Yun Yang's purple robe fluttered as he moved but his heart was heavy as he stepped out of the door a result of having decided to go to the Residence of the Nine Supremes.
He had been extremely reluctant to go to the place ever since after the ninth day of the third month last year. Each time he was near the Residence of the Nine Supremes, he felt ashamed to face his brothers.
What are you doing here? Have you achieved the vengeance that is due to us?
Yun Yang made his way with a heavy heart. Just as he made a turn, he came face to face with a group of people. Both parties were simultaneously stunned.
The person walking at the front of the pack was none other than Ji Ling. She wore a pale purple mask and was dressed in a long black dress. Although the color of her clothes was plain, the otherworldly aura that she exuded when they first met was unmistakably there.
Beside her were five or six girls, each one beautiful with a clear set of eyes and gracefully slim figures. The rest of the group was made up of servants, maids, and guards; there were more than a hundred of them.When they caught sight of Yun Yang walking, deep in thought, the girls' eyes sparkled gleefully.
They saw a young man dressed in purple strolled amidst the morning fog, his features remarkably handsome and his finesse outstanding; hints of sorrow surrounded him despite his airy robe that fluttered in the wind. The scene looked remarkably like it had come straight from a portrait.
Even the faint morning fog seemed to have turned refined and ethereal.
"Oh, it's you." Ji Ling's gaze gave no hint as to the emotions she was feeling within. "Where are you going?"
Yun Yang replied, "I would ask the same of you. Where are you going this early in the morning?"
The rest of the girls' eyes danced with merriment when they heard their conversation, watching them with without a word, faint smiles playing on their lips.
Ji Ling's gaze took on a softer tone before she smiled and said, "I'm walking in this direction so early in the morning which means that I am headed out of the city."
Surprised, Yun Yang said, "Headed out of the city? Isn't the shorter route on the opposite street?"
Sheepishly, an embarrassed Ji Ling retorted, "What do you care?"
Among the girls, someone chuckled while they covered their mouths.
Their twinkling eyes exchanged knowing looks and winks; although they did not speak, they still buzzed with a noisy chirrup, much like a symphony of grasshoppers.
No wonder this little girl doesn't want to take the short route and must go out of the city using this path.
The hapless Ji Ling really did not wish to see Yun Yang again yet she had insisted to pass by Yun Yang's doors before leaving this city.
She had never thought that she would actually come across him so early in the day.
Yun Yang realized then. "You're leaving?"
The anger that was boiling within Ji Ling vanished without a trace as she nodded lightly and said, "We have heard rumors indicating that a Young Master Lingfeng has appeared in Tiannan. It could be my brother. We are going over to take a look at it."
Her voice was low, filled with an inexplicable emotion.
Yun Yang's heart lurched but he said mildly, "Tiannan? That is really very far."
Ji Ling said, "Yes, that is very far."
Yun Yang continued calmly, "It is a seventy-five thousand mile journey to Tiannan. Please take good care of yourself."
Ji Ling's gaze dropped to her feet, and she replied faintly, "I will. You too."
Yun Yang nodded, both of them at a loss for words.
A wave of melancholy slowly spread and grew.
Ji Ling's eyes were downcast, as she felt her heart grow sorrowful and bitter.
You know it's seventy-five thousand miles, a long and far journey. Have you considered that the chances of me coming back after leaving this time are very little?
Do you know that the chances of us meeting again after I leave this time will be very slim?
A girl who was obviously a little older than the rest, who had a light veil of woe clouding her frown, looked at Ji Ling seriously then at Yun Yang. Suddenly, she blinked and said, "Yes, young sister Ling'er may not ever come back here this life after leaving Tiantang City this time around."
While she spoke, she carefully watched Yun Yang's expression.
Yun Yang said softly, "True. We are parted by high mountains and wide oceans from then on, we shall meet should it be our fate..."
This girl in white frowned, thinking in her heart, "Why can't this child get it?"
She grew slightly put-out, but looking at the pitiful Ji Ling in the morning breeze, her heart softened and she said, "Separation is impending, does this young master not want to say something?"
Yun Yang was stunned. "What should I say?"
Gritting her teeth, the girl said, "Fated to know each other, you should at least leave your mark in each other's life. Young Sister Ling, I saw you twisting and turning last night. You had that scented sachet, what was that for?"
Ji Ling was so embarrassed she almost screamed, "Sister Lan!"
Sister Lan persistently continued with her questioning as she said, "Since you've met face to face, are you really going to throw it away? Even as you are going out of the city? Do you not plan to give it away?"
Ji Ling snorted. Composing her expression to remain stoic, she said with a cold voice, "Young Master Yun, it's fate that we got to know each other. Now that separation is evident, I have a gift; all I ask is that the young master treat it with respect."
Her ears were flushed red after she finished speaking. Biting her lips, she took out a small white scented sachet and passed it hesitatingly.
Yun Yang sighed in his heart and said, "Thank you for Lady Ji's warmth." He could only extend his arms to receive the gift yet his heart knew fully well what this was.
Is this not simply an infatuation?
However, it was just like what he had said himself. Tiannan was high and far, this journey alone was seventy-five thousand miles; the journey would be hindered by countless mountains and seas. To and fro would make it a hundred and fifty thousand miles!
Even if it were an expert, it would still take a year. Furthermore, both of them had their own matters to attend to. Should there be any feelings, there would be no outcome or future from it.
An infatuation was merely an infatuation.
Seeing that Yun Yang remained motionless after receiving the gift, Sister Lan frowned and said, "Young Master Yun, my younger sister has already given you a scented sachet, don't you... wish to reciprocate?"
Yun Yang patted himself down; he had not carried anything on his person that was suitable as a gift. With a helpless chuckle, he said, "Luckily I won a saber that last time I placed a bet. This saber is small and delicate, I have no use holding onto it as a man. Let me give this to Lady Ji. I hope that this saber could secure Lady Ji's safety in the chaos that is the martial arts world."
As he spoke, he took out the treasured saber, Phoenix's Cry.
One of the Seven Swords and Three Sabers forged by the Greatest Weaponsmith Ou Hunzi - the treasured saber, Phoenix's Cry!
After Yun Yang had won it previously, he realized this saber was a woman's weapon. Perhaps, it was more of a girl's saber. He had no use for it.
He understood now why Ximen Wandai had been so willing to place this saber at stake.
He couldn't use it either.
Yun Yang had nothing on his person; he had only brought this saber. He initially meant to use it as a camouflage to his Divine Edge should something happen. Now that he had nothing to give to the other, he took this saber out.
Sister Lan's eyes sparkled as she said, "Young master is considerate. Young Sister Ling, are you not going to accept it?"
Ji Ling flushed behind her mask, extending her arm to accept the gift.
Yun Yang sighed softly in his heart, feeling the pure notions of this girl's feelings. As we separate today, perhaps I will not live to the day of our next meeting. If so, for this notions of yours, let me give you a real gift before we part.
He held Phoenix's Cry in his hand, his right hand holding the saber grip. With a single thought, Emmie unwillingly delivered life force into the treasured saber.
The process was completed within a few minutes.
Yun Yang turned the scabbard around and passed the saber's grip into Ji Ling's hands as he said softly, "Evil lurks as threats are aplenty. Take good care."
Ji Ling brutally suppressed her emotions as she bit her lips and nodded faintly. "You too."
Her voice was low, almost inaudible.
As she received the treasured saber, she suddenly felt a strange sensation, as if this saber had instantly merged with her body. She needed not wave it in practice but had already felt it sit comfortably in her hand, a familiar friend.
"Have a smooth journey to Tiannan." Yun Yang stood tall, his smile gentle and graceful. "We shall part here, separated by high mountains and long miles; we shall meet again someday."
"We shall meet again someday." Ji Ling repeated quietly.
Then, biting her lips, she kicked her feet, "Cha!"
The healthy steed hissed and began to move slowly. Ji Ling sat frozen atop the horse, her thoughts absolutely blank.
The horse moved forward, each click and clack signaled a step further away from Yun Yang.
However, she did not turn back.
She let the horse moved forth on its own, the pang in her heart slowly turning into grief and pain, throbbing woefully. She could still hear the endless chatter of her sisters behind her. Sister Lan was saying, "Young Master Yun, take care. We part here and shall meet again someday."
Another sister's voice was laced with smiles. "Young Master Yun right? I'm Xia Yuhan, do remember my name!
"Young Master Yun, I'm Yuxiang'er. Can you still remember me the next time we meet?"
"Young Master Yun, I'm..."
The joyous chatter was endless. The clip-clop of her horse became faster, and she was soon far away.
The sounds of farewell fell behind her and turned silent.
Ji Ling struggled with her thoughts of turning back to take a last peek, her delicate physique continued to ride the horse rigidly. She had only to keep moving forward with a blank mind.
Her tears had already blurred her vision some time ago.
Her hand, however, grasped Phoenix's Cry tightly.
Sister Lan caught up with her, urging her horse forward and sighed softly. "Young Sister Ling, you can cry if your heart is upset. You'll feel better."
Ji Ling lowered her head, a string of tears landed soundlessly onto the dust. She bit her lips and said, "Sister Lan... why must you... make me give him the scented sachet? Wouldn't it have been better if I had just forgotten about him?"
Sister Lan smiled faintly and replied, "Will you forget?"
Ji Ling did not answer.
"Women... we don't have many opportunities for our true feelings to come forth in this life." Sister Lan's voice was filled with old memories as she said sorrowfully, "Just like today. This Young Master Yun is obviously the one we didn't manage to visit the other day, isn't he? He's from Tiantang City, and we are from two different worlds."
"Perhaps after parting today, both of you will never see each other again in this life."
"But if there's somethinsg with you to remind you of your feelings, even if it is considered an infatuation, it's still a good thing. It's better than feeling regret in the future when you didn't leave any mementos in your life despite your heart being moved so."
"That is real remorse."
"I made you leave the scented sachet in exchange for this saber so that you don't have the same regret as I do in your future." Sister Lan said, her grief becoming increasingly evident. "Empty in both hands..."
Ji Ling hugged the treasured saber tight, feeling as if that person's warmth still remained on the saber. She was calmed by it, and she, in turn, comforted the other girl, "Sister Lan, we will find my brother."
Sister Lan shook her head, sighing softly, "Yes, we will find him."
Her voice held no conviction.
Two streams of tears rolled down soundlessly.
Ji Ling shared the same feelings. Seeing the city gate approach, she finally could resist the temptation and turned her head.
What greeted her was an empty stretch of street, the morning breeze rustling fallen leaves on the ground. It was empty, where would there be traces of Yun Yang?
Ji Ling could not help feeling her heart ache, tears brimming in her eyes.
With a loud holler, the group began to pick up speed, charging out of the south gate of Tiantang City.
Drops of liquid joined the dust and sand on the ground.
Farewell, Yun Yang.