unsheathed – Chapter 82 (2): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio

Chapter 82 (2): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junio

Chapter 82 (2): Master and Student, Senior Brother and Junior Brother

"That's a brilliant assessment, Granduncle!" Cui Minghuang praised in an earnest voice.

Cui Chan seemed to have finally grown bored of playing around with the dazed young boy, and he stood beside the dry pond as he looked up at the sky along with the boy.

After a while, he withdrew his gaze, then said something very strange. "I've meticulously arranged an examination, and there's only a single person taking the examination, namely that orphan from Clay Vase Alley by the name of Chen Ping'an. He may have come from a very humble background, but he's led a very interesting life up to this point."

Wu Yuan was becoming more and more puzzled by the second, unable to comprehend any of this.

Cui Chan began to slowly pace around the pond with his hands clasped behind his back, and his head was lowered as he mused to himself, "Given that Qi Jingchun was in a position where his demise was sealed, it would've only made sense for him to make one final struggle before he fell to his death.

In that case, there were three people that I had to keep an eye on, the first of which is his junior brother, Ma Zhan, the second one is his scholarly attendant, Zhao Yao, and the third one is Song Jixin. These three people are the likeliest candidates for Qi Jingchun to place his hopes on. He would've wanted Ma Zhan to continue the heritage of Mountain Cliff Academy, even if the academy fell into such decline that it only had a single student.

He would've wanted Zhao Yao to spread his teachings to the world. As for whether Zhao Yao spread those teachings in the Great Li Empire or even on Eastern Treasured Vial Continent at all, that wouldn't have mattered to him. When I first learned that Qi Jingchun had left all of his books to Song Jixin, I thought that perhaps he had assigned Song Jixin to be his heir, but I quickly realized that this was nothing more than a smokescreen."

Cui Chan's words trailed off here, and he fell into a contemplative silence, as if he were retracing his train of thought to ensure that he hadn't made any mistakes or oversights.

"Are you saying that Chen Ping'an is the one hiding behind the smokescreen?" Wu Yuan interjected in a careful voice.

Having been snapped out of his train of thought, Cui Chan immediately turned to Wu Yuan with a cold look in his eyes.

Wu Yuan hurriedly rose to his feet, and cold sweat was beginning to bead up on his forehead as he extended an apologetic salute. "Please forgive me, Teacher."read latest chpters at n/v(e)lbi(.)co/m

Cui Chan continued strolling through the courtyard as he mused, "I suppose Ma Zhan qualifies as half a disciple to that person, but he can't even begin to compare with Qi Jingchun. His ambitions are loftier than the heavens, yet he possesses nowhere near the capabilities and wherewithal required to fulfill those ambitions.

I told Cui Minghuang to go to Ma Zhan and deceive him into believing that he can take over as the next mountain master of Mountain Cliff Academy from Qi Jingchun. Even though it's no longer one of the 72 academies, the academy itself still stands, and so long as it's still standing, it requires a mountain master.

By instating a new mountain master to continue the heritage of Mountain Cliff Academy, His Majesty can say that he's done all he can to repay Qi Jingchun for his contributions to the Great Li Empire, and this is the outcome that all of the involved powers agreed upon from the very beginning. However, I'm not a fan of such an outcome.

Everyone's content with this outcome, and it's far too boring. There were some dissenting voices in the school of Confucianism, demanding that Qi Jingchun and Mountain Cliff Academy disappear altogether in case the academy makes a resurgence someday. Hence, I proposed the construction of a new academy on Cloud Drape Mountain, and three schools of Confucianism also agreed to promote this academy to become one of the 72 academies within the next 50 years.

His Majesty was quite fond of the idea. In contrast with Qi Jingchun, whom he had no control over, it would naturally be far more beneficial for the Great Li Empire's southern expansion to have a puppet that's absolutely obedient to the Great Li Empire.

Hence, Cui Minghuang deceived Ma Zhan even further, telling him that seeing as things have already progressed to this point, the best course of action for him to take would be to cut all ties with Mountain Cliff Academy, and once he returned to the town, he would be instated as the mountain master of the new academy, and the first-ever mountain master, at that. Isn't that much better than taking over a fragmented Mountain Cliff Academy from someone else?"

Cui Chan continued strolling around the courtyard, and he directed his gaze toward Cui Minghuang as he asked, "Judging from the state that you're in, something must've gone wrong, right?"

Cui Minghuang nodded in response. "At some point, he must've become suspicious of all of the promises I made to him, and he became a lot more insincere when dealing with me. I could tell that he was perhaps plotting something, so I constantly had my guard up around him, but I didn't anticipate that he would go to such extreme lengths, trying to kill me even at the expense of snapping his meridians and destroying his acupoints."

Cui Chan didn't seem surprised to hear this, and he mused, "Ma Zhan may be far inferior to Qi Jingchun, but he was still taught by that man for over a decade, so he can't just be regarded as any ordinary fool."

Cui Minghuang clasped a hand over his own mouth and threw up a mouthful of blood. However, in doing so, he seemed to have cleared up some congestion, and a hint of color began to return to his pale cheeks as he asked, "Granduncle, why did you allow Ma Zhan to take the remaining students of the school to Great Sui Nation and continue the heritage of Mountain Cliff Academy there?

Why did His Majesty agree to something like this? I've never been able to understand this decision."

Cui Chan replied in a deliberate voice, "Even if the heritage of Mountain Cliff Academy is preserved, it only exists in name. Having been stripped of its status as one of the 72 academies, it's nothing more than an empty shell of its former self, and it can no longer compete with the rising Lake View Academy for the best scholars on Eastern Treasured Vial Continent.

Furthermore, once the new academy is constructed on Cloud Drape Mountain, the deputy mountain master of Lake View Academy will come here to oversee the new academy. Of course, the second mountain master will most definitely be this boy sitting beside you right now. Additionally, if Great Sui Nation accepts the defection of Mountain Cliff Academy, then that'll give our Great Li Empire an excuse to declare war on Great Sui Nation at any time.

Once Great Sui Nation falls, Mountain Cliff Academy will become a part of our Great Li Empire once again. Everyone knows that Mountain Cliff Academy is equivalent to the imperial academy of the Great Li Empire, but no emperor would dare to proclaim that Lake View Academy is their private property.

Hence, it's always been a dream of His Majesty for the Great Li Empire to be able to take complete control over an academy someday. Of course, His Majesty is also doing this as a form of compensation to Qi Jingchun. During his tenure as mountain master, even though Qi Jingchun refused to be completely obedient to His Majesty, His Majesty still holds a great deal of admiration toward Qi Jingchun, and perhaps even a little fear."

All of a sudden, a smile appeared on Cui Chan's face as he continued, "Of course, the most important reason behind all of this is that I needed to orchestrate this exact situation. Not only did I need to have Qi Jingchun killed in Jewel Small World, I needed him to select the pawns that I wanted him to select, then destroy them one by one.

Prior to his death, Qi Jingchun was still figuratively holding onto a few seeds or a few sticks of incense, and he could only have passed those things onto the people around him. When it comes to one's heritage, there's a belief that even if all of one's disciples were to perish, that doesn't necessarily mean that their heritage will come to an end.

Hence, what exactly is a heritage? It's an intangible concept that's impossible to explain. Qi Jingchun had most likely already developed an inkling of the true meaning of a heritage prior to his death, but I'm still none the wiser. I can't be certain if my thought process is correct, so I require verification. That's why I set up this examination, not only to sever Qi Jingchun's heritage, but also to fulfill my Dao attainment catalyst."

Cui Chan made his way behind the boy seated on the stool, then gently patted him on the head as he smiled and said, "There's a poem that says that someone who's had their head stroked by an immortal will be granted life. What a beautiful sentiment that is."

As Cui Chan was speaking, all of the boy's joints began to creak and groan. In the end, he slowly rose to his feet in an uncoordinated manner, and a hint of dazzling radiance gradually began to appear in his eyes.

Upon standing up straight, the boy turned to Cui Chan, who had assembled his body from scratch. The boy was still unable to speak, only capable of making a series of unintelligible noises like an infant, and he was dancing joy, but he also seemed to harbor an innate sense of awe and veneration toward Cui Chan.

Not only was Wu Yuan astonished to see this, Cui Minghuang was just as stunned by what he had just witnessed.

For some reason, after hearing everything that Cui Chan had just said, Wu Yuan felt as if his entire body had been sapped of all of its strength and plunged into a glacial pit. His voice was slightly hoarse as he asked, "Teacher, couldn't you have just killed everyone involved? Why go through all this trouble?"

Cui Chan immediately burst into laughter, and it seemed as if he had been waiting for someone to raise this exact question. "When it comes to conflicts that arise during the pursuit of the Great Dao, the solution is never as simple as killing everyone involved. It's a very difficult task to truly eradicate one's lineage, and it's often the case that killing carelessly will only make a simple matter extremely convoluted. The key is to strike at the heart.

Why is it that cultivators can reach as high as the 15th tier? Because they know how to hone the heart. For martial artists who solely hone their bodies, the ninth tier is the upper limit, and transcending to the 10th tier for them is even more difficult than ascending to the heavens."

All of a sudden, Cui Chan jumped down into the dry pond beneath the open-air area in the courtyard, and he trod on the colorful pebbles at the bottom of the pond before resuming his casual strolling, except the area in the pond was clearly smaller and more restrictive than outside.

After a brief moment of thought, he continued, "Let me tell you two about a pair of confidential stories. After hearing those stories, you'll come to realize that everything I'm doing here really isn't all that remarkable. There was once a prodigious talent who was almost able to establish a teaching for Militarians. Even though he fell short in the end, he was clearly someone who was blessed with immense fortune, and no one dared to try and strike him down.

Do you know how the Sages ultimately decided to deal with him? They threw him into a blessed land and had him go through reincarnation after reincarnation while constantly planting pawns by his side to wear down his will and intent as a martial artist. One lifetime, he was a teacher in a rural village, but he was always well-fed and had a roof over his head, never having to worry about food or shelter.

In the next lifetime, he was a timid and uncouth butcher, but he had a beautiful and loving wife. In the lifetime after that, he became the heir of a wealthy family and did nothing but indulge in his vices all day. After that, he became the emperor of a peaceful empire that never went to war. Lifetime after lifetime, he was made into a plaything for the Sages, and this cycle is still repeating itself to this very day.

It's not that his descendants don't want to save him, but they only dare to act in secret, trying to awaken their ancestor, but their chances of ever succeeding are extremely slim. How are they supposed to win in a contest of cultivation base, strategy, and patience against those old Sages?

There was another exceptional Militarian who was unmatched in battle, but in the end, he fell to his demise over a woman that had been planted by his side to orchestrate his downfall. Following his demise, the Sages immediately pounced on the opportunity to split up his three souls and six senses before instating them as the leading immortals in different blessed lands.

Every single one of his three souls and six senses were able to ascend into our world from those blessed lands, and all of them went on to make rapid progress in their pursuit of the Great Dao and become rulers of vast territories. Even the ones with the lowliest cultivation bases among the nine of them were 10th Tier cultivators.

Do you think they would be willing to sacrifice their independent wills to revert back into a single person? Neither of those plans sound very complex, but they both required extremely long periods of time to execute."

Cui Chan heaved a faint sigh, then continued, "The battle for the Great Dao is unmatched in its brutality."

He then stretch lazily, and a smile appeared on his face as he mused, "Ma Zhan has perished from guilt and fury, Zhao Yao has already lost his status as the owner of the spring seal, so all that's left to do now is eradicate the tranquility seal."[1]

"Chen Ping'an is an impoverished orphan who's known nothing but adversity and hardship his entire life, and his greatest wish would be to lead a safe and stable life. Now, his dream has come true, and he's become the wealthiest person in the entire town. On top of that, he's suddenly been met with an exceptional opportunity to further compound his wealth.

Having purchased those five mountains, he'll be receiving an immense amount of passive income over the course of the next 300 years. Aside from granting him those blessings, I'm going to help him on two more occasions, the first of which was when I helped him choose Downtrodden Mountain.

I'm going to request the Great Li Empire to assign a mountain god to the mountain. Won't that be a pleasant surprise to him? The second piece of assistance I'm going to lend him is to orchestrate the sale of the Burclover and pastry shops. Both shops are going to be sold at very low prices for him to purchase.

Think about it: he'll have those five mountains and the two shops to provide him with a steady stream of income, and on top of that, he'll be treated with fondness and respect by both the governor of the county and the deputy mountain master of the new academy on Cloud Drape Mountain. What else could he possibly ask for? However..."

Cui Chan's smile widened even further here, and he continued, "However, right when everything seems to be falling into place in his life, the children who set off for Mountain Cliff Academy will return. They left with two horse-drawn carriages and one ox-drawn carriage, but upon their return, there will only be one horse-drawn carriage and one ox-drawn carriage left. Furthermore, Cui Minghuang will no longer be with them, and Ma Zhan will be dead.

Following their return, the coach driver will seek out Chen Ping'an and inform him that while Mr. Qi and Mr. Ma were still alive, they had hoped that Chen Ping'an would take those six children to Great Sui Nation's Mountain Cliff Academy to continue their education.

However, the coach driver would then warn him that this was going to be an extremely perilous and arduous journey, and he would tell Chen Ping'an that if Mr. Qi were still alive, he definitely wouldn't have wanted Chen Ping'an to undertake such a perilous journey."

Wu Yuan's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this, and he asked in a careful voice, "Those children must already be terrified after their failed trip, so what if they refuse to go with Chen Ping'an and insist on staying home instead? Wouldn't that give Chen Ping'an the justification he needs to remain in the town?"

Cui Minghuang smiled as he explained, "Not long after those children left the town, their clans had already been forced to move to the capital city of the Great Li Empire. However, all of the clans will leave a few members behind, and those clansmen will tell the six children how rare an opportunity it is to go to Mountain Cliff Academy, and how their parents have high hopes for them to go to the academy and receive an education."

All the while, Cui Chan was standing in the pond in silence with an expressionless look on his face.

Wu Yuan still wasn't entirely convinced, and he asked in a cautious manner, "Teacher, how are you so sure that this examination of yours will completely eradicate Qi Jingchun's lineage?"

Cui Chan raised an eyebrow, and he turned to Wu Yuan with a smile as he asked, "Have you still not figured it out yet? Qi Jingchun and I were taught by the same teacher. At one point, our teacher left to explore the world for three year, and as Qi Jingchun's senior brother, I took our teacher's place during that time, answering all of the questions he had on the classics of Confucianism, so I know the composition of his Great Dao better than anyone else.

He was the embodiment of righteousness and purity of heart, but the problem is that he's received too great a blessing from the heavens in the form of two kindred characters. If he hadn't met his demise here, he would've perhaps gone on to attain an unprecedented three kindred characters, so he had to die here.

I went out of my way to set up such an elaborate scheme all to accomplish this tiny objective. If I spend all of this time and effort and still end up losing..."

Cui Chan was making his way toward the yard gate as he spoke, and his voice trailed off to an inaudible volume at the end.

He opened the gate before striding over the doorstep, but he suddenly stopped cold in his tracks. His plan was to go out and buy some wine, but he suddenly didn't want to drink anymore, so he sat down on the doorstep instead.

Wu Yuan and Cui Minghuang exchanged a befuddled glance with one another, and neither of them knew why Cui Chan had suddenly decided to take a seat on the doorstep.

Cui Chan tucked his hands up his sleeves as he sat in a hunched-over position while inspecting the residence across from his. There was a pair of cheap black and white door gods plastered onto the gate of that residence, alongside a set of cliched couplets.

As he sat on the doorstep, he murmured to himself, "You'll ultimately be disappointed, Qi Jingchun."

All of a sudden, a warm voice that carried a hint of a smile rang out, seemingly out of nowhere. "Is that so?"

Cui Chan paid no heed to the voice, continuing to look directly up ahead as he nodded and murmured to himself, "I'll have a drink after I put an end to your lineage with my own two hands."

1. Quick reminder that the Jing and Chun characters in Qi Jingchun's name translate to spring and tranquility, respectively, so here, Cui Chan is referring to two of the seals left behind by Qi Jingchun.

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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