Book 20 Chapter 11 - Traveling With A Beauty
Shi Qingxuan pushed open the wooden door of a stone house; turning her pretty face around, she smiled and said, "Xu Xiong, please come in!"
Xu Ziling stared blankly for half a day before stepping over the threshold into the house. The room inside was separated into front and rear sections by a bamboo wall. Although the house itself was small, it contained a gamut of furniture, various bits and bobs; everything necessary in a household, with clear window and clean table, quiet and secluded, and pleasant.
Shi Qingxuan spoke indifferently, "This is Qingxuan's humble abode [orig. snail's home]."
Surprised, Xu Ziling asked, "Don't Miss Shi live in Bashu?"
Shi Qingxuan invited him to sit on the chair by the window, while she herself stepped into the inner section behind the bamboo wall, and said, "This cottage was not built by Qingxuan at all. The original owner passed away five years ago, thereupon Qingxuan borrow it to stay for a time. I like it since it is only half a sichen away by foot from the Demonic Emperor Temple."
Looking through the bamboo wall, Xu Ziling could vaguely see this unique beauty sat down in front of a small table by the bed inside the inner section, with her back toward him, facing a round copper mirror hanging on the wall. Under the hazy illumination in the room, everything was purified by the bamboo wall, emphasizing her graceful figure and posture even more.
Xu Ziling sighed in admiration, "This is indeed a good place to shun the world. If Miss did not take Zaixia here, I am afraid I would never find it even if I searched for it ten thousand years."
This small stone house was built inside a small canyon located about ten li southeast of the bat cave maze, with its back to a tall waterfall pouring down into a small lake. In front of the house fruit trees were swaying, the scenery was extremely beautiful.
Shi Qingxuan picked up the comb and started to brush her jet-black, shiny and long beautiful hair gently. Her movement and posture were extremely attractive.
"Why don't you ask who the original owner was?" she spoke indifferently, "Aren't you curious?"
A warm and comfortable feeling welled up in Xu Ziling's heart, as if he was in a small nest together with his lovely wife, chatting about domestic trivia over a bamboo wall. It was an extremely novel sensation.
Smiling, he said, "Perhaps my character makes it so! I rarely have the urge to absolutely want to know certain things. But since Miss particularly raised this issue, it is obvious that the original owner of this house must be a person of great history. Now Zaixia is highly curious."
Laughing softly, Shi Qingxuan said, "I was wondering, may Qingxuan ask Xu Xiong a rather rude question?"
While listening to the sound of the boisterous tweets of the birds chasing each other and playing outside passing through the window, he casually replied, "Miss, please enlighten!"
Shi Qingxuan said, "May I venture to ask Xu Xiong, in the past few years you are roaming to the south wandering to the north, have you hurt the heart of many girls who poured out their feeling, who are fondly attached to you?"
Xu Ziling was stunned, "I have never thought about that," he said, "But I don't think there is such thing?"
Shi Qingxuan cheerfully said, "Finally you, this guy, are not being honest. But for the time being, I am not going to settle this account with you. Let Qingxuan put this question on the other side: how many famous beauties have Xu Xiong seen in Jianghu? Which one can make you admire her wholeheartedly?"
Xu Ziling smiled ruefully and said, "Miss' question is more difficult to parry, to ward off than any strange-skill, ultimate-art. Can Xiaodi simply surrender and be done with it?"
Shi Qingxuan put down the comb, 'Pfft!' she giggled tenderly and said, "A useless fellow! Real man should dare to love, dare to hate. Turns out the Xu Ziling, whose name shook the world, is so useless in this regard."
Full of confidence, Xu Ziling calmly shrugged his shoulders and said, "Xiaodi have an extremely light and indifferent view toward the feeling between men and women, neither do I have any particular expectation or hope. In everything, I am at home wherever I am. If you ask me, my wish is to lead a life of free and easy, to roam the world and enjoy immortal scenery, without any burden of this life."
Shi Qingxuan was silent for half a day, before slowly said, "Your way of thinking is extremely similar to Qingxuan's; the difference is one is moving, the other still. In Qingxuan's heart, the ideal way of life is to live in secluded mountain or forest, studying meticulously the art and knowledge that I like, and use it to amuse myself, passing through this life in peace and quiet. Therefore, I am a little anxious to pass on this responsibility to Xu Xiong."
Xu Ziling nodded and said, "Xiaodi finally understand Miss' intention. Say it then! As long as it is within my power, I will definitely accomplish Miss' cherished desire."
Shi Qingxuan sighed and said, "Ay! You are such a good person, you make Qingxuan feel ashamed and guilty to inconvenience you. Xu Xiong, could you temporarily close your eyes, I want to change clothes!"
Xu Ziling jumped in fright, and hastily shut his eyes.
The rustling noise of clothes being changed continuously came from behind the bamboo wall. Shi Qingxuan's unhurried, calm voice said, "'Dao Xin Zhong Mo Da Fa' is definitely the demonic school's supreme skill; it is a level higher than Yin Gui Pai's 'Tian Mo Da Fa'. The strangest thing is that in the process of training, the practitioner's character and temperament will change, from demonic to enter the Way. According to Lu Dashi, although in training this skill Xie Di Xiang Yutian ruined the enterprise for the sake of one basketful, he did not complete the whole skill, and ended up suffering fire deviation and the disaster of having his body burned, but before his tragic death, he suddenly came to see the truth of his evil deeds in the past in devastating all living things, hence he tried hard to remedy it."
Xu Ziling almost opened his eyes. Astounded, he said, "Turns out there is such skill in the world, it is really surprising."
Although the 'Secret to Long Life' was able to change his and Kou Zhong's temperament, it still followed their own natural character and natural development, absolutely unlike the 'Dao Xin Zhong Mo Da Fa' that could completely change someone's deep-rooted character.
Shi Qingxuan seemed to finish changing her clothes; she opened the bamboo wall and walked over to the outer hall, but she did not tell Xu Ziling to open his eyes. She spoke gently, "At that time, the only concern he had was You Niaojuan, those four evil disciples. No one understood their evil nature more than he did, thereupon he wanted to exploit their weak point of desiring to be the next generation Xie Di, using the 'Demonic Emperor Relic' as a bait, forcing them to make an oath under the demonic school's supreme and binding blood curse, that only after obtaining the 'Demonic Emperor Relic' that they could inherit the Xie Di position, and only then would they be allowed to establish the Sect. On the other hand, he secretly informed Zhu Yuyan that the 'Demonic Emperor Relic' has already been passed on to these four inferior disciples, so that they would carry the blame."
Xu Ziling still had his eyes shut tight, so he could not see her expression while she was speaking. It was like he was in the middle of the fog; completely at a loss. "Why is 'Demonic Emperor Relic' so important?" he asked.
Shi Qingxuan's sweet-sounding voice replied, "That is the mystery within a mystery in the Xie Ji Zong [lit. extremely demonic school], the strange technique and secret method that has been handed down from generation to generation since the establishment of the Xie Ji Zong, and has become the symbol of authority of the Zongzhu [head of a clan, school master]. It also represents some kind of terrifying skill. In itself, the 'Demonic Emperor Relic' is a finely polished rare yellow crystal stone. Since the first generation Xie Di, when the successive Xie Di knew that he was coming to his allocated lifespan, using a secret method, he condensed the power he accumulated his entire life to become a qi essence, and injected it into the crystal stone, hoping that the person inheriting the demonic stone would be able to use the primary essence, so that from generation to generation, the Xie Ji Zong would grow stronger and stronger, unrivalled in Wulin. Oh! You may open your eyes now!"
Xu Ziling suddenly opened his tiger-eyes. Shi Qingxuan had her beautiful hair rolled up in a bun, capped with a hat, while wearing complete menswear; the attire one would wear on a long journey.
Her ugly nose disappeared without a trace, but her skin became rough and swarthy. Even so, her beauty still made people hold their breath.
It was unclear whether because he paid particular attention and the difference in their relationship now, but he felt that her straight backbone made her tender nose looked perfect, so that she appeared more noble and elegant beyond comprehension, flawless.
Her beauty was cold and detached, and mysterious. Perhaps this was due to her innate purity and pride, so that others did not dare to get close to her, yet they would thirst for her favor. Adding his previous impression of her to that, Xu Ziling dared to affirm her distinct style, her bold beauty was in no way inferior to Shi Feixuan, Wanwan, or other peerless beauty of their caliber.
Shi Qingxuan smiled and said, "Why are you staring at me, unable to take your eyes off me? Do you think Qingxuan has changed too much?"
Laughing involuntarily, Xu Ziling said, "Miss really knows how to read my heart. Hey! If what you have said is true, that Xie Ji Zong ought to far surpass Yin Gui Pai by now, but why is the fact not so?"
Shi Qingxuan sighed and said, "The real situation is complicated. Tell me first, where are you heading?"
After Xu Ziling explained everything to her, Shi Qingxuan gladly said, "We will be able to travel together for two, three days. After reaching the Great River, you go down to Jiangnan, while I'll take the boat to the west. We'll talk it over during the journey, all right?"
Xu Ziling has never imagined that he would gain a female companion. But every moment he spent with this beauty would be a beautiful experience that he would never forget as long as he lived. Thereupon he nodded and smiled, "If Miss don't mind, we ought to hasten on with our journey."
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