No one can catch the passing of time and no one can retain time either. But I could tell you this, even before this fog had rose, the night was already very late. Under the starry nights at the Mount Hua mountain range, under the flurrying of the leaves…
Nangong Ping and Mei Yinxue continued to stare at one another. After what seems to be a long time, none of them even flinched.
Between the two of them, no one really knows who was the victor.
Finally, Mei Yinxue motionless body began to move. She gently brushed her fluttering long hair to a side and said. “Do you really want to wait for them?”
Nangong Ping without any hesitation replied loud and clear. “Naturally!”
He did not know that when a woman was arranging her hair, her heart was feeling confused too. He only knew that it was what he should do, therefore he replied without hesitation.
Mei Yinxue melancholy sighed. “As you wish!” And danced away with the fluttering of her dresses. But suddenly she turned back her head and stoically added a few words. “But only this once!”
Under the starry nights, Mei Yinxue sat onto a tree branch while Nangong stood motionless besides the coffin…His heart was in a state of confusion!
Then he walked to and stopped in front of Mei Yinxue. “Let me ask you…”This four words when he first said it out, was loud and clear but the next few lines, he could not continued.
Mei Yinxue rolled her eyes and asked. “What do you want to ask?”
Nangong Ping was startled but he added. “When I first opened that coffin, why was it empty?”
Mei Yinxue gently laughed. “This coffin have another compartment beneath, cant you tell?”
Nangong Ping made a sound of acknowledgement and about to leave when Mei Yinxue tried to contain her laughter and said. “I afraid that what you want to ask me, is not this right!”
Nangong Ping was started and turned back. Both their eyes locking before Nangong Ping lowered his head and said. “That is right!”
Mei Yinxue asked. “Then what is your original question?”
Nangong Ping replied. “But now, I don’t feel like asking anymore!” And walked away.
Mei Yinxue was startled as well. Suddenly she melancholy sighed and said. “Earlier, if I did not borrow the reflection of the Moon to graze at the running stream, I would really think I am old now!”
Nangong Ping turned his head and asked. “What are you saying?”
Mei Yinxue brushed her long hair to the sides of both her shoulders. Under the moonlight, her pale and pure glamorous face indeed displayed her peerless beauty.
Under the background of the tree and the starlight, her eyelids and her beautiful eyes that seemingly reached out to the hearts of others looked at Nangong Ping but although he had turned his head but he was not looking at her. Therefore she unwittingly softly sighed a few times and said. “Ever since I started to roam the Pugilist realm when I was fourteen, anyone that have seen me, no one have treated me the same way as you have treated me…”
Nangong Ping coldly hummed, and reached to feel the patterns of the purple coffin. If he had but opened the coffin lid now, there would be fewer stories to tell in Pugilist. But he was only gently feeling the designs of the coffin and had no intention to open it.
“I have seen many extraordinary young men,” Mei Yinxue was still brushing her long hair that was like the cloud, “I have also seen a lot of extraordinary established heroes. Till now, I still remember very clearly the pitiful and laughable eyes that they have when they looked upon me…”
There was a tinge of reflection in Nangong Ping’s eyes and he shot it towards her as he coldly said. “It is best that you keep all these proud histories of yours in your heart.”
Mei Yinxue said. “Erm…Umm umm?…“ She smiled. “If you don’t want to listen to me, you can walk far away!”
Nangong Ping in a show of frustration slammed his hand onto the coffin and sent the coffin vibrating for awhile. There seemed to be a sound coming from within the coffin but because he was feeling vexed, he did not heard.
“Everywhere I go, I was flattered. Everywhere was those pitiful and laughable faces…” At last she said. “After ten years had seemingly passed. During those ten years, indeed there were many egoistic and stupid men that would bleed for me, involved in duels just for me. It was all because I had looked at him once or I had once smiled at him. Therefore in Pugilist, there were people that started to scold me, scolding me that my blood was cold. But…They did it out of their own free will, how could they blame onto me? Hello…Do you agree?”
Nangong Ping just hummed.
Mei Yinxue gave a captivating laugh. The more frustrated Nangong Ping became, the happier she felt.
“Ten years ago, I finally met a very special man.” She softly sighed and added. “When others looked at me lustfully, he did not. When others stick to me like flies, he did not. When others are either scolding me, or boringly flattering me, he only talked to me when it is appropriate. You could even say he was beginning to understand me. Moreover he is dash and charming, had an extraordinary manners, excellent in martial arts, came from a prominent Clan and added to that he was also capable in chess, music, calligraphy, painting as well as in dance and song. Sometimes he could even recite a few poems. His repute in the Pugilistic Fraternity was prominent too, often mediating and resolving the disputes of others, as well as doing righteousness things. Therefore slowly, I befriended him!”
What she had said, were all praises for that man. It sent Nangong Ping’s heart pacing as he thought. “Such an extraordinary man, if I have the chance to know him, I will surely befriend him as well.”
Therefore he unwittingly interrupted. “Who is this man, is his heroic presence still in the Pugilistic Fraternity?”
Mei Yinxue said, “You do know this man.” As she gave a most loving and captivating laugh at him. “But a pity he would never appear in the mortal realm ever again…”
Nangong Ping sighed with regret in his heart only to hear Mei Yinxue ceased her smiles and coldly added. “Because this man had already died under your sword!”
Nangong Ping was stunned as though some one had struck him hard onto his chest. He asked. “What did you…you say?”
Mei Yinxue appeared not to hear him and went on saying. “Although he may look like a good man from the outside. But in fact, hum hum! One day during a big snowstorm, I alongside with him and also another friend of his, also a prominent figure in the Pugilistic Fraternity was using his place for drinking wine and the enjoyment of the snow. But when I drank halfway, I began to feel that something was not quite right with the taste of the wine. So were their expressions. Therefore I pretended to be drunk, only to heard his friend patting him and said. ‘Fallen, fallen.’ And added. ‘After you have ridden this base mare, do not forget my contributions!’ I had heard it very carefully therefore I temporary remained immobilized and checked out what they were trying to up to!”
This story obviously had caught the attention of Nangong Ping for he was no longer interrupting her.
Mei Yinxue continued. “This man with a beastly heart could even laughed and carried me onto the bed. Just when he was about to undress me, I simply could not tolerate any longer and jumped out of the bed and struck him directly at the front with a palm. This hypocrite although he was bad but his martial arts were not weak. But he ran out of the room through a window. Truth to tell, at that time I had already drank quite a few of the drugged wine so I felt very tired. Therefore that one attack did not seem to injure him but I was unable to chase after him! After awhile,” She looked at her hands, her glances filled with anguish and malicious, and said. “I forced the drug out with my inner strength but I could not contain the vehement in my heart so I ran out and stabbed that despicable friend of his with seven strokes, every sword landed on his vulnerable points!”
Nangong Ping felt a chill in his head as he commented. “How vicious!”
Mei Yinxue coldly laughed awhile before saying. “If I have been less experience in Pugilist, I would have let them violate my body. Then who in Pugilist would believe my words, I afraid they would only think I am the one seducing them. Once it happened who would be the one that was ‘how vicious’?”
Nangong Ping was startled and lowered his head, speechless. But in his heart, he was secretly sighing.
“The next morning, I announced to the whole world, if I ever seen that man face again, I would gouge out his eyes, cut off his ears, and sliced him piece by piece until he slowly died. The people in Pugilist did not know the reason and spread all kinds of rumors…” She laughed but it seemed like intense mourning. “Naturally, these rumors were created to hurt me!”
For no reason, Nangong Ping felt vexed and he angrily said. “Who is this man?”
Mei Yinxue coldly laughed. “He was naturally a very prominent and famous in Pugilist. Every one nicked him as Gentleman Swordsman…” She muttered it off with two sounds of laughter.
Nangong had a sudden inspiration in his head and he queried. “He…he…ain’t…”
Mei Yinxue coldly said. “Indeed he is that Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai cousin!”
Nangong Ping stumbled and sat onto the coffin in shock!
Mei Yinxue said. “I did not participate in Ye Qiubai’s Phoenix Banquet gathering and I shamefully sent out a similar invitation, everyone in Pugilist already saw it as being unprincipled and unrighteous. Now I want to kill Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai cousin, it became a pandemonium. Not to mention others, the Immortal Divine Dragon would be the first one that would not allowed it to happen. People in Pugilist tended to ingratiate themselves on others, to fawn or to follow a trend easily, who would care to separate the black from the white? Of course, they would all believe in the upright hero of that Gentleman Swordsman and who would believe the words of a woman heretic, a demoness? Moreover I had already killed the only witness. Therefore the Immortal Divine Dragon issued the Divine Dragon Challenge to me and asked me to go to the nine peaks of Mount Hua to pay for my life!”
Her speech was turning more aroused and high pitch while Nangong Ping head bowed even lower. Only to hear her added. “Therefore I go. At that time, I was only twenty plus, and feeling high spirited, lofty and sure of the invincibility of my martial skills. Even if it were Pugilist number one warrior Immortal Divine Dragon, in my eyes he meant nothing. When I reached Mount Hua, I suggested four types of challenge to Long Bushi. He did not even think twice and immediately agreed. You must know that at that time, my martial skills had not met any match yet. Even a top exponent like Gentleman Swordsman who saw me, had to turn his back against the wind and ran. When the Immortal Divine Dragon agreed so fast to my method of challenge, I felt so delightful within my heart.”
“But who would expect,” She softly sighed and continued. “The first contest on swiftness skill, I lost and I lost very badly. Therefore for the second contest, I thought very carefully and challenged him on the softer aspects of martial skills. As he was tall and powerful, I thought that it could not be his strength but…I lost again! Therefore when the third round of challenge on secret projectiles, I had grew impatience and while he was unprepared, I secretly launched the attacks on him but who would know that his whole body seemed to have eyes and back stabbing proved to be futile too!”
From the praises of the enemy, really was the most precious gift ever.
Nangong Ping secretly sighed and thought. “Protégé Master’s reputation in life is not in vain!”
“When the forth round on swordplay began, the Immortal Divine Dragon was by now in a rage and told me he would definitely not let me off for I had secretly attacked him! Therefore he trusted the words of that Gentleman Swordsman even more and thought that I was but a woman who was not only a whore and evil as well!”
Nangong Ping flashed back to the words of the priest that scolded her exactly the same, and also remembered…
Mei Yinxue sighed and said. “Even though that was the case, he still accede three strokes to me and let me had the first opportunity to attack. After I had attacked, he retaliated and in just seven strokes…” She looked up to the sky and continued. “In just seven strokes, he had loosened the sword in my hand and forced me under a ancient pine tree. He pierced me squarely in my front…I could only seen a flash of light darting in my eyes. Therefore I closed my eyes so that I would peacefully await death!”
She closed her eyes and sighed softly. “But I waited for quite some time and could only sense the reeking sound of the wind passing through but there was no other activities. I opened my eyes and saw that the sword of the Immortal Divine Dragon had pierced through the Pine tree behind me much like going through tofu and not a single sound was made.”
She opened her eyes and rolled her eyes, added. “That time I was so startled and heard Immortal Divine Dragon exclaiming to me solemnly, ‘I use a sword to defeat you, the people in Pugilist will definitely say I bully you and you may be a sore loser!’ He clapped his hands and took five steps back and added. ‘If you with a sword can win my bare hands by half a stroke, I will let you go down the peak alive!”
That time concerned my life and death so I cast aside everything. Even before he had finished speaking, I had thrown myself forward. As I was fighting for my life, so all my stances were close melee. Because I knew the depth of his martial skills therefore I would only hope to die along with him, there was not a hope of even winning him. You must know, I was not trying to purposely trying to deny anything but because I was in an inferior position against the strong. I could only use this method.”
Nangong Ping could not nod nor could he shook his head and could only listened in silence as she continued. “But after twenty strokes had passed, my breathing was no longer in a continuous flow. At the same time, he used a common stance in the Pugilist that was often seen, ‘Cloud Dragon extending its Claw’ and attacked me in the front. I saw that the left side of his lower body had a big gap, therefore I was delighted in my heart and immediately dodged my body using a feint movement, attacked with a stroke nicked ‘Peacock Picking Feather’ and thrust a sword to his left body.”
And she demonstrated the Peacock Picking Feather stance with her hand gestures. Nangong Ping secretly praised it in his heart, for this stroke of hers looked nimble, and the placement mystified, although it looked ordinary but in fact was an extraordinary superior stroke.
She added. “This one stroke from the Peacock Picking Feather is the most vicious among the one thousand seven hundred and forty two stances of my Peacock Swordplay. This sword does not seek self-preservation but only to wound the enemy. From that one stroke, several strokes can be evolved from it as well, one of them is a stroke that seeks to die together along with him. But when I had thrust out my sword, my vision became blur and he clapped his hands together and caught hold of my sword and attacked above my waist. I could only feel a burning sensation arising above my waist and it enveloped my entire body. A most uncomfortable feeling started to overwhelm me and my whole body seemed like floating and flying, then…I crumbled onto the ground without any strength!”
Nangong Ping felt a chill in his head and thought. “Protégé Master must have hated her intensely at that time therefore he would use ‘The Seven Diaspora of the Divine Dragon’ to disperse all her internal force in her body.”
Mei Yinxue sighed sorrowfully and said. “What so mystified about that one stroke, I thought for over ten years in the coffin and is still unable to penetrate through how it works. At that time, I could only feel that stroke, he could steal my sword, wound me and was so natural, that irresistible but at the same time I could not find anything extraordinary about it. It is precisely that I cannot find anything special about it that I did not know where should I resist it…haiz! I can only say this stroke is simply too unexplainable, totally cannot be described.”
Nangong Ping secretly smiled and pondered. “This one stroke contained the epitome of Protégé Master martial art essences. Using the intricate part of ‘Void’, ‘Flexibility’, of course you are unable to discover it!”
‘Stick’, ‘Fit’, ‘Compel’, ‘Slice’, ‘Incite’, ‘Pierce’, ‘Contain’…etc, were although inseparatable from martial arts but they were after all the lower level of the arts only. ‘Void’, ‘Flexibility’ was the superior level of the epitome of martial arts. To be able to use them together and on a single stroke and caused others to feel so unfathomable and unable to describe it was akin to the Buddhist saying. ‘Everything is formless.’
Mei Yinxue once again sighed to herself and said. “The cultivation that I had, the sweat and blood that I had expended, the painstaking training that I had to build up my martial art, at that instant, was destroyed lightly by him. At that time, my heart was really feeling startled, angry, frightened, scared and at the same time sorrowful and upset. It really felt ten times more painful than just killing me with just a sword.
Therefore I cried and scolded aloud the Immortal Divine Dragon as vicious and hurtfully told him what had happened. I scolded aloud. “Is it really my wrong? What right do you have, that you can treat me like this, you hold yourself as self-righteous so why did you not investigate the matter, why did you have to cover such a shameful despicable fellow and bully a woman like me!”
Her countenance slowly shown signs of her anguish and resentment as she remembered the sorrowful past and the hurtful incident.
The more Nangong Ping listened to her, the more he sighed in his heart and the more deeply he sympathized with her.
Mei Yinxue added. “After immortal Divine Dragon listened to me, he turned pale and after awhile he asked. “Why did you not say earlier!?” His voice was shaking and he clenched his fists and he was feeling very angry with himself, and regretted for what he had done.But…What the point of regretting…” She tried to suppress her shaking and incite voice and lowered her head for a long time.
Nangong Ping looked at her beautiful fingernails, her long flowing black hair and thought. “The good and evil of the pugilists, who could really discern?”
“At that time, Immortal Divine Dragon took out a miraculous medicinal pill for treating internal injuries and ask me to take it.” Mei Yinxue finally broke her silence and added. “But I rejected him. What was the use if I could temporary starve off death? I had made countless enemies for the past ten years and if they knew that my internal force had been dispersed, my martial art skill lost, they would surely seek me for vengeance!
But Immortal Divine Dragon was indeed an upright and heroic man. He went even that far to beg me, if I had died, he would feel regretful forever. He wanted to seek forgiveness for his sins and to compensate and finish off this wrong, wanted to protect me for life and to seek that despicable Gentleman Swordsman out, to avenge me!”
She slowly recovered her composure and added. “He did not wait me to say anything but helped me to swallow that medicine pill and used his internal power and treated my injuries on the mountain. Although he and me only duel for just one day but he only came down from the mountain only on the third day. The other pugilists upon seeing him looking paled and tired, thought it was because he had dueled me for three days and applauded for him!…Alas! Who really knew the real contents.”
Nangong Ping secretly sighed and thought. “When Protégé Master heard those cries of applaud, he must be feeling extremely upset!”
“Just before he went down the mountain, he sealed off my accupoints and carried me to a quiet and secret place inside a cave.” Mei Yinxue added. “On the following night, he was once again on the mountain with two very tall and strong men carrying a coffin. He placed me inside the coffin. The reasons given were to hide me from everyone’s knowledge but of course the most important…” She suddenly laughed and added. “Maybe it was to hide it from Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai!”
Nangong Ping was startled and asked. “What do you mean?”
Mei Yinxue extended her hand to comb her long hair and suddenly giggled. “Do you not know yet!” She giggled and said. “Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai is a demeanor beauty, her martial arts are extremely high as well, moreover she knew how to maintain her countenance, that time although she was fifty but looked only like thirty. Therefore everyone in Pugilist nicked her as the Ageless Phoenix and a fitting match for the Immortal Divine Dragon. She is good in everything but…” Her laugh was filled with teasing and mocking.
Nangong Ping paled and asked. “But what?”
“But she was too fond of acting with jealousy!” She could not resist anymore and made several squeamish laughs. “As a junior, naturally you will not know all these!”
Nangong Ping tried to stand upright but suddenly Mei Yinxue ceased her light laughter and in a blink of an eye became very serious.
Her expressions could swing from one end to the other, always so sudden, no one could know what she really felt.
“But…” She respectfully and solemnly added. “During those stuffy nights, in that dark room, I heard from the mouth of Immortal Divine Dragon, many things that concerned Ye Qiubai…” Her voice gradually became slow, finally she sighed deeply and said. “Just think over it, if it is not for the fact that Ye Qiubai has a strange temper, she should have married the Immortal Divine Dragon. One is the number one warrior in Pugilist, the another is an all talent heroine. They could just link their swords like their hearts and traverse merrily throughout the entire Pugilistic Real. What a most enviable life; but that did not happened and instead they spend their entire lives in loneliness… loneliness…loneliness…” She lowered her head and her long flowing black hair followed suit to land and covered her face, hiding her feeling as well!
Nangong Ping was stunned for a while and a feeling of unspeakable regret too floated in his heart.
“Loneliness…loneliness…” During this instant, he finally understood the loneliness of many people…The loneliness of the Cold Blood Maiden that people in the Pugilistic Fraternity had nicked her; And the loneliness of the Phoenix Ye Qiubai who was above all. Most of all, the one he had respected the most; the number top swordsman of the Pugilistic Fraternity; the Immortal Divine Dragon too had his loneliness.
Nangong Ping finally began to understand why his Protégé Master benevolent face would always carry such a solemn expression and why so it was always lacking in joy and laughter…This was the secret of the top prominent swordsman, the number one warrior. Naturally he would not mention all these things in the presence of his disciples. But during that cold chilling night in the darkness and facing a woman that was even more loneliness than him; even though he may have the heart of steel, he would still unwittingly let go of some of the secrets in his heart…
Although he had regarded winning and defeat lightly, did not take life and death into heart. He scorned even fame and wealth but he was still unable to escape from the darkest recess of his heart. He could not shake off the shadow that Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai had cast upon him; those feelings and affections that he had secretly concealed within him. He might have unlimited courage to face everything with his sharp long sword and roam carefree in the world but…he was unable to cut the binding cords that he had felt within.
This was the secret of the righteous hero, it was also the brilliant talented man weakness. It was also the humanity of the legend of the hero in the Pugilistic Fraternity but because of his shining and sparking position and repute had blinded everyone, no one took notice.
In this world, no one could ever be able to sympathize with the loneliness in his life, nor felt pity for his unluckiness in his romance. That was because what others felt towards his feeling would only be respect, envy, jealousy and hatred.
This was the sorrow part of being a hero. From the ancient past to the present, the sorrow of a hero would be the least noticeable!
Finally Nangong Ping could not resist anymore and let go of a deep sigh. He looked around and his heart almost jumped. For all around him, it was filled with a silver light, and caused the galaxy to turn into a transparent crystal. And the Mei Yinxue in this crystal, had been turned into a figure of a goddess.
After quite some time, Mei Yinxue finally lifted her head and to finish what she left hanging.
“Ever since that day, I had no chance whatever so to view the day and the sun. It just a pity that night I did not know that I would be separated from the stars, moon and the loftiness for so long a time. If not I would surely mused over them a little longer…”
Her cold and calm words were suddenly filled with warm feelings. “Ten years…” She said. “Long Bushi did not fulfilled his promise. He did not right my wrong, did not avenge me but…I do know the reason why…”
She suddenly stopped and looked at the fluttering light and shadows of the woods and did not say a word more.
This sudden silence seemed like a thousand tons hammer that suddenly crashed onto Nangong Ping’s heart. That was because he knew that, her silence represented her anguish, disappointment and pain. It also covered her sympathize, understanding and forgiveness.
For the sake of Ye Qiubai, because that Gentleman Swordsman was the cousin of Ye Qiubai, his Protégé Master could not bear to capture that Gentleman Swordsman. Therefore naturally he could not right Mei Yinxue’s wrong. And that the ‘Cold Blood’ Mei Yinxue did not force his Protégé Master to do so; This naturally spoke volumes of her sympathy and understanding for him…
He knew deeply in his heart; In that dark little room, his Protégé Master had felt just as terrible and painful as hers. Because at this moment, he too was feeling awfully painful for he was unable to say neither a single word of console nor a single word of asking her to forgive him.
She looked forlornly at the starlight while he looked forlornly on the soft grass on the ground. After another long period of silence, Mei Yinxue sparkly eyes was suddenly drawn towards him. He slowly lifted his head and discovered that from the side her soft and beautiful lip, there was a tingle of smile which he was unable to comprehend just like the far reaches of the starlight that mystified him.
She looked at him intensely and suddenly carried smiles and said. “But do you know…do you know?” She repeated.
Nangong Ping could not resist and asked. “What do I know?”
Mei Yinxue was still looking at him intensely and said. “What your Protégé Master failed to do for me, you have done for me. I personally heard him and you talking and I had heard his dying cry after you wounded him with your sword!”
Nangong Ping felt his ears drumming loudly as his body staggered backward. “That…That priest…is Gentleman Swordsman?”
There was a deep resentment in Mei Yinxue as she coldly laughed. “He has already become a priest? Good, good!” Her voice became as sharp as the whip that was lashing in mid air. “Although I do not know why he became a priest but his voice…his voice even if I die, I will never forget!”
Although Nangong Ping face was calmed, he was unable to suppress his startled feelings. He did not know whether to feel proud or apologetic. The renowned swordsman of Pugilist had actually died under his sword! But nevertheless, the feeling of guilt and apologetic that he had felt for the priest had more or less faded.
Only to hear Mei Yinxue continued to say. “That is the conflict your Protégé Master and me have and should be what you wanted to ask earlier but did not. You have avenged for me therefore I want to tell you this. That man did not died unjustly at all. All these years…while I was lying inside the coffin, I have no other wishes other than to hope that I can speedily regain my internal power, using all means to regain my internal power and to seek him for vengeance. Therefore earlier when I heard his horrible cry, although I feel happy but I can’t help feeling disappointed. And feels anguish too. I even think of after I walked out of the coffin, I will kill the person that help me killed that man!”
Nangong Ping felt a fear in his heart and saw the edge of Mei Yinxue’s mouth seemingly carried a tinge of laugh.
“But, somehow…” She calmly smiled and said. “Maybe it because my state of divinity has changed over the years. Now not only will I not kill you, I seem to feel like thanking you. That because you cause my hands to avoid the chance to be tainted with bloodshed. And a person whose hands avoid needless bloodshed, no matter what, is a most excellent good thing that can happen.”
This woman whose everyone had called ‘Cold blood’ would say such a word at this time, surprised Nangong Ping. He thought of saying an appropriate word at this time but after some pondering, he could only say. “After Protégé Master dispersed your internal power, now that your internal strength has been recovered, this is indeed a weird thing.”
Mei Yinxue mysteriously smiled awhile and softly said. “Is this such a weird thing?” She did not continued and Nangong Ping could not guess the hidden meaning in her words.
What he said earlier was just a random utterance. But now he really felt strange about it. He suddenly remembered her words. ‘…speedily regain my internal power, using all means to regain my internal power…’ Unconsciously, he shook in his heart and thought. “When she regained her internal power, did she uses some unorthodox methods?”
He could not resist the temptation to ask her but Mei Yinxue interrupted his thoughts.
“It is really so strange. Now that I have regained my internal strength but I feel that it is useless. Now I am neither debts to repay nor vendetta to be done. Alas! This is really much better than a stomach full of hatred.”
Earlier, she was suddenly aroused with emotions, suddenly resentment, suddenly excited, suddenly malicious, now she quieted down to sigh softly onto the top of a tree. She was arranging her hair and at the same time, softly singing. ‘Roll and roll, roll till Grandma bridge, Grandma calls me a good baby…little baby, go to sleep, mommy sit by the rolling cradle, roll and roll…’
Her voice was so sweet and gentle, and her countenance so peaceful and serene. It seemed that she had returned to a very far dream like state where at that time she was still little. Surely she had a very gentle mother and she would sing this ordinary, sweet and this familiar yet warming child ballad that everyone knew in their hearts.
When Nangong Ping heard this gentle singing and looked at her serene face, his heart could not help but felt pity and regrets. Ever since she started to roam the Pugilist at fifteen, she must have for a long time did not refresh this song. That was why she sung it in remnants, even mixed two different child ballads into a single ballad. But in the ears of Nangong Ping, this fragmented singing was exceptional sweet and intimate. He wished she could always maintain this state of divinity and wished that it would happen for him as well. That was because he too had returned to a distant dream. If mortals would always maintain this baby state of divinity, then bloodshed and ugly things would occur much lesser.
Nangong Ping had been weary, now felt a warm fatigue slowly overcoming him as he listened to her singing. Unconsciously, he slowly enclosure his eye lids…the singing seemed to be more and more distant away…
Suddenly there was a sarcastic laughter that sounded in his ears! He opened his eyes and in the midst of the fog, from the woods, appeared a shadowy figure of a person. Mei Yinxue ceased her singing while Nangong Ping shouted. “Who?”
There was a flash and a young man in gray appeared in front of him!
In that instant, the two of them stood still facing one another and at the same time look over one another. In Nangong Ping’s eyes, this young man who suddenly appeared supposed to look joyous and handsome but his face nevertheless carried a taint of stubbornness and disdaining cold laugh that seemed to direct at Nangong Ping!
Nangong Ping lifted the tip of his sword and asked in surprise. “Who may you be? Why did you come?
The young man in gray kept staring at Nangong Ping. “Marvelous, marvelous!” He suddenly laughed coldly and said. “Your Protégé Master most exalted disciple in the apple of his eye, your older protégé brother spoke of a most exalted fellow disciple brother, while his Protégé Master whereabouts is still unknown, actually have the mood to sit here and listen to a girl singing. Marvelous indeed, marvelous indeed!”
Nangong Ping solemnly said. “This have nothing to do with you!”
Young man in gray laughed. “You still behave so arrogant, why don’t you admit your wrong?”
Nangong Ping said. “This depends on who you are? And what is your intention?” His countenance was calmed and his speech was neither weak nor forceful. He simply stated matter of fact. He did no wish to reveal too much to someone who he not sure whether if he was a friend or foe. It was actually the same like he would not hide anything from his friends!
The young man in gray browsed his view and saw Mei Yinxue who remained motionless on top of a tree and suddenly laughed aloud. “You want to know who I am? And what is my intention…” He laughed aloud again. “But first you have to admit your wrong!”
Nangong Ping coldly hummed and said. “If you have come to provoke, free please to drawn the soft blade hidden in-between your waist. There is no need to go around in circles.”
Mei Yinxue softly laughed awhile, seemingly approving and praising of his action.
That young man in gray halted his laughing and he seemed to be startled. He seemed to feel strange that Nangong Ping under his taunting could still be in such a calm composure. He also seemed to feel strange that an inexperience young man like him would have such a sharp observation and eyes and could see that he had hidden a rarely seen soft weapon inside his clothes!
Now he felt disadvantage and this was something out of his expectations. Now he wished he could immediately dealt him a fierce retaliation!
He recovered his thoughts and coldly laughed. “If I am not here to provoke, you…” Before he could finish, he had another thought. Would he not give him another chance to laugh at himself? So he kept quiet suddenly. But out of his expectation, Nangong Ping did not laughed and continued to look calmly at him, seemingly guessed what he had been thinking in his heart.
Nangong Ping interrupted his thoughts, “If you do not have the intention…”
The young man in gray interrupted him and said, “Just treat that I have the intention to provoke you. That will do!” As his body turned and when he once again faced Nangong Ping, he had with him a soft silver spear in his hand!
Nangong Ping’s long sword was still by his waist. Although his heart was not calm, he was paying a great attention to this long sword. That was because he did not wish that after losing the scabbard, he would lose the precious sword that his Protégé Master had given him!
He just smiled and said. “If you have the intention to provoke, then I have no choice but to retrospect a few strokes with you!” He turned his wrist and gently drawn out his sword. He did not show off his swordmanship nor did he likewise followed the usual swordsmen style of displaying how fast they could draw their sword in a feat to measure the brilliant of their swordplay!
He was calm and steady, did not have Shi Chen rashness and jealousy, nor did he have Shi Chen proneness to fall into temptations. He was also benevolent and frank but when compared to Long Fei, he knew how to hide his strength and be tactical.
He lifted his shoulder and held his sword in front of his chest while the young man in gray shook his spear and in that instant, five to seven beams of reflective light lingered.
Nangong Ping slowly extended his sword point and solemnly said. “After you!” By now he had already noticed that the young man in gray harbored neither evil intention nor his enemy and was only suppressing his frustrations. Therefore in his speech and actions, there was still some traces of courtesy!
The young man in gray thrust his spear and in the fog was a ray of light as he bypassed even the shower of reflective light. Nangong Ping admired secretly. That young man spear technique was indeed amazing fast till the point of unbelievable!
He shifted his leg movements as his sword point followed the spearhead of his opponent. There was a green light, then a silver light and a couple of clashing sounds. Suddenly the young man in gray coughed out a sound as he soared upward!
There was a ray of silver light as it followed the ascended up. Nangong Ping took a step backward as he lifted his sword.
But the young man in gray as he ascended up, his shining silver spear broke through the fog and at lightning speed thrust downward, just like a crane that was dancing in mid-air that was descending upon its prey on the ground!
Nangong Ping was startled as he said. “Mount Tian Seven Forms Swiftness skill”! And he adjusted his steps to home his sword upward.
There was a flash of green light as it sealed off the silver spear path. The young man in gray jerked his spearhead and gently contacted the sword point. There was a dang sound as he once again used the opportunity to jump forth again.
Nangong Ping gave a sudden shout as he hastily hurried seven steps that placed him out of reach of the young man in gray spear attack!
His eyes focused but he did not retaliated yet as he waited patiently for the young man to descent first!
But the young man kicked backward to reverse and he extended both his shoulders much like a eagle and a ray of silver light once again came piercing in his direction.
Nangong Ping once again moved another seven steps. He was as steady as the mountain, when he moved, it were as fast as lightning. This seven steps looked like just one step as the green light of the sword in his hand beamed, being as fast as the silver spear!
The young man failed in his first attempt as his body much like an eagle landed on the ground. Now if Nangong Ping were to shift his sword up, although he may not lose but he could seize the first strike opportunity!
But he only maintained his present posture when the young man landed with his silver spearhead vibrating.
The young man secretly muttered to himself. “Alas Di Yang, Di Yang, do you still want to continue to test one more stroke against him?”
This young man in gray was naturally Di Yang. After he had buried the corpse, he immediately rushed down the mountain. Imbued with the solo purpose of finding out what sort of a person was this ‘Fifth Brother’ that Long Fei had lavished so much praise upon.
He was naturally a forgiving person; therefore he did not put much thought whether others had doubted him. But he had the same haughtiness of most young men that when he saw Nangong Ping, he felt like pitting against him. On the other hand, he was feeling strange why this young man had the mood to listen to the singing of a girl?
But now as he was facing Nangong Ping, his heart was slowly begun to appreciate him. His spearhead was constantly shaking but in fact foreshadowed an extremely powerful stroke that he had yet to use!
Nangong Ping still maintained his posture all the while his attention was focused on the moving spearhead.
Suddenly Mei Yinxue suddenly softly laughed awhile and asked. “You are not fighting anymore?”
The two young men with their four eyes turned their attention on her.
Mei Yinxue slowly stood up, her looks was so charming and lovable that just that simple posture of just standing up, caused them unable to resist to have a second look.
She walked gracefully towards Di Yang and said. “Are you not the descendant of Mount Tian Divine Sword, Ninth Wing Flying Eagle Old Master Di?”
All along, Di Yang did not pay attention to her. Now it seemed that he was like a man enveloped in darkness that suddenly discovered her glamorous beauty. This glamorous beautiful woman instantly dazzled him with her beauty like lightning. He felt so startled that he just nodded and did not say anything.
Mei Yinxue softly laughed and said. “Did you see his protégé brother just now?”
Di Yang was once again startled and nodded his head again.
Nangong Ping was surprised inside him. “How did she know? How did he have known his protégé brother?” Just as he was about to ask him where he had saw him, Mei Yinxue giggled and said, “His protégé brother must have been praising him in front of you, therefore you do not feel good within and wish to test him?”
Di Yang widened his eyes and was astonished. He could only nodded again.
She asked him three questions and all hit the mark of Di Yang’s heart!
It caused Di Yang who had been dazzled by her beauty to unconsciously intimidate by her superb intellect.
Inside Nangong Ping’s heart, he felt more and more curious. Only to hear her laughed softly and turned back, “That is it, what are you all fighting for!” She walked to a tree and began to sit down. Her eyes rolled and looked at the two young men and suddenly laughed. “I observed it from his martial art skills to know his origins, from his attitude and speech and guessed his intention. There is nothing so strange about it. Why are you puzzling over it?”
Her speech was modest, seemingly suggesting that it was something everyone would have guessed.
Di Yang secretly sighed in his heart and thought. “What an intelligence girl!” He laughed suddenly and said. “What an intelligence girl!” What he had thought in his heart was exactly the same as what he had said. But the language and meaning was entirely different.
Nangong Ping asked. “May I know if…“
Di Yang said. “That is right. Just as what this maiden has said, I indeed saw your protégé brother earlier. At this moment, he is still on top of the mountain peak. Now that it is soon to be morning, you should go up and conduct a search.” He did not wait for others to say anything and laughed again to say. “I am Di Yang. Now that I seen you, I am really very happy. Hope that we can meet again some other time…”
Nangong Ping asked. “Why not stay behind for awhile to talk…”
Di Yang laughed. “Earlier I have intentionally offended and now I really feel slightly embarrassing. There be much to catch up some other time but today we must part!”
When he had said ‘embarrassing’ he had already started to move away.
When he had spoken the last word, he had already moved beyond the woods.
Nangong Ping looked at his direction intensely and secretly sighed. “What an extremely fast swiftness movement skill.”
Suddenly Mei Yinxue laughed lovably and said. “Do you know why he suddenly go in such a haste?”
Nangong Ping paused to consider but before he could reply, Mei Yinxue laughed again and said. “That is because he really did not dare to look at me!”
Nangong Ping was stunned for awhile but he did not turn his head and coldly said. “I afraid that may not be the case!” But his heart secretly sighed unconsciously because he was actually doubting himself.
Suddenly there was a sweet fragrant in his nostril as Mei Yinxue walked undetected besides him and softly laughed. “In your heart, you think that what I say is correct but your mouth refuse to admit it. Why is that so?” She carried all smiles on her face and she happily observed Nangong Ping face and thought. “Whether you admit or not, I am going to see how you are going to reply me this time.”
But even before she had finished her thoughts, Nangong Ping solemnly said. “You are always treating human characteristics as too base therefore even if I am unwilling to agree with you but I have to agree. But what I say whether it is worth a grain of salt by agreeing with you, why don’t you think about it, right?”
The revealing truth was always better than flowery words. Mei Yinxue ceased her smiles and she was startled. Only to hear Nangong Ping looked at her in her eyes as he started to carry the coffin and solemnly said. “It best if you follow me and I introduced you to my big protégé brother, then you will know that in this world, there is still a few real man!”
Mei Yinxue was still remaining stunned for awhile until Nangong Ping had carried the coffin for quite a distance. Unconsciously she began to follow him. After awhile, she suddenly halted her steps and looked at his back view and sarcastically laughed a few times and said. “What a disciple that respected his Benevolent Master and his teachings, I see now that he is such a person!”
Nangong Ping was startled and turned his head to ask. “What did you say?”
Mei Yinxue coldly laughed and said. “I am speaking a common language, don’t tell me you do not understand?”
Nangong Ping looked perplexed and said. “If you do not explain, it doesn’t matter to me if I listen or not!” he turned his head and continued to walk.
Mei Yinxue looked at him hatefully. Ever since she started to roam the Pugilistic Fraternity, every time she knitted her eyebrows or laughed, there were be countless number of men who got smitten by her. She had never seen a young man such as Nangong Ping before. When Nangong Ping still did not turned back and continued to walk, she could not resist the urge to follow and said. “Hello…”
Nangong Ping did not ceased his walking nor did he turned his head but he asked. “What is the matter?”
Mei Yinxue said, “Your Protégé Master ordered you to follow me, to protect me. Why did you choose to run up the mountain alone?” Although she sounded so frustrated but she did not ceased her steps either.
Nangong Ping stopped in his tracks. He turned around and looked at her. “Did you not follow me up as well, why did you say I go up alone?”
Mei Yinxue said, “I…I…” Suddenly she stomped her leg and said. “Who says I want to go up the mountain with you!”
Nangong Ping said, “Marvelous, marvelous…”
Mei Yinxue widened her beautiful eyes and cautiously asked, “What did you say?”
Nangong Ping smiled and said. “If you are not willing to follow me up the mountain, please wait for me here awhile and I can also put the coffin here too.”
Mei Yinxue bit her teeth, asked. “Who say I am going to wait here for you?”
Nangong Ping said, “Then…” Whether he really did not understand a girl heart or intentionally did not understand, he did not say a single word of pleading. “Then…” He purposely pondered. “What should be done?”
Mei Yinxue said, “You will follow me down the mountain…”
Nangong Ping said, “It is naturally. Naturally I will follow you down the mountain…”
Mei Yinxue smiled and said, “Then…Let go!”
But Nangong Ping smiled too as well. “But you should follow me up the mountain first.”
The smiles that was on Mei Yinxue instantly evaporated as she said angrily. “Why you…”
Nangong Ping smiled and added. “You have lay in the small coffin for thousands of days, you should really have taken a stroll. Have a look, today wind is so wonderful, the weather is so fine and the grass and trees are so beautiful. And touring under the grandeur of the peerless view of Mount Hua, isn’t it such a joyous thing?”
Mei Yinxue was half filled with frustration for awhile. Suddenly she bit her teeth and moved to the front of Nangong Ping and said. “Follow me!” At last she finally move up the mountain.
Nangong Ping glanced at her long fluttering hair and secretly laughed. “People in Pugilist all say that she is so cold hearted and how vicious. But I think she is just a girl who have not shed off her innocent yet.” He tried his best not to laugh it out.
But Mei Yinxue suddenly giggled in front and said. “First time listening to some one sounds fun. But…” Suddenly her laughter was no more as she turned her head. “Only this once.”
Nangong Ping said. “Indeed, indeed. Only this once.” He turned his head back as not to let Mei Yinxue saw his smiling look.
The morning sun rose above the peaks of Mount Hua when they found the broken down bamboo hut. Although Nangong Ping was feeling anxious, he had stopped earlier at the place where there was a deep footprint on the ground as well as the various stone figurines. Finally they had reached the bamboo hut but it was now emptied of anyone. He sighed disappointing. “They have left…”
Mei Yinxue casually said. “And you have wasted a trip!”
Suddenly Nangong Ping eyes shone and he said aloud. “That may not be the case!”
He suddenly placed the coffin that was in his hands to Mei Yinxue. Mei Yinxue had not the time to ponder and received it. She saw him moving to the old furniture and lifted it. Mei Yinxue did not saw that beneath the old furniture was a piece of yellow paper so she sarcastically said. “Will there be a treasure underneath?”
Nangong Ping said. “Indeed!” As he turned his body and on his hand was a piece of yellow paper. He looked at it carefully for awhile and slowly there was a comforting smile to his countenance. But his smile contained some elements of astonishment. Afterwards, he placed it in his clothing.
Mei Yinxue who was carrying a coffin had wanted to look at it too. But because she was being encumbrance, she could not do so therefore she could not resist asking. “Hello!”
Nangong Ping purposely remained nonchalance and said. “What is the matter?”
Mei Yinxue coldly hummed and raised both her hands to fling the coffin to Nangong Ping. After he had received it, she stormed out of the door.
She felt so frustrated in her heart and did not wish to look at Nangong Ping anymore. But after walking awhile, she could not resist looking back only to see Nangong Ping looking at the stone figurine that was engraved on the side of the mountain. When he had walked casually towards her, he looked very calm. It seemed that his worries earlier had largely faded.
But Mei Yinxue felt even more perplexed and after walking another two steps, she turned her head and asked. “Do you want to say it or not?”
Nangong Ping asked. “Say what?”
Mei Yinxue hummed and swung her waist a little as she stormed off several meters away.
Nangong Ping felt it was funny but she suddenly stormed back again and said aloud. “That piece of yellow paper, what on earth is written on it?”
Nangong Ping smiled and said. “You want to look at the paper, why don’t you say it sooner? If you don’t say, how should I know!”
His right hand was carrying the coffin but his left hand when it extended out, was clenching the paper. It seemed that he had already placed the paper on his hand.
Mei Yinxue was stunned for awhile and she could not help but sighed melancholy in her heart. “Although I am beautiful, but not all the men in the world are smitten by me. Although I am smart but he is not necessary stupider than me…” She looked at Nangong Ping awhile, was she feeling sorrow, angry or happy in her heart? She reached out for the yellow paper and opened it and it read. “Guest of the Heavenly Emperor, the Divine Dragon is well!”
“Divine Dragon is well…” She softly muttered and raised her voice to ask. “The Immortal Divine Dragon, he is not dead yet?”
Nangong Ping smiled. “He will not die!”
Mei Yinxue lifted her head to look at him and asked in a serious tone. “This ‘Heavenly Emperor’, how you do decipher it?”
Nangong Ping said. “Naturally is a name of a Old Master in Pugilist. Other than that, what…”
Mei Yinxue coldly added. “Who is it? Have you ever heard that there was some one in Pugilist that is nicked Heavenly Emperor?”
Nangong Ping appeared to be startled while Mei Yinxue added. “Maybe…”
She wanted to say ‘Heavenly Emperor’ also meant Western Paradise or maybe it was the joke of his enemies to deceive them. Or the good intention of friends that wanted to comfort their hearts.
But when she saw the expression on Nangong Ping, she found herself unable to say aloud her thoughts. “Heavenly Emperor! Heavenly Emperor!” She just said matter of fact. “Just that this name I have never heard anyone mentioning it about.”
Just when they were about to descend down the mountain, she suddenly laughed. “It better that we go down by the small road!”
Nangong Ping asked. “Why?”
Mei Yinxue extended her hands to comb her long hair and gently laughed. “Look at my appearance, how can I face anyone?”
Nangong Ping looked at her for awhile, looked at her beautiful long hair that was as thick as the cloud, looked at her beautiful eyes, her pale white face under the glow of the sun and her snow white long dress, she was really unearthly beautiful. What was it and anywhere that she could not face anyone? So he muttered. “If with your appearance you cannot face anyone, then all the rest of the girls should dig a hole in the ground and hide inside it!
As he had news of the safety of Divine Dragon and as for his clan brothers and sisters, it would be a matter of time before they would finally gather again. As he was feeling quite happy, he did not say anything but followed Mei Yinxue using the small road down the mountain. Finally they reached the town of Lin Xuan.
Nangong Ping who was carrying the coffin mumbled in repetition. “This coffin is really very heavy. No wonder, Protégé Master expended so much trouble to find the coffin carriers. But they usually do not work for long before they quit!”
Mei Yinxue followed docilely besides him, her knowing eyes rolled and smiled.
Her smile seemingly contained some secrets but Nangong Ping did not noticed or paid much attention. He only added. “Do you that some of the coffin carriers are actually some who have turned over a new leaf…” He suddenly stopped and he suddenly noticed that everyone in the streets were looking at him.
A handsome presentable young man who was carrying a coffin and a maiden who was strangely attired but whose beauty was beautiful beyond comparison, were both walking down the street. If they did not attract any attention, then the people on the streets surely must all be blinded. Nangong Ping blushed and lowered his head and softly said. “If we have gone down by the main road, we can hire a carriage.”
However Mei Yinxue remained as composed as ever and smiled. “If you are afraid of being seen, there are many shops on both sides of the streets…” Her meaning explicitly speaking mean that she was already used to being look upon.
Nangong Ping said. “Indeed, indeed…” As he lowered his head and walked to the side of the street.
He suddenly spotted a wine tavern with a signboard ‘Ping Ji Fast Wine Tavern’ written in fresh red color. Even the sides of the door were in red black colors and it was differ from the other wine taverns. His countenance undergoes a slight change but he continued to walk towards it.
But even before he could enter the door, a tavern assistant came out. He was not trying to welcome him but to block him from entering.
Nangong Ping was startled and asked. “What are you doing?”
The tavern assistant looked proud and hypocrite as he coldly said. “What are you trying to do?”
Nangong Ping said. “Naturally I come to eat.” He wondered in puzzlement in his heart why this shop treated its customers with such disrespect. So he asked. “Isn’t this shop opening for business?”
The thin shop assistant coldly laughed. “Sure we have to do business but for customer that bring a coffin, we do not welcome.”
Nangong Ping flurried laughed and said. “But…this coffin is emptied. If you do not believe me, I can open it for you to look!” He was about to put the coffin down when the shop assistant pushed him away and shouted. “Even if it is emptied, it is still not welcome.” Although he was skinny but he had great strength. Therefore it quite obvious that he had practiced martial arts before.
At this moment there appeared many people who had gathered to see the commotion. Nangong Ping looked perplexed and he was slowly giving way to anger but when he saw the crowd, he suppressed his anger and said peacefully. “Your boss and I are acquaintances. Do you think you can do me a favor by letting me place the coffin…”
Even before he could finish, the shop assistant was in rage. “Even if you know my boss, I will not allow it, now leave fast…”
Mei Yinxue had already noticed that Nangong Ping did not want to create any troubles so she gently tagged his sleeves and said. “This shop can’t, we can still change to another shop!”
Nangong Ping looked at the shop assistant for awhile before he made his way out of the crowd, only to hear him scolding. “You should have asked around what place is it! Who open it? And who is our Master? If you come to make trouble again, I will break your leg…”
Mei Yinxue secretly looked at Nangong Ping and saw that he was calm and did not show any hint of anger. So she felt very strange.
But when they changed to another shop, the another shop assistance told them. “Customers that Fast Wine Tavern rejected, our small shop did not stay to invite…” After changing another three shops, it was exactly the same as before. By now Nangong Ping became perplexed. The small whispering that was filled with jeering behind his back caused him a great deal of intolerant.
But still, he did not give way to anger. And make his way to another big street and finally found a small shop that was willing to accept them.
The old tavern keeper served them cups and chopsticks but whispered in a low voice. “Actually, customers that Fast Wine Tavern refuse to entertain, we do not dare to receive but…Alas! You are so young and bring along your wife…Alas! I heard that their Young Master is someone, who upheld righteousness and thought little of wealth, has a rich reputation, is a wanderer and has many friends. Just now the person you meet should be Second Master You. This Second Master You is someone who is trained by the boss of the Ju Ying Hero Establishment. I heard that he even learnt some martial arts from their boss personally. Although he is a shop assistant, even their tavern keeper did not dare to offend him…Alas!”
Although he said a lot, he also at the time placed three dishes on the table. Nangong Ping still remained as calm as ever and not a trace of any expression.
After Mei Yinxue heard the old man words, she was original quite puzzled and flabbergasted. But now she found it to be quite funny.
After eating two mouthfuls from the dishes, Nangong Ping suddenly requested for paper and brush, wrote some words and carefully folded it and walked to the door and handed it over to an idle man by the street and said something in a very low voice before walking back.
Mei Yinxue looked at him and smiled captivating but she did not ask him what he was doing, seemingly she had something up her sleeves as well.
The both of them continued to eat their meal peacefully. After awhile, there was a middle age man in cotton attire who clumsily and hastily appeared. He respectfully raised both his hands to greet Nangong Ping.
But before he could say anything, another man came like the wind and bowed down on the ground. He was that thin shop assistant Second Master You.
Nangong Ping rolled his eyes and slowly got up and asked. “Second Master You, what are you doing?”
The proud and hypocrite Second Master You now looked so pitiful and laudable that he could not say anything. The another man in cotton attire had an anxious look on his face, tried to lighten the mood by saying. “I didn’t expect…I didn’t expect…that Young Master will come, arrive at the Northwest.”
The old man from the little shop was startled as well. He glanced at Nangong Ping and glanced at the crowd that was gathering outside the shop. He rubbed his white hair on his head and really could not believe his eyes.
One must know that the Nangong Aristocracy Family had the wealth that could equal a kingdom. In the entire fraternity, it seemed that everywhere were their business. And the famous red black marking of the Nangong Aristocracy Family supported thousands if not tens of thousands of people but very few actually knew their Young Master Nangong Ping!
Now the paper that Nangong Ping wrote could cause that Second Master You and the man in cotton attire to feel startled and anxious as they faced their Young Master. Those two men really did not know what to say and what sort of pleading should they do.
Mei Yinxue softly laughed and said. “Now we can change another place to eat right!”
Nangong Ping lowered his head and said in jest. “Second Master You, can we carry a coffin inside?”
Of course, his henchmen would never allow their Young master to carry the coffin. So the man in cotton attire replied. “Welcome Master to first come to the shop. Your humble servant will order some men to carry the coffin after you.” He felt strange why his Master would want to carry a coffin by his side but he kept those questions to himself, as he did not dare to ask.
Nangong Ping smiled and from inside his clothing, he took out a fragrant sack and placed it casually on the table and smiled at the startled old man. “This is the payment…” He paused awhile before adding. “In two days, I will arrange for you to be the Steward of Fast Wine Tavern. I believe that you will motivate the shop assistants over there to be more kind and courtesy.”
He did not wait for the old man to thanks him and walked hurried out of the little shop with Mei Yinxue.
Only when they had disappeared from view with the crowd, this happy old man stood motionless by the entrance and it seemed that he had just had a very beautiful dream.
He sat by the side of the table and opened the fragrant sack and there was a brilliant light shining forth from it. It seemed like the ray of light from the sunrise that blinded his eyes and also lit his heart.
This happiness came too suddenly yet came too late. He rubbed his wrinkles and thought of his dead wife. He did not know whether to feel happy or to sigh.
Suddenly he heard of a cracking sound, therefore he turned his head.
But as soon as his eyes moved, his entire body seemed to freeze. And he dropped the fragrant sack as four shining pearls rolled toward the coffin that was at the side of the wall…
The coffin lid was now opened and a priest who was drenched with blood climbed out. The old man felt his body shook and suddenly remembered he still got his voice…but he was already too stunned by the happenstance just like he was too stunned by the happiness earlier.
But even before he could shout, the priest had purged forward and extended all ten of his fingers like hooks and strangled his neck.
There was some sound before silence settled down. The priest looked around anxiously; the streets were emptied as everyone had gone to take a peek at the dashing Nangong Young Master.
He let go of a sound of relief as he hurried upstairs to change his clothing with the old man and then sneak off, leaving the old man who had work hard for his entire life helplessly on the ground with the shining pearls…