unsheathed – Chapter 90: Heavy Rain

Chapter 90: Heavy Rain

Chapter 90: Heavy Rain

Chen Ping'an was still rather suspicious of A'Liang, but he had to admit that A'Liang was a very interesting person.

He had a donkey that he never rode, he was constantly bickering with Li Huai, and he was determined to swindle Lin Shouyi into drinking alcohol, telling him that fine wine and beautiful women were the best things that this world had to offer.

He would also always walk circles around Chen Ping'an during the latter's walking meditation sessions, telling him that if he could reach full mastery of this fist technique, then he was going to be an extremely formidable martial artist, able to pummel anyone that he pleased.

However, he then told Chen Ping'an that violence was never the answer, and that if Chen Ping'an wanted to make it far in life, then he would have to replicate A'Liang by using his looks and his charisma to make others bend to his will.

In addition to that, he would also boast to Zhu He about how his swordsmanship was unmatched, and that whenever he drew his sword, even he was terrified of himself, let alone his opponents. Zhu He merely smiled and nodded in response, but Zhu Lu refused to believe him, insisting that he showed them his abilities with that bamboo saber of his.

She didn't ask him to demonstrate any devastating sword techniques, all she asked was that he cut down a tree with around the same diameter as the average bowl, and she would concede that she had been wrong about him.

In response, A'Liang told her that this was not a good day for him to show off his sword techniques, and that even though he was already such a master swordsman that he could use anything as a sword, he had to be in the right mood to display his sword techniques. After all, was a powerful swordsman really a powerful swordsman if they didn't have some strange idiosyncrasies?

Apparently, he was only interested in showing off his sword techniques on days with strong wind, heavy snowfall, or pelting rain. For example, during heavy rain, he would be able to demonstrate how his sword was so fast that it could slice through the air without catching a single drop of rain.

Zhu Lu spat on the ground in disgust, then turned to run away, and A'Liang wasn't bothered by this in the slightest. Instead, he merely turned to Zhu He and remarked that his daughter had a rather foul personality. He also promised Zhu He that if no one wanted to marry Zhu Lu because of her terrible temper, then he would be willing to grant Zhu He the enormous honor of becoming his father-in-law.

From that time onward, Zhu He no longer tried to engage in conversation with A'Liang, leaving him to drink alone in a slightly dejected fashion.

It just so happened that a few days later, as they were approaching the Iron Talisman River, light rain began to fall from the sky. It wasn't a heavy storm, by any stretch of the imagination, but there was definitely rain, nonetheless.

A'Liang was focused on walking along while dragging his donkey behind him when all of a sudden, Zhu Lu stopped him in his tracks. A perplexed look appeared on his face, following which he quickly realized what she wanted, and he said, "Oh, you want me to show you my sword techniques now that it's raining, right? Don't worry, I haven't forgotten. Can you not look at me like you're looking at a fraud?

You're still too young, you don't understand how many rules almighty swordsmen like myself are bound by. The rain isn't heavy enough, so even if I were to use a blade of grass as a sword, I would feel like I'm not doing the blade of grass justice. Wait, what I meant to say is that I wouldn't be doing my exceptional sword techniques justice.

Hence, we have to wait for a day with heavy rainfall before I show you what I'm capable of. When the time comes, I guarantee you that I'll be able to sever the Iron Talisman River, and I may not accept you as my disciple even if you cry and beg me!"

Zhu He quickly stepped in and dragged his daughter away in silence.

The rain was far from heavy, so they were able to travel as normal without delay. A'Liang adjusted his conical bamboo hat as he shook his head and heaved a faint sigh. Walking at the forefront of the group with his white donkey behind him, he cast a rather lonesome and forlorn figure.

To his dismay, two days later, a heavy storm arrived, as if the heavens were answering Zhu Lu's prayers.

A disgruntled look appeared on A'Liang's face as he yelled, "What the hell are you all looking at? Are there flowers growing on my face? Hurry up and take shelter from the rain! What if our precious little Baoping gets sick from the cold? Can't you have some sympathy? You can watch my sword techniques at any time, can't you see Baoping is about to freeze to death?"

In the end, everyone gathered under a large tree to take shelter from the rain, and they were all staring expectantly at A'Liang.

Li Huai wore a fake smile as he imitated his mother's tone and said, "It's a good thing for you that this isn't a thunderstorm. Otherwise, you'll be the first one to be struck down by lightning."

Zhu Lu merely looked on with a cold sneer, and even the normally aloof and disinterested Lin Shouyi couldn't help but roll his eyes in disdain.

At this point, Zhu He was already completely unwilling to engage in conversation with A'Liang, and he was sitting under the tree while chewing on some dry rations. He had subtly probed A'Liang on many occasions during their journey up to this point, and he had come to the conclusion that even if A'Liang really were a powerful Militarian cultivator, there was definitely no way that he was the master swordsman that he claimed to be.

If he were telling the truth, then Zhu He would be more than happy to accept him as his son-in-law. In fact, he would even be willing to refer to A'Liang as his father-in-law!

Compared with when they had first left the blacksmith shop, Li Baoping had become a lot quieter, choosing to remain by Chen Ping'an's side in silence most of the time, and she refused to even let Zhu He or Zhu Lu carry her basket for her.

As for Chen Ping'an, he was practicing his meditation as usual, and this had become a sight that everyone was already accustomed to.

A'Liang was beginning to feel rather uncomfortable under the scrutiny of Li Huai and the others, and he turned so that his back was facing them, then began taking swigs of wine from his silver gourd.

As the rain began to subside, A'Liang suddenly rose to his feet and declared that he was going out to find a suitable branch, and that he was finally going to show everyone his exceptional swordsmanship. However, right as everyone was looking at one another in shock, A'Liang added that if he couldn't find a suitable branch, then there would be nothing he could do.

Apparently, for a sword immortal, finding a suitable weapon was just as difficult as it was for the average man to find a wife.

Everyone merely looked at him, and no one was even willing to say anything.

A'Liang made his way up the mountain shop alone, and the ground was slippery from the rain, causing him to almost slip over. He hurriedly pretended to throw out a few fist techniques to conceal the fact that he had slipped, as if he were warming up for the display of master swordsmanship he had promised everyone.

Right after A'Liang disappeared from view, the rain abruptly became heavier without any warning, catching everyone completely off guard.

Chen Ping'an opened his eyes and spotted the nearby donkey under the tree. After a moment of contemplation, he stood up and said, "I'll go look for A'Liang."

Zhu He also rose to his feet and offered, "I'll go with you. This type of weather is quite dangerous to travel alone in."

Chen Ping'an shook his head in response. "There's no need for that. I've encountered this type of weather on many occasions back when I entered the mountains to burn charcoal or collect medicinal ingredients, so there's no need to worry about me. Besides, you need to stay behind and look after everyone else."

Zhu He considered the situation for a moment, then nodded in agreement. "Alright, then be careful on your own."

Chen Ping'an patted Li Baoping on the head, then promised in a gentle voice, "I'll be back before you know it."

Wu Yuan was so busy that he barely had a moment to rest throughout the day. Not only did he have to personally oversee the construction of the county office on the eastern side of the town, there was also the matter of choosing sites for the wenchang pavilion and martial sage temple. Out of the four surnames and ten clans, aside from the six that had already collectively moved out of the town, there were eight left.

During the archway plaque rubbing incident, Right-hand Minister Dong Hu of the ministry of rites had completely superseded Wu Yuan's authority, and as a result, none of the remaining affluent clans in the town on Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley were taking him seriously. Even so, he still had to visit those households one by one, and by the end, his lips were dry and cracked, and he felt as if his throat were on fire.

As soon as he returned to the kiln supervision office, he immediately collapsed onto his chair, then loosened his collar as he stared blankly at the decorative engravings on the ceiling with a contemplative expression.

His scholarly secretary was standing beside him, and he had accompanied Wu Yuan during his visits to all of the clan leaders. They were never denied an audience, but the clan leaders were far from cooperative, constantly kicking the ball back and forth between one another.

One of them would say that the leader of the Liu Clan would have to be consulted on the matter of whether the wenchang pavilion could be constructed on the mountain of porcelain, while another would proclaim that the Wei Clan owned the majority of the immortal tomb, so the matter could only be discussed if the leader of the Wei Clan agreed to proceed.

However, the leaders of the Liu Clan and the Wei Clan then declared that this was an extremely important matter that concerned the very foundations of their clans, so everyone had to be gathered for a thorough discussion. Otherwise, they were going to be criticized by the other residents of the town.

The scholarly secretary was also infuriated by this type of treatment, but he had plenty of experience with things like this from a young age, so he was more than familiar with the rules of the game. He knew that serving as an official was very difficult, and it was even more difficult to serve as the leading official of an area.

Hence, he didn't allow his temper to get the better of him. Right at this moment, several of his colleagues approached to enquire about the situation, and he gave them a gentle shake of his head, indicating for them to stay away for now and give Wu Yuan some peace and quiet.

All of a sudden, Wu Yuan smiled as he said, "Don't worry about me, I'm fine. It's just that I'm suddenly craving the wine from the capital."

Only then did the scholarly official take a seat, and he said in a forlorn voice, "It's a pity that the Li Clan has already moved to the capital. Otherwise, we could ask Clan Leader Li Hong for assistance.

If he can pull some strings for us behind the scenes, then it'll become a lot easier for us to carry out our work. Our clan is on good terms with the branch of the Li Clan in the capital, so if they can put in a word for us, then the branch of Li Clan in this town would definitely have to lend us a hand."

Wu Yuan turned to him with a stern expression as he scolded, "Are you an idiot? The connections harnessed by your clan don't equate to your connections. Each time you use your clan's connections, your status in your clan will take a huge hit. This is not something as simple as requesting a piece of calligraphy from someone, so you better not do anything stupid."

"I was just worried that you wouldn't be able to get over this, so I was trying to cheer you up," the scholarly secretary said with a smile.

An amused smile appeared on Wu Yuan's face. "If I'm the type of person to get hung up on things like this, then I would've already broken that pillar general's legs and eloped with his daughter."

The entire room fell silent in the wake of this declaration.

The scholarly secretary was having to suppress his laughter as he said, "I suggest you only make boastful statements like these in private, Master Wu."

Wu Yuan leaned against the back of his chair, and not only was he not annoyed in the slightest at being exposed, he smiled as he replied, "Of course! If my father-in-law were to actually visit me now, I would've already sprung out of my chair to fetch him some tea. Upon my return, I would ask him if he's tired and if he requires a shoulder massage."

Everyone in the entire room instantly burst into laughter, and even the pair of martial secretaries standing on either side of the entrance outside exchanged an amused glance.

In the instant that Wu Yuan sat up straight, everyone in the room unconsciously tensed up a little, waiting with bated breath for what he was about to say next. Wu Yuan said in an unhurried voice, "The Li Clan has already moved away, and the Lu Clan is determined to sit on the fence and not get involved. The Zhao Clan claims that their patriarch is ill, and that they'll only be able to arrive at a decision once their patriarch has recovered.

As for the Song Clan, that one's the most difficult to deal with. The four major surnames on Fortune Street collectively own 10 large dragon kilns, and the two previously owned by the Li Clan have already been passed onto the Wei and Liu Clans on Peach Leaf Alley. I want all of you to collate all of the scattered files in the office and construct a chart denoting the connections and relationships between the clans.

Let me see just how convoluted this town can be! Even if we can't get the top clans in the town to do our bidding, we can always settle for the clans below them. Aside from the bottom few clans of the 10 clans, there's also the Ma Clan, which is quite affluent and has remained unwilling to move to Fortune Street or Peach Leaf Alley as their ancestors stipulated against doing so.

They own two dragon kilns, and seeing as I'm currently serving as the kiln supervision official, I get to decide on the scale of all of the dragon kilns. I'll provide assistance to all of the clans willing to assist us, and at the same time, I'll invest as much as what's needed to complete our objectives, even if that means exhausting all of the kiln supervision office's savings.

They may be able to keep the mountain of porcelain, but given how large the immortal tomb is, there's inevitably going to be a disagreement on how the place is split up among the clans, and when that happens, we'll be able to swoop in. They can kick me around as they please now, but once everything comes falling down around them, those sly old foxes will have to scramble to apologize to me."

This should've been a rousing declaration from Wu Yuan, but instead of being reinvigorated, he heaved a forlorn sigh before slumping back against his chair again. "I can't keep living like this! When is this torture going to come to an end?! Teacher, where are the beautiful women willing to offer me their laps to rest on?

All of the women in the entire office are either old hags or children! There's not a single woman of the right age in sight! Aren't the women here supposed to be more beautiful than anywhere else?"Aall west chptrs on n.o./vli/n/(.)cm

Right at this moment, Cui Chan arrived, only to be stopped outside the entrance of the room by the pair of martial secretaries. A smile appeared on his face as he jibed, "Master Wu, how about I write a letter to Pillar General Yuan and ask him if he can send those two adorable little maidservants of yours here from the capital?"

Wu Yuan immediately rose to his feet, and he couldn't expose the fact that his teacher was the imperial preceptor, nor did he have the guts to put on an act and loudly denounce his teacher.

At the same time, he was feeling quite perplexed, wondering why his teacher had come to pay him a visit, and why it appeared that he didn't mind having his identity exposed.

Cui Chan couldn't be bothered to speak to Wu Yuan's secretaries, and he merely turned as he instructed, "Come with me."

Wu Yuan gestured for everyone in the room to remain quiet, then quickly made his way out of the room. The two martial secretaries wanted to accompany him, but he waved them off and continued on his own.

Making his way down a quiet stone path, Cui Chan asked, "Have those prisoners from the Lu Clan already entered the mountains?"

Wu Yuan shook his head in response. "There are 600 prisoners who are still yet to reach the entrance of the northernmost Divine Lord Mountain. These people are the most noble of the prisoners, and most of them are descendants of powerful and wealthy figures in the Lu Empire. They're also quite young, ranging somewhere between 14 to 20 years of age."

A perplexed look then appeared on Wu Yuan's face as he asked, "Didn't you organize all of this in advance, Teacher?"

"Plans can change, alright?" Cui Chan snapped. "Right now, I'm like a flood dragon stranded on the shore, so I have to confirm these details with you. Drop everything you're doing now and make a trip to the entrance of Divine Lord Mountain as quickly as possible. Find a prisoner by the name of Xia Yulu and organize for him to be sent to the capital."

"The ones escorting the prisoners to Dragon Spring County are all Song Changjing's most trusted subordinates. Those unruly soldiers owe no allegiance to me, would they be willing to let Xia Yulu go on my request?" Wu Yuan asked in a cautious manner.

Cui Chan waved a hand in an impatient manner as he replied, "I've already paved the way for you, all you need to do is show up there."

"Will you be alright, Teacher?" Wu Yuan asked in a concerned voice.

"I'll live!" Cui Chan snapped.

With that, Wu Yuan didn't hesitate any longer, immediately calling upon his two martial secretaries to depart with him on horseback.

Following Wu Yuan's departure, Cui Chan made his way down the path alone with a grim look on his face as he murmured to himself, "Just a single misstep has sent the entire situation spiraling out of control. I haven't lost yet, but my plan has completely collapsed. No matter. As long as there's still a slim chance at victory, that'll suffice.

I'll just treat this as an experience to polish and refine my mental state. If worse comes to worst, I'll just have to switch to a completely new plan. I've already managed to outlast both Teacher and Qi Jingchun, haven't I? Hold on, now that I think about it, that makes me sound like a cowardly turtle!" [1]

In the end, Cui Chan heaved a forlorn sigh. "Her luck is as exceptional as ever. Why did she have to come here at this particular time? Now that she's entered the frame, the only thing I can do is try to salvage as many pawns from this endgame as possible. Otherwise, she'll take everything! I can't believe this!"

If someone were to pass by the entrance of the kiln supervision office at this moment, they would be able to hear Cui Chan loudly speaking to himself from afar. "I'm not mad, there's no point for me to get mad over something like this... That's right, there's no point... Fuck that! How can I not be mad? I'm furious!"

At the blacksmith shop, three brand-new bamboo chairs of a vibrant green color were placed under the eaves.

Ruan Xiu had already stormed away in a fit of rage, leaving behind Master Ruan and the woman who had visited Clay Vase Alley earlier, and neither of them displayed any reaction to Ruan Xiu's departure.

On the bank of the creek in the distance stood Yang Hua, Xu Hunran, and Wang Yifu.

Seated on the bamboo chair, the woman withdrew her gaze from Ruan Xiu's departing figure. She had intentionally played a little trick to infuriate Ruan Xiu and drive her away. Now that she was alone with Ruan Qiong, she finally revealed the reason for her visit. "Was there an agreement between you and Mr. Qi, Master Ruan? Is that why Chen Ping'an is being accompanied by those martial artists from the Li Clan?"

"No," Ruan Qiong replied in a direct and straightforward manner.

"In that case, have you agreed to protect Chen Ping'an because of those three mountains that he purchased next to yours?" the woman asked.

Ruan Qiong nodded in response. "That's right. I promised him that no harm would befall him before he left the Great Li Empire."

The woman raised her head to look up at the sky, and the dark clouds up above indicated that a storm was coming. "How about this, Master Ruan? I'll get someone to purchase the four mountains around Divine Elegance Mountain, then present them to you as a gift from our Great Li Empire."

A cold sneer appeared on Ruan Qiong's face as he scoffed, "You're telling me you need to spend money to buy those mountains? Those pouches of gold essence copper coins go out one hand and go in the other for the emperor of the Great Li Empire anyway, so why take the extra step?"

The woman shook her head with a smile as she replied, "Rules are rules. I'm not exactly someone who likes to abide by rules, but your rules and His Majesty's rules are ones that I must abide by. I certainly wouldn't dare to proclaim that I'm a good person, but I've always acted within my capabilities."

Ruan Qiong offered no comment on this. Instead, he asked, "Why do you insist on killing that boy? Why are you in such a hurry to kill him that you're willing to incur such a massive cost to yourself? Why can't you wait until after he's left the Great Li Empire?"

The woman's voice remained calm and mellow, but there was a firm look in her eyes as she declared, "He has to die. Once he's dead, even if that baldie is right and karma really does exist, that won't matter. The death of his father and the fact that we used him to help Mu'er secure more fated opportunities, all of that will end with me."

"It's because you have some type of mystical ability that can't see the light of day capable of severing karma, right?" Ruan Qiong asked in an indifferent voice.

The woman merely smiled in response, neither confirming nor denying this.

Ruan Qiong shook his head as he continued, "Even so, that still doesn't explain why you're in such a hurry to kill him."

"Mu'er is about to reach the capital soon. Once he arrives, a massive fated opportunity will befall him, so in order to avoid unforeseen mishaps, I must eliminate everything that could pose a hindrance to him."

The woman could see that Ruan Qiong was completely unmoved by this explanation, so she had no choice but to be candid with him and reveal the secret circumstances involved. "If the knot in Mu'er's heart were present in the average cultivator, it would be of very little consequence.

The pursuit of the Great Dao is a lengthy endeavor, so even if he can't untie that knot before he reaches the Middle Five Tiers, there will be ways through which the Great Li Empire can forcibly eradicate the knot through external forces. Even in the worst-case scenario, that would only leave behind an inner demon of indeterminate power, which would make his breakthrough to the Upper Five Tiers extremely perilous.

However, the fated opportunity in the capital won't wait for anyone, so it must be capitalized on now. On top of that, that idiot, Cui Chan, lost, despite all his claims that he had already foreseen everything! It's clear that he wasn't able to tarnish that boy's purity, so I have no choice but to resort to the second-best option, which would be to present Chen Ping'an's head to Mu'er in order to salvage his mental state."

A resigned look appeared on the woman's face as she continued, "I've considered deceiving Mu'er by telling him that Chen Ping'an failed to pass Cui Chan's examination and was ultimately reduced to a petty vulgarian. I had even stitched together a perfect story down to the finest of details to support this lie, but I can't afford to take such a risk.

If Mu'er really does possess sufficiently exceptional aptitude to obtain that fated opportunity, then the truth will be like a blade constantly hanging over his head. If he ever finds out what really happened, then there's a very good chance that his Dao Heart could collapse in an instant."

All of a sudden, the heavy storm that had been threatening to arrive finally fell.

Ruan Qiong paid no heed to the heavy rain falling outside as he asked, "What kind of knot in his heart could be this troublesome to address?"

"That bastard, Old Man Yao, screwed me over and told that boy the truth. Of course, anyone with half a brain would be able to figure out that there's no way his parents would be unable to enter the cycle of reincarnation just because he was born on the fifth day of the fifth month. At this point, the boy had already broken his vow to his mother, and after learning the truth, he rushed back to the town from the dragon kiln like a madman.

Do you know what he did after that? He didn't go and seek out Mu'er, nor did he return home. Instead, he waited outside Clay Vase Alley until Mu'er was out alone, and only then did he pounce. He cornered Mu'er and forced him against a wall, almost strangling him to death! Of course, he wasn't able to kill Mu'er in the end, and even if that had been his intention, he would've been the only one that died.

Those accursed spies were watching from the shadows this entire time as all of this happened, but they insisted on abiding by the rules set by His Majesty, which stated that they couldn't intervene unless Mu'er died. Those idiots deserve to be executed 10,000 times over for their incompetence!"

The woman did her best to remain as calm as possible as she revealed this secret to Ruan Qiong, following which a rare hint of exhaustion and resignation appeared on her face. "How could such an insidious, filthy mutt possibly exist in this world? His actions became the biggest knot in Mu'er's heart, one that's virtually impossible to resolve.

Throughout all these years since then, Mu'er would often wake up in the middle of the night from dreams of that incident. He was never able to understand why Chen Ping'an didn't kill him on that day, and why he had only chosen to strike when Zhi Gui wasn't with him.

Mu'er told me that if he had been in Chen Ping'an's place, he would've torn Chen Ping'an to shreds, and ideally, he would've done so in front of all of Chen Ping'an's loved ones. Ultimately, I suppose I'm partially to blame for all of this."

Rain was pelting down onto the ground, much like the tears of the two children in the aftermath of that incident.

Song Jixin had been slumped on the ground, grabbing at his own throat with his hands as he bawled his eyes out in fear.

Meanwhile, Chen Ping'an had made his way into Clay Vase Alley while weeping into his forearm.

After a long silence, the woman set that train of thought aside, and after a brief hesitation, she asked, "I'm sure you have your guesses about what happened at the covered bridge, right?"

Ruan Qiong's face was etched with resentment as he spat through gritted teeth, "If I had known all of this, I wouldn't have come here."

The woman raised an eyebrow as she declared, "That's why before Mu'er left the town, he had to go and offer incense there. He's only in the position that he's in today because one member of the Great Li Empire's imperial family has dropped dead after another!

Every single stroke of each character on the plaque above the covered bridge that reads 'rising winds crashing water' equates to the loss of one life, and it's the sacrifices of those lives that granted him everything he has right now!"

There was a dark look on Ruan Qiong's face, and he seemed to have no intention of saying anything further.

The woman slowly rose to her feet with an intense look in her eyes, and she looked down at Ruan Qiong as she said in a low and alluring voice, "Master Ruan, if you feel like four mountains isn't worth breaking your promise to that boy, then that's fine. State your price, and we can negotiate. For example, after I return to the capital, I can convince His Majesty to do everything in his power to help your daughter attain her Dao attainment catalyst.

I don't know what her Dao attainment catalyst is, but I can promise you on His Majesty's behalf that the Great Li Empire will help her in every way possible! Aside from myself, Imperial Preceptor Cui Chan and even Song Changjing can all lend Ruan Xiu their assistance in the attainment of her Dao attainment catalyst!"

"From now on, do not set foot within a 500-kilometer radius of Dragon Spring County," Ruan Qiong said in an indifferent voice. "If I ever see you encroaching upon this area, then don't blame me for casting aside my chivalry and beating a woman."

The woman heaved a faint sigh. "Fine. I'll just have to wait until he gets to the border of the Great Li Empire then."

While she was making her way down the steps, Ruan Qiong suddenly said, "The chair you just sat on was made by Chen Ping'an."

The woman faltered slightly upon hearing this, and she intentionally misconstrued what Ruan Qiong was trying to convey as she asked with a seductive smile, "Are you trying to say that he's indirectly touched my bottom?"

The woman burst into laughter as she strode straight into the storm, allowing herself to be soaked by the rain.

Through her drenched clothes, her seductive curves were laid bare for all to see, but Ruan Qiong was looking away from her in an expressionless manner.

Yet another heavy storm arrived. By the time Chen Ping'an made his way onto the summit of the mountain, he discovered A'Liang standing with his back facing him, and he was in the process of slowly returning his bamboo saber to its scabbard.

After the blade was sheathed, A'Liang turned around with a bright smile as he said, "Prior to coming here, I met a young martial artist who was far more interesting than you are. I often heard him reciting a poetic phrase, and it really resonated with me, so why don't you have a listen as well? It goes 'whenever I see injustice in this world, the sword in my heart begins to quiver'."

A'Liang slowly made his way toward Chen Ping'an as he continued, "Having said that, I'm not some hero who feels inclined to stand up against injustice, I simply feel like this poetic phrase is very fitting to be recited after killing people in this type of weather. There are two reasons why I came to find you, the first of which is to collect the sword nurturing gourd along the way, while the second is for that hairpin you're wearing. I'd say the latter is about 100 times more important than the former."

On the hill behind A'Liang laid a pair of bodies that were resting peacefully, and both of them were among the most powerful martial artists and cultivators of the Great Li Empire.

"Who are you?" Chen Ping'an asked.

The man continued to make his way slowly toward Chen Ping'an with his palm resting on the hilt of his saber, and he stopped after arriving in front of Chen Ping'an, then lifted his conical bamboo hat as he smiled and replied, "My name is A'Liang, Liang as in kindness."

1. In Chinese culture, being referred to as a turtle has various negative connotations. A turtle can have a very long lifespan, but is always hiding in its shell, so if someone is called a turtle, they're being referred to as a coward that chooses to outlast their opponents rather than confront them directly.

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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