unsheathed – Chapter 73: Wooden Figure

Chapter 73: Wooden Figure

Chapter 73: Wooden Figure

Chen Ping'an was eating a tanghulu for the first time in close to 10 years as he made his way back to Clay Vase Alley with the locust branch on his shoulder, and a sense of guilt welled up in his heart as he passed by a house that was even dilapidated than his own. He was considering borrowing some silver from Master Ruan to have the house repaired.

Even though he had been living on Clay Vase Alley his entire life, he had never seen anyone live in this house. During his plot to lure Bai Yuan into the mountains, he had intentionally led the Mountain-moving Ape to this house, causing him to smash a massive hole into the roof of the house. Chen Ping'an felt a sense of responsibility to have the hole repaired.

In its original state, the house would've perhaps been able to last two or three more decades, but now that it was more exposed to the elements due to the gaping hole on its roof, it most likely wasn't even going to be able to last five years.

Essentially, it was the same concept as Cai Jinjian forcibly "pointing the way" for Chen Ping'an, leaving his body open and exposed, much like this house was. Hence, Chen Ping'an was determined to have the house repaired no matter what. It didn't have to be a very grand or spectacular repair job, but it had to be sturdy and serviceable.

He had considered swapping a gold essence copper coin for silver or actual copper coins. Perhaps he could go to Old Man Yang or Master Ruan to have one of his gold essence copper coins exchanged, but he had a feeling that these things were exceedingly rare, and with each one that was used up, it would be permanently gone.

In contrast, silver and copper coins could be earned anywhere, and it was just a matter of how hard he was willing to work. Hence, Chen Ping'an decided that he was going to see if he could borrow from Master Ruan first, and he would only resort to spending gold essence copper coins if that didn't work.

He was extremely reluctant to part with any of his gold essence copper coins, but the problem was constantly staring him right in the eye, and he couldn't just pretend not to see it. He was very averse to owing anyone anything.

After returning to his courtyard, Chen Ping'an rested the locust branch that Li Baoping had given to him against the wall. The priceless chunk of Dragon Slaying Platform was still sitting in the basket. but of course, he wasn't just going to leave it in the yard out in the open. Instead, he had already carried the basket into the house.

If it weren't for the fact that he was pressed for time, he would've dug a 10-feet-tall hole in his yard and buried the chunk of Dragon Slaying Platform in it. Just the name of the material alone had Chen Ping'an convinced that it had to be even more precious than those three pouches of gold essence copper coins.

Chen Ping'an could hear the sound of chickens clucking in the neighboring yard. Back when Song Jixin and Zhi Gui left the town, they had left their hen and its chicks behind. At this point, they had to be starving. With that in mind, Chen Ping'an made his way into his house to grab that string of keys, then picked up a handful of rice before making his way into the neighboring yard and opening the chicken cage.

He allowed the rice to fall through his fingers for the chickens to feed on, and after that, he opened the door of the kitchen to see if any food had been left behind in case they became rotten or moldy from neglect. As soon as he made his way into the kitchen, he was greeted by an astonishing sight.

There was a huge vat full of rice inside, and just the mere sight of it was enough to fill his stomach. The pantry was filled with pots, pans, and all types of cooking utensils, and there was a row of ham and dried fish hanging on the wall. Everything was clean and orderly, and it seemed that Chen Ping'an's concerns had been entirely unwarranted.

All of a sudden, his attention was drawn to a pile of firewood near the kitchen counter. He made his way over to the pile of firewood to take a closer look, and sure enough, it was the wooden figure that Zhi Gui had been hacking at with a meat cleaver last time. She didn't know how to chop firewood, so even though she had labored away extensively at the wooden figure, she had made next to no progress.

In contrast, Chen Ping'an was able to make short work of the wooden figure, quickly chopping it up into pieces. At this moment, he was squatting down as he examined the pieces of the wooden figure, and he noticed something quite strange. There were red spots engraved onto the wooden figure's entire body, seemingly in a completely random and haphazard fashion.

In some places, the red spots were bunched together in dense clumps, while in other places, they were far more spaced apart. Chen Ping'an picked up a section of the wooden figure's arm to take a closer look, and he discovered that extremely tiny black characters were engraved beside each red spot.

The red spots were each only around the size of a grain of rice to begin with, and the characters were even smaller, to the point that they were barely visible. Thankfully, Chen Ping'an's exceptional eyesight allowed him to discern the black characters. If a normal person had been in his place, they would've been able to see a bunch of red spots and even tinier black dots.

Chen Ping'an attempted to reassemble the pieces of the wooden figure, and it didn't take long before it was restored. Thankfully, it wasn't missing any large sections of its body, but what was rather unfortunate was that many of the red spots and black characters on the connective parts of its body had been hacked away or ground down by Zhi Gui's cleaver.

At a rough visual estimate, Chen Ping'an speculated that only around 70% to 80% of the red spots and black characters were left.

Chen Ping'an rose to his feet to open the window to allow more light into the kitchen, then squatted down again to continue examining the pieces of the wooden figure, not daring to miss even the most trivial of details. He did this for around two hours, and even though he didn't recognize the majority of the black characters, he still did his best to memorize their structure and strokes.

Deep down, he had always wanted to learn to read and write.

Back when he was a worker at the kiln, he had looked back at the town on many occasions after scaling to the top of a mountain. The first place that he would search for from his vantage point was Clay Vase Alley, and the second place was often the school. Back in his younger days, he would often go to the school and squat down at the foot of the wall to hear the lessons being taught inside.

He didn't understand what was being taught, but just listening to the lessons alone instilled him with a sense of peace and tranquility, and all of the negative emotions that had accumulated during the day would fade away.

However, for an orphan who had grown up on Clay Vase Alley like him, receiving an education was an even more distant dream than a tanghulu, so the only thing that he could do was watch from afar.

At this moment, Chen Ping'an closed his eyes and reconstructed the complete wooden figure in his mind using his memory alone.

Whenever he reached an indistinct part in his memory, he didn't rush to open his eyes and examine that part of the wooden figure. Instead, he simply skipped over those parts, and in the end, there were around 40 to 50 parts where his memory was rather fuzzy.

After examining all of those parts on the wooden figure's body, Chen Ping'an took his deep breath and prepared to repeat the process, but as soon as he closed his eyes, he was struck by a rush of dizziness, and he knew that it wouldn't be wise to force himself any further. There were some things that couldn't be achieved just by pushing oneself harder.

In fact, beyond a certain point, it was often the case that the more effort that was given, the less desirable the outcome. This was a valuable lesson that Chen Ping'an had learned during his pottery firing days, not because he possessed exceptional talent, but solely from being constantly insulted and abused by Old Man Yao instead.

Chen Ping'an scattered the wooden figure again and piled all of the parts in a corner of the kitchen before departing from Song Jixin's courtyard. After closing the yard gate, Chen Ping'an paused for a moment to consider what he was going to do next, then decided to pay a visit to Zheng Dafeng again.

Once he officially became an apprentice at the blacksmith shop, he was most likely going to live there, so it wasn't going to be possible for him to come back and deliver letters. Hence, Chen Ping'an wanted to give Zheng Dafeng some advance notice, but he had already gone to search for him on a previous occasion and failed to find him.

Upon arriving at the eastern town gate on the jog, Chen Ping'an discovered that the door of the earthen hut was still locked, and he heaved a faint sigh upon seeing this. He sat down onto the tree stump that Zheng Dafeng often sat on.

Unlike the tree stumps in the mountains, this tree stump wasn't the seat of a mountain god or anything like that. In a rare moment of peace and relaxation for Chen Ping'an, he sat on the tree stump, staring blankly into the distance.

After an indeterminate period of time, the sound of rolling carriage wheels rang out from the road inside the town. Chen Ping'an turned to discover an ox-drawn carriage followed by a pair of horse-drawn carriages. A bunch of kids were seated on the ox-drawn carriage, among which were a pair of familiar faces, namely Li Baoping in her large red jacket, and Shi Chunjia with her delicate, red cheeks.

The other three children on the carriage were presumably Li Huai, Lin Shouyi, and Dong Shuijing, the other schoolchildren that Shi Chunjia had mentioned earlier.

The five children on the ox-drawn carriage were all chatting spiritedly among themselves, and the coach driver was an unfamiliar middle-aged man, seated behind whom was the school's former janitor.

The differences in the quality of attire worn by the five children were night and day. Shi Chunjia's family had lived on Dragon Riding Alley for generations, running the old pastry shop, so she certainly hadn't grown up poor. However, at the same time, her family couldn't have been said to be particularly wealthy, so her clothes were comfortable and warm, but not excessively extravagant.

However, the child next to her wore a brand new black fur coat made from fox fur, and there was a cold and apathetic look on his face. Li Huai's father, Li Er, was renowned in the town for being a pushover, and Li Huai had an elder sister by the name of Li Liu. However, his parents and his elder sister had all left the town for better prospects, leaving only Li Huai behind to live with his uncle.

Now, he was also going to be leaving the town, following Old Man Ma to Mountain Cliff Academy. The final boy to round out the five was wearing a thin spring garment and a pair of patchy outer garments, clearly indicating that he came from an impoverished background.

The five children were sitting on the uncovered ox-drawn carriage, traveling to Mountain Cliff Academy, one of the 72 academies of Confucianism and a place that was worshipped by countless scholars on Eastern Treasured Vial Continent.

Eastern Treasured Vial Continent had countless empires and powerful clans and sects, many of which were willing to go to extreme lengths to try and send some of their most promising young prospects to Mountain Cliff Academy, just so they could study the way of managing a nation under the academy's wise teachers.

The five children on the carriage were naturally completely oblivious to this, just as they were oblivious to how much of an honor it had been for them to have been able to study under Mr. Qi.

On the contrary, these children disliked Mr. Qi for all of the rules that he had set for them and the fact that he was always so serious and unapproachable. Only very rarely would Mr. Qi smile upon them, and on the occasions when he did, the children had no idea what they had done to make him so pleased.

Li Baoping had a pair of sharp eyes, and she quickly spotted Chen Ping'an sitting on the tree stump. She immediately jumped down from the ox-drawn carriage like lightning, stumbling slightly before rushing over to Chen Ping'an like the wind, only to abruptly stop in front of him, seemingly unsure of what to say. In the end, she puffed out her chest with a proud expression and declared, "I'm going somewhere really, really far away."

"Li Baoping!" Old Man Ma called out in a stern voice from the carriage.

Even though he was clearly rather displeased, Old Man Ma still instructed the coach driver to stop the carriage. Li Baoping pursed her lips with displeasure, but still turned around and ran back to the carriage. As she did so, she suddenly heard Chen Ping'an call out to her, and she turned to find him raising his fist and pumping it up and down, gesturing for her to do her best.

Li Baoping waved her little fist at him in response as a silent promise that she would indeed do her best.

An amused smile appeared on Chen Ping'an's face. He had no doubt that Li Baoping was going to do her best, but only when it came to playing. It most likely wasn't going to be long before she left her footsteps all over the entire Mountain Cliff Academy.

Chen Ping'an then noticed Old Man Ma looking at him, and as soon as their eyes met, the old man gave him a nod, in response to which Chen Ping'an reflexively returned the nod with a smile.

At the same time, someone sitting in one of the horse-drawn carriages behind the ox-drawn carriage gently lowered the curtain.

Chen Ping'an was only able to catch a fleeting glimpse of him, but that was enough for him to identify the man as the scholar who had gone to find Master Ruan at his blacksmith shop.

Chen Ping'an watched as the three carriages slowly made their way out of the town.

If Chen Ping'an could take to the heavens atop a flying sword like Ning Yao to see this small world, which had just landed and taken root in the earth, he would've definitely been astonished by the sight that would greet him.

There were countless animals of all types of different species roaming the land and flying through the sky, lingering on the border between Jewel Small World and the Great Li Empire. Further away, there were even more animals rushing toward the border as quickly as they could, and they seemed to be absorbing something from this place.

They didn't dare to take so much as a single step beyond the invisible border, but they were also extremely reluctant to leave.

There was also an old woman standing at the end of the creek within the border. Her upper body was exposed above the surface of the water, and her dark green hair was trailing down all around her like a black lotus flower.

The old woman's face had previously resembled the bark of a mottled old tree, but at this moment, she appeared to be a woman no more than 40 years of age.

There was also Cloud Drape Mountain, which was slowly rising up at a rate that was discernible even to the naked eye, as if something were propping it up from below.

The small world had been broken and had descended upon the earth as a blessed land. Fll0w current novls on n/o/(v)/3l/b((in).(co/m)

For all of the native residents of Jewel Small World, all of them would have a chance at reincarnation, regardless of their background and what they had done in this life.

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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