Chapter 37: Request A Master to Teach Me in the Future (2)
While her rod was still in the air, Zhou Xiaoxiao figured that with her own vigor, and with this old man being a retired veteran, it would not look good to Aun tWu if she ever hurt him in case he was merely putting on the tough act in front of her. So, she restricted herself to only about 30% of her strength.
But without any awareness as to how Wu Daoquan even moved, Zhou Xiaoxiao felt a light friction at her elbow when her entire right arm turned numb. She could not keep her hold on the rod and it rolled off her hand onto the ground.
Zhou Xiaoxiao was stunned on the spot with great surprise in her heart. She rubbed her arm for a while before picking up the rod again. This time, she put her focus into it and came with the full force of the five plums technique passed on by Zhou Dujuan’s father. With a tremble of the rod, five shadows were drawn in the air like a blossoming white blossom. The five shadows disappeared but the great force was still behind the strike. Anyone who came in contact with it would not have a good time.
But before the plum blossom could fully bloom, Zhou Xiaoxiao felt a heavy hit at her heel that set her off balance, and she fell to the ground. Due to the exessive force exerted from her hands, she could not stabilize her body, and she ended up rolling twice on the ground before she could crawl back up.
After crawling herself up, Zhou Xiaoxiao turned around and bowed. “Master is mighty, I have not known true skill prior to today, so I would please request master to teach me in the future.”
Without answering, Wu Daoquan walked back inside with his arms behind his back. Zhou Xiaoxiao patted off the dirt from her body and followed behind him. After entering the hall, she pulled over a stool and invited Wu Daoquan to sit. Then, she went down on the ground and kowtowed to him three times before respectfully holding a cup of tea to him. “Master, please accept me as your apprentice.”
Wu Daoquan did not accept the tea but frowned for a moment. “You are a girl, what are you learning the sword for?”
Zhou Xiaoxiao was the type that when she wanted something, she would try a hundred times harder than usual to get it. Right now, it was as if her mouth was laced with honey as the sweet words poured out as soon as she opened her mouth.
“Look, master, there are no boys in this house either, so you can just teach me like you would a boy. I’m sure I will be able to learn.” Zhou Xiaoxiao knelt down and offered the tea once more. “In the future, when it is the disciple’s turn to take care of master and madam, this disciple would be better equipped to guard against thieves when they come. Then master would not have to do everything himself, is it not so?”
“Martial arts is no fun and games. No tricks will be tolerated.”
“If I slack off, then master needs only punish me.”
“In that case…” Wu Daoquan finally accepted the tea and took a sip. “Tomorrow morning at five, wait for me in the courtyard.”
Zhou Xiaoxiao was overjoyed. Since then, she began calling Wu Daoquan and his wife by master and madam respectively and treated them with the respect of a disciple. Wu Daoquan also began to teach Zhou Xiaoxiao his martial techniques from the beginning.
Wu Daoquan had been a martial arts nut since he was young and was best at performing dances with sword and spear. Due to his family’s trade as doctors, he was drafted into the military as a military doctor and his martial arts became of little use after. He had no sons in his lifetime, and the only daughter he had was lost during the chaos of war in her youth. But when he first saw Zhou Xiaoxiao and noticed her abnormal bearing and qualifications, understanding that she was good material for learning martial arts, he felt a little happy. What happened previously was merely him putting up an act of a master. Now, he could see that though Zhou Xiaoxiao was a woman, she was not afraid of suffering hardships and was smart and eager to learn. This made him happy, and inevitably, the urge to pass on his unique set of skills rose up within him.
That aside, Zhou Xiaoxiao got up early to learn martial arts every day from then on. In the afternoons, she would go out to pick out suitable workers, fix up her storefront, prepared her pastry stall, and unconsciously, time flew past. The snow began to melt, and the breeze of spring began to blow.
One day, Zhou Xiaoxiao brought with her two boxes of food and went to the general’s residence to visit the general’s wife, Xia Qinglian.
Xia Qinglian invited her in and took her hands, looking over her to see if she was doing well for a moment before the two sat down.
“After not seeing you for a few days, sister looks more and more spirited.”