“Friends… friends?” Tie Bu Tian’s voice was very low. He seemed to be at a loss. Then, he smiled lightly and spoke, “It’s indeed great to have a friend like Minister Chu. I’ll never forget this in my entire life. Who amongst the past Emperors had the fortunate of having a sincere lifelong-friend?”
“Your Majesty is right.” Chu Yang laughed out loud, and spoke, “In fact, very few ordinary people are fortunate-enough to have a sincere friend for a lifetime — let alone an Emperor. Some people are unable to find even one friend who treats them sincerely their entire lives. And thus, they themselves don’t treat anyone sincerely. Such people are even more pitiful than the Emperor.”
“Haha…” Tie Bu Tian sincerely laughed out and said, “The Emperor’s position seems like a very pitiful existence to Minister Chu…”
“Pitiful indeed.” Chu Yang earnestly replied, “It’s quite lonely at the top. That’s exactly what an ‘Emperor’ has to experience while he sits at the most glorious and powerful seat. He’s doomed to the life of solitude!”
Chu Yang’s reply left Tie Bu Tian speechless. A long while passed. Then, the sound of a long sigh was heard from inside the carriage. Then, a low and inaudible voice whispered, “Emperor… solitude… solitude… friends… ha ha…”
The two shadows also heaved a sigh. It was hard to tell whether they sighed for themselves… or for someone else; the meaning that was hidden deep in their sighs was complex and difficult to understand.
Tie Bu Tian’s lifeless eyes were staring at the roof of the carriage. He stared at the roof of the carriage for a long time. His eyes didn’t move even once the entire time.
[Friends! Haha, just friends! …that’s not so bad.]
[You suffered through hundreds of battle for my sake. You used your wisdom for my sake. You indulged in crazy slaughter for my sake. You put your life on the line for my sake… just because I am your friend!]
[I was deeply worried for you. I have such deep emotions for you. I was scared for you. I wouldn’t hesitate to do anything for you. I even lost my ‘purity’ for you. For you… I will do anything in my power. I can sacrifice anything for you… even the entire country if I have to… so… it’s all because we are… friends!]
Tie Bu Tian spoke these painful words in her heart since they were difficult to express. She had an impulse to start bawling as this thought crossed her mind. The innermost feelings of pain and bitterness had made her wish that she could draw-out her long sword, and commit suicide in front of Chu Yang’s eyes.
However, she somehow controlled her emotions. She breathed deeply a few times to calm herself down. Tears quietly rolled down from her eyes… like beads from a broken string…
[Hey, why am I crying? Didn’t I just say that I’ll never cry? So, why am I crying again?]
[Tie Bu Tian, you’re really useless ah…]
Chu Yang’s statement had firmly set the relationship-status that the two shared.
Finally, Tie Bu Tian smiled slightly, [being friends… is good too! How many friends did the ancient Emperors have? As Chu Yang said… how many sincere friends can ordinary people have?]
“Haha, we must wait till the war ends at the mountain pass. So, we’ll have to wait for a long time before we can make our way back to the mountain pass…” Tie Bu Tian smiled and spoke, “Minister Chu, why don’t you tell me something about yourself to break the silence of this journey?”
“Journey?” Chu Yang didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “Your Majesty seems very relaxed for some reason. Is His Majesty not worried about this war? After all, the fates of the two nations depend on this war.”
“Worry… will that be of any help?” Tie Bu Tian replied with a smile, “I can be anxious. That is fine. But, worrying won’t do any good. I must do what I can. Then, I will accept the outcome… whatever it may be. So, why should I worry?”
“Your Majesty is very open-minded!” Chu Yang replied respectfully. It was truly commendable for an Emperor to have such mindset…
“Haha…” Tie Bu Tian laughed. He felt elated.
“What does Your Majesty wish to hear about?” Chu Yang asked.
“It doesn’t sound appropriate when Minister Chu calls me ‘Your Majesty’… since we are friends…” Tie Bu Tian smiled and said.
Tie Bu Tian and Chu Yang didn’t notice that a strange expression would appear on the face of the two shadows each time they said the word ‘friends’. That strange expression would be accompanied by a weird look in their eyes. It was rather difficult to explain.
“Your Majesty also continues to call me ‘Minister’ Chu.” Chu Yang smiled back and replied, “How should we address each other since we’re friends? What should I call Your Majesty?”
Tie Bu Tian was at a loss for words.
[That’s right. What should I make him call me? Bu Tian? Brother Tie Bu Tian? Isn’t that like ‘rubbing salt’ into my own wounds? Or should I make him call me by my ‘special nickname’… the one that Imperial Father used to call me by when I was six years old — Little Sweetie? That’s even more impossible…]
[What should I call him? ‘Brother’ Chu? Yang Yang? That’s going too far. He won’t agree. ‘Mister’ Chu? I would rather die than call him ‘that'.]
“Haha, it’s okay. Minister Chu was the one to say that we’re friends. So, why care about the titles.” Tie Bu Tian revealed a frank smile, “I am very curious to know about that ‘special someone’ whom Minister Chu’s heart simply can’t forget. Perhaps, Minister Chu should talk about her…”
“Eh?” Chu Yang was dumbstruck.
“That woman… with whom Minister Chu has sincerely fallen in love. Tell me about the woman whom Minister Chu has chosen among the countless beauties one can find in this world. For whom… you wish to stay faithful and pure. For whom… you stay away from the other women… you don’t even try to flirt with other women. Nor do you intend to collect wives…” Tie Bu Tian’s voice sounded very strange. It was hard to tell what her words meant in reality, “You’re probably the only person who hides his handsome and youthful appearance behind a sinister mask.
“So, I’m very curious to know. Who is this amazing woman who has made Minister Chu fall head over heels?” Tie Bu Tian asked.
“She…” Chu Yang recalled Mo Qing Wu, and couldn’t help but day-dream about her. The corners of his mouth revealed a smile, but it was hard to tell whether it was a bitter one or a sweet one…
“It’s hard to say,” Chu Yang gently replied.
“Just say it,” Tie Bu Tian curiously urged him to continue. She had made-up her mind, [I would like to know what the difference between ‘her’ and me is… and where I fall short…]
“She’s a naive girl…” Chu Yang gathered his thoughts and finally spoke, “Moreover, she’s very innocent. She devotes herself to me when she is with me… she never complains. She never demands anything…”
“Oh…” The statement ‘she never demands anything’ had shaken Tie Bu Tian’s heart.
“I feel free and relaxed when I’m with her. I can do whatever I want… however I want… and without a worry about what she would think of it. And, she never interrupts me. She just silently supports and encourages me. I once fell sick… So, I made her leave. But, she didn’t say anything. She just stood in a corner… she quietly waited and watched over me…”
“How can such a naive woman exist…?” Tie Bu Tian couldn’t help but sigh in her heart.
“Her body isn’t in a good condition. She was injured in her childhood. She is doomed to a life that is devoid of success or achievements. So, she feels inferior whenever she’s with me…” Chu Yang subconsciously look inside his consciousness… he looked at the Nine Tribulations Pills that lay at the hilt of the Nine Tribulations Sword and spoke, “…and an ignorant guy like me didn’t know how to treasure her properly…”
“Then, one day… she left me… I finally got to know her true importance that day. My life turned bleak without her… I used to be obsessed with my sword back then. She had mustered the entirety of her courage to shove her grievances and resentment at me before she left me. She had told me… ‘Chu Yang, I’m more attractive than the sword!'”
Chu Yang felt an ache in his heart as he spoke this. He recalled that heart-wrenching afternoon when the setting sun had looked as red as blood. Mo Qing Wu’s red dress had been bathed in blood. She had lain in his arms, and her dying words had been ‘Chu Yang, I was more attractive than the sword’. He recalled her last words… and suddenly, his heart convulsed and began to ache.
His heart would always get filled with different kinds of pain and emotion every time he recalled her last words. It seemed like her words gave-off different emotions every time he recalled them.
Tie Bu Tian sighed in her heart, and remained silent. Her heart seemed to be feeling an ache similar to that of Chu Yang’s…
“Recently, I’ve found her again… I’ve pledged that I will be good to her this time! I will stay with her as much as I can, and I will do my utmost to make her the happiest woman in the entire Nine Heavens!” Chu Yang softly spoke.
“She’s very lucky that she has met a resolute man like you…” Tie Bu Tian spoke in a soft voice. She still felt endless pain in her heart. She just couldn’t help but be extremely jealous of this ‘lucky woman’ since she was getting all of Chu Yang’s affection.
“I think that… meeting her was my good fortune… my greatest fortune!” Chu Yang smiled merrily. He imagined healing Qing Wu’s injury, and spending a worry-free life with her… a happily ever-after scene.
“Ah… lucky indeed. What about… her looks? She must be very beautiful, right?” Tie Bu Tian asked.
“An outstanding beauty! …With style so magnificent that it’s unmatched in her generation! Her beauty can cause the downfall of a nation!” Chu Yang answered, “I’ve never seen a girl more beautiful than her!”
He thought, then said, “Her bearing, her grace, her temperament… her appearance, her figure, her personality, her… let’s just say she’s unrivaled in every aspect!”
Chu Yang took a deep breath, and said, “Her beauty transcends this world’s imagination!”
Tie Bu Tian remained silent for a longer duration this time around.
Tie Bu Tian’s somewhat weak-looking eyes looked down at the spot ‘down there’. Her wounds seemed to have started bleeding again. However, this pain was far less than the one in her heart.
Chu Yang talked non-stop, and continued to praise his sweetheart. He was unaware that Tie Bu Tian was on the brink of despair, and that her heart was breaking into pieces on the other side of the curtain…
There was smile on Chu Yang’s face, while his heart was brimming with happiness. [The war has begun. I just need to beat Diwu Qing Rou. Then, I will go to the Middle Three Heavens, and reunite with Qing Wu.]
He suddenly felt something strange on his side. His vision turned sideways, and discovered that the two shadows — who had been driving the carriages — were angrily glaring at him. Their eyes had a shade of pure rage in them. It seemed as if their gazes would devour Chu Yang’s entire body at a moment’s notice…
“I’ve become even more curious after hearing all this…” Tie Bu Tian forced a smile, “When can Minister Chu bring her over… so I can personally take a look at this unique and otherworldly beauty…”
She smiled and said, “Qian Qian is a stunning beauty too. I really wish to see this beauty… someone who’s even more beautiful than Qian Qian…”
“Cough cough cough…” This was Chu Yang’s turn to run speechless. [Why did Tie Bu Tian suddenly bring up a comparison with Wu Qian Qian? Can such a thing… be compared?]
1. Tie Bu Tian’s childhood nickname was ‘Xiao Tian Tian’. ‘Xiao’ means small or little. The ‘tian’ in her name means ‘Heaven’. But the ‘tian’ in her nickname means ‘sweet’. So we can narrow her name’s English translation down to ‘Little Sweetie’.
2. Mister Chu: The pinyin for Mister is ‘Lang’ which also means ‘Husband’. That is why calling Chu Yang ‘Lang Chu’ or ‘Mister Chu’ is embarrassing for Tie Bu Tian.