Joy of Life - Chapter 198[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:47:32]
Chapter 198: Haitang Duoduo
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
But events have a way of exceeding one’s expectations. As this thundering offensive began, a fair and gentle hand emerged from the underbrush!
Like a beautiful young girl catching a firefly, the index finger and thumb were together, with the poison needle that Fan Xian had launched held between them.
Then the figure flew from the underbrush. Seemingly somewhat afraid of Fan Xian, it pressed on, nimbly moving backward but easily rotating, avoiding the black dagger that tore through the air like a gust of wind.
The seven swordsmen’s blades whirled like snow in the wind, leaving no place uncovered. The figure flew upward, dancing lightly between the seven blades like snowflakes. Finally, the figure’s foot touched on the blade with the greatest momentum, and it suddenly swiftly withdrew 15 meters away, standing calmly on the grass.
Gao Da groaned, sheathed his blade and turned back, standing with the six other Tiger Guards in front of Fan Xian and Xiao En, afraid that this master would erupt in fury.
It was a woman with a flower-patterned cloth tied around her head, carrying baskets on her elbows. Inside the baskets were a few fresh mushrooms.
To be exact, this was a village girl.
But who would have thought that she could have broken Fan Xian’s poison needle, avoiding its thrust with her entire body, as well as being able to float away in retreat from seven blades surrounding her like a flurry of snow… This was no ordinary village woman.
Out of the corner of his eye, Fan Xian noticed that when the northern spymaster Xiao En, who did not blink in the face of death, had seen this woman, his eyes had trembled for a moment. Fan Xian was somewhat surprised. Just who was this female master hidden in the underbrush?
He walked forward. The seven Tiger Guards moved out of his way. Gao Da lowered his head and retreated, his hands gripping his saber tightly, guarding Xiao En from behind. If anything happened, he would separate Xiao En’s head from his shoulders.
“Madam, who are you?” Fan Xian asked calmly, looking at this woman, his face betraying a hint of fascination.
The woman lifted her head. There was nothing strange about her face. Neither could she be considered particularly beautiful, but there was a strange brightness in her eyes, as if they reflected completely the meadow and the dawn’s light in the blue sky. They were clear, bright, and incomparably pure.
Fan Xian was briefly dumbfounded. He cupped his hands in salute. “I am a member of the Overwatch Council of the Kingdom of Qing, escorting a prisoner into the Kingdom of Qi by order of the Emperor. I am not sure why you are here, madam. I apologize greatly for any offense we have caused, and ask you not to be angry with us.”
This enigmatic woman was more ferocious than Fan Xian. Fan Xian was a man with a gentle exterior and a deep inner darkness, so he could not help but smile and say a few words he didn’t truly believe. He knew what she had come to do, and she knew that he knew that. But he still spoke grandly and sincerely.
The young woman smiled. Though her cheeks were not beautiful, her smile animated them, and the crude flower-patterned cloth she wore upon her head began to seem familiar. She lowered her head and looked at the needle between her fingers. After a moment, she spoke. “Master Fan, I did not expect your weapon to be a needle.”
Since she had already called him by his family name, Fan Xian found it hard to put on an act again. All he could do was rub his nose and force a smile. “Am I that recognizable? Or has my reputation spread all the way to the north?”
“Surely all the land will have heard of an immortal poet… For this immortal poet to suddenly become a Commissioner of the Overwatch Council of the Kingdom of Qing is an even more absurd and shocking matter. There’s not a soul alive who hasn’t heard of you.”
The young woman held up the needle in her hand, looking up carefully at the sky. Her eyes narrowed into crescent moons, and she looked at the slender needle on the blue sky backdrop, as if it were one of the flying blades that the immortals walked on in legend.
“Ah. It is only a normal sewing needle.” The young woman seemed rather surprised at her discovery. The back end of the poison needle had a hole bored through it.
Fan Xian forced a smile. His little sister had prepared it for him; of course it was only a sewing needle. “Madam,” he suddenly asked, concerned, “must we still chat idly? Mister Xiao has lost a lot of blood, and I fear it would not be appropriate.”
Xiao En smiled.
The young woman laughed. “Were you not planning to kill him?”
Fan Xian laughed gently. “No, it was a rebel army of Northern Qi who intended to free him, thereby voiding the peace agreement between our two countries. During the battle, Master Xiao En fled in the crossfire.”
The village girl giggled, pointing her middle finger at Fan Xian’s nose, looking much like those peasant women from farming villages. “Not only are you a fine poet, Master Fan, but you can even lie without changing your expression. You truly are worthy of being called a Tianmai, like the legends of old.”
“I don’t deserve such praise,” said Fan Xian, his face unchanged, still gently looking her in the eye. “You are the Tianmai of legend. I am simply hardworking and lucky.”
The village girl’s expression changed slightly. She seemed to look at Fan Xian with much more interest. There was a deep silence.
Suddenly, an early-rising bird flew into the nearby meadow with a caw. It seemed to have smelled a strange and bloody scent, and immediately took off, shocked. She smiled self-effacingly and introduced herself. “My name is Duoduo.”
Haitang was an outstanding member of the youngest generation of Northern Qi, a disciple of the grandmaster Ku He, and very possibly a legendary Tianmai being. In the Overwatch Council, Yan Ruohai had warned Fan Xian of her. At the time, Fan Xian had not expected that person to be a woman… and yet, sure enough – to his surprise – she was.
Seemingly not reacting, Fan Xian’s face was calm. “Miss Haitang, could it be that you have come to take Master Xiao back?” Now he knew her identity clearly, but he was still hiding his shock well. He turned his head back to look Xiao En, who was still surveying the meadow below with rapt attention. “I didn’t expect to meet you so soon.”
Haitang was clearly one of the most remarkable people in the world, but she still acted like she was a simple country girl. She smiled. “Call me Duoduo, please. It’s more pleasing to the ear.”
At that moment, Xiao En suddenly spoke. “Neither of you are Tianmai,” he hissed. “You’re just a pair of bickering brats.”
Fan Xian felt ashamed. Although he knew that the old man did not have the strength of his former days, he didn’t seem too bad off by the look of it. He and this “country girl” were putting on an act, and it was really rather unnecessary.
At that moment, Haitang moved closer to the decrepit Xiao En, who sat cross-legged in the meadow. “By order of my master, I have come to escort you to Shangjing, Master Xiao.”
Fan Xian frowned. His hands dropped down by his sides. “We have yet to cross the border, Haitang… Miss Duoduo, I fear you are acting prematurely.”
He shook his head and waved his hand. The six Tiger Guards behind him immediately moved into attack formation, pointing their arrows at her. And behind them, Gao Da’s sturdy arms prepared his lightning-like blade, ready to behead Xiao En.
A strange smile flashed in Haitang’s eyes. Her fingers loosened, and the needle fell silently into the underbrush. The corners of the simple clothing she was wearing fluttered in the dawn breeze. “Master Fan,” she said calmly, “don’t tell me you’re planning to commit murder right in front of me.”
Fan Xian laughed. He thought for a moment, and then looked into her eyes. He knew that she had not come to stop him from killing… Perhaps she had come to watch him kill. He didn’t know what kinds of secrets Xiao En held that could make Ku He, the Imperial Advisor, break his long-held principle of non-interference, and dispatch this girl who clearly had the strength of a ninth-level master to serve as a murderer.
In this world, there are times where one needs to make tough decisions in a very short span of time. Fan Xian had expended a great amount of effort to entice Xiao En into this deadlock and create this chance to kill him – but in an instant, he not only had to renounce his former plans, but had to do the very opposite of them!
Undoubtedly, this was absurd. It was a nonsensical choice. Any normal person would be saddened by such a hindrance to their plans.
But Fan Xian was brave enough to let things be. Since this plan had not been successful in ensnaring Yan Xiaoyi, then whether or not Xiao En was killed was no longer so important. Besides, he had developed quite an interest in the old spymaster. So he gave a strange smile and pounced on Haitang. At the same time, he signaled to the seven Tiger Guards to protect Xiao En and take him in the direction of the Black Knights.
Ching, ching, ching, ching… In total, the sound of seven clashes rang out in an orderly fashion. On the meadow, even the light dawn breeze seemed to have been cut to pieces by that slender, black, poison-coated dagger. The fragments of zhenqi were like countless shattered blades, flying all around the flower-patterned cloth tied around Haitang’s head.
Fan Xian was thoroughly pleased with his seven blows. Although they had pursued Xiao En throughout the night and his body was already rather fatigued, facing someone who was absolutely outstanding among her generation – particularly the kind of person he had naturally detested when reading novels in his past life – Fan Xian had finally roused all of the hidden potential within him to deliver some dazzling blows.
Like seven black lotuses, Haitang’s hairline… burst forth, then lifelessly and faintly disappeared.
Haitang smiled, holding a simple dagger in her hand. The side of the blade had fragments of grass on it, leaving droplets of green fluid that congealed into spots.
A moment earlier, every vicious, lightning-fast thrust that Fan Xian had made had all been gently parried by the girl’s dagger. Its point quivered, looking delicate and powerless in the wind, yet like countless clear breezes, it had bound itself to Fan Xian’s slender dagger, and in the end, had turned the powerful zhenqi Fan Xian had channeled into it into a slight breeze.