Book 10: Chapter 1 – Restaurant Owner
Time flowed like water. Many things could change in a hundred years, and the name ‘Dong Bo Xue Ying’ had already become a legend to the mortals of the Xia Clan World. Even some fictional biographies related to Xue Ying had begun circulating. A hundred years passed since Xue Ying’s first appearance amongst these mortals. The passing of so much time made it so their memories of Xue Ying were now vague. Not to mention the mortals, even most Transcendents never saw him again after that day when Xue Ying began his travels around the world with his wife. Only a handful of his closest friends knew of their whereabouts.
Xia Several decades ago, inside an ancient city called the White River Town, situated in the southeastern part of the mainland of the Xia Clan World, the Dongyu1 Restaurant opened its doors. It was owned by a young married couple, the husband, seemingly ever sick and pale-faced, but with a good attitude towards his guests, and his wife, a pretty lady who seldom appeared in the restaurant.
“The spring of White River Town is gorgeous. Its charm is quite different from that of Water Rites Town.” A white-garbed man was seated near a window, in the corner of the restaurant’s second floor. He was holding a brush, and his vision was turned outside the window to a riverside road flanked at both sides by willow trees. Their numerous branches, along with the branches of a blossoming plum tree and other flowers in full blossom all fluttered in the wind.
The southern sunlight shining brilliantly upon this flora granted the scenery an even more vibrant look. Xue Ying had already been living in this city for 15 years, but was still delighted by it. During the years before that, he and his wife had already traveled throughout every corner of the Xia Clan World. Be it a big city, or a small village, as long as they were interested in the location, they would reside there for a while. They had lived near an oasis, on grasslands, atop a mountain or on an island, and they had tried countless delicacies. For the opening of the restaurant, they brought along two of their favorite chefs and offered them favorable conditions. They barely ever cooked for anyone else than Xue Ying and Jing Qiu, however, while the food served in the restaurant was mainly cooked by their disciples. Nevertheless, the restaurant had raised quite a reputation in White River Town.
“Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons of White River Town. We couldn’t miss it,” Xue Ying muttered. With one hand he was pressing on a sheet of paper, while in the other he held a brush with which he painted a willow tree. His strokes were like the swings of a knife—detailed and precise. He didn’t skip any of the finer areas; even the details of the tree’s bark were visible on the painting.
An old man with silver hair stopped by to look at the painting. He seemed infatuated with it. “Boss, that is such a good painting. Could you sell it to me for ten gold coins?”
“You can have it for 100 gold coins and not a single one lower,” Xue Ying casually replied. “Old Qiu, stop bothering me. Don’t you know my rules for selling paintings? A small one like this costs 100 gold coins, and I won’t settle for any price lower.”
“You haven’t even finished it yet,” the silver-haired old man muttered. “We’ve known each other for so long, yet the price you’re giving me is still that high. I could buy a Star Breaking Crossbow or hire a group of knights with 100 gold coins! How many paintings have you sold during all these years? I think I could count them on my fingers, yet you must have painted thousands! Even a piece painted by a famous, talented artist would only sell for around 100 to 1000 gold coins.”
“I’m not a famous painter…but, Old Qiu, you can buy this painting, or leave it be!” Xue Ying grinned towards this old man.
This old man really liked Xue Ying’s paintings. In fact, Xue Ying thought his skills to not be any lower than those of a mortal painting master! The only problem was that his paintings did not have much exposure, so the public neither recognized them or valued them too high. But, in the end, he only painted for fun. In addition, all of his works contained some of his comprehension of the spear. If one reached a mastery of spearmanship, they could spot one or two insights in these paintings. During his time here, he had sold 5 paintings, of which one to Palace Head Chen, one to Mountain Lord He and one to Yuan Qing. The other two had been sold to an expert of the spear and a wealthy young master respectively. This young master was also one of his good friends. After becoming the owner of a restaurant, Xue Ying acquainted himself with various people, and befriended some of them. This Old Qiu was part of this group, and one of the stingier ones at that. Or, perhaps his prices were just too high.
Suddenly, Xue Ying let out a low groan, his face was covered in sweat and his hands shook. This caused him to accidentally make an unnecessary stroke on the painting, ruining it.
“Ugh.” Xue Ying stood up and prepared to tear the paper apart.
The old man interjected, “Don’t! You can give it to me.”
But without a single word, Xue Ying just tore it to pieces before saying, “Old Qiu, I can’t leave a failed painting behind.”
As it was for spearmanship, it also was for painting—when one strived for perfection, it was better to destroy a failure than to keep it around.
Old Qiu shook his head. “That really makes one’s heart ache.”
Xue Ying only laughed in response. He was already planning to gift one of his paintings to Old Qiu once he would move from White River Town together with Jing Qiu. For the moment, however, this old man had to follow Xue Ying’s rules like the others. He would only receive one of the paintings once he paid the hundred gold coins.
Xue Ying stood up and walked to the stairs, frowning. The efficacy of the Hundred Bitter Restoration has already diminished. After a hundred years, the Six Ghosts Resentment in his body had begun adapting to the medicine, slowly diminishing its potency. Nowadays, its suppression effect was so weak that Xue Ying could still feel the pain even after having just ingested it. In just two short hours afterwards, the medicine would completely lose its effect and he’d have to take another. It could be said that Xue Ying was in pain at any time. Whenever he felt the pain, he would get the impulse to drink another dose since, despite the lowered effect, it could still lessen the pain somewhat. But Xue Ying tried his hardest to endure the urge.
Xue Ying reflected on it, I now understand why most people who suffer from this poison are unable to live for more than a hundred years. It would have been fine if it were to relapse only once, but to suffer from it night after night… it is truly hard to endure. I’ll try to see it as tempering my willpower. Perhaps, within the whole Xia Clan World, my soul strength could now be considered the highest?
At first, Xue Ying was unable to withstand the pain, and he would involuntarily toss and tumble around. But now, his body would at most slightly twitch even in the face of the most intense pain, and that was all thanks to his willpower.
“Master,” a grey-robed man whispered. Moments ago, this man had been standing on the fence and leisurely drinking wine when he suddenly tensed up.
“There’s no need to concern yourself over me,” Xue Ying said to the Blade Assassin as they walked down the stairs. This man was the fifth brother of the Five Shadows. In their travels, Xue Ying and Jing Qiu had brought along the weaker Deity Warriors—the Blade Assassin and the White Ape—to take care of miscellaneous matters, while they focused on their sightseeing.
Descending the stairs, the two left the restaurant through the back door and entered the courtyard behind. More than ten years had passed since Xue Ying and Jing Qiu settled in this courtyard.
He! Ha! Crisp sounds could be heard coming from that place. A smile on his face, Xue Ying entered the practice field where a group of students were practicing their spear techniques. Their ages varied, with the youngest at six years old and the oldest over twenty. The youngest’s spear movements still had a playful ambiance to them, while the oldest one’s exuded an extraordinary aura.
Everyone present saluted Xue Ying upon noticing his arrival.
“Go on. There’s no need to mind me,” Xue Ying said with a smile. Since he held free classes to teach spearmanship, some of the families from the neighborhood had sent their young to learn from him, but he only taught them the basics. Occasionally, if any of the students was particularly hardworking and diligent, toiling for many years to study spearmanship, Xue Ying would teach them the Dou QI techniques. On the surface, however, these techniques would look ordinary. Moreover, Xue Ying had only taught the Dou Qi technique to five of his disciples, since there had not been too many who came here to study spearmanship under him. Perhaps his neighbors thought his place to be something like a day care?”
Xue Ying suddenly called, “Wu Lei.” Hua. A white-haired old man instantly appeared on the practice field and went over to Xue Ying. This man was the transformed White Fog Ape. He could not only turn into mist, but other various forms and shapes. The form of a human was the most suitable for him to take during this travel around the world.
“Master,” the old man saluted. None of the students were surprised at his appearance. They all knew him as steward Bai, and he was rumored to be a Legend ranker.
“Quickly make the preparations. Palace Head Chen will arrive soon,” Xue Ying said.
“Understood,” the white-haired old man replied and then quickly retreated.
- 东渔 (Dong Yu) Dong Yu combines the familiy names of both Xue Ying and Jing Qiu, with Yu being Jing Qiu’s name written using a different character. ↩