Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword - Chapter 69
Chapter 69 - A True Gentleman
Because ShangGuan JingHon's only son had been killed, he was swept with uncontrollable rage. He wanted to fight Li XunHuan to the death. And he wanted to do so today ...
Li XunHuan cut off ShangGuan JinHong before he could finish and said, "If you want to duel to the death, I would gladly accept at any time. Except for today."
"Why?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
"Today ... I only want to drink today." Li XunHuan answered sullenly.
His eyes looked at the corpse inside the coffin, and said, "There are certain times that are just not suitable for fighting, that are just not suitable for doing anything, except perhaps for drinking. Todays is one of those times."
His words were very moving. Perhaps everyone else just didn't understand.
But ShangGuan JinHong understood him perfectly.
Because he understood perfectly well how he himself was feeling. Because with such a burden on his mind, to duel now would be like fighting with one hand tied.
He would be surrendering a huge advantage to his opponent!
Li XunHuan could have used this opportunity to his advantage but he didn't, even though he knew that opportunities like this were extremely rare. Perhaps, there would never be another opportunity such as this!
ShangGuan JinHong fell silent for a while before asking, "Then, when is a good time?"
"I've already said, anytime you wish." Li XunHuan replied.
"Where shall I go to find for you." ShangGuan JinHong said.
"You don't have to look. Just give the word and I will be there." Li XunHuan responded.
"When I give the word, you will hear me." ShangGuan JinHong said.
"When Chief ShangGuan speaks, the whole world listens. It won't be very hard to hear you." Li XunHuan said with a laugh.
ShangGuan JinHong was silent again. He finally spoke again, "If you want to drink, there is wine here."
"I'm worthy of drinking this wine?" Li XunHuan said with a laugh.
"If you aren't worthy, then there isn't a person in the world who is." ShangGuan JinHong said.
He turned around and poured two large cups of wine, and said, "This cup, I drink to you."
Li XunHuan downed the cup in a single gulp. A large smile lit up across his face as he exclaimed, "Excellent wine! A delightful cup of wine!"
ShangGuan JinHong's cup was empty now as well. He stared into the cup and said, "This is my first cup of wine in twenty years."
*PENG*, the cup shattered as it hit the floor.
ShangGuan JinHong walked over to the coffin, lifted up his son's body, and made his way out.
Li XunHuan watched silently as he walked out of the door. He let out a long sigh as he said to himself, "Although, only ShangGuan JinHong can be ShangGuan JinHong, but why can't he also be a friend?"
He poured another cup of wine, finished it, then shouted, "The lover of a gentleman, why must she betray his intentions?"
*PENG* his cup fell to the floor and shattered as well!
Everyone in the room already looked like they were made of wood. As soon as Li XunHuan walked out of the door, they all let out a huge sigh of relief.
Some of them were quietly talking amongst each other.
"Li XunHuan really is Li XunHuan. In the entire world, I think only he can get ShangGuan JinHong to toast to him."
"It is a pity that the two of them didn't attack."
"For some reason I feel that these two people are somewhat similar."
"Li XunHuan and ShangGuan JinHong similar? ... Are you crazy?"
"Although their auras and actions are completely different, the two of them ... the two of them both aren't human. The things that they do, humans are just not capable of doing."
"Yes, there is some sense in your words, the two of them really are inhuman, except ... one of them is a saint, while the other one is a demon."
The line between kindness and evil is thin, the difference between a saint and a demon lies in between.
"Right, if Li XunHuan was not Li XunHuan, then he could very well be ShangGuan JinHong."
Ah Fei did not turn around.
Lin XianEr moved her chair and sat directly behind him, blocking the path to the door.
She sat for quite some time.
Ah Fei's posture stayed exactly the same.
The way he was standing looked somewhat funny.
Lin XianEr giggled and said, "Isn't it a little painful standing up like that? Why not sit down and relax. There is a chair right next to me."
"You're not willing to sit? I knew you wouldn't be able to sit down here, it just isn't your taste."
"Then why don't you leave?"
"Although I'm blocking the door, you can always knock me aside. If not, there is a window over there. You can jump out like a little thief."
"You're afraid, aren't you? I know that although you want me dead, you wouldn't dare to lift a finger. You're scared to even bump into me. Because in your heart, you know that you're still in love with me. Isn't that correct?"
Her voice was as gentle and caring as ever.
Her laugh sounded even more charming and sweeter than before.
Because she loved to see people suffer, she wanted every single person to suffer from her.
It is a pity that the only people who suffer are those who love her.
Although she couldn't see the look of pain on Ah Fei's face, she could clearly see the veins on the back of his neck tense as if they were about to explode.
To her, this was one type of enjoyment, so she sat comfortably and watched. She even felt like pouring herself a cup of wine.
Suddenly, the chair was kicked over and she fell with it!
ShangGuan JinHong had returned with his son in his arms!
When the chair you're sitting on is kicked out from under, your heart feels like its been flipped over.
But Lin XianEr didn't say a word and didn't move a muscle. She knew that no matter what she did now, she would still look foolish.
ShangGuan JinHong was staring at Ah Fei's neck as well.
"Turn your head around and see who this person is!" he said.
Ah Fei still didn't move. But the veins on his neck were almost jumping out of his skin. Finally, he slowly turned his head around and looked at the person in ShangGuan JinHong's arms.
Now his eyes looked like they were about to jump too.
"You recognize him, don't you?" ShangGuan JinHong said.
Ah Fei nodded his head.
"He was alive several days ago, very much alive, am I correct?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
Ah Fei nodded his head again.
"And now that you see him dead before you, you aren't startled a bit, because you he was dead already, didn't you?" ShangGuan JinHong said.
Ah Fei paused for a while, then said, "Correct, I already knew that he was dead."
"How did you know this?" ShangGuan JinHong said.
"Because the person who killed him, is me." Ah Fei replied.
He said this sentence extremely casually. His eyes didn't even blink once. As if he had no idea the terrible consequences that those words could bring.
The girls inside the house were scared stiff.
Even Lin XianEr jumped a bit from the shock. In that instant, she felt a strange sensation in her heart. It almost seemed like sadness, like sympathy.
She had no idea why she would feel those things for Ah Fei.
But she knew that once ShangGuan JinHong made a move, Ah Fei would definitely not be spared.
ShangGuan JinHong could strike out at any moment.
She saw the look in Ah Fei's eyes, it was the same look as that of a dead person.
An extremely foolish dead person.
"Not only was this person extremely foolish, he also must be incredibly drunk. Why else would someone admit to something like that? He is totally hopeless, why should I care whether he lives or dies?"
She turned away and stopped looking at him.
She hoped that ShangGuan JinHong would kill him quickly, the faster the better, so it would stop bothering her.
But she didn't dare ask herself, "If I really didn't care about his life, then is something like this bothering me?"
ShangGuan JinHong still didn't make a move.
He was still staring intently into Ah Fei's eyes. As if he was trying to figure something out that he didn't understand.
But he couldn't see anything.
Ah Fei's eyes were completely empty.
These were not the eyes of a living person.
ShangGuan JinHong suddenly realized that the look in his eyes were somewhat familiar, like he had seen them before.
He had definitely seen them before.
When he took Jing WuMing's sword away and gave it to Ah Fei, Jing WuMing had the exact same look in his eyes.
When he took a person's life, the empty look in their eyes was exactly the same - completely void of feelings, completely void of life, completely oblivious to everything.
Ah Fei was waiting, silently waiting.
"You're waiting to die?" ShangGuan JinHong suddenly asked.
Ah Fei did not respond.
"You admitted to killing him only because you hoped that I would kill you, didn't you?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
Ah Fei did not respond.
A vicious smile flashed across ShangGuan JinHong's face, and he said, "Taskmaster Lu."
After he said those words, another person suddenly appeared.
No one knew that this person had been hiding here the entire time. Nor did anyone know whether anyone else could be hiding here as well. No one would have guessed that this person would be hiding this close to ShangGuan JinHong. Because if that was the case, then there would be countless people hiding here as well.
A person who no one else could see, this was a ghost.
Wherever ShangGuan JinHong went, this ghost would be following close behind.
His order was like an incantation. Only he could summon this ghost!
If Taskmaster Lu really was a ghost, he was definitely not a starving ghost.
Starving ghosts were never this obese.
He almost looked like a round ball, but his movements were agile. Out of nowhere he rolled out and said, "Your subordinate is here."
ShangGuan JinHong was still staring at Ah Fei.
"He wants to die, we won't let him." ShangGuan JinHong said slowly.
"Understood!" Taskmaster Lu replied.
"We will give him something else." ShangGuan JinHong said.
"Understood!" Taskmaster Lu replied.
"We will give him wine, we will give him women. The more he wants, the more we will give him." ShangGuan JinHong said.
"Understood!" Taskmaster Lu replied.
ShangGuan JinHong paused for a moment then continued, "No matter what he wants, we will give it to him!"
"Understood!" Taskmaster Lu replied.
He answered each time without thinking. His eyes suddenly wandered to Lin XianEr and he asked, "No matter who?"
"No matter who he wants, even if its an old lady, if he wants it, then give it to him!" ShangGuan JinHong said.
Taskmaster Lu smiled and said, "I understand now. I will go and bring an old lady for him immediately."
Lin XianEr bit down on her lips very hard. She finally couldn't hold it in anymore and said, "And what if he wants me?"
"I already said, anyone he wants." ShangGuan JinHong answered coldly.
"But ... but I am different, I am yours, besides you, no one may ..."
She walked over to ShangGuan JinHong's side with a smile on her lips.
Her smile was particular sweet, her movements were extremely enticing.
ShangGuan JinHong didn't even cast an eye on her. He suddenly slapped her across the face, and said, "Anyone can have you, why can't he?"
Lin XianEr's entire body was knocked back by his slap and she tumbled out into the courtyard.
"The reason I want to give him anything he wants is because I don't want to let him leave. I want to see what he is like in three months." ShangGUan JinHong said.
"Understood!" Taskmaster Lu replied.
ShangGuan JinHong turned around and walked out.
Ah Fei bit down extremely hard and grinded his teeth.
"I killed your son, why haven't you killed me yet?" he said in a husky voice.
ShangGuan JinHong had already walked out the door. He didn't turn his head around and said coldly, "Because I want you to live in pain. So that you won't even have the courage to die!"
"Anyone can have you, why can't he?"
"To live in pain, so that you won't even have the courage to die!"
Ah Fei curled up, curled up into a ball, as if he was trying to avoid an invisible whip.
That whip was unceasingly snapping at him.
Taskmaster Lu walked up to him grinning and said, "When your cup in life is empty, why bother holding it up to the moon? This is just how life is, no need to take it to heart."
He turned to the group of girls with a grimacing face and shouted, "Why don't you pour the young master some wine?"
This person had one face when he was talking with ShangGuan JinHong and another face when he was talking to Ah Fei.
Now as he spoke to the group of girls he had on yet another face.
Most people in this world have many different faces. When they want to switch faces, its like switching masks in a theatre. Its probably even easier than switching masks.
The more they switched, the faster they forgot what they really looked like in the first place.
The longer they kept their masks on, the harder it was to ever take them off.
Because they figured the more masks they have, the less disappointments they had to face up to.
But fortunately there are also those who don't have any masks, they have only one face, their own!
No matter what situations arise, no matter what failures occur along the way, their face will never change!
When they want to cry, they'll cry. When they want to laugh, they'll laugh. When they want to live, they'll live. And when they want to die, they'll die!
Even in the face of death, they would never compromise who they were!
That is the nature of a true man!
If these kind of people didn't exist, then life would really be nothing but one huge disappointment.
And who knows what would become of the world then.
The wine has arrived.
Taskmaster Lu poured a cup and said, "Drink up! The more wine you drink, the more you'll realize that all the women in this world are the same. No need to take them so seriously."
Ah Fei bit down on his teeth and said, "They're all not the same."
"Then who do you want?" Taskmaster Lu said with a laugh.
Ah Fei's eyes lit up with anger as he slowly said, "I want your wife!"
The night market.
The night market is always full of life. You are bound to meet all sorts of different people here.
But Li XunHuan felt as if he was the last person left in the world. That not another soul existed.
Because the people he cared for had become distant, very distant. They had changed into people he no longer even recognized, almost unreal, such that he didn't feel that they existed anymore.
He had already heard that Long Xiao4Yun and his son had disappeared from sight for quite some time, but ...
What about Lin ShiYin?
Without a trace, without a single word. All that remains is longing, forever persistent memories.
"Even until the very end of time, Some wounds still refuse to heal."
Although the meaning behind these two lines of poetry are quite simple, the emotions and feelings that they encompass are deeper than the ocean.
But except for those who have actually have felt such a thing, would anyone know just how bitter and painful that feeling tastes?
In the distance the sounds of a flute accompany a sorrowful song.
The lonely flute seems to be talking to the night sky.
"Why are we so passionate?
Why are we so love stricken?
When flowers are passionate, they wither and die.
When people are love stricken, they become emaciated ...
He is at the edge of existence, why wouldn't he be emaciated?
A man and his golden jar of wine, why wouldn't he be inebriated?
The drunken eye watches in opposition as others become pairs.
But it surpasses memories of tears in a dark and lonely place ..."
"That flute player is lonely enough by himself, why must he peddle his tears and sadness to others as well?"
Li XunHuan downed his cup of wine in a single gulp. He suddenly started to strike a beat on the cup with his chopsticks and softly sang.
"Flowers raised without emotion,
Sooner or later will still wither and die,
People without passion, will still end up tired and emaciated,
Where would life find its flavor?
Memories of tears in a dark and lonely place, are still better than not being able to shed tears at all."
The sounds of the flute slowly started to dwindle. Suddenly the sounds of laughter emerged.
And just what kind of flavor did this laughter have?
What about Ah Fei?
For half the day Li XunHuan had been tirelessly searching, scouring for news.
But no one knew where he ran off to, no one had ever seen such a person.
Li XunHuan had no idea that Ah Fei had wound up at the headquarters of the Gold Currency Union.
But even if he did know, he would have had no idea where such a place was.
Lanterns are swaying in the wind. Wine is wavering in his cup.
Thick and murky wine. Dark and gloomy lanterns.
He was drinking at a small noodle stand.
The entire street was filled with small stands. The people who came here were all normal people. No one recognized him and he didn't recognize anyone else.
He enjoyed this kind of atmosphere. Although it was dreary and desolate, he felt that it was a nice escape.
Success and failure in the world, happiness and sadness in life, these things meant nothing to the people here. As long as there was a cup of wine, that was more than enough.
In a place such as this, there was no such thing as amorous laughter, nor were there regretful songs of grief.
The night is this peaceful, the night is this tasteless ...
Suddenly, this quiet stillness was disturbed.
Someone is shouting and cursing.
"No good drunkard! You're shameless! Drinking without paying! Even if that wine's already down your throat I want you to cough it all up!"
Li XunHuan couldn't help but turn around.
He turned around so quickly only because he heard the words 'drunkard'.
He saw a person clinging on to a jug of wine. Even though he had been beaten to the floor, that person seemingly cared not for his life but only for taking another sip from the jar.
An old man with a grease cloth wrapped around his waist kept shouting and cursing as his hands kept beating down on the drunkard.
Li XunHuan let out a sigh as he walked over, and said, "Let him drink, I'll pay for it."
The cursing stopped, the beating stopped as well.
Money can tie a person's hands and money can seal a person's mouth.
The person on the floor could barely stand up. He raised the wine to his mouth and poured as his head and body was totally drenched. But he seemed not to care one bit.
He looked like he was trying to drown himself in alcohol.
"If it weren't for some sad memories, how could a person end up like this?"
"If that person was not passionate, how would sad memories come to be?"
Li XunHuan suddenly felt very sympathetic and said, "It is very unappetizing to eat alone, I still have some dishes and wine at my table over there. How would you like to come over and join me?"
That person finished another gulp of wine, suddenly jumped to his feet and shouted, "Who do you think you are? You think you're worthy of drinking with me? Even if you bought me another three hundred cases of wine, I still wouldn't drink with you ..."
At this point that person's scolding stopped and his two hands suddenly wrapped around his own neck.
Li XunHuan appeared a little bit shocked and said, "You ... it's you?"
That person suddenly smashed the jar onto the floor, turned around and fled.
Li XunHuan ran after him, "Wait a moment, wait a moment, friend, you don't recognize me at all?"
The person ran even faster, "I don't recognize you, and I don't want to drink your wine ..."
The two of them, one chasing, one fleeing, in the blink of an eye, had ran out of sight.
Anyone who saw this would think that there was something wrong with them.
"That person who was stealing wine turns out to be crazy. Even knowing that he would be beaten he still comes to drink. Then, when someone offers to pay for his wine, he turns and flees."
"The person who was offering to buy him wine is crazy as well. Even after his money has been taken, and he is being scolded and cursed at, he still calls the drunkard a friend. This kind of person I've never seen before."
Of course he has never seen this kind of person before, because there are very few in this world.
Who was the person running away?
Why did he start running as soon as he saw Li XunHuan?
Other people obviously would not know the reason. But Li XunHuan himself would have never imagined that in a place like this, in a surrounding such as this, that he would run into that person.
The first time Li XunHuan saw this person was under the balcony of a house on a long street. There were a lot of people on this street.
His clothes were as white as snow. Among the multitude of people, he was like a crane among chickens.
Even if all the gold in the world were piled up in front of his face, he would not be willing to say a single word to those whom he despised.
But now, for a measly bottle of wine, he not only endured other people's ridicule and insults, but also was beaten like a pig upon the muddy ground.
Li XunHuan couldn't believe that these two were the same person. He simply didn't want to believe.
But he couldn't deny the truth.
The person who laid sprawled in mud in front of him was none other than the once high and mighty Lu FengXian!
What had caused such a change? Such a quick, drastic, and frightening change!
The street lights faded into the distance as the stars seemed to be getting closer.
Lu FengXian suddenly stopped running.
Because he was in the same position as Ah Fei, the only person he was running from was himself.
There are a lot of people who try to run away from themselves in this world, but not a single one has ever escaped!
Li XunHuan stopped a good distance behind him. He bent over and started to cough. He noticed that he wasn't coughing as frequently but when his cough did arise, he had a hard time making it stop.
Isn't it the same case for lovesickness?
When you reminisce less and less about someone, it doesn't mean that you've forgotten them. It only means that these memories have become ingrained into you.
When Li XunHuan finished coughing, Lu FengXian asked him, "Why didn't you let me run away?"
He tried to gather his poise as he spoke, but was very successful.
His voice trembled like a little rabbit after being plucked from a frozen river.
Li XunHuan didn't respond, because he didn't want his words to hurt him.
Because any response he gave would have hurt him.
"I didn't owe you anything, and didn't have to do anything for you, why did you have to force me?" Lu FengXian asked.
Li XunHuan finally let out a long sigh and said, "I am the one who is indebted to you."
"Even if so, I don't need you to repay me." Lu FengXian said.
"There is no way for me to repay what I owe to you, but at least you can let me buy you a cup of wine." Li XunHuan said.
Lu FengXian let out a slight laugh and said, "I haven't forgotten, you've asked me before."
Lu FengXian's hand kept shaking, shaking so much that he couldn't even hold his cup steady.
He held the cup with two hands but still couldn't stop the wine from spilling from the bowl and from his mouth.
Only several days ago, this pair of hands were lethal killing weapons!
No matter what had happened to cause such a change, the shock that it caused him was just frightening.
Li XunHuan couldn't imagine what it could it be.
Lu FengXian reached out and poured more wine.
*PENG*, his hand accidentally knocked over the jar.
His eyes turned and stared at his hand, for a good while he didn't blink once. Then he suddenly let out a roar and shoved his hand into his mouth.
He kept shoving and he kept biting.
Blood spilled out from the corners of his mouth.
Li XunHuan originally didn't want to stop him from whatever he did. But now he couldn't help but try to pull his hand from his mouth.
Lu FengXian shouted madly, "Let go of me, I want to bite if off, bite it off with my own mouth, and swallow it whole."
This hand was once his most proud and precious possession. But when a person is stricken with grief, they always want to destroy that which is most precious to them.
Because the only way to lessen the pain is by destruction!
"If someone has wronged you, the person who should die is them. Why are you torturing yourself for?" Li XunHuan said sullenly.
"I'm the one who deserves to die, I'm the one ..." Lu FengXian shouted.
He tried with all his might to push away Li XunHaun's hand, but ended up falling off his chair and onto the ground.
He didn't try to get back up. He just laid on the floor and started to cry.
He finally told his entire story to Li XunHuan.
The story he heard in his ears was his story, the person he saw in his eyes was Lu FengXian, but the one who came to his mind was Ah Fei!
Li XunHuan's heart suddenly turned cold.
Did Ah Fei suffer the same kind of shock?
Did Ah Fei change and end up the same way?
Li XunHuan had planned not to say anything more to Lu FengXian, but suddenly he couldn't help but utter, "Why do you still stay in this place for?"
"If I don't stay here, where else would I go?" Lu FengXian answered.
"Go back, back to your family." Li XunHuan said.
"Family ..." Lu FengXian said.
"It's like you're living through an illness right now, and there is only two cures for this illness." Li XunHuan said.
"Two cures." Lu FengXian said.
"The first is family, the second is time. As long as you return home ..." Li XunHuan said.
"I won't return home." Lu FengXian said.
"Why?" Li XunHuan asked.
"Because ... because it's no longer my home anymore." Lu FengXian replied.
"Family is family, that can never change. That's why family is so valuable." Li XunHuan said.
"Even if family never changes, I have changed. I am no longer who I once was." Lu FengXian said.
"If you're willing to stay at home and rest peacefully for some time, you'll definitely be able to return to who you once were." Li XunHuan said.
He wanted to continue, but someone behind him interrupted and said, "And for those who have no family, is this illness uncurable then?"