Kou Zhong lay down in the mountain wilderness, using the sheepskin outer robe as his bed and the starry sky as his quilt.
He could hear the sound of Thousand-Li Dream drinking water in the stream about a dozen steps away, while Wuming was using his chest as its nest, curling her head up and was sleeping peacefully. Translated by foxs
His hand lightly stroked the sheepskin robe, which every needle, every thread, was sewn by Chuchu’s own hands. The robe has been mended by a Longquan’s skilled workman, and has been restored to its original condition. On the surface, he could not see any traces, but just like his heart, the scars abound.
Shang Xiufang should have arrived in Gaoli by now. He wondered if because she attached her passion to the music world, he was fading from her memory? Song Yuzhi’s feeling toward him, was it love more, hate less, or was it hate more, love less? He did not dare to think about it, yet he could not help thinking.
He, Kou Zhong, passed through Shouchun without stopping by to see Chuchu, would that person [usually female] thus have her liver and guts cut to pieces, and blame him for being heartless?
Ay! The feeling between men and women, not only it makes people deeply worried, it would also injure the spirit and break the soul! Even more, it was a heavy burden pressing on people and making them unable to breathe. However, if he died in battle and was buried with the city in Luoyang, they [feminine] would surely be grieved and broken-hearted for him. But just like everything else, it would be diluted and healed with time. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Suddenly he felt extremely lonely. If either one of them were by his side this very moment, he would surely disregard everything to love her, to seek forgiveness from her.
When Xu Ziling returned to the Passionate Nest, Hou Xibai was reading a book, shaking his head, swaying his noggin, taking pleasure in doing so.
Xu Ziling dejectedly sat down across the small table from him; he sighed and said, “I have just met your Shizun [venerable master].”
Hou Xibai’s both hands trembled, he nearly dropped the book to the ground. Stunned, he looked at him and blurted out, “Really? You are not joking?”
Xu Ziling responded in displeasure, “If I am joking, I would joke about another matter. My guess is that quite possibly he came to deal with you, but seeing me slipping out of the house, he changed his mind and followed me instead. He took me on a skiff along the Yong’an Canal.”
His countenance changed, Hou Xibai said, “How can you come back alive and did not receive the least bit of injury?”
Smiling bitterly, Xu Ziling said, “Oh, Hou Gongzi! Your Shi Shi is no longer the Shi Zhixuan like before, rather, he is the Shi Zhixuan who succeeded to fuse together two distinct extremes into one. You would never know which sentence he is saying is true, which one is false. I no longer have slightest bit of confidence in observing him. When we parted, he gave me a word of advice, which quite possibly was coming from his heart, which is he is hoping that I would leave Chang’an immediately and go to Bashu to visit his daughter.” Translated by foxs
Sucking in a mouthful of cold air, Hou Xibai said, “That’s not an advice, it’s a warning. What do we do now?”
Xu Ziling could feel the reverence and fear toward Shi Zhixuan from deep within Hou Xibai’s heart, he knew that if he could not rouse his fighting spirit, the consequences would be worrisome.
Smiling, he said, “In his mouth, Xibai Xiong is merely a naughty child with independent ideas; he also praises you as extremely outstanding.”
Stunned, Hou Xibai said, “Unexpectedly he said such things?”
Smiling wryly, Xu Ziling said, “That is the point that gives me the most headache. He can see us through and through, but we are completely in the dark as what his intention is. We must turn this situation around; if we really cannot think of a way, we have no choice but to pack and quit and leave Chang’an tonight.”
Knitting his brows, Hou Xibai thought hard; he said, “Why did he let you go? Or perhaps let me go? Could it be that he has misgivings because the two of us are together? If so, that means he has other more important things to do, hence he does not want to deliberately complicate the issue.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling praised him, “Xibai Xiong’s mind is beginning to return to normal; that is the best. I have an even brazen thought, which is that at least half of what he said is true, which is up to this point, he is still unable to strike his daughter treacherously, so much so that he is afraid of this idea. Therefore, because of my relationship with Qingxuan, he let me off, and while he is at it, he postpone his intention to deal with you.”
Hou Xibai nodded and said, “Although this thought is a somewhat abstruse, but certainly it’s a little logical. Didn’t Feixuan say that without a year or a half, Shi Shi could forget about recovering? Could it be that because he has not recovered completely, he is coaxing us to wait until he is recovered before starting to make his move against us?”
Xu Ziling’s expression grave, he shook his head and said, “Not only he has completely recovered, his power is even more refined compared to when he was in the Little Chang’an, it already reaches the Heaven and Man Become One level. He did not make his move, it was absolutely not because he does not have any confidence to put me in order.”
Holding his head in his hands, Hou Xibai lowered his voice and said, “I would rather he showed the cart and the horse clearly by coming to kill me. We, demonic school people, never pay attention to the order of who’s older and who’s younger, or the relationship between master and disciple. If my life is under threat, I will take a stand and fight to the end. But now I am confused by his action. Oh, right, have you found Ji Qian?”
Xu Ziling took off his Gong Chenchun’s mask, still with the full beard glued onto it. He held it in his hand and stared blankly at it for half a day. Laughing involuntarily, he said, “I don’t know whether it was because of your Shi Shi was watching in the dark nearby, although my consciousness did not sense it, yet my primordial spirit had responded, so much so that I was perturbed, hence I made a mistake; because I practically should not disguise myself as Gong Chenchun. To see Ji Qian, I should have dressed up as the yellow-faced man Yong Qin. Ji Qian wanted to learn gambling skills from Yong Qin instead of Gong Chenchun. Fortunately, mistake has a mistake’s benefit, which made me building a relationship with Hu Xiaoxian. Her charming technique is indeed captivating. Thinking about it, my heart is still thumping inside me.”
Staring blankly, Hou Xibai said, “What are you talking about? Listening to you, I am even more confused.” Translated by foxs
After listening to Xu Ziling’s clear explanation, Hou Xibai proposed, “Since we cannot sleep anyway, why don’t we go to Shang Lin Yuan to look for Ji Qian? If we can’t see her, then we go to the casino.”
Shaking his head, Xu Ziling said, “Whether I am Gong Chenchun or Yong Qin, it’s not appropriate to be seen by Ji Qian that we are together. You should take advantage while you still have the good fortune to go to bed and sleep peacefully.”
Hou Xibai sighed and said, “Shi Shi may come for me to give me bad luck any moment, how can I sleep peacefully? Just like Ji Qian, the deeper the night, the more my spirit is aroused. Perhaps you practically should not meet Ji Qian, let me sound her out!” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Astonished, Xu Ziling said, “You are not afraid Shi Zhixuan might be waiting for you outside the door?”
Shaking his head, Hou Xibai replied, “He is already recovered, and now is the time to accomplish the unification of the Holy School’s Two Sects and Six Ways, instead of eliminating me, the only direct disciple of Hua Jian Pai – in a hurry. I wish he’d come to see me, I want to know what he has to say.”
Finished speaking, he returned to his usual calm, relax, free and easy manner, and left while humming a tune.
Leaving the small hall, Xu Ziling passed through the courtyard separating the front and rear sections of the house. He had just stepped into the veranda of the rear section when he stopped in shock.
Unexpectedly he heard a woman weeping with grief, and the intermittent sound of weeping was coming from the far end of the corridor to his left, where Hou Xibai’s bedroom was located.
My Niang! What the hell is going on here? Whose family’s girl could come in – the gods did not know, the ghosts did not perceive – and what made her weeping endlessly and grieving like this?
He barely arrived in Chang’an, the things that happened were always beyond his expectations. Suddenly, he no longer had the least bit of confidence in the operation that he was about to launch.
He started his steps again and came in front of the closed door of supposedly empty Hou Xibai’s bedroom, and lightly pushed the door open. Translated by foxs
The gentle and soft moonlight came from the east-facing window, illuminating half of the bedroom, while the other half was still trapped in the dark. The exceptional beauty Wanwan, like raindrops on a pear blossom, was sitting on the head of the bed, her fragrant shoulders was shaking continuously, as she was crying until the sky turned dark, the earth hazy; her expression was sorrowful.
Not even in his dream would Xu Ziling think that female demon Wan could become like this. Staring blankly, it was as if he was nailed on the spot. It was quite half a day later that he moved toward the bed and sat down. “What happened?” he asked with a sigh.
It was as if only this moment that Wanwan realized that he had come by her side. Crying out in sorrow, unexpectedly she threw herself into his bosom and sobbed, “My Shizun [revered master] is dead!”
How could Xu Ziling expect that Wanwan would react like this? Naturally he could evade in time, but under the circumstances, he simply could not harden his heart; immediately the tender, fragrant, and soft jade was filling his bosom, while a large area of his collar was dampened by her hot tears.
Wanwan’s pair of hands wrapped tightly around his waist, her tender body trembling and shaking, she completely lost her usual calm, self-controlled manner; compared to the cold and detached demeanor in which she received the news of Zhu Yuyan’s death, it was like a different world altogether.
Xu Ziling felt that her grief and pain was coming from her heart; he could not help feeling sorrowful as well. He sighed and said, “The dead cannot come back to life, there will come a day when we will also die; it’s just a question of when.”
Wanwan buried her pretty face in his bosom, while she desperately hugged him even tighter; she spoke in distress, “Shizun was Wan’er’s only family; only she genuinely cherished me, cultivated me. But now she is gone, leaving me all alone in this world.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
And she cried again.
The clothes on Xu Ziling’s chest were drenched, he was at a loss on where he should put his pair of hands; without any better option, he lightly patted her fragrant shoulder and said, “A moment ago you appeared to be very strong, how come this moment you suddenly lost control like troops in defeat like a landslide [idiom]? Not only that, you hide in here and cry?”
Wanwan twitched. “I don’t know,” she said, “After leaving this place, I continuously thought about past cause and future effect, and then I was unable to bear, I only wanted to cry my grieve out in your bosom. I definitely must not let the people in my Sect to know that I am so sorrowful that I lost control.”
Xu Ziling was left speechless. His gaze fell onto her pair of beautiful bare feet curling on the side of the bed, emotional stirring welled up in his heart. No matter how advanced and exceptional the training that the demonic school people had to undergo to obliterate their human nature so that their disciples were turned into vicious and merciless, cold-hearted people, in the end a human is a human, they would still possess human’s seven emotional states and six desires. Shi Zhixuan was like this, Wanwan was also like this; it all depends whether you can touch their human nature side or not. Translated by foxs
He spoke softly, “How long have you been here? Did you hear my dialogue with Hou Xibai?”
The sobbing subsided somewhat; her voice hoarse from crying, Wanwan said, “When I came, you were alone; I thought you might generate reaction, who would have thought that you were completely unaware. It was not until I cried that you heard me and came to comfort me.”
Xu Ziling knew his personal affair was his personal affair, he realized that because of his encounter with Shi Zhixuan, his troop disposition was in chaos, causing him to be in a daze. Sighing, he said, “Do you know whom I ran into just now?”
Wanwan’s tender body shook, finally she stopped sobbing.
Unconsciously, Xu Ziling gently stroked her back, saying, “It’s Shi Zhixuan!”
Wanwan sat her tender body up straight. Wiping away her tears, she sadly said, “I never knew that Zhu Shi held such an important position in my heart. She was actually a very pitiful woman, Shi Zhixuan harmed her very terribly. Debt of blood must be repaid with blood. Shi Zhixuan is a sinner of the Holy School, but now he is the one most likely will unify the Holy School. If he kills me, Yin Gui Pai will fall into his hands. Furthermore, I can only fight him alone, because only by doing this I will be able to prove that I am a qualified successor, only then will I be able to sit on the throne that Zhu Shi left vacant. At that time the people in the Sect will begin to be willing to throw their life in for me. This is the succession rule that the forefathers of our humble school decided since the beginning. Before taking over the Pai Zhu [master of the Sect] position, one must devote oneself to spiritual development for three years. This moment Ziling ought to understand why Shi Zhixuan is coming to Chang’an.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling called for his Niang inwardly. This is called before the first wave subsides, a new wave rises. Compared with dealing with Shi Zhixuan who only had one flaw left, the Xiang Family affair immediately became relatively uncomplicated and easy. Although he regarded Wanwan as an enemy, but after coming in contact with her many times, he could not help having a bit of affection; both in terms of feeling and reason, he could not watch Shi Zhixuan killing Wanwan. Otherwise, if Shi Zhixuan really unified the demonic school and gathered the scattered ancient scrolls back as one, he did not dare to even think about the grave consequences.
Wanwan’s beautiful eyes gazed deeply into his, she spoke softly, “Will you help me break his Bu Si Yin Fa?”
Frowning, Xu Ziling said, “In Chang’an, his Bu Si Yin Fa practically has no flaw. Even if we join hands to deal with him, it will be useless. I have a proposal. Right now I will immediately send you off by climbing over the city wall and leave, and then you must immediately rush over to Bashu. When my job here is done, I will look for you at the place where you are shunning the world.”
A strange light of intelligence floated inside the pupil of Wanwan’s pretty eyes, she spoke softly, “Are you suggesting that he still has a flaw in Bashu?”
Xu Ziling shook his eyes and said with a wry smile, “That is what he said with his own mouth. I asked myself but I still can’t see whether he is telling the truth or a lie.” Translated by foxs
Wanwan calmly shrugged her shoulders; totally unconcerned, she said, “It’s always better to have one more thing to control him. You, Xu Gongzi came to Chang’an, what exactly is the noble errand that brings you here? Whatever it is, I will keep the secret for you, so much so that I am willing to undertake the task to help you.”
How could Xu Ziling dare to trust her? He resolutely said, “My affair, please lift your honorable hands off; it would be best if you don’t hear, you don’t question.”
With hidden bitterness, secret grudge, Wanwan rolled her eyes at him, putting the displeasure in her heart on display. But an instant later she returned to her usual cold and detached and confident bearing, as if she was a completely different person from the Wanwan who was grieving and in tears just now. “Can I stay the night in here tonight?” she spoke indifferently.
Stunned, Xu Ziling replied, “This is Hou Xibai’s residence, reasonably speaking, you ought to ask him.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Wanwan looked deep into his eyes, she spoke gently, “Do you know why my humble master lost in Shi Zhixuan’s hands?”
Inwardly Xu Ziling said that naturally it was because she intended to drag him and Shi Feixuan along to die, yet on his mouth he was unwilling to speak it out, hence he slowly shook his head.
Wanwan sighed and said, “A woman who train Tianmo Da Fa is absolutely forbidden to have any physical relationship with the man that she loves. It was precisely because Shizun was unable to restrain emotions that she was tricked by Shi Zhixuan for a joyous union in bed that even after the seventeenth level she could no longer advance for a cun, all along she failed to reach the eighteenth level, the highest realm. Without any better option she used the burning both jade and common stone move to die in such a way that Shi Zhixuan would also perish. It’s a pity that she still failed.”
Xu Ziling spoke awkwardly, “That is not the reason I refuse to let you stay the night; rather, I cannot act on Hou Xibai’s behalf to allow you, because you did not accept my advice to leave Chang’an immediately.”
Smiling wryly, Wanwan said, “Before fighting, I already run away in panic, what qualifications do I have to inherit the Pai Zhu position? Don’t be overly sensitive, all right? Based on our Hou Gongzi’s habit of music and song every night, chances are he won’t return home before daybreak. I don’t care about you anymore! I am exhausted from crying, I want to sleep!”
Finished speaking she simply lay down on the bed and closed her beautiful eyes. From her lying down tender body moving up and down following her breathing, her snow white bare feet, up to her beautiful jade countenance, even with Xu Ziling’s self-control, he still felt a rush of excitement. He called for his Niang inwardly, and was unable to do anything to her even more.
A sweet and charming smile escaped from the corner of Wanwan’s mouth; lightly patting the bed next to her, she spoke gently, “How about lying down and rest for a moment?” Translated by foxs
Scared, Xu Ziling stood up and spoke awkwardly, “Absolutely not!”
Wanwan’s beautiful eyes were still closed, her manner serene, she said, “Just now you were not afraid to hug me, so what’s the problem in sleeping together? Ah!”
Xu Ziling’s mind was severely shaken, he saw Wanwan’s face revealed pained expression, her flowery countenance turned dark, with bursts of red and bursts of white alternated indeterminately, an obvious terrifying sign of fire deviation. Could it be that Zhu Yuyan’s death excited her true emotions to such an extent that it was difficult for her to overcome her distress?
In his big shock, he forgot that they were enemies, he pounced onto the bed.
Wanwan was still trembling and shaking endlessly. Reaching out to him, she pulled him tightly into her embrace, so that she and Xu Ziling rolled around together. “Ziling, help me!” she spoke in trembling voice. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling pressed both hands on her back and injected his true qi; shocked, he suddenly realized what happened. The Tianmo Qi in her body was fleeing in disarray and flowing wildly, just like a wild horse that refuses to be bridled, uncontrollably soaring and rushing, fleeing and charging through her meridians and acupoints. If this dreadful situation did not change, she definitely would not be able to last too long. Having no other choice, Xu Ziling selflessly poured his true qi into her system, to support the qi ocean on her dantian first, and then going out from there, along the Twelve Regular Channels, to bring order out of chaos.
Because he was familiar with the situation inside Wanwan’s body, it was an easy drive on a familiar path for him to lend her a hand.
The Long-Life Qi circulated around her system countless of times, until Xu Ziling’s spirit weary, his strength exhausted, the wear and tear to his true energy was substantial, and only then did Wanwan calm down; her hands embracing him came loose, she lay down on the bed, as if she was falling into deep sleep.
Still feeling uneasy, Xu Ziling stretched out his hand and pressed it on her fragrant forehead, and he was shocked, feeling that her body temperature was climbing uncontrollable. He wanted to inject his true qi again to get to the bottom of this matter, unexpectedly her abundant, surging Tianmo Qi rejected it. At this point, something even more bizarre happened!
When she became so hot that his hand was scalded, suddenly her body temperature dropped, to become ice-and-snow-like freezing cold. Strangely, her expression did not show any changes. Such sudden heat and sudden cold, Xu Ziling was completely at a loss, he did not know where to start.
A burst of fatigue attacked his whole body. Without the freedom to act independently, Xu Ziling had to close his eyes and regulate his breathing, and lay down next to her. He knew that if he forced himself to continue, perhaps he might cause permanent damage to himself. Translated by foxs
Just rest for a little bit, just rest for a little bit …
By the time he opened his eyes again, the morning sun appeared before his eyes. Xu Ziling sat up in horror, Wanwan was still lying down next to him, breathing gently.
Xu Ziling heard Hou Xibai’s footsteps, coming straight toward the bedroom; he knew that if Hou Xibai did not wake him up, perhaps he would still be sleeping.
Reaching out to touch Wanwan’s forehead, strangely it was not that cold. This moment he had no time to pay attention, he jumped out of the bed to intercept Hou Xibai, whose whole body was covered in wine smell – on the door.
Hou Xibai craned his neck to peek inside, he was surprised and was unable to conceal his amazement; he looked at Wanwan on the bed, and then he looked at Xu Ziling.
Xu Ziling knew that he misunderstood; caught in difficult situation and embarrassment, he busily pushed Hou Xibai toward the outer hall and explained the matter clearly.
Hou Xibai revealed a grave expression. He said, “Ziling had fallen into her evil schemes!” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling’s countenance changed, “What evil schemes?” he asked.
It was as if Hou Xibai suddenly sobered up from his hangover; his pair of eyes flashing brightly, he said, “Although I don’t really know what kind of trick she is playing, but looking at her current condition, she must be borrowing Ziling’s Long-Life Qi to help her breaking through the limitation of the Tianmo Da Fa, to advance into, or even to surpass – the eighteenth level, which, ever since the forefather of the Yin Gui Pai, the successive generations’ Pai Zhu have never been able to reach.”
Inwardly, Xu Ziling’s heart was in a great mess; he did not know whether he ought to be frightened or to be happy.
Hou Xibai said, “There is only one solution now, which is to make our move to get rid of her.”
Shaken, Xu Ziling said, “How could we do that?”
Hou Xibai stood up suddenly and said, “Let me make my move.” Finished speaking, he walked over toward the inner section.
“Xibai Xiong!” Xu Ziling called out.
Hou Xibai turned around and came back to him. Sitting down dejectedly, he gasped for breath, shook his head, and said with a sigh, “You don’t need to stop me. I simply don’t have the heart to strike treacherously and destroy a flower, not to mention a great beauty like an immortal, ay!”
The two men looked at each other and smiled bitterly.
Someone was knocking on the door.