Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
“Silvers?” The two brothers exclaimed in unison, “Learning martial arts requires us to pay silvers?” Upon hearing their response, fourth uncle Wen’s face had a complete turnabout and he plopped the brush onto the desk.
He said angrily, “Who is willing to teach you if you don’t pay silvers? Are the two of you trying to make a fool of me?”
The Zhang brothers immediately denied, and Zhang Xiaohu recounted the information which the guards from Piaomiao sect has passed to him before fourth uncle Wen’s anger subsided. The latter picked up the tea cup from his table and drank a sip of water before he said, “It seems that the men at the door have made a mistake, so you cannot be blamed for this.”
Zhang Xiaohu asked curiously, “May I ask fourth uncle, where did we do wrong?”
Seeing Zhang Xioahu’s polite manner, fourth uncle Wen cleared his throat and assumed an example of a good teacher as he explained, “Seeing that you came from afar, I will explain it to you simply.”
“The people who come to us to learn martial arts would have to pay tuition fees, and if they choose to live within the station, they would naturally have to pay lodging fees as well. Our Lotus escort is the largest escort station in Pingyang city, so we do not just provide escort services but function as a school for martial arts on normal days. However, you should not have gone to Piaomiao sect to learn martial arts. The people we are recruiting can be of any age as long as they have the right aptitude and talent in martial arts, but the most suitable age to start learning martial arts is at five to six years old, because any older would lead to obstacles in higher levels. Our martial division would only teach normal martial arts so we do not have any age limit, but the Piaomiao sect disciples are only chosen from children between five to six years old. Going there to learn martial arts would only result in a fruitless trip.”
After listening up to here, the expression on the two Zhang brothers’ faces changed. They initially thought that they could reside in Lotus escort for a short period or pledge themselves to Piaomiao sect, but it seemed that their thoughts were far too simple.
Zhang Xiaohua asked urgently, “Fourth uncle, then what did the guard in the mountain villa mean when he asked me to come here?”
Fourth uncle Wen smiled as he stroke his beard. He said, “Apart from functioning as a martial school, our Lotus escort has the primary business of an escort station. During this period, our escort station is facing a shortage in manpower so we are recruiting some people as delivery men and bodyguards. I believe that is what he was referring to.”
Zhang Xiaohu asked again, “Then must we pay money to do so?”
Fourth uncle Wen replied, “Delivering items and protecting people are our livelihood, of course there is no need to pay us, and instead you can receive a monthly stipend.”
Zhang Xiaohu asked, “Then can we learn martial arts?”
Fourth uncle Wen replied, “Yes, doing these tasks would require you to know some self-defense, how can you do them without knowing any martial arts?”
Light immediately shone from Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua’s eyes, to be able to learn martial arts while earning some money on the side, it seemed to be the perfect outcome.
However, the next words of fourth uncle Wen made their dreams collapsed, “However, we will still require you to have some foundations in martial arts. Have you learnt martial arts before?”
Zhang Xiaohu pursed his lips and said in a low voice, “No.”
Fourth uncle Wen’s face immediately sunk, he said, “How can the Piaomiao sect guards make such a mess of things? They should have checked your backgrounds more carefully and sent you home straightaway.” Then, his eyes suddenly gleamed in enlightenment and he asked, “Where did you come from?”
Zhang Xioahu replied, “Lu town.”
Fourth uncle Wen mumbled, “Lu town, Lu town, I have never heard of any disciple who lived in Lu town.” He then asked again, “Lu town is very far from here, how you learned of Piaomiao sect?”
Zhang Xiaohu only explained that he had met Wen Wenhai and Lu Yueming, and did not elaborate any further.
The wrinkle between fourth uncle Wen’s brows finally smoothened as he understood the intentions of the guards.
He immediately said pleasantly, “Since that is the case, you can try going over to the delivery division. Without any martial arts background, you can definitely dream on about being a bodyguard, but as a delivery man, there may still be some hope for you. Come, this old man is currently free so I will bring you to Old sixth Li’s place for a trip.”
After finishing his sentence, he got up and brought the two brothers out, causing the latter two to feel surprised.
Fourth uncle Wen brought the Zhang brothers to the fourth room beside his, and made them wait outside the door for a while as he entered first. A skinny man around thirty years of age was inside the room smoking on a pipe and when he saw fourth uncle Wen enter, he smiled and asked, “What has brought fourth uncle Wen over at this time?”
Upon seeing the room full of smoke, fourth uncle Wen walked to the window and pushed it open, used his hands to wave off the smoke in his eyes and said, “Old sixth Li, will you die if you smoke two less puffs, the whole room is full of smoke, who would want to come over?”
Then, he asked, “How has your recruitment been going? Have you gotten all the needed manpower?”
Old sixth Li picked up his pipe, tapped it on the ashtray at the stool beside and said, “The recruitment is almost done, we just need one or two more in the bodyguard division. The delivery division brought me some trouble, almost all feel that the money is too little and the job too risky, and those with a little bit of martial arts foundation would apply to be a bodyguard, and those without any would rather be a carriage bodyguard, and in any case would be more popular than being a delivery man.”
Fourth uncle Wen smiled and he said, “Just as well.”
Then, he turned around and invited the Zhang brothers to enter the room. He said to Zhang Xiaohu, “This is old sixth Li who is in charge of the delivery division recruitment. Introduce yourselves.”
Zhang Xiaohu and Zhang Xiaohua stepped forward hurriedly and send their greetings.
Old sixth Li looked at Zhang Xiaohu, then looked curiously at fourth uncle Wen and said, “What show are you performing here? You want him to be a delivery man?”
Fourth uncle Wen nodded so old sixth Li studied Zhang Xiaohu from head to toe, and asked, “From your appearance, it seems that you have never trained in martial arts before, am I right?”
Zhang Xiaohu answered respectfully, “Yes, I have no experience.”
Old sixth Li looked curiously at fourth uncle Wen and said, “Without any experience, what do you want me to do? There are still some dangers in delivery jobs, it is a job that endangers life. Have you not explained to him clearly yet?”
Fourth uncle Wen smiled as he said, ”Delivery jobs are not as dangerous as bodyguard jobs, so not knowing any martial arts is still fine, I am aware of all these. He simply wants to learn some martial arts, and furthermore…”
Fourth uncle Wen then stooped over to old sixth Li’s ear and whispered some sentences while the latter nodded his head continuously. However, he maintained his position and repeated, “Even though martial arts experience is not a must for delivery jobs, there is still some physical requirement and martial arts talent. If not, I will not be able to account to those few people.”
Fourth uncle Wen smiled as he said, “They all grew up on the fields, so there should be no problems meeting the physical requirements. You can bring him to the training field to test his aptitude, and it is best if he passes. If not, you can explain to him clearly that he cannot risk his life just to learn martial arts.”
Turning his head to Zhang Xiaohu, he said, “Don’t you agree?”
Zhang Xiaohu nodded his head like a pestle on a mortar.
Seeing that he has no other choice, old sixth Li said to Zhang Xiaohu, “Alright, follow me.”
After finishing his sentence, he brought Zhang Xiaohu to the field outside the room. At that moment, there were already some people training their martial arts, some were practicing their fists and kicks, others were waving the weapons about, and there were even some people carrying the stone weights to train their strength. Old sixth Li brought Zhang Xiaohu to beside the stone weights where the people who were training immediately put their weights down and bowed respectfully towards the former.
Then, old sixth Li pointed a stone weight and said to Zhang Xiaohu, “This is a hundred jin* stone weight, can you lift it up?”
Zhang Xiaohu shook his head and replied, “I do not know, I have never tried it before.”
Old sixth Li said, “Then go ahead and try.”
Zhang Xiaohu nodded his head and walked to the front, used his two hands to hold the stone weight, adjusted his body and took a deep breath. Then, following the previous actions of the people who were training, he used a single hand and lifted the stone weight above his head before putting it down and looking back at old sixth Li. The latter nodded his head and said, “That is fine, this is a hundred and fifty jin weight, you try lifting it again.”
Zhang Xiaohu looked at the slightly stone weight and he lifted it up again. However, there was some sweat that appeared on his forehead, and old sixth Li appeared to be slightly pleased. The people who were standing at the side while looking at scene became slightly serious. After all Zhang Xiaohu was still young and his body did not appear to be the muscular type, so to be able to lift a hundred and fifty jin without any formal training was considered to be pretty good. Old sixth Li did not stop there and pointed to another weight as he said, “This is a two hundred jin weight, you try to lift it again.”
This time, the people at the side became surprised. Although this two hundred jin stone weight was not the heaviest one in the training field, not many people were able to lift it up the moment they entered. Only a few muscular recruits were able to lift it up, and other had to undergo training and use all their strength before they could lift it. To allow Zhang Xiaohu to try, this old sixth Li was obviously trying to test the limits of Zhang Xiaohu’s strength.
Zhang Xiaohu was like a newborn calf, he was unafraid as he went forward to feel the weight. However, as he thought of his future, he took a deep breath like before and exerted the strength in his arm to lift it up. Unfortunately, just as the weight was about to go past his head level, his arm softened and the stone weight dropped onto the ground. Zhang Xioahu’s face was slightly pale, but the surrounding people were calling out praises and some even clapped their hands. Old sixth Li nodded his head and smiled, saying, “Not bad, good job.”
At this time, Zhang Xiaohu realized that he should have passed the test on strength.
Old sixth Li asked Zhang Xiaohu again, “You truly have not learnt any martial arts before?”
Zhang Xiaohu nodded in agreement.
At that moment, the people who were training on the field got attracted to the sounds of applause and they walked over. Old sixth Li pointed towards a youth roughly the same age as Zhang Xiaohu and said, “Little monkey, come over and demonstrate the complete ‘sixth fist’ once.”
Then, he turned his head and said to Zhang Xiaohu, “Observe carefully, you will have to demonstrate it once to me after he is done.”
The sixth fist was a set of simple entry level fist martial art, and under little monkey’s display, it appeared to be mighty and forceful. Zhang Xiaohu heightened his concentration as he watched each movement and each stroke, and after little monkey finished his demonstration, the surrounding spectators broke into applause again.
Old sixth Li looked at Zhang Xiaohu while the latter closed his eyes and thought recalling the previous scene. After a short while, he slowly performed the set of actions from the first stance. Even though he could not display the same amount of force, his strokes were as precise as the demonstrator’s, and the more strokes he performed, the more surprised old sixth Li turned. The spectators were also dazed as they watch him perform up to the sixth or seventh out of ten stances of the fist martial art before Zhang Xiaohu scratched his head and said apologetically, “I have forgotten the rest.”
Old sixth Li asked severely, “Be honest with me, do you really have no martial experience? You have not learnt this fist martial art before?”