-->

Bordertown Wanderer - Chapter 26

Chapter 26 - Blood Debt As Deep As The Sea

The sun had vanished from the sky, the long street was completely empty. The only light that could be

seen was coming from the small building. Someone pushed open one of the windows and watched the lonely

street below. He knew that the lonely night had arrived.

The blood on the streets had dried. A gust of wind blew strands of the 'Golden-Backed Dragon's' hair

into the air. Xiao BieLi closed his eyes and let out a sigh. Then, he slowly closed the window.

A candle was lit on the table. He sat down next to it and looked as calm and lonely as the flickering

flame. The light that shined onto his face made his wrinkles look even more pronounced. Who knew just

how much weariness and suffering was hidden beneath every crease. Who knew just how many secrets those

wrinkles hid.

He poured himself a cup of wine and slowly started to sip. It seemed as if he was waiting for

something.

But what could he be waiting for? All the good things in life had disappeared along with his youth.

The only thing that he possibly could be waiting for now was death.

A lonesome death could sometimes be very sweet!

The black night had arrived. He didn't have to walk over to the window to see, he was able to sense

it. His cup was empty. Just as he was about to pour himself another cup, he heard sounds coming from

the floor below.

The sound of dominoes.

A strange smile came over his face, as if it was exactly what he was expecting to hear. He picked

propped up on his crutches and slowly made his way down the stairs.

A lantern was lit downstairs, there was a person sitting underneath, slowly flipping over the dominoes

one at a time. There was a mysterious look in his eyes.

Ye Kai rarely smiled like that. His eyes were focused on the dominoes in his hand, he didn't bother to

turn to look at Xiao BieLi as he came down the stairs. Xiao BieLi slowly approached and took a seat

across from him and asked, "What do you see?"

Ye Kai fell into quiet contemplation. After a long while, he let out a sigh and replied, "Nothing

whatsoever."

"Why is that?"

Ye Kai kept quiet. It seemed as if he was waiting for Xiao BieLi to reveal many things to him that he

wouldn't normally reveal. After a long while, Xiao BieLi really did let out a sigh.

"You should've figured out a long time ago that my surname isn't really Xiao."

Ye Kai nodded.

"People don't choose their own surnames, people don't have a choice whatsoever." Xiao BieLi said.

"That I understand, but I don't understand what you're trying to say." Ye Kai said.

"What I'm trying to say is that we're very much alike, but the roads we have taken are different.

Because you've been much more fortunate than I have."

He hesitated for a while, then made up his mind and said, "Because you weren't born with the surname

XiMen."

"XiMen? XiMen Chun?"

"Had you already figured it out?" he smiled weakly.

"It dawned on me when the fake old woman died in Li MaHu's store."

"Oh?"

"The other day when I called out XiMen Chun's name, he turned his head not to look at me, but to look

at you."

"Oh?"

"He turned his head because he was startled that someone called out your name."

"And that's why you mistook him for XiMen Chun."

"Everybody makes mistakes."

"Yet he didn't deny it either."

"How would he dare to deny it while you were there?"

"At the time, you still thought that Li MaHu was Granny Du."

Ye Kai smiled and said, "Up until now, I still can't figure out where Granny Du is hiding."

"You'll probably never be able to find her."

"Why's that?" Ye Kai asked.

"Because no one would ever guess that Granny Du and XiMen Chun are the same person."

Ye Kai let out a long sigh and smiled wryly, "I really would've never imagined!"

He looked over Xiao BieLi once again and commented, "Up until now, I still can't imagine how you were

able to disguise yourself as an elderly woman."

"If you were able to tell, then I wouldn't be XiMen Chun."

"No wonder everyone in the martial-realm claims that you are the sole disciple of the 'Thousand-Faced

Demon'."

"Not the sole disciple."

"Oh?"

"The only son."

"Your father was the 'Thousand-Faced Demon'?"

"Yes!"

Ye Kai let out a sigh and remarked, "Then I have been wrong from the very beginning."

Xiao BieLi slowly nodded his head and said, "Everybody makes mistakes."

"I never thought that Ma KongQun would flee either, I really would've never imagined."

"I didn't he'd be able to get away." Xiao BieLie said.

"It appears that he's outsmarted both of us. He knew that no one would miss the chance to see the duel

between Lu XiaoJia and Fu HongXue."

"If he wanted to escape, that really was the best opportunity that he could've had."

"Or perhaps, that's exactly why he went to search out Lu XiaoJia."

"Oh?"

"He purposely set up that ambush, and purposely let it be discovered, so that everyone would think that

he was trying to take Fu HongXue's life." Ye Kai let out a smile and continued, "And supposing that no

one ever suspected this ploy, then no one would ever suspect that he would use this ploy as the perfect

distraction for him to escape."

Xiao BieLi smiled and said, "Your biggest sickness is that you think too much."

"You're right, it's best if one doesn't think too much." Ye Kai replied.

Xiao BieLi let out a deep sigh and asked, "Do you know what my biggest sickness is?"

Ye Kai shook his head.

"I think too much as well." Xiao BieLi said.

"So you never would've imagined that Ma KongQun would flee either, right?" Ye Kai said.

Xiao BieLi nodded his head.

There was a sharp look in Ye Kai's eyes as he slightly grinned and added, "That's why you invited Lu

XiaoJia here for him."

"How did you know?" Xiao BieLi asked. He still looked very calm, and showed no signs of trying to hide

the fact.

"So you're not going to deny it?" Ye Kai asked him back.

"What's the point in denying something to a person like you. It's of no use." Xiao BieLi replied.

Ye Kai began to smile, but not in his usual cheerful manner. It looked more like he felt sorry for

this person.

Xiao BieLi let out another sigh and said, "Perhaps I have chosen the wrong road."

"But you don't seem like someone who would stumble down the wrong road." Ye Kai said.

"There can only be one reason for choosing the right road, but there are numerous reasons for traveling

down the wrong ones."

"Oh?"

"Everyone who walks down those roads have their own reasons."

"And what is yours?"

"I never had the liberty to choose the road that I'm walking on."

The expression on Xiao BieLi's face looked riddled with deep pain as he gazed off into the distance.

After quite a while, he finally continued, "Perhaps some people were born onto the roads that they are

destined to walk. These people never get to choose at all."

A bitter smile crept over his face as he exclaimed, "I really don't know whether to consider myself

fortunate or just plain unlucky."

Ye Kai didn't say a word. His question wasn't meant to be answered.

"No one in the martial-realm could deny the fact that my late father was an exceptional talent. No one

could compare to the profundity and exquisiteness of his skill, even to this day." Xiao BieLi said.

Ye Kai couldn't deny it either.

"He lived his life neither male nor female, neither righteously nor evil. Some referred to him as the

'Thousand-Faced Deity' while others called him the 'Thousand-Faced Demon'. Even up until his death, no

one knew just what kind of person he was."

"What about you?" Ye Kai asked.

"I am no exception. All I know is that he left me with all the knowledge and skill that he had

gathered in his life, but he also left me with a great burden."

"What kind of burden?"

"Vengeance."

It took him quite some time to mutter that word, as if it required all his strength to speak.

Ye Kai understood how he felt. Perhaps no one else in the world understood just how great the burden

of vengeance was.

"Up until this day, people in the martial-realm are still unsure of whether he is alive or not. Some

rumors say he retired to the Eastern seas, while others even claim that he had ascended to divinity."

Xiao BieLi said.

"And the truth is?"

"The truth is he had passed away a long time ago."

Ye Kai couldn't help but ask, "How did he die?"

"Under the blade."

"Whose blade?"

Xiao BieLi suddenly lifted his head and stared at Ye Kai, "You should know whose blade! There aren't

many blades in this world that are capable of taking his life!"

Ye Kai's expression sunk, because he knew exactly whose blade it was!

"Hero Bai was one of the elite masters of the martial realm, not only was his sabre unequalled in all

the world, it could be said that there never was and never will be another like his." Xiao BieLi said

coldly. His words carried a tone that was sharper than the edge of a blade as he continued, "But what

of his persona? He ..."

Ye Kai abruptly cut him off and said, "You have no right to criticize his persona because your opinion

is biased."

"You're wrong. I do not bear hatred towards him. In fact, I have never even known him." Xiao BieLi

said.

"But you wish him dead."

"You're right. I do wish him dead, and I would've given anything for it. Do you know why?"

Ye Kai shook his head. Even if he did know he would've shook his head.

"Love and hatred are not the same. You are not born with vengeance, but if someone gave you the burden

of vengeance for you to carry, then you would understand."

"But ..."

"Fu HongXue would understand, because it is the same vengeance that is driving him to kill Ma KongQun."

Xiao BieLi let out a sigh and continued, "Fu HongXue has never met Ma KongQun before either, yet he

wants nothing more than to take his life!"

Ye Kai finally nodded his head. "So that is why that night, so many years ago, you were also there at

Plum Blossom Monastery."

Xiao BieLi's eyes looked lost and blurry, "It was really snowing hard that night ..."

Ye Kai's eyes suddenly started to glow furiously, "You still remember the incidents of that night very

clearly?"

"I have always tried to forget but have never been able to."

"Because your two legs were crippled that night, right?"

Xiao BieLi looked down at his two legs and said, "How many people in this world are capable of

crippling my legs."

"Although he crippled your legs, he spared your life." Ye Kai said.

"He wasn't the one who spared my life, it was the snow."

"The snow?"

"The snow froze my legs, that's the only reason I've been able to live until this day. Otherwise, I

would've rotted away a long time ago."

"That is why you will never forget the snow!"

"I will never forget that blade either."

A look of dread swept over Xiao BieLi's eyes, as if that bloody battle was reenacting itself before his

very eyes.

White snow, red blood ... when that blood spilled onto the snow-covered ground, the white snow was dyed

red. It seemed as if the blade was red as well. Wherever that blade flashed, the red mist would

follow.

Beads of sweat started to form on Xiao BieLi's forehead. Cold sweat. After some time, he finally

continued, "If you didn't see that blade in person, you would never know just how fearsome it was.

That is why of the elite masters of the martial-realm that were there that night, more than half didn't

make it out alive."

"You know the identity of these people?" Ye Kai asked.

Xiao BieLi didn't know. Other than Ma KongQun, no one knew.

"All I know is that not one of those people didn't bear a tremendous hatred towards Hero Bai." Xiao

BieLi said.

"Could it be that all those people held enmity towards him?" Ye Kai asked.

"Although I might not have the right to judge him as a person, I do have the right to judge his blade!"

The intensity deepened in Xiao BieLi's eyes, he tightened both his fists as his voice cracked, "That

blade shouldn't be in the hands of a mortal, that blade could've only been forged deep under the

eighteen depths of Hell!"

"You are afraid of that blade?" Ye Kai asked.

"I am only human, how can I not be afraid." Xiao BieLi replied.

"That's why you fear Fu HongXue, because you realized that that blade has fallen into his hands."

"It's really a pity that it turned out that way." Xiao BieLi said.

"Oh?"

"Because that blade is demonic, it only brings death and misfortune to its wielder!" His voice became

very strange, he started sounding more and more like he came from the depths of Hell as well.

Ye Kai broke the silence and smiled as he said, "But Fu HongXue is still alive and well."

"He might not be dead, but his whole life will be buried by that sabre. He will never experience a

single glimpse of happiness because there is nothing but vengeance in his heart!"

Ye Kai suddenly stood up and walked towards the window and with a shove he pushed them open. He was

feeling rather stuffy, almost to the point of suffocating.

Xiao BieLi stared at the figure of Ye Kai's back and let out a laugh, "You know I've always suspected

you."

Ye Kai did not respond nor did he turn around.

"When we ordered you to kill Ma KongQun, it was only a test." Xiao BieLi said.

"Oh?"

"It wasn't my idea, that night there really was someone else upstairs with me."

"Ma KongQun was with you!"

"Yes, it was him."

"Ding Qiu was also one of the assassins that was at Plum Blossom Monastery that night?" Ye Kai asked.

"He wasn't worthy, he was just a greedy humpback."

"That's why the two of you hired him."

"But we weren't able to buy you off. I was quite surprised when you told Ma KongQun about what had

transpired. The price that I had to pay wasn't little." Xiao BieLi said.

"That price really was enough to buy off a lot of people. Pity that all those people are dead now."

"There is nothing to be pitied about their deaths."

"The only pity is that Fu HongXue is still alive right?"

Xiao BieLi shot a cold glance and replied, "That's not to be pitied either, because I know there will

come a day when Fu HongXue is slain under the blade."

"And what about Ma KongQun?"

"You think that Fu HongXue will be able to find him?" Xiao BieLi asked.

"You think that I can't?" Ye Kai replied.

"He was always a wolf, but now he has turned into a fox. Foxes aren't very easy to track, and they are

even more difficult to kill." Xiao BieLi said.

"Your words wouldn't sit well with the owner of the general store." Ye Kai said.

"Why's that?"

"If there weren't any dead foxes, then where would his fox skins come from?"

Xiao BieLi had nothing to say.

"Don't forget that there are such things as bloodhounds, and their sense of smell is quite good." Ye

Kai said.

Xiao BieLi snickerered and said, "Even if Fu HongXue had the nose of a bloodhound, the only thing he

smells now is the intoxicating scent of a woman."

"You mean Cui Nong?" Ye Kai said.

Xiao BieLi nodded his head.

"Are you saying that as long as Cui Nong is by his side, then he won't be able to find Ma KongQUn?" Ye

Kai asked.

"Don't forget that women are found of jewelry, not fox skins." Xiao BieLi replied.

Now it was Ye Kai who was speechless.

Xiao BieLi smiled and asked, "Whether or not Fu HongXue is able to find Ma KongQun, what does that have

to do with me? What does that have to do with you?"

Ye Kai fell silent for quite a while, then he slowly said, "There is a reason."

"What?"

Ye Kai finally turned around and looked at Xiao BieLi, "Why haven't you asked me who I am?"

"I've asked before, a lot of people have asked before."

"Why aren't you asking now?"

"Because I already know that your name is Ye Kai. Surname Ye, given name Kai. 'Ye' like the leaves on

a tree, 'kai' like the 'kai' in happiness."

"But what kind of person is this Ye Kai?"

"From what I can tell, he is someone who likes to meddle in other people's affairs." Xiao BieLi

replied.

Ye Kai let out a laugh, "This time you're wrong."

"Oh?"

"I am not meddling in other people's affairs."

"You're not?"

"Definitely not!"

Xiao BieLi stared at him, stared at him for quite a while, then suddenly asked, "Just who exactly are

you?"

"I knew you would ask those words again." Ye Kai said.

"You really know way too much."

"You really know way too little."

Xiao BieLi smiled coldly. Ye Kai suddenly walked over towards him, bent down and whispered something

into his ears. He spoke very softly, other than Xiao BieLi, no one in the world would ever hear those

words.

After Xiao BieLi heard a single sentence, the smile on his face had frozen still. After Ye Kai had

finished, every muscle in his body had stiffened.

Wind blew in from the windows, the flame in the lamp danced about. The light shined onto Xiao BieLi's

face, he looked like a completely different person. When he looked at Ye Kai, it seemed as if he was

looking at a completely different person as well.

No one could put into words the expression that was on Xiao BieLi's face. Not only was it filled with

surprise and dread, it almost looked like he was falling apart inside. Only a person who had been

completely defeated would have that expression on his face.

Ye Kai glanced at him and asked, "Do you believe me now?"

Xiao BieLi let out a long sigh as his whole body seemed to wither away and shrink. After quite some

time he finally replied, "I really do know way too little, I really was wrong."

"Like I've said before, everyone is wrong once in a while." Ye Kai remarked.

Xiao BieLi nodded his head sullenly, "I finally understand what you mean now. Although it's a little

too late, it's better than never understanding at all."

He lowered his glance and looked at the dominoes on the table. "I'd always thought that these would

tell me everything, who knew that they've told me nothing at all." The dominoes shined under the light,

he extended his hand and lightly scooped them up.

Ye Kai looked at the dominoes in his hand and said, "Whatever the case, they've kept you company for

all these years."

"They really have helped relieve my loneliness. If it weren't for them, I don't know how I would've

passed the days. Although they've deceived me, I don't blame them at all."

"Having someone deceive you is at least better than being completely alone." Ye Kai said.

"You're quite enlightened. That's why I feel that having the chance to chat with you is certainly one

of the most joyest occasions in my life." Xiao BieLi said with a weak smile.

"Thank you." Ye Kai replied.

"I wish I could keep you to stay with me longer but I know you'd never agree."

He let out a sigh and a bitter smile. Then, suddenly his hand shot out and reached for Ye Kai's wrist.

His movements always looked elegant and unhurried, but this move of his was quick as lightning, it

seemed as if no one in the world would be able to dodge it. His fingertips had practically reached Ye

Kai's wrist when a *KE* sound was heard, as something was shattered in the grasp of his hand.

But it wasn't Ye Kai's wrist, it was the box that held the dominoes. In that sliver of an instant, Ye

Kai managed to switch his wrist with the box. That box was firm and sturdy, made of the finest wood.

Lumber such as that would normally be harder than a man's bones, but when it fell under Xiao BieLi's

grasp, it crumbled like rotten cheese into dust.

Before the pieces of the box fell from Xiao BieLi's hand, Ye Kai had already leapt three feet away.

After a long silence, Xiao BieLi finally looked up and said coldly, "You have a swift pair of hands."

"That's why I really want to keep them on my own wrists." Ye Kai replied.

"I bet you have the nose of a bloodhound as well."

"You can't pinch this nose, not with those hands of yours."

Hands that have been confined to holding up crutches and shuffling dominoes really wouldn't be able to

pinch anything well.

"You really won't stay for a while?"

"Those dominoes have accompanied you for all these years, yet you shatter their box. I think that's

rather cold-hearted of you."

Xiao BieLi let out a long sigh, "Looks like you're really quite pitiless."

He suddenly leapt towards Ye Kai, plunging his left cane into the ground while sweeping his right cane

forward. That one swipe from his metal cane was frighteningly powerful, the entire room was pressed

down under the pressure, as if a fierce wind had suddenly swept through!

Ye Kai leapt towards the ceiling and hung from one of the beams with the point of his foot. Xiao BieLi

flipped into the air and raised both his metal canes upwards. A torrent of projectiles suddenly shot

out from the metal canes towards the ceiling.

'Intestine Shattering Needles'!

His 'Intestine Shattering Needles' were launched from his metal canes, his hands didn't need to move at

all. That's why no one ever saw them coming. No one could dream of dodging even one of those infamous

needles, but he had shot out enough to take thirty lives!

Yet, it seemed as if Ye Kai was the thirty-first person. He suddenly vanished from sight. When he

finally reappeared, the 'Intestine Shattering Needles' could no longer be seen. Xiao BieLi had fallen

back onto his chair, as if he was searching for those needles that didn't exist anymore.

He couldn't believe it. In all these years, his 'Intestine Shattering Needles' had only failed once --

that one night at Plum Blossom Monastery. He couldn't believe that there would be a second time, but

he couldn't deny it any longer.

Ye Kai lightly drifted down from above. There wasn't any wind, there weren't any needles. He looked

as if nothing had happened whatsoever.

After a long silence, Xiao BieLi let out a sigh, "I remember someone asking this to you before, but I

wanted to ask you once more."

"Ask ahead."

"Are you human? Can you even be considered human?" Xiao BieLi said as he stared at Ye Kai.

Ye Kai smiled. Whenever someone asked him that question, he always felt overjoyed. Because it meant

that he had done something that no other human was capable of.

Xiao BieLi wasn't expecting a response so he continued, "Before, when I attacked three times, I didn't

think anyone in the world could have evaded."

"I know."

"But you didn't even try to strike back once."

"Why would I strike back for? You're the one who wants me dead, I'm not the one who wants you dead."

"Then what do you want?"

"Nothing at all. You can just stay here and run your brothel, play your dominoes, and drink your

wine."

Xiao BieLi suddenly grasped his fists as he squinted his eyes, "I was able to do all these things

before because I had a purpose. Because I wanted to protect Ma KongQun, I was waiting for that person

to come and kill him!"

His face started to twitch from pain as he cackled, "Now there is nothing that I really care for, how

can I keep living on!"

"That is your own business, you should ask yourself!"

Ye Kai smiled, stood up, and turned around to leave. His steps weren't very swift, but he didn't turn

his head, and he didn't stop. No one in the entire world could convince him to stay here any longer.

But all Xiao BieLi could do was stay where he was, he had nowhere to go. As Ye Kai walked out of the

door, Xiao BieLi's body started to quiver, like a child who had just awakened from a horrible

nightmare. He really had awakened from a nightmare, but being awake was much more painful than the

dream itself.

The night was deep, the night was still. Not a sound could be heard, not a person could be seen. Only

those dominoes remained to keep him company. He suddenly picked them up and tossed them aside. As the

dominoes flew out of his hand, tears started to stream down his face ...

When a person had no more reason to live, there's no difference between being alive and being dead. It

was the most horrid kind of pain and sadness.

________________________________________

Signs of the coming dawn appeared in the East. The darkness must eventually come to pass and the light

is bound to arrive. The graying skies started to disperse, smoke and ash could no longer be seen.

Even the most violent fires would eventually burn out.

The people who had helped put out the fire had retired. Ye Kai stood on the hillside and looked out at

the vast expanse of scorched land. He felt a little indignant but was not sorrowful, because the land

wouldn't stay like that forever. It was the same as life in this world.

After however long, life would assuredly spring up again. Beautiful life. A beautiful view seemingly

appeared before his eyes, a view of verdant green.

Just then, the faint chime of bells was brought in by the winds. Those chimes were refreshingly

pleasant, just like her voice. Ding LingLin walked towards him as she lead a young child with her.

"You've kept your promoise this time, you're early." she said.

Ye Kai smiled, then looked at the young child. His face was full of life and vivacity. Seeing the

cheer in his eyes, Ye Kai was assured that everything he fought for was right.

He walked up to them and took the child's hand. Ye Kai wanted to bring him somewhere, somewhere that

child could forever bury hatred and sorrow in his heart.

He wished that when this child grew up that there would be no vengeance in his heart, only love!

The pain in the world was caused by too much hatred and too little love. As long as the future

generation lived on happily, all that pain would be worth it.

The mark on the stone slab was still there, but the blood and tears had dried.

Ye Kai stood by the child's side as he knelt before the tomb.

"This is the grave of your father's friend. You must remember never to harbor enmity towards the

descendants of this family."

"I won't ever forget."

"You swear that you'll never forget?"

"I swear to it."

Ye Kai smiled, he had never smiled so heartily before.

"I know that you're a good boy."

"I want to look for my father and my sister. Will you take me with you?"

"Of course I will."

"Will you be able to find them?"

"You have to remember, as long as you have faith, there is nothing that is impossible in this world."

A smile came over the young child's face. The smile on a young child's face was like the racing of

horses on the grasslands, so full of imcomparable vitality, enough to hearten and propel forward the

progress of humanity.

But the grasslands were still barren and desolate, for as far as the eye could see the earth and the

sky melded into one vast expanse of ashy gray.

Would the flag of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' ever rise here again?

The wind sighed in vain.

Ye Kai took a long stride forward on the empty street. He had become very familiar with this place,

almost to the point of being attached. But he no longer had the fear that the wind would blow him

away.

Because Ye Kai knew that he would always return!