Another short chapter, the end of Book 25.
By the time Xu Ziling entered the cabin hall, he saw seven, eight passengers occupying one of the two round tables, talking loudly with each other, so that the hall was very noisy.
Some wanted to greet Xu Ziling, but seeing his uncouth appearance and the dignified scarred face, they knew he was not a benevolent man; hence they busily swallowed their words back into their belly.
Xu Ziling sat on the other table, facing the window, with his back against them. He heard that the topic of these people's conversation was business and how to make money, hence he did not have any interest in listening. His mind turned back toward Han Zenan's family of three.
Supposing that the pursuing troops overtook them midway, it would actually be a lot easier to deal with them then. He could directly make his move by beating back the pursuing troops.
But if they left the boat and fled after reaching Zheng County, it would be difficult for him to help; he could not trail them in secret for a long time; it was neither practical nor feasible.
The only way was to reach out to Han Zenan to have a frank and good conversation before reaching Zheng County, to see whether he could be persuaded.
He was absolutely not a meddlesome person, but little Jie'er reminded him of little Lingzhong; how could he let innocent children become evil people's fish or meat?
Thinking to this point, he scolded himself for being stupid. If he wanted to learn about Han Zenan's difficulty yet he could not investigate it openly, why not do it secretly?
He was about to get up to return to his room, when suddenly someone came beside him, put down an earthen jar of wine on the table with heroic spirit, and said with a laugh, "Five lakes and four oceans [i.e. all parts of the country] are brothers. LaoGe [ol' elder brother], are you interested in accompanying me drinking a cup of watery wine?"
Song Yuzhi spoke indifferently, "Earlier Die left town and went out for ten days, and returned only the day before yesterday. Upon returning to town, he had Zhi Shu [uncle], Lu Shu, and me summoned into his 'Ge Dao Ting Yu Tang' [lit. hall to place the saber and listen to the rain], indicating that you might come to the mountain city within three days."
Kou Zhong blew a mouthful of cold air. "Turns out he, the Senior, personally made his move to kill Cui Jixiu," he said, "No wonder it was like a performance; sharp and clear, neat and tidy."
Song Yuzhi was stunned, "Have you seen Die?" she asked.
After giving her a brief explanation, Kou Zhong asked, "Between your Die and I, there is no grievance today, and there was no enmity in the past; why would he want to make life difficult for me? Could it be that he did not know that if he het rid of me, his treasured daughter might not want to call him Die anymore in the future?"
A clump of tender and beautiful, replete with moisture - red cloud rose up on both sides of Song Yuzhi's sparkling-and-translucent-like-jade powder cheeks; she spoke furiously, "If Die slaughter you, this kid, I would not know how to thank him."
Pretending to be humble, Kou Zhong said, "San Xiaojie, please enlighten Kou kid; since San Xiaojie is so happy to see Kou kid being slaughtered, why would you want to warn Kou kid, telling me to escape?"
Song Yuzhi seemed to be stumped for words; and then even her ears were blushing. Hanging down her head, in weak and feeble voice she tried to get herself out of trouble by saying, "You are my friend!"
Kou Zhong slowly reached out to stroke her cheek.
Song Yuzhi's tender body shook; moaning tenderly, she said, "Ah, Kou Zhong! Don't …"
Kou Zhong's big hand caressed her burning-so-hot-that-it-made-people's-soul-melted face; the tip of his fingers lightly brushed her smooth and round earlobe. Leaning forward, he spoke with love as deep as the ocean, "Can we not deceive ourselves and endure hardships any longer? Oh!"
Shaken, Song Yuzhi said, "I was not joking with you; Die really engraved your name on the whetstone inside the Mo Jian Tang [lit. grinding sword hall]. That means you are his next opponent."
Kou Zhong sprang up from the ground, "Zhizhi is his precious daughter, but you don't understand his, the Senior's intention better that me, his future son-in-law. He wants to see my good faith toward his daughter; even more, he wants to measure my, Kou Zhong's weight."
Song Yuzhi had no time to argue about his considering himself future son-in-law; she blurted out, "You practically don't understand what kind of person Die is. Whoever has his name engraved on the whetstone, in the end he might become the wandering soul under his saber. This is not a joke. Ay! At most I can accompany you for three days. But after three days, you must go as far away as possible, and you must never come back."
Shaking his head, Kou Zhong sighed and said, "If I run away to the wilderness like that, I would forever lose my qualifications to obtain Zhizhi. Do you know why I understand your Die better than Zhizhi? Because we are the same kind of people."
Song Yuzhi furiously said, "You are reverting to your old ways again."
Kou Zhong smiled and said, "I am striving to surpass the three days. After obtaining ten percent of Zhizhi's love, I suddenly regain my life force. I have full confidence for the day I am going to deal with Li kid. Life has never been this good. I wonder if Zhizhi would want to give me a little reward?"