Bordertown Wanderer - Chapter 29
Chapter 29 - A Venomous Beauty
Bright afternoon sun. Warm sunshine floods the land.
It was the fifteenth day of the ninth month.
The land was fresh and the rays of the sun were blinding. The road was full of youngsters steering their horse-drawn carriages towards 'White Cloud Manor'.
The horse wasn't very swift, it had already exhausted all its strength. Fu HongXue had already returned the horsewhip to the driver and was sitting in the back of the carriage with his hands firmly clenched on his sabre. This pair of hands was not suited for horse steering.
"Why don't you save your strength for dealing with Ma KongQun?"
Fu HongXue's lips were shut tight, his face was so pale that he was almost transparent. Cui Nong sat at his side, her eyes fixed on him and full of worry. But it was unclear who she was worried about.
Big Xue, who was gulping down mouthful after mouthful of wine, finally muttered, "I only hope that Lu XiaoJia and Ma KongQun will be there ..."
"Then you should probably drink a little less." Fu HongXue abruptly replied.
"Why is that?" Big Xue frowned.
"Drunkards are unable to kill, and especially unable to kill Lu XiaoJia." Fu HongXue replied coldly.
"And eating peanuts is required before killing?" Big Xue smirked.
"Peanuts are better than wine."
"In what sense are they better than wine?"
"In every sense." Fu HongXue said.
Having something to chew on really does make a person appear much more relaxed. In addition, peanuts are really nutritious as well, able to replenish a person's strength.
Big Xue's eyes lit up as if he was about to respond in anger, but then sighed and said, "Maybe we all should start eating peanuts because we're all very nervous right now.
The driver suddenly turned to them and said, "We've arrived on the main road to 'White Cloud Manor'. From here you can see it by eye."
Big Xue couldn't help but stick his head out to have a look. The road was full of yellow dirt and sand. The mountain that they were approaching was full of green. A row of greenish-grey rooftops lined the hillside.
"It looks like 'White Cloud Manor' really is quite impressive." Big Xue remarked.
"The Yuan family is most renowned in this area. Within these eight hundred li, who hasn't heard of the fame of the Yuan family's young master?" the driver said.
"I, for one, haven't!" Big Xue shouted menacingly.
The driver was already frightened to death of this large surly man. He didn't dare open his mouth again.
The carriage slowly crept up the mountain road. Shade slowly covered them on both sides as the path narrowed. Visible tracks slowly became less as well. Whoever was supposed to be at 'White Cloud Manor' most likely was already there.
"Will Ma KongQun really show his face here?" the veins bulged on Fu HongXue's hands. If he wasn't clenching so hard, his hand would probably be trembling.
Cui Nong lightly placed her hand on his and whispered, "If he really is here, then he'll have nowhere to run. So you needn't be anxious."
Fu HongXue looked as if he didn't hear a single word. His eyes bulged as he stared at the sabre in his hands.
Jet black sheathe. Jet black blade.
Big Xue was staring at this blade as well. It was otherwise a very ordinary blade, but when in the firm grip of Fu HongXue's pale white hands, it seemed to carry a mysterious and mystical force. Anyone who laid eyes on it would feel as if they've been cursed by some demon.
Big Xue let out a sigh and asked, "May I have a look at your sabre?"
"No." Fu HongXue replied.
"No one has ever seen my blade before."
"What if I insist on seeing it?" Big Xue asked.
"Then someone will definitely die - if not me, then you." Fu HongXue replied coldly.
Big Xue's complexion slightly changed. He smiled and said, "Lu XiaoJia isn't afraid of other people seeing the blade of his sword. His sword doesn't even have a sheathe."
"You're free to look at his blade anytime you want, but you can forget about ever seeing mine." Fu Hong Xue said. His eyes suddenly looked very distant as he slowly continued, "This is no ordinary blade. Disaster follows anyone who glances at it."
Big Xue wanted to interject again, but just then the carriage came to a sudden halt. He turned his head and saw a small flicker in the sky. It was a peanut.
A peeled peanut.
As it descended from the sky, it fell right into Lu XiaoJia's mouth. He stood lazily in the middle of the road. His sword was shining brightly in the sun as well. Big Xue leapt up unexpectedly and hit his head on the roof of the carraige.
Lu XiaoJia let out a sigh and said, "It's a good thing that carriage isn't very sturdy, or else your head would've had a big hole in it."
"So you want there to be another hole in my head?" Big Xue replied angrily.
"It'd be pretty convenient for you if you think about it. You'd have an easier time pouring wine into a hole than into your mouth." Lu XiaoJia mocked.
"You still dare to spew that bull sh-i-t in front of me? Even when I'm right here" Big Xue blasted indignantly.
"Why wouldn't I dare? I've been waiting for you here all along." Lu XiaoJia replied.
Big Xue was startled. "You knew that I was coming?"
"Other people might've found it strange that you weren't sitting in the carriage, but not me. Even if you were carrying that carriage on your shoulders, I wouldn't find it the least strange at all." Lu XiaoJia smiled as he continued, "You're someone who's capable of anything."
"And you? Is there anything in the world that you're not capable of doing?" Big Xue asked.
"I'm incapable of doing foolish things." Lu XiaoJia replied.
"Of course you're not a fool. But as forme, I'm definitely a fool, actually trusting the likes of you as a friend."
"Well, I've always been your friend." Lu XiaoJia said.
"Oh are you? Then where's that 800,000 silver taels that I gave to you?"
"I spent it."
"What? You spent it?" Big Xue looked astonished.
"Since we are friends, then we should be open with our wealth. Why can't I spend a little bit of your money?"
"You ... what did you spend it on?" Big Xue asked.
"I gave it all away." Lu XiaoJia replied.
"Who did you give it to?"
"I gave most of it to flood victims and some of it to the widows and orphans of the men you killed." he didn't let Big Xue have a word and continued, "You didn't earn your money honestly anyway, so I'm spending it honestly for you at least. You should actually be thanking me."
Big Xue looked completely vexed. Suddenly, he looked up and asked, "What about my woman? Did you give her away too?"
"Well that I didn't."
"Then where is she?"
"I've already killed her."
"What?! You killed her?" Big Xue roared in surprise.
"I kill people all the time, why are you acting so shocked?" Lu XiaoJia said.
"You ... why did you kill her for?"
"Because she was trying to cheat on you."
"What? With who?" Big Xue asked.
"Me." Lu XiaoJia replied.
Big Xue was taken aback.
"Although she tried to seduce me, I didn't oblige her. However, I couldn't guarantee that other men wouldn't do the same, and I couldn't guarantee that she wouldn't try to seduce other men as well. So I figured it would be best if I killed her. It was the only way for me to guarantee that you wouldn't be cuckolded by your wife."
"You couldn't have thought of another way?" Big Xue asked.
"I can't do other ways. I can only kill." Lu XiaoJia answered.
Big Xue stood silent for quite awhile. Then, he suddenly let out a laugh and exclaimed, "Good! You killed her well!"
"Of course I did." Lu XiaoJia replied.
"Your killings always seem to satisfy." Big Xue remarked.
"Spending money is quite satisfying as well."
"Well indeed, well indeed. Even to the point of admiration." Big Xue said.
"I always knew you'd admire me." Lu XiaoJia replied.
"This wine isn't too bad, come have two sips!"
"These peanuts aren't bad either, and they go great with wine!"
The two of them let out a loud laugh. They patted each others' shoulders and shook each others' hands. The driver looked at them with disbelief. He had never seen people like them before. He had never seen friends act like this.
"Why didn't you wait for me to return before you ran off?" Big Xue asked.
"I was in a hurry to kill someone." Lu XiaoJia replied.
"Just before ..." as he turned his head, Lu XiaoJia realized that Fu HongXue was no longer in the carriage. He was nowhere in sight, leaving Cui Nong sitting there by herself. She no longer had her head down. Her eyes were wide open and they were staring straight at Lu XiaoJia.
"Where is your man?" Big Xue asked her.
Cui Nong bit her lip and replied, "He is not my man, he has never treated me as his woman. In fact, he's never even treated me as human before."
"Maybe you've misjudged him." Big Xue said.
"I haven't ... I've never been wrong in judging a man before." as she spoke, her eyes were focused on Lu XiaoJia as she continued, "At the very least, I can see what kind of man you are."
"And what kind of man am I?" Lu XiaoJia asked.
"A man without any courage!"
Lu XiaoJia smiled.
"If you had any courage in you, then why don't you marry Ma FangLing?" Cui Nong asked.
"And why would I marry her for?" Lu XiaoJia replied.
"I saw her chase after you, she was definitely chasing after you before."
Lu XiaoJia let out a sigh, "You really thing she likes me?"
"If she didn't, then why would she be looking for you?"
"Maybe she wants me to kill for her."
"A man killing for the sake of a woman is nothing out of the ordinary. It's not as if you've never killed before." Cui Nong said.
"So do you want me to kill Fu HongXue for you too?" Lu XiaoJia asked.
"So would you marry her or not?" Cui Nong asked back.
Lu XiaoJia laughed coldly.
"It's because you're afraid, that you tried to think of ways to give her to someone else." Cui Nong said.
"You think it's me that doesn't want her?"
"Since she's given up everything to look for you, then why wouldn't she want you?"
"Of course there's more to the story." Lu XiaoJia exclaimed.
"And what's that?"
"When I brought her to 'White Cloud Manor', she met young master Yuan and instantly fell for him. After that, she didn't give me another glance and kicked me to the curb." Lu XiaoJia let out a sigh and continued, "It's not a very complicated or confusing story, it happens all the time."
"Why did you bring her to 'White Cloud Manor'?" Cui Nong asked.
"It's a place that I visit quite often."
"Or maybe it was your intention all along to be rid of her. So you brought her there deliberately and set up the opportunity for them to meet." Cui Nong explained.
"You've always been afraid of Fu HongXue. You've always been afraid that his sabre is faster than your sword."
"But now you have nothing to fear. Because now you have absolutely no relation to the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'." Cui Nong said.
"This marriage has nothing to do with them." Lu XiaoJia replied.
"Whatever the case, this marriage makes 'White Cloud Manor' and the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' kin now."
"So you think this marriage was completely political?" Lu XiaoJia said.
"In addition, he has no idea that you were the one who brought her to 'White Cloud Manor'" Cui Nong said.
"There's a lot that he doesn't know."
"And that's why he'll become one of Yuan QiuYun's enemies as well now." Cui Nong said.
"Possibly." Lu XiaoJia said.
"It's possible that he's already killed Yuan QiuYun by now." Cui Nong said.
"You're not concerned one bit?" Cui Nong questioned.
Lu XiaoJia looked unenthusiastic. "Why should I be concerned? He could kill Yuan QiuYun, or Yuan QiuYun could kill him. What does that have to do with me? "
Cui Nong stared at him and asked, "So what does concern you?"
"The only thing of concern to me is myself." Lu XiaoJia laughed and added, "Just like you. When have you ever been concerned for someone else?"
Cui Nong bit her lips and replied, "But I do care for him sincerely."
"You don't believe me?" A crystalline teardrop suddenly appeared from her beautiful eyes. "Of course you don't believe me. Sometimes I don't even believe myself. Why would I suddenly care for him."
"Your tears are very fun to watch. It's a pity I only like girls who laugh and not those who cry."
Cui Nong gritted her teeth. She suddenly burst out of the carriage and charged at Lu XiaoJia brandishing a dagger towards his chest. But her hand was immediately seized.
He smiled as he tightly held her hand and said, "You needn't use daggers to kill. Why would a woman like you need a dagger to kill."
With a *DING* the dagger fell to the ground.
Cui Nong suddenly fell into his embrace and started to cry. She wanted to kill him before, she really wanted to kill him. But now her head laid on his chest, it was as if she had completely surrendered to herself to him.
Because he was stronger than her. Women always seemed to admire men who were stronger than they were.
Big Xue looked on from the side. He laughed and said, "It really looked like she wanted you dead before."
"She really did before."
"But now ..."
"But now she knows that she can't kill me."
"So now she's prepared to let you ravage her." Big Xue said.
"'Ravage'?" Lu XiaoJia asked.
"Don't act like you don't know what that means." Big Xue replied.
Of course Lu XiaoJia knew. All men knew.
"That's how women are. If they're can't ravage you, then they'll let you ravage them." Big Xue remarked.
Lu XiaoJia lowered his head and looked at Cui Nong. She heard what they had said but didn't react at all. Her body was soft and warm.
"Fu HongXue is still a child who doesn't understand the ways of the world. Only men like us know how to deal with a woman like her." Big Xue said.
"Well she was a prostitute to begin with." Lu XiaoJia said coldly. He suddenly grabbed at one of her breasts very forcefully. Cui Nong still did not react.
Lu XiaoJia looked at her and saw her pain. He grabbed her by the hair and slapped her across the face. A red palm print immediately surfaced on her snow white face. Blood slowly dripped down from her lips.
But her eyes were still bright as they stared at Lu XiaoJia. "So you're a ..."
Lu XiaoJia didn't let her finish and slapped her again. She collapsed in a heap onto the side of the carriage.
Big Xue let out a sigh, "You shouldn't hit her, instead you should ..."
"I should kill her." Lu XiaoJia interrupted.
"Why? Because she's cheating? But Fu HongXue is not your friend. And besides, she's just a prostitute."
"Not all prostitutes deserve to be killed, but there are women in this world that are even lowlier than prostitutes."
"And what kind are those?" Big Xue asked.
"Women who are natural w-hores."
Big Xue let out a loud laugh and said, "Do you think all the women in the world are virgins or something?"
Lu XiaoJia's expression changed as he said, "Why are we still standing here wasting our time talking about these kind of women?"
"So we should proceed?"
"Let's watch people kill." Lu XiaoJia suddenly looked very excited. He always found killing much more exciting than women.
"Kill? Who's gonna kill who?" Big Xue asked.
"Other than watching Fu HongXue kill, who else is worthy of our attention?" Lu XiaoJia smiled as he added, "You must be curious about just how fast his sabre really is."
A strange expession came over Big Xue's face, "I just hope that he doesn't kill the wrong person.