Qian Shuhua carried her brother's saber as she walked in the heat of noon.
She returned empty handed two hours later.
Her eyes had swelled into the size of a goldfish.
Without a doubt, she had gone to fight Lin Mei'er. Unfortunately, she was full of anger but lacked actual kung fu and ended up being punched silly. Luckily for her, her opponents had not used their full force, on account that she was the eldest daughter of the Qian family.
There was a tavern on Vermilion Bird Street that was owned by the Qian family known as 'People Come Drunk'.
On the best spot, a window seat on the second floor, sat Qian Shuhua, her brother and Ye Que. They had been sitting there from noon to dusk.
They did not budge from their seats throughout the entire afternoon. Ye Que sat motionless on his stool, and Qian Shuxiao looked worried and wallowed in frustration. His sister, who sat opposite him, seemed to only have eyes for liquor and drank flask after flask of it.
After Ye Que finished channeling energy for 49 cycles as specified in the entry level technique of the Divine Book, he could see that Qian Shuhua's face had turned peach red.
Her eyes had turned completely unfocused, and she was supporting one of her cheeks with one palm, while the other hand has reaching for her wine cup unsteadily. After she somehow managed to find it, she drank a huge gulp of wine and breathed in deeply before licking her lips gently. She looked out of the window while muttering constantly to herself.
Even though she was not a peerless beauty, she was pretty. She loved to practice martial arts since young, and there was a slight hint of boyishness in her looks. After a few drinks, she looked extremely seductive from afar.
The sun was setting, and night was about to fall. The last remaining rays of sunlight was shining on Luoyang City, illuminating the buildings, giving them a dazzling look.
Qian Shuxiao stared directly at this sister. Qian Shuhua as still looking listless and drinking Xinghua wine. She soon lost interest even in liquor and just waved her empty wine glass around and seemed to be gazing at the setting sun. She had drunk an entire jar of wine, and she realized it when she shook the empty jar to find it totally empty.
Qian Shuhua cocked her head and shouted as she raised her hand.
"Bring more wine!"
She squinted to see Ye Que and Qian Shuxiao seated opposite her. The corner of her lips curled as she smiled mindlessly before raising another finger.
She shouted before the waiter could even come over, and began smacking the table top. "Why is the wine not served yet? Do you people want to lose your jobs? Do you know where you are now? Do you know who I am? I'm Qian Shuhua, and this tavern belongs to my family. If you don't listen to me, I'll have you all removed from your jobs."
"Bring the wine over here quickly!"
She shouted breathlessly before laying down on the table and muttering a poem to herself.
"Liars, all liars. What's on the books are all lies. He said he loved to watch swordplay, so I went to learn swordcraft. Which woman would really like learning martial arts? Which girl wouldn't like to learn the fine arts? He even said that we would become lovebirds and make the immortals envious. Envious my foot!"
"It's all daydreaming!"
She described a dream to herself, a dream about a couple that had grew up together.
They had made a deal to travel the world and grow old together in the past.
She loved music, dance and white horses, while he loved to drink, compose poems and uphold justice.
Dreams were beautiful, but reality was cruel. In the eyes of many, dreams were meant for the mind to wander, but it was dangerous to try actualizing them. Yet, Qian Shuhua had made up her mind to realize her dreams, and she had waited so long for Ye Yunhai without regrets, because it was the kind of love she longed for.
Love must be thorough and vigorous.
She doesn't care what others thought or said. She would love as she pleased.
Even if the entire city thought that she was driven insane by love, she did not care.
Now, however, her dream had been shattered, and an entire sky of fireworks was left with nothing.
They had swore to love each other, but today, she was humiliated and trampled upon.
Two pots of apricot wine were placed squarely at the table.
Qian Shuhua shook herself up, pinched a piece of pickled beef and threw it into hermouth. She dipped her index finger into the apricot blossom wine and wrote Ye Yunhai's on the table. She stared at the words in front of her for a long time. The more he looked at them, the colder she looked. Without waiting for the wine to evaporate, she rubbed them away into gibberish. She then grabbed the flask, and drank its contents down in a few big gulps, as she choked and cried.
Alcohol was harmful for the body, and tears even more so.
Ye Que finished channeling his technique and looked at Qian Shuxiao before turning to his sister's tearful and unrecognizable face. He sighed helplessly.
"Is it worthwhile to humiliate yourself because of a man?" Ye Que asked Qian Shuhua without showing any emotion. He seemed to be consoling her, yet his tone sounded as if he despised her.
She raised her head and glanced at Ye Que before snorting. "What do you know? Humiliate? I didn't humiliate myself. I'm fine," she said.
"Who am I? I am the eldest young lady of the Qian family!"
"For men? Bah!"
"Let me tell you, you men are all sons of bitches, none of you are any good."
Ye Que looked at her without changing his expression. "Do you feel better after venting?" he asked in the same slight tone of despise.
"No!" Qian Shuhua shouted. "Aren't all of you men bastards? He grew up with me, yet now he claims to not recognize me. He even said I'm not a lady. In which aspect am I not a lady?"
Qian Shuhua said before pointing to her face, and thrusting out her chest.
"He humiliated me in front of so many people. I stood like a fool in the General's Manor."
"Do you know that he used to be weak and frail, and that he was frequently bullied when young? I always stood up for him. I'm a girl, but I protected him like a crazy shrew. From a young age, all of my teachers said that I should have been born as a boy."
"I don't understand how he could change so much, so quickly!"
"Is he completely heartless?"
Ye Que continued to look at her. "Are you done?" he asked.
Qian Shuhua shook her head before glaring hard at him. "Don't you know how to say anything else? I'm very sad now, why can't I scold him a little? Can't I question my fate, my destiny and my life?"
Ye Que retained the same irritating expression on his face. "Do you know what fate, destiny and life are?"
"You haven't even lived long enough to question the meaning of life!"
Qian Shuhua exclaimed, her face red. She pointed at Ye Que for a long while before coming up with a reply.