Yun Lei laughed: "You are not drinking but just swallowing….drink a few mouthfuls?"
The scholar was growing tipsy now, he laughed and said: "Today is the day I am most proud of, let me have a hearty swig."
Yun lei said: "what are you proud of?"
The scholar said: "I got it from the place where you paid visit my friend, I got a rarity…. Come, come! Younger brother, I ask you to drink for this!" From the horseback, he took out a paper painting in a flash, hanged it on the top of the twigs and exclaimed: "Behold the sight, isn’t it a rarity?"
Yun Lei was originally from a well educated family, her grandfather was the Ming envoy; her father was also a scholar and devoted to academic interests and was well-read in poetry and literature before reluctantly learning martial arts to rescue his father. Yun Lei was also influenced by her family and was well versed in the literature and art. She saw the painting hanging in the treasure room of Shi Yang but didn’t saw it that clearly but she knew that it was the same painting. It was a painting of landscape with trees and people but without much description and didn’t have some elaborate painting style. The painting was fine but she couldn’t find anything special in it and found it far inferior compared with the ancient landscape painted by masters and in fact laughed in her heart and thought: "This handsome scholar looks refined but isn’t that smart actually." The scholar who was still drinking the wine laughed and said: "You do not see, don’t you find it good then?"
The scholar approached the painting and looked at it for a long time and started singing:
As he sang the last sentence, he repeated the chant and hummed the tune in melancholy. Yun Lei thought in her heart: "it is an old saying, if a poet sings with his heart and cries the listeners too gets emotional and cries!" In a moment, the scholar was still singing in sad and gloomy song and tears started to flow from his eyes. Yun Lei couldn’t understand the predicament and what’s happening but she also felt extremely sad and started to cry.
The scholar cried and Yun Lei was also crying. Although tears were flowing from her eyes but she thought that this is a strange man, I would like to go and persuade him but he might feel embarrassed; if she left him then it also seemed unreasonable. The more he sang, the sadder she felt and couldn’t stop herself from crying. The scholar glanced at her and suddenly stopped singing. He waited for a moment and suddenly he looked up, turned his back to her and started laughing.
Yun Lei said: "You are drunk? It’s not worth getting troubled?"
The scholar referred to her and said: "You are drunk, not me." Yun Lei looked at herself and saw that tears were dripping on her cloths. For no apparent reason, she cried with him and without realizing laughed at herself.
The scholars too burst out laughing, he said: "The real heroes are mad and eccentric; to cry while singing is not a prevalent custom. When one wants to cry then cry, when wants to laugh then laugh, why be so hypocritical. You and I all are good friends; we shouldn’t care about worldly conventions? "
He slowly moved his hands across the painting and said: "The Yangtze River forever flows to the east, this person has repaid the debt finally after six decades.”
Yun Lei thought in her heart: "Last night this scholar stole the painting from the Blackstone mansion. Shi Ying said something about this painting and six decades. Now this scholar too is mentioning six decades. The numbers coincide but what is the hidden riddle… not to mention that this scholar is only a 20-year-old boy then how is the Shi Ying talking about some feud sixty years old." As she was puzzling over this, she heard the scholar slowly saying: "Today, I am happy and smiling, in fact too happy that I cried but unfortunately I have no wine." He threw the gourd to the ground breaking in four pieces.
Although the scholar was acting weirdly, Yun Lei felt that she liked him, she looked up and saw red is over the sky, Yun Lei said: "friend, Let us part now." Even as she said these words, she felt sad.
The scholar asked: "Where you going? You have to return to Blackstone mansion isn’t it?"
Yun Lei said: "No, I do not have to."
The scholar said with a smile: "You were acting last night, I saw it!"
Yun Lei thought of the bridal chamber situation last night and was red all over her ears.
The scholar said: "That Miss Shi is a beauty and also good at martial arts, little brother, why don’t you want to marry her?"
Yun lei said: "I would like to or if do not want to, why do you bother?”
The scholar laughed and said: "If I didn’t have stolen last night then how would you escape Blackstone mansion, shouldn’t you thank me!"
Yun Lei saw him with an amused smile. The scholar said: "You are a real hero, actually one shouldn’t fall into the trap of a beauty….I really admire your concentration, really admire."
Yun Lei had a red face by now, she was afraid that further discussion with the scholar will reveal her true face so she didn’t reply. She took her horse and moved ahead. In a moment, she heard the sound of that precious white horse running after her and she heard the scholar saying: "I have something to say little brother."
Yun Lei slowed a bit and said: "please say."
The scholar came abreast her and said with a smile: "Shi Ying is a very powerful in this Shanxi province. If you move alone then there is a probability that he will catch up with you along with the Sha father and son. I will like to be your bodyguard. "
Yun lei thought for a moment and not yet answered when the scholar asked: "Where are you going?"
Yun Lei replied: "I am going to Beijing."
Scholar said: "This is really good; I am also going to Beijing. Brother lets travel together."
Yun Lei said: "I do not know your name, what is your name? All day I have been calling you elder brother?"
The scholar said: "I am surnamed Zhang, my given name is Dan Feng….the character ‘Dan’ as in red and ‘Feng’ as in maple."
Yun lei laughed and said: "Good elegant name but there are no maples in Mongolia….then how did you get this name?"
The scholar asked: "Younger brother, what is your name?"
Yun Lei said: "My family name is Yun and my given name is Lei, the single character ‘Lei’ as in bud."
The scholar also laughed and said: "What a beautiful name, but sounds a little feminine but also a non-Han most probably from Mongolia. How did you get this name? "
The complexion of Yun lei changed as she asked: "How do you know that I grew up in Mongolia?"
The scholar laughed: "You were well aware of the origins of my wine so why can’t I guess about you?"
Yun Lei thought for a moment and laughed unknowingly and understood that this scholar indeed has good knowledge. They started laughing and talked about astronomy, geography, military affairs and different other matters. The scholar was well aware and Yun Lei was lost the passage of time in her rapt attention. They didn’t realize that it was dusk by now and that scholar said: "There is a small town ahead, we should look for accommodation." Both horses moved swiftly and moments later, they went to the town to find an inn.
The scholar said: "Can we get a room."
Yun Lei urgently said: "We will request two separate rooms."
The innkeeper said: "What do you want…one room or two?"
Yun Lei said: "Two rooms…two!"
Zhang Dan Feng looked at the innkeeper and said with a smile: "Well, we will have two rooms." The innkeeper said "Is it for you two people?"
Zhan Dan Feng said: "yes…for two of us."
The innkeeper was surprised but he realized that eventually it is his benefit that his two rooms are rented so he smiled and directed them to their rooms and no longer questioned them. He went back to prepare snacks for them.
Zhang Dan Feng followed her to that room and asked with a smile: "Younger brother, I did not want to sound like a miser and we both have money but we have both come together, why don’t we share a room?"
Yun Lei said: "Elder brother may not know but I am afraid that it’s not safe to be with me."
Zhang Dan Feng said with a smile: "No wonder you refused to share the bridal chamber at Blackstone mansion with Miss Shi." The complexion of Yun Lei changed to red but she didn’t say anything. The scholar also didn’t ask him further. They both ate their dinner and then went back to their rooms for resting.
Yun Lei’s heart was disturbed and she barred the door and the windows tightly shut and didn’t change her clothes. She thought about the scholar's word and couldn’t help herself from smiling. She now no longer was able to hear any sounds from outside and the feelings of tension subsided gradually and she laughed in her heart and thought: "This scholar… though he is wild but is a light-hearted person." Yun Lei has not slept for two nights and unknowingly drop off to sleep. She didn’t know how long did she slept.
Around twilight she saw that scholar approaching her bed, she instantly slashed her sword. Suddenly the scholar screamed and in an instant she was all covered with blood. Yun Lei was extremely shocked and woke up as she heard a bang outside the window, Zhang Dan Feng shouted: "Younger brother, Come!"
Yun Lei rubbed her eyes, listening to the calls of Dan Feng; she was full of surprise and then realized that she was in dream. She again heard the call from Dan Feng and the heard the neighing of horses and the sound of a shrill scream!
Yun Lei jumped up, fortunately she was fully dressed and without delay, she opened the door out. Zhang Dan Feng was running towards the roof and said: "our precious horses had been stolen, run fast and track those thieves!" The horse of Dan Feng was a rare horse and even the war horse of Yun Lei was no ordinary horse, they were both well trained and it was unusual that they let other people to come close enough…especially the horse of Zhang Dan Feng was strong enough but she cannot think of someone who had both these horses stolen. It was clear that the person who had stolen the horses is not some tricky thief but a master in martial arts. She saw that Zhang Dan Feng was acting bravely and didn’t saw any panic on his face.