Chapter 8: The Genius Master
After three days of keeping watch over Lu Qingyi's coffin, her remains were cremated.
Lu Mingshu had just finished picking up the remains on the other side of the courtyard when someone suddenly shouted from the other side of the wall for them to pack up and leave the small courtyard.
It was the same steward that had handled the matter of the funeral.
Once they'd left, he remained silent and focused on leading the way.
The Nine Jade Mountain was huge and had harsh topography. If one were to walk between the peaks, it would take at least a day or two for the closest peaks, and somewhere between three and five days for the peaks that were further away.
Fortunately, the Green Jade Valley was just to the side of the main palace. As such, it wasn't very far from the Blue Jade Peak.
Despite this, their feet were still sore when they reached the Green Jade Valley. Lu Mingshu had rejected Ah Sheng's offer to give her a piggyback ride her in the middle, as she'd noticed that he was still limping.
As they followed the Mountain path downwards toward the interior of the valley, the sound of water reverberated in their ears from the meandering stream.
Of course, now that November had arrived, winter was deeply prevalent throughout the mountains. However, despite it being winter, both the pine and cypress trees were still verdant, and the green meadows enticed one to sleep upon them. This was truly fitting considering the two words ‘Green Jade' in the valley's name.
As Lu Mingshu walked, she thought of the day she'd met her Father.
"I found an extraordinary master for you. He's the Eldest Senior Brother of the fifteenth generation of the Nine Jade Palace's disciples, whose famed as a rare talent only seen once in a hundred years. He started practicing martial arts at 8, entered the Inner Breath Realm at 10, the Fusion Realm at 15, and the Spirit Realm at 24. Don't underestimate these numbers, for in Xichuan, and even throughout the entirety of China, only 10 people have entered the Spirit Realm before the age of 25 in the past millennium. If not for his ambitions lying elsewhere, this Sect Leader's position would definitely belong to him."
Lu Mingshu had looked up at her father in surprise.
Fu Shangqing had lightly coughed underneath her gaze, then had moved his line of sight away from her.
"He's now the Courtyard Leader of the Heavenly Ascension Pavilion, just beneath the position of Sect Leader. However, he's still above Enforcers and Elders, as he's in charge of the various courtyards. "
Lu Mingshu had felt a little unconvinced when she heard this; her Father had actually chosen to let such a person be her master?
"However, he's recently encountered a bit of difficulty," Fu Shangqing explained warmly, "which has caused his temper to become a little weird. Currently, he doesn't respond to others much, thus you'll have to be patient with him."
Lu Mingshu had secretly become excited when she'd heard this, as her grandfather had once told her that those with ability would normally have big tempers. She'd immediately thought that, no matter how bad her Master's temper was, she'd endure it.
To be able to find such a good master for her, this father of hers really isn't that bad.
1Once they'd walked inside of the valley for around an hour, the view before their eyes suddenly widened. A large plain that was at least ten acres in size appeared in front of them and had a small trail in the middle. At the end of the trail was an extremely wide cave, which was lit up and had two crooked huts beside it.
"Kacha! Kacha!" A sound came from the two huts. When they looked towards where the sound had come from, they saw a slovenly man chopping wood.
When the Steward saw the man, he immediately walked towards him. "Courtyard Leader Liu."
That man was engrossed in chopping wood, thus he didn't bother to respond.
As if the Steward was used to it, he continued, "This servant has brought you a disciple."
The man paused his actions, then said, "Take her away. I don't need a disciple." Even though his voice was cold, it was unexpectedly euphonious.
The steward clenched his teeth and replied, "This is the Sect Leader's order. Look, here's the Sect Leader's warrant." He produced a piece of paper, yet the man didn't even spare a glance towards it.
The steward's face sank. "Courtyard Leader Liu, according to the Sect's rules, you have to have a disciple now that you've reached the Spirit Realm. However, you still don't have a disciple. This doesn't conform to the rules."
"Kacha! Kacha!" The man stepped on the saw on the bench and deliberately ignored the steward.
Even though Lu Mingshu had prepared her heart, she was still shocked when she saw the man himself.
Hui Niang was also secretly worried. She'd thought that Fu Shangqing actually had a conscience and that he'd considered their blood relationship when he'd found Lu Mingshu a master. However, when she saw the man in front of them, it seemed that he'd had an ulterior motive.
This man, with his sloppy appearance, looked destitute no matter how you looked at him. Based on his conversation with the steward, it looked like he didn't have much respect either. All in all, the situation didn't look good.
"Courtyard Leader Liu." The other party hadn't been baited when he'd used toughness, thus the steward chose to change his tone to a slower one. Considering the fact that the task had been issued by the 2nd Zhou Miss, he needn't think of remaining a steward if he failed this task. "The rules are as such. Even if you reject it this time, we'll still have to send someone else. You can refuse the Sect Leader's warrant the first time, but do you think that you can refuse it every single time?"
When he saw that the other party hadn't responded, he added, "Besides, if you refuse, we'll have to find another place for her. Both of us feel vexed about this issue, so why not save both of us the trouble and inconvenience?"
The man finally stopped, placed his foot down, and stood up.
When he stood up, it was the first time that Lu Mingshu had seen his genuine appearance. He was tall— taller than the Steward by half a head. He also had a sturdy physique, and his rolled-up sleeves showed his bulging muscles. He wore a greyish-blue shirt that was covered with wood shavings and had a messy beard that covered half of his face. It was hard to tell how old he was based on his looks; perhaps he was 30 years old, or perhaps he was 40. His eyes held a listless expression and brimmed with tiredness, which made it seem as if nothing could arouse his interest.
His gaze swept over the steward and landed on Lu Mingshu.
"I don't accept dolls."
The steward let out a breath of relief when he saw the man finally relent. "These two are simply her servants; you can just chase them away if you don't like them."
When Lu Mingshu heard, she hastily said, "Wait, they can't be chased away, they're my family!"
The steward turned and glared at her unhappily. "According to the rules, you're not allowed to bring servants into the Nine Jade Palace—even the royal family has to follow this rule. If they didn't, what would be the use of the Jiulu Province?"
Hui Niang hastily cut Lu Mingshu off and said, "Miss, if the rules are as such, Ah Sheng and I can just stay outside." She then turned and bowed towards the steward. "Our Miss is still young, please don't take into your heart."
Even though this Courtyard Leader Liu didn't seem very reliable, Hui Niang knew that it would be tough for Lu Mingshu to succeed if she wasn't able to find a Master.
Lu Mingshu bit her lip, then lowered her head and kept silent.
Somewhat pleased to hear this, the steward turned back around. "Courtyard Leader Liu, look…"
The man seized Lu Mingshu up, then said, "I can accept her." He then pointed towards the small pond to the side and continued, "there are two buckets over there. The larger can hold 5 litres, while the smaller one can hold 3 litres. You're to fetch me a litre of water without anyone's help, nor are you to use anything else."
The two buckets could each be filled up with 5 and 3 litres respectively, yet he only wanted a single litre? How was Lu Mingshu to fetch that much water?
1Hui Niang grew anxious and said, "Esteemed master…"
"Quiet!" The man coldly swept his gaze over her, "Get out if you're not happy."
Hui Niang anxiously glanced towards the steward. However, the steward ignored her and simply watched from the side as he rejoiced in Lu Mingshu's misfortune.
If Courtyard Leader didn't accept the disciple, it would be his failure. However, if it was because Lu Mingshu hadn't passed the test by herself, it would be none of his business. It would be good for her to make a fool of herself; a broken family wanted to become a Miss of Nine Jade Palace now?
Unfortunately, Lu Mingshu wasn't as bewildered as he thought she'd be. She simply stopped Hui Niang and walked towards the pond.
The steward furrowed his brows. Don't tell me she knows what to do? The larger bucket can hold 5 litres, while the smaller bucket can hold 3 litres. It's reasonable for her to fetch 2 litres, but how can she fetch just 1 litre of water? It's not possible even when you use addition and subtraction! It's clear that Courtyard Leader Liu is using this question to embarrass her! He sighed. If even he didn't know the answer, it'd be a wonder if a child like her could answer.
3The steward confidently gazed at Lu Mingshu as she lifted up the smaller bucket and threw it into the pond to fill it up with water, then struggled to lift it back up.
Hui Niang wanted to help her, but when the steward glared at her, she resisted helping Lu Mingshu with great difficulty.
The small and weak Lu Mingshu staggered as she carried the smaller bucket and emptied its contents into the larger one, then threw the smaller one back into the pond to refill it.
The second time she emptied it into the larger bucket, the larger bucket was filled up before the smaller one had been fully emptied.
2A surprised expression suddenly appeared on the steward's face when he saw this.
The smaller bucket could be filled with 3 litres. Once she'd emptied it into the larger bucket the first time, the larger bucket would have 3 litres of water in it, while she would only be able to pour 2 litres from the small bucket into the larger bucket the second time before the larger bucket would be full. 3 litres minus 2, which meant that the smaller bucket would only have 1 litre of water left.
Was this the answer?
The steward gazed at Lu Mingshu's small figure with a bit of surprise in his gaze.
Lu Mingshu then walked towards the man with the smaller bucket that only had some water left in it. "Here's 1 litre of water."
The man eyes seems to light up. "Bring me another 4 litres of water."
Lu Mingshu thought for a moment, then lifted the smaller bucket up and returned to the pond. She poured out the larger bucket, then poured the litre of water in the smaller into the larger bucket. She then refilled the smaller bucket and poured the 3 litres into the larger bucket.
1The original 1 litre coupled with another 3 litres from the small bucket equalled 4 litres of water altogether in the larger bucket.
That man was speechless.
The problem wasn't actually that hard, but those that didn't ponder over it wouldn't be able to solve it.
This was especially surprising considering her age, as she'd only recently reached the age of enlightenment.
He casually pulled a stool over and sat down. "What's your name?"
"Lu Mingshu. Ming from ‘bright moon(明月)' and Shu from ‘free from worries(舒畅)'."
"How old are you?"
"I'll be 8 years old in three months."
"Are you literate?"
"En… my grandfather taught me the Book Of Family Names* and the Thousand Character Classic**."
"Do you have any problems with taking care of your everyday needs?"
Lu Mingshu glanced towards Hui Niang. "No problem."
That man stopped asking questions, took the Sect Leader's warrant from the steward, and coldly said, "I've accepted this thing. Now that I have, don't come and bother me anymore!"
Realizing that he'd completed his errand, the steward's mind loosened up. "Yes, yes, yes, servant bids you farewell." When he was done speaking, he signalled for Ah Sheng and Hui Niang to follow him with an angry facial expression. "What're you two standing there stunned for? Courtyard Leader Liu doesn't like you being here, come with me!"
Hui Niang hesitated. "But the luggage…"
Seeing how unobservant she was, the steward unhappily shouted, "Didn't you hear what Courtyard Leader Liu said earlier? If she can't even take care of her everyday life now, how could she be qualified to practice martial arts? Don't delay your miss's future!"
When they saw that there wasn't another alternative, Hui Niang and Ah Sheng left, but turned around and glanced back at Lu Mingshu every three steps they took. When they left, they left behind Lu Mingshu and her large amount of luggage behind.