Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua’s hurt expression, Li Jinfeng immediately waved his hands like a child who had committed a mistake, he said, “About this, Xiaohua, really, how do I say it? I don’t know where the graveyard is so I didn’t go over to pay my respects.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled forcefully and said, “It’s alright, elder brother Li. I got carried away when I suddenly heard about my family matters.”
He added softly, “My grandmother had departed for more than a year as well, but it still feels like yesterday when I think about it. Elder brother Li is a visitor from afar so my mother would naturally not mention about this. It would be weird instead if she asked you to go over to pay your respects to her.”
Li Jinfeng scratched his head and said, “That’s right, your family did not have any funeral decorations at home so the conversation did not head in that direction. If you remind me before the next New Year, perhaps I will check it out for you then.”
Afterwards, he continued, “Your eldest brother seemed to know what you are thinking of, he said that you don’t need to worry about that plot of land in the hills. He took good care of it in your stead and the land seemed to be very fertile as it yielded a better harvest than the other fields.”
Zhang Xiaohua happiness became evident when he heard this, he said, “Of course, that field was personally reclaimed by me, its good harvest is naturally in part due to my contribution.”
“Oh right, there’s this too. Your family’s harvest last year was very good and sufficient to cover the entire year’s family consumption, your father also sold quite a bit at Lu town and made quite some money.”
“Hehe” Zhang Xiaohua was naturally happy when he heard of the fortune in his family.
Li Jinfeng pondered and continued, “As for your eldest brother’s children, I didn’t see any, and your sister-in-law did not seem to be expecting when I went over.”
“The two of them have been married for over a year, why haven’t they worked harder?” Zhang Xiaohua could not helped but feel disappointed when he thought that he was unable to hold his nephew in his arms sooner.
Li Jinfeng chuckled when he heard this, his fist landed lightly on Zhang Xiaohua’s head as he said, “Why are you being anxious, your brother and his wife seemed to have a good relationship with each other so it shouldn’t be long before we hear joyous news from them.”
Zhang Xiaohua stroked his head and protested, “Aren’t I just being more concerned for the next generation? Martial arts has to be taught from young, I can’t let my nephew lose at the starting line and have to plan in advance for him.”
“Don’t brother, just concentrate on learning your own martial arts well instead.” Li Jinfeng said, “When is it your turn to be in charge of educating the younger generation? Furthermore, there is a teacher Liu in your household who is well learned and knowledgeable. Being under his tutelage will definitely be a better choice than following this half idiot in martial arts. Oh right, teacher Liu is truly noteworthy, as the saying goes, there are always hidden experts in the wilderness. I realized how humble my own knowledge was when I went over to your household and got the opportunity to chat with him, teacher Liu’s level of knowledge is not far off from the teacher in my school, I deeply admire him from the bottom of my heart.”
“Is that so? Well it took you long enough.” Zhang Xiaohua said proudly, “My sister-in-law’s father must naturally be an awesome person. Furthermore, my sister-in-law is also knowledgeable herself. Even though I did not get to interact with her for a long period of time, my sister-in-law could still give me much advice on many things. Her words have been rooted into the deep recess of my mind, and now that I have become more well-read, I realized that all her teachings were true.”
Li Jinfeng appeared enlightened as he said, “A tiger father and cub daughter, what a good match. It is a pity that I did not get to talk to your sister-in-law much and could not enjoy her wise company. Oh right, does your sister-in-law have any younger sisters or the like?”
Zhang Xiaohua rolled his eyes and said, “She has no biological younger sister, but there is a younger female cousin.”
“Really?” Li Jinfeng’s eyes brightened as he asked, “What is her name? Is she married yet?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “Her name is Liu Yueyue and she lives in Bali Gou. As for whether or not she is married, how would I know about that? It would be better if you ask for yourself the next time you visit. However, I would have to give you a piece of advice first.”
Li Jinfeng asked, “What are you trying to say?”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled eerily as he said, “Elder sister Yueyue is not as pretty as elder sister Qiu Tong, and teacher Liu’s younger brother is a butcher who has a hostile temperament.”
Li Jinfeng felt exposed as he replied in a righteous tone, “Xiaohua-ah, you have misjudged me. I am only showing concern for you and wanted to know more about your living situation out of kindness. How does this lady Yueyue’s appearance affect me? But since we are on this topic, she cannot be too worse off with such a pretty cousin right?”
Zhang Xiaohua was amused by Li Jinfeng’s reaction, he continued, “Elder brother Li, don’t dwell too much about this. Tell me more about my family.”
Li Jinfeng said, “That’s right, I’ve passed all the money your second brother gave me to your parents. They have received the money and were moved to tears. They could only respond with the same phrase, our children have grown, over and over again. I knew that part of the money was contributed by you and so I told them about that, but then I became unsure if I should because they cried even harder upon hearing it.”
Zhang Xiaohua became silent for a moment.
“Seeing how much they missed you, I recounted about how you learnt martial arts and studied literature to them before they composed themselves. Oh right, I did not say a word about your injury, because I thought that if I did, they might rush to Pingyang city immediately through the night to pull you back. Haha, how is your hand by the way? Don’t you let the cat out of the bag when you return.”
Zhang Xiaohua raised his right hand, made some vigorous actions and said, “There is not much problem anymore, it should fully recover after another period of time. I believe my parents won’t be able to figure it out.”
Li Jinfeng nodded his head and said, “Teacher Liu was also overjoyed when he heard that you learnt literature. He even asked why you did not write some letters back since you have learnt to write. I could only say that I left in a hurry and had no chance to see you.”
When he spoke up to here, Li Jinfeng pulled out a letter from his breast and smiled widely as he passed it to Zhang Xiaohua, he said, “This is from your sister-in-law.”
Zhang Xiaohua extended his hand and snatched it away, he scolded, “Elder brother Li, why did it take you so long to take it out?”
Li Jinfeng laughed softly, “Good things have to be enjoyed in the right moment.”
Zhang Xiaohua unsealed the letter impatiently and saw many beautiful handwriting that covered the piece of paper completely. He began to read it but it seemed to be written from his parents’ perspective, so he guessed that it must be a letter from the whole family.
The letter included several events in the family, but was filled more so with naggings and concerned expressions from his father and mother. Zhang Xiaohua felt his heart warmed as he read the letter, as the saying goes, a letter from the family is heavier than thousand golds.
Zhang Xiaohua carefully read the letter to its end and kept it back into his breast, and just as he was about to speak up, Li Jinfeng interrupted in a grave tone, “One more thing, your parents wanted me to send a sentence to you and your second brother.”
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, he asked, “What is it? Why can’t it be written on the letter?”
Li Jinfeng nodded his head and said, “Your parents wanted me to tell you two personally that if you are unaccustomed to the city, their doors will always be open for the two of you to return at any time!”
After hearing such simple words, Zhang Xiaohua’s vision blurred as he nodded his head vigorously and replied, “Alright, I understand. Thank you, elder brother Li.”
As Zhang Xiaohua gradually regained his composure, he said happily, “Come, elder brother Li, let’s go find my second brother. I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear news from our family.”
However, Zhang Xiaohua stopped as soon as he ran out of the room.
The first time he went inside Piaomiao sect was behind the lead of Ou Yan through Huanxi mountain villa’s inner courtyard, but even if he used his foot to think, he could guess that the route was reserved especially for Ou Yan and he was not privy to it.
Would the guards allow him to pass if he and Li Jinfeng walked through the front gate of Piaomiao sect?
This was indeed quite a serious problem.
Suddenly, Zhang Xiaohua scratched his head and smiled. There was a Piaomiao sect disciple right beside him, he only had to open his mouth to find the answer.
Zhang Xiaohua switched directions and headed towards He Tianshu’s room. The door was not fully shut and He Tianshu seemed to be deep in thought within his room.
Zhang Xiaohua walked to the front of the door and knocked gently but He Tianshu still did not notice him. Hence, Zhang Xiaohua was helpless and walked straight into the room.
The other party only became aware when Zhang Xiaohua walked to his front. Zhang Xiaohua wrinkled his brows and asked, “Squad leader He, is this the awareness of a martial arts expert? Didn’t you say that once your martial arts reach a certain stage, your senses would spread as far as eight roads? Did you only notice me when I walked to your front?”
He Tianshu still appeared unlike his usual self as he replied, “Even though there is such a thing, I am still far from reaching that stage. Furthermore, as you can see, this footstep movement is truly complex and I have put in much effort to no avail.”
After finishing his sentence, He Tianshu was about to pass the Piaomiao steps manual back to Zhang Xiaohua when the latter waved his hands and said, “Squad leader He, this high level analysis should be reserved for you to do, you can teach me any time after you understand it.”
He Tianshu asked in an irritated tone as he kept back the manual, “So why did you come over here then?”
Zhang Xiaohua then explained his intention to visit his second brother in Piaomiao sect. He Tianshu smiled upon hearing the situation, he said, “This is a simple matter. Do not ponder any further on the inner route, it seemed that even hall master Qin has not taken the route before. I would usually go over through the front door, but I have a plaque for identification. As for you, you can take another type of plaque from the Huanxi mountain villa guard house and show it to the guards at Piaomiao sect, and that should suffice to let you enter.”
“But I am not alone, there is also elder brother Li who is following me.”
“The Huanxi mountain villa plaque only allows one person to enter, you cannot bring anyone with you.”
“What should I do in that case?” Zhang Xiaohua became perplexed, Li Jinfeng had specially made the effort to travel all the way to his hometown to bring news of the two brothers back, and it would only be appropriate if he handed the letter over to Zhang Xiaohu personally. Could such a simple request not even be possible?
He Tianshu asked, “Li Jinfeng? He is the scholar who came with your second brother to see you right?”
“That’s right.” Zhang Xiaohua replied honestly.
“Alright, I was planning to take a rest anyway. Why don’t I bring the two of you over, my plaque allows me to bring one person inside.” After finishing his sentence, He Tianshu stretched his back and stood up.
Zhang Xiaohua was overjoyed when he heard this, He Tianshu left his room and exchanged greetings with Li Jinfeng before leading the two towards Piaomiao mountain villa.
After the three men left Huanxi mountain villa, it did not take long for them to reach the wide highway which led to Piaomiao mountain villa. Looking back at the same road, Zhang Xiaohua felt as though he was a different person from the previous time he came but he still stepped resolutely on the road.
Under the main gate of Piaomiao mountain villa was the same familiar sight, several uniformed youths were standing in their positions and there were no one else on the road. The head guard saw them from afar but they were not as guarded as the time Zhang Xiaohua and Zhang Xiaohu went by themselves. After all, He Tianshu was with them and he was not a stranger to the guards at all.
As they neared the gate, a guard stepped forward and obstructed them. He smiled and asked, “Squad leader He, are you returning to the sect again?”
He Tianshu cupped his fists and replied, “Brother, I have brought a friend this time to visit a brother in the sect.”
The other party nodded and said, “That is fine, would squad leader He please take out his plaque and make a record. May I know who is this friend is looking for? I might be able to lend a hand.”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “This friend is a scholar from Pingyang city, he would like to visit Zhang Xiaohu. As for which hall Zhang Xiaohu belongs to, I am rather unsure myself.”
“Zhang Xiaohu? Why does this name sound so familiar? However, squad leader He has disappointed me, how could you not know which hall he is from? Could he be a child who just entered the sect?”
He Tianshu explained, “Brother is absolutely right, this Zhang Xiaohu had joined the sect recently which is why I am unaware of which hall he joined.”
“Ah? There is someone like that? I am insufficiently up to date with the times.” The guard reddened slightly.
At that moment, a young guard at a side could not bear any longer and walked discreetly towards the first guard. He said, “Squad leader He, this brother of yours sure is awesome, you should learn more from him. Honestly, you look pitiful slugging out in the pharmacy hall, and was even dispatched to Huanxi mountain villa. Look at yourself, you have not pulled a connection with the mountain villa and the opportunity was seized by someone else instead.”
He Tianshu froze on the spot when heard this, he replied skeptically, “Brother, what do you mean? We are already close acquaintances so can’t you explain more clearly?”
The other party only burst into laughter, he said, “Squad leader He, my words are already pretty clear, how much clearer you want me to be? Won’t it not be fun anymore if I make it any clearer?”
He Tianshu did not back down, he pulled the person to a side and said, “Brother, didn’t you advise me to learn? How am I supposed to do that you don’t explain better?”
Seeing that he could not struggle free, the young guard whispered into He Tianshu’s ear, “Squad leader He, you have been staying in Huanxi mountain villa for so long so you might be unaware of the recent matters. I have only come back recently as well, and I overheard a few casual words from our brothers the moment I returned. They said that there was a fellow with dog-shit luck who borrowed sect master Ou’s influence and entered the sect without any examination. Not only did he enter the sect, he also became a disciple of senior brother Wen Wenhai. Think about it, squad leader He, this senior brother Wen Wenhai is our sect master’s personal disciple and he has yet to accept any disciple before, how many of us are eyeing for this position. However, this Zhang Xiaohu you mentioned is already quite old and his martial arts are sloppy, yet he pulled some strings to snatch this position away from us, how could we feel content about this?”
“Ah!?” He Tianshu gasped, he turned his head back and saw Zhang Xiaohua’s fuming expression. He quickly said, “Brother, how could such gossip arise? I am also aware of Zhang Xiaohu’s circumstances when he entered the sect, and it is not the same as what you described.”
“Ah? Really?” The young guard was also surprised, he said, “You know what actually happened? So what really occurred? How could such a thing happen? However, there is no use even if you know the truth, this gossip has already spread to the entire sect in many different varieties, even I don’t know which version to believe anymore. Perhaps your version is false as well?”
“What I know is definitely true, I was present during the event.” He Tianshu replied seriously.
“Bullshit, brother, anyone could call your lie straightaway.” The young guard was not convinced and he waved his hands, “That Zhang Xiaohu’s conference ceremony was conducted inside the discussion hall, what right do you have to enter the hall?”
He Tianshu was speechless, the guard’s words were logical. How could he enter the discussion hall if he was not enjoying the shine of being Zhang Xiaohua’s master? However, it was better not to explain anything in such a situation.
He Tianshu could only pat the other party’s shoulder, he said, “Brother as the saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover. Some things are not what they seem and I have no way to explain it to you right now. Since you shared a piece of advice earlier out of concern, I shall return it with another piece of advice. Since these matters would implicate our sect master, they should not be discussed to openly.”
The guard nodded thoughtfully while He Tianshu brought Zhang Xiaohua and Li Jinfeng to record their names before entering through the gate and into the mountain villa’s entrance.
After they passed the gate, Zhang Xiaohua could not hold in his emotions any longer and he said to He Tianshu, “Squad leader He, how could these people say such words blindly? My second brother entered the sect openly and was approved personally by the sect master, how could they criticize him without learning the facts?”
He Tianshu smiled bitterly, “Zhang Xiaohua-ah, such things will always happen as long as there are people. Think about it, the sect master’s grand disciple seat is hotly contested by all the Piaomiao sect disciples, Zhang Xiaohu is also not a talent nurtured within the sect. If someone does not know the actual facts, they would naturally be angered, and I am sure that the sect master would look down on your second brother if he was the type of person to let such gossip get to him.”