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Translator: Bellbell

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Chapter 1: Leaving the mountain on my own

Until now, I still can't believe that I have the courage to leave my house on my own, to be more precise is to leave the mountain on my own. Even though I'm shocked at my courage, but I am still resolved to do so, even more resolved in this than my second brother's name Su Jian¹.

Regarding my brother's name, I have always felt that it sounds like "Su Jian²", I have once kept trying to convince him to change his name, when Su Jian heard it, he asked me with a serious expression, "Why don't we swap our names?" I firmly shook my head. Now that I think of it, if I had accidentally agreed to it, the consequence would be disastrous. It would be hard to imagine that 16th senior brother would always call me "Jian Jian" everyday for dinner at the top of the mountain, what a scary scene that would be.

With the years that I've spent on Zhu Mountain so far, I've only learnt a few Kung fu moves, everyday I only know how to play around and even along the way, taught bad things to the new Juniors that Fourth Senior Brother recruited. Zhu Mountain's rules are very strict, there's a fixed practice time for Kung Fu everyday. What made me proud was that when everyone was practicing their Kung Fu, the smart me would always find a way to be lazy. Moreover, Teacher's wife spoils me a lot, and because of that, Teacher also can't do anything to me, and allow me to do what I want. As time goes on, this became the result: Once it reaches the time to practice Kung Fu, I'll bring a few juniors to the back mountain to catch butterflies, pick fruits and what not.

16th Senior Brother, who’s in charge of calling everyone for their meal would everyday at the same time face the back mountain and shout my name. The sound would then travel to the whole mountain and echo back. My name, that was initially nice to listen to, became weird after 16th Senior brother called it with his girly voice. So at the beginning, I still felt some indignation, that my nice name was ruined by him, but in the end I got used to it.

As these few years gone by, every time 16th senior brother calls my name at the same time, all the disciples will know that it's time for them to take their meals. Now that I'm gone, I'm worried that those seniors will miss the time to take their meals. What if one day I return here and see them be only all skin and bones, what should I do? My heart filled with reluctance as I looked back in the direction of Zhu Mountain.

If it's not for father dispatching men to force me back home for marriage, I would never leave. Last year, when I went back home, I heard mother say before that I'm engaged to Qin General's second son in the capital. I've forgotten his name, but I heard that his looks are passable. I'm only 16 years old, the time where one is the most playful, if I just marry and give birth, I will keep feeling that my life is missing something, so I'm naturally against this marriage. Then again, leaving home is not as I thought, it has only been some time and my stomach is already growling. Thankfully, I have stolen a few buns from the kitchen before I leave, at least now I will not end up as a hungry ghost in this wilderness.

I really don’t understand why father wants me to marry so early. At that time he had prayed so hard for mother to be able to give birth to a daughter.

It may be because the Su family’s burial land is too good, that’s why before I was born, the other 4 concubines had all given birth to males. Before, Father was elated, but with the birth of my ninth brother, he began to worry. Grandmother has also began to nag in front of everyone “Give birth, give birth, you only know how to give birth to sons. When will I be able to have a granddaughter!” I did not let everyone down and was born just when the Su family really needed a daughter and naturally became the most precious child of the Su family.

When it comes to the love that Father and grandmother shower me with, even I myself felt sorry towards my brothers. This is because from young they have suffered from me. Take my seventh brother Su Nan for example, he has very red lips and white teeth and looks even more like a female than me, so he especially brought up the temptation in me to bully him.

I remember that snowy day when I was 10, I woke up early in the morning and piled a snowball under Su Nan's blanket and cause him to roll down from the bed freezing. At that time, he wanted to punch me but in the end did not manage to do so as my crying caught father's attention. Su Nan stared daggers at me and looked like he wanted to beat me into a pulp. It scared me so much that I immediately hid behind father's back.

Even when Su Nan was firm in saying that I was the bully and I admitted it myself, father still scolded him badly. At that time, this is how father scolded him "Such a cold day, you expect that such an early morning Ran Ran did not sleep but instead came to put a snowball under your blanket? You think she's crazy! Even if she has done it, then it must be that you have done something that forces her to do this to you, you better reflect on your action…"

Father's words shocked me, I didn't think that his logic is so thorough and special, no wonder he can be the prime minister for so many years. Actually, I wanted to tell father that the reason I woke up so early is because I was woken up by my cousin, Liang Tian whose room was beside mine and has no whatsoever reason to do with Su Nan. The reason Liang Tian woke up so early is because she had just learned a new song from my fourth brother, Su Yan, last night and was so excited about it, that she couldn’t sleep, and was making a racket so early in the morning. I’m someone who is afraid of those stronger than me and bully those that are weaker than me, I’m afraid of Liang Tian so I spent my anger on Su Nan instead.

Ever since then, father felt that if I continue to stay at home I would either be influenced badly by my brothers or bullied by them. In order to protect me, his only daughter, after weighing all his options, father finally made a wise decision, that is to send me to Zhu Mountain to learn some self-defence and strengthen my body on the way. I enjoyed the freedom I had on Zhu Mountain. Unlike at home, even a simple thing like going out will need me to spent half a day's effort to convince father. After living at Zhu Mountain for two years, when I returned home, father was shocked with my transformation, and regretted his initial decision deeply. If it were to say that his sons influenced me badly, then it could be said that my fellow disciples ruined me. Ever since then, my father gave up his huge dream of nurturing me into a virtuous lady that is well educated and well groomed.

It could be that father is afraid that such a daughter, who is not as well educated and well groomed, would not be able to get married and so agreed to this marriage. That whatsoever Qin second son is really easy to convince, he did not even see the looks of the person that he's marrying. How can he just agree to the marriage like that? What if I am ugly, would he still be willing to marry me?

Then again, even if I am going to marry someone, I would marry someone that is like my second senior brother!

Ever since I was 10 years old and came to Shu Mountain, the first time I saw my second senior brother, I was captivated by the view of him practicing his sword at the cliff's edge and fell into the dark pits of having a secret crush towards him. However, the ambitious me did not change my secret crush into an open crush, this is entirely because second senior brother is a sword idiot that does not understand the cues I gave, every time when I look at him with eyes filled with love, he would ignore me, and so my heart was broken more than once. What made it worse was that at some point in time Zhu Mountain actually came up with the rumors of me and the oldest senior brother being together!

The relationship between the eldest senior brother and second senior brother is very good, it's almost to the point that they are always together, if not for me knowing that the eldest senior brother likes Yu Qing senior sister, I would be sure that he likes men.

Once, fourth senior brother asked me, "Ran Ran, I have realised a serious question, every time when oldest senior brother is practicing his sword your eyes will seem like it's glued to him, are you interested in him?"

Once fourth senior brother's question came out, everyone at the scene all stared at me. Yu Qing senior sister's eyes told me that she wanted to either gill me or steam me for dinner. Fourth senior brother's eyes saw wrongly, he misunderstood the crush I had towards second senior brother as the one I had for eldest senior brother, I could only cry out "You’re wrong!" loudly in my heart.

In order to prove my innocence in front of Yu Qing senior sister, I immediately replied fourth senior brother,"I wouldn't fall in love with someone who is so old that he can be my father!"

When oldest senior brother heard this, his face turned red, white and then green. He then shouted loudly at me "I don't believe that your father had you at the age of nine!"

I was stumped at that moment, I suddenly remembered that although older senior brother seems mature, he is in fact only older than me by just nine years.

They all say that women will mind when their ages are exaggerated, but it seems that men too mind it a lot. That time I had completely offended both oldest senior brother and Yu Qing Senior sister. It was also at that time that I started to had an opinion about fourth senior brother, from that day onwards I would always be loggerheads with him, whatever he says yes to, I'll say no to, whichever things he hates, I would treat it like a precious treasure. Fourth senior brother has a horse that he especially treasures, called Ta Chen³, it's really tall and majestic, and I would everyday pluck it's hairs when he was not paying attention.

Just when I was reminiscing about Ta Cheng, I suddenly heard the sound of hoofs, my heart skipped a beat, scary, what I thought of came true! Other people are still alright, but if it's fourth senior brother, my immediate ending would be to be caught and brought back to Zhu Mountain, and then be brought back home by father to be married. A shiver went down my spine when I thought about this.

The sound of hoofs got closer, so much that it was almost next to me. I didn’t dare to turn around and swung back my sleeves, I heard a "bang" sound. Something fell to the ground.

My heart was filled with joy, fourth senior brother, ah, fourth senior brother, so what if your kung fu was so high, you still lose to me! Today, I shall not show mercy to you, at most, next time I won't tell the pretty girl Ye Qing Tian, that you like, is ugly.

Or else I wouldn't say that this time I'm putting in a lot of effort to leave the mountain. Before I started to leave the mountain, I took one of the precious poisons that teachers wife kept along with the antidote. Teachers wife is the goddaughter of the five poison Jiang sect's leader, the things that she kept will not be any inferior products. I have been pondering about a situation, that I'll be in with my poor Kung Fu skills, when I meet someone really powerful, I wouldn't even know how I died, so I have to depend on these treasures to protect myself.

Just now what I gave to fourth senior brother was a sleeping poison that was invented by teachers wife, "seven miles fragrant", it's very powerful, enough to make him sleep for several hours.

My heart was very happy, just when I turned my head to see my masterpiece, I was shocked! I didn't expect that the person that I drugged was actually not my fourth senior brother!

¹The Jian in Su Jian's name is the word in Chinese for resolved/firm.

²Treacherous also has the same sound as firm/resolved in Chinese.

³Tread dust

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