Chapter 75: Two Distinctive Worlds
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
“Of course I mean well.” Jiang Fei answered without a hesitation, and his strangeness that came with shock and fear already fading away completely. He turned the steering wheel while clicking his tongue. “You were so different since the last time I met you at the end of August. If you aren’t as manshow as ever, I would have thought I met a stranger who looked almost like you!”
“We would be good friends if you could shut your mouth upon finishing your first line.” Lou Cheng let out a laughing abuse. Manshow? Cheap mouth? Wuzzat?
Looking straight ahead, Jiang Fei grew more and more excited, “Cheng, how did you pull this off? It hasn’t even been six months yet! How did you become so powerful all of a sudden? I saw you take out three knife wielding gangsters in just a few moves just now!”
“I was focused on schoolwork previously, and I didn’t realize I had a, er, gift for meditation. Also, Songcheng Martial Arts Club hired a good coach in an attempt to restore its former glory this year. Due to these two advantages, I had made substantial progress in martial arts. However, it’s only at the beginning that a tremendous improvement like this would occur. The more I practice, the harder it would be for me to improve.” Lou Cheng explained in a way that was easily understood by Jiang Fei.
Jiang Fei was not a diehard martial arts fan, and he had no direct impression on amateur rankings beyond the Professional Martial Arts Competition. That was why Jiang Fei could not determine Lou Cheng’s approximate level right now. He knew that Lou Cheng was very strong, but exactly how far the extent of his strength reached. Therefore, he said with a smile, “Oh, I see. I wonder why I never noticed your potential? Brother Lou, Master Cheng, you simply must help me if I get bullied one day!”
“Come on, we are friends aren’t we? Just give me the signal and I would bring an army to save you!” Lou Cheng made a joke.
Jiang Fei continued to drive steadily, but his tone had gotten even more excited. “Cheng’zi, tomorrow, can you teach me some moves when we exercise tomorrow morning? Can I be cool for a bit too?”
“Sure, as long as you can calm your heart and handle the stance.” Lou Cheng nodded slightly.
The still stance was the true fundamental of martial arts. Then came the moving stance, also known as the so-called routine exercise. The final step would be the moves applied in actual combat, such as 24 Blizzard Strikes.
Jiang Fei excitedly said, “Don’t worry, I’m a forgetful guy. I can definitely calm down.”
I highly doubt it… Lou Cheng muttered to himself. Fatty Jiang was easily distracted and loves to daydream. None of these met the requirements to achieve the concealment of spirit and qi.
While chatting, the car had arrived at the destination and stopped at the entrance of the neighborhood. Lou Cheng unbuckled his seatbelt and said, “Sleep early, I’d pretend this never happened if you can’t get up tomorrow morning.”
“Don’t worry! It’s not like I never woke up this early before and worked hard for success during my last year in high school!” Jiang Fei said proudly and added, “Right, Cheng, your secret is safe with me. Mm, I saw nothing just now.”
Lou Cheng let out a laugh and stood outside the car door, looking down on Fatty Jiang,
“Well well, if you haven’t reminded me I would have forgotten that you’re a big mouth… ”
He returned home, and his room was as cold and quiet as ever. Lou Cheng went through his experience of saving a life in his head and confirmed that he missed out on no details. As long as Wang Xu kept quiet about this, there was no way the other party could find him. It was only then he completely settled down. He busied himself for a moment, splitting the laundry to those that needed to be done by hand and those that needed to be thrown into the washing machine. Upon finishing all chores, he logged into his email and checked if master had sent any information or videos on Big or Small Hand Wrap.
“No new emails? Then I will mainly do recovery exercises tomorrow… ” lying on the couch, Lou Cheng chatted with Yan Zheke over the phone, waiting for his laundry to finish.
When the time was just over nine p.m., and he was about to hang his laundry, he heard footsteps that had been deliberately lightened coming up from the fourth floor to the fifth floor.
Lou Cheng inclined his ears and naturally entered into the Condensation Stance. He remained calm and arrived at the front door once he confirmed that the person walking over was alone.
When he confirmed that the sound of footsteps had ended in front of his door, Lou Cheng abruptly opened the door in a surprising fashion.
Outside the door was Wang Xu in an army green overcoat. His face was pale and his eyes were full of shock. He looked like he hadn’t made up his mind on whether he should knock on Lou Cheng’s door.
“Have you treated your wounds already? How’s it going?” Lou Cheng signaled him to come inside first.
Wang Xu carefully let himself in and answered while closing the door. “I’ve found someone to deal with it. It’s no big deal. Tonight’s mess could be considered settled for now.”
He was carrying a bottle of hard liquor made in Ningshui County, which was an exclusive local specialty in Xiushan. Those well-to-do people all enjoyed getting some original-proof spirits from the Ningshui winery, claiming that their spirits were sufficiently mellow, spicy and tasty.
“I knew you have quitted drinking, so this bottle of authentic original-proof spirit here is for me.” Wang Xu familiarly opened the cabinet where Lou Cheng’s father put his wine cups and took out two wine cups.
Lou Cheng asked in surprise and amusement as he watched him washing the cups and pouring wine for himself, “You’re injured, you know. Why you are still drinking?”
“No drink, no talk. Just take it as me using alcohol to disinfect my wounds.” Wang Xu sat down and chuckled.
“That’s not how you disinfect wounds, okay!” Lou Cheng let out a laughing abuse.
Silence followed after the laughter. It seemed like no one was ready to talk first.
Wang Xu took a sip from his cup and broke this awkward silence with a sigh. “Cheng, I’m not sure how I can thank you for saving me tonight. If it wasn’t for you, my parents would have no choice but to pour this bottle of wine before my grave.”
“I haven’t thanked you too for watching my back in the old times. Now that I have mastered some martial arts, how could I possibly watch you die in front of me?” Lou Cheng said frankly and sincerely.
“Back then… ” Lou Cheng let out a soft laugh, “Honestly speaking, I was pretty simple back then. Firstly, I thought about our friendship since childhood, and secondly I did not want to see a kid from our factory get bullied by outsiders.”
As memories of the past flashed through his mind, Lou Cheng took a deep breath and took the initiative,
“Brother Xu, you can’t go on like this.”
Wang Xu looked up and blurted out, “It was that damn Third Jian who started the trouble tonight. He hired a Professional Ninth Pin expert from the provincial capital and surprise attacked our bar. Le almost got killed. We were lucky that Brother Biao and Brother Wei who were bold and fierce enough to keep the expert busy. However, they outnumbered us so we could only escape… These mobs who came chasing after me are machetemen led by Third Jian. Every one of them is an Amateur Sixth Pin or Amateur Seventh Pin. Normally I could handle one of them, but against three I had no option but to run.”
“Cheng’zi, I didn’t know that you’re so powerful now. I can’t believe you took them out in just a few moves!”
Lou Cheng shook his head and said, “I only succeeded because it was an ambush, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. Brother Xu, ignore the fact that my skills are limited, even if I can save you once I can’t save you a lifetime. Are you truly planning to walk this path to the end?”
Wang Xu fell quiet upon hearing this, and it took him a while before he finally smiled bitterly and said, “It’s not like I don’t understand what you’re saying. I’ve seen plenty after hanging around in the underworld for several years. I have seen the most successful bosses white wash their history, and I’ve also witnessed people with few achievements fighting day after day. Even the best martial arts experts can slip up, and a single mistake could mean replacement by a new face. Some of the members of the first gang I was together with had their hands cut off, and some ended up dead on the commercial street.”
“Of course I was terrified by their endings even though I’m just a rash young boy. So, I desperately went to martial arts clubs to train in martial arts while attempting to quit from the gang. I also saved up some money so I could open a small business in the future. But things don’t go as you wish once you were in this circle. If my old boss summoned me for a fight, should I go or refuse? What would happen if I said no to him? I could not refuse even if I were to consider this purely from a friendship standpoint.”
Even when Lou Cheng was in junior high school, which was also the messiest period of his life, he never came into contact with these affairs. A stifling silence enveloped him after he listened to Wang Xu. After pondering for a moment, he opened his mouth and spoke in a steady tone, “Brother Xu, have you ever thought about getting out of this circle?”
“Getting out?” Wang Xu looked at him in puzzlement.
Lou Cheng said with a level tone, “I went to Songcheng to study, and I’ve even visited Yanling on my way back home. Both places are almost completely disconnected from Xiushan. The world is big and wonderful, with so many opportunities and potential. Why should you confine yourself to Xiushan? If you find yourself incapable of breaking the bonds you made here, and that the circumstances are out of your control, why don’t you give yourself a chance and increase your knowledge and experience? Give it three to five years, and come back when they’ve almost forgotten about you.”
Wang Xu was startled by his words, and it took him a while before he took a sip and said, “Cheng, your student side hasn’t completely left you yet… Now I’m just glad I haven’t made it to the level of Le’s confidant yet. Otherwise, suppose I get involved in some of his affairs and witness several secrets. Do you think I could just walk away as I wish? Moreover, what can I do once I get out? Labor work? I saw a few people in the neighborhood working at other provinces doing poorer than even I am. What’s the point of a life like that?”
“Didn’t you want to open a small business?” Lou Cheng could guess that Wang Xu’s life must have been rather comfortable. According to that hedonistic son at the front table, a hatchetman gangster like Wang Xu would not need not to worry about liquor or cigarettes, women or money. When they walked on the streets, the common people would not even dare to look straight at them.
“I will think about it.” Wang Xu looked down and refilled his cup.
Suddenly, Lou Cheng felt a tinge of emotion while looking at him. They had the extremely similar family background, but had led completely different lives because they made a different choice during junior high school.
He had studied hard and got accepted by the No.1 middle school. Later on, he passed his exams and entered Songcheng University. His daily life normally consisted of bright and clean classrooms inside a beautiful and clean school. Students came from all over the country, and they talked about games, movies, novels, teachers, girls, school courses and future careers. While there was pressure, few of them got in touch with the bottom level of society. They were used to living in a world where lights prevailed over darkness, and hope over despair.
Meanwhile, Wang Xu lived a life of debauchery, and fear for his life every time there was a fight. He wasn’t sure if he could wake up peacefully every time he drank himself to sleep. He might have good times, but his entire body of life was painted in gray dark colors. If he could not climb up to become a boss and successfully whitewash his history, sooner or later the darkness would swallow him. It was a life where despair prevailed over dawn.
Education could change one’s fate, and so could martial arts… Lou Cheng felt certain about this phrase more than ever before. He changed the topic and said, “Brother Xu, you told no one about my involvement, did you?”
Wang Xu took another sip of wine and said, “Don’t worry, I know you are a goody two shoes student, and I won’t get you in trouble. Le asked me about this earlier, and I covered it up by telling him that I ran into a friend from the martial art club and escaped death because of it. Oh right, how do you practice martial arts? How did you become so impressive all of a sudden?”
“I happen to have a gift that I didn’t realize because I wasn’t training in martial arts back then. Then, a former physical invulnerability Mighty One became my coach, which is why I was barely able to keep up with the pace of a normal person.” Lou Cheng emphasized Geezer Shi’s existence on purpose.
After witnessing Wang Xu’s ‘daily life’, Lou Cheng dared not be careless despite being confident about their friendship. He dispelled all of Wang Xu’s desires and extravagant hopes by bringing up the reputation of a physical invulnerability Mighty One.
Wang Xu obviously trembled at his words. He forced a smile to his face and said, “No wonder. You have an impressive coach… Cheng’zi, can you teach me a few moves? So I will be more prepared before quitting the gang.”
“The foundation of my martial arts is the still stance and meditation. Why don’t you try and see if you can achieve concealment of spirit and qi.” Lou Cheng walked him through the martial rhyme and outlined a few key points.
Wang Xu knew that all powerful martial arts were built upon a foundation of Solemn Silence. He voiced no questions and listened quietly until the end before saying, “I will practice what you have taught me and come back to you and ask you if I have any questions. I’ll leave this bottle of wine for Uncle Lou.”
As he watched him leaving the room and closing the door, Lou Cheng let out a sudden sigh. He felt as if they were in two distinctive worlds now.
He had no confidence that Wang Xu could enter into a meditative state at all. How could a person a man who indulged himself in fantasy and luxury possibly enter a meditative state?
Life truly was a pot of all sort of circumstances…