Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
“I want to go as well.” The sound came from the corner.
Everyone was stunned again.
Zhang Xiaohu turned around saw that it was Zhang Xiaohua who was sitting at the corner who spoke up.
Guo Sufei snapped angrily, “Xiaohua, why are you stirring up trouble, your second brother is going to find his bride but you are still young so why are you going to Pingyang city?”
Zhang Xiaohu was unhappy and he said angrily, “Mother, I am not going just to find a bride, watch what you are saying.”
Guo Sufei smiled happily as though she could read Zhang Xiaohu’s thoughts, but Zhang Xiaohua’s reply exceeded everyone’s expectations.
“I want to learn martial arts in Pingyang city!”
“Learn martial arts? Why?” Everyone was stumped.
At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua had crawled out of his corner and stood by the door, he turned his little face to everyone present and said, “Actually, I had already been doing a lot of thinking after the incident when we first met eldest sister-in-law. Up to the misfortunate event during the wedding, it finally dawned on me that the reason we are bullied everywhere is due to the lack of power. If I know martial arts, those people would definitely not take action against us. Furthermore, hasn’t uncle said that the Xicui mountain bandits may find their way to our door at any time? To always rely on external aid to protect us is not the right solution, only after we have our own power can we truly face the mountain bandits.”
After he said all these, Zhang Xiaohua turned his head and looked outside. Seeing that the courtyard was already dark and there were little stars in the sky, he continued, “Only after learning martial arts can I have the ability to protect myself and everyone else.”
The listeners had varying responses to Zhang Xiaohua’s words. Teacher Liu and Liu Kai were looked at him with a surprised expression. Zhang Xiaohua’s display of his calligraphy led them to have a very high impression of the boy, but upon hearing these words of his, they began to reconsider their evaluation.
Butcher Liu opened his mouth as though he had something to say but nothing came out of him.
There were traces of guilt on Zhang Xiaolong’s face, although he felt slightly proud deep inside when he looked at this youngest brother whom he had brought up since young.
Zhang Xiaohu had an expression of joy, he appeared to have found his path as he faced his little brother who was a head shorter than him.
Guo Sufei and Zhang Cai exchanged glances, smoothed their brows and wrinkled them again as they did not prioritize their own safety in front of their son’s one.
Liu Qing’s expression was unchanged as though she had talked to the Zhang Xiaohua before and thus expected this outcome.
Finally, it was teacher Liu who first spoke up. He said, “Xiaohua, this idea of yours is not wrong, and although I have not learned martial arts before, I have heard that the path is fraught with difficulties and danger. You will not be able to see any changes immediately, and at the same time, it is very easy to get injured or even lose your life on the way, so you have to consider your decision carefully. Furthermore, I feel that you are a very smart child who is suitable for learning, so why don’t you consider studying under me and taking the exams to become an official while bringing glory to your family?”
Liu Kai also persuaded, “There is a saying: the poor pursues literature and rich trains in martial arts. Learning martial arts is not a luxury that poor people like us can afford. Xiaohua has displayed such good calligraphy the previous time, if you study under my father, I am sure you can find a safe and healthy path for yourself.”
Guo Sufei and Zhang Cai still did not speak up and their brows remained wrinkled.
Zhang Xiaohu said, “They are right, Xiaohua. Why don’t you stay at home and study, and let me go to Pingyang city to learn martial arts. I have already grown up so our parents can feel more relaxed. You are just a small child, how could they bear to see you go so far away?”
Zhang Xiaohua looked at his audience and asked, “Can studying protect our family from the mountain bandits? Can studying suppress injustice and bring peace?”
Nobody could answer him.
Zhang Cai asked, “How do you plan to learn martial arts in Pingyang city?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “Wasn’t Wen Wenhai who saved us in Lu town from Piaomiao sect in Pingyang city? Perhaps I can learn martial arts if I find him.”
Guo Sufei said, “Xiaohua, you are still young, why don’t you wait a little before you go?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled towards his mother as he replied, “Mother, determination is not dependent on age. Furthermore, I am not young and should find an appropriate path for myself, if not I will not be able to find a suitable bride when I grow up as well.”
Zhang Xiaohua’s words did manage to force out some laughter from Guo Sufei who said, “Already thinking of finding a bride at your age.”
Zhang Cai pondered a while before he said, “Xiaolong, Qingqing, bring Xiaohu and Xiaohua back to bed with you. Your mother and I will discuss about this matter.”
Zhang Xiaolong stood up as he was told to and brought Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua back home along with Liu Qing.
There were only five people left in the main room,
Zhang Cai asked teacher Liu, “How does the in-laws feels about this?”
Teacher Liu smiled as he said, “No matter the outcome, I will first have to congratulate my in-laws for producing such outstanding sons. Our In-laws are truly blessed to have two sons who are able to worry about their household affairs at that age and courageously face their difficulties while thinking of a solution to overcome them about themselves.”
Zhang Cai was very happy in his heart but he waved his hands and said, “Those were just some unrestrained thoughts by our children, there is no need to treat them for real.”
Teacher Liu said with a straight face, “I am not giving out empty praises, how many children outside your household are able to think that way and say such words? However, he is still young and unaware of the dangers in the world, so going out to gain some experience may be a good thing for him. Furthermore, won’t Xiaohu be there to take care of him on the way? Once he has learnt of the dangers in the outside world, he would naturally miss the warmth and comfort of home and come back without you telling him to. Xiaohu might meet a suitable lady at the same time, and perhaps they would come back together.”
Liu Kai interrupted and said, “Uncle, I think that Xiaohua going out may not be a bad thing. I feel that Xiaohua is not a simple child, and staying in this small village would waste his potential. Perhaps he may have a lucky encounter when he goes out and end up to accomplish larger things.”
Zhang Cai smiled bitterly as he said, “What larger thing? I do not have any high expectations, as long as he gets married and form a family, and live the rest of his life stably, both of us will be satisfied. The larger things can be left to the people who live in the towns while we villagers will be contented with our village lives.”
Guo Sufei said unhappily, “He is saying the facts as they are, I still remembered the sky full of lower petals when I gave birth to Xiaohua, maybe it was a sign that my son will grow up to accomplish great things.”
However, she continued reluctantly, “But Pingyang city is so far, why don’t we let him learn martial arts in Lu town. It is close enough so we can visit when we miss him, otherwise it is too inconvenient if he goes to Pingyang city.”
Butcher Liu said, “That’s right, isn’t there the fierce tiger sect in Lu town? He can still learn martial arts there.”
Hearing the words “Fierce tiger sect”, Zhang Cai and Guo Sufei jumped as they still remembered that the bodyguard of the town bully was from that sect. Seeing how they are willing to perpetuate injustice, they cannot be anything good, and their family is still holding on to those checks which they still do not know what to do with, how could they let Xiaohua go to the fierce tiger sect?”
Guo Sufei asked teacher Liu, “Does our in-laws approve of them leaving?”
Teacher Liu nodded his head and said, “Yes, we scholars have this saying ‘reading a thousand books is equal to travelling a hundred li’. Only by going out to experience the world would one understand the contents inside the books. Learning martial arts is the same, even if you are talented, staying in this mountain village would make on short-sighted. I approve of them going out to expand their horizons.”
Butcher Liu said, “Go for what? Staying at home is so relaxing, I do not approve.”
Zhang Cai and Guo Sufei exchanged glances and said, “We will think about this matter in the future and find a better solution then.”
The few people continued to chat idly, and they finally parted when the sky turned dark.
On that night, Guo Sufei and Zhang Cai discussed the matter thoroughly, and only fell asleep when the sky was about to turn bright.
Butcher Liu and Liu Kai could not stay in Guo village for too long, they left soon after they finished their meal. Before he left, Liu Kai gave the directions to Pingyang city and the things to note to Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua who listened very carefully to his words and committed them to memory. Seeing Liu Kai’s actions, the both of them smiled slightly thinking that their parents have been convinced.
After sending off butcher Liu and Liu Kai, Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua were about go and work on their fields when they realized a problem, how can their family makeup for the shortage of manpower if the two of them leave?”
The Zhang Xiaolong and Liu Qing who were walking beside them seemed to guess their thoughts, and Zhang Xiaolong said, “The two of you can go out into the world without regrets. I have discussed with your sister-in-law last night, the original plot of land can be left to father, while the land beside the river and Xiaohua’s field on the hills can be shared by the two of us and our mother. With the four of us, won’t there be enough manpower for just these two and a half fields?”
Zhang Xiaohua and Zhang Xiaohu looked at their eldest brother and sister-in-law quietly while they felt warm and fuzzy in their hearts.
Zhang Cai and Guo Sufei did not raise this matter during the next few days, which made Zhang Xioahu and Zhang Xiaohua feel anxious inevitably. Just as they were about to ask their parents again, Zhang Cai said unexpectedly, “About the matter of you two leaving for Pingyang city, your mother and I have discussed and decided to follow your decisions. We have already prepared some sets of food and clothing for you, so bring them along.”
Looking at Liu Qing’s smiling expression as she stood at a side, they guessed that the items must have been the effort of their sister-in-law.
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he said to Liu Qing, “Sister-in-law, if you already knew the decision of our parents, why did you keep it to yourself and watch us get anxious?”
Liu Qing replied, “When you are outside, you have to do things carefully and not rush into a decision without prior considerations while facing every situation calmly, so isn’t this a good little test for you guys?”