CHAPTER TWO (PART 1)
The following morning, the wind and rain has stopped, after all that rain, moisture fills the air, leaving a nice breeze, such cool summer season, makes everyone feel comfortable.
Qu Qing Yin steps out onto the temple’s porch, lazily giving her waist a big stretch.
This is great! Everyone has already left, only she remains now.
That missy of Fei Ying Bao, to wake up and not see her subject of interest Hero Liu, could only bitterly leave, throwing her an unfriendly glare before doing so.
Qu Qing Yin comfortably laughs out loud, if she has not guessed wrong, that Hero Liu should be that famous figure known throughout the Jiang Hu. Wu Lin’s number one man of honour, “Gentleman Xiao Yao” (The Carefree Gentleman) Liu Feng. His weapon, a golden fan with jaded frame, he carries around.
According to Jiang Hu rumours, this person made a name for himself at the age of fifteen, is rivalled to none, has friends all over the world, acquainted with most in Jiang Hu, all in all, a legendary figure.
Yet in this instance, this prestigious person sure is a funny one, avoiding the missy of Fei Ying Bao in such an obvious manner, this is hilarious.
“Looks like lady is in high spirits.”
Qu Qing Yin looks at the person in surprise, “Did you not leave?”
Liu Feng smiles, “I had only strayed away for a bit, admiring the mountain scenery after the rain.”
Qu Qing Yin covers her mouth to laugh. If you’re hiding from someone, then you’re hiding from someone, still trying to sound all high and mighty.
“Stop laughing for now, get some food out, I’m so hungry.”
She looks up at him, not without suspicion, “With your walking pace, it is only right that you had already found a nice window seat at a clean restaurant to eat by now.”
“But I’m still here, it’s only natural that I’m still hungry.”
Qu Qing Yin takes out some food from her bag, giving him half the share, “Once we’re done eating here, we shall meet again in the Jiang Hu.”
Liu Feng’s outstretched hands takes hold of the food, smiling: “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome, your money has already paid for more than the food’s worth.”
“I thought lady took it without a hint of guilty conscience.”
“I have no guilty conscience to start with, even if you had paid extra.”
Liu Feng nods, “Lady really speaks the truth with every word said.” It really leaves people helpless.
Qu Qing Yin laughs, splitting the steamed bun in half, adding on some lu wei and eats it.
Liu Feng throws a piece of broken steamed bun into his mouth as he asks her, “Lady is heading towards Dan Xia Valley too?”
“What makes you think I need to go there?”
“Right now there’s news in Jiang Hu that there are many people heading to Mount Zhong Yi Manor, this path is the only way there.”
Qu Qing Yin understood now, “Then the people of Fei Ying Bao are also heading there, you don’t want to be followed by others, so you purposely wait for them to leave first.”
“Lady is of high intellect.”
“Lady Shui is a beautiful maiden, why are you so afraid?”
Liu Feng smiles and looks at her, saying in a playful manner, “If like lady you then I wouldn’t be afraid.”
Qu Qing Yin laughs in spite of herself, “Isn’t that only because I’m not one to cling to you without letting go.”
Liu Feng laughs but says nothing.
Having finished the dried food, Qu Qing Yin takes out a water sack from her waist side and drinks from it,
she puts the stopper back on and was about to hang it back on her waist, when she hears him say, “Perfect, I am also thirsty.”
Her hand pauses for a moment, in the end she just hands him the water sack.
Liu Feng directly gulps down a few mouthful of water, wiping his mouth, he exhales, “That was good.” Erm, her breath had remained on the mouth of the water sack, it had no other taste.
Qu Qing Yin gently shakes her head, knotting back up her bag and wearing it on her back, she waits for him to return her water sack.
Liu Feng gulps down another few mouthfuls, and then returns her the water sack, “Lady has yet to answer me, are you heading to the Dan Xia Valley?”
“Why must I go there?” She does not answer but asks back.
He nods his head, “That makes sense, although this is the only path to Dan Xia Valley, it is true that lady doesn’t have to be heading there.”
Qu Qing Yin was speaking in circles, “But I am indeed heading there.”
Liu Feng couldn’t hold back his sigh, “Lady……”
She laughs and says: “Hero Liu can’t even take this little joke?”
“If you say it like that, what else can I say?”
“Are you planning to travel along with me?”
Liu Feng honestly speaks, “I believe that ladies should keep a companion by their side, that way the road will be easier to walk.”
“But I feel that if I walk with you I’ll be met with too many troubles, so I don’t want to.”
“So in lady’s eyes I am nothing but trouble.”
Qu Qing Yin looks at him seriously, “If the rumours of the Jiang Hu are not wrong, I think that you are indeed nothing but trouble, big trouble.”
He has acquaintances all over the world, that just goes to show that he has experienced many things that others have not, that’s equivalent to telling the world that he himself is a bundle of trouble.
“Lady already knows who I am?” He looks at her with a grin.
Qu Qing Yin is unaffected: “To have Fei Ying Bao’s missy to treat you like that, I don’t think there’s a second person in the Jiang Hu who’s capable of such, gentleman Xiao Yao Liu Feng.”
Liu Feng opens up his fan with a ‘shua’ sound and waves it, smiling, he says: “Then I shall guess lady’s identity.”
“Me?” Qu Qing Yin laughs in spite of herself, unintentionally saying: “What’s there to guess about me, just an amateur in the Jiang Hu.”
Liu Feng shakes his head, “Lady is too modest, to have the famed Ou Xiao Chen to tailor weapons for an amateur in the Jiang Hu, I’m afraid everyone else could only wish for that.”
Qu Qing Yin calmly looks at him.
He points to the bird bracelet on her left wrist, saying: “That exquisite bracelet was specially made for you by Ou Xiao Chen right? I’ve seen it at his place before.”
Qu Qing Yin was astonished.
“Ranked third in rewards, Jiang Hu’s bounty hunter Qu Qing Yin.” He’s confident he has affirmed her identity, Jiang Hu people only knows of her nickname ‘Ling Long Dao’ (meaning exquisite knife/sword), only a few knows of her actual name. Had Ou Xiao Chen not mentioned it, he too would not have known.
Qu Qing Yin raises her hand to look at this bracelet that looks like gold but is not gold, looks like jade but is not jade. Unable to stop her smile, she shakes her head, “And here I thought having met Master Ou, in this world, there would be no other who knows of this thing.”
“I only just happened to see it, if I may ask, although this thing was a little piece of work made by Grand Senior Ou for fun to give to lady, it is the work he is most proud of. Every single person within the Jiang Hu knows, Grand Senior Ou is an eccentric man, to seek him to make weaponry is a close to impossible task, but he made a great exception for lady. If that is so, then how could lady be a mere amateur?”
She sighs, “Didn’t expect that Ling Long Dao as an unexposed identity, would become an object of identification.”
Liu Feng also could not help but to sigh loudly, “Lady has never revealed a slightest hint of indication to your identity, had I not seen this thing before, I’m afraid I would not have been able to work out your identity either.”
Qu Qing Yin looks at him, “If you already know I’m heading towards Dan Xia Valley’s Mount Zhong Yi Manor, then why do you still ask when you clearly know the answer?”
Liu Feng smiles, “Lady didn’t want reveal your identity, so I could only play along with this act of yours.” Since this trip is going to be a lonely one, why not make a few changes to the plan, besides she’s such an interesting lady.
“So you’re saying I’m the one at wrong here?”
“That’s considerably correct.”
“Since you already knew my identity, that’s all the more reason for you to have gone along with lady Shui.”
“Jiang Hu rumours states that lady is independent by nature, always like to do things on your own, walks around with a full body clad in black, face hidden behind a black veil, voice very hoarse.” He pauses, smiles and shakes his head, “Looks like words travelling around the Jiang Hu are not to be trusted, lady’s voice can be said to be more clearer and joyful sounding than that of the yellow raven.”
“Shi Fu once said, a man’s mouth is most outstanding, the most untrustworthy is also a man’s mouth. Therefore, I will not thank you for your praises.”
Liu Feng drew in his fan towards the bottom of his nose, “Your Shi Fu’s words really is a direct jab to the hearts of men”
Qu Qing Yin smiles, “Don’t try changing the subject, in accordance to your friendship with Fei Ying Bao, are you really intending to disregard Shui Su Yun’s safety?”
“If you are aware of my friendship with Fei Ying Bao, then you should understand that since I am not accompanying her, then that just goes to show that she is not in any danger.”
“That’s true, from here to Dan Xia Valley there is less than three hundred li in distance. Jiang Hu’s number one most famed Mount Zhong Yi Manor, if they cannot even watch over their own spheres of influence, then this gathering would be no different to a big slap to their own face.”
“Lady just always have to speak in such a penetrating manner.” Liu Feng cannot help but want to sigh.
“This is the truth.”
“Yes. Words of truth are the best to say.” He looks her up and down, “Dan Xia Valley isn’t far from here, lady is intending to just go straight ahead?”
“Can I not?” She asks back.
“But black outfit and hat is lady’s signature attire.”
“Can I not do the exact opposite?” She changes the topic, saying: “Besides, did I say that I will be attending the event as Ling Long Dao?”
Liu Feng was a little startled, then starts to laugh, “If this is how lady would likes to conceal your identity, then of course it is not necessary.”
“You’re wrong again.”
Qu Qing Yin eyes falls into the distance, her voice seems to sound slightly sentimental, “I do not deliberately dress like that, but whether I am receiving a job or handing in a job, my mood just never feels too good. If I am to describe the feeling, I guess you could use the words grave mood to describe it, I believe the colour is more in line with that feeling.”
It is rare of Liu Feng to remain silent for a moment, “Lady has such a soft heart.”
“Why do not say I’m sentimental?”
“Sentimentality is originally part of a woman’s nature, but a soft heart like that of a young maiden is rare.” His expression looks so sincere, he has seen many different female characters within the Jiang Hu, but the chances of seeing one that has maintained such a gemlike gentle heart, is getting more and more rare.
Qu Qing Yin felt somewhat surprised.
“Lady seems to be very unfamiliar with people praising you.” He permits himself to give her a smile.
“Shi Fu said, hearing too much nice words, is not good for a girl.”
Liu Feng lightly hits his forehead with his fan, quietly laughing, “Your Shi Fu truly is an outstanding person.” So outstanding it makes him speechless.
“Of course.” Because of her longing, Qu Qing Yin’s expression turns nostalgic and gentle, even that pair of always dull wave-less eyes looks as though it’s been washed over by clear adjacent waves.
Just then, Liu Feng suddenly discovers, she has a pair of enchanting eyes, if she is willing, she is capable of making any man drown in those deep pool-like gems.
And in that moment, his heart froze.
Qing Yun Inn is an inn that is open just under a hundred li distance from Dan Xia Valley.
Because this time, Mount Zhong Yi Manor issued a heroes notice to create a Jiang Hu gathering, the inn was already overcrowding with people.
When Liu Feng and Qu Qing Yin had entered, even the large dining hall did not have a single space to sit down. They had already looked around a few restaurants, everywhere was filled with people of the Jiang Hu.
Looking at the state of this final inn, Qu Qing Yin is already getting a dry throat.
Jiang Hu people loves being part of the lively crowd the most, not to mention this lively crowd is caused by Jiang Hu’s number one famed Mount Zhong Yi Manor, not caring whether they have the capability, a huge number of people have come to participate in this event.
These people have filled up all the restaurants in the mountain village outside Dan Xia Valley, leaving people who come later to hopelessly look for a place to stay.
Liu Feng could not hold in his sigh, “Originally didn’t want to bother others, but looking at the situation, we can only go and be a bother.”
Qu Qing Yin remains unmoving, saying: “You go yourself, I’ll think of something else.”
Liu Feng turns to look at her, “You’re not coming with me?”
Qu Qing Yin directly says, “I hate troubles.”
He touches his nose, unamused, “Since we came all the way together, might as well just stick together for the remainder of the journey.”
“We’re almost there.”
“This whole area is already overcrowded, lady how will you find a place?”
“Finding a place to eat and sleep in the outdoors is the norm, Jiang Hu people all got here like that.”
 Sorry, I probably should have mentioned this earlier but 大小姐 / Dà xiǎo jiě translates to missy, but it also refers to girls with spoilt characters too, this addressment itself is usually directed towards a girl from a well off family, hence the spoilt connotation.
 Xi Meng more specifically uses another Chinese idiom to refer to Shui Su Yun as a beautiful maiden – huā róng yuè mào /花容月貌 which means – one’s face is like flowers, one’s features like the moon. Describing a maiden who is as beautiful as flower and as fair as the moon.
 Grand Senior or Qián bèi / 前辈 is more accurately refers to someone of an older generation.