The Witch Nichang– Chapter 59
The moment I believed that this child was Lian Nichang, I knew there must be a Zhuo Yihang in this world.
Although I didn’t like it, these two are names that were destined to be intertwined.
It was exactly because I didn’t like it that for the past few years since encountering Honghua Guimu, the time I spent on thinking about this name might be longer than the time I spent on thinking about Lian’er and Master. Whenever I had time, I couldn’t help but rake my brain trying to remember, even if it was just a word, a sentence, or a scene. This was unlike when I tried to recall it as a kid. At that time, it didn’t matter whether I could recall or not. Now that I was sure that some things were bound to happen, how could I sit back and wait for fate to unfold?
And now, the character that I had envisioned countless times in my mind finally showed up in front of me.
I was glad, actually. What will come will come. This plain appearance was the most acceptable kind out of the several possibilities I had concluded over the past few years with bits and pieces of my memories. What I was more glad about was that I had realized it in time.
But it had only just begun.
The young man was interrupted. He looked a little puzzled when the name that he hadn’t had a chance to say was uttered by another person, but he didn’t stay puzzled for long as I pointed out his master and where he came from. He was surprised, so he put aside his earlier puzzlement and said solemnly with cupped fists, “You’re right. I’ve indeed learned some basics from Wudang, but I wonder how Miss got to know about this?”
“It was just that I had the chance to travel with your martial brother, Geng Shaonan and the others on my way to Shaanxi for a few days. That’s why I’ve heard some details. You needn’t worry.” I answered with a smile. As if in concern, I asked, “Unfortunately, we parted ways because something came up. I wonder if you have any news about them? How’re they doing?”
That was right. It was intentional to ask these questions.
The man didn’t question it. His face brightened up when he heard that, and he said, “Ah, so you’re Brother Geng’s friend. Forgive my impudence. I’ve been busy with family matters in the capital for the past few days, so I haven’t seen my fellow martial brothers, but…” He hesitated for a second before saying, “But according to a new friend I met in the capital, Brother Geng seemed to have gotten hurt. Fortunately, it wasn’t serious. He probably went back to Mount Wudang after that. Don’t worry, Miss.”
“Oh?” Feigning surprise, I asked curiously, “He got hurt even with his excellent martial skills. I wonder who’s hurt him? What’s the plan now? Is Wudang going to stand up for him?”
When I asked that, I glanced at the girl next to me, seemingly unintentionally. Lian’er was still tugging on my sleeve but seemed to be drawn to this topic, curiosity showing on her face. Since it was her doing, she of course wasn’t curious about who had hurt him. Hearing me ask that, she looked at that person. I supposed she wanted to know how he would answer.
“I heard it’s a cunning ruthless hag!” Unsuspecting, he blurted out angrily. Then he realized it was inappropriate right after and stopped. He said, his head down, “I’m very sorry. I got angry and blundered. Don’t take offense. Actually, it’s better not to get involved if you aren’t fellow members of jianghu. The elders and the pupils from Wudang will take care of the feuds and affairs in jianghu. They’ll ask for justice sooner or later. I thank you on behalf of Brother Geng for your concern.”
He behaved with courtesy. When he spoke, he didn’t look at us directly most of the time, so he didn’t see how the face of the girl in white changed when he said “cunning hag.”
Even so, Lian’er didn’t lose her temper.
She was still holding my arm. She even slid down my arm to hold my hand behind my back.
“Who cares about that guy? Your Wudang has a long history and produces many heroes. Just go ahead if you guys want to go after that person. That person might not be afraid of you. You can talk about it after you’ve taught them a lesson. My…my sister isn’t feeling well. Why do you have to bad-mouth other people?”
I turned around and gazed at her. For the first time, I was unable to tell the truth in her words.
Was it really because of the reason she gave? The person beside me didn’t care about me looking at her but looked at the man haughtily instead. There was displeasure in her eyes, but there was no anger. So did this girl really put up with it because she cared about her friend? Or was it simply because she didn’t want to snap at him?
“Miss, that’s not true.” The man heard the displeasure in her voice and quickly explained, “Wudang’s reputation has never come from abusing our power. As for the reason behind this matter, everyone will be the judge of it. I blundered just now. I’m just a junior. Although my teacher hasn’t given up on me, I’m slow and have no success in arts and martial arts, let alone my insignificant standing in Wudang. Naturally, what I said can’t represent Wudang. I hope that Miss won’t take it personally.”
He probably got a little suspicious because his words became particularly modest and cautious. The displeasure on Lian’er’s face was fading. She nodded and said, smiling, “Yo, you should have said so earlier. Now we’re talking.”
This conversation between them shouldn’t have happened. It was a plot of mine on a whim. I plotted against Zhuo Yihang, but didn’t I plot against her too? But so what? Even after saying those words, Lian’er still smiled at him in the end. So had I stifled her affection for him or made her impression of him stronger by doing so?
Suddenly, panic took me. Being in the game, I didn’t know what ripple I was creating, what wave I was pushing, and what fruit I was planting.
Is everything really destined and on God’s will? Is fate so difficult to change?
“You’ve actually gotten sick.” Suddenly, I heard a voice. She turned around, her smile faded, and she said to me seriously, “Your hand is getting colder. It’s better to layer up and go to rest as soon as possible.” Before I could answer, she looked up at the man and said, “Hey, my sister is going to change. You can’t stand there. Rain in the mountains comes and goes quickly. It’s almost about to stop. I’ll walk you out to take a look.”
After that, Lian’er let go of my hand and sauntered towards the man. Before taking the second step, her body swayed, looking like she was going to fall down, but with a wave of her sleeve, she seized his wrist like lightning.
The man was shocked, and his face flushed, however, he couldn’t dodge it or break free either. In the end, the girl smiled and released her grip.
“The ground is wet, and I slipped. Sorry about that. Please go ahead.” She said, looking frank without any sign of sorry on her face.
The man couldn’t say much about it but yes with his reddened face. After saluting to me, he went with her.
I just stood still. The two of them walked out one after another. Standing at the entrance of Yellow Dragon Cave, Lian’er seemed to look at the sky and said something to him. The man cupped his fists and nodded. As he started walking, the girl suddenly called him. This time her voice was louder, so I could hear it.
“Ah, by the way, don’t tell anyone that you’ve met us here!” She said.
The young man called out, “No problem, Miss. You can rest assured. We’ve only met by chance and won’t see each other again. I won’t go around telling everyone.” Lian’er grinned and said, “Not necessarily. How do you know there won’t be a next time?” It dazed him, and he replied, “Well then. If we meet again someday, I’ll welcome you as a good friend.”
This time the girl waved at him and said, “Okay, go on!”
The rain had stopped, but the wind kept on, sending the two voices into the cave, sounding crystal-clear. I stood there looking at the entrance, frozen. Over there was a figure leaning against the wall, facing outside, looking as if she was sending off someone with a smile, motionless.
I waited for a long time, but the person still didn’t turn around–didn’t return.