Chapter 142 Love History
The preparation for the robbery had taken ten years. When it was carried out, it took place in less time than it takes for an incense stick to burn.
Bag Zhou was an old man with a long gloomy face and a crooked nose. When faced with the teenage ‘sabreman’ who stopped him, he felt surprised and a bit disdainful. Then he realized that the teenager looked a bit familiar and that he seemed to have seen him somewhere before. So he looked back at his old best friend, hoping to get an answer from him. This ‘best friend’ had escorted him all the way and sighed several times about their friendship along the way, which not even his blood brother could have done so.
But what he saw was his ‘best friend’ Lame Tie slashing down his servants and guardsmen.
Bag Zhou’s team had fifteen people, ten oxcarts, and several horses.
The Master and disciple were like sharks surrounding and blocking minnows. One drove while the other slaughtered. They soon killed fourteen people like farmers reaping their crops, swift and clean.
Bag Zhou was left to Tie Hanfeng. Lame Tie proved that he was a pure killer. No matter how much he disliked his career, he had gotten used to the killer’s way of thinking and standards of conduct, and didn’t even hesitate to kill his best friend of ten years, only saying “You’re worth it” as he swung his blade. His own way of showing sentimentality was to say a few words to the one being killed, “Trading a lifetime of mediocrity for ten years of wealth.”
After finishing, Tie Hanfeng turned the oxcarts around and entered Golden Roc Castle’s territory. Not long after, they met a camel team waiting on the roadside where Tie Hanfeng whispered a few words to the leader and handed over everything, before speeding up to Jade City together with his disciple.
That was it. Gu Shenwei had finished ‘repaying’ his favor. He didn’t ask for any return or about the result. Where were those oxcarts going? How much wealth had Bag Zhou hidden? It all had nothing to do with him.
They came back just in time, when the small flag battalion was about to return to Golden Roc Castle. In six days, the twins’ birthday would take place.
Only Lotus knew where Servant Huan had been these past few days. Meanwhile, she had retrieved those two swords from the blacksmith village. She kept the one carved with the character ‘Huan’ and gave the one carved with the character ‘Yun’ to Servant Huan. This caused a lot of gossip amongst the disciples up until they entered the castle. They forgot all about it and could only care about who would become an official killer.
The sword forged by Elder Hong was surprisingly handy. Gu Shenwei felt pulses of anticipation course through him as he held it for the first time. His stomach roiled slightly, and he seemed to have tasted the flavor of blood.
It looked like that blacksmith had guessed the true intentions of the teenagers. What he made was not something to remember, to appreciate, or to play, but sharp weapons tailored to kill. The blade of the sword was perfect without any blemishes. Like a pool of clear water, it gleamed with a cruel white light that made cowards avert their eyes. The weight was just right, and it seemed to lead the wielder’s hand to automatically stab at the enemy once held in hand.
Gu Shenwei now thought that Lotus’ idea of making swords was so wonderful that he drew out the sword several times to appreciate it and felt that the narrow sabre in his hand was as dull as a piece of junk.
Tie Hanfeng didn’t even cast a glance at his disciple’s behavior. The only meaningful action he took was to hold his disciple’s shoulder and meaningfully say, “Be careful. You’re full of wounds, and the women in the castle also have scars all over their bodies. It’s not comfortable to rub against each other, or maybe you’d like it.”
Tie Hanfeng also followed him to return to the castle. In name, he was still one of the leaders of the small flag battalion. He had to hand over his duty and wait for his disciple to become an official killer. Only then could he break the narrow sabre and move into the Northern Jade City to retire.
But he was so excited that he became a nagger and didn’t care about anything else. From when he opened his eyes to when he closed his eyes, and even when going to bed, all that he talked about was how good his future life was going to be.
“Wine, I’ll drink it till I die. And women, fuck it. I’ll get drunk and die on women. I’ll give half of my heritage to the woman who stays with me when I die and the other half to you.”
It was a last-ditch act of gratitude. Gu Shenwei not only had to endure his Master’s endless nagging, but he also had to buy drinks for his Master to cheer him up.
It was their third day back in the castle. Tie Hanfeng drank lots of wine at noon, but he didn’t fall asleep. He somehow fell into silence. At dusk, when the old man spoke again, he was as sentimental as a poet.
The sky was overcast in the morning, and it was snowing by the afternoon. The snowflakes melted as it fell on the ground. Perhaps it was the weather that aroused the killer’s pathos.
“My Master was not a good guy. I hope he’s suffering in hell. But I’m also not a good guy, so I’ll go to hell after I die. So I have to enjoy it while I’m still alive. Whether I am fried in boiling oil or burnt in fire, I have to rely on my memories to support myself.”
Gu Shenwei had moved his Master’s deck chair into the room, the door of which was open. Tie Hanfeng didn’t like staying in an enclosed room, and as long as he could bear the coldness, he’d rather sleep in the open air.
“Everything is illusionary. I’ve heard the monks say that all things in life are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow, a dewdrop, or a flash of lightning. It disappears in the blink of an eye and leaves no trace. That’s why the temple at the castle put up that stele which reads ‘Endless killing along the six paths of reincarnation.’ Everyone will die, sooner or later. There’s no difference because one will reincarnate anyway. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man, a beast, or an insect. You’ll still end up being cut. You can’t kill them all. You’ll never kill them all.”
Tie Hanfeng usually wasn’t devout to Buddha, so Gu Shenwei felt a bit laughable when he suddenly burst out with such contradictory remarks. The cripple wasn’t a serious killer, but he had sighed about the ‘endless killing’ before. Gu Shenwei wouldn’t have any such thoughts, because the number of people he wanted to kill was countable.
“Her skin was as white as snow, her fingers as soft as the spring wind. She touched me from head to toe; my scars seemed to have melted away.”
Tie Hanfeng suddenly changed the topic, his eyes blurring. He even forgot to keep drinking. “The kid of the Xu family was right. A man will always fall in love with the first woman they sleep with, and indeed I haven’t forgotten her. I could never forget her no matter how many women I sleep with. Every time, every woman … I always end up seeing something similar or seeing a part of her in them.”
Tie Hanfeng had an unforgettable lifetime of a love history before his leg wasn’t so crippled and his face wasn’t so red.
At one time, his pursuit of killing was second to none. He was already ranked at the top when he was still a disciple and he had nothing in his eyes except for his sabre and lord. It was not until he was twenty-three years old that he had intimate contact with a woman for the first time.
His first time was far from perfect. A killer, who could kill someone within a breath of time and who slashed as swiftly as he did flickering his finger, was stiff and clumsy in bed. It was even difficult for him to turn around; he was as stiff as a stone. There was only one part that stayed soft and he couldn’t last to the end. She used all of her tricks to try to relax him but failed.
The two tossed and turned for an entire night. They exchanged a few words at the beginning, but that gradually became boring. The two stopped speaking and just silently worked hard, hoping to make that deadly little thing hold on a bit longer.
She was as meticulous as a weaver, and used all the methods she had learnt or heard of one by one, and tried again and again.
Like a cattle or sheep waiting to be slaughtered, he accepted his destiny by lying on his back in bed, hoping that everything would be over soon, hoping that everything would come to a good end.
A whole candle died out. She let out a breath and put her head on his arm, her fingers like a fresh spring wind caressing every scar on his chest. Then she said the words he would remember forever, “Let’s go to sleep.”
His heavy pressure vanished instantly and he was asleep before he closed his eyes, sweet as never before.
It was afternoon when he woke up. He smelled something like orchids and musk from the pillow, the top of the bed, the outside, the whole Jade City, and even the great sea he had heard of but never visited before. He drowned in it completely.
He fell in love with the woman next to him, and turned over and pressed on her. Self-taught, he finished the thing the two had wanted without any guidance. One time, two times … until even the killer’s body could bear it no longer.
They had someone bring them food. They ate, rested, touched, fought in bed, and lived like animals for three days.
This was Tie Hanfeng’s love history. Perhaps it wasn’t as special and beautiful as it sounded, because what happened later was a common story of whoremaster and whore. The killer couldn’t change his destiny, and no one could escape the rut of life.
A month later he could no longer bear his endless yearning and her job, so he redeemed her and moved in with her in a rented house. The two agreed that she would not take any guests and he would abstain from drinking and devote himself to the business of killing.
They had almost a full year of a good life before it all crashed down.
It wasn’t easy to stop drinking. What attracted him was not only the alcohol, but also the chaotic atmosphere in the southwall tavern. He loved to silently sit in a noisy environment, and sitting honestly at home made him feel like a stranded fish, struggling to breathe. His head kept buzzing, which forced him to return to the water.
She also got bored. The scarred killer soon lost his mystique and became just another ordinary man: Jealous, drunk, and lying.
He forgot who spoke first, but he soon moved out of that ‘home’ and devoted himself towards blood and wine. His face became redder and redder and his sabre slashed faster and faster. She left Jade City to seek a new life with another man.
Tie Hanfeng drank all the wine in his cup in one go, “I actually remember it all so well. Your Master’s image in your heart has collapsed, hasn’t it? Hey, it’s actually nothing. The heavier the cast off, the lighter the burden. It’s a test every killer has to go through, whether its a woman, or something else.”
Gu Shenwei didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t accept such an honest Tie Hanfeng, because he could never give up the burden in his heart and he also couldn’t confess this to his Master.
“I don’t like blood.” Gu Shenwei felt that he had to say something, so he revealed a small secret. “Everytime I see blood, I feel sick. How can I abandon this burden?”
To his surprise, Tie Hanfeng didn’t ridicule him at all. “Abandoning doesn’t mean throwing it away. It is making it a habit; it will no longer be a burden once you get used to it. To tell you the truth, I am still nervous to sleep with a woman even now. But the more I feel nervous, the more I want to do it. Haha, once you get used to it, the nervousness will become a motivation.”
It was a strange moment. The Master and disciple had never understood each other as well as right now.
“Her name is Zi Linglong. She went to the Shu Le Country. Now she is either died or disgustingly ugly. If you happen to meet her, you must kill her and never tell me what she looks like now.”
They laughed together. Gu Shenwei even poured himself a cup of wine to make a toast to his Master. Then he casually asked like a friend, “How’d your leg become lame? Is it also because of woman?” This was a topic Tie Hanfeng had never mentioned before as a killer usually avoided talking about their injuries.
Tie Hanfeng laughed loudly, saying, “Sort of. Well, not quite so. Two years ago, I was ordered to kill a few people. Then you know, I indulged my habit and played with a woman. Who would have thought that we killed the wrong person? I was cut on my foot by the eighth young lord when we came back. I’m actually lucky as I was lent out by the third young lord so the eighth young lord showed mercy to me. Several of his men had their right hands cut off.”
Almost all of Gu Shenwei’s blood rushed to his head and he nearly fainted.
“But that woman was really the best. I’m even excited thinking about it now. It was really a pity to kill her.”
As Tie Hanfeng recalled that scene, he didn’t notice the change in his disciple’s face.