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unsheathed – Chapter 62: Falling Tree

Chapter 62: Falling Tree

Chapter 62: Falling Tree

Ning Yao slowly woke up from her sweet and comfortable nap. After opening her eyes, she was slightly baffled to find that she was sitting on a chair. After faltering for a brief moment, she stood up and walked over to open the door, only to find an old man and a young boy sitting outside. The two of them were both silent, being the untalkative people that they were.

After hearing Ning Yao's footsteps, Chen Ping'an turned around and said with a smile, "Oh, you're awake. You were sleeping quite soundly before, so I decided not to wake you up."

Ning Yao nodded in reply, not paying too much attention to this. She turned to the old man and said, "Senior Yang?"

"What, you're afraid that Chen Ping'an took advantage of you while you were sleeping?" the old man huffed. "Don't worry, I helped you keep an eye on him the entire time. He dared to dream, but he didn't dare to act."

"Ning Yao, don't listen to Grandpa Yang's nonsense! I guarantee that I didn't dream about it either!" Chen Ping'an hurriedly explained.

Ning Yao took a deep breath and told herself that mighty people should be tolerant and magnanimous.

Old Man Yang shot a sideways glance at the young boy and chuckled at his misfortune, saying, "How naive and clueless..."

The rain had already subsided, and Old Man Yang said frankly, "When you go home, remember to bring the pouch of Offering Coins over. That will be the payment for you and the young girl's medicine."

Ning Yao frowned and said, "What kind of medicine does the Yang Family's medicine shop sell? How is it so expensive?!"

"When someone is about to die from hunger, how much is the steamed bun in my hand worth?" Old Man Yang asked calmly.

"This is profiting off other people's misfortune!" Ning Yao replied solemnly.

The old man was a heavy smoker, and the entire top half of his body was enveloped in a thin cloud of smoke. From within this "sea of clouds", his cold and hoarse voice traveled over, stating, "Unreasonably raising prices is something that only lowly merchants do. It's not something that I would do. My rule is to stand by my words. I only offer a single price, and it's up to you whether you want to buy it or not."

Ning Yao still wanted to speak, but she discovered that Chen Ping'an was tugging her sleeves and secretly blinking at her. In the end, she could only swallow her words and frustration.

The medicinal herbs produced in this small world were indeed of top quality. However, referred to as the Jewel Small World of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, this small world had never been renowned for its medicinal herbs or ingredients. Instead, it was widely known for its "porcelain", treasures, and fated opportunities. Thus, even a mountain of medicinal ingredients wouldn't be worth a few gold essence copper coins.

Old Man Yang gestured with his smoking pipe and said, "The rain has stopped, so you two can stop making eyes at each other in front of me as well. Have you two no shame?"

Chen Ping'an grabbed Ning Yao's arm and dragged her down the stairs. After leaving the pharmacy and arriving on the main street, Chen Ping'an smiled and asked, "Are you feeling puzzled? Don't worry, this is just how Grandpa Yang is. He doesn't like to give or accept favors, and everything that he does is very... fair. Yes, that's right, fair."

Ning Yao chuckled coldly and said, "Fair? Everyone has a scale in their heart. What right does he have to think that he's the judge of fairness? Because of his age?"

Chen Ping'an shook his head, saying, "I don't feel like I'm being tricked if I pay him a pouch of copper coins."

Ning Yao glanced at him and stated, "If you can still put your hand on your heart and say this after living in the outside world for 10 years, then you win!"

"Then we'll talk about it then," Chen Ping'an replied with a smile.

Ning Yao sighed in exasperation. She was truly unable to speak any reason into him. "Where are we headed now?"

Chen Ping'an thought for a moment before replying, "Let's go to the blacksmith shop to see how Liu Xianyang's doing. While we're heading over, we can also retrieve your saber from the ground."

"Then lead the way," Ning Yao resolutely said.

"Is your body holding up alright?" she suddenly asked.

Chen Ping'an cracked a grin and replied, "There's no major issue. However, in addition to practicing the fist technique, I'll also have to drink medicine like you do every day. Grandpa Yang also said that if the medicine isn't effective, I might need to spend even more money."

"You genuinely believe him?" Ning Yao asked with a puzzled expression.

Chen Ping'an smiled and shook his head. It was as if he couldn't be bothered arguing with her about this.

After leaving the small town, he rolled up his sleeves and unstrapped the skirt dagger, returning it to Ning Yao.

After concealing her skirt dagger, Ning Yao went over to retrieve her saber which had been trodden into the ground by the Mountain-moving Ape. As for the sword scabbard that she had given Chen Ping'an, he had decided to temporarily leave it with her. It was hanging by her waist right now, and this gave the flying sword a place to stay.

When Chen Ping'an and Ning Yao arrived on the southern end of the covered bridge, they saw a girl with a ponytail and dressed in green sitting on top of the stairs, with her hands on her cheeks as she gazed into the distance. She was sitting with her back facing them.

Alone in the backyard of the Yang Family's medicine shop, Old Man Yang put away his smoking pipe and waved his hand, dispelling the cloud of smoke around him. "Rest assured, I'll grant you the indestructible body of a river guardian when you succeed. As for whether you can become a genuine river god or not, that will be up to your own abilities and fortune."

In the end, he lightly tapped the ground using his smoking pipe, and he looked up in the direction of the old locust tree. He clicked his tongue in wonder and remarked, "A tree falls, and the monkeys scatter."

Three horse-drawn carriages trundled toward Clay Vase Alley.

Song Changjing was truly unable to fathom why his nephew insisted on keeping up a rivalry with an impoverished young boy from this impoverished little alley.

In fact, he had even developed a knot in his heart because of this.

Song Changjing smiled and said, "Since I've already interfered with your muddle-headed rivalry with Chen Ping'an once, I'm not going to interfere with it a second time. You need to resolve the situation yourself."

In the end, he warned, "You're allowed to have a private relationship with Sun Scorch Mountain, but remember not to become overly involved with them."

Song Jixin was amused, and he asked, "Private relationship? Are you referring to that little girl? Haha, I merely found it a little fun. There's no relationship to speak of."

"It was merely fun, so you decided to casually give her a Sword Nurturing Gourd?" Song Changjing chuckled.

Song Jixin huffed and remained silent.

The carriages couldn't enter the small alley, nor did Song Changjing want to disembark to enter. Thus, Song Jixin jumped off the carriage alone. He discovered that it was raining, though this was only a light spring drizzle. However, it was showing an inclination of becoming a downpour.

He hurriedly ran into Clay Vase Alley and entered his courtyard. What greeted him was the sight of Zhi Gui sitting under the eaves of the house and daydreaming.

Song Jixin smiled and shouted, "Let's go! Your young master is going to take you to the Great Li Empire's capital to broaden your horizons!"

Zhi Gui came to her senses, and she asked, "Huh? We're going to leave so soon?"

Song Jixin nodded and said, "Everything has been packed already, so I don't see why not. There are two large suitcases in my room, and there's also your small suitcase. We've already packed everything that we can pack and want to pack. There's nothing left over in the house, so what difference does it make if we leave earlier or later?"ALL new hapters n nv()lbin(.)com

Zhi Gui rested her chin on her knees and said sadly, "Yeh, this place is our house..."

Song Jixin sighed and walked over to sit down on the doorstep next to her. He wiped away the rainwater on his forehead and asked in a gentle voice, "What's wrong? Reluctant to leave? If you truly miss this place, then we can leave a little later. That's no issue. I can notify the others."

Zhi Gui suddenly smiled, vigorously waving her dainty fist and saying, "No need! Let's leave straight away! Who's afraid of who?"

"Don't forget that four-legged snake," Song Jixin reminded her.

Zhi Gui was instantly enraged, and she huffed, "That stupid little fool. It secretly snuck into the bottom of my suitcase yesterday, and it made me spend half the day looking for it. When I finally found it after a long struggle, I discovered that some of my makeup boxes had become absolutely filthy! Truly unforgivable! It deserves a death sentence!"

Song Jixin started to become a little worried for the four-legged snake, and he asked tentatively, "That stupid little thing... wasn't killed by you, right?"

Zhi Gui shook her head and replied, "No, I decided to spare it for the moment. I'll deal with it when we reach the capital. Oh, that's right. Let's raise a few more chickens when we reach the capital, Young Master. Is that okay? We need to raise at least five!"

Song Jixin was baffled, and he asked, "There'll be enough eggs to eat, so why do we still need to buy and raise chickens? Aren't you always complaining about them being too noisy?"

"When the time comes, I'm going to tie a string to a foot of each chicken. I'll then tie the other ends to that stupid little thing's four legs and head. When I'm unhappy, I can go and shoo the chickens. Otherwise, that stupid little thing is quite quick and evasive. I get exhausted chasing it all the time, and that only makes me angrier..."

Listening to his maidservant's grumbling, Song Jixin's mind was filled with the image of that four-legged snake being punished. "Isn't that punishment by being dismembered by five horses? Oh, that's not right... It's dismemberment by five chickens..."

Song Jixin held his belly and roared with laughter.

Zhi Gui was accustomed to her young master's wild imagination, so she didn't find this strange in the least. She simply asked, "Young Master, the suitcases are so heavy, so how are we going to carry them? Also, there are quite some things that we should have thrown out but haven't thrown out yet."

Song Jixin stood up, snapping his fingers and ordering, "Come out! I know you guys are hiding nearby. Please carry these suitcases to the carriages for us."

There was no reply.

Song Jixin fell silent for a long while. His expression became increasingly dark, and he commanded, "Show yourselves! Do you believe me when I say that I'll get my uncle to personally carry them instead?!"

A short moment later, several hidden figures either jumped down from the roof on the opposite side of Clay Vase Alley or appeared from elsewhere in the alley.

There were five black-clad guards in total, and after the leader opened the door, all of them funneled into the courtyard.

The leader hesitated for a moment before cupping his fists in respect and saying in a gloomy voice, "We were carrying out a mission before, so we didn't dare to show ourselves without permission. Please forgive us, Your Highness."

"Go do your job," Song Jixin said expressionlessly.

The person's head remained lowered, and he said, "This underling beseeches Your Highness to please help explain this situation to the monarch."

Song Jixin was annoyed by his nagging, and he scolded, "Will my uncle fuss over such trivial matters with you people?!"

The five people remained completely still, standing in the rain and refusing to budge a single step.

Song Jixin had no option but to yield, conceding, "Alright, I'll help you guys explain."

Only after hearing this did the five people enter the house. Three of them easily carried a suitcase each, while two of them were empty-handed as they guarded the front and the rear. After slowly walking into Clay Vase Alley, they immediately broke into a sprint.

Song Jixin watched on in thought.

Zhi Gui opened up an oil-paper umbrella and handed Song Jixin a slightly larger one. After locking the house door, the outside kitchen door, and the courtyard door, the two of them stood outside the gate with an umbrella each in their hands. Song Jixin looked at the couplets and the door gods and softly murmured, "I wonder if we'll be able to see these couplets the next time we return."

"Since we're leaving, we're leaving for good, no? Why would we return again?" Zhi Gui asked.

"I guess you're right. If we become successful, there'll be no one we can show off to, but if we end up unsuccessful, there'll be heaps of people waiting to laugh at us," Song Jixin said with a self-deprecating smile.

The rain was incessant, and the small alley gradually became wet and muddy. Zhi Gui was unwilling to stay any longer, and she urged, "Let's go, let's go."

Song Jixin nodded, and the two of them made their way out of Clay Vase Alley.

Zhi Gui walked in front, with her footsteps relatively hurried.

Meanwhile, Song Jixin walked behind her, with his footsteps comparatively slow. When he walked past a certain gate, Song Jixin stopped in his tracks and turned around to look back.

He was seemingly in a daze as he stared at the ordinary mud wall.

Zhi Gui turned around and couldn't help but grumble, "Young Master, the rain is going to become heavier if we don't hurry."

Song Jixin's expression was hidden under his umbrella. After raising an arm and completing some action, he answered Zhi Gui's call and finally started to walk quicker.

In a carriage outside Clay Vase Alley, Song Changjing was sitting with his eyes closed and resting his mind.

The kiln supervision office would write up a secret document each day, and this was the responsibility of nine top-notch guards and spies from the Great Li Empire. They were responsible for making the observations, and what they recorded was the daily activities of the "illegitimate son of the previous kiln supervision official". For example, what streets he shopped in with his maidservant Zhi Gui, how much money he spent on what food, what passages he recited in the morning and which Sages' works these came from, when he secretly drank for the first time, who he flew kites and catch crickets with outside the small town, who he argued with and why, and so on and so forth.

Regardless of how big or small the events were, everything was observed and recorded. These records would then be delivered to the capital, where they would be taken into the palace and placed on the desk in the royal study. In the end, these records would be gathered together and bound into a book. His older brother someone who loved to toy around with words and essays personally named these books the "Small Records of Daily Life". From "Small Records of Daily Life 1" to "Small Records of Daily Life 15", everything that the 15-year-old boy living in the impoverished alley had done in his life had been recorded into 15 books.

Before coming to the small town, Song Changjing had flicked through these boring records of his nephew's life. However, he had astutely noticed that a page was missing from the twelfth record, and it was more so clear that it had been purposely torn out by someone. This most likely signified that a huge event had taken place when Song Jixin was 12 years old.

Song Changjing had initially thought that this was a bloody assassination attempt that had been ordered by someone in the capital. Moreover, the culprit had been so powerful that even Song Jixin's brother could only remain silent. Only later did Song Changjing realize that this wasn't the case. Instead, that page most likely recorded something that was a bad memory for Song Jixin. Moreover, it was definitely related to Clay Vase Alley's Chen Ping'an.

Song Changjing started to organize his thoughts. He rarely had time to rest, and he seized this opportunity to carefully mull over the recorded conversations between the two youths, as well as what the situation would have looked like during these conversations.

Song Changjing opened his eyes and pulled back the curtain in the carriage. He saw the slender figure of the maidservant holding an umbrella first, and then he saw the figure of his nephew behind her. The two of them walked toward the second carriage. Meanwhile, their suitcases had already been placed in the last carriage.

"It's time to leave," Song Changjing said softly.

His carriage slowly trundled forward.

However, it suddenly ground to a halt, and after a short while, a flustered and angry Song Jixin charged into the carriage, shouting, "What's the meaning of this?!"

"Are you referring to the two corpses in your carriage?" Song Changjing asked.

Song Jixin was livid as he angrily stared at Song Changjing.

Song Changjing's expression was calm, and he explained, "Do you know their identity? There are seven intelligence agencies in the Great Li Empire, and three of them are under my control. Their main tasks are to infiltrate the official courts of other nations and empires, gather information about their military, and bribe their officials and generals.

"The imperial preceptor Embroidered Tiger controls another three intelligence agencies, and their main task is to keep an eye on the discourse happening within the empire, most notably in the official court and in the mortal world. They especially have to keep a keen eye on the capital.

"The final intelligence agency targets cultivators, and they listen to the commands of... someone. There are a total of nine spies in this small town, and they come from each of these seven different intelligence agencies. Their task is to guarantee your safety and ensure that nothing untoward happens to you."

"What are you trying to say?" Song Jixin asked in a solemn voice.

Song Changjing smiled and replied, "There are many twists and turns, and in terms of who that person is actually loyal to, there are a bunch of messy explanations and half-truths. If you want me to explain this to you... I'd say that it's quite difficult. In any case, that person deserved to die. However, you need to remember this. The others all view you as a prince of the Great Li Empire now, and they all regard you as a lofty royal descendent. On the surface, they might respect you, revere you, or act obsequiously in front of you. You can naturally accept all of this. However, never forget why these people are acting in such a manner."

"Oh? Why is that?" Song Jixin asked with a cold chuckle.

Song Changjing smiled faintly and replied, "Do you think that you're genuinely important or something? This is all because I'm accompanying you right now. I'm scared that you'll forget this, so I seized this opportunity to teach you a small lesson. Staying in the same carriage as a dead person is very uncomfortable. However, this is still better than me having to sit next to your corpse the next time we meet."

Song Jixin's face flushed beet-red.

Song Changjing glanced at him and said coldly, "You can leave now."

Song Jixin instantly swallowed the words that had already been on the tip of his tongue. He quietly turned around, gritting his teeth as he left in anger.

After Song Jixin left, Song Changjing smiled and mused, "With such meager abilities, will those toothless tigers and foxes not immediately set their eyes on you when you arrive in the capital? Will they not want to tear a few chunks of flesh from your body?"

In fact, Song Changjing also felt a slight headache when he thought about returning to the capital.

Inside the carriage, it was surprisingly the corpse that took up the most space.

Song Jixin was extremely uncomfortable, and it was instead Zhi Gui who wore a calm and composed expression. "Oh, that's right. Zhi Gui, did you bring our old house keys with you?" Song Jixin asked in a casual manner.

Zhi Gui wore a puzzled expression as she replied, "No, I just left them somewhere in the house. It's not like I want to return anyway. What's wrong? Why are you asking about this, Young Master? In any case, don't you have a set of keys as well?"

"Oh, I also left them in the house," Song Jixin replied with a smile.

The three carriages passed the old locust tree, exited the small town, and eventually made their way onto a muddy and uneven road. They continued to trundle toward the east.

When the three carriages had exited the eastern gate of the small town, the gatekeeper Zheng Dafeng had been observing them from the shelter of his mud hut. Squatting by the door and with his hands in the opposite sleeves, the unmarried man had yawned as he watched them leave the town.

After traveling for around an hour, Song Changjing suddenly ordered in a grave voice, "Stop!"

Song Changjing disembarked his carriage, while Song Jixin and Zhi Gui pulled back the curtain in their carriage and stuck their heads out together. They looked toward Song Changjing in curiosity.

Song Changjing waved his hand, and Song Jixin immediately shrunk back into his carriage, dragging Zhi Gui along with him.

Song Changjing walked forward, and not far in front of him, there stood an unremarkable middle-aged man blocking the path. He looked like an honest person, and his straw sandals and pant legs were all covered in mud.

As he walked over, Song Changjing smiled and remarked, "Who would've thought? There's actually someone like you hidden in the small town. By the looks of it, the intelligence officers of the Great Li Empire truly live off ** instead of rice."

Song Changjing's snow-white robe had initially been spotless, yet at this moment, they also became covered in water and mud. His shoes naturally weren't spared either.

In the end, Song Changjing stopped 10 paces away from the middle-aged man. "Since you didn't attack me right away, why don't you tell me what your end goal is?"

The roof of the middle-aged man's house had been damaged by the Mountain-moving Ape, yet facing the monarch of the Great Li Empire, what part of him still looked like the pathetic and useless man who had been squatting on the ground and fuming in silence?

"Song Changjing, you'll naturally know the answer if you can survive this battle!" Li Er said in a solemn voice.

Song Changjing frowned in reply. Li Er understood his worry, and he said, "I'll let the carriages pass first."

Song Changjing nodded with a smile. He didn't turn around, and he kept his eyes fixed on Li Er as he shouted, "You guys leave first. Keep going forward."

Li Er stepped aside and allowed the three carriages to pass without any obstructions.

Only after the carriages completely disappeared from sight did Song Changjing turn his attention to the patiently waiting Li Er.

This person's cultivation base could only be higher than his own.

However, the gap between them was limited.

Song Changjing was unafraid, and was instead filled with a fighting spirit. Ardor and zeal coursed through his blood as he tugged at his collar.

Even though the person standing in front of him wasn't renowned, he was definitely a top-notch whetstone to refine his practice of the martial arts.

Song Changjing's instinct told him that everything depended on this one moment whether he lived or died, and whether he was at the 9th Tier or 10th Tier tomorrow.

Chapter end

<<Prev
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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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