Zhao Min abruptly stood up and said, “What? You dare to say such preposterous thing, defying your superior? Don’t you realize you are blatantly rebelling against the government?”
Zhang Wuji replied, “I am a rebel. Don’t tell me you realized it just now?”
Zhao Min fixed her gaze at him for a long time; the anger and shock on her face slowly dissipated, turning into tenderness and despair. Finally she sat back down and said, “I have already known for a long time, but I want to hear it from your own mouth before I can believe it was absolutely true. You are really beyond any help.” These words were spoken with intense bitter feeling.
Zhang Wuji’s heart was soft to begin with; this time he could not bear to hear her grieving even more, he almost blurted, “I will listen and obey you.” But this thought disappeared in a flash; he tried to control his mind, but could not find some comforting words.
Two people sat facing each other silently for a long time. Finally Zhang Wuji said, “Miss Zhao, it is late, let me walk you home.”
“You don’t want to accompany me much longer, do you?” Zhao Min asked.
“No!” Zhang Wuji frantically said, “If you want to sit here, drinking and talking, then I’ll accompany you.”
Zhao Min smiled slightly, then slowly said, “Sometimes I am thinking: if I am not a Mongolian girl, also not a Junzhu, but a common Han girl just like Miss Zhou, then perhaps you will treat me a lot better. Zhang Gongzi, what do you say: am I prettier, or Miss Zhou is prettier?”
Zhang Wuji had never expected this kind of question to ever come out of her mouth; but he remembered that after all, barbarian women were frank and did not guard their speech too much. Under the lamp light he saw her to be sweet and extremely pretty; he could not help but blurted, “Of course you are prettier.”
Zhao Min reached out with her right hand to hold the back of Zhang Wuji’s hand, her eyes showed happiness. “Zhang Gongzi,” she said, “Would you like to see me often? If I invite you from time to time to come over here and have a drink, would you come?”
As his hand was being touched by her soft and tender palm, Zhang Wuji’s heart was thumping madly. Calming his heart down he said, “I can’t stay here for too long. In a few days I am going to the south.”
“What do you do in the south?” Zhao Min asked.
Zhang Wuji sighed and said, “Even if I don’t tell you, you will be able to guess; if I do, I’ll make you angry …”
Zhao Min averted her gaze toward the round moon outside the window; she suddenly said, “You have made a promise to do three things for me. Have you forgotten your promise?”
“Of course I haven’t forgotten,” Zhang Wuji said, “As soon as Miss tells me, I will do my utmost to fulfill it.”
Zhao Min turned her head back, looking straight at his face. She said, “Only now do I have my first request. I want you to accompany me to get that Tulong [Slaughtering Dragon] Saber.”
Zhang Wuji had already guessed that her three requests would not be easy to do; but never in his life would he guess that the first request was already a very difficult matter to do. Zhao Min saw his distress look and said, “What? You are not willing? This request certainly does not violate the way of the chivalry; it is also not something you are unable to accomplish.”
Zhang Wuji thought, “The Tulong Saber is in the hand of my Yifu; this fact is well-known in Jianghu [river and lake – martial art world], I don’t have to hide the truth from her.” Thereupon he said, “The Tulong Saber belongs to my Yifu, ‘Jin Mao Shi Wang’ [Golden Mane Lion King], Xie Daxia [Great Hero Xie]. How can I betray my Yifu by taking his saber and give it to you?”
Zhao Min said, “I do not meant for you to steal or snatch or take it by deceit; I also do not want to own this saber. All I want is for you to tell me your Yifu’s whereabouts, so I can borrow it and play with it for a couple of hours, and then I will return it to him right away. You are Yifu-yizi [foster-father, foster son]; don’t tell me he won’t allow you to borrow it even for a couple of hours? I want to take a look at it, not to swindle his possession; I won’t use it to kill anybody, do you think I am violating the way of the chivalry?”
Zhang Wuji said, “Although this saber is talked-about in the martial world, but actually it doesn’t have anything worth looking about it except it is very heavy and unexceptionally sharp.”
“There is a saying,” Zhao Min said, “’Wu lin zhi zun, bao dao tu long, hao ling tian xia, mo gan bu cong. Yi tian bu zhu, shei yu zheng feng?’ [Martial world’s most venerable, Prized saber dragon slaying, Controlling all under Heaven, None dares not to follow. Power of heaven not appear, who can possibly compete? – Meh’s translation] The Yitian Sword is in my hand; I surely must see what this Tulong Saber looks like. If you are concerned, you can stay by my side while I am examining the Saber. With your current skill level, I should not be able swindle you in any way.”
Zhang Wuji considered carefully, “My original plan was leaving immediately to fetch Yifu after rescuing the six major sects’ masters, to ask him to hold the Jiaozhu position. Miss Zhao promises to take a look at the Saber only for a couple of hours. I know it’s hard to say whether she has some crafty trick under her sleeves, but if I guard by her side, she won’t be able to seize the Saber. Only Yifu once said that the Tulong Saber holds a big martial art secret. Yifu has taken possession of this treasured Saber before his eyes were blinded, yet by his intelligence and wisdom he still could not penetrate the details of this secret. Given only a short couple of hours, how could this Miss Zhao uncover the secret? Besides, Yifu and I have not seen each other for more than ten years; perhaps on that isolated island he has succeeded in understanding the Saber’s secret.”
Seeing he was hesitating and not answering, Zhao Min laughed and said, “It’s up to you if you are not willing. I can think of something else for you to do, and it surely will be much more difficult.”
Zhang Wuji realized this woman was extremely cunning; if she presented another difficult problem, he might not be able to do it. Thereupon he busily said, “Very well, I agree to borrow the Tulong Saber for you. But let me get it clear: you can only borrow it for a couple of hours. If you change your mind and want to steal it, I will not let you go.”