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unsheathed – Chapter 33: White Dragon Disguising as a Fish

Chapter 33: White Dragon Disguising as a Fish

Chapter 33: White Dragon Disguising as a Fish

Chen Ping'an saw the young girl in green again. This time, she was quietly walking behind a middle-aged man. As she walked, she didn't forget to lower her head to nibble on a scallion pancake.

The man wore an exasperated expression.

He stopped upon seeing Chen Ping'an, and asked, "Were you the person who I shooed away that time?"

Something slammed into the man's back. The young girl in green looked up in a daze after running into the "wall", and upon suddenly seeing Chen Ping'an, she was just about to greet him with a smile. However, she immediately turned her back to him instead, hurriedly using her hands to wipe her mouth.

Chen Ping'an suppressed his smile as he nodded at the man and said, "Hi, Master Ruan."

By the looks of it, this young girl was most likely Master Ruan's daughter.

However, the father and daughter looked completely different. In fact, it was fortunate that this was the case.

The man whom Chen Ping'an had referred to as Master Ruan was none other than the blacksmith who had moved to the south near the creek soon after arriving in the small town. The middle-aged man asked, "Why hasn't Liu Xianyang come to forge iron for the past two days?"

Chen Ping'an was just about to help Liu Xianyang explain the situation, but the man had already started to say coldly, "Go and tell that brat. If I don't see him today, then he won't need to come to my forge again."

Chen Ping'an hurriedly said, "Master Ruan, something urgent came up for him..."

The man cut the young boy off, saying bluntly, "That's his problem. What's it got to do with me?!"

Chen Ping'an wasn't someone who was good with words, so he was immediately stumped, with his face flushing red with worry. However, he didn't know what to say, and he was afraid that he would make the situation even worse. After all, he had personally experienced Master Ruan's blunt nature before.

The young girl in green wanted to say something to help Chen Ping'an, yet she was pre-emptively scolded by her father, who said, "You eat your pancake!"

The upset young girl suddenly quickened her pace and forcefully stepped on her father's heel. As if a gust of wind had appeared underfoot, she then quickly fled into the distance, instantly vanishing without a trace.

The man sighed in sorrow. He ignored Chen Ping'an and continued to walk forward.

Chen Ping'an also heaved a sigh. He then ran to a breakfast stall and purchased six buns before hurrying back to Clay Vase Alley.

When he arrived home, what he saw was Liu Xianyang squatting on top of the wall, with the top half of his body leaning into Song Jixin's courtyard. He was eavesdropping with full concentration.

There were occasionally times when Chen Ping'an felt like Liu Xianyang truly deserved a beating. For example, now.

He had no option but to say, "I came across Master Ruan just now, and he told you to head over to the blacksmith forge today. He also said that if you don't go today, he'll dismiss you from your position."

Liu Xianyang was absent-minded as he replied, "What's the hurry? Where else is he going to find a disciple as skilled and hard-working as me? Master Ruan is merely making some empty threats. It'll be fine even if I go tomorrow."

Chen Ping'an shook his head and responded, "I'm absolutely certain that Master Ruan wasn't joking."

Liu Xianyang was extremely annoyed, and he muttered, "Alright, I'll head over in a little while. I'm doing something important now, so don't disturb me."

Chen Ping'an handed two of the buns to Ning Yao for breakfast. Liu Xianyang directly took three of them, leaving only one for Chen Ping'an to eat.

Liu Xianyang scoffed down the buns in no time at all. As he wiped his mouth, he quietly said, "Song Jixin had a visitor, and it was clear that he was an extraordinarily important person. If I'm not wrong, he's most likely the newly appointed kiln supervision official. That time he visited our dragon kiln in his official garb, Old Man Yao didn't allow you good-for-nothing trainees to come out and pollute his eyes. He didn't give you guys the chance to broaden your horizons. However, I was an exception, and Old Man Yao even told me to demonstrate the jumping burin technique to him."

Chen Ping'an smiled and murmured, "Everyone knows that the new kiln supervision official is quite caring for Song Jixin. What are you acting all suspicious for?"

Liu Xianyang was riddled with anxiety as he exclaimed, "There's no way that a pretty boy like him can defeat me. However, what if Zhi Gui falls for this impressive official? I won't stand much of a chance against him! At that time, your future sister-in-law will run away with someone else! What will I do? And what will you do?"

Chen Ping'an directly left the room.

He left Liu Xianyang to squat there and mope by himself.

Meanwhile, Ning Yao was sitting upright, with one hand gripping the hilt of her saber. It was as if she were facing a powerful enemy.

There were beads of sweat on her forehead.

This was the first time that Chen Ping'an had seen her wear such an expression. However, even though her body was tense and alert, her eyes were gleaming with excitement and anticipation.

When Chen Ping'an returned to the doorway, she asked, "Do you know who that guest was?"

"I heard Liu Xianyang say that he's our new kiln supervision official. He seems like a fairly polite person, and he even shuffled over for me to pass in the alley just then," Chen Ping'an replied.

Ning Yao smiled coldly and commented, "This type of person is the most terrifying."

Chen Ping'an was puzzled by this remark.

"If someone sees an ant on the side of the street, will they trample on it for no reason?" she asked.

Chen Ping'an pondered for a moment before replying, "Gu Can definitely will. He often pours water down ant nests, and he sometimes uses rocks to block the entrances to their nests as well. When Liu Xianyang is in a bad mood, he probably would as well."

The young woman in black was rendered speechless.

Chen Ping'an cracked a grin and said, "However, I know what you're trying to say."

Ning Yao wore an astonished expression. "Really?"

Chen Ping'an nodded in confirmation. "I feel like there are two layers of meanings to your words. The first layer is describing how the residents of this small town are like nothing more than ants in the eyes of outsiders like you. The second layer is describing how there is also a gulf in level among the outsiders. Fu Nanhua and Cai Jinjian can be regarded as children like Gu Can, and it's because of this that they feel like they can control the lives of mere ants and more so take an interest in doing so. Or perhaps they find these ants an eyesore. However, the new kiln supervision official is different. Everything he says and does conform to his status. Thus, he appears extremely polite. Ning Yao, is that right?"

"How did you reach this conclusion?" the young woman asked.

"After taking a trip to death's door and back, it seems like my brain is also slightly more clever than before," the young boy joked.

"What did you see when you were about to die?" Ning Yao asked in a solemn voice.

"I didn't see anything," Chen Ping'an replied. He was slightly puzzled, but he still answered truthfully, continuing, "In fact, I didn't think of anything else when I was in that alley. Perhaps it'll be better for you to ask Fu Nanhua and Cai Jinjian this question. Maybe they were able to see something."

Ning Yao humphed coldly. "Oh, what a brilliant idea!"

Then, she stared intently at the young boy in straw sandals for some reason.

Chen Ping'an was slightly flustered, and he asked, "What's wrong?"

Ning Yao frowned in slight annoyance and muttered to herself in her local tongue, saying, "Regardless of whether it's the sword techniques, mind cultivation, or physique and soul tempering of the sword arts of my family, these are all secrets that can't be revealed to outsiders. Moreover, I haven't mastered them either, so how could I dare to teach others? I haven't learned the cultivation or martial techniques of other places either, or else I could at least point him in the right direction. It'll be fine even if it's something that can improve his physique or increase his lifespan. However, where in the world can I find such an elementary secret technique right now?"

Her eyes suddenly lit up, and she said, "Steal one? No, no, no, not steal. It's just borrowing. I'm going to borrow it and return it, after all."

However, it was a shame that her expression quickly became one of dejection. She gritted her teeth and spat, "That despicable old eunuch! Just you wait! See how I smash up your imperial palace in the future!"

Her face was sullen as she continued, "Perhaps my only option is to ask the blacksmith Master Ruan? I'm fairly good at hacking at others, and I've already mastered around half of my mother's skills. If I have to ask someone for a favor, however... I'm truly not good at this."

Chen Ping'an sat on the doorstep and watched Ning Yao mumbling to herself, her expression changing as frequently as the iridescent colors of the clouds.

The handsome man in the white robe and jade belt was standing inside Song Jixin's room. As he looked around, he furrowed his brows slightly. "That person only organized such a shabby place for you?"

Song Jixin pursed his lips and didn't reply.

His maidservant Zhi Gui had already perceptively returned to her own room.

According to the most popular explanation in the small town, the previous kiln supervision official Master Song hadn't been good at running the dragon kilns. Thus, he hadn't been able to produce any imperial wares that the imperial court was satisfied with. After putting in some hard work and constructing that covered bridge, he had returned to the capital to report for duty. Of course, he had also left Song Jixin, his illegitimate son. However, he had only bought him a single maidservant to take care of the chores. Apart from that, he had also "entrusted" this son to a friend, the person who was going to replace him as the new kiln supervision official. It was rumored that his surname was also Song.

However, regarding the truth of the matter, those who were close to the situation might be mystified, but those who were observing from a distance wouldn't necessarily be able to see things clearly either.

Even Song Jixin was unsure of this person's relationship with the previous official. Were they close associates in the officialdom? Were they intimate friends who had met during their studies? Or were they adversaries from different factions in the capital? When that man had left, he had briefly mentioned that a new kiln supervision official would soon arrive in the small town. Not long after his arrival, he would then bring him and his maidservant out of the small town and to the capital. The previous official had also told Song Jixin that he needed to be extremely respectful toward the new kiln supervision official. He couldn't be impolite in the slightest.

However, Song Jixin didn't have a good impression of this arrogant and overbearing man. This was most likely because he detested those with the position of kiln supervision official.Fdd ew updts on n(o)v/e/lin(.)com

It was merely in order to maintain his dignity that he had appeared so confident before Zhi Gui, and appeared so calm and unhurried when facing their imminent departure from their hometown.

The man smiled and said, "So be it. That pedantic old scholar before me has always been such a careful and cautious person. He doesn't seem like a man at all, and he instead seems like a woman. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been sent here to look after you."

Song Jixin appeared far from amused.

The man curled his lips in contempt as he glanced at the large chest where the young boy kept his trinkets. "Before coming here, I had already visited Old Dragon City's Fu Nanhua. What a poor sod. Even in such a place, his Dao Heart was still almost shattered. Anyhow, you can continue your business with him. As for whether you make a loss or make a gain, that's your own responsibility. I won't involve myself in such trifling and worthless matters. However, before we leave, you have to come with me to the covered bridge and kowtow a few times. After that, there's nothing else for you to do. Come home with me and do what you have to do, sit where you have to sit, and perform what your duty requires you to perform. It's that simple. Do you understand?"

"Of course I understand. Your words aren't obscure at all, Master Song."

However, he sneered and continued, "But why should I listen to you?"

The man chuckled, turning to face the young boy squarely for the first time. "That woman-like person said that you're extremely talented, and he truly wasn't afraid of being too hyperbolic. Anyway, why don't you guess? Guess why you should listen to me?"

If one looked carefully, one would surprisingly discover a hint of similarity between the two people.

Song Jixin became even angrier. However, he restrained himself from lashing out.

The man didn't keep Song Jixin guessing anymore, saying in an amused voice, "Why? It's naturally because I'm an extremely unfortunate person. I'm actually your uncle!"

Song Jixin was deeply stunned, with his face becoming slightly pale.

The man in white ignored Song Jixins changing expression. He placed both his hands on his jade belt and looked out the window, saying with a faint smile, "It's also because I'm the number one martial artist in the Great Li Empire."

If he had revealed this fact in another manner, it would have been even more impressive and stunning. However, the man would rather be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix he felt like it wouldn't be worth bragging about if there were someone placed above him, even if it were only one or two people.

An expression of disdain spread across his face as he thought about the Confucian Sage who was presiding over this place. He humphed coldly.

If they weren't in the place, he could easily kill someone like Qi Jingchun an immortal from the three religions with a single hand.

Inside a thatched cottage of the school, Mr. Qi was currently listening to the young children loudly reciting a passage.

He was sitting in an upright manner.

This was a genuinely upright manner. Even his students like Song Jixin and Zhao Yao would find it difficult to understand the true essence of this position.

There was a fundamental Confucian classic named Grand Etiquette that was the basis of "establishing the religion and founding the sect". In this classic, there was a chapter called the Self-Cultivation Chapter that specifically talked about how a noble and virtuous person should sit like a corpse, because it was such corpses that would be represented by dignified statues which accepted the offerings of others[1]. As such, sitting like a corpse implied sitting in an upright and dignified manner.

At this moment, it was as if Qi Jingchun had vaguely heard the silent thoughts of the man in white. He appeared nonchalant as he smiled faintly and said, "A martial artist ruling over a nation... Impressive, how very impressive. However, a white dragon disguising itself as a fish isn't a good omen[2]."

1. This is referring to people making offerings to their ancestors.

2. A person of a high status disguising themself as a person of a lower status. In the original story, a dragon disguising itself as a fish was stabbed in the eye by a fisherman.

Chapter end

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Catalogue
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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