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Fine raindrops fell between wisps of wind. Within the mist, an indistinct figure could be seen between the willow branches. This person had a tall and slender stature, and stood there with an umbrella, giving off an indescribable feeling of peace. His looks were tasteful and refined, even handsome.
He, was the so-called Han Zichuan.
“The rain’s getting stronger, hurry up and come inside.” I languidly leaned out the door to yell at him.
“Fang Hua isn’t back yet, I’ll wait a bit longer.”
Whether or not you enjoy waiting, it serves you right if you get wet.
I gave a snort and closed the door behind me, completely shutting him out from view. He didn’t seem much older than me, and was probably 17 or 18 years old. But I had no good feelings towards him.
Since the first day Fang Hua brought him to our house, my heart had felt empty…every time we ate, there’d be an extra pair of chopsticks. He’d also take away pieces of my favorite twice-cooked pork.
Fang Hua would never cook only for me again, or only buy clothes for me again…another person had gotten between us.
That person was Han Zichuan.
Han Zichuan would call him Fang Hua…
But I could only call him yifu…
I was in low spirits, but I didn’t know why…
I grabbed a cup off the table and poured myself some water, which I drained in one gulp.
I can’t be so negative.
There were still important things to do today before Fang Hua came home. With my focus set, I tugged open the front door–and was greeted with a face full of rainwater. Narrowing my eyes, I touched my face and sucked in a deep breath. Just great.
Han Zichuan was noticeably startled as he drew back the hand that shook out his umbrella. Quickly, he pulled up his sleeves to wipe my face, saying, “Younger Brother Shao, I’m really sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose.”
What a nice guy.
The differences between us was even more obvious. I shoved him aside.
“Screw off, leave me alone.”
He smiled, not the least irritated as he tugged my sleeve. “It’s raining now, so you should bring an umbrella if you’re going out.”
As if I was your wife or such nonsense…bring what umbrella? I gave him a scornful look and waved him off, saying boldly, “I don’t need one.”
With a swish of my robes, I valiantly walked off. Tch, this rain wasn’t even that heavy, it didn’t even land on my robes…eeee? Something didn’t seem right. I turned around and spotted Han Zichuan raising an umbrella over my head, following in my footsteps with a warm smile.
I sucked in a breath.
Forget it. Some people just had stubborn personalities that refused to change. I could only let him do as he wanted and hold the umbrella, but kept sullen for the entire trip.
After crossing through part of the bamboo forest, the skies cleared up. The weather in the mountains were fickle at times like these, always changing unpredictably. Han Zichuan closed his umbrella and stood there quietly. I glanced at him and saw that a large section behind his shoulders was soaked from the water.
A part of my heart softened. All things considered, this person had a pretty good moral character.
“The scenery here is really mesmerizing. Did Brother Shao come to collect ingredients for medicines?” Han Zichuan surveyed the area around him, finally smelling the faint scent of medicinal plants in the air.
“No,” I replied tersely.
I sealed my thoughts and pushed aside the bamboo leaves, stepping past some twigs until I was standing atop the edge of the cliff and looking down.
The entire mountain was covered in plants and flowers…
It was as splendid a sight as I remembered.
I hadn’t come here for a long time. What used to be a cliff for the younger me could only be considered a slope now. Over the past few months, Fang Hua not only told me to soak in medicinal baths to increase my internal energy, but taught me some breathing techniques as well.
But he didn’t teach me many martial arts moves. Even though this was a tall slope, I didn’t really have much grasp of how to get down safely. Still, I couldn’t resist sneaking a glance again. Kicking a pebble downhill, I watch as it tumbled down in a stream of dust…and my heart beat wildly. Actually, this was still pretty high.
“When the internal energy reaches the top of the head, bring the full weight of you body to your upper half. This way your feet will be able to travel over surfaces with the slightest pressure.” A voice slowly floated towards me.
Was it like that?
“The movements must be swift, so the momentum can remain unbroken. If you’re slow by even a bit and can’t attract the qi, your qi will naturally sink down and the weight of your body will return to as before.”
Surprised, I didn’t think much before doing exactly as told. One foot stepped onto the precipice, body twisting to borrow some energy as I opened up my sleeves and started lightly floating down.
The scenery shifted as I moved along, making me dizzy. My feet lost their grip and I stepped onto the spongy soil.
But I hadn’t injured myself. Raising my head, I saw the person who’d tipped me off give me a helpless expression as he paced back and forth by the edge.
“Thanks,” I waved at him.
He grew even more anxious and dragged out a length of rattan vine, as if he was going to climb down after me.
A nice guy…
He was great at memorizing things, but it was all useless since he didn’t know any martial arts skills. I stuffed my robes around my waist and started drifting up like a stray leaf. At the very top of the precipice, I grabbed him by the collar and with light steps, forcefully took him along as I floated back down.
Darn it, he’s really heavy.
The two of us crashed heavily to the ground, and he helplessly tumbled to the bottom. In contrast, I dusted myself off and leisurely got to my feet, looking around until I saw that patch of yellow earth again. My expression grew heavy as I made my way over.
Han Zichuan followed, tripping and stumbling along.
This was the place…
There was no mistake.
I squatted down and felt about the soil for a long while…
Huh? How could it wasn’t there anymore?
“Shao’er, what are you looking for…? Ah…” The person walking leisurely towards the tomb in the patch of yellow earth suddenly turned pale and backed up a few paces, using his body to block my field of vision.
Meanwhile, my hand…
Just happened to brush against something buried in the dirt.
umbrella (?) ?san. Ancient Chinese umbrellas were typically made from wood and oil-paper. Sometimes they were decorated with paintings and other designs, as seen here. They’re typically stiffer and straighter than modern-day umbrellas. You can read more about them on Wikipedia. Han Zichuan (???) ?our third character makes his debut! Han is just a surname. Zi could mean “son” or “child”, and Chuan is “river” or “plain.” So his full name could be read as the “Han son of the river/plains”, I think. twice-cooked pork (???) ?hui guo rou, or “double-cooked pork“, a Sichuan styled Chinese dish mixing simmered + stir-fried pork with vegetables. Often served with chili seasoning. internal energy (??) ? forgot to mention this in the previous chapter, but this is the same neigong Fang Hua used to pick Shao’er up and inspect her in chapter 4. I figured an English stand-in for the pinyin wouldn’t hurt the meaning.[:)] the person ?the original text isn’t very clear, but it’s still Han Zichuan speaking here. The “er” in Shao’er is a diminutive added to a name (like -chan, -kun, -san in Japanese), indicating these two are pretty familiar with each other.
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