We are coming to the end of the story and will be done with 2 more posts. But before that, the problems at Yu Ling Sect need to be resolved. Da Shi Jie and Er Shi Ge has died – they might as well not have appeared. so short were their appearances – but there is still a missing girl and potential treasures to be found. What part does Feng Jin play in all this? Read on to find out….
Chapter 9 (Part 2)
Shang Guan Jing skirts past dueling swordsmen to reach Si (Fourth) Shi Mei, who is being held by a big, burly man. Before she gets close, she can already hear the man’s booming voice. “….if you have come to any mishap, you would have totally deserve it. If you continue to be so reckless, see if I’ll rescue you the next time!”
Su Xue Ying is unfazed by her husband’s loud voice, nor the hands on her waist that are so tightly wrapped around her, that they may just break her into half if he squeezes any further. “Hmph! I would have been able to escape eventually even if you did not show up.”
“Ha-ha! Do you think you would still be alive if I have not arrived in time? I think I should lock you up when we get home and throw away the key!”
“You… barbarian!” She recalls something and shakes her head resolutely. “But I cannot go home just yet.”
His voice raises another notch. “What did you say?”
“Look barbarian, Da Shi Jie and Er Shi Gie have gone to Nan Man to capture San (Third) Shi Jie. I need to go to Nan Man.”
“You can continue dreaming! You are not going anywhere except home! I am….”
Shang Guan Jing interrupts. “Si Shi Mei!”
Su Xue Ying hears the familiar voice and looks up hopefully. She shakes free of her retrains without much difficulty and rushes up to the person who has been on her mind all month long. “San Shi Jie? Is it really you?” She reaches for her hand and when her hands contacted with something warm and solid, tears start flowing down her cheeks. “San Shi Jie, San Shi Jie, it is really you! You are safe! You are back! I am so glad to see you! But teacher, teacher….” Grief overwhelms her and Su Xue Ying starts crying in earnest. “I can’t find her; or Qing Qing! But I’m so glad to see you! I have been so worried!”
Shang Guan Jin pulls her in for a big hug and pats her back gently. “Don’t worry. I am back and I am fine. I have been worried about you too.”
“Why have you gone to Nan Man? It is so far away! If you need help, you could have just come to the Western Desert.”
“I have not wanted to go there either but I have no choice.”
Su Xue Ying is inconsolable and nearly chokes on her tears. “Don’t go there anymore if you do not want to.”
“Hush, don’t worry about me anymore. I’m not going Nan Man since you said so yourself that it is so far away. You must stop crying!” Shang Guan Jing tries to console her distraught shi mei but she feels a chill down her spine and looks up. Not far from where she is standing, Feng Jin is trying to stare a hole through her. He is as stiff and cold as a block of ice but Shang Guan Jin has no doubt that he is boiling mad beneath that icy demeanor.
Erm…. Have she said anything wrong? Why is he staring at her as if she has done him some grave injustice?
Feng Jin finally stared enough and turns to Zi Yan. “Where is the cave? Lead me to it!”
Su Xue Ying finally notices the new comers with Shang Guan Jing. “San Shi Jie, are they your friends?”
Shang Guan Jing does not answer and looks at Feng Jin as he stalks off with his guards in tow. She thinks of the near full-moon she saw yesterday night and recalls that today is the 15th. He has mentioned before that if he will be fine so long as he refrained from using magic within 24hrs before the rise of the full moon. If not, it would just be a bit more painful at night, he has said.
She is a little chagrin to be so worried about him after he has fooled her like a monkey. Sighing, she figures she is just not the type to carry a grudge for long and wonders at what he is going to do next. Pushing Xue Ying towards her husband, she rushes after the trio.
She caught up with them at the cave entrance. Su Xue Ying and her husband have followed and on the short journey to the cave, Su Xue Ying asks about the strangers once again but Shang Guan Jing does not reply. When Feng Jin takes out the leaders token, Shang Guan Jing quickly walks up and stands between him and the cave entrance.
“Tonight is the 15th; you better not do anything rash.”
He laughs mirthlessly. “Do you still care?”
She really, really hates to admit that she does so she forces herself to lie. “Of course not!”
His chilly expression drops another 10 degrees. “Then leave. Don’t get in my way.”
“Fine!” Shang Guan Jing is so upset that she can feel the tears forming behind her eyes. But she fights the urge to rub them least he detects her worry and mocks at her again.
Feng Jin closes his eyes and mutters something under his breath. He lets go of the token but instead of dropping to the ground, it floats in mid-air and starts to glow. Golden light flows from the carvings on the surface and project the ancient language in the air above.
Feng Jin starts glowing as well and seems to light out like a celestial being. With a flick of his sleeve, the golden words in the air flew towards the cave entrance as if caught by a breeze and shines brightly for a second before being absorbed into the rock. Once the golden words disappear, the rock entrance rumbles and slowly rolls to one side, exposing a cave behind it. Purple glow emits from the cave entrance but the light was soon absorb by the bright lights of the evening sun.
Shang Guan Jing has been watching Feng Jin intently and has to retrain herself from going to his side when he pales visibly beneath all the golden glow. Once he has done whatever is necessary with the token, their fate which is brought together by the same token will end as well. Steeling herself, she enters the cave before the rest can recover from their amazement.
This is her first time entering the cave and she is surprised at its size. From the sunlight outside the cave, she can see the purple jadeite cave walls and the torches on the walls that can be used to light up the cave. Although there does not seem to be another opening or tunnels within the cave, the air in the cave seems well circulated. She did not see any furniture, nor are there jewelry or treasure that Er Shi Ge has dreamt of but there is…
Shang Guan Jing takes a good look at the person sitting on the floor and confirms that she is indeed Xiao Shi Mei. She runs to her who seems to be meditating and shouts. “Xue Ying, come in quick! Qing Qing is here!”
As the others rush into the cave, Shang Guan Jing quickly checks on Qing Qing. She is still breathing, thank goodness, and her pulse is a little weak but there are no signs of injury. Praise to the heavens! Xiao Shi Mei seems alright.
“Qing Qing! Qing Qing! Wake up! Are you alright?” Su Xue Ying rubs the little hands in hers and gently sooths her forehead. However, Qing Qing seems to be in a trance and did not respond. She did not stir from her sitting position no matter how loud her seniors call out to her or pats her hands and face.
In desperation, Shang Guan Jing looks at Feng Jin. Her plea for help is apparent and although he is stony-face, he walks up to Qing Qing.
Shang Guan Jing quickly pulls Xue Ying away to give him some room and watches anxiously as Feng Jin lifts his hand and points his index finger at Qing Qing forehead. The tip of his index finger glows and a ray of golden light pass from his finger to Qing Qing’s forehead, right between her eyes.
At first, nothing happens and the light seems to go inside Qing Qing’s head. But gradually, her face starts to glow and spreads to her ears, neck and soon, her whole body is glowing. Suddenly, her body softens and she collapses like a broken doll. Feng Jin catches her nimbly and passes her limp body to her seniors who have rushed up. “Qing Qing!”
At this close distance, Feng Jin can smell her familiar scent and can see the fine hair just above her ears. He can see the expression in her eyes clearly – excitement, concern – and would like to look at her like that for a long, long time. However, she is uncomfortable at his staring and turns to face Xiao Shi Mei.
Du Qing Qing opens her eyes and mutters feebly. “San Shi Jie. Si Shi Jie….”
Her seniors are delighted and Su Xue Ying cries in relief. “I am so glad that you are alright. Why are you here? How did you get inside the cave? I thought you have escaped and I have been searching for you everywhere!”
Seeing that Xiao Shi Mei has come around and is none too worse for the wear, Shang Guan Jin gently transfers the girl to Xue Ying and walks up to Feng Jin. He has walked out of the cave and when she has caught up with him, she panics for a moment.
Ay, what can she say?
“Thank you very much for your help….”
She mutters awkwardly and braces herself for his mocking rejoinder. But other than looking a little wierd, he did not reply. She notices the strain around his eyes and wonders if he is in pain and trying to hide it from her.
His words come to mind:- I am very good at enduring pain.
Suddenly, Yan Ying and Zi Yan shout simultaneously as blood starts flowing from Feng Jin’s eyes, mouth, ears and nose. Shang Guan Jing stares at the setting sun beyond the clouds and knows that something must be very wrong for him to start bleeding before the sun has set.
Feng Jin knows he is going to have a hell of a time that night, and turns away resolutely when Shang Guan Jing reaches out a hand to try to steady him. “Yan Ying!”
Yan Ying quickly slugs Feng Jing’s arm around his shoulder and props him up. As his head fall on the sturdy shoulder, Feng Jin commands. “Get me away from here…”
Before he can say more, Feng Jin faints as more blood gushes out from his face in earnest. Yan Ying gives Shang Guan Jin a respectful nod and leaves quickly with his master and Zi Ying in tow, leaving the former to stare at them in worry and pain as they disappear from view.