Bordertown Wanderer - Chapter 46 (End)
Chapter 46: Love is Eternal (End)
Ye Kai hesitated, appearing to be in great pain.
Originally, he didn't want to discuss this matter, but now, he was at a point where he had no choice but to discuss it.
As it was, when Hua Baifeng was pregnant, Madame Bai found out. Without a doubt, she was a very deep and subtle woman. Although she knew that her husband was having an affair, she didn't reveal her knowledge in the slightest.
She had long ago thought of a way to get her husband to sever all contacts with this woman. Only, no matter what, Hua Baifeng's child would have the Bai family's blood in him. She wasn't willing to leave behind one of her own blood-related kin in another's hands, because she knew that so long as the child stayed with Hua Baifeng, there would forever be an unbreakable bond between herself and Bai Tianyu. Sooner or later, Bai Tianyu would go to visit his own child.
Thus, Madame Bai hit upon the idea of bribing Hua Baifeng's midwife to exchange someone else's child for Hua Baifeng's own child.
After having given birth, Hua Baifeng was lost amidst a world of pain and weariness. Naturally, she had no way of realizing that the swaddled child was someone else's child. By the time her mind cleared, Madame Bai had long since taken her own child away.
Before Madame Bai was married, she had a very close female friend who had married a master of darts from the Ye family named Ye Ping. This person was just like his name, ordinary and honest [Ping can mean 'ordinary']. Although he wasn't a very famous figure of the martial world, he was a secular disciple of the orthodox Shaolin school.
It's always relatively easy for a disciple of a famous school to make his way in the martial world. By happy chance, the Ye family had no children, and so Madame Bai gave them Hua Baifeng's child to raise. For the moment, she was unwilling to let Bai Tianyu know about this matter yet.
From that day forward, only she herself and Madame Ye knew of this secret. Even Ye Ping himself did not know of the origins of this child.
The third person who found out about this secret was Li Tanhua, who was already venerated in the martial world as the saint-like Li Xunhuan!
This was because although Madame Bai was a very subtle and deep woman, she wasn't an evil or a venomous one. Whenever a woman discovers that her husband is having an affair, she will become deep and subtle.
After Madame Bai carried out this matter, she always felt apologetic and remorseful towards this child. She knew that based upon Ye Ping's proficiency in martial arts, there was no way he could teach the child to become a master martial artist. She wished for every member of the Bai family to be able to become a respected figure within the martial world. Thus, she divulged this secret to Li Xunhuan, because Li Xunhuan had once promised to teach his flying dagger skills to a son of the Bai family.
She trusted that Li Xunhuan would definitely carry out his promise, and she also trusted that Li Xunhuan definitely would not divulge this secret.
There definitely was no one in the world who distrusted Li Xunhuan. Even his enemies were no exception.
Li Xunhuan really did follow through on his promise and really did not reveal her secret. But he knew that there was no such thing as a secret which could be kept forever. Sooner or later, this child would discover his true family background.
That is why, ever since the child was young, he taught the child that hatred could bring nothing but pain and ruin to a person. Only love is eternal.
He told this child that learning how to love people is infinitely better than learning how to kill people.
Only a person who truly understood this concept was worthy of learning his martial arts technique, Little Li's Flying Dagger. And only a person who truly understood this concept would be capable of grasping the marvelous intricacies of Little Li's Flying Dagger technique!
Only then did he transmit his flying dagger skills to Ye Kai.
This really was a tragic story, which Ye Kai had never been willing to divulge. This was because he knew that revealing the truth would hurt many people.
The person who would be hurt the most, naturally was Fu Hongxue.
Fu Hongxue had already loosened his grip. He retreated one step at a time, almost unable to even remain standing.
He had been living solely for the sake of his hatred. Now, he was like a man who was standing on a tightrope held up high in the air, whose center of gravity suddenly disappeared.
Although hatred brought him pain, it was a solemn, holy pain.
Now, he felt that he was very laughable, very pitiable and laughable.
He had never pitied himself before, because no matter what setbacks he suffered, he could still take refuge and honor in his family background. Now, he didn't even know who his real parents were.
When Cui Nong died, he believed that he had encountered the most painful, the most unfortunate event in the world. Only now did he realize that there are more painful things and greater misfortunes.
Watching him, Ye Kai's eyes were also filled with pain and remorse.
Madame Ye had told him this secret only upon her deathbed, because Madame Ye felt that every person had the right to know the truth of their family background.
Fu Hongxue was also a person. He also had that right.
Ye Kai sadly said, "I really should have told you long ago. Several times, I almost did, but..."
He really had no idea how to express his thoughts. Fu Hongxue interrupted him, not letting him continue.
Fu Hongxue had been avoiding Ye Kai's gaze this entire time, but now, he suddenly said two quick sentences. "I don't blame you. Because you weren't wrong."
He hesitated, before finally saying something which Ye Kai would never forget. "Nor do I hate you...and in the future, I will never hate anyone ever again."
Before he finished saying those words, he turned around and walked down the stairs. His walking gait was still peculiar and clumsy looking. His entire existence was nothing but a tragedy. Staring at him, Ye Kai did not try to bar his way. Only when Fu Hongxue reached the end of the stairs did Ye Kai loudly shout, "You weren't wrong either! Hatred is what's wrong. By its nature, hatred has always been wrong to begin with."
Fu Hongxue did not turn around. He didn't even seem to have heard those words.
But by the time he reached the bottom, his posture became erect. Although his walking gait was still as clumsy looking and peculiar as before, he still walked without pause. He didn't fall down.
There were several times when even he himself thought he would collapse, but he did not.
Ye Kai suddenly let out a long sigh, as he mumbled to himself, "He will be fine."
Ding Chengfeng was watching him, a pondering look in his eyes.
Ye Kai continued, "Right now, he is like a person who has suffered a heavy injury. But so long as he stays alive, he will recover from it, no matter how deep the wound."
He suddenly chuckled. "People are sometimes like geckos. Even if you chop off a gecko's tail, it will quickly grow a new one."
Ding Chengfeng laughed as well. Smiling, he said, "This is a good analogy, a very good analogy."
The two of them stared at each other. Suddenly, they felt as though a peculiar, shared understanding existed between them.
It felt as though they had been good friends for many years.
Ding Chengfeng said, "You originally did not want to reveal this affair?"
Ye Kai said, "Originally, I always felt that if I had revealed this affair, no good could come of it at all."
Ding Chengfeng said, "But now, your way of thinking has changed."
Ye Kai nodded. "Because now, I have come to realize that all of us have paid too high a price over this affair."
Ding Chengfeng said, "Therefore, you decided to bring this affair to an end?"
Ye Kai nodded again.
Ding Chengfeng suddenly glanced aside at Ding Baiyun. "What if she were to stay alive and not die? Would you still consider this affair to be ended?"
Ye Kai said, "There was no need for her to die to begin with."
Ding Chengfeng said, "Oh?"
Ye Kai said, "Even if she acted wrongly, she has paid the price for her actions long ago."
Ding Chengfeng silently agreed.
Only he truly understood what a terrible price she had paid.
Ye Kai stared at him. Suddenly, he chuckled. "And of course, you knew all along that she wouldn't die, didn't you."
Ding Chengfeng hesitated a moment before finally nodding. "That's right. She won't die. She doesn't need to die."
Ding Baiyun looked at him in shock. She cried out involuntarily, "You...can it be that you..."
Ding Chengfeng sighed, "I knew long ago that you had prepared a bottle of poisoned wine for yourself. Therefore..."
Ding Baiyun's countenance changed. "So you exchanged that bottle of wine for an unpoisoned one."
Ding Chengfeng said, "I exchanged every last bottle of poisoned wine you possessed a long time ago. Even if you drank every last drop of wine from those 'poisoned' bottles, you would just become terribly drunk and have an awful hangover."
Smiling, he continued, "Even an inflexible old fogey like myself will pull a crafty trick from time to time."
Ding Baiyun stared at him for a long time before beginning to laugh loudly.
Ding Chengfeng couldn't refrain from asking, "What are you laughing about?"
Ding Baiyun said, "I'm laughing at myself."
Ding Chengfeng said, "Laughing at yourself?"
Ding Baiyun said, "Hua Baifeng hasn't died yet. Why, then, must I die?"
Her laughter sounded miserable and tragic. One couldn't tell if it was laughter or crying. "Only now do I know that she is even more pitiable than I am. She doesn't even know who her own son is. If even she can go on living, why can't I?"
Ding Chengfeng said, "You should go on living anyhow. Every person should."
Ding Baiyun suddenly pointed at Ma Kongqun. "What about him?"
Ding Chengfeng said, "What about him?"
Ding Baiyun said, "If the 'poisoned' wine I drank wasn't really poisoned, then the wine which he drank..."
Ding Chengfeng said, "The wine you had him drink was nothing more than a bottle of centuries-old hard liquor."
The expression on Ma Kongqun's face suddenly changed.
Ding Chengfeng said, "Perhaps he knew all along that you would move against him."
Ding Baiyun said, "Which is why, as soon as he saw the wine on the table, he rushed over and purposefully drank it down."
Ding Chengfeng nodded. "You should understand that he isn't the sort of person who would casually drink alcohol!"
Ding Baiyun said, "And then, he pretended to be affected by the poison in order to see how I was going to move against him."
Ding Chengfeng said, "And how did you move against him?"
Ding Baiyun forced out a smile. "I actually told him that the wine he drank was made from the 'worry-forgetting grass'."
Ding Chengfeng said, "Naturally, he knew what the result of drinking that wine would be."
Ding Baiyun said, "So he intentionally put on an act and pretended to have been affected. Not only did he deceive me, he also deceived all those people who wanted to kill him."
Ma Kongqun's face was suddenly filled with fear and dread. He suddenly extracted a short blade from his boots and stabbed towards his own chest with it.
But just at that moment, once again a dagger flash appeared. The knife was immediately knocked out of his hand. Naturally, it was knocked out of his hand by a four and a half inch long flying dagger.
Ma Kongqun suddenly turned his head. Staring at Ye Kai, he said hoarsely, "You...you won't even allow me to die?"
Ye Kai dully said, "I just wanted to ask you why you suddenly desired to die."
Ma Kongqun balled his fists. "Aren't I allowed to want to die?"
Ye Kai said, "If the wine you drank really was poisoned, wouldn't you be able to go on living?"
Ma Kongqun couldn't deny it.
Ye Kai said, "But now, precisely because the wine wasn't poisoned, you want to die? Isn't this absolutely comical?"
Ma Kongqun couldn't find a way to respond. Suddenly, he also felt that this was very comical, so comical he wanted to cry.
Ye Kai said, "You thought that if the 'worry-forgetting wine' took away your worries and the hatred in your heart, that others would forget their hatred for you?"
Ma Kongqun could only admit to it. He really had thought that.
Ye Kai sighed. "Actually, aside from the 'worry-forgetting wine', there's one other thing which will allow you to forget your worries and your hate."
Ma Kongqun couldn't resist from asking, "What is that?"
Ye Kai said, "That would be forgiveness."
Ma Kongqun said, "Forgiveness?"
Ye Kai said, "If even you yourself cannot forgive yourself, how can you expect others to forgive you?"
He continued, "But only when a person can whole-hearted forgive someone else, can he forgive himself as well. Thus, if you can whole-heartedly forgive others, others can also forgive you."
Ma Kongqun lowered his head.
He didn't really understand this reasoning. Within the world in which he lived, he had always felt that 'vengeance' was far more manly and far more proper than 'forgiveness'.
But all of them had forgotten that in order to reach the level of 'forgiveness', one must not only have a truly magnanimous heart, but also great courage; far more courage than is needed for vengeance. Forgiveness truly is far more difficult to achieve than vengeance.
Ma Kongqun would never understand this line of reasoning. That is why, even if others had forgiven him, he would never be able to forgive himself.
Perhaps the pain and remorse he felt came not from his mistakes and his viciousness, but because others had discovered his mistakes, his viciousness. "This should have been a secret which no one would ever discover. I should have done better."
He tightened his fists, cold sweat beginning to pour down from his brows. All types of remorse, no matter from whence they come, are equally agonizing to bear.
He suddenly rushed forward and seized the pot of wine on the corner of the table, lifted it up, and poured its contents into his mouth.
And then he collapsed like a pile of mud, dead drunk.
Watching him, Ye Kai suddenly felt an indescribable sense of pity and sympathy for him.
It was no longer necessary for others to punish this man, because he was already punishing himself.
The room was peaceful and quiet. All the pain and bitterness had passed away.
Without question, it is a joyful thing to see an affair which was born from hatred be resolved by forgiveness.
As Ding Chengfeng looked at Ye Kai, a look of unspeakable gratitude appeared within his tired, pale eyes.
It exceeded the bounds of gratitude; it was an emotion that was far more noble than mere gratitude.
Just when he wanted to speak, he saw his daughter rush up the stairs.
Ding Linglin's face was pale and anxious. She gasped out, "Third brother left."
She suddenly remembered that Lu Xiaojia was also her third brother, so she quickly continued, "Both of my third brothers have left."
Ding Chengfeng furrowed his brows. "Both third brothers?"
Ding Linglin said, "Ding Lingzhong left by himself. We wanted to stop him but he insisted on leaving."
Ye Kai understood what Ding Lingzhong was thinking. He felt that he no longer had any face to remain here. He must perform some great deed which might help him atone for his transgressions.
Ding Lingzhong was, by nature, a kind and charitable young man. So long as he could have a good beginning, he would definitely be able to do good deeds.
Ye Kai understood him and had faith in him.
Because they were brothers who came from the same bloodline!
Ding Linglin spoke again, "Lu Xiaojia has gone as well. He was taken away by someone."
Ye Kai couldn't refrain from asking, "He didn't die?"
Ding Linglin said, "At first, I thought that there was no way to save him, but that man said that he still had a method to rescue him."
Ye Kai said, "Who was that man?"
Ding Linglin said, "I didn't recognize him. I didn't want to let him take third brother away, but we simply had no way of stopping him."
A look of fear suddenly appeared on her face. "I've never before met anyone who had such a level of skill in martial arts. With a gentle wave of his hand, he prevented all of us from getting close to him."
Ye Kai's countenance changed. "What type of man was he?"
Ding Linglin said, "He was a one-armed man. He wore a very strange yellow long robe. His eyes seemed to be deathly grey. I've never met anyone with eyes like him."
Ding Chengfeng's countenance had changed as well. He cried out in shock, "Jing Wuming!"
Jing Wuming! This name also seemed to carry with it a terrifying magic force.
Ding Chengfeng said, "He has neither family nor friends. He's always treated Lu Xiaojia like his own son. Since he was willing to take Xiaojia away, Xiaojia definitely will not die."
This old man was clearly consoling himself. Ye Kai had already discovered that this old man wasn't as grim and cold-hearted as the legends about him said he was.
His cold, grim face was filled with gratitude. He mumbled to himself in a low voice, "Since he came, he should pay me a visit."
Ye Kai forced out a smile. "He definitely won't come, because he knows that Li Tanhua's disciple is here."
Ding Chengfeng said, "Can it be that you think he still has not forgotten the enmity which exists between himself and Li Tanhua?"
Ye Kai sighed. "He will never forget it, because..."
Because Jing Wuming was the same sort of person as Ma Kongqun. He would never understand the meaning of the word 'forgiveness'.
That is what Ye Kai thought, but he did not say it aloud. He didn't expect everyone to be as lenient as he was.
Right at this moment, a half-shuttered window was suddenly blown open by the wind. A very strange gust of wind.
And then, he heard someone speak from outside the window, "I've been here all along. Unfortunately, you simply did not notice me."
These words were spoken by a very cold, very arrogant voice. Each word came out very slowly, as though the speaker was no longer used to using words to express his thoughts. When he wanted to express his thoughts, he would usually use a different, more direct method.
Nor was it usually necessary for others to understand his thoughts.
Jing Wuming! Upon hearing this voice, Ye Kai immediately knew that it must be Jing Wuming.
Turning around, he saw a man wearing a long yellow robe who was standing as straight as a javelin beneath a withered willow at the side of the pond.
He couldn't see the expression on this man's face. He could only see that strange pair of eyes, which shone in the darkness like the eyes of a beast.
Those eyes were staring at him as well. "You are Ye Kai?"
Ye Kai nodded.
Jing Wuming said, "You know who I am?"
Ye Kai nodded again. Clearly, he didn't wish for Jing Wuming to take him as an overly talkative blabbermouth, which is why he avoided speaking whenever he could.
Jing Wuming stared at him. After a long time, he suddenly let out a sigh.
Ye Kai felt very surprised. He had never imagined that the time would come when this man would sigh as well.
Jing Wuming slowly said, "It has been many years since I have encountered Li Xunhuan. I've always wanted to seek him out."
His voice suddenly went higher. "Because I still want to compete with him and see if his dagger is faster, or if my sword is faster!"
Ye Kai listened. He did nothing but listen.
Jing Wuming actually sighed a second time. "But now, I've changed my mind. Do you know why?"
Ye Kai obviously did not know.
Jing Wuming said, "Because of you."
Ye Kai was very startled yet again. "Because of me?"
Jing Wuming said, "After seeing you, I now realize that I will never be able to surpass Li Xunhuan."
His cold voice actually carried a hint of sentimentality within it now. After a long time, he slowly continued, "Lu Xiaojia only knows how to kill people. But just then, you struck out three times, each time for the purpose of saving someone's life!"
Daggers were originally designed for the purpose of killing.
It isn't difficult to learn how to use a dagger to kill someone. But learning how to use a dagger to save someone's life is difficult indeed.
Ye Kai did not expect that Jing Wuming would understand this as well.
Those long years of solitude and loneliness had clearly caused Jing Wuming, the killer, to have understood many things.
Loneliness and solitude has always been best suited for contemplating things.
Jing Wuming suddenly asked, "Do you know who 'Bai Xiaosheng' is?"
Ye Kai nodded.
Bai Xiaosheng wrote the 'Book of Weapons', which ranked all the heroes of the world. It had already become an inerasable, enduring mark upon the history of the martial world.
Jing Wuming said, "Although he wasn't an honest person, his 'Book of Weapons' was very fair."
Ye Kai believed it.
Something which wasn't fair could not remain standing for long, but Bai Xiaosheng's 'Book of Weapons' had stood to this very day.
Jing Wuming said, "Although Shangguan Jinhong died by Li Xunhuan's hands, his skill in martial arts truly was above that of Li Xunhuan."
Ye Kai was listening.
The battle between Shangguan Jinhong and Li Xunhuan had already become a myth in the martial world.
Myths are always beautiful and moving to hear, but are rarely accurate.
Jing Wuming said, "The reason Li Xunhuan was capable of killing Shangguan Jinhong was not because of his skill in martial arts. It was because of his confidence."
Li Xunhuan had always been confident that righteousness would prevail over wickedness in the end, and that justice would endure forever. That is why he won.
Jing Wuming said, "When they fought, I was the only witness to their battle. I could tell that his skill in martial arts truly was inferior to that of Shangguan Jinhong's. All this time, I could not understand how he achieved victory."
He slowly continued, "But now, I understand. The true value of a weapon lies not in the weapon itself, but what it is used to do."
Ye Kai agreed.
Jing Wuming said, "The reason Li Xunhuan was able to kill Shangguan Jinhong was because he wasn't fighting for the sake of killing itself. Every action he took, he could justify with a clear conscience both to heaven and to men."
If a man is to fight on behalf of justice and righteousness, he definitely will not be defeated.
Jing Wuming said, "If Bai Xiaosheng understood this logic, he should have ranked Li Xunhuan's dagger as the number one weapon."
Ye Kai was looking at him. Suddenly, he felt an unspeakable reverence and respect towards this difficult-to-understand man.
Anyone who could understand this type of logic was a man worthy of respect and reverence.
Jing Wuming was staring at him as well. He slowly said, "That is why, if someone else were to compile another 'Book of Weapons' in the modern age, your dagger should be ranked as the number one weapon. This is because no one else is capable of doing what you have just done. That is why no other weapon can be of greater value than your dagger!"
A gust of wind blew by, and Jing Wuming disappeared within it.
He had always been a man who was as unfathomable as the wind itself.
Ye Kai stood erect, facing the wind. He only felt that the blood in his chest was pounding, making it difficult for him to calm down.
Ding Linglin stood by his side, staring at him in a daze. Her eyes were filled with love and reverence as well.
The love of a woman is a strange thing. If you cannot gain their respect, you cannot gain their love either.
They are not like men.
For a man, love can arise from sympathy or pity. But women will only love a man whom they respect.
If you ever see a woman fall in love with someone out of sympathy or pity, you can be certain that her love definitely is not genuine, and that it definitely will not be lasting.
Ding Chengfeng naturally understood how his daughter was feeling. He himself felt great pride towards this young man.
Anyone would feel proud of a young man such as this.
Ding Chengfeng walked to his side. He suddenly said, "Now, there no longer is any need to hide your identity."
Ye Kai nodded. "But I still cannot forget the benevolence the Ye family showed me in raising me."
Ding Chengfeng continued, "Aside from you, do they have any other children?"
Ye Kai said, "They do not!"
Ding Chengfeng said, "So your surname will still be Ye?"
Ye Kai said, "Correct."
Ding Chengfeng said, "Ye as in 'leaf', and Kai as in 'open and forthright'?"
Ye Kai said, "Correct."
Ding Chengfeng said, "I'm sure you feel very strange as to why I asked you these questions. But I must have a clear understanding about this, because..."
Glancing at his daughter, a hint of laughter appeared in his eyes. He slowly continued, "Because I only have one daughter. If I am to give her over to someone else, at the very least, I must know what that man's name is."
Now, he knew that this man was named Ye Kai.
He believed that in the very near future, every single person in the martial world would know this man's name.