Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Seeing the disappearing backs of the two men, Ou Peng shook his head and said, “Those two clowns sure are hard to handle.”
First elder Hu smiled and said, “Just let them go.”
Then, everyone followed the two as they left the common hall.
As they entered the discussion hall again, it was already nightfall. Ou Peng and the rest wondered in their hearts; the records in the library were right that it takes one full day to absorb the benefits of the pill, and the difference between their current strength and before was like heaven and earth.
After everyone took their seats, Zhang Chengyue came forward and gave his greetings, before reporting a summary of the affairs of the sect during this period of time. Ou Peng listened to his report, nodded in satisfaction, and Zhang Chengyue automatically stood aside.
Ou Peng did not drag the meeting, he informed everyone that he will be entering closed door cultivation for the next ten days, all the sect matters will thus be left to Zhang Chengyue. Then, he dismissed everyone else.
After the people from the sect left, the five of six of the Piaomiao tigers continued their discussion.
Ou Peng told his fellow peers, “Fellow brothers, we have already refined the pills from the secret area. After we return, it is best if we rest for ten days to stabilize our inner growth. After ten days, we can meet again to discuss the plan to expand Piaomiao’s influence. What do you think?”
No one had any objections, so they got up and return to their respective homes.
That night in Piaomiao sect was no different from other ordinary nights, except one minor thing. After dinner that night, a maid walked out of a chamber and casually left the mountain villa to a nearby grocery shop in the outskirts to buy some rouge before returning to the sect. After she left the shop, the owner of the shop continued to tend the shop for a meal worth of time, before leaving for Pingyang city via a carriage, where he unloaded some goods in a larger grocer in the city before rushing back to Piaomiao’s mountain villa.
A man in the accounts room of the larger grocer in Pingyang city finished his books, then went back home. On his way back, he passed by a dark alley, and with an anxious expression, he turned into the alley. After he entered, he did not urinate, but instead head towards a corner where a small door was located, knocked on the door a few times, and the door creaked open to reveal a person’s head peeking out. Upon seeing the visitor, he hurriedly welcomed him in, and not long after, the accountant went back out, urinated in the alley, and lazily walked out before returning home. Just as he walked out of the alley, two courier pigeons flew out of the house which he entered previously, and eventually they flew out of Pingyang city.
Even though Pingyang city was noisy as usual that night, just like nothing unordinary had happened in Piaomiao sect mountain villa, and the two pigeons did not seem to have any impact on either of them, who knows what undercurrent lies underneath this scene of normalcy?
Dawn soon arrived. The first rays of sunlight struck through the darkness of the night, and everyone began to wake up to continue their routine for the day.
Zhang Xiaohua opened his eyes, and as usual, a glimmer of light appeared in his pupils and was not noticed by anyone.
After Zhang Xiaohua woke up, the first sound he heard was of his grandmother coughing. Zhang Xiaohua did not have to concentrate to recall that this is the eighth consecutive day since she began to cough. Furthermore, he felt that this cough was not as simple as it appears to be. He could feel with every cough that his grandmother is coughing out bits of her life force, and that her remaining vitality is slowly withering after every day. Zhang Xiaohua was afraid, but he dare not inform his mother because apart from the cough, there did not seem to be any problem with his grandmother’s body. Her appetite did not decrease, and the village doctor has diagnosed it to be a common cold which would recover as the weather turns warmer.
However, Zhang Xiaohua did not believe his diagnosis.
His grandmother suddenly threw another fit of coughs, and her waist even bent from pain this time round. Zhang Xiaohua immediately got up to rub her back, and then poured some water from the kettle on the table, checked its temperature, and helped his grandmother drink it. After his grandmother drank the water, she then breathed deeply, and said tenderly, “Xiaohua, why did you wake up so early? Why don’t you sleep a little longer, did grandmother wake you up?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “No, grandmother. I do not know why but recently, I have been waking up immediately after daybreak, and cannot fall back to sleep thereafter.”
The grandmother replied, “Ah, Xiaohua has grown up and is sensible enough. Grandmother also did not want to wake you up, and has been bearing it throughout the night, but since daybreak came, I could not control myself and coughed out loud. Tomorrow, grandmother will go out to the courtyard so you will not be disturbed.”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “Grandmother, it is true, I am not lying. I have been sleeping very well in the night, and had not heard you cough yet. You must definitely not go outside, it is too cold outdoors.”
His grandmother smiled and did not say anything else.
Zhang Xiaohua left the room and looked at the sun which was beginning to rise. The sun was not too glaring, it was yellow like a duck egg and rather cute looking, so Zhang Xiaohua playfully opened his mouth and pretended to take a bite off it, and he suddenly felt something hot flow down into his throat and into his body.
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, but he immediately became suspicious of what he felt. Not believing it to be true, he shook his head and proceeded to wash his face.
The courtyard was the same as usual; his mother and Liu Qing was already awake, the former was feeding the household’s poultry and the latter was making breakfast. Zhang Xiaohua was happy to see this scene and he felt as though Liu Qing was not an elder sister Liu Qing but a sister-in-law instead. He had already made his mind, even though he could not share his suspicion of his grandmother’s illness with his mother, he would discuss it with the knowledgeable sister-in-law-to-be.
A farmer household’s breakfast is usually a simple affair, and everyone would hurriedly chomp it down before returning to their work. However, one thing was different these days. After Zhang Xiaohua finished his meal, he would go up to the hills to draw some well water. Ever since that night when the family gathered together to drink tea, they fell in love with its taste and would want to drink it every morning. Furthermore, they feel that the water from the well was more delicious than the usual river water, and thus would wait longingly for the spring water to arrive after their meal. However, Zhang Cai was cautious about drawing too much attention so he only allowed Zhang Xiaohua to draw water twice a day, and forbade him from telling the other villagers.
Zhang Xiaohua went to draw the water after his meal.
Before he left, he asked Liu Qing, “Elder sister Liu, would you like to go up to the hill with me?”
Guo Sufei overheard his invitation, and said happily, “Yes, Liu Qing, you should go out and take a break. These days have been hard on you.”
The other Zhang family members all agreed that it was a good idea, so Liu Qing pondered a while before putting down the chopsticks that she was cleaning, and said, “Then I would have to trouble auntie to clean up for me. I will be going out now for a walk.”
Then, Liu Qing followed behind Zhang Xiaohua as they walked towards the river.
When Zhang Xiaohua reached the riverside, he did not continue walking. Liu Qing chased after him and asked, “Xiaohua, do you have something to discuss with me?”
Zhang Xiaohua forced a smile and said, “Elder sister Liu, you sure are smart to be able to guess my intentions.”
Liu Qing replied, “Little rascal, just tell me about it. Elder sister will think about it with you.”
Zhang Xiaohua turned quiet for a moment, before looking towards the flowing river as he asked, “Elder sister Liu, do you think that it is possible for people to live forever?”
Liu Qing wrinkled her brows and said, “I cannot really answer your question. Some books say that every person will die one day, and the graveyard is the final destination of all people; yet other books say that while most ordinary people will die, a small portion of people do not.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked curiously, “What kind of people do not die?”
Liu Qing replied, “According to some unofficial historical records, there are cultivators who do not need to eat or live in warmth, and are able to live forever. However, these are only written in the text and no one has met with any of such immortals before. Thus, no one can ascertain the authenticity of such records, whereas there is evidence of death everywhere.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked again, “If someone is dying, how do we resuscitate them?”
Liu Qing wrinkled her eyebrows and said, “If someone is dying of illness, then the solution would be to find a doctor to treat the illness. If it is due to poison, then the victim has to be fed the antidote. If the person is dying of old age, then… oh right, you can feed them the ‘longevity extending pill’. I have read a very old book when I was young, and it wrote of miracle pills, one of which is the ‘longevity extending pill’ which can allow a person to live for twenty more years. However, this is likely to be untrue, because no one has heard of a person who had consumed such a pill.”
When Zhang Xiaohua heard up to this point, he looked towards the flowing water in the river as he muttered, “Where can I find this longevity extending pill?”
Upon hearing him, Liu Qing was confused and she asked, “Xiaohua, why did you ask such weird questions today? Are you going to look for the longevity pill?”
Zhang Xiaohua raised his head, and his lips quivered as though he was about to cry. His voice turned hoarse as he said, “Elder sister Liu, I feel that our grandmother is leaving us soon. She is going to pass away soon.”
Liu Qing felt her heart jumped, and she hurried walked towards Zhang Xiaohua and hugged his head, “Xiaohua, be a good boy, do not cry. Do not let your thoughts run wild, grandmother is only suffering from a common cough, since old people fall sick more easily. Hasn’t the doctor said this? When the weather turns warmer, you grandmother will turn better.”
Zhang Xiaohua’s tears began to roll as he said, “But Old Chen is an animal doctor, he would not know how to diagnose human illness.”
Liu Qing hurriedly consoled Zhang Xiaohua, “Then a few days later, we will bring grandmother to the town to find a famous doctor alright? Grandmother will definitely be fine.”
Zhang Xiaohua shook his head as he continued to cry. He cried as he spoke, “Elder sister Liu, stop lying to me. I am not young anymore, and I can farm on my own land. I know that grandmother is not getting any better; I can feel that there is something sticky in her body that is preventing her from breathing well, which is the reason for her cough. Furthermore, I can feel something in grandmother’s body that is escaping into the air every day, and it is becoming thinner and thinner.”
Upon hearing this, Liu Qing was also upset, and could no longer console Zhang Xiaohua. He is really a sensible and obedient boy, and only someone with thick affection and love would be able to feel the flow of life. Liu Qing hugged Zhang Xiaohua’s head tightly, as tears began to fall from her eyes as well.