The Number One Apprentice from Huashan Sword School, part 2

   “The Qingcheng people had watched the Lin family disguise themselves,” Lao Denuo went on. “Fang Renzhi, Yu Renhao, and Jia Renda got the order to go after them and bring them back. Little Apprentice Sister insisted on following them to watch the events unfold, so we followed the bunch of them. When the Lin family stopped by a small restaurant in the mountains south of Fuzhou, Fang Renzhi, Yu Renhao, and Jia Renda showed themselves and captured the three. 

   “Little Apprentice Sister said, ‘It was all because of me that the Young Master Lin killed Yu Renyan. We cannot just walk away like this.’ 

   “I tried my best to change her mind and said that if we came out and attacked the Qingcheng Sword School, we would damage the relationship between the Qingcheng Sword School and the Huashan Sword School. And since Master Yu was in Fuzhou, we also might get in big trouble.” 

   “Second apprentice brother is old, so of course he wanted to be careful and doesn’t care much for action. Little Apprentice Sister must have been very disappointed,” Lu Dayou speculated. 

   “Little Apprentice Sister was so enthusiastic that it was hard to disappoint her even if I wanted to.” Lao Denuo smiled. “So Little Apprentice Sister first went into the kitchen and cracked Jia Renda’s head. When he started screaming and lured Fang and Yu away, she circled to the front to rescue Young Master Lin and let him escape.” 

   “Terrific! Terrific!” Lu Dayou applauded. “I see! Little Apprentice Sister wasn’t just saving that fellow Lin; she had something else in mind. Great! Great!” 

   “What other things did I have in mind? You’re talking nonsense again!” the girl said. 

   “Since I was beaten by Master because of the Qingcheng Sword School, Little Apprentice Sister was unhappy, so she beat up the people of the Qingcheng Sword School to vent my anger. Thank you very much….” Lu Dayou stood up and saluted the girl. 

   “Monkey-Six apprentice brother, you are welcome,” the girl smiled and saluted back. 

   “Little Apprentice Sister beat up the Qingcheng apprentice to vent someone’s anger, but I am not sure if that someone was you. It wasn’t just you, Monkey-Six, who got beaten by Master,” the apprentice with the abacus said with a broad grin. 

   “This time sixth apprentice brother is right,” Lao Denuo smiled. “Little Apprentice Sister really beat up Jia for sixth apprentice brother’s sake. Later if Master asks about this, she will still say so.”

    “This…this is an honor I don’t want. Don’t drag me into it and get me another ten strokes of the stick,” Lu Dayou exclaimed, waving his hands. 

   “So didn’t Fang Renzhi and Yu Renhao chase you?” the tall apprentice asked. 

   “Of course they did,” the girl answered, “but second apprentice brother had learned some moves of the Qingcheng sword art, and with only the one move called ‘Swan Goose in the Sky,’ he sent their swords into the sky. Too bad second apprentice brother masked his face with a black cloth. I’ll bet that even now Fang and Yu still don’t realize that they lost to the Huashan Sword School.” 

  “It is better that way,” Lao Denuo said. “Otherwise, there would have been more trouble. In a straight test of skills I may not be able to win over Fang and Yu, but because I used moves from the Qingcheng sword art so unexpectedly and attacked the flaw in their technique, the two were startled, and because of that, we won again this time.” 

The apprentices all agreed that if Big Apprentice Brother had known about this, he would have been very happy and excited indeed. 

It started raining more and more heavily; raindrops bounced off rooftops and street surfaces like peas. A vendor, carrying a pot of wonton and his cooking utensils balanced on the ends of a pole, appeared from the rain and stopped under the eaves of the teashop to take shelter. The old man started to knock on a bamboo block to attract customers. Hot steam was coming out of his pot. 

The Huashan apprentices had been hungry for quite a while, so when they saw the wonton vendor, they were all quite pleased. 

  “Hey, make nine servings of wonton for us, please. Extra eggs,” Lu Dayou shouted. 

  “Yes, sir!” the old man answered, and then opened the pot lid and threw the wontons into the hot soup. Moments later, five bowls of wonton were ready for the apprentices. 

Lu Dayou was well behaved. He gave the first bowl to second apprentice brother, Lao Denuo, the second bowl to third apprentice brother, Liang Fa, and the next two bowls to fourth apprentice brother, Shi Daizi, and fifth apprentice brother, Gao Genming, respectively. He should have taken the next bowl, but he put it in front of Little Apprentice Sister instead. 

  “Little Apprentice Sister, after you,” he said.

The girl had been teasing him all the time, calling him Monkey-Six and all, but when he gave the wonton to her, she stood up and replied respectfully, “Thanks! Apprentice brother!” 

Lin Pingzhi observed everything from his vantage point by the side, and thought that they had very strict school rules; it was okay to joke around, but all had to abide by the rule of seniority. 

Lao Denuo and the others began to eat, but the girl waited till Lu Dayou and all the other apprentice brothers had their bowls of wonton before eating her own. 

  “Second apprentice brother, you were just talking about how Master Yu took over the Fortune Prestige Escort House. What happened after that?” Liang Fa asked. (To be continued)

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