unsheathed – Chapter 91: Jade Hairpin

Chapter 91: Jade Hairpin

Chapter 91: Jade Hairpin

The rain was falling audibly onto the conical bamboo hats worn by A'Liang and Chen Ping'an, and the latter said, "This is just an ordinary jade hairpin, there's nothing remarkable about it."

Despite Chen Ping'an's serious and earnest expression, it was as if A'Liang had just heard the most hilarious joke imaginable, and it took him a great deal of self-restraint to suppress his laughter as he said, "It doesn't matter what you say about it."

Sweat was beginning to bead up on Chen Ping'an's forehead, only to be quickly washed away by the rain, and he looked back at A'Liang as he asked, "What do you want?"

"You must be thinking that you're about to die, right?" A'Liang asked with a smile.

In that instant, Chen Ping'an was suddenly struck by a sense of despair.

Master Ruan had come and left, yet A'Liang was still standing right in front of him.

There was a faint smile on A'Liang's face, and his green bamboo saber was slung horizontally over his shoulder as he took in Chen Ping'an's threadbare clothes, sturdy straw sandals, and that jade hairpin in his hair.

If he recalled correctly, there were eight pretty little characters engraved onto the hairpin.

Chen Ping'an's lips had turned completely pale as he asked in a trembling voice, "Can you let them go?"

A'Liang offered no response.

While staying up in front of the lamp that night prior to setting off on this journey, Chen Ping'an had visualized as many difficult situations as he could think of. He was fully anticipating encountering all types of hardships and obstacles on this journey to Mountain Cliff Academy as he already had many enemies, including Dawn Cloud Mountain, Old Dragon City, and Sun Scorch Mountain, all of which were immortal sects that had sworn vendettas against him.

Hence, he was very concerned that these enemies that he had made would pose a hindrance to Li Baoping's journey to Mountain Cliff Academy.

That day, when he had told Li Baoping about the hardships that he had endured during the trip that he had made into the mountains as a small boy, his objective wasn't to boast about how much adversity he was able to overcome. Instead, he wanted to tell Li Baoping that this journey to Mountain Cliff Academy was going to be even lengthier than that trip he had made into the mountains, particularly now that the academy had moved to Great Sui Nation.

If, for some reason, he were to disappear someday and could no longer accompany Li Baoping on her journey, then he wanted her to have confidence in herself. Back then, the mountain had appeared impossibly far away, but he focused only on taking a few steps at a time, and before he knew it, he was there. He hoped that Li Baoping would be able to do the same thing.

However, right as he was about to say all of this to her, he suddenly realized that it would've been a very disheartening thing for Li Baoping to hear, almost as if he were condemning them to a fate of misfortune before they had even truly set off.

Hence, he refrained from articulating what he was about to say, instead expressing the wish that Li Baoping could become the first-ever female teacher. That was a far more encouraging sentiment, and it truly was something that he hoped Li Baoping would be able to achieve.

A'Liang smiled as he said, "Even if that hairpin really is just an ordinary hairpin, it still doesn't belong to you. You can't expect me to believe that a hairpin that Qi Jingchun kept in his possession for so many years wouldn't be harboring any secrets. For example, it could contain a small world that no one else knows about, or a place with the potential to become a blessed land.

"There's also the possibility that this is a token through which his lineage is passed down, just like the representative talismans of the three main branches of Daoism, the peach talisman, the feather cloak, and the Daoist hat. If that truly is the case and this hairpin really is the token of Qi Jingchun's lineage, then do you think it's fitting for it to be worn by you?"Chck out ltst vl on novl/bin(.)cm

Chen Ping'an didn't answer the question. Instead, he asked once again, "A'Liang, can you let Li Baoping and the others go?"

"Even if I do agree to let them go, how can you be sure that I won't go back on my promise?" A'Liang asked with a smile.

The tip of Chen Ping'an's foot began to move ever so slightly.

A'Liang crossed his arms as he chuckled, "Don't be rash, boy. We're still in the negotiation phase, aren't we? Let's not resort to violence unless the negotiations fall through."

Chen Ping'an remained silent as he looked on with an ashen complexion.

A'Liang's gaze roamed over Chen Ping'an from head to toe, and he remarked, "There's definitely a resemblance there."

His smile then faded as he extended a hand forward and said, "Hand over the hairpin and I'll spare their lives."

Chen Ping'an's fingers began to tremble.

A'Liang continued, "That hairpin was left behind by Qi Jingchun's teacher, so it's a token representing both of their lineages."

Chen Ping'an raised his hand up toward the top of his head.

A'Liang smiled as he said, "Snap the hairpin yourself, and I'll spare your life, you have my word."

Chen Ping'an's hand drew to an abrupt halt, and he took a deep breath, then pulled back a foot as if he were preparing to charge forward in an all-out lunge.

"You're thinking to yourself that once you die, I won't have any incentive to kill Li Baoping and the others, so you're going to try and protect the hairpin from me, even if it'll cost you your life, right?" A'Liang asked.

Chen Ping'an offered no response. Instead, he took two powerful steps forward and reached A'Liang in the blink of an eye before swinging a fist through the air.

However, in the next instant, A'Liang suddenly vanished out of sight.

Chen Ping'an's entire body instantly stiffened as he swung around, and sure enough, A'Liang was standing behind him, holding the hairpin that he had plucked out of his hair.

A'Liang heaved a faint sigh, and it seemed that he wasn't actually interested in the hairpin at all. He extended a hand forward to offer the hairpin back to Chen Ping'an as he said, "Here, take it."

Chen Ping'an carefully strode over to A'Liang, then took the jade hairpin back from him. All of a sudden, Chen Ping'an felt a weight on the top of his head. As it turned out, A'Liang had gently rested his palm onto Chen Ping'an's head.

The two of them were standing next to one another, but they were facing in opposite directions, and A'Liang heaved a faint sigh as he said, "Don't be so foolish from now on, Chen Ping'an. There's no object in this world that could possibly be more important than a human life. You have to live on, even if there's no way for you to live a good life. Nothing in this world is more important than that."

A'Liang gave Chen Ping'an a gentle pat on the head, then looked up at the dark and gloomy sky as he smiled and said, "You have to realize that no matter how precious or meaningful this hairpin is, the fact that Qi Jingchun was willing to give it to you is a sign that he has faith in you.

Hence, when faced with a decision between life or death, you have to always choose to live, even if it means living in disgrace. Sure, it makes a good story to die a heroic and meaningful death, but no matter how valiant your death is, it still doesn't change the fact that you died."

A'Liang removed his hand from Chen Ping'an's head as he continued, "Qi Jingchun was very disappointed in this world, but that was his perspective. You are your own person, so don't try to follow in his footsteps. You still haven't truly had a chance to form your judgment on whether this world is good or not.

It's common to see a scholar as weary and jaded as if they've lived 10 lifetimes, even though they've still yet to live out a single lifetime. Leave that type of stuff to the scholars. I'm not a scholar, and at the moment, you're not one, either, so..."

A'Liang's voice trailed off there, and he didn't finish his sentence. Instead, he concluded in a gentle voice, "Trust me, Chen Ping'an. I can tell that you're going to be able to go very far in the future, perhaps even further than Qi Jingchun."

"Why?" Chen Ping'an asked.

"Because I'm A'Liang," A'Liang replied with a smile as he gently stroked the hilt of his bamboo saber.

In the end, the two of them made their way down from the mountain summit in silence.

"What are we going to do with those two on the hill?" Chen Ping'an asked.

"They're dead, are they not? So just leave them be," A'Liang replied.

Chen Ping'an wanted to say something further, but ultimately decided not to dwell on this topic. Instead, he changed the subject and asked, "Why didn't you take the hairpin?"

A forlorn look appeared on A'Liang's face as he sighed, "Only after grabbing the hairpin from you did I realize that it really is just an ordinary hairpin, so what point is there for me to keep it?"

Chen Ping'an was speechless upon hearing this.

A'Liang shook his head as he mused, "All true scholars live in poverty, that's something that you'll come to understand in the future. To be honest, I should've already anticipated this. Given the personalities of Qi Jingchun and his teacher, it's only to be expected that they would pass down an ordinary hairpin."

A'Liang suddenly smiled as he turned to Chen Ping'an and said, "You know, you've taken something that I thought was as good as mine, so I came all this way for nothing!"

Chen Ping'an had no idea what A'Liang was referring to.

"I should've already carved out a character at that place, but after coming all this way, I've ended up with nothing, so you really have to thank me for sparing you," A'Liang grumbled. "If you don't become powerful enough to carve out at least two or three characters at that place someday, I'm going to beat the crap out of you!"

"A'Liang, can you say something that I can actually understand?" Chen Ping'an groaned in an exasperated manner.

"Sure," A'Liang chuckled. "My name A'Liang, Liang as in kindness."

"And I'm a swordsman," Chen Ping'an concluded for him.

All of a sudden, a faint smile appeared on A'Liang's face, and he slapped a palm down onto Chen Ping'an's shoulder as he declared, "In that case, it's decided!"

Chen Ping'an was even more perplexed to hear this. "What are you talking about?"

A'Liang continued, "All journeys must come to an end someday. I'll escort you and the others to the border of the Great Li Empire, but that's as far as I'll go. From that point onward, I'm sure you won't encounter any further obstacles on your way to Mountain Cliff Academy. After getting to the border, you'll be on your own. It'll be up to you to take them the rest of the way to Mountain Cliff Academy and return safely to Dragon Spring County."

"Thank you," Chen Ping'an suddenly said.

Only from this moment did Chen Ping'an begin to completely trust A'Liang.

A'Liang shook his head in response. "There's no need to thank me. I'm just repaying a debt that I owe, so it has nothing to do with you."

Many years ago, there was a young scholar with the Qi surname. One day, the scholar grew bored of reading books, and he declared that he wanted to explore the world with A'Liang, but A'Liang turned him down.

He felt like if he had exercised just a bit more patience at the time, then Qi Jingchun wouldn't have met such an unfortunate fate.

"There's something you need to know, Chen Ping'an," A'Liang suddenly said.

"What is it?" Chen Ping'an asked.

"When faced with godly beings like myself, you need to respect them from the bottom of your heart," A'Liang said in a meaningful voice.

"Can you beat Zhu He in a fight?" Chen Ping'an asked with a curious expression.

A'Liang was beginning to develop a headache, and he felt like Chen Ping'an was even more annoying than Qi Jingchun from back then.

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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