unsheathed – Chapter 81: Imperial Preceptor

Chapter 81: Imperial Preceptor

Chapter 81: Imperial Preceptor

Despite the boy's smiley and friendly disposition, Chen Ping'an's entire body was tensing up in a completely involuntary manner.

Back when he had faced off against Cai Jinjian and Fu Nanhua in that battle of life and death, he had grown calmer and more composed the closer he had gotten to them. Even during his battle against Bai Yuan and the subsequent chase, he hadn't been anxious at all, perhaps because he was prepared to die from the very beginning.

Of course, it could've also just been due to the fact that he was too busy trying to keep himself alive, thereby allowing him to ignore his emotions. In any case, whenever he thought back on that incident now, a sense of lingering fear would well up in his heart.

The only time that he could recall feeling this tense and anxious was during his battle against Ma Kuxuan at the immortal tomb. At the time, Chen Ping'an's palms had been clammy with sweat.

Cui Chan didn't seem surprised in the slightest by Chen Ping'an's sharp intuition.

He had the courage to provoke the unfathomable Old Man Yang back at the mountain of porcelain, and it was clear that he wasn't just putting up a bluff. Otherwise, Ruan Qiong wouldn't have been so wary of him.

He deliberately ignored the tension and anxiety radiating from Chen Ping'an's body, turning his gaze instead toward the Grand Secretary Archway, which had a strong connection to the Great Li Empire's capital city.

He pointed at the archway from afar, and his expression remained quite friendly and approachable as he explained, "'Doing my part' is a concept championed in the school Confucianism, 'comply with the natural order' is a mantra followed by those in the school of Daoism, 'refrain from looking outward' is a motto that proponents of Buddhism stand by, and 'unmatched aura' is something that all Militarians strive for.

The phrases on these four plaques reflect the intentions of the calligraphers that inscribed them, and the plaques are also imbued with traces of the auras of the four sages that established the rules here. You see that thing that the minister's holding? That thing is designed for the sole purpose of making rubbings of inscriptions. He brought that thing here in order to strip down the energy, essence, and spirit of the four plaques layer by layer.

The first rubbing will definitely be closest in appearance to the original, but each subsequent rubbing will stray further and further away from the original, thereby also making them worth less and less. If you ask me, the 'refrain from looking outward plaque' may be able to last six rubbings at a stretch, but the other three plaques most likely won't even be able to endure four rubbings.

In particular, two of the four characters on the "unmatched aura" plaque seem to have recently died, so it shouldn't be able to last more than two rubbings."

Chen Ping'an was astonished to hear this. He had originally thought that text was only inscribed on books, or on couplets to be plastered onto walls, or on tombstones to commemorate the names of the deceased, never had he thought that they could hold something more significant than their meanings.

With that in mind, he couldn't help but think of the text inscribed on the seals gifted to him by Mr. Qi and the prescription papers left behind by Daoist Lu.

Cui Chan continued, "Those sheets of paper used for the rubbings are extremely precious. Each sheet is as thick as a wood chip, and they're a unique treasure created by a Daoist sect from another continent by the name of the True Mandate Sect. This type of paper is known as a Wind Lightning Sheet, and when writing on a Wind Lightning Sheet, the sound of wind and thunder would ring out as the tip of the brush runs over the surface of the paper.

Even His Majesty doesn't have much of this precious material in his collection, and he would only very rarely use it to reward officials for major contributions. The fact that the ministry of rites has brought so many Wind Lightning Sheets for these rubbings is a clear sign of their determination. Unfortunately for Wu Yuan, he's most likely fighting a losing battle here.

He thinks too much and tries to maintain control over everything, but that's simply not feasible. My guess is that he's going to encounter many obstacles when trying to carry out his work in this town. There are going to be some difficult times ahead for him."

Chen Ping'an had no idea what he had just heard.

It sounded as if Cui Chan were spinning a tall tale, but Chen Ping'an had a feeling that the boy was speaking the truth.

Cui Chan had declared earlier that he wasn't an official of the Great Li Empire, and he didn't seem to be lying. However, he had appeared alongside Wu Yuan during the latter's visit to the blacksmith shop. Ruan Xiu had speculated that he was most likely Wu Yuan's scholarly attendant.

Essentially, a scholarly attendant was a servant responsible for carrying their master's bookcase around. However, at this point, Chen Ping'an was certain that Cui Chan definitely wasn't just some lowly scholarly attendant. His eloquence, disposition, and poise were only superior to those of the likes of Chen Songfeng and Fu Nanhua.

Out of all of the people that Chen Ping'an knew, there was a small group of them that he recalled to be very special. For example, Old Man Yao was a member of this exclusive group.

He barely ever spoke, and whenever he did, it was mostly to hurl abuse at someone, but whenever he entered the mountains, he would always display an exceptional level of energy and vigor, striking one with the illusion that he was even fitter and stronger than a healthy young man. Another example was Old Man Yang from the Yang Family's medicine shop. He was a very fair and just man.

Regardless of how terrible his relationship with someone was, he would never do anything to get back at that person. Similarly, no matter how close with someone he was, he would never go out of their way to give that person more than they deserved. There was also Ning Yao, whom he had only known for a short time.

There was a heroic spirit about her that he had felt in any other person of the opposite sex, much like the unique aura of sharpness and hostility that Chen Ping'an had felt from Ma Kuxuan when the latter showed his true colors.T/his chapter is updatd by nv((l)biin.co/m

Despite the fact that they had only met twice thus far, Cui Chan had claimed a spot on this list as well.

It was like he was someone that transcended beyond even the likes of immortal cultivators like Fu Nanhua and Cai Jinjian. In fact, Chen Ping'an had a feeling that even if the River Severing True Lord were to appear before them at this very moment, Cui Chan would still remain just as casual and disinterested.

Furthermore, when it came to being a chatterbox, only Liu Baqiao of Wind Lightning Field could compare with Cui Chan.

All of a sudden, Cui Chan smiled and asked, "Chen Ping'an, can you take me to Song Jixin's residence?"

Chen Ping'an was rather apprehensive upon hearing this request, but he feigned a nonchalant expression as he said, "Shouldn't we stay to see what happens to the plaques first?"

Cui Chan's smile widened even further, giving him the appearance of a handsome and harmless fox immortal as he said, "I know that you're worried that I have bad intentions. Let me tell you the truth: I know Song Jixin's younger brother very well, and he's very curious about how his older brother has been living in this town for the past dozen or so years.

He strongly requested me to take a look at Song Jixin's residence so I can tell him about it after I get back to the capital city."

"If he's brothers with Song Jixin, then can't he ask Song Jixin himself?" Chen Ping'an asked.

Cui Chan clapped his hands together in approval as he exclaimed, "You're a smart lad, Chen Ping'an! You instantly saw a hole in my story!"

Chen Ping'an was struggling to keep up with this enigmatic young boy.

Cui Chan massaged his own glabella momentarily, then sighed, "While it's true that they're brothers, they've never met even once, but despite this, they're already on very bad terms due to a certain situation concerning their parents. While they may appear righteous and glamorous on the surface, I can tell you that there's no lack of putrid things taking place in the shadows of these powerful and affluent clans."

Chen Ping'an smiled as he asked, "Are you going to come after me if I refuse?"

A perplexed look appeared on Cui Chan's face, following which he protested in an indignant manner, "Do I look like that type of person to you? Open your eyes up wide and take a good look at me! Do I look like the type of person who would seek retribution over minor disagreements?"

"It's true, you don't look like that type of person," Chen Ping'an conceded in a truthful manner.

Cui Chan's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this, and he crossed his arms as he harrumphed coldly, "Why does that sound like an insult? If you're not willing to take me, then I'll ask for directions from someone else."

"You don't have a key, so you won't even be able to enter the yard. What are you going to be able to see?" Chen Ping'an asked.

An extremely punchable smirk appeared on Cui Chan's face, one that said, "You're still too young, Chen Ping'an."

It was an expression that Chen Ping'an was extremely familiar with as he had seen it on many past occasions on the faces of Liu Xianyang and Gu Can.

"Fine, I'll take you to Clay Vase Alley, but I'll only lead you to the entrance of Song Jixin's residence," Chen Ping'an sighed.

Cui Chan slammed a palm heavily down onto Chen Ping'an's shoulder, then asked, "See? That wasn't so hard, was it?"

After that, he turned to depart, making his way away from the crowded archway.

All of a sudden, he stopped in his tracks, then turned to discover Chen Ping'an walking away in the opposite direction.

A slightly embarrassed look appeared on his face, and he hurriedly ran after Chen Ping'an.

Upon entering Clay Vase Alley, Cui Chan began to inspect his surroundings as he mused, "So this is the legendary Clay Vase Alley. Over the next century, even Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley combined most likely won't be able to produce as many prodigies as Clay Vase Alley."

Once again, Chen Ping'an had no idea what the basis of Cui Chan's statement was, but at this point, he was already accustomed to being unable to understand the mysterious young boy.

As they made their way along Clay Vase Alley, Cui Chan would occasionally jump up so that he could see in the courtyards beyond the short walls.

"This is it," Chen Ping'an declared as they arrived at the entrance of Song Jixin's residence.

Standing in the alley, Cui Chan quickly caught sight of the couplets that Song Jixin had written himself, and his eyes immediately lit up as he praised, "This is some exceptional calligraphy! Is this the residence where Song Jixin and his maidservant were staying? I have to say, judging from his handwriting, he definitely has more potential than his brother. The more I look at it, the more impressed I am."

He strode forward as he spoke, then got up onto the tips of his toes to tear down the couplets.

Chen Ping'an hurriedly stepped in as he exclaimed, "What are you doing?"

An innocent look appeared on Cui Chan's face as he replied, "Song Jixin isn't ever going to come back here. If I leave these couplets here to be exposed to the elements, the writing on them will gradually fade away, so it's better for me to take them back to the capital with me."

However, Chen Ping'an refused to concede on this matter, shaking his head as he protested, "You can't do that. You can't tear down a set of couplets unless you're going to replace them at the turn of the year. Otherwise, the entire residence will have bad luck for the rest of the year!"

"I see," Cui Chan murmured in a disappointed voice.

"Would you like to come in and take a seat in my yard?" Chen Ping'an offered.

Cui Chan shook his head in response. "I'll pass. Given how tiny your yard is, I don't think there's even enough space to have a cup of tea in there. I'm leaving. By the way, this alley isn't a dead-end, is it? Will I be able to emerge on the other side if I keep walking ahead?"

"You will," Chen Ping'an replied with a smile.

With that, Cui Chan promptly departed, waving farewell at Chen Ping'an as he did so.

Chen Ping'an watched as the strange young boy departed, then returned to his own yard. The locust branch was still there, propped up against the wall, and he set down the basket on his back before pulling out a stool from the house to sit on.

All of a sudden, he abruptly rose to his feet before charging out onto Clay Vase Alley again, just in time to see a sneaky figure running past like the wind.

He quickly rushed over to the entrance of Song Jixin's residence to find that the couplets had been stolen.

He was rooted to the spot as he stared at the bare walls on either side of the yard gate, and he was momentarily rendered speechless.

Shortly thereafter, a wry smile appeared on his face as he sighed, "What a weird guy!"

Chen Ping'an heaved another faint sigh as he returned to his yard, only to find that Old Man Yang had suddenly showed up, and he was sitting on Chen Ping'an's stool while puffing out a large cloud of smoke.

"What is a young man like you doing sighing like this? You need to keep your vital energy within yourself, especially if you're going to practice fist techniques," Old Man Yang mused.

Chen Ping'an's heart jolted slightly upon hearing this, and he hurriedly replied, "I'll be sure to keep that in mind."

"Why did that girl with the Ning surname suddenly leave?" Old Man Yang asked. "I missed out on a pouch of Greeting Spring Coins because of her."

Chen Ping'an squatted down beside Old Man Yang, then shook his head as he replied, "I'm not sure. All I know is that she has some ties with a place known as Stalactite Mountain."

Old Man Yang nodded in response as he chuckled, "That godforsaken place, eh? That place sits on the border between two regions, and in order to prevent people from the two regions from sneaking back and forth, one of the three disciples of the Dao Ancestor unleashed an almighty mystical ability to turn heaven and earth on their heads for the purpose of intimidation.

Essentially, it's a normal mountain that was manipulated to reside in the heavens. It sounds simple, but it would've required an unfathomable amount of power to accomplish such a feat."

Old Man Yang's voice was tinged with hints of both mockery and melancholy as he spoke on this subject, and Chen Ping'an naturally didn't know what was bringing on these emotions in the old man.

"I hear you're planning to buy some mountains?" Old Man Yang asked.

Chen Ping'an knew better than to lie to the unfathomable old man, and he replied in a truthful manner, "I'm planning to buy five mountains, three of which are close to Master Ruan's three mountains, namely Treasured Scripture Mountain, Rainbow Cloud Mountain, and Immortal Herb Mountain. On top of that, I'm also planning to buy Downtrodden Mountain and True Jewel Mountain."

Old Man Yang's brows furrowed slightly as he asked, "Why would you decide to purchase Downtrodden Mountain? Did someone tell you to do that? Was it Ruan Qiong? Surely not, it's clear he doesn't want to get involved with you."

"Is Downtrodden Mountain a strange choice?" Chen Ping'an asked with a puzzled expression.

Old Man Yang hesitated momentarily, then blew out a smoke ring before nodding in response. "Aside from Cloud Drape Mountain and Incense Mountain, Downtrodden Mountain is the most interesting of the bunch.

However, at this point, even the Great Li Empire's officials of astronomy and fengshui masters most likely haven't identified what's special about it, so the price won't be very high. You're going to be getting an enormous steal! Tell me what made you decide to buy this mountain."

A rather awkward look appeared on Chen Ping'an's face as he explained, "While I was looking at the map, a bird dropped a turd onto it, and the bird poop just so happened to land on the annotation of Downtrodden Mountain. In the past, Old Man Yao always told me that there were invisible deities in the mountains and rivers. I didn't know what mountain I should buy anyway, so I took that as a sign from the gods."

A complex look appeared in Old Man Yang's eyes upon hearing mention of Old Man Yao, and he nodded as he mused, "I suppose that isn't too far-fetched."

Chen Ping'an smiled as he said, "Master Ruan has already agreed to help me purchase those five mountains. Have I made good choices?"

"You have, indeed," Old Man Yang replied in an absentminded manner.

At the same time, he was feeling rather perplexed. Could it be that due to the fact that Jewel Small World was no longer restricted by the original set of rules, Chen Ping'an's luck was beginning to turn?

All of a sudden, Chen Ping'an recalled something, and he said, "By the way, the boy with the red birthmark on his glabella told me that his name is Cui Chan, and that his nickname is Embroidered Tiger. He also told me that I can refer to him as uncle."

Old Man Yang offered no response to this, and it was something that he had already anticipated.

Cui Chan was the imperial preceptor of the Great Li Empire, and even though he had no official status in the imperial court, he was the leader of all of the Great Li Empire's cultivators. It was also said that he was one of the best go players on the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent.

However, he couldn't understand why Cui Chan had asked Chen Ping'an to refer to him as uncle.

Old Man Yang rose to his feet as he cautioned, "Make sure to keep the four seals given to you by Mr. Qi safe. In particular, you have to make sure to hide the seal that carries the phrase 'tranquil mind begets enlightenment'.

You don't have to be afraid of anyone, regardless of whether it be Cui Chan or someone else, but of course, don't go around provoking anyone unnecessarily, either. After you purchase those five mountains, make sure to keep a low profile and don't make any big moves. It's far better to be safe than sorry."

"I understand," Chen Ping'an replied with a firm nod.

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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