Chapter 64: The Source of Troubles
[บางคำ อาจจะต้องตัด -d, -ed, -s, -es ออกเสียก่อน
A unique set of footsteps emanated throughout the dense forest. In actuality, there was nothing particularly sepcial about this set of footsteps. But for some reason each step sounded like one's own heart was being trampled on.
The sound of the footsteps stopped.
Just the thought of Lin ShiYin brought a sharp pain to Li XunHuan's heart.
But he didn't feel the need to go look for her. Because he knew that Long Xiao4Yun would definitely treat her well. Even though Long Xiao4Yun had changed, he knew that the way Long felt for Lin ShiYin remained the same.
As long as he remained faithful to Lin ShiYin, Li XunHuan could forgive everything.
At this moment, one really couldn't describe the joy in Long Xiao4Yun's mood.
In a few days, he would have to take the position of Second-In-Command in the Gold Currency Union, becoming the sworn brother of the most influential and powerful person in the world.
One could even see from his son's facial expression that his mood had gotten much better.
But the only one who caused him to have regrets was his wife.
"Why didn't she come along with me? Why didn't she come to share in my glory and success?"
But he refused to let this drag down his mood.
For some people, their greatest desire in life is wealth. For others, it is power.
If one can obtain these two, pain and suffering in the matters of their personal lives will be lessened.
Long Xiao3Yun was staring out the window, but his mind focused on nothing in particular.
Long Xiao4Yun tapped his son on the shoulder and asked, "Do you think that ShangGuan JinHong will come in person this time to greet us?"
Long Xiao3Yun turned around and replied, "Of course he will, and the ceremony will certainly be grand."
Long Xiao4Yun nodded in agreement and said, "I thought the same thing, I'm already his sworn brother. By him giving me face, he is giving himself face."
His voice dipped as he asked, "When he does arrive, do you think I should address him as Chief, or as Big Brother?"
Long Xiao3Yun replied, "Of course address him as Big Brother. I'll have to change my habits too and remember to start calling him Uncle."
Long Xiao4Yun let out a hearty laugh and said, "To have an Uncle such as him, you are really fortunate. But ..."
His laughter stopped as he continued, "Li XunHuan is still alive. Do you think ShangGuan JinHong will go back on his word?"
Long Xiao3Yun answered with a smile, "All the heroes of the world know about this event. The letters of invitation have already been sent outo. If he does go back on his word, he will lose all credibility and no one will believe anything he says ever again."
A smile came back to Long Xiao4Yun's face. "You are correct. His reputation in the martial arts world is based on his word. His word cannot be retracted once it leaves his mouth. Even if ShangGuan JinHong wanted to change his mind, its too late now."
The papers on his desk were numerous, in fact they seemed to pile up more and more each day.
The scope of his responsibilities seemed to get broader and broader each day as well.
The reason for this is because every single matter required his personal attention and judgment.
He didn't trust anyone.
ShangGuan JinHong was at his desk late into the morning, working without rest for quite some time. Not only was he not tired at all, but he was rather enjoying himself.
The door opened.
A person walked in.
ShangGuan JinHong didn't even bother to turn his head to see who it was. Because he knew there was only one person who could walk right into his room.
Jing WuMing did as he had always done, upon entering the room he walked right up behind ShangGuan JinHong.
"Where is Li XunHuan?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
"He has left." Jing WuMing answered.
ShangGuan JinHong finally turned his head to face Jing WuMing.
After just that one glance, his gaze fell towards Jing WuMing's broken arm. Then he went back to his business. He didn't say another word and didn't exude a single sense of emotion.
There wasn't a trace of emotion on Jing WuMing's face either. His morbidly pale eyes were gazing into the distance.
It was as if nothing had changed at all.
He wasn't questioned, nor was he comforted.
Whether his arms were broken or his legs were broken, it was of no concern to ShanGuan JinHong.
After some time, there was a knock at the door.
Another large pile of documents were brought in.
All of them were yellow but there was a red one which stood out.
ShangGuan JinHong opened this letter first and glanced over it quickly. It only contained these words: "Meet at the old place, Lu FengXian will be there waiting."
ShangGuan JinHong quietly stood up and seemed deep in thought. Then he promptly made a decision.
He slowly walked out.
Jing WuMing followed him closely like his shadow.
The two walked out the door, through a secret passage, past an open courtyard, past a guard who bowed respectfully, and out into the bright sunlight.
The late autumn sun is like a woman in the later years of her life. She no longer has the power to move men's hearts.
The two were still walking one in front of the other ... but suddenly, Jing WuMing noticed that the rhythm in ShangGuan JinHong's steps had slightly changed.
Jing WuMing could no longer coordinate in unison with him.
Although ShangGuan JinHong hadn't increased his pace, the distance between them was slowly getting larger and larger.
Jing WuMing's steps became slower and slower and he eventually stopped altogether.
ShangGuan JinHong didn't turn around. He merely saw JinWuMing's shadow gradually move further away.
Those deathly grey eyes of his slowly revealed an indescribably and profoundly deep sorrow ...
A dense pine forest.
So thick that light barely shines through all year long.
Although it was dark, the air wasn't humid. The winds carried the fresh smell of the evergreens.
Lin XianEr was resting along the side of a tree, holding tightly onto Lu FengXian's hand. Her captivating and seductive eyes never left his face.
Lu FengXian's face was pale, and wrinkles began to appear at the corners of his eyes.
The autumn wind entered the forest and brought a gentle comforting aura with it.
Lin XianEr asked in her gentle voice, "Do you have any regrets?"
Lu FengXian shooked his head and replied, "Regrets? Why would I have any regrets? With you, no man in the world would ever feel any regets."
She swooned into his arms and softly asked, "Am I really that special?"
Lu FengXian embraced her by the waist and said with a smile, "Of course you are, you're better than I have ever dreamed of, better than anyone could ever imagine ..."
His hands slowly made their way up and down her body.
Lin XianEr started breathing heavily and let out a tender cry, "Not now ..."
"Why?" Lu FengXian asked impatiently.
Lin XianEr bit the side of her lips and said, "You have to save your strength to deal with ShangGuan JinHong."
She twisted her body as if trying to avoid him but it seemed as if she was inviting him at the same time.
Lu FengXian paused for a moment before he started caressing her again and said mischievously, "I can deal with you first and then deal with him later."
"You musn't underestimate him. He isn't as easy to take care of as you think." she said.
"You don't think I'm a match for him?" Lu FengXian asked.
"No thats not what I mean, its just that ... " Lin XianEr replied.
She started to nibble lightly on Lu FengXian's ear and gently whispered, "Once you kill ShangGuan JinHong, the entire world will be ours. We'll have plenty of time to be together in the future, why rush anything now?"
Her sweet words in the autumn wind sound like a beautiful song.
Lu FengXian's heart softened and he held on to her even tighter and said, "You really care this much about me ..."
His voice suddenly stopped.
Lin XianEr quickly pushed herself out of his embrace as well.
A unique set of footsteps emanated throughout the dense forest. In actuality, there is nothing particularly sepcial about this set of footsteps. But for some reason each step sounded like one's own heart was being trampled on.
The sound of the footsteps stopped.
ShangGuan JinHong stood under the shade of a pine tree in front of them. He stood there silently, not saying a single word, not moving a single muscle. He looked like a mountain of ice. An unscalable mountain of ice.
Lu FengXian's beathing suddenly paused as these words came out of his mouth, "ShangGuan JinHong?"
"Lu FengXian?" ShangGuan JinHong asked from behind a large bamboo hat that covered his eyes. Not only did he not answer him, he replied with his own question instead.
"Yes" Lu FengXian finally answered.
But right after he answered, Lu FengXian regretted that he had answered at all. Because he felt that he had lost the initiative and instead the initiative was now in ShangGuan JinHong's hands.
ShangGuan JinHong let out a cold smile and said, "Very good, Lu FengXian is definitely worth me dealing with personally."
Lu FengXian laughed coldly, "If you weren't ShangGuan JinHong, you wouldn't be worth killing either."
After he finished his sentence, he regretted it again.
Although his words were filled with killer intent, it seemed as if he was merely imitating ShangGuan JinHong.
ShangGuan JinHong stood silently for some time, and suddenly shot a glance over at Lin XianEr under his bamboo hat.
Lin XianEr was still standing by the tree, her eyes had slowly changed from soft and gentle to intensely hot.
She knew blood would be spilled very soon.
She adored seeing men spilling their blood for her!
"Come over here." ShangGuan JinHong said to her.
Lin XianEr feigned a look of distresss. She looked over at Lu FengXian, then glanced at ShangGuan JinHong.
Lu FengXian laughed and said, "She won't come to you."
She again exchanged glances between ShangGuan JinHong and Lu FengXian.
Lin XianEr knew that she had to choose one of them now.
She knew that whoever she chose had better be the victor.
But who would be victorious?
ShangGuan JinHong still stood there stoically, his eyes beaming with confidence.
Lu FengXian's breathing had become irregular, and he started to look worried.
Lin XianEr suddenly started laughing at him.
Lu FengXian silently cursed under his breath as Lin XianEr fluttered towards ShangGuan JinHong like a swallow.
She had made her choice. She knew that her choice would not be wrong!
Lu FengXian's pupils began to shrink, and his heart began to shrink as well.
This was the first time in his life that he tasted insult, and it was the first time that he tasted defeat. These two pains compounded together were twice as hard to endure!
He also took another double hit. Both his self-respect and his self-confidence had been completely shattered.
His hands started to tremble.
ShangGuan JinHong looked at him coldly and said, "You've already lost!"
Lu FengXian's hands began trembling violently.
"I won't kill you, because you are not worth me killing anymore!" ShangGuan JinHong said.
ShangGuan JinHong turned around and started to walk away.
Lin XianEr followed behind him. After a few steps, she turned to Lu FengXian and said with a giggle, "I think you'd be better off dead."
Lu FengXian had lost this battle before even making a single move.
In his mind, he knew that he had already lost.
He had not bled a single drop of blood, but his soul and his livelihood had been crushed. His courage and his confidence had been destroyed.
Seeing ShangGuan JinHong walking out of the forest, he no longer had any courage to pursue him.
Even though ShangGuan JinHong hadn't attacked, he had already taken Lu FengXian's life.
"I think you'd be better off dead."
There really was no point in living anymore.
Lu FengXian suddenly fell to the ground and started weeping bitterly.
Lin XianEr ran off to ShangGuan JinHong's side and held him by the hand.
"I only have eyes for you now!" she said sweetly.
"Me?" ShangGuan JinHong replied.
"Although Jing WuMing kills with the swiftest of swords, you're even faster than him. Because ... because you can kill without even raising a finger!" she said.
"That is because I have yet to meet a single person who is worthy of me lifting a finger." he replied.
"The number of people in this world who are a match for you is certainly small ... I think there is only one," she said as her eyes gleamed with excitement.
"Li XunHuan?" ShangGuan JinHong said.
Lin XianEr let out a sigh and said, "This person is someone who can disappear at anytime, but is also someone who tends to never go away. Sometimes I just don't know what kind of person he is. Is he a gentleman? An idiot? Or a hero?"
"It seems like you've always been quite interested in him." ShangGuan JinHong replied coldly.
Lin XianEr laughed and said, "Of course I have to show interest in him. Because I do not want to die under his hands."
"Even towards a lover, over time a person's interest will slowly wane. But when it comes to an enemy, that is not the case." Lin XianEr responded.
She stared up at ShangGuan JinHong and said, "I'm sure you understand this idea better than anyone."
"There are many kinds of interest. Do you hate him? Are you scared of him? Or do you love him?" ShangGuan JinHong replied.
Lin XianEr laughed and said, "You're slowly becoming jealous aren't you?"
ShangGuan JinHong lowered his head and said, "What about Ah Fei?"
"Of course he is jealous too." she replied.
"I only want to know, why didn't you kill him?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
"I want to know too, why didn't Jing WuMing kill him?" she asked back.
"I originally intended for you to kill him, you couldn't bear to do it?" ShangGuan JinHong replied.
"Killing someone is easy. Making someone listen to your every word is much harder. Up until now, I've never seen someone as obedient as he is." Lin XianEr said.
She threw herself into ShangGuan JinHong's chest and said, "I didn't come to look for you to argue. If you really want me to kill him, there are still plenty of opportunities to do so in the future. I'll do as you please."
No one could be upset with her.
She is like an extremely expensive cat. If she accidentally scratches you with her claws, even before you can feel the pain she is already lapping at you affectionately with her tongue.
ShangGuan JinHong stared intently at her face.
Under the setting sun, her face looked so delicate that even a gentle touch could ruin it. The gentle autumn wind cannot even compare with a single breath that left her mouth.
ShangGuan JinHong slowly lowered his head.
He pressed his lips against her. Lin XianEr suddenly lifted her head from his chest and fell to ground.
ShangGuan JinHong's eyes rolled backwards. But his posture didn't change. Even the tips of his fingers stayed perfectly still.
He didn't cast a single glance at Lin XianEr but instead was staring at a patch of withered yellow grass.
There was nothing on that patch of grass. But after some time, the image of a person gradually appeared.
Someone had come!
This person's shadow was dragged out by the evening sun.
His footsteps did not make a sound. This person's footsteps were as light as a fox.
ShangGuan JinHong still didn't turn his head. Lin XianEr who was still on the floor had started moaning.
The person's shadow was much closer now. It stopped right behind ShangGuan JinHong.
A voice started speaking, "I never kill a person from behind. But this time, I will have to make an exception!"
This person's voice was normally cold and resolute, but because of anger and anxiety, it was shaky.
This tone of voice was definitely what someone sounds like before they kill.
But ShangGuan JinHong didn't move. He didn't even say a word.
The shadow on the ground raised its hand.
There was a sword in that hand, but it hadn't yet stabbed out. The voice again asked, "You're still not going to turn around?"
ShangGuan JinHong responded casually, "I can still kill someone standing behind me. Why should I bother to turn around?"
After he finished, the moaning stopped too.
Lin XianEr's eyes dropped wide open, and let out a cry, "Ah Fei!"
She got up from ShangGun JinHong's side and walked over. Her shadow intermingled with the shadow on the ground.
ShangGuan JinHong gazed at the two shadows on the ground. Then, he started walking ahead slowly ... and stopped as he stepped over the two shadows on the ground.
The sword in Ah Fei's hand had dropped to the floor.
Lin XianEr held his hand was whispering repeatedly, "You really came, I knew you would come ..."
She repeated that same line over and over, each time softer, gentler, and sweeter than the last.
Her tender voice could melt mountains of ice.
Ah Fei's heart was already starting to melt. His sense or urgency, resentment, and hatred had subsided.
"I knew that when you didn't see me, you'd be very worried and would come looking for me." she said.
Seeing the the color of Ah Fei's face turn palish green, her eyes suddenly turned red and she said weepingly, "In trying to find me, you must have suffered alot."
"As long as I've found you, I'm already content." Ah Fei said.
No matter what the consequence, he would risk it to find her.
No matter what he had to suffer, he would endure it to find her.
"As long as I've found you, I'm already content."
Nine words. In just these nine words were an immeasurable amount of emotion. One probably can't express such emotion even with nine hundred thousand words.
Suddenly, the sword flashed!
The sword that was on the floor shot up, the flash of light was quick like the strike of a snake, and the sword entered into the person's hand.
All of a sudden ShangGuan JinHong was standing in front of them.
His emotionless gaze was focused at the tip of the sword. This sword was but an ordinary steel sword. A sword that Ah Fei had "borrowed" from a traveler along the way.
But ShangGun JinHong seemed interested in this sword.
With Lin XianEr at his side, there was nothing that could draw away Ah Fei's attention.
But now, he finally realized that there was another person here. A person that he had intented to kill.
Now, his sword was already in that person's hands.
That ordinary sword had suddenly transformed into a sword that emitted an aura, a killing aura!
"Who are you?" Ah Fei asked sharply.
ShangGuan JinHong didn't answer. He didn't even look at him either. His cold emotionless gaze was still focused at the tip of the sword. A wry smile broke from the corner of his mouth. A smile full of disdain.
"You were planning to kill with this sword?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
"What about that sword?" Ah Fei replied.
"This sword cannot kill me." ShangGuan JinHong said.
"Any kind of sword can kill!" Ah Fei responded.
ShangGuan JinHong laughed and replied, "But this is not your sword. If you are adamant about using this sword, the only person you will kill is yourself."
The sword flashed again, and the blade spun around.
ShangGuan JinHong held the tip of the sword between his fingers, and presented the handle to Ah Fei.
"If you don't believe me, go ahead and try." ShangGun JinHong said with a grin.
Before Ah Fei could even extend his arm out, his muscles had already tensed up.
He discovered that in the presence of this person, he felt a certain sensation. It was a sensastion that no one else had ever evoked from him before. It was a sensation that caused him such anxiety that his stomach started to contract, that made him want to throw up.
But how could he not grab that sword over?
He finally reached out. But before his hand could touch the handle, the sword was snatched away by another person's hand. A soft, slender hand.
Lin XianEr had a tear in her eyes as she looed at Ah Fei and said, "You intend to kill him? Do you know who he is?"
Lin XianEr continued, "He is my savior."