stranger smiled. “You really are very smart.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Is he really still alive?”

    The stranger laughed. “Am I really still alive?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Of course you are alive.”

    The stranger said, “Then he is still alive as well, of course.”

    Ding Linglin said, “So if he were to die, you would die with him?”

    The stranger said, “I might not die with him, but if he were to die, no one in the world would ever see me again.”

    His voice was peaceful and natural, as though he were discussing something very ordinary. But anyone listening could tell how deep and great their friendship was.

    Eyes shining, Ding Linglin sighed again. “I’ve also heard before that nothing can compare to the friendship between you two. Only now do I really understand.”

    The stranger said, “Perhaps friendship is the most genuine, the most precious thing in the world. Therefore, no matter what type of person Bai Tianyu was, I will always believe that Ma Kongqun’s usage of such tactics to deal with him is an extremely shameful thing.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Therefore, you are not necessarily against Fu Hongxue killing him.”

    The stranger sighed. “But Li Xunhuan definitely wouldn’t feel the same way. He never holds any hatred towards others. All he knows how to do is forgive others and sympathize with others.”

    Ding Linglin’s heart seemed to be filled with those grand emotions as well. After a long time, she quietly asked, “Have you seen him recently?”

    The stranger said, “Every year, we meet at least once.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Do you know where he is?”

    They didn’t need to ask each other.

    Friendship like theirs could penetrate everything, could be stopped by nothing. No matter where they went, it would be the same.

    Even Ding Linglin could understand this sort of sentiment.

    Her gaze seemed to be distant. She lightly sighed, “I really wish that I might meet him one day.”

    The rooster was crowing already. Light slowly began to fall upon the great earth.

    The stranger slowly stood up. Resting his hand on Ye Kai’s shoulder, he smiled. “I know that you have always respected him very much, and that you have always held him up as your role model. Therefore, I am very happy.”

    Hot tears had already filled Ye Kai’s eyes to the brim. His heart was filled with excitement and gratitude.

    The stranger gazed off into the distant sunrise to the east. “I am going to go to Jiangnan. At Jiangnan, I might meet up with him.”

    Looking at Ding Linglin, he suddenly chuckled. “I will definitely tell him that a clever and beautiful girl hopes to meet him.”

    Ding Linglin laughed. Her shining eyes were also filled with hope and gratitude.

    She suddenly said, “Is some world-shaking event about to occur in Jiangnan, which is why you are all headed there?”

    The stranger said, “Perhaps there will be, but we do not want others to know about the things we do. Therefore, no one will ever know.”

    He slowly walked out past the door. Facing the new dawn, he let out a long sigh, then suddenly turned his head and laughed. “I’ve said more words today than I have ever spoken on any other day. Do you know why?”

    Of course they didn’t know!

    The stranger said, “Because I’ve grown old. Old people are always talkative.”

    After saying these words, he walked away, greeting the rising sun. His stride was still that natural, still that stable.

    A ray of light shot out just them from a gap within the clouds to the east. It just so happened to fall upon him, making him appear as though his entire body was glowing.

    Ding Linglin lightly sighed. “Who says he’s old? He seems even younger than we are.”

    Ye Kai smiled. “Of course he won’t grow old. Some people will never grow old…”

    Some people really will never grow old, because their hearts will forever be filled with a deep love and great hopes for humanity.

    So long as someone’s heart is filled with love and hope, he will never grow old.

    The rising sun was also filled with deep love and great hope for humanity. Mother earth became resplendent and glorious. They stood beneath the sunlight.

    Despite having passed through such a night, they didn’t seem the slightest bit weary. Because their hearts were filled with hope as well.

    Ding Linglin’s face was shining as well. She sweetly said, “Did you hear the words he said earlier? He says I’m both clever and beautiful.”

    Ye Kai was smiling.

    Ding Linglin stared at him. “Why haven’t you ever said that?”

    Ye Kai said, “Do you insist on me saying it?”

    Ding Linglin laughed again. “Actually, it doesn’t matter whether or not you say it, so long as you feel it in your heart.”

    Taking his hand, she walked towards the rising sun.

    Ye Kai suddenly asked, “What is your third brother like?”

    Ding Linglin rolled her eyes. Laughing, she said, “My third brother is much like you. He’s intelligent but naughty. Aside from giving birth, he seems to be able to do a little of everything. But he himself claims that his foremost skill is seducing women.”

    Her face suddenly stiffened, and she loudly said, “No matter what, you’d best not learn that skill from him.”

    Ye Kai chortled. “I have no need to learn.”

    Ding Linglin glanced at him, then suddenly laughed again. “Even if you are very good at seducing women, so what? I’ll watch over you like a hawk, every single day. Even if you have godlike seducing skills, you won’t be able to put them to use.”

    Ye Kai let out a sigh. “I’ve long heard that third master Ding is the most talented in letters and most dissolute. I really want to meet him.”

    Ding Linglin sweetly said, “You should meet him and flatter him a bit as well. That way, he’ll say a few good words on your behalf at our home.”

    Ye Kai said, “Aside from him, are all your other family members old-fashioned and conservative?”

    Ding Linglin nodded. Sighing, she said, “Especially my father. It’s rare for him to laugh even once a year. I snuck out precisely because I’m afraid of how unpleasant he looks.”

    Ye Kai said, “I know that he is a gentleman.”

    Ding Linglin laughed. “But I can guarantee that he isn’t Yi Dajing’s type of ‘gentleman’.”

    Ye Kai said, “Of course he isn’t.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Ever since my mother passed away, he hasn’t ever spared other women so much as a glance. Based on this alone, very few people can match up to him.”

    Ye Kai smiled. “At least, I definitely wouldn’t be able to.”

    Ding Linglin angrily glared at him again. “So I definitely can’t die before you do.”

    After some time, she suddenly asked, “Where do you want to go now? Do you want to go find Fu Hongxue?”

    Ye Kai did not reply to this question.

    Ding Linglin said, “Do you think he really will be able to find Ma Kongqun?”

    Ye Kai was silent for some time, before slowly saying, “So long as you are determined, there’s nothing that cannot be accomplished.”

    Underneath such a brilliant sun, it really did seem as though there is nothing which is impossible to do.

    Just then, a sound of hoof steps could be heard beneath the brilliant sun.

    The horse was a superb one, one in ten thousand, and was fitted with a bright saddle. The owner of such a fine horse couldn’t be too bad either.

    The rider wore bright clothes and a pearl crown. There were innumerable precious gemstones sewn onto his jade belt. His sword was covered in bright pearls, and he lightly brandished a silk whip in his hands. He was a very noble, heroic, handsome-looking young hero.

    Just as the fast horse reached Ye Kai and her, it suddenly came to a halt.

    Ding Linglin immediately clapped her hands and shouted in delight, “Third brother, we were just thinking about you! I didn’t imagine that you would actually suddenly arrive!”

    Third master Ding smiled. “I came specifically to meet with this good friend of yours. I hear he’s just like me, that he’s not a very good creature at all.”

    As he spoke, his gleaming, bright gaze came to rest upon Ye Kai.

    Ding Linglin blinked. “What do you think?”

    Third master Ding smiled. “I’m not disappointed.”

    Ye Kai laughed as well. He wasn’t disappointed either. Third master Ding truly was a talented, dissolute-looking, energetic young man of the mortal world.

    Smiling, he said, “I’ve always wanted to meet you as well. I hear you’ve just won thirty or so jugs of aged Maiden’s Blush [Nu’er Hong] wine.”

    Third master Ding laughed loudly. “Unfortunately, you’re a bit too late. That wine has long since entered the belly!”

    Ye Kai said, “What about that group of young singers?”

    Third master Ding said, “Those little girls all look like the famous clay idol figurines of Wuxi. You’d definitely like them if you saw them. Unfortunately, I definitely won’t let you see them.”

    Ye Kai said, “Why’s that?”

    Third master Ding said, “Even if you aren’t afraid that my little sister here will eat vinegar [ie be jealous], we’re all a bit afraid of her.”

    Ding Linglin deliberately put a scowl on her face. “It’s a good thing that you’re smart. Otherwise, I really just might smash those clay idols of yours to pieces, one by one.”

    Third master Ding laughed. “Did you hear that? Isn’t this lass quite nasty when jealous and riled up?”

    Ding Linglin couldn’t resist letting out a peal of laughter as well.

    Third master Ding said, “Where are you headed?”

    Ding Linglin said, “How about you?”

    Third master Ding sighed again. Forcing out a smile, he said, “I’m not as carefree as you are. If I don’t go back soon, my head is going to have a large opening chopped into it.”

    Ding Linglin said, “How’s the old man?”

    Third master Ding said, “Not bad. Last year, I actually saw him laugh. I think you need to be careful as well. Although your aunt protects you, if the old man really loses his temper, it’ll be hard for you to avoid misfortune as well.”

    Ding Linglin wetted her lips. “I’m not afraid. If push comes to shove, I’ll just never go back.”

    Third master Ding laughed. “That’s a good idea, and I’m not against it either. Only, I feel a bit apologetic towards him.”

    Ye Kai said, “Towards me?”

    Third master Ding nodded. “If this fierce, jealous, and ugly lass actually makes up her mind to watch over you like a hawk for the rest of your life, is there any more joy for you to have in living?”

    He didn’t let Ding Linglin speak. Laughing, he had already spurred his horse to gallop away. From far away, his laughter could still be heard. “When you can sneak out by yourself, why don’t you come find me? Aside from the clay idols, I also have many sets of porcelain idols and candy idols…”

    The sound of his laughter suddenly disappeared, along with the sound of the hoofsteps.

    Ding Linglin stamped her feet. She angrily said, “Third brother really isn’t a good creature at all.”

    Ye Kai said, “But at least the words he says are very reasonable.”

    Ding Linglin said, “What did he say?”

    Ye Kai laughed, “Didn’t you hear him say that somebody is a fierce and ugly vinegar pot?”

    Ding Linglin wanted to scowl, but couldn’t resist laughing instead.

    The two of them slowly strolled on the road, which shone with the golden rays of the sun. It seemed as though both of them suddenly had things on their mind.

    Ye Kai suddenly said, “What are you thinking about?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Nothing.”

    Ye Kai said, “When girls claim to not be thinking about anything, they always have things on their mind.”

    Ding Linglin couldn’t resist letting out a sigh.

    Watching her, Ye Kai said, “You’re thinking about home?”

    A look of longing suddenly appeared in Ding Linglin’s eyes. There was a hint of worry there as well.

    Ye Kai also let out a sigh. “Of course you wouldn’t really ‘never go back’.”

    Ding Linglin sighed again. “To tell you the truth, I’m not worried about much, but I am worried about that old-fashioned, inflexible father of mine.”

    Ye Kai said, “You’re worried that he doesn’t want a son-in-law like me?”

    Ding Linglin said, “If hypothetically you could become even just the slightest bit better behaved, things would be fine.”

    Ye Kai chortled. “Maybe he just so happens to like my type of character.”

    Ding Linglin shook her head.

    Ye Kai said, “You think that’s impossible?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Uh huh.”

    Ye Kai said, “Your third brother is just like me. Doesn’t he love your third brother the best?”

    Ding Linglin said, “How did you know that?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because he is very strict with him. Besides, old people love their youngest son the most anyhow.”

    Ding Linglin said, “That’s true enough. In all our family, the person he is the strictest with is third brother. But the one he likes the most is also third brother.”

    Ye Kai laughed. “You’re getting jealous again, my little vinegar pot.”

    Ding Linglin bit her lips. “I don’t want him to like me, I just want him to stop bothering me all the time.”

    Ye Kai said, “Maybe he always bothers you because he likes you very much as well.”

    Ding Linglin no longer spoke, but her eyes became a bit misty, as though she wanted to cry.

    But Ye Kai seemed to be lost in thought, and did not notice the expression on her face. After a long time, he suddenly asked, “Does your father have any particularly close friends? Friends who can say a few good words on my behalf before him?”

    Ding Linglin shook her head. “He usually almost never meets with other people. Even if he has one or two close friends, they are just as conservative and inflexible as that old antique. Bunch of old fogeys.”

    Ye Kai’s eyes suddenly gleamed. “I heard that he used to be on very good terms with Xue Bin.”

    Ding Linglin shook her head again. “He might not even have heard of Xue Bin.”

    Ye Kai’s facial expression was very strange. He seemed both a bit gratified as well as a bit disappointed.

    After a long time, he asked, “What about Yi Dajing? Isn’t he your father’s friend as well?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Third brother must have only recently become acquainted with Yi Dajing. Even I didn’t know that he had made such a friend.”

    Ye Kai asked, “Can it be that your father has never had any interactions with the people of the martial world?”

    Ding Linglin said, “He’s often said that only two people in the martial world are worthy of being his friends.”

    Ye Kai said, “Which two?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Naturally, one of them is Li Tanhua. Even my father has always felt that he has been the most incredible figure of the martial world within these past three hundred years. In addition, the deeds he’s performed are all deeds which no one else can do.”

    Ye Kai laughed. “Looks like he’s got pretty good taste.”

    Ding Linglin suddenly chortled as well. “Why don’t you guess who the second is?”

    Ye Kai said, “Ah Fei?”

    Ding Linglin shook her head. “He’s always believed that Ah Fei is someone who will never be able to accomplish great things, because he is both too arrogant and too lonely.”

    Ye Kai did not dispute this.

    Because even he had to agree that there was a certain degree of truth to old Ding’s evaluation of Ah Fei.

    “But if he feels that even Ah Fei is not worthy of being his friend, who else in the martial world might he think highly of?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Bai Tianyu.”

    Ye Kai felt very shocked. He hurriedly asked, “Bai Tianyu? Your father knew him?”

    Ding Linglin continued, “He didn’t know him personally, but father has always considered Bai Tianyu to be an extraordinary person. He’s always wanted to meet with him. Sadly…”

    She sighed again, and no longer spoke.

    Bai Tianyu really did die too early. No matter what type of person he was, there were definitely many people in the martial world who felt that his death was an exceptionally tragic event.

    Ding Linglin said, “Aside from these two, he looks down upon everyone else. He considers them to be either idiots or *******s.”

    Ye Kai forced out a smile. “Unfortunately, these two would never say good things on my behalf.”

    Glancing at him sideways, Ding Linglin said, “Right now, there is perhaps only one person from whom he would even let listen to a complete sentence.”

    Ye Kai said, “Who?”

    Ding Linglin said, “My aunt.”

    Ye Kai said, “That would be his younger sister?”

    Ding Linglin said, “She’s his only sibling. Ever since they were young, they were very close.”

    Ye Kai said, “Your aunt hasn’t married yet?”

    Ding Linglin laughed. “She’s even more picky than my father. She doesn’t have a good impression of any man in the world.”

    Ye Kai flatly said, “Perhaps that’s because others don’t have a good impression of her either.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You’re wrong. Even up to this very day, she can still be considered a beauty. When she was young, there were some men who were willing to travel thousands of li just to see her once.”

    Ye Kai said, “But she wouldn’t even let a single one of them see her.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Absolutely right. She often says that men are like pigs, dirty and foul-smelling. It’s as though she thinks that if a man’s gaze falls upon her, she will be sullied by it, and therefore…”

    She looked at Ye Kai sideways. Biting her lips, she said, “She often encourages me to never marry, and that the only response I should give to any suitor is a sharp kick.”

    Ye Kai emotionlessly said, “Isn’t she afraid that your foot will be sullied by the kicking?”

    Ding Linglin sweetly said, “Unfortunately, I’m a good-for-nothing. Not only am I unable to bear the thought of kicking you, but even if you were to kick me, you wouldn’t be able to kick me away.”

    Ye Kai couldn’t resist laughing.

    Ding Linglin lightly sighed again. “So I don’t think that there’s a very high probability of her speaking on your behalf to father.”

    Ye Kai sighed, “Looks like there’s not a single normal person in your family.”

    Ding Linglin forced out a smile. “That’s absolutely true.”

    Ye Kai said, “Of the three great familial clans in the martial world, I’m afraid that the weirdest one must be your Ding clan.”

    Ding Linglin said, “The brothers of the aristocratic Nangong family often say that our family is like a nest of hedgehogs. Every single one of us is bristling with spikes.”

    She giggled, then continued, “It’s a good thing that my father has never heard these words. Otherwise, it’d be a strange thing if those brats of the Nangong family didn’t run into some trouble.”

    Ye Kai said, “Is your father really very proficient in martial arts?”

    Ding Linglin said, “I personally have no idea. All I know is that all of my siblings were taught by him, but none of us have been able to totally master his skills.”

    She couldn’t help but reveal an arrogant, self-satisfied look in her eyes. “My three older brothers can already be considered first-class masters of the martial world, but their skill in martial arts is still less than half of my father’s.”

    Ye Kai said, “But it seems as though your father has never fought with others either.”

    Ding Linglin said leisurely, “That’s only because no one has ever dared to make trouble for him.”

    Ye Kai said, “And he’s never made trouble for anyone else?”

    Ding Linglin said, “He’s never been willing to even listen to all of this nonsense which goes on in the martial world.”

    Ye Kai’s gaze grew distant, as though he had been carried far away. After a long time, he slowly said, “No matter what, I must accompany you back to visit him.”

    Ding Linglin’s eyes widened. “You’d dare?”

    Ye Kai laughed. “What’s to be afraid of? At most, he’ll chop a big hole into my head.”

    Ding Linglin jumped to her feet. “Great, let’s go right now!”

    Ye Kai said, “I’m afraid now isn’t the time.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Right now, you’re going to go find Fu Hongxue?”

    Ye Kai let out a sigh. “His enemies are growing more and more numerous, while his friends are becoming fewer and fewer.”

    Ding Linglin pursed her lips. “Do you know where he’s gone?”

    Ye Kai’s expression suddenly became strange again. He slowly said, “This place isn’t very far from the Plum Blossom Convent.”

    Ding Linglin’s looked shock. “That Plum Blossom Convent?”

    Ye Kai slowly nodded. “I imagine that Fu Hongxue definitely must have gone there to take a look.”

    A very strange expression appeared on Ding Linglin’s face as well. Sighing, she said, “Forget about Fu Hongxue. Even I want to go and take a look.”

    CHAPTER END

    ___________

    Whew! Ah Fei parts were interesting to say the least. Enjoy, and thanks for all the comments! Comments are the fuel this bad boy needs to vroom, vroom, vroooooom through these chapters
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    any one else get the feeling that her father is the possibly one of the main people involved in the massecer ?

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    Ye Kai laughed. “I never wait for women. Women wait for me.”
    LMAO...Ye Kai is a PIMP!!! Great translation work, thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliderhamy View Post
    any one else get the feeling that her father is the possibly one of the main people involved in the massecer ?
    I don't think so, because of this part. You never know, though.

    “But if he feels that even Ah Fei is not worthy of being his friend, who else in the martial world might he think highly of?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Bai Tianyu.”

    Ye Kai felt very shocked. He hurriedly asked, “Bai Tianyu? Your father knew him?”

    Ding Linglin continued, “He didn’t know him personally, but father has always considered Bai Tianyu to be an extraordinary person. He’s always wanted to meet with him. Sadly…”

    She sighed again, and no longer spoke.

    Bai Tianyu really did die too early. No matter what type of person he was, there were definitely many people in the martial world who felt that his death was an exceptionally tragic event.

    Ding Linglin said, “Aside from these two, he looks down upon everyone else. He considers them to be either idiots or arseholes.”
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    Incredible chapters! Thanks for all the hard work Ren Wo Xing. You did a great job!

    Awww...I love Ah Fei...he's just great! Gave all those kids a good lecture about how it's bad to be senselessly killing people. I think they got the message too!

    The Ding family sounds very interesting. DLL's 3rd brother is quite interesting as well. Can't wait for the continuation!

    Once again, thank you for the translation!

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    Chapter 38: The Lady of the Plum Blossom

    Not only was the battle outside the Plum Blossom Convent tragic and earth-shaking, it also changed the entire trajectory of the history of the martial world.

    Had the blood which flowed there dried and seeped into it?

    Did the corpses of the heroes who died there still lie in the midst of the withered grass?

    That place was no longer merely a famous scenic place, where one might go to play in the snow and admire the plum blossoms. It was now an ancient-battleground.

    Although the plum flowers weren’t blossoming yet, the trees would definitely still be there.

    Did the blood of heroes still lie on those trees?

    But right now, not even a tree could be seen, outside of the Plum Blossom Convent.

    The grass was a sickly yellow in color. The cold, mournful rays of the setting sun rested on the ancient door of the convent, its lacquer long since peeled off.

    But what about the plum blossoms?

    Can it be that those stubborn, unyielding plum trees had finally discovered how cruel humanity is after witnessing that incomparably tragic event? Could it be that they had decided that there was nothing worth staying for in this human world, and that they would rather be chopped down and sold as firewood, would rather be transformed by the flame into ash?

    There were no plum trees. Naturally, there was no snow either. It was autumn.

    Fu Hongxue stood still for a long time beneath the cold, mournful autumn sun. Staring at this desolate scene and those devastated plum trees, what sort of feelings must be running through his heart?

    No matter what, the convent still stood. But the heroes of that earlier time had all turned into dust and ash, just like the plum trees.

    He tightly gripped his sabre. Slowly, he walked up the moss-covered stone steps.

    With a light push, the shattered door creaked open. It sounded just like a man sighing.

    There was a very thick layer of fallen leaves in the courtyard, so thick that not even the autumn wind could budge it.

    Intermittent sounds of solemn, deep prayer chanting were carried here by the autumn wind, passing by this desolate courtyard.

    The main hall was dark and gloomy. No lit incense could be seen, nor could the chanter be seen.

    The light from the setting sun grew even duller.

    Bending down, Fu Hongxue picked up a leaf. He stupidly stared at it, and stupidly mused to himself.

    After an unknown length of time, he seemed to hear someone calling on Buddha’s name in a quiet voice.

    And then, he heard someone say to him, “Benefactor, have you come to light incense before the Buddha?”

    An old nun wearing black clothes and white socks, her hands clasped in prayer, was standing at the top of the stone steps in front of the main hall, gazing at him.

    She looked as old and as shriveled as the fallen leaves. Her withered, yellow face was filled with traces of loneliness and misery. She had left all the joys which mankind might partake of far away, and long ago.

    But in her eyes, a hint of hope and aspiration remained. It was as though she were hoping that this very rare pilgrim who had come to their place of worship might be willing to pay his respects before the Buddha.

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t bear to refuse her. Nor did he wish to refuse her.

    He walked over.

    “This humble nun is named Liao Yin. Benefactor, what is your surname?”

    “My surname is Fu.”

    He accepted a stick of incense, lit it, then placed it within the long-since rusted copper incense burner.

    Behind the hanging curtains, it seemed as though the respected, honored face of the Buddha was also filled with worry.

    Was he was grieved over the lack of incense lit here, or over the ignorance and cruelty of humanity?

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist letting out a light sigh.

    The old nun, Liao Yin, was looking at him with a pair of equally distressed eyes. Once again, a look of hope appeared within them. “Benefactor, would you be willing to partake of a vegetarian meal before leaving?”

    “No need.”

    “A cup of tea?”

    Fu Hongxue nodded. He couldn’t bear to refuse her, and he had some questions to ask.

    A somewhat younger nun walked to them with her head lowered, holding a white wooden tea tray.

    Fu Hongxue picked up the teacup, placing a few broken bits of silver on top of the tray.

    This was all he could offer.

    But this was more than enough to satisfy this desperately poor nun. She folded her palms together to thank him, then lightly sighed, “It has been a long time since people have come here.”

    Fu Hongxue was silent. Finally, he asked, “You have been here a long time?”

    The old nun, Liao Yin, replied, “I can no longer remember how many years I have been here. All I remember is that when I first came here, this convent had just been blessed and sanctified.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “That must be at least twenty years ago.”

    A look of sorrow flashed by Liao Yin’s eyes. “Twenty years? I’m afraid it’s been at least three ‘twenty years’.”

    A gleam of hope appeared in Fu Hongxue’s eyes as well. “Do you remember the event which occurred here twenty years ago?”

    Liao Yin said, “It wasn’t twenty years ago. It was nineteen years ago.”

    Fu Hongxue let out a long sigh. “You know?”

    Liao Yin nodded. Mournfully, she said, “I’m afraid no one would ever be able to forget about something like that.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You…did you know benefactor Bai?”

    The old nun, Liao Yin, lowered her head. “He is also a very unforgettable person. This entire time, I have been humbly beseeching heaven to grant his soul peace.”

    Fu Hongxue lowered his head as well, hating himself for not having brought out all the silver he had earlier.

    Liao Yin sighed again. “I would rather be immolated and turned to ash than have a disaster like that reoccur here.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You witnessed everything personally?”

    Liao Yin said, “I didn’t dare to watch, I couldn’t bear to watch. But the sounds which drifted in from outside…”

    Her withered, yellow face suddenly was filled with an indescribable terror. After a long time, she let out a long sigh. “Up to this very day, although I have seen past the illusions of the mortal world, whenever I think of those sounds and voices, I find it difficult to swallow, and difficult to sleep.”

    Fu Hongxue was silent for a long time as well, before asking, “The next morning, did any of the wounded enter the convent?”

    Liao Yin said, “No. After the affairs of that night, the doors of this convent were shut for at last half a month.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “And afterwards?”

    Liao Yin said, “The first few years, there were some exceptional members of the martial world who could come here to visit and to ponder quietly. But afterwards, they gradually became fewer in number as well. After others heard about the horrific murders committed here, they became all the more unwilling to come.”

    Sighing again, she said, “Benefactor, I imagine you’ve noticed our situation as well. Were it not for the Buddha granting us, in his infinite mercy, a quarter acre of farmland, my two disciples and I would have starved to death long ago.”

    Fu Hongxue could no longer continue to question her, nor could he bear questioning her.

    He slowly placed the teacup in his hand on the table, preparing to leave.

    Liao Yin, looking at the cup of tea, suddenly said, “Benefactor, don’t you wish to drink the tea?”

    Fu Hongxue shook his head.

    Liao Yin continued to ask, “Why not?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I never drink tea given by people I don’t know.”

    Liao Yin said, “I am but a humble nun. Benefactor, can it be that you…”

    Fu Hongxue said, “A nun is still a person.”

    Liao Yin let out another long sigh. “Benefactor, it seems that you are perhaps overly cautious.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Because I still want to live.”

    A cold yet sly smile suddenly seemed to appear on Liao Yin’s face. This sort of smile should not be on her face.

    She coldly laughed, “Unfortunately, no matter how careful a person is, he will still die, sooner or later.”

    Before she finished speaking, her old, decrepit body suddenly shot up like a panther, flipping into the air.

    With a whishing sound, a tempest of silver raindrops shot forth from her voluminous robes.

    This change was too unexpected, and she really was too fast.

    Especially since she shot out those many hidden projectile weapons very quickly and in a thick, dense cluster. It was as though she had prepared for nineteen years to use these weapons at any time!

    Just at this exact moment, two female nuns suddenly appeared from both sides of the south of the room. One of them was the nun who had just served them tea.

    But her dressing and bearing was now totally different. Her dull, sallow face was filled with a murderous aura.

    Both of them were wielding a longsword flashing with blue light. They had already assumed a battle stance and prepared to use all their strength.

    No matter where Fu Hongxue might dodge, those two swords would pierce towards him.

    In addition, it was extremely difficult to dodge these hidden projectiles to begin with.

    Fu Hongxue’s face was very pale.

    That pitch-black sabre was still in his hand.

    He didn’t dodge. Instead, he moved towards that rain of hidden projectiles instead, and just at that moment, his sabre left the sheath.

    No one would have believed that someone could draw a sabre at that moment.

    A flash of sabre light.

    All of the projectile weapons seemed to be drawn into that flash of sabre light, while he himself had charged next to the old nun.

    Liao Yin had just dropped down from her earlier flip. The sleeves of her gown were still fluttering.

    She suddenly felt a sudden pain in her knees. The pitch-black scabbard of the sabre had already slammed into her kneecap.

    She immediately collapsed.

    With a clear shout, the swords of the two younger nuns shot out like rainbows towards him.

    It seemed as though their sword style was very similar to the Wudang sect’s “Liangyi Swordplay” technique. Their blows were powerful and fast, as well as very coordinated.

    Both swords were aimed at Fu Hongxue’s critical acupoints, and they were aimed very accurately as well.

    Clearly, they intended for this attack to be a fatal one as well.

    What type of deep-seated hatred and enmity did these Buddhist nuns have with Fu Hongxue?

    Fu Hongxue did not use his sabre.

    He used the sabre’s hilt and its sheath.

    The hilt was pitch-black. The sheath was pitch-black.

    The hilt and the sheath collided precisely with the tips of both swords simultaneously.

    With a cracking sound, the two exquisitely forged swords snapped.

    The remaining halves of the swords could no longer be held steady either. They shot out of their hands, and with a thudding sound, plunged themselves into the wooden roof beams.

    The part of the hand between the thumb and the index fingers of the two young nuns had already split open. They suddenly flew up, wanting to retreat, but the pitch-black sheath and hilt simultaneously struck their bodies.

    They fell down as well.

    The sabre had already entered the sheath again.

    Fu Hongxue stood there quietly, watching the fallen nun, Liao Yin, who was holding her kneecap.

    The light from the setting sun grew dimmer still.

    There was only enough light in the main hall to vaguely see the outline of her face. Her facial expressions could no longer be seen.

    But anyone would still be able to see the hatred and enmity in her eyes.

    She no longer looked at Fu Hongxue.

    The only thing she was looking at was that pitch-black sabre.

    Fu Hongxue said, “You recognize this sabre?”

    Liao Yin ground her teeth. With a cackling voice, she said, “This isn’t a sabre for men. It is a demonic sabre. Only vile demons from the underworld can use this sabre.”

    Her voice was deep and hoarse, suddenly seeming like a demonic incantation from the underworld as well.

    “I waited nineteen years. I knew I would see this sabre again. Now, I really have seen it.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “So what if you have?”

    Liao Yin said, “I have already sworn a dire oath before the Buddha that if I see this sabre again, I will kill its wielder, no matter who it is.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Why?”

    Liao Yin said, “Because this sabre ruined my entire life.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You didn’t use to be a nun at the Plum Blossom Convent?”

    Liao Yin said, “Of course not.”

    Her eyes suddenly shone. “A youngster like you obviously wouldn’t know who this old lady is. But twenty years ago, everyone in the world knew of the Lady of the Plum Blossom.”

    Her words had suddenly become extremely coarse. They definitely were not words which could have come from that kindly, amiable old nun from earlier.

    Fu Hongxue let her speak.

    Liao Yin said, “But I was ruined by him. I tossed aside all other men, wanting whole-heartedly to follow him. Who would have imagined that he spent only three days with me before ruthlessly tossing me aside and leaving me to be ridiculed by others.”

    “Since you could toss aside others, why can’t he toss you aside?”

    Fu Hongxue did not say these words.”

    He could already imagine what type of woman the Lady of the Plum Blossom would have been like in her youth.

    He didn’t feel regretful or remorseful on behalf of his late father for this matter.

    If he were in his father’s shoes, he would have done the same.

    In his heart, he actually felt an inexpressible sort of calmness, because he had already realized that the actions his father had taken, right or wrong, were the actions of a real man.

    Liao Yin said a few more things, but he no longer cared to listen.

    He only wanted to ask her something!

    “Nineteen years ago, on that snowy evening, were you inside the convent, or outside?”

    Liao Yin sneered, “Of course I was outside. I vowed long ago to kill him.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “When you were waiting for him that night, did you hear someone say the words, ‘Everyone is assembled’?”

    Liao Yin thought a moment. “Right, I think there was someone who said that.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Do you know who he was? Could you recognize his voice?”

    Liao Yin hatefully said, “Why would I care about who he was? At that time, there was only one thing on my mind. I was waiting for that amoral, irresponsible man to come out and kill him with my own hands, then burn his bones to ash and swallow it with wine.”

    She suddenly ripped open her clothes, revealing her withered chest. There was a sabre scar stretching down through it from her shoulder.

    Fu Hongxue immediately turned away. He didn’t feel any sympathy. All he felt was disgust.

    Liao Yin said in a loud voice, “Did you see this scar? This is the only thing he left me. He could have killed me with that chop, but he suddenly recognized me and intentionally spared my life so that I might suffer.”

    She ground her teeth, tears already beginning to flow from her eyes. She continued, “He thought I would be thankful towards him. But I hate him all the more. Why didn’t he just kill me with one sabre?”

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist laughing coldly. He realized that there were many people in this world who didn’t know how to show gratitude.

    Liao Yin said, “Do you know how I’ve lived over these past nineteen years, what type of miseries I’ve suffered? I’m only thirty nine years old this year. But look at what I’ve turned into!”

    She suddenly fell prostrate on the floor and began to cry bitterly.

    The thing which grieves women the most is perhaps their appearance being destroyed by age, their youth disappearing.

    Listening to her sobs, Fu Hongxue finally felt some compassion in his heart.

    She really didn’t seem like a thirty nine year old woman. She really had suffered more than enough pain and misery.

    No matter what she had done in the past, she had already paid an extremely painful, extremely frightful cost.

    “This is another person not worth killing.”

    Turning away, Fu Hongxue left.

    Liao Yin suddenly said in a loud voice, “You! Come back!”

    Fu Hongxue didn’t look back.

    Liao Yin said in a hoarse voice, “Since you’ve already come here, why don’t you use this sabre to kill me? If you don’t dare kill me, you’re no more than a vermin!”

    Fu Hongxue walked out the door without looking back, leaving behind many tears and many curses.

    “Since you have already understood the reason, why can’t you understand the consequences [Liao Yin means ‘understand the reason’]? Cause and effect follow each other in a cycle. Retribution is always just. A woman who doesn’t know how to value herself deserves to have this sort of fate!”

    Fu Hongxue suddenly felt another stabbing pain in his heart. He suddenly thought of Cui Nong.

    The autumn wind filled the courtyard.

    Fu Hongxue strode on the thick leaves, passed by the courtyard filled with wind, and stepped down the stone steps.

    The sun had already set, leaving the Plum Blossom Convent.

    There were no plum blossoms. No snow. The only thing which remained was those unforgettable, tragic events in the memories of men.

    Only memories are eternal, and will remain no matter how this place changes.

    The night began to grow dark. The bitter sobs which the wind had carried were distant.

    He knew that he would never come back here again. Who would be willing to come to such a place?

    But there was at least one person.

    Ye Kai!

    “If you don’t know how to cherish the feelings others have for you, how will others cherish you?”

    “If you don’t respect yourself, how can others respect you?”

    By the time Ye Kai arrived, the night was already deep. Fu Hongxue had left long ago.

    Nor did he see Liao Yin.

    Liao Yin’s coffin had already been covered. The coffin had been prepared long ago. If it wasn’t going to be used for Fu Hongxue, it would be used for herself.

    She waited for all these years at the Plum Blossom Convent, precisely for the day where this last descendant of Bai Tianyu’s lineage would come seeking revenge.

    The hatred in her heart was far deeper than that of the one who came seeking vengeance.

    She couldn’t understand it, and perhaps she couldn’t understand the reason [ie, ‘Liao Yin’] either. She never asked herself who was responsible for the tragedies in her life.

    This foolish hatred of hers had managed to sustain her to this day.

    Now, she was no longer able to keep on living.

    She died by her own hand, just like how she herself was the one who had caused all the sufferings and tragedies in her life.

    “If you always want to harm others, then sooner or later, someone will come to harm you.”

    The two nuns were quietly sobbing in front of her coffin. They were grieved for their own lot in life. They also wanted to end their own miserable lives, but did not have the courage.

    Dying isn’t an easy thing at all.

    When Ye Kai left, the night was still very deep and dark.

    This place was already not worth anybody staying behind in.

    Ding Linglin nestled against him. The stars in the autumn sky had become scarce, and they were tired.

    Ye Kai couldn’t help but gently stroke her soft shoulder. “Actually, there’s no need for you to wander about like this.”

    Ding Linglin raised her face, staring at him with a pair of eyes that were even brighter than the stars of the autumn sky. In a soft voice, she said, “I want to. As long as you can be a little nicer to me sometimes, I won’t mind anything.”

    Ye Kai let out a light sigh.

    He knew that this is how feelings slowly develop. He didn’t necessarily want this sort of feeling. He had been controlling himself this entire time.

    But he wasn’t a god.

    In addition, not even the gods themselves are capable of controlling the feelings which mankind have.

    Ding Linglin suddenly sighed again. “I really don’t understand. Why wasn’t Fu Hongxue willing to spare even that pitiable old nun?”

    Ye Kai said, “You think Fu Hongxue killed her?”

    Ding Linglin said, “All I know is that she’s dead now.”

    Ye Kai said, “There’s plenty of dead people in the world.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But she died after Fu Hongxue arrived. Don’t you think the timing of her death was a bit too perfect?”

    Ye Kai said, “No.”

    Ding Linglin frowned. “You’re suddenly angry?”

    Ye Kai didn’t make a sound.

    Ding Linglin said, “Who are you angry at?”

    Ye Kai said, “Myself.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You’re angry at yourself?”

    Ye Kai said, “Can’t I be angry at myself?”

    Ding Linglin said, “But why are you angry?”

    Ye Kai was silent. After a long time, he let out a long sigh. “I should have realized long ago what type of person Liao Yin was.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Liao Yin?”

    Ye Kai said, “The old nun who just died.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You’ve met her before? You’ve been to the Plum Blossom Convent before?”

    Ye Kai nodded.

    Ding Linglin said, “What type of person is she?”

    Ye Kai said, “She isn’t, at least, a pitiable old nun.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Then who is she?”

    Ye Kai muttered to himself, “After that bloody battle of nineteen years past, many people suddenly disappeared from the martial world. The people who disappeared far outnumbered the people who died outside the Plum Blossom Manor.”

    Ding Linglin was listening.

    Ye Kai said, “At that time, there was a very famous lady in the martial world, who was known as the Lady of the Plum Blossom. Although she was as beautiful as a flower, she had a heart that was more venomous than serpents and scorpions. Who knows how many men went mad for her or who died beneath her hands.”

    Ding Linglin said, “After that battle, she disappeared as well?”

    Ye Kai said, “Correct.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Can it be that you think that old nun in the Plum Blossom Convent is her?”

    Ye Kai said, “It must be her.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But maybe she just so happened to die after that battle.”

    Ye Kai said, “Impossible.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because aside from Bai Tianyu, there weren’t many people capable of killing her.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Perhaps Bai Tianyu killed her.”

    Ye Kai shook his head. “Bai Tianyu definitely would not have killed a woman with whom he had once been in a relationship with.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s the old nun.”

    Ye Kai said, “I can already prove it.”

    He spread his hands open, revealing a hidden projectile which shone. It looked just like the petals of a peach blossom.

    Ding Linglin said, “What’s this?”

    Ye Kai said, “This is her unique hidden projectile weapon. No one has ever used this weapon aside from her.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Where did you find this?”

    Ye Kai said, “Within the main hall of the Plum Blossom Convent.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You just found it?”

    Ye Kai nodded. “Clearly, she intended to ambush Fu Hongxue with these hidden projectiles, but they were brought down by Fu Hongxue. That’s why there are gaps and cracks in these projectiles.”

    Ding Linglin was silent for a moment. Then, she said, “So what if that old nun really is the Lady of the Plum Blossom? She’s already dead. She’ll never be able to harm others ever again.”

    Ye Kai said, “But I should have guessed who she was long ago.”

    Ding Linglin said, “So what if you should have guessed who she was long ago? What’s the difference between guessing earlier and guessing later?”

    Ye Kai said, “The biggest difference is that I am now no longer able to ask her about anything.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You had something to ask her?”

    Ye Kai nodded.

    Ding Linglin said, “Something very important?”

    Ye Kai didn’t actually answer this question. A look of peculiar sadness appeared on his face. After a long time, he slowly said, “Although that battle started here, it didn’t end here.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Oh?”

    Ye Kai said, “They launched the assault outside the Plum Blossom Convent. They continued battling on the move for two or three li, before Bai Tianyu became exhausted and died. This entire road was covered with blood, flesh, and corpses.

    Ding Linglin couldn’t help but shudder. She tightly clasped Ye Kai’s hand.

    Ye Kai said, “There weren’t many people whose corpses remained intact and whole after that battle, especially the people of the Bai family…”

    It seemed as though his voice had suddenly become a little hoarse. After another long period of time, he continued, “After the bloody battle was concluded, the bodies of all the assassins were removed, because Ma Kongqun wasn’t willing to let others know who they were or allow others to seek vengeance upon their descendants.”

    Ding Linglin said, “He didn’t seem like someone who would care about the descendants of others.”

    Ye Kai said, “He didn’t care about others. He cared about himself!”

    Ding Linglin blinked repeatedly, but still didn’t understand.

    Ye Kai said, “After Bai Tianyu’s death, Ma Kongqun, in order to avoid the suspicions of others, naturally had to pretend to be very grieved and sorrowful. He even swore an oath in front of many others to get revenge for Bai Tianyu.”

    Ding Linglin finally understood. “He was the one who summoned all of those people. How could he take revenge upon their descendants?”

    Ye Kai said, “Thus, he had to have their corpses removed. Since nobody else was able to determine who the assassins were, nobody would be able to take revenge, even if they wanted to.”

    Ding Linglin said, “And so he avoided quite a bit of trouble as well.”

    She lightly sighed, before continuing, “Looks like he really is a crafty old fox.”

    Ye Kai said, “Thus, by the dawn of the next day, the only corpses which remained were those of the Bai family.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Was Ma Kongqun the one who gathered their corpses as well?”

    Ye Kai nodded. “But their bodies were no longer intact, to the point where some of them couldn’t even be recognized…”

    His voice became even hoarser, as he slowly continued, “Bai Tianyu was the most pitiable of all. He…not only had all four of his limbs been chopped off, even his head could not be found afterwards.”

    Watching the expression on his face, Ding Linglin suddenly felt her entire body become cold. Even her palms began to emit cold sweat.

    After another long period of time, Ye Kai gloomily sighed. “Some people guessed that the head had been dragged away by beasts. But that night, after the bloody battle, people were transporting away corpses all throughout a circle with a diameter of three li. Even if there really were wild beasts nearby, they would have been scared far away long ago.”

    Ding Linglin continued, “Thus, you believe his head was stolen by someone.”

    Ye Kai balled his fists together tightly. “It must have been.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You…can it be that you believe it was stolen away by the Lady of the Plum Blossom?”

    Ye Kai said, “She’s the most likely culprit.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because she is a woman. There were other female assassins, but she was the only one who survived.”

    Ding Linglin couldn’t resist sneering. “Are you saying only a woman could do something like that?”

    Ye Kai said, “After a person dies, all the feuds which he had are cancelled with a stroke of the brush. In addition, those assassins used to be his friends.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But didn’t the Lady of the Plum Blossom use to have a relationship with him as well?”

    Ye Kai said, “It was precisely because of that relationship that she hated him, hated him so very much. That’s why she could do such an insane thing.”

    Ding Linglin no longer spoke.

    Ye Kai said, “In addition, others just wanted Bai Tianyu to die, but originally all she wanted was for Bai Tianyu to be with her forever. When Bai Tianyu was alive, she had lost him forever, and so the only thing she could do was wait for him to die and use such an insane method to possess him forever.”

    Ding Linglin bit her lips. In her own heart, she suddenly realized how fearful the hearts of women can be.

    Because she suddenly wondered that if Ye Kai were to discard her, would she do something like this?

    Even she herself couldn’t be sure.

    Her body began to tremble nonstop.

    Although the chilly autumn wind was quite cold, her sweat had already soaked her clothes.

    The night grew deeper. The stars became scarcer.

    Ye Kai could feel the sweat in her palm. He knew that she had never suffered anything like this before.

    “You should find a place to sleep.”

    Ding Linglin said, “I can’t fall asleep. Even if I was lying down on the softest of beds, I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep right now.”

    Ye Kai said, “Why?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Because there are many things I need to think about.”

    Ye Kai said, “What are you thinking about?”

    Ding Linglin said, “You. I’m only thinking your affairs. That’s already enough to keep me up for three days and three nights.”

    Ye Kai said, “I’m right by your side. What’s there to think about?”

    Ding Linglin said, “But I can’t help but think about your affairs. And the more I think, the stranger it seems.”

    Ye Kai said, “Stranger?”

    Ding Linglin said, “You seem to know more about this matter than anyone, even Fu Hongxue. I don’t understand why.”

    Ye Kai chuckled. “Actually, I only gathered bits and broken pieces of information from here and there, then pieced them together into a whole.”

    Ding Linglin said, “This matter didn’t have anything to do with you. Why do you care about it so much?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because I’ve always been a very curious person, and I love to poke my nose into things that aren’t my business.”

    Ding Linglin said, “There are plenty of other things to poke your nose into. Why do you insist on poking your nose into this one?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because I feel this affair is exceptionally complicated. The more complicated an affair is, the more interesting it is.”

    Ding Linglin let out another light sigh. “No matter what you say, I still feel it is strange.”

    Ye Kai forced out a smile. “If you insist on feeling it to be strange, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

    Ding Linglin said, “There’s one thing you can do.”

    Ye Kai said, “Speak.”

    Ding Linglin said, “You can tell me the truth.”

    Ye Kai said, “Fine, I’ll tell you the truth. If I told you that I am Fu Hongxue’s brother, and that’s why I care so much about this matter, would you believe me?”

    Ding Linglin said, “No. Fu Hongxue has no siblings at all.”

    Ye Kai said, “What exactly do you want me to say?”

    Ding Linglin let out another long sigh. “Even I don’t know.”

    Ye Kai laughed. “Thus, I advise you to stop letting your imagination run off with you, because this affair really has nothing to do with you at all. If you insist on thinking about it, you’re just making things hard for yourself.”

    Ding Linglin couldn’t resist letting out a sweet laugh. “Maybe it’s because I’m just like you. I don’t like to make things hard for others; I just like to make things hard for myself.”

    After a long time, she suddenly sighed, “Right now, I’m thinking about something else.”

    Ye Kai said, “What?”

    Ding Linglin said, “If the Lady of the Plum Blossom really did steal away Hero Bai’s head, it was because she decided that if she couldn’t have him while he was alive, she’d have him accompany her in death.”

    Ye Kai said, “Your explanation isn’t the best one, but you have the general gist of it.”

    Ding Linglin said, “Therefore, after her own death, she surely would not wish to be parted from him.”

    Ye Kai said, “You mean to say…”

    Ding Linglin said, “What I mean is, if she really was the one who stole away Hero Bai’s head, it must be in that coffin right now.”

    Ye Kai was stunned.

    He really hadn’t thought of this point, but he couldn’t deny that Ding Linglin’s argument was very logical.

    Ding Linglin said, “Do you want me to go there with you and check it out?”

    Ye Kai was silent for a long time, before letting out a long sigh. “No need!”

    Ding Linglin said, “Just a moment ago, you whole-heartedly wanted to find Hero Bai’s head. Why are you now saying ‘no need’?”

    Ye Kai’s expression was very gloomy. He slowly said, “The only reason I want to find his head is because I want to give him a proper burial.”

    Ding Linglin said, “But…”

    Ye Kai interrupted her. “If his head really is in that coffin right now, I imagine that someone will bury him properly. Why, then, must I go and disturb his heroic spirit, or cause the Lady of the Plum Blossom to die with everlasting regret?”

    Sighing, he sadly said, “No matter what she was like in the past, she was still a very pitiable woman. Why, then, must I deprive her of her very last little bit of comfort?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Why are you suddenly being so considerate towards her?”

    Ye Kai said, “Because someone once told me this: No matter what I am about to do, first I must always consider things on behalf of others.”

    That look of respect once more entered his gaze. He continued, “I’ve never forgotten these words, and I never will forget these words.”

    Ding Linglin looked at him for a very long time before letting out a sigh. “You really are a weirdo. You’re much weirder than even Fu Hongxue.”

    Ye Kai let out an ‘oh’ of surprise. “Really?”

    Ding Linglin said, “Fu Hongxue isn’t necessarily weird, because everything he does, he’s made up his mind to do. But you, even you yourself aren’t sure whether or not you should do the things you do.”

    CHAPTER END

    _________________

    Everyone say thank you to Skywalker! His comments gave me the last bit of juice needed to fuel the machine to finish the chapter
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

  16. #56
    Senior Member balikpapan's Avatar
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    ...
    You are a god among men, Ren Wo Xing.

  17. #57
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    Ren is the Ren!

    This story certainly brings out intriguing themes to ponder. Still, I'm curious why the Ding family suddenly employs everyone from Hero's Manor. Is there a connection? Funny how Fu Hongxue becomes a class idiot whenever Ye Kai is around but suddenly becomes quite intelligent and alert when he's not.

    Even after the stranger is revealed, the author still chooses to refer Ah Fei as "the stranger". So is the purpose to differentiate two different people? One is the young, guillible loser who was tricked night after night, while the other is the mature, unknown wulin wanderer?

  18. #58
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    Re: FHX's intelligence.....That's not the half of it!!!

    click to show/hide spoilers
    Horizon, Bright Moon, Sabre and Flying Eagles in the Ninth Month were both written before this, and it's amazing how the intellectual roles seem reversed. FHX seems to solve mystery after mystery in HBMS, and rarely lets anyone deceive him. But in FE9M, Ye Kai plays the idiot (in my opinion) through most of the book and basically is nowhere near as analytical or intelligent as we see in Bordertown! I think Gu Long really fell in love with Ye Kai's character and decided to give him an intelligence boost in Bordertown.


    Great job RWX!!! Keep it up mang!!!

  19. #59
    Senior Member CC's Avatar
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    I love it! More Li Xunhuan worship! All this Zen talk, Sweeper Monk would approve!

    After reading the whole lot, the spirit of the whole series is so much clearer.

    Eagles in September is really the weak point of this series. If it was just DQJKWQJ, Bordertown and Tian Ya, that would have been enough.

    Agree with with was said about Ye Kai being dumbed down in Jiu Ye Ying Fei. The transition of FHX from Bordertown to Tian Ya makes more sense.
    Its BIxie Jianfa Gawdammit you guys!!!!

  20. #60
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 39: Love as Deep as the Sea

    Yet another dawn.

    The city was just starting to come to life. Fu Hongxue had already entered the city.

    There were already quite a few people travelling on the road to the city. There were barefooted, cart-pushing vegetable peddlers, fisherman carrying baskets filled with fish, and butchers herding swine and sheep to sell them in the city…their livelihoods were simple and healthy, just like themselves.

    Watching their guileless, sunlit faces, Fu Hongxue suddenly felt an indescribable envy in his heart.

    Others were looking at him as well. Perhaps they envied his leisure.

    But who could understand the pain and injuries in his heart.

    Although these people were carrying very heavy burdens on their shoulders, who amongst them could compare to him, and the burden he was carrying on his?

    A hundred loads of fish and vegetables still isn’t as heavy a burden as a single portion of hatred.

    In addition, at times they could put down their loads. But he would never be able to set down his.

    Fu Hongxue slowly walked along the long road. He suddenly yearned for a hot bowl of noodles.

    The yearning suddenly became extremely intense. A man is but a man, after all, and not a god.

    A man who believes himself to be a god truly must be the most ignorant, benighted of men.

    Right at this moment, Fu Hongxue did not want to find Ma Kongqun. He just wanted to find a noodle shop.

    He didn’t see a noodle shop. What he did see was a piece of white sackcloth twenty feet long and three feet wide.

    The white cloth was held erect by two fresh bamboo poles above the street.

    The black ink used to write the words on the cloth appeared to still be wet, as though they had not yet dried.

    There were only fourteen words on the cloth, fourteen shocking words. “Fu HongXue, if you have balls, then come to the Chaste Wife’s Arch.”

    The Chaste Wife’s Arch was an extremely high memorial archway dedicated to chastity. It appeared as though it were made from white jade as it shone beneath the sun.

    To both sides of the archway were a number of small buildings of varied sizes. Every window was open and filled with many faces.

    They were staring at the twenty nine people standing in front of the Chaste Wife’s Arch.

    The twenty nine people wore white sackcloth clothes and white sackcloth hats.

    Some were male, some were female. Some were old, some were young. Each and every one of them wielded a demon-headed sabre which gleamed like the snow.

    There was even a ten year old kid who was wielding such a sabre.

    The sabre he was wielding was even bigger than he was.

    On every single person’s face, there was an indescribably solemn, stirring, and tragic expression, as though they were a group of valiant warriors who were just about to stake their lives in a battle with their enemies.

    The person standing at the front was an old man with a long beard and a violet face. The people behind him were clearly his children and grandchildren.

    He was already an old man in the sunset of his life, but as he stood there, his back was absolutely straight and ramrod stiff.

    The wind blew across his long beard, causing it to curl up like silver thread. But his eyes were filled with threads of blood.

    Everyone’s eyes were fixed upon the exit from that long street.

    They were waiting for someone. They had waited for two days already.

    The person they were waiting for was Fu Hongxue.

    Ever since this group appeared here, everyone knew that something shocking was about to occur. Everyone also knew that this wasn’t going to be a happy event at all, but still could not resist watching.

    Right now, everyone was surreptitiously whispering to one another.

    “Who exactly are they waiting for? Is this person going to come?”

    They had already discussed this question for two days, but were unable to come to a conclusion. Naturally, no one dared to ask them.

    Suddenly, all the voices went silent.

    Someone was slowly walking over from the long street. His walking gait was strange and peculiar, because he was a cripple. A very young cripple, with an extremely pale face and an extremely dark sabre.

    After seeing this sabre, a terrifying murderous look appeared on the face of the old man with the long beard.

    Right now, everyone knew that the person they had been waiting for had arrived.

    Fu Hongxue tightly gripped his sabre. He came to a halt ten feet away.

    He could tell that these people had been waiting for him, but didn’t know who they were yet.

    The old man with the violet face and long beard suddenly loudly cried out, “My surname is Guo! I am known as Guo Wei!”

    Fu Hongxue had heard of this name before. Guo Wei, the ‘Divine Sabre’. He once had been an extremely famous person in the martial world, but after Bai Tianyu’s ‘Divine Sabre Hall’ rose to dominate the martial world, Guo Wei had to change his nickname to something else.

    He himself didn’t wish to change it, but he had to change it. There was only one ‘Divine Sabre’ in the world. That was Bai Tianyu’s sabre!

    Guo Wei said, “You are the descendant of Bai Tianyu?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Yes.”

    Guo Wei said, “Excellent.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You’re looking for me?”

    Guo Wei said, “There’s something I want to tell you.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I came here to listen.”

    Guo Wei also tightly gripped his sabre. “I was also one of the people who helped kill your father that night, outside the Plum Blossom Convent.”

    Fu Hongxue’s face suddenly tightened.

    Guo Wei said, “I’ve been waiting all this time for his descendants to come seek revenge. I’ve waited for nineteen years!”

    Fu Hongxue’s eyes began to appear slightly bloodshot as well. “I’m already here!”

    Guo Wei said, “I killed the entire Bai family. If you want to seek vengeance, you should kill every person in the Guo family!” Fu Hongxue’s heart tightened.

    Guo Wei’s eyes had reddened long ago. In a fierce voice, he said, “Right now, my entire family is here, waiting for you. If you let so much as a single one of us live, then you aren’t fit to be Bai Tianyu’s son!”

    All of his children and grandchildren stood behind him. All of them were staring at Fu Hongxue as well. Each of their eyes had reddened, and some appeared to be so nervous that their entire body trembled. But even his youngest grandson stuck out his chest, not showing the slightest desire to flee or to retreat.

    Perhaps it was because he was a child, and did not yet understand how terrifying the word ‘death’ really was.

    But who could bear to kill such a child?

    Fu Hongxue’s body was trembling as well. Aside from the hand with which he gripped his sabre, his entire body was shaking.

    The long street became so quiet that not even the sound of breathing could be heard.

    A yellow leaf was blown over by the wind. No one knew from whence it came, but it rolled about in front of them.

    Even the light of the rising sun seemed to be filled with that terrifying murderous aura!

    Guo Wei shouted in a loud voice, “What are you waiting for? Why haven’t you made your move yet?”

    But Fu Hongxue’s feet seemed to be nailed to the ground.

    He couldn’t walk over. It wasn’t that he lacked the courage to. His very purpose for existence was to gain revenge!

    But now, seeing that old, unfamiliar face, he suddenly felt a strange feeling, which he had never before felt.

    He had never even met these people before. Why was it that only the only way they could resolve their hatred was through the shedding of blood?

    Suddenly, a loud, sharp cry shattered that fearful quiet.

    That kid suddenly raised up his sabre and charged over.

    “You want to kill my grandfather, so I want to kill you!”

    The sabre seemed to be even heavier than he himself was.

    Charging wildly while holding the sabre, his posture was clumsy and laughable under normal circumstances, but right now, no one was able to laugh.

    No one was even able to cry.

    A tall young lady, clearly the child’s mother, watched as he charged out. Her face had become as white as parchment, and she couldn’t resist charging out after him as well.

    But a large man by her side grabbed her and prevented her from doing so. His own eyes had filled with hot tears as well.

    Guo Wei laughed loudly towards the heavens. He cried out, “Good! What a good child! You bring no shame to the Guo family!”

    In the midst of this sad and shrill laughter, the child charged in front of Fu Hongxue and chopped downwards at him with his sabre.

    He chopped with too much force. Even he himself nearly fell down.

    All Fu Hongxue had to do was raise up his hand, and the sabre would fly away. All he had to do was raise his hand, and this child’s blood would splatter the earth.

    But no matter what, he couldn’t raise up his hand.

    Hatred! Absolutely irreconcilable hatred!

    “You killed my father, so I shall seek revenge!”

    “You want to kill my grandfather, so I also want to kill you!”

    It was this sort of hatred which was now causing two total strangers to fight to the death.

    Why must humans have this sort of terrifying hatred? Why must this hatred be cultivated in the hearts of children?

    The hatred in Fu Hongxue’s heart was cultivated, just like the hatred in this child’s heart.

    If this child did not die today, after he grew up, wouldn’t he become just like Fu Hongxue?

    Who could answer these questions?

    The demon-headed sabre was gleaming underneath the sunlight.

    Should he receive the chop, or should he kill the child? If Ye Kai were in his place, this wouldn’t even be an issue. He could dodge, or he could seize the kid and toss him thirty feet away. He could even totally ignore these people and just swagger off.

    But Fu Hongxue couldn’t. His thinking was stubborn and extremely unyielding. Whenever he was pondering a question, he often put himself in an insoluble position.

    Right at this moment, he was actually inclined to just straightforwardly accept this chop and die. By doing so, all the hatred, all the contradictions, and all the pain would immediately be resolved.

    But right at this moment, this child suddenly let out a miserable wail and fell backwards, facing the sky. The sabre in his hand flew away, while a stream of blood spurted from his larynx. A dagger had flown out of nowhere and plunged itself into his throat.

    No one saw where this dagger came from. Everyone was focusing on the sabre in the child’s hands!

    Even though no one saw where this sabre came from, everyone naturally assumed it came from Fu Hongxue.

    This child was no more than ten years old. This pale-faced cripple could actually bear to use such ruthless methods!

    Everyone could no longer resist hurling a storm of abuse and invective at him.

    That tall woman was already screaming wildly as she charged out. Her husband tightly gripped his sabre and followed right behind her, roaring wildly like a mad beast. All of the people in white had charged over while howling madly.

    The sound of their roars was like thunder in the clouds. When they charged out, they looked like a furious wave crashing to shore. They had already decided to die here, every last one of them.

    The child’s blood had transformed the grief and anger in their hearts, had set it aflame.

    But Fu Hongxue stood there, stunned, staring at the dagger in the child’s throat.

    Even he didn’t know where that dagger came from.

    This was just like that day at Li Mahu’s store, when a flying dagger suddenly nailed itself into Li Mahu’s arm.

    Ye Kai! Could it be Ye Kai?

    Guo Wei brandished his sabre, angrily roaring, “Since you are even capable of killing a little child, why haven’t you drawn your sabre yet?”

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist saying, “I did not kill this child!”

    Guo Wei laughed wildly. “You are willing to kill but not willing to admit to it? I didn’t imagine that Bai Tianyu’s son would be a liar and a coward!”

    Fu Hongxue’s face suddenly became swollen red with anger.

    All his life, that which he could never endure was being falsely accused by others.

    He’d die before he’d endure it.

    In the midst of that sad, shrill, wild laughter, Guo Wei chopped down directly at his head with his demon-headed sabre, carrying a powerful gust with the blow.

    “Was Bai Tianyu’s head chopped off just like this?”

    Fu Hongxue’s entire body was trembling, but as soon as his hand gripped his sabre, he immediately calmed down.

    This sabre seemed to have a strange, bizarre magical power.

    “It doesn’t matter whether I live or I die. But I definitely won’t let people believe that Bai Tianyu’s son is a lying coward!”

    “No matter what, I won’t allow others to humiliate and insult him even after his death!”

    Fu Hongxue suddenly howled wildly as well.

    His sabre had already left its sheath.

    The sheath was pitch-black. The hilt was pitch-black. But the sabre flash was as white as snow, flashing like lightning.

    When the sabre flash flew out, blood splashed.

    Blood blossomed like fireworks, scattering itself in front of him.

    He could no longer see anything else, only the blood.

    Did blood really symbolize hatred?

    It seemed as though he had returned to that day of nineteen years prior, had become transformed into his father’s avatar!

    The flying blood seemed to symbolize the plum flowers.

    This was the Plum Blossom Convent.

    These people were the murderers and assassins who killed Bai Tianyu!

    They wanted him to die!

    He wanted them to die as well!

    No choices! No need to choose!

    The lightning-like sabre flashes flew about in the air.

    There was no sound of sabres colliding. No one could block his sabre.

    There were only miserable cries, shrieks, and the sound of his sabre chopping into flesh. The sounds of bones splintering…

    Each and every sound was more than enough to make people’s hearts fly away and their courage disappear. Every single sound made people want to vomit…

    But Fu Hongxue heard nothing at all.

    He could only hear a single type of sound. This sound was coming from his mind!

    “Wipe out each and every one of your enemies, or else never come back to me!”

    He seemed to once again be in that room.

    There were no colors in that room. Only darkness!

    He grew up in the midst of darkness. There was only hatred in his life!

    Blood was red, but so too was the snow!

    By now, all the members of the Bai family had lost all their blood. Now, it was time for their enemies to shed blood!

    The people in the windows to each side were crying out in alarm, sobbing, and vomiting.

    The white sackcloth clothes had become dyed red with blood.

    The people who charged forward immediately fell down!

    “This sabre does not belong to the mortal world. It is a demonic sabre from the underworld!”

    The only thing this sabre brought to men was death and ill-fortune!

    Wherever the sabre went, a stream of blood and flesh would immediately fly out!

    No one knew who it was that shouted, “Retreat! Everybody, retreat! One person needs to stay alive, so as to take revenge later!”

    Angry howls, startled shouts, miserable cries, and the sound of that sabre chopping into flesh, chopping through bone…

    Aside from Fu Hongxue himself, nobody around him was standing.

    The gloomy sun was now hiding behind dark clouds. Even the wind had ceased.

    Those previously opened windows were mostly closed by now. The remaining windows were still open only because the people in them were sobbing or vomiting.

    The blue slab stones on the street had already been dyed red.

    The sabre had been dyed red as well.

    Fu Hongxue stood in the middle of a pool of blood, unmoving.

    Guo Wei’s body was right in front of him. That child’s body was right in front of him as well.

    The blood was still flowing. It flowed through the rifts in the blue slab stone road, curling around his feet, staining it red.

    Fu Hongxue was totally numb. He could no longer move, nor did he want to move.

    Suddenly, a thunderclap split past the dark rainclouds, and a bolt of lightning illuminated the earth.

    Fu Hongxue seemed to be awakened by this thunderclap as well. He stared around himself, at a loss. He looked at the corpses in front of him, then looked at the sabre in his hand.

    His heart was contracting. His stomach was contracting as well.

    And then he pulled out the dagger in that child’s throat, turned around, and rushed away.

    Following another thunderbolt, a torrent of rain began to cascade from the skies. It was as though not even heaven could bear to see the bloody stains on the ground and had sent a rainstorm for the sole purpose of washing it away.

    Unfortunately, the blood and hatred in the hearts of men could not be washed away by any rainstorm, no matter how great.

    Fu Hongxue rushed madly in the midst of the rain.

    He had never run so wildly before, and his posture became all the more bizarre.

    The rainstorm had washed away the blood on his body as well. But the bitter memories left behind by this bloody battle would forever remain in his heart.

    He had killed many people he should not have killed. He knew this as well. The rainwater soaking his head had awakened him, had made his mind clear.

    But at the time, he had no other choices he could take!

    Why? Because of this dagger, this dagger which he had just removed from that child’s throat!

    If that child hadn’t died, this bloody battle might not necessarily have become unavoidable.

    Fu Hongxue felt as though there were a dagger in his heart as well.

    Ye Kai! Why did Ye Kai cause this bloody battle to occur?

    There was a very small inn up ahead. Fu Hongxue charged in, got a room, and then tightly closed the door.

    And then he immediately began to vomit, vomit non-stop.

    When he began to vomit, his body began to spasm and tighten. By the time he collapsed, his body had already curled into a ball.

    He collapsed into a puddle of his own vomit, his body continuing to spasm and convulse.

    He had totally lost consciousness. Perhaps, right now, he was actually better off. If one is unconscious, one cannot be in pain!

    The rain became even greater. The small, stuffy room became darker and darker, until all color disappeared.

    There was only darkness! Within the darkness, the window suddenly opened. A black shadow appeared, ghost-like, in the window.

    A clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning.

    The lightning bolt illuminated the man’s face.

    A very strange expression was on this man’s face. As he stared at the collapsed Fu Hongxue, no one could possibly discern whether this expression was a sorrowful one, or a hateful one. A happy one, or a miserable one…

    By the time Fu Hongxue awoke, he was already in bed. The blankets were dry and soft.

    The lamp was lit. The light cast a man’s shadow against the wall. The light was dim, and the shadow was dark.

    There was someone else in the room! Who?

    This person was seated behind the window, evidently deep in thought. As soon as Fu Hongxue lifted up his head a little, he saw her face. A tired, thin, and pallid face, filled with melancholy and pain, and yet still extremely beautiful.

    Fu Hongxue’s heart tightened again. He saw Cui Nong yet again.

    Cui Nong saw him as well. Her tired, thin face revealed a hint of a bitter smile. In a soft voice, she said, “You’re awake!”

    Fu Hongxue couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. His entire body seemed to have turned stiff.

    How did she suddenly come here? Why did it have to be her? Why did it have to be now?

    Cui Nong said, “You should sleep for a bit longer. I already had someone prepare some porridge for you.”

    Her voice was still as soft and as caring as when they were together. Had she already forgotten those bitter events of the past?

    But Fu Hongxue couldn’t forget them. He suddenly jumped up, the pointed towards the door. He loudly cried, “Scram! Scram away!”

    Cui Nong’s face was still tranquil. She lightly said, “I’m not scramming, nor am I leaving.”

    Fu Hongxue said in a hoarse voice, “Who sent you here?’

    Cui Nong said, “I came on my own.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Why did you come?”

    Cui Nong said, “Because I know that you are sick.”

    Fu Hongxue’s body began to tremble once again. “My affairs are of no concern to you, nor should you interfere in them.”

    Cui Nong said, “Your affairs are of concern to me, and I definitely will interfere.”

    Her response was gentle but firm.

    Fu Hongxue said in a gasping voice, “But I no longer recognize you, I don’t recognize you at all!”

    Cui Nong said in a gentle voice, “You recognize me, and I recognize you as well.”

    She didn’t let Fu Hongxue speak. She continued, “It doesn’t matter whether it was you who wronged me or I who wronged you in the past. We can forget all of that. But either way, we’re still friends at least. If you’re sick, of course I’ll take care of you.”

    Friends! Could it be that the soul-stirring, dreamlike love which they had once shared, which would forevermore be engraved in Fu Hongxue’s heart, had become reduced to mere ‘friendship’? They once were lovers who would hold each other throughout the night, all the way until sunrise. Now, they were nothing more than just friends.

    Fu Hongxue suddenly felt another stabbing pain in his heart. He fell down once more, on top of the bed.

    Cui Nong said, “I told you, you should rest a while longer. When the porridge is ready, I’ll wake you.”

    Fu Hongxue balled his hands into tight fists, forcing himself to stay under control.

    “Since she already just considers me to be a friend, why do I need to pursue those former emotions?”

    “Since she can be as calm as this, why should I let her see my pain?”

    Fu Hongxue was telling himself, “You must be calm. You must make her believe that I’ve also totally forgotten those bygone days.”

    Cui Nong stood up, walked to the bed, then helped him with the blankets. Even those movements were just the same as before.

    Fu Hongxue suddenly said in a cold voice, “Thank you. I really don’t deserve you taking care of me.”

    Cui Nong laughed dully. “This is nothing. Don’t be so polite.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “But you are the guest, after all. I should be the one taking care of you.”

    Cui Nong said, “Since we’re all old friends, why be so courteous?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I still don’t feel right about it.”

    Two lovers who had once been as one, who had sworn solemn pledges of love, were saying such things to each other. Observers would definitely laugh.

    But who could truly understand their real feelings?

    Fu Hongxue’s nails had already pierced into the flesh of his palm. “No matter what, I shouldn’t put you to such trouble.”

    Cui Nong said, “I told you, it’s no big deal. After all, my husband knows that I’m here.”

    Fu Hongxue’s voice suddenly seemed to have turned hoarse as well. After a long time, he finally managed to say two words. “Your husband?”

    Cui Nong chuckled. “Right. I actually forgot to tell you that I’m married now.”

    Fu Hongxue’s heart was shattered, shattered to pieces!

    “Congratulations to you.”

    These were just three words, three very ordinary words. Everybody, in the course of their life, would say these three words many times.

    But amongst the millions of people in the world, how many people could understand how Fu Hongxue felt, saying these three words?”

    It was no longer a matter of pain and sadness, nor hatred and rage. It was a despair which penetrated through his very bones.

    A despair which was more than enough to cause his blood to freeze.

    He couldn’t even feel the pain anymore. He was still alive and still on the bed, but his life and his body no longer belonged to himself.

    “Congratulations to you.”

    After hearing him say these three words, Cui Nong seemed to chuckle, and she seemed to say something polite as well.

    But was she really laughing?

    What did she say?

    He could no longer hear anything, feel anything.

    “Congratulations to you.”

    He repeated these words over and over. Even he didn’t know how many times he repeated them.

    Nor did he know how long a period of time passed before he could hear Cui Nong’s voice.

    She was whispering.

    “Every single woman, no matter what type of woman she is, needs to find a home, sooner or later. Needs to get married, sooner or later.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I understand.”

    Cui Nong said, “Since you didn’t want me, I had to marry someone else.”

    She was smiling, as though she were using all her strength to appear happy. After all, no matter what, marriage was a joyous affair.

    Fu Hongxue’s gaze was fixed upon the ceiling. He clearly was forcing himself to remain under control as well. He didn’t want to let Cui Nong see his pain and his despair, nor did he want to look at her again.

    After a very long time, he suddenly asked, “Is your husband here as well?”

    Cui Nong said, “Yes.”

    Naturally, a newly-wed couple wouldn’t be far from each other.

    Fu Hongxue ground his teeth. After a long time, he slowly asked, “He’s right outside?”

    Cui Nong said, “Yes.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Then you should go outside to keep him company. Why are you still here?”

    Cui Nong said, “I told you. I’ll take care of you.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I don’t necessarily want you to take care of me, and I don’t want anyone to misunderstand…”

    Although he was using all his strength to control himself, his voice couldn’t help but tremble. He could no longer continue.

    Fortunately, Cui Nong interrupted him. “You don’t need to worry about that. He knows everything.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “What does he know?”

    Cui Nong said, “He knows about you and the love we once shared.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “We…we didn’t really share any love.”

    Cui Nong said, “No matter what, I’ve told him everything already.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Then you definitely shouldn’t be here.”

    Cui Nong said, “I already told him that I was coming here to look for you, and he’s agreed to let me take care of you.”

    Fu Hongxue’s gums were already bleeding. He couldn’t help but sneer, “Looks like he’s a very open-minded man.”

    Cui Nong said, “He truly is.”

    Fu Hongxue suddenly said in a loud voice, “But I’m not, I’m not open-minded at all!”

    Cui Nong forced out a chuckle. “If you really are worried about any misunderstandings, I can invite him in to accompany us.”

    She didn’t wait for Fu Hongxue to agree. She turned around and said, “Hey, you, get in here. Let me introduce someone to you.”

    “Hey.”

    Although this is a very ordinary word, sometimes it carries an inexpressible sort of familiarity with it.

    Don’t newly-weds always address each other in such a way in front of others?

    The door wasn’t fastened.

    Right after she spoke these words, someone outside immediately pushed the door open and walked in, as though he had been waiting right outside.

    A husband naturally would always be a bit uneasy when his wife was in a room with another man.

    At first, Fu Hongxue didn’t want to look at him, but now, he couldn’t resist taking a glance.

    This person couldn’t be considered old, but he wasn’t young either.

    He seemed to be around thirty-something years of age, closing in on forty. He had a very square face, sprinkled with the scars left by the little pains and hardships one endures during life.

    Just like any new husband, he was wearing a set of new clothes, made from luxurious materials and bright in color. His clothes really didn’t seem to be a good match for him.

    Anyone could tell at a glance that he’s an honest person.

    If a woman who had worked for a long time in the prostitution business really were to seek out a home, wouldn’t she always choose this sort of honest person?

    This is at least a better choice than those good-for-nothing young hoodlums.

    When Fu Hongxue saw this person, he actually wasn’t agitated, nor was he even envious. His emotions were totally different, compared to the previous time he saw Cui Nong together with another person.

    This sort of person simply couldn’t agitate others.

    Cui Nong had already pulled on his shirt and brought him nearby. Smiling, she said, “He’s my husband. His surname is Wang. He’s known as Wang Dahong.”

    Wang Dahong. An honest man, with an honest name.

    He allowed himself to be pulled over like a child by Cui Nong. If she wanted him to go east, he wouldn’t dare go west.

    Cui Nong continued, “This is the person I told you about, that young master Fu, Fu Hongxue.”

    An ingratiating smile immediately appeared on Wang Dahong’s face. Cupping his fists, he said, “I’ve long since heard of your famous name, young master Fu.”

    Fu Hongxue originally didn’t want to pay this person any mind. In the past, he might not even have spared this sort of person a single glance.

    But now, things were different. He’d rather die than let Cui Nong’s husband see him as a heart-broken man.

    But he really had no idea how he should address this sort of person. He could only mumble, “Congratulations to you, to you both.”

    Wang Dahong also seemed to be uncertain as to what he should say. All he could do was stand there, smiling stupidly.

    Cui Nong sneaked a peek at him, then laughed again. “He’s an honest person. He usually doesn’t get out much, so he’s not very good at conversation either.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “It’s very good to not be too wordy.”

    Cui Nong said, “He doesn’t know martial arts either.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “It’s very good to not know martial arts.”

    Cui Nong said, “He’s a businessman. He deals in silks and fabrics.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Businessmen are very good.”

    Cui Nong laughed. Sweetly, she said, “He definitely is a very good man. At least, he…”

    Her laughter became very bitter, very sour. She was quiet for a moment, then continued, “At least he won’t cast me aside and sneak away.”

    Fu Hongxue didn’t seem to hear the words that she said, nor did he see that distressed smile on her face.

    He seemed to be looking at Wang Dahong, but actually, he didn’t see anything. He couldn’t see anything.

    But Wang Dahong seemed to be very uneasy. He said in a slow, halting voice, “Why don’t you chat for a bit longer. I…I…it is best that I wait outside.”

    It seemed as though he wanted to pull his clothes away from Cui Nong, and yet didn’t dare to.

    Because Cui Nong’s face had turned very ugly.

    There were plenty of men who were afraid of their wives, but there weren’t many who were as afraid as he was.

    An honest man who married a beautiful wife truly cannot be considered a lucky man.

    Fu Hongxue suddenly said, “Please sit.”

    Wang Dahong said, “Yes.”

    He was still standing straight.

    Cui Nong glanced at him. “Since he’s asking you to sit, why aren’t you sitting yet?”

    Wang Dahong immediately sat down. It seemed as though he didn’t even dare to sit down without his wife giving permission.

    When he sat down, he placed both of his hands precisely on his knees.

    His hands were very thick, and there was some foul grease underneath his nails.

    Fu Hongxue glanced at his hands, then said, “How long have you been married?”

    Wang Dahong said, “At least…at least…”

    He glanced sideways at Cui Nong, as though needing permission before saying a single word.

    Cui Nong said, “Nearly ten days.”

    Wang Dahong immediately said, “Right, nearly ten days. Today is the ninth.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Have you been long acquainted with each other?”

    Wang Dahong said, “No…no…”

    Even his face had swollen red with nervousness, as though he wasn’t even capable of answering such simple questions.

    Fu Hongxue lifted his head and stared at him.

    Although it was very cold, big drops of sweat had begun to form on Wang Dahong’s forehead. He couldn’t even sit still.

    Fu Hongxue suddenly said, “You aren’t a silk dealer.”

    Wang Dahong’s face changed expressions. “I…I…I…”

    Fu Hongxue slowly turned his head and stared at Cui Nong. One word at a time, he said, “And he is not your husband.”

    Cui Nong’s face changed as well, as though suddenly had hit her hard in the face.

    It was as though she had been wearing a mask on her face. With this blow, her mask totally shattered.

    Sometimes, women are like a walnut.

    If you can break open their outer shell, you will find that their hearts are gentle and fragile.

    Fu Hongxue stared at her. An indescribable emotion suddenly appeared within his cold gaze. Was it joy, was it sorrow, was it sympathy, or was it pity?

    He watched as a succession of pearl-like tears dropped down from her beautiful face. He watched as her body began to quiver, as though she were no longer able to stand up.

    She no longer needed to speak. This was enough to demonstrate that her feelings for him had never changed.

    She could not longer deny that this person definitely was not her husband.

    But Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist asking, “Who is he, exactly?”

    Cui Nong lowered her head. “I don’t know.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Even you don’t know?”

    Cui Nong said, “He…he’s just someone the salesclerk found for me at a moment’s notice. I don’t know him at all.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “You brought him here for the purpose of him playing the role of your husband?”

    Cui Nong’s head lowered still further.

    Fu Hongxue said, “Why did you do this?”

    Cui Nong mournfully said, “Because I wanted to come visit you, to stay with you, to take care of you, but was afraid that you’d shoo me away. Because I didn’t want you to think that I’m dragging onto you no matter what, didn’t want you to think of me as a lowly, despicable woman.”

    The most important thing was that she could no longer endure Fu Hongxue’s indifference and the humiliation he visited upon her.

    She was afraid that Fu Hongxue would hurt her again, and so she thought up this method to protect herself.

    Although she didn’t speak this reason aloud, Fu Hongxue understood.

    Fu Hongxue wasn’t really a piece of ice, nor was he a wooden log.

    Crying, Cui Nong continued, “Actually, you’re the only one in my heart. Even if you don’t want me, I won’t marry anyone else. Ever since I was with you, I’ve never paid any mind to other men.”

    Fu Hongxue suddenly used all of his strength to loudly shout, “Who says I don’t want you? Says who?!”

    Cui Nong lifted her head up, staring at him through eyes blurred with tears. “Do you really still want me?”

    Fu Hongxue loudly cried, “Of course I want you! No matter what type of woman you are, I want you. Aside from you, there’s no other woman that I want.”

    This was the first time he revealed his true feelings. When he spread his arms wide, Cui Nong threw herself into his embrace.

    They tightly held each other, their two bodies them seeming to have melted together and become one. Their hearts, as well, seemed to have become one. All the pain, suffering, misunderstandings, and anger seemed to have suddenly become bygone affairs. So long as they could once more be together, what in the world could cause them trouble?

    Cui Nong hugged him tightly, saying repeatedly, “As long as you really do want me, starting from this day, I’ll never leave you again. I’ll never go away again.”

    Fu Hongxue said, “I’ll never leave you either.”

    Cui Nong said, “Never?”

    Fu Hongxue said, “Never!”

    Staring at them, Wang Dahong seemed to have a befuddled, uncomprehending look on his face.

    Naturally, he couldn’t understand their feelings. Even less could he understand why, if they truly loved each other, they would inflict injuries upon each other.

    The sweetness and bitterness of love was something which a person like him could never understand.

    Because he had never paid pain’s price, he would never experience the sweetness of love.

    All he knew was that his presence here was now superfluous.

    He quietly stood up, as though he were about to leave.

    Naturally, Fu Hongxue and Cui Nong wouldn’t pay him any mind. They had already totally forgotten his existence.

    The dim lamp light cast his shadow on the wall. A white wall, a black shadow.

    He slowly turned around. A three-foot, seven-inch long short sword suddenly appeared in his hand!

    The tip of the sword was slim but sharp. Beneath the lamp light, it seemed to glimmer with a light that was nearly bluish green.

    Could it be that the sword was poisoned?

    _____________

    Hah! CC, I see you've been dragged in once more! Reading Bordertown Wanderer puts a whole new perspective on Tianya, doesn't it? It makes his relationship with Zhou Ting/Xiao Ting all the more poignant as well...

    Thanks for all the kind words, all! They've invigorated me enough to give you guys a DOUBLE chapter today! Enjoy this second chapter!
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 07-29-09 at 03:17 AM.
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

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