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unsheathed – Chapter 67 (2): Long Journey

Chapter 67 (2): Long Journey

Chapter 67 (2): Long Journey

Liu Baqiao was just about to answer the question, but ultimately decided against it as he didn't want to hurt Chen Songfeng's feelings. Chen Songfeng wasn't someone that he got along particularly well with, but he already had a far better personality than the average scholar, so Liu Baqiao had to learn to be content.

Thus, in a display that was completely out of character for a serial chatterbox like him, he remained silent for the rest of the trip.

In the darkness of the night, Chen Ping'an crafted three torches, which the trio used to light the way forward.

In the end, they arrived at the foot of a tall mountain, and Chen Ping'an wiped away the sweat on his forehead as he said to Ning Yao, "Ning Yao, tell her that this is a mountain that's been sealed off by the imperial court, and ask her if she has any reservations about entering a restricted area."

Ning Yao relayed the message to Chen Dui, who responded with a shake of her head.

Chen Dui looked up at the mountain, and she was absolutely certain that the ancestral grave of the Chen Clan was situated there.

She slowly closed her eyes, then crouched down and wrote out a long line of text on the ground with her finger. After that, her lips moved slightly as she wiped away everything that she had written with the palm of her hand.

She then rose to her feet and stepped around the patch of ground that she had just wiped smooth with her hand before stepping onto the mountain, seemingly not requiring any further guidance from Chen Ping'an.

Upon reaching a certain point halfway up the mountain, Chen Ping'an pointed at a tree that was growing on a small mound not far away. The trunk of the tree was incredibly straight, even straighter than a bamboo tree, and Chen Ping'an was very relieved as he nodded and said, "This is the place."

"Go and wait for me at the foot of the mountain," Chen Dui instructed.

Ning Yao tugged on Chen Ping'an's sleeve, motioning for him to scale down the mountain with her.

Chen Dui set down her bookcase, then carefully pulled out a series of meticulously selected offerings one by one to be presented to the gods and the ancestors.

During this process, there was an instant where a dazed look suddenly appeared on Chen Dui's face. She stared blankly at the small tree, following which tears of joy suddenly welled up in her eyes, and she murmured to herself, "I knew it! I knew it!"

She then knelt down and kowtowed to the small earthen mound in an extremely devout and earnest manner, laying her forehead against the ground as she said in a trembling voice, "I am eternally grateful for the blessings of my ancestors!"

At the foot of the mountain, Chen Ping'an and Ning Yao were seated with their backs facing one another on either side of the basket, and Ning Yao asked, "Why did you intentionally take a longer route on the way here?"

Chen Ping'an was stunned to hear this, and he exclaimed, "I didn't think you noticed!"

Ning Yao grabbed onto the hilt of her saber, then pulled back on it to prod Chen Ping'an's waist with the scabbard of the saber.

"What's that supposed to mean? Do you take me for a fool?"

Chen Ping'an grimaced as he massaged his own waist, then lowered his voice as he explained, "Didn't I tell you that there's a massive cliff filled with those black stones that you refer to as Dragon Slaying Platform? I was worried that if she saw those stones, she'd be able to recognize them and turn on us to try and secure all of the stones for herself. It wouldn't be right to plot against her, but at the same time, I would be foolish not to be wary of her."

"You make yourself sound so justified, but you're just a stingy little codger who's worried that she'll take all the stones and leave you with nothing," Ning Yao chuckled.

A bashful smile appeared on Chen Ping'an's face as he remarked, "Given how straightforward you are, I'm assuming you don't have many friends... Ouch!"

All of a sudden, Chen Ping'an received another sharp prod, and he hurriedly began massaging the other side of his waist.

He then gently nudged Ning Yao in the back with his elbow and asked, "Would you like some wild fruits? I picked three on the way here, and I've been hiding them up my sleeve this entire time, so I'm sure she hasn't seen them."

"How could there possibly be any good fruits at this time of year?" Ning Yao grumbled.

Chen Ping'an turned around and handed her a pair of bright red fruits that were roughly the size of peaches, and he smiled as he said, "That's where you're wrong, Ning Yao. This type of fruit can only be eaten during spring. The fruit emerges during the tail-end of winter, then ripens during early spring.

At this point, it's completely ripe, and it's so juicy and flavorful that you'll bite your tongue off if you're not careful. What's rather strange about this fruit is that it only grows near here, despite the fact that there are so many mountains in the area.

Back then, I came with Old Man Yao here to search for a type of soil, and he told me that the wild fruits elsewhere were quite tasty as well, but after having a nibble here and there, I couldn't find anything that were as good as this type of fruit."

Ning Yao accepted the pair of fruits, deciding there and then that if the first one didn't taste good, then she was definitely going to return the second one to Chen Ping'an.

"Having a nibble here and there? What are you, a wild boar in the mountains?"

Chen Ping'an sank his teeth into the third fruit as he smiled and said, "Our family was very poor growing up, and I ate whatever I could get my hands on. There was one time where I was poisoned from eating something I shouldn't have, and my stomach hurt so much that I was rolling around in the alley. That was the first time I heard the beating of my own heart, and it sounded like thunder."

Unfortunately, Ning Yao was too busy eating the fruits that had been offered to her to hear what Chen Ping'an had just said. As soon as she took her first bite, she was struck by just how sweet and delicious the fruit was. As the flesh of the fruit entered her stomach, a sense of warmth spread through her entire body. It was as if her body were a dragon kiln, and the flesh of the fruit were sacks of charcoal.

Ning Yao closed her eyes to better experience the feeling in her internal organs, and even though she was feeling very warm and comfortable, that was the extent of the effects brought on by the fruit. This indicated that the fruit was something that was extremely precious to mortals and would be sure to fetch a handsome price in the mortal empires, but it wasn't precious enough to be worth fighting over for cultivators.

For the ordinary mortals at the foot of the mountain, this was undoubtedly something that could be consumed to extend their lifespans.

If she had known this from the very beginning, then she wouldn't have accepted the fruits in the first place.

With that in mind, a forlorn look appeared on her face, and she wiped her mouth clean before handing the remaining fruit back to Chen Ping'an. "I don't like it. You can have it back."

Chen Ping'an sheepishly accepted the fruit, and he was feeling a little dejected. He had thought that Ning Yao would've been quite fond of the fruit.

Ning Yao gently patted the basket in an absentminded manner with her hands as she asked, "Are you saving it for Chen Dui?"

Chen Ping'an shook his head in response. "Why would I do that? I don't know her. I'm saving it for Liu Xianyang."

A curious look appeared on Ning Yao's face as she asked, "If Ruan Xiu were here, you'd give the fruit to her, wouldn't you?"

"Of course," Chen Ping'an replied with a nod.

"If you only had two fruits in your possession, would you give them to me or Ruan Xiu?"

"I'd give one to you, and one to Ruan Xiu," Chen Ping'an replied without any hesitation. "I can just watch you two eat."

All of a sudden, Chen Ping'an received another sharp prod to the waist, and he protested, "Why did you do that?"

"What if you only had one fruit?" Ning Yao asked.

"Then I'd give it to you," Chen Ping'an replied with a smile.

"Why's that?"

A sly grin appeared on Chen Ping'an's face, but he replied in a truthful manner, "Because Ruan Xiu's not here, yet you're here with me right now."

For his honesty, Chen Ping'an received two more firm prods to the waist at the same time, and he hurriedly stood up to jump around in pain. As a result, there was no one to balance Ning Yao's weight, and she rolled back before falling headfirst into the large basket.

Chen Ping'an hurriedly rushed back and pulled her out of the basket, and thankfully, Ning Yao didn't inflict any further physical punishment upon him, merely glowering at him with a displeased look in her eyes.

Chen Ping'an adjusted the basket into an upright position, and the two of them returned to sitting with their backs facing one another.

"Do you know what kind of tree that is?" Ning Yao asked.Visjt nvelbin(.)cm for new updates

Chen Ping'an shook his head in response. "No. I've only seen it here, I don't recall seeing it on any of the other mountains."

Ning Yao explained, "It's said that if a model tree grows from the grave of a clan, then that's a good omen that a Sage following the teachings of Daoism is about to emerge. On top of that, this Sage is sure to be an extremely just and righteous character, so this small world of yours will definitely be blessed above all others."

"I see."

Chen Ping'an had no idea what Ning Yao had just told him.

"Are you not envious of that woman? Have you not thought about why this model tree isn't growing from your ancestral grave?" Ning Yao asked.

Chen Ping'an offered a response, but not to the question being raised. A joyful look appeared on his face as he mused, "It's great that I'll still be able to visit my parents' graves on Tomb Sweeping Festival this year."

Ning Yao abruptly rose to her feet, and this time, it was Chen Ping'an's turn to fall headfirst into the basket, while Ning Yao chortled with mirth.

There were only five children left at the school, and they were all of different ages and backgrounds. One of them was a little girl wearing a large red padded jacket, and even though she was from Fortune Street, she didn't use her status to bully her schoolmates. However, she was also quite averse to interacting with others, preferring to stroll around aimlessly in her own company.

Li Huai was the son of Li Er from the westernmost household in the town, and he was also attending the school. His parents had left the town with his older sister, leaving only him behind, but not only was he not distraught in the slightest, he was ecstatic. Finally, he no longer had to live under the strict supervision of his parents.

However, the only downside was that he was living at his uncle's house, and whenever he awoke from a nightmare, he would begin howling at the top of his lungs, in response to which his uncle and his aunt-in-law would force him down and beat him into silence, with one of them using a feather duster, while the other used a broom as their weapon of choice.

The three other children consisted of two boys and a girl, and they came from Peach Leaf Alley, Dragon Riding Alley, and Apricot Blossom Alley.

At the conclusion of the day's lessons, Mr. Qi gave each of them a piece of calligraphy, instructing them to keep it safe and study it carefully, telling them that he was going to examine their progress in three days.

Each child had received a "Qi" character.

After the children were dismissed, the elderly janitor arrived outside Mr. Qi's study after bathing and changing into some new clothes, then sat down onto the ground.

The old janitor raised a question about a Daoist classic titled "First Month of the Monarch's Rule", in response to which Qi Jingchun smiled and patiently explained to the old janitor what the book was all about.

In all of the major Daoist academies, it was considered to be customary practice for a teacher to hold a book in their hand while answering questions from students. An "inquisitor" would be present to ask questions for the teacher to answer, and sometimes, it could just be a single question, while other times, it could be several questions, dozens of questions, or even hundreds.

This session of questioning had taken place during Mr. Qi and the old man's first meeting, which was 80 years ago.

However, at the time, Qi Jingchun had also been an inquisitor, and the teacher that both of them shared had been the one answering their questions.

After all of his questions had been answered, the old man cast his gaze toward Qi Jingchun and asked, "Do you still remember what our teacher told us before we traveled to Mountain Cliff Academy?"

Qi Jingchun merely smiled and offered no response, leaving the old man to answer his own question.

"What he told me was 'heaven and earth nurture the monarch, while the monarch rules over heaven and earth', and what he told you was 'one must never stop learning. The student shall surpass the teacher'."

The old man suddenly became extremely worked up as he spoke. "Our teacher had such high hopes for you, expecting you to surpass him one day! Why do you insist on staying in this place and ruining yourself? This is just a small town holding a few thousand residents, why are you willing to sacrifice everything you've built up to this point for them?

If a normal scholar were in your place, then it wouldn't be such a big deal, but you, Qi Jingchun, are our teacher's most prized disciple! You are a scholar who has the potential to innovate and establish a branch of teachings of your own!"

At this point, the old man was trembling, and he concluded, "I know why you became like this. Buddhism has led you astray! What is this nonsense about all life being equal? Have you not forgotten how our teacher taught us that there is inherent inequality..."

Qi Jingchun shook his head with a smile as he interrupted, "Our teacher is an extremely wise man, but not everything that he preaches is correct."

The old man was astonished beyond belief to hear this, and he was stunned into silence for a moment before yelling in a furious voice, "You must respect the teachings of our teacher!"

Qi Jingchun's smile remained unchanged as he replied, "A wise man must know when to retreat and when to stand their ground."

Qi Jingchun's response seemed to be completely unrelated to what the old man had said, but a bewildered look instantly appeared on the latter's face after hearing what Qi Jingchun had to say.

Qi Jingchun sighed as he looked at his junior brother, then said with a serious expression, "At this point, it's too late to turn back. I'll have to trouble you to take those children to Mountain Cliff Academy."

The old man nodded in response, then departed with a complex look on his face, leaving Qi Jingchun to murmur to himself, "Teacher, does the unquestionable truth really exist in this world?"

Two horse-drawn carriages set off from Fortune Street and departed from the town well before the crack of dawn.

At first light, Chen Ping'an traveled to the kiln supervision office to wait for someone while carrying a pair of large cloth sacks.

One of the sacks contained pouches of gold essence copper coins, while the other contained the snake gall pebbles that he felt to be most valuable.

However, even as the sun rose up into the sky, and the porter came out with a broom to sweep the streets, Chen Ping'an still didn't spot any horse-drawn carriages leaving the office.

Hence, he had no choice but to muster up his courage and ask when Chen Dui and the others were going to set off from Fortune Street, in response to which the porter told him that they had departed long ago.

Chen Ping'an was astonished to hear this. Liu Xianyang had told him that they were only going to depart after the sun had risen!

In that instant, a film of tears surfaced over his eyes, blurring his vision.

After thanking the porter, he turned and ran away as quickly as he could.

After rushing out of the town, he ran close to 30 kilometers in one go, finally making his way up to the top of the top of a hill in an exhausted manner. He squatted down on the hilltop, looking at the winding road up ahead with the copper coins and snake gall stones resting beside his feet.

Ning Yao silently arrived beside him, then sat down onto the ground as she panted, "Aren't you supposed to be a stingy little codger? When did you become so generous? You were going to give them everything you had, weren't you? Even your friend, Liu Xianyang, wasn't that loose with his money."

Chen Ping'an offered no response, continuing to stare into the distance with his hands clasped over his head.

Johnchen and Flying Dumpling's Thoughts

"Because Ruan Xiu's not here, yet you're here with me right now."

Very smooth, Ping'an.

Chapter end

<<Prev
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Catalogue
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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