Chapter 12: Evening Banquet
The four of them exchanged a few words.
Gu Shi arrived with some herbal medicine and kindly asked about Gu Yun’s condition.
Because he was busy with some other matters, he hurriedly bid farewell again.
“Gu-shixiong treats you very well.
Even being so busy, he still came to see you.” Shangguan Qing said.
“Mhm, he is my da-ge, after all.”
“Shixiong, don’t be like this.
You only lost to Yun-shijie, it’s not anything to be ashamed about.” Shangguan Qing found that Shen Xiuqi had not uttered a word this entire time and he looked a little shy, which was not in line with his unrestrained and rough exterior.
“You haven’t so much as breathed a word for half a day.
Anyone who didn’t know you would think that you’re a mute. Ai, go start a fire in the courtyard, we’ll have some roasted pig in a bit.”
Shen Xiuqi sounded an affirmative then went to the courtyard to start the fire.
A Du went with him to help.
“There’s a celebratory banquet this evening, but you’re going to eat so much now?” Jiang Ling thought to leave room for the food at the banquet, and she had thought to resolve a few things during lunchtime.
“It’s lunch now, so there’s no problem.
Didn’t you think to bring some food offerings to your shixiong? He’s injured, and you have the heart to make him cook?”
Unexpectedly, they spent the majority of the day roasting the small mountain pig.
Six people gathered around the table to eat together.
“Ai, I knew it was better to roast something like a pheasant or rabbit, they cook so fast.
I’m going to starve to death.”
“But mountain pigs are the tastiest!” A Du said, his mouth full.
“With these words from A Du, it’s worth it.” Shangguan Qing was happy to receive approval.
“Right, what plans do you have?” Shangguan Qing asked, “Will you remain in the Qingshan Sect?”
Shifu has already formed his own school, so we have no reason to stay here.”
“Then how about you all come to Longxi with us.
While Longxi is a little out of the way, its charm rests in its local customs, which are quite different from those of the central plains.
It’s very fun, and the meat roasts are even more delicious!” Shangguan Qing issued the invitation.
She and Jiang Ling were like old friends, so she could not stand separating so quickly.
“I’m sorry, A Qing, but we’re going to go to Mingzhou for a while.
Everything else can be planned later.” Jiang Ling answered.
“Mm, we are going to Mingzhou first.
Gu Yun hasn’t seen his mother, father, or eldest sister in many years.”
“That’s true, it’s important to visit family.
It’s too bad, but if you are traveling around afterward, be sure to come to Longxi and find us.” Shangguan Qing was a little sad.
“Of course we will.” Jiang Ling replied.
“When the time comes, I would like to ask Yun-shimei for instruction.” Shen Xiuqi finally spoke.
Everyone had just about forgotten that he existed.
“You’re still here, shixiong?” Shangguan Qing teased.
Yun He agreed: “Then I don’t dare be remiss.”
Just as the group was chatting, a little disciple ran into the courtyard, “A Du, A Du! You’re here, so it was easy to find you!”
“A Yue, what has you so harried?” A Du asked.
“A good thing! A good thing! I just heard news from the Hall of Swords that Elder Ye is going to accept you as a disciple.
I came to tell you to get your things in order and go see Elder Ye.
In a few days, there’ll be a ceremony to recognize him as your shifu.”
“Really?” A Du did not dare believe his ears!
“Really, really.” Gu Yun said, “I heard it loud and clear.
Congratulations, A Du!” Gu Yun was happy for A Du.
Ever since they arrived at the Qingshan Sect, A Du had been with them like another little shidi of theirs.
But what he came out of his mouth was, “It’s a pity, I’m down one disciple.”
“Thank you, Gu-shixiong.
If you don’t object, I really could be your disciple.”
“Ai, you should hurry over to Elder Ye.
Disciples are too much of a bother.” Gu Yun was genuinely scared that A Du would lose this golden opportunity, so he quickly sent him off to go to the Hall of Swords.
When the rest of them heard the news, they were happy for A Du as well.
By the time they finished eating and cleaning up, the banquet was just about to begin.
Shangguan Qing and Shen Xiuqi rushed off to their own quarters to change into clean clothing.
“Let’s get ready and change, too.” Yun He said.
Gu Yun and Jiang Ling sounded their agreement, then headed to their rooms to change.
Once Jiang Ling finished changing, she once again wore the robes she had been wearing when she arrived.
She picked up the clothes of the Qingshan Sect and ran her fingers along the bamboo patterns on it.
In the end, they would part from the Qingshan Sect.
She tidied her clothes and stacked them properly, preparing to wash them after the banquet.
There was a beginning and end to everything.
She sat on the bed and looked around.
The day was growing late, and the setting sun splashed color over the not-so-small room.
In as little as five days, Jiang Ling had become attached to the little room and was reluctant to part with it.
Those who walk in Jianghu will always meet and part with others.
This was the beginning of a journey into Jianghu.
Jiang Ling put away her sentiments and stood, inspecting the contents of the room to imprint them deep in her mind.
The bronze mirror on the table basked in the glorious radiance of the evening sunlight, which caught Jiang Ling’s attention.
It was the bronze mirror that Gu Yun had taken out of his room.
Jiang Ling picked up the bronze mirror and looked at it closely.
She discovered that on its handle was a tiny ‘Yao’ character.
It must have been left behind by the shijie who had lived here before.
Jiang Ling knocked on Gu Yun’s door and passed the mirror to him, “Here, I’m returning this to its rightful owner.”
“It’s not mine, so why’re you giving it to me?”
“I’m giving it back to the shijie who used to live here.
Look at the character engraved on it.” Jiang Ling showed the little character to Gu Yun.
“You’re right.” Gu Yun took the mirror, “Then I’ll put it back in its original place.”
Once Yun He came out, the trio saw that they all wore their own clothing and exchanged smiles.
The banquet was held in the Guest Palace, which while not large, was more than sufficient to hold the disciples and elders of the three sects.
The errand-running disciples had gone down the mountain before to procure fresh ingredients and find famed chefs of some restaurants to prepare a gourmet spread.
Elder Yi, who was in charge, had come to the Guest Palace early to prepare.
Any disciples who did not move fast enough would hear his reprimands.
The chefs brought their skills out to bear, and as the fragrant aroma of the feast wafted over the Qingshan Mountain, even the small critters on the mountain gathered together.
Once the trio was ready to go, they headed over to the Guest Palace.
A flock of birds suddenly took flight on the mountain.
Jiang Ling vigilantly gazed over to that distant spot.
“What’s wrong?” Gu Yun asked.
“Nothing.” She was probably too sensitive.
It was just a flock of birds.
Halfway there, they ran into the disciples of the Yueluo Sect.
“Jiang Ling-er!” Shangguan Qing went forward to meet her like they had been separated for ages.
“Humph.” Han Pengyi looked at Shangguan Qing acting this way and feigned anger, “Miss Shangguan must want to transfer sects.”
The trio heard Han Pengyi’s stern voice and were frightened.
They said to Han Pengyi reverently: “Greetings, senior.”
“Mm.” Han Pengyi was quite satisfied; Yun Yang’s disciples were taught well.
Shangguan Qing hurried back over to Han Pengyi, “Senior-shishu, would you really have the heart to let me transfer?”
“Why would I not?”
“I’ll go study the Qingshan Sect’s sword arts, then.” Shangguan Qing acquiesced to Han Pengyi’s words.
“Then my ‘thunderclap’ spear technique will be lost because of you, lousy girl.” Shangguan Qing had originally studied under Han Pengyi.
Han Pengyi was a contemporary of Lu Yi, and back then, the ‘thunderclap’ spear had been as famous in Jianghu as Lu Yi’s Qingshan sword arts.
Han Pengyi thought that the disciples he had brought along were bothersome.
He himself was an old man without any female relatives or wife, so it was not prudent for him to accept a girl as a disciple, and so, he had left Shangguan Qing with Han Yuyang.
Han Yuyang did not have a son by his knee, and Shangguan Qing had been brought up by Han Yuyang’s wife, so Han Pengyi would every now and then come to their courtyard to teach the little girl.
“It was Senior-shishu who didn’t want me first.”
“Fine, fine, come back so your shimu can scold you.”
Han Pengyi saw that the trio was still standing in place, “Is your shifu well?”
“Shifu is very well.
He is back on Minghe Mountain enjoying a leisurely life.” Gu Yun said.
“That’s good, haha.”
Looking at these three disciples, Han Pengyi recalled the three disciples of Lu Yi.
They had been young and vibrant, too, and daring and energetic enough to make people envious.
Then he thought, it was not that he could not accept disciples, but rather, he had later seen one of those disciples leave and another die, leaving only Liu Qi behind to bitterly guard the mountain gate.
He sighed and thought that being alone was just fine.
It was just that, after he had taught Shangguan Qing and he was entrusted with her care, he could not rest easy this time with Shangguan Qing traveling outside of the sect, so he used the pretext of traveling with her to come and see how his old friend was doing.
It was easy for those up there in years to reminisce on the past.
Whenever he met Lu Yi, they would talk endlessly.
Yun Yang’s three disciples unavoidably made Han Pengyi sorrowful.
Han Pengyi signaled to everyone to continue on without delay.
Jiang Ling waited and joined with the group of Yueluo disciples to go to the Guest Palace.
The food was served just about as they entered.
The Guest Palace was already full of many people.
The Sect Leader, Liu Qi, as well as the sect leader of the Qiantian Sect, Zhong Shi, had already arrived and were recalling past events.
The disciples of each were guided to their seats one after the other by little disciples of the Qingshan Sect.
Liu Qi expressed that they need not hold back and called a beginning to the banquet.
As Jiang Ling and the other two were conversing with the disciples of the Yueluo Sect, they naturally sat beside them.
Shangguan Qing had just come from Longxi, so she had never really had the chance to sample the cuisine of the southern central plains.
She intended to eat her fill this time.
Because the trio had eaten the mountain pig earlier, they were not very hungry, so they only ate some food to be polite.
However, from how Shangguan Qing and Shen Xiuqi acted, it was like the mountain pig had never existed.
They ate and drank everything in sight, and it was unknown if everyone in Xibei had appetites like these, or if it was just them.
“Liu-laodi, won’t you have a cup?” Zhong Shi invited Liu Qi to a drink.
Liu Qi shook his head.
“You really were a little fuddy-duddy as a child, and now that you’re at this age, you’re an old fuddy-duddy.” He did not know how he got married back then.
Zhong Shi really wanted to ask if he had had a drink at his wedding, but he did not have the opportunity to ask.
“Zhong-xiong.” Liu Qi suddenly took the offered cup and emptied it in one gulp.
Since he had seen Yun Yang’s three disciples, things of the past had risen in his mind constantly.
His mind was unsettled, so he drank the wine to ease his worries.
“Good wine! Haha!.” Zhong Shi laughed uninhibitedly.
Liu Qi drank some, then sensed that Elder Ye of the Hall of Swords had not yet arrived at the banquet, even though he is usually late.
“Gu Shi, go to the Hall of Swords and invite Elder Ye over.”
“Understood.” Gu Shi rose and quickly headed off to the Hall of Swords.
Gu Yun absent-mindedly ate, then looked in A Du’s direction and started to walk over to where he was.
“Why are you going over there?”
“To have a man-to-man talk with A Du.
Don’t come over ah.” Gu Yun put on a tight-lipped expression.
“Who even cares.” Jiang Ling put her chopsticks down, a sense of exasperation and irritation clogging up her chest.
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