Chapter 298: Orchid Town
"Alright, we accept!!"
Han Chong immediately agreed to Bai Yunfei's trade proposal.
Han Chong's immediate answer surprised Bai Yunfei. Bai Yunfei didn't have a clear understanding of the worth of the manual, but he was sure what he was asking from the other party would've been worth quite the price. They were talking about the family or school, who would trade them away just like that?
Prior to this, Bai Yunfei felt that he should've thrown in a few soul armaments in exchange, but who would have thought that the two brothers would accept the deal without even making a 'counteroffer'?
"Does this mean that... the details on how to use these 'flying daggers' aren't worth as much?" He thought that at first, but then it was dismissed just as quickly as it came. Just a few pages that talked about learning how to strike at certain acupoints with the flying daggers would've been priceless to anyone.
Bai Yunfei once asked Zi Jin about learning these said acupoints, but no answer had been given. Zi Jin had only commented that no outsider would know.
"Looks like I undervalued this manual..." Bai Yunfei sighed. He wasn't feeling too much regret though. As long as he got what he wanted, that'd be enough for him.
After Han Chong agreed, he took out a white jade slip. Feeding his soulforce into it, he placed the slightly glowing slip to his forehead and started to concentrate.
They could retain information for a short while and were quite convenient to use. Their one shortcoming was how long the information was retained. They could only retain information for five days at most before disappearing.
After fifteen minutes, the light surrounding the slip started to fade away. Opening his eyes, Han Chong looked at Bai Yunfei, "Sire Bai..." he started.
Bai Yunfei smiled in response. Gripping the manual, he tossed it into the air toward Han Chong. Since both sides had agreed to the deal, there was no need to hesitate. He had to be open about this deal, else the other side would start to doubt him.
It was now surprise that a smile appeared on Han Chong's face as soon as he saw the manual flying over. With a toss of his right hand, the slip was thrown to Bai Yunfei. The two items crossed over one another before falling neatly into the other's hands.
Taking the slip, Bai Yunfei inspected it briefly to confirm the contents. As soon as he confirmed the contents, he nodded his head at Han Chong and Han Lin, who were both looking over the manual. "Brothers, now that this trade is complete, I'll be taking my leave. May we meet again, goodbye!"
Han Chong hadn't expected Bai Yunfei to leave so soon, but he wasn't in the mood to continue talking to Bai Yunfei either. Saluting Bai Yunfei in earnest, he replied, "May we meet again!!"
Bai Yunfei nodded. With a wave of his right hand, the Tempest Sword appeared right in front of him to board. In no time at all, he and the sword flew into the air in a burst of green light.
When Bai Yunfei's figure disappeared behind the giant trees in the distance, Han Chong looked back at the ripped manual in his hands in silence.
"Second uncle, did you really give him our techniques?" Han Lin blurted out soon after.
"How many times have I told you already; don't call me second uncle when we're traveling. Call me brother; otherwise, people will think I'm old." Han Chong snapped before slapping his chest. "I, Han Chong, am a man who does things right. If he wants to have a trade, then I won't cheat him. This... this is the manual the old man has been dreaming desperately about getting back. Using our techniques to barter for it is well worth the cost. With the entire manual, our techniques can be used to their maximum potential.
"The most important thing about the manual is that it describes the designs of the daggers and how to make them. Without those plans, the techniques are essentially worthless. If anything, we're the ones that got the better end of the deal."
"Oooh..." Han Lin nodded his head half-heartedly. His thoughts were never as complicated as Han Chong's since Han Chong was normally the one who did all the planning whenever they traveled, so Han Lin decided not to worry about it anymore. Staring into the distance where Bai Yunfei disappeared, Han Lin had a second question. "Is he really from the Crafting School? They say that every student there is arrogant. That Bai Yunfei didn't seem arrogant at all..."
"Rumors are always exaggerated." Han Chong quirked his lips. "They say that we've never missed before. Is that true?"
"Not often at least..."
"Well, that's that."
Tang Xinyun could be seen standing on top of a tree branch of a taller tree. She was peering through the cracks in the dense canopy. It was with worry that she was looking off into the distance where a battle was taking place. Since she couldn't use her soulsense to peer further away, all she could see was the occasional flash of light whenever someone used the power of an element.
At one point while she watched, an intense flash of golden energy set off a loud explosion. Even though she was a good distance away from the battle, the tremors caused by it were enough to shake the tree Tang Xinyun was standing in. Nervous, she clutched at the hems of her clothes. "Xiao Bai," she lowered her head to look at the white bird perched on her shoulder, "can you sense anything from over there? Is Yunfei alright?"
The bird tilted its head to give Tang Xinyun a look, and then it looked off toward the battlefield. As if trying to tell Tang Xinyun that she shouldn't worry, it chirped twice.
Another explosion went off; this time, it was a flash of red light.
The battlefield went silent again.
"Is it over?" Tang Xinyun muttered. She recognized the explosion as something Bai Yunfei had caused.
"Did he win?" Her face brightened up.
"Chirp!" Xiao Bai chirped in a way that seemed to confirm Tang Xinyun's guess. Knowing that Bai Yunfei was no longer in danger, she finally let out a sigh of relief. The nervous look in her eyes receded, and she looked back at the battlefield, waiting for Bai Yunfei's return.
A burst of green light flew toward her soon after, as expected. Like a shooting star, it quickly shot toward the tree she was hiding. It soon stopped in front of her, revealing Bai Yunfei. "Sorry for making you wait, Xinyun. It's all done and dealt with, so let's continue on our way!" He apologized with a smile.
Tang Xinyun nodded in return. She delicately leaped onto the sword from the tree branch, landing behind Bai Yunfei. From above, Xiao Bai landed on Tang Xinyun's shoulder.
As soon as Bai Yunfei's soulforce was fed into the sword, it took off again in a burst of light...
One night four days later, a male and female arrived at a small town.
Under the warm rays of a setting sun, the two slowly walked through the streets of the town. The male wore gray robes that didn't cover his face, revealing a rather average-looking sight, but his eyes and forehead revealed a look of determination as he smiled and conversed with the young woman next to him.
The young woman looked to be of twenty years or so. Her long hair rolled down her white robes to her waist. While pretty in appearance, she wasn't stunningly beautiful, but her soft voice was pleasing to the ears. To the small town of Orchid, she was like a beautiful fairy with features that captivated the eyes of anyone that looked at her.
Even though the townspeople turned their heads her way, the female didn't seem to notice. She was caught up in the scenery around her and her conversation with the male about memories of the past.
The male and female were Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun, of course. It was getting dark, and the two felt it would be wise to stop here for the night and finish their journey tomorrow since Orchid Town was the closest town to Mo City.
"It's been a year since I was last here, but it doesn't feel like anything has changed. The uncle over there is still selling sesame cakes in the exact same place..." Tang Xinyun reminisced.
"When I was eighteen, the farthest I got from Mo City was Orchid Town. There's a mountain next to this town named Mt. Orchid. My mother's most favorite flowers, the buterfly orchids, could be found there. Every year, aunty Zhao would take me up there to pick a few..."
"Oh? You mean that purple-colored mountain over there to the north?" Bai Yunfei smiled, "Haha, is that mountain filled with a sea of orchids then? Why don't we pick a few tomorrow then?"
A small but lovely smile appeared on Tang Xinyun's hesitant face. "Yes."
Lazily stretching his body, Bai Yunfei laughed, "This town looked really small when we were flying over, but it's actually a little bigger than I thought... Xinyun, I'll go find us a place to stay for the night, you must be tired from all that traveling, right? Rest up well tonight so that you can be your best when you see your mother."
"Okay then..." Tang Xinyun nodded. "Let's head to the east, I remember aunty Zhao taking me that direction before..."
The two walked shoulder to shoulder down the path with Tang Xinyun smiling as she remembered memories of the past. She had a spring in her step as she walked. Time after time, she would point out an establishment to Bai Yunfei; like the rice dispensary that had once been the clothing store, the steamed bun seller with delectable steamed buns, or how that female walking down the road was actually the owner of the smithery just right around the corner. A single meter of distance was more than enough to greet Tang Xinyun with plenty of memories...
Her happiness was apparent to see to anyone. She normally wasn't as talkative as she was now, and Bai Yunfei listened to every single word she spoke in earnest. He'd nod his head at times rather than answer since he was happy just listening to her.
"Hey now! What day is it today? What brings a beautiful girl like you here? Am I just blessed to have good luck today?"
Just as Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun turned the corner, a suddenly voice called out to them from ahead, interrupting the conversation the two were having with each other.
Looking up, Bai Yunfei could see five burlish men blocking the path up ahead. The man leading the group in the middle had triangular-shaped eyes that lecherously leered at Tang Xinyun.
No matter where in the world one went, bullies and hoodlums like him would be a common sight.
"Hehe, hey girl, you're in luck. Our boss's calling for you, c'mon over!" One of the men next to the first man darkly laughed.
Unwilling to drop the beat, another one of the five piped up, "Brother Xiong's the strongest in Orchid Town. You ain't goin' to go wrong going with him."
"Ain't that right? That kid next to you looks like he'd be blown over by the wind! Take a look at our brother Xiong! Count yourself lucky brother Xiong's calling for you, so be a good girl and c'mon over..."
With how much jeering and hooting the five were doing, it was clear that they saw Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun as easy targets just like everyone else in town did. When the townspeople saw what was going on, many of them quickly moved out of the way, indicating that this bully's title of being the 'strongest' was most likely true.
Tang Xinyun's eyebrows knit slightly together, and the smile on her face faded by just a shade.
Her previously happy trip down nostalgia lane was without a doubt hampered by these men.
Noticing the change in her demeanor and the increasing leers of the men, Bai Yunfei grew indignant in his heart. "I'll give you three seconds to get lost. Make sure you don't do anything you regret!!" He spoke icily.
"Er..." The five were taken aback by such an answer. Staring at Bai Yunfei incredulously, the five began to laugh out loud one after another.
"Haha!! This kid an idiot or what? You tryna threaten us!?"
"Hey, don't try playin' hero in front of your girl. Lemme tell ya, our brother Xiong could kill ya with a finger!"
"Nah, I could make him beg for his life myself!"
"Hey brat, lemme tell you, our brother Xiong cou-"
The five hadn't even finished laughing when the one who was laughing the hardest suddenly flew head over heels through the air. He landed unceremoniously on the ground a few meters away.
The battle was an extremely uneventful one.
Under the stunned eyes of everyone there, the five bullies were blown away before they could even see Bai Yunfei move. In less than ten seconds, the hoodlums were groaning on the ground with their hands on their stomachs, legs, or even throats depending on where they were hit.
"Don't mind these guys, Xinyun. Let's keep going. Which way did you say the inn was?" Bai Yunfei turned back to Tang Xinyun with a smile.
A bigger smile appeared back on her face at that, but the original wide smile on her face was gone. "Yes, it's just down this middle road; let's go..."
The two crossed some streets, leaving the five hoodlums on the ground and a group of stunned onlookers.
"Eh? Isn't that...?"
On the other side of the street, the surprised voice of a twenty-something-year-old male made its way into the air. The spectacle just now had caught his attention, but the sight of something familiar made him curious.
This young man was the one who had once talked with Bai Yunfei back in Gaoyi City. He was the eldest of the house of Zhao; the outstanding disciple of the Water School-Zhao Xiluo!
"Senior Zhao, what's wrong?"
The one who spoke was a young woman in blue right next to him. Her ovalish face was lighter in pigment, her hair like a cape over her neck, and the bangs on the other side covered her glossy forehead. This was the very image of a gentle and quiet woman; one that would love nothing more than to read book after book in the comfort of her wealthy home.
"Ah, it's nothing. Let's go eat something, junior Kou..." Zhao Xiluo looked away. "His strength wasn't this weak, probably got the wrong person..."