unsheathed – Chapter 39: Cursing the Locust Tree

Chapter 39: Cursing the Locust Tree

Chapter 39: Cursing the Locust Tree

Chen Ping'an felt that if he collected pebbles in the morning in the future, he could start from the blacksmith forge where Liu Xianyang was. He could then continue upstream all the way until he reached the covered bridge. Thus, for tonight, he decided to start from further upstream compared to last time. This way, he would be further from the covered bridge and the green stone cliff that people often referred to as the Azure Cow Ridge.

Indeed, the latter place was where he had encountered the young girl in green last time. Moreover, because of this decision, Chen Ping'an would avoid an encounter with Song Jixin and the kiln supervision official.

On the covered bridge, the plaque reading "Rising Winds Crashing Water" hung high.

On the surface, the man in white and wearing a jade belt was nothing more than the new kiln supervision official. In reality, however, he was actually the most powerful prince of the Great Li Empire. Following his lead, Song Jixin also arrived before the steps leading up to the covered bridge.

Before coming here, not only had he bathed and changed in the kiln supervision office, but he had even attached a scented satchel and a dragon-shaped jade pendant to his waist. The latter was made from ordinary material, and its color was already faded and unexceptional. Surprisingly, Song Changjing ordered him to remove the Old Dragon Rainbringer jade pendant even though it was superior in quality and was a better omen. He wasn't allowed to wear it no matter what.

There were three incense sticks in Song Jixin's hand. Standing before the steps, the young boy was at a loss for what to do.

Song Changjing turned around and reached over, lightly rubbing his fingers over the three incense sticks. The incense sticks immediately started to smoke.

"Kneel down and face the plaque. Then kowtow three times and place the incense sticks in the ground. After that, you're all done," the man casually said.

Even though Song Jixin was puzzled, he still did as his "uncle" from out of nowhere commanded. He held the incense sticks as he kneeled down and kowtowed.

Even though the man had spoken in a casual manner, his expression immediately became solemn and complicated when the young boy kneeled down before the covered bridge. As he looked at the young boy kowtowing, a hint of deeply concealed loathing flashed across his face.

After placing the three sticks of incense in the ground and standing up, Song Jixin asked, "Is it really okay to offer incense here?"

The man smiled and replied, "It's merely a ritual, so there's no need to overthink it. From now on, you need to learn how to deal with all kinds of different situations. Otherwise, you'll be so busy that your head will want to explode in the future."

His expression became serious as he continued, "But don't forget this either. This covered bridge is... the origin of your dynasty."

Song Jixin's lips were blue, and it was hard to say whether this had been caused by the chilly spring wind. The young boy purposely tried to act relaxed as he said, "It's not good to throw these words around so casually, right?"

The man rested one hand on his stomach and one hand on his belt as he laughed heartily and said, "That's naturally the case when we return to the capital. Here, however, it doesn't matter too much. There's no guard dog outside the temples, nor are there the wild dogs of the cultivation world. No one will latch onto me and try to bite me all over."

"You're also afraid of being criticized by others?" Song Jixin asked in curiosity.

The man retorted, "I've already defeated all opponents and become peerless in the Great Li Empire. If there's nothing that I'm afraid of, won't I be in an even more comfortable position than the person on the throne? Do you think that makes sense?"

Song Jixin mulled over this, and after hesitating for a brief moment, he still decided to ask, "Then are you hiding your abilities and biding your time? Or are you purposefully ignoring an opponent to appear more important?"

Song Changjing couldn't help but chuckle upon hearing this. He pointed at the young boy who was full of vigor, shaking his head and saying, "You truly dared to utter such treasonous words. You're still far too naive when it comes to what can be said in what situation. Whether you go to the capital in the future, or whether you go to some immortal sect to temporarily keep a low profile, I still suggest that you don't speak in such a wilful and wanton manner. Otherwise, you'll definitely bring disaster upon yourself."

"I'll keep that in mind," Song Jixin replied with a nod.

The man pointed at the plaque with golden characters and said, "Rising Winds Crashing Water, Rising Winds Crashing Water... Let me ask you, how does the water crash and rise?"

"I don't know," Song Jixin immediately replied.

"Knowing is knowing, and not knowing is not knowing. Such a mindset is one of wisdom indeed," Song Changjing muttered. "What a crock of **. Intellectuals love this kind of wishy-washy nonsense. Even when they fart, they have to come up with a poem with nine verses and 18 twists."

The man became slightly less crude when he faced the young boy, and he said, "If I remember correctly, throughout the 3000-year history of this small town, the water level in this creek has never risen higher than the tip of that rusty sword, regardless of how powerful a flood occurs."

"An old man who lives near the Iron Lock Well on Apricot Blossom Alley does indeed stand under the locust tree and tell us about this all the time. Is there a deeper meaning behind this?" Song Jixin asked in puzzlement.

The man pointed far into the distance, toward the area where the creek flowed down from the mountains. He smiled and said, "Inside the mountains, the snakes have their own Dao. Inside buildings and houses, the rats have their own path. As for the rivers and creeks, the flood dragons residing within naturally have their own Dao as well."

The man put down his finger and explained in patience, "In fact, there are many areas in the Great Li Empire where it is a custom to hang a sword under a bridge. However, those copper coin swords, peach wood swords, or talisman swords are only able to block the mountain flood dragons and forest pythons from entering the river a single time. They're unable to block them twice. Sometimes, due to the lowly cultivation of those who place the swords, they're unable to block the flood dragons and pythons even once. They instead enrage the flood dragons, causing the bridges to collapse after the floods even though they could have initially continued to stand. The sword will also vanish without a trace. Only the sword here..."

The man fell silent as he said this.Fiind updted ovels on n/v/elbin(.)co/m

Song Jixin forcefully stopped himself from asking.

The man sighed and continued, "Only the sword here wasn't placed to target flood dragons or whatnot. Ever since the first day, it was placed here to seal the exit of the Dragon Locking Well. The so-called exit is that deep pool under the covered bridge. The sword hangs above it to prevent the Dragon Qi from dissipating too quickly and forcefully causing this small world to explode."

Song Jixin directly went to the root of the problem, asking, "Did that last True Dragon in the world genuinely die?"

Song Changjing chuckled and said, "During that dragon slaying battle 3000 years ago, countless cultivators were wounded and killed. In fact, there were even casualties among the Sages of the three teachings and the sect masters of the hundred schools of thought. Do you think they were all braindead, or do you think the Sages were all as dumb as dogs even after living for all those years? Did you really think they would purposefully spare that True Dragon and raise it like a harmless pet?"

"Perhaps they were unable to comprehensively kill that True Dragon?" Song Jixin retorted. "So they could only use a stalling tactic and try to kill it slowly? Even though I don't know about the plans and ambitions of those Sages from several thousand years ago, I can easily guess that the True Dragon was no easy foe to deal with at all!"

The man shook his head, but also nodded afterward, saying, "You're half correct. The True Dragon is indeed dead. However, when it comes to its true identity and significance, the phrase 'not easy' can't even begin to describe it."

Song Jixin wanted to say something, but he refrained from doing so.

"To sum things up, the Great Li Empire went through all that planning and sacrifice for nothing more than the characters on this plaque Rising Winds Crashing Water. It was all for our future adventure into the south."

The man walked up the steps and said slowly, "If you ask me why the Sages decided to slay the True Dragon 3000 years ago, it will truly be quite difficult for me to answer this question. If you ask me why you were tossed into this place, and why you're a noble prince of the Great Li Empire, however, I can indeed answer some of your questions."

Song Jixin's head was lowered, and it was hard to see his expression.

Since the young boy didn't ask, the man naturally wouldn't offer any uninvited explanations either. When he arrived at the final step, he turned around to face the small town, saying, "You need to be more tolerant in the future. Don't always be swayed by your personal feelings, so much so that you get into conflicts with people like Liu Xianyang. In fact, you've even developed a killing intent toward him. Don't you find this beneath yourself?"

Song Jixin sat down on the top step and looked toward the north with the man. He then asked a completely unrelated question, saying, "Is our Great Li Empire in the northernmost region of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent?"

The man nodded and replied, "Mhm, we've been regarded as northern barbarians for almost a thousand years now. It's merely because we're powerful enough now that we've won a bit of respect."

Song Jixin's head remained lowered. However, there was a fervent expression flickering in his eyes.

Song Changjing continued in a calm voice, "When you return to the capital, you have to be wary of a person with the nickname 'Embroidered Tiger'."

Song Jixin was puzzled by this sudden warning.

Song Changjing smiled and explained, "He's the imperial preceptor of the Great Li Empire, and he's more so the esteemed mentor of your brother. In the past 50 years, the Great Li Empire was able to expand from 70 counties and 800 cities to the current 140 counties and 1500 cities. Our territory expanded immensely, and this person can take half the credit for that."

Song Jixin vigorously looked up.

The man smiled and asked, "Yes, you've guessed correctly."

Sitting next to the young boy, the man placed his hands on his knees and gazed into the distance.

The other person who had made a great contribution to the Great Li Empire and could take the remaining half of the credit was seemingly distant and profound, but he was, in fact, right beside him.

Song Jixin's entire body was shaking at this moment, and even his mind felt completely numb.

The two of them fell silent for a long time. At some point in time, Song Jixin suddenly said, "Uncle, even though I have killing intent toward Liu Xianyang, and even though I considered making a deal with Old Dragon City's Fu Nanhua to have him kill Liu Xianyang, I've never once viewed him as an equal to myself. This is the case even though he comes from a clan with an ancient and proud history. I only thought about killing him because doing so wouldn't cost me too much. That's all there is to it."

Song Changjing became slightly interested. "In that case, the knot in your heart is because of something else?"

The young boy remained silent as he rubbed his neck.

In the silent depths of the night...

There was surprisingly still someone walking along the alleys of the small town. Her figure was slender, and her clothes were thin. When she passed the Iron Lock Well in Apricot Blossom Alley, her jaws were clenched and her teeth were gritted. In fact, while passing the archway, she had viciously kicked one of the stone pillars. In the end, she arrived beneath the leafy old locust tree. According to the elderly residents, this tree had already lived for heaven knows how many years. Moreover, the old branches that fell down would never hit the people walking or standing beneath the tree. It was quite peculiar and incredible.

The young girl strode up to the locust tree. She naturally didn't pay any heed to these nonsensical sayings.

She then opened the ancient book that she had borrowed from her young master and started to reel off a series of names.

She read the names one by one, and it was as if she were a general calling the names of her soldiers.

When she became slightly parched, she finally stopped reading the names. She held the book that Song Jixin referred to as "Beyond the Wall" in one hand and pointed at the locust tree with the other, looking up and scolding, "I'm giving you face, but you're not going to accept my kind offer? Is that how it is?!"

The tree remained silent, not offering a response.

The young girl immediately stomped her feet and cursed, "The Four Families and Ten Clans! I'll start with the Four Families first. Lu, Li, Zhao, and Song, I encourage your clans to understand the situation. Hurry up, I'll need at least three locust leaves from each clan. If you give me even one less, I, Wang Zhu, will never forgive you! When I leave this place, I'll deal with your clans one by one, and I won't show any mercy regardless of whether I come across young men, young women, the elderly, or children. You're all a bunch of ungrateful animals, after all. You're not paying your debts of gratitude, yet you still think that you're in the right?!"

The young girl huffed in anger. She placed a hand on her hip and continued to scold them, shouting, "Song Clan! Who was it thanks to that the Great Li Empire followed your surname? Are you people not aware? Are you pretending to be stupid? Do you believe me if I say that I'll change the surname of the imperial family to Lu or Zhao when I get out? Anything apart from Song?!

"The Ten Clans! I'll need at least two locust leaves from each clan. As for the remaining clans, I need at least one locust leaf each. Of course, if anyone has the courage to up their bet, I'm also happy to take extras. In the future, I'll make sure that they end up with a fortune!

"Cao Clan from the Ten Clans! Yes, the Cao Clan where that bastard Cao Xi came from! What disgusting thing didn't that brat do in the past? He was already filled with evil schemes when he was still a kid with open crotch pants! In addition to the two locust leaves, you need to give me one more locust leaf as compensation. Otherwise, I, Wang Zhu, swear that I'll make it so that Cao Xi ends up with no descendants! He actually dared to piss into the well?! How in the world did such an immoral bastard become a True Lord?

"And the Xie Clan! There's someone called Xie Shi from your clan, correct? Mhm, we've had some interactions before, and it was thanks to me that he wasn't washed away by the floods at that time. So, will it sit right with you if you don't give me one extra locust leaf?"

Qi Jingchun silently observed this sight from the distance, not speaking nor interfering.

Like a strict father watching his daughter becoming more and more arrogant with age, he could only wear a slightly helpless and exasperated expression.

However, Qi Jingchun also felt a sense of gratification as he watched the locust leaves flitter down and land between the pages of the book as the young girl continued to flip through it.

There was a lot that he wanted to say, but in the end, Qi Jingchun simply murmured, "Make sure to take care of yourself after you leave home..."

As if sensing something, the young girl suddenly turned around.

However, there was no one to be seen.

The young girl felt a sense of despondence. However, she quickly shook her head and pushed these thoughts out of her mind. She then turned back around and continued to viciously scold the old locust tree.

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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