Chapter Eleven Hero
A woman in red robes sat inside the dark room. In front of her was a zither and next to her an incense pot. Several jade-like stalks of black jade-like bamboo were placed next to her.
“Just a weak woman of a dead family who knows some life-saving tricks. Fourth Mister Zhao, please do not laugh.”
Black smoke moved inside the incense pot. The figure of the red-dressed female seemed to waver in the air like a ghostly shadow. However, her voice was unusually clear, gentle, and inscribable polite. Her tone was a comforting one, and the dark room seemed to warm up.
The handsome young person’s furrowed brow eased slightly and his anger faded.
“We are all fallen people. Eldest Miss Shang should not be so humble.”
He bowed to the woman in the room and then walked into the dark room to sit down opposite the red-dressed woman.
There was a thin black silver curtain in front of the red-dressed woman’s zither. He looked through the curtain to meet the woman’s gaze.
The thick-browed young person behind him bowed to the red-dressed woman outside the door. However, he did not enter and turned to stand beside the door.
The red-dressed woman returned the bow from behind the curtain and then asked slowly, “Fourth Mister Zhao sent a messenger saying you had matters to discuss with me. What are those?”
Her voice was thin, but the speed of her speech and her tone all made people feel comfortable.
The handsome young person looked at the red-dressed female behind the curtain, this hegemon who controlled most of the Fish Market’s illegal business. He nodded. “My sect junior brother Zhao Zhan was killed by Ye Celeng. I think that Eldest Miss Shang knows of this matter.”
The red-dressed woman said softly, “Seventh Mister Zhao is one of the rare heroes of the world. His death is a tragedy.”
The handsome young person’s brows rose slightly.
Just like how Zhao Zhan started to give off an indescribable aura and charisma when Ye Celeng walked in to the courtyard, he also started to give off a similar presence of a sharpness hard to describe.
“In a few days, the world will know of the death of my sect junior brother,” he said calmly. “However, not many would know why my sect junior brother has hid in Changling for so long, or why he would die in Changling.”
The red-dressed woman said, “This weak woman is stupid and does not understand what Fourth Mister Zhao means.”
The young person looked at the red-dressed woman behind the curtain. He said, “You Qin Dynasty cultivators have always pursued us Sword Furnace members closely. Us Sword Furnace members, not just in Changling, if we stay for long in any city of the Qin, we will be detected. My sect junior brother knew this but did not fear death. He hid for three years in Changling, not to assassinate someone, but to search for things that that person left behind.”
The red-dressed woman was silent but her body started to shake slightly. The black bamboo around her seemed to tremble in pain.
Even though she was one of the most powerful people in the Changling underground, a being that everyone who entered Fish Market had to respect and fear, when she thought of that person’s name, she still felt pain.
Most of the time, she was unwilling to mention that person’s name because of her helplessness and pain, because she was not willing to think back to such painful matters.
Just like this strongest person from the Sword Furnace.
The people of the Zhao Sword Furnace would not feel fear. However, the Sword Furnace was exterminated because of that person. Even now, they still wanted to rely on the things that person left behind to fight back against the cultivators of the Qin Dynasty. This was a great pain to bear on its own.
The handsome young person said coldly and calmly, “My sect junior brother would not fear death. Yet if there was no hint or clue at all, I would not have allowed him to casually lose his life in Changling. His life is more valuable than the great majority of people in the world.”
The silk curtain shook slightly. Several long breaths later, the red-dressed woman said, “Just like the rumors say, that person’s disciple has appeared?”
The handsome young person looked at the red figure behind the curtain and said slowly, “You know that person had many enemies, but also many loyal to him left. After his death, most of those loyal to him died tragically, and not many of the old and weak survived. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but members of the Sword Furnace found a traitor who was killed. That traitor did not die immediately. He died due to loss of blood after escaping into the wilderness. That traitor was completely covered in shallow wounds, circles of sword wounds that wound around.”
The red-dressed woman shook again. “Stone-Grinding Sword?”
The handsome young person said coldly, “I personally inspected him, it is the Stone-Grinding Sword. The Stone-Grinding Sword is that person’s creation, and is for use specifically against cultivators who are skilled using their vital energy to protect their bodies. From the sword marks, the culprit should have just had realm one cultivation while that traitor already had realm four first-class cultivation. The culprit must have used the Stone-Grinding Sword because of the difference in cultivation. We investigated the tracks of the traitor before his death. We found that this traitor wanted to rob a certain manor near the capital. The estate had several women and infirm ones that are the families of those old subordinates.”
The red-dressed woman was silent for multiple moments. “I believe Fourth Mister Zhao’s judgement, but for me, death ends all grudges. Whether or not that person left behind a disciple has nothing to do with me.”
“But we can live better.” The handsome young person said with a sneer, “Even though many people fear us, we know that we are lonely and wild ghosts who cannot see the light of day.”
The young person paused and then added as he looked at the red-dressed woman behind the curtain, “No one will refuse power, nor will anyone refuse to live better days.”
“It seems Fourth Mister Zhao wants me to help and search for some clues from that person’s old subordinate families.” The red-dressed woman was silent for a long moment. She said sincerely, “I respect Mister, but I am one of the Qin.”
The handsome young person shook his head and said, laughing at himself, “What is the difference between the Qin and Zhao people now?” My dynasty has been dead for so many years. Does the words of King Liu of Zhao, said when the dynasty was being overthrown, still apply now? This is all personal grudges. The momentum of the world is set. Am I so stupid to think I can rebuild my dynasty just with the broken swords of Sword Furnace?”
The red-dressed woman thought for a moment.
She knew that the person who was the fourth to join Sword Furnace, the one people called Fourth Mister Zhao, was thought to have the highest skill of all the disciples of Sword Furnace. Now, she knew that the skill was not just in terms of cultivation. She wanted to have a serious discussion and see this person clearly.
The bamboo stalks around her swayed slightly as though a wind passed. The black silk curtain in front of her also swayed and then moved to the side.
The young person detected that weak wave of primal energies of the universe on the black silk curtain. His gaze stilled and he said sincerely, “So Eldest Miss Shang is also skilled in formations.”
“This is nothing to Mister Zhao.”
The red-dressed woman’s voice made people feel more comfortable. She looked the young person’s face. To her shock, the rumored Fourth Mister Zhao was younger than she expected.
The handsome young person also saw her appearance. He was similarly amazed.
Her features could not be considered attractive. Her skin a sickly white, but her aura was especially calm and peaceful. Her eyes were special, extremely black and bright. Her red dress dragged on the ground and covered her feet.
Her eyes did not contain any hatred. Her gaze was like those buddhas in the temples, looking down with pity at the world.
The two examined each other and the room became silent.
“I am willing to hear Mister speak.” The red-dressed woman did not posture, speaking first and breaking the silence.
The handsome young person’s expression turned serious. He sat up straight and took a deep breath. He said slowly, “The first, I already told the true secret of my sect junior brother’s death in Changling to Eldest Miss Shang. I only hope if Eldest Miss Shang find that person’s disciple, you will tell members of the Sword Furnace. In my conversation with Miss, I learned Miss has an open mind, respects that person, and has no hate towards that person’s disciples.”
The red-dressed woman nodded. “I will promise Mister this.”
The young person nodded in thanks and said, “The second matter is to ask Eldest Miss Shang to pay attention to the movements of the Wei. This one has received news they may have found clues to the Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard.”
“Cultivators of Cloud Water Palace appeared in Changling as well? Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard?” The red-dressed woman was slightly disbelieving.
The young person bowed deeply and said solemnly, “If we can obtain things from that person or the Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard, Sword Furnace is willing to share them with Eldest Miss Shang. In the future, the broken swords of Sword Furnace will be willing to do all they can to protect Eldest Miss Shang.”
The red-dressed female naturally knew the weight of this young person’s words.
She did not say anything else, and returned a deep bow.
Translator Ramblings: Right now, the story is in the years akin to the Qin’s Unification of China period. Somewhere after 225 B.C but the novel doesn’t strictly follow actual history. The major kingdoms left are the Chu, and the Qi.