Chapter 10

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Chapter 10 – Changes

The crying sound suddenly stopped.

Zhuo Yuzhen raised her head. She stared at Fu Hongxue with an astonished look on her face. “I’m not Zhuo Yuzhen? Why do you say that I am not Zhuo Yuzhen?”

Fu Hongxue did not answer her. Instead, he asked a question he should not have asked. “How many months pregnant are you?”

Zhuo Yuzhen hesitated for a while, before finally saying, “Seven months.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You’ve already been pregnant for seven months, but your father only just found out about it today? Is he blind?”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “He isn’t blind, but he also isn’t my real father.”

Her voice was filled with hatred. “He knew about this all along. He was the one who arranged for me to meet with Qiu Shuiqing, because Qiu Shuiqing was a famous figure of the martial world and the master of the Peacock Manor, as well as the person whom escort-chief Liu admired the most.”

Yan Nanfei interjected, “Escort-chief Liu? Liu Zhenguo, of the Zhenyuan escort agency? Your father is a trainer for the Zhenyuan escort agency?”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “He used to be.”

Yan Nanfei said, “And now?”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “He drinks too much alcohol. No escort agency wants a martial arts instructor who is drunk all the time.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Escort-chief Liu dismissed him from his service?”

Zhuo Yuzhen nodded. “Escort-chief Liu wasn’t necessarily against drinking alcohol, but after drinking, father actually mistook one of his fellow dart-instructors for a thief and even chopped off one of his hands. That was too excessive.”

Yan Nanfei said, “He wanted to make use of the relationship you had with Qiu Shuiqing to return to the Zhenyuan escort agency?”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “He really wanted to! Even if I truly was his daughter, he still would have done the same thing.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Unfortunately, Qiu Shuiqing wasn’t willing to do this. In addition, Liu Zhenguo wasn’t a person who showed favoritism.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Thus, even though Qiu Shuiqing gave him a hundred taels of silver as drinking money every month, he still was not satisfied. Whenever he became drunk, he would think of ways to torment me.”

Yan Nanfei said, “And it wasn’t until today that you felt you could take no more?”

Zhuo Yuzhen forced herself not to cry. “I am female. Officially, I am his daughter. No matter what he does to me, I can take it. Only, this morning…”

Yan Nanfei said, “What did he do this morning?”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “He wanted to beat the baby in my stomach to death. He didn’t want me to give birth to Qiu Shuiqing’s child, because…because he knows about the destruction of the Peacock Manor.”

Yan Nanfei’s face changed. “But that happened only last night. He shouldn’t have known about it.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “But he did know.”

Yan Nanfei’s face sunk. Fu Hongxue’s face became all the more pale.

Only one type of person would get the news so soon.

Even if he himself hadn’t personally gone to the Peacock Manor to kill people last night, he definitely was a lookout.

Yan Nanfei said, “If I saw so many innocent people being wrongfully killed, when I got back home, I would’ve wanted to get really drunk as well.”

Fu Hongxue was silent. Suddenly, he said, “Do you know Liu Zhenguo? What type of person is he?”

Yan Nanfei said, “The Zhenyuan escort agency covers a lot of territory. It isn’t an easy task to become the leader of the agency.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Is he good at using human resources?”

Yan Nanfei said, “All of his subordinates are experts and first-class experts.”

Fu Hongxue’s hands tightened.

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “My foster-father’s martial arts abilities are not weak. If alcohol hadn’t harmed him, he might have become the leader as well.”

Fu Hongxue coldly said, “It is very hard to be the leader of an escort agency. It is very easy to kill people.”

Yan Nanfei said, “You believe him to be one of the killers?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Not a killer, an accomplice!”

Yan Nanfei said, “Then we should go find him right now.”

Fu Hongxue said, “When we got into the carriage, I already issued orders to the driver. We are already headed in the right direction.”

Zhuo Yuzhen looked directly at him. Liars definitely would not dare to stare into his eyes, and they definitely wouldn’t be so calm and collected.

Yan Nanfei looked at her, then looked at Fu Hongxue. It seemed as though he too had some opinion he wished to speak.

But before he had even opened his mouth, a person loudly said, “We definitely cannot go to the Zhuo family right now.”

Mingyue Xin was awake.

She had lost too much blood and her body was too weak. Clearly, she had used all of her available energy to say these words.

Yan Nanfei helped her lie down in a more comfortable position before asking, “Why is it that we cannot go to the Zhuo family?”

Mingyue Xin panted, “Because there definitely must be a trap there.”

In her urgency to explain her line of thinking, her pallid face began to turn red. “Gongsun Tu definitely wouldn’t let us off so easily. Naturally, he’ll realize that we’ll want to hunt down Zhuo Donglai. They have many people, all of whom are experts, and now I am injured.”

Yan Nanfei wouldn’t let her finish. “I understand what you are trying to say, and so does Fu Hongxue.”

Mingyue Xin said, “No, you do not understand. I’m not saying this out of fear for myself, and I know that the two of you are definitely enough to deal with them. But what about Miss Zhuo? You two will have to defend against Yang Wuji’s sword, Gongsun Tu’s hook, and Xiao Siwu’s flying dagger. How will you have the extra energy to look after her?”

Fu Hongxue did not speak, nor did he respond.

Mingyue Xin looked at him. “You absolutely must listen to me this time. We should have the carriage come to a stop immediately.”

Fu Hongxue said, “No need.”

Mingyue Xin said, “Why…why aren’t you willing?”

Fu Hongxue’s features were still totally expressionless. He dully said, “Because this road isn’t the road which will take us to the Zhuo family.”

Mingyue Xin was startled. “It isn’t? Why isn’t it?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Because from the very beginning, I ordered him to take this carriage out of the city as quickly as possible. How would he dare to go on any other road?”

Mingyue Xin let out a relieved breath. “So you had the same line of thought as I did.”

Fu Hongxue coldly said, “I never take risks with the lives of others.”

Mingyue Xin said, “But just a while ago…”

Fu Hongxue said, “I only said what I said in order to test Miss Zhuo.”

But before he finished his words, the carriage came to a halt.

The carriage driver turned around. Grinning, he said, “We’ve already reached the outskirts of the city. Hero Fu, which road do you want to take?”

Fu Hongxue coldly stared at his smiling face. He suddenly asked, “Have you learned the martial arts of the Boundless Pre-Heaven Sect?”

The carriage driver’s smile suddenly turned stiff. “I’ve never learned any martial arts at all.”

Fu Hongxue ignored him. He asked again, “Are Zhao Wuji and Zhao Wuliang your teachers or your family elders?”

The carriage driver stared at him in shock, as though he had seen a ghost.

He was very skilled at driving carriages. This entire time, he had sat in the front, driving the carriage. Not only had he not performed any actions, he had been very obedient.

He really could not understand how this pale-faced freak managed to determine his origins with a single glance.

Fu Hongxue said, “The color of your skin is smooth, and the texture is finely detailed, as though it had been boiled in oil. Only a person who has practiced the martial arts of the Boundless Pre-Heaven Sect would be like this.”

What a keen eye this freak had!

The driver finally let out a sigh. With a forced smile, he said, “I am Zhao Ping. Zhao Wuji is my father.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Are you nicknamed ‘forefinger’?”

Zhao Ping forced himself to nod. He could already tell that lying to this freak would be extremely unwise.

Fu Hongxue said, “Based on your family background, you should not be doing such shameless things in secret. I should help the Boundless Pre-Heaven Sect purge itself.”

Zhao Ping’s countenance changed. “But I…”

Fu Hongxue didn’t let him speak. He coldly said, “If it weren’t for the fact that you are the only son of Zhao Wuji, you would already be dead and underneath the wheels of this carriage.”

He was sitting in the carriage. He hadn’t even moved.

The most flexible finger was the forefinger.

How could a man sitting in a carriage without moving kill Zhao Ping, who was as flexible as a forefinger?

Zhao Ping finally understood. He was about to rise up.

Fu Hongxue said, “I will not kill you today. I will only require that you leave behind one of your murderous hands!”

Zhao Ping suddenly laughed loudly. “I apologize. My hands are still useful, and so I cannot give them to you.”

Suddenly, a saber flash could be seen, followed by a flowering explosion of blood.

Zhao Ping’s form rose up in alarm. He suddenly saw a bloody hand fall down from thin air.

He still hadn’t realized that this was his own hand.

The sabre was too fast. He still hadn’t felt any pain.

He even was still laughing.

Only after the hand fell to the floor did he realize that he was missing one.

The sound of his laughter immediately turned into a miserable cry. His body tumbled down heavily.

The sabre flash had disappeared. The sabre had been sheathed.

Fu Hongxue still remained seated in the back without moving.

Zhao Ping bound his severed wrist with fabric from his clothes. With his sole remaining hand, he rolled up the window of the carriage, staring at Fu Hongxue.

Fu Hongxue said, “You still aren’t leaving?”

Gritting his teeth, Zhao Ping said, “I am not leaving. I want to see your sabre.”

Fu Hongxue said, “My sabre isn’t for viewing.”

Zhao Ping said, “You chopped off my hand. You should at least allow me to see your sabre.”

Fu Hongxue stared at him, then suddenly said, “Fine. Look!”

A sabre flash. Strands of severed hair floated in the air.

It was Zhao Ping’s hair.

By the time he saw these strands of severed hair, the sabre flash had disappeared.

The sabre had been sheathed.

He still hadn’t seen the sabre.

His face was contorted with terror. He suddenly took one step backwards after another. He cried out in alarm with a hoarse voice, “You aren’t human. You are a vicious ghost. You are using an evil sabre!”

A pitch-black sabre. A pair of pitch-black pupils.

Zhuo Yuzhen was also staring at the sabre. She also stared at it for a long time. Her eyes were filled with terror as well.

It seemed as though this sabre had become physically grafted onto Fu Hongxue’s hand. It had become part of his body.

Zhuo Yuzhen asked probingly, “Have you ever put this sabre down?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Never.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Can you let me see it?”

Fu Hongxue said, “No.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Have you ever let anyone see it?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Never!”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Is this really a evil sabre?”

Fu Hongxue said, “The evil lies not in the sabre. It lies within the heart. If a person holds evil within his heart, he will not be able to avoid this sabre!”

He did not move. The carriage did not move either.

Yan Nanfei let out a sigh. “It seems as though there’s no longer any place for us to go.”

Fu Hongxue said, “There is.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Where?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Peacock Manor.”

Yan Nanfei was very surprised. “Peacock Manor again? What’s left there?”

Fu Hongxue said, “A secret cellar.”

Yan Nanfei immediately understood. “You want Mingyue Xin to hide herself there to recuperate?”

Fu Hongxue said, “No one will guess that she is there. That place is a place of death.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Would this, then, be considered rebirth in a place of death?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Yes.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Will we still use this carriage?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Carriages cannot reveal secrets, nor can they betray people.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Only people can betray people. That’s why you got rid of Zhao Ping.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Correct.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Who will drive our carriage now?”

Fu Hongxue said, “You.”

Although a big hole had been blown into the stone wall of the hidden cellar, the rest of it was as solid as it ever was.

Yan Nanfei said, “Now, the only way a person can leave this place is through this hole.”

Fu Hongxue said, “There can be leaving, but there cannot be a person leaving.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Why?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Because Mingyue Xin still has the Peacock Plume.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Her Peacock Plume is still useful?”

Fu Hongxue said, “It is.”

Yan Nanfei said, “So long as she stands guard here with her Peacock Plume, nobody will be able to charge in?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Nobody.”

Yan Nanfei sighed. “No matter what, I hope that no one else will come here.”

Zhuo Yuzhen couldn’t help but say, “Do you intend to leave her here by herself?”

Fu Hongxue said, “No.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Who will stay behind with her?”

Fu Hongxue said, “You.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “How about you guys? Are you leaving?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Yes.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Where are you going?”

Fu Hongxue said, “We are going to kill people!”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Are you going to kill those murderers?”

Fu Hongxue nodded. “Gongsun Tu won’t let us off. Nor can I let him off!”

Zhuo Yuzhen stared at the sabre in his hand. “Do all murderers have evil in their heart?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Yes.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Will he definitely be unable to avoid your sabre?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Definitely.”

Zhuo Yuzhen suddenly knelt down, and her tears began to flow. “I beg you, bring his heart back here. I want to use his heart as a sacrifice to memorialize the father of my child.”

Fu Hongxue stared at her. He suddenly said, “I can do this sort of thing, but you cannot say that sort of words.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Why?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Because those words contain a murderous aura.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Are you afraid that the child in my belly will be contaminated by the murderous aura?”

Fu Hongxue nodded. “A child with a murderous aura will find it difficult to avoid killing others when he grows up.”

Zhuo Yuzhen gritted her teeth. “I hope he will kill others. It’s better to kill others than to be killed.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You are forgetting one thing!”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Go ahead.”

Fu Hongxue said, “Killers will themselves be killed, sooner or later!”

The room was gloomy and dark. Even the tables and the chairs were made out of stone. They were both hard and cold.

Mingyue Xin, however, was seated very comfortably, because before he left, Fu Hongxue gave her all of the mattresses in the carriage.

Zhuo Yuzhen also was given one of the soft mattresses from the beautiful carriage.

As soon as Fu Hongxue left, she couldn’t help but sigh. “I didn’t imagine he was such an attentive person.”

Mingyue Xin said, “He’s a weird person. Yan Nanfei is weird as well. But both of them are people, and both of them are men, real men.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “It seems that both of them treat you pretty well.”

Mingyue Xin said, “I treat them pretty well as well.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “But in the end, you’ll have to choose between them. One woman can’t be married to two men.”

Mingyue Xin forced out a laugh. “I’ve already made my choice.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Who have you chosen?”

Mingyue Xin said, “Myself.”

She lightly continued, “Although a woman can’t be married to two men at once, she can refuse to marry either.”

Zhuo Yuzhen shut her mouth. Naturally, she could tell that Mingyue Xin was unwilling to discuss this any further.

Mingyue Xin gently stroked the Peacock Plume. Her hands were even colder than gold. Something was weighing on her mind.

Did the words of Zhuo Yuzhen provoke her thoughts?

After a long time, Zhuo Yuzhen suddenly asked, “Is the Peacock Plume in your hands real?”

Mingyue Xin said, “It is not.”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Can I see it?”

Mingyue Xin said, “You cannot.”

Zhuo Yuzhen couldn’t resist asking, “Why not?”

Mingyue Xin said, “Because even though it isn’t the real Peacock Plume, it is still a tool for killing people, and it carries a murderous aura. I, too, am unwilling to allow the child in your stomach to be contaminated with a murderous aura.”

Zhuo Yuzhen looked at her. She suddenly laughed, “Do you know why I am laughing?”

Mingyue Xin said, “I do not!”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “I suddenly feel as though your speech mannerisms are absolutely identical to those of Fu Hongxue. Therefore…”

Mingyue Xin said, “Therefore?”

Zhuo Yuzhen laughed again. “Therefore, if you absolutely had to marry someone, I think you would definitely marry him.”

Mingyue Xin laughed as well, but her laughter was very forced. “It’s a good thing that I do not absolutely have to marry someone.”

Zhuo Yuzhen hung her head. “But I do.”

Mingyue Xin said, “Why?”

Zhuo Yuzhen sadly said, “Because of my child. I can’t allow him to be without a father.”

Mingyue Xin also couldn’t resist probing further. “Who do you want to be his father?”

Zhuo Yuzhen said, “Naturally, I would want a real man, a man who could protect me.”

Mingyue Xin again couldn’t resist asking, “A man like Fu Hongxue?”

Zhuo Yuzhen actually did not deny it.

Mingyue Xin’s laughter became even more forced. “Do you know how heartless he is?”

Zhuo Yuzhen faintly smiled. “Sentimental or heartless. How can one really tell?”

“Are we still riding this carriage?”

“Mmhmm.”

“Who should be the driver now?

“You.”

Yan Nanfei finally couldn’t control his anger. “Why is it still me?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Because I don’t know how.”

Yan Nanfei started. “Why is it that whenever I hear your words, I am startled?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Because I speak the truth.”

Yan Nanfei could only leap onto the front of the carriage. Whipping the horse, he said, “See? This isn’t very hard at all. Everyone knows how. Why don’t you learn how?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Since everyone knows how, then anyone can drive for me. Why must I learn?”

Yan Nanfei was startled yet again.

“You really do speak nothing but the truth.” He shook his head, a wry smile on his lips. “But I wish you would tell a lie once in a while.”

“Why?”

“Because the truth never seems to be as comfortable as a lie.”

The carriage moved forward. It travelled for a very long time. Fu Hongxue was meditating the entire time. He suddenly said, “You recognize the person who was playing chess with Yang Wuji?”

Yan Nanfei nodded. “He is called Gu Qi. He one of Gongzi Yu’s major subordinates.”

Fu Hongxue said, “I hear he has four master martial artists in his employ. Together, they are known as ‘Zither [Qin], Chess [Qi], Calligraphy [Shu], Art [Hua]’.”

Yan Nanfei said, “There are five master martial artists. Yu Qin, Gu Qi, Wang Shu, Wu Hua, and Xiao Jian [Sword].”

Fu Hongxue said, “You have met all five of them?”

Yan Nanfei said, “I only met three. At that time, Gongzi Yu hadn’t met Yu Qin and Xiao Jian.”

Fu Hongxue stared at him. “When was that?”

Yan Nanfei shut his mouth.

Fu Hongxue refused to let it drop. He continued to ask, “Was it when you and Gongzi Yu often met with one another?”

Yan Nanfei’s mouth was still shut.

Fu Hongxue said, “You know all of his secrets. You are very familiar with all of his highest ranking subordinates. Naturally, the two of you had many dealings in the past.”

Yan Nanfei did not deny it. He could not deny it.

Fu Hongxue said, “What type of relationship do the two of you have, exactly?”

Yan Nanfei coldly said, “Everyone always says that you value your words as highly as gold. Why do I always feel as though you are an overly talkative person?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Because you will not lie, but are afraid to tell the truth.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Right now, I am talking about you, not me.”

Fu Hongxue said, “But the one I am talking about is you.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Can we talk about something else? Even now, I still have no idea where you are taking us!”

Fu Hongxue said, “You know. In order to kill a hunter, you must go to the place where he has set his traps.”

Yan Nanfei said, “The home of Zhuo Donglai then?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Originally.”

Yan Nanfei said, “No longer?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Dead people have no homes.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Zhuo Donglai is already a dead man?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Thus, that place is now nothing more than a trap.”

Yan Nanfei let out another sigh. “I only hope that those hunters are still there and have not left.”

Fu Hongxue said, “They probably have not yet left. To be a hunter, the first thing one must learn is patience.”

Zhuo Donglai really was a dead man. Even his corpse was ice cold.

This wasn’t strange at all. If one’s chosen profession is murder, the first thing one should learn is how to silence witnesses! So long as you join assassins in even one of their activities, you should be prepared to be killed and silenced at any point in time. In their eyes, a person’s life definitely was not worth more than that of a wild dog.

Zhuo Donglai had been killed like a wild dog, beneath the tree in the courtyard.

Fu Hongxue saw him from afar. His eyes were filled with sorrow and melancholy.

Life was originally a precious thing. Why is it that some people simply refuse to cherish it?

He pitied this man, perhaps only because he himself had been ruined by the word ‘alcohol’ before.

Alcohol wasn’t a bad thing in and of itself. The problem lies within one’s self.

If you yourself are willing to sink into vice and are unable to extricate yourself, then there is definitely no one in the entire world who can rescue you.

Yan Nanfei’s thoughts and feelings on this clearly were not as deep as his. He was still young. His heart was still filled with lofty ideals and aspirations.

Thus, he only wanted to ask, “The trap is here. Where are the huntsmen?”

Fu Hongxue was silent. Before he had a chance to open his mouth, there was a light cry from the back of the house. “Ware the dagger!”

The dagger gleamed, looking like a bolt of lightning as it flew towards his back. Fu Hongxue did not dodge, did not move. It was his sabre which moved!

With a clanging sound, sparks exploded in all directions. A dagger flash filled the sky, appearing as though it had pierced through the clouds and left the world.

Fu Hongxue’s sabre was already sheathed.

Yan Nanfei let out a breath. “Looks like at least one person remains here.”

Fu Hongxue dully said, “I can tell that he has long since learned the art of patience.”

Just as they finished these two sentences, the dagger flash fell down from the heavens. When it fell down, it fell down in two parts as the parts crashed down to earth like meteorites.

It was the handle and blade of a flying dagger!

The four inch long flying dagger had been snapped in half.

The flying dagger had attacked him, but his sabre had countered the dagger. The dagger flew many meters up into the air.

Who could imagine the speed with which this flying dagger had been sent out?

But with a backwards flip of his sabre, Fu Hongxue had deflected this knife, snapping in half its blade, which had been refined and smelted a hundred times over.

Someone sighed from within the room. “Truly an incomparable sabre technique. You did not misspeak.”

Fu Hongxue slowly turned around. “Why haven’t you left yet.”

As soon as he turned around, he saw Xiao Siwu.

Xiao Siwu walked out empty-handed. He coldly said, “The ‘four withouts’ of my name does not include ‘without shame’. Even if I were to leave, I would leave openly and with dignity.”

He had no dagger in his hands, appearing as though he were a virgin who had suddenly been stripped naked. He didn’t even know what he should do with his hands now.

But he did not flee.

Fu Hongxue looked at him. “You have only one dagger?”

Xiao Siwu said, “The person I came to fight today is you. I can only bring one dagger!”

Fu Hongxue said, “Why?”

Xiao Siwu said, “Because I know that the first dagger is the last dagger. Thus, when I strike out with that first dagger, I must use all of my strength.”

Fu Hongxue said, “You forced yourself into a deadly situation, so that when you strike, you would strike whole-heartedly?”

Xiao Siwu said, “Precisely so.”

He slowly added, “In addition, after I strike with that first dagger, I must succeed in landing the strike. Otherwise, even if I had hundreds or thousands of other daggers, none of them would land.”

Fu Hongxue stared at him. He suddenly waved his hand. “Well said. Leave!”

Xiao Siwu said, “You are letting me leave?”

Fu Hongxue said, “I am not going to kill you this time, only because you said three words.”

Xiao Siwu said, “What three words?”

Fu Hongxue said, “Ware my dagger!”

Before he sent out his flying dagger, he had given a warning. This definitely was not how a despicable, contemptible man would act.

Fu Hongxue said, “My sabre only kills evil, deceitful people. Your dagger is evil and deceitful, but you yourself are not.”

Xiao Siwu’s hands suddenly clenched. A strange expression suddenly appeared in his eyes. After a long time, he slowly said, “If I had not said those three words, would you have been able to defeat my dagger?”

Fu Hongxue said, “You regret it?”

Xiao Siwu said, “Not regret. I just want to know the truth.”

Fu Hongxue stared at him for a long time. He coldly said, “If you had not said those three words, you would be a dead man right now!”

Xiao Siwu did not say a single word further. He turned around and left. He walked very quickly, and did not look back.

Someone else sighed in the room. “Even if he does not regret it, you will regret it.”

A man slowly walked out, dressed in black clothes and white socks. It was Gu Qi.

Fu Hongxue said, “Regret it? Regret what?”

Gu Qi said, “Regret not killing him!”

Fu Hongxue’s hands clenched tightly. He had two chances to kill that arrogant youngster, but he had given up both of them.

Gu Qi said, “Once a golden opportunity is missed, it will never come again. If you want to kill someone, abstain from nothing.”

He laughed, then continued. “This time, you did not kill him. I fear that next time, you will die to him.”

Fu Hongxue stared at him. He suddenly laughed coldly. “And you? Should I kill you this time?”

Gu Qi said, “That depends. Do you want to kill my central pieces, or the great dragon I have to the right? Are you playing the white pieces, or the black pieces?” [These are, obviously, all chess references.]

Fu Hongxue did not understand. He did not play chess. Only people of leisure played chess. Whenever he had free time, he gripped his sabre.

Thus, Gu Qi could only laugh alone. “What I meant to say is, you cannot kill me, you can only kill my chess pieces, because I only know how to play chess. In addition, this chess game is between you guys. I am not involved. You cannot even kill my chess pieces.”

Smiling, he walked past Fu Hongxue. He knew that Fu Hongxue definitely would not strike, because he did not guard himself at all and anyone could kill him. But Fu Hongxue was not anyone. Fu Hongxue was Fu Hongxue.

Yan Nanfei watched as he walked away. He suddenly laughed. “Looks like you didn’t make the wrong move.”

Gu Qi said, “But I lost three games in a row today.”

Yan Nanfei said, “You lost to Yang Wuji?”

Gu Qi said, “He is the only one who can beat me.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Why?”

Gu Qi said, “Because he treats killing chess pieces the same way as he treats killing people. He abstains from nothing at all, whereas I have burdens on my mind.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Burdens on your mind?”

Gu Qi said, “I am afraid of losing at chess.”

Only people who fear losing at chess will lose chess matches that they should not have lost. The more they are afraid, the more they will lose. The more they lose, the more afraid they become.

Only people whose hearts are filled with fear will kill people they should not kill. Fear of justice. Fear of truth.

The night was very deep.

Gu Qi walked out the door. He suddenly turned around, then said, “I recommend that you two leave as well.”

Yan Nanfei said, “There is no longer anyone here?”

Gu Qi said, “None living. Only the dead.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Gongsun Tu and the others are not inside?”

Gu Qi said, “They didn’t even come, because they were impatient to go to another place.”

Yan Nanfei said, “Where did they go?”

Gu Qi said, “Wherever you came from, that is the place they went.”

Yan Nanfei wanted to ask further, but Gu Qi had already departed. Yan Nanfei chased out the door, but he had already disappeared.

He could only hear Gu Qi’s voice float towards them from far away. “The legends say that when the peacock dies, the bright moon [Mingyue] will sink down as well. It will sink to the ground, sink to the sea…


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