unsheathed – Chapter 93 (1): There's a Character on the Wall

Chapter 93 (1): There's a Character on the Wall

Chapter 93 (1): There's a Character on the Wall

On a small hill that was less than 200 feet tall stood around two dozen people in a loose gathering. They were all in different attire, but the looks on their faces and in their eyes were completely identical.

A burly man was knelt down on one knee, carefully examining a pair of stiff corpses. He used his fingers to pry back the eyelid of one of the bodies, revealing an eyeball that resembled a piece of cracked porcelain.

The short woman, who had changed into cotton clothes worn by the common woman, slowly made her way up the hill, followed by Yang Hua and Xu Hunran.

She refrained from approaching the two bodies, pinching her nose shut as she asked in a heavy nasal voice, "What happened here, Wang Yifu?"

Wang Yifu heaved a faint sigh in response. "Both of them were killed by a single strike from a master blade user. Their bodies are completely unharmed, but their meridians have all been shattered, and their internal organs have completely rotted away."

A grim look appeared on the woman's face as she mused, "How is it possible that two master martial artists of such a high caliber have appeared in our Great Li Empire without being detected? Song Changjing has always been responsible for supervising the border, and he's always proclaimed that nothing gets by him. Why is it that he was unable to detect anything this time? Could it be that he intentionally let the perpetrators go?"

Wang Yifu hesitated momentarily, then said, "Your Majesty, if I'm not mistaken, there is only a single perpetrator."pTodated ovls on o(v)l()bin(.)cm

The woman's eyes immediately narrowed upon hearing this, giving her a rather menacing appearance. "What did you say?!"

Wang Yifu pointed at the necks of the two bodies, and there was a thin red line visible on each of them. "This line runs continuously across the necks of the two deceased individuals, so it's clear that both wounds were dealt by a single slash."

The woman took a deep breath, trying to repress her fury and killing intent as much as possible as she sneered, "Since when did Wind Snow Temple become such an unrivaled sect? You're telling me that a random martial artist from Wind Snow Temple was able to kill those two as easily as if he were killing a pair of chickens? Do you know who those two were, Wang Yifu? Xu Hunran, educate General Wang and teach him a good lesson!"

An awkward look appeared on Xu Hunran's face, but he had no choice but to do as he was told, and he explained, "One of those was a martial artist who recently reached the seventh tier and was adept in fist techniques and close-quarters combat, while the other was an eighth tier cultivator specializing in both flying swords and Daoist talismans.

Over the past two decades, the two of them had undertaken six assassinations together, and they had never failed even once. In addition to that, both of them were A-list masters under Her Majesty's Bamboo Leaf Pavilion."

The woman was fuming, but she had been suppressing her rage this entire time, and she decided to vent her fury on Xu Hunran as she screeched, "Xu Hunran! Tell him their names! Even dead people still have names!"

Xu Hunran hurriedly lowered his head in a submissive manner as she declared, "The name of the martial artist was Li Hou, while the name of the cultivator was Hu Yinglin. Both of them had served Her Majesty with their lives and made significant contributions to our Great Li Empire."

The woman's expression finally eased slightly, but a defeated look then quickly appeared on her face as she sighed, "That's right, their names were Li Hou and Hu Yinglin. They were the ones who killed Ye Qing, the general defending the border of your Lu Empire. To think that they would perish on the soil of our Great Li Empire, as opposed to dying on the battlefield or in the territory of an enemy nation."

Perhaps the woman realized that she had made a fool out of herself in front of Wang Yifu with her lack of composure, so she decided to get back at him as she scoffed, "Come to think of it, Ye Qing's assassination was quite an amusing affair. In the beginning, we had thought that someone as important as Ye Qing would definitely have several powerful cultivators protecting him from the shadows.

Hence, in order to get rid of him, I had no choice but to join forces with my uncle. To my surprise, the entire process was ridiculously simple. They infiltrated the border, snuck into Ye Qing's camp, then killed him before making their escape, and the Lu Empire displayed no reaction at all!

I had heard that Ye Qing had made enemies out of several immortal sects on the border, but surely that didn't warrant him being ostracized in the imperial court to such an extreme extent! Didn't the emperor of your Lu Empire always hold immortals in the highest regard? Why was it that in the end, only one immortal sect was willing to go down with your Lu Empire?"

The woman was feeling much better after getting all of that off her chest. She didn't mind suffering, as long as there was someone else with her suffering more than her, and similarly, in her eyes, a blessing may as well have been a curse if someone else with her received a greater blessing than her.

This was the reason why she had been willing to entrust one of her children to Cui Chan rather than Qi Jingchun.

At the very least, under Cui Chan, she was certain that her child wouldn't grow up into a timid little coward who would constantly run crying to his parents.

A hint of dejection flashed through Wang Yifu's eyes upon hearing this.

General Ye Qing had been a pillar of the nation and was loyal to a fault. He had defended the border of the Lu Empire for 30 years, withstanding three major assaults from the army of the Great Li Empire. There was one time many years ago when Song Changjing had almost perished in battle, and he had cursed Ye Qing countless times for being a stubborn old fart.

However, following his death, just the subject of conferring a posthumous title to his name was one that was heatedly debated in the imperial court for 10 days, and ultimately, the posthumous title conferred to him was one that far understated his contributions to the empire. As a result, the 60,000-strong border army completely lost faith in the empire and gradually fell apart.

In the end, Song Changjing was able to crush the Lu Empire's border army with ease, and the first thing that he did after storming into the territory of the Lu Empire was to go to Ye Qing's grave to offer up some wine and incense.

Following that event, the Great Li Empire's ministry of rites attempted to impeach him for this gesture, but they were rebuked by a memorial submitted by Song Changjing to the emperor, one that contained only a single statement: "There are heroes outside of our Great Li Empire as well."

Upon receiving this memorial, the emperor of the Great Li Empire had erupted into laughter and expressed his unreserved approval of this statement. He then remarked to the eunuch beside him that these were clearly words that came straight from Song Changjing's heart, but he had definitely gotten someone else to write the memorial for him.

The woman had been closely observing the changes in Wang Yifu's expression this entire time, and even though she still couldn't be completely sure that he wouldn't turn on her, this was still an encouraging sign in her eyes.

If he wasn't even displaying normal emotions anymore, then that would be an indication that he was burying his emotions under an unshakeable resolve, and the only possible objective for him to direct this resolve toward would be to resurrect the Lu Empire.

If that were the case, then he really did have a death wish.

Wang Yifu was a martial artist who had only known battle his entire life, so it would be quite remarkable if he had the mental and tactical wherewithal to put on such a convincing act.

However, even if he really were putting on an act, she had nothing to fear.

A perplexed look appeared on Xu Hunran's face, and he mused, "Her Majesty has already promised Master Ruan that she wouldn't strike within the boundaries of Dragon Spring County, and we've also sent messages to Li Hou and Hu Yinglin, instructing them to proceed with caution and to hold off until they reach the border of the Great Li Empire.

Surely there's no way that Master Ruan would directly rebuke Her Majesty like this, and it seems even more unlikely that the martial artist from Wind Snow Temple would disregard both Master Ruan and Her Majesty's wishes."

"Have we still not uncovered the identity of the perpetrator?" Wang Yifu asked.

Yang Hua shook her head in response. "Not yet. We can't just go and ask Master Ruan, and we certainly can't go to Wind Snow Temple to demand an answer, so all we can do is rely on our Great Li Empire's intelligence organization to gather leads. Unfortunately, Her Majesty isn't in a good position to be interfering with intelligence-related affairs on the border..."

Yang Hua's voice trailed off here, and she didn't speak any further on this matter as it concerned the hidden power struggles between those at the very top of the hierarchy in the Great Li Empire's imperial court.

"Is it possible that the servant of the Li Clan by the name of Zhu He has been hiding his true power this entire time?" Wang Yifu speculated.

"There's no need to even consider him, he's nothing more than a fifth tier martial artist," the woman scoffed. "Besides, there's no way the Li Clan would dare to meddle in my affairs."

"In that case, we're in a rather difficult situation," Xu Hunran sighed.

"Difficult? Not at all!" the woman declared with a bright smile. "I'll return to the capital right away and complain to His Majesty."

In this case, the perpetrator had broken the rules of the Great Li Empire first, so the emperor would definitely be willing to stand up for her.

Now that Li Baoping had a brand new bookcase, she had to transfer everything in her basket into their new home. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Chen Ping'an and Li Baoping snuck away to a secluded spot far away from Li Huai and the others to go through their belongings, just to make sure that nothing was missing or damaged.

Chen Ping'an also removed the basket from his back, and inside it was an old sword crafted from locust wood, which he speculated was something that Mr. Qi had bestowed upon him.

Chen Ping'an and Li Baoping were both of the opinion that Mr. Qi was responsible for the jade hairpin that had inexplicably appeared in Chen Ping'an's hair, so by extension, the wooden sword had to have been from him as well.

During the day, Chen Ping'an would keep the wooden sword in his basket, and only late at night, when there was no one else around, would he pull it out and place it across his knees. Whenever he did this, his heart would always be filled with a sense of peace and serenity.

Among Chen Ping'an's collection of snake gall pebbles was a yellow pebble, within which were a series of veins that would glow a beautiful golden color under the light of the sun.

The other 12 small snake gall pebbles had already lost their former bright and vibrant coloration, but all of them had a very fine and smooth texture, indicating that they were no ordinary pebbles.

Li Baoping loved these little pebbles with all her heart, and she was holding the yellow one on the center of her palm as she said, "Make sure you never sell this pebble, Junior Uncle. As for the other 12 pebbles, if you're going to sell them, be sure to find a buyer who appreciates their true value. Otherwise, we won't be able to sell them for anywhere near what they're worth."

"Of course," Chen Ping'an replied with a smile.

There was also a rectangular chunk of black stone that was around a foot in length in the basket, and it looked a lot like Dragon Slaying Platform, but Chen Ping'an couldn't be sure whether it was actually Dragon Slaying Platform or not.

He recalled that Ning Yao had once told him that in order to split a piece of Dragon Slaying Platform to craft the best whetstone under the heavens, not only were the services of a sword immortal required, a very valuable weapon also had to be sacrificed.

Of course, in the eyes of the current Chen Ping'an, any powerful or precious weapon or item could be considered valuable, just like how in Ning Yao's eyes, the combat prowess of all of her opponents could be measured by how many Chen Ping'ans they equated to.

Chen Ping'an knew that this definitely wasn't something that Master Ruan had given him, so was it Mr. Qi who had bestowed both the wooden sword and the whetstone upon him, or was this attributable to some mystical ability unleashed by that ethereal woman in white? Alternatively, could it have been something left to him by Ruan Xiu?

Chen Ping'an was beginning to develop a headache as he mulled over this matter.

Ruan Xiu had left one gold ingot, two silver ingots, and a pouch of normal copper coins in Li Baoping's basket. One time, Li Baoping unintentionally opened her money pouch, and only then did Chen Ping'an discover, much to his surprise, that there was a gold essence copper coin mixed in with the normal copper coins inside.

This Good Fortune Coin had definitely been slipped into the pouch by Ruan Xiu in secret.

At the time, Chen Ping'an had been so startled that he had immediately begun sweating profusely. If he had failed to notice the gold essence copper coin, only to spend it as an ordinary copper coin... Just the mere thought of such an egregious waste of a gold essence copper coin struck him with the urge to slap himself.

Chen Ping'an organized every single one of their belongings in a neat and appropriate fashion, much like a woman who was accustomed to planning and saving meticulously organizing a small home.

Whenever Li Baoping saw this, she would be struck by the urge to smile, and she couldn't help but be impressed by how well-organized Chen Ping'an was.

At the same time, she would wonder to herself just how exceptional a woman would have to be in order to be worthy of becoming Chen Ping'an's future spouse.

She felt like it was a near-impossible task to find such a woman, and that left her feeling a little dejected.

Right at this moment, Li Huai snuck over to the two of them. Upon being spotted by Li Baoping, he took a glance at the little bookcase beside her, then said to Chen Ping'an, "Chen Ping'an, I'll call you junior uncle as well if you make me a bookcase even bigger and better looking than Li Baoping's. What do you say?"

Chen Ping'an merely took a glance at him and didn't say anything.

Li Huai was rather unsettled by this lack of response, and he decided to make a compromise. "Alright, then make me a bookcase the same size as Li Baoping's. Surely that's not too much to ask."

As Chen Ping'an was looking at Li Huai, he noticed that Li Huai's boots were so old and tattered that his toes were poking through, so he offered, "I'll make you a couple of pairs of straw sandals."

Li Huai was furious to hear this, and he yelled, "I don't want your crappy straw sandals, I want a bookcase! A bookcase for holding books written by wise sages! I am also a disciple of Mr. Qi's!"

Chen Ping'an's brows furrowed slightly upon hearing this. "Go away!"

Li Huai was stunned into silence, and he began to carefully examine Chen Ping'an's expression. The two of them looked back at one another for a while, and Li Huai suddenly became a little afraid. In a rare display of restraint, Li Huai raised no verbal retaliation.

Instead, he sheepishly departed, but after taking only a few steps, he turned around again, having regained his conviction, and he declared, "Don't forget to make those straw sandals for me! I want two pairs so I can alternate between them."

Chen Ping'an nodded in response.

Following Li Huai's departure, Li Baoping turned to Chen Ping'an with admiration in her eyes as she said, "That was awesome, Junior Uncle! Li Huai doesn't listen to anyone, even I can only beat him into submission. No one can beat him in an argument, and even when Mr. Qi used to preach to him, he never really listened."

Chen Ping'an patted Li Baoping on the head, then hoisted his basket onto his back as he said, "It's time to set off. In a couple more days, we should reach the official road of the Great Li Empire."

Li Baoping did as she was told, putting her little bookcase on her back.

As they resumed their journey, A'Liang was constantly having to suppress the urge to criticize Li Baoping's fashion choices. He really wanted to tell Chen Ping'an and Li Baoping that if it weren't for the fact that Li Baoping was so adorable that she could wear anything and still look good, the color combination of her red jacket and her green bookcase would be enough to have bystanders rolling with laughter.

All of a sudden, Li Baoping remarked, "Now that I think about it, Li Huai kind of resembles that snotty brat that used to live on Clay Vase Alley with you."

Chen Ping'an faltered slightly upon hearing this, and it seemed that he had never compared the two children. After carefully considering this notion for a moment, he shook his head as he replied, "They're not that similar. You'll understand what I mean if you ever get a chance to meet Gu Can at some point."

Li Baoping merely nodded in response and quickly forgot about the subject altogether. This was just a passing thought for her anyway, and her mind quickly wandered to envisioning what the official road of the Great Li Empire was like.

Initially, Chen Ping'an had actually shared Li Baoping's opinion in thinking that Li Huai and Gu Can were quite similar. However, the more he interacted with the two children, the more he came to realize that they weren't very much alike at all.

Li Huai and Gu Can appeared to have similar personalities, with both of them having extremely sharp tongues that could leave one fuming with anger. However, in Chen Ping'an's eyes, they were quite different. On the surface, both of them came from impoverished upbringings, and it seemed that nothing ever got to either of them.

Gu Can always appeared to be quite sneaky with his eyes constantly darting around, but he had developed intelligence and wisdom beyond his years more so as a self-protective mechanism. In contrast, Li Huai was purely a nasty little hedgehog that reveled in poking everyone he could with his sharp spikes.

This was because both of his parents were still alive, and he also had an older sister, so his personality wasn't all that complex. In addition to that, he had gone to school, and his classmates were all children slightly older than him, so overall, he hadn't had to endure much hardship.

The same didn't apply to Gu Can. He had been raised by his mother from birth, but it had to be said that his mother hadn't done the best of jobs at times, resulting in Gu Can enduring much more hardships than the average child. Chen Ping'an once saw a drunkard stumbling out of Clay Vase Alley while mumbling profanities, and he just so happened to run into Gu Can, who was on his way home after playing outside.

The drunkard made his way over to Gu Can, then gave him a vicious kick to the stomach for no reason. After Gu Can fell to the ground, he stomped on the boy's head for good measure. All Gu Can could do was clutch at his own stomach as he curled up into a ball against the foot of the wall, unable to even cry out.

Thankfully, Chen Ping'an just so happened to see what was happening, and he immediately rushed over before sending the drunkard stumbling back with a punch, then hurriedly hoisted Gu Can onto his back and rushed him to the Yang Family's medicine shop. Otherwise, who knew what would've happened to the poor child?

As a result of his difficult upbringing, Gu Can was particularly spiteful and prone to holding grudges. He always kept a mental record of everyone who had wronged him, such as which bitter shrew had once verbally abused his mother, or which shameless man had run their mouths to hit on his mother.

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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