Book 55 Chapter 11 – No Blood on the Men’s Swords
Although Shi Feixuan’s mouth said fight, her expression was still like ancient well without any ripple, her limpid eyes flickered with deep and unmeasurable unusual light, a clear sign that her cultivation had made more progress compared to when she was outside the Great Wall. But only Xu Ziling understood that she had reached the Heart of the Sword Brightly Lit realm, just like Shi Zhixuan, whom his spirited senses were unable to fathom. Translated by foxs
Dumbstruck and unable to reply, Kou Zhong met her gaze. It was quite half a day later that he started to comprehend and blurted out, “Feixuan must be joking! How could you be a person who’d resolve a dispute using martial force?”
Shi Feixuan smiled gently and said, “It was you who said that; when all else fails, for example: explanation, persuasion, pleading, intimidation, et cetera, other than martial force, how else are you going to resolve a dispute? Feixuan can’t possibly sit and watch Bashu falling into Shaoshuai’s hands.”
Xu Ziling said, “Feixuan …”
Shi Feixuan’s countenance tranquil, she cut him off, while still staring fixedly at Kou Zhong without yielding the least bit, saying, “I don’t care if previously Ziling had ten million of reasons to help your Xiongdi Kou Zhong, all these reasons have become the past. The world has been divided into two parts, Ziling, please don’t get involved in the dispute between Feixuan and Shaoshuai.”
A burst of difficult feeling welled up in Xu Ziling’s heart. On the one hand was the jade person that he admired and loved dearly, on the other hand was a partner and brother with whom he grew up together. What could he do? Suddenly, he had fallen into the dire straits again, where left and right, it was difficult to conduct himself.
The divine light in Kou Zhong’s pair of eyes flaring greatly, he turned back into the Shaoshuai who was brimming with confidence and had no fear of anybody in the world; he smiled and said, “Shi Xianzi, please draw down the path.”
Xie Hui, father and son looked at Shi Feixuan, they showed waiting-in-curiosity expression, it was clear that they had no idea what Shi Feixuan’s ‘resolving a dispute using martial force’ was. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Shi Feixuan calmly said, “How about we decide Bashu’s fate using Feixuan’s Color Empty Sword and Shaoshuai’s Moon in the Well?”
Xu Ziling, Xie Hui and Xie Wenlong, none did not have his countenance changed.
“What did you say?” Kou Zhong blurted out, “Feixuan, don’t scare me.”
Shi Feixuan showed a helpless expression, she sighed and said, “At this kind of moment, how could Feixuan still have the mood to joke with you? Whether you agree or not, this is the only way Feixuan can think of to solve this problem.”
Kou Zhong looked at Xu Ziling for help, the latter only responded with a wry smile, thereupon he turned his gaze back to Shi Feixuan, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, he said, “Has Feixuan ever thought about how unfair this is? Even if I don’t look at Ling Shao’s face, I still am unable to harden my heart to deal with you ruthlessly, so much so that I do not dare to damage even half a strand of your vellus hair. Under such circumstances, I will definitely lose Bashu.” Translated by foxs
Shi Feixuan spoke indifferently, “Feixuan is not talking about determining victory or defeat, but about life or death. If you cannot harden your heart to kill Feixuan, you practically do not have the qualifications to become an emperor! Since ancient times, those who succeeded in great things, none was not a vicious and merciless person, all obstacles blocking the way to the throne must be cleared away.”
Smiling wryly, Kou Zhong said, “So when you picked Li Shimin to be the future true master, did you already know that he has such characteristics?”
These two sentences completely vented Kou Zhong’s resentment and indignation, so that Xu Ziling, who could only be a bystander, had the same feeling in his heart, and wanted to hear whether Shi Feixuan had any satisfactory answer.
Shi Feixuan replied calmly, “When you are striving for the emperor’s throne as the most lofty ideal and goal, you will make any personal sacrifices for its sake. The only difference is whether your purpose as an emperor is to satisfy your personal ambitions, or you are doing it for the sake of all the people of the world. Feixuan can harden my heart to kill you, precisely because I am doing it for the sake of common people, and I can make any personal sacrifices for this, including never being able to peek into the heavenly law, and become guilt-ridden for the rest of my life.”
Slapping the table, Xie Hui sighed in praise and said, “Well said! Only Qinghui can cultivate a character like Feixuan.”
Kou Zhong spoke heavily, “Feixuan should know that if I was killed by the Son of Heaven you picked in the Battle of Luoyang, subsequently it would be your turn to be slaughtered by that Li kid.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Shi Feixuan revealed a faint expression brimming with pained feeling, her beautiful eyes swept over Xu Ziling, before she fixed her eyes on Kou Zhong and said, “That is another problem. Feixuan only knows how to act according to the development of the current situation, Li Shimin not losing Bashu, the world is still not split in two. Ay! How could Shaoshuai be such a wishy-washy person? The empty, long street outside is the most suitable venue for the decisive battle. Let our life or death determine the destiny of Bashu and the fate of the future world!”
Xu Ziling could not help saying, “Feixuan!”
Shi Feixuan slowly turned back to her lucid and elegant, free from vulgarity beautiful face, her pretty eyes emitted a pleading look at him, she spoke softly, “Xu Ziling, can you stay out of this matter? Feixuan is on mission from my school, I have studied meticulously historiography since childhood, the cause and effect of reason governing chaos. Politics has always ignored motives and means, and only emphasized the consequences. We fully support Li Shimin, because we believe that he is the best candidate to seek happiness for the world. Your Xiongdi might be the unequalled commander-in-chief in the world, but he lacks Li Shimin’s ability and ambition to rule the country. If Feixuan tucks my hands inside my sleeves and does not care, the opportunity for the unification and peace of the world will be lost. From being strong, the Li Tang will turn weak, the allied armies beyond the Great Wall will seize the opportunity to invade. This time Xieli has been storing up his momentum for a long time, he comes prepared. Even if he cannot sweep the Central Earth flat, he would bring about the damage that will be going to be severe and far-reaching, I don’t know when the common people’s suffering will end? Central Earth might never be able to recover its vitality.” Translated by foxs
Kou Zhong spoke angrily, “The problem is that currently the Great Tang’s emperor is Li Yuan, and the heir is Li Jiancheng; even more so, the final beneficiary is the demonic school, which the-two-cannot-exist-together with you.”
Shi Feixuan recovered her still-without-any-ripple expression, casting her pretty eyes to Kou Zhong again, she spoke slowly, word by word, “That’s why Feixuan said that politics is ignoring motives, it only talks about the results. Feixuan never doubts that Shaoshuai has already given a lot of thought to this, and not because of personal desires and ambitions, otherwise Ziling can’t possibly fight side-by-side with you. Think about it, even if you guys could successfully capture Chang’an, your vitality will be severely damaged, while Li Shimin could still depend on Luoyang and resist unyieldingly, mobilizing the remaining troops inside the Pass and Taiyuan for all-around counterattack. At that time, undoubtedly both sides will suffer. During the time when to whom the world belongs to is still unknown, the coalition forces from beyond the Great Wall suddenly go down south to invade, may I ask Shaoshuai, have you considered the consequences? And this is precisely the cruel current reality.”
Xie Hui nodded and said, “What Feixuan said is definitely not empty words of intimidation. The various tribes beyond the Great Wall have formed an alliance under Xieli and Tuli’s banner, they could launch a large-scale invasion to our Central Earth at any time, the situation is extremely dangerous.”
Shi Feixuan spoke softly, “Now Feixuan can only see a step, walk a step, to resolve the most pressing crisis. If Shaoshuai can kill Feixuan, no one from my humble Zhai will seek revenge from Shaoshuai. It depends on whether Shaoshuai has this ability.”
Kou Zhong cast his gaze to Xu Ziling again, asking for help.
Xu Ziling smiled helplessly, he sighed and said, “I have nothing to say! Shaoshuai, you’d better deal with it yourself. Starting from today, as long as Li Shimin is still alive, I will only watch with folded arm.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Kou Zhong nodded in understanding, he spoke dejectedly, “Feixuan’s immortal method is really formidable; just a few words and you took Ziling away from me. All right! I admit that I can’t fight you, but I have one requirement, that is, before Li Shimin becomes the master of the Li Tang, Bashu must remain neutral, otherwise I am unable to answer Song Fazhu, furthermore, I am unable to persuade him to withdraw from Luchuan and stay away from Bashu.”
Xu Ziling sighed inwardly, Shi Feixuan’s appearance has completely destroyed Kou Zhong’s grand plan to capture Chang’an, the battle for unification no longer had any shortcut to seek, and would be decided in the fight for Luoyang. As Shi Feixuan predicted, the North-South split was likely to continue for a long time.
Shi Feixuan spoke softly, “Shaoshuai is feeling very wronged, how could Feixuan bear to refuse?”
Xie Hui nodded and said, “We’ll follow Feixuan’s decision in everything.”
Unexpectedly Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “This move of Feixuan is indeed very beautiful, Xiaodi admired so much that I feel like prostrating myself on the ground. With no blood on the men’s swords, you forced our troops to retreat, while also did not hurt the friendliness between us. However, the situation after the fight is still not optimistic, Xiaodi has no choice but to abandon the far and scheme for the near; I will have to put the north and south sides of the Great River in order first, and then plan to go up north to see whether Li Shimin is formidable, or I, Kou Zhong am outstanding. As for Xiao Ling, temporarily let him rest and relax. I really want to know, what method Feixuan is going to use to stop this, I wonder if you could disclose a little bit of information first.” Translated by foxs
Shi Feixuan sighed is sorrow, revealing a sad expression, she spoke softly, “Shaoshuai is going to find out soon.”
His countenance changed, Kou Zhong said, “Turns out Feixuan unexpectedly has planned in advance, but I can’t see it through at all.”
Shi Feixuan stood up slowly, she cast her beautiful eyes towards Xu Ziling, showing a mentally and physically exhausted tired look, and spoke softly, “Shaoshuai, please discuss the topic of maintaining stability in Bashu with Xie Baozhu, can Ziling see Feixuan off a bit?”
Xu Ziling and Shi Feixuan stepped out of the East Gate side by side, the city defender’s army saluted solemnly.
“Is Ziling angry with me?” Shi Feixuan asked.
Xu Ziling shook his head blankly, he said, “Feixuan need not care about what I think! Because I no longer know who is right and who is wrong.”
Shi Fei sighed and said, “How can I not care about what Ziling thinks of me.”
Xu Ziling looked at her; shaken, he said, “Feixuan!” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Meeting his gaze, Shi Feixuan spoke serenely, “If there are other options, I definitely will not directly intervene in the struggle between Li Shimin and Kou Zhong. This is something that I exhausted everything in trying to avoid. Many years ago Shizun already predicted that if the world is the north unifies the south, the world can be expected to have long-term peace and stability, flourish and prosperous. If it is the south unifies the north, not only outside tribes will invade, the world will certainly be all split up and in pieces. Does Ziling understand this logic?”
Xu Ziling smiled bitterly and said, “In my heart, I really don’t want to agree with Feixuan’s way of thinking, but after hearing what Feixuan said on the table a moment ago, I have no choice but to admit this possibility.”
Shi Feixuan said, “At that time, I did not have heartfelt understanding of Shizun’s analysis at all, until Kou Zhong emerged, his momentum overbearing, I began to truly understand Shizun‘s views. Just imagine if Kou Zhong won, Li Tang collapsed, one after another the high-ranking military officers who originally belong to Li Tang seizes land and proclaims himself king, they try to avenge Li Tang, the northern political power collapse, the allied armies from beyond the Great Wall take advantage of the moment Kou Zhong is busy clearing up the mess to launch large-scale invasion to the south, if Kou Zhong is able to defend Guanzhong and Luoyang firmly, that can be considered hard to come by already. In this kind of situation, what will the Central Plains be like?” Translated by foxs
Xu Ziling was dumbstruck and unable to reply.
Shi Feixuan continued slowly, “Among the outstanding figures in the north, only Li Shimin has all the requirements that make the common people of the Central Earth happy, this is something Kou Zhong does not dare to doubt. At present, his only shortcoming is that Li Yuan did not seek him to be the crown prince, giving the demonic school the opportunity that they can exploit, letting Xieli to fish in troubled waters. If Li Shimin ascends the emperor’s throne, all problems will be like bamboo splits when it meets the knife’s edge.”
Smiling wryly, Xu Ziling said, “Feixuan ought to know that Kou Zhong and Li Shimin have already forged an insoluble blood feud?”
Shi Feixuan said, “Under the major premise of the well-being of the common people of the world, what gratitude and grudges cannot be thrown away? Bloodshed on the battlefield is inevitable. It must be borne in mind that the one making his move to kill Dou Jiande was Li Yuanji and not Li Shimin. Furthermore, for this reason, Li Shimin felt that he let you guys down very much that he asked Liao Kong Dashi to persuade Kou Zhong, which showed that his friendship with Kou Zhong is still there. Ziling! You once said that if Li Shimin ascends the emperor’s throne, you will persuade Kou Zhong to withdraw. For the sake of the common people of the world, can Ziling change in a proactive manner to help achieve Feixuan’s cherished desire?”
“Too late!” Xu Ziling responded dejectedly, “Kou Zhong is like riding a tiger, it’s hard to get off, he wants to withdraw, but he can’t. One might well ask, how is he going to answer Song Que? Even if he is willing to withdraw, Song Que will still march the troops to go up north to attack Luoyang and Chang’an. Without Kou Zhong, Song Que still have the ability and the strength to defeat Li Tang.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Shi Feixuan said, “That is the situation that Feixuan do not want to see the most. Song Que has been living in secluded Lingnan for a long time, although his power and influence no one is not afraid, but fear does not represent wholehearted acceptance. Moreover, the southerners are not satisfied with the northern water and soil [natural environment]. Besides, leaving their hometown, parting with their well to follow Song Que are mostly Liao Army, which the northern people regard as manyi [common term for non-Han peoples in former times, not exclusively derogatory], they won’t be willing to acknowledge allegiance to them. At that time, it can be inferred that the North and the South will fall back into division.”
Xu Ziling nodded and said, “Kou Zhong and I do not have thoughts as penetrating as Feixuan. Since things have come to this, what can we do about it?”
Shi Feixuan halted her steps and stood still, turning her tender body around to face Xu Ziling, she smiled and said, “You are our Shanmen Hufa [mountain gate protector of the law, see also Book 52 Chapter 5, ‘Sand Gate’], you should use your brain to think of a solution.”
Xu Ziling blurted out, “I …”
Shi Feixuan reached out and pressed her jade fingers to his lips, to stop him from continuing, and then pulled back her slender fingers, which swept Xu Ziling’s soul away. Staring deeply with her beautiful eyes, she spoke softly, “The path from chaos back to order is not easy to take, Feixuan can only hold onto disregarding success and failure, gains and losses attitude and exhaust my strength to do it. However, individual strength is limited, what Feixuan can fight for, or am able to fight for, is only the opportunity for peace. When that happens, Ziling, you have to step forward bravely, not to be shirked without dishonor, don’t fail to live up to my trust and earnest hope to you.” Translated by foxs
Xu Ziling had a faint feeling that there was a deep meaning that was difficult to understand behind her words; knitting his brows, he asked, “Can Feixuan speak a bit clearer? Let me see how I can be of any help.”
Shi Feixuan’s countenance tranquil, she lightly shook her cicada head and said, “The time has not come yet, but very soon you will know. Ziling, please take a good care of yourself!”
Finished speaking, she cast him another glance brimming with tender and touching emotions, and then disappeared into the depths of the forest by the official road.
Xu Ziling stared blankly at the spot she disappeared, layer upon layer of great waves welled up at the bottom of his heart, which could not be calmed for a long time.
This time, forced by the development of the situation, Shi Feixuan fell into the mortal world, her cultivation level had seen great progress, she appeared to be able to control the ‘heart’ freely, no longer like before, where she was trembling with fear, cautious and solemn. Now she no longer had to suppress her inner feelings, which greatly lowered the implication of the cultivation, and became more involved in human affairs. However, Xu Ziling felt that in term of frame of mind, she was never farther away from the world. Once the touching days in Longquan City were gone, they would not return. Should he heave a sigh of relief, or should he feel a sense of loss? He himself was unable to figure out. foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Both sides’ frame of mind had undergone subtle change.
While he was thinking to this point, Kou Zhong’s voice rang in his ears, “Undeniably, our Xianzi was treating Xiaodi leniently. If she revealed that the treasure-house has a genuine and fake sections to Li Shimin, based on Li kid’s usual means, he would surely be able to make us suffer tragic loss. Presently, we are only taking one step back, Bashu is neutral, we won’t touch Guanzhong. His Niang’s! Xiaodi wants to see Li Shimin’s real skill in the attack and defense of the City of Luoyang.”
Smiling bitterly, Xu Ziling said, “It was me who caused trouble!
Kou Zhong reached out to put his hand on his shoulder, he shook his head and said, “No! You were actually saving me. Shi Feixuan is not a mundane person like you and me, ha! She is a fairy! In fact, from the spider’s thread and horse track, she has long ago guessed that there is some other mystery in the treasure house, only she obtained the confirmation from your mouth, which leads to her figuring out the logic how by obtaining the treasure-house one could obtain the world; and then we are striving for Bashu has affirmed her belief one step further. Ha! Fortunately, you have a share in leaking the secret, hence she looked at Ling Shao’s face and let me off as well, she won’t use this secret to disintegrate our surprise attack against Chang’an, which no longer become a secret.” Translated by foxs
A burst of warmth grew at the bottom of Xu Ziling’s heart. Kou Zhong’s analysis made a lot of sense, but it was always tainted by the trying to comfort Xu Ziling elements in it. This good brother of his was such an open-minded person, he could not possibly care about gains and losses. Victory without arrogance, defeat without discouragement.
He said, “A few words from Feixuan made me tuck my hands inside my sleeves, you are not blaming me?”
Kou Zhong blurted out laughing, he said, “You, LaoGe were willing to help me through the most difficult days, so much so that you nearly gave up your life for this. I, Kou Zhong, am already very grateful that tears and mucus are flowing profusely. We are all brothers, how could we not understand the load on the other’s heart and take a good rest? Ay! Feixuan is definitely not someone who intimidate with empty words, she must have a formidable method to deal with me. I am so worried that I must rush back to Pengliang to see Song Que and report the latest changes to him. The grand plan to mount sneak attack Chang’an has fizzled out. I must trouble Ling Shao to explained to Lei Dage and the others that I must leave without saying goodbye.” foxswuxia.wordpress.com
Xu Ziling sighed and said, “I am also worried.”
The divine light in Kou Zhong’s pair of eyes flaring greatly, he spoke heavily, “No one in the world can stop my firm determination to wipe out the south and sweep the north. On the way here just now, I thought about my situation thoroughly. Shi Feixuan has her position, I have my beliefs and ideals. In order to prevent the world from falling into the hands of the demonic school or foreign tribes, what his granny’s problem is personal sacrifice anyway? I have made up my mind to put everything aside, and to fight bravely with my heart and soul for the future unity and peace to the end. The more challenging it is, the more it will have meaning, the more the true splendor of life can be revealed. After your business in Changan’s is over, returned to Pengliang immediately to see me. Maybe Yin Xiaoji is already there to look for her brother early. I’m leaving!”