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Bordertown Wanderer - Chapter 38

Chapter 38: The Lady of the Plum Blossom

Not only was the battle outside the Plum Blossom Convent tragic and earth-shaking, it also changed the entire trajectory of the history of the martial world.

Had the blood which flowed there dried and seeped into it?

Did the corpses of the heroes who died there still lie in the midst of the withered grass?

That place was no longer merely a famous scenic place, where one might go to play in the snow and admire the plum blossoms. It was now an ancient-battleground.

Although the plum flowers weren’t blossoming yet, the trees would definitely still be there.

Did the blood of heroes still lie on those trees?

But right now, not even a tree could be seen, outside of the Plum Blossom Convent.

The grass was a sickly yellow in color. The cold, mournful rays of the setting sun rested on the ancient door of the convent, its lacquer long since peeled off.

But what about the plum blossoms?

Can it be that those stubborn, unyielding plum trees had finally discovered how cruel humanity is after witnessing that incomparably tragic event? Could it be that they had decided that there was nothing worth staying for in this human world, and that they would rather be chopped down and sold as firewood, would rather be transformed by the flame into ash?

There were no plum trees. Naturally, there was no snow either. It was autumn.

Fu Hongxue stood still for a long time beneath the cold, mournful autumn sun. Staring at this desolate scene and those devastated plum trees, what sort of feelings must be running through his heart?

No matter what, the convent still stood. But the heroes of that earlier time had all turned into dust and ash, just like the plum trees.

He tightly gripped his sabre. Slowly, he walked up the moss-covered stone steps.

With a light push, the shattered door creaked open. It sounded just like a man sighing.

There was a very thick layer of fallen leaves in the courtyard, so thick that not even the autumn wind could budge it.

Intermittent sounds of solemn, deep prayer chanting were carried here by the autumn wind, passing by this desolate courtyard.

The main hall was dark and gloomy. No lit incense could be seen, nor could the chanter be seen.

The light from the setting sun grew even duller.

Bending down, Fu Hongxue picked up a leaf. He stupidly stared at it, and stupidly mused to himself.

After an unknown length of time, he seemed to hear someone calling on Buddha’s name in a quiet voice.

And then, he heard someone say to him, “Benefactor, have you come to light incense before the Buddha?”

An old nun wearing black clothes and white socks, her hands clasped in prayer, was standing at the top of the stone steps in front of the main hall, gazing at him.

She looked as old and as shriveled as the fallen leaves. Her withered, yellow face was filled with traces of loneliness and misery. She had left all the joys which mankind might partake of far away, and long ago.

But in her eyes, a hint of hope and aspiration remained. It was as though she were hoping that this very rare pilgrim who had come to their place of worship might be willing to pay his respects before the Buddha.

Fu Hongxue couldn’t bear to refuse her. Nor did he wish to refuse her.

He walked over.

“This humble nun is named Liao Yin. Benefactor, what is your surname?”

“My surname is Fu.”

He accepted a stick of incense, lit it, then placed it within the long-since rusted copper incense burner.

Behind the hanging curtains, it seemed as though the respected, honored face of the Buddha was also filled with worry.

Was he was grieved over the lack of incense lit here, or over the ignorance and cruelty of humanity?

Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist letting out a light sigh.

The old nun, Liao Yin, was looking at him with a pair of equally distressed eyes. Once again, a look of hope appeared within them. “Benefactor, would you be willing to partake of a vegetarian meal before leaving?”

“No need.”

“A cup of tea?”

Fu Hongxue nodded. He couldn’t bear to refuse her, and he had some questions to ask.

A somewhat younger nun walked to them with her head lowered, holding a white wooden tea tray.

Fu Hongxue picked up the teacup, placing a few broken bits of silver on top of the tray.

This was all he could offer.

But this was more than enough to satisfy this desperately poor nun. She folded her palms together to thank him, then lightly sighed, “It has been a long time since people have come here.”

Fu Hongxue was silent. Finally, he asked, “You have been here a long time?”

The old nun, Liao Yin, replied, “I can no longer remember how many years I have been here. All I remember is that when I first came here, this convent had just been blessed and sanctified.”

Fu Hongxue said, “That must be at least twenty years ago.”

A look of sorrow flashed by Liao Yin’s eyes. “Twenty years? I’m afraid it’s been at least three ‘twenty years’.”

A gleam of hope appeared in Fu Hongxue’s eyes as well. “Do you remember the event which occurred here twenty years ago?”

Liao Yin said, “It wasn’t twenty years ago. It was nineteen years ago.”

Fu Hongxue let out a long sigh. “You know?”

Liao Yin nodded. Mournfully, she said, “I’m afraid no one would ever be able to forget about something like that.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You…did you know benefactor Bai?”

The old nun, Liao Yin, lowered her head. “He is also a very unforgettable person. This entire time, I have been humbly beseeching heaven to grant his soul peace.”

Fu Hongxue lowered his head as well, hating himself for not having brought out all the silver he had earlier.

Liao Yin sighed again. “I would rather be immolated and turned to ash than have a disaster like that reoccur here.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You witnessed everything personally?”

Liao Yin said, “I didn’t dare to watch, I couldn’t bear to watch. But the sounds which drifted in from outside…”

Her withered, yellow face suddenly was filled with an indescribable terror. After a long time, she let out a long sigh. “Up to this very day, although I have seen past the illusions of the mortal world, whenever I think of those sounds and voices, I find it difficult to swallow, and difficult to sleep.”

Fu Hongxue was silent for a long time as well, before asking, “The next morning, did any of the wounded enter the convent?”

Liao Yin said, “No. After the affairs of that night, the doors of this convent were shut for at last half a month.”

Fu Hongxue said, “And afterwards?”

Liao Yin said, “The first few years, there were some exceptional members of the martial world who could come here to visit and to ponder quietly. But afterwards, they gradually became fewer in number as well. After others heard about the horrific murders committed here, they became all the more unwilling to come.”

Sighing again, she said, “Benefactor, I imagine you’ve noticed our situation as well. Were it not for the Buddha granting us, in his infinite mercy, a quarter acre of farmland, my two disciples and I would have starved to death long ago.”

Fu Hongxue could no longer continue to question her, nor could he bear questioning her.

He slowly placed the teacup in his hand on the table, preparing to leave.

Liao Yin, looking at the cup of tea, suddenly said, “Benefactor, don’t you wish to drink the tea?”

Fu Hongxue shook his head.

Liao Yin continued to ask, “Why not?”

Fu Hongxue said, “I never drink tea given by people I don’t know.”

Liao Yin said, “I am but a humble nun. Benefactor, can it be that you…”

Fu Hongxue said, “A nun is still a person.”

Liao Yin let out another long sigh. “Benefactor, it seems that you are perhaps overly cautious.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Because I still want to live.”

A cold yet sly smile suddenly seemed to appear on Liao Yin’s face. This sort of smile should not be on her face.

She coldly laughed, “Unfortunately, no matter how careful a person is, he will still die, sooner or later.”

Before she finished speaking, her old, decrepit body suddenly shot up like a panther, flipping into the air.

With a whishing sound, a tempest of silver raindrops shot forth from her voluminous robes.

This change was too unexpected, and she really was too fast.

Especially since she shot out those many hidden projectile weapons very quickly and in a thick, dense cluster. It was as though she had prepared for nineteen years to use these weapons at any time!

Just at this exact moment, two female nuns suddenly appeared from both sides of the south of the room. One of them was the nun who had just served them tea.

But her dressing and bearing was now totally different. Her dull, sallow face was filled with a murderous aura.

Both of them were wielding a longsword flashing with blue light. They had already assumed a battle stance and prepared to use all their strength.

No matter where Fu Hongxue might dodge, those two swords would pierce towards him.

In addition, it was extremely difficult to dodge these hidden projectiles to begin with.

Fu Hongxue’s face was very pale.

That pitch-black sabre was still in his hand.

He didn’t dodge. Instead, he moved towards that rain of hidden projectiles instead, and just at that moment, his sabre left the sheath.

No one would have believed that someone could draw a sabre at that moment.

A flash of sabre light.

All of the projectile weapons seemed to be drawn into that flash of sabre light, while he himself had charged next to the old nun.

Liao Yin had just dropped down from her earlier flip. The sleeves of her gown were still fluttering.

She suddenly felt a sudden pain in her knees. The pitch-black scabbard of the sabre had already slammed into her kneecap.

She immediately collapsed.

With a clear shout, the swords of the two younger nuns shot out like rainbows towards him.

It seemed as though their sword style was very similar to the Wudang sect’s “Liangyi Swordplay” technique. Their blows were powerful and fast, as well as very coordinated.

Both swords were aimed at Fu Hongxue’s critical acupoints, and they were aimed very accurately as well.

Clearly, they intended for this attack to be a fatal one as well.

What type of deep-seated hatred and enmity did these Buddhist nuns have with Fu Hongxue?

Fu Hongxue did not use his sabre.

He used the sabre’s hilt and its sheath.

The hilt was pitch-black. The sheath was pitch-black.

The hilt and the sheath collided precisely with the tips of both swords simultaneously.

With a cracking sound, the two exquisitely forged swords snapped.

The remaining halves of the swords could no longer be held steady either. They shot out of their hands, and with a thudding sound, plunged themselves into the wooden roof beams.

The part of the hand between the thumb and the index fingers of the two young nuns had already split open. They suddenly flew up, wanting to retreat, but the pitch-black sheath and hilt simultaneously struck their bodies.

They fell down as well.

The sabre had already entered the sheath again.

Fu Hongxue stood there quietly, watching the fallen nun, Liao Yin, who was holding her kneecap.

The light from the setting sun grew dimmer still.

There was only enough light in the main hall to vaguely see the outline of her face. Her facial expressions could no longer be seen.

But anyone would still be able to see the hatred and enmity in her eyes.

She no longer looked at Fu Hongxue.

The only thing she was looking at was that pitch-black sabre.

Fu Hongxue said, “You recognize this sabre?”

Liao Yin ground her teeth. With a cackling voice, she said, “This isn’t a sabre for men. It is a demonic sabre. Only vile demons from the underworld can use this sabre.”

Her voice was deep and hoarse, suddenly seeming like a demonic incantation from the underworld as well.

“I waited nineteen years. I knew I would see this sabre again. Now, I really have seen it.”

Fu Hongxue said, “So what if you have?”

Liao Yin said, “I have already sworn a dire oath before the Buddha that if I see this sabre again, I will kill its wielder, no matter who it is.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Why?”

Liao Yin said, “Because this sabre ruined my entire life.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You didn’t use to be a nun at the Plum Blossom Convent?”

Liao Yin said, “Of course not.”

Her eyes suddenly shone. “A youngster like you obviously wouldn’t know who this old lady is. But twenty years ago, everyone in the world knew of the Lady of the Plum Blossom.”

Her words had suddenly become extremely coarse. They definitely were not words which could have come from that kindly, amiable old nun from earlier.

Fu Hongxue let her speak.

Liao Yin said, “But I was ruined by him. I tossed aside all other men, wanting whole-heartedly to follow him. Who would have imagined that he spent only three days with me before ruthlessly tossing me aside and leaving me to be ridiculed by others.”

“Since you could toss aside others, why can’t he toss you aside?”

Fu Hongxue did not say these words.”

He could already imagine what type of woman the Lady of the Plum Blossom would have been like in her youth.

He didn’t feel regretful or remorseful on behalf of his late father for this matter.

If he were in his father’s shoes, he would have done the same.

In his heart, he actually felt an inexpressible sort of calmness, because he had already realized that the actions his father had taken, right or wrong, were the actions of a real man.

Liao Yin said a few more things, but he no longer cared to listen.

He only wanted to ask her something!

“Nineteen years ago, on that snowy evening, were you inside the convent, or outside?”

Liao Yin sneered, “Of course I was outside. I vowed long ago to kill him.”

Fu Hongxue said, “When you were waiting for him that night, did you hear someone say the words, ‘Everyone is assembled’?”

Liao Yin thought a moment. “Right, I think there was someone who said that.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Do you know who he was? Could you recognize his voice?”

Liao Yin hatefully said, “Why would I care about who he was? At that time, there was only one thing on my mind. I was waiting for that amoral, irresponsible man to come out and kill him with my own hands, then burn his bones to ash and swallow it with wine.”

She suddenly ripped open her clothes, revealing her withered chest. There was a sabre scar stretching down through it from her shoulder.

Fu Hongxue immediately turned away. He didn’t feel any sympathy. All he felt was disgust.

Liao Yin said in a loud voice, “Did you see this scar? This is the only thing he left me. He could have killed me with that chop, but he suddenly recognized me and intentionally spared my life so that I might suffer.”

She ground her teeth, tears already beginning to flow from her eyes. She continued, “He thought I would be thankful towards him. But I hate him all the more. Why didn’t he just kill me with one sabre?”

Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist laughing coldly. He realized that there were many people in this world who didn’t know how to show gratitude.

Liao Yin said, “Do you know how I’ve lived over these past nineteen years, what type of miseries I’ve suffered? I’m only thirty nine years old this year. But look at what I’ve turned into!”

She suddenly fell prostrate on the floor and began to cry bitterly.

The thing which grieves women the most is perhaps their appearance being destroyed by age, their youth disappearing.

Listening to her sobs, Fu Hongxue finally felt some compassion in his heart.

She really didn’t seem like a thirty nine year old woman. She really had suffered more than enough pain and misery.

No matter what she had done in the past, she had already paid an extremely painful, extremely frightful cost.

“This is another person not worth killing.”

Turning away, Fu Hongxue left.

Liao Yin suddenly said in a loud voice, “You! Come back!”

Fu Hongxue didn’t look back.

Liao Yin said in a hoarse voice, “Since you’ve already come here, why don’t you use this sabre to kill me? If you don’t dare kill me, you’re no more than a vermin!”

Fu Hongxue walked out the door without looking back, leaving behind many tears and many curses.

“Since you have already understood the reason, why can’t you understand the consequences [Liao Yin means ‘understand the reason’]? Cause and effect follow each other in a cycle. Retribution is always just. A woman who doesn’t know how to value herself deserves to have this sort of fate!”

Fu Hongxue suddenly felt another stabbing pain in his heart. He suddenly thought of Cui Nong.

The autumn wind filled the courtyard.

Fu Hongxue strode on the thick leaves, passed by the courtyard filled with wind, and stepped down the stone steps.

The sun had already set, leaving the Plum Blossom Convent.

There were no plum blossoms. No snow. The only thing which remained was those unforgettable, tragic events in the memories of men.

Only memories are eternal, and will remain no matter how this place changes.

The night began to grow dark. The bitter sobs which the wind had carried were distant.

He knew that he would never come back here again. Who would be willing to come to such a place?

But there was at least one person.

Ye Kai!

“If you don’t know how to cherish the feelings others have for you, how will others cherish you?”

“If you don’t respect yourself, how can others respect you?”

By the time Ye Kai arrived, the night was already deep. Fu Hongxue had left long ago.

Nor did he see Liao Yin.

Liao Yin’s coffin had already been covered. The coffin had been prepared long ago. If it wasn’t going to be used for Fu Hongxue, it would be used for herself.

She waited for all these years at the Plum Blossom Convent, precisely for the day where this last descendant of Bai Tianyu’s lineage would come seeking revenge.

The hatred in her heart was far deeper than that of the one who came seeking vengeance.

She couldn’t understand it, and perhaps she couldn’t understand the reason [ie, ‘Liao Yin’] either. She never asked herself who was responsible for the tragedies in her life.

This foolish hatred of hers had managed to sustain her to this day.

Now, she was no longer able to keep on living.

She died by her own hand, just like how she herself was the one who had caused all the sufferings and tragedies in her life.

“If you always want to harm others, then sooner or later, someone will come to harm you.”

The two nuns were quietly sobbing in front of her coffin. They were grieved for their own lot in life. They also wanted to end their own miserable lives, but did not have the courage.

Dying isn’t an easy thing at all.

When Ye Kai left, the night was still very deep and dark.

This place was already not worth anybody staying behind in.

Ding Linglin nestled against him. The stars in the autumn sky had become scarce, and they were tired.

Ye Kai couldn’t help but gently stroke her soft shoulder. “Actually, there’s no need for you to wander about like this.”

Ding Linglin raised her face, staring at him with a pair of eyes that were even brighter than the stars of the autumn sky. In a soft voice, she said, “I want to. As long as you can be a little nicer to me sometimes, I won’t mind anything.”

Ye Kai let out a light sigh.

He knew that this is how feelings slowly develop. He didn’t necessarily want this sort of feeling. He had been controlling himself this entire time.

But he wasn’t a god.

In addition, not even the gods themselves are capable of controlling the feelings which mankind have.

Ding Linglin suddenly sighed again. “I really don’t understand. Why wasn’t Fu Hongxue willing to spare even that pitiable old nun?”

Ye Kai said, “You think Fu Hongxue killed her?”

Ding Linglin said, “All I know is that she’s dead now.”

Ye Kai said, “There’s plenty of dead people in the world.”

Ding Linglin said, “But she died after Fu Hongxue arrived. Don’t you think the timing of her death was a bit too perfect?”

Ye Kai said, “No.”

Ding Linglin frowned. “You’re suddenly angry?”

Ye Kai didn’t make a sound.

Ding Linglin said, “Who are you angry at?”

Ye Kai said, “Myself.”

Ding Linglin said, “You’re angry at yourself?”

Ye Kai said, “Can’t I be angry at myself?”

Ding Linglin said, “But why are you angry?”

Ye Kai was silent. After a long time, he let out a long sigh. “I should have realized long ago what type of person Liao Yin was.”

Ding Linglin said, “Liao Yin?”

Ye Kai said, “The old nun who just died.”

Ding Linglin said, “You’ve met her before? You’ve been to the Plum Blossom Convent before?”

Ye Kai nodded.

Ding Linglin said, “What type of person is she?”

Ye Kai said, “She isn’t, at least, a pitiable old nun.”

Ding Linglin said, “Then who is she?”

Ye Kai muttered to himself, “After that bloody battle of nineteen years past, many people suddenly disappeared from the martial world. The people who disappeared far outnumbered the people who died outside the Plum Blossom Manor.”

Ding Linglin was listening.

Ye Kai said, “At that time, there was a very famous lady in the martial world, who was known as the Lady of the Plum Blossom. Although she was as beautiful as a flower, she had a heart that was more venomous than serpents and scorpions. Who knows how many men went mad for her or who died beneath her hands.”

Ding Linglin said, “After that battle, she disappeared as well?”

Ye Kai said, “Correct.”

Ding Linglin said, “Can it be that you think that old nun in the Plum Blossom Convent is her?”

Ye Kai said, “It must be her.”

Ding Linglin said, “But maybe she just so happened to die after that battle.”

Ye Kai said, “Impossible.”

Ding Linglin said, “Why?”

Ye Kai said, “Because aside from Bai Tianyu, there weren’t many people capable of killing her.”

Ding Linglin said, “Perhaps Bai Tianyu killed her.”

Ye Kai shook his head. “Bai Tianyu definitely would not have killed a woman with whom he had once been in a relationship with.”

Ding Linglin said, “But that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s the old nun.”

Ye Kai said, “I can already prove it.”

He spread his hands open, revealing a hidden projectile which shone. It looked just like the petals of a peach blossom.

Ding Linglin said, “What’s this?”

Ye Kai said, “This is her unique hidden projectile weapon. No one has ever used this weapon aside from her.”

Ding Linglin said, “Where did you find this?”

Ye Kai said, “Within the main hall of the Plum Blossom Convent.”

Ding Linglin said, “You just found it?”

Ye Kai nodded. “Clearly, she intended to ambush Fu Hongxue with these hidden projectiles, but they were brought down by Fu Hongxue. That’s why there are gaps and cracks in these projectiles.”

Ding Linglin was silent for a moment. Then, she said, “So what if that old nun really is the Lady of the Plum Blossom? She’s already dead. She’ll never be able to harm others ever again.”

Ye Kai said, “But I should have guessed who she was long ago.”

Ding Linglin said, “So what if you should have guessed who she was long ago? What’s the difference between guessing earlier and guessing later?”

Ye Kai said, “The biggest difference is that I am now no longer able to ask her about anything.”

Ding Linglin said, “You had something to ask her?”

Ye Kai nodded.

Ding Linglin said, “Something very important?”

Ye Kai didn’t actually answer this question. A look of peculiar sadness appeared on his face. After a long time, he slowly said, “Although that battle started here, it didn’t end here.”

Ding Linglin said, “Oh?”

Ye Kai said, “They launched the assault outside the Plum Blossom Convent. They continued battling on the move for two or three li, before Bai Tianyu became exhausted and died. This entire road was covered with blood, flesh, and corpses.

Ding Linglin couldn’t help but shudder. She tightly clasped Ye Kai’s hand.

Ye Kai said, “There weren’t many people whose corpses remained intact and whole after that battle, especially the people of the Bai family…”

It seemed as though his voice had suddenly become a little hoarse. After another long period of time, he continued, “After the bloody battle was concluded, the bodies of all the assassins were removed, because Ma Kongqun wasn’t willing to let others know who they were or allow others to seek vengeance upon their descendants.”

Ding Linglin said, “He didn’t seem like someone who would care about the descendants of others.”

Ye Kai said, “He didn’t care about others. He cared about himself!”

Ding Linglin blinked repeatedly, but still didn’t understand.

Ye Kai said, “After Bai Tianyu’s death, Ma Kongqun, in order to avoid the suspicions of others, naturally had to pretend to be very grieved and sorrowful. He even swore an oath in front of many others to get revenge for Bai Tianyu.”

Ding Linglin finally understood. “He was the one who summoned all of those people. How could he take revenge upon their descendants?”

Ye Kai said, “Thus, he had to have their corpses removed. Since nobody else was able to determine who the assassins were, nobody would be able to take revenge, even if they wanted to.”

Ding Linglin said, “And so he avoided quite a bit of trouble as well.”

She lightly sighed, before continuing, “Looks like he really is a crafty old fox.”

Ye Kai said, “Thus, by the dawn of the next day, the only corpses which remained were those of the Bai family.”

Ding Linglin said, “Was Ma Kongqun the one who gathered their corpses as well?”

Ye Kai nodded. “But their bodies were no longer intact, to the point where some of them couldn’t even be recognized…”

His voice became even hoarser, as he slowly continued, “Bai Tianyu was the most pitiable of all. He…not only had all four of his limbs been chopped off, even his head could not be found afterwards.”

Watching the expression on his face, Ding Linglin suddenly felt her entire body become cold. Even her palms began to emit cold sweat.

After another long period of time, Ye Kai gloomily sighed. “Some people guessed that the head had been dragged away by beasts. But that night, after the bloody battle, people were transporting away corpses all throughout a circle with a diameter of three li. Even if there really were wild beasts nearby, they would have been scared far away long ago.”

Ding Linglin continued, “Thus, you believe his head was stolen by someone.”

Ye Kai balled his fists together tightly. “It must have been.”

Ding Linglin said, “You…can it be that you believe it was stolen away by the Lady of the Plum Blossom?”

Ye Kai said, “She’s the most likely culprit.”

Ding Linglin said, “Why?”

Ye Kai said, “Because she is a woman. There were other female assassins, but she was the only one who survived.”

Ding Linglin couldn’t resist sneering. “Are you saying only a woman could do something like that?”

Ye Kai said, “After a person dies, all the feuds which he had are cancelled with a stroke of the brush. In addition, those assassins used to be his friends.”

Ding Linglin said, “But didn’t the Lady of the Plum Blossom use to have a relationship with him as well?”

Ye Kai said, “It was precisely because of that relationship that she hated him, hated him so very much. That’s why she could do such an insane thing.”

Ding Linglin no longer spoke.

Ye Kai said, “In addition, others just wanted Bai Tianyu to die, but originally all she wanted was for Bai Tianyu to be with her forever. When Bai Tianyu was alive, she had lost him forever, and so the only thing she could do was wait for him to die and use such an insane method to possess him forever.”

Ding Linglin bit her lips. In her own heart, she suddenly realized how fearful the hearts of women can be.

Because she suddenly wondered that if Ye Kai were to discard her, would she do something like this?

Even she herself couldn’t be sure.

Her body began to tremble nonstop.

Although the chilly autumn wind was quite cold, her sweat had already soaked her clothes.

The night grew deeper. The stars became scarcer.

Ye Kai could feel the sweat in her palm. He knew that she had never suffered anything like this before.

“You should find a place to sleep.”

Ding Linglin said, “I can’t fall asleep. Even if I was lying down on the softest of beds, I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep right now.”

Ye Kai said, “Why?”

Ding Linglin said, “Because there are many things I need to think about.”

Ye Kai said, “What are you thinking about?”

Ding Linglin said, “You. I’m only thinking your affairs. That’s already enough to keep me up for three days and three nights.”

Ye Kai said, “I’m right by your side. What’s there to think about?”

Ding Linglin said, “But I can’t help but think about your affairs. And the more I think, the stranger it seems.”

Ye Kai said, “Stranger?”

Ding Linglin said, “You seem to know more about this matter than anyone, even Fu Hongxue. I don’t understand why.”

Ye Kai chuckled. “Actually, I only gathered bits and broken pieces of information from here and there, then pieced them together into a whole.”

Ding Linglin said, “This matter didn’t have anything to do with you. Why do you care about it so much?”

Ye Kai said, “Because I’ve always been a very curious person, and I love to poke my nose into things that aren’t my business.”

Ding Linglin said, “There are plenty of other things to poke your nose into. Why do you insist on poking your nose into this one?”

Ye Kai said, “Because I feel this affair is exceptionally complicated. The more complicated an affair is, the more interesting it is.”

Ding Linglin let out another light sigh. “No matter what you say, I still feel it is strange.”

Ye Kai forced out a smile. “If you insist on feeling it to be strange, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Ding Linglin said, “There’s one thing you can do.”

Ye Kai said, “Speak.”

Ding Linglin said, “You can tell me the truth.”

Ye Kai said, “Fine, I’ll tell you the truth. If I told you that I am Fu Hongxue’s brother, and that’s why I care so much about this matter, would you believe me?”

Ding Linglin said, “No. Fu Hongxue has no siblings at all.”

Ye Kai said, “What exactly do you want me to say?”

Ding Linglin let out another long sigh. “Even I don’t know.”

Ye Kai laughed. “Thus, I advise you to stop letting your imagination run off with you, because this affair really has nothing to do with you at all. If you insist on thinking about it, you’re just making things hard for yourself.”

Ding Linglin couldn’t resist letting out a sweet laugh. “Maybe it’s because I’m just like you. I don’t like to make things hard for others; I just like to make things hard for myself.”

After a long time, she suddenly sighed, “Right now, I’m thinking about something else.”

Ye Kai said, “What?”

Ding Linglin said, “If the Lady of the Plum Blossom really did steal away Hero Bai’s head, it was because she decided that if she couldn’t have him while he was alive, she’d have him accompany her in death.”

Ye Kai said, “Your explanation isn’t the best one, but you have the general gist of it.”

Ding Linglin said, “Therefore, after her own death, she surely would not wish to be parted from him.”

Ye Kai said, “You mean to say…”

Ding Linglin said, “What I mean is, if she really was the one who stole away Hero Bai’s head, it must be in that coffin right now.”

Ye Kai was stunned.

He really hadn’t thought of this point, but he couldn’t deny that Ding Linglin’s argument was very logical.

Ding Linglin said, “Do you want me to go there with you and check it out?”

Ye Kai was silent for a long time, before letting out a long sigh. “No need!”

Ding Linglin said, “Just a moment ago, you whole-heartedly wanted to find Hero Bai’s head. Why are you now saying ‘no need’?”

Ye Kai’s expression was very gloomy. He slowly said, “The only reason I want to find his head is because I want to give him a proper burial.”

Ding Linglin said, “But…”

Ye Kai interrupted her. “If his head really is in that coffin right now, I imagine that someone will bury him properly. Why, then, must I go and disturb his heroic spirit, or cause the Lady of the Plum Blossom to die with everlasting regret?”

Sighing, he sadly said, “No matter what she was like in the past, she was still a very pitiable woman. Why, then, must I deprive her of her very last little bit of comfort?”

Ding Linglin said, “Why are you suddenly being so considerate towards her?”

Ye Kai said, “Because someone once told me this: No matter what I am about to do, first I must always consider things on behalf of others.”

That look of respect once more entered his gaze. He continued, “I’ve never forgotten these words, and I never will forget these words.”

Ding Linglin looked at him for a very long time before letting out a sigh. “You really are a weirdo. You’re much weirder than even Fu Hongxue.”

Ye Kai let out an ‘oh’ of surprise. “Really?”

Ding Linglin said, “Fu Hongxue isn’t necessarily weird, because everything he does, he’s made up his mind to do. But you, even you yourself aren’t sure whether or not you should do the things you do.”