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Bordertown Wanderer - Chapter 39

Chapter 39: Love as Deep as the Sea

Yet another dawn.

The city was just starting to come to life. Fu Hongxue had already entered the city.

There were already quite a few people travelling on the road to the city. There were barefooted, cart-pushing vegetable peddlers, fisherman carrying baskets filled with fish, and butchers herding swine and sheep to sell them in the city…their livelihoods were simple and healthy, just like themselves.

Watching their guileless, sunlit faces, Fu Hongxue suddenly felt an indescribable envy in his heart.

Others were looking at him as well. Perhaps they envied his leisure.

But who could understand the pain and injuries in his heart.

Although these people were carrying very heavy burdens on their shoulders, who amongst them could compare to him, and the burden he was carrying on his?

A hundred loads of fish and vegetables still isn’t as heavy a burden as a single portion of hatred.

In addition, at times they could put down their loads. But he would never be able to set down his.

Fu Hongxue slowly walked along the long road. He suddenly yearned for a hot bowl of noodles.

The yearning suddenly became extremely intense. A man is but a man, after all, and not a god.

A man who believes himself to be a god truly must be the most ignorant, benighted of men.

Right at this moment, Fu Hongxue did not want to find Ma Kongqun. He just wanted to find a noodle shop.

He didn’t see a noodle shop. What he did see was a piece of white sackcloth twenty feet long and three feet wide.

The white cloth was held erect by two fresh bamboo poles above the street.

The black ink used to write the words on the cloth appeared to still be wet, as though they had not yet dried.

There were only fourteen words on the cloth, fourteen shocking words. “Fu HongXue, if you have balls, then come to the Chaste Wife’s Arch.”

The Chaste Wife’s Arch was an extremely high memorial archway dedicated to chastity. It appeared as though it were made from white jade as it shone beneath the sun.

To both sides of the archway were a number of small buildings of varied sizes. Every window was open and filled with many faces.

They were staring at the twenty nine people standing in front of the Chaste Wife’s Arch.

The twenty nine people wore white sackcloth clothes and white sackcloth hats.

Some were male, some were female. Some were old, some were young. Each and every one of them wielded a demon-headed sabre which gleamed like the snow.

There was even a ten year old kid who was wielding such a sabre.

The sabre he was wielding was even bigger than he was.

On every single person’s face, there was an indescribably solemn, stirring, and tragic expression, as though they were a group of valiant warriors who were just about to stake their lives in a battle with their enemies.

The person standing at the front was an old man with a long beard and a violet face. The people behind him were clearly his children and grandchildren.

He was already an old man in the sunset of his life, but as he stood there, his back was absolutely straight and ramrod stiff.

The wind blew across his long beard, causing it to curl up like silver thread. But his eyes were filled with threads of blood.

Everyone’s eyes were fixed upon the exit from that long street.

They were waiting for someone. They had waited for two days already.

The person they were waiting for was Fu Hongxue.

Ever since this group appeared here, everyone knew that something shocking was about to occur. Everyone also knew that this wasn’t going to be a happy event at all, but still could not resist watching.

Right now, everyone was surreptitiously whispering to one another.

“Who exactly are they waiting for? Is this person going to come?”

They had already discussed this question for two days, but were unable to come to a conclusion. Naturally, no one dared to ask them.

Suddenly, all the voices went silent.

Someone was slowly walking over from the long street. His walking gait was strange and peculiar, because he was a cripple. A very young cripple, with an extremely pale face and an extremely dark sabre.

After seeing this sabre, a terrifying murderous look appeared on the face of the old man with the long beard.

Right now, everyone knew that the person they had been waiting for had arrived.

Fu Hongxue tightly gripped his sabre. He came to a halt ten feet away.

He could tell that these people had been waiting for him, but didn’t know who they were yet.

The old man with the violet face and long beard suddenly loudly cried out, “My surname is Guo! I am known as Guo Wei!”

Fu Hongxue had heard of this name before. Guo Wei, the ‘Divine Sabre’. He once had been an extremely famous person in the martial world, but after Bai Tianyu’s ‘Divine Sabre Hall’ rose to dominate the martial world, Guo Wei had to change his nickname to something else.

He himself didn’t wish to change it, but he had to change it. There was only one ‘Divine Sabre’ in the world. That was Bai Tianyu’s sabre!

Guo Wei said, “You are the descendant of Bai Tianyu?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Yes.”

Guo Wei said, “Excellent.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You’re looking for me?”

Guo Wei said, “There’s something I want to tell you.”

Fu Hongxue said, “I came here to listen.”

Guo Wei also tightly gripped his sabre. “I was also one of the people who helped kill your father that night, outside the Plum Blossom Convent.”

Fu Hongxue’s face suddenly tightened.

Guo Wei said, “I’ve been waiting all this time for his descendants to come seek revenge. I’ve waited for nineteen years!”

Fu Hongxue’s eyes began to appear slightly bloodshot as well. “I’m already here!”

Guo Wei said, “I killed the entire Bai family. If you want to seek vengeance, you should kill every person in the Guo family!” Fu Hongxue’s heart tightened.

Guo Wei’s eyes had reddened long ago. In a fierce voice, he said, “Right now, my entire family is here, waiting for you. If you let so much as a single one of us live, then you aren’t fit to be Bai Tianyu’s son!”

All of his children and grandchildren stood behind him. All of them were staring at Fu Hongxue as well. Each of their eyes had reddened, and some appeared to be so nervous that their entire body trembled. But even his youngest grandson stuck out his chest, not showing the slightest desire to flee or to retreat.

Perhaps it was because he was a child, and did not yet understand how terrifying the word ‘death’ really was.

But who could bear to kill such a child?

Fu Hongxue’s body was trembling as well. Aside from the hand with which he gripped his sabre, his entire body was shaking.

The long street became so quiet that not even the sound of breathing could be heard.

A yellow leaf was blown over by the wind. No one knew from whence it came, but it rolled about in front of them.

Even the light of the rising sun seemed to be filled with that terrifying murderous aura!

Guo Wei shouted in a loud voice, “What are you waiting for? Why haven’t you made your move yet?”

But Fu Hongxue’s feet seemed to be nailed to the ground.

He couldn’t walk over. It wasn’t that he lacked the courage to. His very purpose for existence was to gain revenge!

But now, seeing that old, unfamiliar face, he suddenly felt a strange feeling, which he had never before felt.

He had never even met these people before. Why was it that only the only way they could resolve their hatred was through the shedding of blood?

Suddenly, a loud, sharp cry shattered that fearful quiet.

That kid suddenly raised up his sabre and charged over.

“You want to kill my grandfather, so I want to kill you!”

The sabre seemed to be even heavier than he himself was.

Charging wildly while holding the sabre, his posture was clumsy and laughable under normal circumstances, but right now, no one was able to laugh.

No one was even able to cry.

A tall young lady, clearly the child’s mother, watched as he charged out. Her face had become as white as parchment, and she couldn’t resist charging out after him as well.

But a large man by her side grabbed her and prevented her from doing so. His own eyes had filled with hot tears as well.

Guo Wei laughed loudly towards the heavens. He cried out, “Good! What a good child! You bring no shame to the Guo family!”

In the midst of this sad and shrill laughter, the child charged in front of Fu Hongxue and chopped downwards at him with his sabre.

He chopped with too much force. Even he himself nearly fell down.

All Fu Hongxue had to do was raise up his hand, and the sabre would fly away. All he had to do was raise his hand, and this child’s blood would splatter the earth.

But no matter what, he couldn’t raise up his hand.

Hatred! Absolutely irreconcilable hatred!

“You killed my father, so I shall seek revenge!”

“You want to kill my grandfather, so I also want to kill you!”

It was this sort of hatred which was now causing two total strangers to fight to the death.

Why must humans have this sort of terrifying hatred? Why must this hatred be cultivated in the hearts of children?

The hatred in Fu Hongxue’s heart was cultivated, just like the hatred in this child’s heart.

If this child did not die today, after he grew up, wouldn’t he become just like Fu Hongxue?

Who could answer these questions?

The demon-headed sabre was gleaming underneath the sunlight.

Should he receive the chop, or should he kill the child? If Ye Kai were in his place, this wouldn’t even be an issue. He could dodge, or he could seize the kid and toss him thirty feet away. He could even totally ignore these people and just swagger off.

But Fu Hongxue couldn’t. His thinking was stubborn and extremely unyielding. Whenever he was pondering a question, he often put himself in an insoluble position.

Right at this moment, he was actually inclined to just straightforwardly accept this chop and die. By doing so, all the hatred, all the contradictions, and all the pain would immediately be resolved.

But right at this moment, this child suddenly let out a miserable wail and fell backwards, facing the sky. The sabre in his hand flew away, while a stream of blood spurted from his larynx. A dagger had flown out of nowhere and plunged itself into his throat.

No one saw where this dagger came from. Everyone was focusing on the sabre in the child’s hands!

Even though no one saw where this sabre came from, everyone naturally assumed it came from Fu Hongxue.

This child was no more than ten years old. This pale-faced cripple could actually bear to use such ruthless methods!

Everyone could no longer resist hurling a storm of abuse and invective at him.

That tall woman was already screaming wildly as she charged out. Her husband tightly gripped his sabre and followed right behind her, roaring wildly like a mad beast. All of the people in white had charged over while howling madly.

The sound of their roars was like thunder in the clouds. When they charged out, they looked like a furious wave crashing to shore. They had already decided to die here, every last one of them.

The child’s blood had transformed the grief and anger in their hearts, had set it aflame.

But Fu Hongxue stood there, stunned, staring at the dagger in the child’s throat.

Even he didn’t know where that dagger came from.

This was just like that day at Li Mahu’s store, when a flying dagger suddenly nailed itself into Li Mahu’s arm.

Ye Kai! Could it be Ye Kai?

Guo Wei brandished his sabre, angrily roaring, “Since you are even capable of killing a little child, why haven’t you drawn your sabre yet?”

Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist saying, “I did not kill this child!”

Guo Wei laughed wildly. “You are willing to kill but not willing to admit to it? I didn’t imagine that Bai Tianyu’s son would be a liar and a coward!”

Fu Hongxue’s face suddenly became swollen red with anger.

All his life, that which he could never endure was being falsely accused by others.

He’d die before he’d endure it.

In the midst of that sad, shrill, wild laughter, Guo Wei chopped down directly at his head with his demon-headed sabre, carrying a powerful gust with the blow.

“Was Bai Tianyu’s head chopped off just like this?”

Fu Hongxue’s entire body was trembling, but as soon as his hand gripped his sabre, he immediately calmed down.

This sabre seemed to have a strange, bizarre magical power.

“It doesn’t matter whether I live or I die. But I definitely won’t let people believe that Bai Tianyu’s son is a lying coward!”

“No matter what, I won’t allow others to humiliate and insult him even after his death!”

Fu Hongxue suddenly howled wildly as well.

His sabre had already left its sheath.

The sheath was pitch-black. The hilt was pitch-black. But the sabre flash was as white as snow, flashing like lightning.

When the sabre flash flew out, blood splashed.

Blood blossomed like fireworks, scattering itself in front of him.

He could no longer see anything else, only the blood.

Did blood really symbolize hatred?

It seemed as though he had returned to that day of nineteen years prior, had become transformed into his father’s avatar!

The flying blood seemed to symbolize the plum flowers.

This was the Plum Blossom Convent.

These people were the murderers and assassins who killed Bai Tianyu!

They wanted him to die!

He wanted them to die as well!

No choices! No need to choose!

The lightning-like sabre flashes flew about in the air.

There was no sound of sabres colliding. No one could block his sabre.

There were only miserable cries, shrieks, and the sound of his sabre chopping into flesh. The sounds of bones splintering…

Each and every sound was more than enough to make people’s hearts fly away and their courage disappear. Every single sound made people want to vomit…

But Fu Hongxue heard nothing at all.

He could only hear a single type of sound. This sound was coming from his mind!

“Wipe out each and every one of your enemies, or else never come back to me!”

He seemed to once again be in that room.

There were no colors in that room. Only darkness!

He grew up in the midst of darkness. There was only hatred in his life!

Blood was red, but so too was the snow!

By now, all the members of the Bai family had lost all their blood. Now, it was time for their enemies to shed blood!

The people in the windows to each side were crying out in alarm, sobbing, and vomiting.

The white sackcloth clothes had become dyed red with blood.

The people who charged forward immediately fell down!

“This sabre does not belong to the mortal world. It is a demonic sabre from the underworld!”

The only thing this sabre brought to men was death and ill-fortune!

Wherever the sabre went, a stream of blood and flesh would immediately fly out!

No one knew who it was that shouted, “Retreat! Everybody, retreat! One person needs to stay alive, so as to take revenge later!”

Angry howls, startled shouts, miserable cries, and the sound of that sabre chopping into flesh, chopping through bone…

Aside from Fu Hongxue himself, nobody around him was standing.

The gloomy sun was now hiding behind dark clouds. Even the wind had ceased.

Those previously opened windows were mostly closed by now. The remaining windows were still open only because the people in them were sobbing or vomiting.

The blue slab stones on the street had already been dyed red.

The sabre had been dyed red as well.

Fu Hongxue stood in the middle of a pool of blood, unmoving.

Guo Wei’s body was right in front of him. That child’s body was right in front of him as well.

The blood was still flowing. It flowed through the rifts in the blue slab stone road, curling around his feet, staining it red.

Fu Hongxue was totally numb. He could no longer move, nor did he want to move.

Suddenly, a thunderclap split past the dark rainclouds, and a bolt of lightning illuminated the earth.

Fu Hongxue seemed to be awakened by this thunderclap as well. He stared around himself, at a loss. He looked at the corpses in front of him, then looked at the sabre in his hand.

His heart was contracting. His stomach was contracting as well.

And then he pulled out the dagger in that child’s throat, turned around, and rushed away.

Following another thunderbolt, a torrent of rain began to cascade from the skies. It was as though not even heaven could bear to see the bloody stains on the ground and had sent a rainstorm for the sole purpose of washing it away.

Unfortunately, the blood and hatred in the hearts of men could not be washed away by any rainstorm, no matter how great.

Fu Hongxue rushed madly in the midst of the rain.

He had never run so wildly before, and his posture became all the more bizarre.

The rainstorm had washed away the blood on his body as well. But the bitter memories left behind by this bloody battle would forever remain in his heart.

He had killed many people he should not have killed. He knew this as well. The rainwater soaking his head had awakened him, had made his mind clear.

But at the time, he had no other choices he could take!

Why? Because of this dagger, this dagger which he had just removed from that child’s throat!

If that child hadn’t died, this bloody battle might not necessarily have become unavoidable.

Fu Hongxue felt as though there were a dagger in his heart as well.

Ye Kai! Why did Ye Kai cause this bloody battle to occur?

There was a very small inn up ahead. Fu Hongxue charged in, got a room, and then tightly closed the door.

And then he immediately began to vomit, vomit non-stop.

When he began to vomit, his body began to spasm and tighten. By the time he collapsed, his body had already curled into a ball.

He collapsed into a puddle of his own vomit, his body continuing to spasm and convulse.

He had totally lost consciousness. Perhaps, right now, he was actually better off. If one is unconscious, one cannot be in pain!

The rain became even greater. The small, stuffy room became darker and darker, until all color disappeared.

There was only darkness! Within the darkness, the window suddenly opened. A black shadow appeared, ghost-like, in the window.

A clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning.

The lightning bolt illuminated the man’s face.

A very strange expression was on this man’s face. As he stared at the collapsed Fu Hongxue, no one could possibly discern whether this expression was a sorrowful one, or a hateful one. A happy one, or a miserable one…

By the time Fu Hongxue awoke, he was already in bed. The blankets were dry and soft.

The lamp was lit. The light cast a man’s shadow against the wall. The light was dim, and the shadow was dark.

There was someone else in the room! Who?

This person was seated behind the window, evidently deep in thought. As soon as Fu Hongxue lifted up his head a little, he saw her face. A tired, thin, and pallid face, filled with melancholy and pain, and yet still extremely beautiful.

Fu Hongxue’s heart tightened again. He saw Cui Nong yet again.

Cui Nong saw him as well. Her tired, thin face revealed a hint of a bitter smile. In a soft voice, she said, “You’re awake!”

Fu Hongxue couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. His entire body seemed to have turned stiff.

How did she suddenly come here? Why did it have to be her? Why did it have to be now?

Cui Nong said, “You should sleep for a bit longer. I already had someone prepare some porridge for you.”

Her voice was still as soft and as caring as when they were together. Had she already forgotten those bitter events of the past?

But Fu Hongxue couldn’t forget them. He suddenly jumped up, the pointed towards the door. He loudly cried, “Scram! Scram away!”

Cui Nong’s face was still tranquil. She lightly said, “I’m not scramming, nor am I leaving.”

Fu Hongxue said in a hoarse voice, “Who sent you here?’

Cui Nong said, “I came on my own.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Why did you come?”

Cui Nong said, “Because I know that you are sick.”

Fu Hongxue’s body began to tremble once again. “My affairs are of no concern to you, nor should you interfere in them.”

Cui Nong said, “Your affairs are of concern to me, and I definitely will interfere.”

Her response was gentle but firm.

Fu Hongxue said in a gasping voice, “But I no longer recognize you, I don’t recognize you at all!”

Cui Nong said in a gentle voice, “You recognize me, and I recognize you as well.”

She didn’t let Fu Hongxue speak. She continued, “It doesn’t matter whether it was you who wronged me or I who wronged you in the past. We can forget all of that. But either way, we’re still friends at least. If you’re sick, of course I’ll take care of you.”

Friends! Could it be that the soul-stirring, dreamlike love which they had once shared, which would forevermore be engraved in Fu Hongxue’s heart, had become reduced to mere ‘friendship’? They once were lovers who would hold each other throughout the night, all the way until sunrise. Now, they were nothing more than just friends.

Fu Hongxue suddenly felt another stabbing pain in his heart. He fell down once more, on top of the bed.

Cui Nong said, “I told you, you should rest a while longer. When the porridge is ready, I’ll wake you.”

Fu Hongxue balled his hands into tight fists, forcing himself to stay under control.

“Since she already just considers me to be a friend, why do I need to pursue those former emotions?”

“Since she can be as calm as this, why should I let her see my pain?”

Fu Hongxue was telling himself, “You must be calm. You must make her believe that I’ve also totally forgotten those bygone days.”

Cui Nong stood up, walked to the bed, then helped him with the blankets. Even those movements were just the same as before.

Fu Hongxue suddenly said in a cold voice, “Thank you. I really don’t deserve you taking care of me.”

Cui Nong laughed dully. “This is nothing. Don’t be so polite.”

Fu Hongxue said, “But you are the guest, after all. I should be the one taking care of you.”

Cui Nong said, “Since we’re all old friends, why be so courteous?”

Fu Hongxue said, “I still don’t feel right about it.”

Two lovers who had once been as one, who had sworn solemn pledges of love, were saying such things to each other. Observers would definitely laugh.

But who could truly understand their real feelings?

Fu Hongxue’s nails had already pierced into the flesh of his palm. “No matter what, I shouldn’t put you to such trouble.”

Cui Nong said, “I told you, it’s no big deal. After all, my husband knows that I’m here.”

Fu Hongxue’s voice suddenly seemed to have turned hoarse as well. After a long time, he finally managed to say two words. “Your husband?”

Cui Nong chuckled. “Right. I actually forgot to tell you that I’m married now.”

Fu Hongxue’s heart was shattered, shattered to pieces!

“Congratulations to you.”

These were just three words, three very ordinary words. Everybody, in the course of their life, would say these three words many times.

But amongst the millions of people in the world, how many people could understand how Fu Hongxue felt, saying these three words?”

It was no longer a matter of pain and sadness, nor hatred and rage. It was a despair which penetrated through his very bones.

A despair which was more than enough to cause his blood to freeze.

He couldn’t even feel the pain anymore. He was still alive and still on the bed, but his life and his body no longer belonged to himself.

“Congratulations to you.”

After hearing him say these three words, Cui Nong seemed to chuckle, and she seemed to say something polite as well.

But was she really laughing?

What did she say?

He could no longer hear anything, feel anything.

“Congratulations to you.”

He repeated these words over and over. Even he didn’t know how many times he repeated them.

Nor did he know how long a period of time passed before he could hear Cui Nong’s voice.

She was whispering.

“Every single woman, no matter what type of woman she is, needs to find a home, sooner or later. Needs to get married, sooner or later.”

Fu Hongxue said, “I understand.”

Cui Nong said, “Since you didn’t want me, I had to marry someone else.”

She was smiling, as though she were using all her strength to appear happy. After all, no matter what, marriage was a joyous affair.

Fu Hongxue’s gaze was fixed upon the ceiling. He clearly was forcing himself to remain under control as well. He didn’t want to let Cui Nong see his pain and his despair, nor did he want to look at her again.

After a very long time, he suddenly asked, “Is your husband here as well?”

Cui Nong said, “Yes.”

Naturally, a newly-wed couple wouldn’t be far from each other.

Fu Hongxue ground his teeth. After a long time, he slowly asked, “He’s right outside?”

Cui Nong said, “Yes.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Then you should go outside to keep him company. Why are you still here?”

Cui Nong said, “I told you. I’ll take care of you.”

Fu Hongxue said, “I don’t necessarily want you to take care of me, and I don’t want anyone to misunderstand…”

Although he was using all his strength to control himself, his voice couldn’t help but tremble. He could no longer continue.

Fortunately, Cui Nong interrupted him. “You don’t need to worry about that. He knows everything.”

Fu Hongxue said, “What does he know?”

Cui Nong said, “He knows about you and the love we once shared.”

Fu Hongxue said, “We…we didn’t really share any love.”

Cui Nong said, “No matter what, I’ve told him everything already.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Then you definitely shouldn’t be here.”

Cui Nong said, “I already told him that I was coming here to look for you, and he’s agreed to let me take care of you.”

Fu Hongxue’s gums were already bleeding. He couldn’t help but sneer, “Looks like he’s a very open-minded man.”

Cui Nong said, “He truly is.”

Fu Hongxue suddenly said in a loud voice, “But I’m not, I’m not open-minded at all!”

Cui Nong forced out a chuckle. “If you really are worried about any misunderstandings, I can invite him in to accompany us.”

She didn’t wait for Fu Hongxue to agree. She turned around and said, “Hey, you, get in here. Let me introduce someone to you.”

“Hey.”

Although this is a very ordinary word, sometimes it carries an inexpressible sort of familiarity with it.

Don’t newly-weds always address each other in such a way in front of others?

The door wasn’t fastened.

Right after she spoke these words, someone outside immediately pushed the door open and walked in, as though he had been waiting right outside.

A husband naturally would always be a bit uneasy when his wife was in a room with another man.

At first, Fu Hongxue didn’t want to look at him, but now, he couldn’t resist taking a glance.

This person couldn’t be considered old, but he wasn’t young either.

He seemed to be around thirty-something years of age, closing in on forty. He had a very square face, sprinkled with the scars left by the little pains and hardships one endures during life.

Just like any new husband, he was wearing a set of new clothes, made from luxurious materials and bright in color. His clothes really didn’t seem to be a good match for him.

Anyone could tell at a glance that he’s an honest person.

If a woman who had worked for a long time in the prostitution business really were to seek out a home, wouldn’t she always choose this sort of honest person?

This is at least a better choice than those good-for-nothing young hoodlums.

When Fu Hongxue saw this person, he actually wasn’t agitated, nor was he even envious. His emotions were totally different, compared to the previous time he saw Cui Nong together with another person.

This sort of person simply couldn’t agitate others.

Cui Nong had already pulled on his shirt and brought him nearby. Smiling, she said, “He’s my husband. His surname is Wang. He’s known as Wang Dahong.”

Wang Dahong. An honest man, with an honest name.

He allowed himself to be pulled over like a child by Cui Nong. If she wanted him to go east, he wouldn’t dare go west.

Cui Nong continued, “This is the person I told you about, that young master Fu, Fu Hongxue.”

An ingratiating smile immediately appeared on Wang Dahong’s face. Cupping his fists, he said, “I’ve long since heard of your famous name, young master Fu.”

Fu Hongxue originally didn’t want to pay this person any mind. In the past, he might not even have spared this sort of person a single glance.

But now, things were different. He’d rather die than let Cui Nong’s husband see him as a heart-broken man.

But he really had no idea how he should address this sort of person. He could only mumble, “Congratulations to you, to you both.”

Wang Dahong also seemed to be uncertain as to what he should say. All he could do was stand there, smiling stupidly.

Cui Nong sneaked a peek at him, then laughed again. “He’s an honest person. He usually doesn’t get out much, so he’s not very good at conversation either.”

Fu Hongxue said, “It’s very good to not be too wordy.”

Cui Nong said, “He doesn’t know martial arts either.”

Fu Hongxue said, “It’s very good to not know martial arts.”

Cui Nong said, “He’s a businessman. He deals in silks and fabrics.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Businessmen are very good.”

Cui Nong laughed. Sweetly, she said, “He definitely is a very good man. At least, he…”

Her laughter became very bitter, very sour. She was quiet for a moment, then continued, “At least he won’t cast me aside and sneak away.”

Fu Hongxue didn’t seem to hear the words that she said, nor did he see that distressed smile on her face.

He seemed to be looking at Wang Dahong, but actually, he didn’t see anything. He couldn’t see anything.

But Wang Dahong seemed to be very uneasy. He said in a slow, halting voice, “Why don’t you chat for a bit longer. I…I…it is best that I wait outside.”

It seemed as though he wanted to pull his clothes away from Cui Nong, and yet didn’t dare to.

Because Cui Nong’s face had turned very ugly.

There were plenty of men who were afraid of their wives, but there weren’t many who were as afraid as he was.

An honest man who married a beautiful wife truly cannot be considered a lucky man.

Fu Hongxue suddenly said, “Please sit.”

Wang Dahong said, “Yes.”

He was still standing straight.

Cui Nong glanced at him. “Since he’s asking you to sit, why aren’t you sitting yet?”

Wang Dahong immediately sat down. It seemed as though he didn’t even dare to sit down without his wife giving permission.

When he sat down, he placed both of his hands precisely on his knees.

His hands were very thick, and there was some foul grease underneath his nails.

Fu Hongxue glanced at his hands, then said, “How long have you been married?”

Wang Dahong said, “At least…at least…”

He glanced sideways at Cui Nong, as though needing permission before saying a single word.

Cui Nong said, “Nearly ten days.”

Wang Dahong immediately said, “Right, nearly ten days. Today is the ninth.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Have you been long acquainted with each other?”

Wang Dahong said, “No…no…”

Even his face had swollen red with nervousness, as though he wasn’t even capable of answering such simple questions.

Fu Hongxue lifted his head and stared at him.

Although it was very cold, big drops of sweat had begun to form on Wang Dahong’s forehead. He couldn’t even sit still.

Fu Hongxue suddenly said, “You aren’t a silk dealer.”

Wang Dahong’s face changed expressions. “I…I…I…”

Fu Hongxue slowly turned his head and stared at Cui Nong. One word at a time, he said, “And he is not your husband.”

Cui Nong’s face changed as well, as though suddenly had hit her hard in the face.

It was as though she had been wearing a mask on her face. With this blow, her mask totally shattered.

Sometimes, women are like a walnut.

If you can break open their outer shell, you will find that their hearts are gentle and fragile.

Fu Hongxue stared at her. An indescribable emotion suddenly appeared within his cold gaze. Was it joy, was it sorrow, was it sympathy, or was it pity?

He watched as a succession of pearl-like tears dropped down from her beautiful face. He watched as her body began to quiver, as though she were no longer able to stand up.

She no longer needed to speak. This was enough to demonstrate that her feelings for him had never changed.

She could not longer deny that this person definitely was not her husband.

But Fu Hongxue couldn’t resist asking, “Who is he, exactly?”

Cui Nong lowered her head. “I don’t know.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Even you don’t know?”

Cui Nong said, “He…he’s just someone the salesclerk found for me at a moment’s notice. I don’t know him at all.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You brought him here for the purpose of him playing the role of your husband?”

Cui Nong’s head lowered still further.

Fu Hongxue said, “Why did you do this?”

Cui Nong mournfully said, “Because I wanted to come visit you, to stay with you, to take care of you, but was afraid that you’d shoo me away. Because I didn’t want you to think that I’m dragging onto you no matter what, didn’t want you to think of me as a lowly, despicable woman.”

The most important thing was that she could no longer endure Fu Hongxue’s indifference and the humiliation he visited upon her.

She was afraid that Fu Hongxue would hurt her again, and so she thought up this method to protect herself.

Although she didn’t speak this reason aloud, Fu Hongxue understood.

Fu Hongxue wasn’t really a piece of ice, nor was he a wooden log.

Crying, Cui Nong continued, “Actually, you’re the only one in my heart. Even if you don’t want me, I won’t marry anyone else. Ever since I was with you, I’ve never paid any mind to other men.”

Fu Hongxue suddenly used all of his strength to loudly shout, “Who says I don’t want you? Says who?!”

Cui Nong lifted her head up, staring at him through eyes blurred with tears. “Do you really still want me?”

Fu Hongxue loudly cried, “Of course I want you! No matter what type of woman you are, I want you. Aside from you, there’s no other woman that I want.”

This was the first time he revealed his true feelings. When he spread his arms wide, Cui Nong threw herself into his embrace.

They tightly held each other, their two bodies them seeming to have melted together and become one. Their hearts, as well, seemed to have become one. All the pain, suffering, misunderstandings, and anger seemed to have suddenly become bygone affairs. So long as they could once more be together, what in the world could cause them trouble?

Cui Nong hugged him tightly, saying repeatedly, “As long as you really do want me, starting from this day, I’ll never leave you again. I’ll never go away again.”

Fu Hongxue said, “I’ll never leave you either.”

Cui Nong said, “Never?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Never!”

Staring at them, Wang Dahong seemed to have a befuddled, uncomprehending look on his face.

Naturally, he couldn’t understand their feelings. Even less could he understand why, if they truly loved each other, they would inflict injuries upon each other.

The sweetness and bitterness of love was something which a person like him could never understand.

Because he had never paid pain’s price, he would never experience the sweetness of love.

All he knew was that his presence here was now superfluous.

He quietly stood up, as though he were about to leave.

Naturally, Fu Hongxue and Cui Nong wouldn’t pay him any mind. They had already totally forgotten his existence.

The dim lamp light cast his shadow on the wall. A white wall, a black shadow.

He slowly turned around. A three-foot, seven-inch long short sword suddenly appeared in his hand!

The tip of the sword was slim but sharp. Beneath the lamp light, it seemed to glimmer with a light that was nearly bluish green.

Could it be that the sword was poisoned?