Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Difficulties on both ends
Zhang Xiaohua became silent when he heard this.
His intention to let his second brother enter Piaomiao sect was well-meant, he only wanted his second brother to not risk his life anymore while enjoying the opportunity to learn more profound martial arts, whereas the other party Wen Wenhai only had kind intentions when he accepted his second brother as a disciple. In short, all of it was an unplanned coincidence.
However, to an onlooker, all this underserved good fortune seemed excessive and their jealousy could only spur them to ostracize this country buffoon from the backwater village.
At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua deeply felt that the human’s heart was the most complex thing in the world, and even the Piaomiao sect which he used to think of as a saintly ground could not escape from this rule. Thus, he could not help but wonder if his choice to push the opportunity to his second brother was a good one or not.
In the beginning, Zhang Xiaohua was still bubbly and excited, but at that moment, his mood began to darken.
Fortune and disaster are two sides of the same coin, the ancient sayings could not be less correct!
The meticulous Li Jinfeng had already sensed Zhang Xiaohua’s discomfort, he smiled and patted on his shoulders, saying, “Xiaohua, don’t mind this too much. These people are unaware of the actual happenings so gossip is inevitable to arise. Using wind to chase a shadow is something that is not uncommon in this world, you have to learn to remain calm. This is a perfect opportunity to test yourself and train your heart. As you experience more in life, you will naturally understand why. A life event can teach you more than a thousand books, how can one mature if he is only nourished by the books?”
Zhang Xiaohua forced a smile and said, “I understand, elder brother Li, I am only feeling slightly uneasy. A small thing which I did for my second brother could cause so much misunderstanding, and they were only speaking about it in front of squad leader He, so who knows what they would say among themselves?”
Li Jinfeng smiled but he did not try to persuade Zhang Xiaohua further. One could only count on his own, and other words would only be empty wind. Zhang Xiaohua is only a youth so having such thoughts could be considered pretty good. It would be weird instead if he was able to see through people’s heart and remain unaffected after hearing all these.
When He Tianshu heard this, he chuckled softly and said, “Zhang Xiaohua, you are overthinking too much. They are only thinking of sour grapes, and saying nonsense for without meaning it. You don’t have to worry too much.”
The bystander sees the clearer picture, Zhang Xiaohua knew about this logic but his heart still felt uneasy.
Behind the gate was a large field that led to an entrance that was lined by painted columns, but the entrance door was shut tight. He Tianshu explained as he led the two people to the side door, “This main entrance is usually for the sect master or distinguished guests to use, we would usually go through this side door on normal occasions.”
Li Jinfeng nodded and said, “Such rules have already been recorded in books but I always thought that they were stereotypes of the past. Such customs are already rare in this era, so it is commendable that your sect could maintain such antiquity.”
He Tianshu smiled softly and said, “Brother Li belongs to the literature circle so you are naturally unfamiliar with our customs. Such things are still rather commonplace among Jianghu circles, you will naturally learn more as you experience it.”
Li Jinfeng cupped his fists and replied, “I am humbled.”
The two continued to converse while Zhang Xiaohua remained listless. Finally, the three reached a lush surrounding.
He Tianshu halted in his footsteps and said, “This is where the sect master and his personal disciples reside. Zhang Xiaohu should be staying here but we will need to ask to confirm this.”
As he was speaking, a youth walked out through an ornate door with a disdainful expression on a face that was as full as the moon.
He Tianshu hurriedly stepped forward, cupped his hands and said, “This humble one is pharmacy hall’s He Tianshu, I would like to visit senior brother Wen Wenhai’s recently accepted disciple Zhang Xiaohu. Can this brother tell me if I am at the right place?”
The person maintained his proud demeanor as he walked closer, and his brows wrinkled like he saw a fly upon hearing He Tianshu’s words. He returned a greeting reluctantly and said in an impatient tone, “Walk forward fifty steps, it is the one with a small tree beside the door.”
Then after, he shrugged his sleeves and walked away without waiting for He Tianshu to express his gratitude, and even mutter under his breath as he walked, “Another bunch of good-for-nothings, can’t they practice their martial arts more honestly instead of always trying to go through the back door? I think I will have to find the in-charge and set up a sign post here, or I will end up as giving directions all the time.”
He Tianshu was also bewildered by the person’s cold treatment, he did not break any rules or was impolite while asking so why did he deserve such a response?
The three men continued to walk forward until they saw a small entrance to a courtyard where a small tree was beside.
Zhang Xiaohua hurried his steps and walked to the front to knock on the door.
A moment later, Zhang Xiaohu’s voice sounded from inside, “Zhang Xiaohu is not in, he went to the training field to practice martial arts.”
Zhang Xiaohua was surprised, he rubbed his ears and shouted in surprise, “Second brother, it’s me, Zhang Xiaohua. I can obviously hear your voice so why do you say you are not in?”
Sounds of laughter immediately sounded from the room, “Haha, Xiaohua-ah. Wait a moment.”
The door “Ka” opened and Zhang Xiaohu’s head peeked out from inside. Upon seeing the three visitors, he felt relieved and hurriedly invited them into the room before looking at the surroundings cautiously again. Only after ensuring that no one was in the vicinity did he then closed the door.
The three men looked at Zhang Xiaohu in a puzzled manner as they stood beside him. Zhang Xiaohua asked, “Second brother, what are you doing? Do you owe someone money?”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled bitterly as he walked into the room and said, “Sit first, I’ll explain in a short while.”
The courtyard was small but exquisite, and there was a small space at a corner where weapons and stone weights were placed. The courtyard was designed similar to Huanxi mountain villa, there was a stone table and even stone stools. Since the weather was warm, the four men sat outside in the courtyard, and Zhang Xiaohu helped pour some tea for the rest before they began to talk.
Zhang Xiaohua asked impatiently, “Second brother, what is the matter? Did you owe someone money?”
Zhang Xiaohu glared back and asked, “When is your second brother the kind who does that?”
Zhang Xiaohua stuttered, “But your sneaky behavior just now looked just like our villages’ Jiazi’s father when he owes people money.”
Zhang Xiaohu laughed bitterly, “I was also forced to behave like this as well.”
He Tianshu asked, “Zhang Xiaohu, since you’ve become senior brother Wen’s disciple, you are also our sect master’s grand disciple, who can force you to do anything you don’t like?”
Zhang Xiaohu replied helplessly, “I am in this situation precisely because of that.”
Seeing everyone’s confused expression, Zhang Xiaohu took a sip of water and continued to explain, “A ceremony was conducted on that day after I was accepted as a disciple, and I was arranged to live in this courtyard.”
He Tianshu interrupted, “Hehe, there’s such a huge disparity after all. I was put into a small room with other people when I first entered the sect. Even when I grew older, I still stayed with another roommate while you got your own courtyard immediately after entering the sect. The difference is like between heaven and earth, no wonder everyone wants to be a personal disciple too.”
Zhang Xiaohu replied, “Senior uncle He, please don’t tease me like that. I rather stay in a shared room as well. There were already a few people who came to visit me not long after I moved in, and I was also ignorant in the beginning so I hosted them warmly. They did not discuss anything important so I had no choice but to accompany them aimlessly, and not long after they sat down, another group of people came over. As a result, my courtyard had a never-ending stream of visitors. It was only then did I realize that they came over to pull strings to obtain some benefits. Don’t you think that they are barking up the wrong tree? The reason why I could enter the sect was due to Xiaohua’s good fortune but I couldn’t tell them so, causing them to think that I have secret backing. Many people raised terms of cooperation that I had no choice but to reject, but the more I rejected them, the more they pestered me.”
He Tianshu pursed his lips when he heard this. His lifestyle was only a small representation of Piaomiao sect, as he only thought that practicing his martial arts seriously was all there was. Even though he had some accomplishments in his martial arts now, he found himself dispatched to Huanxi mountain villa. Now that he heard of such occurrence within the sect, he could not help but re-examine himself again.
Zhang Xiaohu continued, “Hence, when I saw that the stream of visitors did not lessen on the second day, I pretended that I was training over at my master’s place and thus hid myself, and only after the visitors left did I sneak back into my room. I have been shutting my door tight for these few days without seeing anyone. Whenever the door was knocked, I would pretend that I was disciple on cleaning duty. At least, they are unfamiliar with me so they could not recognize my voice, hehe.”
Only after hearing this did Zhang Xiaohua calmed down, he said, “So it was like this. It seems that I made the right choice not to become a Piaomiao sect disciple. I would be frustrated to death if I had to face this every day.”
He Tianshu pursed his lips again, he sneered, “Even if you entered the sect, your master would be me and if anyone tried to look for you, I would let you become my master instead.”
Zhang Xiaohua “Hehe” laughed and said, “It can’t be that bad, you can be considered to have some standing in the sect right?”
He Tianshu sighed alone and said, “The human heart is unfathomable, how would you know what the others think?”
He Tianshu’s expression turned downcast.
Li Jinfeng comforted, “Squad leader He is exaggerating. There will be complex relationships wherever there is people. If not, wouldn’t the red dust world become spotlessly clean?”
Zhang Xiaohu also smiled and said, “Gentleman Li is right. Look at me now, senior uncle He, aren’t I in a difficult position of wanting to hide but being unable to as well?”
Zhang Xiaohua wrinkled his brow and said, “Second brother, I always believed in my heart that Piaomiao sect is an upright and honorable place where all its disciples are like squad leader He and hero Wen. However, hearing what you said, there are also many people with poor morals here, it is truly out of my expectation.”
Li Jinfeng could understand Zhang Xiaohua’s thoughts very well, he patted the latter’s shoulder, smiled and said, “Xiaohua’s feelings are not unlike mine when I first entered my school. When I saw a teacher in my school take part in an underhand deal or idle his time away, I realize that even teachers are ordinary people, and black sheep will always appear among people. Hence, such black handed methods are unavoidable.”
Zhang Xiaohua copied He Tianshu’s actions and sighed a long breath, he said, “I finally understand what it means to not be polluted by the environment. If there is not fertilizer in the water, how could the lotus bloom so healthily out of the water?”
Afterwards, Zhang Xiaohua seemed to recall something and asked, “Oh right, second brother, we also heard the guards talked about you when we were at the gate.”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled bitterly again when he heard this, he said, “I know, I would also hear people around me talking about it when I leave my courtyard occasionally. These people don’t recognize me and naturally did not withhold their opinions. The position of the sect master’s personal grand disciple is not simple indeed. Not only are there many people who covet the position, there are also many who look down on me and thought that achieved this position by standing in someone else’s light.”
After hearing these words, Zhang Xiaohua said apologetically, “Second brother, this is all my fault. I didn’t discuss it with you before, and you end up in a difficult position now because of me.”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled cheerfully as he looked at Zhang Xiaohua, he said, “It’s alright, Xiaohua, I know that you meant well. Wasn’t I happy to the point of foolishness when you gave such a good opportunity up for me as well? Second brother has yet to thank you, how could I blame you instead? The people who are looking at the sky might not know how to appreciate the stars, and perhaps there are people whose nose are bleeding right now, but it is still best to be realistic. Furthermore, as the saying goes, one should walk his way without caring about what others say. Why should I bother about others’ opinion when I am walking on my own martial art path? All these stray talk will naturally disappear after I worked hard and achieved some result.”
He Tianshu applauded, “Well said, Zhang Xiaohu. No wonder junior brother Wen chose you, this senior uncle will use this tea as replacement for wine to toast to you.”
Hence, the four men raised their teacups and gulped down their tea.
After putting down his teacup, Zhang Xiaohu said mysteriously to Zhang Xiaohua, “Xiaohua, stay here for a moment, second brother has something good for you.”
After finishing his sentence, he walked into the room and not long after, he came out with a small manual and said to Zhang Xiaohua, “Xiaohua, this is an inner energy cultivation method which I requested from my master to give you.”
Zhang Xiaohua was shocked greatly, he immediately stood up from his stone stool and waved his hands frantically, “Second brother, you can’t do that. Don’t I already have the ‘Worry free heart sutra’, I can’t take more of your Piaomiao sect stuff or you would get into trouble.”
Zhang Xiaohu smiled and said, “My master has already explained to me about your ‘Worry free heart sutra’. You sure are amazing, Xiaohua, how could you pick that manual out of so many books in the library? It is because of this that I asked my master for his help. Actually, it is not as problematic as you think, this ‘Strong bull sutra’ is an ordinary inner energy cultivation from outside Piaomiao sect so even if it is quite valuable outside, it is not worth a penny inside Piaomiao sect. Just rest your worries and take it, I have gotten my master’s approval before taking it out of the library.”
Zhang Xiaohua turned his gaze towards the thin manual and asked again, “Second brother, is it really fine if I take this ‘Strong bull sutra’?”
Zhang Xiaohu extended his hand and threw the book onto Zhang Xiaohua’s lap, he scolded smilingly, “I’ve already said that its fine. Look at you, you obviously want it yet you behave as though you will burn your fingers.”
Zhang Xiaohua picked up the manual, giggled and said, “I was afraid that you would commit a mistake. I heard that your Piaomiao sect has stringent rules and all inner energy cultivation methods are not allowed to be shared outside.”
He Tianshu felt a wave of jealousy and said, “Direct disciples are indeed different. I would have to approach the elders even if I wanted to look at these martial arts yet you can give it away so casually, it is really not fair.”
Zhang Xiaohu replied, “Senior uncle is joking, would you even look at it if given the opportunity.”
He Tianshu did not say anything in reply, he simply laughed.
Zhang Xiaohu then turned towards Zhang Xiaohua and said in a concerned voice, “Xiaohua, I heard from my master that this ‘Strong bull sutra’ is very easy and anyone with a little bit of talent will be able to learn it. Furthermore, it is simple and seldom will people go astray. I remembered that you could memorize any fist martial art manual when you were reading before so this should not be too difficult for you.”
“Not forget any fist martial art manual after reading” He Tianshu was confused when he heard this, were they talking about the same Zhang Xiaohua?
Zhang Xiaohu continued, “This inner energy cultivation method was picked especially for you, but you should still be careful since you have not practiced any inner energy cultivation method before. Ask senior uncle He when you find yourself in a loss.”
Turning towards He Tianshu, he said, “I would need to burden senior uncle He to look after my younger brother in the future.”
He Tianshu smiled and said, “There are so many people in the sect looking to pull strings with you, why look for me?”
He then continued, “I have heard of this ‘Strong bull sutra’ before, it is very easy to learn and I don’t seem to know anyone who have gone astray with it. However, Zhang Xiaohua, even if you can ask me whatever, I might not be able to answer since I did not learn this ‘Strong bull sutra’ myself.”
Zhang Xiaohu became extremely happy when he heard He Tianshu agreed, he thanked the latter profusely.
He Tianshu then asked curiously, “Zhang Xiaohu, may I know what inner energy cultivation method you have planned to learn?”
Zhang Xiaohu replied embarrassedly, “Senior uncle He, as you know, I have learnt an inner energy cultivation method in Lotus escort. However, my master said that it was too shallow and not beneficial in the future so he told me to stop practicing in it. Fortunately, I have not learnt the cultivation method for long so there would be no side effects, but my master has not decided on what to teach me yet.”
He Tianshu became jealous again as he thought to himself, “Your master could give away other sect’s inner energy cultivation methods so freely, can what you learn be anything inferior? Perhaps it is the ‘Piaomiao martial art’.”
However, he did not dare to say these out so he smiled and said, “Then it is such a pity as you might not be able to participate in this year’s martial art display competition.”
“Martial art display competition?” Zhang Xiaohua who was still in deep thought about the inner energy cultivation method he just received broke out of his thoughts and asked in interest.
Zhang Xiaohu smiled and said, “Senior uncle He must be teasing, this junior just entered the sect recently and have not learnt any fist or footwork martial art, so how can I participate in this competition? Won’t I be throwing my master’s face away if I did?”
Zhang Xiaohua who initially planned to study the ‘Strong bull sutra’ immediately became excited and threw away all his earlier thoughts. He flung the manual onto the stone table and asked curiously, “Explain quickly, what is this martial art display competition thing?”