Part 6 - The Little Fairy Punishing The Evil

“Yes, I have. But you and your brothers are not worthy enough to claim that map! If you think I came here to escape you, you are sadly wrong!”

Peach Blossom whipped her horse, her long hair was blown into the face of Tie Xinnan, but he was unmoved by it. Peach Blossom felt his breath in her neck, she felt weak and warm all over. She tightened her grip on the reins, she turned around and asked: “Hold on tight, if not you fall of the horse.”

Tie Xinnan just grunted.

Peach Blossom said: “Hold on to me, if not you might fall off.”

Tie Xinnan grunted and held on to Peach Blossom.

Peach Blossom almost fainted and said: “If you can rescue my people….I will give you anything you want.”

Tie Xinnan merely grunted again.

There was an excited sparkle in her eyes and she rode faster and faster, the road back was quite long. But somehow Peach Blossom felt it was too short.

They could hear cries coming from the yellow tent. Peach Blossom asked: “Are we going to storm in like that?”

Before she had finished her question, she saw a white flash flying over her head. Tie Xinnan had already dismounted and was standing metres ahead.

Peach Blossom was both surprised and happy, she halted her horse. She saw Tie Xinnan standing there, although his clothes were a bit dirty, but in the radiant show it looked clean and suave. Tie Xinnan looked like the ideal lover for any girl now.

Peach Blossom was mesmerized and almost forgot everything.

The crying, shouting continued, Tie Xinnan suddenly loudly yelled: “I am here. Who is looking for me?”

Suddenly the shouting and crying stopped, only the wind could be heard. The clothes were swaying in the wind.

An arrogant and loud voice from the tent laughed: “Good! You have courage, Tie Xinnnan! The Li Brothers have not waited in vain.”

Tie Xinnan scoffed: “I could have guessed it was you. Since you came for me, come out and face me!”

He turned around and walked away.

Suddenly a series of loud roars could be heard and horses galloped out of the tent. The trembling sound of the hooves and the roars were ear deafening and were very terrifying.

But Tie Xinnan continued to walk, he did not even blink.

Peach Blossom was watching this from afar; she was both worried and happy. Happy, because Tie Xinnan was really a brave hero. Worried, because how could someone so frail looking defeat all these men.

About ten horses surrounded Tie Xinnan, but Tie Xinnan remained calm. The riders had sabres in their hands, but did not attack.

After walking for another metres or so, Tie Xinnan stopped and he scoffed: “Allright! What is it that you want from me?”

A tall man with a thick beard and one eye ride forward, he said sternly: “My brothers and me would like to ask you if you have the item with you?”

Tie Xinnan scoffed: “Yes, I have. But you and your brothers are not worthy enough to claim that map! If you think I came here to escape you, you are sadly wrong!”

The man with one eye roared: “Rubbish!”

The man rode forward and his horsewhip whizzed through the air. Tie Xinnan shouted: “Come down!”

He waved his hand and the handle of the whip was in his hand, and he shook the whip, he lifted the heavy one-eyed man and chucked him away. The man landed metres away.

The horses neighed and suddenly two flashes of light could be seen. Two robbers decided to sneak attack Tie Xinnan. They raised their sabres and hacked towards the neck of Tie Xinnan.

Tie Xinnnan did not look back, he ducked a bit and the sabres missed him. He used the handle of the whip to poke into the ribs of the two robbers. The two robbers fell off their horses, one was trampled by his own horse and yelled out of pain and rolled away for metres. During his rolling he also accidentally used his own sabre to cut off half his head and died.

In a few moves, he defeated three robbers without any effort, the rest of the robbers were afraid of him now.

Tie Xinnan smiled: “The martial arts of the Li brothers are just mediocre. If anyone else wants the map, they might stand a chance, but the you are just too overbearing.”

Before he finished laughing, he heard a cold voice saying: “If the Li brothers are not worthy, how about the Mao brothers?”

The voice was weak; it was like someone spoke very distantly. Because you could not hear him speak, you would pay more attention to the voice. But when you listened attentively, you will notice that the voice sounded disgusting. Like millions of small caterpillars crawling in your ear, the first thing you would do is cut off your own ear.

Tie Xinnan’s face changed colour and exclaimed with shock: “The three hairs of MountE Mei….”

The voice behind him interrupted him: “Men and ghosts will flee from them….So you have heard of this saying too.” His voice was shrieking, it felt like needles piercing your ears when you heard him talk.

Tie Xinnan slowly turned around and saw a big horse; on the saddle there were three men.

The first one was very small; he was as tall as a child of five, six years old. However, he had a beard, his beard was white and thin similar to the fur of an ape.

Besides having a beard, he had hair everywhere. On his cheeks, arms, hands, eyelids, etc. Every spot that was not covered by his clothes. He had all the regular features, but all of them were asymmetrical. He did not look human, it seemed that when heaven created him, heaven was not pleased with the outcome and threw him into a pool of muck. However, somehow he made it into this life after all.

Tie Xinnan got goose bumps just by looking at him.

He looked at Tie Xinnan and laughed: “I am the [eating hearts and chewing lungs] hairy caterpillar. Well, I suggest you should stop looking at me, you might have a tummy ache if you watch too long.”

He did want to listen to him, but he could not help himself. Because another look he would even feel sick in his stomach.

So he looked at the second man, this man was not better looking than the first one. At least he was much taller than the first one. He had a very long neck and a very small head. His head was full of hairy spikes and his mouth was shaped like a tout.

Tie Xinnan gritted his teeth and asked: “Are you the hairy rooster?”

The man laughed: “Don’t grit your teeth? Everyone who sees me grit their teeth.”

Tie Xinnan wanted to cover up his ears; his voice sounded awful, even the death cries of roosters sounded more pleasant.

He really did not want to look at the third person, but he was curious and looked. He thought no matter what he cannot be uglier than the other two.

However, the first two at least resembled men. But the third person did not look human at all; he looked like a big ape.

The hairy rooster was twice the size of the hairy caterpillar, but this ape was four times the size of the caterpillar. The hairy rooster had a very long neck, maybe a bit too long. But this ape did not have a neck at all. The caterpillar had white thin fur, but this ape had thick black hair everywhere. You could not even see his nose and mouth, just his bright and shiny eyes.

The pair of eyes was watching Tie Xinnan and said: “I am the hairy ape.”

Hiding in the long grass was Xiao Yu’er, and he too was looking at the three men.

He could not stop himself from laughing; he could not imagine what kind of a mother could give birth to these three. He shuddered to think.

He did not know that these three brothers were one of the most lethal and dangerous characters in the realm for the past ten years. Whoever saw them would never dream of laughing, nor would they even cry in their presence.

Xiao Yu’er had spied on them for some time, he saw that the Li brothers were chasing Tie Xinnnan and the Mao brothers were following the Li brothers. The steed of the Mao brothers was swift and silent, so the Li brothers did not notice them.

The Li brothers had noticed them now, the tough robbers of earlier were trembling and terrified.

Xiao Yu’er thought: [That is strange; the Mao brothers are not after them. Why are they afraid? It seems that those three monsters will kill anyone.]

The Li brothers were all trembling, all of them could ride excellently and although they were trembling, they secretly commanded their horses to back away slowly.

The hairy caterpillar laughed: “Strange, that Tie Xinnan has not left yet, but why are the Li brothers retreating.”

One of the Li robbers managed a smile and said: “Sir, we do not want that item anymore. It belongs to you, sirs. So that is why we will be on our way, if you don’t mind, sirs.”

The hairy rooster laughed: “The instant you saw us, you want to leave. Could it be you think we are too ugly?”

That Li robber quickly said: “No, of course not, sir.”

The hairy rooster said: “So, why do you want to leave?”

The hairy caterpillar laughed: “Old rooster, you’re wrong! They are not moving, but their horses are moving.”

The hairy rooster said: “So in other horse, their horses are disobedient.”

That Li brother quickly said: “Yes, it is the horses…It’s the horses….”

The hairy rooster said: “Those horses really should be killed for being disobedient.”

When he finished the hairy ape dismounted, he looked like a barrel but his arms were long and strong. He looked stupid but his movements were very fast.

In one move he had reached one horse, he used his fist to hit the horse on the head. Without even neighing, the horse fell down and its’ head was shattered.

Even Xiao Yu’er was shocked and thought: [That fellow is really strong.]

That hairy ape had killed three horses now in an instant; the other horses were neighing in fear. In a matter of moments, more than ten horses were all killed. All the horse heads were crushed.

All the Li brothers jumped off their horses before their steeds were hit, they look terrified. One of them started to run away as fast as possible.

The hairy rooster said: “Another disobedient one.”

He flew up, head first legs behind… He shot out like an arrow. His head collided with the back of the runaway robber. The man was running very fast, but when he heard a whooshing sound he did not have the time to turn around and he was hit in the back. His spine was broken into several pieces, he slowly caved in. The hair rooster lifted him up and yelled: “Old caterpillar, here is your dinner!”

He threw the man over the Li brother’s heads, the hairy caterpillar laughed: “A delicious warm bun.”

When the dead man flew towards him, he stretched out his small monkey arms and hands and he gently grasped at the chest of the man.

The man kept flying away and landed several metres away, but blood was gushing from his chest. There was a big hole in his chest.

And the hairy caterpillar’s hand was covered with blood and holding a human heart. It looked like as the heart was still beating slightly.

The hairy caterpillar laughed: “Who wants a hot, steamy bun?”

All the Li brothers were as white as paper now, Tie Xinnan’s face turned pale too.

The hairy caterpillar laughed: “Since nobody wants it, I will have to enjoy it by myself.”

And he took a bite and was chewing on half a heart. His mouth was covered with blood and his was making a disgusting chewing noise.

The Li brothers could not stand up anymore and Tie Xinnan covered her mouth if not he would throw up.

Even Xiao Yu’er thought it was revolting.

Li Dazui ate humans too, but at least he ate people in a “sophisticated” manner, he cooked them in several different ways and knew how to prepare his human dishes.

But the way this hairy caterpillar ate was just plain repulsive. Xiao Yu’er never saw something like that, and he looked down on this manner too. He thought this fellow was ignorant, barbaric and does not know how to savour life. If you really want to eat people, you should follow Li Dazui’s example.

The strength of the hairy ape was incredible, the hairy rooster was very fast too and the palm techniques of the hairy caterpillar were lethal too.

This Xiao Yu’er had to admit, especially the technique, the accuracy of how he removed the heart was incredible. Even Xiao Yu’er was impressed by it, he decided to keep low and observe awhile longer.

In a few moments the hairy caterpillar had finished the heart, he was licking his lips and fingers. He laughed: “Autumn is near now, and we have to eat some healthy food to strengthen ourselves. The human heart is very healthy, you see I feel regenerated again.”

He really did seem to look stronger now, his voice was louder, his eyes shone brighter and he had a healthy reddish colour in his cheeks.

Tie Xinnan sneered: “Should I be impressed now?”

The hairy caterpillar said: “There is a healthy heart in your chest too, if you don’t want me to eat that as well. You should hand over that item. I don’t want to exhaust myself and having to eat your heart.”

Tie Xinnan said: “Don’t even think about it!” He did not want to engage them and wanted to run away.

But the hairy ape had already blocked his path, he spread his arms and because of his size Tie Xinnan could not pass.

The hairy ape laughed strangely: “A handsome face, it is shame to destroy it.”

While he was talking, Tie Xinnan launched 14 attacking stances on the hairy ape. All the stances hit the hairy ape‘s body, but the hairy ape just stood there not moving. He seemed not to be affected by those stances.

After 14 stances, Tie Xinnan was pale and he did not launch the 15th stance anymore.

The hairy ape asked: “Are you finished?”

Tie Xinnan gritted his teeth and said: “Finished!”

The hairy ape said: “Now, it is my turn.”

He made a fist and struck out to Tie Xinnan. Tie Xinnan could not cope with such a blow, so he dodged and emerged behind his fist attack. He used his foot to trip the feet of the hairy ape and added a palm on the back of the hairy ape. The hairy ape struck out with all his might, with he tripped and was pushed over.

He felt down and Tie Xinnan did not bother to look at him anymore. He ran as fast as he can, suddenly he noticed something emerging in front of him. It was the hairy rooster. He turned around and saw that the hairy ape got up now and was smiling strangely to him.

To his left a small hand stretched out and said: “Hand it over!”

The three Mao brothers were not weak, Xiao Yu’er knew from their movements and stances that Tie Xinnan could not escape from them nor defeat them.

Xiao Yu’er sighed and thought: [It seems I have to intervene now. Even if a teacher does not necessarily need to aid his disciple in combat, he cannot allow a valuable item of my disciple being stolen.]

Tie Xinnan was surrounded and he was readying his fists, ready to fight. Suddenly from afar soft bells could be heard and the sounds became clearer and clearer. Before long a reddish figure rode towards them.

It was like ball of fire, the horse was fiery reddish, and the rider wore fiery red clothes. They came at incredible speed; it was like the horse could fly.

When they heard the bells, the Li brothers, Mao brothers and Tie Xinnan were shocked. When they saw the fiery red presence, they were all stunned.

The rider said in a melodious voice: “19 in total! Nobody is allowed to leave!”

Both rider and horse arrived at the scene in a matter of moments, the rider whizzed her whip and a few of the Li robbers were hit and were rolling on the ground in pain. But they did not dare to run, block or even cry out. The horse galloped around and all the Li brothers’ robbers were down.

Xiao Yu’er praised her in his heart: [Marvellous technique! And well hit! I never thought Tie Xinnan would have a friend like that. It seems I don’t need to interfere anymore.” He did notice that Tie Xinnan’s face was the palest, because the rider in red captivated him.

The Mao brothers were too ugly, but this rider was too beautiful. The Mao brothers looked like animals, but this rider looked like a fairy.

She wore a red gown and her face was red. Her whip was like an evil serpent; her eyes were like the stars in the sky.

Xiao Yu’er sighed and thought: [If you can only look at her for just a few moments, it does not matter if she hits you. But the techniques of her whip are quite vicious; perhaps that is why people say that beautiful women have vicious hearts.]

The girl did not stop her whip and continued to hit those robbers; she had a cold expression on her reddish cheeks.

Tie Xinnan suddenly shouted: “They have done nothing to you! You’re very vicious.”

The girl in red said coldly: “I have a vendetta with everyone evils in the realm.”

Tie Xinnan shouted: “Stop!”

The girl red said: “I won’t stop! I will continue to these people!”

After another ten hits, she stopped and turned around to face the Mao brothers. Her eyes shone and she sneered: “Good, you haven’t left. Very smart, but I haven’t forgotten you.”

The hairy caterpillar smiled: “Since Miss wants us to stay, we will stay.”

The girl in red said: “Do you know what I did not use my whip against you?”

The hairy caterpillar smiled: “I don’t know.”

The girl in red said: “Those I whip might live, those my whip spare will certainly be killed.”

The hairy caterpillar said: “Miss, do you know why we stay behind?”

The girl in red said: “Do you have the courage to leave?”

The hairy caterpillar laughed: “The reason why we stay behind is that others may fear you, we certainly do not!”

The three of them leapt up like they had already planned this.

The hairy rooster aimed his head at the waist of the girl, the hairy ape wanted to strike down the horse of the girl, the claws of the hairy caterpillar went for the eyes of the girl.

The three brothers were fast and coordinated their attack flawlessly, they aimed at the top, centre of the girl and one attacked her steed. Every point was covered.

Xiao Yu’er could not think of a way that the girl could block this attack, if she could block her eyes, she could block her waist, if she could block her waist, her horse will be hit.

The girl in red sneered: “Die!”

She whistled softly and her horse suddenly stood on two legs and used his forward legs to crash down on the hairy ape. Even if the hairy ape could withstand a blow from a man, he wanted to dodge but it was too late. He suffered two blows and fell down and rolled away.

Xiao Yu’er almost applauded; he knew that this girl must have spectacular martial arts. But he did not expect his horse to be skilful too.

When he looked at the hairy rooster and hairy caterpillar, both landed on the ground. The caterpillar’s hands were broken and the hairy rooster had lost half a head.

Although Xiao Yu’er had keen eyes, he had just pair and he missed out on how the girl defeated those two. Xiao Yu’er was most impressed by the way the girl defeated these three monsters.

However, Tie Xinnan knew what the girl was capable of and he knew what fate awaited the Mao brothers. He was not surprised at all. He just stood there, not moving, completely calm. But calm was not the right word, one should say he was scared stiff.

The girl ignored him for now, she kept whipping various people. In the end no one was standing except Tie Xinnan. All 19 of them were dead.

Days are short here, in the setting sun the girl’s face became even redder. The sun also shone on the bodies of the 19 dead men, a girl in red slowly rode through the corpses. It was a very bizarre scene.

Tie Xinnan stood there, he did think of running, he just stared at her. His face had the same colour as those who lied on the ground.

The girl in red finally stopped in front of him, Xiao Yu’er could not see her face. But he thought she must be smiling now, He thought she looked pretty enough when she was not smiling, so her smile must be lovely. Unfortunately, he could not see it. He also thought that this girl was probably in love with Tie Xinnan, so that is why she would use such lethal methods to dispose of Tie Xinnan’s adversaries.

However, the girl scoffed: “Allright, Tie Xinnan! I must say you really have some abilities. You’re the first who could run from me for so far and so long.”

Tie Xinnan just looked at her and did not speak.

The girl in red said: “You can’t escape now!”

Tie Xinnan responded: “So I don’t want to run.”

The girl in red said: “You’re smart. Smarter than a lot of people, but if you are really smart you will hand over that item.”

Xiao Yu’er understood now, the girl was after the item that Tie Xinnan has.

He thought for a moment and took out something and carefully crawled forward. The wind was blowing hard through the grass, covering his crawling sound.

He heard the girl saying: “Will you hand over or not!”

Tie Xinnan replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The girl in red angrily said: “I’ve asked you nicely! Stop pretending!”

She raised her whip and struck out.

Tie Xinnan did not dodge and the whip hit Tie Xinnan, but the girl did not use a lot of force. Tie Xinnan was not moved by that whip and said casually: “Even if you killed me, I still won’t know what you’re talking about.”

The girl in red shouted: “Very well, you forced me! Don’t forget when I start to fight I won’t stop. You should know my temper, are you really….”

Because she was getting angrier and angrier she did not notice Xiao Yu’er. He had crawled up to the tail of her horse and he held something in the wind and a flame fluttered and the tail of her rouge horse caught fire. Although her horse was an intelligent animal, it was still an animal. All animals are afraid of fire and it neighed frantically immediately ran off. Before the girl in red could finish, her horse had rode off for metres now. If she would have jumped of her horse, she could still catch Xiao Yu’er and Tie Xinnan. But she loved her horse too much and could not just leave abandon her horse. Xiao Yu’er anticipated that much and that is why he came up with such a plan.

The horse kept running.

The girl shrieked: “Cherry, stop! Don’t be afraid!”

She tightened her grip on the reins, but riding a horse gone mad is very difficult. That [Cherry] of her was very fast, in a few moments they were out of sight.

Xiao Yu’er pulled Tie Xinnan along and ran the opposite direction. When his white horse saw him, he quickly followed his master. Xiao Yu’er ran and ran, he was afraid to stop.

Tie Xinnan was afraid to stop too and both young men were panting and sweating heavily.

They ran till it was dark, both Xiao Yu’er and Tie Xinnan never ran this hard and far before. They kept running and finally saw an old broken wooden house ahead. Xiao Yu’er could not care whether it was abandoned or not, he immediately entered. Both of them fell down, panting heavily. Xiao Yu’er accidentally put his head on Tie Xinnan’s chest and he could hear his heart beating very rapidly.

Fortunately, the house was abandoned, there were cobwebs everywhere. When they came in they ran into some too. Xiao Yu’er wanted to wipe away the cobwebs, but suddenly Tie Xinnan pushed him away as hard as possible.

Xiao Yu’er looked at him and said: “I saved your life. Is this your way of saying [thank you]?”

Tie Xinnan blushed and said: “I am sorry! Thank you very much!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed and started to sing a nonsense song: “Apologizing, make a friendly gesture and then break the wind….”

Tie Xinnan actually broke the wind, Xiao Yu’er laughed so hard that he was rolling on the ground.

Tie Xinnan became even redder now and wanted to find a place to hide.

Xiao Yu’er crawled up and laughed: “Breaking wind is nothing. Some people might even wet their trousers when they are really afraid. You’re just like a girl, blushing almost every time.”

Tie Xinnan stuttered: “I….I….”

His voice became very soft.

Xiao Yu’er said: “You’re not the only one to be afraid. Even I…I am afraid of that girl. I never imagined a sweet girl like that could be that ruthless.”

Tie Xinnan smiled: “Most people in the realm are afraid of her.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I would not be surprised, even a courageous man like me is afraid of her. Who can’t be afraid of her? Tell me, what is her name?”

Tie Xinnan said: “Her family name is Zhang, everyone calls her the Little Fairy Zhang Qing.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I heard of this name before….”

Suddenly he remembered, that day when he left the valley that Ba Shudong mentioned this name too.

That Ba Shudong was terrified of her, but at that time Xiao Yu’er never thought that such an infamous person would be a mere pretty young girl.

Xiao Yu’er imagined how she looked like riding her horse roaming the realm. Anyone who saw her would bow before her…..Xiao Yu’er was dreaming about that sight.

After awhile, Tie Xinnan said softly: “You managed to save me from her, it was very difficult what you did. But I think she will hate you very much from now on, you must be careful.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I am not afraid, she never saw me and does not recognize me. Furthermore, in a real fight I may not be inferior to her.”

Tie Xinnan laughed: “You can’t defeat her. I don’t know who taught her martial arts, but in one year she defeated about 50, 60 martial arts experts.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Those martial arts experts who sell their arts on the market?”

Tie Xinnan said: “Some of them are really good, for instance…..”

Xiao Yu’er said loudly: “That is of no concern now. I would like to see that priceless item of yours.”

Tie Xinnan trembled a bit and said: “What item?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “The item which everyone wants so desperately. The item which you hold more precious than your own life and will rather die than hand it over to those people. Now do you know what item I am talking about?”

Tie Xinnan said: “I don’t know.”

Xiao Yu’er pulled his clothes and said loudly: “I saved your life, I just want to have a look. Are you really that heartless? I just to look, I don’t want to keep it.”

Tie Xinnan said: “Let me go and I will tell you!”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Very well.”

Tie Xinnan sighed: “This is a secret, you can’t tell anyone else.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Who am I going to tell? You, fool. I like you very much; I will protect you from whoever wants to harm you. I won’t tell anyone.”

Tie Xinnan blushed; he raised his head and said softly: “I don’t have the item.”

Xiao Yu’er looked at him for some time and suddenly burst out in laughter.

Tie Xinnan asked: “Why are you laughing?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Do you think I am stupid? Don’t lie to me?”

Tie Xinnan said: “I swear I am not lying.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “If you don’t have the item, why would they come after you? And why are running away from them?”

Tie Xinnan sighed: “The item is in the possession of someone very close to me, I am afraid those people will go after him. That is why I pretend that I have it and lure these people away from him.”

Xiao Yu’er was a bit surprised and said: “Hmm, a diversionary tactic.”

Tie Xinnan said: “Yes.”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “I never thought you were such a heroic person.”

Tie Xinnan lowered his head and said: “I am not, but that person is my own brother.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I understand now, but tell me that is that item everyone wants.”

Tie Xinnan lowered his head even further and said: “It is treasure map.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “A treasure map. If I knew it was something that worthless I would not bothered to ask about it? If I wanted riches I could get it anywhere, why all this trouble.”

He stood up and walked around and frowned: “It is strange that there is a house here.”

Tie Xinnan said: “We have run so long and hard, we must be near a village. This must be a guard house for soldiers to keep watch, but now there is peace in the land there is no need to post guards here anymore.”

Xiao Yu’er walked to the door and smiled: “There is a well.”

Tie Xinnan said: “There are a few bowls in that old cabinet, I will get some water.”

Xiao Yu’er looked at him and said: “Will you run away?”

Tie Xinnan replied: “Why should I run away?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I know you won’t run off.”

Tie Xinnan did not run away, he came back with a bucket of water. That conceited look on his face was gone, he looked very gentle. He was even willing to do jobs like getting water, washing the bowls and such, tasks which most men will not do and he was doing very accurately.

Xiao Yu’er was very amused, but then he heard the hooves of a horse. Both of them were startled, fortunately Xiao Yu’er had sharp eyes and saw it was his own white horse. The horse had ran off earlier when the two of them were running, and now it came back to look for its’ master again.

Xiao Yu’er was surprised and happy; he quickly went outside and hugged the head of his horse. He said: “Horsy, you’re a good horse. Tomorrow I will feed you cabbage. Hmm, I have to give you a name too. Her horse was called Cherry, I will name you White Cabbage.”

He looked into the house, but it was very dark and he could not see anything. After a few moments, Tie Xinnan came out with two bowls of water, he was smiling happily: “I have tasted the water, it is very refreshing.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Horsy, should drink too. Give him these two bowls first.”

Tie Xinnan anxiously said: “No…No! I…I have just cleaned these two bowls. Let it drink from the bucket.”

He put one bowl near the well and handed the other to Xiao Yu’er. He hurried inside.

When he came back, Xiao Yu’er was still standing there. Tie Xinnan blinked her eyes and smiled: “Drink, the water is very refreshing.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I am afraid that the water in the well is poisoned.”

Tie Xinnan laughed: “Impossible! If the water is poisoned I will be dead by now. I just drank a bowl earlier, I am going to drink another bowl now.”

He picked up the bowl near the well and drank it up.

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I feel safer now.”

He picked up his bowl and drank the water, and poured bowl after bowl.

Evening came and the sky was full of stars now.

Suddenly, Xiao Yu’er yelled out: “Something is wrong! I feel dizzy.”

Tie Xinnan looked at him and said: “Just sit down, you will be fine.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “There is definitely something wrong, I feel weak all over.”

After he finished he fell down and shouted: “Poison….The water is poisoned!”

Tie Xinnan back away with two steps and coldly said: “Don’t be afraid. There is no poison in the water, just some sleeping powder in it. You can stay here and have a good long nap, tomorrow morning you will be able to walk again.”

Xiao Yu’er panted: “Why did you put sleeping powder in the water?”

Tie Xinnan said: “I can’t take you along to where I am going.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “You…..You…..”

But fatigue took over and he did not speak anymore.

Tie Xinnan laughed: “You’re a smart boy, but….”

While he was talking he turned around and wanted to walk away, suddenly his legs felt weak and he fell down too.

His face changed, he got up and tried to walk but after two steps he fell down again. He did not even have the strength to crawl anymore, he said in a crackling voice: “What is going on here?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Could it be that you put sleeping powder in your own water too?”

Tie Xinnan said: “Impossible! I just put….”

Xiao Yu’er laughed loudly and leapt up.

Tie Xinnan was shocked and said: “You…But…”

Xiao Yu’er clapped his hands and said: “You’re a smart boy too, but compared to me you have still a long way to go. Do you really think I did not see you putting sleeping powder in the water? Let me tell you something, my pair of eyes were washed with top herbal elixirs, I can even find a needle middle in the night.”

Tie Xinnan said with fear: “You switched the bowls?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Yes, I did. But you did not see it. I will tell you something else; I learnt tricks like this when I was two years old. The people who raised me are the patriarchs of using sleeping powder and other substances like that.”

Tie Xinnan tried his best to stay awake and shouted: “What….What do you want to do with me?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I don’t want to do anything with you. But I just don’t believe what you told me. First I will have to search you thoroughly and see if you really don’t have the map.”

In the beginning Tie Xinnan’s face was as white as paper, but now it turned red, he shouted: “I beg of you don’t…..”

His voice was cracking, his body was trembling too. He tightly held on to his clothes. He kept begging: “Please, I beg of you…..Don’t…..”

Gradually his voice died out and his grip loosened.

Xiao Yu’er looked at him and chuckled. When he stopped moving, Xiao Yu’er knelt beside him and thought the more you plead the more I want to search you.

At this moment, the wind was blowing and a figure appeared. Although the figure did not make a noise and stood behind Xiao Yu’er like a ghost. In the corners of his eyes he could vaguely see that the figure wore red clothes.

Xiao Yu realised who came.

The mysterious figure just stood there, she was very slender and loveable.

She raised her hand and her manner was so refined and beautiful. Like a fairy distributing happiness and love to mortals.

But this hand only distributed death and that hand could take Xiao Yu’er life any time.

Xiao Yu’er seemed unaware of that and said to himself softly: “This man is really strange, why would he sleep here? And he won’t wake up. Hey! Hey, wake up! You will catch a cold sleeping here!”

The hand that wanted to pat down stopped.

Xiao Yu’er was talking to himself: “What should I do? Since I saw him I cannot just leave him here like that. Just my luck to see that well when I was thirsty, and now I am stuck with this fellow.”

The girl in red said: “Don’t you know this man?”

Xiao Yu’er jumped up like he was stuck by needle in his behind. When he turned around he gazed at the figure with big eyes like he saw a ghost.

Xiao Yu’er already knew who came, he saw a reflection in the bucket of water and knew the Little Fairy, Zhang Qing had come. But Xiao Yu’er really had her fooled with his brilliant acting, he looked at her for some time and stuttered: “Little Miss, when did you came in? I…”

Before he could finish, Zhang Qing slapped him in his face. Xiao Yu’er wanted to dodge but he could not, he was rolling on the ground now.

Zhang Qing coldly said coldly: “How dare you call me [little Miss]!”

Xiao Yu’er covered his mouth and put on a long face, he crawled up and said: “Yes, I understand, honourable Miss….I..”

Before he could finish, he was slapped again.

Zhang Qing sternly said: “I don’t like the way you call me.”

Xiao Yu’er stuttered: “Yes, auntie. I won’t do it again.”

Zhang Qing coldly said: “That is more like it.”

She still sounded very cold, but at least she was not so hostile anymore. She did not understand why she was less hostile now, but one look at Xiao Yu’er she could not stay angry with him.

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and said: “Auntie, don’t be angry. I have an uncle who said that if a person becomes angry his flesh will turn sour. No….No! When people become angry they will become old and ugly. Auntie, you’re so pretty, it will be a shame if you would become old and ugly.”

Surprisingly, Zhang Qing heard him out.

She looked at this boy and thought he was most strange.

She asked: “Do you really think I am pretty?”

When she asked that question, she realised that she became too friendly and immediately slapped Xiao Yu’er again. Her pretty eyes looked stern again and said: “Even if I am, you should not talk about it.”

Xiao Yu’er chuckled to himself and thought this slap was much softer, but he still looked like he was crying and said: “Yes, auntie is very pretty, but I won’t speak of it again.”

Zhang Qing asked: “Tell me, how you came here?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I came here with a few uncles to do business. Today an uncle bought a new horse for me, and told me to ride and play with it. Although the horse was young, it was very fierce. It ran off and I could not control it and finally it stopped. Now, I don’t know where I am.”

He did not even have to think about making up this story; it just flew out of his mouth. It was such a convincing lie.

Zhang Qing nodded and said: “True, even the most obedient horse can be difficult to ride when it is out of control. And you’re just a small boy.”

She knew from her own experience, that is why she was a bit sympathetic towards the little brat. But she did not know that it was this brat who was responsible for her painful experience.

Xiao Yu’er almost exploded with laughter, but he just said: “Yes, yes. I was riding a wild horse and finally it stopped, when I saw the well I wanted to have a bit of water and that is when I saw sleepyhead here.”

Zhang Qing looked at Tie Xinnan and scoffed: “Do you think he is sleeping?”

Xiao Yu’er exclaimed with surprise: “But what is he doing if he isn’t sleeping.”

Zhang Qing said: “Little brat, let me tell you he is been drugged by someone. Strange, who could have drugged him? Never mind that, I can now search him.”

She did not suspect Xiao Yu’er anymore and talked to herself in his presence. Xiao Yu’er became anxious when he saw her searching Tie Xinnan, but he could not do a thing.

However, she could not find anything after an extensive search. Xiao Yu’er thought: [It seems that the map really isn’t in his possession, but why was he so afraid when I said I would search him.]

Suddenly, Zhang Qing called out: “Darn! The item must be taken by the one who drugged Tie Xinnan. Who could that be? Little brat, get a bucket of water and pour it over him. I want to question him.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Yes, don’t worry. I can even carry ten buckets of water.”

But he pretended to have trouble carrying even one, and when he came back he was panting heavily. He muttered to himself: “How come the bucket is so heavy? I…”

Suddenly he tripped and fell down; the water was splashed on Zhang Qing.

She scolded: “You worthless pig!”

Xiao Yu’er turned pale of fear and crawled up, he took of his clothes clumsily and used it to wipe Zhang Qing’s clothes.

He kept saying: “Auntie, please forgive! It was an accident.”

Zhang Qing angrily said: “You look like human, but you are as useless as stupid pig. If you ruined my clothes, I will kill you.”

She stamped her feet and shook her clothes. Xiao Yu’er hurriedly crawled down to wipe. She was muttering to herself and wanted to kick the stupid pig away.

But before she could lift her leg, the Yinling Quan acupoint of her felt numb. She could not move half her body anymore, she was shocked and yelled: “You, little brat!”

Xiao Yu’er kept saying: “I am sorry, it was an accident. I am very sorry….”

While he was talking, he sealed her Zhongbi, Liangqiu, Pailing acupoints; he sealed all her major acupoints of her leg, with that she fell down.

Zhang Qing may be young, but she had encountered some formidable people in her life. Some of them were infamous rogues, but she never thought that this little brat was ten times more dangerous than those thugs. She never saw through him and was already defeated; she was fuming but could not do a thing.

Xiao Yu’er chortled and deliberately looked at her closely: “Oh, are you ill? Did you catch a cold? Why did you suddenly fall over? I never thought you would be that sickly, a little bit of cold water and you are ill.”

Zhang Qing was fuming and said angrily: “Good! Very good! I never imagined you would be so good.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I am sorry, it was not my intention. I wanted to give your horse some water, since I burnt his tail and behind I feel a bit remorseful about that. Since you horse is almost completely healed, there is no need for the water. I thought I might as well give it all to you.”

Zhang Qing shouted: “So it was you who burnt Cherry’s tail.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Burning Cherry, drowning Little Fairy, this stupid pig is not that stupid. Let me teach you something, never underestimate anyone and never overestimate yourself. A little girl wanting to be an aunt, always wanting to be superior can only lead to downfall.”

He did not care whether Zhang Qing was about to explode with anger; he carried Tie Xinnan in his arms and put him on his white horse. It looked like he was about to leave.

Zhang Qing gritted her teeth, she knew it was best to keep quiet or else she might suffer bigger humiliation.

However, Xiao Yu’er turned around and laughed: “Right! If I have to return those three slaps you gave me earlier. Seeing that you are a girl, I will settle with returning three slaps back.”

Zhang Qing said with fear: “How dare you?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I would not dare, I would not dare…”

And then he swung out his palm and slapped Zhang Qing in her face, her cheek was all red. She had never suffered so heavily before in her life.

She yelled: “You….You! You remember this!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Rest assured! I won’t forget anything. Your first slap was very hard, so I had to return that hard slap back. Your second slap was not so heavy anymore.”

After the second slap, Zhang Qing tried to hold back her tears but in vain. From the day she was born, nobody had ever hit her before.

She was crying and looked at Xiao Yu’er resentfully and said: “I will never forget you! Never! Never!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I know you will never be able to forget about me. Women always remember the men who hit them for the first time. And I will feel very happy being remembered by a girl like you.”

He laughed loudly and said: “But I cannot just forget about the third slap, but your third slap was very light. I cannot bear to strike you hard. What do you think I should do?”

Zhang Qing roared: “Drop dead!”

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and laughed: “Well, like this we will call it even!”

He looked into Zhang Qing’s eyes and bent his head forward.

Zhang Qing was trembling now and shouted: “What do you want?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “You used your hand to slap me, I will use my mouth to hit you. I will be much lighter than your hand.”

Zhang Qing shouted: “You, monster! How….”

She could not say the word [dare] anymore, because Xiao Yu’er gently lifter her chin and kissed her softly on her lips.

She stopped yelling and was totally stunned.

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “You’re just 15, 16 years old. How can you be my aunt? You could be my wife; you have a sweet little mouth. I would like kiss your mouth ten times a day, I would still like it.”

Zhang Qing looked at him and said slowly: “If you touch me again, I will kill you…. I will kill you….”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Don’t worry! I will never touch you again; I will never want a bad-tempered girl like you. I wonder who the unlucky fool is who will become your husband.”

Zhang Qing shouted: “Kill me! You would be smart to kill me, if not I will hunt you down and kill you slowly, bit by bit!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed loudly; he turned around and walked to his horse.

Zhang Qing shouted: “Why don’t you kill me? Why? One of these days, you will regret it. I swear you will regret it!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed and pulled his horse along as he walked.

Zhang Qing looked at him walking away till he was out of sight, she could not hold back her tears anymore and cried.

She could hear Xiao Yu’er sing a song: “Poor little fairy…. Weeping and crying! If Xiao Yu’er hears it, he will clap his hands and laugh heartily.”

As he walked he kept singing, he noticed that his singing voice was quite good. At least it sounded better than the weeping sounds of Zhang Qing.

He stopped singing when he could not hear Zhang Qing’s crying anymore. He rubbed his face and sighed, but suddenly he started to laugh loudly again.

That little tigress was really fierce, his cheeks still ached. But her lips were sweet and soft, it seemed that delicious taste was still in his mouth. He started to run forward again, his white horse followed. But soon his horse began to pant and then it stopped, it lied down to rest. It was too tired to continue. The sky was vast in the prairie, the stars were bright and the evening wind was cool, Xiao Yu’er soon fell asleep. He dreamt he was holding Zhang Qing in his arms, and she told him: “Every day you can only give a hundred kisses. Just a hundred and no more, but I expect at least a hundred a day.”

When he was about to kiss Zhang Qing, she leapt up and slapped him. But something is wrong, someone really slapped him. Could it be that Zhang Qing had returned? He woke up startled and saw Tie Xinnan. It was Tie Xinnan who slapped him; he also poured water on Xiao Yu’er.

Under the stars, the beautiful eyes of Tie Xinnan were filled with anger, he bit his lip and said: “You, brat! Like everyone else, you have to sleep too! You have finally fallen into my hands now.”

Xiao Yu’er wanted to jump up, but he could not move anymore. His acupoints were sealed, but he was neither angry nor anxious. He chortled: “I was having such a nice dream, you disturb my beautiful dream you have pay now. I was about to kiss someone a hundred times, you have to let me kiss you a hundred times.”

Tie Xinnan was trembling and said: “What did you do to me?”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “Nothing special. I just searched you from top to toe and covered every spot of your body.”

Tie Xinnan trembled even harder now, her face was so red it was showing even in the dark. She was so upset now, that she could not speak.

Xiao Yu’er blinked his eyes and sighed: “Why didn’t you tell me that you were a girl? If I knew I would not have searched you. You should know that although I am young I am still a man, how could I control myself…”

Tie Xinnan shouted: “Shut up! Shut up! If you say another word, I will kill you!”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “I have done it already, does it really matter if I keep quiet about it.”

Tie Xinnan gritted her teeth and she burst into tears.

Xiao Yu’er made a funny face and said: “It seems that you have no choice but to marry me. I have to take an older woman as my wife. (*Sigh) When I am 30, you will be an old hag.”

Tie Xinnan pulled a dagger from her shoe and said in a shaky voice: “What last words do you have? Say it now!”

Xiao Yu’er exclaimed with surprise: “You really want to kill me? I don’t mind if you want to marry someone else, I won’t object. Why do you have to kill me?”

Tie Xinnan gritted her teeth and said: “If you have nothing to say, I will….”

Xiao Yu’er wanted to burst out with laughter, but he could not. He could almost cry, because she really believed that lie of his.

Women?!? Are they smart of dumb?

Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “I beg of you marry someone else. I don’t care who you want to marry, as long it isn’t me. I really can’t stand it.”

Tie Xinnan shouted: “Are these your final words? Good!”

She tightened her grip on her dagger and was about to stab Xiao Yu’er in the chest.

Xiao Yu’er yelled: “I have something to say! Wait! Wait!”

Tie Xinnan stamped her feet and said: “Be quick about it!”

Xiao Yu’er sighed: “I have something to say, I hope you can tell it to all the men in the world. Tell them never to save anyone and especially women. If they see a woman about to be killed, never burn the tail of a horse. Instead set fire to their own arses and run in the opposite direction.”

Tie Xinnan said: “Yes, you did save my life. But….I…”

She sat down and started to weep, she wept and said: “What can I do? What should I do?”

Xiao Yu’er gently said: “Don’t worry, just kill me. Don’t let the worries get to you, let me die. If I can die at your hands I will be happy too.”

Although he said that he was secretly watching Tie Xinnan, she was crying harder and harder. Xiao Yu’er felt smart and thought: [I finally know how to deal with women. You have reach their hearts, and when you have succeeded, they will listen to you and be obedient.]

While he began to feel proud, Tie Xinnan stopped crying and leapt up and ran away.

Xiao Yu’er was shocked and shouted: “You cannot leave me behind like this! What will happen if wolves or tigers come? Even worse, what if Zhang Qing catches up with me? Do you know that I saved you again earlier?”

He shouted loudly, but Tie Xinnan could not hear him.

The wind was cool; the sky was filled with beautiful, shining starts. But Xiao Yu’er was certainly not enjoying it.

In fact he was angry and muttered to himself: “Jiang Yu! Who can you blame but yourself. Why did you have to antagonize women? It is your own fault if you’re eaten by wolves or killed by Zhang Qing.”

His white little horse walked next to him and started to neigh.

Xiao Yu’er said: “Little Cabbage, my words are true. The next time if you see a man trying to strangle a woman with a rope, get a longer and thicker rope for him. Or if you see a man about to kill a woman with a knife, help him to sharpen the knife.”

His white horse neighed and ran off.

Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “Even you are not reliable, you must be a mare.”

He noticed that White Cabbage ran towards a person, that person just stood there not moving. It was Tie Xinnan, she came back.

Xiao Yu’er was surprised and happy, but he stayed silent. White Cabbage went over to her and neighed softly. She slowly walked over; in the blowing wind she looked very elegant.

Xiao Yu’er sighed and thought: [I should have seen that she is a woman. Only women walk that elegantly.]

Tie Xinnan stood next to him; Xiao Yu’er closed his eyes deliberately.

She said melancholically: “I know you’ve done nothing to me.”

Xiao Yu’er finally laughed: “You only found out now?”

Tie Xinnan said: “I thought you….That is why….”

Xiao Yu’er said: “For the love of heaven, please speak up.”

Tie Xinnan lowered her head and said earnestly: “Are you willing to accompany me to a certain place?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Of course I am willing, but first you have to unseal my acupoints. I don’t suppose you will carry me on the way to that place of yours.”

Tie Xinnan’s face became redder and laughed; she bent over and gently patted Xiao Yu’er a few times and unsealed his acupoints. It seemed that she was afraid to hurt Xiao Yu’er.

Xiao Yu’er smiled wryly: “When you sealed my acupoints, you were most harsh. But now you’re all weak and meek. Women, women….”

He got up and spat on the ground.

Tie Xinnan turned her back to Xiao Yu’er and said softly: “Originally, I did not want you to go with me. But now, but now I know you’re very kind to me.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “You did not know it earlier?”

Tie Xinnan said: “I did not want you to go with me, because the place where I am going is very secretive…”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Where do you want to go anyway?”

Tie Xinnan slowly said: “It is near MountKunlun…”

Xiao Yu’er exclaimed with surprise: “The Valley of Evil? Are you planning to go to the Valley of Evil?”

Tie Xinnan turned around and said with shock: “How did you know?”

Xiao Yu’er hit himself lightly on the head and muttered to himself: “Oh heaven! This girl asks me about the Valley of Evil, I know everything about the Valley of Evil.”

Tie Xinnan looked at him completely surprised and asked: “How come?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “Don’t ask me that first. Please tell me, why you want to go the Valley of Evil. You don’t look like the sort to go to the Valley of Evil.”

Tie Xinnan said: “I…I am going there to look for someone.”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Who?”

Tie Xinnan said: “You would not know even if I told you.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “You should know, that I know everyone in the Valley of Evil.”

Tie Xinnan was surprised and said: “You…”

Xiao Yu’er interrupted her: “I grew up in the Valley of Evil.”

Tie Xinnan’s expression changed and said: “I don’t believe you.”

Xiao Yu’er laughed: “You don’t believe me? Well, only a place like the Valley of Evil can produce someone like me. Can you think of any place else?”

Tie Xinnan was a bit dumbfounded for a moment, but soon she smiled sweetly: “I can’t think of any place else. I should have known.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Can you now tell me who you are looking for?”

Tie Xinnan lowered her head and stayed silent for a moment, she then slowly said: “I am looking for someone who has the same surname as me, Tie. He is very famous.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Could it be that you’re looking for one of the Ten Great Malevolents, the Mad Lion Tie Zhan?”

Tie Xinnan lifted her head and exclaimed with shock: “Do you know him? Is he really there?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “You are very fortunate to have meet me, otherwise you would have gone there in vain. Who told you that the Mad Lion was there? You should really beat that person up.”

Before Tie Xinnan could respond, she had passed out.

Tie Xinnan rode the horse and Xiao Yu’er pulled the reins and walked. Both of them did not speak.

It was night now, it was cold and quiet and the vast prairie seemed limitless but it was not.

After a long journey, they finally left the prairie behind. The wonderful, simple but mesmerizing prairie had left a deep impression behind in Xiao Yu’er’s heart.

But Xiao Yu’er did not look back, what he left behind was over. No point on dwelling on it. Tie Xinnan looked very pale, but she was still very pretty. Ever since Xiao Yu’er found out she was a girl, he noticed that she was prettier than most girls. Furthermore, he noticed she was more fragile than he imagined. Ever since she heard Tie Zhan was not in the valley, she did not speak or moved. If the white horse were not here, she would not have been able to travel either. Xiao Yu’er could not help it but sigh and think: [Women, women. They cannot cope with setbacks, the ugly ones cannot and the pretty ones cannot either.]

But he did not speak out his thoughts; he could not be bothered by it.

Suddenly, Tie Xinnan spoke softly. She still had tears in her eyes, but she did not look at Xiao Yu’er: “Why won’t you talk?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Since you do not speak, why should I talk?”

Tie Xinnan asked: “But don’t you have questions?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “Why should I ask questions? I know everything.”

Tie Xinnan said: “You know everything?”

Xiao Yu’er smiled casually: “You were forced to flee from your home, so you decided to look for your father. Although you do not really like him, perhaps you even left him when you were young. Or even abandoned by him, but he is still your father.”

Tie Xinnan’s eyes glared up and looked at Xiao Yu’er, she asked: “My father? Who is my father?”

Xiao Yu’er answered: “The Mad Lion, Tie Zhan.”

Tie Xinnan exclaimed with shock: “Who? Who told you that?”

Xiao Yu’er yawned and said: “I told myself! I know that women won’t confess the truth even if they are confronted by it. So, I don’t need you to acknowledge it.”

Tie Xinnan stared at him, like she never saw him before. This boy is not human, he is a little demon. He is an oracle.

After some time, she finally asked: “How…How did you know?”

Xiao Yu’er continued: “I also your name is not [nan] as in “man.” But it is actually Tie Xinlan, [lan] as in orchid. That should be a name that is worthy of you.”

Tie Xinnan stuttered: “Yes, …you’re right. My name is Tie Xinlan.”

Xiao Yu’er smiled: “I know you must be quite flustered now and you do not know where you should go now. That is why I did not speak, I wanted to give you some peace to think things over.”

Tie Xinlan smiled wryly: “How old are you? Sometimes I am quite frightened, I don’t know if you’re a boy or some….”

Xiao Yu’er interrupted: “Demon?”

Tie Xinlan sighed softly: “I sometimes think you are the personification of an oracle, how else can you guess the thoughts of other people?”

Xiao Yu’er seriously said: “Because I am smarter than anyone in the world.”

Tie Xinlan said melancholically: “Perhaps you’re right…”

Xiao Yu’er asked: “Have you thought it out?”

Tie Xinlan asked: “What do you mean?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Do you know what you are going to do?”

Tie Xinlan lowered her head and said: “I….I…”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Well, you should hurry up. I can’t stay here and keep you company forever.”

Tie Xinlan lifted her head and her face was whiter than paper and exclaimed with shock: “You…you can’t?”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Of course I can’t.”

Tie Xinlan said softly: “But….But…”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Yes, initially I wanted to accompany you. We could have roamed the realm together, but since you’re a girl this plan cannot go through. I can’t have you as my disciple anymore.”

Tie Xinlan shrieked: “You….You…You…”

Xiao Yu’er said: “We’re not related, we’re not really friends. Why should we keep each other company? Furthermore, I have a lot of things to do, I can’t be stuck with a woman the entire time.”

Tie Xinlan felt like she was horsewhipped, she was stunned and trembled. After a long while she smiled sadly: “We’re not friends nor are we related….You can go now…”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Are you…”

Tie Xinlan turned around and sneered: “You have your own places to go, you don’t have to worry about me.”

Xiao Yu’er said: “I am afraid you are not fit to walk, I will give you this horse.”

Tie Xinlan bit her lip and said: “Thank you, but I don’t need your horse. I don’t need anything from you….You…”

She dismounted and immediately turned her head around. She did not want to look at Xiao Yu’er, because she did not want him to see her tears.

Xiao Yu’er pretended not to see that, he took the reins and laughed: “It is good that you don’t need a horse. Because I’ve grown to like my horse. I would be saddened if I should part with White Cabbage.”

Tie Xinlan said in shaky voice: “I…I…” She wanted to say: [I am even inferior to a horse? Aren’t you saddened if we should part?]

But she did not say that, her heart was shattered.

Xiao Yu’er said: “Very well, I am off. Take good care of yourself.”

Tie Xinlan did not turn back, she heard him mount the horse, whip it and riding off. He left, just like that.

Xiao Yu’er could not keep quiet anymore and shouted: “Of course I will take good care of myself. I don’t need your hypocritical care. I would rather die than to see you again.”

She fell down and started to cry.

Xiao Yu’er did not hear her crying. In any event, he at least pretended not to hear her. He patted the head of the horse and muttered: “You see how smart I am, like that I have freed myself from a woman. You should know that women are not easily dealt with.”

As he rode on, he did not look back. After a long time, he muttered to the horse again: “White Cabbage, can you guess where she is off to? You don’t know, do you? To tell you the truth, I don’t know either. Shall we wait and spy on her?”

White Cabbage could not talk back, although he could disagree.

Xiao Yu’er dismounted and muttered again: “Just knowing a few secrets of a girl won’t do any harm. And we have no urgent matters at hand. There is no harm in waiting, is it?”

White Cabbage could not talk back; Xiao Yu’er was just looking for reasons for him to wait. The good thing about horses or other animals is that at least they cannot expose you or betray your true intentions.

Tie Xinlan did not come this way, could she have taken another direction? But this is the only way, could it be that she lost her way? Or could it be….

Xiao Yu’er suddenly mounted his horse and shouted: “Go! White Cabbage, we’re going to see what she is doing? You should know that I am not worried about her well-being. I don’t have feelings for anyone in this world.”

While he was talking, White Cabbage had already taken off faster than he came. In a few moments, they returned to where they parted with Tie Xinlan. Xiao Yu’er saw Tie Xinlan.

She was lying on the ground, not crying nor moving.

Xiao Yu’er flew down from his horse and yelled: “This is not the place to sleep!”

Tie Xinlan trembled and crawled up yelling: “Go away! Who told you to come back? Why have you come back?”

In the dark, Xiao Yu’er saw the face of Tie Xinlan was all red a bit too red, almost purple. Her slender body was trembling and every word she said took a lot of her energy.

Xiao Yu’er exclaimed: “You’re ill!”

Tie Xinlan scoffed: “Even if I am, that is none of your business. We’re not friends, nor related, why should you care?”

She managed to stand up, but was about to fall down again.

Xiao Yu’er said: “I want to care now!”

He held her up and touched her cheek with his other hand. She was burning.

Tie Xinlan was pushing away Xiao Yu’er’s hand and said in a weak voice: “Don’t touch me!”

Xiao Yu’er said: “Too late, I am not letting go.” With that he lifted her in his arms.

Tie Xinlan shouted: “Let me go! Don’t touch me!”

She was resisting and yelling, but she could not break free from his grip and her voice became weaker and weaker. She used her fists to hit Xiao Yu’er, but even her hits were soft and weak.

Xiao Yu’er said: “You’re very ill, you could die! If you don’t listen to me, I will remover your trousers and spank you! You should know that I am not joking now.”

Tie Xinlan yelled: “You….you….”

She put her head on Xiao Yu’er chest and started to weep loudly.