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unsheathed – Chapter 103: Bamboo Building

Chapter 103: Bamboo Building

Chapter 103: Bamboo Building

The stalk of green bamboo suddenly shot upright, and as it turned out, this was because A'Liang had jumped down to drag the mountain lord up. He clucked his tongue and chuckled, "I might be an immoral gambler, but you're also a very fortunate gambler."

Wei Bo's face was as white as a sheet, and the deep frown on his face didn't show any signs of relaxing. Even though he had survived his brush with disaster and preserved the remaining half of the bamboo forest, he still couldn't help but feel a mix of complicated emotions as he gazed at the headless white python in the distance. They had been neighbors for hundreds of years, and even though they were hostile neighbors who always had small skirmishes with each other, things were ultimately quite calm and peaceful. At the very least, they had never engaged in a life-or-death battle.

Today, the white python should have been slithering onto a dazzling cultivation path that was filled with opportunities. However, it was also at this moment that its head was unfortunately obliterated by someone's intense sword intent. One could easily imagine Wei Bo's deep sense of shock.

He sighed and bowed in dejection, saying softly, "Senior, you're absolutely right. I'm a sordid and detestable person who will try to take advantage of others if I'm not set straight once in a while. However, you've truly set me straight today. Senior A'Liang, please have pity on me. I'm genuinely terrified right now, and I won't dare to have any untoward thoughts anymore. Please command me as you please, Senior A'Liang. This underling will definitely obey your every word."

A'Liang didn't play any more mind games on him, and he nodded as he glanced down at the empty bamboo scabbard by his waist. "Pick a stalk of good-quality mature bamboo for me. I need to make a new saber. Just treat it as a greeting gift to me from your friend. Also, what's with all this bamboo that's mysteriously fallen to the ground? There are so many of them, and it'll be a shame if they go to waste."

Wei Bo grimaced, but he only dared to grumble in his mind. Senior A'Liang, this is called losing your conscience! A'Liang? Liang my ass[1].

A'Liang stroked his chin and continued, "My friend just agreed to a bad deal and indirectly helped you win the remaining half of the bamboo forest. It's important for people to show gratitude and give back... What do you say?"

Wei Bo smiled bitterly and replied, "Of course, it's naturally the right thing to do."

Chen Ping'an ran over to the corpse of the white python and hacked off its remaining wing with his machete. This wing was glistening and translucent, and it was as long as his arm. It was also cool to the touch, and under the warm sunshine, it continued to glisten with dazzling colors. While chatting with A'Liang before, A'Liang had told him that the most valuable parts of this white python were its gallbladder and wings. Just its wings alone were worth an absolute fortune. Moreover, this was something that was in high demand but extremely low supply. As for the bones and tendons of the white python, these were also very rare and valuable parts. Compared to its gallbladder and wings, however, these parts were barely worth a mention.

Chen Ping'an tied his machete to his waist and jogged toward the bamboo forest. However, what he saw was the young mountain lord squatting down and uprooting a stalk of bamboo with both his hands. Intertwining bamboo roots that were jade-green in color peeked out from the ground, and with a tug, they were forcefully pulled out. The surrounding soil was sent flying through the air.

Wei Bo was drenched in sweat, and he unconsciously gulped when he saw Chen Ping'an, the "thief with the gold belt"[2]

He carefully placed the bamboo on the ground before lowering his head and looking around. In the end, he chose a stalk of dark green bamboo that was as thick as an infant's arm. He sighed as he looked up at Chen Ping'an, and he said with a forced smile, "Can I borrow your machete for a moment?"

Chen Ping'an walked over and handed the broken machete to the young mountain lord. Wei Bo grabbed the machete and took a deep breath before cutting the bamboo and handing it to A'Liang. A'Liang shook his head and chuckled, "Just make me a bamboo saber like the one I had before. You can give it to me along with the white donkey when we reach the border of Go Table Mountain."

Wei Bo naturally didn't dare to refuse this request. After returning the machete to Chen Ping'an, he sighed with emotion and said sincerely, "What a sharp blade."

Chen Ping'an accepted the machete and thought for a moment before replying, "I can give it to you if you want it. In any case, this broken machete isn't suitable for cutting trees and shrubs anymore, so it's not all that useful to me."

"A noble person seizes not the favored items of others," Wei Bo said with a wry smile.

"You want it, but you're too embarrassed to take it for free?" A'Liang asked with a chuckle. "Then you can buy it! You can make a fair deal with Chen Ping'an, right?"

A look of "realization" spread across Wei Bo's face. He stood up and clapped the soil from his hands before smiling at Chen Ping'an and saying, "Villagers and woodsmen who frequently enter the mountains know that bamboo forests that are too dense are actually detrimental to the overall growth of the bamboo. Only with the correct spacing and density will the bamboo be able to grow taller and tougher. Because of this, it's necessary for me to cut some of the bamboo.

"Moreover, the most valuable part of this bamboo forest isn't the stalks of bamboo, but instead the roots of the bamboo. I took the opportunity to borrow the bamboo saber from Senior A'Liang just then, and I cut down some of the excess bamboo. I initially wanted to build a small bamboo house where I could relax and enjoy the scenery."

Wei Bo became increasingly fluent as he spoke, and he continued, "However, Senior A'Liang's bamboo saber is broken now, and to be honest with you, I'm ashamed to say that I took a liking to your broken machete from the very first moment I saw it. Why don't I make a bamboo saber and build a small bamboo house as well? When I finish making the bamboo saber, I'll be able to give it to Senior A'Liang right away. However, I'm afraid that the bamboo house will take a while longer.

"I'll accompany the black python when it heads over to Downtrodden Mountain, and this will allow me to prevent it from causing any trouble. At the same time, I can also have it carry this bamboo for me. When I arrive at Downtrodden Mountain, I'll find a scenic and serene location to build a bamboo house for you."

Chen Ping'an turned to A'Liang, and the man with the bamboo hat explained, "The Bamboo Sea Small World has 10 important celestial bamboos. Bamboo have 10 virtuous qualities, and each of the celestial bamboo corresponds to one of these qualities. The ancestor of the bamboo forest around us was a descendent of the 'courage bamboo', and its descendants have also been able to glean some of its fortunes. Martial artists and Militarian cultivators will obtain great benefits if they reside or cultivate in a bamboo house built from this bamboo."

Wei Bo hurriedly concurred, chiming, "That's right! The bamboo in this forest are all descendants of that 'courage bamboo'. 'The army morale is high, and our momentum is like a sharp sword slicing through bamboo; a few nodes cut, and the remainder will naturally split'[3] this phrase from the historical records is a perfect description of the aura exuded by the bamboo in this forest. Thus, cultivating in such a bamboo building will certainly nurture one's soul."

Chen Ping'an was just about to speak, but A'Liang quickly walked over and wrapped his arm around his shoulders, dragging him away from the bamboo forest. "How can I refuse such a warm-hearted offer? As a guest, I can only follow the arrangements of the host. Alright, I'm off now!"

"I haven't given him the machete yet," Chen Ping'an said softly.

"Just give it to him with the other half of the blade later!" A'Liang replied casually. The other half of the blade was still sitting in Chen Ping'an's bamboo basket.

Afterward, A'Liang didn't forget to say in reminder, "You don't need to take the unformed gallbladder of the white python. It's covered in blood and quite harrowing to look at. Just feed it to the black python along with the other python meat. Even with its wings gone, this will still allow it to gain 200 to 300 years of cultivation. You can think of this as a gesture of goodwill. Also, remember to tell it to behave itself and cultivate earnestly when it arrives at Downtrodden Mountain."

Finally, A'Liang pointed at the despondent mountain lord and said, "You better shape up!"

Wei Bo stood on the fringes of the bamboo forest as he gazed at the backs of the man and young boy. The breeze in the mountain blew past the lush green trees and bright red flowers, bringing with it a refreshing fragrance. The handsome young man's white robes fluttered in this breeze, and as he held the bamboo cane that signified his status as mountain lord, his expression of shock, fear, and hesitation was quickly whisked away by the wind. What replaced it was an expression of solemn dignity befitting his status as the deity of the mountain.Visjt nvelbin(.)cm for new updates

He looked around before sighing with emotion and saying softly, "Every cloud has a silver lining is this not the perfect example? Thank you for your unintentional guidance, Senior A'Liang. Thank you for untying the knot in my heart and vanquishing my internal demons."

Wei Bo shut his eyes, and a warm smile tugged at the corners of his lips as he murmured, "From times immemorial, famed mountains have always enjoyed the residence of sages. Though, what does it matter if no sage visits? I can cultivate in earnest and become a sage."

When he opened his eyes again, a pale gold earring had already appeared on his ear. The exquisite earring swayed lightly in the mountain breeze, complimenting his handsome appearance and making him appear like a formal mountain god.

Chen Ping'an and A'Liang returned to the pool. They strolled slowly as if in tacit understanding, and this was in stark contrast to their brisk pace when they had come.

"A'Liang, will the black python really eat the corpse of the white python? Weren't they companions for hundreds of years?" Chen Ping'an asked.

"The black python has ambitions of transforming into a flood dragon, so of course it will eat the corpse of the white python," A'Liang replied. In fact, all spirits, demons, and monsters can rely on eating others to improve their cultivation this isn't unique to snakes and flood dragons. However, snakes that reside in mountains are especially vicious when it comes to killing and eating their own kind. This is similar to how two tigers cannot share one mountain[4].

"In fact, the black python has already developed sentience and become intelligent, so it might have only left the white python alive to allow it to form its core. At that time, it would then enjoy a scrumptious meal. Oh, that's right. If you want to see the black python eating the white python, we can turn around and head back."

"I'm good."

"Anyhow, don't blame me for making the decision for you and letting the black python eat the white pythons gallbladder. Since it agreed to go to Downtrodden Mountain to guard its fortune for you, giving it the snake gallbladder will reap you far richer rewards than simply selling it to someone else, regardless of how much you sell it for.

"In fact, I'm more curious about why you decided to kill the white python. Why didn't you wait for my help? If I subdued the white python, you could have ordered it to go to Treasured Scripture Mountain or Rainbow Cloud Mountain. No matter which mountain it went to, it would have been quite a good outcome for you. Perhaps you were afraid that I wouldn't help?"

"How is that possible? I trust you A'Liang."

"Then?" A'Liang probed.

"Before answering your question, I also want to ask you a question. A'Liang, when I was sparring with Zhu He before, did you already... identify the locations of three acupoints that I found? And have you already found out the truth about these acupoints?" Chen Ping'an asked.

"To tell you the truth, I noticed something strange about those three acupoints the first time I saw you. There's something profoundly mystical about them, and I'm a bit embarrassed to say that even I can't decipher the truth behind them. The only thing I could determine was that these acupoints contain three wisps of sword qi, each with a different Dao intent. In terms of what Dao intents these are, I don't dare to make any conclusions.

"Of course, it would be extremely easy for me to forcefully observe the situation inside your acupoints if I were willing to damage your body and Qi. However, that would be an incredibly low act. As a supreme master, I naturally have to maintain my image and demeanor."

"I understand. A'Liang, do you know about the archway in our small town? And the four plaques on it?"

"Yes, I'm aware," A'Liang replied. "Qi Jingchun mentioned it to me before, but I've already forgotten all the details."

"One of the plaques has the characters, 'refrain from looking outward'. My neighbor is a knowledgeable person the same age as me, and he told me that these words are a Buddhist allegory. It's telling people to devote themselves to Buddhism and not to seek things from other teachings or sects. I found this quite reasonable in the beginning. However, I started to contemplate these words more when I went into the mountains to collect firewood.

"I pondered this when I was bored, and I felt like it would make more sense for me to give it my best shot before I went to offer incense to Buddha or pay my respects to the Bodhisattvas. Asking these deities for help should be the last resort after failing to achieve my goals through my own efforts, and only at that point will they agree to provide assistance. Otherwise, why should they help us? Right, A'Liang?"

"Seek the answer from within before seeking the answer from Buddha," A'Liang remarked.

"Yes, that's it! That's exactly what I'm trying to say!"

"Mhm, this is a barely passable explanation. However, let me make this clear to you just a fraction of my spare change is more than your entire wealth. You felt like you were troubling me, so you were willing to sacrifice a wisp of sword qi instead? To tell you the truth, I could have disposed of the white python with a casual flick of my blade. How are you going to justify this?"

"It's not the same thing!" Chen Ping'an retorted.

"Hmm?" A'Liang waited for an explanation.

"Old Man Yao, the person who taught me how to fire pottery, was rarely ever willing to speak to me. However, there were two occasions when he spoke to me in a very serious manner. The first time was when I became an apprentice in the kilns. He said that it was fine for me to learn from him, but if I ever dared to slack off, I could piss off from the kilns. The second time was when I entered the mountains with him. He said that I could go with him to search for clay, but if I dared to cry in front of him, he would never take me into the mountains again. He didn't care about the reason, even if it was because I broke my leg or whatnot."

"What's this got to do with anything? What are you trying to say, Chen Ping'an?"

"Then how about this. A'Liang, do you like to sleep in?"

"Nonsense! Do you not?" A'Liang replied.

"Of course I do. However, believe it or not, I've never slept in ever since the day I became an apprentice in the kilns. I always wake up on time."

"What's with all this roundabout explanation? What are you actually trying to say? Are you picking on me because I'm not well-read?" A'Liang questioned.

"What I'm trying to say is that when it comes to matters that we view as bad, we should never involve ourselves in them, not even once. We can't allow ourselves to have a 'first time'. Otherwise, the only person who will suffer will be ourselves," Chen Ping'an explained.

"Take me, for example. If I decided to slack off even once, I would have definitely failed to become an apprentice in the kilns. Not only that, but I wouldn't have been able to enter the mountains with Old Man Yao either. If that's the case, then how could I be where I am now? Perhaps I would be in a similar situation to those few thousand young men from the small town. I would go into the mountains to lay paths and build bridges every day, only earning a single copper coin a day to show for it.

"If things panned out like this, how could I possibly own five mountains? Five mountains! Just how much are they worth? Do you understand, A'Liang? If you have an opportunity in the future, you definitely have to visit and take a look at my mountains..."

"Stop, stop, stop! Chen Ping'an, after beating around the bush for so long, you were just trying to flaunt your wealth to me?" A'Liang exclaimed.

"A'Liang, it's very clear that you're not well-read," Chen Ping'an replied.

"..."

"A'Liang, if a bamboo building is genuinely constructed in Downtrodden Mountain in the future, why don't you help me come up with a name for it?"

"How about 'A'Liang Is Very Badass Building'?" A'Liang suggested. Does that sound impressive enough? What, you're afraid that its aura will suppress yours, the ruler of the mountain's? Alright then, I'll change it to something more reserved we'll just call it The Badass Building. I'm already sacrificing a lot, so are you happy with it now?"

"A'Liang, I suddenly feel like it's not a bad idea to leave the building nameless," Chen Ping'an said.

A'Liang rolled his eyes.

Chen Ping'an roared with laughter and said, "I'm just kidding. The Badass Building it is."

A'Liang suddenly turned around and asked, "Do you want to learn swordsmanship?"

Chen Ping'an shook his head and replied, "Not at the moment."

A'Liang smiled in understanding and guessed, "You're afraid of getting distracted? You're afraid that it will affect you practicing the fist technique?"

Chen Ping'an sighed and nodded in affirmation.

A'Liang was well aware of why Chen Ping'an was sighing. During their battle with the pythons in Go Table Mountain, the young boy had exhausted all of his accumulated progress in order to block the attack of the white python and save Zhu Lu. After working so hard on walking meditation, Chen Ping'an had finally made some minor progress with the Mountain Shaking Fist. However, his actions had immediately sent him back to square one. This was analogous to a poor person with little savings suddenly losing everything again, returning to a miserable life in a bare house that couldn't block wind or rain.

In any case, walking meditation was something that could strengthen his physique. At the same time, it was also something that Chen Ping'an had to practice out of necessity in order to prolong his life. Meanwhile, standing meditation was something that could nurture his soul. After making some advances during his battle with the pythons, Chen Ping'an was able to take advantage of his sparring match with Zhu He and accurately locate the three acupoints that the sword qi were hidden in. This then prepared him for his actions just then.

"Are you sad that you've lost such a powerful and potentially life-saving trump card?" A'Liang asked in a teasing voice.

"Not at all," Chen Ping'an replied without hesitation. "I was finally able to let out everything that was pent up inside me. I feel much better now."

"Tell me about it," A'Liang said with a smile.

Chen Ping'an gazed ahead and said, "I'm willing to reason with other people, and I'm also able to convince others to listen to my reasoning. This kind of feeling... is amazing! In the past, I practiced martial arts for the sake of strengthening my physique. More accurately, it was to prolong my life. Now, however, I feel like I can cast my gaze further and higher!"

1. The Liang in A'Liang can literally mean good/kind conscience

2. "Murderer and thief with a gold belt" refers to wealthy people who choose to commit crimes.

3. This references a historical story from the Book of Jin.

4. "Two tigers cannot share one mountain" is an idiom referring to the fierce rivalry between two people. However, it's used in a more literal sense here.

Chapter end

<<Prev
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Catalogue
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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