Both Shi Qingxuan's beauty and Shi Feixuan's beauty made people feel that they could only gaze from afar and that it must not be toyed with disrespectfully. However, other than attracting people to admire and become intoxicated, the former's beauty also carried unusual cordiality.
Immediately Xu Ziling was overwhelmed with a sense of inferiority; blushing with shame, he said, "Xu Ziling has failed the task that Miss entrusted to me, in the end I lost the Print Scroll."
Shi Qingxuan looked out the window, while comfortably leaning against the window frame. Remaining tranquil and calm, she said, "Qingxuan has never owned it, what loss are you talking about? Xu Xiong was willing to take the long and difficult trek to Sichuan, Qingxuan is already very happy."
Xu Ziling was not a man who was awkward with words, but this moment he was so awed by her exceptional countenance and beautiful appearance, unexpectedly he was speechless.
Her jet-black beautiful hair was knotted into a simple bun on top of her head, fixed in place by a jade hairpin. She casually pushed a stray clump of hair, giving out another kind of unique, carefree, implicit charm.
Under the printed cloth gown peeked out a pair of white jade, unblemished bare feet, amplifying her feminine, languid, alluring wind, field, and moon.
Shi Qingxuan serenely said, "Did you see that thing on the table?"
It was only now did Xu Ziling look at the desk in front of the window, where an unusually-styled thick-backed broadsword, with high and ancient grained [in wood] scabbard, along with a scroll of book, was laid.
It was only now did he realize that all around him were bookcases, abundant with collection of books. Inwardly he was ashamed. His heart was moved, he asked, "Is that the Overbearing Saber, the weapon with which Yue Shan made his name?"
Shi Qingxuan moved her gaze. Without a single blink she looked at the treasured saber on the table. Although her jade countenance did not show the least bit of emotion, her elegant eyeballs exuded a reminiscently sad expression. Letting out a gentle sigh, she said, "Indeed this is the saber."
Frowning deeply, Xu Ziling said, "Miss' good intention, I appreciate very much! But one, I do not like to brandish saber or play with sword; two, I am more afraid to carry such a heavy saber while being constantly on the move and trekking everywhere. Why does Miss still want to commemorate it?"
Shi Qingxuan softly said, "Without it, how could you pose as Yue Shan?"
Xu Ziling laughed and said, "Wasn't I without it before? For a moment even Zhu Yuyan was nearly deceived."
Shi Qingxuan shook her head and said, "This time it's different. Zhu Yuyan only had a one-night tryst with Yue Shan, plus since she always loathed Yue Shan, naturally she was bound to forget him."
Xu Ziling was stunned, "This time?" he asked, "What do you mean 'this time'?"
Shi Qingxuan turned her eyes toward him and said, "This time the person you are going to deceive is another mortal enemy, the Tian Jun [heavenly lord] Xi Ying. If you showed the least bit of flaw, he would immediately see through it. No matter what, you have to strive for perfection."
Xu Ziling understood. Smiling wryly, he said, "After seeing Miss, I will leave Sichuan immediately. I am afraid … ay! What could Zaixia say?"
A hint of fresh-flower-blooming, sunshine-cut-through-the-black-cloud smile appeared on Shi Qingxuan's face, immediately driving away the grief-stricken thoughts, the melancholy of the face of the earth that put people in the extreme depth of sorrow. Tenderly, with naiveté, she said, "Look! Even I feel very sorry! You destroyed that many revered Luohan from those monks' temple, plus you learned magical skill that no one has ever able to understand from them; how could you simply want to walk away? Aren't you ashamed?"
Seeing her returning to her natural color, Xu Ziling could not help sitting dejectedly in front of the desk, staring blankly at the overbearing saber lying horizontally in front of his eyes, as if he was able to smell the reek of blood concealed within the blade of the saber; momentarily he did not have any word with which he could respond to her.
Shi Qingxuan's gentle and soft voice entered his ears, "Ziling, oh, Ziling! How could you be so blind to the sufferings of others? Only by disguising yourself as Yue Shan will you be able to lure Xi Ying out. Abandoning this, there is no other brilliant scheme."
Xu Ziling began to understand why Shi Feixuan arranged for him to meet Shi Qingxuan. Smiling ruefully, he said, "Is not Miss someone who is outside of the affairs of life? How come this time you are being a zealous participant?"
Shi Qingxuan sighed lightly and said, "This happens to be one of the burdens Qingxuan carries on her shoulders. Before his death, Old Yue has already dispelled his bitterness toward Song Que. Only Tian Jun Xi Ying, who harmed him that his family scattered and the people perished, even more, who had made him to become ruthless - that he constantly kept in his mind. If Ziling could kill this demon for Qingxuan's, and all the people who have been harmed by him - sake, Qingxuan will be extremely grateful."
It was only now did Xu Ziling notice that she called him Ziling. His heart burning, he sighed and said, "Very well! Even I cannot find any excuse to refuse. But I do have an important matter to attend to; I can only stay in Chengdu for another seven days. After that, I will have to leave immediately. Miss, what do you think?"
Shi Qingxuan delightedly said, "Seven days is definitely enough. First of all, you must follow my direction to make your Yue Shan disguise like a seamless heavenly clothes; the most important thing is that you give out the appearance of one who has mastered the Huan Ri Dafa [great method of changing the day]. And then, although there will still be differences with the real Yue Shan, other people would not doubt it, simply because those who knew Yue Shan knew him before his decisive battle against Song Que, before he was practicing the Huan Ri Dafa."
Knitting his brows, Xu Ziling said, "Was Huan Ri Dafa that formidable? If so, won't Xi Ying has no reason to drop by just to be target practice of Yue Shan's saber?"
"Don't worry," Shi Qingxuan said, "This time Xi Ying dared to come back to the Central Plains, simply because he has mastered his own school's supreme xinfa, and no longer has anybody else in his eyes. By publicly announcing that he wanted to destroy the Temple, my guess is that he wanted to lure Song Que to come here. How could he be afraid of the general who had been defeated under Song Que's hands? It ought to be that he is itching to have you showing up."
Thinking about the relationship between Wulin Magistrate Xie Hui and the Song Family, Xu Ziling was half-convinced, and cast his eyes toward the scroll lying next to the saber.
Shi Qingxuan explained, "This book was written in the last several decades of Yue Shan's life after losing his martial art skill. In his spare time he recorded his understanding of the Overbearing Saber and Huan Ri Dafa, as well as some criticism pertaining to several human affairs. Hee …! This is your assignment for today."
What more could Xu Ziling say?
Shi Qingxuan continued, "No need to put up a pained expression; I will stay here to keep you company, to tell all important events, big and small, in Yue Shan's life completely to you, so that you'll understand. I guarantee that your disguise will be like seamless heavenly clothes, without revealing any flaw."
And then, slightly staring quizzically, she asked, "You have not told me, do I look good now?"
Xu Ziling's heart was swept away; he looked directly at her.
Shi Qingxuan turned her pretty face away, to put her can-be-rated-as-the-stunning-beauty-in-human-world, beautiful, top-quality silhouette - on full display, before slowly raising the jade flute toward her lips, and putting her delicate fingers on the holes of the flute. The beauty of her posture was not something that can be produced locally.
Hundreds and thousands of indescribable feeling spread across Xu Ziling's entire body. It was a feeling like he was sitting high in the clouds.
In the past, when he was listening to her playing a tune on the roof of Wang Tong's big mansion, he had never thought that today he would come face to face with the beauty [orig. jade person]. Even more, that he would be able to listen to her bestowing a heavenly song especially for him. All of a sudden all other human affairs were forgotten. This little building has become his own city, his own country, standing alone, sealed off from the rest of the world.
Everything that was happening anywhere outside this realm's boundary suddenly became unrelated to him at all.
Such a touching beauty.
The flute was slowing down.
Xu Ziling was completely lost.