Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The exchange between the two men cannot be said to be flashy or exciting, but the winner was clearly determined within a few breaths of time. This led the jaws of fierce tiger sect men to drop whereas the six onlookers from thousand swords peak had their usual expression on their faces.
Hallmaster Xing sat back on his chair with a blank expression on as though he still has not woken from the shock of his loss. Shitu Liang did not go forward to comfort him; their heads were still digesting the previous scene. These people from thousand swords peak suddenly appeared to take over the leadership of the sect, and given their power, everyone had no choice but to follow their will. When he saw that the representative was a young man, he wanted to demonstrate some of their prowess in order to warn the latter from belittling their sect. Thus, they did not stop hallmaster Xing from proceeding with the exchange of pointers. However, the result was too far from their expectations. Hallmaster Xing was clearly defeated within three stokes, and when he replayed the scene in his head, he realized that each stroke as meticulously planned to force his opponent to face him head on. There was no profound methods in his movement, it was simple, direct and a good show of his power. He knew that even if it was someone else who went up to spar, they would still be faced with the same outcome.
No wonder the thousand swords peak only sent seven men, these seven were already able to hold their own against more than half of the fierce tiger sect by themselves.
Seeing the dark expressions on the faces of the fierce tiger sect members, Qu Xiangfeng did not gave them much time to recover as he waved the sword in his hands and announced, “Everyone listen, if anyone still feels that they have something to say, please come forward now to say it.”
Shitu Liang and the other hallmasters exchanged glances before elder Chu stood up and said, “Hero Qu, please keep your sword. We have no more objections.”
Qu Xiangfeng saw that it was elder Chu who spoke up, and he immediately kept the sword back onto his back. However, he did not return to his seat, and instead faced towards the members of the fierce tiger sect to reaffirm their response, “Is there really no one who is still unhappy with thousand swords peak taking control of fierce tiger sect?”
Shitu Liang paused slightly before everyone answered in unison, “Yes, we will follow our sect master’s orders and listen to thousand swords peak’s hero Qu’s command.”
Then, Shitu Liang invited Qu Xiangfeng up to the sect master’s seat and said, “Would sect master Qu take his seat. We shall await for your command.”
Qu Xiangfeng did not bother to be wishy washy, he immediately took the seat and said to the rest of fierce tiger sect’s members, “Everyone please be seated.”
Thus, everyone returned to their seats.
Qu Xiangfeng continued to speak, “Everyone do not have to be anxious, I am only following the orders of my sect master and will be taking charge of fierce tiger sect temporarily. All matters of the sect will be handed back to sect master Shitu after she comes back, and even when she is not around, there is still the elder Chu, hallmaster Shitu the rest who will be remaining in their positions. I will not interfere with any affairs of the sect, and only ask for hallmaster Shitu to inform me before making any major decisions.”
Everyone felt puzzled in their hearts, what does this count as? Taking the position of the sect leader but not using any of its power nor caring about any of the sect’s affairs. When hallmaster Xing looked at the scraps on his palms, he felt that he had thrown away his image within the sect for nothing. However, his opponent had his own reasons; someone of his stature would place his eye on the entire world and not be concerned with a chick that not even hatched. This Qu Xiangfeng did not even volunteer to come into this position, he was sent here on his own sect master’s orders, which is why he did not want to involve himself in the matters of the sect.
Realizing this, an expression of understanding appeared in everyone’s faces.
Seeing that his audience has realized his intentions, Qu Xiangfeng did not want to stay in the main hall any longer, so he said, “I would entrust the affairs of the sects to you while I will be staying the room which you assigned to me this afternoon during this period. If there is no matter, please do not disturb our training.” After he finished his sentence, he cupped his hands and the party of seven returned back to their accommodations.
When they reached their quarters, Qu Xiangfeng instructed one from his party of seven to stand guard by the door while the rest entered the room. With a pleased smile on his face, he said to the remaining five people, “The matter of the fierce tiger sect leadership is henceforth settled. We will be staying here for the following period of time until our sect master calls us back. My two junior brothers Wang, both of you shall take a good rest tonight and go to Lu town tomorrow. Carefully watch out for any members of Jianghu, and inform me of their appearance immediately if found.” Two of the men cupped their first in acknowledgment.
Then, Qu Xiangfeng said to the rest of his party, “The rest of you will do as what we usually would in the sect. Continue to train your martial arts and do not slack in your practice.”
Everyone replied in acknowledgment, and scattered to their respective rooms.
Shitu Liang and the rest were deep in ponder in the main hall. After half a bell worth of time, elder Chu spoke up to ask, “Little Liang, where have you arranged hero Qu and his men to stay?” He had not addressed the man as the sect master.
Shitu Liang replied, “In the east rooms one to seven.”
Elder Chu said, “It would be better to let them stay in the guest room.”
Shitu Liang agreed and replied, “Yes, I will immediately instruct some men to settle this matter. I was distracted when I saw the letter, and had not handled the matter of their accommodation properly.”
Elder Chu continued to say, “How about this, since everyone is tired, we shall go back to rest and discuss this again tomorrow morning.”
Thus, everyone scattered back to their own places.
Shitu Liang walked neither fast or slowly back to his little room. He did not light the oil lamp and walked in the he darkness around the familiar room before closing the door tightly. He walked to his table and stood there while looking outside his window, watching the moon being slowly covered by the dark clouds. After quite some time, he lit his oil lamp and a pea sized flame illuminated the entire room. Then, Shitu Liang took his brush and paper out and carefully began to write a letter. Then, again with great caution, he rolled it up and placed it into a gold cased loop, and repeated the same steps with two empty paper rolls, then kept the three gold cased loops into his breast and blew out the oil lamp, before walking out of his room.
Shitu Liang did not go far, he walked straight into a slightly larger room nearby. Upon opening the door, the sounds of pigeons could be heard.
He walked into a corner of the room with great familiarity, found three slightly smaller pigeons, and opened the cage. Then, he took out the three loops from his breast and tied one to a pigeon in a much practiced way. Finally, he opened the window and let the first pigeon fly from its cage. When the pigeon was in the air, it seemed to hesitate and returned back to the window sill. Shitu Liang caught the pigeon and threw it into the air again, and this time, it flew away towards a direction.
Shitu Liang did not immediately free the second pigeon. He waited quietly for the time it takes to boil a kettle of tea, and seeing that there was no other movement, he set freed the second pigeon. He then repeated his actions for the third pigeon.
Qu Xiangfeng and his party were staying a room that was quite a distance from the pigeon’s coop, which was basically the opposite direction from the main hall. Thus, they did not notice the movements of that area. As for the rest of the fierce tiger sect, they were already familiar with the flying of courier pigeons, so these pigeons did not attract any further attention from them.
After finishing this particular task, Shitu Liang returned to his room and without even lighting his lamp, he went back to his bed and fell asleep.
The whole fierce tiger sect was quiet under the moonlight, only some of the more important members were walking around while rubbing their sleepy eyes.
Everyone else was fast asleep, preoccupied with their dreams.
Within the courtyard of the Zhang household in the Guo village, everyone was also fast asleep. Except, low coughing sounds could be heard coming from the grandmother’s room.
The grandmother was lying on the platform, using the covers to muffle the sounds of her coughs. Occasionally, she would strain her ears over to Zhang Xiaohua’s side to check for any movement. Even though the moonlight from the window was bright and clear, the room was still dark and there were no movements of sorts on Zhang Xiaohua’s side. Nevertheless, the grandmother was worried that she would wake her beloved grandson up and spoil his sweet dreams. However at that moment, she felt a burning sensation in her chest that was inducing her to cough. She could not leave the room, and yet she did not want to disturb her grandson, so what else is left for her to do?
The thing that made her relieved was that Zhang Xiaohua was still sleeping like a log. She thought, perhaps she can tell the children’s mother tomorrow to allow her to stay in their relative’s woodshed where she would be more at ease. At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua turned his body, and the grandmother immediately covered her mouth and pushed the cough which was coming out even harder back in. However, how could she have suppressed the cough? Her throat was itching, and her face was uncomfortably warm, and upon hearing no more noise from Zhang Xiaohua, she carefully let out the cough. However, the cough was suppressed for a while, so this cough was even worse, so much so that the grandmother felt her phlegm being coughed onto her quilt.
The grandmother did not managed to sleep for almost the whole night, and she waited for the cock outside to crow several times before getting up and creeping out of the room. The courtyard was still very quiet, the grandmother did not hear any other sounds. She did not go far, and instead sat on the wall outside her room, and used a towel to suppress the persistent cough.
After some time, the grandmother heard the sound of the main room door opening. A person walked out, and she then heard Guo Sufei’s voice, “Mother, why are you up so early? It is cold outside.”
Guo Sufei walked over and wanted to support the grandmother back into the room, but the latter refused to even over her dead body. She said, “I keep coughing, and am afraid of waking Xiaohua up.”
Guo Sufei’s eyes turned red and said, “Mother, you should then come to the common room.”
Then, she supported the grandmother back into the common room, and at this moment, Liu Qing also woke up. She saw Guo Sufei supporting the grandmother over to the room, and quickly helped to open the door for the two women.
Hearing the grandmother’s persistent cough, she thought in her heart, “Whether or not the spring water has an effect, grandmother’s illness is still getting worse.”