Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Returning to the sect
Wen Wenhai was feeling very tired, the whip in his hands struck onto the backside of his horse as he tried to urge it move faster. Xue Qing was on his side, her face covered by the veil again, and likewise, she hurried the horse which was carrying her.
Wen Wenhai would occasionally turn around and glance at Xue Qing, while encouraging her on. “Junior sister, just hold it there for a little longer, we will soon reach the territories of our faction, and by then we can take a break again.”
Xue Qing then replied “I know, senior brother. Let’s just hurry.”
After the two people descended from Shiren peak, they initially felt relaxed for completing their mission successfuly. They only had to bring the items back to the sect, and were drowning in the happiness from their personal gains of the precious herbs, but after they got on their horses, and when comparing them to the top bred horses which they brought from their sect, they then understood why their master was willing to let them use such precious horses for their trip. At the same time, Wen Wenhai recalled his sect master’s instruction to “come back as quickly as possible.” They then realized that they were in a very vulnerable situation, even if they set aside the possibility that the other three factions had any ulterior intentions, if any normal person in Jianghu had caught wind of their gains or discover the valuables on their bodies, their lives would be in peril. Their hearts were struck with fear as they exchanged glances, got on their horses immediately and sped off.
Thus, the two people did not sleep or rest as they rode day after night. Fortunately, they had trained in martial arts and their bodies were able to handle stress of the journey, otherwise, an ordinary person would have collapsed long ago.
As the time was approaching noon, and two people were still rushing, and from afar, they noticed a teahouse. This type of teahouse was common in such places where the roads intersect; they were usually covered with wild grass or tentage to serve as a roof, and would often serve simple dishes and tea to travelers who were looking to rest.
As they approached the teahouse, Xue Qing could not help but ask “Senior brother, why don’t we take a break at the teahouse. There is still at least one more mealtime before we reach the boundaries of our Piaomiao sect’s influence, so this place should be safe enough.”
Wen Wenhai was not unmoved by her suggestion, and he slowed his horse as they got closer to the teahouse.
However, Wen Wenhai suddenly changed his mind and smiled towards Xue Qing, saying “Junior sister, since there is only one mealtime worth of journey, then what is this little distance compared to our whole journey so far? It is better to clench out guts and ride out the remaining distance, and once we reached our territories, then we can take a break. What do you think?”
Xue Qing replied “Sure, senior brother. We shall not fail our mission and waste all the efforts so far just to rest at the last moment. Let us hurry on.”
After their conversation, both of them regained back their energy and increase their pace, and while ignoring the sweat on their horses, they soon passed by the teahouse leaving a trail of dust behind.
There were not many people at the teahouse at that moment. Seated at the table closest to the road were two unordinary fellows. One had a pale face and long white hair which was fluttering in the wind, his hand carried a sword, while the other had dark skin and muscularly built, with long limbs, and was unarmed. The two men were playing with the worn cup, and they could see the actions clearly when Wen Wenhai slowed his horse as he approached the teahouse but sped off soon after.
As Wen Wenhai’s horse left them in the dust, the sword bearing hero turned towards the dark skinned hero and smile “Old sixth, stop drinking, they have already left. I did not expect that that little Hai would be so careful to choose not to stop at this teahouse, Old third has indeed picked up a good disciple.”
The Old sixth responded “Indeed, old fourth. None of our own disciples are as good at judging a situation as him. A pity that his talent is limited, so it is difficult for him to advance in his martial skills, if not, his future will be unbounded. Sigh, I pity those two horses.”
After conversing, the two men left some money on the table and saddled their horse, before getting on to chase after the two people in front.
However, they did notice that behind them, dressed as an ordinary passerby, was someone whose eyes were constantly observing his surroundings. When they left, this mysterious person thought in his heart “I wonder what has happened for two of the six tigers in Piaomiao sect to personally show their faces?”
Then, he settled his bill and secretly followed the people ahead.
After sprinting for meal’s worth of effort, Wen Wenhai noted that there more people in his surroundings, and more stores alongside the road, and finally, the city of Pingyang appeared in the backdrop. Suddenly, the horse he was riding emitted a slurring sound, before its legs turned weak and fell slowly onto the floor. Wen Wenhai felt his body descending, so he slapped his hand on the horseback and used the momentum to jump off the horse. Then, the horse automatically fell onto the ground, while spit begin to foam around its mouth, and its eyes began to close, as though it was slowly dying from the fatigue. Seeing the scene in front of her, Xue Qing preemptively pulled the reins on her horse, and slowly let her horse come to a rest. There was also foam appearing on the mouth of her horse, and it seemed not much better off from its comrade.
Wen Wenhai stood by the road as he watched his horse which sprayed on the side of the road, as well as the surrounding passers-by who hurried left the scene, pondered for a moment. Then, he took out a signaling arrow, and “swoosh” he sent it into the sky where it exploded with a bang, the noise travelling far and wide.
Just as he shot the arrow into the sky, he heard people from the back calling “Little hai~” Wen Wenhai and Xue Qing turned their hands, and joy appeared on their faces.
They were the two fellows who were earlier at the teahouse.
The two men rode their horses to the front, while Wen Wenhai and Xue Qing immediately responded with a greeting “We greet fourth senior uncle and sixth senior uncle.”
The two men got off their horses, and laughed “These two disciples do not have to stand on the ceremony. We were under the instruction of the sect master to welcome you. Wait for a moment, he should be arriving himself in a while.”
Wen Wenhai and Xue Qing nodded their heads in understanding, and then stood beside their senior uncles, waiting quietly.
At this moment, the hearts of the two finally calmed down.
Indeed, not long after, the figures of a group of people riding on horses appeared from afar. At the head of the party was a scholar in a head scarf, aged about forty years old, with no facial hair, wearing white robes, bearing a youthful appearance not unlike a scholar. Following closely behind was an attractive woman who was simply dressed. The two were riding on white horses and being followed by ten plus men. These men were obviously martial experts, from their fitted clothing to the swords in their hands, while some even raised their heads proudly and gazed intensely at the surroundings.
When the party finally arrived, the couple got off their horses with a flip, while Wen Wenhai and Xue Qing walked up to them and said “We pay our respect to the sect master.”
This scholar-like person was actually Piaomiao sect’s sect master, Ou Peng!
Then, the two faced towards the attractive woman and bowed “We pay our respect to sect master wife.”
The attractive woman smiled silently as she looked at them, while Ou Peng said “Good job Little hai, good job Qing’er. Both of you have worked hard, so there is no need to be so courteous. You know that your sect master’s wife would rarely involve herself in the matters of the sect, but she has come today specially for you.”
The two men behind Wen Wenhai also walked up front to pay their respect “Greetings sect master, greets sister.”
Ou Peng extended his hands to raise them up, saying “You have also worked hard.”
The fourth senior uncle replied “Not at all, we only went out to sample some tea. Your disciple was so cautious that he skipped over us without entering the teahouse.”
Wen Wenhai then understood the situation, and quickly said “This disciple did not know that senior uncle was waiting for us. If not, I would have chosen to set off with senior uncle instead.”
Then, he turned towards the sect master and said “Disciple and junior sister are back safe and sound, but this horse…”
Ou Peng laughed heartily and said “Not a problem. No matter how good a horse is, it will not be as important to the sect as the two of you. There is nothing else more important than you two coming back safely.”
Then, he said to the people at his back “Leave a horse for Qing’er, then tidy up this area.”
Saying which, he took Wen Wenhai, Xue Qing, and the two senior uncles on horseback and returned, leaving behind his men to clean up the dead horses, and without any mention on the article in Wen Wenhai’s possession.
The ordinary looking customer who followed the group of four from the teahouse was even more shocked when he saw the procession, and without much consideration, he flipped off his horse and sped to another direction. Evidently, he was rushing back to his sect to report his findings, since a matter that caused sect master Ou Peng to personally appear would definitely not be a trifling matter.
Wen Wenhai and the rest followed the party towards Pingyang city, and when they reached, instead of entering through the city gate, they bypassed the gate towards another direction, and after the time taken to boil a kettle of tea, they reached a mountain villa outside of the city.
The villa was built while following the gradient of the mountain and there were several holdings of different sizes and heights scattered in front of it. There were many people going about their own work, and when they saw the approaching brigade, everyone parted to create a large way for the brigade to cross, while bowing respectfully to the people on horseback.
Further into the mountains was a long straight road, with massive trees planted on the side. After crossing the road, they reached a grand archway, with the words “Piaomiao” written artistically on a signboard at its entrance, not unlike the plaque that Xue Qing has given to the Zhang household.
Crossing the archway, they arrived at a tower. There were already dozens of disciples waiting on the steps that led to the tower door, as well as a fair-skinned, elegant dispositioned youth around the age of Wen Wenhai at the front of the disciples. This man was precisely senior brother Zhang Chengyue, who was waiting for Ou Peng return. When the arriving part dismounted, Zhang Chengyue led the other disciples as they roared in unison “Welcome back sect master.”
After Ou Peng dismounted, some attendants naturally took over the reins of his horse and led it away. Ou Peng then said “Good, everyone has done well, Now return to your respective positions. Disciples who are participating in the inner competition should also grasp your remaining time left to practice.”
The crowd of disciples replied “Yes, sect master.”
Then, the men who were following behind Ou Peng entered the tower, while the other sect disciples returned to their respective chores. This group of disciples were assembled several days ago as per sect master’s orders, and they thought that something major was happening, but unexpectedly, after the sect master came back from his short trip today, he announced the anticlimactic end of the high alert. Even though the disciples were confused, this was a mission by the sect and had to be prioritized over their personal training for the upcoming inner competition. If they could achieve a high placement in this completion, their standing and reputation in the sect would soar, and perhaps they will be given access to the more profound martial arts. This was the main thoughts of all the disciples, so they did not bother to question the day’s event.
As Ou Peng led the group into the discussion hall, Ou Peng’s wife excused herself and returned to her place while the rest of the party entered the hall.