Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 08 Ch. 86

A Wish for His Heart. A Prayer for Eternity.

Even though I knew Lass Yu’s warmer side unlike those not familiar with her, I had never seen her cry for so long. She wasn’t domineering, cold, authoritative of hellishly decisive. She just wanted to do what she wanted to without bothering anyone else. She was taciturn purely because she wasn’t good at expressing herself. She was a kind and gentle girl who actually didn’t know how to refuse people. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have taught her to lay people out first.

Lass Yu clung to my arms while crying as little girl would, afraid I’d run off. “Don’t leave. Don’t leave. Don’t leave…” she’d keep repeating, worried I didn’t hear.  “I won’t go. I promise,” I’d repeat, wiping her cheeks.

Once Lass Yu finished crying, she touched my face with her cool hands and glued her gaze on my face as though she was verifying whether I was an impostor or not, maybe worried she shed all those tears for nothing.

“It’s not… a human-skin mask. It’s real.”

“Yes, I’m real. I’m sorry for lying to you with the mask. Can you let go of my left cheek now? It hurts!”

Sniffling, Lass Yu muttered, “No.”

“Huh?”

“… Don’t want to.” Lass Yu grabbed my cheeks even harder, refusing to loosen up no matter how I complained.

Why has every girl I’ve met up with in a long time hit me recently?!

I explained that my apparel and avoidance was because our engagement was already cancelled on top of being worried about reminding her of the past. Lass Yu just occasionally blinked until I reached the end and started praising her beauty, skills and everything else I could come up with. I still have no clue which of the millions of things I said was the trigger that compelled her to let go. That said, she only went from my face to my clothing… I had no means of convincing her I wasn’t going to run off, so I let her have her way and sat down on a chair. Once I stopped rambling, I realised that she wasn’t looking into my eyes but checking to see how I had changed over the last six years.

With roses blooming on her cheeks and a smile blooming on her lips, Lass Yu suggested, “It’s been a long time. Let’s chat.”

Lass Yu’s cheeks weren’t red because she hugged me a moment ago. After all, her knowledge of skinship was practically non-existent. Remember when she didn’t bother getting dressed to chase me by the lake? Her sisters could tell you about her ignoring her frayed clothing and exposed body to hunt down someone. Her burning cheeks weren’t the consequence of the wailing she hadn’t exhibited since twenty years ago, either, since she perceived it to be natural. If anything, it was merely a new experience to her.  The only reason her face was flush was because she was nervous to talk after suggesting we chat.

“I’ll start.” I recounted the events that I lived through during the six years after I bid Lass Yu farewell, including the fight in the Western Regions, at Lawless Cliff, Ximen Buxing’s demise and so forth. She finally calmed as she focused in on what I had to say.

Lass Yu was surprised to hear that I had decided to not get involved with the pugilistic world again. We didn’t feel any distance between us despite the six year gap. She’d nod, smile, shake her head or hold my hand when I sounded sad.

“… Brother Feizhen… Your hair has turned black and is done up unlike before.”

I reached up to my bun and responded, “Well, I can’t do everything as I please now that I work for the government. I’ll be chewed out and have my salary deducted if I don’t groom properly.”

Lass Yu pursed her curved up lips. “You still look good,” she whispered under her breath then lowered her head.

Oh, man, now I don’t know what to say. It’s been years since I’ve heard that from anyone. Bloody Su Xiao keeps drilling into my head that I look hideous!

Lass Yu compiled her thoughts then said, “Brother Ming, I… I… have something to tell you.”

Here it comes.

“What do you want to tell me?”

Lass Yu kept gyrating her lips until she steeled her resolve to voice, “Sorry.”

Sorry? Was that just my imagination?

“Sorry? To me?”

Lass Yu nodded: “I… lied to you.”

Now I never expected to hear someone who’s supposed to only ever be a victim of lies to tell me she lied to me. When did she learn to tell lies?

Eyes cast down, Lass Yu expounded, “I didn’t show anyone the letter breaking off the engagement back then… I burnt it.”

No wonder why Huofeng treated me more disdainfully than an ex-husband. They must’ve all thought I’m a dastard who led Lass Yu on for all these years.

“Why did you burn it…? You…”

Yu Feiyuan looked up to answer in an unwavering tone, “Because you were wrong. You said I shouldn’t marry you because I don’t like you. You, instead, told me to find someone more fitting. That is wrong.”

“So… what is correct?”

“I can answer the question you asked me now. You asked me if I like you… I don’t know.”

“If my memory does me justice… that’s the same answer as back then.”

“No,” objected Yu Feiyuan, shaking her head the way she ddd when she was being wilful back then. “You told me to give up on you since I didn’t know. Could you… just have waited for me?”

“Wait?”

“I honestly don’t know what it means to like someone. All I know is that it exists. I’m stupid; I always have been. I’ve never liked anything. My grandpa told me to learn swordplay. My aunt told me to learn palm techniques. Shizun told me to learn internal strengthening. And so, I learnt swordplay, palm techniques and internal strengthening. When my aunt told me to take a shifu, I did. I coached when Shizun told me to. I got engaged to you when my grandpa told me to. I don’t know what the difference between liking something and not liking it is. I just don’t want people to be upset. Brother Ming, I hope what I said doesn’t anger you. I never questioned how I felt about you until you gave me the letter.”

I smiled helplessly: “I’m not and won’t be angry. I have no right to be. You always were a kind and pure kid.”

“After you gave me the letter, though, I kept contemplating the question you posed… I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I don’t even know what I like… I hope you can wait for me to learn what I want before deciding whether or not to break off the engagement. I was so scared when I held the letter. I don’t know how to lie… I stutter whenever I lie, so I burnt the letter… and then began my search for you.”

With a poignant smile, Lass Yu expanded, “That was the first time I didn’t listen to you and my shizun.  For once, I decided to do what I wish and left Hangzhou to search for Hangzhou. Since you pointed to the west, I thought you were going west, so I visited the Western Regions’ seven nations. I took longer than I liked as I didn’t know my way around. When I came back, I learnt Demon Sect was wiped out, and you… vanished into thin air. I then went to Beijiang, but I didn’t find you there, either.”

“I was hiding at Night Net Mountain at that time. I then went to Shaolin and Wudang… I happened to leave around the time you returned to Huzhou.”

“I didn’t know. I thought you left the Central Plain. Since you’re the type to like having fun, I assumed you were hiding somewhere and would come back with time. That’s why I went back to Wutong Jin Yuxuan to continue my training.”

“Well, you sure improved at the speed of sound,” I jovially remarked. “I heard my Young Shiyi vandalised your place. She didn’t give you any grief, did she?”

“Your Young Shiyi? Sister Suwen did visit. She came to share some advice with us and accidentally broke some furniture. She’s really skilled. I sparred with her because none of my juniors could match her. After I used what you taught me, she got grouchy and left. I couldn’t catch up since her qinggong is better than mine. I still don’t know what she was angry about.”

That means Young Shiyi didn’t get sick when she returned to Mount Daluo solely because of me but also because of her match with Lass Yu. That’s not what I was told. Anyway, thank heavens she didn’t hurt anyone.

For the reason that I personally trained Lass Yu, she was actually slightly above Young Shiyi. If they got serious, one of them was bound to get hurt.

“You must be well-versed in the style I taught you now seeing as you immediately recognised it.”

Oblivious to what I was thinking, Lass Yu conveyed, “I trained night and day. I practiced it even more frequently while in the Western Regions and Beijiang to ward off the cold. I wanted to train and train so that I could…”

“… Could?”

“I wanted to fight you. I wanted to defeat you fair and square. Then, I planned to kidnap you back to Hangzhou to stay with me.”

You have to be kidding me! I thought you were searching for me with a broken heart! Are you telling me you walked around with a straight face, thinking about how to cripple me?! You’re scaring me!

“It eventually occurred to me that I wouldn’t master the style even if you gave me another ten or twenty years, so I stopped trying to force progress.”

The style I imparted to Lass Yu would only do her good, but, as she noted, it wasn’t a style you could just “hard work” through. If anything, trying to force progress would only have the opposite effect. The fact that she had progressed so far showed just how much she also developed mentally.

“Even though I gave up defeating you, the question you asked me lingers. Every time I think about it, it feels like I am trying to break through a wall with my head. I want to know what liking someone means. I want to know if I like you or not.”

I couldn’t lift my head.

“On my way to the Western Regions, I asked people what it meant to ‘like’. Some didn’t answer me, while others gave me answers I couldn’t comprehend. In Beijiang, a lady collecting cow milk said to me, ‘Silly lass, whoever you are thinking of when you ask the question is the only one who can answer you.’ Although I didn’t know if she was telling the truth or not, I believed her. Please don’t go. Wait for me. Wait for me to find the answer before we discuss it again, okay?” Lass Yu seized my sleeve with both hands just as she did when she wanted candied haws back then. “Please wait for me to find the answer, okay?”

Silly lass, you already found your answer when you decided to go against your shifu. You found your answer when thought of me first when you asked the question. The moment you changed, the moment you decided to kidnap me, you found you answer. Maybe you already had the answer the first time you sparred with me ten years ago. I’m not worth that much effort.

I still can’t allow myself to have someone so important, be it Young Shiyi or you… All I could ever do was make you wait. However… I never realised you also wanted me to wait. Perhaps it will take us some time to accept each other. I never saw this coming. Perhaps I owe you from my previous life.

“I will wait, even if that means waiting all my life.”

Lass Yu’s eyes narrowed as she spread her lips then shut them, tugging them up with an affirmative nod.

Lass Yu will only ever smile if she’s with me, huh?  

 

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