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Chapter 33: Idle Years Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio Ye Liuyun came and left, just like the floating clouds which were his namesake; gone without a trace. The inhabitants of Danzhou Harbor had no idea that one of the Four Great Grandmasters had come to their city, drank alcohol, picked a fight, and sang some songs. Wu Zhu was a bit worried. Not many people in this world knew about his relationship with the Lady, but unfortunately Ye Liuyun happened to be one of them. And directly in contrast with his status as a grandmaster, Ye Liuyun was known for having loose lips. Wu Zhu did not believe it was a coincidence that Ye Liuyun came to Danzhou and then left immediately after seeing Wu Zhu. Fan Xian, on the other hand, thought Ye Liuyun was a simple traveler. He patted Wu Zhu on the shoulder, trying to provide some consolation. "Who said a master pract.i.tioner can’t travel?"
It was purely because of his intuition that he believed this. His intuition had proved accurate thus far, making him suspect there was something wrong with his father in the capital - the Council of Auditors, a.s.sa.s.sins, and that second wife who was more sinister than a tigress… All those convinced Fan Xian that his father, Count Sinan, was not as simple as he appeared. He should at least be significantly more formidable than a bondservant like Cao Yin. But Fan Xian was leading himself in the wrong direction. He had guessed that his father was the illegitimate son of the previous emperor, King Laocheng, because his grandmother was once a wet nurse who used to take care of the emperor. Nowadays, Count Sinan was bitter about being a petty count while his half-brother sat on the Dragon Throne. So the Count plotted in secret with the Overwatch Council, uniting and taking advantage of all possible resistance against the throne, hoping to inherit the emperor’s entire estate. As for Fan Xian himself? Because his mother had undoubtedly been an important figure, he became some kind of product which would benefit a marriage. Therefore, his existence would have a significant impact on his father’s great rebellion. Such were his delusions he entertained when he was bored. When he told them to Wu Zhu, the usually expressionless Wu Zhu hacked the butcher knife he was holding deep into the chopping board; his way of showing a certain level of respect for the frantically imaginative youth. For that same reason, Wu Zhu decided that he would not leave Danzhou with Fan Xian for the time being. This crazy youth did not worry about the future. His face still possessed that shy yet curious smile, ever ready to join Count Sinan’s foolish rebellion without regard for the possible dangers involved. That being the case, the blind Wu Zhu had no need to be afraid. Wu Zhu had never cared for his own well-being, only Fan Xian’s. When Fan Xian showed that he didn’t care much either, Wu Zhu simple let him to do as he pleased — for example, when Fan Xian started to drink excessively at the age of five. Wu Zhu was only in charge of protecting Fan Xian. He would not voluntarily object to much. Typically, master and servant duos like Fan Xian and Wu Zhu were lazy and reckless characters. It’s not that they couldn’t be underhanded, but rather they felt that their martial powers were more effective than any kind of scheme. Thus, they looked upon the connivery of others as trivial. As they say: "A bright moon on a wide river, a clear breeze among the hills." Fan Xian was not a bright moon, however. He was a waning crescent, still afraid of death and without access to extreme methods, like Wu Zhu had. But he knew he wouldn’t die that easily; not with the blind servant and Fei Jie in the Overwatch Council supporting him. After witnessing the clash between Wu Zhu and Ye Liuyun, one of the Four Great Grandmasters, Fan Xian was deeply moved. He had finally understood the artistic beauty of martial arts, which was just as beautiful as tea ceremonies and calligraphy. That was why he stopped copying "Dream of the Red Chamber" for the moment and dedicated all of his attention to training. Wu Zhu didn’t have any exceptional sword styles or unarmed techniques, but he was methodical when killing. He focused on being quick, accurate, direct, and ruthless. Once, he said to Fan Xian, "Don’t put your faith in those roundabout tricks. If you want to attack, do it straight ahead, taking the shortest distance, as fast as you can, and strike your target a devastating blow." Fan Xian immediately thought of the other day when Wu Zhu leapt down from the cliff. He had indeed taken the shortest distance. He smiled bitterly as he wondered how long it would take him to reach the same level. After some lessons one day, Fan Xian swung his slightly aching right arm around and asked Wu Zhu, who was standing with his back turned. "Based off of what we talked about before, what level am I currently at?" he asked curiously. "Level seven in zhenqi. Level three in your ability to control it." Fan Xian quickly did some calculations. "Which averages out to level five. That’s more than four. I could get a diploma." The youth was a bit haughty, his pride showing slightly in his eyes. Wu Zhu shook his head. "If you’re lucky, you can kill a level seven opponent. If you’re unlucky, some level three rogue can end your life." Fan Xian signed, still smiling and thinking to himself, "Master Wu Zhu sure doesn’t sugarcoat his words." Overall, his luck seemed fine so far, or else he wouldn’t have come to this world after dying. After Ye Liuyun came, Fan Xian’s life in Danzhou truly became peaceful. There were no more a.s.sa.s.sins. Supposedly, the Count’s second wife was seriously ill for a while and became less troublesome than before. In the capital, Fan Ruoruo still sent letters once a month. Fan Xian spent his days in the small coastal city, eating tofu, copying books, occasionally buying some clothes to please the old mistress, drinking wine in the shop, and chopping up radishes to go with his wine; a leisurely life indeed. One day, a mirage appeared above the sea. The inhabitants of Danzhou Harbor all came out to see the phenomenon. Although they had lived by the sea for a long time, the sight of ethereal islands floating above the horizon still astonished them. Wu Zhu started behaving strangely. He closed the doors of his shop and went to a remote area by the sea. Alone, he climbed up a cliff and "stared" into the distance. It looked like he was recalling some unpleasant memories. The mirage soon disappeared, but Wu Zhu stayed there. Looking out into the distance through that black cloth, it seemed like he wasn’t blind at all. Fan Xian ascended the cliff. Having already transformed his skinny build, his bare torso showed excellent proportions. Seeing Wu Zhu sitting quietly, he didn’t want to be a bother, so he sat down beside him, looking at the sky touched by a fiery red of the setting sun. A long time pa.s.sed. Then, Wu Zhu suddenly asked in a cold voice, "How old are you now?" Fan Xian tied his long, jet-black hair back into a pony tail. Signs of masculinity had started to appear on his attractive face. He smiled. "Sixteen."