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unsheathed – Chapter 71 (1): I’ll Like You for a While Longer

Chapter 71 (1): I’ll Like You for a While Longer

Chapter 71 (1): Ill Like You for a While Longer

Chen Ping'an stumbled out of the room with a dazed expression and made his way out into the yard. He looked up at the scorching sun, and it was a bright and clear day with not a single cloud in the sky.

Chen Ping'an could feel that his own breathing was a little labored, so he sat down onto the doorstep and joined his palms together as he focused on meditation.

Only after around 15 minutes had passed did the obstruction in his breathing fade away, but right as he was about to stand up, he caught a glimpse of something out of his peripheral vision, causing him to immediately sit back down onto the doorstep. His eyes widened with disbelief as he turned toward a corner of his yard, where a slab of Dragon Slaying Platform was resting peacefully.

He hurriedly rose to his feet and rushed over to the slab of Dragon Slaying Platform, then crouched down to examine it carefully. As he examined the slab of Dragon Slaying Platform, he was struck by a sense of familiarity. He stroked his own chin as he slowly made his way around the piece of Dragon Slaying Platform, and after making a full lap around the stone, he was convinced that this was a piece of the pedestal beneath the Nodding Bodhisattva statue.

However, it looked as if this chunk of the pedestal had been sliced off extremely cleanly, much like a piece of tofu, and a shiver immediately ran down his spine as he made this observation.

Ning Yao was always making bold claims to Chen Ping'an, but she had never once lied to him. She had told him that Dragon Slaying Platform was an extremely hard material that could only be sliced through by a powerful sword immortal at a heavy cost. Chen Ping'an firmly believed what she had told him, and thus, he was absolutely bewildered by the fact that a piece of a pedestal had somehow ended up in his yard.

Could it be that the slab of Dragon Slaying Platform had come to life and rolled into his yard on its own? At this point, Chen Ping'an was already aware that there were mystical forces in this world, but surely there were no living stones! Besides, it could've gone to any house it wanted, why would it have come to him? To suffer? If so, then this thing really had to be as dumb as a rock!

"Hey, can you speak? Can you understand what I'm saying?" Chen Ping'an asked in a tentative voice.

To no one's surprise, he was met with no response.

Chen Ping'an continued to stare at the piece of Dragon Slaying Platform with a bewildered expression.

The dream from earlier was so realistic that Chen Ping'an was still yet to fully return to the real world, which was why he was still quite jumpy and jittery.

Many trivial things that he had never put much thought into were suddenly flooding back into his mind, and he was able to see them through different eyes.

Both Mr. Qi and Ning Yao had told him many things about the strange world outside of the town, and even Old Man Yao had told him many stories.

There were many things that had to be taken into account, even when it came to something as simple as entering the mountains. For example, those unremarkable old tree stumps could be seats that belonged to mountain gods, so it was taboo to sit on them.

Old Man Yao had proclaimed that all of the mountains in the world, regardless of how short or tall they were, came from the same roots, and that they were all related to one another, much like members of a human clan.

In this instant, a hint of curiosity suddenly welled up in Chen Ping'an's heart. He really wanted to know what he had to do if he wanted to see the entirety of Jewel Small World. Would he have to climb to the peak of that mountain that was even taller than Cloud Drape Mountain to be able to see everything?

Chen Ping'an set that train of thought aside as he continued to stare at the black stone, and he was considering moving it to the blacksmith shop as it would definitely come in useful for Ning Yao. As for what Ning Yao was going to do with the stone, whether that be using it to sharpen her own sword, or pass it onto Master Ruan as thanks for forging a sword for her, that didn't matter to Chen Ping'an. He was only curious about how one could go about sharpening their sword on this stone, and he wondered if it was the same process that he used to sharpen his bushcraft blades.

Chen Ping'an was never one to procrastinate, so after making his decision, he immediately sprang into action. He gripped onto the underside of the stone with his hands and hoisted it upward, but was only able to lift it around an inch up from the ground. It was rather heavy, but not so heavy that it was immovable.

Chen Ping'an returned to the house to find a basket, and soon, he was making his way down Clay Vase Alley with the basket on his back, and a garment draped over the Dragon Slaying Platform sitting in the basket.

After leaving Clay Vase Alley, Chen Ping'an noticed that there were many people on the streets. It was most likely because everyone had been thoroughly spooked by the sudden transition from day to night, and now that the sun had reappeared, they were all coming out to bask in its radiance. The vast majority of the town's residents had emerged from their homes and made their way out onto the streets to discuss the recent "eclipse".

Occasionally, there would be someone rushing past, proclaiming that the Iron Lock Well had completely run dry, and that even the metal chain that had been hanging in the well for as long as anyone could remember had been taken by someone. There were also some rabble-rousing children who were jumping around with excited expressions, telling stories about what had happened to the old locust tree.

As it turned out, the old locust tree had been uprooted and was laying on the street with snapped branches and yellow leaves all around it. Many of the town's nearby residents felt this to be quite a waste, and they picked up some branches and leaves to use as kindling and firewood. Some reluctant young men had also been urged by their wives to go out with their hatchets to cut off some of the thicker branches of the tree.

This was not met with no opposition. Many of the elderly people who had lived their entire lives around the old locust tree were absolutely distraught, hurling torrents of abuse at the people who were benefiting from the tree's demise, while others were lecturing people on the history of the old locust tree, proclaiming that it was a sentient entity.

Throughout all these years, it had only shed branches late at night to avoid having those branches fall onto people's heads, and during years of lean harvests, the old locust tree always stepped up, producing countless locust flowers to fill the bellies of many.

However, their efforts were all to no avail.

The young men ignored what they were being told, continuing to cut branches off the tree, and some of the more short-tempered ones among them had even gotten into shoving matches with their elderly detractors, creating a rather chaotic scene.

After hearing about what had happened to the old locust tree, Chen Ping'an became rather hesitant about how to proceed, stopping in his tracks once every few steps to look in the old locust tree's direction. His instincts told him that he should go and take a look, but there was a voice in his heart urging him to go to the blacksmith shop as quickly as possible.

All of a sudden, a short and spritely figure blew past him like the wind. It was a little girl wearing a large padded jacket, and what was quite amusing was that she was carrying a branch as thick as a young man's arm on her shoulder. The branch was as long as she was tall, and she was rushing along so quickly that it was as if there were wheels attached to her feet.

Chen Ping'an immediately identified her as the little girl who liked to keep to herself and wander around the town as fast as the wind. She and Gu Can had gotten to know each other through an altercation, and Chen Ping'an had met her not long ago at the Azure Cow Ridge.

She was also around those mystical figures, and she seemed to be particularly close with that young Daoist nun. Chen Ping'an recalled that he had given her a small snake gall pebble in the past.

Chen Ping'an hurriedly called out to her, and she turned around to face him. Upon catching sight of him, a flash of recognition appeared on her face along with a bright smile. Her eyes seemed to be capable of speaking, and at this moment, they looked as if they were saying: "What do you want? I'm listening! I'm in a hurry, so make it quick!"

Chen Ping'an held back the urge to laugh as he beckoned to her and said, "I have something to discuss with you. It won't take long."

The little girl immediately rushed over to him with the branch still hoisted on her shoulder, then turned slightly to the side and raised her head with an inquisitive expression.

"You got this branch from the old locust tree, right?" Chen Ping'an asked.

The little girl nodded vigorously in response, and a slightly forlorn look appeared on her face as she said, "I have to be fast. Otherwise, all of the branches will be gone. I'm only strong enough to carry a branch this size, so I want to make as many trips as possible."

Chen Ping'an's mind was racing as he said, "Your house is on Fortune Street, right? That's really far away. If you trust me, you can put the locust branch in my yard. That way, you'll be able to make a few more trips than if you were to go home every time."

The little girl weighed up her options in silence, and while considering the proposal, she was also observing Chen Ping'an's expression.

After a while, she seemed to have decided that Chen Ping'an didn't have any sinister intentions, so she nodded in response. "What do you want me to do for you in exchange? Let me make this clear: I won't be able to carry any branches larger than this. These things are very heavy, and I already feel like my shoulder's on fire."d new chaptrs on no/v/e/lin(.)com

Chen Ping'an pulled out a string of keys, then plucked off one of them before handing it to the little girl. "This is the key to my yard gate. I don't need you to do much for me, just keep a lookout for any green leaves that haven't turned yellow yet while you're fetching branches. If you spot any, make sure to keep them for me."

"That's it?" the little girl asked as her eyes widened in surprise.

Chen Ping'an smiled and replied, "That's it. You know where my house is, right?"

The little girl nodded in response. "It's the 12th house on the left hand side of Clay Vase Alley."

However, she didn't take the key that was being offered to her. "The wall of your yard isn't very tall, so I can just drop the branches over the wall without opening the yard gate."

Chen Ping'an put the key away upon hearing this, and at that point, the little girl was already far away.

After parting ways with the little girl, Chen Ping'an made his way out of the town and traveled southward. As he approached the covered bridge, he was shocked to discover that it was gone, having reverted back to the old stone bridge in his memories.

Even though the covered bridge was much more spectacular and had a shimmering golden plaque hanging above it, for some reason, Chen Ping'an still preferred the old stone bridge.

Standing on one end of the bridge, Chen Ping'an suddenly thought of that inexplicable dream he had, and he took a deep breath as he slowly made his way up the slant.

The closer he drew to the center of the bridge, the more nervous he became. He was already sweating profusely, and his anxiety certainly wasn't helping in that regard. However, he was able to make it all the way to the end of the bridge without anything happening, and a self-deprecating smile appeared on his face as he sped up on his way to the blacksmith shop.

Over at the Azure Cow Ridge, Old Man Yang was seated on the edge of the bluestone cliff, puffing on his old pipe.

The pool of water beneath his feet was shimmering and rippling incessantly, and there seemed to be large clumps of aquatic plants swaying beneath the surface. Even under the light of the sun, the aquatic plants still gave off an inexplicable sense of unsettling eeriness.

The blurry face of an old woman gradually appeared on the surface of the water. The woman had a head of dark green hair, presenting a harrowing sight to behold, and she said in a trembling voice, "Esteemed immortal, I tried to approach that side last night, but I simply couldn't.

I made many attempts, but each time, I felt as if I had been plunged into a cauldron of hot oil, and the pain was too severe for me to continue. Please spare me, esteemed immortal, this is an impossible task for me!"

A cold look appeared on Old Man Yang's face as he said, "I'm not here to punish you. From now on, just make sure to do everything within the realm of your capabilities, that'll suffice. I came here because I have an extremely rare opportunity for you, and it's up to you whether you dare to fight for it or not."

The old woman's green face was rippling eerily with the water around her, and she immediately put on an earnest and focused expression to hear what Old Man Yang was about to say next.

Old Man Yang continued, "At this point, this small world is already slowly falling back to the mortal realm to be reintegrated with the earth. At the moment, it's at a very important stage in this process, and it won't be long before the small world becomes connected to the Great Li Empire.

Here, you are only known as a river guardian as opposed to a river god, just like the informal officials of the mortal empires. It seems to be only a slight difference, but the difference is night and day."

He pointed his pipe in the direction of the stone bridge as he continued, "The reason for this isn't because the territory under your jurisdiction is too small. Instead, it's because your territory has been severed. You see that bridge over there? That thing is what's placing this limit on you. All you have to do is swim under the bridge, and you'll have a bright future ahead.

This small creek that you're in right now will become the origin of many important rivers in the future, and once that happens, not only will you be sure to attain the river god status and have your hair extend to hundreds of kilometers in length, it'll be entirely possible for you to become a great river god with your hair extending to thousands of kilometers in length."

The old woman was clearly very tempted by this prospect.

Old Man Yang didn't try to rush her, smiling as he continued, "Then again, it's quite comfortable to just lay in the mud and do nothing, isn't it? Why strive for higher aspirations?"

The old woman's heart immediately sank slightly as she listened to Old Man Yang's thinly veiled insult, and she hurriedly begged for mercy, causing the water in the creek to tumble and churn incessantly.

Old Man Yang remained unmoved as he said in an indifferent voice, "It's up to you whether you want to continue to be a pitiful catfish or transform into a flood dragon that controls the fate of the water. Also, don't forget what I told you before.

If you choose to go down this path, then there's no turning back, you have to follow it to the end. There's nothing in this world that can grant you eternal blessings. You might not like to hear this, but to be frank, you are the last one in this town that deserves good karma."

The more aloof and indifferent Old Man Yang appeared, the more uneasy the old woman became, and in the end, she gritted her teeth with a determined expression before quickly plunging into the water.

Moments later, she completely vanished into the water, but a green shadow could be seen swimming downward in a zigzag fashion in the water between the Azure Cow Ridge and the stone bridge.

As the shadow approached the stone bridge, it slowed down further and further, and by the end, it had slowed to a crawl.

Less than 100 feet away from the bridge, the green shadow abruptly began to accelerate, clearly making a last-ditch effort to get to the other side.

The old woman passed through without any obstruction, and after rushing several hundred feet past the stone bridge, she couldn't help but twirl around in the water in excitement, causing her hair to wind around her wizened and fleshless body.

She floated in the water of the creek, raising her head to look up at the stone bridge, and she was finally able to see the old sword billet.

It was still as rusty as ever and looked no different from back when she was a child.

However, in the next instant, her eyeballs suddenly exploded, all because her gaze had lingered on the old sword billet for a moment too long.

An agonized howl rang out as water splashed and churned.

After a long while, the water in the creek finally settled down, and at this point, the old woman had already regrown a pair of eyes, but her aura had become very feeble, and Old Man Yang's voice rang out beside her ears once again. "You're already extremely fortunate to have been granted free passage, so don't push your luck. Remember not to raise your head when you pass by the stone bridge in the future."

"I'll make sure to remember," the old woman hurriedly said in an obedient voice.

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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