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unsheathed – Chapter 94: A Feast for the Eyes

Chapter 94: A Feast for the Eyes

Chapter 94: A Feast for the Eyes

A total of seven wells had been dug at the blacksmith shop, providing sweet and refreshing water.

It was said that Master Ruan, who had lived on Dragon Riding Alley for a while, was an immortal swordsmith, and even the imperial court held him in very high regard. The officials from the ministry of rites and Governor Wu had gone to visit him in person, so it was all but confirmed that Master Ruan was indeed an extremely important figure.

Many people wanted to send their children to the blacksmith shop to work, but unfortunately, the blacksmith shop was no longer hiring. However, there was one time when Master Ruan had gone into the town to buy wine, and he had chosen two children to become apprentices of his. The next day, the wine shop was absolutely packed to the rafters, with parents and guardians dragging their children along.

The problem was that no one was there to buy wine, and everyone was waiting for Master Ruan to show up in the hope that their children would catch his eye. However, the children didn't care about all of that. They were merely excited to be out of the house, and all of them were playing to their hearts' content, causing a massive commotion.

Prior to the arrival of Governor Wu Yuan, the residents of the town had been aware that they were citizens of the Great Li Empire, and that the dragon kilns were being used to produce imperial ware for the Great Li Empire's imperial family, but that was the extent of their knowledge.

There were very few people coming in and out of the town, and there were virtually no cases of the town's residents leaving the town to visit extended family, seek out education, or marry to other places. Thus, there was no exchange of information with the outside world, and the only people in the four surnames and ten clans aware of what the outside world was like didn't dare to reveal these secrets to anyone else.

Only the fortunate children who had their bonded porcelain chosen were granted the opportunity to go and see the outside world, and prior to the collapse of Jewel Small World, it was impossible for anyone who left the town to return home as that was the rule stipulated by the four Sages many years ago.

According to the announcement posters put up by the county office and the explanations provided by those who knew how to read, the mountains of Dragon Spring County had previously been too precarious to traverse safely.

The imperial court had gone to great lengths to establish roads through those mountains, and in order to accomplish this objective, it had to gift those mountains to certain important figures who were drawn to the county for its natural resources. At the same time, a group of people led by the officials of the county office began to inform the county's residents of various rules, as well as how they should coexist with outsiders.

For example, it was prohibited to point at outsiders for no good reason, children were not allowed to run into pedestrians on the streets, and it was strictly prohibited to touch the steeds of outsiders without permission.

If any altercation were to arise, then those involved had to report the matter to the county office. They were not to not make decisions on such matters on their own, and instead, it had to be left to the officials of the county office to pass judgment in these cases.

The four surnames and ten clans weren't overly enthusiastic about these changes, nor did they do what they could to help the county office carry out its work. Instead, they merely passively observed, and as for whether they were waiting to see those at the county office make a fool out of themselves, the answer to that question was quite apparent to Wu Yuan and those sly old foxes.

Ruan Xiu had grown up her entire life in Wind Snow Temple, so the massive changes sweeping through the town didn't have much of an impact on her, nor did she really care.

She had been in a foul mood ever since she had encountered that short woman.

Not only had that woman barged into Chen Ping'an's residence without permission, she had broken the copper locks on the yard gate and the front door as well. While Ruan Xiu was visiting the residence to do some cleaning, she just so happened to run into the people who were changing the locks, and she had stormed over to them in a fit of fury and demanded that they tell her what had happened.

Those people seemed to have been aware of her identity, and they immediately apologized, treating her with the utmost respect, but whenever she asked them who the main culprit behind all of this was, they would play dumb and insist that they also had no idea who was behind this.

In the end, Ruan Xiu could only demand that they hand over the old locks, as well as keys to the new locks, before returning to the blacksmith shop, only to run into that shameless woman, who had blatantly lied to her face, telling her that she had broken the locks by accident.

Ruan Xiu had also followed through on her agreement with Chen Ping'an and hired some people to repair that uninhabited and dilapidated house on Clay Vase Alley. There was a huge hole in the roof, and the wooden beams were severely rotten and decayed, while the red paint was beginning to peel away.

Ruan Xiu had instructed the tilers she had hired to do a meticulous job and to be thorough while carrying out the repairs. However, even after that, she still didn't trust them to do a good job, so she stayed behind for a long time to supervise their work.

There was also the matter of the pastry shop and the Burclover shop, both of which now belonged to Chen Ping'an. Most of the old employees of the two shops had already left, so she was forced to hire more. She didn't dare to choose any of the sly and cunning candidates, so she asked people from the blacksmith shop to recommend some honest and hard-working women to help her look after the shops.

The pastry shop continued to sell various types of cakes and snacks, while the Burclover shop continued to sell miscellaneous items, including things like antiques, ornaments, artworks, old artifacts, and just about everything else.

Whenever Ruan Xiu wasn't busy at the blacksmith shop, she would be resting on the counter of one of the shops with an absentminded expression, and it was often the case that entire days would go by for her like this.

She wasn't required to bring in customers, and she wasn't good at bartering, either. Both of these shops belonged to Chen Ping'an, so if she could have her way, then she would sell every single piece of pastry for the astronomical price of several taels of silver each. However, deep down, she was still a pure and kind-hearted girl, so her conscience didn't allow her to do something like that.

At the moment, she was wondering if she should hire a few employees who were more observant and cunning and could help generate more revenue for the shops. However, at the same time, she was worried that upon his return, Chen Ping'an would dislike employees with such personalities as he wasn't that type of person.

There were so many things for her to think about that she had even stopped snacking on the pastries that she so loved, and as a result, her slightly round chin was beginning to become rather pointed, much like the tip of a lotus bud, presenting a captivating sight to behold.

Ruan Qiong had proposed on several occasions that if she were bored in the town, then she could go and pay a visit to Divine Elegance Mountain and Gallant Spear Mountain to appreciate the natural scenery there. However, she was never too keen on the idea and was always making up one excuse or another, so after a while, Ruan Qiong no longer made this suggestion to her.

Funnily enough, the more she whiled away her days in a daze like this, the more energetic and focused she would feel while forging swords. As a result, her cultivation base was advancing rapidly, and that quelled all of Ruan Qiong's concerns. Seeing as this was beneficial to her cultivation, he naturally wasn't going to intervene.

For the average person, they could already be long dead, and even their children and grandchildren would've already been old men and women, yet someone of the same age who had progressed far down the path of cultivation would still appear as youthful as ever.

During these past couple of days, she had been feeling particularly frustrated because someone had been coming to bother her whenever she went to the shops for some alone time.

It was a young man with a long red flute strapped to his waist. He was always well dressed, wearing a golden crown on his head, and there was an air of haughtiness about everything that he did. However, she didn't remember what he looked like. Alternatively, it could be said that she had never bothered to take a proper look at him.

Ever since Ruan Xiu could remember, she had encountered far too many people like this. Not only was her father a powerful cultivator of Wind Snow Temple, he was also the best swordsmith on the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, so there was never a shortage of people trying to suck up to her.

However, after arriving in the town, Ruan Qiong had informed her that he had made an agreement with the imperial court of the Great Li Empire, prohibiting them from declaring to the outside world that he was living in the town and using his reputation for their own benefit.

If Ruan Qiong were to catch them breaking this agreement, then he would be willing to negotiate with the imperial court, but he couldn't guarantee what the outcome of the negotiation was going to be. That display of intimidation that Ruan Qiong had put on by killing those cultivators following the fall of Jewel Small World had truly terrified all of the other nearby cultivators, and through that incident, the Great Li Empire's imperial court and immortal sects even further away had developed an understanding of Ruan Qiong's personality.

No one wanted to risk their life just to try and reason with Ruan Qiong, and anyone who dared to do that would either be justifiably killed in Ruan Qiong's territory, or dragged into Ruan Qiong's territory so that he could justifiably kill them.

It was obvious to the small handful of the most powerful figures in the Great Li Empire that Ruan Qiong's true reverse scale was none other than his prodigiously talented daughter, Ruan Xiu. [1] If it weren't for Ruan Xiu, Ruan Qiong definitely wouldn't have left Wind Snow Temple and taken over Jewel Small World from Qi Jingchun.

At the time, no one regarded overseeing this small world as a desirable post. Inside the small world, one's cultivation base would be constantly suppressed by the Heavenly Dao, and the best outcome one could hope for was to maintain their cultivation and prevent their body from decaying.

Of course, Qi Jingchun was an exception to this rule, much to the astonishment of everyone.

Given how important Ruan Xiu was to Ruan Qiong, the Great Li Empire had agreed to help him keep Ruan Xiu's identity a secret in order to keep her out of harm's way.

During a casual visit to the Burclover shop on Dragon Riding Alley, the aforementioned young man had spotted Ruan Xiu, and he had instantly been completely enraptured by her beauty. In his mind, she was but a young woman working in this shop, so there was no way that she was someone of a lofty status.

Thus, given his good looks, refined mannerisms, and privileged background, it would surely be love at first sight for her. He could already envision her begging him to become his personal maidservant, just so she could remain by his side.

However, he had been assigned the task of purchasing mountains here by his clan, and this town was filled with important and powerful figures that he couldn't afford to mess with. Setting aside the short-tempered Ruan Qiong, there were also officials from the Great Li Empire's ministry of rites and ministry of astronomy, and apparently, even the governor was a prized disciple of the Great Li Empire's imperial preceptor.

Hence, his father had told him that he had to keep a low profile after arriving in the town, and that if he were to get himself into trouble, then his clan wouldn't step in even if he were to end up dead. Hence, he certainly didn't dare to do whatever he pleased as he could back in the territory under his clan's jurisdiction. Besides, even though he was well-versed in abducting women that caught his fancy, he much preferred having a woman be with him of her own volition.DiiScver w storis on no//e()/lbin(.)com

Never would he have guessed in 1,000 years that this lazy young woman who was constantly resting on the counter in a daze would be Ruan Qiong's daughter.

On this day, he visited the Burclover shop once again, picking out something that caught his eye among the shelves full of miscellaneous items, then pretended to barter with one of the female employees working in the shop. He then called out to Ruan Xiu, as if he were just extending a casual greeting.

As he did so, he gently raised the ornamental rock in his hand, which he had taken a liking to, and the asking price was 30 taels of silver. He asked Ruan Xiu if she could sell the ornamental rock to him at a discount as the price of 30 taels of silver was too expensive for him.

In reality, even 30 taels of gold weren't worth much in his eyes.

Ruan Xiu didn't even bother to raise her head as she gave a negative response.

The young man shrugged as he put on a casual and carefree facade, then declared that he was going to purchase the ornamental rock anyway. He then picked out two more items before asking Ruan Xiu if she could give him a discount, seeing as he was purchasing multiple items.

Furthermore, he added that he was going to be living in the town for quite some time, so he was definitely going to be a frequent customer of the shop. The more he spoke, the more annoyed Ruan Xiu became, and she continued to rest her head on the counter as she replied in an indifferent voice, "If you want something, then shut up and buy it. You can buy whatever you want as long as you pay the marked price."

Instead of being infuriated by her rude response, the young man was quite intrigued. In his eyes, Ruan Xiu was like a hot-tempered stallion waiting to be tamed.

Not only was he not angry, Ruan Xiu's indifference had ignited a desire for conquest in his heart. The purchase of the mountains was already a done deal, and he had only come to the town as a formality to seal the deal for his wealthy clan, so why not seek out some fun while he was here? Thus, he instructed the female employee to wrap up the three items that he had purchased, and prior to his departure, he smiled as he said, "I'll be back tomorrow, fair maiden."

Ruan Xiu finally raised his head to look at him for the first time as she declared, "Don't come back again."

The young man turned to look at Ruan Xiu with an intrigued expression, and the more he looked at her, the more he developed a liking for her. The women who were always wearing heavy make-up back home couldn't even begin to compare with her beauty.

A faint smile appeared on his face as he asked, "Why?"

Ruan Xiu replied with a calm expression, "This shop is being run by my... my friend, so I get to decide which customers are allowed to come in and which customers are too much of an eyesore to be granted entry."

The young man's smile widened even further as he pointed at himself and asked, "I'm an eyesore? How so?"

Ruan Xiu rested her head down onto the counter again as she waved a dismissive hand. "Go away, I don't want to talk to someone like you."

Outside the shop stood a tall and muscular man who was glaring coldly at Ruan Xiu with displeasure and disdain etched all over his face.

The young man smiled as he made a calming hand gesture toward the servant, indicating for him to exercise some restraint so that he didn't intimidate Ruan Xiu. After paying for the three items, he strode over the entrance of the shop, then turned around again as he said, "See you tomorrow."

Ruan Xiu heaved a faint sigh, then rose to her feet and emerged from behind the counter, facing the young man as she said, "Here's a piece of advice: listen to what people say in the future."

The young man's gaze roamed over Ruan Xiu's stunning figure, and he felt truly blessed to have come across such a delectable target.

As for what Ruan Xiu had just said, he had naturally heard her, but he wasn't taking her seriously.

All of a sudden, the burly servant's entire body tensed up, and his skin began to crawl as every single fiber of his being screamed to him that there was danger afoot. However, before he had a chance to do anything, he saw Ruan Xiu and his young master hurtling together toward the wall on the other side of Dragon Riding Alley.

He watched as Ruan Xiu held onto his young master by the forehead, then slammed him into the wall with such tremendous force that his head and his back were completely embedded into the wall.

The young man instantly lost consciousness as blood began to flow out of all of his orifices, and countless cracks had been smashed into the wall behind him.

Ruan Xiu rolled her eyes at the unconscious young man, then re-emphasized, "This is why you have to listen to people, understood? It seems like you're still not listening."

Ruan Xiu raised a foot before delivering a vicious kick, and the young man's entire body caved in along with the wall behind him, presenting a horrific sight to behold.

Ruan Xiu withdrew her leg, then turned and made her way back to the shop.

The burly servant didn't even dare to move a single inch, and she said to him, "Get him out of here, and make sure to repair that wall."

The servant was a fifth tier martial artist, yet he didn't even dare to talk back to Ruan Xiu.

On the surface, he was the young master's personal bodyguard, but the true pillar of the clan was a guest elder from outside the clan. However, just like the representatives of all of the other powers, the guest elder in question had gone into the mountains to suck up to right-hand minister of the ministry of rites and the chief fengshui master of the ministry of astronomy, both to get closer to the Great Li Empire's imperial court, as well as to examine the pair of mountains purchased by the clan as a formality.

It wasn't the case that fifth tier martial artists were small fry that could be picked on by anyone. Instead, Ruan Xiu was simply far too fearsome.

His young master was already a fourth tier cultivator, and he couldn't compare with the truly prodigious prodigies of those immortal clans, but as long as he could reach the fifth tier, he would've earned himself the right to rule over his own territory.

After all, in the Great Li Empire, where martial artists were extremely commonplace, cultivators were far more revered, and those two mountains had been purchased to serve as the starting point of the young man's future empire.

The fifth tier martial artist was about to declare what clan he came from to intimidate Ruan Xiu, but the situation was too urgent for him to waste time doing so, and he hurriedly rushed over to the wall across the alley. Moments later, he swung around with a furious expression and roared, "You little bitch! You've destroyed our young master's cultivation foundation!"

At this point, Ruan Xiu had already made her way into the shop, and she didn't even bother to turn around as she replied, "I know. I intentionally kept him alive so he could suffer."

The martial artist felt as if he were about to go insane, and he couldn't help but wonder if he were dealing with a deranged woman.

Ruan Xiu smiled as she continued, "You insulted me just now, but I'm not going to retaliate against you because I'm going to target your clan instead. Given how clans like yours like to do things, I presume you'll be sending people to avenge him. You can go and tell his seniors or friends about what happened and get them to come to me.

Rest assured, I'm not going anywhere, I'll be waiting for you right here. However, let me make this clear: if you don't send anyone to come after me, nor is there anyone from your clan that comes to issue an apology, then I'll be taking matters into my own hands. Don't expect this to just blow over like nothing happened."

After a moment of contemplation, Ruan Xiu continued, "If your patriarch or whoever else you call upon can defeat me, then I'll have to turn to my father. He's the only family that I have left, so I have no other choice."

All of a sudden, an inexplicable sense of joy welled up in her heart, and she pursed her lips to suppress her smile.

It had just occurred to her that in addition to her father, she now also had a close friend, and he was none other than the owner of this shop.

The martial artist stared with a stunned expression at the peculiar smile on Ruan Xiu's face, and at this point, he was convinced that she was completely deranged.

His top priority right now was to preserve his young master's cultivation base as much as possible, so he didn't dare to delay. He hurriedly placed his young master onto his back, then rushed out of Dragon Riding Alley as quickly as he could.

The fact that he was serving as the personal bodyguard of such an important figure in the clan indicated that he had to possess some measure of intelligence, and after opening up some distance between himself and Dragon Riding Alley, he immediately roared, "My young master comes from the Chu Clan of Prosperous City! Our Clan is an esteemed guest of your Great Li Empire, and our patriarch is the deputy sect leader of Rattle Mountain!"

However, his declaration was met with no response whatsoever, and his heart immediately sank.

The spies of the Great Li Empire lurking in the shadows had chosen not to do anything!

This didn't make any sense!

The martial artist was fleeing like a wounded dog, and he couldn't help but wonder if his young master had inadvertently picked on someone that he couldn't afford to mess with. However, their patriarch had informed them that aside from Ruan Qiong and the officials of the Great Li Empire stationed in the county, there was no one else that they had to worry about, so why was it that a random young woman working in an ordinary shop had turned out to be such an astonishingly formidable martial artist?

In the distance, a young man was seated atop a concealed wall with his chin resting on his hand, and he yawned before sneering to himself, "Do you really think our Great Li Empire is afraid of your Chu Clan?"

He then withdrew his gaze before turning to the Burclover shop, where Ruan Xiu was no longer behind the counter, and he chuckled, "As expected of the most 'easygoing' woman in all of Wind Snow Temple."

His smile then quickly faded as he continued to survey his surroundings. At the first sign of any unrest, he had the jurisdictive power to summon all of the nearby spies of the Great Li Empire to hunt down any target that he stipulated, regardless of the identity of the target and the consequences that would be incurred.

At the same time, he knew that this wasn't going to be the end of this matter. At the very least, Ruan Qiong was definitely going to hear about this, and perhaps even the emperor would be forced to intervene as the Chu Clan of Prosperous City could make a big fuss over this incident, thereby pressuring the Great Li Empire to stand up for them.

At the moment, the Great Li Empire was at the height of its powers, so it didn't fear anything, but it regarded criticisms raised by scholars very seriously. Both the former emperor and the incumbent emperor were very tolerant of scholars and treated them with great generosity.

The female employees in the shop were all so terrified that they barely even dared to breathe. Normally, Ruan Xiu was a very amicable and pleasant young woman, and they had never imagined that she would be capable of something like this.

Meanwhile, Ruan Xiu continued to rest on the counter in a daze.

All of a sudden, a thought occurred to her, and she pulled a little pebble out of a drawer, then placed it onto the counter. She then rested her cheek on the counter before playing with the pebble with her finger, watching it roll back and forth.

The sight of the gorgeous young woman was truly a feast for the eyes.

1. A reverse scale is said to be a certain scale on a dragon that cannot be touched. Otherwise, the dragon will fly into a murderous rage, and the term is used as an analogy to describe something extremely important and untouchable to someone.

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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