TL Note: This chapter title is a reference to Tang Jia San Shao, the author of Douluo Dalu.
The next day, Bai Yunfei woke from his training-induced slumber to the merry laughter of people gathered in the outside courtyard. Upon concentrating, he noticed that one of the people laughing was Tang Ming.
Rising out of bed, Bai Yunfei walked to the door and opened it, revealing Tang Xinyun, Kou Tingting, Chu Qingxue, and Zhao Mancha all sitting at the stone table in the center. They all seemed to be listening to the story Tang Ming was relaying,
“And then… the class four gold-scaled crocodile dragged me into the water, but Second Grandfather didn’t even try to save me. He said that I should kill the crocodile if I wanted to live! I was really desperate at that moment. You know, my leg was practically torn to shreds, and I was pretty much on the verge of death! But it’s a good thing that my elemental lightning is strong in water, I was able to use it to kill that crocodile at the very last moment…”
Bai Yunfei was just in time to hear the conclusion of Tang Ming’s story.
It would appear that Tang Ming was retelling the tale of a hard-fought battle he had with a soulbeast, with the frights and thrills all included.
“What are you all talking about so happily about today?” Bai Yunfei asked after greeting everyone.
“Little Ming was just telling us a bit about his journey.” Tang Xinyun laughed.
“You’re finally up, big brother Bai!” Tang Ming chirped in familiarity when Bai Yunfei sat on the last remaining seat, “Sis said that you were busy training, so I didn’t want to bother you. You’re so hardworking, big brother Bai! Even I want to take a break for a few days before starting to train again…”
“Haha, it’s nothing, really. I was just a little late during my nightly training this time, that’s all.” Modestly, Bai Yunfei dismissed Tang Ming’s compliment.
It was true in any case. Now that Tang Xinyun was back to her full strength, Bai Yunfei felt as though a huge boulder had been dropped off his back, so his training had progressed smoother than usual, causing the session last night to go on a little longer than usual.
Now that Bai Yunfei was seated and had caught up with what was going on, Tang Ming continued on with his story by answering the questions Kou Tingting had for him. By any accounts, his story was quite fantastical and beat Bai Yunfei’s stories by a wide margin, causing even Bai Yunfei to listen with interest.
“… and then the guy attacked us for no reason at all! Second Grandfather killed him in anger, but who knew that his friend still wouldn’t give up? They fought for a long time before a really really strong person appeared! He was so strong, even Second Grandfather had to get serious. He hid me in a cave and began to fight. After that…”
The entire journey was retold by Tang Ming in clear detail, but when he got to this part, he immediately stopped talking as if remembering to not say anything more.
“Hm? Little Ming, what’s wrong? What happened next?” Bai Yunfei urged him on due to his interest in hearing more.
“Next… well, nothing really…” He averted his eyes and shook his head.
“What do you mean nothing’s next? Are you a eunuch!?” Bai Yunfei cried, “Even a blind person could tell you don’t want to not say anything more.”
TL note: A joke lost in translation. In Chinese, 下面 means ‘below’ in the literal sense, but ‘what’s next’ in meaning. Eunuchs are males who were castrated, meaning they have ‘nothing down below.’
“Ahem, well. I can’t talk about what happened next. It’s a secret.” Tang Ming explained grimly to the people in front of him. “I can only tell sis…”
“Hm? Only me? What do you mean by that, Little Ming?”
“I… I can only tell you! Come here, sis, I’ll tell you the secret.” Not knowing how to best hide the secret, he pulled Tang Xinyun to a corner of the courtyard.
“Don’t try to eavesdrop, this is a secret to everyone!” He ‘warned’ the rest of the people at the table.
“…” Though speechless that something like that had to be said, everyone gathered there couldn’t help but smile at how secretive Tang Ming was trying to be. They were curious, but for the sake of letting the two people talk in peace like Tang Ming asked, Chu Qingxue decided to ask how Bai Yunfei was doing in his training to pass the time.
Tang Xinyun just couldn’t help but ask Tang Ming question out of curiosity, “Little Ming, what’s with you? What do you have to say so badly to me?”
“Hehe… well… that’s because I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone but you.” Tang Ming shook his head in slight embarrassment.
“Promised? Who did you promise? What is it?” She was even more curious now.
A furtive smile reached Tang Ming’s eyes. “Sis, don’t be shocked when I tell you… I met third brother!”
“Wha… what did you say!?” Reacting half a beat late, Tang Xinyun spoke, “Say that again? You met with third brother!?”
“Shhhh! Be quiet! Don’t let anyone else hear you!” Tang Ming made a shushing sound with his finger, “But hehe… I did! I met with brother Tang Wei.”
“Little Ming… are you joking with me? Did you really meet with third brother?” Excited, Tang Xinyun started to ask him some questions.
Then a more confusing question arose in her mind, “But… third brother left home when you were only three. How would you even recognize him?”
“Hey! I’m not lying! Sis, I really did meet with third brother. I didn’t recognize him, but he definitely recognized me! I didn’t believe him at first, but then he started talking about a few secrets only we would know. He even said he carried me around before and knows about the birthmark on my back; that’s when I started to believe him.”
“Is that so? Then… is it really third brother?! Tell me quick, where did you meet him? If he met with you, why hasn’t he come home yet?” Now that Tang Xinyun believed him, she was excited to know the details. She clasped her hands on Tang Ming to press for more information.
“Don’t rush me, sis! I’ll explain it all to you, just hold on.”
Gathering his thoughts, the boy began to speak again, “You see, when Second Grandfather left me in that cave, third brother came into it and took me with him, but only once I found out who he was. I was really bored following Second Grandfather, so I decided to go with third brother instead… I trained with him for an entire month and learned so much! So many things happened, and he taught me a lot as well. He made sure to tell me what I lacked before too. It was only just one month, but I feel that that one month of following third brother around was the most I have ever learned in thirty days!”
“Oh? So the reason why you seem so much more sensible now is because of third brother then…” Tang Xinyun smiled, “Then what did you do in that one month to change you so much?”
“Well… heehee, it’s a bit hard to summarize, really hard!” Pretending to be a wise old man, Tang Ming shook his head.
“Haha, that’s enough from you. What are you trying to get at?” Tang Xinyun affectionately rubbed his head, “Then answer me quickly now, how is third brother doing?”
“I’m no longer a kid, okay?” Grumbling as he fixed his hair, Tang Ming said, “Third brother’s doing fine! I don’t know how strong he is, but he’s really strong! Probably as strong as third uncle! He’s amazing no matter what he does, and more importantly, he’s even more handsome than I am…”
“Hey—be serious!” Slapping her brother on the head, Tang Xinyun said, “Then why didn’t third brother come back home with you? Why isn’t he letting you tell this to anyone else?”
“I don’t know,” came his response. “I think he has something important to do. After that month, he brought me back to Second Grandfather and told me not to explain what had happened during that month to anyone.”
A space ring appeared in his hand to present it to Tang Xinyun. “Sis, third brother told me to give this to you. He said that if you wanted to learn how to use elemental fire, the stuff in here would help you get stronger faster.”
“He’s giving me this?” Surprised, Tang Xinyun took the ring from him, “This is…”