unsheathed – Chapter 64: The Three Chens

Chapter 64: The Three Chens

Chapter 64: The Three Chens

With a shake, Chen Ping'an suddenly became a temporary apprentice in Master Ruan's blacksmith shop. According to Master Ruan, someone needed to fill the void that Liu Xianyang had left. He needed someone to dig wells, build houses, create canals, and so on. There was no reason for him to look after Liu Xianyang for free.

And thus, Chen Ping'an became the busiest person in the blacksmith shop. Moreover, when it came to physical tasks, he was not inferior to any of the solidly-built men. When he had some free time, Chen Ping'an would head over to that building to visit Liu Xianyang. After taking a trip to the doors of death, Liu Xianyang had become much less energetic and talkative than before. He also looked especially sickly and fragile. Perhaps this was because he still felt a lingering sense of apprehension in his heart after barely escaping death, or perhaps his vitality and spirit had been damaged by the Mountain-moving Ape's vicious punch.

He always stared at the roof in a daze as he lay in bed, and apart from saying a few words to Chen Ping'an from time to time, he would almost never talk to anyone else. Chen Ping'an was also helpless against this situation. Fortunately, the wound on Liu Xianyang's chest was healing quite quickly even though it was extremely severe. In fact, it was surprisingly healing much quicker than the wound on Chen Ping'an's left hand.

Meanwhile, Ning Yao was still staying at Chen Ping'an's place in Clay Vase Alley. The man whom she referred to as Master Ruan had also surprisingly agreed to forge a sword for her, and even more surprisingly, he had said that the sword might be forged in just half a year if they were fortunate. If they were unfortunate, however, this might blow out to more than 10 years. Ning Yao had been quite broad-minded about this, and she had chuckled and said that she had always been a fairly lucky person. Thus, she wouldn't mind waiting for half a year.

Even though Ning Yao still lived in Chen Ping'an's house, all of the medicinal ingredients and pots had been moved to the blacksmith workshop. This was so that Chen Ping'an didn't need to make so many back-and-forth trips. Meanwhile, Chen Ping'an was staying at Liu Xianyang's place, and this was mainly to prevent thieves from taking advantage of his empty house.

Chen Ping'an had gone to collect snake gall pebbles at night again, yet he had come up completely empty-handed, not even finding anything in the deep pit under the Azure Cow Ridge. In the words of Ning Yao, this was because snake gall pebbles were quite similar to people. They also needed to have vitality and spirit. Once they lost these things, they would become nothing more than elegant ornaments for the nobility perhaps they could be carved into inkstones. If they possessed vitality and spirit, however, it would be akin to a person draping on an imperial cape. The gulf between the two was like the gulf between heaven and earth.

This caused Chen Ping'an to sigh and shake his head every time he walked past the creek.

Ning Yao brought a set of keys over and gave them to Chen Ping'an, telling him that someone had tossed them into his courtyard. After a few tries, she had discovered that the set of keys belonged to his neighbor, Song Jixin. From the courtyard gate to the house door, everything could be opened.

Chen Ping'an couldn't understand Song Jixin's intention. Logically speaking, Song Jixin's personality was such that he wouldn't have asked Chen Ping'an to clean his house for him. After all, with Song Jixin's temper, he most likely wouldn't allow others into his house even if it collapsed.

Chen Ping'an understood Song Jixin better than anyone else.

Song Jixin was an extremely generous person. Regardless of whether it was for himself or for Zhi Gui, he would be willing to spend all the money in his pockets even if it were 10 copper coins. At the same time, however, Song Jixin was also an extremely stingy person. If he wanted to have something to himself, then he wouldn't be willing to share it with others no matter what.

To put it simply, if Song Jixin wanted to give someone something, then even giving them 1000 gold coins wouldn't be an issue. If others wanted to obtain something from him, however, he would most definitely disagree. If Song Jixin were in a good mood, he would be willing to add icing to the cake for others. Regardless of what mood he was in, however, he definitely wouldn't help those in dire straits.

Or perhaps it was Zhi Gui who had purposely tossed the keys into his courtyard?

Chen Ping'an felt like the probability of this was small.

When Chen Ping'an had heard Ning Yao talk about how she had opened the doors with the keys, his eyes had widened and his jaw had dropped. He had wanted to say something, but he ultimately refrained from doing so.

Ning Yao had squinted her eyes and looked at him, with her slender brows causing her to appear especially domineering. She had stared at Chen Ping'an just like that.

At the time, Ruan Xiu had been dazedly observing them from nearby, secretly enjoying the snacks that Chen Ping'an had helped her buy from the small town as she did so.

In the end, Ning Yao had turned around to leave first. That day, she hadn't let Chen Ping'an brew medicine for her, and she had instead carried the pots and ingredients to an empty area behind the blacksmith shop. After struggling for half a day, the young girl had ended up with a charcoal-colored face thanks to all the billowing smoke that she had created. At the same time, she had also ended up with an entire pot of charcoal. When Ruan Xiu had walked past from a distance, she had enjoyed her sunflower seeds with relish.

Ning Yao squatted on the floor and angrily stared at the pot of medicinal ingredients. She felt like brewing medicine was far more difficult than practicing sword techniques or saber techniques. Her face was filled with anger and indignance. There was something in the world that she, Ning Yao, couldn't do? By the looks of it, the concept of brewing medicine shouldn't exist in the world anymore!Findd new tories on nov/e(l)bin(.)com

Chen Ping'an silently walked over and brewed a new pot of medicine for her, with his movements being smooth and deft.

Ning Yao's lips moved slightly, yet she eventually didn't say anything to stop him. She simply seized an opportunity when he wasn't looking to wipe her face clean.

Chen Ping'an squatted in front of the pot and carefully observed the flames. His arms were crossed on top of his knees, and his chin was resting on his forearm.

"Laugh if you want to!" Ning Yao humphed coldly.

However, Chen Ping'an didn't laugh at her misfortune. Instead, he kept his gaze fixed on the flickering blue flames and said quietly, "I don't think you did anything bad, Ning Yao. However, those keys belong to someone else, after all. Regardless of how they ended up in our courtyard, it's still not good to use them to open other peoples' doors. Even if Song Jixin and Zhi Gui never return to the small town again, the house next door is still their house. We're still outsiders."

Ning Yao pursed her lips and grumbled, "Foolishly kind person! Stubborn fool! Stupidly fastidious reasoning!"

Chen Ping'an and Ning Yao turned around at almost the exact same time. There was a young man standing behind them, and this was a tall and slender person with an elegant and refined disposition. It was clear that he was not only an outsider, but also a scholar.

Chen Ping'an noticed that this person was looking at him with an extremely strange expression. However, this wasn't the same expression as the Mountain-moving Ape from Sun Scorch Mountain or Fu Nanhua from Old Dragon City, an expression of arrogance and haughtiness. Nor was it the same expression as Daoist Lu or Ning Yao. Instead, his expression was extremely complicated, and there was seemingly pity, appreciation, but also a hint of loathing.

In the end, the young man chose to quietly leave.

Ning Yao frowned and said, "It's clear that his target is you. What's going on?"

Chen Ping'an was also bewildered. He shook his head and replied, "I have no idea."

After being interrupted by the mysterious outsider, the extremely minor grievances between Ning Yao and Chen Ping'an quickly vanished in a puff of smoke.

However, the young man quickly returned again, and this time, there was a young woman with extremely long legs standing next to him. For some reason, Ruan Xiu was also with them.

"They can't speak the dialect of this small town, so they asked me to come over to help," Ruan Xiu explained. "Chen Ping'an, this big sister is the person who saved Liu Xianyang. She has the same surname as you, but she isn't from Eastern Treasured Vial Continent. The person standing next to Big Sister Chen is Chen Songfeng, the eldest grandson of Dragon Tail County's Chen Clan. According to Big Sister Chen, it seems like you two share the same ancestor, so you can be regarded as distant relatives from several hundred years ago.

"As for Big Sister Chen, her Chen Clan is unrelated to your Chen Clans even if we go 1000 years or 2000 years back. She's come here to worship her ancestors this time, but no one in the small town knows where her ancestors' graves are. From the kiln supervision office to the big clans in Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley, none of them have got a clue. However, Liu Xianyang mentioned you, and he said that you're the most knowledgeable person in the small town when it comes to the surrounding mountains and rivers. He said that they couldn't go wrong if they asked you.

"Big Sister Chen said that she could compensate you if you helped, and she offered a pouch of gold essence copper coins. I feel like you can accept this offer..."

When she said this, Ruan Xiu secretly extended two fingers and waved them next to her waist. In addition to this, she also mouthed "two pouches".

She was clearly telling Chen Ping'an that he could ask for more payment. Otherwise, such a good opportunity wouldn't present itself again.

After careful consideration, Chen Ping'an smiled and replied, "I've thought of a place that might be the location that she's looking for. As for compensation... there's no need for any. After all, this is only a matter of walking a few steps."

Ruan Xiu was slightly frantic with worry.

However, Ning Yao had already stepped forward and replied using the official dialect of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, "It's not an issue for Chen Ping'an to bring you to your ancestral grave to worship them. However, you need to pay him two pouches of gold essence copper coins. There's no room for discussion! He's severely wounded right now, so it's not easy for him to trek such long distances. Moreover, you're also aware that Mr. Qi has told us outsiders to leave the small town as soon as possible. Chen Ping'an is only a mortal, yet you need him to increase his pace to bring you there. So, one pouch of gold essence copper coins... isn't enough!"

In fact, both Chen Dui and Chen Songfeng's eyes had lit up when they had first seen Ning Yao.

Seeing her made them forget the vulgarity of the mortal world.

This was akin to seeing an upright orchid in a desolate paddy field.

Chen Dui openly looked her up and down. Ning Yao was dressed in a green robe, and she had both a sword and a saber hanging by her waists. She appeared especially pleasing to the eye. Chen Dui's solemn mood also improved slightly, and she replied with a smile, "As long as we can find my ancestors' graves, I'll be happy to pay two pouches. If we can't find it, however, I won't pay a single pouch. What do you say?"

"Deal!" Ning Yao said in a solemn voice.

From the beginning to the end, it was as if this had nothing to do with Chen Ping'an.

Ning Yao glared at Chen Ping'an, and it was as if her eyes were saying, "Don't try to give me any of your nonsense reasoning again. Otherwise, I'm truly going to hack you into pieces!"

Chen Ping'an forcefully suppressed his smile. He thought for a moment before saying to Ruan Xiu, "Please tell them that I have to brew some medicine for Ning Yao first. I'll need around 30 minutes. After that, I also want to have a chat with Liu Xianyang. Finally, I also need you to help me pass on a message to Master Ruan whatever work I haven't done today, I'll definitely make up for it tomorrow."

A hint of displeasure spread across Chen Dui's face when she heard that they couldn't set off immediately. Her expression was dark as she looked at the young boy in straw sandals.

Chen Ping'an didn't shirk or relent.

Ning Yao crossed her arms and wore a cold smile.

Chen Dui suppressed her displeasure and quietly told herself that she needed to look at the bigger picture. She smiled at Ruan Xiu and said, "Xiuxiu, tell him that we'll wait for him at the covered bridge. We'll wait for one hour at most, and if he still doesn't arrive by then, he'll have to face the consequences himself."

Ruan Xiu replied with an aloof nod.

Chen Dui and Chen Songfeng left together.

Ruan Xiu smiled and said, "I'll go and tell my father."

After brewing a pot of medicine for Ning Yao, Chen Ping'an went to chat with Liu Xianyang.

This was a room that was filled with the smell of medicine. Liu Xianyang was resting in bed, and when he heard the sound of footsteps, he turned around to look over. His face wasn't exactly a healthy shade of pink, but it was already much better than the deathly white that it had been before.

He squeezed out a smile and asked in a hoarse voice, "That Chen Dui woman spoke to you already?"

Chen Ping'an nodded and replied, "Mhm, I'm going to bring them into the mountains in a bit."

Liu Xianyang thought for a moment before telling Chen Ping'an, "I'm going to leave with her. I'm going to go to a place that's apparently even larger than Eastern Treasured Vial Continent."

In fact, Chen Dui had already visited Liu Xianyang once before. However, Liu Xianyang's mood had been quite downcast afterward, and he hadn't wanted to discuss his conversation with her with Chen Ping'an.

He pursed his lips and said, "To tell you the truth, I don't even know what Eastern Treasured Vial Continent is."

Chen Ping'an bent down and helped him fix his blankets, saying with a smile, "And I would know?"

Liu Xianyang rolled his eyes and asked, "Do you know what I'm most worried about?"

Chen Ping'an shook his head.

Liu Xianyang turned his head and gazed at the roof again, saying, "In this place, I at least have you to help me off the bed. After that, I can grit my teeth and deal with the rest myself. But after I leave the small town, how am I going to ** and piss? Am I going to call them over and go, 'Oi, you, come here and support me!'"

Chen Ping'an could only scratch his head helplessly as he sat next to Liu Xianyang's bed.

Liu Xianyang suddenly laughed and mused, "However, when I think about it, I've already died once, so do I still need to be afraid of this?"

"Things will only improve. Don't worry. Didn't Old Man Yao say before? Those who survive a catastrophe are bound to have good fortune later on," Chen Ping'an consoled.

Liu Xianyang felt slightly sad at the mention of Old Man Yao, and he said, "Old Man Yao barely ever said anything nice. However, he spoke basketfuls of demoralizing words, unlucky words, and curse words..."

Ning Yao stood in the doorway, but she didn't interrupt their conversation.

Chen Ping'an helped Liu Xianyang fix his blankets again, and he stood up and said, "I need to bring them into the mountains now. Remember to rest well."

Liu Xianyang nodded and said, "You remember to be careful as well."

Chen Ping'an quietly walked out of the room, and Ning Yao followed by his side. "You're also going to enter the mountains?" Chen Ping'an asked in curiosity.

Ning Yao furrowed her brows and replied, "I don't trust them."

Chen Ping'an nodded and said, "That makes sense. It doesn't hurt to be careful."

The two of them briskly walked next to the creek, and Ning Yao told him, "Almost all of the outsiders have left already."

The spring thunder rumbled, and the startled insects scattered.

The two groups of people met at the southern end of the covered bridge.

Apart from Ning Yao and Liu Baqiao, the swordsman from Wind Lightning Field who had come to join the fun, there were three other people present Chen Dui from another continent, Chen Songfeng from Dragon Tail County, and Chen Ping'an from Clay Vase Alley.

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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