unsheathed – Chapter 82 (1): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio

Chapter 82 (1): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio

Chapter 82 (1): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junior Brother

After leaving the narrow and confined Clay Vase Alley, Cui Chan made his way down the wide and bright Erlang Alley. His footsteps were light and spritely, his sleeves were swaying from side to side, and he was holding the pair of couplets that he had stolen from Clay Vase Alley in his hands.

Wu Yuan had been waiting for him here for quite some time with his eyes closed, and he opened his eyes as soon as he heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Upon catching sight of Cui Chan, Wu Yuan hurriedly extended a slight bow as he greeted in a respectful voice, "Teacher."

Cui Chan nodded in response, then casually handed the couplets to Wu Yuan before pulling out a key to open the gate. However, right as he was about to make his way over the doorstep, he suddenly took a step backward before closing the yard gate again.

As a result, Wu Yuan almost crashed into him from behind, and he hurriedly took a few steps backward while looking at his teacher with a befuddled expression.

Cui Chan tucked his hands into his sleeves, then pointed his chin at the pair of door gods on the gates as he said, "The ancestors of your father-in-law are hanging there. Don't they look great?"

Wu Yuan didn't know how to respond to such a strange question.

He wasn't on good terms with his soon-to-be father-in-law, but he had an exceptional relationship with his fiancee. In the capital city of the Great Li Empire, they were renowned as an affectionate and loving couple, and their story was one that tugged on the heartstrings of many. Wu Yuan was a handsome scholar who came from a humble background.

He had traveled to the capital city to undertake the imperial examination, and his performance had been rather lackluster, but he was able to win the heart of the pillar general's daughter. Despite their requited love for one another, the vast disparity in their backgrounds made their relationship one that seemed extremely unfeasible.

However, in a stunning turn of events, Wu Yuan became a direct disciple to the Great Li Empire's imperial preceptor, and his story quickly became so renowned that he was even granted an audience with the emperor himself.

From that point onward, Wu Yuan's soon-to-be father-in-law had turned a blind eye to him, no longer proclaiming to his daughter that he was going to break all three of Wu Yuan's legs.

Cui Chan strode over the doorstep as he mused, "I've been thinking about a problem for quite some time now. Us followers of the school of Confucianism have always idealized the concept of a ruler who's able to ensure peace and garner the support of the people not through their actions, but through the quality of their character and their charisma alone. I wonder if that's actually possible."

"Have you thought of an answer to this question?" Wu Yuan asked.

"It's a very difficult thing to accomplish," Cui Chan concluded as he pursed his lips.

Wu Yuan was left speechless upon hearing this.

"Do you feel like I just stated the obvious?" Cui Chan asked with a faint smile.

"I do," Wu Yuan replied in a truthful manner.

It seemed that the two of them had always been very open and candid with one another, and Cui Chan wasn't incensed by Wu Yuan's blunt answer. He took a glance at Wu Yuan out of the corner of his eye, then sighed in a forlorn manner, "There are many things in life where the process is more precious than the outcome."

Wu Yuan took a moment to muster up some courage, then asked, "Can you give an example, Teacher?"

Cui Chan led Wu Yuan to a large square table beneath the plaque of the main hall as he said, "An example would be your relationship with the daughter of Pillar General Yuan. Right now, you're in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, and even just holding her hand is enough to make you giddy with joy. However, after you marry her and do the deed with her in bed, you'll quickly be disappointed and realize that it's not as good as you envisioned it to be."

Wu Yuan couldn't help but grimace upon hearing this example, and he didn't know how to respond.

Cui Chan indicated for Wu Yuan to take a seat, while he remained standing and raised his head to look up at the plaque hanging above the entrance of the main hall as he continued, "However, are you going to pass up the opportunity to sleep with the daughter of Pillar General Yuan just because you're aware of this? Clearly not."

After a moment of consideration, Cui Chan seemed to have also realized that the example he had raised wasn't a very good one, and he amended, "Let me make another example. When it comes to the average cultivator, their goal is usually to reach the Middle Five Tiers, while certain prodigies would set their sights higher and aim for the Upper Five Tiers.

The same applies to officials serving in the imperial court. Their aspirations will vary depending on how ambitious they are. During the long and arduous journey to the top, many people would constantly keep their gaze focused on the summit of the mountain, ignoring all of the beautiful scenery along the way. Even if they do notice the scenery, they won't stop to appreciate it. It truly is a sad state of affairs."

Wu Yuan fell into deep thought upon hearing this.

All of a sudden, Cui Chan erupted into raucous laughter. "You're actually taking me seriously? I just spouted some of the most cliched nonsense you'll ever hear!"

An exasperated look appeared on Wu Yuan's face as he said, "In the past, I definitely wouldn't have put much thought into something like this. However, since you came out of seclusion, you adopted this disguise, then suddenly declared that you were coming to this town to meet an acquaintance, and I simply don't know what to make of all of this."

Cui Chan's laughter subsided as he leaned lazily back against his chair, then said, "What I said just now may have been very cliched, but it still rings true. I value practical ability over theoretical knowledge, but that doesn't mean that I take the accrual of knowledge lightly. Let me be frank with you here, for the average person, if they haven't dedicated an immense amount of time and effort into doing something, then they have no right to talk about talent or aptitude."

Cui Chan was gently tapping the armrest of his chair with his finger as he continued, "Only those who have truly put in the time and fully tapped into their potential in something can fully comprehend the despair of facing someone who's simply more talented than them. After doing everything in their power, yet still falling short, they'll come to realize that sometimes, a disparity in talent simply produces an insurmountable gap."

Wu Yuan smiled as he said, "I'm sure this is what all the top go players on the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent feel when they face you in a game."

"That may be true, but even with all my talents, I sometimes also experience this type of despair in the face of certain people," Cui Chan sighed.

"You can't expect me to believe that!" Wu Yuan exclaimed.

An amused grin appeared on Cui Chan's face as he pointed at Wu Yuan and accused, "That was a terrible attempt at flattery!"

Wu Yuan immediately burst into laughter, and he cupped his fist in a salute as he chuckled, "Your wisdom is truly unmatched, Teacher."

At the same time, Wu Yuan spotted a young boy out of the corner of his eye. The boy had glittering and translucent skin, and he was seated on a small stool not far away from the residence's open-air area. There was a dazed and vacant look in his eyes, and his hands were resting on his knees as he looked up at the sky.

Wu Yuan had spotted the boy as soon as he entered the courtyard, and he was immediately struck by a sense of discomfort at the sight of him. However, seeing as Cui Chan was displaying no intention of introducing the boy to him, he felt it inappropriate to ask questions.

Wu Yuan turned his attention to the set of couplets on the table, and after some careful inspection, he asked, "Who wrote these couplets? I can tell it's a very interesting character."

Cui Chan yawned and snuggled up into a more comfortable position on his chair as he replied, "I think he's still called Song Jixin for now, but in a few years, he's most likely going to revert back to his old name, Song Mu."

Wu Yuan was stunned upon learning the identity of the person who had written the couplets, and he couldn't help but ask, "Teacher, why did you take these couplets?"

Cui Chan smiled as he replied, "I wanted to show them to your senior brother. He's always going on about how I'm only a better calligrapher than him because I'm older than him. These couplets were written by his twin brother, I'd like to see what excuse he can come up with now!"

Wu Yuan was rather amused to hear this, and he said, "He could say that Song Jixin was living out in the wilderness with nothing to do but hone his calligraphy all day, so he's had more time to practice, and that's why he's a better calligrapher."

"Is he really that shameless?" Cui Chan asked with a shocked expression.

"I can definitely see him using that excuse," Wu Yuan replied with an amused nod.

Cui Chan shook his head as he sighed, "I really should've beaten him more. Sticks and stones are the basis for establishing rules."

Wu Yuan placed the couplets back onto the table, then remarked, "I'm guessing your teacher must've been very strict with you."

Up to this point, Wu Yuan still didn't know who his teacher had been taught by. In fact, he didn't even know his teacher's rough lineage, and there was most likely only a small handful of people in the entire Great Li Empire who were privy to this information.

Cui Chan suddenly sat up a little straighter as he replied, "Nope, my teacher taught me in much the same way as I'm teaching you. That's why I turned out to be so ungrateful, treacherous, and blasphemous."

Wu Yuan was dumbfounded, and he couldn't help but wonder if he had misheard what Cui Chan had just said.

However, Cui Chan confirmed in an indifferent voice, "You heard me right. Back when I was studying under my teacher, I wasn't as extreme in my methods and beliefs as I am now, so I only dared to propose pursuing knowledge and practical ability in tandem. In response, my teacher immediately lambasted me, labeling me as ungrateful, treacherous, and blasphemous."

Cui Chan sat up even straighter as he spoke, and he looked straight into Wu Yuan's eyes as he continued, "You know what the most infuriating thing is? I didn't even get a chance to fully articulate my proposal before my teacher threw all those derogatory labels at me. He wasn't even willing to consider my proposal for a day, an hour, or even a minute!

I had a junior brother at the time, and whenever he raised any questions about our reading materials, our teacher would be sure to meticulously consider his answer for fear of passing on information that's even slightly inaccurate. Do you know what was the longest time he took to consider one of my junior brother's questions before giving an answer?"

Cui Chan raised a finger as a hint.

Given the nature of the question, Wu Yuan knew that it had to have been a very long time, so he guessed, "A month?"

A peculiar look appeared on Cui Chan's face, and he shook his head as he revealed the answer. "A decade!"

Wu Yuan was rendered completely speechless upon hearing this.

Cui Chan heaved a long sigh as he mused in a self-deprecating voice, "It's all in the past anyway, and I'm no longer hung up on any of this. Besides, even if I can't get over it, what else can I do?"

Cui Chan rose to his feet as he spoke, then turned to Wu Yuan as he continued, "I brought you here today because there's someone I want you to meet. I have to do something in the meantime, so go and wait for our guest outside."

Wu Yuan did as he was instructed, standing up before making his way out of the courtyard.read latest chpters at n/v(e)lbi(.)co/m

Meanwhile, Cui Chan strode over to the dazed young boy's side, then crouched down as he carefully inspected the boy while stroking his own chin, as if he were examining the boy for imperfections.

As dusk arrived, Wu Yuan led a man wearing a veiled bamboo hat into the main hall. Only then did Cui Chan rise to his feet as he made an inviting gesture to Wu Yuan and the guest. "Take a seat."

After sitting down onto a chair, the man removed his veiled bamboo hat to reveal a handsome, yet sickly pale face. His energy, essence, and spirit were all in complete disarray, as if he were carrying severe injuries, and not only was he coughing incessantly, there was a faint bloody odor emanating from his body.

"Cui Minghuang?!" Wu Yuan exclaimed with a stunned expression before quickly turning to Cui Chan.

Only then did it occur to him that Cui Chan and Cui Minghuang shared the same surname.

Could it be?

Wu Yuan's skin was crawling, and he was beginning to grow concerned about whether he was going to be able to leave this residence alive.

Cui Chan had always abided by the mantra that he only killed when the rules mandated for him to do so, but the problem was that no one knew what set of rules he was using to dictate his conduct.

Even a close disciple like Wu Yuan would never dare to proclaim that he knew exactly what his teacher was thinking at any given moment.

Cui Chan dragged a chair over to the dazed young boy, and his back was facing Wu Yuan and Cui Minghuang as he smiled and said, "There's no need to be concerned. One of you is a fellow clansman of mine who has managed to catch my eye, while the other is my prized disciple whom I have very high hopes for, so rest assured that I have no intention of harming either of you."

Wu Yuan mustered up some courage before asking, "Teacher, you're from the Cui Clan?"

Cui Chan ignored the question.

A wry smile appeared on Cui Minghuang's face as he explained, "Granduncle was evicted from the Cui Clan long ago, and he's forbidden from being buried at our ancestral grave."

Wu Yuan's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this.

Cui Chan remained standing with his back facing Cui Minghuang and Wu Yuan as reassured, "Don't worry, His Majesty has known about my unsightly past from the very beginning. I'm sure you have many questions for me, Wu Yuan. I'll get Cui Minghuang to answer them in my stead."

Wu Yuan was silent for a moment, then asked the question that he was most curious about: "Teacher, did you orchestrate Qi Jingchun's death?"

Cui Chan offered no response.

Cui Minghuang's expression remained unchanged as he replied, "A while ago, Qi Jingchun received a secret letter from Mountain Cliff Academy, informing him that his teacher has passed away."

Wu Yuan's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this. This was an astonishing secret that he hadn't heard about at all, and it was a piece of information that was most likely only known to the leading figures of the three schools and 72 academies of Confucianism. However, just like many other scholars, Wu Yuan had caught wind of some rumors related to this subject.

In the short span of no more than a century, the fourth deity statue that had been worshipped in Confucianist temples had first been removed from its position of Sage and placed among the 72 Saints, then continued to be moved down the ranks of the 72 Saints all the way until it was at the very bottom.

This spring, all statues of the former Sage had been removed from the Confucianist temples altogether. Not only that, but someone had attempted to sneak one of the statues into a Daoist temple, only to discover not long thereafter that the statue had been knocked down and smashed to bits by a bunch of so-called ignorant rabble-rousers.

Furthermore, everything that this former Sage had written in his entire life had been banned by the imperial courts, and all copies of his works were destroyed. Additionally, all of the laws and policies that he had introduced were abolished by all of the empires, and his name was removed from all historical records.

It had been a gradual yet steady fall from grace, which had concluded in the complete erasure of a once-revered figure from the face of this world, and at this moment, Cui Minghuang was revealing to Wu Yuan the shocking conspiracy that had led to this point. "Right now, Mountain Cliff Academy has already been stripped of its status as one of the 72 academies, and I understand that your Great Li Empire is quite opposed to this development.

After all, Qi Jingchun and Mountain Cliff Academy have played an integral role in educating the general public and elevating the Great Li Empire from its former status as a settlement of northern savages. Now that the academy is no longer attracting the top scholars in the northern region of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, the official hierarchy of the Great Li Empire is undoubtedly going to be dealt a severe blow.

However, this was all inevitable, and the Great Li Empire was powerless to change anything. The emperor of the Great Li Empire certainly wouldn't be so foolish as to make enemies out of so many powerful forces just for the sake of Qi Jingchun. After learning about his teacher's demise from the secret letter, Qi Jingchun knew that he wouldn't be able to count on any external assistance.

Hence, he had to face the massive predicament of preserving the status of Mountain Cliff Academy on his own. He knew that if he were to emerge from Jewel Small World at the conclusion of his 60-year tenure, then it would inevitably come to light that not only had his cultivation base not been negatively affected during his time in the small world, but it had improved instead, and that revelation would've led to him being hunted down by certain powerful figures in the school of Confucianism.

Not only that, but some prominent figures in all of the other teachings would've also been itching to make a move. They had finally managed to bring down his teacher, and they certainly wouldn't have allowed Qi Jingchun to take his teacher's place."

A faint smile appeared on Cui Minghuang's face as he spoke, and he turned his gaze toward Cui Chan, who was still staring at the dazed young boy.

Cui Minghuang's eyes were filled with admiration as he continued, "Ultimately, it was Ruan Qiong's early arrival in the small world that proved to be the final nail in the coffin, completely cutting off the path of retreat that Qi Jingchun was most likely to have taken."

Meanwhile, Cui Chan rose up from his haunches and began to gently pry back the young boy's eyelids with his fingers. After hearing what Cui Minghuang had just said, he murmured, "Where's the wine? You should've bought a few flagons when you were passing the wine shop on the way here."

Cui Minghuang could see the befuddlement in Wu Yuan's eyes, so he explained, "Even though Ruan Qiong adopted a stance of absolute neutrality and didn't interfere with the town's affairs following his early arrival, his presence in the town is quite a significant factor in itself.

Essentially, his arrival forced Qi Jingchun's hand, making it impossible for him to negotiate with the four Sages and suggest that he remain in the town for another 60 years, thereby allowing Mountain Cliff Academy to cling onto its status as one of the 72 academies for 60 more years."

Cui Minghuang smiled as he continued, "His teacher is dead, and the books written by his teacher have been banned, while the policies he proposed are no longer being adopted by anyone. The Mountain Cliff Academy that Qi Jingchun had painstakingly established in the northern wilderness of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent is also gone, leaving him with no place to return to.

The small world that he had called home for the last 60 years had also met its demise, so what choice did he have but to die? Only by surrendering his own life could he ensure that the fragmented Mountain Cliff Academy is no longer seen as a threat by anyone. If it wasn't for Qi Jingchun, Mountain Cliff Academy wouldn't even have been regarded as anywhere near our Lake View Academy's equal, let alone instated as one of the 72 academies."

"Lake View Academy is certainly a well-established academy, but it's lacking in innovation. If it wasn't for the existence of Mountain Cliff Academy forcing Lake View Academy to make a whole host of changes, it would've only been left further and further behind by the changing times, eventually falling to a slow and inevitable demise," Cui Chan remarked.

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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