Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
This marks the Last Chapter of the day.
When Zhang Xiaohua heard that he had been unconscious for over ten days, his first thought was that they had landed in big trouble. The events of the rainy night were still fresh on his mind, he wondered how Ou Yan and the others were doing, and if the black clothed was killed by him, and whether the new arrivals belonged to Piaomiao sect’s reinforcements. If Ou Yan managed to escape death, she should be looking for him so far had their search efforts been advancing during these days that he was unconscious.
Even though Zhang Xiaohua wanted to ask the master where he was, he did not know long he had been in the river and how far the river had carried him, so what was the use of asking anyway?
Hence, Zhang Xiaohua tried to concentrate and looked at the master, he said in a small voice, “Many thanks for master’s grace in saving my life.”
The master stroke his forehead and smiled, “This child is quite sensible. If you want to thank your saviour, you will have to thanks this lass first, I do not know where you would be carried off to if she had not fished you up.”
“Fish me up?” Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, he immediately thought back to the fishing rod the girl was holding on to and realized what must have happened. He turned to the girl and said sincerely in a soft voice, “In that case, many thanks for this lady’s grace in saving my life.”
The girl smiled lightly and said, “My pleasure, I only spotted you anyway. The person who pulled you out of the river and fed you medicine was my master, I do not dare to take her credit.”
Zhang Xiaohua pondered for a while and said, “No matter what, I am still grateful to master and this lady’s kindness.”
The master saw that Zhang Xiaohua was tired after speaking and she said, “Alright, you should slowly heal up now that you have woken up. Go back to sleep first, these words can be said in the future, you don’t need to thank us now.”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded slightly when he heard her instructions, he already felt exhausted after saying those few sentences and wanted to sleep so he followed her instructions and closed his eyes. Soon after, he fell asleep again.
When Zhang Xiaohua woke up again, it was already night-time and with the girl’s help, Zhang Xiaohua managed to swallow some food and recovered some spirit after then.
Not long later, the master returned and she felt joy when she saw that Zhang Xiaohua awake and in good spirits.
The master supported Zhang Xiaohua to sit up and placed the blankets behind his back before positioning him so that the three people could have a talk comfortably.
The master was naturally curious about Zhang Xiaohua’s origins, Zhang Xiaohua pondered a while before saying, “Master, my name is Zhang Xiaohua, and I help to plant herbs in a mountain villa. When I was following the villa master and her party to the south to do some task, we were ambushed by people in the night and I was thrown into the river by a black clothed elder. As for which mountain villa I came from, the villa master’s name and the time we left the mountain villa, I was instructed not to reveal them before we left on the trip. I currently do not know where the rest are at, but I think it is still best to follow what they say and not tell the master all these things, are you okay with that?”
The master also did not have the intention to inquire too deeply, she was only casually asking the latter and when she saw how honest and reliable Zhang Xiaohua was to his word, her heart felt joy. After travelling in the Jianghu for so long, she had not seen such pure and innocent children for so long so the master naturally did not make things difficult for Zhang Xiaohua. Just as the master was about to reply, the girl beside her snorted in laughter before saying, “Xiaohua, why is your name so pretty like a girl? Xiaohua, Xiaohua, it reminds me of the little white flowers at the mountain top.”
This was the second time Zhang Xiaohua heard his name being made fun of but when he saw how happy and innocent the girl’s smile was, he replied weakly, “My parents gave me the name and I think it is fine as well. So what is your name?”
The question was quite ordinary but the girl’s face turned as white as sheet when she heard it.
The girl bit her lips and held back her tears and under the pitiful gaze of her master, she said, “I do not know what my name is, I seemed to have forgotten some things in the past. Sometimes I feel like I remember them, but I would forget them later, and my past life would feel like it was all a dream so I am not certain of anything.”
The master sighed and said, “I met her during my time in the desolate mountains, and she was also unconscious at that time. By the time she woke up, her memories had already left and she could not even recall what her name was.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “The master is such a kind person, you saved this little sister and me in one breath and have accumulated so much good karma in one breath. Oh right, little sister, since the past seemed like a dream, you can be said to have awoken from your dream and can start everything afresh so you should be happy instead. If you don’t remember your new name, you can get yourself a new name. Since it doesn’t matter to me if you are in a dream or not, why don’t I call you Meng (dream)?”
Upon listening his words, the girl’s eyes brightened and she laughed, “Meng, not bad, life is like a dream and I am not exception. I shall be called Meng from henceforth, haha, thank you Zhang Xiaohua.”
The master clapped her hands and said, “Not bad at all, Zhang Xiaohua, you sound like a learned person so why did you end up working in the herb fields?”
Zhang Xiaohua said in an embarrassed tone, “My family is poor and I was not very smart when I was young so my father did not let me read much books. I have read several books recently so I know more things now, and since little Meng saved my life, this name can be counted as kind fate between us.”
Zhang Xiaohua then said sheepishly, “May I also know master’s name so that I can repay you in the future?”
The master smiled happily and said, “It is fine to tell you since you do not belong to Jianghu as well. However, for certain reasons, you can just remember me as Jing Xuan. As for the future, if it best to keep this name to yourself and not tell anyone that you know me.”
Zhang Xiaohua understood the severity of the situation immediately and said, “I understand, master Jing Xuan. Everyone has their own untold secrets so we should give each other some space. I am already happy since master did not blame me from withholding some things, so I would naturally do the same to master’s matters as well.”
Master Jing Xuan smiled and said, “Zhang Xiaohua’s words are very true. As the saying goes, take a step back and one can see the vast blue sky, so what use is there in pursuing more knowledge of the other person? If we truly know each other, how much more bloodshed would there be in Jianghu? Unfortunately, Jianghu is a place where fist rules and the harder your fist is, the more reason you carry no matter what secrets the other party holds on to. Zhang Xiaohua, I hope that you can remember these words I said today when you grow up and follow them.”
Zhang Xiaohua replied earnestly, “I understand, master, I will work hard to do so.”
The three people chatter for a little longer before master Jing Xuan felt that Zhang Xiaohua grew fatigued and she pulled little Meng out to let him rest.
For the next few days, master Jing Xuan would leave early in the morning and return late at night, while Zhang Xiaohua’s injuries recovered at a rapid pace. His recovery made master Jing Xuan puzzled, she had personally examined Zhang Xiaohua’s conditions and knew how severe it was, so he should have taken a few months to recover from her own calculations. Thus, she had been pondering about the matter, but now that Zhang Xiaohua had recovered in these ten days as much as an ordinary person would in two months, could it be that her medicine was so effective and Zhang Xiaohua’s young age allowed him to absorbed the full efficacy of the medicine?
Seeing the master’s puzzled expression, Zhang Xiaohua thought back to his eldest brother’s injured period. Didn’t Zhang Xiaolong recover quickly as well from his internal injuries previously? At that time, everyone thought that it was due to the spring water, but now that he had been out of his household and not drunk the spring water for almost a year, then could it be that because he had drunk the spring water previously? It might be possible for the spring water to heal internal injuries, but it would be suspected by other people if he said that it was the cause of his quick recovery, and thus, Zhang Xiaohua decided not to bring up the matter.
Actually, the reason why Zhang Xiaohua was unconscious for ten days was because his body was healing itself during this time, and the longer he stayed unconscious for the more his body would recover. Now that he had woken up, his injuries were naturally healed for most part, but Zhang Xiaohua and the master would not know all these. Nevertheless, knowing and not knowing made no difference and Zhang Xiaohua could still pass his day happily even in ignorance.
On that day, Zhang Xiaohua and Little Meng were alone in the grass hut as usual. Zhang Xiaohua could already get off his bed and walk, he took slow and small steps to the door of the grass hut where the bright sun could reach and warm him. Little Meng did not go fishing, she left her fishing rod at a side and was also seated down beside Zhang Xiaohua. She asked, “Elder brother Xiaohua, where is your home? What kind of people is in your household? Can you describe it to me? I will definitely keep it a secret and not tell anyone what you say.”
Zhang Xiaohua looked at little Meng’s face which was like jade in the sunlight, he smiled and said, “I can talk about this, there is no need for secrecy. The household I belong to is located in Guo village which is a village situated near Lu town. However, you cannot ask me where Lu town is because I have never seen a map before, so I won’t be able to pinpoint it to you. There is currently my father, mother, eldest brother and his wife at home, while I and my second brother went out to search for a living. I used to have a grandmother who would treat me very well but she passed away last year.” When Zhang Xiaohua mentioned his grandmother, his mind became flooded with many past memories, and thus, he began to talk of when he first reclaimed his own plot of land to the well construction project, and then about the events during the New Year when his eldest brother saved Liu Qing from the bullies. He continued to share about the mountain bandits who appeared during his eldest brother’s wedding, his grandmother’s funeral, and all these talk took up the entire morning. Near the end, Zhang Xiaohua was crying hurtfully while tears also appeared in little Meng’s eyes as she listened to his stories and sympathized with the series of misfortunes that Zhang Xiaohua’s household encountered.
Little Meng looked at Zhang Xiaohua enviously and said, “Elder brother Xiaohua, you have a harmonious and loving family so I am really jealous of you. I do not know where my family is, and I have no idea on where to find them.”
Zhang Xiaohua comforted her, “Everyone has a family and you are no exception. Perhaps you do not know where they are now, but that doesn’t mean that your family doesn’t exist. I believe that you will be able to return to your family and meet your own father and mother. Furthermore, doesn’t master Jing Xuan treat you very well like a real mother would?”
Little Meng smiled and said, “Xiaohua you are absolutely right, I definitely have a home and like you, there will definitely be many stories from home to share as well. My family will also be very harmonious and loving, and after I regain my memories again, I will share my stories with you, okay?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled back, he said, “No problem, little Meng, I will wait for that day to come. Furthermore, if there is a chance in the future, I will invite you to our Guo village, and my father and mother, eldest brother and sister in law will definitely like you.”
Little Meng smiled again, her smile was like a flower as time has worn away her cold exterior from the past. Perhaps this was the ten plus years old girl’s true personality, and little Meng wanted to extend her hand to hold the other youth who was currently recovering from his injuries but when she extended it halfway, she remembered that it was not a suitable game for her age and her face immediately flushed and she retracted her little hand quickly.
The youth in front of her had very ordinary features and his face was even quite pallid from the injuries he sustained. However, he was her first playmate for as far as she could remember, and even though this playmate was bedridden most of the time, the family he shared with her gave her hope of a beautiful family that she could reunite with in the future. Thus, Zhang Xiaohua’s family, Zhang Xiaohua himself, and Zhang Xiaohua’s life all carved themselves deeply into little Meng’s impression.
Master Jing Xuan gave her the protection of an elder, but Zhang Xiaohua gave her the joy of having a peer beside her.
Could this, perhaps be the so called “fate”?
The weather was sunny and the river was flowing smoothly, perhaps there were countless joyful and unfortunate events that happened every day in this huge world. However, the moment on that particular day belonged to the young boy and girl who were sitting at the door of the grass hut, they had mutual support and trust, and as a result, they had hopes and expectations for the future.
On the night of the same day, master Jing Xuan returned especially late and looked more tired than usual. However, Zhang Xiaohua and little Meng were naturally not inquisitive so they did not ask her any questions.
On the next day, master Jing Xuan did not leave in the morning, instead, she called Zhang Xiaohua and little Meng into the main room.
Zhang Xiaohua had a sort of premonition.
Indeed, the first thing master Jing Xuan did was examine Zhang Xiaohua’s condition, she then said, “Zhang Xiaohua, your injuries have stabilized and there should not be any large problems in the future, you only need to rest sufficiently from now on.”
Zhang Xiaohua quickly expressed his gratitude, “This is thanks to master’s effort, many thanks to you.”
Master Jing Xuan smiled and said, “Why so courteous, we have been living together for ten plus days and I have treated you like my own nephew so there is no need for words of thanks. However, the year is ending soon and I will not be able to stay here for long. I shall set off on a journey to return to my sect tomorrow, and little Meng will be following me. What about you, do you have any plans?”
Zhang Xiaohua pondered and said, “Master, what do you think I should do?”
Master Jing Xuan replied, “Your injuries are not too serious so you can still follow us on our trip. Even if your condition suddenly changes for the worse, I will be around so there should not be anything too serious. I can put you in the nearest town where you can decide on what you want to do, and it will be fine whether you recuperate in the town for a longer while or make plans to return to your own place.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked again, “In that case, master, I would like to ask what plans you have for little Meng?”
Master Jing Xuan broke into a laugh and she said, “About little Meng, I plan to bring her back to the sect first. Although her aptitude is average and her age is slightly too big for her to train in martial arts, it should not be difficult for her to be accepted with my identity. Even if she will not be able to become some martial arts expert, it will still be possible for her to learn some self-defence and live a stable life ahead.”
Little Meng had also been worrying about her future but she was naturally shy or too lazy to ask her master. Now that Zhang Xiaohua had asked in her stead, and master Jing Xuan had planned her future quite comprehensively for her, her eyes could not help but turn red as she walked to the master’s front and pulled her sleeves, saying, “Master, thank you.”
Master Jing Xan stroke little Meng’s head lovingly and said, “Little Meng, meeting you can be counted as my fate, and seeing you now reminds me of my own youth. Since I have some abilities to take care of you, I will definitely be willing to help you. In this dark Jianghu world where traps and bloodshed abound, there still exists some kindness within.”
Little Meng nodded her head even though she seemed not to understand.
Upon listening, Zhang Xiaohua felt that it was too good and he said, “Master, since you are willing to accept a disciple, why not accept two and bring me into your sect as well?”
Master Jing Xuan smiled and said, “Even though our sect has some male disciples, we do not train them personally and these male disciples are only outer disciples. I cannot accept male disciples myself, but I can recommend someone to you if you wish to follow me back. However, your age is too old and have already passed the best period for learning martial arts so I doubt you can accomplish much in martial arts anymore.”
Zhang Xiaohua’s heart cooled down again, why do all these experts talk of the same logic? Forget it, when he thought back to Ou Yan’s promise, he said in an unenthusiastic tone, “I only wanted master to teach me personally. If it is someone else, I rather not follow him.”
Master Jing Xuan said, “You little child, to join our sect even as an outer disciple would not be easy.” However, she did not say the name of her sect and since she was unwilling to force Zhang Xiaohua, she did not say much else.
Zhang Xiaohua continued to say, “Master, after thinking about this, I am also not willing to follow you to the nearest town. Like you said, there are still some problems with my injuries and if something happened, it would interrupt your plans during your trip. Secondly, just bringing me along would affect your journey back to your sect. Instead, I might as well rest here and since it is close to the river, my companions might continue to search and pass by this area a few days later. If I leave with you, then wouldn’t I miss meeting them?”
Master Jing Xuan reflected quietly for a moment before saying, “Zhang Xiaohua, your words are reasonable and no matter what, moving is less safe than resting here so you might as well rest here. The surroundings are safe and there is enough food for you to last even after the new year, oh right, I will give you directions to nearest town later on so that you don’t get lost if you go by yourself.”
After saying what she wanted to say, master Jing Xuan then explained the route from the grass hut to Ji town carefully and in detail before taking out some coins from her bosom and leaving them to Zhang Xiaohua. She then brought little Meng aside and began to pack their things.
Perhaps because this was the last time he had with master Jing Xuan and little Meng, Zhang Xiaohua felt that time passed faster and before he realized it, it already became night and the bright red sun was hanging on the mountains. Zhang Xiaohua pressed his hands on his cheeks and sat alone beside the river while little Meng walked over stealthily.
Little Meng followed Zhang Xiaohua as she sat beside the river but her hands were behind her back. She looked at the sun from afar and asked, “What are you thinking of?”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “I am thinking how the ancient sayings are right, that the sunset is a magnificent sight but like all good times, it is always short lived.”
Little Meng also felt dejected and she said, “It is nice because it is short. If the time is long, it will lose all its flavour.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “Little Meng is right, we have only known each other for ten days and naturally feel good about each other. If it were ten years, how would we feel about each other then?”
Little Meng’s face was slightly red, she was sucked into Zhang Xiaohua’s words unintentionally and pondered deeply, when would she see the short-lived sunset again?