-->

Bordertown Wanderer - Chapter 30

Chapter 30 - The Flower Guarding Swordsman

Lu XiaoJia and Big Xue had already left. Cui Nong was still crawled up underneath the carriage, completely motionless.

The youngster who was steering their carriage had already been scared out of his wits by what had just transpired. After a long while, he finally crouched down and pulled Cui Nong from underneath the carriage.

He thought that Cui Nong would definitely be incensed and miserable.

Who would have guessed that she would be smiling. Her face was battered and her lips were bloodied, but her eyes were filled with eager excitement.

A broken person like her could still bear to smile. The youngster was startled.

"Do you know why he hit me?" Cui Nong asked.

The youngster shook his head.

"Because he is upset with himself."

The youngster didn't really understand so he asked, "Why is he upset with himself?"

"He's upset with himself because he isn't a man. Although I'm a woman, he couldn't help but look."

The youngster still didn't understand.

Cui Nong continued, "Only now do I know that he's nothing more than an earthworm."

"An earthworm?"

"What is an earthworm like?" Cui Nong asked.

"Soft and slimy ..."

"And unable to stiffen up?" Cui Nong asked as she winked.

"Unable to ever stiffen up." the youngster replied.

"That's correct. And that's why he's an earthworm. He'll never be able to stiffen up in front of a woman." Cui Nong said sweetly.

The youngster finally understood.

"She was born to be a *****."

Thinking of how others mocked her, looking at her full breasts, her beautiful face ... his heart suddenly started to pound, and it started to pound very quickly. Courage suddenly bubbled up from within as he stammered, "I ... I'm not an earthworm."

Cui Nong smiled. When she smiled, her eyes actually looked full of pain and sorrow. "What kind of woman do you think I am?"

The youngster's face blushed red. "You ... you ... you're a very beautiful woman."

"And what else?"

"And ... and ... you're really good ... really good..." he just couldn't think of any more words to compliment her beauty. But 'really good' was more than enough.

"Would you ever leave me behind?" Cui Nong asked.

"Of course not, I'm not that kind of scoundrel." the youngster pronounced boldly.

"So those who leave me behind are scoundrels?"

"Not just scoundrels but fools as well."

Cui Nong looked at him. Teardrops suddenly formed from the corners of her glistening eyes. After a short while, she finally reached out her hand. Her hand was soft and delicate. The youngster stared at her hand and looked dumbfounded.

"Hurry up and help me onto the carriage." Cui Nong said.

"Where ... where are we going?" the youngster asked.

"We could go anywhere, just as long as you're with me." Cui Nong replied softly as she started to cry.

________________________________________

"There's really a wedding today?"

"Of course there's a wedding. Why do you think there are so many guests here?"

"Then how come there's not a single hint of happiness on any of their faces? It's as if they're all going to a funeral instead."

"Well there has to be a reason for that."

"And what reason is that?"

"It was supposed to be kept quiet, but I doubt it can be kept secret any longer."

"Just what exactly is this secret?"

"Everyone who was supposed to have come, have already arrived, except one person."

"What kind of person?"

"The most important person."

"Just who exactly are you talking about?"

"The groom."

"He was in town the day before yesterday celebrating, but he should've returned by now. No one has even seen him since."

"Why not?"

"Nobody knows."

"Where is he? Where could he have gone?"

"Strange."

"Strange indeed."

All of the guests at the banquet looked petrified and nervous. It didn't seem the least bit amusing.

But Ye Kai found it very amusing. It was a rare sight to witness, this kind of wedding banquet didn't happen very often.

He looked at the expressions on all the guests who walked passed him. He wondered how many of them were genuinely concerned for the Yuan family. Although a lot of them looked solemn and worried, he wondered if they were really just hungry and eager to eat. He wondered if some of them thought their gifts were too expensive and weren't worth the effort and money.

Ye Kai smiled.

Ding LingLin sat at his side and whispered, "You shouldn't smile."

"Why not" Ye Kai replied.

"Everyone here knows that the groom is missing. If you have a big smile on your face, wouldn't you come off as delighting in other people's misery?"

"Whatever the case, it's better to be smiling than crying. It's a wedding afterall, not a funeral."

"Can you keep the insensitive words to a minimum?" Ding LingLin said as she pouted her lips.

"No."

"No?" Ding LingLin asked.

"Because If I don't say them, then you will." Ye Kai replied.

Ding LingLin turned her head. It looked as if she was mad, but really she was delighted. Because she knew that Ye Kai was a man unlike any other man, and completely without flaw.

Noon.

There was still no news from the groom, but it was no reason to starve the guests. Food was served and it seemed to bring up the guests' spirits a bit.

Ding LingLin knitted her brow and asked, "Why haven't my beloved brothers arrived yet?"

"They're supposed to come?" Ye Kai asked.

"They said they were going to be here."

"Are you hoping to see them here?"

Ding LingLin nodded her head and couldn't help but smile, "I want to see the look on Lu XiaoJia's face when he sees them here."

"And what if Lu XiaoJia really kills every single one of them?"

"Why must you always look down on the Ding family?" Ding LingLin pouted.

Ye Kai smiled, "Because your family always looks down on me."

"The Ma family definitely trusts you. They even entrust their children with you." Ding LingLin said coldly.

Ye Kai let out a sigh, "If I would've known Ma FangLing was getting married, I would've brought XiaoHu with me."

He had already taken XiaoHu to a friend's home. The couple had always wanted a child. As soon as they saw XiaoHu, they loved him.

Ye Kai had many friends, all sorts of friends, all sorts of friends who did all sorts of things. He was always the kind of person who loved having friends. And almost all of them loved having him as a friend as well.

Ding LingLin stared at him and said, "What are you sighing about? Is it because Miss Ma is getting married so you're having a hard time accepting that?"

"Miss Ding hasn't married anyone yet, so why would I have a hard time accepting anything."

Ding LingLin couldn't help but smile. "If you don't come to ask for my hand in marriage sometime soon, the day will come when I will be marrying someone else."

"Then I'll ..."

He only finished half of his sentence, because just then he saw Fu HongXue.

Fu HongXue's hand was clenched tightly onto his sabre as he slowly trudged into the large hall. There was a large crowd in the hall, but judging by the expression on his face he looked as if he was still in the wilderness.

There was no one in his eyes!

But he was definitely on everyone else's eyes. Everyone felt as if the room suddenly became a lot chillier. This pale youngster carried with him a deathly aura.

Ye Kai could feel it too. He furrowed his brow and whispered, "What is he doing here?"

"Maybe Lu XiaoJia invited him here too?" Ding LingLin conjectured.

"Why did he purposely bring us all here for? I thought it was a bit odd to begin with." Ye Kai said.

His voice suddenly stopped, because just then Fu HongXue eyes had caught sight of him. His eyes looked completely frozen. Ye Kai stood up and smiled. He had always treated Fu HongXue as a friend. But Fu HongXue quickly turned away and paid him no more attention. He slowly waded through the crowd, his face looked completely frozen as well.

But the hand that was holding on to his sabre started to tremble, even though his grip was tight. Even though his pace was very slow, his breath was very quick.

Ding LingLin shook her head and sighed, "It doesn't look like he came to celebrate!"

"Of course not." Ye Kai said.

"Why do you think he came for then?"

"To kill someone!"

"Kill who?"

"Since he came here, whoever he's out to kill is definitely here too!" Ye Kai said. His voice was slow and his tone was sombre.

Ding LingLin had never seen him with such a serious expression on his face. She couldn't help but ask, "Could it be that he's here to kill Yuan ..."

Ye Kai's expression became even more serious as he slowly nodded his head. "When he's out to kill, he never hesitates."

"Why don't you go and stop him?" Ding LingLin asked.

"When he's out to kill, he can't be stopped." Ye Kai replied.

Fu HongXue's eyes suddenly became razor sharp. Only those who were filled with vengeance could have eyes like that. If Ding LingLin saw his eyes at that moment, she probably wouldn't be able to recognize him. It was as if he had become an entirely different person.

But Ding LingLin was staring at his sabre. She softly sighed and said, "Looks like this wedding is really going to turn into a funeral ..."

Pale white face, jet black sabre.

This person's heart seemed as if it was white and black as well, full of urgency and contradiction.

What is life? What is death?

He probably didn't understand at all. The only thing that he only understood vengeance.

Fu HongXue slowly made his way through the crowd. At one end of the hall was a large banner with the word 'Joy' on it made of bright red silk. Red was a lucky color which symbolized joy and happiness.

Blood was also red.

A woman with a hair full of jade and beads and a cup of tea in her hand who was chatting with one of her companions on the side suddenly caught glimpse of Fu HongXue. The cup in her hand fell towards the floor.

Without turning towards her, Fu HongXue extended out his sabre. His movement didn't seem very fast but the tea cup landed right onto his sheathe. Not even a drop of tea from the cup was spilled.

Ye Kai let out a sigh and exclaimed, "An incredibly fast blade."

"Incredibly fast indeed." Ding LingLin said.

Fu HongXue slowly lifted his sabre and brought the cup towards the woman's face. She tried to smile but all that she could manage to say was a quiet "Thanks". She reached out to take her cup back but her hand was trembling too hard.

Suddenly, another hand appeared from the side and snatched the tea cup. A very steady hand.

When Fu HongXue saw that hand, he finally raised his head and saw a man. An austere middle-aged man adorned in fine robes and a flowing white beard that added to his elegance and attrativeness. In reality, it was difficult to really guess how old he was.

His hands were very well kept and his fingers were slender and strong. They looked perfect not only for wielding swords and sabres but also releasing projectiles and hidden weaponry.

Fu HongXue gazed at him and asked, "You are Yuan QiuYun?"

That person shook his head and replied, "My name is Liu DongLai."

"Where is Yuan QiuYun?" Fu HongXue asked.

"He will be here very shortly." Liu DongLai replied.

"Very well, then I will wait for him."

"What business do you have with him?"

Fu HongXue did not reply. His eyes had drifted off into the distance. It seemed as if this person Liu DongLai didn't exist in front of him anymore.

Liu DongLai didn't seem to mind as he returned the cup of tea to the woman on the side, "The tea is no longer hot anymore, would you like me to pour you a new cup?"

The woman smiled and bowed her head, "Thank you." After seeing Liu DongLai, she looked much more at ease.

Ding LingLin was looking at him as well. "So he's the 'Flower Guarding Swordsman'."

Ye Kai smiled and added, "Others call him the 'Soul Snatching Swordsman'."

"Is he Yuan QiuYun's brother-in-law?" Ding LingLin asked.

Ye Kai nodded his head, "They're not only relatives but also sword brothers."

"I've heard that he's quite popular with the ladies." Ding LingLin said.

"I really need to learn a few things from him. They say he keeps eleven concubines in his household and has countless other women outside as well." Ye Kai said.

Ding LingLin's eyes fluttered and she bit her lips and replied, "Why don't you learn to behave instead?"

Her face started to blush when she realized that they were the only two people talking in the entire hall and that a lot of faces were turning towards them.

Although no one really knew what this pale-faced youngster was here for, everyone could feel a very ominous tension in the air. It was as if a tragedy was about to befall them.

The bride was Ma FangLing.

The groom was nowhere to be found so the bride stormed into the main hall. Everyone's eyes bulged and everyone's mouths dropped wide open as if they were unable to take another breath.

Although Ma FangLing's dress was scarlet red, her face was frightening pale white. She charged towards Fu HongXue and cackled, "You! It really is you!"

Fu HongXue glanced at her briefly, then looked as if he had never seen her before in his life.

Ma FangLing's eyes were red now as well as she screamed, "Where is Yuan QingFeng?"

"Yuan QingFeng?"

"Have you already killed him? Some people saw the two of you together."

Fu HongXue finally understood. The young master of this manor, the groom of today's wedding, was none other than the young swordsman he had run into on the streets of Changan. He also saw Peng Lie who was a guest here as well. That information most likely came from him.

"I could've killed him if I wanted to." Fu HongXue said insipidly.

Ma FangLing started to tremble as she shouted, "You must've killed him! Why else wouldn't he have returned by now? You ... you ... why are you always trying to hurt me? You ..." Her voice started to trail off as tears dripped from her eyes.

There was a dagger concealed in her sleeve. She suddenly pulled it out and stabbed towards Fu HongXue. Her attack was ferocious and underhanded, she wanted nothing more than to take Fu HongXue's life with this one stab.

Fu HongXue looked at her coldly as his sheathe struck out sideways. Ma FangLing was sent stumbling back. She bent over and started to cough but her hand was still clenched onto that dagger.

"I could've killed you as well." Fu HongXue said.

Ma FangLing was sobbing and gasping for breath. She suddenly let out a cry and charged at full force towards Fu HongXue with her dagger out again. It looked as if she was putting all the strength in her entire behind the strike.

Then, someone lightly pulled on one of her sleeves and all the force behind her was suddenly dissipated.

This was an impressive internal cultivation skill called 'Using Four Ounces To Push A Thousand Catties, Using Force To Disperse Force'.

The number of people who understood this skill were few to begin with, the number of people who were able to use this skill in such an ingenious manner were even less. It was a skilled that required at least twenty or thirty years to master.

So obviously this person was old. An awe-inpsiring old man. His robes were quite extravagant as well and his mannerisms were even more dignified than Liu DongLai. He had a pair of bright, sharp eyes.

Those eyes stared at Fu HongXue, "Don't you know that she is a woman?"

Fu HongXue's mouth was shut.

The old man looked indignant as he said, "Even if she wasn't going to be my daughter-in-law, there's no way I could tolerate you being so impolite to a woman!"

"She is your daughter-in-law?" Fu HongXue suddenly asked.

"Yes."

"So you're Yuan QiuYun?"

"That is correct."

"I didn't kill your son."

Yuan QiuYun looked him over then nodded his head, "You don't look like someone who would lie."

"But I am someone who would kill!"

Yuan QiuYun was startled, but then he suddenly started to laugh. He rarely laughed like this, he was laughing because he felt an indescribable dread coming over him.

"Am I someone that you would kill? You really dare to speak such words here?" Yuan QiuYun said.

"Those words have already been said. I only have one more thing to ask you." Fu HongXue replied.

"Go ahead and ask me."

Fu HongXue clenched onto his sabre, "One snowy night nineteen years ago, were you at Plum Blossom Monastery on LuXia Mountain?"

Yuan QiuYun's laughter stopped. Complete dread flooded his face. His stern and solemn face started to twitch as he said "What relation do you have with Bai ... Hero Bai ... ?"

He knew of the incident!

That one response was enough to explain everything.

Fu HongXue's pale white face suddenly flushed red and his body started to shake. Oddly enough, his hands that were trembling just before suddenly became as steady as stone.

He gritted his teeth and uttered slowly, "I am his son!"

His words were finished. Yuan QiuYun had heard them clearly. It would be the last words that he would ever hear.

Fu HongXue's blade left its sheathe!

He never hesitated to kill!

His blade flashed.

Lightning didn't flash as quickly and menacingly as his blade!

Everyone saw the flash of light, but no one could follow his blade. Not even Yuan QiuYun.

His blade flashed, and it had already entered Yuan QiuYun's chest.

It suddenly became deathly quiet, nothing and no one dared to move.

Then, Yuan QiuYun started to cough repeatedly as his eyes stared at Fu HongXue. Eyes full of astonishment, fright, sorrow and disbelief.

He didn't believe that Fu HongXue's sabre could be that fast.

He really didn't believe that Fu HongXue would kill him!

Fu HongXue's face turned pale again.

Yuan QiuYun stared at him, then used all his might to pull his body free from Fu HongXue's blade. Then, he fell to the floor. Blood splattered all over his body.

His eyes started to protude. With his last breath, he finally uttered, "I wasn't at Plum Blossom Monastery that night."

Those were his last words. But those were not the last words that Fu HongXue heard.

His sabre had already returned to its sheathe. It was still stained with blood.

He suddenly heard another voice that was colder than a blade, "You've killed the wrong person!"

"You've killed the wrong person!"

Fu HongXue's ears started to ring. Although that voice wasn't loud, to him it sounded like a clap of thunder.

After a long while, he slowly turned around. Liu DongLai stood before him. That face that always carried a smile had turned deathly grey!

His eyes were like daggers pointed straight at Fu HongXue.

"He really wasn't at Plum Blossom Monastery that night."

Fu HongXue gritted his teeth and couldn't help but ask, "You're certain?"

"Only I could be certain."

Liu DongLai's expression was filled of pain and sadness, "That was the same night that his wife died during childbirth. He didn't leave her side for even half a step."

This was no lie.

Fu HongXue felt like he had been stabbed in the chest as well. His entire body fell cold.

"But he did know about the bloody battle that night outside of Plum Blossom Monastery." Liu DongLai said.

"He ... how would he know?" Fu HongXue asked.

"Because someone told him of this matter."

"Who told him?"

"I did!"

Those words were like a hammer coming down on Fu HongXue's chest.

The look of sadness on Liu DongLai's face suddenly filled with mocking contempt.

"I was one of the assassins at Plum Blossom Monastery who were sent to murder your father!"

Liu DongLai turned towards Yuan QiuYun's body. His eyes were brimming with tears as he continued, "He was not only brother-in-law but also my best friend. We've been through everything together since we were young. There were no secrets between us."

"So you told him of the incident?" Fu HongXue asked.

"I never imagined that it bring upon him such misfortune. When I told him of what happened, he criticized me and told me I shouldn't have done such a rash thing for the sake of a woman. But that was because he wasn't aware of how much in love we were."

Fu HongXue's voice trembled, "You ... you went to murder ... for the sake of a woman?"

"Correct, for the sake of a woman. Her name was Jie Ru, and she was mine. But Bai TianYu used his power and wealth to steal her away from me!"

"You're lying!" Fu HongXue suddenly howled.

Liu DongLai started to laugh hysterically, "I'm lying? Why would I lie for? Haven't you ever heard of what kind of person your father was? Let me tell you then, he was a ..."

Fu HongXue's face was flushed red again. His body started to shake violently.

He suddenly drew his blade!

A snow white flash of light flashed towards Liu DongLai.

Then, his blade returned to its sheathe.

Liu DongLai's garments were torn apart, blood spurted out all over. But he didn't even move. His face still carried that sly cynical smile.

"If you dare to speak these shameless lies again, I'll make sure that you suffer slowly."

"Old Yuan is already dead because of me, I wasn't planning on living any longer anyway. It doesn't matter how I die."

"Is that why you're spewing these malicious lies and insulting him with these words?"

"I don't care how you do it, but you have to believe that everything I've said is the truth, every single word of it."

His voice was coarse and husky from the pain but he still stood there unwavering and straight.

Fu HongXue started to shake. He suddenly snatched someone's sword and handed it to Liu DongLai.

"Now you have a sword."

"Yes."

"Then why haven't you made a move? Are you only able to kill when you've hit the floor?"

Liu DongLai stared at the sword in his hands and said, "I really should kill you to prevent you from wrongfully killing anyone else, but too much blood has already been spilt. Too much blood ..."

He waved his hand and the sword swung out in a bright arc. His sword was agile and swift, but the way his sword was positioned his sword was rather peculiar. His techniques became stranger and quicker.

The 'Flower Guarding Swordsman' was one of the most famous swordsman in all the land. His reputation was most deserved and honestly earned. You could swindle wealth and you could swindle power but you couldn't swindle the kind of reputation that he had. It was something that was only obtainable through blood -- the blood of your opponents.

Swift and bright flashes of his sword filled the room. It was a brilliant and splendid sight.

Then, it suddenly disappeared.

The sabre had plunged into his chest.

His face started to twitch, but that cynical smile still remained.

He was still staring at Fu HongXue as he gasped for breath, "Indeed, an unrivalled blade in all the world! A pity however that no matter how fast your blade is, it will never change the truth!"

After those words were spoken, he fell to the ground.

He was only willing to fall to the ground after those words were spoken.