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unsheathed – Chapter 60: There's a Ghost

Chapter 60: There's a Ghost

Chapter 60: There's a Ghost

Under the archway in front of the kiln supervision office...

Chen Dui talked about all kinds of strange and interesting things, and the little girl from Sun Scorch Mountain listened to her stories with relish. Tao Zi clicked her tongue in wonder and praised, "Big sister, you know so much!"

Chen Dui smiled faintly and replied, "You'll also know a lot when you grow up."

Song Jixin was half serious as he mused, "Chen Dui, you also seem like a fairly normal person when we interact normally like this."

Chen Dui raised a brow and asked, "So you're saying that I should act submissively and grovel before the Great Li Empire's monarch, Song Changjing?"

Song Jixin roared with laughter. He pointed at Chen Dui and said, "If Mr. Qi, the teacher in our small town's private school, heard this, he would definitely furrow his brows. Do you know, you're treating things as if they're either black or white. This is very unreasonable. It might sound reasonable at the start, but it's actually extremely fragile against scrutiny.

"What I'm trying to say is, you naturally don't need to act obsequiously before Song Changjing, nor should you do so. However, Song Changjing is still the most powerful person in the Great Li Empire. Not only that, but he's even a paramount martial arts grandmaster.

"As an outsider, you should conform to our local customs and also show a little more respect to your hosts. Is this not right? Why do you insist on wearing a cold expression and acting like the owner of the place? So be it if you want to act like that. However, you still dared to talk back to Song Changjing after being beaten half-dead by him! I truly don't know what to say to you anymore."

In the end, Song Jixin pointed at himself and said with a self-deprecating chuckle, "Even someone who's as foul-mouthed and mean-hearted as me understands the need to take stock of the situation and act appropriately."

Chen Dui hesitated for a moment before replying, "It was a case of like charges repelling each other. I'm also a martial artist, and to be completely honest with you, I've always looked down on fellow martial artists from Eastern Treasured Vial Continent. Of course, I was eventually proven incorrect. Very incorrect."

Song Jixin was slightly astonished, and he said, "You're a fairly realistic person."

"If a martial artist doesn't acknowledge someone's strength, then what else can they acknowledge?" Chen Dui replied indifferently.

Song Jixin suddenly posed an incisive question, asking, "It feels like you outsiders who have come to our small town to search for treasures and fated opportunities have a fairly different view than us regarding principles and reasoning. Is it because you're more powerful than us?"

Chen Dui shook her head and replied with a smile, "There's no need for me to explain anything. Once you leave the small town in the future, you'll also become just like us very quickly. When you enter the path of cultivation someday, you'll naturally understand what I mean. Otherwise, you won't understand even if I talk until my mouth is parched."

Song Jixin sighed with emotion. "Becoming just like you people? How uninteresting..."

Tao Zi suddenly interjected at this moment, suggesting, "Then come to Sun Scorch Mountain to play! It's super interesting!"

Song Jixin patted her small head and casually replied, "Sure thing!"

Chen Dui turned around, instinctively feeling a little tense and anxious.

Dressed in a white robe and wearing a jade belt, Song Changjing was standing near the archway. He turned to Song Jixin and said, "Go back to Clay Vase Alley and pack your things. We're going to leave soon."

Song Jixin smiled and replied, "Got it. It's almost time to uproot and leave home."

Tao Zi was reluctant to say goodbye, and she asked, "Uproot and leave home? Does that mean bringing a tree with you and leaving home?"

Song Jixin roared with laughter, and he stood up and said, "Let's go, I'll bring you home first. This is called being responsible from beginning to end."

Song Jixin held the little girl's hand and walked with her toward the gate of the office. He turned around and asked, "There won't be assassins outside the gate on Fortune Street, right?"

Song Changjing chuckled and replied, "You'll need to ask your neighbor and friend."

Song Jixin pursed his lips. He glanced up at the sky, and what entered his gaze was a layer of thick and dark clouds. It looked like it was about to rain.

His mood immediately took a nosedive.

After taking Tao Zi home, Song Jixin was surprised to discover Song Changjing standing under the old locust tree. He briskly walked over and asked in curiosity, "You're in such a hurry to leave?"

Song Changjing nodded and replied, "I received some news just now. There's a matter that I need to personally attend to, so we're going to directly take a horse-drawn carriage to Clay Vase Alley. We'll leave after you finish packing your things."

Song Jixin looked over, and sure enough, there were three horse-drawn carriages outside the gate of the kiln supervision office. This was very likely the first time that he would take a horse-drawn carriage.

Song Jixin bent down and entered the carriage in the front. Song Changjing followed after him, and he sat down cross-legged.

Song Jixin looked around, only to find that the carriage was completely empty. There was only a straw futon for him to sit on. This was completely different from the extravagance that he had imagined, and it more so wasn't something that would make one exclaim in delight and astonishment. Song Jixin was slightly disappointed. Initially, he had been extremely eager to see Zhi Gui's expression of astonishment when she entered the carriage.

There was a crisp sound of clopping hooves as the horses trotted over the bluestone slabs on the street. The three carriages left Fortune Street one after another.

Song Changjing raised the curtain to look out at the small town. From today onward, the Great Li Empire was going to comprehensively lose its nominal control over this small world.

Thinking back, however, it was thanks to the huge benefits provided by this small world that the Great Li Empire had been able to grow from a small empire in some corner of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent into the largest mortal empire in the continent. Not one of the largest, but the largest.

This was a small world with a thousand kilometers of mountains and rivers.

In the future, information about this small world could perhaps only be found in the secret imperial history books of the Great Li Empire.

Song Changjing pushed these thoughts out of his mind and casually asked, "You're not going to say goodbye to Chen Ping'an?"

The roads became uneven after leaving Fortune Street, and Song Jixin's body started to lightly bounce up and down along with the movements of the carriage. He shook his head and replied, "It's hard to say if he can even live. If I'm greeted by a corpse after waiting for a long time, just how revolting will that be? Even his good friend has died, so at that time, won't it be left to me, his neighbor, to help him arrange a funeral?"

Song Changjing replied with a nod.

"The little girl from Sun Scorch Mountain mentioned a person called Ma Kuxuan," Song Jixin continued. "He's from Apricot Blossom Alley, and he's around the same age as me. I heard that he sold Chen Ping'an and that young girl's hiding location to Sun Scorch Mountain for the price of one pouch of Offering Coins. Do you know his background? I heard that he was a mentally challenged retard, and I never thought that he had concealed himself so well."

Song Changjing thought about this for a moment before explaining, "Some clues have already been discovered regarding the assassin who was hiding in the Song Clan before, the one who attempted to assassinate the prince from Great Sui Nation in Dragon Riding Alley. Among these clues, there was something about the young boy Ma Kuxuan. In the past few years, the assassin who used to be a prisoner interacted with Ma Kuxuan in secret many times. It's possible that they were master and disciple.

"However, True Martial Mountain has suddenly stuck its nose into this matter, so we have no option but to put it aside for the moment. After all, there are many disciples of True Martial Mountain in the Great Li Empire's army. Moreover, some of them are fairly high-ranking officials as well."

Song Jixin smiled and mused, "Uncle, there are also times when you have to say 'have no option'?"

Song Changjing didn't pay any heed to this, and he said, "Who told me to be in such an important and inflexible position? This dog** Great Li Monarch."

When the carriages approached Clay Vase Alley, Song Jixin asked, "Is Chen Ping'an really just Chen Ping'an?"

Song Changjing couldn't help but laugh. "Before having you move to Clay Vase Alley, the kiln supervision office already conducted a thorough check of his background numerous generations of his ancestors, to be precise. His lineage is clear, and there's nothing remarkable or problematic about it at all. His lineage also has no relationship with the notions of wealth, nobility, power, and influence.

"What, did that Chen Dui frighten you just then? Rest assured, I've already got a fairly solid guess regarding her background. The Chen Clan branch that she comes from has no relationship with the Chen Clan branch that Chen Ping'an comes from. So, you don't need to worry at all. Chen Ping'an is simply just Chen Ping'an.

"The only person who can somewhat be regarded as his distant relative is Chen Songfeng, as well as Dragon Tail County's Chen Clan. However, just think about it. They haven't had any contact for several hundred years, so can they still be regarded as relatives? Not only that, but the Chen Clan in the small town has already fallen to such a miserable state that only a single member isn't a servant or a maid.

"In times of prosperity, friends will be plenty, while in times of adversity, not one amongst 20. You've read a few books, after all, so how can you not understand this concept?"

Song Jixin was unwilling to relent, and he asked, "Then what about the ancestors of his ancestors? Was there not a single powerful and influential person? Not even a single one?"

Song Changjing chuckled and said, "Oh, so you hope that Chen Ping'an's ancestry is more unique and remarkable?"

Song Jixin didn't hide his thoughts, and he nodded and replied, "Mhm, I'll feel a little better if he's different from ordinary people."

Song Changjing became increasingly curious, and he teased, "How did he bully you? How did he cause you to have such an obsession with him? But according to my understanding of that young boy, he doesn't seem like a..."

Song Jixin chuckled coldly and cut him off, interjecting, "Perhaps people in small areas don't have the broadest of minds or farthest of sight. However, we definitely can't dismiss them as fools. Those who are kind will be sincere and generous, while those who are sinister will be scheming and deplorable. There are also those who will be unfathomably stupid, and perhaps even sinister at the same time that they're stupid."

Song Changjing was even more puzzled, and he asked, "Then which type of person is Chen Ping'an?"

Song Jixin sighed, with vexation in his voice as he lamented, "He can't be regarded as any type he's a genuine idiot. That's why I feel so distressed!"

Ning Yao squatted in front of the bench and carefully observed Chen Ping'an's sleeping face. Her mind was filled with astonishment.

This mystical ability was truly mysterious and unfathomable.

Chen Ping'an was sleeping in a strange position, and this caused his entire body to radiate with a sense of natural simplicity.

Even though Ning Yao was unable to describe this mystical ability, she had an innate intuition that allowed her to determine whether a mystical ability was constructive or destructive.

Ning Yao turned around and asked in curiosity, "You're the person guiding Chen Ping'an's cultivation?"

The old man took several puffs from his smoking pipe before crossing his legs and gazing up at the dark sky and curtain of rain. He chuckled, "Cultivation? This can be regarded as cultivation? What, had another person with the right to found their own teaching and become an ancestor appeared in the outside world? And because of this, they've caused the cultivation world to decline year after year? It can't be, right? Those few mighty beings aren't running a charity. Since they've already decided to become Taotie[1] themselves, they have no choice but to continue down this path. They definitely won't allow others to take a slice of their cake."

Ning Yao was baffled, and she asked, "Mr. Yang, what are you talking about?"

The old man faltered upon hearing this. "Your elders didn't tell you about the history of these old relics?"

Ning Yao shook her head, answering, "My grandparents passed away early, and my parents don't like to talk about matters pertaining to the other worlds. They're afraid that I'll run away from home."

Old Man Yang turned around and carefully examined the young girl. In the end, he asked, "How many characters are inscribed on that wall now?"

"Many heroic and powerful people appeared during my grandpa's generation, so two extra characters were inscribed on the wall in just a mere 100 years. There are a total of 18 characters now," Ning Yao replied honestly.

"There are 18 characters already..." the old man said with emotion. "Dao Power, Grand Majestic, and Western Land. Apart from these six characters, what are the others?"

"Thunder Pool Restricted Land, Eternal Lasting Sword Qi, Qi, Chen, and Dong," Ning Yao replied solemnly.

Old Man Yang frowned and questioned, "Little girl, what about the final character? Did you eat it?"

"I forgot it!" Ning Yao huffed.

The old man didn't persist, and he asked another question, saying, "Are the rules still the same? One will have the right to inscribe one character on the wall for every Ascension Tier demon that they slay?"

"Why do you know so much about my hometown?" Ning Yao asked with a frown.

Old Man Yang smiled and replied, "A swordsman came to our small town a long time ago, and he had a habit of recording his travel experiences. In the end, he died nearby, so I retrieved his thick travel diary and flipped through it whenever I was bored."

Ning Yao was skeptical of this explanation.

As if he had eyes on the back of his head, the old man added, "It's up to you whether you believe this or not."

Ning Yao observed Chen Ping'an's condition, and she felt like he was in a state of deep meditation. "What's going on with him?" she asked.

"Small death," Old Man Yang replied slowly.

Daoists referred to sleep as a "small death".

Ning Yao felt slightly exasperated. Old Man Yao's words were either vitriolic and grating on the ear or strange and hard to understand.

The old man mused to himself, saying, "Little girl, let me ask you something. When a person says something in their mind, this is referred to as a voice in the mind. So, who does this voice belong to?"

Ning Yao faltered upon hearing this, and she fell into deep thought.

After a short while, she naturally shut her eyes and gathered her concentration. Afterward, she became extremely sleepy. In the end, her head surprisingly drooped down as she fell asleep.

Old Man Yang stood up, walking around Ning Yao and stopping in front of Chen Ping'an. He pointed at Ning Yao with his smoking pipe and said, "Look at her. With just a little guidance and a few words, she was able to immediately advance to the next tier. Now, look at yourself. You have ** all abilities, yet you still like to act so stubbornly. What's the point of being so stubborn? Do you think the heavens will fall asleep and accidentally give you some fated opportunity?"

Old Man Yang returned to his seat and looked out at the increasingly heavy rain. The frantic raindrops pitter-pattered against the courtyard floor. His expression became slightly sad, and he murmured, "After so many years of picking and choosing between so many people, who would've thought that the least hopeful candidate would have the most resilient life?"

An extremely skinny young boy carried a large basket of wild vegetables and held a string of seven or eight small fish in his hands as he walked through the alleys. After entering his courtyard, a rich young boy in silk clothes stepped on a stool and climbed onto the low courtyard wall.

He squatted there with no care about dirtying his expensive clothes, and he chuckled, "Oi, Chen Ping'an, you climbed the mountains and waded through the creek to find food again? Your ability to live off the mountains and waters is truly impressive. Can you take me with you in the future? I'll reward you with some copper coins?"

The skinny boy smiled and replied, "You don't need to give me money."

The rich boy scowled and said, "You can scram if you don't want it. Hmph, I don't even want to go anymore."

The young Chen Ping'an pulled the small fish off the reed string. The biggest fish was the size of his palm, while the smallest fish was only the size of his thumb. The young boy got up on his tippy-toes and placed the fish on the windowsill to dry. They would be edible after drying, and there would be no need to add salt either. Not only that, but there was also no need to slice open their bellies and remove their intestines. This wasn't because he was afraid of the hassle. Instead, it was because not much meat would be left if he did this. In any case, he found the fish to be crunchy and tasty.

The rich boy Song Jixin felt a little regretful after saying those words. In reality, he had always envied his neighbor who was the same age as him. He would always return home with something in his hands, whether that be wild rabbits, catfish, wild berries, or what have you. He was tempted whenever he saw this, and this was an absolute feast for his eyes.

However, the stubborn young boy wasn't willing to apologize. After seeing Chen Ping'an's adept and carefree movements, he more so felt a slight sense of stifling unhappiness.

This Chen Ping'an was so poor that he could barely afford to cook, and he was also sleeping in a rundown room that leaked wind from all the different directions. In fact, he couldn't even afford a single stick of candied hawthorn. That being the case, what in the world was he so happy about?

Squatting on the wall, the rich young boy was very baffled.

One day, the rich young boy who could only live in Clay Vase Alley but didn't need to worry about food and clothes came back home with his face black and blue. His clothes were also covered in mud.

Zhi Gui had just become his maidservant, and she asked him what had happened. However, Song Jixin refused to tell her no matter what. After going back to his room, he shut the door and lay down in bed.ll new stries at n0ve/lbi/(.)cm

He had argued with someone today, and he had even fought with them. Even now, some of their venomous words were still ringing in his ears, causing the proud young boy to feel a piercing pain in his heart. His expression shifted between grief and anger.

"You just have some **ty money is all... What are you so smug about? You can't even compare to Chen Ping'an! Even though his parents are dead, at least he knows who his parents are! Do you know who your parents are?"

He couldn't get these words out of his mind.

Song Jixin tossed and turned in his bed, yet he couldn't fall asleep no matter what.

The next day, the rich young boy didn't squat on the courtyard wall and chat with his neighbor like normal. Instead, he surprisingly paid a visit to Chen Ping'an's house.

He said something to Chen Ping'an, and after a few days, Chen Ping'an left the small town and broke his promise to his deceased mother. He was still very young, but he had already gone to the dragon kiln to become an apprentice.

There was a figure sneaking around the back door of the pharmacy, and after catching a glimpse of them, Old Man Yang didn't say anything. He simply turned around, not wanting to dirty his eyes.

The sneaking figure felt especially hurt after seeing the old man's response.

What hurt him even more was the fact that the woman who he should have referred to as sister-in-law furiously pushed his head aside with one hand. Holding an umbrella with her other hand, she strode toward the building in the backyard. After seeing the old man, she immediately prepared to shout at him.

Old Man Yang sighed, and he hurriedly walked out of the building and shut the door behind him. He stood on the steps and looked at the woman who was about to raise hell. At this moment, he even lost interest in his smoking pipe.

The woman stopped and placed her hands on her hips, scolding, "What're you doing, huh? Trying to stop a thief?! At the end of the day, you're still my man's master, so why are you always doing such wicked things? Li Er was doing just fine as a shop assistant, so what right do you have to fire him and tell him to piss off? Is the Yang Family's medicine shop yours? Hah? Did Li Er sleep with his master's wife, or did he sleep with his master's darling daughter?!"

The man who was pushed back over by the crowd shrunk down and hid behind the door. He truly wanted to dig a hole and bury himself at this moment.

Just what kind of temper did his master have? Just what kind of temper did Li Er's wife have? How could he not know this? Thus, he felt like he would lose a layer of skin even if he wasn't killed.

Old Man Yang was emotionless as he said, "Are you done? If you're done, then you can go home and moan in bed. I've heard that the meowing in the westernmost area of the small town doesn't stop all year round. There's meowing in the morning, and there's meowing at night. In fact, there's so much meowing that many people were forced to move..."

His words seemingly struck a pain point, and the woman's voice rose several decibels as she shouted, "Old geezer, you still have the face to tell me to go home?! After losing his job and income, your disciple only knows how to wander around the streets all day long! The roof on our home collapsed two days ago, and he can't even scrape together enough money to patch it back up! I was forced to return to my clan's residence with my children, and I suffered all kinds of harassment and abuse!

"If Li Er weren't kicked out of the pharmacy by you, would our family of four have suffered so much grief? Old Man Yang, hurry up and hand over your savings for your coffin and help us fix our home! Otherwise, there's going to be no end to this!"

The old man wore a cold expression as he looked at the hiding man, Zheng Dafeng.

There was grief on Zheng Dafeng's face as he said, "Master, Li Er has gone to deal with that matter according to your instructions. He definitely won't be coming back anytime soon."

Old Man Yang's expression became dark.

At this moment, Zheng Dafeng felt the urge to fall to his knees and kowtow.

The woman threw her umbrella to the ground and sat down on the rain-soaked floor, bursting into tears and crying, "Undying old geezer, have you taken a liking to cheating with your disciple's wives? Are you even going to target me?!"

Old Man Yang carried a stool over from under the eaves, and he slowly sat down before retrieving some loose tobacco from his pocket and squishing it into a ball. He then placed it into his smoking pipe and started to puff away. He gazed up at the sky and completely ignored the shouting woman.

Zheng Dafeng looked at the woman who was crying and shouting in the backyard. The rain was quite heavy, and the woman was also fairly voluptuous, with her clothing also being relatively thin at this moment. As a result, many shop assistants from the Yang Family's medicine shop walked over to join the fun. They were all secretly delighted as they enjoyed this feast for the eyes.

The woman was crying hysterically, yet she suddenly fell silent at some moment as if someone had grabbed her neck. She rubbed her eyes and hurriedly stood up, not forgetting to pick up her oil-paper umbrella as she frantically ran away.

As she ran, she screamed, "There's a ghost!"

Old Man Yang grimaced, saying, "Like rat droppings on an incense table, this is someone detested by both gods and ghosts alike."

1. The Taotie is an ancient Chinese mythological creature that symbolizes gluttony.

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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