Feng Jin is no gentleman but he is a tad too … despicable? today though I thought it totally fits his character . He took advantage of his weakened state and hit Shang Guan Jing at all the right spots. Little wonder she will end up marrying him (it is stated in the book summary) but I can't help feeling sorry for her. Yan Ying appears once more with more backstory of Shang Guan Jing and her token with mysterious symbols.
Chapter 3 Part (2)
To Shang Guan Jing's amazement, she still cannot find a single servant as she searches the house and its compound for the second time. She vaguely remembers seeing people replenishing water in the rooms and working in the gardens during the day and although she has never met any of them in person, she is certain that there are other people in the house. And with Feng Jin's bamboo house located far from the village with no nearby houses, where could they have gone at night?
Finally she gives up and goes back to Feng Jin's room. If she can tend to her elderly teacher back at Yu Ling Peak, she can jolly well tend to a sick man now in Nan Man.
Remembering that he is feeling sticky and uncomfortable, she heats up a big pail of water and prepares a bath for him. After she has helped him into the tub (he removed his shirt and kept his pants on, thank goodness), she left him alone while she waited outside a curtain of wooden beads. To make sure that he does not fall asleep - or drown – in the tub, she would call out to him from time to time.
After a while, she notices that he only responds when she calls him "Feng Jin" instead of "Master Feng". Smiling, she recalls him saying that it has been ages since anyone has called him by name and promises herself that she will always call him by name henceforth if it makes him so happy.
When he is done, she helps him out of the tub and back to his room. It is very unnerving to be touching a half-naked man, even if he is more asleep than awake. She dabs his chest dry and helps him lie down before she contemplates a serious matter – should she, or should she not remove his pants?
Sons and daughters of the pugilist should not be encumbered by small matters, she thinks.
And this is a desperate situation, she adds silently.
Taking a deep breath, she pats her heated cheeks and gets down to business. First, she covers him with a towel from waist down before reaching beneath the towel to loosen the knot on his pants. She can only depend on her sense of touch and it is not easy from her angle to loosen his knot. After several attempts, she finally completes the difficult task and drags out his sodden pants out from under the towel.
Whew! That is even more tiring than martial arts training!
Finally, she replaces the towel with a warm blanket and nods in satisfaction. The southern nights are warm and with a blanket, he will not catch a cold. He seems sound asleep, breathing even, and his bleeding has stopped. From all outward signs, he looks like he has survived another 15th.
As she looks at him, she knows that she will remember him on every full moon night from henceforth, as the man who will bleed from his eyes, nose, ears and mouth on every 15th, no matter where or how far her travels take her. His condition does not seem to be an illness and he has claimed that this is some kind of curse.
"Is there really no way to stop your bleeding?" Her question is as soft as the moonlight streaming in from the window. Stifling a sigh, she sooths back his hair and bends to pick up his blood-stained clothes on the floor, unaware of the widening smile on his face.
Feng Jin is awake in an hour's time. He does not require more than 4 hours of sleep every night and he sleeps even less every 15th. After checking that his body is back to normal, he gets up from bed and looks at the woman who has dozed off in a chair, sword within easy reach on the table.
Is she worried that he will wake up and go on a walkabout in the middle of the night that she feel that she has to guard over him? The chair looks uncomfortable and it must be tough for a woman to sleep on a chair,poor soul.
Forgive me, he mouths. It is not my intention to trick you.
This is just my calling.
He strides to her, confident in his near nakedness, and waves a hand over her head. This will prevent her from waking until he commands it and he spends the next few minutes studying her sleeping face.
She is pretty to start with but the more he looks at her, the more he likes what he sees. He has not missed her awkwardness around him when he leans on her intentionally when he climbs in and out of the tub, nor the becoming flush on her cheeks. And leaning close, he closes his eyes and inhales her healthy, feminine scent.
Thinking that he should ignore his nobler instincts (actually, he has none), he pulls her up by the waist and sits her down on his legs. His hands snake around to her front and fondle her curves leisurely. As his hands get busy acquainting themselves on her body, his brain muses that it really doesn't pay to be a hero - or heroine – these days.
Her sense of righteousness can be charming but if he finds out that her concern tonight is purely to help a man "in a desperate situation", he will be royally pissed.
His eyes turn red at the possibility and grabbing her roughly by the hair, he turns her around to face him and grinds his mouth down onto hers. He tastes her sweetness and inhale her intoxicating scent as his hands go like marauders on a rampage.
He must be crazy.
He tightens his hold on her and rubs their bodies together to create a tingling fiction. He is not going to let go of her. He wants her. Only her. His spirit has soared to a space beyond the clouds and even though he can feel the heat of his body and the warmth of her body in his hands, he feels …. Lonely?
He is not bothered the least to touch (molest?) an unconscious woman who strikes his fancy, but it is another matter to feel lonely. And he hates feeling lonely.
Taking a deep breath to cool his blood, he promises himself that the next time - and there will be a next time – she will be awake when he touches her. This play is too lonely with only one actor and he will not tolerate it.
He carries her to his bed and puts her gently down on the mattress. He then removes her shoes and pulls the blanket up to her chin. Satisfied that she is now comfortable, he take a minute to admire her sleeping profile and muses that he can look at her like this forever.
And forever he may just remain if he has not picked up a sound from beyond the garden. He puts on a dry pair of pants leisurely and steps out of his house. He did not stop walking until he has crossed the bamboo groove to a small clearing before turning around sharply. "Did you just return?"
Yan Ying appears from the shadows and bows to him respectfully. He is surprised that his employer has detected him when he has taken barely 2 steps into his sphere but he is used to concealing his emotions in front of him.
"Yes. Feng Zhu, I have found out that Young Mistress's tablet is a token that represents the leader of Yu Ling Sect of the Western Seas. Young Mistress is the third disciple in the sect and her Da Shi Jie (eldest senior sister) is called Li Yun Yi while her Er Shi Ge is called Bo Lan Zhou. There are 2 junior girls after her and called Su Xue Ying and Du Qing Qing respectively. Su Xue Ying has married a man from the Western Desert and no longer lives in the sect while Du Qing Qing is fifteen years old is rumored to be missing."
"Last autumn, Yu Ling Sect seems to have run into some internal trouble. Some say that 2 eldest disciples have ambushed their teacher Venerable Yu Ling while the latter was training in seclusion and has taken over the sect. To date, the whereabouts of Venerable Yu Ling is unknown although most believed that she is dead. Young Mistress was travelling around the Jiang Hu (pugilist world) when this was happening, and although she has rushed back as soon as she heard that her sect was in trouble, she failed to find Venerable Yu Ling and Du Qing Qing upon her return. A violent fight then broke out between the three eldest disciples."
Feng Jin does not like the sound of "violent fight" and narrows his eyes a fraction. "Since she possesses the leader's token, she should have seen Venerable Yu Ling. I remember her saying that it was her teacher who instructed her to travel south in search of the Diao family."
"Feng Zhu, if Venerable Yu Ling has met with misfortune at the hands of her disciples, it is unlikely that she could have met Young Mistress and gave her the token."
Feng Jin thinks through various possibilities. "If Venerable Yu Ling is a descendant of the Diao family, it would not be impossible."
Yan Ying digests his words. "No wonder Young Mistress is looking for the Diao family. She may not be able to change anything on her own, but the tide could change if she has help from the Diao family. Her seniors have sent out chasers after her and I have spotted their men outside the main forest of Nan Man. They are unable to cut through the forest currently but they do not seem to be giving up."
Feng Jin laughs as he imagines a bunch of naive foreigners taking on the challenges of the forest. "Why? Are they after her tablet? Does her senior need it to assume leadership at Yu Ling Sect without fear of being challenged?"
"It could be more than that. I heard that there is a big stone cave at the top of Yu Ling peak whose entrance was sealed by a huge boulder. According to rumors, the cave is lined with gold and silver and only the leader has the ability to access the cave."
"Ah, so the 2 senior disciples are after treasure." Feng Jin chuckles. "But they only found out after killing their teacher that they do not have the means to get inside the cave and their hands the it. The tablet could be some kind of key to access the cave."
"Whatever were their plans, Young Mistress has made it safely to Nan Man despite their efforts to capture her. But given what I have seen of their tenacity so far, they will find their way here sooner or later. If they cannot take the tablet from her by force, they may try to trick it away from her. If so, one easy way is to get a handsome man to sweet-talk her - "
At the sudden explosion, Yan Ying has drawn his sword and has leapt in front of Feng Jin within seconds. But when he detects no other movements around them, a chill creeps up his spine. If explosion is not his imagination and if there are no enemies in the vicinity, that leaves only the devil behind him…..
"A hunk trap eh?" Devil sounds gleeful. "There is only one man in the equation so far and is quite fitting for a handsome Shi Ge to fall in love with his pretty Shi Mei, yes? Makes such a touching scene, don't you think?"
"Your humble servant…. I am not sure."
Yan Ying is sure that the explosion is not his imagination this time and grits his teeth to remain passive. Since being assigned to serve Feng Zhu clan at the age of seventeen, he has seen enough "special effects" as proof of his employer's powers. He has heard amazing stories of past leaders who are born with extraordinary powers and some say that the current leader is among the most powerful sorcerer born into the family yet. By extension, he, the loyal vessel, must also possess the strongest heart to put up with Feng Zhu's mercurial moods.
Yan Ying suspects that Feng Jin is angry but for the life of him, he does not know what has caused cause his ire. When he figures out the only possibility, he quickly tries to mend fences. "Young Mistress and Bo Lan Zhou seems to have been a pair several years back. But they were separated when Young Mistress went travelling for 2 years while Bo Lan Zhou opted to stay at the mountain. By the time Young Mistress returned to Yu Ling peak, Bo Lan Zhou has already paired up with their eldest senior Li Yun Yi."
A bolt of lightning flashes across the sky in synchrony with the explosion. So bright was its light that Yan Ying can even see the grains on the bamboos leaves in the distance. A gust of wind cuts through the bamboo groove and it grew stronger and stronger in intensity, until the rustling leaves become a noisy roar.
The energy in the air vibrates like the edges of thousand swords and Yan Ying raises his sword in reflex. As waves of invisible sword qi cuts through the air, Yan Ying starts fighting for dear life.