Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
He Tianshu was still doubtful and asked again as a responsible teacher, “You really understood?”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded his head profusely and replied, “Squad leader He, I am very a hundred percent really sure that I understand, and only need you to demonstrate it to me.”
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua’s confidence, He Tianshu still felt suspicious but he demonstrated the first level of Piaomiao steps in the empty space of the forest ground once, while explaining the instructions for the inner energy activation.
After Zhang Xiaohua watched the demonstration, he tried following the movements in front of He Tianshu. Naturally, he did not emulate the inner energy activation method.
Having taught Zhang Xiaohua before, He Tianshu naturally had low expectations towards Zhang Xiaohua’s poor aptitude. Furthermore, he never expected the boy to be able to learn the movement he spent several days picking up within one morning, and thus was already mentally prepared for him to fail.
However, the reality in front of him made He Tianshu tripped. Even though Zhang Xiaohua’s movements were clumsy and unfamiliar, the posture, angles and footwork were all accurate, making He Tianshu suspect if Zhang Xiaohua had secretly practiced the movement before handing the manual to him.
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua looked at him with anticipation, He Tianshu became speechless. Zhang Xiaohua’s movements were accurate and had no mistakes, he would be able to jump about to high heights if he possessed inner energy.
Seeing He Tianshu’s frustrated look directed back at him, Zhang Xiaohua felt the hair on his skin stood and he asked carefully, “Squad leader He, what’s the matter? I must have done it wrong, can you demonstrate it again? Sorry about that.’
He Tianshu blinked and replied back “There’s no need.”
Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly ran over and said in a concerned manner, “Squad leader He must be tired, take a rest first. Shall I pour you a cup of water? Can you demonstrate it to me again after you rested?”
He Tianshu waved his hands bad naturedly and said, “There’s no need, you executed it very well, really. Try performing it again.”
After hearing these words, Zhang Xiaohua could not believe his ears and asked, “Really? I did it right?”
Seeing He Tianshu nodded his head, Zhang Xiaohua felt a surge of relief and joy washed over him. This was his first time since he began learning martial arts that he managed to learn a martial art within one day, could he have turned smarter somehow?
Striking the iron when it was hot, Zhang Xiaohua practiced the movement a few more times and with the added familiarity, his body became lighter and there were times when he looked as if he was flying. Zhang Xiaohua’s mood became happier as he practiced and he ran deeper into the forest. He Tianshu became even more star struck as he watched, could this Piaomiao steps be made especially for Zhang Xiaohua? Without any inner energy, the boy was able to execute the movement to such a level where his steps became light in such a short time. He was aware of Zhang Xiaohua’s martial arts foundation as well, and this was the first time the boy had learned qinggong.
While he was preoccupied with his thoughts, he heard a desperate shout from within the forest, “Ah, I can’t hold back, can’t hold back my legs. Squad leader He, come and save me!”
He Tianshu’s heart shook and with a movement of his legs, he activated the Piaomiao steps and rushed forward, flying into the depths of the forest. The scene in front of him made him burst out in peals of laughter, Zhang Xiaohua was stuck onto a large tree like a dead fish sliding down slowly.
He Tianshu stepped forward lightly and supported Zhang Xiaohua down. After investigating, he learnt that Zhang Xiaohua was lost in his excitement while practicing the Piaomiao steps and waved about the trees while feeling as though his feet was flying above the grass. The longer Zhang Xiaohua executed the movement, the faster he got and to Zhang Xiaohua who had never experienced such a speed before, he began to lose control of his movements and was unable to change his direction when he saw a large tree in front of him. Hence, he cried out for help but unfortunately for him, He Tianshu was preoccupied with his thoughts and not paying attention towards him. Hence, Zhang Xiaohua had no choice but to make the most intimate movement towards the large tree in front of him!
When he heard up to here, He Tianshu secretly thought of how funny the situation was, didn’t he face the same problem when he first learnt qinggong as well? Except that Zhang Xiaohua even slid down the tree.
He Tianshu helped Zhang Xiaohua wiped off the mud on his body before explaining to him the important points to note when executing qinggong as well as some necessary pointers. Since it was regarding his own health, Zhang Xiaohua naturally paid careful attention. After all, without any inner energy, Zhang Xiaohua could actually reached the height of the tall tree during the time span when He Tianshu was spacing out by himself.
For the next few days, Zhang Xiaohua grew more familiar with his “qinggong”. As for He Tianshu, he was extremely grateful to Zhang Xiaohua for being given the opportunity to learn such a powerful qinggong. In the beginning, he was willing to spare much effort to teach Zhang Xiaohua the martial art to repay the latter, but the situation exceeded his expectations. Not only was Zhang Xiaohua able to pick up the Piaomiao steps effortlessly, Zhang Xiaohua was also able to recite the usage of inner energy. It was really confusing for He Tianshu, could this be the survival instinct of a talented person while learning to escape? When he thought back to the difficulties he encountered when learning qinggong, He Tianshu could not help but suspect his own aptitude to be poor.
He Tianshu had a strong desire then to impart some inner energy cultivation method to Zhang Xiaohua to see how the boy’s qinggong would look like with inner energy complementing his movements. Could it reach the stage of thousand li searching for plums?
Naturally, another thing that led He Tianshu to be surprised was when Zhang Xiaohua executed the body movements of the qinggong, the latter’s movements contained some unfathomable principles. These pieces of enlightenment were casually executed by Zhang Xiaohua without any pointers from himself, yet they were able to allow He Tianshu to gain a deeper understanding of the Piaomiao steps. He initially thought that he had completely mastered the first level of the Piaomiao steps, but after seeing the peculiarities Zhang Xiaohua made while executing the movement, he realized that there were many areas he could study further on.
Hence, He Tianshu postponed his plan and did not began to start on the second level of the Piaomiao steps.
On the other side, Zhang Xiaohua progress in the Piaomiao steps was fast, yet his understanding of the worry free heart sutra did not seem to improve at all. Sigh, it was just like fire and ice coinciding!
On that day, Zhang Xiaohua had finished practicing his fist and sword martial art in the forest, and also played for a short while with his qinggong, and was walking slowly back to his room.
Before he reached the circular entrance of the courtyard, he could see two men who looked like guards from afar. Zhang Xiaohua felt strange, the guards would seldom come over to this place, so could something out of the ordinary have happened?
When he reached the circular entrance, he saw that apart from the two guards, there was a person sitting on the stone stool. On a closer inspection, it was the brainy scholar Li Jinfeng.
Li Jinfeng was sitting on the stone stool waiting in boredom and when he heard the footstep sounds approaching, he stood up and smile upon seeing Zhang Xiaohua.
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised and in joy, it was before the New Year when he last met Li Jinfeng and in a blink of an eye, several months passed before he knew it. He ran forwards excitedly and pulled Li Jinfeng’s hands, saying, “Elder brother Li, why did you come? It has been such a long time.”
Li Jinfeng was equally happy when he saw his unofficial enlightenment student, the latter had grown by quite a bit over the few months when they were apart and his eyes had become clearer and more confident without the dazed and curious look in the past. He could not help but stroke Zhang Xiaohua’s head and said, “You don’t know how to find me in the school so I had to sneak out to find you instead.”
Seeing that Zhang Xiaohua was familiar with Li Jinfeng, the two guards walked to the front, inquired for Zhang Xiaohua’s identity and even recorded something on their notebook before leaving.
After the two guards left, Zhang Xiaohua pulled Li Jinfeng excitedly into his room and poured a cup of water for the latter before beginning to chat.
Li Jinfeng asked in a strange tone, “What has happened in your Huanxi mountain villa? Ever since the New Year, I have been to the Lotus escort to find Zhang Xiaohu and heard that he had went out on a job so I guessed that you must be in the mountain villa and came over to find you instead. However, there were many more guards than before and they did not let me in even though I said that I had been here before and was familiar with you. I even told them that I knew squad leader He, and was so anxious that I asked them to bring you out instead to meet me but they refused my request. Don’t you think that it is frustrating?
Zhang Xiaohua could not explain anything so he smiled and said, “It’s nothing much, just that the mountain villa increased its security over the New Year as though they were afraid something might happen.”
Le Jinfeng was still puzzled and he asked, “Even so, they should not refuse to let you meet me, it is truly unreasonable. As the saying goes, a gentleman cannot talk to soldiers, I won’t be able to talk to them even if I had ten mouths.”
Zhang Xiaohua laughed “Ha ha” but he did not reply as he guessed that the scholar Li must have been angry when he was refused entry the previous time.
He heard Li Jinfeng continued to prattle, “Oh right, why did they assign two guards to follow me in? The previous time when I came with your second brother, we only recorded out names and a person followed us in, they even wanted to see you personally this time.”
Towards Li Jinfeng’s queries, Zhang Xiaohua could only respond, “The tighter security is only in consideration of our safety, won’t it be disastrous if a thief managed to inside?”
“Mm, that sounds reasonable. Two days ago, several books in our school went missing.” Li Jinfeng scratched his head and said, “What’s the use of stealing them? Even though we cannot label a learned person stealing them as thievery, such an action is still detestable.”
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised and he asked, “What do you call a learned person stealing books as if not thievery?”
“Theft!” Lin Jinfeng responded as if he was embarrassed by Zhang Xiaohua’s lack of knowledge.
“Pu”, Zhang Xiaohua spat out the water in his mouth and it narrowly missed Li Jinfeng.
He asked in confusion, “This, what is the difference?”
“Being civilized, that is a learned man’s civilized manners and pride.” Li Jinfeng replied in a splendid manner.
Zhang Xiaohua was speechless.
Li Jinfeng took a sip of water, thought for a moment and asked, “Oh right, Zhang Xiaohu, when I went earlier to the escort station, I was told that he had quit his job. The guard even acted mysteriously and did not tell me where he went, so I became curious on why I was not allowed to know his whereabouts. Do you know where Zhang Xiaohu is at now? If not, I’ll ask the teacher in my school to see if there is any better position what is vacant.”
“Ah?” Zhang Xiaohua felt strange, Zhang Xiaohu entering Piaomiao sect was a fortunate matter and something the Lotus escort should be proud of so why did the guard play dumb?
However, from Li Jinfeng’s account, the scholar must have misunderstood the guard’s meaning and assumed that Zhang Xiaohu was chased out from the escort station. Zhang Xiaohua’s heart felt warm when he heard Li Jinfeng offering to find Zhang Xiaohu a position out of concern, he and his second brother were not related to him apart from sharing the same carriage to Pingyang city yet he would often visit the two brothers and even taught him to read and write. Li Jinfeng was truly his enlightenment teacher.
As for Lotus escort’s Shangguan Yun and Yu Lun, they also took the same carriage to Pingyang city yet their attitudes could not be more different. From this comparison, how could Zhang Xiaohua not be moved?
When he thought up to here, Zhang Xiaohua said, “Elder brother Li, there is no need to worry. My second brother is doing very well now, he went to another place to learn martial arts and is very happy now. Oh right, can you guess where he went?”
When Li Jinfeng saw that Zhang Xiaohua was not worried for his second brother, he guessed that he had overthought the situation. He pondered and replied, “How would I know about you martial artists? The previous time I heard from the two of you, wasn’t he going to enter the martial art school in Lotus escort? Why did it switch to a different place? I can’t possible guess, unless he went to the so-called Piaomiao sect.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled wider when he heard this, he said, “Elder brother Li is truly wise, he guessed the answer so quickly.”
“Ah?” Li Jinfeng was slightly startled but he continued, “Congratulations, congratulations-ah, I never expected your second brother to meet such a fortuitous encounter. Isn’t that a very difficult place to enter from what you said? Furthermore, when I asked my fellow classmates in school, they said that the sect only accepts children around five years old, but your second brother looks to be at least thrice that age.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled and explained, “This is due to second brother’s fate, he met a familiar acquaintance and the person thought that my second brother’s aptitude was not bad so he extended a hand and accepted my second brother into the sect.”
“Good aptitude?” Li Jinfeng was shocked, he said, “Zhang Xiaohua, I remembered that your potential was unordinary too, why weren’t you picked as well?”
Zhang Xiaohua pursed his lips and said, “I can only do well in literature, but am a completely different person when it comes to practicing martial arts, so there is no other choice.”
“Haha,” Li Jinfeng actually knew about Zhang Xiaohua’s embarrassingly poor aptitude so he did not pursue the matter any further.
Zhang Xiaohua asked again, “Where did elder brother Li go during the New Year? You can possibly have stayed in Pingyang city, right?”
Upon hearing this, Li Jinfeng laughed mysteriously and said, “Even though I went over to find the two of you immediately after the New Year, my actual holiday was spent in Lu town.”
“You went home, elder brother Li!” Zhang Xiaohua was excited when he heard of the slightest news relating to his hometown, he continued to ask, “How is your family? Did…”
Li Jinfeng knew what Zhang Xiaohua wanted to ask before the latter finished his question, he said, “My family is doing well, your family is doing well too.”
“Really?” Zhang Xiaohua seemed to not believe his ears. It has been over a year since he left Guo village, even though he always seemed to be engrossed in practicing martial arts, how could a preteen like him not miss his hometown?
When he remembered the time he went over to Lotus escort to pass his first pay check to his second brother, he encountered several events later on causing him to leave the money at the back of his head. Right then, he seemed to have an impression of his second brother saying that Li Jinfeng would carry the money along with a message back, but his second brother left on a job before the New Year so Zhang Xiaohua did not know if the agreement was realized or not.
When he thought up to here, Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly took out his money pouch from his breast and said, “Elder brother Li, I have some silvers here. Can you hold on to them first and pass it back to my family the next time you return?”
Hearing this, Li Jinfeng quickly objected and said. “Don’t, Zhang Xiaohua, keep the money first. There is still quite some time before my next trip back, and even I am unsure when that will be. Perhaps you would return before then as well.”
“Oh, it’s like that.” Zhang Xiaohua helplessly kept the money pouch back into his breast and said, “If elder brother Li is going back again, you must definitely inform us beforehand, alright?”
Li Jinfeng replied, “That is for certain, didn’t I look for you two before I returned last year too? However, your second brother left on a job so I did not get to see him. Fortunately due to his meticulousness, he passed some money before then to be brought back and I have already given that money to your parents.”
“Is that so? That’s great. Oh right, elder brother Li, hurry and tell me about my family.” Zhang Xiaohua was slightly impatient to hear about his family.
“About this, from what your parents said, there doesn’t seem to be much difference from when you left home, Hehe.” Li Jinfeng was obviously poor in reiterating what he saw.
Zhang Xiaohua asked persistently, “Then just say anything about them.”
Li Jinfeng pondered and said, “Oh right, your parents looked very young, I always thought that my parents should be around the same age as yours but why do yours look ten years younger?”
“Really? That doesn’t seem likely, I remembered that they looked pretty normal before I left.” Zhang Xiaohua felt strange but he suddenly became enlightened. He continued to ask, “What else is there?”
“What else? Mm, your sister-in-law is also very pretty, your eldest brother is really fortunate to find some a good wife.” Li Jinfeng said in a slightly envious tone.
“My eldest brother, like me, look exceedingly handsome, so it is naturally for him to find such a beautiful wife.” Zhang Xiaohua replied in a narcissistic tone.
“Blowing your horn.” Li Jinfeng replied teasingly, he said, “Honestly, even though you three brothers aren’t ugly, it might be a far stretch to call you guys handsome.”
“Hehe,” Zhang Xiaohua laughed before sharing the story of his eldest brother and his wife.
Li Jinfeng listened raptly and at the end of the story, he slammed his palm and said, “Well deserving, a match made in heaven! However, Zhang Xiaohua-ah, I really cannot tell that you guys would be brave enough to stand up to the Lu town bully, who knows how much trouble he had caused in town. I can only call out my respect for you guys.”
“Stop digressing, elder brother Li, hurry and tell me about my family, how are the fields in our household? I planted my own field in the southern slope as well, oh right, how is my father’s health? My mother’s Also, is my eldest brother expecting any children soon? Oh right, is teacher Liu still staying over at our place, how is he doing now? Also, is the grandmother’s gravesite clean?”
Zhang Xiaohua shot off a string of questions in a single breath, and his eyes turned red when he thought back to his grandmother at the end of his questioning.