Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Getting on the road
Hearing Liu Qing’s reply, Zhang Xiaohua became introspective. Indeed, he has always been under the shelter of his home, but all the decisions will have to be made by himself in the future. Even though his second brother will be by his side, he would still need to remain alert to any oncoming situation. Thus, his sister-in-law’s words had struck the nail on its head.
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua’s expression as he was in thought, Liu Qing felt relieved as she stroke his head and said, “I am sure Xiaohua will be able to adapt to any situation.”
Zhang Xiaohua scratched his head and smiled brilliantly. He said with a determined expression, “Yes, sister-in-law, I definitely will.”
Zhang Xiaolong also walked over, he took out two checks from his breast and handed them over to Zhang Xiaohu and said, “Xiaohu, this are the checks that we received when we were in Lu town. We never had the chance to use them, and since nobody has come to collect them yet, I think that they will be safe to use.”
Zhang Xiaohu did not take the checks and turned to face Zhang Cai and Guo Sufei. He said, “Father, mother, I think that it is better if we do not take these checks along. It does not belong to us after all, what if those bullies send people over to claim it back and we do not have the money to return them? Suppose if they come over every day to cause trouble for us?”
Guo Sufei let out a sigh and took out a handkerchief from her bosom. She unfolded the handkerchief to reveal some broken pieces of silver and handed them over to Zhang Xiaohu while saying, “Xiaohu-ah, these are some silvers that our household has saved over time. When you are out there with Xiaohua, do not be too frugal and take better care of your bodies. We do not need so much money around the house so you should take this with you.”
Zhang Xiaohu received the handkerchief and before he could take some of the silvers out to return to his mother, Guo Sufei folded the handkerchief and pressed it into his hands. Thus, Zhang Xiaohu kept the all the silvers carefully in his breast.
Upon seeing Zhang Xiaohu reject the checks, Zhang Xiaolong took out the Piaomiao sect plaque from his breast and said, “Xiaohu, even if you do not take the checks, you must still bring this plaque with you. Otherwise, you will be turned away at the door when you reached there. Take this plaque and find heroine Xu so your chances of entering the sect can increase.”
Zhang Xiaohu shook his head and said, “Eldest brother, this plaque was given to us by heroine Xu so that we can protect ourselves, and it should not be used in this way. We should rely on our own strength rather than heroine Xu’s influence to enter Piaomiao sect, if not we might cause some misunderstandings between us and heroine Xu. Furthermore, the bullies in Lu town and the Xicui mountain bandits may come up to our door and find us anytime, so we may still need to have this plaque to overcome any difficult situation. Xiaohua and I are only going over to learn martial arts to protect the people in our household, so there is no need to bring this protective talisman along with us.”
Before Zhang Xiaohu could finish his sentence, another voice from praised him from outside, “Good ambition, Xiaohu is right. Everything in this world has to be obtained using one’s own power and it is not realistic to always depend on someone else.”
Everyone turned their heads as they guessed correctly that teacher Liu has come over to send Zhang Xioahu and Zhang Xiaohua off.
Teacher Liu walked over to their side, one of his hand stroke Zhang Xioahua’s head while the other hands patted Zhang Xiaohu’s shoulders, and he said with satisfaction, “You both are good children. Remember to be careful, and that hard work must be paid before you can receive any returns. Do not leave anything to chance, do not partake in any dangerous things, and always remember that your parents and family are waiting here for you two to come back. After you leave, you must carefully consider the consequences before taking any actions, do not do things blindly. While being passionate is a good thing, always consider your family’s circumstances beforehand.”
After finishing his sentence, he took out a check from his breast and handed it over to Zhang Xiaohu while he said, “This is a little savings of mine, uncles does not have much to give when the both of you go out into the world. Take this along, it may come in handy during any unexpected emergency.”
Zhang Xiaohu did not dare to accept the money and turned to look at Zhang Cai and Guo Sufei. Zhang Cai said, “Our in-laws, this is not necessary, we have already given enough silvers to Xiaohu to spend. Even though we appreciate your kind intentions, we cannot accept this money.”
Teacher Liu laughed as he said, “My in-laws, look at you still treating me as an outsider. I will be living with you all in the future, why is there a need to separate yours from mine? I have no use for these silvers anyway, and Xiaohu can bring them back to me if he does not spend them, so it is better to let them take it along.”
Liu Qing added, “Father has good reasons, Xiaohu, you should just accept them. At the most, you can return them if they are not spent.”
Zhang Cai did not say anything else, and Zhang Xiaohu pondered a moment before receiving the check and keeping it into his breast, saying, “Thank you uncle.”
Teacher Liu smiled with satisfaction.
On that night, everyone sat in the main room of the Zhang household, and under the shaking oil lamp light, they shared many words. Teacher Liu recounted all his experiences and knowledge of the world outside, while Guo Sufei drilled into the two boys on all the things to note about living by themselves. Finally, everyone was yawning and they scattered into their respective places.
In the grandmother’s room, Zhang Xiaohua called out faintly for his grandmother as he slowly fell asleep.
Zhang Xiaohu was tossing about as he was unable to sleep. He initially wanted to go Pingyang city to gain more self-worth after Liu Yueyue’s rejection, but was pulled along by Zhang Xiaohua’s idea into entering the path of martial arts. However, he had not thought of how to embark on this path, and his family members were also helpless in this regard. Even though Zhang Xiaohua was sleeping soundly, he did not want to go into this without any clear direction to end up returning home after spending all the money. Suddenly, he wondered if that was his parents’ intention all along.”
On the morning of the next day, Zhang Xiaohua woke up early as usual, washed his face and went up the hill to draw more spring water. He filled the large water vat in his household to its brim, hoping to save his family some trouble before he left.
When Guo Sufei woke up and saw that Zhang Xiaohua was already up and working, she felt warm and reassured. However, her eyes were still red as she thought of how soon it was for child to grow up, and how she could not bear for him to part from her.
After a simple breakfast, Zhang Cai brought the whole family to the grandfather and grandmother’s gravesite to pay their respects before returning to prepare their luggage for the journey.
Actually, everything was already packed so all they did was one final inspection. Then, everyone took the luggage and left the house, while teacher Liu also tagged along.
The people in the village were mostly working on their fields, so they had met several fellow villagers on their way who noticed from his appearance that Zhang Xiaohu was leaving and they bade their farewells to him.
Just like that, they walked slowly to the village entrance.
Just as they were about to split up, Zhang Xiaolong took the slightly large knapsack and placed it on Zhang Xiaohu’s back, while Liu Qing helped Zhang Xiaohua put on his slightly smaller one. Guo Sufei has arranged Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua’s clothes neatly, but her tears were continuously falling and she said to the two sons, “Be safe when you leave, and come back early if you cannot make it.”
Zhang Cai did not say anything, he looked lovingly at his two sons and his eyes also turned red.
Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua replied in a slightly frustrated tone, “It is nothing much, mother. Aren’t we just going out to travel for a while. Even though this will be our first trip to Pingyang city, we have already grown up and should explore the world at our age. You do not need to worry because we will take good care of ourselves.”
Seeing her children’s response, Guo Sufei was still unable to settle her emotions and said, “Children, do not be overconfident, be careful in everything that you do. Xiaohua is still young so Xiaohu has to take good care of his little brother, and be careful not to let him suffer.”
Zhang Xiaohu promised his mother again that he would take good care of Zhang Xiaohua, and Guo Sufei finally let the matter rest.
Zhang Cai looked at the sky and said, “The children’s mother, we should talk less, and let them be on their way. They still need to reach Lu town in time to catch the wagon, don’t make them be late.”
Guo Sufei thought about it and let go of her hands. Zhang Xiaolong, Liu Qing and teacher Liu also went forward to say their last farewells before Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua put on their knapsacks and set off on their journey. After taking a few ten steps, Zhang Xiaohua turned back and looked at the breeze which blew Guo Sufei’s white hair. His heart which had always been steadfast suddenly collapsed, and the tears started to fall from his eyes uncontrollably.
Zhang Xiaohua threw his knapsack down, turned around and threw himself into his mother’s embrace to give her one last tight hug.
Guo Sufei embraced her child and she also started to cry. After half a bell of time, Zhang Xiaohua finally loosened himself, and Guo Sufei asked, “Xiaohua, why don’t you stay with mother at home, alright?”
Zhang Xiaohua shook his head as he wiped the tears from his eyes and said, “No, mother. I will definitely leave today but these will be my last tears. I will not cry again, and I do not want to see my loved ones cry even more so. Even if I have to bleed, I will not let you all bleed for me. Believe me mother, I will accomplish something. All of you can sit back and watch your son as he works hard.”
Guo Sufe wiped her tears as well and nodded, “I believe in you, Xiaohua. You will be successful and not let us down.”
Zhang Cai’ eyes also started to tear but he wiped them off immediately.
Zhang Xiaohua looked at his family members again, wishing to carve the scene into his heart as he turned around and left. Right at that moment, Zhang Cai said, “Wait.”
Zhang Xiaohua paused his footsteps and turned to look at his father curiously.
Zhang Cai walked to the front and looked at this son of his. He hugged his son tightly, and Zhang Xiaohua could smell his father’s scent which made his heart agitated. For as long as he could remember, his father had never hugged him, which made him believe that his father did not like him too much. However, he then realized that his father’s love to him did not lose out to his mother, only his method of expression was different.
After some time, Zhang Cai released his embrace and said to Zhang Xiaohua, “Go ahead, son. Father and mother will always be at home waiting for you.”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded and said, “Father, you will have to take good care of yourself too.”
Zhang Xiaohua turned around, put on his knapsack and waved to the people behind him before walking ahead with renewed determination.
After Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua’s figures disappeared as they turned to another hill, Zhang Cai, Guo Sufei and the rest returned back reluctantly. The two parents looked at the distance as they wondered when they would even see their sons again.
Guo Sufei asked Zhang Cai, “The children’s father, do you think our children will be taken advantaged of outside?”
Zhang Cai replied, “Relax, they will come back soon after going through some difficulties. Just treat this as a leisure trip for them.”
Unfortunately, they were unaware that the steps Zhang Xiaohua took on that day were not the simple steps out of a desolated mountain village, but large steps that would influence the entire Jianghu.