Chapter 45: Accepting a Disciple
“You can continue to rest for a bit, I’ll go boil some water. What do you want to eat for breakfast?” Suddenly, Lin Si Yao’s low voice sounded by her ear. Taking advantage that Su Shuilian was right above him, trying get to past him, he quickly stole a kiss from her before getting up and putting on his outerwear.
“I’ll also get up, it’s not good for Xicui to see me always lazing around whenever she comes. Plus today is the last day, it would be better if we can finish it earlier.” Su Shuilian tugged at the hem of Lin Si Yao’s clothes as she shyly said.
“Can you?” Lin Si Yao quickly dressed up before he gently helped her up. He went to the wardrobe and picked out a worn out green clothes. She had said that wearing old clothes when embroidering was more convenient and comforting.
Su Shulian could not win over him in terms of getting dressed, so she helplessly watched him dress her up and do her hair.
Watching him without any sense of awkwardness in helping her, Su Shuilian could not help but feel satisfaction. He was no longer the cold man she had met before, but a pampering husband. Maybe Aunt Lao and Aunt Tian was right, he was a rarely found, good husband.
“It’s finished.” Lin Si Yao finished his last action, as he placed the hairpin into her hair. After he helped her put on her white jade earrings, he saw her face plastered with a silly smile. He could not help but pinch her nose and ask, “What are you smiling about?”
“Ah, done? No… nothing.” Su Shuilian quickly returned from her daze as she shyly felt her hair before quickly adding, “Thank you” and blushed as she ran to the kitchen to wash her face.
Lin Si Yao smiled as he shook his head. He was puzzled as to what she was blushing about, but from her reaction, it must have been related to him. She must have thought back to last night’s passion… Lin Si Yao’s eyes darkened as he suppressed his urge to bring her back into bed again. After a few moves, the bed was quickly tidied up and he then left to the river to sober himself up with cold water.
“Shifu*! Shifu!” After Su Shuilian and Xicui entered the embroidery room, Lin Si Yao cleared the plates and bowls and hung the washed clothing. As he was about to squat down in the backyard to weed out the weeds, Tian House’s Dabao’s young juvenile voice called out from their door.
(Shifu, 师父 – master/teacher of martial arts)
“Shifu, Big brother Lin, please take me as your disciple. I will study hard! I’m not afraid of hardships and I’ll learn to be just as powerful as you! Please accept me!” When Tian Dabao saw that Lin Si Yao had opened the gates, he knelt down and bowed as he pleaded. He refused to get up, not until Lin Si Yao would accept his request.
Lin Si Yao solemnly glanced at him a few times before he turned back and continued to root out the weeds.
When Tian Dabao saw this, his felt as if he was poured on with cold water. He thought back to the plays he watched, he had acted the same way as he kneeled to beg to become a disciple. But after so long, big brother Lin continued to ignore him, what happened to the shifu accepting these kinds of request without a second thought. Ah of course, those plays were simply playing with little children.
Even with this grieving thought, Tian Dabao remained kneeling as he occasionally glanced at Lin Si Yao not too far away, after all he still had a child’s heart.
“Dabao, Dabao, what are you doing kneeling here?” From afar, Aunt Tian and Tian Dafu ran over to the gates before they swept a glance at Lin Si Yao who was silently tidying the yard. Aunt Tian was annoyed, wow, what a good husband he was, to have let her precious son kneel here for more than an hour. If not for Fang House’s poniang notifying her, he would have continued to kneel like this. What big mistake had her son made to be punished like this?
Aunt Tian was angry and was about to charge into the yard at Lin Si Yao. And Tian Dafu, although he had a good impression of Lin Si Yao after their woodworking contract, was also annoyed and had wanted to rush in with his wife.
“Aiya, mom, I’m here requesting to be a disciple, what are you doing? Quickly go.”
“What? What disciple?” Both Aunt Tian and Tian Dafu were stunned, “Dabao, speak more clearly, what disciple?” Aunt Tian attempted to pull Tian Dabao off the ground, but he refused to stand up no matter what. This tug of war resulted in both parties’ faces to flush red. Until Aunt Tian suddenly tugged at Tian Dabao’s collar.
“Ok you little rascal, you dare go against your own mother eh? What disciple or not, get home this instant! ” Aunt Tian could not take this any longer as she yelled angrily.
“You should listen to his explanation first.” Tian Dafu was confused with his son’s current behavior. He was usually playful and naughty, it was rare for him to be so serious. He stole a quick glance at the expressionless Lin Si Yao who was skinning fox and rabbit’s fur in the yard. Looking at the two big dogs by his side squinting their eyes, he seemed to have gotten a clue as he tried to calm his wife.
“Dad, I want to big brother to be my Shifu.” Tian Dabao said, not in a pleading voice, but in a firm tone.
“Why?” Tian Dafu did not mind as he immediately blurted out.
“So big brother Lin can teach me martial arts. This way, when I grow up, I can be like him and hunt in the forest and earn some taels from the animal fur. This way, father and mother won’t suffer from hardship.” And also marry a pretty person just like Fairy jiejie. However, Tian Dabao could not say this out loud and could only snicker in his heart. Humph, let’s see if Gou’zi and them* will be jealous of him later.
(哼，看以后狗子他们不嫉妒死我。I’m actually not sure where this popped out from, but I can’t tell if Dabao is talking about the doggies or some group of children. We’ll see in the later chapters I guess.)
When Aunt Tian and Tian Dafu heard this, they were all shocked, especially Aunt Tian. With one move, she tightly hugged Tian Dabao’s body. “Good Dabao, it’s mom’s fault for recklessly blaming you,” she embarrassingly explained as she pulled on Tian Dafu’s sleeves, indicating for him to go in and talk to Lin Si Yao. About this matter, she no longer blamed her son for requesting to be a disciple. The reason was not because of his filial reason, because it was beneficial for him to learn martial arts. One, it could end his wild animal-like days. And two, she had hoped that if he were to become as skilled as Lin Si Yao, maybe he would be able to clear his brain thrombosis and resume normal mental growth.
Tian Dafu has already seen Lin Si Yao’s excellent qinggong. With a single leap, he was was able to travel tens of feet. He had even heard that he was able to travel from this town to the city in about the time to burn incense (30 minutes). He could not understand why a master such as him would settle down at an although beautiful town, with mountains on one side and water on the other, it was nameless. Perhaps, experts are just unconventional.
“What? What are you dawdling around for? Do you want your son to kneel all day?” When Aunt Tian saw Tian Dafu frowning while looking at the gates with no intention of walking in, she nudged him.
“Oh ok….” Tian Dafu helplessly walked into the yard and lightly said, “Uh that…”
Lin Si Yao did not wait for him to finish as he was already done skinning the animals and placed their bloody fur into a large bucket. He walked to the water tank and scooped out a bit of water to wash his hands and intended on heading to the river to wash the smell off of the fur.
Every move he made, not to mention Tian Dafu, even the two at the door watched silently until he dried his hands and wiped away the blood stains in the cuff of his sleeves from the skinning.
“That… uh… about Dabao…” Tian Dafu rubbed his hands together, unable to start. Their words were already heard by Lin Si Yao, if he had wanted to accept Dabao as a disciple he would have long agreed. Since the opposing party had no intention to take him in, what was the point for him to force this request?
With this thought, Tian Dafu found it hard to continue on. He continued to rub his hands together as he helplessly looked at Lin Si Yao. He turned back to look at Tian Dabao and sighed internally.
Lin Si Yao walked by the gate towards the currently kneeling Tian Dabao with his head down and lightly said, “Once we start, we will not stop even if you give up.”
Tian Dabao blinked his head, it took a while for him to process those words, soon he happily nodded and said, “I won’t give up, won’t give up, even if I die, I won’t give up! Shifu, great shifu, please accept this bow from this disciple!” Tian Dabao excitedly recalled the scene he had watched during the New Year’s play in the city. He repeated the words and was about to kowtow to him.
With a flick of his sleeves, his stopped Dabao’s mid-action of a kowtow, reminding him, “From now on, don’t kneel at every turn.”
“I understand, Shifu.” Tian Dabao happily straightened up. He subconsciously rubbed his already numbed knees and replied.
When Aunt Tian saw this, she felt upset.
Although she could not say that he was always well behaved at home, but he had been so sensible. It seems the old saying, ‘an older son needs no help from (his) mother’ was correct… But Tian Dabao was only mentally nine, could he handle the hardships? For a woman her age, she had naturally suffered through many… but she knew that there was a lot more torment when learning martial arts. Dabao… was he up to it?
“Ok, you can go home today, when your knees heal, come back then.” After he said that, Lin Si Yao turned around and from the basket of skinned animals, he pulled out a random skinned hare and threw it towards the dumbfounded Tian Dafu. With a “Won’t send (you off),” he took the large bucket of bloody fur and headed past the kitchen and towards the river.
The two wolf puppies opened their eyes as they gazed at the rabbit in Tian Dafu’s hands, but when they recalled Lin Si Yao’s silent warning, they could only close their eyes and go back to their afternoon nap.
“That.. he, was this given to us?” Aunt Tian excitedly asked, pointing at the fat hare in Tian Dafu’s hands.
“It seems like it.” Tian Dafu scratched his head and walked out of the gates. As if speaking to himself, “It might be a gift to complete the propriety/ceremony (?).”
“What? Does that mean we have to give him teaching fees?” When Aunt Tian thought of this, she asked Tian Dafu worriedly.
When Tian Dafu heard this, he glanced at the dazed Dabao by his side before he turned to his wife and said, “Tomorrow, you and Dabao will go to and give him the fee according to the schools.”
Aunt Tian could only nod, her heart could not help but be pained. Although he was her only son, he was mentally disabled. However, for her to take out tens of coppers, she was a bit unwilling…
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