Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The scene in front of the two Zhang brothers was a large road two to three times wider than the main road in Lu town. There were innumerous stalls beside the road, and the merchants were calling out continuously to the countless passersby on the street, causing the overall atmosphere to be very lively. It was simply like the New Year bazaar in Lu town to the brothers who have not seen such bustle on normal days, thus they cannot be faulted for their misunderstanding.
Zhang Xiaohu said, “The weather is already so hot, how can it be the New Year?”
Zhang Xiaohua giggled as he replied, “That’s right, Pingyang city is so lively, I would not have believed it if I did not see it with my own eyes.”
Even though the things in their eyes were fresh and novel, the two brothers have begun traveling for a few days and it was enough for them to realize that there was a world outside the village they were familiar with. Only by gaining more experience and broadening one’s horizon could they adapt to their new surroundings. Actually, Zhang Xiaohua could also feel himself becoming more accepting towards the foreign surroundings, and the speed of his comprehension was already beyond a normal thirteen year old child, perhaps this is part of his maturing process.
Zhang Xiaohu was older so he had heard from the people around him of the flourish of the outside world and already had an image of it in his mind. However, his imagination was based on Lu town and the current scene had far exceeded his expectations although he was also able to adapt quickly.
The two brothers walked among the crowd with their hearts full of curiosity, they would look here and there every once in a while. Although they were initially cautious or apprehensive about not fitting in, they soon realized that while there are many people in the crowd with colorful clothes, there were just as many people who wore simple clothes like them. Hence, they did not stand out and some of the merchants would invite them into their shops, which made them relaxed their moods and dropped their guards.
However, they turned dazed again, and why so?
The two brothers were lost, where should they be heading to? It seemed that they have long deviated from the path that was given to them by the man in the carriage station.
Since they were lost, they naturally had to ask someone else for directions.
At that moment, a young man walked from behind and squeezed through the two brothers while saying, “Excuse me, please let me pass.”
Upon hearing his voice, Zhang Xiaohua turned his head as a conditioned reflex as he made some space for the passerby. However, at the moment the person went past them, he suddenly extended his hand, swiped it towards Zhang Xiaohu’s waist area and took Zhang Xiaohu’s tiny money pouch in one smooth motion. Zhang Xiaohu was looking around for a person to ask directions from but Zhang Xiaohua’s senses were sharp and he saw everything through the corner of his eye. He immediately stepped forward and pulled the wrist of the hand which was still holding on to the money pouch and said in a sever tone, “What are you doing?”
The young man was about the same age as Zhang Xiaohu and when he saw a child a head shorter than him had obstructed him and even held his wrist, he said casually, “Nothing much.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked, “Why are you holding on to my second brother’s money pouch?”
The young man sniggered and said, “How did this become your household’s money, it is in my hands so it is obviously mine.”
After finishing his sentence, he exterted some strength to shrug off Zhang Xiaohua’s grip to pull his hand free. However, Zhang Xiaohua would not let him go as he wished and he pressed on the wrist even harder, “Ouch, ouch” The young man yelped in pain and begged, “Mercy, young master, be lighter, be lighter, my wrist is going to break off.”
Zhang Xiaohu noticed the abnormal situation and he snatched the money pouch back from the pickpocket’s hand before opening it to check if there were any missing cons. Zhang Xiaohua naturally let go off the hand when he saw his second brother retrieved the money pouch back, but right at that moment, a few people ran into them from behind and bumped into the two brothers. Zhang Xiaohua was irritated, he wondered why there were so many inconsiderate people and what matter could be so urgent, as just as the people disappeared, Zhang Xiaohua realized that the pickpocket had also vanished. The two brothers exchanged glances and they both realized that the people from behind must have been the pickpocket’s accomplices. Zhang Xiaohu checked his body again and seeing that nothing was missing this time, the two brothers let go of the incident from their minds.
However, this incident made the two brothers more wary towards the strangers in the city, they even approached a kind looking granny to get directions. After finding their way again, the two brothers continued in their journey. However, Pingyang city was larger than the normal standards, and after walking for an incense stick worth of time and not reaching the east entrance, the two brothers were not tired but the weather was too hot and they had to squeeze through the crowd so they were extremely thirsty. When they walked to a corner, they were overjoyed to see a stall which sold cooling tea for one copper per bowl. Just as they were about to walk towards the stall, Zhang Xiaohua tugged Zhang Xiaohu and pointed to a person while speaking softly, “Second brother, look at that person, isn’t he the pickpocket who tried to steal our money just now?”
Zhang Xiaohu studied the person before he shook his head, “I can’ tell, I did not notice his features when he stole our money just now, and he ran away before I could get a second look.”
Zhang Xiaohua said with confidence, “I am certain that he is the right one.”
Zhang Xiaohu asked suspiciously, “Are you sure, do not malign a good person. Furthermore, we do not have any evidence to apprehend him.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he said, “Second brother, look at what he is planning to do, staring at the lady’s money pouch like that.”
Zhang Xiaohua turned again to look, and indeed, there was a lady walking in front of the young man while carrying a pot of some unknown flower using both her hands. Her emerald-green money pouch was swaying on her waist as she moved, and wasn’t that young man staring at it right now?
Right at that moment, the young man increased his pace, and Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly threw his knapsack onto Zhang Xiaohu while he said, “Help me hold this, second brother, and watch how I foil his thievery.”
Just then, the pickpocket had reached the lady’s side and with a swipe of his hand, the emerald-green money pouch was in his hands and he immediately started running away. The lady could feel his actions and she shouted anxiously, “My money pouch, you nasty thief.”
However, her hands were full with the flower pot so how could she chase after him? Thus, she quickened her steps as she muttered under her breath, “I will let you hold on to it for now, just wait until third uncle takes care of you.”
While the lady was in a fluster, the Zhang Xiaohua who would act when he saw an injustice ran over and said, “Wait a moment, I will get it back for you.”
After finishing his sentence, he ran towards the direction of the thief while shouting, “You nasty thief.”
The thief heard the commotion behind him and turned around to look, so it was the child who caught his wrist earlier on. While thinking of the bruise that was about to form on his wrist, the thief increased his pace in order to shake Zhang Xiaohua off.
In the thief’s mind, Zhang Xiaohua was just another brat who had abnormal strength. He thought that the boy could not possibly run faster than an adult, and will soon be left in the dust.
However, Zhang Xiaohua just had to be the exception. The thief was feeling tired after being chased past several streets and when he turned around to look at his pursuer, he saw Zhang Xiaohua still running energetically and the distance between them was even closing up. Looking at his surrounds, he realized that he had already ran too far for his accomplices to catch up, and despite feeling some reluctance, he threw the money pouch in his hands into an alley while he sped off in the other direction. When Zhang Xiaohua chased up to here, he could only pick up the money pouch first and by the time he left the alley, the thief had already disappeared without a trace.
Nevertheless, Zhang Xiaohua’s aim had been the money pouch from the start. Hence, he retraced his steps and finally saw the lady still waiting at her original position.
Upon receiving the money pouch back from Zhang Xiaohua, the lady smiled and said, “Thank you.”
Seeing the lady who hair was combed into pigtails and was dressed in scarlet and green, Zhang Xiaohua’s face turned slightly red as he quickly said, “It is no problem, he had tried to steal our things earlier. However, he was very crafty and had managed to get away.”
The lady replied, “It is alright, what is most important is that I got my money back. Thank you again, I will make a move first as someone is still waiting for me.”
After finishing her sentence, she flashed one final smile to Zhang Xiaohua before turning to the east.
Zhang Xiaohu had also walked over and he smiled and praised Zhang Xiaohua, “Xiaohua, you sure are amazing to be able to get the money back. However, you are still young and not his match if it turned into a fight, so let me chase if there is a next time.”
Zhang Xiaohua took back his knapsack and said, “It is no problem, second brother, I also feel that I am quite amazing now. Despite running for so long, I don’t feel the least tired.”
Zhang Xiaohu thought that his youngest brother was boasting and he played along, “Yes, Xiaohua has grown up so of course he has become amazing.”
The two brothers laughed as they turned to the east and coincidentally, they were behind the lady.
After walking for a while, the lady turned her head and saw the two brothers walking behind her so she stopped in her tracks and waited for them to catch up before asking, “It seems that we are going the same way, where are you guys heading towards?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “We want to go to Piaomiao mountain villa.”
“Piaomiao mountain villa?” The lady was astonished, “What do you want to do there?”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “We want to learn martial arts from there.”
“Learn martial arts? From Piaomiao sect?” The lady grew even more surprised. “I did not hear that the Piaomiao sect is recruiting new disciples again.”
However, the lady continued to say, “There is still some distance from here to Piaomiao sect, how do you plan to go there? On foot?”
Zhang Xiaohua’s face turned slightly red as he said, “Yes, it is our first time so we are not sure on how we should go there.”
The lady smiled back as she said, “In that case, since I am travelling to somewhere close by, you can follow me and I will send you there. Just treat it as repayment for the money pouch, what do you think?”
Zhang Xiaohua was overjoyed and he said, “Yes, thank you”
Indeed, there was a carriage somewhere not too far in front of them, and there were already quite a few flower pots loaded inside. However, there was still some additional space so the lady and two Zhang brothers got on the carriage before it started to move.
While sitting on the carriage, the three people chatted and got to know each other better. They learnt each other names, and Zhang Xiaohua found out that the lady’s was Qiu Tong who was from a mountain villa and had come to the city to buy some flowers to beautify the villa. They did not discuss much else, instead, the two brothers listened as Qiu Tong shared about the interesting places and matters in Pingyang city.