unsheathed – Chapter 72: Black Cloud

Chapter 72: Black Cloud

Chapter 72: Black Cloud

Even though Chen Ping'an had a thin and frail-looking body, he wasn't struggling at all as he carried the locust branches on his shoulder, making his way down Clay Vase Alley as if there were nothing more than a feather sitting on his shoulder. Li Baoping was trailing along behind him, and she was astonished to see this. If it weren't for her insistence, Chen Ping'an would've taken the locust branch on her delicate shoulder as well.

At the entrance to Clay Vase Alley stood a little girl with her hair arranged into a pair of braids. Her cheeks were bright red from the cold winter air, and upon spotting Li Baoping swaggering her way down the alley, a displeased look appeared on her face as she complained, "Li Baoping, didn't you say you were going to come to school with me after dropping off the locust branch?

Grandpa Ma is acting really strange today. He's dressed up like Mr. Qi, and he says that he'll be taking us on our excursion to Mountain Cliff Academy. If Grandpa Ma gets mad at us, then we'll all pin the blame on you."

Li Baoping didn't take her words to heart at all, and she pulled one of the green locust leaves that Chen Ping'an had given her out of her embroidered pouch, twirling it gleefully in front of the other girl with an expression that said, "You don't have any of these, do you? I have a load of them!"

The little girl with the twin braids was very bemused, perplexed about why Li Baoping was showing off a leaf to her. However, she was very disgruntled by Li Baoping's gloating expression, and she really wanted to slap that smug look off her face. The problem was that none of the children in the school, even a troublemaker like Li Huai, was a match for Li Baoping in a fight.

Li Huai had once been beaten by Li Baoping to the point that he laid on the ground and pretended to be dead. However, Li Baoping was still unwilling to let him off the hook, and she stripped off Li Huai's pants, then tossed them high up onto a tree branch. Li Huai was bawling his eyes out as he rushed back home with no pants, and his mother was not one to let bygones be bygones.

Thus, she dragged Li Huai along behind her as she stormed onto Fortune Street. However, as soon as she spotted the fearsome stone lions and tall walls of the Li Clan's manor on Fortune Street, she immediately directed her rage at Li Huai instead, giving him a vicious beating. In the end, she didn't even dare to knock on the gate of the Li Clan's manor, and she scurried back to their dilapidated house on the westernmost side of the town while dragging Li Huai along by the ear.

However, in order to console her son, Li Huai's mother killed a chicken and braised it for him to eat that night. Li Huai stood on his stool with his backside still bare, swaying from side to side as he munched happily on the chicken, and the embarrassment that he had suffered at the hands of Li Baoping had become nothing more than a constant memory.

A disdainful look appeared on the face of the little girl with the twin braids, and she scoffed, "Why are you showing off a dumb leaf? My father gave me a golden abacus last night. It's made of gold, and it's this big!"

Unfortunately for her, Li Baoping was still completely immersed in her own little world, and she didn't care about any golden abacus in the slightest. She continued to twirl the locust leaf in front of the little girl with her pointy little chin raised in provocation, and she pointed at Chen Ping'an as she said, "He gave this to me. I still have more in this pouch."

The little girl with the twin braids heaved an exasperated sigh. Li Baoping had always been this annoying since the very first day they had met. She always said and did what she wanted without any regard for anyone else.

If it weren't for the fact that there weren't many children of her age on Dragon Riding Alley, she would've never sought out Li Baoping as a playmate. It was often the case that even Mr. Qi was left completely stumped and exasperated by Li Baoping.

She would always ask some strange questions in class, and Mr. Qi would always try to answer those questions seriously. The only problem was that the answers that he provided were often not satisfactory to Li Baoping. Sometimes, Mr. Qi would spend a long time mulling over a question that she had raised, and he would excitedly provide an answer to her the next day, only to find that she had already forgotten all about what she had asked the previous day.

Whenever she thought about activities like fishing for catfish, fighting crickets, or flying kites, she would immediately rush away in excitement, leaving Mr. Qi hanging high and dry.

Chen Ping'an was carrying a bunch of locust branches on his shoulder, so it was difficult for him to turn his head. Thus, he could only raise his voice slightly as he asked, "How many people are in the school right now?"

Meanwhile, Li Baoping was arduously moving her locust branch to her other shoulder. She had already transferred the branch back and forth from shoulder to shoulder many times, and both of her shoulders were feeling very sore.

The little girl with the twin braids extended a hand forward as she replied, "There are only five people left. Me, Li Baoping, Li Huai, Lin Shouyi, and Dong Shuijing."

She had nothing better to do anyway, so she eagerly told Chen Ping'an about the current situation in the school. "Mr. Qi promised to take us on an excursion to Mountain Cliff Academy before. At the time, there were still around 15 kids at the school, and their parents and guardians all agreed for them to go on the excursion, but after that, most of the rich kids living on Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley stopped coming to school because they were sick, and I heard from Li Baoping that they later left the town altogether to go live with distant relatives.

They were the happiest out of everyone when they first heard about the excursion to Mountain Cliff Academy, and I had no idea what they were so happy about. I get tired just thinking about having to go somewhere so far away with Mr. Qi."

The little girl's voice was quite tender, but her logic was very clear, and she spoke with an adult-like sense of maturity and calmness. For some reason, Chen Ping'an was reminded of Gu Can, but she was quite different from that abrasive troublemaker.

"What's your name?" Chen Ping'an asked with a smile.

The little girl with the twin braids replied, "My name is Shi Chunjia. You can call me Madam Shi."

Chen Ping'an was rendered speechless upon hearing this.ewW ovels updtes on nov/l/b(i)(.)com

"You can just call her Little Rock," Li Baoping scoffed. [1]

Shi Chunjia immediately turned to Li Baoping like an enraged kitten as she protested, "You can't call me Little Rock! You're not allowed to, either, Li Baoping!"

However, at this point, Li Baoping had already wandered away from the subject of Shi Chunjia's nickname, so she completely ignored her protests.

However, Shi Chunjia had a very persistent personality, and she seemed to have endless patience as she babbled incessantly at Li Baoping, trying to convince her to discard that nickname. She knew that once they arrived at Mountain Cliff Academy, if Li Baoping were to call her "Little Rock" even once, then that nickname would permanently stick and become unshakeable.

The two little girls trailed along behind Chen Ping'an while continuing to bicker with each other, and as they drew close to Fortune Street, he asked, "There are many residences with the Li surname on Fortune Street, which one is yours?"

Chen Ping'an was thinking to himself that everything would be fine as long as it wasn't the Li manor of the four major clans.

At the time, in order to lure Bai Yuan onto the mountain, he had climbed up the descendant locust tree onto the wall of the Li manor and used his slingshot to smash the two food containers in that birdcage.

Shi Chunjia wore a disgruntled expression as she grumbled, "Her residence is the one with the locust tree outside. Whenever her parents refused to let her go out for fear that she would cause trouble, she would sneak her way up the wall on a ladder, then climb down the locust tree onto Fortune Street.

Last time, her parents were truly furious, and they carried the ladder away, insisting that she enter through the main gate. However, she refused to do what they wanted and jumped directly off the wall. She didn't come to school for an entire month after that, and the two months after, she was constantly walking around on crutches."

Li Baoping didn't think this was an embarrassing story at all, and she said in a serious manner, "I thought long and hard about what happened, and I realized that my landing position was incorrect. I shouldn't have just jumped straight down and had my legs bear the full impact. I went to try again after my legs were all healed up and..."

"And you ended up having to skip school for another half a month!" Shi Chunjia exclaimed in exasperation.

"I was fine the third time, wasn't I?" Li Baoping countered in a justified manner.

"That's only because a year later, your body grew, and that's why you were able to handle more punishment! It has nothing to do with your landing position!" Shi Chunjia snapped.

Chen Ping'an didn't get involved in the quarrel between the two little girls. He was hoping that the people from the Li Clan wouldn't recognize him. Otherwise, he would've been in some severe trouble. On top of that, deep down, he was very envious of the two little girls, envious of their happy and stable lives, that they had parents to keep them in check, and a school where they could go to receive an education.

Despite his reservations, Chen Ping'an still decided to help Li Baoping carry the locust branches to her residence.

He had just told Li Baoping that one had to follow through on their promises, so he had no choice but to muster up his courage and go to the Li manor with her.

Perhaps the gods had finally woken up from their nap, or perhaps they felt like Chen Ping'an had suffered enough of late. In any case, the porter of the Li manor didn't recognize him, and Li Baoping didn't ask him to carry the locust branches into the residence, either.

Chen Ping'an was very relieved by this turn of events, and he was just about to turn and leave when Li Baoping offered him the branch that she had been carrying on her shoulder, telling him that it was her repayment for his help.

Chen Ping'an didn't refuse the branch, casually setting it on his shoulder as he waved her goodbye.

The porter was already accustomed to Li Baoping's strange personality, so he wasn't surprised to see her bring back a bunch of locust branches that weren't really good for anything, not even to be used as firewood. Instead, he was feeling a little saddened by the sight of the scratches on her large red jacket from the branches.

That jacket was far more valuable than those useless branches. Even before she had turned five years of age, Li Baoping had managed to catch a large crab from the creek all by herself. Upon returning home, tears were streaming out of her eyes as she raised her hand up high, and there was a crab clinging onto her little hand with its pincer with all its might, causing much distress for her parents and grandparents.

The crab had a dark green shell, but its pincers were bright red, and even to this day, it was still being kept by her in a large vat. She hated reading books, so whenever she had some free time, she would go and chat with the crab.

Shi Chunjia was watching as Chen Ping'an departed when she suddenly turned to Li Baoping as she jibed, "He was the one that made you fall and lose a front tooth, wasn't he?"

All of a sudden, Li Baoping made her way behind Shi Chunjia, then grabbed onto her braids before preparing to lift her upward. "Trust me, it'll definitely work this time."

Shi Chunjia was horrified, and she hurriedly squatted down and closed her eyes as she frantically flailed her arms above her head, trying to sway Li Baoping's hands away.

Li Baoping was quite a bit taller than Shi Chunjia, and she squatted down beside her as she declared in a confident voice, "It won't hurt at all, Little Rock. How will you know if you don't try it a second time?"

Shi Chunjia immediately burst into tears.

The porter couldn't stand to watch any longer, and he stepped in to save Shi Chunjia. "Mr. Ma from the school asked Li Huai to pass a message to us earlier, instructing us to prepare a horse-drawn carriage.

Young Mistress, you should pack up your things and go to the school so you can go on the excursion to Mountain Cliff Academy with the other kids. Of course, on the way to the school, you can make a trip to Dragon Riding Alley and have Young Mistress Shi's belongings loaded onto the horse-drawn carriage as well."

Thus, Li Baoping had no choice but to let Shi Chunjia off the hook for now. She was very disappointed, and even as she made her way into the manor, she was still feeling quite forlorn on Shi Chunjia's behalf.

After surviving that close call, Shi Chunjia decided there and then that she was going to remove her braids.

All of a sudden, a surprised look appeared on Li Baoping's face as she looked up at the sky.

Shi Chunjia looked up in the same direction and mused, "It's not going to rain, is it?"

A large black cloud was drifting over the sky above the town from north to south.

Chen Ping'an had just emerged from Fortune Street, and he was also looking up at the cloud with an utterly astonished expression.

That was no cloud, it was an arsenal of flying swords, riding atop which were countless immortals!

Chen Ping'an swept his gaze along the direction that the cloud of flying swords was traveling in, and he spotted a black dot traveling from south to north, going in the opposite direction to these immortals.

The black dot was growing larger and larger, and all of a sudden, Chen Ping'an's eyes widened in shock as if he had just seen a ghost in broad daylight.

There was a figure descending from the sky in the south atop a flying sword, pausing momentarily when they were still over 1,000 feet away from the ground in the town. The sword-riding figure looked down at the town, sweeping their gaze in all directions before swooping down toward Fortune Street.

The flying sword hurtled through the air, sweeping up a gust of howling wind before arriving in front of Chen Ping'an in the blink of an eye.

The sword was hovering around five feet above the ground, and atop the sword stood a gallant young woman in a dark green robe.

The slightly disheveled young woman had her arms crossed, and she grinned at Chen Ping'an as she declared, "I felt like it was only right for me to bid you farewell, so I came."

Before Chen Ping'an had a chance to say anything, the flying sword swiveled around at the young woman's behest, carrying her away into the distant sky.

Chen Ping'an reflexively reached out a hand, but at this point, the flying sword and the young woman were already nowhere to be seen.

Chen Ping'an sheepishly withdrew his hand, then scratched his head in an awkward manner before continuing on his way back to Clay Vase Alley, occasionally looking up at the sky along the way.

Initially, he was feeling a little dejected, but he was quickly buoyed by the realization that Ning Yao was an immortal cultivator as well.

He was so elated by this realization that for the first time ever, he bought a tanghulu from a shop on Dragon Riding Alley to eat on the way home.

For some reason, an empty feeling welled up in his heart as he ate the tanghulu, and he didn't know what the source of this feeling was. Perhaps he was feeling bad over the copper coins that he had spent on the tanghulu?

1. Shi Chunjia's surname () translates to rock/stone.

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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