Thousand Autumns – Chapter 4
Quality Check: Kai
First published on Ainushi.
Happy Halloween Everyone! There’s also an extra chapter released for FRS XD.
Synopsis: Shen Qiao's Three Views  received a 100-point critical hit.
Yu Shengyan did not inform him about the objective of their trip when he brought Shen Qiao out.
Funing County was not very far from Ye City, the capital of the country of Qi. With Yu Shengyan's speed, he could have made it there within three days or so. But taking Shen Qiao's condition into consideration, he purposely slowed down and arrived at Ye City in seven days.
However, no matter how slowly they traveled, the current state of Shen Qiao's body was still inadequate for such a long and arduous journey. Right after they arrived in Ye City, he was stricken ill with a low fever.
Although Cleansing Moon Sect had few disciples, it was not short on money and owned a residence in Ye City, where Yu Shengyan and Shen Qiao stayed. The owner of the residence was Yan Wushi. Therefore when the servants saw Yu Shengyan and Shen Qiao, they addressed them as young masters and planned all things well, taking every care with them.
Shen Qiao was very quiet throughout the trip. He would walk whenever Yu Shengyan asked him to do so and stop when told. He did not even say anything about him being sick – rather, Yu Shengyan found out about it himself. When Yu Shengyan asked about it, Shen Qiao just smiled, "I know the purpose of senior martial brother's trip this time was to go on an errand for Master. Now, with my crippled body, I am already feeling guilty about not being able to help. How could I bother senior martial brother with even more troubles?"
When he was saying these words, his face was cold and pale, yet there was such a gentle smile on it that made him appear quite pitiful but lovely at the same time.
After all, Yu Shengyan was not Yan Wushi yet. His heart slightly softened, though it was still something rare for him.
"If you feel sick, just tell me. I'm not an unreasonable person, though we still need to make sure that we finish the task Master has assigned. Regarding the thing that Master wanted us to do, I've already inquired about it. Even though Yan Zhiwen is a disciple of the the Harmony Sect, his wife and children know nothing of martial arts. He himself can only be considered a second-rate expert within the sect. On top of that, the Yan family is unguarded, therefore I can easily finish it alone. However, since Master has required the elimination of his entire family, I will bring you with me when the time comes. After I kill Yan Zhiwen, I’ll fetch a woman or a child for you to finish off."
This was obviously the first time that Shen Qiao was told about the actual task that Yan Wushi had assigned. He looked surprised. "May I ask senior martial brother what is the history of the Harmony Sect? And what exactly is our grudge against Yan Zhiwen?"
Yu Shengyan recalled that Shen Qiao still knew nothing at the moment, so he explained to him, "Our Cleansing Moon Sect, Hamorny Sect, and Mirror of Arts Sect all originated from the Sun Moon Sect in the Phoenix-Qilin Isle. Later on, the Sun Moon Sect was torn by dissension and disintegrated, splitting into these three sects. Normally, we should unite as one against other forces since we all share the same root, if it was not for the fact that we all wanted to reunify the Holy Sect  under our own banners, with the Harmony Sect being the most ambitious one. Their leader is called Yuan Xiuxiu, and the disciples there are just like her: happy to use their beauty as a means to achieve their goals. However, their martial skills are good, so if you ever run into them in the future, it would be better to stay away."
"Yuan Xiuxiu also has an adulterer named Sang Jingxing, who was once a disciple of Cui Youwang. This shameless whore and her scumbag are partners in crime, scheming here and there all day long. During these past ten years, they even made several attempts to take over our Cleansing Moon Sect, taking advantage of the opportunity with Master in Meditation."
Shen Qiao nodded: "But since Yan Zhiwen is only a second-rate master in Harmony Sect and also serves as an official of Qi, I guess he has never caused troubles to the Cleansing Moon Sect. Why did Master still decide to kill him?"
With a faint smile on his face, Yu Shengyan said, "Junior martial brother, after your injury, you are almost like a little white rabbit now! Yan Zhiwen's status is quite special. As he is an official of Qi, very few people know that he actually belongs to the Harmony Sect. If we kill him, firstly we could use his death as an example to frighten our enemies. Secondly, after the Harmony Sect realizes that we know everything about them, they won't dare to act rashly again. Thirdly, they have caused us so much trouble while Master was not here; now that Master has returned, if we don't teach them a lesson, won't others think that the Cleansing Moon Sect is just an easy pushover? Back then, after Cui Youwang's death, the Cleansing Moon Sect was originally the most powerful sect among the three and also the one most likely to reunify the Holy Sect. It's just that Master was injured later, so he had to escape the world and enter a Closed Door Mediation, thus giving Harmony Sect opportunities to exploit for their benefits."
"What about the Mirror of Arts Sect? Have they ever caused us any trouble?"
"In fact, among these three sects, only the Harmony Sect has many hands and is thus more aggressive. The Mirror of Arts Sect is just like the Cleansing Moon Sect, with its disciples scattering everywhere, each doing their own task and not gathering together very often. Master informed only me after he came out from the Meditation, which was why I hurried over. As for you," he hemmed, "of course it was because you were injured. Therefore, to sum up, it's true that the three sects do not get along with each other, but Harmony Sect is the only one that has been constantly stirring up trouble, going too far with it."
Shen Qiao sighed, "Every wrong has its cause, and every debt has its debtor. Since Yuan Xiuxiu is the leader of the Harmony Sect, why doesn't Master deal with him directly? Even if he turns to Yan Zhiwen, his wife and children don’t belong to the martial world, so where is the need to get them involved?"
Yu Shengyan fiddled a bit with the fringe in front of the bed, not taking his words seriously. "Since this is Master's order, let's just follow it. What's the point of asking so many questions? If you cut down the grass without pulling up the roots, they will grow back eventually when the next spring breezes come. In the same way, if we don't kill Yan Zhiwen's wife and children, should we just wait for them to come for revenge on us in the future?"
He stood up after finishing those words. "That's enough. Anyway, this is not a business to hurry. There are still a few days left before the 7th. Meanwhile you should get some good rest. After you recover, I'll find someone to accompany you so you can take a walk around the city. In my opinion, among all capital cities now, the extravagance of Ye City is nothing less than that of Jiankang ; besides, it also gives you a rather generous and vast feeling that Jiankang does not offer. Overall, it's a city that's well worth a look around, especially its red-latern district  …"
Yu Shengyan was only a little over twenty, but he was indeed an talented and romantic man. While keeping his identity a secret, he discussed poetry and literature in Southern Chen and made friends with famous scholars, which had earned himself quite some reputation as well. Right now, just as he was getting enthusiastic and about to go on, Shen Qiao's condition suddenly came to mind. Even if Shen Qiao wished, he probably would not have the strength for it anyway. So he stopped himself short and gave Shen Qiao a meaningful smile: "Since you have amnesia now and don't remember anything from your past, it's alright. Anyway, the disciples in our Cleansing Moon Sect are mostly distinguished and charming men who live a life doing as they please. Thus, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future for you to slowly experience it."
The identity that Yan Wushi used for traveling outside was a wealthy businessman with a last name of Xie, so the words written on the wooden plaque above the residence read Xie Residence.
Yu Shengyan was often not here, leaving Shen Qiao by himself. Shen Qiao treated everyone gently, yet he was suffering from shattered health at the same time, making the servants of the mansion unable to restrain themselves from being rather sympathetic towards him.
Especially those girls who were assigned as Shen Qiao's personal servants. After only a few days, their relationship with him had become much closer already, telling him in detail of all sorts of scenes and local customs around the Xie Residence in order to divert his boredom.
Once he started to get better, there were a few times when Shen Qiao would ask them to take him out for a walk while he had time. Ye City was just like what Yu Shengyan had said: the streets were paved with white jade, and the roofs were covered with vitreous tiles. Since the Gao family of the country of Qi were sinicized Xianbei  people, their city walls, buildings, clothing and customs naturally retained the styles of their ancestors. Compared to the delicacy and elegance of the South, this city had a bit more of generosity and broadness to it. It was said that even for the same kind of wine, the ones sold in the taverns of Ye City would taste more mellow than the ones sold in the city of Jiankang.
The extravagant clothing, the beautiful women, the luxurious carriages they were sitting in… Though Shen Qiao was unable to witness this with his own eyes, he could still feel the prosperity and splendor of this capital city in the air, with a warm aroma mixed in with it, that filled every street and alley of Ye City.
The servant girl assisted his entry into the medicine shop. He sat down for a rest in the side hall, while the girl went in to fill the prescription.
The prescription was written for Shen Qiao. Right now, he was not much different from a pot for herbal medicine as he needed to take at least a large bowl of the decoction every day. Even though Yan Wushi had no intention to help him recover his martial skills, he did not let Shen Qiao stay half dead either. All the decoctions that he was currently taking were mainly for the purpose of recouping his vital energy, blood, and meridians while strengthening his bones and warming his yang at the same time.
As for the current state of Shen Qiao, his inner qi was completely empty, without even a single trace left. In addition to the amnesia, he should not expect to gain his martial skills back any time soon. However, the fact that he was able to move around smoothly at the moment was actually the result of these couple months of recuperation.
Since the servant girl needed to fill the prescription today, Shen Qiao came out along with her to breathe some fresh air. However, in spite of being blind and sickly, he still drew much attention merely by sitting there inside the medicine shop.
Shen Qiao's countenance was pretty in the first place. Though it now looked a bit emaciated, his appearance and manner was not the least damaged. With an ordinary bamboo-green robe and only a wooden clasp instead of a headpiece securing his hair, he sat there at leisure, listening quietly as the servant girl talking to the manager of the medicine shop. A faint smile climbed up the corner of his mouth.
As if he was not worried that Shen Qiao would be recognized when he went outside, Yan Wushi allowed him to appear in public directly, without ordering Yu Shengyan to cover up his face.
The reason was that whether it was before or after Shen Qiao became the sect leader of Mount Xuandu, he rarely appeared outside of the mountain. It was said that not even all the disciples of Mount Xuandu were able to recognize their new leader. None of the several disciples who were more well-known to the public prior to that day ended up succeeding the position of the sect leader – Shen Qiao, who was still a nobody at that time, did. Perhaps, only the already ascended Qi Fengge knew the reason behind all of this.
Secondly, on the day that Kunye had challenged Shen Qiao, the space on Half-Step Peak was so limited that it was barely enough for the two of them, and the audience had all gathered on Regret Peak directly across from it. With the distance between them, the others might not be able to remember Shen Qiao's appearance well, not to mention that ever since his serious illness, his complexion was not as great as it was before.
But these were all conjectures that Yu Shengyan had come up with himself.
Privately, he even felt that according to his master's temper, Shen Qiao was probably just an impulse, someone that could be tamed and play with.
"Mister, the prescription is filled. Shall we go?"
Shen Qiao nodded, and the servant girl assisted his walk out. When the two of them reached the entrance of the medicine shop, they heard someone saying, "This mister is so charming and handsome, yet somehow I’ve never met you before. May I have your honorable name?"
The voice was not able to cover the surprise within it. The servant girl paused for a second; Shen Qiao then realized that it was addressed to him.
"My name is Shen Qiao."
"So it's Mister Shen." The woman's voice was clear and lively, pleasing to the ears. "Is Mister Shen a resident of the capital? Or perhaps I should ask which noble family do you come from?"
The servant girl whispered in Shen Qiao's ear, "She is Han E'ying, the maiden of the Chief Servant Han's family."
The Chief Servant Han was not the chief servant of some family but the Palace Attendance  of Qi, Han Feng. He was a very illustrious man in the country, with his sons marrying the princesses, while he, along with Mu Tipo and Gao Anagong, were referred to as the "Three Nobles " of Qi, together keeping the government under control. As the daughter of the Han family, Han E'ying naturally had the right to do whatever she pleased.
Shen Qiao smiled: "I've heard of Lady Han's name since long ago. It's just that my eyes are currently suffering from diseases, so please forgive me for not being able to see Lady Han's elegant demeanor. I will definitely pay a visit to Lady Han's residence some day after I recover."
Han E'ying had also realized how his eyes had neither brightness nor emotions in them. Feeling slightly sorry for it, she thought to herself how pitiful that such a handsome young mister would happen to be blind. Then, with flagging interest, she said, "That's all right. You should take a good rest then. Xiao-lian , go tell the manager to bring over some ginseng for Mister Shen to take along. Charge everything to me!"
Shen Qiao replied, "Thank you, Lady Han, for your present. Since it would be impolite to not return a favor one receives, I have something for you as well. Please kindly accept this small gift of mine."
Han E'ying interests were slightly aroused: "Oh? What is it?"
Shen Qiao said, "Ah-miao , go bring that box in the carriage to me."
The servant girl hurried off to bring over the box that Shen Qiao had just mentioned.
Even though Shen Qiao was blind, the way he spoke was gentle, and the style of his conversation was well-organized, with a kind of disposition that naturally made people fond of him. Even a noble daughter like Han E'ying, who would stop handsome men on street and flirt with them as she pleased, softened her tone unconsciously in front of him.
When the servant girl brought back the box, Shen Qiao and Han E'ying were just finishing their short conversation and bid farewell to each other. Han E'ying asked for Shen Qiao's address, saying that she would visit his residence some other day, then got on her horse and left.
After he returned to the Xie Residence, Yu Shengyan, hearing about the event, clicked his tongue in surprise: "You have talents indeed. Going out just once, and you get to know someone like Han E'ying. She is the martial niece of Zhao Chiying of Jade Cloud Sect on Mount Tai. Her martial skill is just so-so, but she has a good father and a good sect that allows her to bully around the capital city."
Shen Qiao smiled: "From what I experienced, she's fine. I wouldn't count it as bullying."
Yu Shengyan laughed: "She's a beauty indeed, but it’s too bad that her personality is simply unbearable. Not even one person in this capital doesn't feel this way. Only you could say that she's fine!"
Shen Qiao only smiled but made no reply.
 Three Views: View of World/Worldview, View of Life, View of Value
 Holy Sect: An honorific way of addressing the Sun-Moon Sect by its disciples, while others usually refers to it as the Demonic Sect.
 Jiankang (建康): The capital of Chen Dynastyn.
 Red-lantern District (烟花巷 yanhua xiang): A term referring to the red-light district in ancient China.
 Xianbei (鲜卑): were proto-Mongols residing in what became today's eastern Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Northeast China. Along with the Xiongnu, they were one of the major nomadic groups in northern China since Han Dynasty. [Source]
 Palace Attendance (侍中 shizhong): Supplementary title awarded to officials of the central government chosen by the Emperor as his confidential advisers. They sometimes also served as officers of the Imperial Bodyguard under 4 Directors of Palace Attendants, later rose to the position of Junior Grand Councilors. 
 The Three Nobles of Qi (齐国三贵 qiguo sangui): the name was taken from wiki. [Source]
 Xiao-lian: Xiao" literally means "little." An affectionate way of calling people who are younger / lower in status than oneself. Often used to call children of younger generations or personal servants.
 Ah-miao: "Ah", also spelled as "a", is also an affectionate way of calling people. Can be used to call personal servants or as a nickname for other people one is in close relationship with.