Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The blacksmith seemed to have found a lifeline and his face became full of joy as he said, “Alright, brother, since you are so cool about it, I will have to part with it reluctantly and make a friend from you through this exchange. Seven silvers? So be it, and don’t forget to come more often to this little store.”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “That is natural, I have a bunch of brothers back where I came from. If they liked the sword, I will definitely drag them over here, but this boss will have to show me some grace during then.”
The blacksmith also smiled as he replied, “No problem, two encounters are enough to make us close friends. If you become a repeat customer, I will naturally give you some benefits in return.”
At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua pulled on the edges of He Tianshu’s short, He Tianshu turned back and saw Zhang Xiaohua holding on to the small sword so he said to the blacksmith, “About this small sword, since my little brother is interested in it, how about you give it to him as a toy?”
The blacksmith had no reservations as he waved his heads and said, “No problem, haven’t I said it earlier? Just treat this toy as a gift to this little brother, and you can bring more customers over to my store another time instead.”
Everyone was thus happy, He Tianshu handed over the silvers and asked for directions back to the inn before leading Zhang Xiaohua out of the weapon store.
He Tianshu was in a good mood as he walked back, he had managed to obtain a rather decent sword at a very reasonable price which was much more rewarding than going to the forest to practice his martial arts. It seemed that he had to go out and explore more often in the future.
Zhang Xiaohua was also happy, he gripped onto the small sword with his left hand and waved it around continuously. It felt as though his arm had suddenly grown longer, but he did not notice that it had gotten really late and there was no one else on the streets. While he was walking, Zhang Xiaohua suddenly felt a wave of drowsiness and his eyes could not help but close themselves before he lay down on the ground with the small sword still firmly clutched in his left hands.
He Tianshu was even funnier, he would stare at his previous sword lovingly without straying his eyes elsewhere, and only after a while later did he realized that he could not hear Zhang Xiaohua’s footsteps. When he turned around to look, he could no longer find the boy.
He Tianshu could not help but feel a wave of anxiety run across him, cold sweat poured from his forehead, from where did an expert came from and kidnapped the boy without him even noticing anything at all? Could there be such an expert in Jianghu?
When He Tianshu put the sword aside and looked around, he saw Zhang Xiaohua lying down on the ground motionlessly from afar and felt even more worried. He prepared his heart for the worst, and upon checking that there was nobody around, he made his way over in a few steps with bitterness overcoming his heart. This boy was still alright not long ago, how did he end up like this in a blink of an eye, and how could he account this accident to his elder brother?
When He Tianshu reached the boy, he observed carefully but could not find any injuries on his body, so he thought, “Is this the legendary punching through the air? Could someone die from a punch?”
Just as he was feeling anxious, a familiar sound came out from Zhang Xiaohua’s nose. He Tianshu did not know whether to laugh or cry, he had worried himself close to death but the boy was only sleeping!
However, when He Tianshu went over and kicked Zhang Xiaohua a few times, he became frustrated as the boy did not wake up no matter how much he kicked, must he really carry the boy back himself?
In the early morning of the next day, the sun rose as usual from the east and Zhang Xiaohua opened his eyes immediately. Looking at his unfamiliar surroundings, he then recalled that he was no longer in his own familiar room.
He then discovered that his left hand was still clutching on tightly to an object, and when he picked it up, he realized that it was a small toy sword. Zhang Xiaohua then recalled the events of the previous night although he was unsure how he came back, wasn’t it strange?
When he saw He Tianshu who was still sleeping soundly on the bed opposite of his, Zhang Xiaohua stealthily got up with the small sword still in his hands.
As he walked out of the room, the sky had already turned bright but it was still early so nobody was awake yet. Only the two Piaomiao disciples were standing guard at their respective corners, and when they saw Zhang Xiaohua exited the room, they ignored him and continued to inspect the surroundings.
When Zhang Xiaohua walked to the middle of the courtyard, he studied the small sword in his hands. Under the dim light of the store, he did not get a good look at it and now that he did, he realized that it was only a toy. The swords length was not long and was probably about four to five cun, and two thumbs wide. The sword handle was very small although it fitted well in Zhang Xiaohua’s grip. The entire sword was dull and black like some metal, and was cool to the touch despite the long time it had been in Zhang Xiaohua’s hands. Even though the material was opaque, Zhang Xiaohua could feel as though there was a pulse inside, and the edge could not be used as Zhang Xiaohua felt its bluntness. If not for its weight, Zhang Xiaohua would really think that it was a toy for children.
Zhang Xiaohua’s strength in his left hand was so strong that he could ignore the weight of the small sword. He casually waved it about and it felt comfortable to use, so he developed a liking towards it and could not help but think, if he used it to train his sword martial arts, would it produce better results than his usual tree branch?
When he thought back to sword martial arts, Zhang Xiaohu felt an itch gnawing in his heart; the last time he trained was early morning of the previous day, he had skipped his afternoon and evening training and now that he had a toy that was stronger than a tree branch, he would naturally want to test it out.
Actually, the space in the courtyard was rather large and it was more than sufficient for Zhang Xiaohua to practice his fist or sword martial art. However, how would Zhang Xiaohua let anybody see his own secret fist martial arts? Hence, he decided to leave the courtyard.
The inn was situated at the end of the street, and there was a small river and bridge beside it. Zhang Xiaohua walked to the river bank and looked down to the river until he found a pond at the back of the inn. The pond was not unlike the one behind Zhang Xiaohua’s house in Guo village, it also had a bamboo forest nearby. Zhang Xiaohua’s eyes brightened as he walked over to the bamboo forest.
Indeed, just as Zhang Xiaohua had expected, there was an empty space within the bamboos and since there was no one else who should pass by, Zhang Xiaohua began to perform the stances and practiced the dipper heavenly fist nine times to allow the energy flow which was noticeable thicker rush through his body.
Next, Zhang Xiaohua looked carefully again at his surroundings and after ensuring that there was no one around, he picked up his small sword and practiced the sixteen variations of the sword stance. While it was uncertain if due to the change in weapon or Zhang Xiaohua’s mood, but the different variations felt more fluid than before and that nameless warm energy flowed smoothly from his shoulder into Zhang Xiaohua’s left hand. However, it did not dissipate though Zhang Xiaohua’s left hand like before, instead, all of the energy flowed into the small sword in Zhang Xiaohua’s hand and the small sword gradually gave out a dull coloured light that was very faint and barely noticeable.
After Zhang Xiaohua practiced all the variations, his sword martial arts became more exited and like that particular night, he thrust his sword towards a particularly thick bamboo. Actually, in Zhang Xiaohua’s thoughts, since he was able to use a tree branch to pierce a small hole through a tree, even though bamboo was hollow inside, its exterior was much stronger than tree bark so based on the sharpness of this small sword, he would be satisfied if he could punch a small hole though the bamboo. However, the result widely exceeded Zhang Xiaohua’s expectations, the bamboo shell broke off like a piece of paper and the small sword felt no resistance as it cut though the bamboo and pierced through another one at the back.
Zhang Xiaohua was greatly surprised, he quickly retracted his small sword and was still in disbelief that he had cut down the bamboo. However, the hole was still on the bamboo so he could not avoid the truth. Hence, he felt the bamboo with his hands to check that there was nothing wrong with it, and indeed, it was tough, so he directed his attention back to the small sword in his left hand.
When did he become so powerful?
While elder Yu was awesome when he used his longsword to pierce through the tree, he could use this baton-like blunt small sword to pierce though an even tougher bamboo, and even though it was not as good as elder Yu, it was still far, far… far more powerful than other people? Zhang Xiaohua did not dare to believe so, after all, he had not seen anyone else trained in their sword so he could not tell how powerful the sword martial art should be. At the very least, he knew that he had exceeded his own expectations.
At that moment, there was noise coming from outside the bamboo forest so Zhang Xiaohua quickly came out. This was not the mountain villa, and looking at the time, perhaps the people from the mountain villa had already packed and were rearing to go.
By the time Zhang Xiaohua ran over to the inn, most of the people had already eaten their breakfast and were preparing to pack up. He Tianshu wrinkled his brows as he stood in his spot, and upon seeing Zhang Xiaohua returned, the wrinkle smoothened and he asked in a slightly frustrated tone, “Zhang Xiaohua, where did you go so early in the morning? Causing everyone to wait for you.”
Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly apologized, he said, “Squad leader He, didn’t you say yesterday that song cannot leave the mouth and fist cannot leave the hands? Thus, I went out to practice my martial arts in the morning.”
He Tianshu saw the small sword in his hands and he felt funny in his heart, he could guess the mind of a child who just received a toy so the boy must have gone out to play with it. Hence, he said solemnly, “While practicing your martial arts is a good thing, one must only do so at the appropriate juncture, we are currently out on a trip so we have to be careful and not pull any stunts. This toy is best kept within your breast, do not keep holding it around in your left hand and be the butt of other people’s jokes. Hurry and finish your breakfast, the villa master had eaten hers a while ago and is ready to set off soon.”
Zhang Xiaohua kept this small sword into his breast as instructed and rushed over to eat his breakfast before packing his things simply and getting on the carriage.
As the four carriages gradually disappeared into the distance, the fat inn keeper stood reluctantly at his spot as he thought, what great guests, they stayed for a night without requiring meals to be provided, and even gave so much money after that. If there were more of such customers in the future, it would even be hard for him not to get rich.
The innkeeper initially thought that he had to bury such a good memory in his heart to savour again some other time, but even before the noon came, a hero in silk robes rode a handsome horse over to ask about the whereabouts of his previous guests while not hesitating to show that he was willing to reward the former generously for any information. The fat innkeeper could not help but recount every single details of his beautiful memory of the day before.
After the silk robed man left, the fat innkeeper once again sighed in exclamation of what good fortune he had, his previous guests even brought in more wealth after they left, he truly had to thank the heavens.
The people from Huanxi mountain villa were naturally unaware of this events as they continued to rush towards their destination.
However, that day was no longer as fresh as the previous one, even Zhang Xiaohua who had little experience travelling outside was no longer as interested in the scenery as before. After leaving Pingyang city, the scenery that greeted them were not much different anymore so after seeing them enough, one would naturally get sick of it.
Furthermore, the steel-like Shi Niu indeed had a strong constitution, despite singing the whole of the previous day, his voice was still loud and clear as he sang the same few lines again and again. Initially, the rest thought that the former had drunk much wine the night before and would not be in good condition to sing again so they rejoiced secretly, but now they realized that they had to intoxicate him even more so that he would lose his voice. Although the song he sang sounded nice, if they were to listen to it every day, would they endure the remaining journey?
Zhang Xiaohua and He Tianshu were sitting in the third carriage with a number of disciples by their side chatting idly. Zhang Xiaohua was not paying attention to the chatter, his left hand was continuously playing with the small sword while his right hand held a book which he was reading engrossedly,
Zhang Xiaohua’s right hand did not recover fully, and even though it looked the same as when he first returned to Huanxi mountain villa, he could feel that it was unlike how elder Yu said where his bones and meridians were shattered by inner energy and unable to completely recover. Zhang Xiaohua could sense a noticeable improvement in his hand, moreover, he would always practice using it whether intentionally or not so he had faith that it would completely recover one day and give everyone a big surprise.
He Tianshu was sitting in the innermost interior of the carriage, closing his eyes in deep thought, his hand was also holding on to a book as though he was solving some question in his head. Not long after, a smile appeared on his face as he opened his eyes. He looked at the scenery outside the window and wrinkled his brows, even though the carriage was of some distance from the first one, he could still hear Shi Niu’s singing clearly from his position.
When his gaze fell on Zhang Xiaohua, it inevitably contained some happiness as he looked at the small sword in Zhang Xiaohua’s left hand. He smiled and said, “Zhang Xiaohua, this toy is pretty good right, you seem to like it a lot.”
Upon hearing his words, Zhang Xiaohua put the book down, looked at the small sword, and replied sincerely, “I do, squad leader He, I really like this small sword, thanks you for giving it to me.”
He Tianshu waved his hands and said, “I didn’t spend a single cent on it, it came as a free gift which I had no use for so I would naturally give it to you to play with. Luckily there is no sharp edge or you might hurt yourself.”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “Don’t you already have a precious sword? I could see that you already own a sword, so why did you buy another one?”
He Tianshu smiled as he replied, “The original sword of mine is not any particularly special weapon, it is a normal low grade item which I was planning to switch out of sooner or later. When I saw that the workmanship in the shop was pretty good and would sell for at least fifteen silvers in Pingyang city, I had to get it for just seven silvers from over there. Furthermore, the store owner even had a free gift with the sword, and although it is only a toy, that still made me happy, so you do not have to thank me especially.”
However, he did not know that in that faraway town where he had just left from, the blacksmith strode proudly on the streets to the butcher place, generously threw some coins over to butcher and said, “Old sixth, this is the money I borrowed from you a few days ago and some to buy some meat. Hurry up, I still have to go the wine shop later.”
The butcher asked in a puzzled voice, “Old Tie, why are you so generous today? Did you make a sale?”
The blacksmith said proudly, “An idiot from who knows where came over to my store and bought a steel sword for seven silvers, you say if I have struck rich or not?”
The butcher swallowed his tongue and said, “What a poor fool, you tried to sell it at two to three silvers usually but no one would buy, and yet you actually sold it at such a good price in the end.”
Then, without any delay, he nimbly prepared the meat for the blacksmith.
The blacksmith suddenly seemed to recall something so he said again, “Oh right, about the toy your third child picked up from the mountain a few years back, I gave it to that customer as a present. I have told you before, if someone bought it. I would pass the money to you, and if I gave it away as a free gift, I would owe you five cents.”
The butcher replied in an unhappy tone, “The customer must have purchased your sword at that price because of my toy, how can you reimburse me five coppers just like that?”
The blacksmith got pissed off, saying, “That toy of yours was picked up for free and nobody bothered to look at it for three years in my store. If you do not want the five cents, I will chase the person down for the toy and return it back to you.”
The butcher smiled apologetically and said, “But five cents is still too little, why not add a little more in?”
The blacksmith mock scolded, “I knew that you would say that. Here’s ten cents, just take it remuneration for your third child’s effort to climb the hill.”
After fishing his sentence, he fished out a copper and passed it to the butcher.
The butcher took the money in lightning speed and smiled, “Since we picked it up, this money is still better than nothing. If my third child picks more things up, I will pass it to you to sell in the future.”
The blacksmith waved his hands and said, “Don’t bother, just find a pawnshop instead. That toy had been in my shop for three years, I don’t want to waste my effort on such unproductive things. Just give me my meat now, I still plan to go to the wine shop. Today’s weather is just right to get drunk, haha.”
The blacksmith then took the meat and left hurriedly while the butcher continued on with his business.
As for Zhang Xiaohua, he did not know that his favourite small sword was only worth five coppers.
Zhang Xiaohua still felt immense gratitude to He Tianshu, he said, “Squad leader He, I won’t say anymore words of gratitude, but if you ever need any help, do not hesitate to ask me in the future.”
He Tianshu laughed and picked up the book in his hands to read, while Zhang Xiaohua got his signal and giggled without saying anything further.
A while later, He Tianshu asked again, “Zhang Xiaohua, how did you fell asleep in the streets last night?”
Zhang Xiaohua asked in a puzzled tone, “I did that? Squad leader He, I was actually planning to ask you as well. When I woke up this morning, I only recalled the events in the weapon store and everything afterwards was a complete blank, so it seems that I had fallen asleep on the streets.”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “About that, you were initially walking behind me when I suddenly realized your disappearance. It gave me a fright and when I turned back to look for you, I found you lying on the ground fast asleep, you don’t remember any of that?”
Zhang Xiaohua said apologetically, “I really am unaware, squad leader He. My elder brothers said that I could not wake up no matter how hard they call me to, but they never said that I would fall asleep so suddenly and I have never gone out so late in the night before.”
He Tianshu wrinkled his eyebrows and said, “Then this will be a problem, who knows if you would sleep like this every day, because it will be quite troublesome if so.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked curiously, “Why is it troublesome?”
He Tianshu explained, “The middle of the night is when Ying and Yang energy intersects so many inner energy cultivation methods have to be practiced at such a time. If your sleeping habits are like this, how can you learn any of these inner energy cultivation methods?
Zhang Xiaohua felt worried so he asked, “Ya, so what can I do?”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “There is no need to worry because not all inner energy cultivation methods have such a requirement. We can discuss it again if you have the chance in the future.”
Zhang Xiaohu felt that his words were reasonable so he did not pursue any further.