unsheathed – Chapter 92 (2): Bamboo Bookcase

Chapter 92 (2): Bamboo Bookcase

Chapter 92 (2): Bamboo Bookcase

A smug and mysterious look appeared on A'Liang's face as he scoffed, "There's no way my handwriting can be considered ugly! I don't mean to boast, but in a very faraway place from here, countless people have praised my handwriting."

"Did they praise you to your face?" Li Huai asked with a skeptical expression.

"Well, no, I only heard that they were praising me," A'Liang replied with an awkward smile.

"I knew it!" Li Huai declared. "If there's anyone shameless enough to praise your handwriting to your face, then I'll gladly become their disciple! I'll bet even my mum wouldn't be able to beat someone like that in trash-talking!"

"What makes you think they'll accept you as their disciple?" A'Liang jeered.

"Why wouldn't he?" Li Huai asked with a serious expression. "Is he blind?"

A'Liang slapped his palm to his forehead once again. As it turned out, the man in question really was blind!

A'Liang decided that it was best for his own health to speak to Li Huai as little as possible, and after looking around for a moment, he spotted Zhu Lu nearby.

A smile appeared on his face as he asked, "Zhu Lu, are you interested in learning some sword techniques from me? I'm in the mood to show you my sword techniques now."

Meanwhile, Zhu Lu was quite concerned about Li Baoping, who had her chin resting on her hands as she looked in the direction that Chen Ping'an had departed in with tightly furrowed brows.

"Piss off!" Zhu Lu snapped.

An innocent look appeared on A'Liang's face as he asked, "Where can I go? It's still raining! Look at me, I'm already soaked all over!"

A cold look appeared on Zhu Lu's face as she sneered, "All you do is boast and brag when you don't have any skills to back up that big mouth of yours! No decent person would ever do that!"

A'Liang was very angry to hear this, and he turned to the three children as he asked, "Li Huai, Lin Shouyi, Baoping, am I not a good person?"

"I'm on the fence about it right now, but if you give me your wine gourd, you'll definitely be a good person," Li Huai extorted.

Lin Shouyi replied in a cold voice, "Stop trying to swindle me into drinking wine. Mr. Qi taught us that all those stories about poets writing their best works when drunk are lies."

Li Baoping was the only one who didn't direct any animosity toward A'Liang. Instead, she gave A'Liang a furtive smile, and a surge of warmth immediately flowed through his heart as he gave her a thumbs-up, ignoring the scathing remarks from the other two.

As long as Li Baoping was still on his side, he felt like he could take on the world.

Following the return of Chen Ping'an and Zhu He, the group resumed their journey.

As the direction of flow of Dragon Whisker Creek changed from southeast to south, it officially transitioned into the Iron Talisman River, and the body of water became much wider and deeper than the creek.

Heeding Chen Ping'an's advice, everyone took a short break there, cooking up a meal and having some lunch before continuing on their journey.

Li Huai was standing by the river with his hands on his hips, and he asked, "Have you seen such a large body of water before?"

A'Liang took a glance at the point where the creek and the river met, then looked behind himself before finally settling his gaze on Li Huai as he replied, "I've seen more massive rivers in my life than the grains of rice you've had!"

Li Huai immediately flared up in exasperation. "A'Liang, can you not go a single day without bragging?!"

A'Liang paid no heed to him as he strode over to Chen Ping'an, who was constructing a makeshift stove, and he said, "Come walk by the river with me, I have something I want to talk to you about."

Chen Ping'an faltered slightly upon hearing this, then asked Li Baoping to continue with the construction of the makeshift stove in his absence. Along the journey, Li Baoping had also become very helpful, and she had even become quite proficient at feeding A'Liang's donkey. Hence, she was eager to volunteer and lend a hand to Zhu Lu, putting on a mature display as she told Chen Ping'an to leave everything to her and go with A'Liang.

During these past few days, she had insisted on carrying her own basket and taking care of herself as much as possible.

Whenever Chen Ping'an was practicing his walking meditation, she would often accompany him in silence and impersonate his movements in a very adorable manner.

Chen Ping'an and A'Liang made their way to the bank of the river, then followed it in the downstream direction.

"I really like Baoping. Of course, I'm sure you're even more fond of her than me," A'Liang said.

Chen Ping'an turned to find Li Baoping busy at work, showing off her signature speed as she whizzed around as if there were wheels attached to her legs. In contrast, Lin Shouyi only did what he was told, while Li Huai refused to do any work altogether. Even though Li Baoping was still quite tender of age, she was full of vitality, and just looking at her made one feel as if they were seeing the very embodiment of youthful exuberance.

Chen Ping'an nodded in response.

"But you can't shake the feeling that something isn't quite right, am I correct in saying that?" A'Liang asked.

Chen Ping'an nodded in response once again. "Ever since that time when she told me a bunch of stuff about martial arts training, she seems to have become a lot more subdued and far less talkative."

"Did you say something to her about what hopes you had for her, or what type of person you want her to become in the future?" A'Liang asked.

Chen Ping'an swung around with an astonished expression. Indeed, A'Liang had struck the nail right on the head.

In a rare display of thoughtfulness, A'Liang didn't immediately continue. Instead, he was carefully pondering his words as he didn't want to hurt Chen Ping'an. As he did so, he stopped in his tracks, then squatted down beside the river and gently tossed a stone into the water.

Chen Ping'an also squatted down beside him, and he said, "Those who are overly invested in a relationship often lead to the relationship's premature demise, and those who are overly intelligent are more prone to becoming hurt and jaded. Li Baoping is still just a little girl right now, so she naturally doesn't have to worry about romantic relationships, but the second point most definitely already applies to her.

She sees you as her emotional pillar, so every little thing that you say and do can have a profound impact on her. Words can be a very strange and profound thing in that their effects gradually stack up and accumulate in one's heart over time. You may feel like I sound like a half-arsed scholar rambling nonsense, but I'd advise you not to disregard what I'm telling you here."

Chen Ping'an exhaled as he replied, "I'm the one to blame here. I was worried that she wouldn't have the confidence to make it to Mountain Cliff Academy, so I told her that I want her to become the first-ever female teacher and female scholar."

A'Liang smiled as he corrected, "You're not at fault here, Chen Ping'an."

Chen Ping'an turned to him with a perplexed expression.

A'Liang cast his gaze out across the calm and still surface of the river, then elaborated, "You did nothing wrong, it's just that you could've done better."

Chen Ping'an was even more befuddled to hear this. These were two different statements, but did they not lead to the same consequences?

A'Liang turned to Chen Ping'an, and he seemed to have immediately gleaned his thoughts. He shook his head as he explained, "There's a big difference. Do you know why all of the so-called good people in this world lead such miserable lives? Take Qi Jingchun as an example. With his powers, he could've easily lived in a much more wilful and unrestrained fashion, so why did he suffer such a sad demise?

When you take the time to look around you, you'll discover that it seems like all of the so-called bad people are living their best lives, doing whatever they please and throwing all caution to the wind. Examples of these people include those two enemies of yours, that Mountain-moving Ape from Sun Scorch Mountain and Fu Nanhua of Old Dragon City. Ra latst chpters on n/v//l(b)i(.)cm

Once they return to their respective territories, they'll be able to live very comfortable lives. Bai Yuan will be revered in his sect, and he can rest on his laurels and bask in the reverence of those beneath him, while Fu Nanhua is full of ambition and is single-mindedly fixated on a northern expansion."

Chen Ping'an fell into deep thought upon hearing this, while A'Liang smiled and continued, "The moral of the story is that being a good person is utterly exhausting, so don't be a good person no matter what you do.

You shouldn't think that you've done something wrong just because you didn't achieve the intended outcome, or your actions caused an unexpected negative outcome, and you certainly shouldn't condemn yourself over something like this. That is not the right way to live!"

There was a serious look on A'Liang's face, and he repeated for emphasis, "That is not the right way to live!"

A smile then appeared on his face, and he reverted back to his usual carefree self as he continued, "Of course, Li Baoping isn't at fault either. On the contrary, she's a fantastic little girl. She's just trying to repay you in her own way, so don't get it twisted."

Chen Ping'an hurriedly shook his head in response. "I understand."

"I knew you'd understand, that's why I'm willing to say all of this to you," A'Liang said with a nod.

He then sat down onto the ground and laid his bamboo saber down across his knees as he continued, "I very rarely ever preach to anyone. When I do..."

He paused momentarily here, then patted the green bamboo saber as he concluded, "In the past, it was always with my sword, but for now, I'm preaching with my saber."

Even when it wasn't raining and the sun wasn't very bright, A'Liang would still always be wearing his unremarkable-looking conical bamboo hat, and he casually adjusted the hat as he said, "Even if that hairpin had been as important as I imagined, and even if you were the one chosen by Qi Jingchun, I wouldn't have said all of that to you if I hadn't taken a liking to you.

I could've easily just taken you to the border of Great Sui Nation and dumped you there. That would've certainly made things far simpler for me."

It was quite a rare sight to see such a serious look on A'Liang's face, and he gently patted his bamboo saber as he said, "In my eyes, everyone must walk their own path, speak their mind, and be true to themselves. I think you should follow these principles as well, Chen Ping'an. You don't have to be exactly like me, but you have to have a spine, and you must be powerful enough to achieve your objectives."

A'Liang then burst into laughter as he continued, "Of course, don't forget to live a long life. That's the most important thing."

Chen Ping'an replied in a truthful manner, "I think I kind of understand what you're saying. There are still some parts that I don't understand very well, but I'll be sure to commit them to memory, and I'll ponder them carefully whenever the opportunity arises."

A'Liang gave a gratified nod in response. "That's already more than enough."

He then rose to his feet and departed, but he had only taken a few steps when he suddenly turned around and said, "Chen Ping'an, my supply of dry rations has run out."

After that, he quickly strode back over to Li Baoping and Zhu Lu as he yelled, "Can we start eating yet? I'm starving!"

Chen Ping'an remained rooted to the spot with a dazed expression.

It seemed that A'Liang had said all of this just so he could shamelessly ask for food from Chen Ping'an.

An amused smile appeared on Chen Ping'an's face as he also made his way back to the others.

One day, at around dusk, Chen Ping'an and his group were passing through a lush bamboo forest in the mountains. Li Baoping tugged on Chen Ping'an's sleeve and pointed at the bamboo forest as she remarked in a quiet voice, "Look at that bamboo forest, Junior Uncle. Isn't it beautiful?"

Chen Ping'an was focused on the journey ahead, and he gave a half-hearted response before continuing on his way. He was particularly distracted because they were about to reach the official road of the Great Li Empire, the one that A'Liang had referred to as the main road.

Li Baoping fell silent as she adjusted the basket on her back, then continued to follow along behind Chen Ping'an.

At night, while sleeping in the small cowhide tent set up by Zhu Lu, Li Baoping couldn't help but feel a little dejected as she thought back to Chen Ping'an's indifferent response. She could only console herself by telling herself that Chen Ping'an was already very good to her, and with that thought in her mind, she gradually dozed off.

The next morning, she woke up still tired and bleary-eyed, but she didn't dare to sleep any longer for fear of delaying the itinerary that Chen Ping'an had set out. She quickly got dressed and put on the straw sandals that Chen Ping'an had woven for her, and as soon as she emerged from her tent, she was completely rooted to the spot.

There was a beautiful little green bamboo bookcase sitting right outside the tent.

Li Baoping was rooted to the spot for a long while before suddenly erupting into howling sobs.

Chen Ping'an had worked on the bookcase for an entire night, and he was sleeping in the distance when he was woken up by Li Baoping's bawling. He hurriedly stood up and rushed over to her, and he was at a complete loss for what to do.

He had no idea how to console her, and he was scratching his own head with his brows tightly furrowed. He had thought that Li Baoping would be happy to see the bookcase, and seeing her cry like this was making his heart throb with pain.

Li Baoping wept with her eyes closed for a long while, and she immediately stopped crying as soon as she opened her eyes and spotted Chen Ping'an. She rushed over to him before throwing her arms around him in a tight embrace as she sobbed, "I'm sorry, Junior Uncle!"

"It's alright, it's alright," Chen Ping'an could only croon as he gently patted her head.

However, Li Baoping continued to sob as if her heart had been broken.

"Do you not like the bookcase? Does it not look good?" Chen Ping'an asked in a gentle voice. "It's alright, I can modify it next time. I've only ever seen one bookcase, so that was the only point of reference I had. Once we go somewhere with more people, you can keep an eye out for bookcases that you think look good and point them out to me."

Li Baoping raised her head, and her face was covered in tears as she insisted, "I love it! I love it more than anything else!"

However, the fonder of the bookcase she was, the guiltier she felt toward Chen Ping'an, and the more her own conscience was weighing on her. She could only squat down onto the ground and sob into her own arms, not daring to look at Chen Ping'an.

Chen Ping'an recalled what A'Liang had said to him earlier, and he immediately realized why Li Baoping was so distraught. With that in mind, he squatted down beside Li Baoping and patted her on the head as he said in a gentle voice, "Li Baoping, I'm truly very happy to be able to accompany you on this journey to Mountain Cliff Academy.

I haven't told you this before, so I'm telling you now. If you like this worthless little bamboo bookcase, then I'll be even happier. I'm serious, I'm not lying to you."

Li Baoping slowly raised her head, but she was still covering her face with her hands, only daring to look through the gaps between her fingers. Her bright and exuberant eyes peeked out from behind her hands as she sniffled in a timid voice, "Are you sure you're not lying to me?"

Chen Ping'an looked back at her with his clear and pure eyes as he nodded in response. "I tell lies just like everyone else, but I'll never lie to you."

Li Baoping quickly removed her hands from her face to reveal a dazzling smile, and in that instant, she had reverted back to the same little girl in Chen Ping'an's memories, the pure and innocent little girl without a care in the world.

Chen Ping'an was very happy to see this, so his smile was just as bright and dazzling as hers.

The hearts of some people resembled flowers and plants in that they were always seeking out the light, and this was particularly true for Chen Ping'an and Li Baoping.

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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