Although the donkey was slow, but the path was quiet. After a while, it passed through the woods and turned on the hillside. The Han River has disappeared behind the treetops. The hill lay a blanket of rice field of fresh green. There were bamboo forests by the hillsides. And a stone house in the depth of it. Liu Yicun stopped the carriage in front of the stone house, said: “I want to visit a friend. He is very hospitable, you may wish to come together.”
Teng Kuanrou smiled and said: “Uncle Liu said that, it is better to respect.” At this moment, Qianqian suddenly woke up and found herselves covered by a pile of hay, startled and screamed: “Where am I? Her hair was all over smelly hay with chicken feathers. She looked so silly. Teng Kuanrou and Liu Yicun stood in front of her, just laughed cheerfully.
The owner of the stone house was really hospitable. After receiving Liuyicun, served him and his friends hearty with fishes, fruits and all the famous native products. Liu Yicun entered the hall, pulled a chair and sat down like his own house. Qianqian looked at him with nag: “You stole someone’s treasure, what is it actually? Show me!” Liu Yicun randomly picked a plum, put in his mouth, pointed at the owner of the stone house, bite the plum, then said: “Ask him!”
The owner of the stone house held a silver plate in his hand. The plate was covered with purple goose down cloth. He walked slowly, put the plate on table prudently, then said to Liu Yicun, “You listen carefully!” He lifted the cloth with both hands. Qianqian and Teng Kuanrou immediately surrounded the table to see what a treasure is, but see a small glass cup on the silver plate, about the size of a palm, round mouth, footed, with rings on the ears, colorful , crystal clear. Qianqian stunned, but asked: “A cup? Those people were chasing after a cup!” Teng Kuanruo replied: “They said it is a holy thing, of course, it is not just a cup.”
“You don’t have to guess, listen to him.” Liu Yicun said, then everyone looked at the owner of the stone house. His eyebrows were lifted and his eyes were full of enthusiasm: “This was a handed down of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty. Daqin tribute, colorful glaze was made of seven different natural gemstones mixed with nitrate. The excellence of the craftmanship, within the territory of the Great Song Dynasty, can not be found today. However, after all, it was just a cup. Is it a treasure, it’s up to you.”
Liu Yicun crossed his legs and asked, “Did it use for drinking tea or wine?”
The owner of the stone house replied without thinking: “It’s not for drinking tea or drinking wine. It’s for bloody alliance.”
Qianqian was full of curiosity, asked eagerly: “How was it used?”
The owner of the stone house replied: “It was used to put the blood of animal on lips to show the oath.”
Qianqian look at this colorful, exquisite glass cup, especially the red in it, even if it was empty, it seems to be full of blood, said: “No wonder those women in black have to take it back. ”
Liu Yicun said: “I don’t know if it is true or not.”
Even though he knows that this friend has always right about this kind of things, he still deliberately said that. The owner of the stone house doesn’t mind. He simply said, “I have seen the world’s treasures. I have never read it wrong. It is true or not. All up to you.”
Liu Yicun did not answer. The owner of the stone house turned to look at Teng Kuanrou, said pleasurely: “This year of the dragon boat festival, the competition of calligraghy in Yueyang Privilion, I heard that you will be represented your father to compete, is it right?
Teng Kuanrou was surprised to hear that, bowed humblely, said: I the junior, have been away from home for a long time, I have not seen my father yet.”
The owner of the stone house smiled but did not asked anymore. He is very knowledgeable, famous around the Baling. But he has never left Baling. He knows all the treasure in the world, but he has never collected one. He owns a few acres of rice fields, a stone house. He drinks tea with rough pottery, that is his life. His surname is Xu, called Weiwu, means only me. So he said he is a contented person just by himsself. Liu Yicun couldn’t understand. He couldn’t live a life like that.
Teng Kuanrou looked around this stone house only made by wood and stone. It is simple, solitary, self-contented. He looked at it with admiration.
Liu Yicun gave the donkey carriage to Teng Kuanrou and Qianqian. They still have a day before home. On the way, It started raining again. Children swam by the pond naked in the rain. The path was muddy and slippy. Although there have straw rain cloak and bamboo hat, they still get soggy. Qianqian was leaning on Teng Kuanrou’s shoulder while the donkey was climbing up a hill. After the hill, the scenary suddenly opened up. The boundless rice sea like jade field. At the end of it, the water and the sky were in one color. The waves were rough, the sails were high, and the haze was gradually dissipated. After the rain, the sun broke through the clouds, shone on the great valley . Qianqian sat up, faced to the sun with yearning eyes. Teng Kuanrou just sedately said. “This is Dongting Lake.”
On the bank of Dongting Lake, the sun has sunk. Teng Kuanrou stopped the carriage infront of a building by the lakeside. The building was in blue bricks, small cornices and lattice windows. It was very elegant. Teng Kuanrou led Qianqian into the house like a master. The lights were lit, that the calligraphy and paintings on the walls of the hall were seen. There were also books under the inscribed board written Lepengzhai, means happy to have a friend comes. There was also a small round table with no decoration, and a mahogany shelf next to it. The shelf was full of books. Teng Kuanrou saw Qianqian looking at the board, smiled and said: “Is there a friend who comes from afar? Isn’t it a pleasure?” Qianqian grew up in the grassy huts, never had such an enjoyment, said: ” Is this your home?”
Teng Kuanrou bowed before he said: “No, this was the studyroom of my grandfather.”
Qianqian gently sighed, thinking that he would say a little more about his family, but he changed the topic, said: “You stay here for a while, there is a bedroom in it. Everything you need is there. You take a good rest. I will come back to you in a few days.”
Qianqian were sitting. By listening to what he said, she stood up right away, thought: How can you leave me like this? But it has never been said.
Seeing Qianqian of such tensions, Teng Kuanrou looked a little happy, a little helpless, picked up her hand, said gently: “Are you afraid that I will not be coming back?” Qianqian was standing still, gazing at him a moment, then swung away his hand: “Let’s go! Mr.Teng, Even you don’t come back, I will still be happy. Isn’t it called Le Peng?” Having listened to Qianqian’s answer. Teng Kuanrou laughed joyfully. Accompanied with a new moon, he rode alone to return.
In the morning, the rain has stopped. The blue waters of the Dongting Lake, the seagulls, and the sails, right infront the windows like paintings.
Qianqian was still sleeping. A fragrant scent, blew into her face. She turned over and opened her eyes, saw a blur figure moving in front of her. She remembered that she was in Dongting, then sat up and asked, “Who are you?”
The person turned around immediately, and was a young woman. She was elegent but dressed in a simple way. She smiled, said amiablely. “Qianqian the girl, you woke up. My name is Qihua. My young master told me to come to serve you.”
Qianqian then understood. Young master must be Teng Kuanrou! Thought of him, she smiled sweetly. When she saw a basket of flowers on the table, she asked, “Is the fragrance in the room released from the flowers of this basket?”
Qihua took the basket to Qianqian, said: “Yes, these are the herbs of Dongting Lake. You see, this is lotus, camphor, du heng, that is Xinyi, citron, zibei, laurel, magnolia.”
Qianqian picked up the herbs, watched and sniffed, said: “Surely, they are smelling so good.”
Qihua said: “Yes! These herbs represent gentlemen, just like our young master.” Listening to her praise of Teng Kuanrou, Qianqian can’t help but smirked: “Your young master is really that good?”
Qihua said with wide opened eyes: “Of course, young master is not only an educated scholar, he has helped many people.”she said, while she was busily working, cleaning the room, carrying water to Qianqian for her to wash her face, she continued: “Teng was a bureaucrat family, but they never bully civilians. They are very nice even to the lower classed people. Everybody knows that in Dongting.”
Qianqian took a hot towel from her, nodded and smiled only, thought: What she said is right. Most of the officers are bullying the civillians. There are not so many like Teng prefect who loved his people like his children. And Teng brother aslo never reluctant to help the weak, the need. Only me that he has saved twice. And he is also literate and graceful, he is really such a gentleman…. she felt that he is so perfect. She couldn’t help but just simpering.
“Do you like our young master?” Suddenly was asked, Qianqian blushed infront of Qihua, no way to hide but smirked, said: “What do you say nonsensely?”Qihua laughted, stopped asking, said politely, “Qianqian the girl, please come and eat breakfast then take a bath and change clothes! I have to go now.” After saying this, she went down to the hall, checked again everything is ready for her, then left with satisfaction.
After eating and bathing, Qianqian felt bored. Looking at Dongting Lake in spring through the windows. She decided to take a stroll along the lake. Young greenish willows are swaying in the wind. The waves on the lake are magnificently boundless. She unconsciously walked to the pier, where many boatmen constantly waved to the tourists. There are not too many tourists in the early morning. Qianqian noticed that there is an island in the heart of the lake. There must be where the boats go. So she hired a boat to go to the island. On the middle way, a sudden gusty wind blew, the waves hit the bumps, almost turned it over. Qianqian was scared. She went to the stern, and another wave hit. The boatman yelled immediately: “Not good! crashed the boat!” Qianqian saw really her boat has just ran into another boat. It was’t bad enough, until she saw four people on that boat. She was really frightened. Qianqian hatefully said: “What a narrow road!”
At that time, the four people also saw her. The white-faced man first spoke: “Well! It is our destiny to meet again.” Then, the two boats tilted to one side. The boats was soaked with water. Everybody was panic. Qianqian leaped to the top of the boat, but high waves only she can see. She didn’t know where to escape. But the worse was that Duan hunling attacked her at this moment. He Jumped to the top of the boat, rushed in front and slammed to Qianqian. Qianqian couldn’t even stand on the roof. She barely returned him a palm. When both palms hit, Duan hunling immediately retracted. Sneeringly said: “Ha! Your internal force has increased greatly!” Just finished the words, two boats rolled over, in a blink, has sunk into the water. Qianqian doesn’t know how to swim, no matter how she was tumbling, eventually fell into the waves. Fortunately, Duan hunling and his brothers also fell into the water. They swam quickly to the small island. Duan hunling looked back to see Qianqian still struggling in the water, said without mercy: “She doesn’t know how to swim? well! She is Ren Wanli’s daughter, let her drown!”The four brothers came ashore and saw a dozen of boats rushing to the place where the accident occurred. Duan Hunling saw the boatmen rescued Qianqian from the water. He sneered: “What a lucky dead girl, see how many more time you can escape from death.”
Weng, his younger brother was feeling so strange, asked: “Big brother, this girl is very young, how do you seemed to hate her so much?”
Duan Hunling just grind his teeth but does not answer. The plain-faced brother seemd feeling sorry for her too, said. “Such a beautiful girl, if died so young, it is really a waste.”
Coldly, the sparks in the eyes of Duan hunling flashed, a vicious idea is made, skimming the plain-faced brother, and sneered: “I know what you are thinking, if there a day this girl fell in my hands, it will be certainly yours.” ”
After that, the two laughed misteriously together. Weng was a little disapproving, but he believed that they were just joking, then said, “Let’s go! Don’t ruin our day.”
Qianqian was rescued by the boatmen. They sent her back to Le Pengzhai. The boatmen knew that this girl was a guest of Teng prefect. Not only did she more condolences, but also warmly brought her specially a lot of fruits, desserts and various indigenous products, filled up the studyroom. Qianqian thanked them one by one. These villagers are so enthusiastic, so frank, holding her hands, bowing, laughing, crying. She was so flattered. She doesn’t know how to react, but her heart was touched. Remembered how they said about the Teng family and Teng young master. Her heart was sweet and bitter at the same time. He missed him so much.
Because She was afraid that she might meet Duan hunling again, she doesn’t dare to wander around alone outside. She was by herself, missing him all the time. She was bored and uneasy. She took down the books on the shelf but she couldn’t understand any of those. At day, she was leaning against the door. At night, she was leaning against the window. Finally she was lying in bed, but sleepless. Looking out the window, the Dongting Lake was sparkling with the moonlit, remembering all the moments they spent the way down to south. she smirked and fell asleep at last.
The night was getting deeper. The moon was setting into the hills. the waves were shoal, and the wind was quiet.
Qianqian tossed on the bed, feeling chilly on the skin deep, half awakened and half-sleeping. A verse on the mural in the cave appeared in her mind uncouiously: “I think, I hope…”
She heard some flapping sounds sneaking in. She opened eyes slowly, saw a shadow by the window. A man in long robe, hair scattered, with a long sword waving like a dragon. The beam of sword was against the moonlit. Qianqian stood by the window watching for a while, and then she came out with a long cloak.
Before the dawn, the lake was chilly and windy. Teng Kuanrou backhanded his sword. Then a woman wearing a red cloak, standing in front of him. It was Qianqian, he suddenly felt dazzled, but said indifferently: “Well! You are up early in the morning, or not sleeping all night?”
Qianqian looked at him for a moment, then said: “Well! Who was dancing swords in front of my window, disturbing my good dreams?”
Listening to her delicate voice, Teng Kuanrou couldn’t hold on anymore. He stepped in front, held her hand into his chest, said softly: “I couldn’t sleep at night, so came to your window in the midnight, but see no light in the window. I miss you, but didn’t want to disturb you. I waited here until now. Why don’t you have a good word to say?”
Qianqian was in his arms gently. Her heart was melted. But she didn’t know what to say, looking at his sword hiding at the back, then asked: “The swordsmanship that you have just danced, I seemed to have seen it, what was that?”
Teng Kuanrou looked gravely then he let go of Qianqian from his arms, said: “You did have seen this swordsmenship. In the cave, I used this swordsmenship to kill Lv my senior.”
Teng Kuanrou has always been worried about the unfortunate death of Lv Jiannan. Even though he has never been blamed, but he is the one who actually killed her master. If he does not clarfy this matter, he can’t feel eased. His eyebrows were deeply locked, continued: “This swordsmanship was called the Dongting Rising Sun Seven Styles. There are seven strokes and sixty-three styles. It was my original creation.”
At this time, in the distance of Dongting Lake thrusted out the first sunbeam, illuminating Teng Kuanrou’s face, he said: “This was my first creation. I have always been proud of it. I am very proud, but never used it. On that day, Lv the senior was fiercely attacked. I had no choice but forced to use this move. Although I stabbed Lv the seniors, I really never won. If he was not able to retract himselves with his own sword, I would have been killed by him.”
Listening to that, Qianqian finally understood how the two men withstand the life and death in that day, thought: If master were not paranoia, he would not necessarily die, or may be it was the fate of the sword in the pool. It is unnecessary to determine who was right and wrong. More to see Teng Kuanrou feeling guilty, more she felt that he was justice, said: “Teng Brother, you don’t have to be so sad, in fact, Master didn’t have to die, he had another move, just didn’t use it.”
Teng Kuanrou was bewildered, asked immediatly: “How can this be explained?”
Qianqian continued: “Master’s life was full of arrogance, afraid of being ridiculed. He could not give up his own original swordsmanship. If he used the 18 styles of the cave mural, I am afraid, how magnificant of your Dongting Rising Sun is, you was not his opponent.”
Qianqian looked at Teng Kuanrou’s suspicious face, told him about the mural paintings in the cave. Teng Kuanrou listened carefully. Finally understood what had happened. “It’s really a heaven above a heaven. Lv the seniors had never been deceitful all his life about the matter of sword. He was certainly deserved his fame as a god of swordsman…….”
Qianqian felt that he is really generous by saying this. She can’t help but love and respect him more. said: “What about you? You are a god of swordsman too. Dancing a sword in such an early morning!”
Listened to Qianqian playful words. Although he still felt guilty, but much more relaxed, joyfully said: “Of course not just for dancing a sword, I am actually sending a sword.”
“Sending a sword?” Qianqian perplexed. Teng Kuanrou has already opened a long brocade box in front of her, said: “The sword is a gift to the knight, the rouge is a gift to the beauty, and Qianqian are both knight and beauty. Today I will give you the sword, and will give you the rouge later.”
By listening to that, she was already so happy. When she saw the brocade box was opened, and a three-footed sword was laying there. She was truly ecstatic. “You are giving me this sword?”
Teng Kuanrou took out the sword and said, “Yes! You already have learned such a peerless swordsmanship, can you walk around without a sword?”
He pulled out the sword in one shot, looked at the slender sword shines in the morning glow, a pair of phoenix-shaped handle fluttering as flying. Although it is not as sharp as the Qingyang sword, but also is fascinating, simple and elegant. Qianqian was trying to take a look, but Teng Kuanrou said: “With this sword, you are not afraid that you will fall into the water again.”
After saying that he laughed while holding the sword up, so Qianqian couldn’t get it. She was annoyed, said, “How do you know that I fell into the water again?”
Teng Kuanrou put the sword down, said proudly, “What happened to the cirle of Dongting Lake ,couldn’t hide from me, the young master of Teng prefect!”
“Okay! Young master, are you coming to tease me, or coming to present me a sword?”
Listened to Qianqian called him young master. He felt a burst of blood in heart, immediately present the sword with both hands, seriously said: “This sword is called Xiangzi, do you know it?”
Qianqian turned her eyeballs and said: “Was it related to the legend of Dongting Lake?”
Teng Kuanrou nodded and said: “Surely smart.” The corner of his mouth was filled with confidence: “You fell into the water that day was going to a small island, wasn’t it?” Seeing Qianqian nodded, then continued: “The island is called Junshan. It is only one water away from Yueyang pavillion. There was a very touching story.”
Qianqian sat down, listened attentively. Teng Kuanrou continued: “It was said that the ancient Emperor of the Sui Dynasty visited the Xiangshui River in the south. He was blocked by the wind and waves in Dongting Mountain. When the two queens arrived, the Emperor Sui had died already. Unfortunately, the two queens died of illness in Dongting with deep grief of their loss. In order to commemorate their loyalty to Emperor Sui, the people changed Dongting Mountain to Junshan, and also casted a sword called Xiangzi, only because the two queens were named Jun and Xiang. Since then, it has become the most romantic legend of Dongting.”
Teng Kuanrou said while paying attention to the reaction of Qianqian. After he finished, Qianqian took the sword and sighed: “Jun and Xiang was so unwavering to the Emperor Sui, it was really admirable from the end.”
Teng Kuanrou listened to what Qianqian has said, he couldn’t help but rejoice, took her hands from the Xiangzi sword and burried inside his own chest, said seriously: “Qianqian, let’s get married!”
Qianqian quickly took back her hands and shyly said, “What are you talking about?”
“Every word I said was very clear. Didn’t you hear it?” Teng Kuanrou smirked and took Qianqian’s hands back again: “After dragon boat festival, we go together to Songhu Island, ask the blessing from the island master, your father, how do you think? I am such a talented man, I supposed the island master will promise, right?”
Only Teng Kuanrou was talking passionately. Qianqian was so shy and burrried her head into his arms. Whether she was laughing or crying, Teng Kuanrou gently lifted her chin and asked again, “Well! Sister! How do you think?”
Qianqian bite her lip, not convinced: “You think you are really the emperor of Dongting, everyone has to do what you said?”
Teng Kuanrou laughted and said: “You are too bold to say that, you can only say it in front of me, don’t you know?”
Qianqian screamed: If I really married you, wouldn’t you bully me for a lifetime?”
Teng Kuanrou waved the Xiangzi sword and said: “Don’t say that I bully you. I will teach you the swordsmanship of Dongting Rising Sun. After you have learned these styles. It would be you bully me.”
Qianqian was happy and embarrassed to hear that. On that day, the two could not practice anymore swordsmanship. Instead, they made a day trip to the lake.