“Luckily, the fact is that just like the rest of us, even a beautiful woman doesn't know what she wants until she sees it, and that's where I come in.”
--Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, ‘Hitch’ (2005)


Chapter 164 – The scheming ‘matchmaker’

“Present?” Sunli asked and the frown vanished from her face. She had already exhausted the special books from Lin Hua’s last visit, and the heiress of the Hall of Treasures and Antiquities could not help but laughed at Sunli’s eagerness.


“So you really did finished reading everything!” she teased, causing the tanned woman to blush.


“I have a lot of free time,” Sunli reminded her with a growl.


“Well, I’ll bring more next time. There are new releases from this and that author, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them,” Lin Hua said.


The frown returned to Sunli’s face. “Next time? Then, what did you bring me today?”


Lin Hua led Sunli to the hall, where a long wooden case was resting on the table.


“Open it,” Lin Hua urged. Sunli gave her friend an arched eyebrow, but obliged.


“It is a sword,” Sunli said mechanically. But her brow rose even higher as she felt it was vaguely familiar.


“An antique sword. I had it refurbished, I want to hear a military person’s opinion about it,” Lin Hua explained.


Sunli picked up the sword.


It was an infantry man’s sword, dual-edged and the length of an outstretched arm. It was reinforced with a spine that ran down the length of the polished blade, the hilt and guard were functional and lacked any ostentatious furnishings. Other than the greenish sheen of the blade, there was nothing too spectacular about it.


Sunli lifted the weapon and slashed the air several times to test its weight and balance, nodding in satisfaction at each movement. The sword whistled with every swing, one could almost hear a dull hum as it cut through the air.


After some sword exercises, she then placed it back into the box.


“Well? What do you think?” Lin Hua asked.


“It’s a sword. Well balanced and functional,” Sunli answered very factually.


Lin Hua’s forehead creased prettily. “But is there nothing special about it?” she asked.


“The hilt is very new,” Sunli replied blandly.


“That’s the refurbished part, the craftsman kept everything simple,” Lin Hua said.


“Then your artisan has done well to keep the details to a minimum. This is a battlefield weapon, not something to be hung on the wall as decoration,” Sunli commented.


“Enough about the hilt already! The blade, what about the blade!” Lin Hua said impatiently.


Sunli shrugged. “I am not a sword expert, but it seems very sharp and deadly. Though, I do not recognize the green tint on the blade.”


Lin Hua clapped her hands excitedly. “That’s the thing! We don’t know what the green shade on the blade is. Wait one moment…” she trailed off.


Sunli tilted her head quizzically as Lin Hua approached her.


“Hold still,” Lin Hua said and reached out with a gentle hand, as if she was going to brush aside some dirt or insect from Sunli’s head.


Thus, Sunli was very unpleasantly tweaked when Lin Hua suddenly plucked a strand of her hair.


“Ouch! What are you doing!” Sunli demanded angrily.


“Hush. Watch this,” Lin Hua said. She placed the hair across the edge of the sword and blew lightly.


The hair was cut in twain with the gentlest of breeze.


“That is… that is amazing,” Sunli admitted, her eyes widening with new-found appreciation.


“We did not even need to sharpen it, despite the years of neglect. We have tested the blade, it can cut through armour with ease,” Lin Hua told her with pride.


Sunli glared at her resentfully. “There was no need to use my hair, was there?” she asked through gritted teeth.


“Teehee,” Lin Hua grinned and stuck out a tongue, but Sunli was not having any of it.


A yelp of pain later, the experiment was conducted once more; this time with a strand of Lin Hua’s hair. The result was the same, it simply snapped when Sunli blew it across the sword’s edge.


“A very fine blade indeed,” Sunli praised.


Lin Hua was still rubbing her sore scalp. “I had hoped you would know more about it, we could make a fortune with the metallurgy,” she grumbled.


Sunli was mystified. “Why would I?”


“You don’t recognize it? A famous green blade, capable of even splitting stone and killing a man without spilling blood?” Lin Hua persisted.


“The army has no time for such fanciful stories,” Sunli told her flatly.


“Yet, you found time to read all those danmei novels,” Lin Hua muttered.


Sunli raised a fist threateningly.


Lin Hua hastily changed tack. “You have seen this sword before,” she said.


Sunli was astonished. “I did? When?”


“This is the Jade Dragon Sword,” Lin Hua announced proudly. “You saw it in Tianxin City together with Huang Ming.”


“This is that same rusted piece of junk?” Sunli asked, astounded. She took a closer look at the sword.


“We only needed to polish the rust off and gave it a new handle. Some soldier you are, you cannot even recognize a weapon that you have seen before,” Lin Hua said airily.


“Soldiers are trained to maintain their equipment, I am not experienced with rust,” Sunli informed her stiffly. “Besides, it was so long ago…” she added, frowning as she remembered that day in Tianxin City.


Lin Hua waited with a smug smile on her face.


“Then this sword belongs to…” Sunli said slowly.


“Belongs to General Yin’s father,” Lin Hua finished. “It is a Yin family heirloom, though I do not know why and how it ended up in my Hall of Treasures and Antiquities.”


Sunli merely said: “I see.”


“What do you mean, ‘I see’?” Lin Hua demanded. “It’s your chance to get to know the general better! It is the perfect ice breaker!”


“What in the world makes you think I want to get to know the general better?” Sunli asked frostily.


Lin Hua rolled her eyes. “Aren’t you interested in the Commander of the Imperial Guard at all?”


“About his professional career and accumulated military experience, yes. That is all,” Sunli replied.


Lin Hua sighed. “I do not understand you at all. Are you made of stone? Or you have someone else in your heart?”


Sunli kept her mouth shut and put on a stoic face.


But Lin Hua saw the flicker in her eyes. “I am right, aren’t I? You do have somebody!” she exclaimed triumphantly. “Who is it? Wait, could it be-”


“Fine, I will take the sword to the general!” Sunli interrupted.


“Be sure to ask about the green stuff in the blade!” Lin Hua said gleefully, revealing her true objective.
 

An odd sword,
Worthily restored.
A friend being meddlesome,
So very troublesome. ​