Book 17 Chapter 9 - Overbearing Saber Yue Shan
The sky was overcast.
The city gate has just been opened. Xu Ziling wore his mask and changed into blue robes, immediately turned into the man who stole the Jade Annulus of He Clan. Using an official pass, he leisurely stepped into the city.
He did not intentionally stoop his back, but stood erect instead. With his slightly disheveled greying hair, combined with clear, commanding and awe-inspiring countenance, his image as an elderly man was quite eye-catching.
He had a long saber hanging on his waist, giving him an air of an old Jianghu veteran who had been through the vicissitudes of life.
The appointed time that he and Kou Zhong agreed upon before they parted was still two sichen away. He strolled leisurely in the city, and subconsciously his feet brought him to the familiar Tianjin Bridge.
As always, the Bridge was full of pedestrians and carriages. Recalling the scene where Shi Feixuan told him a story last night, a hard-to-describe emotion mixed with slight melancholy welled up in his heart.
Why did she suddenly leave the quiet cultivation of the Chanyuan [Buddhist Hall] and come looking for him here? Maybe she was on different errand and coincidentally run into him. Oftentimes the way she handled matters was beyond expectations anyway, bordering to mystery, so that nobody was able to predict.
His feet stepped on the Tianjian Bridge, his heart turned toward Ba Fenghan.
This outstanding Tujue swordsman, who has undergone life and death together with him, was really not as heartless as the image he projected outside; to say the least, there was remorse in his heart concerning Ba Dai'er, and was using thousand ways, a hundred plans to avoid seeing her.
Just then, he saw two acquaintances.
Dark clouds raced in the sky, rainstorm was coming.
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Raindrops were falling onto the roof and the windowsills. Sparse at first, but quickly became heavy. In the blink of an eye, the world outside the room was filled with the patter of rain, beautiful like nature's hands were playing music with the most graceful movement.
Kou Zhong, lying down on dragon-head couch, hugging the fragrant and clean quilt, remembered Xu Ziling, who was sleeping in the wilderness, first. And then his mind wandered to Shang Xiufang's moving singing voice, which worth listening a hundred times over, and finally recalled the enthralling feeling of leaning in Song Yuzhi's tender bosom, which was able to melt him. His nostrils were still smelling the orchid scent coming out of her body.
Surprisingly, this beauty, who had a love-hate relationship with him, did not throw him to the ground when they were outside earlier. Unexpectedly she carried him and 'tossed' him to the bench, before ordering her men to take him to the guest room. Kou Zhong really felt overwhelmed by the favor shown by her.
If he said that he did not have good impression or feeling of love toward her, then he deceived himself. At least when she was near, he never felt lonely, time seemed to slip away a lot faster.
Ever since the defeat of Jingling, he had never experienced such a sweet and sound sleep.
The sound of rain outside was enhancing the safety and comfort inside the room even more.
Suddenly Li Xiuning's image in his mind turned blurry, replaced by Song Yuzhi's touching charm, which carried a mixture of delight and anger.
Sound of footsteps approached.
'Bang!' the door opened.
Followed by the sound of window being closed.
Without even looking Kou Zhong already smelled Song Yuzhi's scent; inwardly he was astounded. A maid or a servant ought to come to wait on him rinsing his mouth and washing his face, why would she inconvenience the Third Miss' pair of delicate lily-white hands?
This thought was still hovering in his mind when Song Yuzhi came over and stopped in front of the bed curtain. "Do you have enough sleep?" she shouted tenderly, "Why haven't you gotten lost?"
Kou Zhong stretched and put his hand out of the curtain and said, "Could San Xiaojie help me up?"
Song Yuzhi ruthlessly bestowed a heavy slap on his outstretched palm and said angrily, "If you act willfully and make a scene again, I am going to throw you out of the door."
Stroking his painful hand, Kou Zhong sat up and grumbled, "Can't you hit a bit lighter?"
Song Yuzhi turned her tender body around in rage, "Scoundrel!" she angrily said.
Kou Zhong pushed both legs out of the curtain, got out of bed and just stood behind her silky back. Giggling, he said, "San Xiaojie's great kindness and great virtue in upholding justice and offering shelter last night, I, Kou Zhong will almost never forget."
Song Yuzhi stared blankly, "Why almost?" she asked.
Kou Zhong leaned over her fragrant shoulder toward her small ear and spoke tenderly, "If San Xiaojie was willing to receive me in your own fragrant room, then I would really never forget."
Song Yuzhi took a step forward, turned around and slapped.
Five streaks of red blood finger lines immediately appeared on Kou Zhong's face, but disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Song Yuzhi was stunned, "Why didn't you evade?"
Wiping the saliva from his mouth Kou Zhong said with a smile, "I made San Xiaojie so angry, ought to be punished."
A complicated emotion flashed through Song Yuzhi's eyes; she sighed and said, "Kou Zhong, who are the real you?"
Kou Zhong sat down on the bed, Susu's matter welled up in his heart; with a painful look on his eyes, he spoke in low voice, "Unless San Xiaojie is willing to marry me, I will never force you."
Song Yuzhi's jade countenance calmed down; she slowly walked over toward the window overlooking the garden, and softly said, "That being the case, it would be best if you never appear in front of Yuzhi anymore."
Staring blankly, Kou Zhong said, "If that is San Xiaojie's wish, I, Kou Zhong, will definitely obey. Ay! I had never thought that I would suffer an unrequited love. It's really amusing!"
Like a whirlwind Song Yuzhi turned around and hatefully stared at him, saying, "You practically don't have me in your heart, and you still said unrequited love. If you say it one more time, I am going to kill you."
Kou Zhong was stunned, "How can I not have you in my heart?" he said, "Last night I dreamt about being with San Xiaojie in San Xiaojie's fragrant room. Hey! It was a beautiful dream that Xiaodi will remember the rest of my life."
Song Yuzhi's pretty face blushed; she nearly wanted to pull the sword hanging on her waist. Losing her temper, she stomped her feet and said furiously, "Big scoundrel's dog mouth will never grow ivory; is it not enough that you took advantage of me?"
In all earnestness Kou Zhong nodded and said, "Indeed last night I took quite an advantage of San Xiaojie, but that was the most fragrant and sweetest sleep in the world."
Song Yuzhi was at loss; she angrily sat down on a chair next to the window. Momentarily she did not know what to say.
Barefooted, Kou Zhong came over to chair, got down on one knee, and held the arm of the chair with both hands. Looking up at this beauty with puffed up fragrant cheeks, he spoke tenderly, "I dare to swear by the Heaven, there is definitely Song Yuzhi in Kou Zhong's heart."
Song Yuzhi met his gaze and said with a sneer, "Of course you do! Because I am one of the stepping stones you use to conquer the world."
Kou Zhong shook his head and said, "At the beginning I did have the idea of using you. But it was only last night that I became aware that it's difficult for me not to think about you, Yuzhi."
When he returned to the city last night, because of Ren En and the others' tragic death and hearing Susu's misfortune, his heartache was difficult to endure; for some reason he really wanted to see Song Yuzhi, hence the reason he came looking for her.
Song Yuzhi's countenance was eerily as calm as the still water; she spoke slowly, "Kou Zhong, you must have remembered that a real man's words are like mountain. Just now you promised that you won't come bothering Yuzhi anymore, but now you want to go back on your words? I don't care whether you are sincere or hypocritical, in short, my heart cannot tolerate you anymore. Our discussion is over, please leave!"
Kou Zhong felt as if his heart had just received a ten-thousand-catty big-iron-hammer's blow; the pain nearly threw him back on the floor.
Suddenly he gained clear understanding that due to his bad attitude from the start, he had deeply angered Song Yuzhi, so that she was incapable of accepting him.
He was certain that she had deep love toward him, Kou Zhong, but the bitterness in her heart was just as deep.
And now the hatred has reached the point of no return.
Other than his face turned deathly pale, on the surface there was no sign of his inner feelings.
Rising to his full height, he gazed deeply into her eyes, and said dejectedly, "Yuzhi, please take good care of yourself!"
And then, still barefooted, he walked to the wind and the rain outdoors.
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Opening the umbrella he just bought, Xu Ziling walked quietly behind Zheng Shuming and Bai Qing'er, two women.
Zheng Shuming was the female chief ['dangjia'] of the Yangtze River Alliance. Because her husband died under Ba Fenghan's hands, outside Jingling she led the Qingjiang Pai, Cangwu Pai, Jiangnan Hui, Mingyang Bang, Tiandong Pai, and others under the Alliance Banner to besiege Ba Fenghan, but luckily he and Kou Zhong happened to come by and disrupt their plan [see Book 11 Chapter 7]. Later on, harboring grudges, Zheng Shuming joined hands with Qian Duguan, Evil Monk, Amorous Nun, and the others, ambushed them inside the city. After the two boys escaped from the siege, they managed to cast away Zheng Shuming. Surprisingly she now came to Luoyang.
This new widow was as refined, beautiful and alluring as ever. She walked together with Bai Qing'er under one umbrella, quietly talking and laughing, loitering and coming in and out of the cosmetic and perfume shops along the Heavenly Street, seemingly forgetting the sorrow of her husband's demise.
Since Xu Ziling had nothing to do anyway, plus he wanted to find a clue about Yin Gui Pai from Bai Qing'er, he followed them as they entered another street.
Under cover of the heavy rain, it was so easy to conceal his presence as he followed their tracks.
Just then, someone came closer and said in a low voice, "Laozhang [Sir (formal)], can I have a word with you?"