Yuxiao smiled a bit awkwardly and said, “I’ve always liked to work out at home; haven’t learned too much, just have a huge appetite.”
When Da Niu heard this, he was elated. “Wow, I admire people who know martial arts. I heard they can climb walls and everything.”
Yuxiao thought, People in this village are so innocent, with none of the backstabbing and plotting in my family. He figured he could teach the man a few skills—not that he knew anything too advanced. He thought of his “moron” nickname and grimaced. He told Da Niu,“I don’t know about climbing walls, but I can teach you some ways to get stronger. Would you want to learn that?”
Da Niu was overjoyed at his offer. “Of course I would.” He tried to bow to his new teacher.
Yuxiao stopped him. “Please don’t. Just call me Fourth Brother if you want since I’m younger than you. You can see I’m hurt right now, so knowing martial arts don't make you invincible.” The last sentence was a warning that what he knew was very basic.
Da Niu chuckled and called Yu Xiao Fourth Brother.
“Do you have an ink brush and paper? I can’t show you the moves with my injury, but I can draw some things you can use to practice.”
Da Niu smiled shyly. “I don’t read many words. My mom and my wife don’t either. We’re farmers; we don’t have fancy intellectual things here.”
Yuxiao said, “How about this? I’ll do the drawings on the wall in the yard, and you can look at them and learn.”
Da Niu agreed. It was getting dark, so he didn’t bother Yuxiao further. He just gave him a blanket for sleeping in the shed and went to bed himself.
Yuxiao lay on the blanket and thought of his uncertain future. After a tiring day, he passed out quickly. When he woke up, the rooster was crowing, and the moon and stars were gone.
Yuxiao took out the burn medicine from the pharmacy and changed his wound dressing. In spite of the pain, he tried to do a lotus pose and work on his breathing. He could feel a gust of warm qi in his belly, but when he tried to make it move upward, it disappeared. He tried again and again for half an hour to no avail. Then he realized it was already light out. He stood up, and feeling less pain, got a pebble from the yard to draw on the wall. He drew a man with a stick in different poses, for a total of eighty-one pictures. By then, the sky was half-red. Seeing no one had woken up yet, Yuxiao left a few silver coins for the family, and then left the house to go south.
After two hours of walking, Yuxiao reached the village Da Niu’s mom had mentioned. He ate some food at an inn, then got more water and food for the road. Walking was too slow, so he gave the innkeeper a few gold coins for a horse carriage and continued heading south.
Yuxiao’s journey south picked up in speed; he managed to travel twenty kilometers in just an hour. When he passed a hill full of locust trees, five burly men jumped out. He quickly reined in the horse, trying not to hurt them.
The first man among them brandished a big machete in front of him and snarled. “This road is mine, this tree is mine. If you wanna pass, you have to pay.”
Yuxiao, having grown up in a rich family, had never seen anything like this. He asked in confusion, “Sir, what do you need? If you’re not busy, please let me move. I need to go to the border and be a soldier. I’m in a hurry.”
The five men chuckled. The first man looked at Yuxiao and said, “Hah, it’s some stupid kid. Listen, don’t blame me for not telling you that your weak ass will be killed the minute you get on the battlefield. You better leave us all your money and go home to mommy.”
Yuxiao was not grown-up, but he had always gotten one gold coin a month as allowance ever since he was ten years old. He mostly worked on training for the qi, rarely went out, and didn’t spend much of it, so most of the money was saved and with him now. He had a few dozen gold coins on him, and he knew two gold coins were enough to support an ordinary family for a year.
Seeing this group of men, he thought they must really need money, so he made an offer. “If you need money, I do have some. I could give you a gold coin.”
**Originally from BadNovels. Check badnovels.com
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