Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The four men exchanged greetings as soon as they met.
Wan Chengjiu asked, “What was the meaning of brother Tanming’s words from earlier?”
Sir Yanming laughed as he said “I met brother Tan at the foot of the mountain, and because it was almost the time of our appointment, we had a friendly race. It seems that I have won the race.”
Ou Peng smiled, “Brother Tan’s qingggong has never been his strength, you can try to win him over a game of chess later.”
Sir Yanming said, “I know that I can’t beat him in chess, but we are only going to drink, not fight today. I am afraid that sect master Ou is going to be disappointed this time.”
Tan Yefeng added, “Brother Yanming has won this round, so I will drink three bowls of wine as punishment later.”
Ou Peng and Wan Chengjiu laughed and said, “Brother Tan is so straightforward. This way please, Brother Yanming, brother Tan.”
Everyone sat under the tree, and seeing Shi Niu standing there motionlessly, they asked, “Who is this little brother?”
Ou Peng introduced, “This is my Piaomiao sect’s disciple Shi Niu. Shi Niu, come over to greet Sir Yanming and Tan family master.”
Shi Niu went over and greeted the elders.
Ou Peng then instructed him to stand guard at the mouth of the road which led to the mountain peak to deter any uninvited guests.
Everyone sat down, and Tan Yefeng took a vat of wine from the ground and poured it into a bowl. Then, he said to Sir Yanming, “Look careful, I am drinking first.”
He raised the bowl to his mouth, and gulped it down in one breath. He then continued to drink a second and third bowl. On his third bowl, Ou Peng said, “Brother Tan, we shall accompany you as well.” After finishing his sentence, he poured a bowl for himself. Sir Yanming and Wan Chengjiu agreed in unison and they both proceeded to pour themselves a bowl of wine. Everyone raised and knocked their bowls, and finished their wine in one breath. Then, they set their bowls on the ground.
Tan Yefeng began to speak first, “Only brother Ou Peng was meticulous. I came in a hurry, and seeing that I was about to be late, I left the matter of food and wine at the back of my head. I believe brother Yanming is the same as well?”
Sir Yanming said in an embarrassed tone, “Yes, I did not expect there to be so many people at dragon god shrine. I had to spend a significant amount of time to make preparations for my family, and ended up with less time for myself.”
Wan Chengjiu laughed aloud and said, “I was not delayed anywhere during my trip, but the thought of getting wine and food had never occurred to me before. Fortunately there is still sect master Ou who is meticulous and well prepared. Anyway, there is wine and food here so why do we bother talking about these things?”
Ou Peng agreed and said, “Brother Wan is correct, as long as someone had prepared the refreshments, does it matter who did so? Come, let’s have another round.”
Everyone laughed, and they drank another round of wine.
Tan Yefeng was the first to speak, “Everybody, even though the number of visitors to Yutong mountain is few, there are still some people. Letting Shi Niu guard the mouth of the road is only a temporary solution. I think we should get down to business now, the earlier we discuss these matters, the sooner we can have another round of drink and fun. What do you all say?”
Sir Yanming replied, “I do have this intention.”
Ou Peng asked, “Then shall we determine the time for the next expedition to the secret area?”
Wan Chengjiu nodded in agreement.
Tan Yefeng said, “However, the booklet says that the secret area is only accessible on the fifteen of every year.”
Sir Yanming said, “Brother Tan, please be at ease. According to my deduction, the reason why the booklet states only one day each year can due to two possibilities: Firstly, the secret area is protected by a formation concealed in the jujube forest, and the entrance can only be opened on the fifteenth day of each year. Secondly, the entrance is shown only on the fifteenth day of each year. I have already made a marking at the entrance, and it should not be too difficult to be found. And so far, I have not heard of any formation in Jianghu that is restricted by time. Furthermore, don’t you think that it is ridiculous that this formation will only allow visitors on a single day each year? Brother Wan, brother Ou, your sects have been established for quite some time now, have you heard of any related incidents?”
Wan Chengjiu and Ou Peng exchanged glances, and shook their heads. However, Ou Peng added, “Even if we have not encountered such an incident, and they are no records of it in our sects, but it does not certify that youR conjecture is true. We cannot conclude that this formation has no time restriction built in place.”
The four men remained silent. After all, none of the men had any in-depth knowledge on formations, and their sects did not possess such talents; perhaps even the whole of Jianghu no longer contained such people, so how could they form an educated judgement?
Tan Yefeng said, “Then there are only two routes to choose from. Firstly, we can wait patiently for another year before forming a team, and secondly, we can pick a time and send some people to scout if the secret area is still accessible. What do you all think of this?”
Wan Chengjiu replied, “The matter of retrieving the treasures from the secret are is consequential on our sects, and there should be no area for mistakes. Even though we have not attracted any attention by sending our second generation disciples the first time round, I suggest that we do not attempt again as long as there is a small chance of failure in order to keep this secret well hidden. If not, the secret area will no longer be monopolized by our sect.”
Ou Peng agreed and said, “There are no secrets in Jianghu. For all we know, we have already caught someone’s eye by gathering hear in Yutong mountain, and they are currently spying on us this very second.”
Sir Yanming said, “Then are we supposed to waste a year’s worth of time just like that?”
Ou Peng smiled and said, “Brother Yanming, you do not understand because you are an outsider, but when our sects act in Jianghu, it will be unavoidable for mess-ups to occur, and for the fish to swim along with the dragons. Hence, it is very difficult to maintain a secret, which is why we opt to be so cautious.”
Wan Chengjiu nodded in agreement.
Sir Yanming was still not willing to back down and he said, “Since you all feel that way, why don’t I find a time and enter the secret area on my own?”
Wan Chengjiu and Ou Peng scrunched their brows at the same time. Only Tan Yefeng remained unmoved, as though he already expected such a reaction from sir Yanming.
Ou Peng noticed Tan Yefeng’s expression and asked the latter, “What is your opinion?”
Tan Yefeng let out a cough before replying, “Actually, I already had such an intention. If brother Yanming had not mentioned it, I would have raised the idea myself.”
Wan chengjiu lowered his head and remained silent, as though he was thinking through again.
Ou Peng said, “Before we decide if we should go to the secret area, I have a suggestion that is up for discussion.”
Everyone looked curiously at Ou Peng as they waited for him to speak.
Ou Peng continued, “I propose that we form an alliance, to share the benefits of the secret place equally.”
Sir Yanming shook his head and said, “Our mountain sect cannot form an alliance with your Piaomiao sect and thousand swords peak. Both of your sects are too entrenched in the affairs of Jianghu, and would often face threats to your survival. An alliance will not be beneficial to the advancement of our mountain sect.”
Tan Yefeng also agreed fully.
Ou Peng then said, “The two of you have misunderstood. The alliance I am proposing differs from the alliance that you normally hear about. We do not have to involve ourselves in each other’s enemies in Jianghu; this is merely an alliance of the four of us personally. Even though we cannot become brothers who share weal and woe, we can form a common interest party in the matter of the secret area. Finally, this alliance will only be limited to the secret area, and will not have any spillover. What do guys you think?”
Wan Chengjiu’s expression turned to joy as he said, “Sect master Ou is truly prepared for all matters. This is a good idea, I approve of it.”
Sir Yanming and Tan Yefeng both smiled and praised the idea.
Thus, Ou Peng took out a vat of wine, and dripped a bit of blood into the wine, while the other three followed suit. Then, Ou Peng shook the wine before taking a swig, then passing it to Wan Chengjiu. Wan Chengjiu also drank some, followed by Tan Yefeng and Sir Yanming.
Finally, Sir Yanming smashed the empty vat onto the floor, and everyone laughed, “Alliance formed!”
Everyone shared another vat of wine, and Ou Peng then said “Since brother Yanming and brother Tan have expressed their intention to go ahead with another expedition, then brother Wan and I will step back and follow your wishes. How about this, we will send our disciples to meet again at the previous meetup point at the end of the month, and brother Yanming will be in charge of leading the expedition again, okay?”
Sir Yanming replied, “No problem, this is naturally my responsibility. However, do we still need to send our relatives to each other’s sides again?”
Ou Peng, Wan Chengjiu and Tan Yefeng exchanged glances, and Ou Peng said, “The previous time was our first collaboration, and we did not trust each other then. Now that we have formed an alliance, I do not see the need to anymore.”
Wan Chengjiu and Tan Yefeng both agreed.
At this moment, Shi Niu walked over and said, “Sect master, there are some tourists coming up the mountain path, should I stop them?”
Ou Peng raised his hand and said, “This Yutong mountain is not our own house. Naturally, we should not obstruct any tourist from coming through, you do not have to go back to stand guard, just come over and wait here with us.”
After finishing his sentence, the four men poured more wine and enjoyed the food, while talking about interesting events that had occurred in Jianghu.
Not long after, there were indeed some people who came to the mountain peak. They had the appearances of tourists, and seeing that there were already people drinking in the otherwise picturesque scenery, they did not loiter for long and left soon after.
Wan Chengjiu asked Ou Peng, “Could we be getting paranoid?”
Ou Peng smiled as he replied, “These people may not be, but there are still more people below. These people know that we belong in Jianghu, so why they come up so casually?”
Ou Peng appeared to have remembered something and asked Wan Chengjiu, “The location of the secret area must be kept a secret. Where is that fierce tiger sect’s Shitu Ping now?”
Wan Chengjiu smiled, drank some wine, and said, “Brother Ou, you can be at ease. Even though I am not as meticulous as you, this little matter has not slipped off my mind. Ever since sect master Shitu came to my sect, she has never left. I have already appointed an elder to accept her as his disciple, and sent some capable men to Lu town. This sect master Shitu is no longer any sect master, but is a disciple of our thousand swords peak.”