unsheathed – Chapter 57: Sword Nurturing Gourd

Chapter 57: Sword Nurturing Gourd

Chapter 57: Sword Nurturing Gourd

After nearing the small town, the Militarian cultivator from True Martial Mountain let go of Ma Kuxuan's shoulders. Ma Kuxuan was slightly dizzy, and after giving his head a shake, he asked, "What's going on? Did someone from my family get targeted? Perhaps an outsider took a fancy to one of our family treasures but my father or uncle was unwilling to sell it? Yet, the outsider insisted on obtaining it, so my family suffered just like Liu Xianyang?"

Walking briskly with Ma Kuxuan behind him, the man shook his head and replied, "That precious sword scripture was part of the reason why the Mountain-moving Ape from Sun Scorch Mountain was willing to break the rules and act so resolutely. However, the most important reason is the animosity between Sun Scorch Mountain and Wind Lightning Field. If Chen Songfeng from Wind Lightning Field hadn't come to the small town, Bai Yuan definitely wouldn't have chosen to act in such a way. Even if the cultivators from the outside world want to target someone in the small town, they won't dare to act too brazenly. At the end of the day, the Sage overlooking this place..."

The man suddenly stopped speaking, and he looked at a rooftop in the distance. There was an ink-black cat squatting there, and upon seeing Ma Kuxuan, it immediately started to meow in a high-pitched voice. When Ma Kuxuan saw it, the wild cat turned around and started to sprint away, heading toward Apricot Blossom Alley.

Ma Kuxuan's face instantly became as pale as a sheet, and he furiously sprinted after the wild cat on the rooftops as if he had gone mad.

Having figured out the situation, the man breathed a sigh. He was unhurried as he followed Ma Kuxuan, and the distance between them remained constant the entire time.

Ma Kuxuan ran back to that extremely familiar alley. When he saw that the courtyard door was wide open, the courageous young boy surprisingly came to a stop. He didn't dare to walk inside.

He knew that their courtyard door would almost never be open for long periods of time. This was because his grandma held a certain belief Apricot Blossom Alley was filled with poor and unmotivated people, yet their family was especially rich, so it would be very easy for others to covet their wealth. Because of this, they needed to keep their doors firmly shut. Otherwise, they would definitely be targeted by thieves.

The rims of Ma Kuxuan's eyes were red as he walked into the courtyard. The door to the house was also open.

Ma Kuxuan saw a familiar figure, that skinny and feeble figure, lying on the ground.

The black cat meowed in a shrill and eerie voice as it sat on the doorstep.

"Don't go over!"

The man reached over and placed a hand on Ma Kuxuan's shoulder, saying, "What's done is done. You need to maintain your composure!"

Ma Kuxuan forcefully held back tears, and he took deep breaths as he slowed down his footsteps. "Grandma?" he called softly.

The man walked over and squatted down beside the old lady, placing two fingers under her nose. There was no sign of breathing.

The black cat hurriedly ran into the house in fright, disappearing in a flash.

The man pondered for a moment before looking up at Ma Kuxuan who was still standing outside the door. "Don't come over! Your yang energy is innately concentrated, so if you come any closer, any remnant wisp of your grandma's soul will be destroyed by you!" he warned in a grave voice.

There was a deep frown on Ma Kuxuan's tanned face. However, he forcefully stopped himself from crying.

The man reached a decision, and he grabbed the tiger talisman hanging by his waist and said in a solemn voice, "Mr. Qi, this matter can't be swept under the carpet. You have your rules, but I also have my considerations. I hope that you won't interfere in a while."

After saying this, the man's aura suddenly underwent a drastic change. His clothes fluttered and his hair billowed as he quietly recited an obscure and arcane mantra. In the end, he finished by exclaiming, "At the request of True Martial Mountain!"

Ma Kuxuan looked over in a trance.

What he saw was a three-meter-tall deity in golden armor descending from the heavens. The deity beat its fists against its chest before asking in a thunderous voice, "Disciple of True Martial, what is your command?"

"Mystical abilities are prohibited in this place, and I'm not well-versed when it comes to capturing souls either. Thus, I've summoned you here to ask for your help in searching around this house. If you find the wandering soul of this old lady, please collect it for me. And remember not to damage her essence."

The deity in golden armor paused for a brief moment before nodding its head and replying, "As you command!"

The golden light vanished, and so too did the deity.

In the office of the kiln supervision official, Chen Songfeng from the Dragon Tail County's Chen Clan was currently sitting in a spacious room and busily flicking through records. There was a large crimson-colored wooden box beside his feet, and over half the wooden box was filled with yellowing books and records. Chen Dui casually grabbed a book from the box before walking over to the window and slowly going through it page by page.

The elderly steward of the official residence was also present, and he was enjoying some tea as he sat on a chair somewhere in the room. Liu Baqiao, a swordsman from Wind Lightning Field, sat opposite the old man and politely chatted with him. The spirited and energetic old steward smiled and remarked, "What a fortunate coincidence. The Li Clan's Li Hong personally visited the official residence a while ago to ask for the records of the different branches of the Chen Clan in the small town. However, he only wanted the records up to three or four hundred years ago. Master Song agreed, so I let Li Hong take 70 or 80 books that were sitting on top of the box.

"The box underneath is even older, but the ancient records inside it are coincidentally what you're after. In fact, if there wasn't an official requirement to bask these books under the sun every summer, they would have already been chewed into bits by the insects."

Standing beside the window, Chen Dui didn't look up as she said in an indifferent voice, "I've heard that the descendants of the Chen Clan in this small town have all become servants and maids for the Four Families and Ten Clans in Fortune Street and Peach Leaf Alley. Some of these people have even become generational servants who forever kneel and kowtow to their masters. However, they still act in a haughty and proud manner when they come across ordinary residents of the small town?"

The old steward wore an awkward expression. Chen Dui spoke of the "Four Families and Ten Clans", yet the eldest grandson from the Dragon Tail County's Chen Clan, a powerful and wealthy clan that had existed for over a thousand years, was obediently sitting there and going through the records like a servant. Meanwhile, she was surprisingly relaxed and acting as if this were only natural. Even using his kneecaps, the smart old steward could work out just how noble and high-ranking she truly was.

Even though none of the old steward's servants or workers came from the Chen Clan, he did indeed have decent relationships with the powerful clans in the small town. Thus, he didn't want to make a mistake regarding this matter and accidentally provoke this powerful and domineering outsider.

With this in mind, he carefully contemplated his words as he put down his teacup with cracked ice patterns. "Miss Chen, there's nothing much I can do about this," he began. "According to an elder in the office, there were originally two branches of the Chen Clan in this small town, with the two of them having different ancestors. One branch moved out of the small town a long time ago, and they didn't leave any descendants behind. However, I vaguely remember others mentioning that they especially assigned some graveyard attendants when they left. However, that was far too long ago, so it's already impossible to verify which clan was responsible for taking care of the Chen Clan's graveyard.

"As for the other branch, they also used to be one of the most powerful clans in the small town. In fact, they were among the top few clans. However, the world is impermanent, and after a few internal and external struggles, they gradually started to decline. This has especially been the case for the past few hundred years. Just like you remarked, Miss Chen, they're indeed becoming increasingly incapable by the generation. And today, there are already no more independent families from this branch.

"Oh, hang on... I just recalled that there is genuinely one lone person who's still independent. He's very likely the only member of this branch who hasn't become a servant of the Four Families and Ten Clans. That child's father was an extremely skilled potter, and he was even commended by two previous kiln supervision officials. This is why I still remember him. However, he died very early, and I have no idea how his child is doing now.

"In any case, based on what I've seen and heard, the people in this small town treat the descendants of the Chen Clan fairly well overall. This is especially true when it comes to the Song Clan and the Zhao Clan, and even the head stewards in their residences are from the Chen Clan. They're masters and servants in name, but they're almost like family in reality."

After revealing all this ancient history about the Chen Clan, the old steward picked up his cup to take a sip of tea.

Chen Dui smiled and said with a nod, "Steward Xue, you're a very smart person. No wonder the kiln supervision office is able to run so smoothly."

The old steward smiled and replied, "You flatter me, Miss Chen. I'm simply aware of the limits of my capabilities, so my only aim is to perform to the best of my ability. It's nothing more than hard work."

Chen Dui replied with a smile. She then turned around to face Chen Songfeng who was sitting in an upright manner, and she chided in a cold voice, "If you really can't find anything, then why don't you flip the box on its head and start from the records on the bottom? Didn't you hear Steward Xue's words just then? For the past thousand years, the records in this small town have only recorded information about the other branch of the Chen Clan. If I remember correctly, this branch shares the same ancestor with your Dragon Tail County's Chen Clan. What, is it fun to flip through these genealogy records where everyone is either a servant or a maid?"

Beads of sweat formed on Chen Songfeng's forehead. His lips were slightly pale, and he surprisingly didn't dare to talk back to Chen Dui. He hurriedly stood up and bent down to flip the wooden box over.

The old steward immediately sat up straight, no longer appearing relaxed and carefree like before.

Liu Baqiao truly couldn't watch on anymore. Chen Songfeng was indeed a meek person, but he was still the future clan leader of Dragon Tail County's Chen Clan. Regardless of Chen Dui's background, and regardless of whether they were from the same clan or same sect, she still at least needed to show him some basic respect. Thus, Liu Baqiao's voice was solemn as he said, "Chen Dui, if I'm not blind, Chen Songfeng is helping you right now. So even if you're not grateful, you shouldn't speak to him in such a demeaning manner!"

Chen Songfeng hurriedly looked up and gestured to Liu Baqiao with his eyes. However, Liu Baqiao shot a glare right back at him and exclaimed, "Even emperors will have a few poor relatives! What, there might be some exceptions?! Fine! But do these exceptions give them the right to act contemptuously toward others?"ViiSiit nvelb/n(.)c/()m for ltest vels

He was frank and forthright.

This was the inherent nature of Wind Lightning Field's Liu Baqiao.

Chen Songfeng wore a bitter expression.

The old steward lowered his head to drink tea, pretending that he could neither see nor hear this exchange.

Chen Dui faltered for a moment before smiling faintly and saying, "That's true."

This time, it was Liu Baqiao who felt a little stumped.

Chen Dui placed the record she was reading on the table, and she planned to go out for some fresh air. As the host, Steward Xue naturally invited her to stay. However, Chen Dui politely turned down his invitation.

After leaving the side office, Chen Dui stood in the corridor and looked into the distance.

There was a fairly large space in front of the office lobby, and in this space there stood an archway facing the lobby door. There was a large character inscribed in an ancient script, and this was the character "Yue", as in mountain range. This wasn't a rare sight. Each mortal empire and nation would designate five mountains as The Five Mountains, with one mountain in each of the north, south, east, west, and center. The gateways standing before these mountains would all be inscribed with two characters personally written by the emperor, with the character "Yue" always written in a traditional script.

Scholars, cultivators, and immortals of the future generations had hundreds upon thousands of different explanations for why this was. As for the true reason, however, it had most likely already been lost in the annals of history.

Chen Dui saw a large figure and a small figure sitting on the white stone steps under the archway, quietly chit-chatting about something.

She hesitated for a moment before slowly walking over. In order to remove any suspicion of her eavesdropping, she purposely coughed when she approached the two people sitting on the steps. Unexpectedly, however, one person was enthusiastic as they spoke, and one person was engrossed as they listened, resulting in both of them treating Chen Dui as if she didn't exist. Chen Dui didn't take this to heart, and she casually sat down on the other end of the step. Even though she appeared relaxed and casual, the manner in which she sat still exuded a sense of decorum and uprightness.

The two people were conversing using the official dialect of Eastern Treasured Vial Continent, and this was something that Chen Dui could understand. Otherwise, she wouldn't have come to this small town in the first place. However, she was still unable to speak this dialect smoothly, so she had remained largely silent when traveling here with Chen Songfeng. Of course, the main reason she didn't speak much was because she didn't have much to talk about with Chen Songfeng and Liu Baqiao.

Liu Baqiao appeared frivolous on the surface, but he was in reality someone who was completely focused on the Sword Dao. Although he seemed quite interesting, he was actually quite dull. Meanwhile, Chen Songfeng wanted to revive his declining clan. He appeared modest on the surface, but he was in reality someone who considered many things in his mind. These two top-notch young men from Eastern Treasured Vial Continent didn't mesh well with her. Their beliefs and aspirations were different, so they naturally wouldn't get along together.

The young boy glanced at the woman who was approximately 10 years older than him, and his first impression of her was only so-so.

Chen Dui quietly sat on the step, and she didn't show any signs of wanting to speak or interrupt them.

However, when glancing at them just then, Chen Dui had noticed that the little girl was holding a crystalline and emerald-green gourd. Being as experienced as she was, she immediately knew that this was an extraordinary item.

The young boy in noble clothing was none other than Clay Vase Alley's Song Jixin, while the little girl who looked like a porcelain doll was none other than Sun Scorch Mountain's Tao Zi.

Song Jixin had visited the Li Clan's residence with Song Changjing before, and he had immediately taken a liking to this little girl. This was because he had always liked exquisite and beautiful things ever since a young age. Meanwhile, he had a dislike for crude and ordinary things.

Tao Zi also had a very good impression of Song Jixin, so the two of them mysteriously became good friends. Most importantly, the age gap between them allowed them to freely and happily converse with each other. In fact, Song Jixin didn't feel like he was acting in a perfunctory manner at all, so much so that he asked his uncle Song Changjing to force the Li Clan to let Tao Zi out, such that he could bring her over to the kiln supervision office to play. He had completely ignored those pitiful and aggrieved expressions as he had held Tao Zi's hand and led her out of the Li Clan's residence.

At the same time, he had also sent someone to deliver a message to Zhi Gui, asking her to find the emerald-green gourd in his box of treasures. This was his present to Tao Zi.

The little girl was extremely friendly with Song Jixin, and she asked, "Firewood collecting brother, you mentioned the academy archways just then, one of the 12 types of archways. Before coming here, I heard grandpa say that the Great Li Empire's Mountain Cliff Academy is doing quite poorly right now when he was talking to someone. Do you know what's written on the Mountain Cliff Academy's archway?"

Because of the characters "Jixin" in Song Jixin's name, Tao Zi had given him the nickname "firewood collecting brother"[1]. Song Jixin didn't mind this, and he completely ignored the outsider woman at this moment as he turned to Tao Zi and replied with a smile, "I have no idea! I've never left the small town in my life, and I haven't read too many books either. After talking with you for so long, I feel like I've almost exhausted all of my knowledge!"

Tao Zi sighed and said, "I wonder if Grandpa Yuan is having any luck with his search."

Song Jixin smiled, and he looked down as he patted the bottom hem of his brocade robe. There was a complicated look in his eyes.

Sitting a fair distance away from them, Chen Dui suddenly asked, "Little girl, does your gourd occasionally emit a sound by itself?"

Tao Zi turned around and raised the gourd up high with two hands, bragging with a wide smile, "Firewood collecting brother gave this to me!"

She completely ignored Chen Dui's question.

However, Chen Dui simply dismissed this with a smile.

"It makes a buzzing sound every time there's a lightning storm," Song Jixin casually replied.

Chen Dui nodded and said, "As expected, it's a Sword Nurturing Gourd."

Song Jixin was slightly puzzled.

Tao Zi hurriedly chimed in, saying, "I know! I know! My family has three Sword Nurturing Gourds. My grandpa has a gray one, and it's super ugly. The one that Grandpa Liu owns is the cutest. It's small and palm-sized, and with a whoosh, it will release dozens of mini flying swords. Big Sister Su's one isn't big or small, and it's golden-purple in color. However, it's a shame that Big Sister Su doesn't like to take it out too much. I had to beg her a lot of times before I was finally able to touch it. However, Big Sister Su quickly put it away again."

"Little girl, you shouldn't blame your Big Sister Su," Chen Dui explained. "Golden-purple Sword Nurturing Gourds are extremely rare, and they can rank as one of the top three types of Sword Nurturing Gourds. I estimate that the one she owns is the only one in the entire Eastern Treasured Vial Continent. Moreover, even though golden-purple Sword Nurturing Gourds are extremely brilliant when it comes to nurturing swords, they do have a drawback in that they're very fragile. It's very easy to damage them with sharp objects."

Tao Zi hugged her emerald-green gourd and asked, "Then what about my one?

"It's also very valuable," Chen Dui replied with a smile.

The little girl tugged Song Jixin's sleeve and asked in a timid voice, "Firewood collecting brother, do you want to take it back?"

Song Jixin patted her head, a doting expression on his face as he chuckled and said, "To say nothing of this one gourd, I'd be willing to give you another one as well if I had it."

Chen Dui suddenly recalled something interesting, and she said, "The Treasure Pagoda held an auction in the past, and the most valuable item being auctioned was none other than a gourd vine that had never been seen before. There were six small gourds growing on the vine, and it was said that this vine was personally planted in our world by the Dao Ancestor before he became an immortal. It took several thousand years for the vine to produce this string of six gourds, and each gourd was a different size and color. It was extremely mysterious."

"There is no lack of extraordinary things in the myriad worlds," Song Jixin remarked sincerely.

1. The name Jixin can literally be interpreted as collecting firewood.

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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