unsheathed – Chapter 49: Porcelain Shard

Chapter 49: Porcelain Shard

Chapter 49: Porcelain Shard

Amid the pile of rubble, Bai Yuan's ears were moving slightly as he listened for even the faintest of sounds around him. He slowly crouched down with a sinister grin, picking up a broken roof tile, and after weighing it in his hand for a moment, he abruptly stood up before hurling it through the air. The roof tile sliced through the wall and the roof with ease like a knife cutting through tofu, hurtling directly toward the point where Bai Yuan had just heard some sound ring out.

Unfortunately, he wasn't able to spot Chen Ping'an. With a tap of his foot, his enormous body rose up from the ground, and he stepped onto an old wooden beam, using it as a launching pad to propel himself out of the hole in the ceiling before landing on the roof.

Far away in the distance, Chen Ping'an was standing on another rooftop with his wooden bow slung across his shoulders, watching Bai Yuan with a wary expression.

Bai Yuan knew that he had made a slight mistake. He had caused too much of a commotion with the roof tile that he had just used as a projectile. As a result, Chen Ping'an had been alerted to just how formidable Bai Yuan's throwing power was, and he had completely given up on the idea that he had an advantage when it came to attacking range just because he had a bow and arrow.

Bai Yuan smiled as he spread his hands open to show Chen Ping'an that he wasn't holding anything, then beckoned to the young boy, provoking Chen Ping'an to show him what other tricks he had up his sleeve and indicating to him that he was ready to continue this game of cat and mouse.

To say that Bai Yuan was trying to play a trick on Chen Ping'an would've been a false accusation. With his enormous cultivation base and true form, Bai Yuan was essentially the flesh and blood embodiment of a devastating force of nature.

He had endured countless battles and hardships on his long and arduous cultivation journey, particularly in the early stages of Sun Scorch Mountain's existence, where it had been nothing but a small and weak sect, but had made more than its fair share of enemies.

After the founder of Sun Scorch Mountain perished in battle, he had become the sect's most powerful warrior, fighting countless battles against all manners of formidable cultivators. In a sense, this rooftop battle was rather similar to the battles that Bai Yuan had fought in the past.

Back then, all of the cultivators and Qi refiners that he had gone up against had also adopted a strategy of attacking him with their treasures from afar, with none of them daring to face him in direct battle. It was just like how a light cavalry soldier would never directly engage a heavy infantry soldier in battle. Instead, the former would adopt guerilla warfare tactics, making use of their advantage in speed and maneuverability to chip away at the latter steadily over time.

At the moment, Bai Yuan was arguably second only to Song Changjing when it came to the degree to which he was being suppressed by the Heavenly Dao of this place. Due to his special identity, the Militarian grandmaster carrying the tiger talisman was "blessed" by this place, so even though he was also extremely formidable, the restrictions imposed on him weren't very severe at all.

Even though he was only facing an ordinary young boy who didn't even have a foot in the door when it came to cultivation, Bai Yuan was feeling the same thrill of battle that he had felt all those years ago.

Bai Yuan was willing to admit that Chen Ping'an had given him many surprises up to this point. He had shown himself to be extremely cunning and resourceful, setting traps, taking advantage of the terrain, and using Bai Yuan's psychology against him. Of course, the biggest surprise to Bai Yuan was the courage that Chen Ping'an was displaying.

He raised his head to look up at the sky, upon which he discovered that it was already dusk. From this point onward, visibility was only going to become worse and worse, and he was completely unfamiliar with the geography of the town. This was most likely one of the advantages that Chen Ping'an was relying on, but it was only going to get him so far.

With that in mind, Bai Yuan began to rush forward like a galloping horse, covering an astounding amount of distance with each stride that he took.

In the instant that Bai Yuan sprang into action, Chen Ping'an turned around to flee. He didn't rush toward the north along the string of countless rooftops in that direction. After all, Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley were in that direction, and that was where all of the town's affluent clans were situated. If they were to step in and assist Bai Yuan, Chen Ping'an knew that he would have no chance of escape.

The south was also not an option because that was where the covered bridge was. The terrain there was extremely open, and there would be nowhere for him to hide. Given the disparity in their speed, Chen Ping'an knew that he had to rely on a place where there were many obstacles and hiding spots if he wanted to keep himself safe. Hence, he quickly decided to flee toward the west.

To the west of the town was a dense mountain forest with many obscure paths and hiding spots, as well as a large number of traps set by hunters.

The mountain was very difficult to scale unless one followed a beaten path, and Chen Ping'an knew this better than anyone, having already scaled these mountains countless times in his life.

While his thought process was correct, he had misjudged Bai Yuan's abilities. As the Mountain-moving Ape of Sun Scorch Mountain, Bai Yuan had a far deeper understanding of mountains than Chen Ping'an did.

As Chen Ping'an jumped off the final rooftop to land on the ground, he bent his knees slightly to buffer the force of the impact, then quickly took a glance behind him before continuing to charge ahead at full speed.

At this point, his bow and quiver of arrows were already nowhere to be seen.

Once he entered the forest, if he were to abandon the beaten paths and stray into the undergrowth, then those things were definitely going to become a hindrance to him.

Bai Yuan could see that Chen Ping'an was about to slip into the forest, and he was feeling a little agitated. He turned to take a glance back in the direction of the Li Clan's manor on Fortune Street. If he were to venture into the mountain, he couldn't proclaim with confidence that the geographic advantage would entirely fall to him, but it would've definitely been easier than chasing Chen Ping'an through the town.

After weighing up his options, Bai Yuan quickly arrived at a decision. He took a deep "breath", just enough for him to put an end to Chen Ping'an's life, and his face began to turn alternating shades of green and purple. All of a sudden, his enormous figure sprang up without any warning, causing most of the house beneath his feet to collapse in an instant.

The western area of the town was populated entirely by the town's more impoverished residents, so the houses here were far less sturdy than the ones on Fortune Street, and there was no way that the house would've survived after acting as Bai Yuan's launching pad. The only silver lining on this dark cloud was that the family of four living in the house wasn't in the house at the moment of its collapse.

Bai Yuan leaped high up into the air, propelling himself up in a parabolic trajectory, and he landed right beside Chen Ping'an. Two massive craters were blown into the ground beneath his feet, sending soft and loamy soil flying in all directions.

Immediately thereafter, Bai Yuan threw a punch at the back of Chen Ping'an's chest.

There were many acupoints on one's back, so one's meridians and internal organs were all connected to their back. In particular, the back of one's chest was only mere inches away from one's heart, making it an extremely vulnerable place.

As soon as he heard the commotion caused by Bai Yuan's landing, Chen Ping'an immediately sprang forward, doing so even faster than when he had lured Bai Yuan onto that dilapidated rooftop from earlier.

At the very least, this indicated that he had been hiding part of his strength this entire time.

As a result, Bai Yuan's fist wasn't able to punch through Chen Ping'an's back to pulverize his heart as he had envisioned. Instead, it merely grazed Chen Ping'an's back in a glancing blow.

Despite this, Chen Ping'an was still sent flying forward through the air, as if he had been struck in the back by a battering ram.

What came next was an incredible display of Chen Ping'an's agility and hand-eye coordination.

Blood was seeping down from the corners of his lips from that glancing blow, and right as it appeared that he was about to faceplant into the soil, he reached out with both hands before pressing his palms against the ground.

He then bent his elbows before extending them forcefully, performing a somersault in the air, and after landing on the ground with his feet, he used his forward momentum to continue fleeing for his life, not slowing down in the slightest.

Even though Bai Yuan had fought countless battles and faced all types of opponents, he couldn't help but be vexed by Chen Ping'an's tenacity and resilience.

He raised his hand to find that the back of his hand was bleeding.

This injury was far from severe, and he didn't pay much heed to it, but he became even more determined to kill Chen Ping'an.

As for why he had been injured, the reason was quite simple.

Normally, Chen Ping'an was dressed very lightly, but on this day, as he appeared before Bai Yuan, he was clearly wearing far thicker clothes than before. Aside from his own clothes, he had also dressed himself in one of Liu Xianyang's old robes, which fit him very loosely. He had donned this extra piece of clothing in order to conceal something.

As it turned out, he had forged a suit of wood porcelain armor for himself. The suit of armor consisted of six long wooden planks that had holes drilled into them before being tied securely together with rope through those holes. There were three planks in front of his chest, and three more planks on his back. Most importantly, the extremely crude suit of wooden armor was embedded with countless tiny porcelain shards.

At this moment, Bai Yuan was in a terrible mood. He felt like a high-ranking official who had inadvertently trodden onto a pile of stinky dog **, and there was no way for him to remove the disgusting fecal matter from the bottom of his boot.

His fists were tightly clenched as he stood on the spot, forcibly suppressing his own churning aura, and the purple and green coloration of his face suddenly turned to purple and gold before vanishing in a flash.

All of a sudden, he raised a hand to snatch something out of mid-air. As it turned out, a small stone had been fired at him from somewhere within the undergrowth.

Bai Yuan held onto the stone, which was roughly the size of a fingernail, and he could hear a burst or rustling, indicating that Chen Ping'an was fleeing deeper into the forest.

A dark look appeared on his face as he turned to glance back at the town, worried that this was a plot that Chen Ping'an had hatched to lure him away from Tao Zi.

However, his instincts told him that he had to kill Chen Ping'an as soon as possible.

At this moment, another unwelcome guest had appeared on a branch of the descendant locust tree on Fortune Street, which Chen Ping'an had climbed up earlier. The figure was seated on the highest branch that was still able to support his weight, and he was elevated far above the rooftops of the Li Clan's manor. On another branch slightly below him stood another figure.

Everyone in the Li Clan's manor was on high alert, but they had no choice but to pretend not to be able to see the two figures that had suddenly appeared on the locust tree. That was because they were none other than the kiln supervision official, Song Changjing, and his nephew, Song Jixin. Song Changjing had brought Song Jixin onto the descendant locust tree, telling him that they would be treated to a good show.

However, Song Jixin didn't possess the eyesight required to see in the night, so he could only listen to Song Changjing describe the chase that had taken place, starting from the rooftops of Clay Vase Alley.

Song Changjing had his elbow resting on his knee, and his chin resting on his hand as he peered into the distance. While describing the chase to Song Jixin, he would also occasionally throw in a few obscure secrets of the town or some casual cultivation insights that he had developed.

"If we set aside everything else and just talk about artifacts and treasures, that renowned sword scripture can rank among the top three in the town. If we extend the timeline and look back across the 3,000-year history of the town, I would say it's probably a bit of a stretch to place it in the top 10, but it can definitely claim a spot in the top 20.

This may sound quite low, but it's actually already very high, and that's not even mentioning that suit of scaly armor. If Liu Xianyang could've made full use of those two things, in my eyes, he wouldn't have panned out any worse than the five of you in the future."

Song Jixin didn't raise his head because Song Changjing's foot was dangling right above him, but he still asked in a curious voice, "Then why is it that he was still killed by that old ape from Sun Scorch Mountain?"

A faint smile appeared on Song Changjing's face as he replied, "He attracted envy with his great fortune, and he had no backers to protect him. Is that so difficult to understand?"

A perplexed look appeared on Song Jixin's face as he asked, "In that case, why didn't you do more to try and win him over back in Clay Vase Alley?"

Song Changjing burst into laughter, and only after chortling with mirth for a long while did he reply, "When it comes to these cultivation prodigies... Forget it, I won't explain it for now. Once you leave this town and hear one of my nicknames, you'll understand everything."

All of a sudden, Song Changjing rose to his feet as he cast his gaze toward the distance, and an intense look appeared in his eyes as he gently stroked the jade belt he wore around his waist.

He could see that at the westernmost point of the town, Bai Yuan had broken the rules, and his aura had instantly begun to churn violently as a result, to the extent that everything in that area was thrown into complete disarray, like a piece of chinaware that had exploded into pieces.

Song Changjing continued, "Perhaps you might be wondering why all of those outsiders regard the people in the town as if they're looking down on ants. Do you really think that's just because all of them are conceited and arrogant? That they think that they're better than everyone? Their personality is only a minor factor, the far more significant factor is their upbringing. You've never left the town before, so you don't know just how revered those cultivators are in the outside world."

"I wasn't wondering about that at all," Song Jixin replied.nw stries at n/vel/b/i/n(.)co

Song Changjing wasn't surprised to hear this, and he sighed, "This is why I don't like speaking to scholars. The thing is, there's a line between you and them. To some people, this is a tiny line that's smaller than a ditch and can be stepped over with ease. You're an example of one of those people, and other examples are Liu Xianyang, and Zhao Yao, the boy who was picked out by a major Daoist sect outside of the town.

However, for others, this line is like an impossibly wide chasm. For the majority of the people in this town, the line is something that they'll never be able to step over no matter how hard they try. The gap between the people separated by the line is massive, almost like... living beings and inanimate objects, or the divide between life and the afterlife, perhaps even more significant than that."

All of a sudden, Song Changjing paused here momentarily, and a look of surprise appeared on his face, followed by a hint of schadenfreude as he chuckled, "Looks like that old monkey is a bit unlucky this time. He thought this would be an easy hunt, but as it turns out, he's come up against a cunning little hedgehog.

I'm beginning to understand you now, Song Jixin. Anyone would be extremely frustrated by an opponent like this. Unless you can kill him with a single blow, he'll continue to stick around and pose a nuisance with the tenacity of a glob of glue!"

A displeased look appeared on Song Jixin's face.

Not far away, a loud commotion suddenly rang out in the Li Clan's manor, and even the clan patriarch had sprung into action.

As expected, Chen Ping'an had an accomplice, and that accomplice was no ordinary person.

A faint smile appeared on Song Changjing's face, and even as the assassin rushed past him on the descendant locust tree, he didn't try to stop them at all.

Meanwhile, Bai Yuan was quickly returning from the west, leaping into the air with each bounding stride that he took. As for the destruction that he was causing to the houses and buildings in the town with each landing, that was something that he paid no heed to.

Having spotted Song Changjing from afar, it seemed that Bai Yuan had identified him as a target for him to vent his frustrations.

Song Changjing's brows furrowed slightly upon seeing this, immediately following which a burst of unyielding battle intent erupted out of his body.

It was widely renowned that Song Changjing had three hobbies in life, namely securing accolades on the battlefield, slaying prodigies, and battling gods.

In the next instant, Song Jixin's eyes widened with surprise. Before he knew it, Song Changjing had already descended onto Fortune Street, and he was charging directly at the oncoming Bai Yuan in a barbaric fashion.

The two of them each exchanged a punch, striking one another in the chest.

Instead of retreating, Song Changjing took a step forward, while Bai Yuan took a step back.

Another punch was exchanged by the two combatants, this one striking one another on the glabella.

Song Changjing took another stride forward, and this time, he was the only one to throw a punch.

He stomped heavily down onto the ground, and he bent his knees slightly, extending his left hand forward while drawing back his right fist.

His pristine white robes were flapping all around him, while the bluestone slabs beneath his feet had been completely shattered.

As the punch was thrown, Bai Yuan had no choice but to extend a palm to shield himself from Song Changjing's fist.

Two resounding booms rang out in succession, and Bai Yuan was sent sliding back by over 100 feet, plowing a gaping trench into the bluestone street.

Song Changjing gently swept a sleeve through the air, then clasped a hand behind his back while laying his other hand onto his jade belt as he mused with a faint smile, "Are you still not going to step in, Qi Jingchun? Are you just going to leave this town to its own devices? Don't give up yet, at least persevere for a little longer!"

Bai Yuan slowly exhaled, while Song Changjing raised a hand as he smiled and said, "We can continue this battle after we leave this place. For now, both of us have matters that we must attend to."

Bai Yuan grinned as he replied, "You better defeat me after we get out of here. Otherwise, the Great Li Empire's forces on the southern border won't be having a good time."

"As you wish," Song Changjing said with a smile.

Bai Yuan gave a cold harrumph, then entered the Li Clan's manor on his own. As it turned out, Tao Zi was completely unscathed, and no one had even come after her. After learning the specific details of what had happened, Bai Yuan realized that this had been nothing more than a trick to distract him. After a brief moment of contemplation, he traveled toward the west again, preparing to re-enter the mountain and continue the hunt.

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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