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Sky, Xiaohu, I don't like her for different reason: Huang Yi always used flowery language in describing everything about her, and to be honest with you, my Chinese knowledge is not enough to handle that, so I am always struggling whenever she appeared. Ysabel, Jaya, HPC, you are welcome.

Book 16 Chapter 12 - Everything In The World Has Its Own Purpose

Ouyang Xiyi, Priest Ke Feng, and Kou Zhong left the study room together.

Priest Ke Feng asked Kou Zhong, "Looking at Kou Xiao Xiong's expression, you don't seem too impressed at Shangshu Daren's arrangement concerning his body double.”

Kou Zhong smiled wryly and said, "This proves that my cultivation is still shallow; a bit of worry and I cannot conceal it.”

Priest Ke Feng smiled and said, "When we were young, who were not like that? Xiyi Xiong and I have been there.”

Ouyang Xiyi laughed and said, "When I was Xiao Xiongdi's age, I did not have that kind of ability.”

Priest Ke Feng said, "Now it's my turn to be on duty; Xiyi Xiong better use this time to cultivate your spirit. In these few days, hard fighting will be hard to avoid.” Finished speaking, he stopped and saluted.

Ouyang Xiyi and Kou Zhong continued side by side toward the main gate. He said, "Shichong Xiong has really big face, unexpectedly he was able to invite Ke Feng, this kind of martial art master, to come and help him. Apparently his relationship with Laojun [Laozi/Lao-tze] Temple is not shallow at all.”

Kou Zhong casually asked, "What kind of school is Laojun Temple? How come it has such a strange name?”

Ouyang Xiyi asked in surprise, "The impression you are giving out is that you possess great magical power, but unexpectedly you don't know the Laojun Temple on the summit of Cuiyun Peak on Mount Mang north of Luoyang. This is really hard to believe.”

Kou Zhong stopped in front of the doorstep. Looking at the fine droplets of rain floating in the air outside the door, he said calmly, "Therefore, it is very critical that Qianbei [older generation] gives more pointers to the kid; sometimes I am very muddleheaded.”

Ouyang Xiyi spoke in low voice, "When I saw you for the first time, I was happy, and felt that you and I have a very close predestined affinity. But last night when I received news that you were besieged at the Tianjin Bridge, it was actually Laofu [old man, referring to self] who advocated strongly not to rush indiscriminately into action. On one hand it's because I believed that you have a way to escape. The other reason was that this was obviously a trap.” [Translator's note: ‘you' here are plural.]

"This kid had no idea,” Kou Zhong said.

Ouyang Xiyi said, "If I did not tell you, you would never know. But I especially mention this matter, because the one who advocated strongly to help you was Ke Feng. It can clearly be seen that he is quite fond on you.”

Frowning, Kou Zhong said, "Based on his intelligence, how could he not know that it was a carefully laid plot?”

Ouyang Xiyi replied, "At that time everybody was feeling something was amiss; just to deal with you, why did the Dugu Clan dispatch close to a thousand Imperial Bodyguards to blockade the streets and alleys? But we had no time to think it through. Fortunately there is an aid-cum-advisor under Shichong Xiong's command by the name of Xu Xingzhi who privately reminded Laofu. Otherwise I am afraid we would fall into the enemy's evil plan.”

Kou Zhong smirked inwardly. Xu Xingzhi was indeed a talent; only a short time and he had already gained Ouyang Xiyi's trust.

Ouyang Xiyi patted his shoulder and said, "Now Laofu is going back to my room to sit in meditation to cultivate my spirit. When you come back tonight, you may look for Laofu to have a drink and chat. Do you know how to play chess?”

"I just watched other people play,” Kou Zhong replied.

Ouyang Xiyi laughed aloud and said, "Affairs of life are just like the game of chess. If I were an expert in the arena of chess, you are a master chess player playing outside the chessboard. Be careful. People who want the head above your neck will be bashing sideways and colliding straight on to run into you!”

Finished speaking, he returned inside the Mansion happily.

Inwardly, Kou Zhong was amused as well.

Which move he ought to take now?

As soon as he stepped over the doorstep, the guards on both sides immediately stood to salute him; none without expression full of respect.

Kou Zhong knew that he has established fame for his fighting prowess in Luoyang. "Did Miss take a carriage or ride a horse?” he asked one of the guards.

"Miss rode away,” the man blurted without thinking.

Kou Zhong thought fast. He imagined the exquisite scene that would ensue as soon as Dong Shuni inquired Yang Xuyan, and this couple engaged in an illicit love affair found out that they had fallen into a trap. What kind of man Yang Xuyan was anyway? He did not appear to be someone who would be willing to accept an inferior status.

Supposing Wang Shichong's deal with Li Shimin became reality, Dong Shuni thus became Li Yuan's imperial concubine; wouldn't Yang Xuyan then become the man who had the first taste of Dong Wangfei's [princess] soup? How would this account be settled?

Thinking to this point, Kou Zhong suddenly felt another headache coming.

※ ※ ※

Xu Ziling looked at Shi Feixuan's moving back, which could make people all over the world, men and women, prostrate themselves in wholehearted admiration. "That night at the Tianjin Bridge, Miss basically did not sustain injury at all?” he asked in heavy voice.

Finally Shi Feixuan turned her tender body around. Her lucid-and-elegant-without-equal jade countenance showed astonishment for the first time; after carefully sizing him up for half a day, she spoke softly, "Was it just Xu Xiong's wild guess, or your eyesight is so brilliant that you are able to see through my condition?”

Remaining tranquil and calm, Xu Ziling replied, "It was purely a kind of intuition.”

Shi Feixuan sighed and said, "In that case Xu Xiong is indeed a man with intelligent and wisdom. But I really received a bit of internal injury, only it was not as heavy as I let on. By the time I step off of the Tianjin Bridge, I have fully recovered.”

After a short pause, she revealed a sweet smile, with a hint of innocence in it, her pretty eyes full of meaning, as she said, "Does Xu Xiong know why Feixuan played such a deceptive trick?”

Confronted with such an expression, which rarely appeared on her face, Xu Ziling's heartstrings received an intense shock; but in the blink of an eye later he regained his composure, and replied with a smile, "Did Miss want to fool Wanwan?”

With her pair of eyes, which were more limpid than a vast and deep autumn pool, she revealed another sweet, extremely moving, smile.

Seeing how under her constant stares Xu Ziling was able to remain elegant, confident and at ease, his demeanor and movements remain natural, Shi Feixuan's fragrant heart was even more astonished.

If it were other men that she encountered, other than Hou Xibai, under this circumstance, they would either be at a loss to know what to do, or would be flustered. None would be like this person, who was completely unaffected by her intimidating gaze.

Shi Feixuan's elegant, clear and captivating jade countenance revealed a deep, thoughtful but charming smile, as she spoke slowly, "Nobody can deceive me, but the one I wanted to deceive was you, Xu Ziling. Otherwise, Feixuan would not have any excuse to retreat.”

Xu Ziling finally broke down; his handsome face slightly blushed, he said, "Miss' remark is indeed beyond my expectation. Miss could not possibly think that I am related to the Jade Annulus of He Clan's theft?”

Shi Feixuan spoke gently, "Exactly the opposite. I knew from the start that it was you who stole the Jade Annulus of He Clan.”

At a loss, Xu Ziling said, "Zaixia is even more confused now. Why did Miss deliberately let me off?”

Shi Feixuan cheerfully replied, "Finally you are willing to admit that you are the thief who stole the treasure!”

Smiling ruefully, Xu Ziling said, "That is precisely the reason I came to pay a formal visit to Miss. You can put any debt on my account. But I will definitely not wait helplessly for death, although I will never harm anybody in the Temple either.”

A look of pity appeared on Shi Feixuan's face; she sighed and said, "Although the ‘Secret to Long Life' can make you step up into the rank of top martial art experts, but it also made you nearly suffer fire-deviation. In here, other than Feixuan, Liao Kong Dashi also has the ability to put you to death. Xu Xiong, is it possible for you to tell me, you were fully aware that you were going to throw your life away, yet you still came here?”

Shrugging his shoulders, Xu Ziling said, "The main reason is that because you are doing your utmost for the people, but in itself you people are not seeking after personal gain, making me feel that deceiving you is some kind of a sin.”

Shi Feixuan moved closer step-by-step; she said, "Isn't stealing the treasure a sin? Why did Xu Xiong deliberately commit a crime?”

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