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Bordertown Wanderer - Chapter 45

Chapter 45: Benevolence and Hatred are Resolved

As the sabre flashed, Ding Linghe's body suddenly flew out upside down, flipping through the air before slamming into the eaves of the roof, then falling down. Not a single hint of blood could be seen on his face, but a bloody hole could be seen in his chest.

Fresh blood was still spurting out. Letting out a cry of alarm, Ding Linglin threw herself towards him.

Lu Xiaojia was sighing. "I didn't imagine that the eighty one sword strokes of the Ding family still could not overcome a single sabre stroke from the Bai family."

Ding Lingzhong's sword was still flickering about in the air as he fought on by himself, but a look of terror had appeared in his eyes.

And then, a flash of the sabre.

With a loud cry, the sword was knocked out of his hands. The sabre flashed again, preparing to sever his throat.

Lu Xiaojia suddenly let out a loud cry as he flew towards them.

With a clanging sound, his sword intercepted Fu Hongxue's sabre.

What a quick sword! What a fast sabre!

The sword and the sabre clashed against each other, causing sparks to fly in all directions. Flames seemed to be burning in Fu Hongxue's eyes.

Lu Xiaojia shouted loudly, "No matter what, you cannot kill him!"

Fu Hongxue said in a fierce voice, "Why not?"

Lu Xiaojia said, "Because if you kill him, you will definitely regret it."

Fu Hongxue sneered. "If I don't kill him, I'll regret it all the more."

Lu Xiaojia hesitated for a moment, before making up his mind. "But do you know who he is?"

Fu Hongxue said, "Are you saying he has some sort of relationship with me?"

Lu Xiaojia said, "Of course. Because he is Bai Tianyu's son as well, by a different woman! He is your brother!"

After he said these words, everyone was shocked. Even Ding Lingzhong was no exception.

Fu Hongxue was stunned.

Lu Xiaojia said, "If you don't believe me, why don't you go ask his mother?"

Fu Hongxue said, "Who is his mother?"

Lu Xiaojia said, "The younger sister of manor-master Ding Chengfeng, Ding Baiyun."

There was no wind. There was no sound. Every breath had stopped. The entire world seemed to have frozen.

After an unknown period of time, Lu Xiaojia's low voice could be heard, as he revealed this secret. "Bai Tianyu encountered Lady Ding as she was roving about in the wild areas beyond the Great Wall. Although Lady Ding was very arrogant and looked down upon all men, she fell in love with Bai Tianyu as soon as she saw him. Without a care for the world, she gave herself to Bai Tianyu."

This is an event which would be written deep within her bones, a love which she would never forget. Naturally, the two of them had exchanged solemn pledges of love. She really believed that Bai Tianyu would give up everything else to be with her for the rest of their lives. But she didn't know that Bai Tianyu was a dissolute playboy by nature, and that this sort of affair was nothing more than a temporary game to him. When she returned home, she realized that she was pregnant. By this time, Bai Tianyu had long since forgotten her. The Ding family's reputation naturally could not allow for an unwed daughter to become a mother just like that. By coincidence, at that time, Master Ding's wife was pregnant as well, and thus they decided to graft one twig onto another and claimed that Lady Ding's child was Master Ding's wife's as well, while giving up her own child to others. This was because she had already given birth to two other children.

Master Ding deeply cared for his sister. He wanted to allow her to often see her son, which is why he chose this path.

This secret had been hidden for many years. Even Ding Lingzhong himself did not know.

As Lu Xiaojia unhurriedly narrated this tale, a look of pain and suffering appeared in his eyes. Anyone could tell that he was definitely telling the truth.

Ye Kai suddenly asked, "Since this secret had been hidden for so long, how is it that you know?"

Lu Xiaojia sadly said, "Because I..."

His voice suddenly stopped. His face suddenly contorted in pain. Slowly, he turned around to stare at Ding Lingzhong.

A dagger had pierced his ribcage, passing directly through the ribs.

Ding Lingzhong hatefully glared at him. A venomous look on his face, he suddenly jumped to his feet. In a hoarse voice, he said, "Since nobody knows this secret, why is it that you had to reveal it?"

Lu Xiaojia was in such pain that his head was covered in cold sweat. He didn't even seem to be able to remain steady on his feet, but he managed to stutter out, "I knew that after I revealed this secret, you would be deeply hurt, but since things have reached such a point, I have no choice but to do so. I..."

Ding Lingzhong said fiercely, "Why did you have to reveal all of this?"

Ye Kai couldn't help but let out a long sigh. "Because if he didn't, then Fu Hongxue would have killed you no matter what."

Ding Lingzhong sneered, "Why would he have to kill me? Just because I killed Ma Kongqun's daughter?"

Ye Kai coldly said, "Do you think that no one knows what you have done?"

Ding Lingzhong said, "What did I do?"

Fu Hongxue ground his teeth. "You...you insist on me saying it aloud?"

Ding Lingzhong said, "Speak."

Fu Hongxue said, "You poisoned the wine and killed Xue Bin."

Ding Lingzhong said, "How do you know that I was the one who poisoned the wine?"

Fu Hongxue said, "Originally, I didn't know. I only found out when I realized that the poison on the sword which killed Cui Nong was the same poison that was placed within the wine, and when you yourself admitted to being the mastermind behind her death."

Ding Lingzhong's face suddenly turned ashen, and he could no longer speak.

Fu Hongxue continued, "You bribed the manager of the wine cellar of the Hero's Manor, but were afraid that your actions were too obvious, which is why you hired all of the former employees and brought here."

Ye Kai said, "And you were the only person to know of swordsman Fei's whereabouts. You intentionally told Yi Dajing, luring him into using that vile scheme of 'borrowing someone else's knife to commit murder'."

Fu Hongxue said, "When that scheme failed, you wanted me to have a falling out with Ye Kai, but unfortunately, a girl named Ding Linglin was by his side. You were afraid that she would bear witness on behalf of him, and so you arranged for her to be taken away."

Ye Kai let out a long sigh. "I don't blame you for passing off your crimes onto me. But you really shouldn't have killed that child."

Fu Hongxue stared at Ding Lingzhong. He icily said, "I ask you, did you do all of those things or not?"

Ding Lingzhong lowered his head, cold sweat pouring down like the rain.

Ye Kai said, "I know that you didn't do these things for your own sake. I just wish that you will clearly name the person who told you to do all of this."

Ding Lingzhong said, "I...I can't."

Ye Kai said, "Actually, you don't need to name him. I already know."

Ding Lingzhong suddenly raised his head. "You know?"

Ye Kai said, "Nineteen years ago, a man outside the Plum Blossom Manor said something which he should not have said. He was afraid that others would recognize him by his accent, and so he had you go around eliminating all of the people who had survived that night."

Ding Lingzhong once more lowered his head.

Staring at home, Fu Hongxue said, one word a time, "Now, I am going to ask you this. Was that person Ding Chengfeng?"

Ding Lingzhong gritted his teeth, as pain suffused his features. But he wasn't willing to say a single word.

Had he already admitted it? The love between Ding Chengfeng and his sister was deep. When he saw how his sister had been humiliated and would suffer pain all her life, of course he would seek revenge.

He was justified in seeking revenge on Bai Tianyu.

Lu Xiaojia leaned against a parasol tree. Panting, he suddenly shouted out loudly, "No matter what, I refuse to believe that elder Master Ding is a murderer!"

Ye Kai's eyes shone. "Are you saying you understand him better than others?"

Lu Xiaojia said, "Of course I understand him best."

Ye Kai said, "Why is that?"

Lu Xiaojia suddenly chuckled. His laughter was strange and desolate. He slowly said, "Because I am that child which was sent away to be raised by another family. My name should have been Ding Lingzhong."

This, too, was unexpected.

Everyone was stunned once more.

Ding Lingzhong stared at him in shock. He involuntarily cried out, "You...you are...you are..."

Lu Xiaojia smiled. "I am Ding Lingzhong. You are also Ding Lingzhong. Today, Ding Lingzhong actually killed Ding Lingzhong. Isn't this a comical thing?"

Smiling, he stood up. Once more, he began to shell a peanut. He threw the shell up, high in the sky.

But before the peanut fell down, he himself collapsed.

But when he collapsed, he still carried a smile on his lips.

But he himself would never be able to laugh again.

Only Ding Linglin was left crying, tears flowing as she murmured to himself, "Was he really my third brother? Was he really..."

Ding Linghe stiffened his expression, but an irrepressible look of pain appeared on his face as well. He coldly said, "No matter what, there is no shame in having a third brother like him."

Ding Linglin suddenly charged in front of Ding Lingzhong. Crying, she said, "Then who are you? Who told you to do those things? Why won't you speak?"

Ding Lingzhong said in a low voice, "I...I..."

Suddenly, the sound of urgent hoof steps interrupted his words. A strong horse galloped their way.

The rider wore black clothes, and was covered in sweat. As soon as the horse charged into the courtyard, he jumped down and collapsed to the floor. "This humble one is Ding Xiong. By order of the old Master Ding, I have come to invite masters Fu Hongxue and Ye Kai to meet with him. The old master has already prepared some wine at the Heaven's Heart pavilion, where he is respectfully awaiting your arrivals."

Fu Hongxue's face changed again. He coldly said, "Even if he didn't invite me, I would still go. But he can keep his wine for himself."

Ding Xiong said, "Sir, you would be Fu Hongxue?"

Fu Hongxue said, "Correct."

Ding Xiong said, "The old master ordered me to tell you something, sir."

Fu Hongxue said, "Speak."

Ding Xiong said, "The old master insists on you honoring him with your presence, because he has prepared to give something to you, master Fu."

Fu Hongxue said, "Return what?"

Ding Xiong said, "Justice!"

Frowning, Fu Hongxue said, "Justice?"

Ding Xiong said, "The old master intends to give you justice!"

"Justice" really is a very marvelous thing.

Although you can neither see it nor touch it, no one can deny that it exists.

When you believe that it has forgotten you, it often will suddenly appear in front of you.

The Heaven's Heart pavilion was not at the heart of heaven. It was at the heart of the lake.

The lake wasn't very large, and most of the lotus flowers were incomplete. But the lotus leaves were still green, forming a gently billowing green wave which reflected light upon the cinnabar railing of the pavilion. Several light boats were anchored beneath the pavilion.

All four windows in each direction were open. An old man with dreary white hair and a solemn face was leaning against the railing alone, staring at the waterline.

He looked just as desolate as those fragmentary late autumn lotus leaves, but his eyes were bright and steady.

Because he had already made up his mind.

He had already made up his mind to give someone justice!

The night grew deeper. The stars scattered.

With a creaking sound, a light boat left the far shore and headed towards the pavilion. At the head of the boat stood an ashen-faced youngster who wore black clothes, and who tightly gripped a sabre in his hands.

A pale hand! A pitch-black sabre! Fu Hongxue slowly walked up the pavilion.

He suddenly felt very tired, like a man who, after having crossed thousands of mountains and tens of thousands of rivers, had finally arrived at his destination. And yet, he was missing that sense of joy and completeness.

"Everyone is assembled?"

He had finally located all of his enemies. He was certain that Ma Kongqun must be hiding here as well.

Because this old man clearly had nowhere else to go.

A deep enmity spanning nineteen years was about to be repaid in blood. Why, then, did he not feel the slightest bit excited?

Even he himself did not understand.

He just felt his heart was in turmoil.

Cui Nong's death, Lu Xiaojia's death, that child's death...those people should not have died. They were like fresh flowers who had just bloomed but suddenly became withered.

Why did they die? Who killed them? Cui Nong was the person whom he loved the most, and yet she was his enemy's daughter.

Ding Lingzhong was the person he hated the most, and yet he was his brother.

Could he kill his own brother just for the sake of avenging Cui Nong's death? He definitely could not!

But after having watched Cui Nong die, how could he just turn around and acknowledge her murderer as his brother?

When he arrived in the martial world, he arrived for the sake of vengeance. The hatred in his heart was extremely deep, but it was very simple and pure. His hatred was originally a simple and pure emotion.

He never imagined that love and hatred would suddenly entangle each other and become so complicated.

He almost no longer had the courage to face it.

Because he knew that even if he exterminated all of his enemies, he would still be unable to extricate himself from the pain in his heart.

Right now, even though he knew that the cup of wine in front of him was bitter, he still had to drink it.

He had no way to retreat. He suddenly realized that he was now facing Ding Chengfeng. He suddenly realized that Ding Chengfeng was far more composed and tranquil than he was. The lamp light was very bright. It shone upon the old man's face, his solemn, cold and detached face.

Fu Hongxue could clearly see every single crease and wrinkle on his face.

His steady gaze was fixed upon Fu Hongxue's pale face as well. He suddenly said, "Please be seated."

Fu Hongxue did not sit down. Nor did he speak. At such a moment, he suddenly realized that he did not know what to say.

Ding Chengfeng himself already slowly sat down. Unhurriedly, he said, "I know that you definitely will not sit down with your enemy under one roof or drink with him."

Fu Hongxue acknowledged that.

Ding Chengfeng said, "By now, you of course know that I was the mastermind behind that bloody affair at the Plum Blossom Convent of nineteen years past. The person who ordered Ding Lingzhong to go and do those things was also I."

Fu Hongxue's body began to tremble again.

Ding Chengfeng said, "I had my reasons for killing Bai Tianyu. You have your reasons for wanting to take revenge on me. No matter who is in the right or in the wrong, I have decide to give you justice!"

His face was still as still as before. Staring at Fu Hongxue's face, he coldly continued, "I just want to know, what type of justice do you want?"

Fu Hongxue tightly gripped his sabre. He suddenly said, "There's only one type of justice!"

Ding Chengfeng slowly nodded. "True. There's only one type of true justice. Unfortunately, this type is often deliberately misinterpreted by others."

Fu Hongxue said, "Oh?"

Ding Chengfeng said, "What you feel to be true justice is definitely different from what I feel to be true justice."

Fu Hongxue smirked.

Ding Chengfeng said, "I killed your father. You will kill me. Naturally, you feel that this will be justice. But if a dearly beloved relative of yours was ruined by someone else, wouldn't you have acted the same way I did and killed that person!"

Fu Hongxue's ashen face suddenly contorted.

Ding Chengfeng said, "Right now, my eldest son has suffered a severe injury, my second son has become a cripple, and although my third son did not die by your hand, he also died over this affair."

Pain could be seen on his cold, calm face. He continued, "Although the person who killed him is a descendant of the Bai family, I personally raised him and nurtured him. Where am I supposed to go to find justice?"

Fu Hongxue lowered his gaze, staring at the sabre in his hand.

He really had no idea how to respond. He didn't even want to face this old man, filled with grief and indignation, any longer.

Ding Chengfeng let out a light sigh. "But I am already an old man. I've already come to understand many things. If you really want your justice, and I insist on getting my own brand of justice, then this hatred will go on without stopping."

He dully continued, "Today, if you kill me for your father's death, that truly would be a form of justice. In the future, if my children or grandchildren seek you out and kill you, wouldn't that be the same sort of justice?"

Fu Hongxue discovered that Ye Kai's hand was trembling as well.

Ye Kai was standing by his side. The pain in his eyes seemed more intense than that of Fu Hongxue's own.

Ding Chengfeng said, "No matter whose justice is true justice, this cycle of hatred cannot be allowed to continue. Too many people have died for this hatred. Therefore..."

His eyes shone all the more. Staring at Fu Hongxue, he said, "Therefore, I have decided to give you your justice!"

Fu Hongxue couldn't resist from lifting his head to look at him.

"Is this old man a vicious, sinister murderer? Or is he an honest and upright gentleman?"

Fu Hongxue couldn't tell.

Ding Chengfeng said, "But I hope you can agree to one thing as well."

Fu Hongxue was listening.

Ding Chengfeng said, "With my death, this cycle of hatred must come to an end. If anyone else dies as a result of this hatred, no matter who the victim is or who the killer is, my netherworld spirit will not forgive him!"

His voice was suddenly filled with a sad, shrill, indignant power, forcing listeners to tremble with fear despite themselves!

Fu Hongxue gritted his teeth. In a hoarse voice, he said, "But Ma Kongqun...it doesn't matter if I live or die. I will not forgive him."

A very peculiar smile suddenly appeared on Ding Chengfeng's face. He dully said, "Naturally, I know that you won't let him off. Unfortunately, no matter what you do to him, he won't care."

Fu Hongxue's expression changed. "What do you mean?"

Ding Chengfeng chuckled again, a very peculiar chuckle. A look of indescribable sadness and pain appeared in his eyes.

He no longer answered Fu Hongxue. Instead, he slowly lifted up the bowl of wine in front of him, cupping his fists towards Fu Hongxue.

"I just hope that you will always remember that hatred is like debt. When you hate someone, it is like adding a great debt to your account. If there is too much hatred in your heart, then for as long as you live, you will never have a happy day in your life."

After saying these words, he prepared to drink this bowl of wine. But just at this moment, there was the flash of a dagger.

The dagger flashed like lightning!

With a clanging sound, the bowl of wine in Ding Chengfeng's hand was shattered. A dagger fell down on the ground along with the shattered shards of the bowl.

A flying dagger! A flying dagger which was four and a half inches long!

Fu Hongxue suddenly turned his head around, staring at Ye Kai in surprise.

Ye Kai's face had turned just as pale, but his hands were very steady as well.

He was staring at Ding Chengfeng, and Ding Chengfeng was looking back at him in surprise. "Why? Why did you do this?"

Ye Kai's voice was very firm. "Because I know that this bowl was filled with poisoned wine, and I also know that you should not be the one to drink it."

Ding Chengfeng's expression changed. "You...what do you mean?"

Ye Kai sighed. "Can it be that you truly do not understand what I am saying?"

Ding Chengfeng looked at him. The expression of surprise on his face suddenly once more turned into grief and pain. He sadly said, "Then why is it that you do not understand what I was doing?"

Ye Kai said, "I understood. You want to use your own life to wash away this hatred. Only, it should not be your blood which flows."

Ding Chengfeng's expression changed again. "What business is it of yours whether or not I shed my blood?"

Ye Kai said, "Of course it is my business."

Ding Chengfeng said in a fierce voice, "Who are you?"

Ye Kai said, "A man who isn't willing to see an innocent lose his life."

Fu Hongxue's expression couldn't help but change as well. He interrupted, "You're saying he is innocent?"

Ye Kai said, "Right."

Fu Hongxue said, "Nineteen years ago, that murderer who asked, 'Everyone is assembled?'...can it be that he is not that person?"

Ye Kai said, "Definitely not!"

Fu Hongxue said, "How do you know? How can you be so certain?"

Ye Kai said, "Because anyone, after having frozen in the cold for four hours, would sound a little strange when saying the word 'Everyone'. There was no reason at all for him to kill people in order to silence them."

Fu Hongxue said, "How do you know that at such a time, a person's voice would change when saying the word 'Everyone'?"

Ye Kai said, "Because I've tested it out before."

He didn't let Fu Hongxue speak. He continued, "In addition, nineteen years ago, on the day which that bloody affair at the Plum Blossom Convent took place, he didn't leave the Ding family manor by a single step."

Fu Hongxue said, "You are certain?"

Ye Kai said, "Of course I am certain!"

Fu Hongxue said, "Why?"

Ye Kai said, "Because on that day, his right leg was badly injured and he couldn't even take a single step. Ever since that day, he has never left the Ding family manor, because up until this very day, that injury has not fully healed. He's just like you, a person for whom moving about is inconvenient."

Ding Chengfeng suddenly rose to his feet. Staring at Ye Kai, he let out a long sigh before slowly sitting down again. His cold, tranquil face suddenly seemed to have aged by many years.

Ye Kai continued, "I also know that the person who injured his right leg was the number one swordsman of the 'Golden Coin Clan' of bygone days, that elder of the martial world who shares equal fame with swordsman Fei."

Fu Hongxue cried out involuntarily, "Jing Wuming?"

Ye Kai nodded. "Right. It was Jing Wuming. Only today did I come to understand why he was willing to teach his quick sword skills to Lu Xiaojia."

Sighing, he continued, "I imagine it is because after he competed against manor master Ding, the two of them felt great mutual admiration and respect for each other, which is why he was willing to take away with him a child of the Ding family and raise him. Alas, although his peerless sword techniques gave Lu Xiaojia a world-spanning fame, his extreme disposition harmed Lu Xiaojia his entire life."

Ding Chengfeng really did lower his head, old, unshed tears appearing in his eyes.

Fu Hongxue stared at Ye Kai. In a fierce voice, he said, "How could you know all these things? Who are you?"

Ye Kai hesitated. That strange look of pain appeared in his eyes once more, as though he could not make up his mind as to whether or not he should answer that question.

Fu Hongxue couldn't resist from asking, "If he is not the murderer, then who ordered Ding Lingzhong to kill people for the sake of silencing them?"

Ye Kai did not answer this question either. He suddenly turned around to stare at the head of the stairs.

Someone from below coldly said, "He did it for me."

The voice was hoarse and low. Anyone who heard it would find it unpleasant. But the woman who accompanied this voice was an elegant, peerless, out-of-the-world beauty. She wore a long, light, soft robe and a black, mist-like veil which only added to her cold, desolate beauty. She was so beautiful that one would find it almost impossible to resist her charm.

Seeing her walk over, Ding Chengfeng's face immediately changed. He cried out involuntarily, "You shouldn't have come."

This peerless beauty said, "I must come."

Her voice was totally at odds with her face. No one could imagine how such a beautiful woman could have such an ugly voice.

Fu Hongxue couldn't help but ask, "You say that Ding Lingzhong killed those people for your sake?"

"Correct."

Fu Hongxue said, "Why?"

"Because I am your real enemy. Bai Tianyu died in my hands!"

Her voice was once more filled with hatred and venom. She continued, "Because I am Ding Lingzhong's mother!"

Fu Hongxue's heart seemed to have sunk down once more. Ding Chengfeng's heart sank as well.

What about Ye Kai? Who could discern his heart?

Ding Baiyun's eyes were focused on his through the black veil. She coldly said, "By now, you can tell what type of a person Ding Chengfeng is. For this disappointment of a sister, he was willing to sacrifice himself, but he didn't know that there was no point in doing so."

Sighing, she continued, "If you hadn't interfered, the aftermath of this affair would be unthinkable. Thus, no matter what, I am very grateful towards you."

Ye Kai smiled bitterly. Aside from doing that, he had no idea what he should say.

Ding Baiyun said, "But I find it strange as well. Who are you? How do you know so much?"

Ye Kai said, "I..."

Ding Baiyun interrupted him. "No need to tell me. I don't actually want to know who you are."

She suddenly turned her head, fixing her dagger-like gaze through the black veil upon Fu Hongxue. "I just want him to know who I am!"

Fu Hongxue tightened his fists. "I...I already know who you are!"

Ding Baiyun suddenly laughed hysterically. "You know? You really know? How much do you know?"

Fu Hongxue could no longer answer. He suddenly felt as though he knew very little about anybody, because he had never before cared to understand people, nor had he ever tried to.

Ding Baiyun was still laughing, her voice hysterical and desolate. She suddenly reached out and forcefully ripped away the black veil.

Fu Hongxue was stunned. Everyone was stunned.

Although the face hidden behind the black veil was beautiful, it was totally stiff and rigid.

Although she was still laughing wildly, there was no expression on her face. This definitely wasn't a living face. It was just a mask.

When she removed her mask, Fu Hongxue suddenly felt his entire body turn stiff. Can it be that this was her real face?

Fu Hongxue didn't dare to believe it. He couldn't bear to believe it.

He had never encountered anything in the world which shocked him more than this face, because it could no longer be considered a face. This face no longer had any features on it at all; the only thing that could be seen was a countless number of intersecting knife scars. It looked like a clay mask which had been cracked upon falling to the floor.

Wildly laughing, Ding Baiyun said, "Do you know what happened to my face?"

Fu Hongxue could not respond. All he knew was that the 'goddess Baiyun' was once a legendary beauty in the martial world.

Ding Baiyun said, "I carved this face out myself, using a dagger. In total, I cut myself seventy seven times, because I accompanied that traitorous man for seventy seven days. When I thought of those days, I cut myself, but the pain from those memories was far greater than the pain on my face."

Her voice became hoarser. She continued, "I hate my face. If it weren't for my face, he wouldn't have taken a fancy to me. Why, then, would I have suffered such anguish and pain?"

Even Fu Hongxue's fingertips had turned icy cold. He could understand this sort of feeling, because he had felt this sort of pain before as well. Up to this very moment, whenever he thought of what had happened during those days when he was wildly drinking in abandon, he felt as though his heart was being stabbed by daggers.

Ding Baiyun said, "I'm unwilling to let others see my face, because I don't want to be mocked. But I know that you definitely will not mock me, because I know that your mother definitely isn't any better looking than I am right now."

Fu Hongxue could not deny it. Once again, he could not help but think back to that room...there was no color in that room, only darkness!

As far back as he could remember, his mother had lived in pain and darkness.

Ding Baiyun said, "Do you know why my voice sounds like this now?"

She continued, "It's because after that night at the Plum Blossom Convent, when I said some things which should not be said, I was no longer willing for others to hear my voice. I ruined my voice as well."

Her voice was once as beautiful as she was.

"Everyone is assembled?" When she said these words, her voice was still beautiful, like the sound of orioles in a summer valley. Only now did Fu Hongxue understand the meaning of Ye Kai's earlier words. She was afraid that others would recognize her by her voice, not because of the word "Everyone", but because she knew that there were very few people in the world whose voices were as beautiful and pleasing to hear as hers.

Ding Baiyun said, "Ding Lingzhong killed people because I told him to. He is not at fault here. Although he did not know that I was his mother, he has always been very obedient towards me. He...he's always been a very obedient child..."

Her voice once more became gentle and soft. She continued, "At least I know that he is still alive. I know now that you won't kill him, and so I can die peacefully. Perhaps there was no need for me to stay alive for all those years..."

Ding Chengfeng suddenly said fiercely, "You cannot die either! So long as I am alive, no one will kill you in my presence!"

Ding Baiyun said, "There is...perhaps one person who can."

Ding Chengfeng said, "Who?"

Ding Baiyun said, "Myself."

Her voice was very peaceful. She slowly continued, "None of you can stop me, because before I came here, I had already decided to die."

Ding Chengfeng suddenly shot up. He cried out involuntarily, "You've already...already poisoned yourself?"

Ding Baiyun nodded. "You should know that my poisons have always been very effective and are incurable."

Staring at her, Ding Chengfeng slowly sat down as tears began to flow from his eyes.

Ding Baiyun said, "Actually, there's no reason for you to be sad for me. Ever since I personally killed that traitorous man, I knew that I had no more regrets left in life. In addition, I burned his head into ashes and drank it down along with the poison. Now, no one will ever be able to separate us. You should feel happy that I can die in such a manner."

Her voice was still tranquil, as though she were narrating a very commonplace matter. But everyone present was absolutely terrified, as their hairs stood on end. Only now did Ye Kai realize that Bai Tianyu's head was not taken away by the Lady of the Plum Blossom. But he really could not tell if Ding Baiyun had done all of this out of love or hate. Regardless of whether it was out of love or hate, her actions were too insane, too terrifying!

Ding Baiyun stared at Fu Hongxue. "You can go back and tell your mother that all the murderers of Bai Tianyu are now dead, but Bai Tianyu has become one with me. From now on, he'll always be with me, whether we be in heaven or hell."

Not allowing Fu Hongxue to speak, she continued, "Right now, I just want to let you see one person."

Fu Hongxue couldn't help but ask, "Who?"

Ding Baiyun said, "Ma Kongqun!"

She suddenly turned around and beckoned towards the stairs. And then a smiling man walked up the stairs.

The man looked very cheerful, as though there were nothing in the world which might worry or frighten him. Upon seeing Fu Hongxue and Ye Kai, he still remained smiling and cheerful.

But this person was actually Ma Kongqun.

Fu Hongxue's ashen face suddenly became suffused with red. His right hand was already tightly gripping his sabre!

Ding Baiyun suddenly called out loudly, "Ma Kongqun, this man still wants to kill you. Why aren't you fleeing?"

Ma Kongqun was still smiling as he stood there, not budging in the slightest.

Ding Baiyun smiled as well, her smile contorting all seventy seven scars on her face, making her all the more unspeakably terrifying to behold.

Smiling, she said, "Of course he won't flee. Right now, he no longer fears death. He no longer fears anything. All his worries and fears have totally disappeared, because he has already drank of the 'worry-forgetting wine' which I specially prepared for him. He's even forgotten who he himself is."

But Fu Hongxue had not, could not forget. Ever since he learned how to speak, the first words he heard was, "Go kill Ma Kongqun and take revenge on behalf of your father!"

He had once sworn an oath, "So long as I see Ma Kongqun again, I definitely will not let him continue to live, nor is there anyone in the world or anything which can stop me."

In the blink of an eye, his heart became filled with nothing save hatred. The hatred had taken root in his heart like poison grass.

He could no longer even hear Ding Baiyun's voice. Hatred had thrust his entire person into a great furnace.

"Take your enemy's head, or else never come back to see me ever again!"

There was no color in the room. Only darkness! This room suddenly seemed to transform into darkness. The world seemed to become nothing but darkness. All he could see was Ma Kongqun.

Ma Kongqun was still sitting there without moving. He seemed to actually be smiling towards Fu Hongxue.

Fu Hongxue's eyes were filled with hatred and a killing spirit, but Ma Kongqun's eyes were filled with a confused, illusory smile. This wasn't just an obvious contrast; this was nothing short of satire.

Fu Hongxue's killing hand tightly gripped his sabre. The blue veins on the back of his hand were bulging out.

Ma Kongqun suddenly laughed, "Why is it that you always grip that black thing so tightly? I wouldn't want it even if you gave it to me. Are you afraid that I'll take it from you?"

This sabre had taken countless lives. Who knew how many more people had been tyrannized and terrified by this demonic blade? But in his eyes, it was now nothing more than a dirty black thing.

This sabre, which had once been acclaimed as the number one demonic sabre in the world, was now worthless in this man's eyes. Could it be that this was the sabre's real value? Isn't it true that the vision of a madman is the clearest of all? Fu Hongxue's body began to tremble once again. He suddenly pulled out his sabre and chopped down at Ma Kongqun's head like a bolt of lightning.

But right at this moment, there was another dagger flash! With a clanging sound, the sabre in Fu Hongxue's hand split into two.

The severed tip of the sabre fell to the ground, along with a very short dagger. A dagger which was four and a half inches long.

A flying dagger!

Fu Hongxue suddenly spun around. Staring at Ye Kai, he said in a hoarse voice, "You?"

Ye Kai nodded. "Me."

Fu Hongxue said, "Why won't you allow me to kill him?"

Ye Kai said, "Because you have no need to kill him, nor a reason to kill him."

That strange look of pain once more appeared on his face.

Fu Hongxue stared at him. Flames seemed to be burning in his eyes. "Are you saying that I have no reason to kill him?"

Ye Kai said, "That's right."

Fu Hongxue said in a fierce voice, "My entire family died in his hands. This bloody debt has been unpaid for nineteen years. If he had ten lives, I should kill him ten times."

Ye Kai suddenly let out a long, long sigh. "You are wrong."

Fu Hongxue said, "What am I wrong about?"

Ye Kai said, "Your hatred is wrong."

Fu Hongxue angrily said, "What, I shouldn't kill him?"

Ye Kai said, "No!"

Fu Hongxue said, "Why not?"

Ye Kai said, "Because he isn't your father's killer. There is no enmity at all between you and he."

These words were like a suddenly erupting volcano. Nobody in the world could say anything which was more shocking than these words.

Staring at Fu Hongxue, Ye Kai slowly said, "The only reason you hate him is because someone wants you to hate him!"

Fu Hongxue's entire body was trembling. If anyone else had said these words to him, he definitely would not have listened.

But the speaker was Ye Kai. He knew that Ye Kai definitely was not a person who spoke nonsense.

Ye Kai said, "Hatred is like a blade of poisonous grass. If someone plants it in your heart, it will take root there. You aren't born with hatred in your heart."

Fu Hongxue tightly clenched his fists. He finally forced out three words. "I don't understand."

Ye Kai said, "Hatred is taught, which is why anyone can be mistaken about their hatred. Only love is never wrong."

Ding Chengfeng's face had already turned red from excitement and agitation. He suddenly shouted loudly, "Well spoken! Brilliantly spoken!"

Ding Baiyun's face became even paler. "But I still don't understand a single thing he says."

Ye Kai let out a long sigh. "You should understand."

Ding Baiyun said, "Why?"

Ye Kai said, "Because only you know that Ding Lingzhong was not old master Ding's own son."

Ding Baiyun's face changed. She involuntarily cried out, "Are you saying that Fu Hongxue, too, is not the descendant of the Bai family?"

Ye Kai said, "Definitely not!"

These words came out like a thunderbolt amongst them.

Everyone stared at Ye Kai in shock.

Ding Baiyun said, "You...you lie!"

Ye Kai laughed again. His laughter was very dreary and desolate. He didn't deny it because there was no need to. Anyone could tell that he wasn't lying."

Ding Baiyun said, "How do you know this secret?"

Ye Kai sadly said, "This isn't a secret. It's just a tragedy. If you yourself are one of the actors within this tragedy, how could you not know the story?"

Ding Baiyun cried out involuntarily, "Can it be that you are Bai Tianyu's son?"

Ye Kai said, "I am."

Fu Hongxue suddenly charged over. Seizing Ye Kai by the shirt, he angrily roared out, "You lie!"

Ye Kai's laughter became all the more desolate. He still did not deny it. Fu Hongxue, of course, could also tell that he definitely was not lying.

Ding Baiyun suddenly asked, "Can it be that not even Hua Baifeng herself knew this secret?"

Ye Kai nodded. "She doesn't know either."

Astonished, Ding Baiyun said, "She doesn't even know who her own son is?"

Ye Kai mournfully replied, "Because the plan was to deceive her about this from the very beginning."

Ding Baiyun said, "How exactly did all this come about?"