He turned and looked at the lake. There was only the merest suggestion of a breeze, the water was calm and sparkling.
Sure enough, it was not an unrequited love as Siao Qi was interested in him too. It was a good news, but he did not feel happy at all.
"Recently, Siao Qi has been through a lot of pain and she lives in struggle every day," Shen Yinghu sighed, "What a poor child."
Chu Li asked, "Why do you say so?"
"Two paths are laid in front of her," Shen Yinghu looked at him faintly, "One leads her to cut off the thread of love, but she'll become a Grandmaster immediately and will enter the Enlightened Mastery's Boundary soon after. Another one leads her to destroy the Regal Sword Scripture and practice the heart technique of Snow Lunar Pavilion again. Once she chooses this path, it means that she won't be able to return to the House of High Duke. She'll have to live as Du Xia from then on and will have to make a heavy oath before she practices the heart technique of Snow Lunar Pavilion."
Chu Li frowned.
Shen Yinghu said, "When one practices the heart technique of Snow Lunar Pavilion, reaching the Grandmaster's Boundary will be the limit as there will be no more opportunity to enter the Enlightened Mastery's Boundary."
Chu Li maintained a dignified silence.
"One is a sunshine road, where there are comparably unlimited prospects where she'll be able to become an Enlightened Master and uplift the House of High Duke; whereas another one is a tortuous trail, entering the Enlightened Mastery's Boundary will be hopeless, she can't return to the House of High Duke and live like Siao Yue Ling," Shen Yinghu said faintly, "I don't understand what's there for her to hesitate about!"
Chu Li smiled bitterly, from the eyes of outsiders, it seemed like there really was no reason for any hesitation.
"The crux is with you," Shen Yinghu took a glance at him, "A Grandmaster at such a young age, a remarkable intelligence, all of which are sufficient for Siao Qi to fall for you, but"
She sighed softly.
Chu Li frowned and stayed silent, an Enlightened Master!
Becoming an Enlightened Master would mean that you could run the whole world, had nothing to fear, and be truly free. Everyone would want to be that as it would be such a joy.
He took a deep breath and said, "For the House of High Dukes, she should cut off all threads of love!"
Shen Yinghu replied, "Cutting off love threads means that the House of High Dukes will benefit the most. Both you and her will be hurt, but since the Regal Sword Scripture can get rid of heartbreak easily, you'll be the only one hurt in the end. As for the second path, the House of High Dukes will suffer a great loss and she'll live a tough life too, but it'll be most favorable for you."
Chu Li put on a smile, "This is actually an easy choice."
"Everyone thinks so too," Shen Yinghu shook her head, "Against expectations, she's hesitating and struggling. She's in so much pain that she had inverted her internal heat and became badly hurt."
Chu Li remembered the Second Lady from before.
She looked so gentle and extremely delicate, but for the House of High Dukes, she still sacrificed herself without a doubt. She was so firm and determined.
Siao Qi looked firm and resolute. She thought about the House of High Dukes at all times too, but unexpectedly struggled and hesitated at such a critical time and could not make a decision.
He was proud yet sweet and took pity, he was having mixed feelings and was not sure of what he actually felt. She should have known the severity of the matter, looking at how she took so long to decide. She probably wanted to take responsibility and did not want to break his heart.
Calamity is a man's true touchstone and that was the root of pain.
He recalled when there was not a word said after he met with Siao Qi. He knew that she had made her decision.
That made him very touched, but he felt pity at the same time.
"Alright, I just wanted to tell you that it's up to you whatever you're going to do," Shen Yinghu sighed again, "She's already an adult and she can make her own decisions. I won't interfere in this. Being an Enlightened Master might not actually be great but being a Grandmaster might not be that painful too."
Chu Li nodded slowly.
The next morning, the sunlight shone through the opened windows.
Chu Li sat on the bed as he fell into deep thoughts where he did not move an inch.
He had been sitting there awake the whole night, his thoughts ran through his mind like galloping horses.
Based on his nature, he would ask Siao Qi to not forcefully practice the Regal Sword Scripture as he would become an Enlightened Master and protect the House of High Dukes. She only had to be her woman and worried about nothing else.
However, as he asked himself and answered honestly, would he be certain that he could definitely become an Enlightened Master? Could he really protect the House of High Dukes all by himself?
While he possessed a remarkable ability of the Omniscient Mirror and the Scripture of Life and Death, and was extremely intelligent, there was only one Enlightened Master in the world, or maybe there was another one in the Temple of Tempest.
The Temple of Tempest had numerous outstanding and talented people. There were probably more people on the same par of intelligence as him, and it was possible that there were people who had supernatural powers through practice too. Through the thousands of years of legacy in the Temple of Tempest, the depth of the heritage was beyond imagination. Their martial arts were even more inscrutable that it was possible to have surpassed the Scripture of Life and Death.
For hundreds of years, even with only one person who became an Enlightened Master, was he certain that he could do it?
If he said that he was sure, then he would be lying to himself and prideful.
The Regal Sword Scripture was an ancient martial arts study which carried a seventy percentage of certainty to become an Enlightened Master. Was she really going to give up on that for him?
If the House of High Dukes faced difficulties and went downhill or fell into pieces, he would become a sinner. How would he be able to face Siao Qi then?
As Siao Qi entered the house gently, a faint and delicate fragrance followed. She took a seat on a garden stool beside the window and basked in the morning sunlight.
She wore a snow-white gown and looked so bright, just like a fairy who lived in transcendence and purity.
Chu Li looked at her, smiled and asked, "Is the injury getting better?"
"It's no bother," Siao Qi shook her head and looked at him, "My master looked for you yesterday, didn't she?"
Chu Li smiled and nodded.
"What did she talk about?"
"She's just curious, wanted to know how I was doing."
"Don't bother yourself with what my master said."
"Okay, do you need a long time to recover from your injury?"
"It's not in a rush."
As both of them fell silent, Chu Li wondered how he could break the silence.
The house was exceedingly quiet at that time with laughing noises from the training ground from afar.
Siao Qi sat there quietly and showed a glimpse of smile on her lips. She felt peaceful and happy, and wished that time could stop forever at that moment.
"You should practice the Regal Sword Scripture instead of the heart technique of Snow Lunar Pavilion," Chu Li broke the silence.
Siao Qi was shocked and looked at him.
Chu Li said, "I've never thought about being together with you."
Siao Qi's cheerfulness turned into a frown, "Did my master tell you about it yesterday?"
Chu Li said, "We're from different worlds anyway you're simple but I'm avaricious, you long for a peaceful life but I wish to explore the world and search for prosperity and wealth. Even if we do end up being together, we'll separate anyway."
Siao Qi stared at him petulantly.
Chu Li continued, "You're cold in nature and rarely connected with the world. It'll be such a bore to be together with you."
"What else?" Siao Qi humphed.
"You're not pretty, unlike the Second Lady."
"You like my second sister?"
"No wonder you were so desperately saving her, you would even die for her!" Siao Qi exclaimed coldly.
Chu Li said, "The Second Lady is the prettiest lady in the world. Which man wouldn't be fond of her?"
He knew that the Second Lady was the most useful weapon to use against Siao Qi in order for her to steel herself.
"Shut up!" Siao Qi ordered coldly.
Chu Li sighed, "The reason I'm here today is to tell you this."
"This is all because of what my master said, right?" Siao Qi humphed.
Chu Li shook his head, "If I really want to be with you, what would your master say that would change my mind?"
Siao Qi eyed him coldly.
Chu Li sighed and said, "Love between men and women is like a firewood, it burns brightly, but goes out quickly. If so, then why not we just be friends since a hedge in between keeps friendship green. You can meet up sometimes and rejoice in life. Apart from that, you can live your own life at wherever you are isn't that pretty good too?"
"I understand," Siao Qi stood up with a poker face then turned and left.
Chu Li locked her eyes on her.
Knowing her proud and arrogant character, those words were enough for her to understand what he meant and for her to know what she had to do.
It had always been hard to satisfy both parties for all things in the world. However, a choice had to be made whether he would regret this or not. He did not regret it at that moment but he had placed his hand over his aching heart.