Broken marriage of the Purple Dress King.
When he was nearing the Dadou, Zhang Wuji thought that with the uproar at the Wan An Temple the previous night, a lot of the warriors working for the Prince of Ruyang would certainly recognize his face; hence it would be inconvenient for him to enter the city as he was. Thereupon he stopped by a farmer’s house along the way to buy a set of old peasant clothes. He changed his clothes and wore a bamboo hat; he also blackened his face and hands using some soot and mud before he finally entered the city.
He returned toward the inn he was staying at the western side of the city, but did not enter the inn right away. He went around looking everywhere, and after ensuring that he saw nothing unusual he went into his room quick as a flash.
Xiao Zhao was sitting by the window; her hands were busy with needle and thread. She was startled to see someone enter the room; but her face broke into joyous smile just like a blooming flower in the spring after recognizing him. “Gongzi ye [young master], I thought it was a farmer breaking into the wrong room; turned out it was you,” she said with a laugh.
Zhang Wuji also laughed. “What are you doing?” he asked, “Aren’t you lonely?”
Xiao Zhao blushed; immediately she hid the clothes she was sewing behind her back. “I am learning to sew, but it is so bad,” she said bashfully. Stuffing the clothes underneath her pillow, she rose up to pour some tea for Zhang Wuji. Seeing his black face she laughed and said, “Aren’t you going to wash your face?”
“I put this on purpose,” Zhang Wuji smiled, “I can’t take it out yet.” He took the teacup while pondering in his heart, “Miss Zhao wanted me to come with her fetching the Tulong Saber. As a real man I have to live up to my promise; I can’t break it. Besides, I also want to take Yifu [foster father] to return to the ‘zhong tu’ [mainland, lit. middle/central earth]. Yifu was afraid that he made too many enemies in the ‘zhong yuan’ [Central Plains]; now that he is blind, he won’t be able to deal with them. But right now the warriors of the Wulin world are united to fight the invaders; certainly personal grudges can be resolved. As long as he is with me, nobody will be able to harm a single hair of his head. The wind and the waves of the ocean are dangerous; this child Xiao Zhao cannot come with us. Mmm, I got it. I can ask Miss Zhao to settle Xiao Zhao in the Palace; it is certainly a lot safer than any other places.”
Seeing him suddenly smile, Xiao Zhao asked, “Gongzi, what are you thinking?”
“I am going to a far, far away place,” Zhang Wuji said, “It is not safe to take you along. I am thinking of taking you to a place where you can stay temporarily.”
Xiao Zhao’s face changed. “Gongzi ye,” she said, “I am going with you. Xiao Zhao must attend to your need everyday.”
“This is for your own good,” Zhang Wuji tried to persuade her; “The place I am going is too far and too dangerous. I don’t know when I am coming back.”
Xiao Zhao said, “Inside that cave on the Brightness Peak I had made a resolution; wherever you go, I am going with you. Only if you kill me then you can get rid of me. Am I that disgusting that you do not want to be with me?”
“No, no,” Zhang Wuji said, “You know I like you very much, but I don’t want you to brave an unnecessary danger. As soon as I return, I’ll immediately look for you.”
Xiao Zhao shook her head, “As long as I am with you, I don’t mind any danger. Gongzi, take me with you!”
Zhang Wuji grasped Xiao Zhao’s hands and said, “Xiao Zhao, I am not going to lie to you; I have made a promise to Miss Zhao that I am going to accompany her overseas. On the ocean, the waves are so high that they reach the sky. I have to go since I don’t have any choice, but for you, what good is it for you to brave this mighty danger?”
Xiao Zhao’s face turned red, “You are going with Miss Zhao, I have more reasons to go with you.” While saying this, she was so worried that tears welled up in her eyes.
“Why do you have more reasons to go with me?” Zhang Wuji asked.
“That Miss Zhao is so evil,” Xiao Zhao said, “Nobody could guess what she is going to do to you. If I am with you, I can look after you.”
Zhang Wuji’s heart was stirred, “Could it be that this young girl have a deep feeling toward me?” he thought in his heart. Hearing the sincerity in her words his heart welled up with gratitude. He smiled and said, “All right, I’ll take you with me. But if you get seasick on the boat, you are not allowed to complain.”
Xiao Zhao was very happy; she gave her promise repeatedly. She said, “If I make you mad and you are not happy with me, you can toss me to the sea to feed the fish!”
Zhang Wuji laughed and said, “How can I bear to part with you?”
Although the two of them had known each other for quite a while, and sometimes had to share the same room due to the inconveniences of traveling, Xiao Zhao had always taken the position of a servant, and Zhang Wuji had never teased her or said anything inappropriate to her. Now that he blurted out, ‘How can I bear to part with you?’ he realized that he had made an indiscreet remark; he could not help blushing and turned his head around to look out the window, yet Xiao Zhao actually sighed and sat by the bed side.
“Why do you sigh?” Zhang Wuji asked.
“Actually, there are many people you cannot bear to part with,” Xiao Zhao replied, “Emei Pai’s Miss Zhou, Ruyang Palace’s Junzhu Niang-niang [princess; ‘niang-niang’ can also mean ‘empress’]; I don’t know how many more. How can you be concerned over a little girl like me?”
Zhang Wuji stood up in front of her and said, “Xiao Zhao, you are always good to me. Do you think I don’t know it? Do you think I am such an ungrateful man that I do not know good from bad?” He said these things with a serious face, showing her his earnestness.
Xiao Zhao was shy and happy at the same time. Lowering her head she said, “I am not asking you to treat me in a special way. As long as you allow me to be with you forever; to be your servant, to take care of you, I will be satisfied. You haven’t slept for the whole night, you must be very tired. Why don’t you lie on the bed and take some rest?” While saying that she lifted the blanket from the bed to let him lie down; and then she returned to her seat by the window, resuming her sewing.
While closing his eyes Zhang Wuji could still hear the occasional clinking noise of the iron chain on her hand; he felt safe and peaceful. Not too long afterwards he fell sound asleep.
Zhang Wuji slept until dusk. He woke up and ate a bowl of noodles. “Xiao Zhao,” he said, “Let me take you to see Miss Zhao, we can borrow her Yitian Sword to cut the iron shackle on your hands and feet.”
Two people went out to the street. They saw Mongolian soldiers on horsebacks everywhere. It seemed like the security level was at its highest after the fire at the Ruyang Palace and the big trouble in the Wan An Temple the previous night. As two people heard the hoof beats, they shrank back and hid behind the corner of a house to avoid being seen by the soldiers. They arrived at the small wine shop without taking too much time.