unsheathed – Chapter 83: Dreams

Chapter 83: Dreams

Chapter 83: Dreams

As Chen Ping'an emerged from the well with a basket full of soil on his back, he was dumbstruck to find a bunch of well-dressed scholars standing outside the well.

The group of scholars was led by none other than the elderly minister from the ministry of rites, who had earlier been denouncing Wu Yuan while standing on a ladder propped up against the archway. Standing beside him was the former kiln supervision official, the man rumored to be Song Jixin's father.

His complexion was a little fairer than during his days spent in the town, and the rest of the group was composed of around five to six men who appeared to be in their thirties or forties, all of whom appeared to be even more noble and authoritative than Master Song.

Not only was Chen Ping'an dumbfounded by the sight of the group of officials, these officials were just as astonished to see Chen Ping'an. With three pouches of gold essence copper coins under his belt, he was the wealthiest individual in the entire town, and all of the officials were stunned to see that he was nothing more than an impoverished young boy performing manual labor at Ruan Qiong's blacksmith shop.

How was it possible that this boy possessed wealth equivalent to half of the Great Li Empire's imperial vault? Was he really the same person as the one who had purchased five of the mountains being sold by the Great Li Empire?

Ruan Qiong didn't appear on the scene. Instead, it was Ruan Xiu who was accompanying Wu Yuan, and the latter wore an indifferent expression with his gaze directed slightly downward, making it appear as if he were very displeased with the group of officials from the ministry of rites. This wasn't exactly a far-fetched notion, considering these officials had just barged onto his territory and taken such a precious set of treasures.

To the surprise of everyone, it was Wu Yuan who ultimately backed down during the incident that had taken place at the archway earlier.

He had allowed the right-hand minister of the ministry of rites, Dong Hu, to take all 16 characters on the plaques in the form of rubbings, and even though an accompanying seventh tier cultivator had confirmed that the characters on the plaque had been completely stripped of their essence, so there was no need to waste any further precious Wind Lightning Sheet, Dong Hu still looked as if he wanted to take all of the plaques by force. ll new stries at n0ve/lbi/(.)cm

In the end, he refused to budge, only leaving the archway after using up all of the Wind Lightning Sheets that he had brought with him. Following their departure, the group of officials from the ministry of rites settled in a courtyard prepared by an affluent clan on Peach Leaf Alley.

Wu Yuan had only just established a positive reputation in the town for creating a whole host of employment opportunities in the form of the four major construction projects, but he had instantly been knocked back down to square one in the wake of this incident. The incident had already become a popular subject for gossip among those on Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley, with most of the people discussing the matter scoffing at Wu Yuan for being a cowardly pushover.

Some said that if Wu Yuan had resisted against the officials from the ministry of rites to the very end, then they would've been inclined to admire and respect him for his courage, but given his cowardly actions, it was going to be quite difficult for him to establish any sense of authority over the town's residents.

Chen Ping'an gently jumped down from the edge of the well with the basket full of soil on his back, standing before the group of officials. Dong Hu wore a benevolent smile as he stroked his beard and said, "You must be Chen Ping'an, right?

My surname is Dong, and I work in the Great Li Empire's ministry of rites. I've come to you not for any official business, I simply wanted to see what the owner of those five mountains looks like. Now that my objective has been fulfilled, I can say that it was well worth the trip."

The elderly minister burst into laughter as his voice trailed off, and with the exception of Master Song, all of the other officials from the ministry of rites also began to chortle with mirth, as if the minister had just told a hilarious joke.

Chen Ping'an was left feeling rather awkward as he couldn't understand the official dialect being spoken by the elderly minister at all.

The corners of Wu Yuan's lips turned up ever so slightly upon seeing this, and despite his fluency in the town's dialect, Master Song displayed no intention of interpreting for the group of officials.

His allegiance didn't align with these officials, and they had done away with all pretenses of geniality in the wake of a recent altercation. If it weren't for the fact that the emperor had personally selected him to go on this trip, there was no way that he would've been brought along. The ministry of rites was filled with scholars, all of whom had to stave off an immense amount of competition to reach their current posts.

Hence, verbal altercations that took place in the ministry of rites were truly spectacular. Thankfully, Song Yuzhang was an extremely adaptable person, as evidenced by the fact that he was able to stay in the town for so long, so after returning to the capital city, he merely kept a low profile and rarely ever said anything, and he didn't feel particularly frustrated or indignant about his situation.

Minster Dong was someone who had spent the majority of his life climbing up the ranks in the ministry of rites. The ministry of rites was the only ministry in the Great Li Empire's imperial court capable of contending with the ministry of war, and the fact that Dong Hu had managed to climb all the way to the position of third in command in such an important ministry was clear testament to his wiles and cunning.

He immediately realized that there was a language barrier between himself and Chen Ping'an, and in order to save himself from this awkward situation, he turned to Ruan Xiu with a smile, hoping that she could interpret for him.

However, he quickly came to the realization that this was a terrible idea. Ruan Qiong was a Militarian Sage that even the emperor had to treat with the utmost respect. In contrast, he was only a mere minister in the ministry of rites, and it would've been extremely insolent of him to order Ruan Xiu around.

If she were to feel slighted by him and complain to her father, then all it would take would be for Ruan Qiong to pass on these complaints to the capital, and he would find himself in a great deal of trouble. Perhaps he would still be able to keep his position, but his future prospects would've definitely been quite bleak, to say the least.

All of these thoughts ran through his mind in an instant, and he immediately decided against his original plan. Instead, he decided that he was going to ask if Ruan Xiu were comfortable living here, and whether she wanted the ministry of rites to arrange a clean and more refined courtyard for her to stay in on Fortune Street or Peach Leaf Alley.

However, before he had a chance to raise those questions, he was met by an astonishing sight. In the eyes of all of the officials from the ministry of rites, Ruan Xiu was a lofty figure who stood far above them, but she displayed no qualms at all in approaching the dirty and disheveled Chen Ping'an.

She then seemed to have informed him of what Dong Hu had just said, and all the while, Chen Ping'an listened with a calm and composed expression, while all of the officials from the ministry of rites looked on in astonishment.

Chen Ping'an was naturally unaware that such a mundane interaction in his eyes would have such an impact on these officials, and after listening to Ruan Xiu had to say, he smiled as he said, "Xiuxiu, please tell this old gentleman that I used to be an apprentice at a dragon kiln, and right now, I'm nothing more than a manual laborer at the blacksmith shop. It's all thanks to Master Ruan that I was able to purchase those five mountains."

A wide smile immediately appeared on Ruan Xiu's face upon hearing Chen Ping'an refer to her as "Xiuxiu", and she gladly passed on Chen Ping'an's message to Dong Hu in the official dialect of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent. All of the officials of the ministry of rites were naturally well-versed in the official dialect.

Otherwise, it would've been confirmed without a doubt to all outsiders that the Great Li Empire was nothing more than an empire of northern savages. In fact, in the capital city, one's fluency in the official dialect was an important standard for differentiating between whether they came from a privileged or not-so-privileged background.

Dong Hu's smile widened even further as he gave a gentle nod, and after hearing Ruan Xiu's explanation, he declared that he wasn't going to interrupt Chen Ping'an any further so he could continue with his work. He also asked Ruan Xiu to pass on his regards to Ruan Qiong, stating that even the emperor held Ruan Qiong in very high regard, so he certainly didn't dare to disturb Ruan Qiong if he was busy.

Ruan Xiu didn't have much interest in exchanging pleasantries with Dong Hu, and she merely gave him a halfhearted response. However, Dong Hu didn't dare to display any displeasure to the daughter of the esteemed Sage, and after introducing to Ruan Xiu a few scenic locations in the capital city for her to visit, he promptly departed with the rest of his group.

Master Song, whose full name was Song Yuzhang, was situated at the very rear of the group, while Wu Yuan was trailing along behind him.

Ruan Xiu accompanied Chen Ping'an on his way to tip out the soil in his basket, and as they walked along beside each other, she said, "Father told me that the purchase of the mountains is going to be confirmed soon. In addition to these officials from the ministry of rites, you and a fengshui master from the ministry of astronomy will also need to be present.

Only after all three parties have stamped and signed the agreement will the transaction officially be completed. However, at the moment, the fengshui masters are still in the process of assessing the fengshui on all of the mountains, and it'll most likely be a few more days before they emerge from the mountains."

After a moment of contemplation, Chen Ping'an set down his basket, then took a glance at the figures busily working around him before suggesting, "Let's go to the creek and continue our chat there."

"Sure," Ruan Xiu agreed with a smile.

She then lowered her voice as she continued, "Aside from the fengshui masters, the ministry of astronomy also sent many unorthodox cultivators on this occasion, and they've brought a pair of juvenile Mountain-moving Apes with them, one of which is a silverback ape, while the other is a long-arm ape. Normally, both of them are free to roam in the forests, and only when their services are required to destroy or move mountains are they called upon.

On top of that, they're also going to use Peak-shifting Armored Warriors crafted by Daoist sects that specialize in talisman creation. Those things are absolutely ingenious. Prior to activation, each armored warrior is nothing more than a thin sheet of talisman paper, but upon being injected with energy by a cultivator, the talismans would transform into armored warriors that possess incredible strength and stand at around 70 to 80 feet in height.

They're not as strong as Mountain-moving Apes, but the good thing about them is that they're absolutely obedient, so no mishaps will occur when using them. In contrast, Mountain-moving Apes are extremely violent, and juvenile Mountain-moving Apes in particular are exceedingly difficult to tame. If they go out of control, severe casualties are sure to follow, and killing them would be a massive waste.

I heard that there will also be bringing Mountain-opening Puppets personally created by the leading figures of Mohism. Even I've never seen those puppets before, so I'm definitely going to take a look if I get the chance to do so. Also, my father picked out two shops for you: the pastry shop and the Burclover shop.

They just so happen to be right next to one another, and I'm sure you're very familiar with them as well. If you're fine with those two shops, then my father can help you finalize the deal right away. These are just minor deals that don't concern the property of the empire, so it's nowhere near as complicated a process as it is to buy mountains."

Chen Ping'an considered this for a moment, then replied with a smile, "I have no problem with that."

All of a sudden, a thought occurred to Ruan Xiu, and a mysterious look appeared on her face as she continued, "My father told me in private that the emperor of the Great Li Empire recently made a declaration. Seeing as the town is now a part of the Great Li Empire's territory, all of the prized treasures and artifacts in the town will be purchased at high prices by the imperial treasury.

In the end, around 20 decent artifacts were sold to the empire, and around half of them came from the affluent clans on Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley, while the other half came from the middle and lower-class residents of the town. However, the prices that the artifacts were sold for weren't very high at all.

Ultimately, the emperor of the Great Li Empire donated seven or eight items out of his personal collection to make a total of 30 artifacts, which are essentially going to be bonus items given to the buyers of the mountains free of charge.

The average person naturally doesn't know which mountains have bonus items attached to them and which don't, but my father has been informed that bonus items will definitely be attached to Divine Elegance Mountain and Downtrodden Mountain, and those bonus artifacts will be among the cream of the crop. Aside from that, there's a good chance that the imperial court will assign a mountain god each to Lamp Bearer Mountain and Downtrodden Mountain."

Chen Ping'an took a deep breath, and his brows furrowed tightly as he crouched down beside the creek.

There was a sense of surrealism to all of this. Never had he imagined that a day like this would come for him.

His dreams and aspirations had only been limited to being able to put up couplets and door gods during the Spring Festival, and having enough money to eat meat-filled steamed buns on a regular basis.

Ruan Xiu crouched down beside him with a curious expression and asked, "What's wrong?"

Chen Ping'an opened his mouth to reply, but didn't know what to say, so he could only shake his head in the end. He then plucked a blade of grass up from the ground before absentmindedly placing it in his own mouth.

After a brief moment of silence, Chen Ping'an turned to Ruan Xiu with a smile as he said, "Ruan Xiu, I'm sorry for calling you Xiuxiu in front of those people, please don't be mad at me. I was really nervous when I saw those officials, so I wanted to pretend to be on really good terms with you."

Ruan Xiu offered no response to this, then suddenly asked a completely unrelated question. "Have you received any news about your friend recently? The one that's always carrying around a saber and a sword?"

It took Chen Ping'an a moment to realize who Ruan Xiu was referring to, and he replied, "You mean Ning Yao? I haven't heard anything from her ever since she left."

A pleased smile appeared on Ruan Xiu's face upon hearing this.

All of a sudden, Chen Ping'an cast his gaze toward the stone bridge, where a familiar red blur was approaching him at a rapid speed from afar.

For some reason, a sense of foreboding welled up in Chen Ping'an's heart, and he hurriedly rose to his feet. Before long, Li Baoping had arrived by his side, wearing her usual red padded jacket, except it was extremely dirty and wrinkled.

She raised her head to look up at him, and there were tears swimming in her eyes. Her face had become significantly more tanned, and she sobbed in a heartbroken voice, "Mr. Ma from the school is dead. Before he died, he told me to come and find you."

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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