Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Zhang Xiaohu stayed for a little longer to remind his younger brother before he left. After all, he was still an employee of the Lotus escort and has to earn his worth. Even though the new delivery hands had no jobs in the beginning unlike the bodyguards who have to immediately start work and leave faraway, there were still many duties in the escort station that had to be complete. They had to take care of more things on usual days, and there were also many things that they had to learn. Furthermore, the escort station was paying them a monthly salary, so shouldn’t Zhang Xiaohu at least show his face?
The room became quiet after Zhang Xiaohu left.
Zhang Xiaohua was only a ten year old plus child, there were not many times when he was left alone, but unfortunately, Zhang Xiaohua was reminded constantly of his injuries by the pain in his hand. Zhang Xiaohua wanted to sleep more but once he closed his eyes, his eyes wanted to open themselves, and after many attempts, he gave up on the idea of sleeping more. Instead, he looked straight at the ceiling as his thoughts wandered towards his martial arts training.
During the match between Zhang Xiaohu and Yu Deyi on the previous day, even though Yu Deyi finally gained the upper hand and clinched the victory, he was unable to push Zhang Xiaohu against the wall with just fist martial arts alone. When Zhang Xiaohua thought of the overbearing force from the inner energy, his eyes turned hot involuntarily. During then, Zhang Xiaohu only saw that the purple colored fist was moving in an impossible speed and did not get to experience firsthand its might, but Zhang Xiaohua actually felt the full force of the inner energy on his body. The force from the palm was unstoppable as it drilled into Zhang Xiaohua’s fist and destroyed everything in its path, even flinging his body into the air like a rag doll. Zhang Xiaohua could even remember the feeling when the inner energy surged through his body before he lost his consciousness, even though he had not much experience in martial arts, he could tell that the force was not simple physical force.
Furthermore, when Yu Deyi activated his inner energy, the qinggong which he displayed was like a rabbit under the pursuit of an eagle when he caused Zhang Xiaohu to become helpless, everything was based on his inner energy, and when thinking back further into the past, hero Wen and heroine Xue also used qinggong when they left and it would not be possible to move in the speed that had without inner energy.
The more he thought about it, the greater the thirst was in Zhang Xiaohua, when would he be able to learn a real inner energy cultivation method? From what he heard Yu Deyi and Shagguan Yun said on the previous day, it seemed that a martial artist without background like him would hardly get the chance to chance upon this type of secret martial art.
“Sigh” Zhang Xiaohua sighed, it was better if he concentrate on his fist martial arts for now. If he could not even master the foundational requirements, he could only let down the kind person who was willing to impart such a treasure to him.
If Zhang Xiaohua had known that Yu Deyi retracted seventy percent of his inner energy during their confrontation, perhaps he would even lose the confidence to continue training his fist martial arts.
Actually, when Zhang Xiaohu met Li Jinfeng and heard that Zhang Xiaohu had only learnt a single type of fist martial art, he already had a rough idea in his head, but unable to develop it further due to the unexpected delays. Now that he was bedridden, it was a good opportunity to rethink on how he should learn martial arts.
His aptitude was nowhere close to his second brother Zhang Xiaohu, and even squad leader He said that Zhang Xiaohua’s talent was abnormally poor. Under these type of circumstances, Zhang Xiaohua could only put in hundred times the effort and time to train martial arts, except, he was not sure what was the problem with his head; during his youth, his teacher had also said that he was not stupid so why was he so forgetful when it came to martial arts? At least he could still remember some stances, and these stances came naturally to him and he would not forget them. If not, the worse scenarios was if he forgot what he learnt after learning something new, like a rattan basket trying to catch water.
At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua naturally recalled the martial arts that squad leader He and little second and third Nie taught, those few incomplete stances in his memory were like water as it flowed within his memory, and each stance was as clear as stone in clear water, although those that were forgotten remained completely forgotten.
It was a really strange matter.
When Zhang Xiaohua was training martial arts under the guidance of the people in Huanxi mountain villa, he had learnt many types of fist martial arts and had memorized around thirty stances in total from all of them. These thirty stances were from different types of martial arts, they had no similarities, and even the stances he remembered from the same martial arts were not consecutive movements, they were results of his imagination as he tried to piece them together, and even squad leader He shook his head when he saw his attempt. At that moment, the thirty stances flowed around his head and Zhang Xiaohua slowly felt dazed before falling asleep. However, these stances began to become messy, and among the mess, two stances suddenly linked together perfectly without any signs of disharmony. This unexpected result jolted Zhang Xiaohua awake, but by the time he tried to recall the stances, their images were already gone from his head. This little accident could cause such a huge wave in his head, what on earth had just happened? How could a random stance from a martial art join so perfectly with another one? Was it his imagination, or was there some other explanation?
The more he thought the more excited Zhang Xiaohua grew, and he could not wait to try out the martial arts and forgot that he was still lying on bed with a crutch on his right hand. The moment he tried to move his hand, a pain drilled through his heart and he yelped out loudly.
At that moment, an urgent sounding voice came from outside, “Xiaohua, what’s the problem? Did your injury start hurting again?”
When he turned up to look, Zhang Xiaohu had already rushed into the room. Zhang Xiaohu looked at his second brother and said sheepishly, “It is nothing, second brother, I was careless and accidentally touched my injured hand.”
“Sigh, how could you be so abnormally careless?” Zhang Xiaohu scolded as he carefully wiped off the sweat on the boy’s forehead. He said, “Right before I left, I already reminded you to be careful yet you have forgotten it so fast, do you want your fingers to grow twisted?”
“Haha, I will be more careful in the future.” Upon seeing his second brother nagged like a mother, Zhang Xiaohua felt a surge of warmth and he hurriedly comforted Zhang Xiaohu.
However, Zhang Xiaohua soon turned puzzled and he asked Zhang Xiaohu, “Second brother, you had left not long ago, why did you come back so soon? Was there nothing to do in the escort station?”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled as he replied, “I have only entered the escort station for slightly over a month, so am considered new and have not much to do apart from familiarizing myself with the matters of the station. Sixth master Li allowed me to concentrate on my training because my martial arts aptitude was not bad so he would seldom look for him, and now that you are injured, he was probably being sympathetic and gave me more time to look after you. Furthermore, sixth master Li probably learnt that third master Qu had permitted me to learn martial arts in the martial arts school division so he did not give me much work today, and hence I could hurry back to see you.”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “That is nice, so you should continue your training to make up for their kindness. You also seemed to be pondering on something when I came over yesterday. Oh right, second brother, what do you delivery hands usually do every day?”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled bitterly as he replied, “If it is just a delivery hand, then we are not much better off than the servants in the station, so we will have to do all kinds of chores without any say in the matter. What about you? I wanted to ask more about you yesterday but didn’t had the time to do so, what do you do in Huanxi mountain villa?”
“Guess?” Zhang Xiaohua poked at Zhang Xiaohu teasingly.
“What is there to guess, lady Qiu Tong previously mentioned it before she took you away, it was something to do with growing herbs right?”
Zhang Xiaohua said unhappily, “Why bother asks if you already knew?”
“I was only asking if that was what you really did there, and if it was tiring for you?” Zhang Xiaohu said innocently.
“Not tired, not tired at all, second brother. The work was not much different from what we do at home, and it is in fact slightly easier. Oh, by the way, what do you eat in the escort station? In our mountain villa… …” Zhang Xiaohua’s spirits rose as he described his life in Huanxi mountain villa for the past month to his second brother in whole.
Zhang Xiaohu was feeling very satisfied when he heard Zhang Xiaohua’s story, he was originally worrying if his younger brother would be bullied by others in an unfamiliar place. It seemed that he had thought too much, Ma Jing and the other servants could only be fertilizers to Zhang Xiaohua, while fertilizers may be smelly, it was essential to grow healthy crops, and without these little tricks and jokes, how could his younger brother mature faster?
As he thought back again, Zhang Xiaohua had close to one thousand jin of strength in both his arms combined, he should have been happy if his younger brother did not go around bullying others, what was there for him to be worried about? Perhaps this was just the unwarranted concern of a mother when her son was a thousand li away.
However, when he heard up to He Tianshu from Piaomiao sect personally instructing Zhang Xiaohua, he became stunned and asked, “Xiaohua, was there really such a good offer? Someone taught you martial arts without asking for anything in return?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he replied, “That’s right, I do not know how elder sister Qiu Tong managed it, oh right, the elder sister villa master is even nicer. I have never met her before but she instructed someone to teach me martial arts, I must thank her when I find the chance in the future. When I finished learning the martial arts, I will personally find elder sister villa master to express my gratitude. I have learnt from Li Jinfeng to thank people who have shown me kindness.”
When he thought again of how Zhang Xiaohua would not be able to learn martial arts in the future, Zhang Xiaohu felt a wave of sadness in his heart, but he could not bear to spoil his younger brother’s excitement so he held back his tears and said, “Good, Zhang Xiaohua. Repay kindness when treated kindly and take revenge when there is a grudge, this is the way of the people in Jianghu. Second brother will wait for the day when you finished your training in martial arts.” After finishing his sentence, he stroke Zhang Xiaohua’s head and picked himself up to take something, while quickly wiping his tears away before the latter could see him.
Zhang Xiaohua was caught up in his excitement so he naturally did not notice any abnormality in his second brother’s behavior, he said, “Perhaps I will never finish learning martial arts.”
Zhang Xiaohu was caught by surprise and he quickly turned around and said, “Xiaohua, do not worry about your injury, the physician had said that you will recover soon, and you can learn martial arts again when that time comes.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “It’s not that, second brother, I have heard what the physician said yesterday and I know I will be better not long later, and can continue my training then, but, but…”
Zhang Xiaohu asked urgently, “But what?”
At that moment, a tinge of redness appeared on Zhang Xiaohua’s pale face as he said, “Second brother, my aptitude is not as cool as yours, you can defeat a martial artist who trained for years after just one month of training, but the martial arts I train are all incomplete, and I can only practice a few stances in each fist martial art.”
When Zhang Xiaohu heard his reply, he felt a huge sense of relief and said, “So what, I am only good at fist martial arts, and my opponent did not use inner energy to fight against me. If it was a real match, how could I be the other party’s opponent? Sigh, all because of this inner energy cultivation method. Also, you do not need to worry about having poor aptitude, just make it up with more practice. If other people practiced it once, you can practice it ten times, and if it is still not enough, you can practice twenty, or even a hundred times, I don’t believe that you cannot succeed!”
Even after hearing his second brother’s spirited and confident words, Zhang Xiaohua was still unconvinced and he said, “Second brother, you do not understand. Even if I had practiced a hundred times, I will still forget everything cleanly by the second day after I wake up.”
“Ah? There is such a thing? You really trained for a hundred times?” Zhang Xiaohu became puzzled.
“Although not up to a hundred times, but I have trained for at least forty to fifty times and still cannot remember.” Zhang Xiaohua replied dejectedly.
“Then that is really strange. I have heard that for normal martial arts, a normal person should memorize most, if not all the stances after practicing it for ten times.”
“However, second brother, there is another thing that is weird.”
“What is it?”
“That is, no matter what fist martial art it is, I only need to practice it once to remember how much I can remember, and will never forget it again. Even if I trained up to fifty times, I will not remember another additional stance.”
Zhang Xiaohu felt his heart shuddered and he said, “In that case, Xiaohua, perhaps you are really not suited for martial arts. How about this, once your injuries have healed, don’t continue training martial arts and start concentrating on farming instead. if you can grow plants well enough, then even the Huanxi mountain villa would value your talent.”
“I cannot, second brother, the villa master will still have the final say in hiring people with these type of skills. If she does not have a good opinion, then your welfare will be poorer, and furthermore, I heard that the retirement money is not much. From what I see, I should continue to train in martial arts. If Huanxi mountain villa give me a pension, then I would retire over there, if not I can jump ship to somewhere else.” Zhang Xiaohua explained confidently.
Seeing that Zhang Xiaohua’ determination was not minor, Zhang Xiaohu did not dare to persuade the former any further in fear that he would realize the seriousness of his own injuries. He said, “Then you can do what you think is best for yourself. However, it doesn’t hurt to learn these side skills as they will only benefit you. If the retirement plan is not attractive enough, then you can think of better opportunities later on.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “I understand, second brother. Oh right, I just found out… … Never mind, wait till I figure it out fully before telling you.”
Seeing that his younger brother did not want to talk about the mysterious subject, Zhang Xiaohu did not pursue it any further.
However, Zhang Xiaohua quickly asked again, “Second brother, I heard yesterday that you only train in the sixth fist, I thought that you were trying to specialize in only one fist martial art, placing quality over quantity, is my conjecture correct? Or is there another reason behind it, can you tell me more about it?”
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua’ shy expression, Zhang Xiaohu burst into laughter as this subject was not a big secret, it was not even a secret. If his younger brother who could no longer practice martial arts asked him this question, how could he not answer the former? He smiled and replied, “Xiaohua, you are right, quality over quantity! I have actually tried training in other martial arts such as the Rohan fist. However, after memorizing it, I realized something strange. Every martial art has its offensive and defensive stances, but these two martial arts have different types of offence and defense. The style they used, the ways they protect and attack are different, so that made me think if all martial arts were like this? A human body is only so large, and the places one can defend and attack are only so few. Could it be that every martial art attacks and protects these few areas, and they only differ in their style? Following this reasoning, I tried exploring with other martial arts that other people had trained in and realized that it was just as I have assumed. Thus, I decided not to expand my repertoire in martial arts, and simply focus on this sixth fist. It is my very first martial art after all, and the stances it contains are complex and comprehensive. Think about it, I have trained this martial art for a whole month, so it should be better than other people who learnt bits and pieces everywhere and switch around in their styles without any profound increase in their offence or defense. In fact, reality has proven me right, that just by relying on this sixth fist, I am able to hold my own against people with many styles and fist martial arts.”
When Zhang Xiaohua heard this, he felt overwhelmed; his second brother was really a genius!
Actually, this was not just Zhang Xiaohua’s personal opinion, if any martial art expert had heard Zhang Xiaohu’s previous words, they would recognize this youth as their peer. This philosophy towards martial arts was not uncommon, there are many various styles from the many different sects in Jianghu, but at the basis of their techniques are just the two paths offence and defense. For Zhang Xiaohu to recognize this after just one month since his initiation to martial arts could only be described by the word “genius”. However, Lotus escort was only a small corner on earth, where could a top martial expert appear from and polish this diamond in the rough?
After listening to Zhang Xiaohu’s word, Zhang Xiaohua pondered and felt that they were all true. However, this was the path for Zhang Xiaohu which is not suitable for Zhang Xiaohua to follow, given his aptitude to only remember a few stances from each martial arts, how could he reach the level of such awareness in offence and defense?
Sigh, how could there be such a large difference between people?
“However, just training this fist martial art alone is not enough.” Zhang Xiaohu continued to explain, “On one hand, without the application of inner energy, this martial art is just like a paper tiger. As you have seen for yourself yesterday, my martial art lost all its effectiveness the moment Yu Deyi activated his inner energy. In front of absolute power, all fancy strokes and sequences will be pulverized into nothingness. On the other hand, this sixth fist that I have chosen to study is a very basic and widespread martial art in Jianghu, there are still many sects out there with offensive and defensive stances that are even more profound and effective. If this normal martial art would face off against theirs, who would not be able to guess the result? Sigh, I wonder what is the special martial art of the Piaomiao sect which is so close to us?”
Zhang Xiaohu looked out of the window as he became preoccupied with his thoughts.
Upon seeing Zhang Xiaohu’s depression, Zhang Xiaohua comforted, “Second brother, do not be discouraged. Given your potential, the Piaomiao sect will definitely invite you in if they knew about it.”
Zhang Xiaohu said, “Oh, I got it, Xiaohua, you do not have to comfort me. I am already fully satisfied with the opportunities I have now, so why would I aspire for anything else?”