Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Yu Deyi was left together with third master Qu, he was confused and asked the elder, “Uncle Qu, why do you treat him so well? You even let him borrow the manuals in the library.”
Third master Qu smiled and said, “Have you seen the manuals in the library?”
Yu Deyi replied, “No I have not.”
Third master Qu asked again, “Then why did you not?”
Yu Deyi was puzzled as he answered, “Why would I need to look at them? Aren’t there already instructors in the martial arts school, if I understood something wrongly, it could lead to my death in a real fight. Oh, I understand now, uncle Qu, indeed it is “the old ginger that is spicier”, to exchange a favor from Zhang Xiaohu with martial art manuals that no one would use.”
Third master Qu smiled and said, “That’s right, Deyi-ah, you have to think more in situations like this and not judge a book by its cover. I brought him into the martial art school because I wanted to win him over, and he would naturally be grateful to me. Furthermore, for someone like him without any foundation to enter the martial school, do you think it is possible for him to pick up a profound inner energy cultivation method? Won’t he still have to follow me in the future?”
Yu Deyi smiled back and said, “I understand now, uncle Qu. If he would listen to you in the future, you will impart to him profound inner energy cultivation methods, if not, you can casually find someone else to teach him an average inner energy cultivation method, since something like that is still extremely precious to a person like him.”
Third master Qu smiled in satisfaction and praised the younger man, “Not bad, you are ‘a student that can be taught to understand.’ However, you have missed out on two details. Firstly, whether he learns a profound or average inner energy cultivation method, this Zhang Xiaohu will never be able to achieve anything greater and he will continue to be under our escort station’s control. Secondly, his younger brother is already crippled and cannot learn martial arts anymore, even if we give the latter the inner energy cultivation manuals to read, he will not be able to practice them, not to mention the most common fist martial arts manuals.”
An expression of shame appeared on Yu Deyi’s face as he said, “Uncle Qu, this little nephew had not thought this far, you are really a genius.”
Third master Qu stroke his beard and enjoyed the compliment as if his name was “Deyi (proud)”.
How would Zhang Xiaohu know all these? He was only concerned with making his younger brother happy, as long as the latter was busy, he would not brood too much about his injury.
The collection in the library was very rich, there were all sorts of manuals for weapons, and many other more manuals. Naturally, the fist martial arts make up most of the manuals, they actually occupied an entire shelf by themselves. When Zhang Xiaohu’s eyes swept across them, he was surprised and elated, there were at least a hundred of these manuals, if this was just the collection of the station, how many of these manuals have been passed down in Jianghu in all? He was really looking at the sky from his little well before; even though his aptitude was fairly good, stones of another mountain may serve to polish jade, he would have to come over and browse if he found the time in the future. With so many fist martial arts, it would be more than enough for his younger brother to pass the time until his injuries are healed. However, Zhang Xiaohu was still slightly upset, if his younger brother knew that he would not be able to learn martial arts after his injuries have recovered, would the boy still bother about these fist martial arts manual?
After seeing so many fist martial art manuals, Zhang Xiaohu was unable to choose from them. However, after pondering for a while, he took the first book from the top, it did not matter which book he chose since it was just for Xiaohua to relieve his boredom, anyone would do and even if it was not okay, he could simply take another one by one. Haha, but looking at the shelf full of manuals, Zhang Xiaohu’s head subconsciously hurt as he involuntarily shook his head, why were there so many?
After taking out the fist martial art manuals, the supervisor in the library made a record on a book, he did not ask any question and simply waved Zhang Xiaohu away.
With a pile of manuals in his chest, Zhang Xiaohu hummed a tune as he took light steps and walked back to his room.
Upon opening the door, the first sentence he heard was Li Jinfeng telling Zhang Xiaohua, “Xiaohua, it is not that I am trying to praise you, but you are really really really smart. I suggest that you drop the idea of pursuing martial arts, what is so good about it anyway? Isn’t it just fighting and killing every day, and not living a single peaceful day for the rest of your life? Instead, you can just read books and pursue literature, may be compose some poems in the comfort of your room, wouldn’t that be nicer?”
Zhang Xiaohu thought it sounded absurd and he asked, “Gentleman Li, what is the matter?”
Upon seeing Zhang Xiaohu enter the room, Li Jinfeng pulled the former’s hand excitedly and said, “Zhang Xiaohu, help me persuade your younger brother, he is still a child, why should he go through so much misery just to learn martial arts? With just his intellect, if he studied seriously for two years, it would be easy for him to achieve good grades in the official exam and pursue a political career. Don’t you think that will be a better path for him instead?”
Zhang Xiaohu felt like his head was covered in perspiration as he asked, “Xiaohua is very smart? Why did I not know that before, I watched him grow up since young but no one had ever called him a genius. If he was smart, our father would have sent him to school already.”
Li Jinfeng’s brow wrinkled and said, “I do not know what Xiaohua was like when he was young, but perhaps his talent matured as he grew older?”
Zhang Xiaohu did not know whether to laugh or cry, he said, “Can you explain more clearly, I do not know what the situation is so how can I persuade him?”
Li Jinfeng smiled and said, “I’ve been too hasty, haha, you have not been around all these while when I was teaching Zhang Xiaohua how to read. At the beginning, he’s picked things up like a normal person, but he got faster the more he learnt and has managed to finish reading this fist martial art manual during this period. Furthermore, if you look at his calligraphy, even though he wrote with his left hand while sitting on the bed, it still looks neat and his rate of improvement is amazing. This kind of talent is hundred times better than mine, it will be a waste if we don’t send him to school.”
Zhang Xiaohu felt his heart moved and he picked up the words that Zhang Xiaohua wrote. Indeed, the words he used to see that were of different size and comparable to crabs crawling on sand has been replaced by neat characters in tidy rows. Hence, he said to Zhang Xiaohua who was sitting on the bed, “Xiaohua-ah, it seems that you have great potential in scholarly pursuits, even though we did not uncover it when you were young, you are still not too old so why don’t you go to school instead? If you can become an official and bring glory to our household, I am sure that father and mother will be very happy then.”
Zhang Xiaohua was not moved and he said, “No way, second brother. Teacher Liu and Liu Kai are both educated people but when sister-in-law was bullied, would they be able to help her? Since I have already embarked on the path of martial arts, I will stick through it all the way, don’t you agree elder brother Li, that if one always take detours he will not be able to accomplish large things?”
Seeing that he had already made his mind up, Zhang Xiaohu did not try to persuade anymore. As for Li Jinfeng, his eyes turned bright as he thought secretly, “This person is obviously a rare literary talent, even his rejection sounds so sophisticated, how can I let go of him? Haven’t the physician said that Zhang Xiaohua would not be able to train in martial arts anymore, I only need to concentrate on teaching him and wait until he realizes the truth, then won’t he come back to the scholarly path?”
As he was thinking, his eyes rolled and said, “Okay, Xiaohua makes sense. However, you must train in martial arts to strengthen your body and not to partake in all the fighting and killing in Jianghu. You must also not forget to inform this elder brother Li if you ever want to back to the scholarly path.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “Alright, at that time, I will definitely look for elder brother Li to study. However, I think that elder brother Li will be disappointed.”
Li Jinfeng smiled as he said, “Then let me be disappointed, the higher the expectation the greater the disappointment, so I will not expect too much. Now that you can read many words, and have read the fist martial arts manual, I will bring some of our books from the library for you. Even if you are not pursuing the scholarly path, there will still be benefits reading these books.”
“Really? Then I thank elder brother Li in advance. Bring some tomorrow morning for me to look at, I have been reading this fist martial art manual for the past few days until it has lost all its flavor.” Zhang Xiaohua was overjoyed when he heard Li Jinfeng’s offer.
Li Jinfeng was like an angler who just caught a fish, he said, “Since you are bored of this fist martial arts manual, I will bring some interesting books that you definitely won’t want to put down tomorrow.”
He then looked at the sky and saw that it was late so he packed his things and bid farewell.
After Li Jinfeng left, Zhang Xiaohu looked at Zhang Xiaohua lovingly and said, “Xiaohua, I did not expect you to have some much talent in scholarly pursuits, I think you should consider gentleman Li’s proposal seriously. Living a peaceful life in the future makes quite a good choice.”
Zhang Xiaohua frowned and said, “Second brother, why are you so naggy today, I have never been good at studying since young and even the teacher had said so. I don’t know what is happening now, perhaps elder brother Li was saying all that just to cheer me up. However, I have never considered studying, so does second brother have something in mind?”
“Cough” Zhang Xiaohu broke into a fit of cough and he quickly changed the topic, “I do have something to tell you.”
Zhang Xiaohu was surprised and he asked, “What is it, second brother, have you learnt to keep people in suspense?”
Zhang Xiaohu mysteriously took out the manuals from his breast and said, “Look at these, what do you think they are?”
Zhang Xiaohua received them and studied carefully, he said, “Isn’t this Erlang fist manual? Second brother, where did you get this from?”
“Erlang fist?” Zhang Xiaohu was surprised and he quickly took the manual back for a closer look. Indeed, there was a large “Er” written on the cover, it seemed that he was too preoccupied with taking a manual that he did not look at the manual he took carefully enough. He felt embarrassed for actually missing out the word “Er”, it was really scary being illiterate in this world.
The library supervisor was at fault too, why didn’t he read the title of the book out, Zhang Xiaohu though as his face turned red.
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua’s curious gaze, Zhang Xiaohu explained the events in the afternoon. When Zhang Xiaohua heard of the opportunity his second brother was given, his eyes brightened as though there were numerous stars in them, and he said loudly, “Second brother, I worship you, you are my eternal idol, thank you.”
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua’s excitement, Zhang Xiaohua could not help but feel happy himself, but he also said, “Let’s forget about this first book, I will exchange another one for you immediately.”
Zhang Xiaohua quickly dissuaded him, “Don’t exchange it for now, second brother. You just borrowed it out and if the supervisor sees that you return it so soon, he will be unhappy and may not let us borrow anymore. First place it here for tonight and you can exchange it for another one tomorrow.”
Zhang Xiaohu was left with no other choice so he said, “Alright, I will return it the first thing in the morning.”
After that, Zhang Xiaohua excitedly prodded Zhang Xiaohu on the library, and Zhang Xiaohu had no choice but to describe it in detail. Zhang Xiaohua was overjoyed as he listened and he said, “That is great, second brother, I will definitely read all the fist martial art manuals in the library at least once.”
Zhang Xiaohu thought of the whole shelf of books and he could not bear to dampen his younger brother’s mood so he said, “Alright, I will support you, Xiaohua.”
Suddenly, Zhang Xiaohua asked, “Second brother, did you see any inner energy cultivation manuals inside?”
Zhang Xiaohu shook his head and said, “I can’t read so how would I know which manual is an inner energy cultivation manual? This manual was also referred to me by someone else. However, I do not think that they will let me look at the inner energy cultivation manuals or borrow them out, I believe that they will keep it in private.”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded when he heard his brother’s words, how could a precious thing be easily brought out?
Zhang Xiaohu casually left the Erlang fist manual on the bed.
After dinner, Zhang Xiaohu continued to train the sixth stance patiently under the oil lamp light while Zhang Xiaohua looked at him in boredom. He felt strange, wasn’t this just the sixth fist martial art, there were only the same few stances so what could he do with them? Yet his second brother was treating it like a treasure as he practiced it over and over again, sometimes fast and other times slow, was this really effective? Zhang Xiaohua felt suspicious.
When he was bored to the max, Zhang Xiaohua casually picked up the fist manual on the bed and flipped through it under the weak lamp light. Suddenly, he shouted “Ah” and his hands stopped on a page of the manual. When Zhang Xiaohu who was practicing his martial art heard the sound, he quickly turned around and asked, “What’s the matter, Xiaohua?”
“Oh, second brother, I saw something weird.” Zhang Xiaohua explained, “Bring your oil lamp over.”
Zhang Xiaohu brought the oil lamp over as he was told and Zhang Xiaohu continued to study the page he stopped at, he then took the other book which Li Jinfeng brought over and flipped to the same page, compared the two carefully and nodded. He said with certainty to Zhang Xiaohu, “Second brother, look at this. This is the stance I managed to memorize in book which you borrowed from the library, and this is the same page in the book Li Jinfeng brought. The second one looked more powerful and the fist is punched slightly lower which is the same as my mistake, but the one I remembered is more powerful than your book.”
Zhang Xiaohu rubbed his chin and wrinkled his brow, he said, “What does this say? Fist martial art manuals will have mistakes, and even martial arts masters will make mistakes. In that case, the Erlang fist that is spread throughout Jianghu could also be different among different people?”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded and said, “Second brother, what you say makes sense, and this fist martial art has been down for a long time so it must have changed greatly as well.”
Zhang Xiaohu said, “That’s right. Even though the more obvious things won’t change, details like this have probably been changed many times.”
“Hahaha.” Zhang Xiaohua laughed aloud.
Zhang Xiaohu was surprised and he asked, “Have you gone crazy, why did you laugh like that?”
Zhang Xiaohua laughed as he said, “Second brother, squad leader He said that my martial arts were wrong and he would often tell me to change this or that but I could not change my posture no matter how hard I tried. Now that I see it, as long as the main stance is correct, the small details do not matter too much. If I were to analyze this even more, then it is not necessary for whatever squad leader He taught to be the right way, don’t you agree?”
Zhang Xiaohu nodded his head and said, “You are not wrong, then, you are prepared…”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “I think that for my future practice, I will follow what I can remember, as long as the stance looks similar, then I will not bother about the minor details.”
Zhang Xiaohu slapped his head and laughed, “That’s right, you can’t correct yourself even if you tried, so why bother trying right, you are just giving yourself an excuse.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he replied, “Maybe.”
The knot in Zhang Xiaohua’s heart was finally dissolved, he slowly flipped through the fist martial art manual to try and memorize more stances. Actually, he had already tried this before with the manual Li Jinfeng brought, and even though he managed to remember quite a bit, he forgotten everything but the two original stances on the second day, just like when he was in Huanxi mountain villa. Hence, he did not dare to believe Li Jinfeng when the latter praised him for being smart, his memory was one in a million poor, it was good enough if he was not called mediocre, how would he dare to pretend to be smart, it would be really embarrassing if someone exposed him one day.
However, when talking about receiving tutoring from Li Jinfeng, Zhang Xiaohua was still proud of himself. Just like how Li Jinfeng said, he had actually managed to memorize everything, and his left hand had grown more proficient in writing. However, as Zhang Xiaohu had said, he was already above ten years old so there was nothing to be proud of when learning the stuff for younger children.
Just as he was preoccupied with his thoughts, he suddenly heard a “Putong” sound, Zhang Xiaohua raised his eyes and it was Zhang Xiaohu who fell onto the floor. He immediately yelled, “Second brother, what is the matter?”
To suddenly fall while training martial arts was not likely to be something good, could he have gone astray in his martial arts?
Zhang Xiaohu jumped back up like he was chased by an alligator and his body was still upright with no sign of fatigue or abnormalities. He patted off the dust on his body and said, “I am alright, Xiaohua.”
Zhang Xiaohua sighed in relief.
Zhang Xiaohu explained, “When I was practicing up a certain move, I felt like there was some gap in front of my fist and suddenly recalled what you just said, that perhaps this fist stance was wrong. Hence, I extended my fist slightly further to fill the gap but just as my feet were about to switch to the next stance, my waist twisted and I lost my balance, haha, and that was how I fell.”
When Zhang Xiaohua heard his explanation, he raised his thumb and said, “Second brother, you are a genius. Since ancient times, you are the first person who can practice martial arts until you trip yourself, even though there may people who will follow in your footsteps, you can be the founding father of this move.”
Zhang Xiaohu “belched” and said, “Your oily tongue has gotten slimier.”
Zhang Xiaohua retracted his smile and said solemnly, “Second brother, what I said previously was only my conjecture, you cannot take it too seriously. This sixth fist and Erlang fist has been spread around for so many years and the number of people who practiced it is uncountable, there must be a reason for each and every stance. If you change the stance, you may end up forfeiting your life in a fight. Furthermore, everyone follows their own path in martial arts, when I first saw you practice sixth fist to the extreme, I also wanted to follow you because of how amazing you were. Not just me, there were probably others in the escort station who wanted to follow in your footsteps, but if I can’ even remember the Rohan fist to its entirety, how can I only train in one martial art?
Zhang Xiaohu nodded his head slightly as he listened.
Zhang Xiaohua continued, “Hence, your path is not suitable for me and vice versa. I change the stances because I cannot remember the original ones, but you don’t have to. This sixth fist has been practiced to death by you, why change now? Furthermore, you don’t even know where to begin modifying it!