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Chapter 7 (Part 1)
Feng Jin examines his reflection in the mirror. He has added a dressing table and mirror in the bedroom for Shang Guan Jing but the latter is too used to dressing simply and seldom uses either items. Earlier today, she has said that she is “unused” to his looks, which is why he is now examining himself in the mirror from left to right, top to bottom.
Isn’t there a saying that women like pretty things? If this is true, why is he shunned when he is good-looking now? He has not asked to be born this way either, why fault him for something that is beyond his control?
Shang Guan Jing walks into this scene of “beauty sighing to the mirror” and also sighs. Earlier in the morning, she has blurted out without thinking that she is not used to his new looks, but it is not her intention to hurt him. Afterall, she has grown used to the patches on his face and when they are gone all of a sudden, of course she needs time to adapt!
Besides, now that there are no distractions to his fine features, her heart will start fluttering if she looks at him for too long which is another reason why she finds it hard to look at him for long.
She places a food tray on the table and asks him to join her. “An old granny has given me some rice cakes today and Zhu Yu has made a pot of tea. Would you like to join me for supper?”
When he only continues to look in the mirror, she walks over and meets his eyes in the mirror. He turns his face away quickly as if worried that she might get “unused” to him again and she sighs to herself again. Taking his hand, she leads him to the table and tells him about her day. “The villagers are trying to form a martial arts class and I am thinking of imparting some of my skills to them. What do you think?”
“I have no objections on what you want to do so long as you don’t find it tiring.” Feng Jin thinks that she must relate to people really well for the villagers to accept her into their midst when they all must know by now that she is related to him. When he sees the rice cakes on the table, his eyes light up with interest.
Shang Guan Jin notices his line of sight and offers some rice cakes to him happily. “Try these rice cakes! They are very nice. You ate very little at dinner just now and you should be feeling hungry by now. An old granny gave them to me today when I helped to her bring home her groceries and they will make a good snack. She told me a lot of things along the way as well.”
“Hmm…” Feng Jin bites into his first rice cake. “So you went to her house. Who did you see?”
“She told me that she has a big family but I did not see anyone when I reached her house! But she did tell me stories about the Diao family.”
“Really?” Feng Jin picks up a teacup. “What did she tell you?”
“The granny told me that a long, long time ago, Nan Man is guarded by a fire phoenix. One day, the phoenix changed his form into a man and married a local girl. Their decedents became the Diao family and in each generation, a person will be born into the family with supernatural powers. The person will become the Feng Zhu, or leader of the Diao family, and becomes the next guardian for Nan Man. Have you heard this story before?”
“Oh…” Feng Jin blows on his tea to make it less scalding. “If you do not tell me, who else would talk to me about all these?”
Shang Guan Jing feels sorry for him and bows her head sadly. “I’m sorry.”
Feng Jin does not know why she should apologize but her attitude is amusing while her concern warm his heart. He reaches for her hand and laces their fingers together. “So long as you are the story-teller, I would love to hear any story you have to tell me. So tell me, what else did that knowledgable granny tell you? Did you see your leader’s token?”
“No, I did not show her the token but she saw my sword which is a present from my teacher. She said that the patterns on the sword cover are actually an ancient language which the Diao family can decipher. The words can even be a spell that if cast, can last for ten, hundred, or even a thousand years.”
“Her words set me thinking you know, that since the patterns on the leaders token and sword are similar, that my teacher could be linked to the Diao family. There is a good chance that what my teacher really wants me to do when she told me to travel south, is to find the current Feng Zhu. What do you think?”
She clears the table and prepares a basin of water for him to wash up. At moments like this, she feels that she is truly a married woman now and as this man’s wife, they will live together like this for the rest of their life. What a pleasant thought…
“If this is indeed what your teacher wanted, will you leave Nan Man once you find the current Feng Zhu?” Feng Jin sounds rather sullen which causes Shang Guan Jing to look at him in surprise. Are his unenthusiastic replies earlier due to uneasiness?
Turning to look at him, she noticed that he has mussed his hair when it was straight and untangled just moments again so. Did he take out his frustrations on his hair? If so, then her husband can be quite childish, she thinks fondly. As she walks to him, she noticed some pink patches on his neck.
“Feng Jin, your neck… and ear!” She drags him over to the bed and tugs open his collar. True enough, there are more pink patches near his collarbone. “What happened? I am quite sure they are not there yesterday!” She tugs his shirt off and her worse suspicions are confirmed when she sees pink patches on his shoulder and arm. Are his patches like wild grass? You can trample them, burn them, but come spring, they will be back?
Feng Jin is amused by her reaction for he has expected this. “Which is why I told you that I need a wife. This is not something that can be cured over 1 day, 2 days, 3 days… or even 3 weeks.“ He tries to look pitiful although his eyes give him away as they shine devilishly. “I have counted you know, that we have not been together for 3 days? My conclusion is that 4 days is probably the max that I can remain celibate before my patches come back.”
Shang Guan Jing is speechless. How is she ever going to leave his side when he is like this! Taking a deep breathe, she grasps his arms and stares at him. “Who says that you have to remain celibate tonight? Listen up, we are going to be together… and for a long, long time!”
With the declaration, she pushes him onto the mattress. Perhaps it is different to have a wife trained in martial arts since her speed, accuracy and intent are much better than normal people. In any case, she has removed all his clothes in a few efficient strokes.
Throughout the process, Feng Jin is very cooperative. He has detected her anger – anger that she has to worry about him – and does not mind and her rough administrations at all. As she runs her hand over his body, he groans softly and hugs her close.
They seem to be making war more than they are making love but so long as she is with him, he is not going to complain.
He fingers a long scar on her left arm and kisses the line to make it better (although logically, the cut has long healed). He remembers Yan Ying telling him about a “bitter fight” and wonders if she has gotten the scar at a duel with her seniors at Yu Ling peak?
She shifts as if going to wake up and he waves a hand over her face. In the confines of his spell, she will be able to sleep undisturbed. Leaning over, he inhales her intoxicating scent one more time before pulling the blanket carefully over her.
He puts on his clothes and goes to the garden. A shadow appears before him and he asks without permeable. “What is the progress on the martial-arts class?”
“The villagers are quite enthusiastic and quite a number has signed up. “ The aura of his employer has grown stronger after his has gotten married and taken his “tonic”. Yan Ying has to concentrate harder in order to report calmly. “The recent troubles with the river thieves followed by the mountain bandits have made people more aware on the importance of defense. We have a sizable group of men – and now women too – who have expressed interest to learn martial arts.“
Even though Mr Devil has quietly disposed of the scums but the villagers do not need to know that.
“Women?” Feng Jin nods. “That is interesting.”
“Young Mistress showed off some of her skills at the village and many are greatly impressed at how she managed to restrain the 2 strong men whom she asked to attack her. Her ‘Restraining Hands’ moves are very good – swift and accurate. The men have barely gotten close to her before they are restrained.”
“So she has inspired the womenfolk to sign up for self-defense?” Feng Jin beams devilishly.
“Hmm, yes. And then…”
Feng Jin arches a brow. “And?”
“And… the news could have reached the mountains as Old Mistress has made a special trip to the village”
“That, I know.” And she has given Shang Guan Jing some of his favourite rice cakes to bring home. The moment he saw the rice cakes, he has gotten her “message”. Old Granny is saying that he better bring his woman home for an official visit soon, failing which, he can expect his family to appear at his door instead.
“Feng Zhu, what do you intend to do next?”
Feng Jin has no answer. For the first time in his life, he feels vexed and a little lost at what to do. From the start, he has only wanted to make fun of the ignorant woman who barged into his business. She is supposed to be a muse, a little entertainment in an otherwise boring life. But when he was attracted to her unexpectedly and has schemed to tie her to him, he is unsure of how he should treat her now that they are married.
The truth will always come to light and he is prepared for the day she will know the truth. He is not afraid that she will get upset, or hate him, so long as she keeps her promise to stay with him. So long as she continues to stay with him, he will take whatever punishment she dishes out willingly.
Yes, he has deceived her and tricked her. His intentions towards her may not be honorable at the start, but she cannot, and must not let him down.