unsheathed – Chapter 32: Peach Leaf

Chapter 32: Peach Leaf

Chapter 32: Peach Leaf

Chen Ping'an returned to Liu Xianyang's house and poured the two buckets of water into the vat in the courtyard kitchen. He then ran to the door and shouted, "Liu Xianyang, I'm going to use your firewood and seasoning to make some fish soup for Ning Yao. Is that okay?"

Liu Xianyang, who had gone back to sleep, was suddenly jolted awake by Chen Ping'an's question. "Just how bloody annoying are you? I was just dreaming of Zhi Gui smiling at me! Hurry up and compensate me with Zhi Gui!" he roared in anger.

Chen Ping'an shook his head in reply. However, he also remembered Liu Xianyang's request at this moment, and he said apologetically, "I really did come across Zhi Gui at the Iron Lock Well earlier. However, we were disturbed by Granny Ma, so I forgot to greet her for you. When I deliver the fish soup to Ning Yao in a moment, I promise that I'll head over to pass on your greeting."

Liu Xianyang hurriedly jumped up and got changed. He then ran to the doorstep and looked at the skinny figure who was busily at work, chuckling and saying, "I'll go and deliver the fish soup with you in a moment. Oh, that's right, is Zhi Gui wearing that pomegranate-red dress today? Or is she wearing the light green one? When I earn 200 copper coins, I'll be able to afford that exquisite hundred-pressed dragon silver makeup case. I know that she's had her eyes on it for a very long time, but she's always been reluctant to buy it. It's all Song Jixin's fault, that poor little bastard. He's way too stingy. He's dressed like a fancy bastard from Fortune Street, yet he can't even spare a few coins to buy some more dresses for poor Zhi Gui. If I were her young master, I'd definitely buy her whatever she wanted. She'd live in even more comfort and extravagance than the young ladies from Fortune Street!"

Chen Ping'an ignored Liu Xianyang's foolish daydreaming. He genuinely couldn't understand why Liu Xianyang had fallen head over heels for Zhi Gui and not someone else. Of course, this wasn't because he looked down on her standing as Song Jixin's maidservant. Nor was it because he thought she was ugly. Rather, it was because he couldn't see any predestined fate between Liu Xianyang and Zhi Gui.

"Why do you also call her Zhi Gui now? Why don't you call her Wang Zhu anymore?" Chen Ping'an asked in curiosity.

Liu Xianyang grinned and said, "After realizing that you also couldn't write the words Zhi Gui, I decided that I couldn't care less anymore."

Chen Ping'an was slightly exasperated as he replied, "Why are you comparing yourself to me? Why aren't you comparing yourself to Song Jixin? After all, Zhi Gui is his maidservant, not mine."

Liu Xianyang sneered and said, "It's not like he's better than you at everything. For example, has he ever been able to call someone mother or father? Isn't he inferior to you in this sense? It's no wonder that Gu Can's mother, Granny Ma, and the other women are so toxic when speaking about him. Song Jixin can't be regarded as a pure and innocent person anyway, or else why doesn't he confidently sit in the office of the kiln supervision official? Why does he have to suffer in Clay Vase Alley instead? Yet, he still dares to look down on others. So, he deserves to be slandered and called a bastard."

Chen Ping'an stood up and walked to the door of the kitchen, saying, "Liu Xianyang, even though Song Jixin and I can't be regarded as friends, the way you speak about him..."

Liu Xianyang hurriedly raised his hands, refusing to listen to Chen Ping'an's lecture. He wore a sly smile as he said, "I'll stop slandering him, okay? Chen Ping'an, who did you learn this stubbornness and inflexibility from? After all, my grandpa said that your father and mother were both very amiable people, especially your mother. Her voice was always soft and gentle, and she also liked to smile all the time. Her temper was truly as good as could be. My grandpa also said that Granny Ma would curse almost everyone when she was young, yet she would always make an exception when it came to your mother. Not only did Granny Ma not curse her, but she would even smile at her."

Chen Ping'an couldn't wipe the smile from his face.

Liu Xianyang waved his hand to shoo him away. "Hurry up and bring the soup to your wife."

Chen Ping'an rolled his eyes, saying, "If you're so capable, why don't you say that to her face?"

Liu Xianyang chuckled and replied, "You might be stupid, but I'm certainly not."

A short moment later, Chen Ping'an walked out with a small pot of soup. After locking the door, the two of them headed over to Clay Vase Alley. After arriving at Chen Ping'an's house, Liu Xianyang saw him stupidly standing there and knocking on the gate. Only at this moment did he realize that Chen Ping'an had actually left his keys with Ning Yao. Liu Xianyang felt like this person couldn't be saved.

The young woman in black didn't wear her veiled hat while at home, so her pretty face was uncovered for them to see when she opened the gates. For some unknown reason, Liu Xianyang was slightly scared of this serious young woman. It wasn't because of her aloofness, since Zhi Gui was as aloof if not more so than her. Yet, Liu Xianyang still had the courage to pester her all the time. It wasn't because of her weapons or strength either, because Liu Xianyang had never been afraid of the rich descendants from Fortune Street who had surrounded and beaten him up many times. Even though he had fled in shambles, he had never felt a sense of fear toward them.

Yet, for some reason, he was slightly scared of Ning Yao, this girl from outside.

Ning Yao sat down and removed the lid of the clay pot. Her slender eyes squinted when she smelled the fragrance of the fish soup, and she nodded and said in a gentle voice, "Thanks."

Chen Ping'an was an extremely observant person, and he knew that this was most likely a sign that the aloof young woman was happy.

He cooked a pot of porridge for her, telling her to keep an eye on the flames herself. He then turned to Liu Xianyang and said, "You can wait for Zhi Gui yourself. I need to deliver some letters first."

Liu Xianyang was sitting on the doorstep, with his ears pricked for any movement next door. He would immediately act if he heard any squeaking or rustling. He was in a terrible mood, and he snapped in impatience, "Yeah, go do what you need to."

Chen Ping'an left his house. Just as he was about to exit Clay Vase Alley, he suddenly noticed the path before him becoming a little darker. Looking up, he realized that this was because there was a tall and broad man in white robes standing there, with one hand behind his back and one hand resting on the white jade belt around his waist. His eyes were gazing into the distance.

Likely realizing that he was blocking the narrow alleyway, the man smiled faintly and turned to his side to let Chen Ping'an through.

Chen Ping'an was extremely puzzled as he quickened his pace and left Clay Vase Alley. Glancing back, he saw that the man had already slowly entered Clay Vase Alley.

Even though he had only taken a fleeting glance at the man just then, Chen Ping'an had still seen the faint golden embroidery on the front and back of the man's spotless white robe. These golden threads vaguely formed two pictures, wherein there was seemingly a creature soaring through the mountains and clouds. It was especially mysterious.

Chen Ping'an pushed these thoughts out of his mind, and he merely treated the man as another outsider like Fu Nanhua and the others he was going to Clay Vase Alley to look for a fated opportunity. After visiting the old locust tree with Mr. Qi the other day, he was already feeling much more relaxed than before. He felt like as long as Mr. Qi stayed in this small town, he could still at least ask for justice if something untoward were to happen.

When he jogged past Apricot Blossom Alley, Chen Ping'an saw that the young girl in green who he had encountered last night was still sitting at the stall that was selling wontons. There were chopsticks in her hand, and she was lightly drumming them against the table. There was a spirited expression on her slightly chubby and innocent face, and her eyes were intently fixed on the smoking pot where the wontons were cooking. Even though Chen Ping'an was only five or six steps away from her, she didn't notice him at all.

To this young girl in green, food was of paramount importance. Even if the sky collapsed, she would still need to finish her meal before fleeing.

Chen Ping'an admired this unfamiliar young girl from the bottom of his heart. He didn't disturb her, and he smiled as he continued to run to the east of the small town.

There were some people and some things even if they were only scenery on the roadside that would fill one with a sense of joy with only a single glance.

When Chen Ping'an arrived at the wooden gates in the east of the small town, he found that the disheveled gatekeeper was standing on his tippy-toes on a tree stump and gazing toward the east. It was as if he were waiting for some important person to arrive.

While hanging out around the old locust tree, Chen Ping'an had heard the elderly residents chat about the arrival of the new kiln supervision official. When he had first arrived in the small town, he was offered a grand welcome, with almost all of the elders from the Four Surnames and Ten Clans coming to the eastern gate to greet him.

However, after waiting under the scorching sun for several hours, the only person who had arrived was a subordinate from the kiln supervision office who told them that the kiln supervision official was already in his office, and that he had only just woken up from his afternoon nap. He then told them to directly go to the office of the kiln supervision official. The group of wealthy people was infuriated, but according to rumors, none of them had dared to complain a peep when they eventually entered the kiln supervision office. In fact, they had all smiled as obsequiously as they could.

Chen Ping'an had found their recounts extremely strange. Why were the elderly residents speaking as if they were personally there to witness it? Each time they discussed rumors from Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley, they also spoke as if they were personally present to witness the events. For example, how the aunty from the Lu Clan was in an illicit relationship with that instructor, and how she had frantically straightened her clothes and covered her large breasts when they had been caught by someone else. They revealed a whole heap of details, not missing anything at all. It was as if they were the instructor himself.

Liu Xianyang would always gulp when he heard gossip like this. Song Jixin would also occasionally hang out near the old locust tree, although he would never bring Zhi Gui along with him. His smile would also be more reserved than Liu Xianyang's. However, when he secretly hooted and heckled with the others, his voice would be even louder than when he recited the teachings of the Sages during morning and night.

Chen Ping'an squatted next to the tree stump and patiently waited for the gatekeeper to acknowledge him.

The disheveled man cursed before hopping off the tree stump and shooting a glance at the young boy. He didn't say anything, and he went to the mud hut to retrieve a bundle of letters. There were six letters in total, yet he only handed Chen Ping'an five copper coins.

Chen Ping'an roughly flicked through the letters, and he didn't make any complaints. This was because two of the letters were addressed to neighbors on Fortune Street. Thus, Chen Ping'an wasn't willing to take such a petty advantage. Of course, if the gatekeeper suddenly became extremely benevolent and chose to give him six copper coins instead, he wouldn't refuse this either.

Chen Ping'an planned out a route before casually asking, "Waiting for someone?"

The gatekeeper glanced at the wide road in the east and huffed, "Waiting for your grandpa!"

Chen Ping'an hurriedly scooted away, not wanting to become an outlet for his frustration.

The gatekeeper chuckled and mused, "Oh? He's quite an observant one."

He looked up at the sky. The rumbling thunder had already subsided, and the blanket of dark clouds that had seemingly wanted to bear down on the houses had also slowly dissipated.

He sat down on the tree stump and heaved a sigh, saying, "When immortals fight, it's the commoners and mortals who suffer the most..."

Of the six letters, four of them were addressed to the Lu Clan, Li Clan, Zhao Clan, and Song Clan of Fortune Street. These were the four major clans of the small town. The remaining two letters were addressed to people in Peach Leaf Alley. Coincidentally, one of them was addressed to the benevolent old man from before. Even more coincidentally, it was again this old man who opened the door to collect the letter. He recognized the young boy in straw sandals, and he said jokingly, "Young child, you're really not going to come in for a drink?"

Chen Ping'an wore a bashful smile as he shook his head.

The old man wasn't surprised by this, and he simply retrieved some copper coins from his sleeve and handed them to Chen Ping'an, saying, "There's a happy occasion in our family today, so this is just a little something that all visitors can receive. It's just a token of good fortune. It's nothing much, only 10 copper coins, so be at ease and accept it."

Only after hearing this did Chen Ping'an accept the copper coins. He smiled and said, "Thank you, Grandpa Wei."

The old man nodded in acknowledgment, and he suddenly said, "Young child, whenever you've got nothing to do in the next while, you can head over to the old locust tree and sit in its shade. If you see any branches or leaves on the floor, you can take them home and place them somewhere. They can keep away insects and vermin. Isn't that nice? And they're free as well."

Chen Ping'an bowed to the old man in gratitude.Th. most uptodat nvels are published on n(0)velbj)n(.)co/m

The old man wore a pleased smile, and he said, "Off you go. Spring is the most important time of the year, so it'll definitely be good for you to exercise more during this time."

The young boy left the bluestone slabs of Peach Leaf Alley behind him.

The old man stood at his door for a long time, gazing at the two rows of peach trees lining the alley. A shapely young maidservant walked up to the old man, saying in a soft voice, "Grandpa, what are you looking at? The weather's cold outside, so be careful not to catch the chills."

The maidservant had already served this old man for quite some years, so she knew that he was a kind and benevolent person. The young girl respected but didn't need to fear the old man, so she asked with a cheeky smile, "Grandpa, you're not reminiscing about how you met a girl in your youth, are you? Was the girl also standing under the peach trees at that time?"

The old man smiled and replied, "Tao Ya, both you and that young boy are kind-hearted and determined people."

The maidservant wore a lovely and innocent smile upon hearing this praise.

The old man suddenly smiled and said, "A distant relative is going to visit in the next few days. When they leave, you can also leave with the other children in the family."

The maidservant faltered upon hearing this. Her eyes became teary, and she sniffed, "Grandpa, I don't want to leave here."

The benevolent old man waved his hand and said, "I'm going to look at the scenery in the alley for a while longer. You can go back in first. Tao Ya, listen to me. Otherwise, I'm going to get angry."

The maidservant had no option but to head back in. However, she couldn't help but glance back several times.

The peach leaves in the alley were lush and verdant. However, peach blossoms were still yet to form.

The old man gently exhaled. He then walked out the door and down the steps, walking to a nearby peach tree and standing under it. There was sadness in his voice as he said, "A beautiful girl like the blooming peach blossoms... There's truly no opportunity for me to witness it again."

He glanced back at his house and murmured, "The uniqueness of this small town is innately discordant with the Great Dao. The Sages forcefully transformed this area at that time, allowing this small town to enjoy great fortune for 3000 years. Many people have walked out of here and left their descendants all throughout the Eastern Treasured Vial Continent. However, just how astute are the heavens? Thus, it's now time for the scores to be settled and for us to pay what we owe. If you children don't leave as soon as possible, are you going to stay and await death alongside us? Us who are old and broken like shattered porcelain? You have to realize that death can come great or minor. For the thousands of people in this small town, what we're going to face is a great death, a death where there is no next life.

"So, while the heavens are still turning a blind eye, it's best that as many of you leave as possible."

The old man extended a shriveled hand and placed it on a branch, saying, "Kind and determined children, here's wishing that the heavens don't target and suppress you."

At some unknown time, Zhao Yao's grandma, the old woman with a cane, had already walked over, saying, "You're already about to be six feet under, yet you're still being so hopeful and naive? Just like old women caking their faces in makeup, your actions are truly vile and repulsive. Is this calamity something that your kindness and benevolence can stop?"

The old man was slightly entranced as he looked at the equally old woman, and he mysteriously said, "You've come."

The old woman faltered upon hearing this. However, she immediately became enraged, swinging her cane at him and saying, "Shameless old geezer! How old are you? Yet, you still dare to make such remarks."

Like raindrops, the cane swung down at the old man again and again. He could only flee in a hurry. However, he couldn't help but laugh heartily as he did so.

Standing under the peach tree, the old woman was still as angry as could be. She regretted becoming soft-hearted and coincidentally walking to Peach Leaf Alley.

In the end, she looked up at the budding leaves of the peach tree.

She then walked back to Fortune Street, with her cane clicking against the bluestone slabs.

This was a peaceful town that had prospered for thousands of years. In the end, however, it would unexpectedly become a town whose pitiful residents would enjoy no reincarnation.

Was there truly not even a sliver of hope?

The creek gradually became shallower, and the well gradually became colder. The old locust tree grew even older, and the iron lock grew even rustier. The large clouds bore down on the small town.

This year, the peach tree produced leaves, but it produced no blossoms.

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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