Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword - Chapter 88
Chapter 88 - Victory and Defeat
Ah Fei's legs buckled as he fell to the floor and started to twitch. He suddenly felt as if they no longer had any alternatives, it was a feeling that always drove him insane.
But it was useless for him to throw a fit right now.
Li XunHuan was behind these iron doors slowly being tortured with the agony of death.
And all they could do was wait helplessly from the outside.
But what exactly were they waiting for? Were they waiting for ShangGuan JinHong to open those doors?
The moment that ShangGuan JinHong stepped out of those doors would mean that Li XunHuan was no longer alive.
What exactly were they waiting for? They were only waiting for certain death.
There was no way that ShangGuan JinHong would spare their lives. The moment that ShangGuan JinHong stepped out of those doors would also be the moment that guaranteed their deaths.
Sun XiaoHong suddenly rushed over and tried to pull Ah Fei to his feet.
"Hurry up and escape." Sun XiaoHong said.
"You're ... you're telling me to run?" Ah Fei said.
"There's nothing else that you can do right now, I ..." Sun XiaoHong said.
"Then what about you?" Ah Fei said.
Sun XiaoHong bit down on her lips and thought for a long while before lowering her head and said, "But I'm different from you."
"Different?" Ah Fei said.
"I've already decided a long time ago that if he were to die, I wouldn't live on alone without him. But you ..." Sun XiaoHong said.
"I don't intend on accompanying him in death." Ah Fei said.
"Then that's why you should run." Sun XiaoHong said.
"I don't intend on running either." Ah Fei said.
"But why?" Sun XiaoHong said.
"You should know why." Ah Fei said.
"I understand that you'd want to avenge his death, but it doesn't have to be now. You could always wait ..." Sun XiaoHong said.
"I don't intend on waiting." Ah Fei said.
"But if you can't wait then ... then ..." Sun XiaoHong said.
"Then what?" Ah Fei said.
Sun XiaoHong's lips had already started to bleed.
"Then you can only die!" she exclaimed.
Ah Fei stared at the stains of blood on his bamboo sword.
The blood had already dried.
"I know that you're going to want to try nonetheless, but it will really be useless." Sun XiaoHong said.
"And what use can come out of you staying here to die with him?" Ah Fei said.
Sun XiaoHong could not think of an answer.
"You are staying here because there are some things that you know will be useless if done, yet for some reason you can't avoid doing them anyway." Ah Fei said.
Sun XiaoHong finally let out a long sigh and said, "You're starting to sound more and more like him."
Ah Fei was silent as he slowly nodded his head.
He admitted it, there was no way that he could deny it.
Anyone who encountered Li XunHuan couldn't help but be affected by his immense selflessness.
If he hadn't met Li XunHuan, Ah Fei would have probably lost faith in humanity a long time ago.
"Never trust anyone, and never accept kindness from anyone; else your life will be filled with suffering."
Ah Fei's mother had to endure an entire life of sadness and misfortune. Not once had he ever seen her smile. She died when he was still very young, most probably because she had already lost all hope in life.
"I've wronged you, I really should've waited until you've become a man to leave this world. But I just can't wait any longer. I'm just so extremely tired ... I'm sorry I can't leave anything for you, just these few simple words. I had to suffer an entire lifetime to learn them, so please never forget them."
Ah Fei never forgot his mother's words.
When he left the wilderness and made his way into civilization, it wasn't because he was seeking a better life. Rather, he wanted to reap vengeance on humanity for what his mother had to suffer.
But the very first person that he encountered happened to be Li XunHuan.
Li XunHuan made him realize that life wasn't just full of pain and suffering. Li XunHuan also made him realize that death wasn't as ugly and repulsive as he had thought. He happened to learn a lot from Li XunHuan.
He originally never believed that morals and virtues could exist in this world.
But Li XunHuan really had an immense influence on his life, even moreso than his mother had.
Because what Li XunHuan preached was 'love', not hatred.
Love will always be much easier to accept than hatred.
But now, he just couldn't hold in those flames of hate!
Hatred bred in him a desire to destroy, to destroy others, to destroy himself, and to destroy everything.
He really felt that life was too unfair, that someone like Li XunHuan had to die like this.
Sun XiaoHong let out a sorrowful sigh and said, "If ShangGuan JinHong knew that we were just standing outside waiting for him, he must be extremely happy."
Ah Fei gritted his teeth and shouted, "Then let him be happy! Only the good in this world are left to suffer anyway, happiness is always rewarded to those that are evil!"
Suddenly a voice shouted out loud.
Although those iron doors were extremely heavy, they didn't make a single noise when they were being openend.
That is why no one knew just when those doors had openend.
A person slowly walked out from those doors ... it was Li XunHuan!
He looked extremely tired and worn out, but he was alive.
The only thing that mattered was that he was alive!
Ah Fei and Sun XiaoHong just stared at him in disbelief, tears started streaming down their faces.
They were tears of joy. In happiness and in sadness, with the exception of tears, there was really nothing that needed to be said, there was nothing that needed to be done. Not one of them even moved a muscle.
Li XunHuan's eyes were brimming with warm tears as well. With a smile on his face he said, "You're wrong. The good people in this world will never suffer in quiet despair. And the pain suffered by evil will always outweight their happiness."
Sun XiaoHong stumbled over to him, fell into his chest and started sobbing unceasingly.
She just couldn't stop crying for joy.
After a long while, Ah Fei let out a sigh and seemingly couldn't hold it in anymore.
"Where is ShangGuan JinHong?"
Li XunHuan softly caressed Sun XiaoHong's hair as he replied, "He must be suffering right now because he happened to make one mistake!"
"What mistake did he make?" Ah Fei asked.
"Indeed, he had many chances to kill me. He really could've forced me into a situation where I couldn't even defend myself. But he let the opportunity pass." Li XunHuan said.
But for someone like ShangGuan JinHong, why would he willingly give up an opportunity like that?
Sun XiaoHong couldn't help but ask either, "Why was that?"
Li XunHuan smiled and said, "Because he wanted to take a gamble."
A spark suddenly shot into Sun XiaoHong's eyes as she said, "He must've not believed in the saying that 'Little Li's flying dagger, once released never misses its target!'"
"He didn't believe it - he didn't trust anyone, there was not a single thing in the entire world that he trusted." Li XunHuan said.
"And the result?" Sun XiaoHong asked.
"He was defeated!" Li XunHuan said.
He was defeated!
These were three simple words.
Victory and defeat was something that was decided in an instant.
But to imagine just how intense, just how grand that one instant must have been!
That one instant would have immense consequences on the martial arts world.
That single flash of light must have been frightening! Yet magnificent at the same time!
Sun XiaoHong's only regret was to not have been able to witness what had happened in that single instant!
She didn't even have to see it with her own eyes. Just thinking about it made her short of breath!
Shooting stars were also just as splendid and beautiful.
Shooting stars streaked through the dark night in a burst of light that could cause people to get excited in just the same way.
But a shooting star couldn't even compare to the resplendence of that single flash of light.
The radiance of a shooting start was short lived.
But the brilliance of his blade would shine for all eternity!
The door had already been opened.
No one could keep the entire world separated any longer.
If you wanted to cut yourself off from the rest of the world, you must have been rejected by the world in the first place!
Ah Fei walked through those doors.
The first thing that caught his eye was the dagger, that mysterious dagger.
Little Li's Flying Dagger!
The dagger was not protruding from ShangGuan JinHong's throat, but it was enough to take his life!
The blade of dagger had entered his Adam's apple through the collarbone and was slanted upwards. The dagger must have been released from an extremely low angle.
The look of fear and disbelief on his face was the same as the expression on the faces of those whom he had killed before.
All life was created equal. Especially in the face of death, we are all equals. But some people only comprehend this when the final result has already been determined.
ShangGuan JinHong's face was full of surpise, doubt, and disbelief.
He was the same as everyone else, he just couldn't believe that the dagger was that fast!
Even Ah Fei had a hard time believing that it was so, he really couldn't imagine just how that dagger was released.
He wanted desperately for Li XunHuan to explain in details everything that had occurred but he knew that Li XunHuan wouldn't say a word.
The brilliance of that single instant, the speed of his dagger, were simply things that couldn't be described.
"He was defeated!"
ShangGuan JinHong's fists were still clenched as if he was grasping on to something, was he still unwilling to believe what had happened?
It's unfortunate that he will never be able to grasp onto anything again.
Ah Fei suddenly felt extremely gloomy, as if he could really sympathize with this person. Even he had no idea why he felt this way.
Perhaps it wasn't ShangGuan JinHong that he sympathized with, but himself.
Because he was human. ShangGuan JinHong was also human. All humans had similar instances of sadness and suffering.
Although he hadn't been defeated, just what exactly was he grasping onto? Just what exactly had he gained?
After a long while Ah Fei finally turned his head.
And what met his gaze was Jing WuMing.
It appeared as if Jing WuMing hadn't even noticed anyone coming in. Although he was standing idly behind Ah Fei the entire time, it was as if he stood in a completely different world.
Although his eyes were set on ShangGuan JinHong, he was really staring at himself.
ShangGuan JinHong's life was his life, he was ShangGuan JinHong's image.
When life had already disappeared, how could the image still remain?
No matter what, whenever Jing WuMing stood nearby, everyone would always feel a dreadful killer's aura enveloping them from all sides.
But now, that aura was nowhere to be found.
When Ah Fei stepped into that room, he didn't even notice that another soul was inside.
Although he was still alive, all that was left an empty shell. He was like a sword that had lost its edge, completely without purpose.
Ah Fei couldn't help but sigh inwardly, he understood very well how Jing WuMing must have felt.
Because he had experienced that very same feeling before.
After some time, Jing WuMing walked over and lifted ShangGuan JinHong's corpse with his hands.
He still hadn't laid an eye on anyone else as he slowly walked towards the door.
"You don't want to seek revenge?" Ah Fei said.
Jing WuMing didn't turn around, his steps didn't slow down either.
Ah Fei laughed coldly, "Are you afraid?"
Jing WuMing suddenly stopped in place.
"There is still a sword at your waist, why are you afraid to take it out? Unless that sword of yours is only there for show?" Ah Fei said.
Jing WuMing suddenly turned around.
The corpse dropped to the floor, the sword flew out from his waist!
The sword flashed, and shot straight towards Ah Fei's throat!
He was still incredibly fast, just as fast as he was before. But for some reason when his sword was within about half a feet of its target, the bamboo sword in Ah Fei's had already reached his throat!
Ah Fei had made three bamboo swords, this was the second one.
He looked at Jing WuMing and slowly said, "You are still extremely fast, but you can no longer kill. Do you know why?"
Jing WuMing lowered his sword.
"Because you desire death more than your opponent. That is why you will never be able to kill." Ah Fei said.
Jing WuMing's normally lifeless eyes suddenly lit up with incredible sorrow. After a long while, he finally responded, "Yes."
"I can kill you." Ah Fei said.
"Yes." Jing WuMing replied.
"But I won't kill you." Ah Fei said.
"You won't kill me?" Jing WuMing asked.
"I won't kill you, preceisely because you are Jing WuMing!" Ah Fei said.
Jing WuMing's face suddenly twitched.
These were the exact same words that he had said to Ah Fei during their first encounter. But today, his words had suddenly turned into Ah Fei's words.
He pondered maliciously about those words. A flame seemingly ignited in his eyes, like a pile of ashes that had suddenly caught fire again.
Ah Fei looked at him and said, "You can leave now."
"Leave ... ?" Jing WuMing said.
"You once gave me a chance. Now I'm giving you a chance as well ... your very last chance." Ah Fei said.
He watched as Jing WuMing made his way out, a strange feeling swelled up inside of him.
"A tooth for a tooth, blood repaid with blood."
What Jing WuMing had once given him, he now repaid in full.
When a person's heart had already died, there are only two things that can keep that person alive.
One of them is love, and the other is hatred.
Ah Fei was able to keep living because of love. And now, he wanted to prolong Jing WuMing's life through hatred.
But truly, he just wanted for Jing WuMing to live on.
If this was really vengeance, it would be the most selfless kind of vengeance possible. If all vengeance was carried out like this, the history of mankind would have been much brighter. Mankind would undoubtedly be able to live on forever.
No matter what, vegenace was always very satisfying.
But was Ah Fei really that delighted right now?
He just felt tired, so very tired ... the sword in his hands had already fallen to the ground.
Sun XiaoHong had been watching quietly the entire time. Only now did she finally dare to utter a sigh of relief.
"It is extremely easy to kill someone, but extremely difficult to convince them to live on."
Those words were Li XunHuan's words.
No matter who or what the situation was, the method that he always approached with was love, not hatred. Because he knew that hatred could only bring about destruction. Love had the power to give live throughout eternity.
His love would forever be that broad, his personality would forever be that selfless.
Sun XiaoHong suddenly realized that Ah Fei had become exactly like him.
She couldn't help but glance over at him.
Li XunHuan appeared to be worn out and tired as well, so much so that he couldn't even say a single word.
She stared at him for a long while before finally smiling and said, "You two have just defeated the two best figters in the entire world. The most powerful union in all the land has just been dismantled in your hands. You two should be extremely overjoyed, but there isn't a single trace of happiness on your faces. It's as if the two of you are the ones who have just lost."