Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chapter 76 - Impasse


At Qing Yun Hill Big Bamboo Valley.

Zhang Xiao Fan dully sat in his own room, staring blankly.

It was a bright and sunny afternoon, gentle rays of light streamed in from the room’s window and shone upon the green stone floor. Maybe it was also because the air carried a sluggish feel, Da Huang and Xiao Hui in the room, also seemed to be listless.

DaHuang lay beside Zhang Xiao Fan’s feet, and buried its head between its two front paws. Its eyes were half closed, its ears were also drooping down and from its head to tail, only its glossy fur tail swung occasionally.

And even the usual energetic monkey, Xiao Hui, was also lying on Da Huang’s body at this moment. Using Da Huang’s stomach as pillow, its eyes were closed and in a deep sleep. And its body, following Da Huang’s stomach’s breathing, moved slightly up and down.

This peaceful afternoon, seemed like everything were as before, exactly the same.

Zhang Xiao Fan’s eyes were fixed into a stare into the unknown, this was already the third day of his return to Qing Yun Hill.

Suddenly, as if it had sense something, Da Huang, who had been drowsing off, suddenly lifted its head up, both of its eyes opened and even its ears were standing straight up.

Zhang Xiao Fan frowned, and heard slow footsteps outside the door. Soon, a creaking sound was heard and the door was being pushed opened.

The sunlight streamed in and for a moment the lights were blinding. Zhang Xiao Fan only saw a figure standing outside the door, bathing in the sunlight.

Until after his eyes adjusted to the brightness, his face immediately turned pale. Tian BuYi’s face was solemn, standing at the door.

In these three days, this is the first time Tian BuYi had came to see him And other than the one who delivered his meals to him, big Senior brother Song Daren, he was the first person. He guessed that the rest of them, due to the strict orders from Tian BuYi, were unable to visit.

By this time, Da Huang had already ran over, his tail wagging vigrously, rubbing itself here and there on Tian BuYi’s legs and appeared to be extremely delighted. But the other animal, Xiao Hui, did not seemed to feel the same, instead appeared to have been disrupted from a good dream and looked indigant. It [Zhi Zhi] screeched out twice, but after all it knew that Tian BuYi was not someone it could offend, so it did not dare to go forward and behaved impudently.

After screeching out a few times, Xiao Hui swaggered and leapt back to Zhang Xiao Fan’s bed, leaned against the blanket and fell asleep again.

Tian BuYi bended his body, looked at Da Huang who was beside his legs, stretched out his hand and smoothed its head. Da Huang barked softly twice and used its head to rub his palm.

Tian BuYi patted Da Huang’s head, stood upright and looked at Zhang Xiao Fan.

Zhang Xiao Fan did not dare to look directly at him, and softly called out, “Teacher.”

Tian BuYi looked at him for a while, did not acknowledge and slowly walked nearer. Zhang Xiao Fan subconsciously moved back a step.

But Tian BuYi did not do anything, and only slowly sat down on the chair. Zhang Xiao Fan felt some apprehension, but even more than that, he was at a loss for words and at his wits' end. Actually ever since he had returned, he had expected to face such a situation, even to the extent that he would face interrogation from even more people, he was already mentally prepared.

But, on this warm and quiet afternoon, when the person whom he had been worshipping like God for all these years, Tian BuYi, silently sitting in front of him, he could only bowed his head low, his mind in a blank and unable to utter a single word.

Without knowing how much time had passed before he heard Tian BuYi slowly said, “Lao Qi.” [Translator’s note: It means number seven]

Zhang Xiao Fan’s body shivered, and almost like a conditional reflex, he replied, “Yes, Teacher.”

“Do you have any words, that you wish to say to me?”

Zhang Xiao Fan slowly lifted his head, looked at Tian BuYi, Tian BuYi expressionlessly looked back at him, he was unable to presume what he was thinking about.

After a long silence, Zhang Xiao Fan slowly shook his head.

Tian BuYi stared at this disciple, his hand which was huddled inside his sleeve slowly curled up into a fist.

“Just now, “ Tian BuYi slowly spoke, as if as only this way, he could hide the feelings in his heart, “This morning QiHao from Long Shou Valley, sent a message. Early tomorrow morning, our Sect Head, Reverend DaoXuan, wants to meet you at TongTian Peak, YuQing Hall.”

Zhang Xiao Fan’s body shook slightly. In the end, he still have to face it.

The cool mountain breeze, gently blew in from the door that was left opened. The wind seemed to carry with it the rustling sounds from the bamboo forest far away. But, the people in the room, instead did not feel anything.

Xiao Hui seemed to fall asleep again, Big Huang too lay down again and did not bother them. Only Tian BuYi, was still staring attentively at this disciple.

Staring deeply, deeply at him

"These few days, did those senior brothers of yours neglect you?"

Zhang Xiao Fan shook his head and said, "No, all of the senior brothers treated...treated me well."

Tian BuYi did not speak anymore, the room became silent again.

After a long while, Tian BuYi suddenly heaved a long sigh, and looked as if he had made up his mind on something, flung his head back and stood up, without even turning his head, he walked towards the door without a word.

Zhang Xiao Fan stared at that familiar back figure, at a loss.

Just when Tian BuYi was about to step out of the room, he suddenly stopped, but he still did not turn his head. Zhang Xiao Fan as if in a trance, called out, "Teacher..."

"Lao Qi!" Tian BuYi's voice was still steady, but behind it instead, an indistinct flow of unusual emotions.

"I will ask you for the last time, are you really the spy sent from other sects to pry on our Qing Yun secret skills?"

Zhang Xiao Fan bit his lips, slowly, slowly kneeled in front of him, "Teacher, I am not, I have not done anything to let you down!"

He spoke in a low voice to Tian BuYi, also as if at the same time speaking to the depths of his heart, speaking with resolution and finality.

In the sunlight, there seemed to be a sound of gentle soft sigh. When Zhang Xiao Fan lifted his head again, that familiar figure had already disappeared.

Zhang Xiao Fan stared blankly at the door, and after remaining that way for a long time, he then slowly stood up, walked back to his bed and sat down.

The monkey, Xiao Hui, was roused suddenly up by his actions, turned its head over, saw that it was Zhang Xiao Fan, split his lips and smiled. As if after the nap, it had regained its energy, and like energetic as usual, jumped onto him.

Zhang Xiao Fan subconsciously pulled his hand over and hugged Xiao Hui but his gaze still remained on outside the door. After a long while, then he, using only the voice that he himself, or maybe including Xiao Hui, could hear, spoke quietly, "You know right, I promised that person before, until death I will not say, until death I will not say..."

Not knowing whether Xiao Hui understood, but it obviously did not appear to mind, stretched out its hands and intimately scratched Zhang Xiao Fan's hair.

Zhang Xiao Fan did not move, and let Xiao Hui do what it wanted, he only slowly said, "Only you, Xiao Hui, now only you are by my side..."

Xiao Hui [zi zi] called out twice, hehe laughed, and not knowing whether it really understood. And at a distance away, Big Huang seemed to fall asleep again, in its dream, its tail curled up slightly, and withdrew back under its body.

The sun as usual gently shone down, Du BiShu, who was standing outside the door, could not help but opened his mouth and yawned. But in an instant, the initial slight drowsiness felt disappeared. Tian BuYi was seen slowly walking out from Zhang Xiao Fan's residence.

"Teacher." Du BiShu called out, and at the same time, carefully watched Tian BuYi's expression, hoping to read something from it. However, Tian BuYi’s face was expressionless, only nodded his head slightly and walked past him like that, walking towards Observed Silence Hall.

Du BiShu respectfully stood aside, until Tian BuYi was far away, and looked at his departing figure. But in his heart instead, he was thinking about Zhang Xiao Fan, and cannot help but heaved a sigh. At big Bamboo Valley, nobody expected that such a thing would happened to this former ordinary little Junior Brother.

At this very moment, even the former usual energetic him, also could not help but felt listless, in his heart, he was even more worried about Zhang Xiao Fan.

Lost in his thoughts, without knowing how much time had passed, until a voice was heard from behind, "Six Senior Brother."

Du BiShu was startled, turned his head over and was stunned, without knowing when, Zhang Xiao Fan had walked out from his room and stood behind him. The monkey, Xiao Hui, lay on his shoulder and was grinning at him. Only Da Huang did not follow them out, most likely it was still asleep.

"Er, little Junior Brother!" Du BiShu frowned and said, "Is anything the matter?"

Zhang Xiao Fan looked at him and slowly said, "Six Senior Brother, I will like to take a walk at the back of the hill."

Du BiShu heard what he said and was speechless, in his heart he felt awkward. Ever since they had returned to the mountain, although Tian BuYi did not expressly order them to supervise Zhang Xiao Fan, but Shiniang [Translator’s note: Teacher's wife) had already instructed the rest on the sly.

Just that right now looking at his little Junior Brother, who had always been honest, with his haggard face, Du BiShu, in his heart he was somewhat unwilling. But in any case, he did not dare to disobey his teachers' intentions, after a long while he then hemmed and hawed and said, "Little Junior Brother, you, you know now…I, I..."

Zhang Xiao Fan silently hung his head, softly said, "Tomorrow Sect Head, Reverend DaoXuan Uncle, wants me to go to TongTian Peak, I just thought to go see the past places once more."

Du BiShu’s body shook and slightly opened his mouth, suddenly without knowing why, he felt his eyes became warm, right now the youth that was standing in front of him, seemed to turn into that ordinary boy who had just came up the hill many years ago, at the dinner table, the scene where he was betting with him on whom in Teacher’s family would first go into the kitchen.

But Teacher's command, whatever happens, he did not dare to disobey. Just when he was in this difficult situation, suddenly he heard footsteps, both of them turned their heads, it was instead Tian LingEr LingEr, whom had a mixed emotions expression on her face, walking over.

In these three days, this was Zhang Xiao Fan’s first time meeting Tian LingEr, her face was slightly pale, and seemed haggard. It must be that these few days she was also worried. Just that in this sunlight, she was still as beautiful.

Zhang Xiao Fan hung his head. first time saw Tian LingEr, her face was pale, and seemed a bit haggard, it must be these few days, she must have not felt secure, but in this sunlight, she still looked beautiful as ever.

Zhang Xiao Fan bowed his head.

Tian LingEr walked to where both of them were, and faced Du BiShu, but her sight from the corner of her eyes was always on Zhang Xiao Fan, said, “Six Senior Brother, my dad said already, Xiao Fan he will not do anything, let him go ba!”

Du BiShu was stunned, Zhang Xiao Fan’s body also seemed to receive a shock, slowly turned his body towards Observed Silence Hall’s direction to look, but he could only see that the Hall’s entrance was deep inside, no sign of Tian BuYi’s figure.

Zhang Xiao Fan slowly bowed once towards Observed Silence Hall’s direction, spoke in a low voice which seemed to be choked with sobs, said “Thank you Teacher.”

Tian LingEr stood aside, she seemed to wish to speak but eventually did not say anything, pressed her lips tightly, turned and walked back.

Looking at her until she was far away, Du BiShu suddenly said, “No wonder this morning little Junior Sister and Long Shou Valley QiHao had a big quarrel.”

Zhang Xiao Fan was startled, said, “What?”

Du BiShu said, “QiHao Senior Brother made a trip here in the morning, after speaking with Teacher and Shiniang, little Junior Sister pulled him aside. Unexpectedly not after, seemed like little Junior Sister said something which made QiHao Senior Brother in a difficult situation, then little Junior Sister flared up.“ Du BiShu paused for a while, glanced at Zhang Xiao Fan, and continued, “I guessed she must have want QiHao Senior Brother to go to CangSong Teacher Uncle and plea on your behalf, they must have quarrelled because of that.”

Zhang Xiao Fan gave a bitter laugh softly, and also did not know what to reply, shook his head and walked towards the back of the hill.

Du BiShu watched his figure from the back, but when he saw the monkey, Xiao Hui, crouching on his shoulder, playing and messing with his hair from time to time, the image looked rather amusing. Just that when he thought of Zhang Xiao Fan’s fate after tomorrow,  he couldn't help but frowned and sighed deeply.

The forest trail that lead to the back of big Bamboo Valley, Zhang Xiao Fan had not walk on it for a very long time. On his way there, the roadsides were filled with greenery, the birds chirping far away could be heard from time to time.

The oncoming breeze from the valley, blew onto his face, bringing a touch of coolness. Following the crooked small path, it felt like he was back in the past again.

Nothing here had changed at all! Even the far away white clouds, floating in the middle of the big Bamboo Valley mountain, also seemed to look exactly the same as that year.

Monkey Xiao Hui looked extremely delighted, immediately jumped down from Zhang Xiao Fan’s shoulder, [Zhi zhi] calling out, burrowed into the grass at the side of the path, and suddenly climbed up a big tree, swinging here and there at the top.

Zhang Xiao Fan looked at it and could not help but broke out into a slight smile. As he recalled back the scene where where he had met Xiao Hui that year, it was as if the heavyweight in his heart had lifted slightly.

He walked and walked, Xiao Hui was just at the top of his head, scuttling excitedly here and there in the trees tops, but Zhang Xiao Fan’s gaze, gradually instead only looked ahead, that stretch of clear, green bamboo forest.

How many memories, solidified here!

In front of the bamboo forest, he stopped his footsteps.  

The valley breeze blew over, countless black bamboos danced to the wind, [Hua hua] sounds, as if they were too welcoming an old friend back.

Zhang Xiao Fan took a deep breath, the world at that moment, the air was made up of of fresh, sweet bamboo and freedom that only belonged there.

Then he walked in.

The green bamboo forest, was as dense as before. On the soil ground below those tall green bamboos, even more numerous bamboo shoots sprouted out from the ground, growing freely everywhere.

Unknowingly, he had walked to the same place where he had practised chopping down the bamboos, just that those thin black bamboos, had became twice as thick now.

The shadows of the bamboos whirled, bamboos moved in waves, all seemed to cluster around him.

The past was like a surge of tide wave, gushed into his heart.

He stared blankly at everything around him, as if he had gone imbecile.

“Zhang Xiao Fan!”

Suddenly, a gentle and slightly surprised shout called out from the depths of the bamboo forest.

Zhang Xiao Fan’s body shook, the sound of the voice was so familiar, but he could never imagined that he would hear this voice at this place. He immediately turned and looked towards the direction of the voice, and his breath stopped. In the sea of bamboos, BiYao with her water green dress which blended seamlessly with the surrounding, dainty smiling and standing there, so very tenderly, so very infatuatedly, looking at himself.

“You, You how did you get here?” After looking fixedly at each other for a very long time like two fools, Zhang Xiao Fan stammered and asked.
BiYao slowly walked over, even her eyes contained her gentle smiling expression, softly said, “I came to see you!”

Zhang Xiao Fan’s heart was agitated, subconsciously he bit his lower lips, after a while he then said, “But, what if you are seen by someone else, it is too dangerous for you!”

BiYao shook her head, “I don’t care, I only want to take a look at you.”

Zhang Xiao Fan’s body shook, this was in fact the first time he heard BiYao confessed her feelings this frankly. She seemed to notice Zhang Xiao Fan’s surprise, her face became red too, and quickly added, “Your QingYun Sect these hundred over years have always been secure and stable like a mountain, and since long ago have already relaxed your defenses, I came up the mountain secretly and didn’t seemed like anyone noticed.”

Zhang Xiao Fan silently nodded his head, but suddenly a thought just flashed by, now that there was no one in Good Faction who did not know that BiYao was Evil Faction Ghost King Sect Sect Head’s daughter, if right now he was to be discovered having a conversation with her again, then he did not even have to ask what would be the consequences.

BiYao was clever beyond description, she saw at once Zhang Xiao Fan appeared to be worried, her smiling expression gradually turned into dejection, softly said, “If you are worried, I shall leave then.”   

Zhang Xiao Fan looked at her, although BiYao’s face expression contained her happiness but it could not hide those traces of haggardness. He guessed that it must have resulted from being worried about him these past few days. Suddenly, his heart became warm and unwittingly blurt out, “What can I be worried about, can I be even worse?”

BiYao stunned for a moment and looked at him. Zhang Xiao Fan gave a bitter smile and said, “It is alright, nobody will come here now anyway, why don’t you accompany me to chat!”

BiYao’s facial expression turned radiant, she nodded her head and said, “Alright.”

But after saying this sentence, the two of them gazed at each other but did not know what to say. The ambience suddenly cooled down, with a touch of awkwardness.

After a long while, BiYao scolded him, “Idiot, say something!”

Zhang Xiao Fan scratched his head but his mind was in a blank, he really did not know what to say to this beautiful girl. It happened that from the corner of his eyes, he saw at not too far away, there was a section of black bamboos which were lying on the ground, most likely it had rot over the years and fell over. He walked over and stammered, “You should sit!”

BiYao could not help but giggled, like a flower burst forth, her elegant and exquisiteness unparalleled.

She walked over and was about to sit down when Zhang Xiao Fan suddenly pulled her back and said, “Wait wait.”

BiYao was surprised and said, “What happened?”

Zhang Xiao Fan bent over, using his sleeve and wipe hard on the black bamboo, cleaning up an area. He got up, without looking at BiYao, lowered his head and said, “You can sit down now!”

BiYao’s smile expression disappeared, her lips trembled, a pair of bright eyes gazing only at Zhang Xiao Fan’s figure. After a while, she slowly sat down and at the same time, pulled Zhang Xiao Fan, saying, “You should sit too!”

Zhang Xiao Fan’s face turned red, said, “I, I can sit on the floor….”

Unexpectedly BiYao gave a jerk and pulled him over to sit with her on the bamboo. She said with annoyance, “Ask you to sit, you should sit! Why would you want to sit on the floor?”

Zhang Xiao Fan laughed embarrassedly. He caught a whiff of fragrance beside him, faintly drifting over, from his nostrils it entered, and into the depths of his heart. Unable to bear, he turned and looked at her, and saw that BiYao was also looking at him, gazing at him deeply, with unspeakable tenderness.

Never had he noticed, even when they were trapped in Blooddrop Cave under Black Stone Cave, Zhang Xiao Fan had never felt this close to her before. After a long while, he suddenly said, “BiYao.”    

BiYao smiled and said, “Yes?”

Zhang Xiao Fan gazed at her and asked, “Why are you being so good to me?”

BiYao was stunned for a while, slowly shifted her gaze to the ground in front of her, her face expression also seemed to be befuddled, and said, “Right! Why am I being so good to you?”

Over their heads, the bamboo leaves rustled gently in the valley breeze, it seemed to be gently saying something too.
“My family, and also the past matters, you should know right?” After a long silence, BiYao quietly said.

Zhang Xiao Fan lightly nodded, and said, “Yes.”

BiYao unhurriedly said, “Since young, my mother was not with me, father too was busy with the Holy Sect’s big matters, he seldom had time for me. Everyone around me, because of my father, always greeted me with smiling faces, and fawned upon me.”

Zhang Xiao Fan was silent for a while and said, “Your father is actually very concerned about you.”

BiYao nodded her head, said, “Yes. But I did not understand it in the past, until I met you then I understand.”

She gazed at Zhang Xiao Fan, quietly said, “Xiao Fan, the days in Blooddrop Cave, I can never forget in this lifetime.”

Her voice, at this moment, seemed to be far away, “Unexpectedly in the darkness, even when I was about to die, I could also find someone to depend on.”

Zhang Xiao Fan’s heart was moved, but he did not know what to say.

A white and as smooth as jade hand stretched over, BiYao gently held his hand, from her soft skin, it emitted a faint gentleness.

She took a handkerchief from her bosom, gently wipe the stains on Zhang Xiao Fan’s sleeve, which was used to wipe the bamboo for her.

“Ever since from young until now, countless number of people has tried to please me, sending me rare and priceless treasures, but…” She lifted her head, looked into Zhang Xiao Fan’s eyes, softly said, “Even if all of the rare treasures in the world are now placed in front of me, it is not even worthy of this sleeve which you had used to wipe the bamboo for me.”

At this moment, all of the sounds in the world, suddenly disappeared.

Only this beautiful girl’s gentle eyes, surrounded all of his vision.

How many years after, when you think back the past, do you still remember that year, somebody once, quietly confessed their heartfelt thoughts to you?  

That because being young, with some innocent and fanatical words, do you still remember?

Just like being deeply engraved in your heart, an oath that is unwilling to die or give up!

Did you spread open your arms, and hug that beloved into your embrace?

Without knowing when, in that sea of gentle tranquility, he opened his arms, together with that beautiful girl beside him, tightly embraced.
 

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