Perfect World Chapter 4 – A Deeper Look

on 08 21, 2010

Xiao Yao looked around him. He had never noticed that in this world, it was never sunny, but rather, the skies were usually filled with clouds that foretold a coming of rain. They seemed to twist into smoke whenever he decided to focus on any particular one. Taking a deep breath, he realized that the air was unclean as well. His hair was wet from the bath he had taken recently and water still clogged his ears. While he bathed, Ling Er had taken his clothes to wash further downstream. A sudden gust of wind made Xiao Yao shiver and he decided to wait for his wife’s return in the water. Ling Er’s presence had allowed him to calm his emotions and provided a source of stability and hope. A flash of lighning streaked the sky and Xiao Yao began to count. He made it to three before he heard the thunder racing to catch the flash of light, one second longer than the previous pair. Laying back in the water, he spread his arms wide open and closed his eyes. There was a serene and eerie peace to all of this. How much longer would it last? He felt his heart jump as Ling Er crossed his mind. Were they like the thunder, racing to catch up to the universal dream of contentment? How ironic, that each time they had a moment of peace, tragedy seemed to overtake them. Xiao Yao scoffed as he thought of the analogy backwards. Perhaps they were still the thunder, but were running away from the enevitably faster lightning known as sorrow. He began to let himself sink beneath the water as he thought of all that has happened to him since he left home. How was that aunt of his doing? And his best friend, Xiao Hu? He would have to return to see them one day. And what of Yi Ru? He missed her dearly. Small air bubbles floated upwards from his nose. The water was nearly twice as deep as he was tall. He thought of Ah Qi and Yue Ru as his feet reached the bottom. Why couldn’t he save them, he wondered. Why must he put Ling Er in danger again? How could he be so…useless? Images of the different martial arts stances that have been handed down to him flew past him, through him, as he opened his eyes.

Shi fu he Lin Bao Zhu quan ge wo ne me hao de wu gong…wo…wo zen me lao shi bu zhen zhen ba ta men xue hao? Wo yi zhi yi lai…zhi yong guo ta men gei wo de yi gen mao. / Master and Lord Lin have taught me such powerful martial arts…I…Why don’t I ever take it seriously to train? All this time…I’ve only used a hair of what they’ve taught me.

As Xiao Yao concentrated on the images dancing before him with such grace, skill – finess, he saw Jiu Xian Jian and Lin Bao Zhu take the form of their respective styles. His master’s style, so swift and agile, and the Lin style, fierce and powerful. The swords he had left resting by a nearby tree came slicing through the waters and impaled themselves into the ground. Grabbing their handles, Xiao Yao began immitating his master’s movements. The water flowed along and across his body as his movements became quicker. Kicks became like hammers racing through the wind while his punches and jabs were blades that formed into fists in the last instant. Flipping towards the surface, Xiao Yao exhaled as his head emerged from the depths. His body continued to rise until the soles of his feet rested above the waters. Opening his eyes, Xiao Yao thought of Jiu Xian Jian. He felt the tears breaking through and flipped backwards, twisting in the air and diving headfirst back into the water. The images of Jiu Xian Jian stopped their movements. One by one, they sat down, knee arched, and looked at Xiao Yao. Smiling, they turned their gaze towards those of Lin Bao Zhu. With a cocky grin, Xiao Yao lifted his foot and lunged himself towards the images of Lin Bao Zhu. He tuned his body to the movements of each individual image, and slowly, the images of the Lin stance converged into Xiao Yao. As the last image of Lin Bao Zhu united with Xiao Yao, those of Jiu Xian Jian rose to their feet and surrounded Xiao Yao. He floated slightly above the ground and turned full circle to see each image stand with perfect posture. Bowing to him, they took up their swords and came at him.

Wo yi ding yao bao hu Ling Er…Yi Ru… / I have to protect Ling Er…Yi Ru…

Xiao Yao continued to spar with his master, surfacing to take in air.

Yue Ru…Ah Qi…

Ruminating on the memories of his friends, Xiao Yao began to switch between stances.

Tang Yu…Ah Nu…Shi Zhang Lao…

The sparring match shook the waters violently. Waves began to crash and Xiao Yao could barely see. The strength in his body exploded, sending waves in every direction as he leapt out of the water. Landing on his knee, Xiao Yao bowed his head and stared at the ground. The lake began to calm itself as Xiao Yao stood up and turned around.

“AH!” he screamed as he saw Ling Er with his clothes in her hands. Their faces turned bright red as they both quickly turned around.

“AiyoOo! Ni tou kan wo xi zhao ah?!” / “Ack! You peeped at me bathing?!” accused Xiao Yao, embarassed, as he tried to hide behind his swords.

“Uh xin! Shui yao tou kan ni ah? Hai you ni shi wo xiang gong. You shen me wo bu ke kan de? Wo…wo cai gang dao ne.” / “Disgusting! Who would want to look at you? And you’re my husband. What’s there that I can’t see? And I…I just got here.” Still flushed, Ling Er handed Xiao Yao his clothes and stepped away while he dressed himself. Xiao Yao listened as Ling Er made vain attempts to stiffle her giggling.

“Xiao shen me?!” / “What’re you laughing at?!”

“Mei shen me. Mei shen me……hahaha” / “Nothing. Nothing……hahaha”

“Wo jiu zhi dao – AIYA!” / “I knew it – AHH!”

Ling Er turned around to see that Xiao Yao had slipped while trying to pull his pants on.

“Zi shui la ni? Ne me da le hai bu hui quan ku zhi.” / “How old are you now? (You’re) already grown up and you still can’t dress yourself.” laughed Ling Er. “Zai qu xi yi bian ba.” / “Go ahead and wash yourself again.” she told Xiao Yao as he stood up. He brushed himself off and looked at Ling Er.

*clap, clap, clap*

“Wa-oh, hao lang man oh.” / “Wow, so romantic.” The owner of the voice jumped down from a tree branch that overlooked the couple. Xiao Yao wrapped his arm around Ling Er and moved her behind him.

“Ni shi shui?” / “Who are you?” Xiao Yao demanded.

“Shhhhh. Bu yao ne me cong dong. Tsk tsk.” / “Shhhhh. Don’t be so hasty. Tsk tsk.” replied the very effeminate voice. Standing before them was what looked like a man no more than twenty years of age. He had long hair and rosy cheeks. He was definitely taller than Xiao Yao, but smaller in frame than Ling Er. “Bai Yue pai wo lai gen ni men qing an de.” / “Bai Yue sent me to wish you peace.” he said gayly, waving his hand towards Xiao Yao. Strutting towards them, he added, “Wo ming zi jiao Hu Die. Li gong zi, ni hao shuai oh. Ni cai, wo shi nan de, hai shi nu de?” / “My name is Hu Die (Butterfly). Sir Li, you’re so handsome. Guess, am I a man, or a woman?”

Xiao Yao looked as though he was going to vomit.

“Shen me nan de hai shi nu de – ni shi gong de hai shi mu de?!” / “Psh. Man or woman…are you a male or a female (animal)?!”

The man stopped and smiled. “Ni gang cai lian wu de shi hou hao jing cai oh. Tai ke xi ni de xiao gu niang mei kan dao.” / “When you were training just now, it was so exciting. It’s too bad that your little maiden didn’t see it.”

“Ni – “ / “You – “ started Ling Er. Xiao Yao cut her off. “Bai Yue de gou zei. Gan wu ru wo Ling Er. Zhao si ah ni?!” / “Bai Yue’s no good dog. You dare to insult my Ling Er. You wanna die?!”

Undaunted, Hu Die stepped towards Xiao Yao and Ling Er. “Kan ni you mei you ze ge ben shi.” / “Let’s see if you have that ability.”

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