unsheathed – Chapter 92 (1): Bamboo Bookcase

Chapter 92 (1): Bamboo Bookcase

Chapter 92 (1): Bamboo Bookcase

A heavy storm was one that was bound to not last very long, and not long after Chen Ping'an and A'Liang made it back to the tree, the storm had already been reduced to nothing more than light rain. Droplets of rain were constantly dripping down from the leaves of the tree, and Li Baoping's little face was etched with concern as Chen Ping'an made his return.

He gave a bright smile, then patted her on the head and told her that he was fine, upon which her features instantly lit up, like an unexpected rainbow after a storm, presenting a breathtaking sight of purity and exuberance.

In that instant, a hint of guilt suddenly welled up in Chen Ping'an's heart, but he didn't know how to express it. He felt like there were many things that he wanted to say, but they were all getting stuck in his throat, so he could only turn to practicing his standing meditation in silence.

A meaningful smile appeared on A'Liang's face upon seeing this, but his good mood was quickly ruined by Li Huai, who declared, "A'Liang, I heard from Chen Ping'an that you went up to the mountains to take a ** so that you don't have to wipe your arse."

A'Liang turned to him with a fake smile and asked, "Did Chen Ping'an really say that?"

Li Huai took a glance at Chen Ping'an, who was standing nearby, and he was most likely afraid that Chen Ping'an would expose him, so he came clean himself, replying, "Chen Ping'an didn't say that, but that was definitely what he was thinking. I obviously didn't think that you were that type of person, and I was even vowing to Big Sister Zhu Lu that you definitely wouldn't do something like that."

"Is that right?" A'Liang chuckled as he grabbed onto Li Huai's ear.

Li Huai winced in pain as he protested, "It's all Chen Ping'an's fault! How could he say such vile things about you? How about I teach him a lesson for you?"

A'Liang twisted Li Huai's ear vigorously as he asked, "Do I look like an idiot to you?"

Li Huai began to howl in pain, but no one paid any heed to him, so he was forced to fend for himself, and he hurriedly yelled, "A'Liang, I have a big sister! Her name is Li Liu. I'll admit it's a pretty bad name, but don't let that fool you, she's really pretty! You have my word on that. The two perverts, Lin Shouyi and Dong Shuijing, both have a crush on my sister.

Dong Shuijing would always come to our house for free meals, and whenever he sees my sister, he would blush like an idiot. It's disgusting! A'Liang, I think you're much better than Dong Shuijing. You're handsome, you have a good temperament, and you can afford to raise a donkey and buy wine. How about I introduce you to my sister?"

A'Liang hurriedly let go of Li Huai's ear, then gently placed his hands on Li Huai's shoulders and smiled as he said, "Let's take a seat. Tell me more about this sister of yours."

Meanwhile, Chen Ping'an made his way over to Zhu He and Zhu Lu, then asked, "Uncle Zhu He, can I speak to you?"

Zhu He smiled and replied, "I've been waiting for quite some time for you to approach me. The rain's already very light at this point, so let's take a stroll together."

The two of them emerged side by side from under the canopy of the massive tree, and before Chen Ping'an even had a chance to ask anything, Zhu He initiated the conversation. "Chen Ping'an, many strange things have happened in the town recently, and given that you were able to escape from that Mountain-moving Ape of Sun Scorch Mountain alive and recruit that girl from the outside as an ally, I'm sure there are many things that you already know, so I won't hide anything from you.

After all, the safety of the young mistress is paramount. Zhu Lu and I were both born in the Li Clan, and we've served the Li Clan for generations in exchange for food and shelter. It sounds like a very miserable existence, but we're not as pitiful as you think.

None of the members of the Li Clan, including the patriarch, the clan leader, and the Young Mistress Baoping, regard us as servants. In particular, Young Mistress Baoping is so close with my daughter that they may as well be sisters related by blood."

As he was speaking, Zhu He turned to look at his daughter, who was still standing under the canopy of the huge tree. At this point, her body was still developing, and she was going to reach full developmental maturity in about another year or so.

He was convinced that his daughter wasn't going to be inferior to any of the young mistresses in the capital city of the Great Li Empire, and he had always been very proud of her. He firmly believed that she was going to be able to shine and flourish in the Great Li Empire.

The Grand Li Empire had always respected women, placing no restrictions on women entering the military. In fact, the former emperor of the Great Li Empire had even ordered the ministry of rites to develop an entire system of military accolades designated solely for female martial artists and cultivators, becoming the first empire to ever adopt such a system.

This decision had been met with stern resistance and criticism from countless scholars, led by Lake View Academy, and as a result, a chaotic battle had ensued, with all of the animosity directed at the Great Li Empire.

If it weren't for the fact that Qi Jingchun had stepped forward to support the decision and oppose all of the dissenters, the young emperor at the time would've most likely been forced to withdraw his imperial edict under the enormous pressure being exerted upon him from all sides.

Zhu He smiled as he continued, "When it was first discovered that I had an aptitude for martial arts, the Li Clan immediately invested heavily into my martial arts development without any hesitation, and that's how I was able to get to where I am today. The same applied to my daughter as well.

If she had lived up to everyone's expectations and hadn't stumbled at the second tier, she would've been sure to reach greater heights than me. After the patriarch discovered that Zhu Lu had a talent for martial arts, he personally told me that there was hope for Zhu Lu to be able to reach the legendary seventh tier. In contrast, I was only just barely able to scrape my way to the fifth tier."

A hint of dejection welled up in Zhu He's heart as he spoke. For martial artists, battles of life and death against evenly matched opposition were a key element of their development. If a martial artist were to rely on their aptitude alone, then they weren't going to get very far.

Furthermore, if one were to miss the prime opportunity for a breakthrough and fail to climb up the ranks in one go, then their courage and vigor would be whittled down further and further, ultimately making it impossible for them to advance beyond a certain point.

Zhu He suppressed the dejection in his heart as he continued, "We were assigned to accompany the young mistress on this journey out of the Great Li Empire as we were situated closest to her. On top of that, we're both decent martial artists, and I wouldn't dare to proclaim that we possess any exceptional powers, but at the very least, we are absolutely loyal to the young mistress.

This is also the first time that the young mistress has made such a long journey, so she needs someone to take care of her in her daily life, and Zhu Lu is a suitable candidate for the role. Young Mistress Baoping is the child that our patriarch cherishes the most in the entire clan, and it was actually supposed to be none other than our patriarch himself accompanying her on this journey. However, after that A'Liang appeared, our patriarch returned to the town.

Now that there are no longer any restrictions in the town, he'll be able to absorb the spiritual energy of heaven and earth without any limitations. Essentially, this is the equivalent of cultivating in a blessed land, and the patriarch's breakthrough is imminent. This is an opportunity that cannot be missed, and he feels content to leave the young mistress in A'Liang's hands.

After taking a moment to consider his words, Zhu He continued, "Our patriarch is quite broad-minded and has a unique outlook on life. He loves our young mistress with all his heart, but when it comes to this journey that she's undertaking, not only is he not insisting on keeping her by his side so that he could constantly protect her, he declared instead that this was a journey that she had to undertake.

On top of that, she has to complete the last part of the journey on her own. This was the type of courage and resilience befitting of a member of the Li Clan."

Zhu He paused here momentarily, then chuckled, "What I haven't mentioned is that after he said this, our patriarch immediately began to moan and groan, lamenting that Young Mistress Baoping wasn't even 10 years of age yet, so surely she could leave the development of traits like courage and resilience for later in her life.

In the end, when our patriarch made the decision not to follow the young mistress in secret any longer, he was turning back with a reluctant expression every few steps like an indecisive child. It was the first time I had ever seen our patriarch like that, and even Zhu Lu was struck by how much our patriarch cared for Young Mistress Baoping. Young Mistress is very good to Zhu Lu as well.

Ever since she was a wee little child, she always liked to chat with Zhu Lu and watch her practice martial arts. It's not an exaggeration to say that Young Mistress Baoping played a major role in how Zhu Lu turned out."

Chen Ping'an heaved a sigh of relief as he replied, "I feel much better with you and Zhu Lu accompanying Baoping on this trip, Uncle Zhu He."

Over in the town, Chen Ping'an trusted no one aside from Mr. Qi.

Just as Chen Ping'an had said to Li Baoping, even when it came to Master Ruan, he only believed in the promises that Master Ruan had made and the rules that Mr. Qi had once followed, but he didn't trust Master Ruan himself.

This was a type of intuition that couldn't be put into words. Perhaps it was something that he had been born with, but it was more so something that he had developed throughout his life, and the same intuitive feeling applied to A'Liang and Zhu He in the past.

Chen Ping'an wasn't someone who never had a care in the world and hadn't endured any adversity, so he wasn't so foolish as to trust everyone that he met. The hardships of life, the dark side of human nature, and the suffering from poverty had all left their mark on him, a vulnerable young boy with no one to rely on.

Zhu He patted Chen Ping'an on the shoulder, and he couldn't help but be surprised by how sturdy Chen Ping'an's bones were, despite his thin and wiry frame. However, he then quickly realized that this was only to be expected. Otherwise, how else would he have been able to directly face that Mountain-moving Ape in battle?

Zhu He saw no shame in admitting that he didn't possess the courage nor the ability to replicate such an astonishing feat, but as soon as this thought occurred to him, he was left feeling rather disappointed in himself. He hadn't even turned 40 yet, and he had already lost his courage and aspirations, to the point that he was conceding his inferiority to a young boy who had only just stumbled onto the path of martial arts.

At the same time, Zhu He was feeling a little curious, and he smiled as he said, "I've never left the town, so I don't know any of the rules of the outside world. However, during my casual conversations with our patriarch, he told me that when encountering certain people in the outside world, there are many things that have to be kept in mind.

For example, it's considered to be taboo to ask a monk for their name and a Daoist for their age. Furthermore, you can ask a martial artist who their master is, but you can't ask them what types of martial arts they specialize in. What I'm really curious about is how you managed to escape from that Mountain-moving Ape. I only heard about the battle from our patriarch after the event."

Chen Ping'an was a little embarrassed to hear this, and he explained, "It was hardly a battle, I was just running for my life the entire time, from Clay Vase Alley all the way into the mountains. If it wasn't for Ning Yao, I would already be dead."

After a brief hesitation, Zhu He said, "Make sure to cherish these bonds with Ning Yao and Master Ruan. In particular, make sure to maintain your connection with Master Ruan and don't allow it to be severed."

Chen Ping'an was rather perplexed to hear this.

Zhu He continued, "We've been confined to Jewel Small World our entire lives, and we haven't seen any of the outside world, so there's a limit to how large the disparity between person and person could be. For example, you and I are both practicing martial arts, and at the very most, our potential will cap out at the fifth tier.

As for status, I'm but a servant of the Li Clan, so I certainly have no right to look down on a free man like yourself. However, things are different in the outside world. The further you go and the longer you stay in the outside world, the more you'll come to understand this."

"I haven't thought that far ahead," Chen Ping'an admitted in a truthful manner.

"Well, it's time to start thinking about things like this," Zhu He chuckled.

Chen Ping'an nodded in response.

He had always been very appreciative of any kindness displayed toward him. As for those who had wronged him, he would remember what they had done if he couldn't retaliate right away.

There was still a long way for him to go, so there was plenty of time for retribution.

Under the canopy of the tree, Li Huai had just sold out his sister, and at this moment, he was standing before A'Liang in a confident manner as he declared, "A'Liang, I'll get Chen Ping'an to make you a wine gourd at some point, and you can give that little gourd of yours to me. If we're going to become a family, then I'm definitely going to treat you well. That gourd is clearly really old, and it's not fitting for my brother-in-law to own something so old and shoddy!"

"You don't know **!" A'Liang scoffed with a mysterious expression. "This gourd is called a sword nurturing gourd, and it's a rare treasure. It may not look like much, but it's extremely precious! How many sisters do you have? There's no way I'd be willing to hand over this gourd for just a single sister of yours!"

It was very rare for A'Liang to stand up to him like this, so Li Huai was feeling a little uncertain about how to proceed. He took a longing glance at the little gourd, then reluctantly shifted his gaze away from it, looking up at A'Liang as he offered, "How about I get my parents to give birth to a few more daughters? We can discuss this further then, right?"

A'Liang slapped a hand to his forehead in exasperation.

At the same time, he suddenly recalled his conversation with Chen Ping'an as they were making their way down the hill together. Chen Ping'an was severely underestimating himself by comparing himself to Zhu He, and A'Liang heaved a forlorn sigh at this depressing thought, then picked up a branch before scribbling something down onto the ground.

Li Huai took a closer look to find that A'Liang was inscribing a wobbly character on the ground, and his handwriting couldn't even compare with a child like him, let alone someone like Lin Shouyi, whose handwriting had received much praise from Mr. Qi.VSit no(v)3lb/!n(.)cm for new ovl

The longer Li Huai looked at A'Liang's handwriting, the more embarrassed he felt on A'Liang's behalf. He took one final glance at the silver gourd strapped to A'Liang's waist with a conflicted look in his eyes, then declared, "A'Liang, in light of your hideous handwriting, I've decided that I no longer want you to be my brother-in-law. My parents are both hoping that my sister will be able to marry a scholar someday."

A'Liang raised his head with a bewildered expression as he asked, "Is it really that bad?"

Li Huai nodded firmly with a glum expression.

If his sister dared to fight over food with him in the future, then he felt like he had a right to denounce her for being ungrateful. After all, he had just given up on a sword nurturing gourd for her sake!

Chapter end

Chapter 31: Beating Around the Mountain
Chapter 32: Peach Leaf
Chapter 33: White Dragon Disguising as a Fish
Chapter 34: Gathered Together
Chapter 35: Licorice Root
Chapter 36: Ancient Book
Chapter 37: Fist Technique
Chapter 38: Ninth Tier
Chapter 39: Cursing the Locust Tree
Chapter 40: Returning the Courtesy
Chapter 42: Prodigy
Chapter 43: The Young Boy and the Old Dog
Chapter 44: Coming to Light
Chapter 45: Sunlight
Chapter 46: Skirt Dagger
Chapter 47: Going Alone
Chapter 48: The Hunter and the Hunted
Chapter 49: Porcelain Shard
Chapter 50 (1): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 50 (2): One Who is Destined for Great Things
Chapter 51: Confrontation
Chapter 52: Shudder
Chapter 53: Gift
Chapter 54: Facing the Enemy
Chapter 55: Feeling Proud in the Spring Breeze
Chapter 56: Nodding Bodhisattva
Chapter 57: Sword Nurturing Gourd
Chapter 58: Teacher
Chapter 59: Sleep
Chapter 60: There's a Ghost
Chapter 61: Helpless Pawn
Chapter 62: Falling Tree
Chapter 63 (1): So That's How It Is
Chapter 63 (2): So That's How It Is
Chapter 64: The Three Chens
Chapter 65: Jewel
Chapter 66: Looking Up
Chapter 67 (1): Long Journey
Chapter 67 (2): Long Journey
Chapter 68: Spring Under the Heavens
Chapter 69: Night
Chapter 70: Daylight
Chapter 71 (1): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 71 (2): I’ll Like You for a While Longer
Chapter 72: Black Cloud
Chapter 73: Wooden Figure
Chapter 74: The Fire Dragon Roams the Water
Chapter 75: Mountain Selection
Chapter 76: Back to Back
Chapter 77: Entering the Mountains
Chapter 78: Another Dream
Chapter 79: Spring Welcome Seal
Chapter 80: Leaving the Mountains
Chapter 81: Imperial Preceptor
Chapter 82 (1): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 82 (2): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio
Chapter 83: Dreams
Chapter 84 (1): I Have a Sword
Chapter 84 (2): I Have a Sword
Chapter 85 (1): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 85 (2): Conclusion of the Examination
Chapter 86 (1): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 86 (2): Walking the Same Path
Chapter 87 (1): Little Teacher
Chapter 87 (2): Little Teacher
Chapter 88: Grand Entrance
Chapter 89: Two Heads
Chapter 90: Heavy Rain
Chapter 91: Jade Hairpin
Chapter 92 (1): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 92 (2): Bamboo Bookcase
Chapter 93 (1): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 93 (2): There's a Character on the Wall
Chapter 94: A Feast for the Eyes
Chapter 95: Too Small a Place
Chapter 96: Demons in the Mountains and Rivers
Chapter 97: Bowing to the Mountain
Chapter 98: The Meddlesome Mountain God
Chapter 99: The Mountain God and the Bamboo Saber
Chapter 100 (1): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 100 (2): The World Beneath One's Feet
Chapter 101: Guard the Mountain
Chapter 102: Soaring White Ray
Chapter 103: Bamboo Building
Chapter 104: Sharing the Spoils
Chapter 105: Rootless Duckweed
Chapter 106: People from All Walks of Life
Chapter 107: Fishing Net
Chapter 108: Spring Hunting
Chapter 109: The Young Boy Has Some Words to Say
Chapter 110: All Good Things Must Come to an End
Chapter 111: Bamboo Hat
Chapter 112: Powerful Individual
Chapter 113: Unparalleled Might
Chapter 114: Seeing A'Liang Again
Chapter 115: There's an Old Scholar In the World (1)
Chapter 116: There's an Old Scholar In the World (2)
Chapter 117 (1): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 117 (2): There's an Old Scholar In the World (3)
Chapter 118 (1): There's Righteousness In The World
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