6 One Year
The green seedling’s shoots extended, with each shoot perfectly distanced from the other.
Every row and column of seedlings appeared to be perfectly straight from every angle, even in the water’s reflection.
Even the most experienced farmer in the village could not manage this.
Seeing this, Liu Shisui had a hard time closing his mouth.
A gentle breeze rustled the seedlings, and what a beautiful sight it was.
The youth in white stood on a ridge and nodded, satisfied with his handiwork. He turned and walked towards his bamboo chair, reclined back, and closed his eyes.
Liu Shisui stared and asked, "Young Sir, should I chop firewood next?"
Because the youth in white didn’t consider himself to be an immortal master, the villagers decided to address him as "Young Sir" after some discussion.
"You can stop here." The youth in white said, his eyes closed.
Liu Shisui didn’t understand what he meant and asked, "Or should I cook first?"
The youth in white ignored him.
Liu Shisui finally understood, but he still didn’t get why the youth changed his mind so quickly.
"I want to learn, but I don’t like to."
The youth in white said, "even if huafan  is worth doing, it doesn’t suit me."
Liu Shisui didn’t understand and asked, "Why not?"
The youth in white said, "Because I’m lazy and not good at it."
Liu Shisui was a bit moved, "Then what are you good at, Young Sir?"
Among the legends in this village, the immortal masters from the mountains could all summon lightning and thunder with a wave of their hand and send their flying swords into the air.
The youth in white said, "Cutting."
Everything in the world had weak points.
What he was best at was finding those weak points and cutting into them, be they magical weapons, or something else.
Magical armaments, mountain peaks, or other objects.
Liu Shisui wasn’t expecting that answer, and was disappointed by it. He scratched his head and said, "No wonder you are so good at chopping vegetables."
A leaf fell as the wind picked up. The break was extremely smooth, as if it had been cut by a sword.
Then came the call of a cicada.
It should have been the first cicada call this year for the small mountain village.
The youth in white opened his eyes and gazed at the mountain peaks in the distance that were shrouded in clouds.
Liu Shisui picked up the leaf and asked, "Young Sir, what exactly is your name?"
The youth in white was quiet for a while before saying, "Jing Jiu."
"Jing as in a water well, Jiu as in the number nine."
"’Well’ as in ‘well water does not interfere with the river’, ‘nine’ as in ‘things do not go your way nine times out of ten’?"
"Have you studied at all?"
"There used to be teacher in the village; he left last year, apparently to town to test young students."
"I’ve also studied."
"If you don’t understand something, just ask me."
"Thank you, Young Sir."
Liu Shisui had looked at the youth’s face for nine days, so he had gotten used to it, but his attractiveness was still a sight to behold.
"Are you perhaps… in a bad mood?"
The youth in white stared at the mountain peaks in the clouds for a long time without saying a thing, until suddenly, he spoke.
"It’s pretty hard not to be annoyed with having to repeat the same thing over and over."
Liu Shisui thought about it for a moment and said, "If… it’s about eating meat."
A year passed by quickly, and it was late spring.
The village was split into two groups when it came to the youth in white who called himself Jing Jiu. One believed him to be an immortal master from the Green Mountains; the other believed he wasn’t one, but a descendant of a noble clan from the city, or even the capital. Regardless, both groups agreed he was the laziest person they had ever seen.
During this year, the villagers liked to stroll near the Chen household—as no matter Jing Jiu’s background, they liked seeing him. But no matter when they came, Jing Jiu was always seen sleeping. If the sun was out, he would be sleeping on his bamboo chair in the courtyard. If it was cloudy, he slept in his room on his bed. If it was too hot, he would move his bamboo chair near the pond and sleep under the trees. If it was snowing, he would go back to his room but keep his window open.
After the first nine days, no one saw Jing Jiu do even the simplest of chores; making the bed, getting dressed, eating--everything was taken care of by Liu Shisui. Even that bamboo chair was carried around by Liu Shisui.
Despite that, however, the villagers still had genuine respect for Jing Jiu. When the children in the village read books, he sometimes offered his advice. According to what the children said, the Young Master’s wisdom was over three hundred times more than that of their schoolteacher.
Most importantly, Jing Jiu had a lot of money and wasn’t afraid to spend it. Although no villager dared to ask him for money at first, the ancestral hall and shrine all used his silver, and the new road connecting the village to the city was more than halfway finished. How could the villagers not be thankful and respectful?
"Young Sir, make sure you don’t fall into the pond again when you’re resting."
Liu Shisui carried a pile of branches from the mountain on his back and looked at Jing Jiu on his bamboo chair, a bit worried.
Jing Jiu had fallen into the pond once, and Liu Shisui was severely scolded by his father for not taking good care of the immortal master.
Jing Jiu only grunted once, though whether it was in reply or from comfort, no one knew.
It should have been the latter, as he began to tap his finger. The beat was chaotic and without any pattern, giving off an impression of laziness.
Liu Shisui hesitated for a moment before putting down the branches he had on his back.
He sat next to the tree and hugged his knees. He stared at that bamboo chair, not daring to relax for even a single moment.
He’s eleven years old now, but "Ten-Year-Old" was still in his name. Jing Jiu didn’t appear to have any intention of changing it, most likely because of his laziness.
No matter the name, Liu Shisui was still honest and trustworthy. Since he promised his father to take good care of the Young Sir, he would make sure to follow through with it.
Jing Jiu’s tapping became more and more interesting. Liu Shisui didn’t know how to describe it, but he felt his heart become calmer and calmer.
The mountain breeze brushed across the surface of the pond. The daylight was fading as the night approached.
"The last two times, you exhaled early."
Liu Shisui was startled at first, then became alert. "Got it."
Jing Jiu opened his eyes and looked at the pond.
The evening wind had disappeared. The pond’s surface was as tranquil as a mirror.
He looked at that face reflected on the surface, and was speechless for a long time.
That face was beautiful.
That face was perfect.
If it was as beautiful as a painting, and it must have been painted by the best painter in a million years.
Not even in the realm of training, where there were countless handsome men and beautiful women, had he seen such a beautiful face.
Starlight fell upon that face onto the water. The surface rippled slightly, making the reflection even more ethereal.
This wasn’t the first time he saw his face.
But it was now that he realized why the villagers thought he was an immortal master.
No one would be dissatisfied with this face, even if he were Jing Jiu.
He only felt that there one place that was odd.
He reached up and felt his ears.
They were protruding ears that were round, though curiously enough, they didn’t look like they didn’t go with his face. Rather, they added a sense of cuteness.
He understood why that was, but wasn’t used to it.
The evening wind picked up again, stirring away his reflection as well as his thoughts.
Everything was like a dream, like what Sister Lian spoke of in Shuiyue Temple.
Jing Jiu returned to his bamboo chair. He wanted to drink water, but realized that the kettle was in front of the chair and that he’d have to get up again to get it, so he gave Liu Shisui a look.
Liu Shisui was playing with bugs in the grass. Upon feeling Jing Jiu’s gaze on his back, he looked up and saw why. He sighed, walked over to the front of the chair, and handed the kettle to Jing Jiu.
Jing Jiu drank and closed his eyes again.
Liu Shisui didn’t leave and squatted down next to the bamboo chair. He propped up his chin and stared blankly at Jing Jiu’s daydreaming face.
How was he so good-looking?
Because he saw that face more often than other villagers, he knew that that face had experienced change during the past year. Not change in facial features but…spiritual?
The young sir was no longer as dull as before. His eyes and entire person became much livelier. He also talked much more than before.
Three breaths later, Jing Jiu opened his eyes.
Liu Shisui was quite surprised. For the past year, the young sir had never opened his eyes so quickly, be it when he was sleeping or getting in a quick cat nap.
"What are you doing?"
Jing Jiu looked up at the stars and said, "I’m deducing what’s to happen over the next three years."
Liu Shisui scratched his head. Jing Jiu sleeps all day, so what’s this all about?
Jing Jiu seemed to know what Liu Shisui was thinking, "I’m deducing what’s to happen over the next three thousand years."
Liu Shishui opened his eyes wide, "Three thousand years?"
Jing Jiu asked, "Suppose you wracked your brains and put in all your effort and time to write a top-quality article, and you feel like you will never write another as good as this one in all your life, only for it to fall into a fireplace and turn to ash. How would you feel?
Liu Shisui couldn’t react for a while. He held his chest and replied, "I don’t wanna think about it; thinking about it hurts my heart."
"It’s not mere hurt; it’s pain." Jing Jiu was quiet for a while. "It’s excruciating."
It was the type of pain one could not relate to without experiencing it firsthand.
The kind of pain that made one long for death.
Painful though it might have been, what was there to do but rewrite it?
Liu Shisui knew better, "Then that person could only rewrite it."
Jing Jiu repeated, "Right. What else could be done other than rewriting it?"
Liu Shishui suddenly remembered something "But what about those splendid words and phrases and stories? What if you couldn’t remember?"
"The ones you don’t remember are obviously not splendid enough."
Looking at the mountain peaks in the evening mist, Jing Jiu said, "When you write it again, it is bound to be even more splendid."
Liu Shisui didn’t know if that was logical. Thinking back on earlier, he asked, "Young Sir, what did you deduce? How’s the rain in the next three years?"
Jing Jiu fixed his gaze on the woods not too far away, "I only deduced that the time is now."
The night breeze blew as a middle-aged practitioner floated down to the earth. Behind his back was a long sword.
Liu Shisui was startled and hid behind the bamboo chair.
That middle-aged practitioner’s gaze fell upon Jing Jiu. He raised his eyebrows slightly, as if this meeting was unexpected.
 huafan is one of the magic arts