“There are some people I don’t like, so I have them killed. Do you think I only kill those who offended me?” Zhao Min replied, “Some people continuously offend me, yet I did not kill them. Take you, for example, how many times have you offended me?” While saying this, her eyes were smiling.
Zhang Wuji heaved a deep sigh and said, “Miss Zhao, I offended you because I did not have any other choice. You have given me the medicine I need to save my San Shibo [third martial (older) uncle] and Liu Shishu [sixth martial (younger) uncle]; for that I will be eternally grateful.”
Zhao Min laughed and said, “I think a third part of you is muddleheaded. Yu Daiyan and Yin Liting received their injuries from my subordinates. You did not blame me, but thank me instead?”
Zhang Wuji smiled and said, “My San Shibo was injured twenty years ago; at that time you haven’t been born yet.”
“Those people are my father’s subordinates; therefore, they are also my subordinates. So what’s the difference?” Zhao Min asked, “Anyway, don’t divert the subject, I asked you: If I killed your Miss Zhou, what would you do? Would you kill me to avenge her?”
Zhang Wuji was silent for half a day before answering, “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Zhao Min pressed, “You just don’t want to say it, do you?”
Zhang Wuji said, “My father and mother were forced to their death by some people. They are from Shaolin Pai, Huashan Pai, Kongtong Pai [‘pai’ = Sect] and the others. When I got older my reasoning also grew; but the more I think, the more I don’t understand: Who was my parents’ real killer? I should say it was not Kong Zhi Dashi [Reverend Kong Zhi], Tie Qin Xiansheng [Mister Iron Qin], those people; I can’t even say it was my (maternal) grandfather or my uncle; so much so that I can’t say it was your subordinates, Ah Er, Ah San, the Xuanming Elders, and so on. All I can say is that it was fate; I have thought it over yet I could not come to the clear truth. Let’s just say that those people were the killers; then I would kill them all one by one. What do I gain? My father and mother would not come back to life. Miss Zhao, these past several days I have been thinking: If everybody does not kill somebody else, live in harmony with each other, love each other as friends, won’t that be good? I don’t want to seek revenge by killing someone; I also hope others would not kill and harm other people.”
He had had this thought for a long time, only he had not told Yang Xiao, he had not told Zhang Sanfeng, he had not told Yin Liting, yet suddenly in this small restaurant he told it to Zhao Min. Once it came out of his mouth, suddenly he felt weird.
Listening to him pouring out his heart Zhao Min paused to ponder, and then she said, “You are very kind-hearted. I can’t do that. If someone killed my father or my brother, not only I would kill him and his whole family, I would also kill his relatives, his friends, everybody who is related to him. I will wipe them clean.”
“Then surely I must stop you,” Zhang Wuji said.
“Why?” Zhao Min asked, “Are you going to side with my enemy?”
“You kill one person, you will add one guilt to your life,” Zhang Wuji said, “To the person you killed, after he died he won’t know anything, so that was that. But how about his parents, his children, his brothers or sisters, his wife; won’t they feel unbearable grief? When you recall what you did in the future, your conscience will not be peaceful. My ‘yi fu’ [godfather] has killed many people. Although he has never said anything, I know he feels deep regrets in his heart.”
Zhao Min did not say anything; she quietly pondered over what he said. Zhang Wuji asked, “Have you killed anybody?”
Zhao Min smiled and said, “I have not. But when I am older, I will kill a lot of people. My ancestor is Genghis Khan the Great Emperor, Tuolei, Badou, Xuliewu, Khubilai, those heroes. I regret that I was born female. If I were a man, hey, hey, I would certainly accomplish great undertakings.” She poured out one more cup of wine, drank it, and said, “You have not answered my question.”
“If you killed Miss Zhou, or anybody related to my subordinates, then I will no longer consider you as my friend; I will never see you again, nor will I speak to you,” Zhang Wuji said.
Zhao Min laughed, “Then do you currently consider me as your friend?” she asked.
“If I hated you in my heart, then I would not sit together and drink some wine with you,” Zhang Wuji said, “Ah! It is so difficult for me to hate anybody. All my life the person I hated most was that ‘hun yuan pi li zhang’ [Lightning Palms of the Originating Formation] Cheng Kun. [Translator’s note: previously it was ‘shou’ (hand) instead of ‘zhang’ (palm); perhaps Jin Yong ‘forgot’?] Yet now that he died, I feel sorry for him. I actually wish he did not die.”
“If I die tomorrow, what would you think?” Zhao Min asked, “I bet you will say: Thank the Heaven and thank the Earth, my wicked and fiendish enemy has died; from this time on I will be spared of many troubles.”
“No, no!” Zhang Wuji loudly said, “I am not looking forward to your dying; not in the least bit. Wei Fuwang [Bat King Wei] has scared you by threatening to cut your face several times. Later on when I think about it I am very anxious.”
With a captivating smile Zhao Min blushed and lowered her head.
“Miss Zhao,” Zhang Wuji said, “Please don’t make things difficult for us. Why don’t you release the six major sects’ masters; then we all can live happily as friends, won’t that be good?”
“Very good,” Zhao Min delightfully said, “That’s what I was hoping for. You are the Cult Leader of the Ming Cult, your words carry a lot of weight. Go and talk to them, tell them to surrender to the royal government. Wait till my father becomes the Emperor, then he will grant rewards to everybody.”
Zhang Wuji slowly shook his head, “Our Han people all have a wish: to drive you, Mongolians, from invading our land,” he said.