unsheathed – Chapter 63 (1): So That's How It Is

Chapter 63 (1): So That's How It Is

Chapter 63 (1): So That's How It Is

The rain gradually subsided as Ning Yao and Chen Ping'an walked along the street. Ning Yao turned around to look at Chen Ping'an, whose breathing was now calm and expression was now relaxed. Even though she disliked Old Man Yang, she had to admit that he was indeed a skillful person who was living in recluse.

"Old Man Yang isn't an ordinary person."

Ning Yao paused for a brief moment, looking back at the unremarkable Yang Family's medicine shop. The light drizzle was fine and glistening, and it caused the outline of the medicine shop to become fuzzy and misty. Ning Yao corrected herself, murmuring, "Old Man Yang is an extraordinary person."

Chen Ping'an couldn't tell the difference between the two remarks. He simply replied with a nod before smiling and asking, "In the past, I only thought that Grandpa Yang was a very good person. He was always very fair. Only now do I realize that Grandpa Yang is actually much more skillful and knowledgeable than he lets on. Ning Yao, you can also be regarded as a cultivator, right?"

Ning Yao replied with a remark that Chen Ping'an couldn't really understand. "Something similar, but not exactly the same. However, it makes no difference to you."

After surviving a great calamity, Chen Ping'an's state of mind was completely different as he arrived on the southern end of the covered bridge and visited the young girl in green again.

When Ruan Xiu heard the footsteps behind her, she stood up with a bashful smile and turned around to look at Chen Ping'an and Ning Yao, who were standing side-by-side. Ruan Xiu felt a little self-conscious and uneasy at the moment.

Meanwhile, Chen Ping'an didn't dare to treat Ruan Xiu as an ordinary girl anymore. Of course, his strongest impression of her was still the fact that she could defeat an entire mountain of food.

Ruan Xiu glanced at the cold and gallant-appearing Ning Yao, and didn't dare to say hello.

Ning Yao also shot a glance at the slender and pretty Ruan Xiu, and she didn't really want to greet her either.

The three of them walked down the stairs of the covered bridge, and Chen Ping'an said in a soft voice, "I heard Mr. Qi say that Liu Xianyang is doing okay now."

Ruan Xiu nodded earnestly, explaining, "Mhm, yes, he's woken up now. When the shopkeeper of the Yang Family's medicine shop saw him, he remarked that this was the god of the underworld showing mercy and allowing Liu Xianyang to go free. It was only because of this that he was able to survive. The shopkeeper also said that since he's awake, there won't be any major issues after this. I was afraid that you'd be anxious, so I wanted to visit you and tell you this news straight away. However, Father won't allow me to cross the covered bridge..."

Ruan Xiu continued to recount the events, and she was as talkative as a chirping siskin resting on the branches. When she finished speaking, there was a slightly apologetic expression on her face.

In fact, there were some things that Ruan Xiu didn't tell them. For example, when Liu Xianyang had woken up, she had immediately dashed out of the door and ran to the covered bridge. All she could think of was telling Chen Ping'an this good news, and she even forgot about her father's warning that she wasn't allowed to enter the small town. Just as she had been about to run down the covered bridge from the stairs on the northern end, however, her elusive father who came and went without warning had suddenly appeared and dragged her back by the ear. Only after a lot of convincing did her father allow her to wait for Chen Ping'an on the northern steps of the covered bridge.

This wasn't a case of awakening adolescent love, nor was it a case of deep affection toward someone. Instead, this was simply a case of kindness from the bottom of her heart.

Of course, the prerequisite to receiving this kindness was the fact that Ruan Xiu didn't dislike Chen Ping'an. Not only that, but she even had a fairly good impression of him. In other words, she approved of Chen Ping'an.

The reason for this was simple. When the two of them had first met on the Azure Cow Ridge, Chen Ping'an had been willing to dive into the pool to catch fish for her. Afterward, he hadn't felt any regret even though the wound on his left hand had caused him to gasp in extreme pain. When Liu Xianyang had almost died at the hands of Bai Yuan, Chen Ping'an had also been willing to step forward and charge into battle. All these little things accumulated together to bring fortune to Chen Ping'an.

In fact, Chen Ping'an had always been this kind of person. This was his belief. It was just that Ruan Xiu had coincidentally seen him in action.

However, Chen Ping'an had actually let slip even more opportunities. For example, the golden carp in the fish basket, the catfish that he had given Gu Can, the four-legged snake, the locust leaves that had fluttered in front of him, and so on... All of these fated opportunities had flashed before his eyes, yet they wouldn't voluntarily land in his hands simply because he was a person who cherished everything that he had.

Chen Ping'an, Ruan Xiu, and Ning Yao walked down the covered bridge. However, none of them noticed the beads of water silently falling into the creek from varying heights.

Some of these beads had been hanging on the eaves of the bridge roof, while others had been resting on the railings that ran across the bridge. There were also those which had been residing in the potholes along the edges of the covered bridge. These beads of water had come from various different locations.

In the end, however, they had all fallen into the creek and become one with the creek.

At the same time, the Yang Family's medicine shop was riddled with puddles. The backyard had almost become a pond, with rippling water covering a large swathe of the land. Under this water was a muddy mess, just like the other backyards in the world.

Above this rippling pond, there stood a blurry figure that was shrouded in mist and vapor. One could vaguely discern that this was a hunch-backed old lady.Red the latest stories n novlbin(.)com

Old Man Yang wasn't surprised, and he took a puff from his smoking pipe as he asked, "Did you observe anything interesting?"

The blurry figure involuntarily swayed with the water like a water weed, and she replied in a hoarse voice, "That little girl is the daughter of the next Sage, after all, so just how lofty and noble is her status? Why does she insist on becoming friends with that impoverished boy?"

"That's all?" Old Man Yang sneered.

The old woman trembled, and she didn't dare to reply.

"Since you've already reached this stage, there are some rules that I should make clear to you, lest you die in the future and not know the cause, perhaps even feeling like you've been wronged," Old Man Yang slowly said.

As if organizing his thoughts, Old Man Yang didn't immediately continue.

When the rain stopped, the puddles in the yard started to slowly recede, causing the old woman's body to become increasingly blurry. "Great immortal, I just want to see my grandson more," she said in a pitiful voice.

Her words interrupted Old Man Yang's train of thought, and he snapped in slight irritation, "What you want is your own matter to deal with. I don't have time to deal with your wishes."

His gaze became distant when he said this, and he murmured to himself, "You can count yourself lucky. If you had fallen into the hands of the three teachings, it's hard to say whether you would even have an afterlife or next life. How could you enjoy your current privilege?

"Buddhism has the concept of vanquishing a distracted and restless mind, with the concepts of desires and vows being critically important. Confucianism is slightly more relaxed, and it isn't as broadly controlling as Buddhism. They simply pass on their teachings in an earnest manner, warning their disciples to remain morally vigilant even when alone. In other words, there is a focus on being true to one's words.

"As for Daoism, they elevate the concept of 'how to think' even further, going as far as to view internal demons as the nemesis to cultivation. They're even stricter than Buddhism, leading many people to wander onto stray paths. As a result, there are many so-called heretical sects. Because Daoists pursue tranquility and focus on examining one's own conscience, it's extremely easy for one's mind to become a tangled mess if one becomes stuck when trying to understand the Confucian Sages' questions..."

With smoke billowing around him, Old Man Yao appeared much like a dragon hidden in a sea of clouds. The old woman was more so perplexed after hearing his explanation, especially since she had grown up in the small town and had never gone to school before. As such, she naturally couldn't understand these profound and mysterious concepts. The only thing she could do was try her best to memorize Old Man Yao's words.

Old Man Yang suddenly smiled and said, "Oh, you don't need to remember all this. After all, this isn't what we're going to focus on."

The old woman was dumbfounded.

"We don't care about what you think; we only care about how you perform," Old Man Yang repeated.

"Great immortal, I understand," the old woman said with an uneasy expression.

Old Man Yang pursed his lips and continued, "Since you're a river guardian now, you naturally need to be responsible for all the things that happen in your river. This is not only to accumulate hidden virtue[1], but also to obtain prayers and incense from the common people in the surrounding land.

"If you're able to perform well and have someone build a temple and cast a golden statue for you, you'll be able to house a wisp of your spirit there to enjoy the people's worship. That will be up to your own ability. Afterward, you'll need to strive to have the imperial court acknowledge and accept you, and that will allow you to enter the official genealogical records of the empire. You'll be recognized as an official guardian of the mountains or waters. Failing this, however, you need to strive to at least enter the local county chronicles.

"Otherwise, if your temple is categorized as an illegal one and demolished along with your golden statue, your days will become much tougher than they are now. You'll suffer even more than lonely spirits and wandering ghosts."

The old woman mustered her courage and asked, "Great immortal, you said just then that our small town is a fully restricted area. If that's the case, then apart from extending my lifespan, what else can a measly river guardian like me do? Also, in terms of building a temple and obtaining incense, genealogical records, and local county chronicles or whatnot..."

"That was the situation in the past. However, it's hard to say what it will be like in the future. Not far into the future, this place will be relegated from a small world into a blessed land with no restrictions to enter. Anyone will be able to enter, and they won't need to offer three pouches of copper coins anymore. This is also why the emperor of the Great Li Empire is acting in such an unscrupulous manner. There are some things that will lead to vastly different outcomes depending on whether they're acted on 60 years earlier or 60 years later," Old Man Yang explained.

The old woman gritted her teeth and asked, "Great immortal, are you only willing to protect me because of my grandson?"

Old Man Yang nodded in reply. He didn't try to hide his intentions.

"If that's the case, then why did you allow the swordsman from True Martial Mountain to take Ma Kuxuan with him? Why didn't you teach my grandson yourself?" she asked.

As it turned out, this old woman who had transformed into a river guardian was none other than Granny Ma, the old woman from Apricot Blossom Alley who had been slapped to death.

Old Man Yang lightly tapped his smoking pipe, causing the projection above the water to instantly contort and shudder. This projection was created by Granny Ma's soul, so Old Man Yang's action immediately caused her to wail in anguish.

This pain had arrived suddenly with no warning, and it was akin to a mortal suddenly experiencing a bone-piercing pain that was seemingly going to tear their heart and chest apart. How could Granny Ma endure this?

"Even though I don't differentiate between good and bad or just and evil, nor do I use these to measure one's hidden virtues, this doesn't mean that I approve of your actions," Old Man Yang told her in an indifferent voice. "In the past, the time wasn't right for me to fuss over these things. In the future, however, I can wipe out your existence with just a single thought. So don't try to push your luck."

Granny Ma fell to her knees and begged for forgiveness, exclaiming, "Great immortal, I wouldn't dare! I wouldn't dare!"

At that time, the swordsman from True Martial Mountain had paid a huge price to summon the True God to help them. When Ma Kuxuan had disrespectfully questioned the True God, even the Militarian swordsman had felt a deep sense of apprehension, afraid that the True God would unleash divine punishment. In the end, however, why had the True God patiently answered Ma Kuxuan's question? In fact, why had he replied in human tongue, saying, "It's not that I don't want to; it's simply that Im unable to"?

This was clearly an exchange that should have never occurred between a human and a god.

However, perhaps even the transcendent swordsman hadn't been aware of the true reason behind this. He had most likely dismissed this as the True God having considerations and rules of his own. However, Old Man Yang was well aware of why this was.

Ma Kuxuan, that young boy, had the Mandate of Heaven.

He was no inferior to the maidservant Zhi Gui.

Wang Zhu, Wang Zhu...

Combining the two characters together, the character "Pearl" was formed[1].

When it came to True Dragons, which part of them was the most precious?

Their pearl!

Why had Zhi Gui chosen to attach herself to Song Jixin, the prince of the Great Li Empire?

Emperors always liked to refer to themselves as True Dragons, and their fortune was directly linked to the fortune of their empire and throne. Thus, it was abundantly clear that the partnership between Song Jixin and Zhi Gui would be a complementary relationship between two powerful individuals.

Taking a step back, however, one had to realize that the path of cultivation was a long one. Fortune, talent, aptitude, fated opportunities, and a mature temperament were all critical aspects that couldn't be missing.

Even so, there were those who would lead from the beginning and end up leading throughout, while there were also those who would accumulate for a long time before suddenly soaring to great heights. When it came to cultivation, nothing was set in stone.

Looking at the current generation of children in the small town, apart from Ma Kuxuan and Zhi Gui, Song Jixin, Zhao Yao, Gu Can, Ruan Xiu, Liu Xianyang, and a few other children who had good fated opportunities and destinies were all supreme prodigies.

Even with his profound and hidden knowledge, Old Man Yang didn't dare to say whose success would be greater than whom in the future.

He shot a glance at the puddle in the yard and said, "You can leave now. For the moment, you only need to keep an eye on the area around the covered bridge."

Granny Ma was terrified, and she stammered, "Great immortal, even I don't dare to get too close to the covered bridge, especially the deep pool under it. Each time I approach that area, it's as if I'm being cooked in boiling oil..."

Old Man Yang smiled and replied, "You don't need to enter that area. You simply need to keep your eyes open and observe the covered bridge. For example, if something flies out from underneath the covered bridge one day, just take note of what direction it leaves in."

Granny Ma hurriedly accepted this command and took her leave.

Her flickering and vapor-like figure instantly vanished from above the puddle in the backyard.

1. This is referring to building good karma or fortune by performing good deeds without attracting attention

1. Wang Zhu is written as in Chinese. Combining the two characters together yields , which means "pearl".

Chapter end

Chapter 31: Beating Around the Mountain
Chapter 32: Peach Leaf
Chapter 33: White Dragon Disguising as a Fish
Chapter 34: Gathered Together
Chapter 35: Licorice Root
Chapter 36: Ancient Book
Chapter 37: Fist Technique
Chapter 38: Ninth Tier
Chapter 39: Cursing the Locust Tree
Chapter 40: Returning the Courtesy
Chapter 42: Prodigy
Chapter 43: The Young Boy and the Old Dog
Chapter 44: Coming to Light
Chapter 45: Sunlight
Chapter 46: Skirt Dagger
Chapter 47: Going Alone
Chapter 48: The Hunter and the Hunted
Chapter 49: Porcelain Shard
Chapter 50 (1): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 50 (2): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 51: Confrontation
Chapter 52: Shudder
Chapter 53: Gift
Chapter 54: Facing the Enemy
Chapter 55: Feeling Proud in the Spring Breeze
Chapter 56: Nodding Bodhisattva
Chapter 57: Sword Nurturing Gourd
Chapter 58: Teacher
Chapter 59: Sleep
Chapter 60: There's a Ghost
Chapter 61: Helpless Pawn
Chapter 62: Falling Tree
Chapter 63 (1): So That's How It Is
Chapter 63 (2): So That's How It Is
Chapter 64: The Three Chens
Chapter 65: Jewel
Chapter 66: Looking Up
Chapter 67 (1): Long Journey
Chapter 67 (2): Long Journey
Chapter 68: Spring Under the Heavens
Chapter 69: Night
Chapter 70: Daylight
Chapter 71 (1): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 71 (2): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 72: Black Cloud
Chapter 73: Wooden Figure
Chapter 74: The Fire Dragon Roams the Water
Chapter 75: Mountain Selection
Chapter 76: Back to Back
Chapter 77: Entering the Mountains
Chapter 78: Another Dream
Chapter 79: Spring Welcome Seal
Chapter 80: Leaving the Mountains
Chapter 81: Imperial Preceptor
Chapter 82 (1): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 82 (2): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 83: Dreams
Chapter 84 (1): I Have a Sword
Chapter 84 (2): I Have a Sword
Chapter 85 (1): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 85 (2): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 86 (1): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 86 (2): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 87 (1): Little Teacher
Chapter 87 (2): Little Teacher
Chapter 88: Grand Entrance
Chapter 89: Two Heads
Chapter 90: Heavy Rain
Chapter 91: Jade Hairpin
Chapter 92 (1): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 92 (2): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 93 (1): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 93 (2): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 94: A Feast for the Eyes
Chapter 95: Too Small a Place
Chapter 96: Demons in the Mountains and Rivers
Chapter 97: Bowing to the Mountain
Chapter 98: The Meddlesome Mountain God
Chapter 99: The Mountain God and the Bamboo Saber
Chapter 100 (1): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 100 (2): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 101: Guard the Mountain
Chapter 102: Soaring White Ray
Chapter 103: Bamboo Building
Chapter 104: Sharing the Spoils
Chapter 105: Rootless Duckweed
Chapter 106: People from All Walks of Life
Chapter 107: Fishing Net
Chapter 108: Spring Hunting
Chapter 109: The Young Boy Has Some Words to Say
Chapter 110: All Good Things Must Come to an End
Chapter 111: Bamboo Hat
Chapter 112: Powerful Individual
Chapter 113: Unparalleled Might
Chapter 114: Seeing A'Liang Again
Chapter 115: There's an Old Scholar In the World (1)
Chapter 116: There's an Old Scholar In the World (2)
Chapter 117 (1): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 117 (2): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 118 (1): There's Righteousness In The World
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