Chapter 116 – Fairy on the Magpie Bridge
Eastern Spirit Gorge
The southern and western faces of the monastery were surrounded by mountains and steep hills. It was late in the night, and was thus very dark. It was raining heavily in the twilight hours of the night. A lighted up room stood out brightly in the darkness.
Ye Su’er emerged from her meditation and felt a cool tingling sensation all over her body. She was extremely relaxed and felt an increase in her agility and sharpness. It was clear that she had improved another notch. However, she wasn’t too pleased with herself. She had finished cultivating for twelve hours and stood up. She removed the hairpin from her head and looked at it. It was a coarse, wooden butterfly hairpin of inferior quality. And yet when she looked at it and touched it, it reminded her of her time in Snail Village.
“Su’er, I made this for you. The last time you said you needed a hairpin, but I did not have money to buy one for you. So I learnt how to make it. Do not be upset.” Pei Zi Yun said, stammering in nervousness. Ye Su’er received the hairpin, her face was blushing. She was only thirteen years old then.
“Junior Sister Su’er, Junior Sister Su’er, are you there?” Ye Su’er was deep in thought when she heard a sound coming from outside.
Ye Su’er opened the door and saw the figure of a young and beautiful woman at the door. The minute she saw Ye Su’er she grabbed her and forced her into a tight hug, “Junior Sister, you’ve only been in the sect for a few months and your cultivation speed is so fast. Not just that, you’re becoming so much more attractive and charming, how could we ever compete with you?”
“Junior Sister, it’s been a long time since we’ve last seen each other. Have you been missing your Senior Sister?” The woman said to Ye Su’er.
Ye Su’er pushed her senior sister away and said, “I’m thinking about something, do not disturb me Senior Sister.”
Ye Su’er’s face was one of gloom. She loved her senior sister dearly, except for this weakness of hers.
When her senior sister got pushed away, she didn’t mind too much as well, and smiled, “Junior Sister, you must be thinking about your childhood sweetheart once again right? Master is regretting now. When she first saw Pei Zi Yun, she underestimated him, and judged him wrongly. If not, she would’ve taken the both of you in together. That would’ve been wonderful.”
This gorgeous looking young lady smiled as she teased Ye Su’er.
“Even if we’re not from the same sect, it’s fine. I… Brother Pei and I are engaged.” Ye Su’er said quietly, her face was blushing red, as if trying to explain her thoughts, and yet could not find the right words to say.
“You are too innocent. What’s this about going back to him after three years. Don’t you believe that in three years time, your brother Pei will be cuddled up with a beautiful woman, lovingly? Maybe they will even have children by then.” Her Senior Sister was smiling mockingly as she poured herself a cup of tea from Ye Su’er’s room.
Ye Su’er heard these words, her eyes bore a look of bleakness.
Her senior sister looked at Ye Su’er’s expression and continued adding oil to the flames, “Junior Sister, why don’t you think about it. Your brother Pei is a Top Scorer, and he’s written –Let’s Drink Up– and –The Water Melody–. He’s written many other popular poems and works and his name has spread far and wide. Even the Emperor himself has met him. Now that he’s joined Free Cloud Sect, and contributed a huge accomplishment to the sect. Furthermore he hasn’t even tried communicating with you once since then. Tell me, do you think he has thought of you?”
Hearing these words, Ye Su’er’s face turned pale as she started muttering under her breath, “No, it’s not possible. Brother Pei would not forget me.”
As she said this, she shook her head, her eyes started welling up with tears as if she was about to cry.
Her senior sister covered her mouth before laughing, “Little Su’er, you are so gullible. No wonder our Master came up with such an easy excuse to drag you into our sect. Look, what I have here?”
Her Senior Sister then placed a letter and a painting in front of her.
“Senior Sister, don’t tell me you’ve accepted someone’s affections for me again, and came to deliver their love tokens to me. I do not want it.” Ye Su’er turned away without taking a look at it.
“My good sister, this letter has been sent by your brother Pei. Master asked me to deliver it to you. If you don’t want it, I’ll take it away then.” This time her Senior Sister wasn’t smiling, as she picked up the painting and letter.
Ye Su’er panicked and hurriedly took it back from her. She unrolled the painting first and placed it on the table. It was a huge painting. When she first glanced upon it, she realized that it was beautifully done.
There were several merchants selling their wares, donkeys were running around, people crowded along the streets. An old man was chasing a chicken within an alley as a storekeeper was holding onto a cane. The painting was extremely lifelike.
Her senior sister who stood beside her did not walk away. She peeped at the painting once before looking at Ye Su’er, her eyes full of envy, “Su,er now I know why you’ve always been thinking of your brother Pei. With such talent, even I would not give him up easily.”
Ye Su’er did not reply. Her mind was thinking about the images from that night, when she had fallen into the animal pit. Brother Pei had jumped into the pit as well. Just thinking about that night made it hard for her to control her emotions, as her feelings whirred within her heart. Tears welled up within her eyes once more, her heart unable to contain all the emotions. Without caring that her senior sister was around, she hurriedly opened the letter.
The person who wrote the letter was indeed Pei Zi Yun. He spoke of how he had missed her, and thought of her frequently. He then wrote, “The capital city was lavish and beautiful. However, since Su’er didn’t get to enjoy the brilliance of the capital with me, and I dare not enjoy it alone, I’ve drawn an image of it for you.”
Her senior sister then squealed out in surprise, “Eh, there’s a poem here as well.”
Ye Su’er’s faced turned a deep shade of red as she tried to hide her shyness, and yet felt like reading it as soon as she could. The title of the poem was titled –Fairy on the Magpie Bridge–.
“The shooting stars conveyed love-sickness, the long milky way crossed overhead, as the Cowherd and the Weaver girl secretly meet.”
(TN: The Cowherd and the Weaver girl is an ancient folklore about a pair of lovers. More can be found here : http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/835790-the-cowherd-and-the-weaver-girl/)
“The jade dew and golden breeze reunited in the autumn sky, outshining countless joys on Earth.”
“Tender love flowing like water, happy moments are as illusory as dreams. How unbearable it is, that they shall have to take the Magpie Bridge, separately homeward.”
“If the love between the two forever lasts, it shall withstand the distance apart, days and nights.”
After reading the poem, Ye Su’er covered her face and started weeping silently. Tears flowed freely into her palms, as if all the heartache of being apart had dissolved into tears. All the torture of waiting for a letter and some news, had been worth it.
Prefecture City, Monastery
A little girl within the room was cultivating as an old Daoist was drinking tea leisurely. Another Daoist hurriedly ran towards the room.
“Senior Uncle, Master has ordered that nobody should enter.” A little Daoist guarding the door said anxiously, but was pushed away as he opened the door to the room. Just as he was about to speak, he glimpsed upon the old Daoist glaring at him. He then felt nervous and didn’t say anything.
The little Daoist who had been guarding the door followed in and whispered, “Master, this disciple failed to restrain my Senior Uncle. I deserve to be punished.”
The little Daoist fell to his knees as he spoke. The old Daoist bore a look of gloominess and said in a hushed voice, “Ai Guo is cultivating now, let’s go outside to speak.”
The Daoist man and the little Daoist followed the old Daoist out to a room further away. The old Daoist then asked coldly, “Didn’t I instruct that when Ai Guo’s cultivating nobody should interrupt? Why have you barged in like this now?”
“Senior Brother, your strict words and tone might intimidate someone else, but not me. Look at this piece of news. Some time ago, our sect Elders had already pinned down Free Cloud Sect’s Patriarchs and rendered them useless, and yet you refused to kill Pei Zi Yun when you had the chance. Now he has just won their Grand Sword Competition. If he’s allowed to keep improving, he might undermine our sect in future. All this is your fault. Do you not think you should step down from your position of authority within the sect?” The Daoist said through gritted teeth.
(TN: The old Daoist and Ai Guo were mentioned in Chapter 93, where the Daoist attempted to kill Pei Zi Yun but held back as he had been discovered.)
“Hm, Zhou An, let me warn you one more time, the sect sent you to assist me, and not to threaten me. If there’s a next time, you shall bear the full brunt for violating sect laws. Then, even your Master or any other sect Elders shall not to be able to save you.” The old Daoist said coldly.
The Daoist then hesitated after hearing these heavy words. He then took the file and toss it to the old Daoist, “Hmph, what should we do about this Pei Zi Yun then?”
The old Daoist glared at Zhou An, “The sect sent us here for a purpose, what are our main priorities?”
“To develop the capabilities of our sect within Ying Prefecture, and not to go around killing people or to openly declare war with Free Cloud Sect. As of now, we should have a hand in the opening of the seas, and with Ji Bei Hou. However, even if a person were to perform outstandingly, how could he impact the entire plan?”
“Since Pei Zi Yun hasn’t died, do you think Ji Bei Hou could forget the hatred he has for Pei Zi Yun? Even if Ji Bei Hou did let it go and forgave him, do you think Pei Zi Yun could forget the intense hatred he has for Hou Mansion?”
“Hence, only with Pei Zi Yun alive can we steer Ji Bei Hou in our direction towards our cause and use him for our purpose.”
“So what happens when Pei Zi Yun dies?” The Daoist, Zhou An was still dissatisfied.
“If he dies under the hands of Hou Mansion, we should all rejoice and celebrate. This way, his death will cause Hou Mansion and Free Cloud Sect to be bitter enemies. Which other sect would support Free Cloud Sect then?”
“Besides, now that Ji Bei Hou is inclined towards our side since I’ve provided ideas for him with regards to sea trade. I’ve even convinced him to dismantle his troops and sent them back. Furthermore I advised him to retain his best troops for our sea mission. Now he has a small private army unbeknownst to anyone else. This caused the Imperial Court to favour him once more. The Emperor even had kind words for him. If you look at the whole picture, you will realize that the negative energy surrounding Ji Bei Hou has been reduced, and his fortunes have taken a positive turn. This is a good reason to celebrate.”
(TN: This Daoist man conspired with Ji Bei Hou and Shen Zhi in Chapter 86 to use sea trade to their benefits.)
“Additionally, our sect has a small hand in the sea trade, and will reap plenty of benefits from this. This will add toward our fortunes as well.”
“This is an open plot, and completely legal. Zhou An, now do you understand why the sect has placed me in charge, and got you to only observe and assist?” The old Daoist laughed as he spoke.
Hearing the old Daoist laugh, Zhou An retreated several steps back. When it came to slyness and plotting, he was no match for the old Daoist. When it came to Dao arts, he too could not match up to the Daoist. Zhou An then turned around to leave when the old Daoist continued speaking, “Ji Ai Guo’s innate capabilities surpass most normal people, and even far surpassed my expectations. I’ve already prepared a great deal of energy to assist her in her cultivation, these days we would need to cultivate in peace and quiet.”
“What has this got anything to do with me?” Zhou An had already taken a few steps, on his way out when he turned around and replied fiercely.
“If you should ever barge into Ji Ai Guo’s room without giving any warning, I will have to kill you.” The old Daoist said plainly, “The main plan revolves around me. Even if I were to kill you, how much waves will that cause? What could Elder Zheng possible say to speak out against me?”
“You!” Zhou An turned a deep shade of red when he heard these threats. When he looked at the expression of the old Daoist, his hair stood up and his blood turned cold. Gritting his teeth, he turned around to leave.
A small voice came from behind. Ji Ai Guo had finished her cultivation session and came out.
The old Daoist immediately changed his tone and expression. With a kind and warm face he turned to her, “Ai Guo, did we startle you?”
“No, you didn’t.” Ai Guo shook her head before continuing, “Does Senior Uncle Zhou not like me? The last time he looked at me, his face seemed strange.”
“It’s nothing. He’s just jealous of you. Do you know how impressive your innate talents are?” The old Daoist gently patted her head, “In the span of a few months, you’ve managed to cultivate up to the fourth level.”
“The ten steps of cultivation are almost similar across all Daoist sects. The first two steps emphasizes on physical health. Since you’re rather healthy, apart from having been through hardships, you were able to complete it very quickly. That’s quite normal.”
“The third and fourth steps begins the generation of Qi, which is the same as inner strength when it comes to martial arts. In a few short months, you managed what others would do in years. Based on your current progress, the fifth and sixth steps on inner strength, the seventh and eighth steps on extraordinary strength, and the ninth and tenth steps on combining strength and gentleness would not be a problem for you. You should be able to complete it within a year or two. Only the opening of heaven’s gates might be a little tough.”
“With such innate talents, others would certainly be jealous of you, and would always find an excuse to interrupt you, and even cause you to fail.”
“But do not worry, I will protect you. Whoever dares to interrupt you or intentionally cause you to fail, I will kill him.” The old Daoist said as he looked at her, “In future, Master will need you to look after me when I’m old, and even rely on you for a promotion!”
“Eh!” Ji Ai Guo nodded her head enthusiastically before asking, “When I’m older, can I kill that bad person?”
“That bad person has a very strong innate talent as well, and it’s not going to be easy. But I believe one day you will be able to do it.” The Daoist broke into a smile.