If he said he had been living in a jungle, people would believe him based on the shape of his beard. Howbeit, he had the bright eyes of a young man. Despite being dressed in coarse linen garments and going bare feet, he definitely had the appearance of a man who could’ve stolen many girls’ hearts in his younger days.
“I just returned from the Western Regions. I had to travel every corner of every region to procure the twelve torture instruments for your shiniang. You should’ve seen how ecstatic she was after I lugged them up the mountain for her. I woke up early this morning to collect flowers for a flower wreath to keep her happy.” He held the wreath he mentioned in his left while he carefully plucked flowers with his right hand. The way he plucked the flowers created a stark contrast to the impression his attire created.
“If Shiniang wore the wreath on, she would definitely… The flowers are spectacular,” Guan Ning couldn’t resist praising when he saw the peony plucked.
“Your shiniang completely outclasses this flower. A Tang Dynasty poet wrote, ‘While the peony glowed, a beauty passed by the window. Beaming, she asked, ‘Is the flower prettier than me, or am I prettier?’.’ It was silly of her to compete with a flower. What flower can possibly win against one’s loved one? In your shiniang’s case, she is thousands, tens of thousands of folds prettier.” He appeared to still be daydreaming about his wife’s smile from yesterday.
Long after he finished, Master Qi finally snapped out of her daze to ask, “Y-you really are Bai Clan’s patriarch, the best broadswordman among the Seven Champion White Princes, Bai Zhiqing?”
“Oh, yes, I am. Are you looking for me, Miss?”
Master Qi had her mouth agape.
Spotting Hong Jiu, Bai Zhiqing remarked, “Oh, aren’t you Hong Jiu? What brings you here for a stroll?”
Hong Jiu didn’t expect to be identified without even saying a word. No degree of thinking rang any bells as to when and where he met Bai Zhiqing before.
“You’re hurt quite seriously. What happened? I can’t imagine who’d dare to bully you if they knew who your dad and shifu are.”
“Uh… Well… A lifetime of cultivation was lost in an instant. Every dog has its day.”
“Fair point. Walk for long enough and you’ll eventually sprain an ankle. Pee enough times and you’ll pee on your shoes one day. Long-time no see. When I last saw you, you were a two-year-old toddler, and I was still a kid. Let’s have a drink in a bit.”
A marriage connected Mount Daluo and Valley of Yearning. To be specific, Bai Zhiqing’s elder brother’s only daughter was Ming Huayu’s legal second wife, making Bai Zhiqing Hong Jiu’s second shiniang’s uncle.
“Your wish is this one’s command, Third Gr-Grandpa Bai.”
Bai Zhiqing scrubbed his head. “Just how bad did you get hurt to be calling me ‘grandpa’? Oh, wait, you’re right. My nephew married your shifu. Right, right.”
Hong Jiu: He didn’t remember? I want my respect back! I look like someone who’s trying to get in his good graces.
Bai Zhiqing shifted his gaze back to Master Qi and examined her. “Mount Tian, right?”
After she recoiled, Master Qi performed a cupped-fist salute. “This one’s surname is Wen. Her elder sister is Mount Tian’s Wenyiyi. Her respects, Patriarch Bai.”
“You are acquainted with Mount Tian, Shifu?” queried Guan Ning.
“I certainly am,” enthused Bai Zhiqing. “I sparred with Wen Yiyi ten years ago. Even though she is several years younger than me, she’s a tad better than me. I was soundly whooped, hahaha.”
While Guan Ning was used to Bai Zhiqing being so frank about the results of a personal match and even speaking so energetically about it, Master Qi was shocked.
“I take it you are Wen Yiyi’s younger sister. I hear every one of the seven sisters are beauties in their own right. I can imagine how lively it would be when you seven marry. Your father is going to have a lot of festivals to enjoy.”
Master Qi had no idea what to do with her hands after hearing that. Putting aside the fact that Bai Zhiqing was totally different to how legends depicted him, everyone seemed to be a deer and him a light. Though he behaved childishly, he never missed when he figuratively fired from his mouth.
“Hang on.” Bai Zhiqing passed the flower wreath to Guan Ning, then grabbed Hong Jiu’s arm and frowned. “Fiends’ Genesis’ Jiang Chen did this to you, didn’t he? Fiends’ Genesis is back to wreak havoc?”
Hong Jiu cracked a bitter smile. “I did not meet Jiang Chen, but his younger brother, Drought Demon, has returned. Drought Demon was the one who hurt me.”
Bai Zhiqing lifted Hong Jiu’s left arm, then right arm, then left, then right and multiple more times. “Drought Demon? He’s improved by leaps and bounds since he was last demolished back then. He’s hot on his brother’s heels now… Wait, wait, I can see more than one person hurt you from your wounds. Whoever cut you here did it with incredible power. Though there are broadsword wielders among the Seven Stars, none of them could produce this much power.”
Master Qi solemnly inquired, “Patriarch Bai, will he be able to fully recover from the injuries?”
Bai Zhiqing, using his hand as a broadsword, chopped Hong Jiu’s arms eight times using circular chopping motions. Hong Jiu felt an indescribably soothing feeling upon absorbing the chops.
“Don’t worry. I can’t ignore him after he’s acknowledged me as his grandpa. Hah!” Bai Zhiqing went circles around Hong Jiu, chopping Hong Jiu on the body. There were no gales or whistling winds; however, it was clear that he was flowing with intent.
“Yearning Broadswordplay!” Fang Xiaoyu blurted.