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Chapter 8: If I Return
The alley was a remote and quiet one like Falling Parasol. Therefore, most of the residences were the poor people of Changling’s lower class. Loud laughter constantly sounded from one small wine shop.
A woman was in charge of serving food in the small wine shop. There were no helpers. So while there was only one table of guests, this woman was one person and so busy her clothes were glued to her skin due to sweat.
This woman was slightly pretty, and the guests had presumptuous looks that moved along the white skin of her neck towards her chest. She was embarrassed, but she did not dare to show it, just flushed brighter.
Seeing her like this, the table of guests were even more intrusive and hooted even louder.
At this moment, a person came to the door. This was a gardener.
The people the surrounding alleys all knew this gardener whose surname was Zhang. He made a living by caring for the flowers of some wealthy families. He usually did not have any savings, was large and tanned, and did not speak well. He should be in his forties or older. No girl wanted him so he was still single.
A person like this would not usually attract the attention of the guests if he appeared at the door. Yet today, when he appeared, the laughter suddenly stopped.
This tanned, short but large gardener held a large pair of gardening shears. His pant hems were covered in soil. He did not look any different than usual. But he had a faint smile on his face.
The people in the area had never seen him with such a smile. Even the woman from the wine shop stopped immediately. Inexplicably, she sensed his intentions, and the long-lost scent the smell gave off. She even started to feel joy on his behalf.
In the odd silence, the gardener walked to the table of guests, and said to the short-haired man in brocade-robes at the center. “You owe twenty three meals’ worth of money. Pay that first.”
Clearly, the short-haired man was not a friendly person. A cold sneer appeared on his lips as his eyebrows rose. Yet in the next moment, this short-haired man sensed an enormous wave of terror press into his body. He found he could not move.
“Pay money, then leave,” Gardener Zhang looked at him and said.
The short-haired man suddenly found he could move again. He took out a money pouch from his sleeve in shock, placed it on the table, and walked directly out of the shop.
His fellows were dumbfounded, not understanding why he reacted like this. They had not sensed any of the presence at all. When they confusedly followed the short-haired man out of the shop, the short-haired man suddenly stilled again.
He looked at his lower half.
He had been incontinent. Coming out of his lower body and soaking his pants was red blood.
His fellows stared with wide eyes. As the short-haired man gave a shocked scream, so did his fellows.
The short-haired man finally gave a mournful wail. Then he fell down, dead.
“I fear I cannot help you in the future,”
Gardener Zhang looked deeply at the woman in the wine shop and said softly, “If I do not die today, I will help you leave Changling.”
As he was saying this, the short-haired man was screaming outside the shop.
The woman paled, not having yet realized what had happened.
When Gardener Zhang turned to leave and she saw his broad back, she started to realize the meaning in her words, and understood the other was not an ordinary person.
She was an ordinary person.
However, after Gardener Zhang took several steps, she did not know where her courage came from as her face blushed and she shouted, “I’ll wait for you!”
Gardener Zhang laughed.
He did not care about the other sounds and gazes from people in the alley. His body vanished like a ghost as he turned the corner in the alley. The death of some ordinary gangsters would not immediately attract a violent reaction.
After passing through several streets, he decreased his pace. Just like how he usually went to care for the flowers and shrubs, he walked slowly with his gardening shears.
There were many peach forests in the east of Changling. The peach trees usually grew on the undulating hills. In the spring, the peach flowers would be bright and beautiful. The peach flowers many famous Changling painters would paint came from this place.
Right now was the time for the last batch of peaches to ripen. There were naturally not many peaches. But strangely, in a mountain valley filled with mist, there were still many peach trees blooming.
The peach trees were blooming but there was not even one new leaf.
There was a small stone stele in front of the mountain valley. The entire valley was extremely quiet. Even the painters belonging to the nobility did not dare to enter this valley.
The words on the stone stele were “Imperial Forbidden”. The two words came from Emperor Yuanwu’s hand.
Gardener Zhang’s figure appeared in the peach forest and finally headed into the mountain valley. He seemed to have not noticed the stone stele at all. He walked directly into the forbidden valley, and through the blooming peach trees.
There was a quiet elegant courtyard in the middle of the most beautiful part of the forest. Inside the little courtyard was a handsome man.
“Ye Xinhe, I had not thought you were still alive,” Gardener Zhang came to the front of the courtyard with his shears and said as he looked through the open gates to the handsome man.
“Back at the Deer Mountain Conference, you should have known that I was alive. So it should be me saying this to you. Zhang Shiwu, I did not know you were alive.” The handsome man was surprised when he saw the gardener.
Gardener Zhang smiled. “Life is worse than death.”
Ye Xinhe looked at him and frowned. “Zhang Shiwu, I do not seem to have any grievances with you.”
Gardener Zhang shook his head and said, “Not distinguishing what is right and wrong is the greatest of grievances.”
Ye Xinhe looked at Gardener Zhang and laughed. “You were not a match for me during the time of Ba Mountain. Even if I am injured now, you are not able to kill me. You think you can leave?”
Gardener Zhang laughed as well and said, “I wanted to give you a fair chance but now, I just want to kill you. I’ve never thought about whether or not I can leave.”
Ye Xinhe looked up and said slowly, “Pity that you cannot kill me today.”
Gardener Zhang seemed to sense something but he did not speak as his gaze fell towards Ye Xinhe’s throat. His gardening shears fell apart in his hands.
This was a pair of shears, but after separating, the shears became two swords.
The two swords flew out of his hands, and appeared like ordinary flying swords. But as they flew, one of the two silver swords turned pure white, and the other pure black.
The swords were split into yin and yang. This gardener was the Yinyang sword master of the former Ba Mountain Sword Field, Zhang Shiwu.
The sword was just ten feet away from his body when all the peach flowers in the mountain valley withered and the petals fell off.
In Ye Xinhe’s courtyard, everything was broken and flew in the air like the falling petals.
A spinning sword essence was coming towards him.
Ye Xinhe’s black hair flew in the wind.
A wood sword floated in front of him.
This wood sword had a powerful presence, even stronger than his own body’s energies. But there were many cracks on the blade right now.
With a crack, an enormous white flash fell from the sky and collided with the black and white vortex surrounding him. His teeth were bloodied, and the blood coming out was like many peach flowers.
But at this moment, he laughed and looked towards the mountain behind Zhang Shiwu.
A door seemed to open in the world. The mountain shattered. Countless stones flew out of the white mist.
A chariot that looked to be made out of pure copper charged through the white mist with a terrifying presence. The commander on the chariot was covered in green scales like a demon.
Behind this chariot, metallic lights reflected through the white mist.
Translator Ramblings: Zhang Shiwu has the most practical sword so far.
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 15 “The Best in the World”
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- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 13 “Gold Dagger”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 12 “Behead”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Seven Chapter 11 “Armorless”