unsheathed – Chapter 31: Beating Around the Mountain

Chapter 31: Beating Around the Mountain

Chapter 31: Beating Around the Mountain

Before Chen Ping'an arrived at the Iron Lock Well with his two buckets, he passed a few stalls on Apricot Blossom Alley that were selling breakfast, causing his stomach to rumble without warning. However, he was truly short of money, so he could only force himself to keep going and line up before the well to draw water. There were three families before him, and when it was his turn, Zhi Gui suddenly cut in front with a small bucket. This instantly caused the others behind him to grumble in anger.

Even though they didn't curse or swear, the words that they uttered weren't pleasant to the ear either. This was especially the case with the hunched old woman. People referred to her as Granny Ma, and both of her sons were quite successful people, with each owning their own dragon kiln. Even though their dragon kilns were extremely small, ranking in the bottom few out of the 30 or so dragon kilns, they could still be regarded as some of the wealthiest people on Apricot Blossom Alley.

For some reason, however, Granny Ma's relationship with her two daughters-in-law was extremely poor. Her sons and their wives had already moved to Peach Leaf Alley quite a while ago, so only the old woman still lived by herself in their ancestral home on Apricot Blossom Alley.

In the eyes of Chen Ping'an, Liu Xianyang, and others of the same age, Granny Ma had always been a very frightening elder. She was extremely vicious when she scolded others, and she was also an especially stingy and petty person. She would always try to take everything for herself. In fact, if the children dared to use the snow in front of her house for a snowball fight, or if they dared to take the icicles hanging from her roof, she would pick up a broom and chase them through several alleys, cursing and swinging and not becoming tired in the least.

In the past, there was most likely only a single person in this alley to the west of the small town who could suppress Granny Ma's ferocity Gu Can's mother. Now, however, it was rumored that the widow had left with a distant relative of her dead husband and would settle in her husband's hometown. Granny Ma had already become slightly kinder in recent years, yet following the departure of Gu Can's mother, she immediately became lively and ferocious again, returning to her old self. It was as if everyone was an eyesore to her.

Indeed, upon seeing Zhi Gui cutting the line, Granny Ma immediately started to speak strangely. Her voice wasn't loud, and a fake smile was stretched across her face. She purposefully chit-chatted with the woman next to her, saying that there were some girls who could finally lift their veil and make their relationship public. In any case, she had never been able to keep her legs together when walking anyway. This was a cause for celebration, as this girl finally didn't need to suffer the fate of a lowly maidservant. She could now be referred to as a missus.

Chen Ping'an's head became slightly numb as he heard this. However, he couldn't bring himself to shoo Zhi Gui away either. Even though she was in the wrong, they had already been neighbors for so many years, after all. After drawing two buckets of water for Liu Xianyang, he hurriedly drew another bucket of water for Zhi Gui. He wanted to leave this gossiping group of women as soon as possible. However, Granny Ma became even more infuriated upon seeing the despicable maidservant ignoring her.

This was the case when elites exchanged blows with each other. The most frightening thing was if one's opponent didn't acknowledge their strike at all. If that were the case, what use would their powerful skills be?

When the old woman argued with the seductive widow in the past, she would indeed lose every single time. However, the old woman would also feel like her skills would improve a little every single time. Thus, she was confident that she would definitely win their next argument.

Right now, however, things were completely different. The lowly maidservant from Clay Vase Alley was keeping her mouth shut and pretending not to hear her. Yet, the expression in her eyes carried a hint of something that made the old woman feel extremely uncomfortable. This caused the old woman to become even angrier. She truly wanted to rush over to scratch and ruin that lowly maidservant's face. That way, the youths and men in the nearby alleys wouldn't have their souls sucked away by that shameless maidservant's looks and figure.

This was especially the case with her grandson. Even though others viewed him as a retard, even his grandmother had recently felt like he had truly lost his mind. He was always speaking gibberish, and for the past while, he was always saying that he would take this maidservant from Clay Vase Alley back home and have her become his wife. He would then smash a hole in the heavens.Ra latst chpters on n/v//l(b)i(.)cm

Unable to elicit any reaction from the utterly detestable maidservant, Granny Ma could only turn her attention to the poor young boy beside her. She clicked her tongue in wonder and said, "Despicable good-for-nothing piece of mud. You caused your parents to die, yet you still have the face to keep living? With your lowly abilities, you know that you'll never be able to get a wife, so you're shamelessly trying to get together with someone else's maidservant? What a perfect match! A despicable boy and a detestable girl! Indeed, the two of you might as well get together. In any case, Clay Vase Alley is a place for trash like you two. When you have children in the future, perhaps they might even become the rulers of Clay Vase Alley!"

Chen Ping'an contemplated for a moment before bending over and preparing to put down the two buckets of water.

However, Zhi Gui had already put down her bucket of water a while ago and started to stride toward the unrestrained old woman. Without saying a single word, she raised her hand and slapped the old woman, causing her to pirouette on the spot. The old woman was dazed and dizzy, and she only remained upright thanks to the support of the women beside her. Without waiting for the old woman to recover, Zhi Gui immediately stepped forward and slapped her again, cursing, "Undying old hag, I've already put up with your crap for far too long!"

The old woman shook her head, with smoke billowing out of her nose in rage. She was just about to strike back, yet whether it was a misperception or not, it was as if the women beside her were holding her up far too well, so much so that she couldn't break free from their grasp. As a result, she was humiliated for the third time. This time, the maidservant used her knuckles to forcefully rap the old woman on the forehead, saying, "If you dare to cuss others in the future, I'll make sure to drag your tongue out. Every time you curse, I'll use a needle to stab your tongue!"

The old woman was quite shaken by this, and she even forgot to curse back as a result, let alone attempt to strike back.

The young girl turned around and left in haste. Upon seeing that her neighbor had already picked up the bucket of water for her, she smiled in acknowledgment and returned to Clay Vase Alley with him.

Before Chen Ping'an could even speak, the young girl had already opened her mouth and said, "No need to thank me. I wasn't standing up for you or anything."

Chen Ping'an was rendered speechless.

The empty-handed young girl continued to mumble to herself. From the beginning to the end, however, she never showed any intention of wanting to carry her own bucket of water.

Meanwhile, the old woman was howling beside the Iron Lock Well. "Cursed little wretch! You deserve the wrath of the heavens! Why is my life so hard and miserable... Oh, the heavens don't have eyes... Why don't you unleash a thunderbolt to smash that detestable and seductive little maidservant?!"

The young girl was walking briskly, yet she suddenly performed a strange movement at this moment, using her palms to push up at the sky.

Fortunately, Chen Ping'an had been neighbors with her for many years, so he didn't find this to be strange.

When they passed by the breakfast stalls, Chen Ping'an caught a glimpse of a familiar figure. She wasn't tall, and dressed in her green garment, she was currently buying a freshly steamed meat bun. It was still piping hot, and its fragrance was wafting through the entire street.

Chen Ping'an looked up.

It was still morning, yet the sky had already become extremely overcast at some unknown time. Like the large blanket of a wealthy person, there was a thick layer of dark clouds laying there and basking in the sun.


Thunder rumbled above the small town.

Near the Iron Lock Well, Granny Ma quickly stood up before hurriedly running home. Her small bucket swayed back and forth, spilling water everywhere. When she arrived home, perhaps there wouldn't even be half a bucket of water left.

This was probably because the old woman still had some self-awareness. If the heavens truly had eyes, the first thunderbolt that crashed down would most likely land on her head.

Chen Ping'an also looked up upon hearing the rumbling thunder. He was slightly confused. It didn't look like it was going to rain.

Zhi Gui smiled with squinted eyes and said, "Young Master told me that he's read about this before. It's said that early in spring, a god in the Heavenly Court will put on golden armor and beat a drum in the clouds, farewelling the old and welcoming the new. At the same time, the beating drums will also scare off all evil to make way for the arriving spring."

Chen Ping'an nodded and said, "Your young master is indeed very well-read."

The young girl sighed and said, "Young Master is good in many aspects, but he's just a little too lazy. He also likes to curse the heavens all the time, and I don't think this is good."

Chen Ping'an didn't have a habit of talking about others behind their backs, so he didn't reply to Zhi Gui's comments. However, Song Jixin had indeed maintained a strange habit for many years. That was, he always liked to curse the heavens, just like Granny Ma did. He would accuse the heavens of being blind and so on and so forth. Even so, intellectuals had their own rules, so Song Jixin wouldn't curse the heavens if it were snowing, thundering, or if there were iridescent clouds in the sky. According to him, he would only curse the heavens when it was dozing. That way, the heavens couldn't hear him, so it naturally wouldn't become angry. Meanwhile, he would also be able to blow off some steam. This was a win-win situation.

Seeing no response from Chen Ping'an, Zhi Gui asked in a seemingly casual manner, "You didn't return home last night? Did you stay over at Liu Xianyang's?"

Chen Ping'an nodded and replied, "I have a guest at home, so it's not suitable for me to stay overnight."

"Oh, that's right. Did Mr. Qi visit you a while ago? What did he say to you?" she suddenly asked.

"Why do you ask?" Chen Ping'an retorted.

Zhi Gui wore an innocent smile as she replied, "No reason, I'm just asking because I coincidentally saw Mr. Qi when I was going over to draw water this morning. He said that he was going for a morning stroll, and he even asked me if you were home. I naturally gave him an honest answer."

Chen Ping'an smiled and replied, "I also came across Mr. Qi by coincidence that time, and he merely made some small talk with me. He said that I should have gone to school with Liu Xianyang when I was younger. I could only tell him that my family was too poor, so that would have been impossible. Otherwise, I would have also liked to go to school."

"Is that all?" Zhi Gui asked in puzzlement.

Chen Ping'an looked her in the eyes and said with a smile, "What else would it be?"

She dismissed it with a smile.

The two of them parted ways at a crossroad. Zhi Gui accepted her bucket of water and continued to Clay Vase Alley, while Chen Ping'an went the other way and returned to Liu Xianyang's house. Afterward, he would still need to head to the eastern gate of the small town to collect the letters to deliver. He would earn one coin for each letter delivered. Had Chen Ping'an started this job earlier, with his ability to traverse through the mountains on just his two legs, he would have most likely already made enough money to get himself a wife.

Upon arriving at the entrance of Clay Vase Alley, Zhi Gui saw her young master standing there and yawning.

She quickly walked over and asked in curiosity, "Young Master, why have you come out?"

Song Jixin stretched his body and said in a lazy voice, "I was feeling bored."

"Young Master, when is the new kiln supervision official going to return to town? Will we be able to leave for the capital then?" Zhi Gui asked quietly.

Song Jixin pondered for a moment before replying, "He'll be back within 10 days."

Zhi Gui appeared hesitant, with the small bucket in her hand swaying back and forth.

Song Jixin smiled and asked, "What's wrong? There's something on your mind?"

"Young Master, can I borrow that Local County Chronicle to have a peek?" she asked timidly. "Just for one or two days so I can learn some words. Otherwise, others might belittle me when I arrive at the capital. At that time, even Young Master will be laughed at because of me."

Song Jixin couldn't help but chuckle. After contemplating for a brief moment, he said, "What's so embarrassing about this request? However, remember to wash your hands before reading the book, and make sure not to get the pages dirty. Also, be careful that wax doesn't drip onto it. Apart from these, there's nothing else to worry about. After all, this is merely a crappy book that chronicles events up until now."

A bright smile spread across Zhi Gui's face. "Thank you, Young Master!"

Song Jixin also laughed heartily, saying, "Come over here, let me carry the bucket of water for you."

However, Zhi Gui stepped aside and said seriously, "Young Master! Isn't it said that a noble gentleman should distance himself from kitchen work? How can Young Master concern himself with such chores? If others hear of this, I'll definitely be punished by them!"

Song Jixin chuckled in anger, saying, "Rules, principles, and etiquette... These things can frighten and trick others, but I'm..."

However, the young intellectual suddenly stopped speaking.

Zhi Gui was extremely curious, and she asked, "Young Master is what?"

A frivolous smile returned to Song Jixin's face, and he pointed at himself before saying, "I'm actually nothing but a farmer! I tend to the farm and draw out plots, then I have people sow the seeds and water the land. Meanwhile, I'll wait for the crops to grow and give me a bountiful harvest. Year after year, this is exactly how I live!"

Zhi Gui was mystified.

Song Jixin roared with laughter.

However, he suddenly became serious and asked, "Zhi Gui, did Chen Ping'an carry the bucket of water for you the entire time?"

The maidservant nodded with an innocent expression.

Song Jixin's voice was meaningful as he said, "A Sage once said that some people treat a stranger's small act of kindness as something to be treasured, yet they treat their friends and family's sacrifices as something that can be taken for granted, not showing them any gratitude at all. This kind of attitude isn't right."

The maidservant became even more mystified. "Huh?"

The young boy stroked his chin and mused to himself, "You actually didn't understand my insinuation? How should I respond? Perhaps I should swap you for a smarter and more understanding beautiful young maidservant?"

The maidservant couldn't hide her smile anymore. She completely ignored his threat, and she exposed him by saying, "Young Master is actually trying to ask me who this knowledgeable Sage is, right? Young Master, I know! Of course it's you!"

Song Jixin laughed heartily. "Zhi Gui indeed knows me well!"

A middle-aged scholar was sitting upright in the library of the private school. As the spring thunder rumbled, the black and white Go pieces before him all disintegrated into dust.

There was a common method that the youths and children in the small town used to catch rock slate fish. They would use hammers to forcefully strike the rocks in the creek, causing the hiding rock slate fish to fall unconscious and float to the surface.

This practice was identical to a saying found in books beating around the mountain to scare the tiger.

However, if one wanted to warn a Sage not to defy the heavens and go against the Great Dao...

The corresponding weapon one needed to wield would most likely have to be the vast and mighty thunder in the sky.

Johnchen and Flying Dumpling's Thoughts

Hey guys. I know the chapters are really slow :( Sorry we can't do a mass release because these chapters are too long, and it is difficult to translate. We don't use machine translation, and some chapters are over 5000 English words. It is impossible for us to keep up if we release more than one chapter a day. Even the "short" ones are still far longer than the typical chapter you'd read on this site.

Perhaps just wait and stockpile and come back in another week or two if the slow pace is driving you nuts. But we promise the wait is worth it, and by the time you get to 43, you'll be glad you had stuck around.

These random names/characters may seem useless right now, but they will be mentioned often and play a bigger role later.

P.S. Ping'an isn't weak, but compared to all these outsiders, he's actually a small potato (at least, for now). They view them (people in the town) like ants. The reason why he actually managed to successfully attack a few chapters ago is because their powers are suppressed in this town. We don't want to reveal too much or tell you what happens, so just find out as you go. Dao of Patience!

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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