My name is Xue Wei.
My unique name, I’ve heard, comes from my color.
Unlike most of my kind, I do not sparkle like crystal; my entire body radiates a crimson aura, like the petals of a red rose.
I know that many people know of me.
Every time my owner takes me out of my scabbard, I can see the shaken expressions of the people before me and hear their surprised utterances: “Xue Wei sword!” — it’s hard to blame them because many, many people know of me.
I do not remember how many heroes of the pugilist world I’ve drunk the blood of over the last fifty years. I only remember that the radiance of my body becoming brighter and brighter, my crimson glare making people shudder.
“Xue Wei, the cursed sword. Whoever carries this sword will encounter misfortune.”
I do not understand why Meng Qing Zi, as the foremost master of the sword, would have such an evaluation of me — and on the first time I met him. He used such terrible words to undermine my reputation and curse my owner to the point where his words were what I was known for and everybody’s eyes carried prejudice.
But I did not want to kill anyone, including my owner. Every time I drank a human’s blood, I always wanted to throw up. After all, the hands that held me were also ones of a human.
Humans’ hearts are hard to understand. Since bloodshed comes from humans themselves, why push the blame on a mere sword?
My previous owner Xue Mo — the one that the pugilist world viewed as a monstrous beast — killed many people. But he was not a demon, he was forced to become one!
If it were not those people who pushed him to the brink, my previous owner would have been a solitary swordsman, wandering the world, fighting tyrants ,and helping the weak.
Xue Mo was the master that I sympathized with and respected the most.
It was a pity that, although his martial arts protected him from being killed, at the very end, he committed suicide. When he died, he was only twenty eight years old.
— I laid in his blood, seeing this wanderer’s sad ending, and could not help asking myself: am I really the bringer of misfortune? … Can I really bring bad luck to a person?
Perhaps I should have, just like that, let myself be buried by the yellow sand.
In the end, I was not buried with my owner. A hand picked me up from the puddle of blood. That one hand almost could not bear my weight. What made me surprised was that it was a child’s hand.
Suddenly, there was a thing that, one drop at a time, landed on my body, a liquid that was wet, yet warm — was it blood? I was used to thinking that.
I was wrong.
It was not blood. I had forgotten, what humankind could give me, as warm and as wet as blood, was also …. tears.
Of course, the probability of tasting the former was far greater than the latter, so, to me, the latter was hundreds of millions times more precious.
“Daddy…” she put me in her lap, looking at my master, who was lying dead in a puddle of blood. She softly called, her sound as crisp as the ice sent by the wind — “Do you not want A Jing? Nobody wants A Jing now?”
I watched tears flow from her eyes, down her cheek, and then land on my body, one drop at a time, mixing with her father’s blood in the yellow sand.
That was only an eight year old girl. She was very pretty, but her eyes carried a cold and emotionless expression. I did not know why, but I suddenly thought of a red rose blooming at the edge of the cliff, facing the wind. That was a kind of untouchable beauty, filled with thorns that could not allow anyone to come near.
Of course, no matter how much she called, her father could never respond — in this world that was trapped in a conflict, he left such a young daughter just like that and searched for his own peace…the small child could only fight for herself.
Since I saw her for the first time, I liked my new owner because she was the only one who did not first give me blood, but rather tears.
Perhaps that could break my unlucky fate. I did not want to see her once again returning to that tragic cycle.
Three years later, my eleven year old new owner first let me taste fresh blood.
“What was I afraid of? Why does it matter that I killed them? What difference did those people have from animals?…I don’t have any family anyways; there’s no one to tell me that I did anything wrong, I’m just a child that nobody wanted.” My eleven year old master looked at the bodies and coldly laughed. I heard the thoughts in her mind.
“Nobody will care for me, so I will not care for anybody else….”
“I will never cry for anyone.”
While she was slaughtering the men around her, I heard her mind repeating this over and over.
Once the door of killing had opened, walking into it, you could never return until the day you died.
Fate…if there really was fate as humans thought, then people could only be part of its process: birth, separation, death, and goodbyes. All would be part of fate’s movement, never to stop.
Fourteen years later.
Luo Yang. In the road of Zhu Que. Ting Xue Lou.
Everybody was debating in the hall. My owner coldly raised her brows, and then raised her hand — “Shua!” Like a strike of lightning, I flew up, then landed, firmly nailed into a sandalwood tea table. I knew that my owner had to instill respect in those around her, so I tried my best to show my own brilliance, trembling slightly and conjuring thousands of faint shadows.
“Xue Wei Sword!”
Just like before, I heard the cries and quiet whispers. But, nobody had the courage to doubt my young owner’s martial arts and ability. Did humankind really bully the weak and bow down to the strong?” Looking at my beautiful, indifferent owner, I smiled a little happily.
“What is your relation to the Xue Wei Sword?” I heard people ask in surprise. It looked like my previous master’s reputation was still strong, even after he had left the world for so many years…a familiar hand picked me up, and then, I heard my owner lightly respond: “–I am Shu Jing Rong, in the future, you can just call me A Jing.”
The atmosphere in the hall quickly grew heavy. I found that everybody used a guarded expression to look at my owner, filled with a little bit of disgust. The daughter of Xue Mo — because of this identity, my owner had, since she was young, experienced hatred. She did not have a single person she could simply talk to. She lived as such, lonely and without a home, for twenty-two years.
Many years passed. Although the pugilist world was not the same as before, would she, even now, be rejected?
Since my owner was eight, I had followed her…but it was only till ten years later, our hearts and minds truly connected. Later, I could understand her happiness, anger, sadness, and joy. She viewed me as important as her own life.
What she had gone through since she was young, only I could know, and only I could comprehend.
It had been what any person could almost not bear: suspicion, loneliness, prejudice, and exile…but what made me feel at peace was that my owner did not give up; she continued living resiliently and gained enough strength to live on in the pugilist world, unafraid of anyone.
But, going through such a period in her youth, the heart of my owner became cold and closed off, not reliant on anyone and not trusting anyone, rejecting family, friends, and love. The only things she could trust were strength and fate.
— It was such a desolate view that could not let me believe that she was a girl who had just turned-twenty two.
My owner did not speak, her fingers touching my blade, she looked at the shocked crowd, eyes carrying a mocking gaze.
“Settle down. Now, has everybody has seen our new comrade?” Suddenly, I heard a voice that was slightly weak, but with undeniable power behind it, sound from behind the screen, accompanied by intermittent coughing.
I knew that he had come.
“Greeting to the the lord!” As soon as that person’s footsteps were heard from the back of the hall, everybody paid their respects, their genuine admiration showing in their voices.
That was not strange. Facing the lord that controlled half the pugilist world, there was nobody who did not, in their hearts, feel fear — even my owner hesitated and after everybody had all ceremoniously kneeled down and greeted him, put me back in my scabbard, kneeled on one knee, and greeted him as well: “Shu Jing Rong pays respects to the lord.”
But, her voice was as cold as frost, without the sincerity and respect of the others.
She saluted only because she knew that the other was the person she would work for; it was expected that she would pay respects. But, in her heart, she would never bow down to that person. She would never bow down to anyone.
I, in the scabbard by her waist, was a little sorrowful as I saw the expressionlessly calm face of my owner — Ay…even such a person, eventually would be forced to enter into the pugilist world.
But that person who could make my owner obey him, the lord, he deserved the title of “Dragon Among Men.”
He coughed rapidly, the sound of his coughing hollow yet light. He finally caught his breath, then smiled slightly, responding: “A Jing….no need to be excessively polite.”
When he reached down to help up my owner, I saw his hand: his wrist was very thin, fingers long and slender, and around his wrist was a light blue handkerchief. He looked like a scholar, weak and unthreatening, not like he practiced martial arts.
But, I knew, hidden in his sleeve was that sword that could make anyone in the pugilist world flinch, the foremost knife — “Xi Ying Knife.”
When he held that knife in his hand, even the sky, land, wind, and clouds would tremor.
Deep in my heart, I remembered that moment, when the Xi Ying Knife hidden in his sleeve intercepted me, its glow like a dream, it’s intent light, carrying a feeling that was unable to be described — comfortable yet sweet — lightly taking off my owner’s veil and revealing her face — then, in her first defeat and in humiliation and astonishment, I felt my owner’s heart suddenly change. And then, I heard her say: “You are stronger than me…I admit it.”
“Then, please fulfill your promise.” His face a pallid white, he untied the handkerchief around his wrist, wiping the sweat that had gathered around his forehead, coughing unceasingly as he spoke — when he coughed, his entire body shaking, as if he was coughing his lungs out.
He was sick, I thought at the time. It was only later that I knew what he suffered from was incurable.
My owner immediately kneeled in front of him, calmly saying: “I, Shu Jing Rong, am willing to become part of Ting Xue Lou and follow the instructions of lord. Even if I die a hundred times, I will not regret — until the moment you are defeated!”
Xiao Yi Qing smiled bitterly, coughed, and then asked: “Do you mean, that should you discover that I am not the strongest, either that you could kill me or another is stronger, you will immediately betray me?”
“That is not betrayal.” My owner coldly laughed, looking up the only person who had defeated her: “Is there any chance you would trust me? If you do not trust me, then it is not betrayal. And I only respect the strong. I will only follow the person who is strongest — if you can be defeated by another, then I will leave!”
“I will remember.” Xiao Yi Qing coughed slightly, seeming as if he was thinking of something. His eyes, at that moment, looked a little like a female’s, having a cold and blurred gleam. He slowly responded, “I like using sharp knives, even though there is the chance that they will hurt me.”
My owner did not discover that, at that time, what he was looking at was a single wild blooming red rose on a nearby tree.
This was the lord of Ting Xue Lou, Xiao Yi Qing.
Three years ago, ever since the former lord, his father Xiao Shi Shui died at thirty nine years old, he, at age twenty, suspended his studies under the venerable elder Xue Gu and entered into the pugilist world, calling upon the allies who had scattered into various parts of the country, protecting his family business in danger of failing with his sickly body.
But, what surprised everybody who considered him weak was that, in five years, Ting Xue Lou, under his leadership, recruited experts in the martial arts world. It expanded in only a couple of years with Luo Yang as it’s center until it reached all the lands north of the Chang Jiang.
Ting Xue Lou. This sect, unknown twenty years ago, today dominated the pugilist world…and the lord, Xiao Yi Qing who was unmatched when it came to martial arts and intellect, became a legend.
I was a little restless. At the same time, I felt my owner’s restlessness in her heart. This Lord Xiao, no matter what aspect you looked at, was perhaps the only person I had ever seen who was equal to my owner, and, his success made even my owner bow down to him.
My owner, as he helped her up, uneasily went to sit on the hall’s fourth chair. Before she decided to become part of Ting Xue Lou, the sect had already had two others whose powers were only under Lord Xiao‘s — Gao Meng Fei and Nan Chu.
“A Jing, sit here.” I heard the the lord quietly command, and then I saw him pat the seat next to him – my owner was stunned. This clearly showed her place in his eyes. She thought for a moment but finally walked there and sat besides him.
It was only later that I realized that this was just the start…it was the prelude to their campaign five years later.
My owner was a unique female in the pugilist world and was famous for her ruthlessness. In three years, I drank more blood than I did in ten years with my former owner. It was enough to make even myself feel cold.
My owner…she was too heartless. She even did not consider these people her own species.
Many, many times, my owner and the lord fought, riding together, to conquer fields of death – in the bloody rain and wind, my radiance and the beauty of the Xi Ying Knife became entangled; when they encountered, their light could dazzle the entire world.
It was an almost perfect technique for killing, emitting a kind of aura that would suck the attentions of everyone, nearly making them not care about life and death.
— Almost as if they were competing in speed, my owner frequently, with the lord, became interlocked in a brutal race of death and killing.
But, every time before I entered the hearts of my opponents, I always found that the Xi Ying Knife was waiting for me…and then, when the knife encountered the flesh of my enemies, I could always see my master’s disappointed and frustrated expression.
“My master likes your master…” in the moments that we encountered, I heard the knife explain this to me, buried in the heart of another.
I could only smile bitterly…my owner perhaps also liked him. But, they distrusted each other, harmed each other — I was only a weapon that could not speak, what could I do?
“Why do you want me to free her?” That day, Xiao Yi Qing demanded an answer from my master.
That was a child that was only twelve years old. Her name was Shi Ming Yan, the daughter of the leader of the Du Xie Sect. It was only because the sect where her parents resided had been eliminated by Ting Xue Lou, that she fell into his hands.
Her thin and small body trembled slightly, but her eyes were cold and sharp, with hatred and revenge.
At that time, I did not think that that child, only an orphan, would destroy Ting Xue Lou.
“Because I see myself in her” my owner replied emotionlessly.
“Ha…that’s a strange excuse. A Jing, can you not give me a more convincing reason?”
“–I hope she can become happier than me.” When she was speaking, I felt the trembling of my owner’s heart.
The expression in his eyes also changed, became a little impenetrable. They had always been beautiful, to the point where they seemed unparalleled and distant, but suddenly, there flashed an emotion…perhaps love. He sighed and asked: “Really?…You were never happy? Why did I never hear you speak of this?” His hand made contact with my owner’s; my owner did not move.
I felt the bitterness and grief in her heart, almost lacking the strength that was part of her usual character.
“Would it help if I said it?”…she answered, as if she was in a dream, “I know that you can give me everything: power, status, money — but, can you give me happiness?”
“I cannot…” his hand shook slightly, and then he looked in the distance, faintly replying: “How can I give you something that I myself do not have?”
He stayed silent for a long moment, then softly said: “A Jing, happiness is not something that anyone can give you; it is something that you must find yourself.”
“Is it possible?…” my owner smiled bitterly, looking up at the lord, “It has been three years. How many people have died by my hand? How much blood has flowed? With these kinds of deep sins, can I speak of happiness?”
That was a sad smile on her face. In that moment, I almost thought my owner would cry…would violate her own mantra and cry.
I thought to myself, if at that moment, my owner had cried, the lord would hug her, would use his light blue handkerchief to gently wipe away her tears. At that moment, happiness was not so far out of reach.
But, she still didn’t. She just sadly looked at him, her eyes glimmering with tears….like that rose swaying at the edge of a cliff, using thorns to protect those delicate flower petals.
She would not cry.
His hand, which had reached out to hug her, stopped there.
“Lord Xiao, I will not allow you to harm her!” My owner reached out, protecting that child in tattered clothing, her eyes behind her veil shining with determination, “You can kill anyone else but you will not touch her!”
I saw his brows wrinkle, then coldly say: “If you cut the grass but do not remove the roots, it will be reborn with the spring breeze — I must ensure that the threat has been removed! If you cripple her, I will allow her to live.”
“No.” My owner did not back down and icily replied: “She must be allowed to happily live out the rest of her life.”
Ignoring his objections, my owner took the child by the hand and walked away, bringing her to her own accommodations.
My owner treated the child well, called her sister, even though that child did not, in turn, respond to her affections — in her entire life, she had not treated another person so well before.
I knew, she had taken that child, full of hatred, to be her younger self.
“I do not want to cry for anyone.”
“Everything anyone does is for a reason; nobody would, without any expectation of reciprocation, treat a person well…he only wants me to be his tool to conquer the pugilist world. And for this reason, he could use any means, including his own emotions.”
“If, one day, I lose my martial arts and reason, if I become, to him, somebody that cannot be used anymore, this person who once said such words to me will kill me.”
“Since I was young, nobody has cared for me…I do not need anyone to live well, I do not need everyone…”
Many many times, I heard my owner repeat this in her mind; her heart, which had been swayed, became as hard as iron.
At that time, I felt a sense of hopelessness and helplessness — why was I mute? Why couldn’t I speak?
Making contact with the Xi Ying Knife, I couldn’t help but to emit an anguished cry — I was hurt.
His blood flowed onto my body.
And the blood of my owner slowly dripped off his knife.
Xi Ying Knife had a verdant glare, flashing and bathed in blood, but that knife, the foremost under the sky, was also hurt.
It trembled slightly, I heard it groan — but when I made contact with him, I couldn’t help but to laugh bitterly…of course, it was a silent laugh. These stupid humans; why did they always have to kill each other?
“Is the blood of my owner…warm?” I asked, still smiling bitterly.
“Just like my master’s…” Xi Ying Knife wheezed; it had probably never suffered such a serious wound before. It’s words were a little incoherent. “Ay, I’ve said it before. The person who struck first was your owner, right?”
“But these misunderstandings were between the both of them, slowly building up…” because of their guardedness and coldness, these doubts of these two people who had never truly communicated deepened. There was too much they could not understand…that was what caused the tragedy of today.
“Xiao Yi Qing! Give me your life!”
He had been waiting in his private chamber to speak with her, but what he had waited for was a strike that would take his life.
As I emerged from the scabbard, I felt my owner’s shock, anger, and grief — just like fifteen years ago, seeing her father lying dead in a pool of blood! Her motions were quick and vicious, using all her abilities.
“I want to kill him, I want to kill him!”
I heard my owner’s shouts in her mind, but also saw his surprised eyes. In the safest chambers of Ting Xue Lou, he wore a light robe, his hands, feeling cold due to sickness, held a gold hand furnace, seeming as if he had not at all anticipated she would strike.
Like I had, hundreds, thousands of times before, I accurately struck his heart. Blood flowed, warm blood.
But, I felt a frosty cold.
“Ding!” Before I had touched his heart, I was slammed back. I saw a faint blue light emerge from his sleeve, bringing a momentum cold beyond compare to block me. It began to expand, like raindrops in the early autumn.
I finally saw the Xi Ying Knife again.
But, because it was a matter of life and death, the Xi Ying Knife, using great force, attacked all that was within its scope.
After the knife’s edge had passed, I heard my owner suppress a groan, and then, I felt her hands shake, her blood flowing down her fingers and onto my body.
My owner, clutching her chest, stumbled backwards. Her legs failing her, she kneeled on the ground. I did my utmost to support her so that she would not completely fall — but, seeing the mortal wound on her chest, I lost all my energy. Her body collapsing, she fell onto the floor of the chamber.
“Why? A Jing, why did you betray me?” He also clutched his chest, trying to staunch the flow of blood. He looked at my dying owner, the sorrow and hopelessness in his eyes making me want to turn away, “ — why is it that even you betrayed me?”
I thought to myself, he was too serious about this, serious to the point that he had forgotten that he had once told this woman that if she had the ability to kill him, then he would give her all he had.
“That…does that count as betrayal?” My owner, breathing heavily, replied. She could no longer continue — just moments before, his knife had severed her major artery.
“Did you know? A Jing, I originally thought…in this world, there was at least one thing that I could believe in…”
His anger quickly subsided and was replaced with a faint, yet bitter, smile, accepting of his fate. Coughing, the bleakness in his eyes grew stronger. What he coughed out was blood — I knew, I had pierced him. Just now, my owner’s strike was unexpected and had already stabbed into his heart.
The lord slowly walked over and gently lifted my owner from the ground. And then, he looked at her, seeing his shadow appear in her gray eyes. He laughed bitterly, sighing: “I trusted you…but you even tried to kill me!…What can be trusted in this world?…”
“I, I once trusted you too!…” Struggling, my owner used all her energy to smile coldly, looking at him: “But you…even now, you’re lying to me!….Xiao Yi Qing….Xiao Yi Qing…how could I trust you after you did such a thing?”
I felt my owner’s heartbeat start to fade and my hope with it.
But, looking at the Xi Ying Knife looking at me with the same expression, I knew he was also dying.
“What did I do? To make you this eager to kill me!” he asked in surprise. Finally, unable to continue to look on at the blood continuously flowing out of the corner of my owner’s mouth, he took out his handkerchief and wiped the blood away, his eyes containing a pain and sadness difficult to express. As soon as he moved his hand from his heart, the blood there surged out like water in a waterfall, each drop seeming to carry away a drop of his life.
“You, you…why did you command your people to harm Shi Ming Yan?…You’re too ruthless…Xiao Yi Qing, I’ve said this before, I won’t allow you to hurt her!….” Her eyes radiated a intense gleam, equally sad.
With each word, she desperately inhaled so that she would not faint away.
“You really need to pull up the roots to get rid of the grass….you cannot even let go of a child!…I’ve said this before…I will not let you…will not let you touch her!”
“What?…..” the lord’s pale face became even paler, as if he had been hit in the chest, he spewed out blood, and then barely able to support himself, he tried to explain, “I, I didn’t know…I didn’t tell anyone to do this!”
My owner smiled coldly, but the light in her eyes began to dim. I felt her hands, which were grasping mines, slowly loosen — don’t die! My owner, please don’t leave me behind! – As soon as you let go, we will forever be parted!
Was it really that I was a bringer of bad luck?
“I didn’t….” he replied weakly, but with a bit of anger. But his body no longer had the strength to support itself, so he could only, hugging the body of my owner, sit himself by the wall. Even though he was the person who controlled the entire pugilist world, at this moment, he was powerless.
“Lying…you’re lying,” my owner stubbornly repeated this phrase, but she was already gradually falling into unconsciousness.
“I didn’t, I didn’t!” he stubbornly protested, his expression falling.
“Lord! Lady Jing?….” After an hour passed, his subordinates, who had arrived on time for the meeting called out in surprise, wanting to bring the two, who were covered in blood to the doctor, but the lord stopped them, telling them weakly — “It’s too late…go, bring Shi Ming Yan to me, I, I have something I need to ask her…quickly…”
“Haha…” the little girl, missing her two legs, was carried over by warriors, but, seeing the two people covered in bloods, she suddenly laughed! In her eyes flashed a kind of gloating as if she had just watched an entertaining play, a kind of joyousness and happiness at seeing others more miserable than her.
“Was it…something that you did?” Seeing the light within the child’s eyes, Xiao Yi Qing, suddenly, as if he had thought of something, asked in astonishment.
“Killing my mother father, you all have to die!….” Ming Yan laughed strangely, and then, looking at my owner, who was in the midst of unconsciousness, viciously taunted her, “A killer…you called me ‘sister’! You even said I should live happily…stupid! Did you not know, ever since you killed my family, I could never attain happiness?”
“And no matter what, if I cannot see the two of you die, I cannot be happy”
Her, the expression in her eyes, was the same as that of my owner fourteen years ago!…They even had the same ruthlessness. She could mutilate herself to achieve her purposes; it wasn’t something that an ordinary child could do.
“Shua!” The subordinates surrounding them, in unison, pulled out their knives, all pointing it towards this child.
“…Stop…” Because of the amount of blood he lost, the lord was in a state of haziness. He laughed bitterly, and then told the twelve year old child, “Very good…you defeated me…so now, after I die, I will give you everything I have…How is that?”
The child had already closed her eyes awaiting death, but suddenly opened her eyes in astonishment — those eyes that had calmly and resiliently faced the most powerful of the pugilist world showed shock.
“But, lord, she killed you and Lady Jing. How can we recognize her as our leader?”
“She is a killer!”
“Kill her, to attain revenge for our lord.”
His subordinates began to become restless, starting to shout.
“Who, who dares disobey my command? Kill anyone who dares oppose it immediately!” He inhaled desperately, trying to lengthen the time he would retain consciousness. He looked firmly at his subordinates, and then bitterly smiled, coughing — “You all, you all were wrong…she didn’t kill us….it was us, it was the mistrust between us that destroyed us….she only used this to her advantage.”
“The true mistake was between the two of us, it cannot be blamed on anyone…”
“This young girl…she has talent…smart, very smart…I’ve said before, if anyone can defeat me, then I will give her my all…please, everyone, respect my wishes.”
“I…although, in my life, I’ve never had any mercy when I’ve acted, but, I will always fulfill my promises!”
No longer paying attention to the surprise of the girl and his subordinates, the lord turned his attention back, and warmly told my owner, who had already lost consciousness: “Did you see this? A Jing…it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it…this child was very smart, you see, we’ve all been tricked…”
“Lying…lying,” even unconscious, my owner only repeated this phrase.
“Really…you…it looks like, it’s only when I come to your side that I can explain…” the lord smiled bitterly, and then, reached out to hold my owner’s hand, “Come, I won’t waste any more time…to, to go explain everything…”
And then, I felt my owner’s body shake; there was a strong force that I felt, immediately stopping her pulse!”
Don’t! Don’t die!
But, I still fell from my owner’s limp hands onto the ground….and that moment, I saw the Xi Ying Knife that fell down at the same moment.
I finally admitted that I was an unlucky sword.
Even though, the Xi Ying Knife always consoled me by saying that their deaths were entirely because of the weaknesses of mankind. But, I knew that I was the one who brought bad luck. Even from the very beginning, I understood the misunderstandings between my owner and the lord, but I had no ability to say anything.
She was my favorite owner, but, she died even more quickly than my last owner….she was only twenty five years old!
Like the red rose blooming by the cliff, she could grow up in harsh environments, but, she still died.
Luckily, from that day on, I became a sword without an owner — an ancestral hall was built in Ting Xue Lou and both I and the Xi Ying Knife were placed there, serving as a symbol of their respect to the lord. Every year, during this day, there were thousands of disciples that came to pay their respects to the lord, letting their tears flow in front of the knife.
I knew, even though the lord conquered the pugilist world through his martial arts, despite the blood on his hands, but, in the hearts of his own people, his perfection neared that of a deity — but, that kind of dragon among men still could not conquer the conflict within his heart.
“My master was a very strange man…” In the deep night, when everything was silent, the Xi Ying Knife and I spoke of all the recent events. Speaking of it’s owner, it showed an expression of pride. “Of course, facing his subordinates, he showed them grace and fear in equal measure, to himself, he was unyieldingly strict, his actions had the spirit of heroes — these compliments from outsiders I’ve heard too much of…”
“But…he, as a person, was too restrained, almost unfathomable…yet at the same time, sensitive and prideful. So, when other spoke, inadvertent injuries done to him he could remember for a lifetime.
Hearing of Lord Xiao, I couldn’t help but to listen closely — there was nobody that understood my owner better than myself, but despite the importance this person held in the life of my owner, what I knew was not much.
“He was prideful and harsh; in his life, he could stand at top of the world with his martial arts, yet, the same time, the terminal illness he was stricken with caused him to face death at every turn…so, at times, my owner’s heart was split into two halves — “
“He valued power and did not fear spilling blood, yet he feared death; he was cold and decisive and valued logic, yet he was also lonely and fragile; he valued his own pride, not allowing those who kneeled before him to even lift their heads, but, in his entire life, he was searching for an equal. Such a person like him, even I, who spent the most time with him, did not truly understand him…”
Xi Ying bitterly smiled, the moonlight upon its edge flowing almost like tears.
“But I know very clearly, my master loved your owner…but, the words of your owner were too cold and unfeeling…”
I do not want to become a widow. I do not want to cry for anyone.
I knew, it was these two phrases!…I almost could see my owner’s faltering expression as she spoke these words.
Five years passed…Ting Xue Lou still dominated the pugilist world.
The lord’s choice, in the end, was not wrong.
The lady of today, that child Shi Ming Yan who was sitting in a wheelchair, was already a leader of the pugilist world. In her, my owner’s coldness and resilience seemed to combine with Lord Xiao‘s deep experience, and she, one by one, took charge of all of the sect’s matters. Nobody could believe that she was a female, and a disabled young girl at that.
It could be said that she was generous, facing those who killed her mother and father, she still agreed to construct tablets honoring the two and an ancestral hall in which we were placed.
Even, although I did not know why, although there existed hatred between them, a few times, deep into the night, when everybody was silent, I saw the new lady quietly come in, and caressing me, seem to go into a trance.
I still could not help but to hate her — my owner had not treated anyone as well as she treated her, but this “sister” used such a ruthless scheme to harm my owner and the lou zhu…although she did have a reason, but I still could not forgive her.
This year, she was seventeen and was a beautiful young girl — but, because of her identity as the lady of Ting Xue Lou, there was almost nobody who recognized that she was still a girl — a pretty and lonely girl.
Looking at her, I suddenly thought that she was similar to my owner when she was young.
Thinking of it, that year when Lord Xiao ordered her to accept this, perhaps he had already thought of this — giving a person such glory and power, wasn’t it also a punishment?
That night, at midnight, the door quietly opened, and a shadow on a wheelchair entered. What was strange was that I found that she looked prepared for a long trip; on her side, she even brought a bag.
The same as usual, she came to take me, laying me on her knee and caressing my blade. She thought for a long time. I could feel that her heart was not calm, but turbulent — many times, my owner’s name flashed.
Her expression was complicated.
“Little sister…you must be happy!”
Suddenly, in her heart, it was as if I could hear my owner smiling while talking to her — not with her normal coldness, but as if only a kind and tender older sister.
While caressing my blade, I heard her say these words while sobbing.
“Jing Sister…” she quietly called, and hugging me, pressed her face against my cold blade. And then, I felt something wet, but warm land — this time, I knew these were tears.
From that moment, I sincerely hoped she could find her own happiness.
She remained silent for a long time, then, carefully putting me by her side, she, on her wheelchair, left Ting Xue Lou. She did not, even once, look back.
Outside, the radiance of the moon was like water.
My twenty-seventh owner, for some inexplicable reason, suddenly and quietly smiled towards the bright moon.