Man from the Wild South (Part 13)

OFeng Jin is so jealous by the supposed intimacy between Bo Lan Zhou and Shang Guan Jing that he didn’t raise a finger to help her, even as she tries so hard to protect him.  Even though he lost some brownie points (not that he has much to start with), all is not lost. Sometimes, it is quite cool to be the Devil of the South…..

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Chapter 8 (‘continued)

 

Shang Guan Jing is unprepared for the hit and almost simultaneously; Li Yun Yi turns and skewers her through the shoulder. Through a haze of pain, she hears someone shouting “Feng Zhu!”

That should be Yan Ying and through her blurry eyes, she sees that he has subdued the other attackers. With Da Shi Jie’s sword in her shoulder and Er Shi Ge behind her, Yan Ying should have sufficient time to come to Feng Jin’s side given his skill. At least Feng Jin is safe, thank goodness…

She falls forward would have kissed the ground if not for a hand that catches her before her face contacts with the ground. The same hand pushes her to sit down on the floor and as she looks up, she thinks she sees Feng Jin. But it cannot be him. The man in front of her is as remote as an ice sculpture with no emotions whatsoever, except for his eyes that are so cold, that they are like the frozen rocks at the mountain peak.

She smells the stench of iron rising up her throat and coughs out a mouthful of blood. She tries to turn her face away but some of her blood spurts onto his face, just above his nice-looking lips.

“Why are you crying?”

“Leave… quickly.”

“What is going to happen to you once I leave?”

This is nearly an exact repeat of their very first conversation and she fights the urge to smile. But the situation now is much more dire and she uses all her strength to keep herself from losing conscious. In a blur, she sees Bo Lan Zhou aiming his sword at Feng Jin’s back but Yan Ying has indeed reached his side and deflects his blow without much effort.

She thinks she hears Yan Ying shouting “Feng Zhu!” once more and the term sounds vaguely familiar. Where has she heard it before? Why does Yan Ying not call Feng Jin by his name, or Master Feng? Her breathing starts coming in gasps and her head spins like a top in a spinning competition. As much as she likes to, darkness overcomes over her and she falls forward into a dead faint.

*****

Since the appearance of the stranger, Feng Jin has been rooted to the ground.

“Jing! I have searched such a long time for you.”

Tears fell from the woman’s eyes and the man brushed them away from her cheeks.

“You are very good to me and likewise, I care for you deeply in my heart.”

The woman cried harder and the man brushed away more tears.

She could have avoided the man’s touch, just like how he could have put an end to the men who surrounded them. But he wanted to see. He wanted to know.

While she is busy fighting her shi ge and shi jie, he has not intervene as his inner voice tells him to wait and see what develops. So he has look d on as Shang Guan Jing duels with the two while his soul feels as if it has left his body and is watching the scene from beside his body.   He shows no emotion when a sword pierces through Shang Guan Jing’s shoulder at the same time she is hit on the back.   It is only when he feels the warmth of her blood on his face that he feels that his soul is back in his cold body.

Even if she has let him down, who did these bastards think they are?

Even if they want to beat a dog, shouldn’t they check out first if the dog’s master is someone they can afford to antagonize?

And they have knifed her, hurt her… then none of them deserve to live!

A few steps away, Yan Ying can feel the change I the air. He has been wondering why Feng Jin has not tried to help but at this moment, he has his answer. Or rather, he the rapid chill in the air has given him the answer. Feng Zhu is not uncaring; he is just coldly, ominously, furious.

As wind whips through the forest and temperature drops further, Yan Ying knows that there is no time for him to escape the spell now that it is cast. Quickly, he sits down cross-legged on the ground, closes his eyes, and directs all his qi towards his heart to protect the body’s most vital organ.

Ay, let’s hope he can hang on better this time and not vomit blood….

*****

The last thing that Shang Guan Jing remembered was a warm hand pressing over her heart as a storm breaks out. At the same time, her leader’s token has vibrated hotly against her chest and the combined heat and energy has shielded her heart against the wild energy ripping through the forest.  The wild wind howls and static crackles through the forest, and everything seems distorted. Through the slit of her eyes, she sees Er Shi Ge’s sword flying through the air in a haphazard manner, u-turn, and then…

Bang! The clap of thunder sounded as if it has landed just next to her. She sees the sword flying towards Bo Lan Zhou and the force was so great that it cut right through him, leaving a pool of blood in its wake.

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Shocked, she opens her eyes and gasps at the sharp pain in her chest.

“Aiya, did you have a nightmare? All is well now; do not fear. Take a slow breathe now, easy and gently. You have a sword wound on your shoulder plus internal injury to your chest so it is doubly hard for you to breathe. My, you are strong; stop struggling!”

Shang Guan Jing blinks and looks around her. It feels surreal but all seems peaceful as she is back at the bamboo house, on the bed which she shares with her husband.   And leaning over her is the old granny who lived in the mountains. “Granny…you…you….”

She trails off dazedly, at a loss of what to say.

The old woman nods in understanding. “It is alright. I have warned Feng Jin not to go overboard but does that child listen? And now look at the misery he brought on you. Luckily I am well-informed and came to right all the wrongs. If I allow this to go on, I bet no one in the family is going to listen to me anymore.”

Shang Guan Jing does not comprehend and she is distracted by the sound of the wooden-bead curtain rising and falling. In slip 2, no, 3 skinny servants into the room. Indeed, skinny is an understatement as these servants are so thin that they have no sides! As they busily light the candles, set food and drinks on the table, Shang Guan Jing can see that they are paper cut outs.

These are paper-people!

Before she can come to grasp with the sight, Nineteen dashes into the room next with a candle in one hand and Zhu Yu hot on his heels. “Take this, Master Nineteen!” she yells and throws her basin of water over the young boy. The candle flame was doused immediately, but so did the servant standing next to Nineteen. His paper legs fold under the weight of water and he collapses to the ground.

“Oh no! Xiao San Zi!” Zhu Yu rushes to help him together with the other servants.

Granny turns towards the young boy. “Nineteen! What are you doing! If you continue to be so disobedient, Granny is not going to be bothered with you anymore!”

Nineteen is unfazed by the scolding and turns his round face to Shang Guan Jing’s speechless one. “You have woken up?”

Granny boxes the side of his head. “What do you mean by ‘you’? Listen up, she is your cousin-in-law and you should address her properly as ‘Sao Zi’.

Hearing that she is awake, Zhu Yu scuttles to the bedside. “Missy, oh missy! I am so glad you are awoke! Let me settle Xiao San Zi – we need to put him under the sun to dry– and I will bring you your tonic soup immediately. Da Yuan, Suang Zi, what are you guys waiting for? Help me with Xiao San Zi so that I can I can get the soup for Mistress!”

Shang Guan Jing watches on in disbelief as 2 paper-men peels the wet Xiao San Zi off the floor and carries him out of the room.

What is going on?

Nineteen looks at her solemnly. “You need not be afraid. If Feng Jin bullies you, just ignore him. I am here and I…. I promise I will be good to you!”

Granny brings down her fist on Nineteen’s head once more at the same time a clap of thunder cracked through the blue sky outside the open window. The curtain of wooden beads rise and fall again as yet another person enters the room. His face is cold with menace as he stares down at Nineteen. Even from the distance, Shang Guan Jing can clearly feel the threat emitting from him.

But Nineteen is unafraid. “Do you think you are the only one who knows how to make thunder? I can do it too!” Nineteen puffs up his cheeks until he looks as if he has stuffed 2 big meat buns into his mouth before puffing out his breath at the same time a faint roll of thunder sounded in the distance.

Feng Jin snorts scornfully and looks down his nose at the child. “Xiao Ren*.”

 

*Literally,Xiao Ren means ‘little person’. This is a pun on the word child as the term refers to a person who is sneaky and unethical.

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