Chapter 7: Yellow Bird (1)
If he’d not seen Fork Way Street nor Peach Blossom Lane, Chen Ping would have never known of this dark and narrow alleyway.
However, the youth felt no sense of loss, but rather… ease.
He was at ease.
He smiled and stretched out his hands, accidentally touching the yellow mud wall twice.
His mind wandered back to three or four years ago when he could only touch the mud wall with the tip of his fingers. He shook his head and returned back to the present reality.
He looked up and saw a tall young man yawning, seated on the ledge.
He was bored.
Seeing Chen Ping, he stood up quickly, as if his butt caught on fire, hurriedly ran over to him and grabbed his arm. The tall young man ruthlessly dragged Chen Ping toward his house.
His voice was low. “Hurry up and open the door! There’s something important that I need to tell you!”
The robust young man, who was two years older than him, quickly shoved Chen Ping to the side after the door opened. He tiptoed onto Chen Ping’s wooden bed, pressed his ear against the wall, and listened to the sounds next door.
Chen Ping raised his left brow. “Liu Xianyang, what are you doing?”
Liu Xianyang turned a deaf ear and continued eavesdropping.
After approximately half an incense’s time, Liu Xianyang returned back to normal. He sat on the edge of the wooden bed with a complicated countenance. There was a sense of relief mixed with slight regret on his face.
Only now did Liu Xianyang notice Chen Ping’s odd behavior. He was squatting next to the door, with his body leaning outwards as he burned a piece of yellow paper with a thumb-sized candle causing the ashes to fall outside the doorstep.
Chen Ping muttered some incoherent words too far away for Liu Xianyang to hear.
As for Chen Ping, right from the beginning , Old Man Yao never recognized this disciple of his. In the local area, if a disciple paid no respects to his master or his master refused to drink the cup of tea his ‘disciple’ prepared, it was equivalent to having no master or a disciple’s status.
Only reason Liu Xianyang introduced Chen Ping to Old Man Yao was due to the old time grudge between the two when they were nothing but foolish children.
Liu Xianyang, he was quite the mischievous child. Before his grandfather passed away, he’d been dutiful, but after his death, he’d gone wild and became the demon king that caused havoc everywhere in the neighborhood causing them many aggravating headaches.
Somewhere along the way, Liu Xianyang offending the members of the Lu Family. They dragged him into an alleyway with walls made of mud and gave him a solid beating.
Meanwhile, Song Jixin watched the scene unfold without any fear. On the contrary, he squatted on top of the mud wall and happily watched the commotion while a small part of him hoped the world would not fall in chaos.
In the end, only a skinny looking child snuck out the courtyard and ran to the mouth of the alleyway shouting, “Someone’s dead! Someone’s dead!”
Only after hearing the word “dead” did the children of the Lu Family awaken from their frenzy. They were frightened to death! Seeing Liu Xianyang’s battered body covered in blood as he lay on the ground seemingly breathing his last, a lingering fear arose in their hearts.. They looked at one another alarmingly before running away towards the opposite end of Muddy Bottle Lane.
After the incident, Liu Xianyang felt extremely grateful to the child who saved his life, He’d come over every few days and play around with him, bullying him incessantly. But no matter the troubles he caused to the child, the child refused to cry rivers of tears causing Liu Xianyang angst.
Then, one year later, Liu Xianyang became an apprentice for a teacher from Dragon Cave. He happened to pass by the orphan, Chen Ping. Seeing he couldn’t handle the wintry cold, Liu Xianyang brought the orphan to Dragon Cave by the Treasure Creek on a whim.
Leaving Muddy Bottle Lane, it snowed heavily for tens of miles. Even now, Liu Xianyang never figured out how the boy who had legs as thin as bamboo sticks managed to reach Dragon Cave.
At the end of their journey, Old Man Yao scolded his disciple only to feel bitterness later on. For example, he once hit him so hard that blood oozed out from Liu Xianyang’s forehead, but the youngster had thick skin and did not seem to mind. Old Man Yao regretted his actions very much. He who was used to being imposing and arrogant to others did not know what to say to his disciple. In the end, after circling back and forth in his room throughout the night, Old Man Yao could no longer hold on. He called over Liu Xianyang and handed him a bottle of ointment.
Chen Ping was envious of Liu Xianyang—not because of his talent, strength, or popularity… rather, it was his fearlessness he admired.
No matter where he went, he ventured on with fearless heart. He never once felt being alone was a bad thing. No matter where he’d go, he got along with everyone—soon calling the people he’d just met brothers while they drank merrily and fought together.
Because of his grandfather’s poor health, he learned to become self-reliant, his childhood youth gone at an early age. He was adept at catching snakes and fish, and at poking birds in their nest. He could catch loaches and eels in the countryside ever so easily. He seemed to know how to do each and everything like he’s got his life all planned out.
Liu Xianyang was, without doubt, the strongest person in town Chen Ping knew.