Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
When Yuan Changqing saw station head Luo’s expression turned ugly, he hurriedly stepped forward to explain the situation, “Please do not misunderstand, station head. This little brother here is our head Zhang’s own little brother; he is called Zhang Xiaohua. We happened to meet him coincidentally which is why we brought him back instead to let the two brothers reunite. Think about it, even if he was not head Zhang’s younger brother, his age is still so young and since he is also from Pingyang city, shouldn’t we take care of him and not let him run about blindly in this place?”
Station head Luo’s expression tuned slightly better and he asked, “Do you all know him? How can you confirm if he is Zhang Xiaohu’s little brother or not?”
Yuan Changqing smiled obligingly and said, “Station head likes to joke too much, how can we recognize him? However, can’t you tell that he and our head Zhang comes from the same mould? What else is there to be suspicious of?”
Station head Luo studied Zhang Xiaohua suspiciously for half a bell of time before slapping his bald head and saying, “Zhang Xiaohua right, I seemed to have seen you somewhere before?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “It is like this, station head Luo, I got injured earlier last year and was nursing my injuries in the escort station for a period of time. Perhaps we have met during then.”
Station head Luo pondered for a while before smiling and said, “Perhaps so, there were more duties in the escort station last year and I was out most of the time and seldom in the station, so we might have met only once or twice.”
Station head Luo said to Yuan Changqing, “Zhang Xiaohu went out to settle some matters and will probably return by nightfall, you all can bring this child to his room for the time being.”
After finishing his sentence, he walked out through the door.
After station head Luo was faraway, Yuan Changqing retracted his smiling face and whispered, “Don’t bother about him, Zhang Xiaohua, this person often look down on us delivery hands because of his position as the station head and would often nitpick at every little action of ours. Because of this, our head Zhang, oh, who is your second brother, would often get into an argument with him. If not, why would he be trying to find faults on you?”
Zhang Xiaohua did not mind, he had charged into an unfamiliar territory unannounced so the other party had grounded reasons to interrogate him. Otherwise, how would he deserve to be a security head?
Yuan Changqing saw Zhang Xiaohua’s smiling but silent countenance so he said, “Come, I’ll bring you to head Zhang’s room. From your being, you must be tired out and should take a rest first. We can discuss anything else later at night after your second brother returns.”
After finishing his sentence, the few people took Zhang Xiaohua to a small and simple room. The door was unlatched and everyone just walked in after opening the door, the room was also empty. Yuan Changqing smiled as he explained, “This courtyard was rented when we came here before the New Year, and is very simply furnished. Since we were going to leave soon after, we did not refurbish it much.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “This room is not much different from my second brother’s room in the escort station.”
Yuan Changqing said, “Head Zhang’s room is still pretty good and he occupies it by himself. Head Zhang’er also likes cleanliness so the room is definitely tidy. The rest of us are living beside here and our rooms cannot be described simply with the word “dirty”. Alright, Zhang Xiaohua, you can take a rest first and when head Zhang’er returns, we can give him a large surprise later.”
Zhang Xiaohua’s heart stirred and he said, “Alright, that it is settled, no one should inform him of me before then.”
Yuan Changqing and the rest laughed, “Alright, we promise. Head Zhang’er treats us very well but we have not seen him happy for a while, he is bound to be thrilled this time round.”
Zhang Xiaohua asked again, “That station head Luo also knows of me, won’t he tell my second brother too?”
Yuan Changqing and the others replied, “Haha, don’t worry. If station head Luo went out at this time, he is mostly like going to a certain place to have fun. With your second brother around, many matters will be settled well so the station head will have a piece of mind and won’t be back until late at night.”
Zhang Xiaohua calmed down and expressed his approval of the plan.
When Yuan Changqing and the rest saw Zhang Xiaohua’s expression which was slightly tired, they did not stay in the room much further and bid their farewells.
Zhang Xiaohua had run since morning to reach the town, ate a meal in the restaurant before meeting with another event and had to display his prowess and execute the “four killing corners”, so he was naturally feeling fatigued. He looked at the wound on his arm which had stopped bleeding a while ago and was currently not hurting before turning his attention to Zhang Xiaohu’s bed. He unrolled the sheets and drilled though them before closing his eyes and falling asleep soon after.
Time passed quickly and the days in winter were also shorter, and soon, it was evening.
When it was time to light the lamps, Zhang Xiaohu returned from outside, carrying fatigue all over his body but with some hint of happiness. Even though he was only a deputy for station head Luo and was supposed to assist the latter with small tasks, this senior brother seemed to view his potential highly and would push many responsibilities over to him. For example, the matter of discussing the return route was assigned to him, it was simply treating him as free labour. However, this was good as well since he got the opportunity to learn many things and would be more prepared if he had to make a solo trip in the future. However, Zhang Xiaohu laughed as he shook his head, he was only a lowly delivery hand and not some station head so how would the escort station assign him to a job by himself?
Fortunately, he had finalized the time and route for their return trip that day, so the days in Pingyang city would be one step closer to him. Upon thinking of Pingyang city, Zhang Xiaohu still felt as though there were arrows shot through his heart. He had run two long jobs so far in the previous year and even spend the New Year outside of the city, so he could not help but wonder how his little brother was doing in Huanxi mountain villa right then. Nevertheless, as he recalled what Zhang Xiaohua told him, there were many people who were watching after the latter so his New Year must have been quite enjoyable. There was also gentleman Li Jinfeng who promised to deliver a message and some money back to their home before the New Year, Zhang Xiaohu had been too busy with jobs and had no time to visit the former. Li Jinfeng must be enjoying his time back home so Zhang Xiaohu could not help but wonder if the former remembered to drop by Guo village.
When Zhang Xiaohu entered the courtyard and greeted the people inside, he took quick paces as he walked to his room, yanked open the door, walked to the tableside in his room and took out a fire starter from his breast to light the oil lamp before pouring a cup of water for himself. He sat on the small stool beside the table as he drank the water and sighed out in relief.
After the cup was emptied, Zhang Xiaohu realized that there was another person in the room lying in his bed. He shook his head and thought, “Which other brother from the escort station got drunk again and went into the wrong room?”
Hence, Zhang Xiaohu stood up, picked up the oil lamp and walked to the front of the bed. The person was sleeping soundly with his back facing the front so Zhang Xiaohu flipped him over poor-naturedly and scolded in a laughing tone, “Why aren’t you awake yet, the sky has already darkened. Go eat your meal and you can return to your own room later if you still feel like sleeping.”
The person he flipped over had a small and light body so Zhang Xiaohu flipped him over easily. As Zhang Xiaohu was pondering who the person was, when his eyes met the person’s face, he involuntarily yelped out, “Xiaohua!”
The lantern in his hands almost dropped onto Zhang Xiaohua’s face.
Zhang Xiaohu jumped in fright and hurriedly tried to recompose himself, he gripped onto the lantern tightly to prevent it from disfiguring his little brother’s face before taking another closer look. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief, who was this person in front of him if he was not his little brother Zhang Xiaohua?
Was he dreaming right then?
Zhang Xiaohu walked to the door and saw the few bodyguards and delivery hands walking about the courtyard. The snow in the courtyard was still quite deep, was it not his courtyard? Zhang Xiaohua pinched his cheek while still feeling overwhelmed and the resultant pain told him that he was not dreaming at all!
However, how did Zhang Xiaohua ran over to his bed all the way from Pingyang city?
While holding to this thought, Zhang Xiaohu walked quickly back to the bed and was about to wake Zhang Xiaohua up to question him but stopped when he saw Zhang Xiaohua’s peaceful sleeping expression. He thought that the boy must be tired so he retracted his hands and decided to let Xiaohua have a good rest first. No matter what had happened, even if the sky was to dropped down, since his little brother had returned to his side, he should do his part as an elder brother and protect the boy under his wings. His little brother was still young so he must have suffered much by travelling all the way to here, and even if the situation was complex, now was not the time for him to interrogate the boy, and everything can be slowly resolved later when he woke up.
When he thought up to here, Zhang Xiaohu carefully extinguished the oil lamp light and placed it down, he took light steps and cautiously walked out of the room before closing the door softly in fear of making a single sound and waking Zhang Xiaohua from his good dream.
When he walked into the courtyard, Zhang Xiaohua stopped a delivery hand and asked, “Is station head Luo around?”
The person smiled as he replied, “Head Zhang’er, don’t you know that station head Luo would seldom have his dinner back here? He must still be outside right now.”
Zhang Xiaohu mock scolded the man, “I am naturally aware of this, I am asking if you have seen him in the day.”
The person replied, “Not since afternoon.”
Zhang Xiaohu asked again, “In that case, did you see if anyone entered my room?”
The person pondered for a while before saying, “I do not have any impression, our courtyard is so rustic and there are usually no visitors so if there was someone who came, I would definitely have an impression of him. What is the matter, head Zhang’er, did you lose something?”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled and said, “Where have I lost anything, its fine. I am only asking.”
After finishing his sentence, he allowed the person to walk off.
Following this, he went to ask more people from the station but had the same answer in return. Zhang Xiaohu felt puzzled, did his younger brother fly into his room? Furthermore, how did he know where his room was?
While he was preoccupied with his thoughts, Yuan Changqing and a few other delivery hands whom he was close with walked from the opposite direction. Yuan Changqing smiled when he saw Zhang Xiaohu and asked, “Head Zhang’er, have you just returned from outside?”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled as he replied, “That’s right, I just came back. Why did you guys go out again?”
Yuan Changqing said, “It is boring to stay in the courtyard, what can we do if we don’t go out?”
Zhang Xiaohu replied, “Instead of strolling outside, why not practice your fist martial arts more? Train your body and spend your time practicing your martial arts.”
Yuan Changqing smiled and said, “Head Zhang’er, we can’t be compared to you. Our fist martial arts will always be the same standard no matter how much we practice; how can we improve any further? If we had your ability to sense qi and the opportunity to learn an inner energy cultivation method, we would also spend more time and effort in our martial arts practice.”
Zhang Xiaohu replied, “As the saying goes, opportunities will come to those who are ready. With this kind of mentality, you won’t be able to grab onto the opportunity even if it is hanging right in front of you.”
Yuan Changqing said, “Alright, head Zhang’er, I know you mean well for us. We will definitely practice harder after dinner so save your saliva and nagging.”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled and said, “You don’t have to watch myself, whether or not to practice martial art is your own decision to make.”
Yuan Changqing’s expression then turned mysterious as he asked, “Head Zhang’er, did you just return? You have not entered you room yet right?”
Zhang Xiaohu was slightly confused as he answered, “I came back a while ago and already stepped into my room earlier.”
He suddenly became enlightened and asked, “Were you the ones who brought Zhang Xiaohua back?”
Yuan Changqing blinked smilingly as he replied, “That’s right, I did that.”
Zhang Xiaohu laughed for a while before saying, “Good brother, I have not treated you well all these while for nothing. I have to thank you properly this time round.”
Yuan Changqing hurriedly shrugged it off, he said, “Head Zhang’er is too kind, you treat us so well usually and even though you are pretty young yourself, all of us respect you highly. To do something for you is our joy so you don’t have to be courteous about it. Furthermore, we only had a fortunate encounter and didn’t do much at all.”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled and said, “No matter what, Zhang Xiaohu is only a ten plus year old child. If you few did not bring him here, he would never find his way to me. Oh right, how did you meet him? Do you recognize Xiaohua?”
When he asked up to here, Yuan Changqing and the rest had animated expressions as Yuan Changqing replied, “Head Zhang’er-ah, as the saying goes, a tiger father cannot have a cowardly dog as a son, but in your case, it should be a dragon brother can only have at least a tiger as a younger brother!”
Zhang Xiaohu became stunned and he mock scolded, “What rubbish, my eldest brother is called Xiaolong (dragon), while I am Xiaohu (tiger), so we are naturally dragon and tiger brothers.”
Yuan Changqing saw that the other party had misunderstood him so he laughed and explained himself, “I am referring to your younger brother, he is truly what is considered to be amazing.”
Zhang Xiaohu was confused so Yuan Changqing recounted the events that happened earlier in the day to him.
Just recounting the events took up half of an hour and one could not deny that Yuan Changqing was gifted in the tongue. It was truly the world’s loss if he did not choose to be a scholar as his occupation.
The people beside also gave a thumbs up and praised Zhang Xiaohu’s gifted younger brother as they listened to the recount, while Zhang Xiaohu was only feeling worried and foreboding any mishap given that he knew of his younger brother’s injury in his right arm. Only after Yuan Changqing finished his story did he say, “You guys wait here, I’ll go back to take a look.”
Everyone was confused as they watched Zhang Xiaohu rushed back into his room.
Not long after, he returned with a straight expression on his face again.
Yuan Changqing asked, “Head Zhang’er, did you forget something important?”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled as he replied, “I did not forget anything but was just worried for Xiaohua’s injuries. I won’t feel relieved if I do not see it personally with my own eyes.”
Everyone then understood they while they were concerned with the outcome of the fight, only his own brother was thinking of his injury and would only be relieved if the boy was alright.
Yuan Changqing replied in a slightly guilty tone, “Head Zhang’er, it is old brother’s fault this time. I was only concerned about bringing Zhang Xiaohua back and forgot about his injury, I wonder how his arm is right now.”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled as said, “It is alright, there was only a minor scrape. I have only taken a brief look and the light from the oil lamp is not clear enough, but it seemed to be a superficial wound and a scab had already formed. Xiaohua has a strong body so he would be jumping and running as usual when he wakes up.”
Yuan Changqing replied in a serious tone, “It will be good if Xiaohua is fine. If not, we brothers will definitely seek justice for him.”
Zhang Xiaohu’s expression also turned dark as he said, “My younger brother cannot get injured for nothing. Even though he had pardoned the other party in the afternoon, it has become a different matter if he was injured. I will go out tomorrow and let them bleed in return!”
When he spoke up to here, Yuan Changqing’s expression turned strange. In order to protect Zhang Xiaohua’s heroic behaviour earlier, he had exaggerated some bits and left out other parts, but since Zhang Xiaohu had made such a serious declaration, Yuan Changqing could not hide any further. He looked at the surrounding people before pulling Zhang Xiaohu away to a private corner and whispered in his ear. Zhang Xiaohu’s expression turned ecstatic as he listened, and after the Yuan Changqing finished his explanation, Zhang Xiaohu’s mouth smiled so wide that it almost split apart, he could not help but asked in disbelief, “Did he really do that? Did you see it with your own eyes?”
Yuan Changqing smiled as he said, “I won’t be able to hide anything from you for long, why don’t you ask him yourself tomorrow, or go back and take a look to find out?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said, “Since that is the case, there will be no need to look for them to settle any debts, hahaha.”
After finishing his sentence, he said, “Dear brothers, in a while, all of you will follow me to get drunk.”
Since he heard that his younger brother was fine, Zhang Xiaohu was so happy that he wanted to drink in celebration.
Everyone was even more surprised when they saw Zhang Xiaohu who was still fuming not long ago suddenly proposing to celebrate in happiness, they all surrounded Yuan Changqing and inquired for an explanation, what did the person told Zhang Xiaohu? However, the person refused to open his mouth and told them to look for Zhang Xiaohu, so everyone became vexed from their curiosity instead.
Up until the night on the table which was filled with wine, everyone took the opportunity while Zhang Xiaohu was drunk to satisfy their curiosity again. Zhang Xiaohu then revealed the truth and everyone who heard it also broke into laughter as they praised, “Zhang Xiaohua, he is so much fun!”
Everyone then drifted off into a blank state of unawareness.
Even though he ordered everyone to get drunk, how could Zhang Xiaohu drink so much while knowing that his young brother was lying on his own bed with injuries in his body? When everyone finally blanked out from their drunkenness, only Zhang Xiaohu returned back to the courtyard while still sober.
During the night, Zhang Xiaohu sat beside Zhang Xiaohua and slept, he did not get too close to the latter in fear of waking him up but was still filled with concern for the boy, so he forgot that after Zhang Xiaohua has fallen asleep, how could a simple prod cause him to wake up?
In the morning of the next day after Zhang Xiaohua woke up from his dream which was filled with the usual flashing lights, the first thing he saw was the second brother whom he yearned for and was about to shout in joy when he heard Zhang Xiaohu’s faint snoring. He quickly covered his mouth with his hands but unfortunately, his small actions already stirred Zhang Xiaohu awake.
When Zhang Xiaohu opened his eyes, he saw Zhang Xiaohua’s expression which was filled with joy looking at himself and immediately jumped up and laughed, “Xiaohua, you’re awake!”
Zhang Xiaohua also laughed as he said, “That’s right, second brother, I woke up.”
Even though they did not exchange many sentences, both brothers were feeling very happy at the moment.
Zhang Xiaohu then asked, “Did you sleep enough, why not sleep for a little longer, it is still quite early.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he replied, “Second brother, it is hard for me to fall back to sleep after I wake up. Furthermore, I have been sleeping on your bed since yesterday afternoon, so surely I won’t be tired after sleeping for such a long time.”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “Alright, then let me inspect your wound now.”
Zhang Xiaohua extended his hand as instructed while Zhang Xiaohu borrowed the light from the window and studied it over once before using a towel to wipe off some of the coagulated blood. Like he imagined, a scab had already formed and the wound looked like it had healed for over a few days.
Zhang Xiaohu’s heart was only fully settled down after then.