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Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword - Chapter 75

Chapter 75 - Between Life and Death

That slow monotonous voice sounded neither high or low and completely void of emotion. Xiang Song was familiar with this voice, the only person who sounded like this was Jing WuMing!

Jing WuMing!

Xiang Song was terrified as he slowly turned his head ... it really was Jing WuMing!

His clothes were worn out and he looked tired and weary, but his eyes ...

Those deathly pale eyes were as chillingly cold as ever. They could cause a person's blood to freeze over.

Xiang Song looked away from his eyes and towards his hands.

His left hand was suspended by cloth. Its color was as pale as ash as if it was a hand that had reached out from the grave.

This used to be a hand that could kill, but now it was a hand that could only cause people to vomit.

Xiang Song laughed casually and said, "Although I might not understand how to kill people, at least I can still kill. Mr. Jing may understand fully how to kill people but unfortunately killing isn't done with the mouth but with the hands."

Jing WuMing's pupils contracted. He stared at Xiang Song and said slowly, "You can't see my hand?"

"There are many kinds of hands. What I see is not the kind of hand that can kill." Xiang Song said.

"You don't think my right hand can kill?" Jing WuMing said.

"There are many kinds of people as well. Some are easy to kill while others are not." Xiang Song said.

"Which kind are you?" Jing WuMing said.

Xiang Song lowered his head and said coldly, "The kind that you can't kill."

His eyes filled with hatred as if he was trying to lure Jing WuMing into attacking. As if he was looking for a reason to kill him.

Jing WuMing suddenly broke out in laughter.

He was the same as ShangGuan JinHong, he looked much more formidable and frightening when he was laughing than when he wasn't.

Xiang Song unknowingly took a single step back.

"So you've always hated me?" Jing WuMing said.

Xiang Song gritted his teeth and said, "I'm afraid there aren't many people in this world who don't hate you."

"You want to kill me?" Jing WuMing said.

"I'm not the only one either." Xiang Song replied.

"But did you wait until now?" Jing WuMing said.

"You have to wait for the right opportunity to kill, you should understand this better than anyone." Xiang Song said.

"You think that your opportunity has come now?" Jing WuMing said.

"Correct." Xiang Song said.

Jing WuMing sighed as he said, "It's a pity that I have a secret that you aren't aware of."

"What secret?" Xiang Song couldn't help but ask.

Jing WuMing's morbid eyes stared directly at his throat as he slowly spoke.

"My right hand can kill as well. In fact, compared to my left hand it kills even faster!"

As soon as his last word came out, his sword had already pierced through Xiang Song's throat!

No one saw where his sword had come from, and no one saw how his sword had pierced into Xiang Song's throat.

The only thing anyone saw a flash of light and a spray of blood. With a *GE* Xiang Song's breath had stopped. His eyes looked like they were hanging out from their sockets.

'Demon-Head Sabre' and 'Funeral-Gate Sword' looked like their eyes were about to drop from their sockets as well.

The two of them slowly retreated backwards towards the door.

Jing WuMing didn't turn his head and coldly said, "You two still think that you can leave after you've seen my secret?"

Another cold flash of light!

Blood splashed across the floor. Under the lantern light it looked like a strand of glistening red pearls.

Potent medicines taste bitter while venemous poisons are always irresistably sweet.

Some things in life are just that peculiar ... even the most repulsive, disgusting things, if looked at in a certain way can appear to be priceless and beautiful.

That is why the sword that kills always appears particularly bright and the blood that is spilled appears particularly radiant.

That is why there is a saying that, "Beauty, fades within the blink of an eye. Only true skill lasts forever."

'True skill' is never beautiful.

The sword that kills people is also the same as the knife that cuts vegetables, both are nothing but steel. The question is whether you look deep enough or not.

But there are others who say, "Let me grasp only that single moment of beauty. Let those things that last forever lie in wait forever, they are of no use to me."

In those moments right before, Xiang Song was still the heralded 'Twin Meteors of Wind and Rain', Branch-Leader of the Eighth Branch of the Golden Currency Union.

But now, he was just another dead person, not much different from any other dead person.

Jing WuMing looked down at his corpse. The expression on his face changed rather strangely, as if this was the first time that he had ever seen a dead person.

Was it because this was the first time that he felt 'death'?

Was it because that only when a person was truly desolate that he could feel 'death'?

Lin XianEr let out a long sigh.

She had been holding it in for quite some time but was finally able to exhale.

She smiled at Jing WuMing and said, "I can't believe that you would come to save me."

Jing WuMing didn't raise his head and coldly replied, "You think I came here to save you?"

She nodded her head and said, "I know your intentions."

Jing WuMing slowly lifted his head and said, "What do you know?"

"You saved me because ShangGuan JinHong wanted to kill me." Lin XianEr said.

Jing WuMing stared at her.

"You despise him. So anything that he plans to do, you'll try to ruin." Lin XianEr said.

Jing WuMing still stared at her.

"Even until now, I had always understood what kind of person you are, and I also know that ShangGuan Fei died under your hands." Lin XianEr said.

Jing WuMing's eyes suddenly shifted to his sword.

"You know too much." he said.

Lin XianEr laughed and said, "I know that you won't kill me either. Because if you did, that would be exactly what ShangGuan JinHong wanted."

She smiled sweetly and continued, "Not only will you let me live, you'll take me along with you as well, correct?"

"Take you with me?" Jing WuMing said.

"Because if you don't want me to die under ShangGuan JinHong's hands, and you don't want me to leak out your secret, you have no choice but to take me with you." Lin XianEr said.

Her voice became gentle and alluring, "I'm whole-heartedly willing to go with you, wherever you will go I'll follow."

Jing WuMing fell silent for a while, and then glanced at Ah Fei.

It was like he had just realized that Ah Fei was there.

Even Ah Fei had forgotten that he was there himself.

Lin XianEr glanced at him as well. She walked over and kissed him on his cheeks.

She didn't say another word.

She didn't have to say anything else.

Lin XianEr finally followed Jing WuMing out.

Ah Fei didn't move.

His mouth dried up.

Ah Fei didn't move.

Light poured in from the windows, it was already morning.

Ah Fei still hadn't moved.

He laid on the floor soaked in blood next to the bodies.

He hung between life and death by a single thread ...

________________________________________

"X X Day, ten li outside the western wall, under the tree near the pavilion."

"ShangGuan JinHong."

Winter had finally arrived. The western winds swept away the last withered leaves from the trees.

The letter was the same color as the dried yellow leaves. But it was a shade of yellow that brought with it a grim sense of decay. A shade of yellow that was lifeless and frightening.

The letter had only those nineteen words. Simple and clear. It was exactly like the way ShangGuan JinHong killed, never superfluous.

The letter was delivered by one of the workers at the inn. After he read it, his hands couldn't stop trembling.

Sun XiaoHong grabbed hold of the letter, and as she read it, a cold aura of death shivered through her spine and to her hands. Her fignertips suddenly felt extremely cold.

"Tomorrow, it is tomorrow."

"Looking at the calendar, tomorrow is not a good day. Several things aren't right." Sun XiaoHong mumbled.

Li XunHuan smiled and said, "Why would you need to select an appropriate day to kill?"

Sun XiaoHong's gaze was fixed on him. After a while, she asked loudly, "Can you kill him?"

Li XunHuan's mouth stayed shut. The smile on his face slowly vanished.

Sun XiaoHong suddenly stood up and walked out of the room. Li XunHuan couldn't figure out what she was up to. She ran back in with brush, ink, and paper in hand.

A finely polished brush, and premium quality paper.

She didn't look at Li XunHuan but merely said, "You speak, I'll write."

Li XunHuan was a little surprised, "What do you want me to say?"

"Do you have any unfulfilled wishes? Or any unfinished business?"

Her voice was extremely calm, but the brush in her hand shook slightly.

Li XunHuan smiled and said, "You want me to tell you now? I'm not dead yet."

"After you're dead you won't be able to tell me anything." Sun XiaoHong said.

Her head was lowered the entire time, her eyes staring the the brush in her hands. But she still couldn't avoid Li XunHuan's gaze.

Her eyes began to water, she bit her lips and said, "You can name anything. Ah Fei for example, is there anything you want me to tell him, or is there anything you want me to do for him?"

There was a certain pain in Li XunHuan's eyes as he sighed and said, "Nothing."

"Nothing? There really is nothing?" Sun XiaoHong said.

"I can urge him not to kill someone, but I can't stop him from loving someone." Li XunHuan replied.

"What if someone else wanted to kill him?" Sun XiaoHong said.

Li XunHuan laughed bitterly and said, "Who would want to kill him now?"

"ShangGuan JinHong ..." Sun XiaoHong said.

"If ShangGuan JinHong was willing to let him go, then he won't want to kill him again. Otherwise he'd already be dead by now." Li XunHuan said.

"But what about in the future?" Sun XiaoHong said.

Li XunHuan stared out the window into the distance and slowly said, "The moment of awakening will come even after the longest of dreams. Once that time arrives, he will understand everything for himself. Anything I say to him now is of no use."

Sun XiaoHong was quiet for some time before saying, "What about her?"

It appeared as if she had to muster all of her strength to say those words.

Of course Li XunHuan realized who she was referring to.

The pain in his eyes seemed to deepen. He suddenly walked over and pushed open the windows.

Sun XiaoHong, her head still lowered, said, "If you ... you have any words, anything ..."

Li XunHuan cut her off and said, "Nothing, absolutely nothing."

"But you ..." Sun XiaoHong said.

"While she's alive, there will always be someone to look after her. When he passes away, there will be someone to oversee her burial. She has no need of me. She will only benefit from my death." Li XunHuan said.

His voice sounded very calm as well, but he didn't turn his head.

Why was he afraid to turn around?

Sun XiaoHong looked at his thin, emaciated figure from behind. A single drop of tear fell onto the piece of paper.

She quietly wiped away the tear and said, "But you must have something you want to say. How come you're unwilling to tell me?"

"Why do you want me to speak for." Li XunHuan said.

"Once you tell me, I'll forever remember. Then after you die, I'll carry them out one by one, then afterwards ..." Sun XiaoHong said.

Li XunHuan quickly turned around and asked, "Then what afterwards?"

"Then afterwards I will die!" Sun XiaoHong replied.

She stood straight up and looked directly at Li XunHuan. She didn't glance away and she didn't try to conceal anything.

"Why ... why do you want to die for?" Li XunHuan said.

"I can't avoid dying, because after you're gone, living will be even worse than death." Sun XiaoHong said.

She was still staring right into Li XunHuan's eyes, not even blinking once.

Her sentiment suddenly became very calm and resolute. It was obvious that she had already made up her mind. No one could convince her otherwise.

Li XunHuan felt a sharp twinge of pain in his chest. He bent down and started to cough excessively.

After his coughing has subsided, Sun XiaoHong sighed and said quietly, "If you want me to live on, then you mustn't die ... ShangGuan JinHong didn't necessarily seek you out to duel. Even he is somewhat intimidated by you."

She suddenly ran over and held his hand and said, "We can run away, run away as far as we can. We'll forget about everything, I ... I can bring you back to my home. No one knows of that place, even if ShangGuan JinHong wanted to seek you out he would never be able to find you there."

Li XunHuan didn't respond, he didn't say a single word.

He just stared at her silently.

A cold wind blew through. A cloud of smoke swirled into the room and muddled his sight.

Mr. Sun's wise old voice filled the room, "No matter what you say, he won't run away."

Sun XiaoHong stamped her foot and said, "How do you know he won't leave?"

"If he was the kind of person who would run away, then you wouldn't feel how you do towards him." Mr. Sun said.

Sun XiaoHong was silent for a moment, then turned around and covered her head.

Li XunHuan sighed and said, "Elder ..."

Mr. Sun interrupted him and said, "I know what you're thinking, but ... I can only urge her not to kill someone, I can't force her not to love someone."

Love, this is one thing in life that can't be forced.

Li XunHuan started to cough again, even harder than before.

________________________________________

"Ten li outside the western wall, under the tree near the pavilion."

It was an eight sided pavilion. It stood at the foot of a mountain right outside of a forest.

The forest had withered. The paint on the pillars of the pavilion had started to peel off.

The western winds were blistering. The vast plains stood silently.

Li XunHuan walked back and forth along the forest. He had seemingly walked on every stretch of earth along that path.

"Tomorrow, it is tomorrow."

The sun started to set in the west. Another day had passed.

The next day, under the same setting sun, all enmity between Li XunHuan and ShangGuan JinHong would be settled.

This would be one of the most amazing battles in history!

Li XunHuan let out a long sigh and lifted his head. The setting sun filled the entire sky with its beauty and magnificence.

But in the eyes of a dead person, was this eternal sun just as majestic?

Mr. Sun and Sun XiaoHong sat quietly inside the pavilion. Sun XiaoHong suddenly asked, "The time of the duel hasn't arrived yet, why has he come here beforehand?"

"In a duel between experts, not only must you take into account the strengths and weaknesses of a peron's martial arts, but you also consider the weather, surroundings, and people. Since ShangGuan JinHong chose this place for the duel, he must have his reasons." Mr. Sun replied.

"What reason is that?" Sun XiaoHong said.

"He must be very familiar with the terrain here, he might have even come here earlier to set up traps." Mr. Sun said.

"So Li XunHuan must come here beforehand to look around and inspect whether ShangGuan JinHong had set up traps and where they could be." SUn XiaoHong said.

"Exactly. The generals of old would always patrol the site before an important battle. No matter what kind of battle, as long as one first observes the surroundings, one will ensure an advantage." Mr. Sun said.

"But why is he strolling back and forth at that spot?" Sun XiaoHong asked.

"That back and forth stroll has its purpose as well." Mr. Sun said with a laugh.

"Huh?" Sun XiaoHong said.

"He wants to walk over every inch of dirt here and see how the surface is. He wants to know whether it's soft, whether it's parched, or whether it's damp." Mr. Sun replied.

"And what use is that?" Sun XiaoHong said.

"Because the dirt can be different at different spots, it can affect one's lightness. If when using seven-tenths of your strength you are able to leap seven meters on wet dirt, on solid dirt you can leap ten meters." Mr. Sun said.

"The difference isn't that much." Sun XiaoHong said.

Mr. Sun sighed and said, "When experts clash, their margin of error can't be more than a single inch!"

Li XunHuan suddenly walked over and stood outside of the pavilion. He faced the evening sun as it set over the withered forest. It brought forth a surge of emotion but no one could really tell what was on his mind.

Sun XiaoHong couldn't help but ask quietly, "And what is he doing just standing there?"