Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
At that moment, the Liu Er who was quiet during the half bell of time spoke up, “We cannot read so how do we know what you write is real?”
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, he thought, “That’s right, second brother can’t read so there is no use leaving him a note.”
However, he immediately changed his mind, even if his second brother could not read, he could consult someone else, after all, it was not hard for the latter to do something like that.
Zhang Xiaohua did not have many belongings, when he came over several months ago, he had only planned to stay for a while before returning to the mountain villa so he did not bring much. What he was packing now was only a few books and small items which did not take too much time. Hence, under Ma Jing and Liu Er’s gaze, Zhang Xiaohua took out some paper and was just about to search for his brush, he heard someone walking from outside. He turned his head to look and saw Zhang Xiaohu opening the door.
The current Zhang Xiaohua was much more sensitive, when Zhang Xiaohu was walking outside the room, his footsteps were light and the other two men in the room could not hear it, yet Zhang Xiaohua was able to feel it clearly.
When Zhang Xiaohu pushed open the door to enter, he was surprised to see the strangers in his room and Zhang Xiaohua responded promptly by introducing the two new visitors. Zhang Xiaohua then quickly greeted them, “Ma Jing, thank you for taking such good care of Xiaohua while he was in Huanxi mountain villa.”
Ma Jing followed the other part’s action and replied politely, “Brother Zhang does not have to be too polite, Xiaohua is still young and we all consider him as our little brother, so of course we would take good care of him.”
Only Zhang Xiaohua was feeling disgruntled, he felt that their care was rare and he was “stepped on often by their shoes” instead.
When Zhang Xiaohua explained the purpose of the two men’s visit, Zhang Xiaohu revealed an expression of joy and said, “The two of you have come at a good time, I was planning to send Xiaohua over to the mountain villa today but was called out early in the morning by sixth master Li. It seems that the delivery division requires us to go out today, so I am relieved now that the two of you have come.”
When Zhang Xiaohua heard his second brother’s words, he asked anxiously, “Second brother, where is this job of yours headed to? Is it dangerous? This is your first job so you have to be careful.”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled and said, “I cannot tell you where the exact location is since this is the escort station’s rule, but there should be no problem since my destination is not too far, and this will not be my first time heading there. The escort station had arranged most of the new recruits to this job to train us, and I am even appointed as the deputy squad leader so I doubt there will be any danger. Furthermore, there will be a highly skilled and experienced squad leader who will be leading us for this mission, so you do not have to worry.”
After listening to his words, Zhang Xiaohua gradually became calmer.
When Ma Jing noticed that Zhang Xiaohua had packed his little knapsack but the two brothers were still dawdling around, he said to Zhang Xiaohu, “It is getting late now, brother Zhang, and we still have to be back in the mountain villa by noon so we can’t stay any longer. I shall bring Zhang Xiaohua back with us now, so come and visit us if you have the time in the future.”
Upon hearing the other party’s words, Zhang Xiaohu said, “Brother Ma’s words are right, going back to the mountain villa is an official business so we should not delay anymore. Come, I will send you all off.”
After finishing his sentence, he picked up the small knapsack on the bed and motioned Ma Jing and Liu Er to head off first.
The Huanxi horse carriage was parked outside the escort station entrance, and it was the same driver and carriage that brought Qiu Tong and Zhang Xiaohua up to Huanxi mountain villa the previous time.
Zhang Xiaohu stood in front of the carriage and looked at his own younger brother, the latter had been living well during this period of time but he did not put on any weight, his face has slimmed a little but his height was about the same. When he looked at the arm which was still wrapped in bandages, Zhang Xiaohu could not help but still feel slightly guilty.
Zhang Xiaohu placed the knapsack onto the carriage and nagged, “Remember what the physician just said, first do some normal recovery exercise, do not ever do anything too strenuous, and always be careful because if your bone breaks again, it will bring a lot of trouble.”
Zhang Xiaohua was already sick of listening to these words and he said, “Alright, second brother, you have already said it many times. Haven’t I told you that the work in the mountain villa is not much, and since I am already accustomed to my left hand, I can still use it if the situation calls. Actually, I want to start practicing martial arts again, but since the physician told me to wait for a few more days, I will listen to his advice.”
Seeing the Zhang Xiaohua was already getting impatient, and feeling that he had repeated it enough, Zhang Xiaohu smiled and nodded before saying to Ma Jing and Liu Er, “Xiaohua injuries may have recovered but the physician had instructed him not to fully use his right hand yet, I hope that you will take good care of him when you are all in the mountain villa, and I thank you advance for now.”
He bowed deeply after finishing his sentence.
Ma Jing and Liu Er quickly bowed back and voiced their agreement.
The three men got onto the carriage and the carriage began to move. Zhang Xiaohu stood in front of the station entrance while waving his hands continuously until the carriage disappeared into the distance, while Zhang Xiaohua looked on until he could no longer see his second brother before turning his body back to the carriage.
During their journey, Ma Jing would grab onto Zhang Xiaohua and question him incessantly, when he heard Zhang Xiaohu cautioned Zhang Xiaohua to not practice martial arts, he was puzzled in his heart as he recalled the latter saying that he did not know martial arts when he first arrived. How did he know martial arts now?
When Zhang Xiaohua was learning fist martial arts from He Tianshu in the mountain villa, he did not deliberately avoid Ma Jing and the rest of the servants. However, the azure robed servants with little hats and the Piaomiao disciples belonged to two different worlds, apart from eating together and other small interactions, they would not intervene into each other’s businesses during the majority of the time. The azure robed servant with little hats would even have a sense of inferiority and so they would not intervene in the Piaomiao disciple’s practice, but Zhang Xiaohua was not aware of all this. While he would work and eat with Ma Jing and the rest, his other spare time would be spent with He Tianshu and his group, so Ma Jing was completely unaware of the matter of Zhang Xiaohua learning martial arts.
Now that Ma Jing had asked on that day, Zhang Xiaohua naturally explained everything to the former clearly. Ma Jing felt strange, and even a sense of jealousy despite not saying so, he secretly felt that with his own aptitude and suaveness, how could He Tianshu not notice him instead? Could it be jealousy? Or perhaps he had luck to blame, and perhaps he should show some goodwill towards the Piaomiao disciples during breakfast tomorrow instead?
After learning that Zhang Xiaohua could perform some fist martial arts stances, Ma Jing wanted to know how the former got injured in the escort station, and when Zhang Xiaohua recounted the whole events of that day, Ma Jing immediately extinguished the thought of learning martial arts for himself, and quickly kept back the idea of showing any goodwill. Instead, he will have to be more scathing towards them tomorrow, what a joke, what fist martial art can he learn, the boy had practiced for over a month yet he could hardly perform a few strokes and was beaten close to death. If he had learnt martial arts, although he would definitely outperform Zhang Xiaohua, wouldn’t the other party also beat him close to death with just a palm thrust?
Ma Jing thought over Zhang Xiaohua’s words, the latter’s second brother Zhang Xiaohu who was ten times better than him still got beaten up by Yu Deyi until he had to pick up his scattered teeth all over the floor, at least he was intelligent enough to not walk the path of martial arts. Hence, he patted himself in the back secretly and felt proud for choosing the path full of budding opportunities through wearing azure robes and little hats.
The simple and honest Liu Er who was sitting beside them only listened quietly and smiled occasionally to show his agreement.
After a while, the horse carriage reached Huanxi mountain villa and it entered through the back door as usual.
When the carriage stopped at the back door, Ma Jing and Liu Er did not enjoy Qiu Tong’s privileges of not requiring to show their waist token or being able to bring a stranger in, they honestly took out their waist tokens and handed it over. When the guard look towards Zhang Xiaohua, the latter got flustered and slapped his forehead; when he went out of Huanxi mountain villa several months ago, he drew a waist token which had to be returned upon coming back, but where was the token now? After not using it for so long, Zhang Xiaohua had forgotten its whereabouts. When he was studying with Li Jinfeng, he seemed to have used it as a paper weight, but he did not pay attention to it while he was packing his knapsack earlier.
Thus, Zhang Xiaohua unbundled his knapsack. This thing, although it was easy to tie up, untying the knot was hard! Zhang Xiaohua’s left and injured right hand had to put in much effort, so Ma Jing who was sitting at a side naturally took it over to help untie the bundle, and once it was finally opened, Zhang Xiaohua searched hard and messily for the item. Indeed, it was wedged among the books, so Zhang Xiaohua picked it up and passed it to Ma Jing.
Ma Jing did not mind the delay and he casually looked at it before turning around to hand it over to the guard. Just as he extended his hand, he suddenly recalled something and with a “Ah” gasp, he retracted his hand and inspected the waist token, studying it from up to down and left to right, before frowning and asking, “Zhang Xiaohua, why is your waist token different from ours?”
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, he took back the waist token for a closer look and said, “This is the right one, I only have one waist token. This should be the one I got the previous time I left the mountain villa, do you mean that this waist token does not belong to our mountain villa? Oh no, then have I lost the correct one?”
Ma Jing was also astonished, he said, “This should also be from our mountain villa, it looks similar to ours and I seemed to have seen it somewhere before.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked, “What? Are there many types of waist tokens in our mountain villa?”
Ma Jing said patiently, “Yes, depending on the job that you do, each person’s waist token is slightly different, just like when we went near little second Nie and the rest… oh, now that I think about it, when little second Nie first came here and he followed me to Pingyang city, his waist token was also like this. At that time, I even took our both waist tokens and placed them side by side to compare, no wonder your waist token also looks familiar, how did you get this type of token?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled bitterly and said, “Elder brother Ma, isn’t this my first time taking a waist token, how would I know the reason? Why don’t you ask the guard instead?”
When Ma Jing heard his reply, he felt that it was reasonable and so he passed the waist token back to the guard. When the guard received it, he inspected the token, made a record and kept it. At that moment, Ma Jing put on a shy visage and went forward to ask, “Excuse me elder brother guard, I have a question.”
The guard nodded.
Ma Jing asked, “Elder brother guard, can you tell me why my little brother here was given this type of waist token?”
When the guard heard his question, he laughed heartily as though he saw an idiot before replying in return, “How would I know, I am only in charge of making sure that the tokens are genuine and putting them back into the villa. As for who should receive which token, I do not care at all, you will need to ask the person who gave the token this question!”
Ma Jing was unhappy when he heard the answer, wasn’t this the same as saying nothing at all? However, he did not dare to reveal his unhappiness and put on a fake smile to thank the guard.
The guard did not say anything else and waved his hands to motion the carriage to enter, while he thought secretly, “I know that you are unhappy even if you thank me in word, why did you ask me without preparing your heart anyway.”
The carriage carried the three men to the entrance of their courtyard before setting off elsewhere.
When Zhang Xiaohua alighted from the carriage, he was greeted by the familiar scenery. Time had flown past and having not been seen this place for several months made Zhang Xiaohua felt many complex emotions. When he first came here, Zhang Xiaohua was still as naïve as a toddler with regards to the foreign surroundings. A month later, Zhang Xiaohua had gone in and come out of the door countless of times, and the empty space beside the door was where he would sweat buckets while practicing the tens of styles of fist martial arts. Now that several months had passed again, he had brought his injured body back to the same spot.
With his knapsack slung onto his back, Zhang Xiaohua followed Ma Jing and Liu Er into the courtyard. The time was already noon but the others had not returned yet so the courtyard was quiet. Zhang Xiaohua was slightly absentminded as he followed the two men into the room, and he causally threw his knapsack onto his original bed before sitting down on it. However, he soon realized that Ma Jing was looking at him strangely, while Liu Er also gave me a weird stare before breaking into laughter. Zhang Xiaohua was astonished, he bent his head to look at his body and then at his feet, did he step onto dog poo? It didn’t seem to be the case.
When he raised his head again to look at his surroundings, he immediately jumped off the bed. The bed already had a new set of bedsheets and the small table where things were kept had been changed. Zhang Xiaohua then remembered that before he came to the mountain villa, Liu Er was sharing the room with Ma Jing and since the other had returned while he was absent, Liu Er would naturally take his own original spot again. Zhang Xiaohua had not noticed all these and made a fool of himself again.
Zhang Xiaohua’s face turned red and just as he was about to explain himself, Liu Er quickly cut in, “It is alright, Zhang Xiaohua. You can rest on the bed first if you are tired, you will still need to pay more attention to your health since you just recovered from an injury.”
Zhang Xiaohua felt a wave of gratitude; such a good person was rare among the azure robed servants with little hats.
Liu Er continued, “If you are used to this bed, I will go and find brother Xi to arrange another room for me so that you can continue to stay with brother Ma.”
Zhang Xiaohua woke up like a ray of lightning had just struck him, he anxiously motioned his hands and said, “Don’t, a gentleman does not take the object of someone else’s love, since this is elder brother Liu Er’s original bed, I naturally have to give way. It is better if I find another room instead.”
Liu Er said, “I am fine with sleeping anywhere, but you are a patient so it is best to place you somewhere you are more familiar with. The power of familiarity cannot be underestimated, and it will aid in your recovery.”
Thus, the two men pushed and pulled as both wanted to let up the bed to the other party, while Ma Jing who was watching from his side became moved, such kind people! Perhaps his personality was so kind that it had rubbed off his roommates.
Just as the two men were giving way to each other, noisy voices came from the courtyard which probably signalled the return of brother Xi and the rest.
Zhang Xiaohua happily ran out of the room, presumably not to escape from Liu Er’s generous heart, but because he wanted to see his fellow “field comrades” whom he had fought with for a month together. When Zhang Xiaohua appeared in the courtyard, the other azure robed men in with little hats became puzzled and they surrounded the former to question him incessantly. Actually, Zhang Xiaohua was not so close with all of them, and he did not even manage to enter their circle during the month he was there. However, after several months of being apart, everyone’s feeling was fresh again, and furthermore, they heard that Zhang Xiaohua was injured in a fight and almost lost his life so they were naturally curious. Someone asked, “Zhang Xiaohua, I heard that you picked a fight with some expert in the Lotus escort, causing the person to lose his temper and slapped you half dead, is that true?”
Another person asked, “Zhang Xiaohua, I heard that you fought continuously with twelve opponents before reaching close to death after your last victory, is that true?”
Someone even asked, “Zhang Xiaohua, I heard that you were *** by a mistress in the Lotus escort who even used the Yinyang harmony to break apart, this makes you our idol. Oh right, how was that mistress?”
When Zhang Xiaohua heard their questions, his head spun dizzily from all of their queries and even though he wanted to answer them one by one, he suddenly lost all his strength to even say a word so he simply smiled in reply.
Tian Zhongxi was standing outside the circle quietly while his thoughts were a mystery. After everyone was finished with their questions, he straightened his face and called out, “Everyone get back. Since Zhang Xiaohua has returned, you will have the time and opportunity to ask him whatever you want in the future. He is still not fully recovered, and you will have to compensate Zhang Xiaohua if he gets injured by one of you carelessly.”
His words were effective, the azure robed little hats crowd immediately distanced themselves from Zhang Xiaohua so even if the latter fell down, they would definitely not be implicated.
Tian Zhongxi said again, “Quickly pack up and get ready to eat. There are still many things to do after lunch, don’t blame me for docking your pay if they get delayed.”
These words were even more effective, who would want their pay to be docked? Everyone immediately scattered back to their own rooms and the lively atmosphere vanished in a puff of smoke.
Upon seeing the Zhang Xiaohua who was still puzzled from the sudden disappearance of the crowd, he said, “Zhang Xiaohua, follow me.”
After finishing his sentence, he walked back to his room without waiting for a reply.
Zhang Xiaohua felt strange when he saw how Tian Zhongxi had treated him so coldly but it was not a good time to ponder on the reason. Upon seeing Tian Zhongxi about to enter his own room, he quickly ran over to chase after him.
When Tian Zhongxi entered the room, he turned around to see Zhang Xiaohua ran after him and said in an even voice, “Zhang Xiaohua, how are your injuries?”
Zhang Xiaohua looked at the other party carefully and said, “It is alright, brother Xi. Even though I have not fully recovered, I can still use my left hand to work, and it won’t affect any work that is allocated to me.”
Tian Zhongxi said, “Haha, I do not care about this. I am relieved since your injuries are fine, after all, you were a little brother of mine, so I would feel upset as well if something bad had happened to you.”
His words were strange and Zhang Xiaohua could not understand them.
However, Tian Zhongxi pointed to the beddings on the empty bed and said, “Those were the bed sheets that you used, check if you have missed out anything, then follow me and I will arrange your new accommodation.”
Upon hearing his words, Zhang Xiaohua became like a monkey whose tail caught fire, he immediately jumped up and said, “Brother Xi, I beg you, please do not arrange to put me in elder brother Ma’s room, please, I beg you.”