Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Zhang Xiaohua tidied up his table top and opened the door, he found Qiu Tong standing outside waiting for him.
Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly invited Qiu Tong into the room, Qiu Tong smiled gleefully and said, “That’s unnecessary, Zhang Xiaohua, the young mistress instructed me to call you over, she is still waiting at her side.”
Zhang Xiaohua walked out of his room and asked, “Elder sister Qiu Tong, it is almost mealtime so why did the villa master suddenly call for me? Will there be anything delicious to eat?”
A strange expression flashed across Qiu Tong’s face and she smiled wider, saying, “There is nothing delicious to eat, but something fun to tell you. You should hurry and follow me there.”
When Zhang Xiaohua heard that there was something fun, his curiosity piqued up and he followed Qiu Tong into the inner courtyard.
As they neared the main hall in the inner courtyard, a melodious female voice sounded and Zhang Xiaohua immediately knew that Piaomiao sect’s madam Qin had arrived. When he thought of what Ou Yan said earlier about finding madam Qin to discuss the “Worry free heart sutra”, he guessed that she must have acted on her words so he became happier and his footsteps quickened.
There were only Ou Yan and Madam Qin sitting inside the main hall chatting with each other, when they heard the footsteps outside and saw the familiar figure approaching, the two exchanged glances and raise their eyebrows while containing their laughter.
Zhang Xiaohua walked into the main hall, greeted the two ladies before sitting on a chair below them. He looked towards Ou Yan and asked, “is the reason elder sister Ou called me over due to the ‘Worry free heart sutra’?”
Ou Yan glanced teasingly back at him, she chuckled and said, “You’re right. I have asked big sister Qin about this earlier but you should listen to her explanation for yourself. Haha, your luck is really unordinary.”
Zhang Xiaohua scratched his head and turned his gaze towards madam Qin like a clock, he asked, “Big sister Qin, what is the matter? Please let me know quickly, I am feeling extremely anxious.”
Madam Qin looked at the worried Zhang Xiaohua and replied calmly, “It is a simple thing to explain about this matter. Our Piaomiao sect has more than a millennium of history and countless of heroes that appeared during this time. These heroes all had aptitudes that reached the heavens, and during their training would gain much experience and create their own martial art. The second floor of the library does not contain the secret top martial arts only within Piaomiao sect but such randomly created martial arts, and this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ is precisely an inner energy cultivation method created by a Piaomiao sect ancestor a few centuries ago.”
When Zhang Xiaohua listened up to here, he let out a sigh stealthily and replied, “Since it is an inner energy cultivation method, then I am good with it. I don’t wish to pick any top martial art, just one that I can practice in is fine.”
When madam Qin heard this, she wanted to speak but with a gulp, she first smiled and drank some water before continuing, “However, even though this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ is an inner energy cultivation method, it is more accurate to call it a self-hypnosis sutra.”
“Self-hypnosis? Sutra?” Zhang Xiaohua was confused so he asked, “What does these have to do with inner energy cultivation?”
Madam Qin continued, “The creator of this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ was supposedly an elder whose intellect was at its peak, and there are many inner energy cultivation methods, palm martial arts and other martial arts that he created in the second floor of the secret book repository. However, this elder had an odd habit, perhaps from overusing his brain, but he had difficulties sleeping which is what we know as insomnia. In order to treat this illness, he met with several great physicians in Jianghu but to no avail, and later on, he thought that he was the best person to treat his own illness and when he grew old and knowledgeable about inner energy, he began to study the insomnia that he was inflicted with. Finally, after a decade of hard research, he created this ‘Worry free heart sutra’, and the meaning of worry free is that he viewed a good night sleep as the most valuable and the most worry free thing in the world.”
“Ah…” Zhang Xiaohua was stunned and he exclaimed, “This… this elder’s actions are too luxurious, he actually created an inner energy cultivation method to let him sleep well at night? Even if this is so, there is no need to place this little manual in the second floor of the secret book repository.”
Madam Qin pursed her lips and smiled, she said, “There is no choice, this elder had made too many contributions to the sect and many of the martial arts and inner energy cultivation methods were placed within the secret book repository, and this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ is no exception. However, many of the upper echelons in Piaomiao sect are aware of this, which is why they would advise their disciples to not pick this manual when choosing an inner energy cultivation method. This is already an open secret in Piaomiao sect, and apart from its creator, there has never been a second person who studied the ‘Worry free heart sutra’.”
Zhang Xiaohua’s heart stirred, he probed, “Elder sister Qin, can you help me read this to find out how to practice in this ‘Worry free heart sutra’? Or see if this is the correct ‘Worry free heart sutra’?”
Madam Qin waved her hands and replied, “I have never seen this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ before so I am unable to make a judgement. Furthermore, without the sect master’s approval, I am not allowed to read this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ even if it is not a real inner energy cultivation method, I believe that the sect master must have told you about the importance of secrecy. You have to be careful not to let a second person see its contents, this is highly forbidden within our sect.”
“Oh my god” Zhang Xiaohua thought to himself, “This sect rule is too harsh, how am I supposed to know if this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ is the one they were talking about now!”
However, he still felt a glimmer of excitement and anticipation in his heart. Perhaps the manual he picked out from the third floor was not the ‘Worry free heart sutra’ that they were talking about, but if it is so, then his luck was really extraordinary. There were many inner energy cultivation methods in the second floor and if he picked one out casually, he might not be able to pick out the ‘Worry free heart sutra’. Instead, he had to go to the third floor and look at the box instead of the bookshelf there. Zhang Xiaohua felt another long beat in his heart, perhaps someone put the book there because it was not a real inner energy cultivation method. “Sigh…”, Zhang Xiaohua sighed in resentment, “My hands are so disobedient.”
Ou Yan who was at a side smiled and said, “You luck is really good, why are you unhappy instead?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled bitterly and replied, “How can my luck be good if I managed to pick this ‘Worry free heart sutra’? while it might be useful to other people, I never had problems sleeping in my life and even when I am sleeping, nobody can call me up no matter how hard they try. So what use does this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ has to me?”
“Puahh”, the other three people burst into laughter. The story of Zhang Xiaohua following He Tianshu into the streets of the town was also recounted to them by He Tianshu, they never imagined that someone would be able to fall asleep in the middle of walking on the wide road. In that case, this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ was really garbage to Zhang Xiaohua.
However, Ou Yan still persuaded, “The reason why I said your luck was good is not because of this, but due to the ‘Piaomiao steps’.”
Madam Qin also said, “That’s right, this ‘Piaomiao steps’ are placed on the third floor of our secret book repository and not anyone is able to learn it. Even if you picked a martial art from the third floor, you might not be able to pick it out, and now that you got hold of a copy so easily, what can this be considered apart from good fortune?”
When he listened up to here and saw the admiring expression madam Qin had towards the ‘Piaomiao steps’, Zhang Xiaohua depressed mood became slightly lighter and he asked in curiosity, “What is the use of this ‘Piaomiao steps’ footwork technique?”
Madam Qin smiled and said, “Ignorance is frightening, I shall give you a sweeping overview then. Piaomiao sect has three top martial arts, ‘Piaomiao seven swords’, ‘Piaomiao heavenly art’, and ‘Piaomiao steps’. The ‘Piaomiao seven swords’ is naturally a sword martial art that have might that will shock the heavens when executed, the ‘Piaomiao heavenly art’ is our sect’s top inner energy cultivation method that supposedly has no equal, and as for the ‘Piaomiao steps’, it is a type of qinggong technique.”
“Qinggong?” Zhang Xiaohua felt a wave of surprise, it was a martial art that he had longed for.
“That’s right, ‘Piaomiao steps’ is used for movement and is considered a type of qinggong. However, its value is not just in travelling, but also in battle by complementing your fist martial art, sword martial art, et cetera. Even the top footsteps technique will allow the might of your other martial arts to raise by thirty percent.” Madam Qing explained.
“Ah, it’s so awesome. In that case, haven’t I benefit much from this?” Zhang Xiaohua’s smile could not escape his face.
Madam Qin continued, “Of course, otherwise, how can it be considered as one of the top three Piaomiao sect martial arts? You have indeed benefited much this time.”
Zhang Xiaohu nodded his head thoughtfully, no wonder He Tianshu looked so giddy from happiness when he heard that he could also practice in the Piaomiao steps.
Madam Qin saw Zhang Xiaohua’s joyful expression so she took the opportunity to poke him gently, “However, there are nine levels to this ‘Piaomiao steps’ and you have only obtained the first three levels. I wonder if it can still be considered a top qinggong without the rest of the manual.”
Zhang Xiaohua forgotten what he was told earlier and he took it out from his breast without hesitation. He said, “Won’t you know just by looking at it?”
Seeing his response, Ou Yan said severely, “Zhang Xiaohua!”
After listening to Ou Yan’s scolding, Zhang Xiaohua immediately realized his mistake and his face flushed in embarrassment as he replied, “Elder sister Ou.”
Ou Yan saw that Zhang Xiaohua understood his mistake so her tone became less severe as she continued, “Zhang Xiaohua, the rules of Piaomiao sect cannot be taken lightly. Everything mentioned in the discussion hall, as well as every single word Zhang Chengyue told you must not be forgotten. If you disobey their instructions, no one will let you off without punishment because of your young age. Actually, you may not know this but there are many children younger than you practicing their martial arts diligently while following the rules, you cannot slack off just because of some recent fortunate encounter, understood?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied carefully, “I understand, villa master Ou, I won’t dare to do it again.”
Madam Qin also scolded severely, “Ignorance is not an excuse. For certain things, you have to commit them to memory and not mention to anyone else. If someone else learns that you know the ‘Piaomiao steps’ footstep technique, your safety cannot be assured and your life might even be at risk.”
Ignorance is not an excuse; this was the second time Zhang Xiaohua heard someone scold him with that phrase. When he thought to himself, his actions were indeed immature and thoughtless and could attract any malicious attention from other people, it seemed that he would have to pay more attention to his behaviour in the future.
Madam Qin continued, “Actually, even if you showed me the ‘Piaomiao steps’ manual now, I would not dare to read it without the sect master’s approval. I do not have permission to learn any martial art from Piaomiao sect, not to mention the top three martial arts.”
Zhang Xiaohua then realized that if Ou Peng has not doted on his younger sister so much, and if he had not sacrificed his life to protect Ou Yan, how could he be given such a good martial art so easily? Not to mention his second brother being given the honour of becoming a Piaomiao sect’s disciple, the black clothed elder’s palm thrust had given him more benefits that he ever expected!
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua’s slightly blanked out expression, Ou Yan said, “Zhang Xiaohua, you must remember that if you need any pointers in this ‘Piaomiao steps’, you can look for He Tianshu and anyone else that the sect master has approved, but other people including your elder brother Zhang Xiaohu will not be allowed to read it. As for the ‘Worry free heart sutra’, you can keep it as a memento but do not let anyone else see it, and do not lose it even more so. If you feel that it is unsafe, you can burn it as well.”
Zhang Xiaohu asked, “Should I return it to sect master Ou?”
Ou Yan replied proudly, “How can the Piaomiao sect return something that they have gifted out? If that’s the case, Zhang Chengyue would have taken it back from you when he was passing you the ‘Piaomiao steps’, and you would not have to be bothered with it right now.”
Zhang Xiaohua realized the situation, a reputable sect indeed has rules that are not normal.
He could only reply, “I understand, elder sister Ou.”
Ou Yan felt that she had disciplined Zhang Xiaohua enough so she said, “Alright, you have spent enough time here so it is time for you to go back.”
Zhang Xiaohua immediately stood up and bid farewell when he heard this, he thought to himself as he walked away, “After disciplining me for half a day, they did not even give me a single snack or let me stay to have lunch with them.”
While Zhang Xiaohua thought to himself while he walked back to his room, to be honest, he did not believe madam Qin’s words fully. Even if the Piaomiao sect elder was a genius, this technique to overcome insomnia should not require up to eighteen levels, or it will be too excessive to the point of making fun of other people. If it was really the case, then how could the elder have time to create other useful martial arts? The most important point was that this manual was not taken casually from the second floor, so Zhang Xiaohua still felt some anticipation towards it in his heart.
However, Ou Yan’s warning had broken his plan, these two manuals, apart from ‘Piaomiao steps’ which could be practiced with He Tianshu, the ‘Worry free heart sutra’ could only be practiced by him alone. However, the latter manual could be said to have a creator but no followers since it was used primarily to treat insomnia. Even if the person has difficulties sleeping, who would be as dumb as Zhang Xiaohua to waste an opportunity in the secret book repository to retrieve that book? Of course, they might be someone ignorant enough to pick this book casually, but since Zhang Xiaohua had become a precedent, someone might spread his story so nobody would do such a foolish thing in the future again.
While Zhang Xiaohua was thinking to himself, he could not help but become the wolf that was hungry for the moon and lamented to the sky, “As the saying goes, information is the most valuable thing in the world!”
After lunch, Zhang Xiaohua went back to his usual place and practiced the dipper heavenly fist and left sword martial art again. The dipper heavenly fist has become a habit by then, and the left sword martial art was his last resort to save his life and could not be used often. Zhang Xiaohua’s heart itched as he thought about the Piaomiao steps, he could be considered to have a foundation of martial arts after learning the footwork technique cum qinggong, and would have a place in the Jianghu world as a real martial artist, wasn’t this his dream since he first left Guo village?
After he exited the forest, Zhang Xiaohua still had a trace of doubt, where did He Tianshu go that day? The latter was still “crazy” from happiness in the morning. If Zhang Xiaohua was in He Tianhu’s shoes, he would immediately have looked for himself and would not be so calm up till now. After all, Zhang Xiaohua did not know how to practice martial arts and required He Tianshu’s directions so showing the manual to He Tianshu first was the natural thing to do, yet he had not seen a trace of his person at all, so what was he doing all this time?
When Zhang Xiaohua entered the courtyard, he saw that the light in He Tianshu’s room was still bright so he walked over and knocked on his door.
Indeed, He Tianshu’s voice sounded from inside, “Come in.”
Zhang Xiaohua pushed open the door to enter, he asked in concern, “Squad leader He, how are you?”
He Tianshu was surprised as he replied, “I’m alright, what’s the problem? Zhang Xiaohua, does my expression look ill?”
Zhang Xiaohua answered, “It’s not that, your expression is smooth and bright and you look well. What I meant is why have you not looked for me since afternoon up till now?”
After listening, He Tianhu’s expression changed and he said, “You still have the cheek to say this, Zhang Xiaohua. I was the one who taught you fist martial arts after all, why don’t you miss me at all?”
Zhang Xiaohua asked curiously, “Squad leader He, what do you mean? You are my teacher, how would I dare to forget you?”
He Tianshu blurted in response, “Since you know that I’m your teacher, why did you not look for me earlier?”
Realization dawned on Zhang Xiaohua, sigh, it was not that He Tianshu was not in a hurry to look at the Piaomiao steps, but his face did not allow him to look for himself first.
Zhang Xiaohua replied with a straight face, “Squad leader He, don’t be angry. I did not forget about the kindness you showed me, but was waiting for you to come over to take the manual.”
He Tianshu’s expression softened as he replied, “It’s not that I do not want to take it from you, but this Piaomiao steps was bestowed on you by our sect master and I am only allowed to provide pointers where you are confused, so how would I dare to get it from you directly?”
Zhang Xiaohua thought secretly, “Continue to pretend, I might still believe you if it was a year ago but don’t bother trying to trick me now.”
Hence, Zhang Xiaohua retrieved the Piaomiao steps manual from his breast and passed it to He Tianshu, he said, “Would squad leader He please look at it first before providing me with some pointers.”
He Tianshu smiled and just as he was about to accept it, he suddenly recalled something and asked, “Have you read it? Did you encounter any problems?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “I have not read it yet, you go ahead first.”
When He Tianshu heard his reply, he wanted to retract the hand he extended but was unable to out of curiosity. However, he recalled Zhang Chengyue’s instructions that he was only allowed to provide pointers, so how should he go about with this?