Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword - Chapter 89 (End)
Chapter 89 - Epilogue
Li XunHuan was quiet for a long while before letting out a sigh as he said slowly, "When a person is victorious, he will always feel extremely tired and lonesome."
"Why is that?" Sun XiaoHong said.
"Because he has succeeded, he has completed all his goals. There will be nothing left for him to look forward to. But the one who suffered defeat would actually be driven to work even harder than before." Li XunHuan said.
Sun XiaoHong bit down on her lips and said, "Then the taste of victory isn't very sweet, is it?"
Li XunHuan fell silent for a while before he let out a smile and said, "Although victory is somewhat difficult to endure, at the very least its much better than defeat."
Success and victory can never really bring satisfaction, nor can it really bring happiness.
True happiness can only be experienced during the struggles that you encounter throughout your life.
If you've been fortunate enough to experience that kind of happiness, then your life hasn't been lived in vain.
Pavilions were always the place where people met to say their farewells. Parting always brought about a melancholy mood.
Therefore, just the mention of the word 'pavilion' carried a subtle sense of unhappiness.
The rain had subsided, the grass and weeds were disheveled.
Outside of the pavilion by the side of the road was a young couple saying their farewells.
A heroic boy, a passionate girl. They were obviously in love. He really should stay and enjoy the happiness of youth. Why was he so intent on leaving?
There was a sword by his side, but no sword no matter how sharp could sever the bond of youthful love and longing. His eyes were red as if tears had already been shed.
"You've accompanied me thus far already, just go back now."
The girl lowered her head and asked, "When will you return?"
"I don't know, in a year or two, perhaps ..." the boy replied.
The girl's tears started to stream down her cheeks as she said, "Why must you make me wait that long? Why must you go for?"
The boy straightened up his posture and said, "I've already told you before, I want to find and defeat every single one of them!"
His gaze focused into the distance and brightness emanated from his eyes as he continued, "The people listed in the 'Book of Weapons', ShangGuan JinHong, Li XunHuan, Guo Songyang, Lu FengXian ... I want everyone to know that I'm even stronger than all of them, and after that ..."
"And after that, then what? We're already so happy right now. After you've defeated all of them, will we really be that much happier?" the girl pleaded.
"Maybe we won't be, but nonetheless it is something that I must do!" the boy said.
"Why?" the girl asked.
"Because I can't just spend half my life meaninglessly like this. I want to make a name for myself. I want to become just as famous as ShangGuan JinHong and Li XunHuan. In fact, I know for sure that I can succeed!" the boy said.
He clenched his fists tightly. He really was that resolute and determined.
The girl looked at him admiringly, her eyes carried an inexhaustible tenderness and warmth. Finally, she sighed and softly said, "I know that you can succeed as well. No matter how long you'll be gone for, I'll always be here waiting for you."
Their hearts filled with the sorrow of parting, but also with the anticipation of happiness that was to come.
Of course the two of them wouldn't notice anyone else.
Underneath the forest, there were two people staring intently at them.
When the boy finally took the first big stride on the road that lay before him, Sun XiaoHong let out a sigh and said, "If only he knew of the fate that befell ShangGuan JinHong, I'm afraid he wouldn't be as quick to leave his sweetheart ..."
What happens when a person finally does a make a name for themself?
Sun XiaoHong looked towards Li XunHuan with tears in her eyes as she continued, "He wants to be just as famous as you, but you ... are you really that much happier than him? I think ... I think that if you were in his shoes, you wouldn't have done the same thing."
Li XunHuan's eyes were still fixed on that boy's figure as it disappeared into the distance as he said, "If I were him, I would've done the exact same thing."
"You ..." Sun XiaoHong said.
"People must have goals and ambition, sometimes we have to abandon everything else and chase them with a purpose. Regardless of the outcome, whether it be success of happiness, it doesn't really matter." Li XunHuan said.
A proud smile broke from the corners of his lips as his eyes filled with brightness and said, "Some people will think that this is foolish, but without that type of mindset, what would our world be like?"
Sun XiaoHong's eyes suddenly filled with the same kind of tenderness and admiration that the young girl had shown. She, like the young girl by the pavilion, felt extremely proud of her man.
Ah Fei who had been standing in the distance slowly started to walk towards them.
But Sun XiaoHong still held on tightly to Li XunHuan's hand, she didn't let go. She was not ashamed, she felt that her affection was not something that she needed to hide.
In fact, she would've gladly announced her affection to the entire world if she could.
"I don't think that she will come." Ah Fei said.
They were planning to meet Lin ShiYin here.
They knew nothing of what had happened between Lin ShiYin and Long Xiao4Yun. Just like how that young boy knew nothing of the fate that befell ShangGuan JinHong.
There are some things that are better left unknown.
As soon as she thought of Lin ShiYin, Sun XiaoHong's grip unknowingly started to loosen.
But she immediately held on tightly, even more tightly than before, as she replied, "She agreed to meet me here, I'm sure that she will come."
"She won't come!" Ah Fei said.
"Why?" Sun XiaoHong said.
"Because she knows herself that there's no need for her to come." Ah Fei said.
Sun XiaoHong was the one who had asked the question, but when Ah Fei answered, his eyes were looking at Li XunHuan.
Li XunHuan didn't let go of Sun XiaoHong's hand either.
In the past, whenever he heard someone mentioning Lin ShiYin's name, he would always feel an indescribable pressure and sadness, as if his entire body had been locked down by shackles.
He had always carried that burden of sadness with him.
But now, that sadness was no longer as strong as it had once been. What exactly had set him free?
The feelings that he had for Lin ShiYin were built up over an extremely long time, so of course they would be very deep.
And although he had known Sun XiaoHong for a much shorter amount of time, the two of them had endured the most difficult of hardships and loneliness. They had braved through life and death together.
Was this kind of affection even stronger?
By then Lin ShiYin was already lone gone.
Ah Fei was right - she didn't come, because she didn't have to.
Long Xiao3Yun had once asked her, "Why won't you allow me to go see him just one last time?"
Lin ShiYin asked her son, "And why would you want to see him for?"
Long Xiao3Yun gritted his teeth and replied, "At the very least, I want to make it clear to him just what my father died for."
No matter what Long Xiao4Yun had done in the past, he had washed it all clean with his own blood now.
As a son, one would obviously want the world to know that.
But Lin ShiYin didn't feel the same way, as she said, "He did what he did only because he felt that it was the right thing to do. Not because he was begging for the forgiveness of others, and not because he wanted the entire world to know." she paused for a second and continued, "Not only did he repay his own debt, but he repaid our debt as well. As long as we live on happily, I'm sure that he will be able to rest in peace."
She didn't want to go see Li XunHuan because she knew that it could only result in sadness.
They didn't bother to look for Long Xiao4Yun's corpse either, because they knew that the Golden Currency Union disposed of corpses very quickly and efficiently.
If they really did go to look, all that they would find would be sadness - this was something that Sun XiaoHong knew first-hand. Her grandfather's corpse would never be found again.
There are some things in life that we simply cannot control, that no one is able to control.
Although these things were difficult to endure, we have to find ways in which to live through them, and to live past them.
They had decided to live on! Because death was not the solution to their problems - death wasn't the solution to anything.
There was another group of people saying their farewells inside the pavilion.
This time it was Ah Fei who was saying goodbye. He said that he wanted to travel the open seas to look for an herb that granted everlasting life and to look for the deity of longevity.
Of course he wasn't telling the truth, but Li XunHuan didn't bother to stop him.
Because Ah Fei's origins had always been a mystery. He never liked to talk about it even in front of Li XunHuan. But whenever Li XunHuan mentioned Shen Lan, Xiong Mao'Er, Wang LianHua, Zhu QiQi, and the heroes of the previous generation in stories and legends, his face would always light up with a very peculiar expression.
Was there some sort of relationship between Ah Fei and the heroes of the past?
Could they be the reason that he had decided to sail the open seas?
Li XunHuan didn't bother to ask.
Because he believed that a person's past was not important - humans weren't dogs, they weren't horses, pedigree was of no great importance.
Who we wanted to become was entirely up to us.
That was what was most important.
When friends part, it was common for there to be a lot of well wishing but also a lot of sadness and emotions. But between Ah Fei and Li XunHuan, there was only well wishing, there was no sadness.
Because they knew that the other would live on happily, and that there would be plenty of chances for them to see each other again in the future.
Especially when Ah Fei saw Li XunHuan's hand, he felt even more at ease.
Li XunHuan's hand was still holding on tightly to Sun XiaoHong's hand.
That hand had wielded the dagger for way too long, that hand had held the wine glass for way too long as well. The dagger was too cold, the wine glass was too cold as well. It really deserved to enjoy the feeling of warmth by now.
What else in this world could be warmer than your lover's hand?
Ah Fei knew that Sun XiaoHong would appreciate that hand more than anyone else. Although that hand still bore the scars of battles fought, they would definitely heal over time.
As for himself, of course he had his own scars.
But he didn't wanted to mention it anymore.
"The past is the past ..."
This phrase seems really simple at first glance, but the number of people who were able to do such a thing were not many.
But both Li XunHuan and Ah Fei were able to completely let go of the past.
"In three years, I'll definitely return." Ah Fei suddenly said.
He looked at their hands and smiled, "When I return, the two of you better take me out for some wine."
"Well that's a given, but it's a pity that three years is such a long time." Li XunHuan said.
"But the wine that I want to drink is very unique, I wonder if the two of you will be willing to treat me to some?" Ah Fei said.
"What kind of wine do you want to drink?" Sun XiaoHong asked.
"Of course that would be a wedding toast." Ah Fei replied.
A wedding toast, of course that would be a wedding toast.
Because it was the wine that was toasted at a wedding, it would need three years time - three years more than enough time to mourn for her grandfather.
Sun XiaoHong's face started to blush.
"I've tasted every type of wine except for this one, I only hope that the two of you will not disappoint me." Ah Fei said.
Sun XiaoHong's face turned even redder. She lowered her head, but couldn't help but secretly glance over at Li XunHuan.
The expression on Li XunHuan's face was very peculiar. The words 'wedding wine' seemingly caught him off guard. After a long pause, he said, "I've invited people to drink every kind of wine before, but never have I invited anyone for wedding wine. Do you know why?"
Of course Ah Fei knew why, but Li XunHuan didn't want him to answer.
So Li XunHuan answered for himself, "Wedding wine is simply too costly."
"Too costly?" Ah Fei said.
Li XunHuan smiled and said, "Because when a man offers to treat others to wedding wine, he is admitting that he is willing to slowly pay off a certain debt for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, I'm not one who likes to disappoint his friends."
With a gentle cry, Sun XiaoHong threw herself into his chest.
Ah Fei let out a laugh.
He hadn't laughed like that in a very long time.
With that one laugh, he suddenly felt much younger. He suddenly felt himself surge with courage and confidence. He suddenly felt a rekindled hope in all of humanity.
Even a withered piece of lumber was full of life in his eyes. Because he knew that out of that dead log would come renewed life, after some time a young tree would definitely sprout.
He never realized just how powerful a simple 'laugh' really was.
Not only did he admire Li XunHuan, he was very grateful as well. Because it was not easy for someone to let out a laugh that they had held in for such a long time. But if you were able to bring laughter to others, then that was even more incredible.
'Drawing feet on a snake', not only was that gesture a superfluous one, it was very silly as well.
But there is already so much discontent in this world, why not help by trying to add a little laughter?
Laughter, was like perfume, not only did it make oneself pleasant, it made others happy as well.
What's wrong with acting a little foolishly if it could bring out laughter in others?