Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
These words of Yu Lun were not incorrect even though it may sound impolite. Lin Jinfeng was slightly hurt when he saw Zhang Xiaohua’s reddening face, even though he was a child from the village with little knowledge of the world, he had chased away the thief for him after all, and on the way to the Lotus escort, the boy’s manner and words were smart and magnanimous which gave Li Jinfeng a good impression of him. Hence, he said, “Brother Yu, your words are too harsh. Little brother Xiaohua’s dedication towards martial arts is a good thing, if a person with such passion learns martial arts, he would be able to help many people who suffered injustice in the streets.”
Despite listening to Li Jinfeng’s intervention, Yu Lun did not stop there and continued, “Brother Li pursues literature so he does not know how difficult the path to learn martial arts is. It is impossible to pick up anything without money or aptitude, and if something bad happens along the way, his life would be wasted for nothing. Don’t you agree brother Shangguan?”
Shangguan Yun simply nodded without saying much or looking at Zhang Xiaohua.
Li Jinfeng felt that it was strange and he cast aside Zhang Xiaohua’s matter. Instead, he walked forward and asked Shangguan Yun in curiosity, “Brother Shangguan, what is the reason for so? Little brother is curious, can you explain it to me?”
Shangguan Yun wrinkled his brows and answered, “Simply put, brother Li, you only need a few coins to buy books and read them when pursuing literature. At the very most, you can spend slightly more money to hire a teacher to reach you the words, and these teachers can be found everywhere on the streets. Learning martial arts is different, take me for example. I always had an interest towards martial arts since young, and my family is wealthy enough so my father could invite an instructor to teach me, while even spending golds to purchase some precious herbs for me to bathe in. Martial arts masters are rare, and those with patience are even more so, I had switched my instructor many times before settling on one with genuine ability and only then did I pick up a few things. However, the instructor was not young anymore and he wanted to retire, my father did not want me to continue pursuing martial arts so I had to run away secretly to come here. With my foundation from childhood and the significant amount of school fees, I managed to enter this school but with someone like Zhang Xiaohua’s background, how could he possibly learn martial arts?”
After finishing his explanation, Shangguan Yun shook his head and laughed gently. His laugh was not contemptuous, it was a small kind of laughter as if he was talking about the large ambitions of an insignificant servant.
His words had no malice in them, it was just a simple and honest evaluation, the kind that was as insignificant as waving one’s hands or sweeping the dust off one’s shoulders.
Yu Lun smiled knowingly as he looked at Zhang Xiaohua with contempt.
Li Jinfeng also felt the mood but he knew that Shangguan Yun’s family so really wealthy that people like Zhang Xiaohua could not even be compared to a subordinate of his. To explain so much was already a form of respect, if it was another rich man’s son who was asked the same question, he would have added some harmful words towards Zhang Xiaohua. However, this made Li Jinfeng realize the difference between him and Shangguan Yun, he was a poor scholar himself who had only met Shangguan Yun from a twist of fate, felt that he had good character so they formed a friendship. Now that he saw Shangguan Yun’s attitude he wondered if their friendship was wise or not.
When Zhang Xiaohua heard these words, he naturally felt some distress but having received so many setbacks of his own, and remembering that he had already taken the first step towards learning martial arts, he told himself to preserve and the day where he could succeed would come eventually. His heart relaxed and he replied smilingly, “Gentleman Shangguan words are accurate, and every sentence is well-meant, but there are many roads to learning martial arts, and not everyone has to necessarily follow a single route.”
Shangguan Yun who had not put Zhang Xiaohua in his eyes thought that the latter was keeping quiet because he felt ashamed or apologetic, but when he heard those words of his, he thought as if the boy had suddenly grown up, and could not help but spare him another glance and asked, “Oh? There are other roads, why don’t you tell me about them?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he replied, “My second brother Zhang Xiaohu is working as a delivery hand in the Lotus escort now, and he is also learning martial arts.”
Yu Lun and Li Jinfeng thought that Zhang Xiaohua’s previous words were very insightful and they listened closely to his explanation, but upon hearing the three words “delivery hand”, Yu Lun could not help but break out into laughter, “Delivery hand, haha, delivery hand. A little delivery hand dares to compare itself to we who are learning martial arts here, it’s so funny that my stomach hurts.”
Shangguan Yun wanted to laugh as well, but he suddenly wrinkled his brow and said, “Zhang Xiaohu, Zhang Xiaohu, why does this name sound so familiar?”
When Yu Lun heard his words, he controlled his laughter and said, “A delivery hand named Zhang Xiaohua, how is that familiar to us, hahaha ~Zhang Xiaohua, that actually sounds familiar, as if I have heard that name somewhere before?”
Suddenly, Shangguan Yun slapped his chair and said, “Now I remember, I had heard fourth uncle Wen from the martial arts school division mentioned that this Zhang Xiaohua is a natural talent in martial arts, as well as a newly recruited delivery hand. I think he even said that he wanted to let him join our lessons.”
At that moment, a clear laugh echoed from outside, “What genius, he is just a mud bag who dares to call himself a genius after learning martial arts for a few days. If I have the opportunity, I will go over and teach him what a real genius is.”
Weren’t these words were too arrogant?
Zhang Xiaohua turned his head towards the door and looked expectantly to see who the speaker was.
Li Jinfeng had the same intention, someone who could say these words must have some real ability of his own. Scholars who pursue literature all had slim figures like jade trees, but what about martial artists? Wouldn’t they all be thick and muscular men?
Hence, Li Jinfeng was full of expectations.
When Yu Lun heard these words, he quickly went to the door with a smile on his face.
Shangguan Yun wrinkled his brows and stood up immediately, but he did not walk to the door to welcome the new visitor.
The door was not closed so the person entered before Yu Lun could reach the door.
The person had a countenance that was like jade, and he carried a fan like Li Jinfeng although the fan was currently closed and he was playing with it in his hands. The person was also dressed in white robes, and seemed to be very particular about his appearance, he had many small things worn over his body although Zhang Xiaohua could not guess what they were for, the boy only thought that they looked troublesome and it would be difficult to work in the fields dressed like that.
The person was also quite handsome, but his brows were slightly too high which gave off a feeling of superiority. However, it matched his facial features, and it would not be too far-off to describe his looks as “suave and handsome, commanding and forceful”.
Zhang Xiaohua turned his head back to look at Le Jinfeng and asked secretly, “This is also a person who practices martial arts? Why does he look more like a scholar than elder brother Li?”
Yu Lun was quick and responsive, he immediately curtsied, “Gentleman Yu has arrived, such a rare guest, I had not expected your arrival.”
The gentleman Yu did not return the greeting as he waved his fan and said, “I have indeed went back home for a while, and came here today to pay a visit to gentleman Shangguan. Oh, who is this?”
He was obviously referring to Li Jinfeng who was in the same room. Yu Lun smiled as he introduced the stranger, “This is flowing sand school’s gentleman Li, who is the scholar gentleman Shangguan and this humble person met on our journey to Pingyang city.”
When gentleman Yu heard that Li Jinfeng was a scholar, he cupped his fists and said, “This person is Yu Deyi, I am pleased to be your acquaintance.”
Li Jinfeng immediately returned Yu Deyi’s greeting, “It is my pleasure as well.”
Yu Lun who was at a side did not waste this opportunity and he said, “Gentleman Yu came from Yu city to learn the arts, his family is very influential in Yu city.”
Yu Deyi raised a finger to his mouth and said, “Shh… be more covert.”
He directly ignored Zhang Xiaohua and walked over to Shangguan Yun’s front and greeted, “Brother Shangguan, it has been a while but you look the same.”
Shangguan Yun smiled and returned the greeting, “Brother Yu has looked more vibrant since he came back, I cannot compare. Please take a seat.”
Yu Deyi did not stand on the ceremony and he immediately sat on the chair Yu Lun was previously sitting on. Shangguan Yun also reclaimed his seat.
The house Shangguan Yun and Yu Lun shared had two rooms, the inner room was naturally the place for the two men to sleep and the other room was a place to receive visitors. There were only two chairs and a table in this outer room , and when Li Jinfeng entered, they were too preoccupied with the conversation to offer him a seat. Since Shangguan Yun and Yun Deyi had sat down, the three other men had no chairs left for them. Yu Lun slapped his forehead, walked into the inner room and brought two chairs out. He sat on one of them and signaled Li Jinfeng to the other.
When Li Jinfeng saw that there was only one remaining chair, he felt uncomfortable that the other men were treating Zhang Xiaohua as though he was transparent. The latter was someone he had brought along personally, and even though the boy was only a servant, he was not his servant so he guessed that Yu Deyi must have misunderstood their relationship. However, he could not explain the situation without embarrassing Zhang Xiaohua, and yet he knew that there were only four chairs in the room which were all brought out so Yu Lun was not making things difficult for Zhang Xiaohua on purpose. Thus, he was stuck in a dilemma of how to react in this situation.
Knowing the former’s difficulty, Zhang Xiaohua walked to Li Jinfeng’s back and patted his shoulder to nudge him towards the seat. He then walked to the back of the seat and stood with his hands at his back.
Li Jinfeng caught the message and he nodded smilingly before sitting down.
The actions of the two were not missed by the other three in the room; Shangguan Yun knew that there were only four chairs so he did not mind Zhang Xiaohua standing up. However, Yu Deyi was puzzled as he wondered, what was the meaning of this servant’s behavior?
No matter what, it was none of his business so he did not investigate any further. Instead, he coughed slightly and asked, “I have heard from outside that you were mentioning a delivery hand with some good reputation, can you explain the situation in detail to me? I do not recall having heard this name before I left, so why is there already a commotion about him after a few days of my absence?”
Yu Lun gave Zhang Xiaohua a glance and explained, “Young master Yu, the person is called Zhang Xiaohu. The story was actually very straightforward, Zhang Xiaohu came at the same time with us to Pingyang city, and we even shared the same carriage. However, we did not enter the Lotus escort on the same day, we entered the martial arts school division like young master Yu but Zhang Xiaohu was unable to afford the school fees so he applied for the position of a delivery hand instead. I heard that sixth master Li was present during his recruitment test, and even though Zhang Xiaohua had never trained in martial arts for a day in his life before, he could perform the entire set of the sixth fist after watching a demonstration only once. This led sixth master Li to be surprised and gave the latter endless praises.”
Upon listening up to here, Yu Deyi shook his head with a frown on his face and said, “Even though the sixth fist is quite complex and there may be difficulties replicating the entire set of movements, I but when I first started learning martial arts in my youth, which martial art did I fail to replicated after one demonstration? I even remembered that a cousin of mine also learnt the sixth fist as his first martial art, and even though he did not replicate the whole set of movements, he managed to remember most of it. Zhang Xiaohu’s talent may be good, but it will be too far-fetched to call him a genius.”
Upon hearing the other party’s judgement, Zhang Xiaohua was naturally unhappy. Even though this Yu Deyi has reasons for his own arrogance, the person he was talking about was still his own elder brother. Nevertheless, he knew that it would be difficult to hear praises of his brother, and he guessed that the other party might be feeling jealous as well.
Shangguan Yun picked up from where Yu Lun left off, “Brother Yu, your words are reasonable, I was not present on the day of the test so I did feel a little strange. However, if this was just the story, then it would be not be unordinary. There is still a little something that brother Yu is unaware of.”
Yu Deyu was surprised and he said, “Will brother Shangguan enlighten me?”
Shangguan Yun continued to explain, “When Zhang Xiaohua entered the escort station as a delivery hand, I had not reached the martial arts school division yet, but wasn’t brother Yu already here then? Furthermore, during the period before brother Yu returned to Yu city, wasn’t Zhang Xiaohua already in the escort station then? Why would you have not heard of his name all these while?”
Yu Deyi answered casually, “He is only a small delivery hand, how would I know him? We do not learn martial arts together, and you can’t expect me to run over to where he is to meet him.”
Shangguan Yun smiled and said, “Brother Yu’s words are reasonable. Actually, Zhang Xiaohu’s name did not spread when brother Yu was around, but only more recently.”
At that moment, Shangguan Yun also threw Zhang Xiaohua a glance as he said, “According to some of our brothers in the martial arts hall, ever since Zhang Xiaohua entered the station, apart from the normal basic training, the latter only continued to practice the sixth stance. Even the instructor felt that it was strange, and sixth master Li already commented that his mastery was very good and offered to teach him new martial arts, he refused and said that he could still improve after each practice, and would only consider other martial arts after he stopped improving. Sixth master Li thought that he was joking but after more than ten days later, Zhang Xiaohua was still practicing the sixth stance which made sixth master Li exasperated because he did not want to give up on such a good sprout. Finally, they made a gamble, if Zhang Xiaohua could defeat a bodyguard, he would be allowed to continue his own training. If not, he would have to listen to sixth master Li’s instructions. Brother Yu, can you guess what happened in the end?”
Yu Deyi slapped his head and said, “Is brother Shangguan insulting my intelligence? If Zhang Xiaohu had lost the match, why would we still be discussing about him today?”
Shangguan Yun laughed and said, “Haha, true. Sixth master Li did not expect him to win on that day. No matter how you think about it, the bodyguards in Lotus escort are all experienced martial artists, which had not trained for at least a few years? Five to six years aren’t even worth mentioning, most have more than ten years of experience, so how could this Zhang Xiaohu who trained for a month be a match for them?”
Yu Lun noticed that Shangguan Yun had missed out some parts of the story so he added, “I was not too sure myself but I heard that Zhang Xiaohu was initially getting beaten up by the bodyguard. However, he continued to use the sixth fist and the more they fought, the better he got and even when the bodyguard switched to different martial arts, they were useless and he was finally hit squarely on his chest and forced to admit defeat.”
“Oh~ This Zhang Xiaohu is quite interesting. Perhaps he could really be a genius?” Yu Deyi became excited as he said, “However, it does sound exaggerated for a person who have trained for only a month to beat an opponent with more than a decade of experience. What could possibly be the reason?”
At that moment, a voice came from behind, “Practice makes perfect.”
Everyone turned over and it was Zhang Xiaohua who answered brightly.
Ever since Shangguan Yun mentioned that his second brother Zhang Xiaohu only trained in a single martial art, a chord struck in his heart just like how when he was talking to Li Jinfeng in the morning and the latter said that other people have their own answers, and their answers might not be suited for him. This tied in his second brother’s situation when learning martial arts, and he felt as though he found a way to break through his “bottleneck”. When he heard Yu Deyi’s question, an itch appeared in his heart and he repeated the line teacher Liu had shared previously with him.
Yu Deyi wrinkled his brow and snorted before saying, “Gentleman Li, why is your servant so lacking in decorum, has your household failed to teach him properly?”
Li Jinfeng’s face turned red, weren’t the words insulting his upbringing? He immediately stood up and explained, “Brother Yu is mistaken, he is not my attendant, but a servant who works in Huanxi mountain villa. It can be put that he is a common friend of brother Shangguan, brother Yu and me.”
“Friend?” Yu Deyi studied the azure robe and little hat that Zhang Xiaohua wore and he felt uncomfortable. He turned to Shangguan Yun who also had a frown on his face as he thought that Li Jinfeng was not tactful in his words, because a servant as a friend was naturally disgraceful and he had never treated Zhang Xiaohua as one. Yu Lun noticed the situation and hurriedly explained, “Young master Yu, we all took the same carriage to Pingyang city which is how we knew each other.”
Yu Deyi then nodded his head arrogantly and retracted his gaze. However, he seemed to recall something and asked again, “You are all fellow passengers? Then didn’t he come with Zhang Xiaohu as well?”
Yu Lun smiled as he replied, “The five of us did take the same carriage, and he is Zhang Xiaohua, the younger brother of the aforementioned Zhang Xiaohu.”