Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The people around all left by the time Zhang Xiaohua finished his first lunch since he arrived back Huanxi mountain villa.
Zhang Xiaohua was already late when he came in with He Tianshu, and when he saw the other party finished his lunch hurriedly, Zhang Xiaohua also wanted to get up. However, He Tianshu stopped the boy and told him to take his time to eat; he said that there was no work allocated to Zhang Xiaohua in the afternoon, and thus, the latter sat back down and took his time to try this and that dish until he was fully satisfied. Zhang Xiaohua then left the canteen after that.
The ray of the afternoon sun was naturally warm and comforting, Zhang Xiaohua took a leisurely walk back to his room with his belly full and satisfied. His steps were extra-light that day, it was not often that he got to eat such a good lunch so he was more than happy to extend this feeling of happiness.
Unfortunately, the relaxed atmosphere was broken by a female voice which called out, “Zhang Xiaohua? Have you finished your meal?”
Zhang Xiaohua turned his head, and he saw Qiu Tong at a small courtyard from afar calling to him.
Zhang Xiaohua happily ran over while calling out, “Elder sister Qiu Tong, why are you here?”
Qiu Tong smiled as she said, “The villa master is not feeling well today so I was going to the canteen to see what good food you have there that I can bring back to her.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked in concern, “What is wrong with elder sister villa master?”
Qiu Tong’s expression turned bitter as she said, “You shouldn’t ask these questions since you are not privy to the villa matters.”
“Oh,” Zhang Xiaohua compliantly changed the topic and said, “Elder sister Qiu Tong, I just came back to the mountain villa in the morning, Ma Jing and Liu Er came to the escort station to pick me up.”
Qiu Tong smiled and said, “I know, I was the one who instructed them to do so. I have been busy during this period of time, and Tian Zhongxi coincidentally said that he had sent some people to go Pingyang city to purchase some stuff so I entrusted them to bring you back.”
Zhang Xiaohua said gratefully to Qiu Tong, “Elder sister Qiu Tong, many thanks. You treat me really well like my elder sister Liu Qing.”
“Liu Qing?” Qiu Tong was surprised, “Who is that?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled widely and said, “Elder sister Liu Qing is my sister-in-law now, I would call her elder sister before she married my eldest brother.
Qiu Tong smiled and said, “Xiaohua, everyone, not just me, likes you because we know that you are an obedient boy who can take hardships.”
Zhang Xiaohua hopped like a sparrow and said, “That’s right, elder sister villa master as well, when will I get the opportunity to thank her?”
Qiu Tong said, “Mm, there will be a chance in the future, you just need to keep it in your heart for now.”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded his head and said, “I understand, elder sister Qiu Tong.”
Qiu Tong asked again, “Are your injuries better now?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “Yes, the physician said I cannot carry heavy things, but there should be no problem with other tasks.”
Qiu Tong nodded her head and said, “I believe you already know that you have been assigned to squad leader He this time, and he will arrange your accommodation and jobs later on.”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded his head and said, “That’s right, brother Xi took me to squad leader He’s side when I came back, and squad leader He arranged my accommodation immediately after that. I just finished my lunch with them and am preparing to go back.”
Qiu Tong said, “That’s good, your injuries are not fully recovered so do not do anything too strenuous during this period. First follow squad leader He to familiarize yourself, his problem over there is not that easy to solve and I doubt you can be of much help either.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked, “What problem is it? Is it very important?”
Qiu Tong said, “You will find out when you go over. Sigh, this is also a cause of the villa master’s bad mood. If you are able to solve the problem, you will be doing a large service to the villa master and it will be better than thanking her personally. Ah, look at what I am thinking, Xiaohua, you don’t have to ponder for real, elder sister is just rambling by herself. There was a persistent problem that the experts could not solve so what can a child like you do? Alright, elder sister is busy with her job so she won’t talk to you anymore, you should take good care of your body and don’t fall sick again, or that will be adding more weight under the snow.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “Okay, elder sister Qiu Tong, I will be careful. I will go on now.”
After finishing his sentence, the two waved to each other and went on their own way.
While he was walking back, Zhang Xiaohua thought, “What problem has squad leader He and the villa master faced that has caused the villa master to lose her appetite? However, since they are helpless, then I am less likely to be of any help. I should go over to look at the situation first before thinking of anything else.”
Not long after, Zhang Xiaohua returned to his own little room, his knapsack was still in Ma Jing’s room. The other party should be working in the fields at this time so it was not appropriate to go over to take his belongings, it would be better to wait till they returned in the evening. Even though squad leader He has assigned him to rest, how could he simply do so? A preteen child would naturally be restless at that age, not to mention that he had been confined to a bed during the past several months, why would he stay in his room when he had the chance to go out and about now?
He pushed open the door and followed the small familiar road to go to where He Tianshu and the rest most likely were at.
As for exactly where He Tianshu would work, Zhang Xiaohua was not very clear but he has often heard Ma Jing’s incessant complaints, so the general location was still within his knowledge and it was not far from the place where the azure robed little hats worked at.
During his journey, he saw many of the azure robed little hats busy watering the plants, weeding the ground and they also noticed him and whispered among themselves. Zhang Xiaohua thought back to Ma Jing, and naturally guessed that they were envious so he ignored them and lowered his head while continuing his journey.
He Tianshu’s herb field was separated from Tian Zhongxi’s ones, there were some simple barriers erected in between to prevent the azure robed little hats from going over. It could be seen from afar, and the previous Zhang Xiaohua would not have dared to go over as well.
On that particular day, his steps were slow and leisurely without any hint of anxiety as he walked passed the barricade.
After crossing the barrier, he studied his surroundings and noticed that there were not many differences on the other side, it was only a few herb fields put together. However, the herbs fields were not completely the same, there were herbs where some were already sprouting from, and others where it was completely bare as though the land was just reclaimed.
He Tianshu and the other three men were also busy and they only noticed Zhang Xiaohua when the latter got closer.
He Tianshu smiled and said, “Zhang Xiaohua, why are you not resting in the room and over here instead?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “Squad leader He, I am too free so I came over to watch and learn so that I can be of more help in the future.”
He Tianshu said, “There is not much difference in the work here and at the herb fields on the other side, it is only because the herbs are more important and some herbs require more attention. I have heard from Tian Zhongxi that you are quite good at your job having worked on the fields since young, so there should be no problem for you to adapt to the work here as well. Just watch little second Nie and listen to the important details that he will share with you. However……”
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, he asked, “However what?”
He Tianshu said, “However, I hope that you do not forget everything like how you would during your martial arts practice and cause little second Nie to repeat what he said hundred over times.”
Zhang Xiaohua’s face turned red and said, “That won’t happen, squad leader He. My memory is pretty good, even gentleman Li praised me. However, I am just bad at fist martial arts, haha.’
He Tianshu asked, “Which gentleman Li”
Zhang Xiaohua explained, “Gentleman Li is gentleman Li, he is my teacher who studies in a school and had taught me to read.”
He Tianshu’s eyes brightened and he said, “He is the teacher who gave you “Words explanation” as a text to study? Haha, he is quite interesting, I would like to meet him if given the chance.”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “Squad leader He also knows that he is interesting, when I see him the next time, I will let he know that you want to see him so he will come over to visit.”
He Tianshu waved his hands and said, “Don’t tell him to come especially to see me, we can just meet each other when the opportunity arises.”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “Okay, gentleman Li is also quite cool about things, so he won’t have any opinions about it.”
After that, little second Nie brought Zhang Xiaohua over as he explained the steps while working.
The work on the field on this side was indeed more complex than the other side, every type of herb has a specific time to be watered and the amount of water had to be controlled. Furthermore, there were other many things to consider, and the details were all important enough to be memorized. Fortunately, Zhang Xiaohua’s usual memory was much better than his memory for martial arts or He Tianshu would be plagued with worry for the boy.
The herbs taken care of by the pharmacy hall were few, there were only a few fields or four people would not be enough to look after them. However, these fields were crowded with herbs, so no empty space was being wasted; when Zhang Xiaohua was learning from little second Nie, he saw He Tianshu brought a person to water the bare soil while stepping around carefully, they would occasionally pick up some soil and frown.
Zhang Xiaohua felt strange and he asked little second Nie, “Elder brother little second, what do you think squad leader He is doing? Why is he watering the bare soil and looking dazedly?”
Little second Nie gave Zhang Xiaohua a warning stare and said, “Zhang Xiaohua, I am warning you not to call me elder brother little second, why does it feel like I am a servant? Your elder brother Nie is still a Piaomiao disciple with a position in Jianghu, how could my status be lowered so much through your words? This better be the last time, call me elder brother Nie in the future!”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded his head and said, “I understand, so quickly tell we what is going on elder brother little second.”
Little second Nie’s nose flared and snorted as he ignored the boy. Zhang Xiaohua urgently said, “Alright, alright, elder brother Nie, I was wrong okay? A great person like you must be so magnanimous, please don’t be angry alright?”
Seeing that little second Nie still remained silent, Zhang Xiaohua rolled his eyes and said, “If you still want to remain angry, then when my injuries have healed, I will ask squad leader He to appoint you to teach me martial arts!”
Upon hearing his threat, little second Nie immediately gave up and smiled, “Little bother Xiaohua, you shouldn’t be like this. If you want to learn martial arts, you can just ask me directly and not go to squad leader He. Look at how frustrated he is now, let him concentrate on straightening his problem first. Actually, about this matter, it all began when we first started to grow the herbs, I believe that you have heard about us opening the fields from Ma Jing and the rest. These herbs are for the exclusive use of the pharmacy hall and they are not like ordinary herbs but long lost herbs in the Jianghu that our Piaomiao sect managed to recover. If not, why would they call us to grow these instead of letting Ma Jing and the rest do it?”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded his head and said, “I know a little about this, but why does that have to do with the bare soil?”
Little second Nie smiled mysteriously and said, “Little brother Xiaohua, open your intelligent eyes to see, or use that sharp mind to think, if that is bare soil, why would squad leader He be watering it?”
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, “So it is not bare soil?”
Little second Nie said in a tone as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, “Of course, there are seeds planted there.”
Zhang Xiaohua was even more confused, he asked, “Then why won’t they sprout? All the other herbs have sprouted and some even grew quite tall.”
Little second Nie dusted his hands and said, “Yes, why won’t it sprout? This is the reason for squad leader’s frustration. If I had known the answer, I could take his place, or at least not let squad leader He be so frustrated anymore.”
Zhang Xiaohua finally understood the situation, and he realized what Qiu Tong’s words meant when he met her earlier in the day. Even though these seeds had been sowed about half a year ago, they had not sprouted for some reason. Since everyone was stumped on the reason, they were unable to cultivate the herb which was lost long ago in Jianghu, no wonder He Tianshu was so frustrated and elder sister villa master had no appetite.
Unfortunately, Zhang Xiaohua was only an ordinary child who knew how to farm, and he now knew how to grow common herbs, and he did not think that he could solve the problem.
Seeing the pitiful He Tianshu, Zhang Xiaohua thought it was better if he placed his heart into learning from little second Nie so he could transit into his new role earlier.
Hence, Zhang Xiaohua poured all his heart into learning about the new herbs. In the evening, Zhang Xiaohua took his knapsack from Ma Jing’s room, he ignored the latter who tried to grab onto his hand and the fierce expression on his face and vanished into a puff of smoke as he ran back into his room. After finally escaping from Ma Jing’s “demon feet”, why would he want to stay there longer?
When he thought of Liu Er who stayed there while adapting so well, Zhang Xiaohua‘s respect and admiration towards the latter immediately rose to a higher level.
Night-time was He Tianshu and the rest’s time to practice their martial arts, and Zhang Xiaohua went to the empty space as he usually did before. Not long later, He Tianshu and the rest arrived, He Tianshu said, “Zhang Xiaohua, you cannot practice fist martial arts for now, try doing a horse stance and see if your right hand can take the stress.”
Zhang Xiaohua did so and said, “Squad leader He, there is no problem with my right hand. However, it is still wrapped with bandages so I cannot clench my fist.”
He Tianshu said, “Then do not clench your fist and stay in that horse stance position, I believe you have not done the horse stance for the past few months.”
Zhang Xiaohua’s face turned red and he said, “Yes, I stayed in bed the whole time in the beginning but when I got better later and could walk around, I completely forgot about practicing the horse stance.”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “That is because you never really trained much in the horse stance so how could you remember it? Things that come easily are seldom treasured, so it is not really your fault. I believe those stances you learnt have all been returned to me.”
Zhang Xiaohua protested, “I did not, squad leader He, I still remember all those stances, I can show them to you if you don’t believe me.”
After finishing his sentence, Zhang Xiaohua began to adopt the opening stance but He Tianshu quickly stopped him and said, “Don’t train blindly, you can’t even clench your fist so how can you practice your martial arts? Wait for a few days, anyway it is fine even if you forgot those martial arts, perhaps learning from the beginning will be better.”
After saying that, he laughed heartily and went back to his training.
Zhang Xiaohua had nothing to say as well so he stood in the horse stance and watched as the rest trained.
While watching little second Nit and the rest practiced fist martial arts, palm martial arts and even sword martial arts one after another, Zhang Xiaohua felt an indescribable sense of jealousy as he wondered when he would be able to do so as well.
He Tianshu was practicing under a tree and his movements were very slow. However, Zhang Xiaohua could feel the power within each motion, and each stance also carried some sort of energy which was unlike the martial arts he trained in that only had form but no depth. He could not help but feel something in his heart, was this the so called inner energy that Zhang Xiaohu was referring to?
Hence, Zhang Xiaohua directed all his attention into He Tianshu’s practice in hoping to discover something new. Unfortunately, he only felt the other party’s intense aura after He Tianshu finished his training, and did not catch anything else, even the stances seemed to be blurred to him.
Could the Zhang Xiaohua who frequently forgets his martial art returned?
Or was the environment in Huanxi mountain villa somehow not as good as Lotus escort?
He Tianshu walked to Zhang Xiaohua’s front after he finished his practice, and upon looking at the latter’s still figure, he said in a satisfied tone, “Zhang Xiaohua, your horse stance is still really good. Apart from your right hand, everything else is in the place where I have taught, your standard in horse stance is truly not ordinary. If our Piaomiao sect has a horse stance competition, I will definitely recommend you to take part, and you can definitely become the champion.”
Zhang Xiaohua was elated and he said, “Really, squad leader He, you must call me if there is such a chance, roughly when will it be?”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “Fine, no problem. When it is monkey year and horse month again, I will definitely remember to call you. Alright, pack up and go back early to rest more tonight. You can follow little second Nie tomorrow, I guess you will be too bored to stay in the room again.”
Zhang Xiaohua jumped in happiness and said, “Yay, I understand.”
However, his heart was still thinking when was monkey year and horse month?
As he followed behind He Tianshu, Zhang Xiaohua could not contain his curiosity anymore and asked, “Squad leader He, when you were practicing martial arts just now, were you using inner energy?”
He Tianshu stopped in his tracks, turned back and asked, “How did you know?”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “I saw that you were practicing in a different way from me, and your stance seemed to contain some hidden power. My own stances are just the motions only.”
He Tianshu pondered and said, “Your eyesight is pretty good, it was like you said indeed.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked, “Squad leader He, this inner energy cultivation method, can… can you teach me?”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “Inner energy cultivation method? You also learnt this from the escort station?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “Yes, I heard my second brother said so. He is a delivery hand in the escort station, and is currently learning inner energy cultivation in the martial arts school.”
He Tianshu was surprised, he asked, “You second brother is a delivery hand but he is learning how to cultivate inner energy in the martial arts school?”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “Yes, it is like that.”
He Tianshu said, “It seems your second brother is unlike you, he should be pretty good at martial arts. The escort station would usually pick the more talented people to undergo inner energy cultivation training.”
Zhang Xiaohua said proudly, “Yes, my second brother is a genius which is why he could learn to cultivate inner energy in the martial arts school.”
He then asked in anticipation, “Do you think I can learn it as well?”