Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Piaomiao sect, on Piaomiao mountain villa, within the discussion hall. Ou Peng was trying some quality tea leisurely.
It was a rare opportunity for him to have some idle time in his hands so he was currently enjoying the moment.
The previous events had caused him to feel strenuous and tired.
Luoshui sect recently joined Piaomiao sect and their plans for the new year on how to advance from there required the Piaomiao six tigers and Shui Yupeng to squeeze their bran juices. They finally set five “three-year advancement plans” which were subjected to external factors. By expanding so rapidly, not only would one’s foundation not be stable, they would catch the attention of the mega sects like a tall tree that catches the higher winds. Furthermore, if the sects do not deepen their relationships and continue on their own paths for advancement, not only will they let down their brothers who gave up their lives for this acquisition, it would alienate the brothers from the Luoshui sect which would cause more strife between the sects in the future. This point was something Ou Peng had experienced personally and Shui Yupeng would naturally want to avoid, so for this period of time, matters would be handled in moderation and harmonious development would be placed as priority.
Whether Luoshui sect’s “three-year advancement plans” or Piaomiao sect’s amended “Five-year plan”, the main idea of both was to raise the Piaomiao sect’s position in Jianghu and increase their sphere of influence until they could be on the same level as the other major powers. The feasibility of these goals depended on Piaomiao sect and Luoshui sect’s might, and increasing one’s might would naturally encroach on the martial arts skill level of their members. Hence, the herbs from the secret area was the most important aid to realizing their dream, which is why for this year’s expedition to the secret area, Ou Peng held much deeper hope and higher expectations for it.
After finishing the overarching goals for Piaomiao sect, many disciples including Lu Yueming who previously went to the secret area were dispatched after the New Year and after they left, Ou Peng could only wait in the sect for their results. Unlike the previous time when he did not put much attention to the mission, he carried more hopes as it concerned the expansion of the Piaomiao sect’s advancement. Ou Peng could not help but worry, and he would wonder if he should send the other six tigers of Piaomiao out personally at well.
However, Ou Peng who had experienced the conflicts and vicissitudes in the Jianghu world was well aware that his disappearance would attract the attention of many other sects including the mega sects. Even if the mission was a success and he managed to obtain the herbs from the secret area, the location of the secret area would be exposed and the rewards inside could no longer be split among the four factions. In comparison, it was better to work under the covers and appoint a disciple to handle the matter.
However, Ou Peng had to endure several days of anticipation and worry when conducting a secretive operation and the enormous pressure he felt had to be kept to himself, so the burden was extremely large. A few months ago on a particular night, Lu Yueming hurried on a carriage and came back alone to report on the status of his mission, and Ou Peng was so agitated that he almost activated the Piaomiao steps to receive him upon learning of his arrival. Now that he thought about it, his actions were quite embarrassing and not appropriate of his age, but it was also difficult for him to maintain his composure from such a large stimulation.
His agitation and loss of composure led Shui Yupeng who was present at that time to be surprised at the new side of his sect master, but as the saying goes, the ignorant would not understand.
Lu Yueming’s efforts were not wasted as the pharmacy hall people would not let others work for nothing. A few days before he left, the Qi improving pills were finally completed and it was a batch of pills that could be reproduced in the future. If nothing out of the ordinary happened, it would be possible to nurture a new batch of core disciples, and Piaomiao sect’s might would increase by another level again.
However, Ou Peng realized that there was another problem, should he share the pills with Shui Yupeng and the disciples from the Luoshui sect? If he let them consume these pills, it might become harder to keep their existence a secret but if they were not given a share, it would lead the two sects to diverge more in power. Hence, whether or not he should share the pills was another problem for him to consider carefully.
Fortunately, all problems have their solutions and even the east wind can be stopped. When his other fellow disciple brothers meet up again to discuss, they would come to a solution at then as well.
These two matters were official problems of the sect, and as the highest positioned decision maker of the sect, Ou Peng naturally had the responsibility to make the best decision for them. And as an elder brother, he was most affected by the recent events that his younger sister encountered.
The investigation of the assault on the rainy night still had no leads, and the disciples in the disciplinary hall were helpless in the situation. Even though Piaomiao sect was not top-tiered, it was still a reputable sect so not being able to counter despite receiving such a provocation was a humiliation to them. Fortunately, the matter of Ou Yan’s attack was kept tightly under wraps so most of Jianghu was still unaware of it or Piaomiao sect would lose its face.
With a younger sister who could not practice martial arts and had no ability to defend herself, he had always paid special attention to her safety. However, such a huge accident had occurred from a slight oversight. Fortunately, Ou Yan managed to escape with her life and even though she sustained severe injuries, it was not life-threatening. According to the news from Huanxi mountain villa, Ou Yan’s health had mostly recovered, and this news made Ou Peng happier than any other news he had received recently, but when he thought back to his younger sister’s personality, Ou Peng would shake his head. Even without mentioning the matter of going south, he had advised her to take more retainers but she insisted that she had no value in Jianghu and it was sufficient to hide the news of her trip. All would be good if nothing happened, but such a large accident actually occurred. Even though there was this lad surnamed Zhang who sacrificed himself to save her life, he took out three hundred taels from the Piaomiao sect treasury but his younger sister complained that it was too little so he added five thousand taels to the sum. There was no precedence for such a case, but who asked him to save the Piaomiao sect’s sect master’s precious younger sister? If anyone was unhappy about the matter, he could still salvage some reason but Ou Yan actually doubled the sum before it was sent to the elder brother who was in Lotus escort, so the total amount added up to ten thousand taels! With such a precedence, how could he offer condolence money in the future?
Ou Peng shook his head as he smiled bitterly, his younger sister was a passionate person who would see the best in everyone, but how could he blame her since the two siblings had also received much kindness from other people in order to reach where they were today. If these ten thousand taels could be exchanged for Ou Yan’s life, what would cause him to hesitate? Nothing, because he was willing to exchange even the entire Jianghu for her.
When he thought up to here, Ou Peng shook his head and drank some tea. Funny, which handsome and righteous hero would have the fortune to take her heart? Ou Yan was no longer young so as her older brother, he should place on concern on the matter.
While he was in the midst of these thoughts, he suddenly felt soft footsteps heading towards the discussion hall. Speak of the devil, this person had come at an opportune time.
When the visitor arrived, it was indeed Huanxi mountain villa’s villa master Ou Yan!
Speaking of this discussion hall, apart from Ou Yan who could enter without reporting her identity, no one else was allowed to enter even if it was Ou Peng’s wife. Of course, his family would not visit often as well. Now that he saw his younger sister, his love for her did not decrease despite the passing of time.
Ou Yan was also surprised when she entered. When she entered the discussion hall in the past, there would always be people to announce her but it was exceptionally quiet this time. She never expected to see her elder brother drinking tea idly by himself, Ou Yan could not help but smile. She increased her pace and greeted Ou Peng. Ou Peng smiled and said, “There is no one else here so just sit casually.”
Ou Yan smiled and seated herself while looking lovely as she did.
Ou Peng looked lovingly towards his younger sister and asked, “Yan’er, how is your health recently?”
Ou Yan replied, “Look at what elder brother is suggesting. Even though my body is not suitable to practice martial arts, it has still weathered across time and is not as weak and fragile as you think. My previous illness has already subsided under the supervision of the physician so I am feeling well right now.”
Ou Peng still said, “Yan’er, honestly, I hope you do not do such stubborn things in the future. If you ever need to leave again, bring more bodyguards along with you at least. Your elder brother was almost worried to death when you encountered so much danger, I do not know what to do if something like this happens again.”
Ou Yan said teasingly, “Alright, elder brother, I will be more careful next time. This time was indeed out of my expectations and I am still unable to figure the cause of the accident even up till today. Do you have any leads on your end?”
Ou Peng replied embarrassingly, “Sigh, not yet. I will prompt them to investigate more carefully and raise justice for you sooner.”
Ou Yan said, “There is no need to hurry, I am okay if there is any malicious plot targeting me. More importantly, elder brother must be careful of any plots towards you and Piaomiao sect, and remember to bring bodyguards along with you whenever you go out.”
Ou Peng smiled and said, “Alright, I will definitely bring Shi Niu as my sturdy bodyguard. Oh right, Yan’er, why did you come over today? It can’t be to chase me for the perpetuator right?”
Ou Yan replied, “Not that, elder brother, I am handling the matter of finding the perpetuator to you. I came over this time for another matter.”
Ou Peng asked in a curious tone, “What matter is it? For us to discuss about it?”
Ou Yan said, “Elder brother, do you still remember the youth who saved my life?”
Ou Peng replied, “I do, his is called Zhang something right? About this matter, I would still like to remind you not to be so stubborn. Our sect has its rules and the amount of condolence money to be given is already defined. While it is fine to give slightly more, you have added such a large sum that it has become inappropriate. Fortunately, not many people know of this so there should not be too much concern or the consequences will be undesirable. How are you going to find a husband just based on your stubbornness?”
After listening to these words, Ou Yan lost her temper and scolded, “Elder brother… Why are you always nagging about this, am I stubborn? What does that have to do with finding a husband!”
Ou Peng hurriedly raised his hands and said, “Nothing, both matters have nothing to do with each other. Elder brother has gotten old and is prone to nagging, you can just ignore me if you like. Oh right, haven’t the condolence money been passed to the elder brother, you can save your nagging tonight. Even if I had not met you for a while, I can still guess what you are thinking of.”
When he spoke up to here, Ou Yan’s expression turned to one of joy, she smiled and said, “Elder brother, I have come today precisely to discuss about this with you. You can save the ten thousand taels and your worry about bending the rules, and no one else will complain about this matter anymore.”
Ou Peng was surprised, he asked, “Why?”
Realization dawned on him and he said, “Oh, have you found the boy?”
Ou Yan said in surprise, “Elder brother, you are awesome to guess this right away.”
Ou Peng shook his head and said smilingly, “How could such a little riddle stump this sect master?”
Ou Yan smiled as well, she said, “We did not find him ourselves, but he came back on his own.”
Ou Peng was more surprised this time, he said, “He did not perish despite being struck by the black clothed elder’s palm thrust but must have at least suffered some serious injuries. Since he could return by himself, I believe his injuries have more or less healed?”
Ou Yan was also stunned and she asked, “Elder brother, how did you know that he has recovered?”
Ou Peng smiled as he replied, “That is normal, how could he travel a thousand li and return to Pingyang city if he had not recovered?”
Ou Yan reflected for a while before nodding slightly in agreement.
She repeated what Zhang Xiaohua recounted earlier that day in whole to Ou Peng, while the latter listened in shock. Such occurrence was rarely seen, even surviving and coming back safely to Pingyang city was a miracle by itself.
Ou Peng asked, “What is that Zhang something’s name?”
Ou Yan replied, “Zhang Xiaohua.”
Ou Peng smiled, “Haha, Zhang Xiaohua, such a fun name for a boy, it sounds like a girl’s name. Oh right, since this Zhang Xiaohua has returned, you would definitely insist on giving him the condolence money, so why did you say that it is unnecessary?”
Ou Yan replied, “Elder brother has guessed correctly, but you only guessed what happened at the beginning and not at the end. Zhang Xiaohua rejected this ten thousand taels and only took a piece of hundred taels check after much persuasion. He even said that the hundred taels were ‘like ten thousand taels worth of my sincerity, so keeping the hundred tales were equivalent to accepting my enormous sincerity.’ Elder brother, don’t you think that this boy is very interesting?”
Ou Peng rubbed his chin and said thoughtfully, “Mm, you’re right, this Zhang Xiaohua is quite interesting. So what is your intention for coming today?”
Ou Yan replied, “It’s like this, elder brother. Actually while we were on the journey down south, I saw Zhang Xiaohua practice martial arts very diligently and even thought his aptitude was rather normal, his perseverance was at the top and it reminded me of you in the past. Hence, I promised him then after we returned from the trip, I would request a favour from you to allow He Tianshu from the pharmacy hall to impart our Piaomiao sect inner energy cultivation method to him.”
Ou Peng nodded slightly upon hearing this, he said, “If you feel this way, it should be fine. Since you said that his aptitude is normal, we can just let He Tianshu teach him some inner energy cultivation method, and I guess it should be enough for him to practice for life.”
Ou Yan continued, “But he rejected this ten thousand taels which I am still unhappy about, after all, how would I come back safely if not for him? I must return this kindness and since he is uninterested in money, I wonder if we could do it like this. Elder brother, can you allow him to join the Piaomiao sect and become a disciple here? Such is precisely a wish of Zhang Xiaohua.”
Ou Peng laughed loudly when he heard this, he said, “And I was wondering if it was some large matter that required us siblings to discuss so seriously. When Piaomiao sect recruits’ disciples, although we have strict requirements that this Zhang Xiaohua would definitely not satisfy, since Yan’er has spoken, how can I as the elder brother reject her request? Not to mention one, so what if there were ten people? Why is there a need to discuss such a small matter?”
Sigh, it is truly that people are the greatest cause of grievances. When Zhang Xiaohua left Guo village, he tried all sorts of matters to become a Piaomiao sect disciple but his wish could not be fulfilled no matter how hard he tried. Instead, he tried for Lotus escort but the escort station also denied him. As for being a Piaomiao sect disciple? He had long given up on that wish.
But now, with one sentence from Ou Yan, Ou Peng readily agreed without even considering Zhang Xiaohua’s aptitude or age. With just a simple nod of his head, he fulfilled Zhang Xiaohua’s greatest wish and even said that it was a small matter that did not require much consideration. As the saying goes, connections are important!
Upon hearing the good news, Ou Yan said, “Then I will have to trouble elder brother. Actually, I know that elder brother is concerned with aptitude when he accepts new disciples into Piaomiao sect, and Zhang Xiaohua’s aptitude is vastly inferior to those you have accepted, so I have caused you much trouble.”
Ou Peng wringed his sleeves and said, “What is there to be courteous about with your elder brother? Even though aptitude is important, perseverance is necessary as well. Even if Zhang Xiaohua has average talent, Piaomiao sect has so many disciples so one disciple should not make much difference. Why not let He Tianshu be his master and teach him at Huanxi mountain villa, what do you think?”
Ou Yan replied enthusiastically, “That’s a good idea. Zhang Xiaohua’s aptitude is only average, no, it should be very poor since I remembered He Tianshu ever saying that he had practiced for a long time but cannot even learn a complete fist martial art, but he is very bright when it comes to herbs and could understand the books I have lent him, so perhaps he might become useful over at my side.”
Ou Peng said, “Let’s do it this way then. You can bring He Tianshu and Zhang Xiaohua over to the discussion room tomorrow to talk about this issue. Also, the problem of the herbs can be solved slowly, the elders in the pharmacy hall are all helpless so you don’t have to worry too much about it and let it affect your health.”
Ou Yan replied, “I understand, elder brother, I will still want to follow up on this case even if they are unable to solve it. Even though there will be some supply from the secret area, it can’t be as convenient as having our own grown ones. If we can only enter the secret area once a year, the supply would never match up to the demand of the sect. Hence, this idea cannot be given up if elder brother wants to let the Piaomiao sect flourish in the future.”
Ou Peng sighed and said, “I know that you will not be willing to rest this case, but remember to take care of your health first and foremost.”
Ou Yan smiled and said, “I understand, elder brother, so stop nagging please.”
The siblings continued to chat for some while, and Ou Yan departed to return back to Huanxi mountain villa later on.