A Step into the Past Chapter 76

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Book 7 Chap 9 – Despicable Fiend

Xiang Shaolong arrived at Zhao Ya’s main hall, which he first came when newly arrived. Those decorations and trinkets were still placed on the shelves like before, but his state of mind has changed totally.

Why didn’t she invite him to that quiet and elegant little building at the garden, allowing Li Yuan that favor but treating him so shabbily. If that’s the case she might as well not ask him to come so early.

Character aside, Li Yuan is indeed the dream man in a woman’s bedchamber and even Ji Yanran was once impressed by his poetic skills. A pity he is of such character.

Just as he was deep in thought, Lady Ya arrived. Her ladies-in-waiting took their leave after paying their respects.

Xiang Shaolong was secretly wondering why Xiaozhao and the rest of the maids were missing. Lady Ya came to sit down next to him and said, “Mister Dong is so nice to agree to come earlier, your presence brings glamour to my humble abode.”

Xiang Shaolong looked towards her. This mature beauty is glowing, a look of flirtatiousness between her eyes, her body soft and dainty and extremely alluring.

The more beautiful and enchanting she is, the angrier he felt, guessing that she must have enjoyed Li Yuan’s care, that’s why she has returned to her flirtatious behavior.

He said roughly, “Lady’s residence is even better than the residences of those Princes and Marquis, so how can I bring more glamour.”

Zhao Ya’s dainty brows frowned on hearing this. How can there be anyone who takes such polite talk to be the truth and although she felt a little displeased she did not flare up so easily like she did in the past. Of course this is because right now her heart is still filled with Li Yuan’s loving so she did not take it to heart as she replied, “How is the progress of your farm at the Hidden Army Valley?”

Xiang Shaolong was taken aback. An astute person like him, on seeing Zhao ya’s mannerisms, already knows that Li Yuan has successfully obtained her heart, to the point that she has temporarily forgotten about ‘Xiang Shaolong’. That’s why she has regained her lost sophistication.

This should be something worth being happy about, at least Zhao Ya won’t be hara.s.sing him now that her heart is with someone else. However, he still feels very unpleasant, and wants to hurt her and see her upset.

He suppressed this urge and asked with a smile, “Let’s not talk about business today. Why does Lady want me to come earlier?” This time it was Zhao Ya’s turn to become speechless.

Of course she’s doing this because she has a slight interest in this horse fanatic, but right now Li Yuan has suddenly barged into the picture and taken her heart, at least for now, so she no longer has the earlier feelings of l.u.s.t.

She sent someone to pick up Xiang Shaolong earlier because deep in her heart she thirsts to be with him. This Dong Kuang has an unusual aura of being rough and at the same time filled with philosophical thoughts, overbearing yet gentle and when combined, gave her a refreshing yet exciting feel. When with him, she never knows what he will say next or if he will do anything surprising. And his att.i.tude towards her blows hot and cold, as if he doesn’t care about her but yet as if he is very interested in her. In short, with him around, she has no time to think of anything else.

This is a feeling that Li Yuan is unable to give her.

While she was enjoying herself with Li Yuan, she can’t help but pretend that he is Xiang Shaolong but with this unrefined man who bears a little resemblance to Xiang Shaolong, can make her forget everything instead.

What would it be like to be intimate with him?

Once she thought of this, she shocked even herself and secretly reprimanded herself. Why is it that after seeing him, her original strong memory of Li Yuan immediately faded?

Xiang Shaolong saw her hesitant look and his fury soared and he stood up immediately. Zhao Ya was startled and lifted her head to look at him quizzically.

Xiang Shaolong said in a serious tone, “Has Lady fallen for that fellow Li Yuan, that’s why you’ve become so cold towards me?”

Zhao ya’s delicate body trembled as she exclaimed, “Ah! No!” By now she cannot guess at all how the other person managed to say out what is in her heart so accurately.

Xiang Shaolong smiled, “That’s all right, but if what Li Yuan stole was my precious horse, then I will never let him off.” He stretched lazily and with a laugh, said, “I better take a walk around the streets, I’ll come back later to join in the feast so that we need not sit in awkward silence wondering what we should talk about.”

Zhao Ya was totally lost as she stood up and pouted, “Mister Dong! Can’t you show me some consideration? Am I incomparable to a horse in your mind?” Once she said that, she knows she has made a freudian slip because won’t that mean that she is regarding herself as his horse? Xiang Shaolong looked at her nonchalantly but was secretly gloating. He turned around and started walking towards the door and said offhandedly, “That fellow kept pitting himself against me. Fine! Then let me do something and s.n.a.t.c.h Ji Yanran over, that will give him a taste of having his beloved taken by others.”

Zhao Ya wanted to run after him but stopped when she heard the 3 words Ji Yanran.

But she dare not laugh at him, because his words revealed a great confidence, making one feel that once he says something, he’ll definitely accomplish it.

By the time Xiang Shaolong disappeared outside the door, she was still thinking about the 4 words ‘beloved taken by others.

Hai! The fresh and interesting terms he used can be comparable to Xiang Shaolong. Suddenly, she knows why Li Yuan still cannot totally replace Xiang Shaolong.

Once she thought of this, her mood dimmed and she refuses to think further.

Walking alone at the streets of Handan, Xiang Shaolong thought of the wars that will occur after Xiaopan ascend the throne and can’t help but feel melancholy.

This vast land, after hundreds of years of war has finally come to a point in history that they must rejoin after being separated for so long and him as an ‘outsider’ had a hand in this change. If he did not come here, does it mean all these would not have happened? No matter how intelligent he is compared to others, this is one question that can give him a headache just thinking about it.

“Brother Dong!” He heard the call and was first at a loss for he momentarily forgot that he is supposed to be Dong Kuang. He turned around after recollecting his thoughts.

It turned out to be the Marquis of Pingshan, Han Chuang with 7 to 8 personal guards whom one can tell at a glance that they are highly skilled. All of them looked energetic and were stoutly built. Although they were not as tall as Xiang Shaolong, they still looked imposing.

Xiang Shaolong exclaimed in surprise, “I thought I was the only one who loves a stroll, I did not expect Marquis of Pingshan to enjoy this too.”

Han Chuang’s expression was serious and he did not reply immediately. Only when he came up next to him did he grab his arm warmly and said as they walked along, “Come! My guesthouse is just around the corner, we’ll speak at my place.”

Xiang Shaolong was surprised by the sudden warmth for he did not expect his att.i.tude to suddenly turn 180 degrees from his original frosty behavior.

He can’t help but follow him back to the guesthouse and even after he sat down in the hall, the 10 over swordsmen still stood around them and did not leave, making the atmosphere extremely serious. It seems like secret society bosses out for negotiation.

Han Chuang dispensed with the usual polite talk or serving drinks and said solemnly, “D.amn that Li Yuan, not giving both of us any face at all. He publicly shaved off my eyebrow, how extremely hateful.”

Xiang Shaolong suddenly understood. So he has been sending people to keep an eye on Zhao Ya and saw that Li Yuan has gone to look for her and stayed for a length of time which is sufficient for them to do a lot of things before leaving. He was therefore livid and is now regarding him, the other love rival, to be on his side as well. However, it can be said that Han Chuang felt that regardless of looks, status or power, he surpa.s.ses Xiang Shaolong so he does not regard him as a strong foe but as for Li Yuan, it’s another matter.

From this he can see that Han Chuang is serious about Zhao Ya, to the extent that he’ll like to bring her back to Han so that he can enjoy her freely at home but his dream is not shattered by Li Yuan.

He could not find anything to say in response in such short notice. Han Chuang’s eyes gleamed fiercely as he said, “Why is it that Brother Dong slipped out so quickly?”

Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that he must be on his way to look for Zhao Ya to ask for an explanation when he saw him walking out, therefore he changed his mind and went after him to drag him home.

He gave a cold snort and said, “What I cannot stand the most is being treated coldly and rudely. If I don’t leave, what else can I do there, da.mn his grandmother!”

Han Chuang shared the same thoughts and snorted, “I, the Marquis of Pingshan, has seen many people in my life, bit I’ve never seen such a conceited fellow. Who does he think he is? It’s all because of his sister’s connection. I really don’t understand why Lord Chunshen thinks so highly of him. If Li Yanyan can’t give birth to a son, let’s see how smug he can be.”

Until now Xiang Shaolong has no idea why he was pulled here. A person like him with such a high status, there’s really no need for him to find someone like him just to pour out his complaints.

Han Chuang’s expression looks clouded as he said angrily, “In order not to offend the Chus and affect the grand plan for cooperation, I am already controlling myself not to fight with him over Learned Lady Ji, but he won’t even let off Zhao Ya. No wonder ever since he came, that s.lut Zhao Ya started ignoring me.”

Only now did Xiang Shaolong understand how deeply Han Chuang is mesmerized by Zhao Ya so he sighed, “There are many beauties in the world, why don’t Marquis just ignore her. That’s why I prefer rearing horses. If you treat a horse well, they will treat you well without any other thoughts, unlike women and conniving people who are hard to keep.”

Han Chuang was silent for a moment before he actually laughed and slapped his shoulder, saying, “It’s really interested talking to you, but I must get back at him. Li Yuan was such a brag, I’d like to see how formidable his sword skills are.”

Xiang Shaolong was startled and exclaimed, “Marquis, you’re not thinking of personally dueling tomorrow?”

The corners of Han Chuang’s lips curved up into a sinister smile, his eyes turning icy as he lowered his voice and said, “Why would I do such a silly thing. I’ve already made preparations, even if Li Yuan is taught a lesson, he won’t be able to know that I was behind it.”

Xiang Shaolong knows that people like him who use underhand methods will never reveal all the details, and seeing that he is willing to tell what his plans are, it’s obvious that he’s already regarding him as one of them. He pretended to pander to him and said, “People who offend you are really fools.”

Han Chuang suddenly leaned back against the chair and said feebly, “We have long given up on the Chus. All along, the three of us have been fighting hard against Qin and they are always tripping us up from the back. Who can guarantee that Li Yuan won’t inform the Qins of our intention to cooperate and by that time if the Qins decide to strike first, the first to be attacked will be my country. Hai! I really do not understand why the King of Zhao would pander to him so much?”

He looked at him and asked, “Does Brother Dong know why King Xiaocheng has suddenly become so cold towards you and did not even invite you to the feast last night?”

Xiang Shaolong pretended to look angry and nodded his head, “Isn’t it all because of that fellow Li Yuan!”

Han Chuang actually slapped his back like they’re old friends and said, “If this place is not for you, there will always be other places who will welcome you. Our doors will always be opened to welcome Mister Dong. If you want to deal with Li Yuan, I can be your back-up.”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly laughing, for this is his aim in trying to pull him to his side, which is to make use of him to deal with Li Yuan. He pretended to be grateful and said, “I will remember Marquis’s words.”

Han Chuang sulked, “I think Yanran will ultimately fall into his hands. If we can s.n.a.t.c.h this beauty from his hands, it will make him feel even worse than killing him.”

Xiang Shaolong sighed, “Learned Lady Ji is not that easy to win, I don’t think that Li Yuan will succeed.”

Han Chuang smiled sinisterly, “If you want to make a woman yield, there are a lot of ways. For example letting her try a little aphrodisiac, that will make sure she throws herself at you. It’s definitely not easy to find a chance to be along with Ji Yanran but she seems to be impressed with Brother Dong’s skills with rearing horses, so maybe… heh! Do you understand my meaning!”

Xiang Shaologn was secretly livid, thinking that he is really despicable for this would not only harm Ji Yanran but also himself. Of course! That is only if he is the real Dong Kuang.

A learned lady like Ji Yanran who has the respect and admiration of everyone in the world, if anyone were to do such a beastly thing to her, then won’t he end up being the enemy of everyone? It’ll be a surprise if Han Chuang is willing to take him in at that time.

Just looking at the plan of making use of him to kill others, he can see how evil hearted this Han Chuang is.

Now he’s beginning to understand why the 6 states will ultimately be destroyed by Qin. With a person like Han Chuang in an important official position, representing his country to come to Handan to have the secret discussion to deal with Qin, instead of tending to business, he is spending his efforts on his jealousy.

For now he has seen that the 4 states Han, Wei, Zhao and Chu are all filled with manipulative people and cannot be used by great men like Li Mu, Lian Po and Lord Xinling. He wonders how the situation is like in Yan and Qi.

Han Chuang gave a hand signal and someone immediately sent in a small bottle. Han Chuang stuffed it into Xiang Shaolong’s hands and said with the most sincere expression, “I am counting on Mister to help me get my back at him. Women are very strange, no matter how fiercely they protect their chast.i.ty, but once you get her body, most will become very meek towards you. Ji Yanran is a woman so she is no exception either! Heh! I’m really envious of Brother Dong!”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly cursing but he asked about the instructions to use the thing and stuffed the small bottle into his clothes and said, “I still have to see what the situation is like. Hai! I’m really not that interested in women. How can women be compared to horses?”

Han Chuang persuaded him again and after saying a lot of good words, went with him to Lady Ya’s residence for the feast.

Xiang Shaolong waited for Han Chuang to enter the residence first. He strolled outside for a while and strutted into the residence slightly later.

The square outside the main building was filled with carriages. After Zhao Da brought him into the residence, he said quietly, “After you left just now, Lady sat there looking very miserable for a long time. She even refused to see Guo Kai when he came. Master Dong is indeed good.”

Xiang Shaolong knows that he still has not given up hope that he will reconcile with Zhao Ya but how can spilt milk be recollected.

The feast is being held at an elegant looking square room in the side of the main building. The layout is the same as what the Guo family used the other night, a huge round table placed at the center of the hall with more than 10 seats around it.

All those who attended the feast at the Guo family were here, including that pretty Miss Guo.

Xiang Shaolong thought that after that night, Guo Xiu’er would refuse to see Li Yuan but now it seems that she’s behaving as if nothing is wrong.

Besides these people, there are 4 more persons.

The first is of course Ji Yanran, as well as Zhao Zhi and Guo Kai and a 40 odd year old man who was dressed splendidly with an imposing aura. However his eyes kept flitting around, giving one the feeling that he is someone who likes to plot.

It was not yet time to start the feast so the 8 folding doors at the side of the hall were all opened and they could all see the huge garden outside filled with flowers and trees, with a dozen odd lanterns hanging from the branches, illuminating the whole garden into a colorful array, giving it a dreamy feel.

Xiang Shaolong was the last guest to arrive and most of the people are already in the garden admiring the lanterns leaving only Zhao Mu, Guo Zhong, Le Cheng, Zhao Ba and that anonymous man talking in the hall.

Zhao Mu saw Xiang Shaolong and chortled, “Why is Mister Dong late, I must punish you later and make you drink up 3 cups of wine. Come! Meet Mister Ji Zhong.”

Xiang Shaolong was secretly startled, so this is the special envoy representing Lord Dongzhou to unify the 6 states to deal with Qin, and he hurriedly rushed over.

Ji Zhong places a lot of importance on protocol so Xiang Shaolong had to pay his respects according to court customs and after some polite words, Ji Zhong may seem courteous and respectful but it was obvious that he pays no heed at all to someone who rears horses. He turned back to the topic they were discussing earlier, talking about how useless King Zhuangxiang of Qin is to place such importance on Lu Buwei, and about how Qin will definitely suffer from internal strife.

Xiang Shaolong is not in the mood to listen to him at all and after excusing himself, he walked towards the garden. He had just stepped into the garden when 3 pairs of pretty eyes flitted towards him.

Ji Yanran’s pretty eyes can’t help but light up on seeing him; Zhao Ya turned her head away after staring at him angrily, obviously still upset; Zhao Zhi has been waiting for his appearance all along and her pretty face beamed as she said happily, “Mister Dong come quickly, we were just discussing a very interesting question!”

Xiang Shaolong looked over and saw that everyone was gathered around the stone bridge at the center of the garden, a clear stream flowing windingly below it and towards a lotus pond a slight distance away where a strange rock was placed right in the middle and the whole layout looked extremely interesting. From this one can see that besides being a s.lut, Zhao Ya is also a woman that has aspirations.

Ji Yanran was leaning over the bridge in a relaxed manner while Li Yuan who was next to her was pointing at the various fishes swimming beneath, trying to get into her good books.

Guo Xiu’er and Zhao Zhi were the most familiar, sitting together on a large, smooth rock a short distance away and they looked like they were admiring this pretty garden filled with lanterns. The former is eyeing him right now.

Han Chuang and Guo Kai were accompanying Zhao Ya and standing on the middle of the bridge, behind Ji Yanran and Li Yuan.

Xiang Shaolong walked towards the stone bridge and first greeted Guo xiu’er and Zhao Zhi. Zhao Zhi forced herself to return the greeting while Guo Xiu’er gave him an additional sweet smile.

Although Xiang Shaolong’s heart was stirred, he knows that he must never touch this girl for after all the Wu family and the Guo family are arch enemies.

When he stepped up to the stone bridge, Ji Yanran ignored Li Yuan and turned around, saying with a smile, “Mister Dong! We were just discussing about the meaning of life and death, I wonder what your thoughts on this are?”

Xiang Shaolong knows that this pretty lady loves a discussion, from ruling a country to things like this, whether life has any meaning. And this is an era where everyone is fighting for a chance to speak and where ideologies are expanding like an explosion.

The mood for such idle discussions are mostly found in the n.o.ble and scholarly circles, just like Confucius and his peers not too long ago who loved to talk about life and philosophy all day long. A pity that he’s not too knowledgeable in this area so although he knows that Ji Yanran is giving him a chance to show off so that he can smoothly start his pursuit of her, there is nothing he could do. He replied with a wry smile, “I’m just an unrefined man, how would I understand such profound ideologies?”

Ji Yanran thought that he was pretending to be modest before expounding his ideas but before she had a chance to reply, Li Yuan interrupted, “A pity that Mister Zou is not here, otherwise he will certainly give a very remarkable view. Heh! Why don’t we seek Mister Dong’s advice on rearing horses!”

Anyone with a brain would know that he was putting Xiang Shaolong down, implying that besides horses, he knows nothing else. And in this era, rearing horses is considered a lowly occupation so he was deliberately jabbing at Xiang Shaolong’s status.

Xiang Shaolong was secretly furious but he was even more worried that he’ll press on to ask questions about horses. Although he had crammed some knowledge in this area, his expertise is still very limited. He pretended to be nonchalant and said, “I’m sure you’ve come out with a conclusion after discussing for so long, why not enlighten me on this.”

Guo Kai, the conniving Confucian scholar said, “I still believe in Confucius’s words ‘if you cannot serve men, how can you serve spirits’, so I might as well not think about anything beyond life and death.”

Zhao Ya was apparently in high spirits as she laughed, “Scholar Guo is really wily, only knowing how to avoid and refusing to face this most important lesson in life.”

Li Yuan said proudly, “Whatever we do, there must be a goal so why do we only choose to ignore the question of our existence. Since heaven has given us precious life, we should burn brightly and warmly just like the colorful lanterns hanging high on the trees, only then will our lives not be lived in vain.”

Xiang Shaolong has to admit that there is some truth and imagination behind this person’s words. He looked at the ladies around, Zhao Ya’s eyes revealed a look of intoxication, Ji Yanran was concentrating very hard on his words too while Zhao Zhi and Guo Xiu’er paused in their private talk to listen intently.

Xiang Shaolong secretly thought that this doesn’t look well so after searching through his mind, he said, “What Brother Li said is just an att.i.tude towards life, but it’s not a conclusion about the meaning of life and death.” Guo Kai and Han Chuang both revealed a look of surprise for they did not expect this unrefined man’s mind and observation skills would be so intricate.

Li Yuan chortled and said, “Well said Mister Dong, but just like what Zhuang Zi said, ‘when man take what is small and try to fill up what is great, they will end up confused and will not achieve their end’. As long as we’re being restricted within life and death, we can never find the answer about life and death, just like the snake in summer will not know what is the snow and ice of winter. So the only thing we can do is to have an att.i.tude to achieve something so that we will not waste our short lives.’ He spoke flowingly, melodiously and with such feelings that he really has the charisma of a debater that will stun others into admiration. No wonder even Ji Yanran is looking at him differently. For the moment Xiang Shaolong was speechless.

Li Yuan saw his expression and was secretly laughing. There’s no way he will let him off so he pretended to be humble and sought his opinion, “And what is Mister Dong’s att.i.tude towards life?”

Of course Xiang Shaolong can randomly find some words to say but if he wants make it sound even more impressively than this person, there’s no way he could even if he wanted to.

Han Chuang is now on the same side as him so he helped ease the situation by saying, “Tonight’s discussion is really unique and interesting, why don’t we pause for now and continue during the feast!” Zhao Ya said unhappily, “It was such an exciting discussion yet you’re in such a hurry to start the feast. Zhao Ya still wants to hear more of Mister Li’s excellent theories!”

Ji Yanran said gently, “We haven’t given Mister Dong the chance to speak?”

Looking at Ji Yanran’s expectant eyes, he remembered his mission to pursue her publicly so how can he make himself look so useless? Just as he was lamenting, he suddenly had an idea and remembered that he once heard of a story in his era, and maybe he can use it to reflect the situation now. He walked to the bridge and came next to Ji Yanran. He first looked deeply into her eyes before revealing his white and perfect teeth to Zhao Ya in a slight smile before he turned around and placed both his hands on the side of the bridge, lifting his head to look at the night sky. The moon up in the sky was pure and bright, round and so far away.

Everyone knows that he has something to say but they have no idea what kind of insight he could give that can be better than Li Yuan’s so they all breathed steadily and quietly, getting ready to concentrate on his words.

The corners of Li Yuan’s mouth curved up into a slight sn.i.g.g.e.ring smile.

Ji Yanran closed her beautiful eyes, she is confident that Xiang Shaolong will certainly say something philosophical that will make one contemplate over. To her, nothing is more interesting than contemplating over life’s questions and this is also the reason why she became good friends with Zou Yan. She fell in love with Xiang Shaolong because his words are refreshing and exceptional, different from the others.

Xiang Shaolong’s hoa.r.s.e voice said slowly, “A tourist was walking in the desert, when suddenly a pack of hungry wolves appeared behind him, running after him so that they could feast on him.”

Everyone was alarmed but at the same time they felt a great interest for they did not expect him to suddenly tell a story. Just like how Zhuang Zi likes to use fables to portray his thoughts.

Xiang Shaolong’s voice reverberated through the quiet night, giving it an inexplicable feeling of mystery and power, especially when the topic is about the unfathomable question of life and death.

He continued in a very slow tempo, “He was startled and started running madly, fighting on for his life.”

Guo Xiu’er exclaimed ‘Ah’ and said, “How can he run faster than hungry wolves in the desert, he will certainly die!”

The rest of them smiled on hearing that but did not say anything because they all want to continue listening, even Li Yuan was no exception. But when he saw how pretty Ji Yanran looked with her eyes closed, looking so obedient and concentrated, he can’t help but feel jealousy burn in him.

Xiang Shaolong smiled and said, “No need to panic! Just as the hungry wolves were about to catch up with him, he saw a well in front which he has no idea how deep it could be and jumped in without a thought.”

Zhao Ya heaved a sigh of relief and asked, “The well is certainly filled with water, right?”

Xiang Shaolong looked at the little stream below him and shook his head, “Not only is it dry, there’s also a lot of poisonous snakes and on seeing that there’s food being delivered right to their door, they all raised their heads and hissed, waiting in antic.i.p.ation.”

This time it was Ji Yanran’s turn to exclaim ‘ah!’ as she opened her pretty eyes and turned her dainty body around to look at him and ask, “What should he do? Why don’t he turn back and fight with the hungry wolves for poisonous snakes are more frightening than wolves.” Han Chuang laughed, “Women are all afraid of snakes and Miss Ji is no exception.”

Xiang Shaolong looked at Ji Yanran and said gently, “In his panic, he started grabbing around for something that might save his life and unexpectedly, heaven is fulfilling his wish and he grabbed a small tree that was growing horizontally between the well so he was suspended in midair.” Everyone remained quiet for they knew there will be more to the story.

Zhao Ya’s eyes lit up for in this instance, her heart only sees this man who is even more special and unfathomable than Li Yuan.

Xianf Shaolong continued, “Therefore the hungry wolves are above and the poisonous snakes are below. Although that person is in a dire situation where he can neither advance nor retreat but at the moment at least, he is safe.”

Everyone started to have some understanding. What Xiang Shaolong said is the reflection of life for when between life and death, who would not be in the situation whereby he cannot advance or retreat?

He continued, “Just as he was heaving a sigh of relief, he heard a strange noise. He turned towards where the noise was coming from in fear and was shocked to see a large number of rats chewing on the roots of the tree with their sharp teeth. This life saving tree has not much time left.” Guo Xiu’er and Zhao Zhi both cried out at the same time.

Xiang Shaolong looked deeply into Ji Yanran’s eyes, as if he’s telling this story only to her, “Just at this instant between life and death, he saw in front of his eyes on a leaf, a drop of honey. Therefore he forgot about the hungry wolves above, the poisonous snakes below and the small tree that was almost gnawed in half by the rats but closed his eyes and extended his tongue, totally concentrated on tasting that drop of honey.”

The bridge was so still that there was no noise at all except for the faint rush of the stream flowing past.

Xiang Shaolong stretched lazily and said, “And to me, that drop of honey is the meaning to life!”

No one spoke for even people like Guo Kai and Han Chuang who only knows how to hanker after wealth and fame, had their worries stirred up and they could relate with him.

Li Yuan saw that everyone was touched by Xiang Shaolong’s extremely deep thoughts on this matter and was feeling upset so he broke the silence and asked, “Where did this fable come from?”

Xiang Shaolong smiled and said, “The horses told me!” He then chortled and said, “I’m hungry!”