Millennium Snow Ginseng (千年雪参)
The next day, I was given twenty copper coins (twenty dollars) from the village chief and was about to leave for the Blue Dragon Martial Academy. However, on my way out of the village, the chief and his son were gazing at me with a suspicious look. Also his wife, his concubines and the children of his concubines whom made fun of me in the past were all just standing there. While leaving, I tried to force out a scornful look in a peculiar sort of way.
'Huh. That's much better than before. At that time, I left to join the courier company without being paid even a penny.'
I did not need to ask the village chief for directions, since I already knew how to travel towards the Blue Dragon Martial Academy because of my experience as a bodyguard of the courier company.
I'll have to walk for fifteen days, and I'll be at risk of meeting bandits on the way, but I can minimize the risk if I were to accompany a courier company, Samsong, which is in the vicinity.
Plum Blossom courier company I worked for forty-five years is similar in size to Samsong. I remember they were on a par with each other, but they didn't really work out because they were at each other's throats. As Samsong has a large number of highly skilled bodyguards, it would be relatively easy to get there if I were with them.
When I arrived downtown on a day's walk, it was late at night. The night in the city was a place of ruffians and fads, so I quickly headed to a Tourists' House. The nursery was a temporary reserve for tourists, where the guards were guarding. Travelers were only allowed to stay here overnight, but they preferred to avoid the treat of thieves.
There were two or three tourists sitting around the café, curled up without a word to get ready for bed. A fine rotten apple was born in a bed. I took a look at the moon and went to bed after arranging my stuffs.
The next morning, I woke up and went to Samsong courier company. In front of the main gate, there were crowded workers preparing for the regular run. I spoke to a middle-aged bodyguard.
“I'd like to be on the run. What do I have to do to be on it?”
“Oh, who are you?”
“My name is Baek Woong and I am living in a near village. I come on an errand of the village chief."
The expression of the bodyguard has changed strangely.
“Huh … How far are you going?”
“I am heading to Guanzhong.”
“A child like you, to Guanzhong? Do you have money?"
“No, I can be good at cooking rice and carrying luggage. Please let me follow you."
The bodyguard fiddled with his beard and said.
“Come with me for a moment.”
He took me to a head bodyguard, who is a commander of more than 10 bodyguards, usually with experience in the role of middle management. As such the head bodyguard possessed far superior martial arts than the average bodyguard. He was a long-lined man with a horse-like coronal. And he sat reading a document and peeked at me.
“Hey, what's that kid?”
“Sir, he'd like to follow us while doing his chores. His name is Baek Woong and he lives in a near village."
The head bodyguard was scurrying through me and said.
“The kid looks bony, but spirited. Fine, you take care of him."
The head bodyguard did not bother me asking about my identity or where I was going. It became the responsibility of the middle-aged bodyguard. That's why I was grateful to the middle-aged bodyguard rather than to the head bodyguard. It's like taking on a troublesome task. I said as I followed the bodyguard out.
“I have a son just like you.”
The bodyguard grinned and said.
“We don't go all the way to Guanzhong since our destination is Yangon. Would you rather find your way around Yoowol valley afterwards?"
“Yes, it’s okay. Thank you for taking me there."
“Yes. All you have to do is prepare a meal, wash the dishes, and carry the luggage. I'll let you know later."
The road leading immediately started. I felt free to go along the lines, without a hitch. The first day, I walked and rested for about twelve hours and went over a mountain. When it was time for lunch and dinner, I started doing all kinds of chores. Of course, I have done it for many years, so I did a good job without any special instruction from the bodyguard.
The bodyguard was surprised.
"What a great worker! Why don't you do some chores at the courier company after the run?”
At first glance, it seemed like a rude question, but it was a good suggestion. Children living in ordinary rural villages were so poor that they could starve for days. It was considered a good life to sleep in the land of the living and beg for food in time. But I answered with a smile.
“I’ll think about it when my business is finished.”
First, I have to go to the Blue Dragon Martial Academy in Guanzhong and try my best.
"Will I be able to become a disciple of the Blue Dragon Martial Academy by using the techniques of Six Harmonies Swordsmanship and Three Talents Heart Mantra that I have practiced in my previous life for forty-five years?"
I felt justified in coming out of the village. However, there are times and times when I've learned, because it was obviously better than other teenage boys. I couldn't sleep well with the prospect of learning the best possible martial arts at the Blue Dragon Martial Academy.
It was about ten days and nights to follow the lines. There were no particular bandits and no accidents. I had to come out in the middle of the road, as the lines of Samsong were now directed from Yoowol valley to Yangon. I had to go to the Blue Dragon Martial Academy separately.
“Thank you for everything you've done."
“Come here for a moment.”
The middle-aged bodyguard secretly gave me two silver coins (two hundred dollars). He scratched my oily hair and smiled as I was surprised at it, because it was so much bigger than I thought.
“Haha. How difficult it must be for a child to get to the Blue Dragon Martial Academy alone. If you meet a few bandits, offer the money to them. Then you'll be able to buy your life on most occasions."
“… Thank you very much.”
I was a little on the tip of my nose. I've been working for decades as a bodyguard, and I know why he gave me this money. Two silver coins are quite a sum to a bodyguard. Probably because he felt me like a son, he gave me his money on purpose.
In addition, bandits often kill children because they find them annoying. Or they capture and sell them as slaves, but it is a lucky case to come true. However, if a child offers two silver coins to the bandits, he will be sold into slavery, but he will avoid being killed instantly. At most, they are poor civilians or runners from the slavery.
Therefore, these two silver coins is not simple money, but a treasure.
I rubbed my nose a little and said.
“I haven't even asked your name so far. What's your name?”
“I am Zhang Tie of Samsong courier company. Come back later.”
“Yes, I'll do that.”
I made up my mind.
"If I later take power and gain fame and fortune, I will repay Zhang Tie ten times what I have received today."
Yoowol valley was the site of small villages throughout the gentle valley. There were many small villages scattered around, but there were no bandits to find out if the farmers made a small self-defense unit. I spent the night in the open field and then moved on to Guanzhong.
I hoped there would not be any bandits in here. Thinking about it, things went off suddenly when there was a day's distance to the Blue Dragon Martial Academy.
Two bandits showed up in front of me as I walked down the mountain road. The fact that they are holding the ring-shaped sword and wearing animal bone decorations at the back of their waistlines indicates that they were bandits of Green Forests. I stepped back for a ride, and a skinny bandit said with a big smile.
“There's a child here. What am I supposed to do with this little guy?”
A one-eyed bandit was standing next to him, and he scratched his chest hair.
“Let’s take everything he has and let him go. Nowadays, the vice commander doesn't like to see blood."
“Well … I wouldn't be able to sleep properly from killing a child."
The skinny bandit nodded compassionately and said.
“Put your bag down and take off your tops! Be nice and you'll be saved."
There was nothing I could do. It was too much risky to fight with two bandits of Green Forests here to protect my small fortune. My bravery was not beyond my control, but I did not have much chance.
The bandits in the regular Green Forests are systematically promoted to martial arts, so they may be stronger than I from my previous life.
I did not know what it would be like if I fought with my life, but it was better to obey their words. And now I was so disadvantaged because I had no weapon. If I had at least one knife, I would not have such a humiliating choice.
The bandits were surprised to discover the two silver coins in my bundle.
“Wow, this is a very wealthy guy!”
“Just let me go. It's a good deal.”
“You’re lucky. Haha… Take back your clothes."
The skinny bandit hit me in the back of my head and handed me my coat. I dressed up in a dirty suit and got out of there.
"Damn it …"
If I were only in my late teens, I might have managed to escape. However, unlike the inner parts of the body, the bones were still too small to handle this situation properly. I should have been glad to have preserved my life.
Then a thought flashed on me.
"How long do I have to live like this?"
I want to have power. It may be said that I might not have enough to conquer the whole world. But I am desperate to yearn for the strength to protect my pride.
Since I lost all my luggage and money, I had to starve on my way to the Blue Dragon Martial Academy. However, I had a stroke of good luck in the midst of misfortune. Just a day's distance was left to go and I walked hard. As I passed the gate and came onto the city road, I felt like I was going to live from escaping that stressful path.
I slept in the open field again. Although I had done it so far, I was hungry and felt the cold breeze of the early morning especially cold. I went under a rock and forced myself to dig into the ground. The temperature under the ground was a little warm, so I stayed up all night.
"Now I can go to the Blue Dragon Martial Academy and learn some of the best martial arts. Then I will eat the Millennium Snow Ginseng in Huangshan. So, this is nothing.”
The future plan soothed the current cold.
The next day, I went to see the Blue Dragon Martial Academy. It had a large wall and the front plate of the gate was written in a famous calligraphy. In addition, there were gatekeepers at the door. They were probably junior students rather than gatekeepers.
They asked when they found me standing in front of the Blue Dragon Martial Academy.
“Hey, what are you doing here in the morning? You can't beg, so get away."
When I looked at myself, I could only sigh. They had been scruffy enough to mistake me for a beggar. But I forced myself to speak.
“I would like to take the entrance exam for the Blue Dragon Martial Academy.”
“The entrance exam?"
"Kh…haha, it’s funny."
The gatekeepers chuckled at me. But they looked at me with ambiguous eyes, knowing I was not joking. Then one of the gatekeepers said.
“Little boy. Are you from the Five Powerful Families in Guanzhong?”
“Did you then form the basis of your inner Neigong when you were a kid?”
The overweight gatekeeper had a cruel laugh.
“Well, shall we test the inside Neigong of the younger body?”
“Take it easy.”
The fat gatekeeper put strong advance on the ground as if to show off. Then he said, sticking out his caldron hands.
“Take my hand, little kid.”
Faced with the hand, the fat gatekeeper smiled sheepishly, facing his feet and my feet. Then, it was shaped like an arm wrestling, in which one side would move aside.
“If you can stand up against me, I'll go straight to the head teacher.”
“What happens if I win?”
“Ah ha! You win? Then I’ll bow down to you.”
The fat gatekeeper looked troubled as the arm wrestling match began. I started to dominate his physical strength as I gathered in Three Talents Heart Mantra. I concentrated on my forehead so much that I pushed him aside at once.
The fat gatekeeper had a perplexed expression. That's because he fell sideways, falling on his backside at one time. I was sweating and red in the face because I didn't win easily, but I forced myself to smile."
“I don't want you to bow down, but please speak to the head teacher for me.”
I have learned Three Talents Heart Mantra for decades, even if it was a tricky thing; nevertheless, my Neigong was not insufficient to a disciple of second-grade of the Blue Dragon Martial Academy.
Editors: T0ngan, Calvis