unsheathed – Chapter 70: Daylight

Chapter 70: Daylight

Chapter 70: DaylightALL new hapters n nv()lbin(.)com

At the moment, the town was like a sandbox constructed according to the orders of a general from the Great Li Empire, but with the battle concluded, it had been cast aside with a dark cloth thrown over it to keep it out of sight.

Chen Ping'an lit an oil lamp in his own house, then began to tally his assets. He had three pouches of gold essence copper coins, one of each of the three types, namely Offering Coins, Good Fortune Coins, and Greeting Spring Coins.

One of the pouches of coins had been given to him by the prince of Great Sui Nation as thanks for providing him with the opportunity to purchase that golden carp, while the other two pouches of coins had been left behind by Gu Can as payment for the catfish.

As for the two pouches of coins that Chen Dui had offered to him, Chen Ping'an had implored her to give the coins to Liu Xianyang while they were on their way out of the mountains. Chen Dui had been rather perplexed by this request, but she didn't refuse. Perhaps she was taken aback by Chen Ping'an's choice, or perhaps she was in a good mood after successfully visiting her ancestral grave.

In any case, a rare smile had appeared on her face, and she had told Chen Ping'an in a gentle and earnest voice not to worry, and that a promise from her, a direct lineal descendant of the Yingyin Chen Clan, was definitely worth more than two pouches of gold essence copper coins. Chen Ping'an didn't dare to fully believe this claim, but after Ning Yao heard from him that Chen Dui was a direct lineal descendant of the Yingyin Chen Clan, she told Chen Ping'an not to worry.

In addition to the coins, there were also the four seals that Mr. Qi had bestowed upon him on two separate occasions. The earliest set of two seals that carried the phrases "Tranquil Mind Begets Enlightenment" and "Chen Shiyi" had been crafted from snake gall pebbles from Mr. Qi's private collection, while the other two seals had been crafted from snake gall pebbles that Chen Ping'an had given to him.

One was engraved using official script, while the other was engraved using oracle bone script, and the two seals could be placed together to form an image depicting a piece of scenery. One seal was dense and sturdy, while the other was lighter and more delicate, and the characters for "Mountain" and "Water" had been engraved upon them. According to Ning Yao, they could be referred to as a pair of Mountain and Water Seals.

Chen Ping'an placed the three sheets of paper containing the medicinal recipe from Daoist Lu onto the table.

Ning Yao had once denounced Daoist Lu's handwriting as bland and tasteless, completely lacking in any flair or soul. It was like the handwriting of scholars conforming to the regulations of the imperial examination, a type of handwriting that was completely dead and soulless.

Chen Ping'an was naturally unable to gauge the quality and expertise of Daoist Lu's handwriting, nor was he going to take these three sheets of paper lightly just because of Ning Yao's comments. Prior to his departure, Daoist Lu had told him that it was not going to be easy to purchase books in the town, so this medicinal recipe was a good tool for Chen Ping'an to learn how to read and write.

Chen Ping'an carefully picked up the final sheet of paper, and there was a bright red seal at the bottom of the page, containing the text "Signed, Lu Chen". In the past, he hadn't thought much of it, but now that he also had as many as four seals in his possession, he felt a sense of connection to the seal on the page.

He thought about how someday, when he had some money to spare, he was going to buy some books for his private collection and stamp his "Chen Shiyi" seal onto the final page or the back cover of the books, and he couldn't help but grin at the thought.

However, he then quickly realized a problem. In order to use his seals, he required ink paste. Next to the pastry shop on Dragon Riding Alley was a general shop that sold a wide variety of things. The name of the shop was "Burclover", and Song Jixin and Zhi Gui were regular patrons there. All of his writing materials and ornaments had been purchased from the shop.

Chen Ping'an hesitated momentarily, then decided that once he became literate, he would go to the shop and buy a container of ink paste if he spotted a book that caught his fancy someday.

Aside from that, there was also the sack of carefully selected snake gall pebbles, of which there were around seven or eight, and they were all of different colors. Even though they had been out of water for a very long time, their color still hadn't faded in the slightest. The sack was open and sitting on the table, with stones of all types of different colors and sizes nestled together, presenting a pleasing sight to behold.

Chen Ping'an had originally hoped to give these snake gall pebbles to Liu Xianyang. Song Jixin could be very abrasive and insensitive at times, but there was one thing that he had said that was very correct. Essentially, the same thing that could only be sold for several copper coins on the stalls outside Clay Vase Alley would cost a minimum of three or four taels of silver in Burclover.

Song Jixin had only mentioned this in an offhand manner, but Chen Ping'an had taken his comments to heart. If he were to try and sell the snake gall pebbles in the town, the chances of receiving a high price for them were slim to none, but if Liu Xianyang were to take them out of the town to wherever the Yingyin Chen Clan was situated, even if someone were to lowball him, he would definitely be able to sell the snake gall pebbles for far more than Chen Ping'an would be able to in the town.

Essentially, the choice was between keeping a bunch of near-worthless pebbles for himself, or allowing his friend to make a fortune outside of the town, and it was clear to Chen Ping'an which one was the preferable option.

Otherwise, why would he have become friends with Liu Xianyang in the first place?

Hence, even though Chen Ping'an didn't think Liu Baqiao from Wind Lightning Field was a bad person, he didn't take Liu Baqiao seriously no matter how much the latter tried to proclaim that they were brothers, nor did he ever reciprocate the goodwill that Liu Baqiao had displayed toward him.

Finally, Chen Ping'an picked up that jade hairpin. Mr. Qi had told him that the hairpin had been bestowed upon him by his teacher, and that it was just an ordinary object as opposed to any exotic treasure.

The phrase "as gentle and amiable as jade should a virtuous person be" was engraved upon the hairpin, and Ning Yao had once explained the meaning of this saying to Chen Ping'an.

Chen Ping'an had never read any books, but he could still feel the weight behind the saying.

Ning Yao's voice suddenly rang out from the doorway. "Why don't you put on the hairpin? Mr. Qi gave it to you, so he naturally would've wanted it to be used for its purpose."

Chen Ping'an turned to her with a slightly dazed expression, then smiled as he asked, "What're you doing here?"

Ning Yao sat down across the table from Chen Ping'an, then took a glance at the hairpin that he was holding as she said, "I've examined that thing carefully, and it really is just an ordinary hairpin that's not special in any way. In the beginning, I thought it was a small world."

"A what?" Chen Ping'an had no idea what she was saying.

Ning Yao looked at all of Chen Ping'an's most valuable assets laid out on the table and explained, "You've heard of the concept of alternate worlds, right? The common folk never take this concept seriously, thinking that it's only a term of embellishment used by scholars. However, in reality, the concept is very much real.

There are two types of worlds under the heavens, one of which is this Jewel Small World that we're in right now, which is one of the 10 large worlds and 36 small worlds. Some of these worlds are extremely vast, and legend has it that the Dao Ancestor has a Lotus Flower World, and even though it's one of the 36 small worlds, just a single one of the lotus leaves in that small world spans a larger area than the entire capital city of the Great Li Empire."

Chen Ping'an was quite bewildered to hear this. "Surely that's not possible!"

Ning Yao pointed at herself as she smiled and said, "I don't believe it, either. I'll tell you whether the stories are true or not after I go and see it for myself someday."

"Surely not just anyone can go to those places," Chen Ping'an said in a quiet voice.

"Do you think I'm just anyone?" Ning Yao chuckled.

Chen Ping'an hurriedly changed the subject. "Can you tell me more about the alternate worlds?"

Ning Yao casually picked up one of the smaller snake gall pebbles. It was a pink pebble, and she massaged it in the palm of her hand as she said, "All of the large worlds run through heaven and earth and possess an abundance of spiritual energy. They are bona fide immortal abodes, and Qi refiners can significantly speed up their progress by cultivating in those places.

The rulers of all of those worlds are people blessed with immense fortune, and all of the large worlds have already been split among the most powerful figures in the three teachings, with no one else able to lay so much as a finger on them. As for the 36 small worlds, they're like concealed secret realms, like a shy woman hiding behind a fan.

Among them, Paradise Small World is the most beautiful and scenic, Astral Winds Small World is the most strange and perilous, and Jewel Small World..."

"What about Jewel Small World?" Chen Ping'an asked with a curious expression.

The corners of Ning Yao's lips curved up slightly as she held up two of her fingers in pinching motion and replied, "It's the tiniest and most insignificant of the small worlds."

Chen Ping'an sat down lazily with his legs crossed, laying down onto the table before raising a fist and counting on one finger after another as he countered with a smile, "But in this small world, I met Mr. Qi, Old Man Yang, Liu Xianyang, Gu Can, and you."

Ning Yao also smiled as she said, "There is also a type of small world known as domains, and they're used for storage purposes. In Buddhism, such places are known as all-encompassing seeds, which corresponds with the concept of the world up the sleeve in Daoism, and all of the other teachings have similar concepts of their own as well.

All of those concepts essentially describe a tiny place that can encompass heaven and earth. To put it in simpler terms, it's a tiny object that can store many things. However, in contrast with true blessed lands and small worlds, no living beings can be put into those domains. The most valuable item among my mother's dowry is a jade bracelet, and the domain inside is roughly the same size as this house."

Chen Ping'an was quite ignorant to such matters, and he was rather disappointed as he said, "That's tiny! Didn't you just say that just one of the Dao Ancestor's lotus leaves is the size of a city?"

Ning Yao was furious to hear this, and she leaned forward to slap Chen Ping'an on the head. Chen Ping'an hurriedly leaned back while dodging from side to side, and Ning Yao swatted her hand through the air several times without striking her target.

All of a sudden, a thought occurred to her, and she raised the hand that was holding the pink snake gall pebble, motioning as if she were going to throw it.

Chen Ping'an hurriedly raised his hands in a panic as he urged, "Don't throw it! If you damage it, it'll sell for far less than it otherwise would!"

Ning Yao pursed her lips and set down the snake gall pebble, only to suddenly raise her hand once again.

Chen Ping'an hurriedly closed his eyes, not daring to look any longer.

Ning Yao slammed the rock heavily down onto the table before bursting into laughter.

Chen Ping'an opened his eyes, and an exasperated look appeared on his face as he sighed, "Can you not be so immature?"

Ning Yao raised an eyebrow upon hearing this, and she knocked the pebble off the table with a sweep of her arm.

Chen Ping'an scratched his head with his hands as he looked on with a sour expression.

It was impossible to reason with Ning Yao.

Ning Yao grinned as she extended her other hand out from under the table, and as it turned out, she had caught the pebble before it fell onto the ground.

Chen Ping'an remained seated with his hands over his head and a pitiful look on his face.

Ning Yao didn't tease Chen Ping'an any longer, and a serious look appeared on her face as she asked, "What are you going to do from here?"

Chen Ping'an considered the question for a moment, then replied in a candid manner, "After completing the manual labor tasks assigned to me by Master Ruan, I want to go into the mountains to burn some charcoal. Along the way, I can also pick some medicinal ingredients to be sold to the Yang Family's medicine shop."

Ning Yao hesitated momentarily, then asked, "Aside from that Mountain-moving Ape from Sun Scorch Mountain, there's also that woman from Liu Zhimao, River Severing True Lord Liu Zhimao, and Dawn Cloud Mountain and Old Dragon City that you have to deal with. What are you going to do if they come after you?"

Before Chen Ping'an had a chance to reply, Ning Yao continued in a solemn voice, "This is why Daoist Lu told you to remain at Master Ruan's forge no matter what. That's the only way to keep yourself safe."

A concerned look appeared on Chen Ping'an's face as he asked, "Then what if I attract a ton of trouble for Master Ruan?"

"You don't have to worry about a Sage capable of overseeing a small world," Ning Yao scoffed.

Chen Ping'an nodded in response. "In that case, I'll pay a visit to Master Ruan and tell him the truth about my situation to see if he's still willing to accept me as a long-term apprentice."

Ning Yao rested her cheek on one hand while sorting through the snake gall pebbles with her other hand, and she said, "There's no problem in this town that can't be resolved with a pouch of gold essence copper coins. If there is, then two pouches will be sure to suffice."

"I want to keep these coins," Chen Ping'an whined with a sour expression.

Ning Yao gave him a cold glare as she countered, "Then why were you so willing to give all of it to Liu Xianyang?"

"You can't compare those two things," Chen Ping'an said with a shake of his head.

Ning Yao rolled her eyes as she scoffed, "If any woman is unfortunate enough to become your wife in the future, then I bet she'll constantly want to slap you to death!"

A serious look appeared on Chen Ping'an's face as he countered, "If I had a wife, then I would act differently. I can't make my wife suffer for my decisions."

Ning Yao merely sneered in response, completely unconvinced by Chen Ping'an's words.

Chen Ping'an crossed his arms as he sat with his legs crossed, and a rare look of arrogance appeared on his face as he declared, "If someone dares to mess with my wife, I'll hack them to death no matter who they are, even if they're a god or a Dao Ancestor or whatever! I don't care if those people can be killed or not, I sure as hell am going to try!"

Ning Yao was astonished to hear this.

She had always felt like Chen Ping'an had a very mild and mellow personality. With the exceptions of Cai Jinjian and Bai Yuan, he never seemed to hold any grudges, and he never seemed to get angry at anyone.

If someone as prideful as Fu Nanhua or Song Jixin had made that declaration just now, then Ning Yao wouldn't have been surprised in the slightest, but she was quite taken aback to hear it come from Chen Ping'an, and she couldn't help but ask, "Why?"

Chen Ping'an grinned as he replied, "My father only had one fight in his life, and that was over my mother. Someone on Dragon Riding Alley insulted my mother, and my father wasn't willing to let things slide, so he went to Dragon Riding Alley to pick a fight.

After he came back, my mother complained about this for a very long time, but my father told me in private that it didn't matter whether that was a fight that he could win. What mattered was that a man had to protect his wife. Otherwise, he may as well never get married!"

"If he's saying that, then it sounds like the fight didn't go very well for him," Ning Yao remarked.

Chen Ping'an scratched his head with an embarrassed expression as he explained, "My father was a great potter, but he was not good at all in fights. He was thoroughly beaten that day and came home all bruised and battered."

Ning Yao smacked her forehead in a speechless manner.

After a brief moment of silence, she stood up and declared, "I'm going back to the forge."

"Should I accompany you out of Clay Vase Alley?" Chen Pingan asked.

"Don't bother!" Ning Yao snapped.

Chen Ping'an didn't force the issue, only accompanying Ning Yao to the entrance of his yard before parting ways with her.

Even though Ning Yao didn't turn around, she knew that he was standing at the entrance the entire time.

Someone with a kind and pure heart would always instill a sense of warmth into those around them, and their very existence was a beautiful thing.

Chen Ping'an had no one to rely on, and he was seen as a pitiful and insignificant ant by all of the outsiders visiting the town, but he still had his own life to live.

He also wanted to live a good life, but he wasn't greedy. From a very young age, he had never shied away from adversity and hardship. All he wanted was for his parents to be able to see him from the afterlife and not be concerned for him. If he could live a good life, his parents would be proud and content even though he was the only one left in the family.

He was taking full responsibility for his own life, and he didn't want to ask for anything from the heavens.

People like him appeared to have a very mild personality, but deep down, they were extremely hardy and resilient.

As Ning Yao made her way out of Clay Vase Alley, she felt a little dejected and also slightly guilty for leaving without bidding farewell.

Meanwhile, Chen Ping'an returned to the house, staring blankly at the oil lamp in a half-asleep, half-dreaming state.

He felt as if he had somehow arrived at the southern end of the covered bridge. On the way there, it was still pitch black, with visibility limited to only a few feet.

However, as soon as he set foot onto the steps, heaven and earth suddenly lit up.

Chen Ping'an was passing through the covered bridge in a dazed manner when a burst of incredibly dazzling white light appeared at the center of the bridge. It was even more bright and piercing than the radiance that had erupted throughout heaven and earth, and even though the light was so bright that Chen Ping'an's eyes were tearing up, for some reason, he was able to see the peculiar scenery up ahead even more clearly.

There was a tall figure with a set of blurry facial features standing on the bridge.

The figure wore a pristine white robe with billowing sleeves, resembling an immortal deity, reminding Chen Ping'an of his first meeting with Mr. Qi.

However, even though Chen Ping'an's consciousness was quite fuzzy and muddled, he was certain that this person was even more ethereal than Mr. Qi. In other words, they were even further detached from the realm of mortals.

Chen Ping'an slowly made his way onward, and a seductive female voice rang out beside his ears. "Kneel and you shall be blessed with fortune beyond your wildest dreams."

This was followed by an authoritative voice that resonated deep in Chen Ping'an's heart. "How dare a mere mortal like you display such insolence? Kneel!"

Another voice that was more neutral and placid rang out immediately thereafter. "Mortals must kneel to heaven and earth, as well as one's parents and teachers, so what's the harm in kneeling here? In exchange, you will be propelled to the pinnacle of the Great Dao."

Finally, a raspy, elderly rang out. "Kneel, and you will be granted free passage across the bridge of immortality. Do not hesitate. If you refuse to receive the blessings of the heavens, then you will be punished instead!"

All of a sudden, a familiar voice sounded in objection to all of the other voices. "Stop, Chen Ping'an! Do not go any further, and do not kneel, no matter what you do! Just remain on the spot and do not do anything. You are but a mere mortal, your body cannot bear the will of the gods! You mustn't go against the natural order..."

The voice of warning seemed to belong to Old Man Yang, but it was constantly trailing off, becoming quieter and quieter as he spoke.

At the same time, a warm and gentle voice encouraged, "Chen Ping'an, why don't you take a few steps forward and see what'll happen?"

The voice seemed to belong to Mr. Qi, and Chen Ping'an instinctively stood up straight and stopped in his tracks before looking around with a dazed expression.

He had many questions that he wanted to ask Mr. Qi, but many more voices were ringing out incessantly around him.

"This is a fated opportunity that should fall to Ma Kuxuan! Leave this place right now, you insolent brat!"

"Even if Ma Kuxuan is unable to claim this fated opportunity, it should fall into the hands of Ning Yao! Who the hell do you think you are?"

"Your branch of the Chen Clan is a complete lost cause that should've died out long ago! How dare you try to claim the blessings of the gods, you insolent rat!"

"Chen Ping'an, you care greatly for Ning Yao and Liu Xianyang, do you not? In that case, return to the town and leave this fated opportunity to your friends. Qi Jingchun has already sacrificed his own life to save the town's mortal residents like yourself. Just be content with your current life, marry a woman, have children, and pass on to your next life. Isn't that everything you ever wanted?"

"If you dare to take even a single step further, you shall meet a terrible demise!"

Chen Ping'an took a decisive step forward, and the covered bridge trembled violently, while all of the voices instantly fell silent.

After taking that initial step, Chen Ping'an naturally took a second step, and only then did he notice that Mr. Qi was walking along right beside him.

The entire covered bridge and the area outside of it abruptly became pitch black once again.

Back when he first stopped on the bridge, his eyes had already adjusted to the light, so he was no longer tearing up, but all of a sudden, tears began to well up in his eyes again, and he could sense an impending separation. "Are you about to leave, Mr. Qi?"

"Indeed, I am. There are too many people outside who want me dead, so I have no choice in the matter."

"Who are we going to see, Mr. Qi?"

"'We' are not going to see anyone. You must go alone to meet an old man."

All of a sudden, a resounding boom rang out, and Mr. Qi seemed to have been sent flying by a heavy blow, but he remained unfazed and burst into laughter as he urged, "Chen Ping'an, the Great Dao is right beneath your feet! Go!"

Chen Ping'an took a deep breath, then raised his foot as he prepared to take a third step.

Right at this moment, a voice rang out from extremely far away and high up in the sky, instantly piercing through heaven and earth as it declared, "You shall not go any further."

This was followed by a cold harrumph from someone in the covered bridge, and Chen Ping'an abruptly awakened to find that he was still laying on the table in his house.

The oil lamp was still burning, and he reflexively turned to look out the window to find that daylight had returned.

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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