Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword - Chapter 80
Chapter 80 - A Terrible Mistake
"So you're not as loyal as I had thought. Well at least more loyal to the living than to the dead." Sun XiaoHong said jestingly.
"When did we start heading out yesterday?" Li XunHuan suddenly asked.
"It was nighttime, about the same time as it is now." Sun XiaoHong replied.
"And at what time did we arrive here today?" Li XunHuan asked.
"Late afternoon, it wasn't yet dark outside." Sun XiaoHong said.
"And how did we get here?" Li XunHuan said.
"We rode a carriage for quite some time, then traveled by foot until this morning, and afterwards we went on horseback." Sun XiaoHong said.
"So even if we traveled the same way as we had before, we still wouldn't be able to get back before late afternoon." Li XunHuan said.
"Right." Sun XiaoHong replied.
"But now, we haven't slept for quite some time. We won't have as much energy as we had yesterday, so there's no way we can travel at a faster pace than yesterday." Li XunHuan said.
"But yesterday I wasn't quite able to keep up with you. No wonder grandpa had said that your speed is just as incredible as your dagger." Sun XiaoHong said.
"So even if we left now, I may still not be able to make it back in time to duel with ShangGuan JinHong" Li XunHuan said.
Sun XiaoHong suddenly fell silent.
He lifted his head, looked at her and said, "You should be encouraging me to leave now, you know that I can't miss this meeting."
Sun XiaoHong turned away and bit down on her lips as if she was trying to hide from his gaze.
After a while, she said softly, "I only want you to promise me one thing."
"What is it?" Li XunHuan said.
"This time let's only go by carriage, lets not go on foot or on horseback." Sun XiaoHong said.
"You want me to rest on the way." Li XunHuan said.
"Yes. If you don't rest now, you'll be exhausted when you finally do see ShangGuan JinHong. You can't really duel with him if you're knocked out on the floor." Sun XiaoHong said.
Li XunHuan smiled and said, "Okay, I'll listen to you, we'll take a carriage."
Sun XiaoHong immediately lit up with happiness, "We can bring wine onto the carriage as well. If you can't fall asleep, I'll drink with you along the way."
"Once I start drinking, eventually I'll be able to fall asleep." Li XunHuan said.
"Great, as long as you can get some rest during carriage ride, ShangGuan JinHong won't be a match for you." Sun XiaoHong said with a smile.
"You really have a lot of faith in me." Li XunHuan responded with a smile.
She looked into his eyes and said, "Of course I have faith in you, otherwise why would I ..."
Her face started to blush, she suddenly ran out and said gleefully, "I'll go look for a carriage while you prepare the wine. And if there's time, you should go see her, I promise that I won't be jealous."
Her ponytail flew up and down as she ran and within a few moments she was out of sight.
Li XunHuan saw her off before slowly standing up and walking out of the door himself.
He looked up high, above the walls was a small room in one corner.
The light in that small room was lit.
What about the person inside?
Was she quietly sewing clothes for her beloved son?
The extent of a mother's love was like an unending thread of string.
But it still wasn't as lengthy as loneliness, nothing in this world was as lengthy as loneliness.
One year after another, one mouth after another. A thread that could not be sewn. A loneliness that could not be mended.
She had already buried her own life, that small room was her grave.
A person ... a woman ... without youth, without love, without joy, what did she live for?
"ShiYin ... ShiYin ... you have suffered way too much."
Li XunHuan suddenly bent down and started coughing, coughing out blood!
How could he not want to see her?
Although his body was standing still, his heart had already flown into that small room.
Although his heart had flown into that room, his body was still standing right there.
He didn't dare to go, he just couldn't go. Even if it were to be the last time he'd ever see her, he still just couldn't go ... seeing her would be like not seeing her. And what could he do even if he did see her?
She was no longer his, she had a husband, a son, and her own world.
She was really in an entirely separate world.
She used to be his, but now he couldn't even cast a single eye on her.
Li XunHuan wiped the blood off his lips and tried to swallow back down the blood in his mouth.
Even the blood tasted bitter, extremely bitter.
"ShiYin ... ShiYin, I'll be satisfied no matter what just as long as you're safe and at peace. Whether in hell or in heaven, the day will come when we can see each other again."
But was Lin ShiYin really at peace?
Blistering cold wind, he looked even more emaciated than a chrysantheum flower.
Li XunHuan stood lonesomely in the western wind. Was he hoping that the wind would carry him away?
After some time Sun XiaoHong had returned. She looked at him foolishly and said, "You ... you didn't go see her?"
Li XunHuan shook his head and said, "Did you find a carriage?"
"The carriage is waiting just ahead, if you're really not going to see her, then let's get going." Sun XiaoHong said.
"Let's go!" Li XunHuan replied.
The carriage rocked back and forth along the road, wine wavered back and forth inside his cup.
It was finely aged wine.
The carriage seemed even older than the wine, while the horses seemed even older than the carriage.
Li XunHuan wagged his head and said with a smile, "If only the horse pulling this carriage were Lord Guan's 'Red Hare', then this carriage would instantly become an antique. It's pretty amazing that you were able to find such a carriage."
Sun XiaoHong couldn't contain her laughter, she lifted up her chin and said, "You're not pleased with my arrangements?"
"No, no, I'm satisfied, very satisfied." Li XunHuan said.
He closed his eyes and said, "As soon as I stepped foot into this carriage, I suddenly remembered something from a very long time ago."
"Oh? What did you remember?" Sun XiaoHong said.
"I remembered a wooden horse that I used to play with when I was younger, it feels like I'm rocking back and forth the same way on this carriage." Li XunHuan said.
Before he could finish his sentence, he felt something go into his mouth.
"After you finish eating these dates, hurry up and get some rest." Sun XiaoHong said with a smile.
"If I really could fall asleep and never wake, it would be pretty nice, unfortunately ..." Li XunHuan said.
Sun XiaoHong cut him off and said, "I got this carriage because I wanted you to be able to sleep well. As long as you can fall asleep, we can swich carriages in the morning."
Li XunHuan downed his cup of wine and said, "If that's the case then I'll drink a few more cups so I can sleep soundly."
The wine in his cup swung back and forth, her ponytail wagged back and forth as well.
Her eyes were warm and radiant like the starlight outside the carriage.
The starlight was like a dream.
Li XunHuan was falling into inebriation.
On such a beautiful night, with such a bueatiful companion, how could he not fall into a drunken stupor?
Since he was drunk, how could he not fall asleep?
Li XunHuan leaned to one side and lifted up his legs onto the seat of the carriage and mumbled, "Sages and heroes were always plagued with loneliness and had nothing but alcohol to keep them company ... but isn't drinking the night away just as depressing?"
Everything fell quiet, soon there was only silence.
He had finally fallen asleep.
Sun XiaoHong stared at him quietly. After a long while, she reached out and ran her hand through his hair and said softly, "Sleep, sleep peacefully. After you wake up, all your sadness and trouble will be a thing of the past. And when that time comes, I won't let you drink so much anymore."
Her eyes started to glow brightly, they filled with joyous expectations.
She was still young.
Youths are always optimistic about the world, they assume that things will always go the way they planned.
She didn't understand that the world simply didn't work that way. The way things turn out are always far off from what we expect. If she knew just how far off her expectations were, her clothes would be soaked with tears.
The carriage driver was leisurely sipping his wine as well.
He didn't seem to be in a hurry.
Because the young lady that called for the carriage had instructed him so!
"Take your time on the road, we are not in a rush to get anywhere."
The carriage driver smiled to himself. If he were riding in a carriage with his sweetheart, he wouldn't be in a hurry to get anywhere either.
He was really envious of Li XunHuan, he felt that Li XunHuan was really lucky.
But if he knew the kind of situation that Li XunHuan and Sun XiaoHong were in, he probably wouldn't be able to swallow that wine in his cup.
The next day had arrived.
When Li XunHuan woke up, sunlight had already flooded through the carriage window.
He didn't know how he had fallen asleep for so long. Was he simply tired? Or was it the wine?
Li XunHuan picked up his cup and sniffed it but slowly put it back down.
The carriage was still shaking back and forth as it rolled down the road. It was moving very slowly, stopping here and there, as if the driver was slowly dozing off.
Sun XiaoHong had fallen asleep on his lap.
Her long hair flowed down his legs like water.
Li XunHuan stuck his head out the window but couldn't see the carriage's shadow.
The sun was directly overhead.
After some distance there was a stone tablet by the side of the road that had the name of the village ahead.
The time that he had agreed to meet with ShangGuan JinHong was fast approaching, a little less than six hours away.
But they were only half way there.
Li XunHuan suddenly felt his hands go cold as they started to tremble.
There were times when he was worried, sad, or troubled, and there were times when he was happy, but rarely was he ever angry.
Right now he wasn't quite angry, but very close to it.
Sun XiaoHong suddenly awoke and felt him shaking. She looked up and saw the angry expression on his face, it was an expression that she had never seen before.
She lowered her head, her eyes already turning red, and said, "Are you upset at me?"
Li XunHuan's mouth was shut, shut very tightly.
"I knew that you would be upset at me but I still would've done the same thing. I don't care if you scold me or hit me, just as long as you understand that I did this for your own good." Sun XiaoHong said.
Li XunHuan let out a long sigh. His entire body relaxed, his heart softened as well.
What Sun XiaoHong did really was for his sake.
What did she do wrong? As long as she whole-heartedly wanted the best for him, how could he blame her?
"I understand how you feel, I don't blame you. But why can't you try to understand how I feel as well?" Li XunHuan said.
"You ... you really don't think I understand how you feel?" Sun XiaoHong said.
"If you understood how I felt, you would know that even if you did stop me from meeting with ShangGuan JinHong this time, what about in the future? I have to confront him sooner or later, it could even be tomorrow." Li XunHuan said.
"By tomorrow, everything will be different." Sun XiaoHong said.
"What will be different by tomorrow?" Li XunHuan said.
"By tomorrow ShangGuan JinHong will already be dead, he probably won't live past tonight." Sun XiaoHong said.
The way she spoke was particularly strange, as if she was very confident in what she said.
Li XunHuan couldn't figure out why she sounded so confident so he thought for awhile.
"No one will blame you for not showing up today. Besides, it was all ShangGuan JinHong's doing. If he didn't force you to go to Happy Cloud Manor, then you wouldn't have been this late." Sun XiaoHong said.
Li XunHuan was still lost in thought, but the expression on his face slowly changed.
Sun XiaoHong's mood seemed to lighten as she leaned beside him and said, "Once ShangGuan JinHong is dead, no one will say that ..."
Li XunHuan suddenly cut in and said, "Did your grandfather tell you to do this?"
Sun XiaoHong blinked and said jokingly, "Well, maybe it was, maybe it wasn't."
"Is he going in my place to confront ShangGuan JinHong?" Li XunHuan said.
"Correct, you should know that once ShangGuan JinHong sees my grandpa, it'll be like a mouse seeing a cat. I think he is the only person in this world who can deal with ShangGuan JinHong." Sun XiaoHong said.
She held his hand and wanted to continue on but suddenly fell silent because she felt that his hands were colder than ice.
If a person's heart wasn't filled with fear, why would their hands turn this cold?
But what was he afraid of?
Seeing the expression on his face she was afraid to ask.
"Did you grandfather want to go himself, or was it you who had asked him to?" Li XunHuan questioned her.
"Does ... does it make a difference?" Sun XiaoHong said.
"Yes, it makes a big difference." Li XunHuan said.
"It was I who asked him to go, because when dealing with people like ShangGuan JinHong, it doesn't matter who kills him. It doesn't necessarily have to be you." Sun XiaoHong said.
He nodded his head as if he was in agreement with what she said, but there was an entirely different expression on his face.
Not only did he look frightened, but extremely grieved as well.
Sun XiaoHong couldn't help but ask, "Are you worried?"
Li XunHuan didn't have to answer, his expression answered for him.
"I don't quite understand what you're worrid about ... is it grandpa?" Sun XiaoHong said.
Li XunHuan finally sighed and said in a low tone of voice, "I'm worried for you."
"You're worrid for me? Why?" Sun XiaoHong said.
"Everybody makes mistakes in life. There are some mistakes we make that can be fixed but there are others that are forever irretractable." Li XunHuan said.
Now there was not only grief in his eyes, but a deep feeling of pain as well.
He looked straight at her and continued, "If you make a mistake that can never be fixed, no matter what your intentions were, you'll have to carry this burden for the rest of your life. Even if other people forgive you, you will never be able to forgive yourself. It really is a horrible feeling."
He understood this feeling very well.
Because of one mistake that he made in his life, he had to pay a terrible price.
She looked back at him and suddenly felt a strange foreboding feeling, "Are you worried that I am going to do something wrong?"
After a long pause, Li XunHuan asked her, "All these years, have you always been traveling with your grandfather?"
"Yes." Sun XiaoHong said.
"Have you ever seen him use his martial arts?" Li XunHuan asked.
"I don't think so ..." Sun XiaoHong replied.