Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The single-armed old man approached the two ladies and paid his greetings, and the young lady nodded while Qiu Tong returned the greeting respectfully. The young lady asked, “Elder Yu, what is the matter for your hastiness?”
The old man replied with a wooden face, “Young lady, Liu Er who worked in the herb field went home yesterday because his mother had passed away so we needed another man to make up the numbers. I told this to Qiu Tong during noontime, but when I returned, I found a young child slightly over ten years old standing in the courtyard outside claiming that he is the help Qiu Tong has brought from outside. Isn’t this a sign of disrespect to me?”
Qiu Tong’s face turned red upon hearing his string of accusation.
However, the young lady’s tone was still pleasant as she comforted elder Yu, “Elder Yu, Qiu Tong has always completed her tasks with propriety. Why don’t you sit down and listen to her explanation, and we can make other arrangements if you still feel unsatisfied after that?”
Elder Yu’s expression turned more gentle as he apologized to Qiu Tong, “Qiu Tong, I am sorry for flaring my temper on you. Please go ahead and explain first.”
Qiu Tong hurriedly replied, “I am not offended, elder Yu, I am also aware of the importance of the herb field. I was fortunate to have found Zhang Xiaohua, and was about to report to the young lady on my findings. Why don’t you make your decision after hearing my story?”
Elder Yu nodded his head, pulled a chair over while Qiu Tong also poured him a cup of tea.
Then, Qiu Tong recounted the events that happened since morning without leaving off any details to the two people. The listeners nodded their heads when they heard Zhang Xiaohua returned the money pouch, agreeing that the boy had a good heart but when it came to the part where Zhang Xiaohua lifted the five hundred jin stone weight, the young lady’s facial expression changed while elder Yu asked in disbelief, “Were you there in person to witness this? Was the stone really five hundred jin in weight?”
Qiu Tong replied, “I was not around when he lifted it because I was in a conversation with third master Qu. When I saw Zhang Xiaohua, he was already lifting the stone and although I cannot confirm that the stone was five hundred jin heavy, the spectators were saying that it was so I shouldn’t be wrong.”
Elder Yu shook his head and said, “If it is just based on what other people said, then the stone was probably not five hundred jin, and is more likely to be three or four hundred jin instead.”
Qiu Tong did not have any experience in this area as she could only repeat what she heard from the people in the escort station. She has no impression of how heavy each hundred jin was so she answered, “That is also possible, since I did not see any evidence of the weight of the stone weight.”
Elder Yu laughed as he said, “Qiu Tong, the weight of the stone weights are not written anywhere so you won’t be able to tell even if you see it personally, haha.”
Qiu Tong flushed as she replied, “Elder Yu knows that Qiu Tong does not know martial arts and is poking fun at me because of this.”
The young lady felt relieved when saw that the two were not unhappy anymore and she said, “Elder Yu, even three to four hundred jin would be heavy for a ten year old child and it would be rare to find one that can carry that much. However, his age makes it a pity like what third master Qu has mentioned. If we had found him earlier, he would be recruited into Piaomiao sect and have the chance to contribute greatly to our advancement. Nevertheless, his talent will not be buried now that he has entered my Huanxi mountain villa. Elder Yu, I will leave this child in your care for now and you can watch as he does some manual chore, there is no need to appoint him to the herb fields yet before we receive the result of the background check from Lotus escort. If he is alright, you will need to pay more attention to his training to see if he has potential in martial arts, and to give him all the help he needs. I would like to see for myself if our Huanxi mountain villa is able to nurture another Shi Niu.”
Upon hearing her instructions, elder Yu felt that she has not left any stones unturned so he did not say anything else. However, when he heard her last sentence, the overbearing image of Shi Niu appeared in his mind and when he compared it to the small frame of Zhang Xiaohua’s, he could not help but shook his head. He then respectfully took his leave.
After elder Yu has left, Qiu Tong slapped her forehead and said, “Young lady, I had cleanly forgotten about the arrangements for Zhang Xiaohua, I probably left it at the back of my head because of elder Yu, fortunately young lady is here to help speak on my behalf, otherwise he would probably not even put Zhang Xiaohua in his eyes.”
The young lady laughed as she pressed on Qiu Tong’s forehead. She said, “You little maid, I don’t see you do anything good since the beginning of the year, why did you suddenly want to help this Zhang Xiaohua? If not for his age, I would have assumed that you…?”
Qiu Tong immediately laughed as she said, “Young lady, look at what you are saying. Zhang Xiaohua reminds me of my little brother, and I only wanted to help because his circumstances are really pitiful. Furthermore, I am younger than young lady, if young lady has not found someone yet where would I find the courage to find one for myself? Haha.”
Qiu Tong could turn around to tease her mistress freely, so it could be seen that this young lady usually did not put on any airs and would treat her subordinates well.
The young lady did not give any retort. Instead, she sighed before looking at the darkening sky outside the hall. She said, “True, blood ties are thicker than any other kind of relationship. You are willing to help a stranger who reminded you of your little brother, which is an example of the so called ‘love the crows that comes with the house you love’, but I wonder if my elder brother’s work is going well this time.”
Qiu Tong noticed that the young lady was slightly distressed and she immediately said, “Young lady does not have to worry too much. Sect master Ou is highly skilled and there are not many people in Jianghu that can hurt him. Furthermore, they are not attacking any large-name sect, their target is only the Luoshui sect, and the Piaomiao sect has already planned this attack for a long time before so there is even less reason why we cannot achieve victory. Luoshui sect has no chances of defending from our attack so our young lady is worrying needlessly.”
This young lady was actually the Piaomiao sect’s sect master Ou Peng’s younger sister, Ou Yan.
Even though Qiu Tong’s words were reasonable, Ou Yan sighed again as she said, “Don’t you know that one’s feet will eventually get wet if one stands beside the river all the time? Blood and death is common in Jianghu, so there is no guarantee that one will not slip up. Even though we may look at Luoshui sect like a fat slab of meat, what stops other sects from looking at us the same way? I just hope that the heavens will allow my elder brother to come back safe and sound.”
Qiu Tong straightened her face and said, “Sect master Ou has a good heart and will have good karma, not to mention that his little sister is so kind-hearted, I am sure that heavens will allow the sect master to come back safely.”
Ou Yan smiled as she said, “Alright, little rascal, quickly make the arrangements for your little brother. Aren’t you afraid that elder Yu will make things hard for him?”
Qiu Tong replied, “I am not going. Even if I was the person who brought him in, he will still have to be treated the same as the rest. Otherwise, it will be difficult for elder Yu to handle when Zhang Xiaohua becomes too wild.”
Ou Yan said, “Qiu Tong-ah, I just about to praise your intellect so how can you be so muddleheaded? Zhang Xiaohua is still a child who just left his village, it will be unavoidable that he gets bullied when put in a group of young people.”
Only then did Qiu Tong understand Ou Yan’s meaning, and she replied, “I understand, I will go over to take a look soon. Not all the people who are working the medicinal field are kind hearted, I can’t let this child get bullied by them.”
After finishing her sentence, she took her leave respectful and turned around to leave the hall. Suddenly, Ou Yan called out, “Qiu Tong, wait a moment.”
Qiu Tong responded, “Young lady, is there any other matter?”
Ou Yan said, “You do not have to go, it is better to let elder Yu arrange everything.”
Qiu Tong did not know if she could laugh or cry. She said, “My young mistress, what do you mean, do you want me to go or not?”
Ou Yan smiled and said, “I am not playing you for a fool, the reason why I asked you to go was because I was afraid that the child will be bullied. This time, I am asking you not to go because I want the child to endure some hardships to see his emotional intelligence. His is only a child after all, so it will be good for him suffer some inconvenience and learn the bad side of human nature so that he can grow to be a better person. Zhang Xiaohua was raised in the village so he may not understand the intrigues of human nature, so it is better to let him experience all that. Isn’t there the phrase ‘To achieve something big, one must first be molded by difficulties’, so letting him suffer now is not necessarily a bad thing.”
Qiu Tong nodded her head thoughtfully, and she felt happy for Zhang Xiaohua in her heart. Since her young lady had said so, then she probably had the intention to raise him well which would be a good opportunity for Zhang Xiaohua. Hence, she extinguished her thought of going out and stayed in the hall to accompany Ou Yan.
After Zhang Xiaohua was put down by elder Yu’s harsh words, his heart was in turmoil like fifteen buckets of water with seven filled and eight empty. He could neither sit nor stand as he was afraid that the single-armed old man would tell him to leave, that he was not welcomed in Huanxi mountain villa. If so, where could he go in the middle of the night?
Just as Zhang Xiaohua was imagining the worst, sounds of noise and footsteps echoed from the outer door again. Zhang Xiaohua immediately stood up and looked carefully at the circular door. Not long after, a azure robed man around twenty years of age who was as skinny as bamboo appeared while holding on to an oil lamp in one hand. When he saw Zhang Xiaohua waiting under the large shelf, he became surprised and went forward to ask, “Who are you?”
Even before Zhang Xiaohua could answer the man, a group of people entered the courtyard. Zhang Xiaohua estimated that there were about ten plus men, most holding an oil lamp while dressed in azure robes and little hats. Some of them were also holding fire torches, and they were dressed in well-fitted attires. Both groups of people did not mix with each other, they even entered the courtyard separately with the group of azure robed people in little hats entering first. Furthermore, the people in well-fitted attire had larger muscular bodies and appear to know martial arts whereas the azure robed people had normal figures.
Zhang Xiaohua could tell that the youth who spoke to him was the leader of the group that just entered, and he politely answered, “The humble me is Zhang Xiaohua and I came here to work on the medicinal fields. However, there seems… seems to be some problem and an old man with one arm went in to find somebody.”
“Zhang Xiaohua? Haha, the name Xiaohua is not bad.” Some of the azure robed people with hats could not help but snicker upon hearing Zhang Xiaohua’s self-introduction. They whispered among each other, “The name sounds like a girl’s name, but he looks pretty average. The sky is already dark so I can’t tell if his skin is fair. How does he live up to his name?”