The Terrible Truth
Yi Ping, Gongsun Jing, Zuo Tianyi and Qiu Wufeng were seating at a cozy inn now as they were drinking to their hearts’ content.
They had booked a private room for eating and were seating around a large circular table and there were all kinds of food on the table.
Yi Ping looked at everyone before he finally said, “Other than Brother Tianyi, we are all broke and yet we are ordering so much food?”
Zuo Tianyi laughed, “It is alright. Don’t be shy and order all you can.”
Qiu Wufeng asked, “I didn’t know that a secular sect like the Infinity Sword Clan is so rich?”
Zuo Tianyi took out his money pouch and put it on the table.
Gongsun Jing immediately poured the contents out and to their horror; they saw only ten copper coins that spilled out of the money pouch!
Yi Ping said slowly, “This private room and all these food cost at least three silver and we have not considered the rooms that we have booked yet.”
Qiu Wufeng looked at Zuo Tianyi as he said, “And you are the one that suggest we come here?”
Zuo Tianyi laughed aloud as he said, “Don’t worry. We all can’t afford it but someone else will soon come along and pay for all these.”
Yi Ping asked, “Who?”
Zuo Tianyi smiled mysteriously, “A rich friend of mine.”
Gongsun Jing asked, “Do we know him? His name?”
Zuo Tianyi smiled, “You do know him. His name is Brother Qiang.”
Yi Ping, Gongsun Jing and Qiu Wufeng looked at one another in puzzlement. It was because they did not remember having known anyone with that name!
At this moment, Xiao Youxue, Ding Yunzi and Lie Qing had just entered the private room as they stepped through the thinly veiled curtains.
The inn was unusually crowded both inside and outside.
It was because as soon as Xiao Youxue, Ding Yunzi and Lie Qing had entered the Inn, a throng of visitors began to crowd into the place just to admire them. Those who could not get into the inn was standing outside and pointing at the inn!
Lie Qing stroked her long hair as she smiled, “This place is really so crowded. I have not seen so many people in such a long time.”
Even as they had entered the private room, Yi Ping, Gongsun Jing, Zuo Tianyi and Qiu Wufeng almost fell out of their seats!
It was because even the simply dressed Ding Yunzi had changed into a long flowing silk dress. They were simply too stunning and moving that Yi Ping, Gongsun Jing, Zuo Tianyi and Qiu Wufeng were staring at them for a long time.
Xiao Youxue was looking shyly because this was the first time that Yi Ping had looked at her in this way.
Yi Ping was the first to react as he said slowly, “Don’t forget that we have many enemies. You are all attracting too much attention and moreover, your dresses are all too revealing…”
Silk was a translucent material. During hot summers, it would grow cool and during winter, it would be warm. Naturally, it was also a beautiful but expensive material.
Gongsun Jing gasped at Ding Yunzi as he said, “So beautiful…”
Xiao Youxue said coolly, “Did it really matter? We are already attracting throngs of attention when we have entered the city. It doesn’t matter which outfit we are wearing. Why are you guys minding?”
It was true. Even without changing to the silk dresses, they were all absolute stunning.
Qiu Wufeng gulped as he stared at Lie Qing and Xiao Youxue, “I do not mind.”
Zuo Tianyi stared at Ding Yunzi as he said, “Yunzi, you are very beautiful…”
Yi Ping sighed as he said, “Somehow I have a very bad feeling tonight. Let’s leave the city immediately. The Honor Manor has a presence in this city. It is really unwise that we should be attracting so much attention…”
But before he could finish, a dashing man walked into the private room in an insolent manner as he laughed, “Maidens, can you honor me with your names? I, Nangong Le will be honored to know you.”
Indeed it was Nangong Le but he did not seen to have notice that Yi Ping, Zuo Tianyi, Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing was in the room at all even though he was acquainted with them. His attention was entirely focused towards Xiao Youxue, Lie Qing and Ding Yunzi!
In fact, he had even failed to notice that Ding Yunzi was the maiden that had killed Gongsun Bai on that very fateful day!
It was only then that Yi Ping, Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing knows that “Brother Qiang” refers to Nangong Le, a cockroach that could not be killed off and driven away so easily!
Zuo Tianyi had accidentally caught sight of the vain Nangong Le in the city. Knowing what he was like, he had asked Lie Qing to deliberately lure him to this inn!
Nangong Le was in the streets when he caught sight of three stunning beautiful maidens and when they had entered the inn; he began to push rudely through the crowd as he ignored the cursing and swearing.
Lie Qing smiled at Nangong Le, “So you are Nangong Le? I have heard of you.”
Nangong Le laughed merrily, “You have heard of me? I didn’t know I am so renowned. Hahaha.”
He thought, “I am so lucky today to find three wondrous beauties in this boring city.”
Lie Qing thought, “So he is the richest man in the fraternity. He looked more like a lecher to me.”
But she smiled as she looked at Yi Ping, “Unfortunately, we are having a meal with some friends here and it may not be convenient for us to talk.”
Only then did Nangong Le remember that he had barged into a private dining room. He quickly turned around to apologize when he saw Yi Ping, Qiu Wufeng, Zuo Tianyi and Gongsun Jing staring at him.
Nangong Le was startled as he said, “Brother Yi Ping, why are you here? Do you know you are being wanted by the Honor Manor now? Isn’t this Qiu Wufeng? He has killed his father and elders. Gongsun Jing! All of you are wanted by the Honor Manor! Oh mine, even Protégé Master Zuo Tianyi is here. You are from the orthodox clan; surely you know that they are wanted by the majority of the martial fraternity? There is a heft bounty on their heads!”
Zuo Tianyi smiled bitterly, “So what? Are you interested in the bounty too?”
Nangong Le smiled, “Do you think I mind those little bounty?”
Qiu Wufeng sarcastically remarked, “You don’t mind those bounty but you want those renown very much. We all know you are a very vain person.”
Nangong Le clapped his fan as he said, “Who doesn’t want renown? Power, influence, riches, fame and glory, these are the pursuits of everyone.”
Lie Qing interrupted with a mesmerizing smile, “And beauties too. You have forgotten to mention it.”
Nangong Le laughed, “That is right. And beauties too.”
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue closed the doors of the private room.
Nangong Le was alarmed as he suddenly noticed that the stares of everyone were hostile!
Xiao Youxue said coldly, “What about the honor of killing the richest man in the fraternity. That would be some renown.”
Nangong Le smiled bitterly, “Surely maiden you must be joking. You are too beautiful to be a killer…”
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue drew out her sword and pointed at him. From her expressions, she did not seem to be joking!
Nangong Le immediately looked at Yi Ping to say, “Brother Yi Ping, what is going on? Say something for me.”
Yi Ping sighed as he said, “Either we have all heard wrongly or we have misunderstood you. You just suggest that you would betray us for some renown.”
Nangong Le protested, “Of course not!”
Zuo Tianyi said, “The Honor Manor has called for an expedition against the Holy Hex Sect. All the heroes of the fraternity are now gathering in force for an attack into the western fraternity. This city is the transit point to the western fraternity. If you are not here to join the westward expedition attack against the Holy Hex Sect, why then are you here?”
Nangong Le said, “I am going there to look for Maiden Lingfeng…”
He turned to Yi Ping and said, “Brother Yi Ping, you know her too. Don’t you know that she is actually the Holy Maiden of the Holy Hex Sect?”
Lie Qing was alarmed as she thought, “Who is this Maiden Lingfeng?”
Ding Yunzi thought, “Is she the one that is with him that day in the Honor Manor?”
Yi Ping smiled weakly to Nangong Le, “It seems that you have already forgotten all about her…”
Nangong Le stole a quick glances at the three stunning maiden as he said, “Of course not! But you know, I am just surprise to see all of you…”
Gongsun Jing said, “More like you are surprise to see all the wanted fugitives in the same place.”
Qiu Wufeng said, “It seems like we cannot let you go now.”
Nangong Le said in alarm, “I know that Gongsun Jing and you do not like me. Both of you are vicious enough to murder your families in order to achieve your aims. I am not like you.”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping grabbed Nangong Le to sit down as he said. “Gongsun Jing, Zuo Tianyi and Qiu Wufeng are my brothers now. Let bygones be bygones now. They are only teasing you. After what had happened to their families, they had made light of many things. Surely, you don’t mind the past too?”
Gongsun Jing and Qiu Wufeng roared with laughter.
Gongsun Jing smiled, “Surely you don’t mind a little joke? We already know what you are like. Would you like to join us?”
Nangong Le the Joyous smiled bitterly, “Do I really have a choice? You are really some friends of mine. Now I am forced to join a company of fugitives.”
Yi Ping said, “If you don’t want to join us, then you can leave immediately and as soon as possible. It is because our enemies may be here anytime soon!”
Nangong Le took a jar of wine from the table as he gulped it before he said, “Why should I leave? You know I never believe those rubbish that come from the Honor Manor. Many of my other pugilist friends are framed by them too. There are good wines, good food, beauties and my good friends here. As you know, I have never feared the Honor Manor at all…”
Zuo Tianyi laughed as he patted Nangong Le’s shoulder, “We know, we know. Even though we have never talked more than a few sentences previously before but I admire your courage. When the Virtuous Palace is here later, we’ll be glad to have you on our side.”
Nangong Le immediately turned ashen and he almost choked on the wine that he was drinking. He stammered, “Did you just say the Virtuous Palace?”
Yi Ping said, “Somehow, I am wanted by the Virtuous Palace too. This is Maiden Xiao Youxue and this is Maiden Ding Yunzi, they are also wanted by the Virtuous Palace.”
Nangong Le broke into a cold sweat as he looked at Maiden Ding as he asked, “She is really the one that was with Xiao Shuai at the Honor Manor that day?”
Yi Ping said, “That is her.”
Nangong Le could barely recognize her even though he was looking all the time at her that day. He sighed, “Alas, Nangong alas Le Nangong Le. You are now really in deep trouble.”
Lie Qing said unhappily, “Yi Ping, why didn’t you introduce me?”
Yi Ping smiled, “Even if I don’t introduce you, he will know who you are sooner or later. So why should I introduce you when he will surely ask later.”
Nangong Le immediately asked Lie Qing, “May I know Maiden name?”
Lie Qing blinked her eyes at him as she replied, “Lie Qing. That is my name!”
Nangong Le said, “What a beautiful name. I am Nangong Le. You have beautiful eyes too. I have never seen eyes like yours.”
Lie Qing smiled mysteriously as she said, “Do you really think my eyes are beautiful?”
Nangong Le said, “Of course!”
Lie Qing asked, “Then you are not afraid of that Maiden Lingfeng would be upset with you for talking to me?”
Nangong Le laughed as he looked at Yi Ping, “I wish she would be upset with me but I can tell that her heart probably belongs to Brother Yi Ping.”
Yi Ping stammered, “I…I am married already.”
This time, everyone except Xiao Youxue and Ding Yunzi was surprised as Lie Qing asked, “Ping, you are really married? Why didn’t you tell us?”
Gongsun Jing said, “I wonder who sister-in-law is. You can introduce her to us in the future!”
Qiu Wufeng asked, “Who is she? Brother Yi Ping’s wife must be someone that is extraordinary too.”
Yi Ping sighed with sadness, “I wish I could but that not possible. She is no longer in this world.”
Lie Qing appeared to be saddened as she said, “I so sorry to hear that…”
Yi Ping looked at Qiu Wufeng as he said, “Actually you know too. She is Shui Yixian the Celestial Fairy.”
While the name of Shui Yixian was not familiar to Qiu Wufeng but when he had heard of the name of Celestial Fairy, he was jolted. It was because he was among the group of exponents that had led an attack on the Eternal Ice Palace!
Qiu Wufeng stammered as he asked, “She had died on that fateful day when I had left? Tian Kui killed her?”
Yi Ping shook his head sadly, “It is the veiled yellow dressed maiden that has killed her. No matter where she is, I will never let her off.”
Yi Ping looked pleadingly at Ding Yunzi, “Maiden Yunzi, if you know who she is, you must tell me…”
Ding Yunzi interrupted coldly, “I have told you many times, I do not know her.”
Qiu Wufeng was bewildered as he said, “You say that Maiden Xiao Youxue is the one that has killed the Celestial Fairy? How is it possible?”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping looked at Qiu Wufeng with a sudden jolt as he stared blankly in the air, “What do you mean? You say that Maiden Xiao Youxue is the veiled yellow dressed maiden?”
Qiu Wufeng was baffled, “Isn’t that very obvious? I still recognize her shoes and white jade pendant on her belt…”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping recalled the first time that he had seen the veiled yellow dressed maiden and her terrible kicks that still startled him to this very day. Their shoes were exactly identical!
Yi Ping looked at Xiao Youxue…
There were tears on her face as she had wept silently. She pursed her lips as she said melancholy, “Yes, I have killed your wife. Now you know the truth, are you happy about it?”
This revelation shocked everyone in the room!
Ding Yunzi said, “Sister that is not possible. I have seen the Celestial Fairy only a few months ago…”
Xiao Youxue said melancholy as she took a few steps backward, “Sister Yun, you don’t have to console me. I know what I have done is unforgivable but I have no choice back then. You don’t have to lie to cover for me. I know that you have meant well…”
Yi Ping got up of his seat as he stared fiercely at Xiao Youxue as he said angrily, “You lie to me! All these months, you are with me. What are your purposes? Are you content just to see me in miserably and never finding you?”
Xiao Youxue wished that this day would never come. This was the day that she had dreaded and feared…
Xiao Youxue threw the white emerald long sword on the table as she said tearfully, “I know you will never forgive me. Even if you want my life, I will never resist.”
Yi Ping trembled as he looked at the white emerald long sword as he laughed aloud, “All this while, my enemy is beside me. Yixian! Today I have finally found her! I will avenge for you….”
He trembled as he picked up the white emerald long sword as he said with bloodshot eyes, “You…you…”
Gongsun Jing and Zuo Tianyi immediately tried to step forward to hold him back but Yi Ping waved the white emerald long sword at them as he said angrily, “This is only between the two of us only. The rest of you step back!”
Ding Yunzi stepped in front of Xiao Youxue as she said coldly, “Don’t blame me if you want my sister’s life!”
Yi Ping said angrily at her, “You know all along that Youxue is the one that I have been looking for. Why do you lie to me as well?”
Ding Yunzi said quietly, “The Celestial Fairy is still alive. I have seen her…”
Yi Ping said angrily, “You are still lying to me. The protégés of the Virtuous Palace are trained in deceptions and bluffs. You are all birds of a same feather flock!”
Lie Qing interrupted unhappily, “Are you saying that I am also a deceptive person?”
Yi Ping said angrily, “Aren’t you all birds of the same feather flock?”
Lie Qing raised her enchanting voice, “I dare you to say that aloud again.” She had drawn out her black sword!
Yi Ping said angrily, “Fine, fine. You are all in it together. Only you are right and I am wrong.”
He stared at Xiao Youxue as he said with trembling voice, “You have saved my life. Now go. Don’t let me see you again or else the next time we have met again, it will be a life and death duel!”
Xiao Youxue cried out softly before she stormed out of the room, “I’m so sorry…”
Ding Yunzi looked coldly at Yi Ping, “You will regret this.”
And she too left the room.
Lie Qing said to Yi Ping, “Why are you so fierce? Do you think raising your voice aloud proves you are right? Why did you have to say so many hurtful words? Well, enjoy your meal then!” She too stormed angrily out of the private room.
Zuo Tianyi was worried for Ding Yunzi as he said quickly, “I will try to have a talk with them…”
Nangong Le said, “Brother Yi Ping, I am really disappointed in you. You actually raise your voice at them?!”
Zuo Tianyi and Nangong Le left the private dining room at the same time, leaving Yi Ping, Gongsun Jing and Qiu Wufeng alone in the room.
Yi Ping wailed aloud, “Only the three of us are left now…Am I wrong? She is the one that has killed my wife. I shouldn’t avenge my wife? Where is the justice then?!”
In the end, he still could not bring himself the heart to kill Xiao Youxue…
Qiu Wufeng was sighing, “I didn’t know this will turn out this way…”
Gongsun Jing sighed even heavier as he said, “Maiden Lie Qing is really an interesting maiden. She has actually asked us to enjoy our meals before she left.”
Qiu Wufeng asked, “What is so interesting about that?”
Gongsun Jing replied, “You could have seen the wry smile on her face just before she left the room. It seems that she has already anticipated that we have no money to pay for the meals…”
Yi Ping and Qiu Wufeng received a sudden jolt. If they had all left, who would pay for the lodgings and the meals?!