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Chapter 1: Night Rain in Changan
540 A.D., Weidu Changan, late Autumn.
The rain started in the afternoon. At first, it was a light drizzle. Then in the evening, it became a downpour. And so, there were barely any pedestrians on the road.
Even though it wasn’t time to turn on the street lamps, owing to the black sky, the lamps were lit anyway. The light was mainly concentrated in Dongcheng. The Imperial City, as well as the homes of numerous wealthy families lay there.
As for those living in Xicheng, they were all commoners. So, those with lanterns were far and few between. However, in the north of Xicheng, was a place brightly lit. The light there, despite flickering and wavering, was still quite a bit brighter than ordinary lanterns.
Giving off that light, was a small temple. This temple, was extremely rundown and dilapidated. The courtyard walls along with the east and west wings had already collapsed. Only the main hall, meant for prayer, was left.
In the main hall, on top of the altar, was an idol. As there was no one maintaining it, the idol was seriously deteriorated. It’s paint was so worn out that it was impossible to tell which deity it was meant to represent.
At the center, was a campfire. Surrounding it, was a group of shabbily clothed beggars. These beggars, were all quite young. The oldest was only 14 at most, and the youngest, was around 8-9.
The chest of the oldest was slightly bulging. It was probably female. She was carrying a bowl of medicine and talking someone lying in front of the idol.
The person, another beggar no more than 13, was lying on a makeshift bed made of straw. It was a boy. A skinny boy, that for god know’s why, wouldn’t accept the medicine the girl was giving him. He just constantly gazed at her. No matter what the girl said, he simply would not drink the medicine.
Apart from them, there were another two people in the temple. One of them, a boy, was making a meal. He categorized the food they got from begging, then threw them into two different pots hanging above the campfire. Although he was also a beggar, he wasn’t as skinny as his companions. Instead, he was fat and white.
The other, was a girl that was gathering firewood. Her eyes were big, and she had never once spoken a single word. Instead, she communicated with others using hand signs. She was probably mute.
Seeing that the boy in front of her wouldn’t take the medicine no matter what, the girl felt worried. However, she didn’t get forceful, and only warmly asked why.
The boy turned away, and didn’t answer.
The girl told him to drink and handed him the bowl once more. The boy suddenly got up and knocked away the bowl of medicine then glared at the girl.
The girl hurriedly picked up the bowl. It wasn’t broken, but the medicine was all gone.
The boy turned to look at the girl once more, and his anger slowly subsided, only to be replaced by deep sorrow. He wiped his tears on his sleeves, and turned around, not saying one word.
The girl helplessly looked at the boy lying on the ground. Then, she walked over to the fatty who was cooking and gave him the bowl. She worriedly gazed at the rain which was getting heavier and heavier as she talked, “Do you know where Lü Pingchuan has gone?”
“Nope. Why doesn’t Chang Le drink the medicine?” the fatty asked.
The girl shrugged her shoulders then said, “What about Nan Feng? Have you seen Nan Feng?
The fatty shook his head and said, “Boss Chu, I’ll go look for them.”
“No, I’ll go.” The girl surnamed Chu waved her hand.
Whilst the two were talking, a series of hurried footsteps coming from outside could be heard. The footsteps closed in on them. And in an instant, two people, one big and the other small, had rushed in. The big one looked to be 13-14 and didn’t have any clothes on his upper body. The small one was 7-8 and wore a tattered shirt overhead.
As soon as the two of them entered, a dark and skinny boy ran in saying, “Fucking hell, I’m drenched.”
“Nan Feng, what’s that thing you’re hiding in your chest?” the fatty asked.
“Guess.” Nan Feng smirked.
“Alright, that’s enough. Everyone’s here, let’s eat.” Lü Pingchuan said towards the fatty. Then, he beckoned towards the girl surnamed Chu and said, “Huairou, come over here. I have something to discuss with you.
Chu Huairou nodded her head, and followed Lü Pingchuan to a secluded area where they talked in low voices. When they left, the fatty served the food in the pots.
As the fatty was distributing the food, Nan Feng walked up to the altar, brought out a jug of wine, and stealthily gave it to Chang Le. “Take it, it’s good stuff.”
The fatty split the food into six portions. All that was left in the pots, was some soup, which the fatty gulped down.
It seemed like Chu Huairou and Lü Pingchuan were discussing something serious. As they spoke, their expressions were serious, and they snuck glances at the people eating from time to time. It was unknown why they were scared the others would hear them. Perhaps it had something to do with those people?
Nan Feng and Chang Le were taking turns drinking the wine. Nan Feng seemed to be asking something, however, Chang Le only shook his head without answering.
In the rundown temple, there was a mouse. When it smelled food, it naturally ran out. It went towards the mute, who instead of hitting it, gave it food.
“Big sis Chu, Nan Feng is giving Chang Le wine again.” Mo Li snitched
When Chu Huairou heard that, she turned around and waved towards Mo Li, saying, “Chang Le’s caught a cold. The wine’s to warm him up.”
After a while, Lü Pingchuan and Chu Huairou left the corner and headed towards the fire.
Lü Pingchuan grabbed a bowl of and handed a bone inside it to Mo Li. As for the remaining food, he didn’t eat it. Instead, he poured it into the fatty’s pot.
Perhaps this sort of thing happened a lot, since the two people didn’t object and merely thanked him.
“You tell them.” Lü Pingchuan looked towards Chu Huairou and said.
Chu Huairou shook her head and replied, “You should do it.”
Their tone was strange, causing everyone to look at them with tilted heads. This did not include the mute, who normally played deaf.
“Alright, I’ll say it.” Lü Pingchuan explained what was on his mind,
“Yesterday, something big happened in Changan. You guys must’ve heard about it too.”
“Big Bro, are you talking about what happened in Dongcheng?” The fatty asked.
Lü Pingchuan nodded his head.
“I heard that the convention is fighting after some sutra,” the fatty said.
Lü Pingchuan nodded, “The convention this time is hosted by Daoist Huguo himself. A gathering of talents, winners of might will not only be given official positions, but also be able to scry the portion of the Heavenly Scroll. A lot of sects have sent their experts over. I think we should go to Dongcheng and try out luck. Maybe a sect will take us in. Even if we can’t become disciples, it’s better to be a random worker than being stuck here.”
When he finished talking, everyone was speechless.
Lü Pingchuan continued, “Staying here isn’t an option for us. We’ll have to leave. This kind of opportunity rarely comes. We can’t miss it.”
Seeing that everyone was silent, Chu Huairou brought the meeting to a close, “Then it’s settled. Tomorrow we’re going to Dongcheng.”
Lü Pingchuan swept his gaze across the audience and said, “We’ll be leaving soon. I want to be sworn brothers and sisters with you all. Are you guys willing?”
Everyone dazedly nodded their heads.
“Mo Li, was your bowl.” Lü Pingchuan took out a dagger from his waist and said, “Nan Feng, bring the wine over.”
“Big Bro, I’ve heard that only bandits drink blood wine when swearing oaths of brotherhood. Good people have a different set of rules if I’m not mistaken.” The fatty said.
“What’s important is the intent. To hell with the rules.” Lü Pingchuan said.
Right then, Mo Li was heading out to wash the bowl and suddenly worriedly ran back in after stepping out the door, “Big Bro, someone’s here.”
When they heard that, everyone headed towards the door. There, they saw a person’s silhouette appear in the rain. That person was slowly walking towards the temple.
When the person got closer, they got a better view of the person. It was someone in their early fifties, wearing a ragged green changpao. Their left hand held onto a faded yellow banner, while their right hand grasped a wooden staff. As the person walked, the wooden stick prodded the ground in front.
Having led the life of vagrants, the actions of the person coming wasn’t unfamiliar to them, and merely signified the person’s lack of sight……
 Author must not know his country’s map well since according to China’s map, Changan(now called Xi’an) and Weidu are in 2 different provinces.
 From what I understand, Mo Li is the little fella(not known male or female) that came in with Lü Pingchuan(the half naked big fella)