Last Updated on May 24, 2020 by Lizonka
Chang An was not discouraged.
He knew that Bei Shi was teaching him a very great skill. And the greater the skill, the less people could execute it because of its extreme difficulty.
Although he was young, he understood the principle of life in his mind: To obtain the unparalleled things of this world, one must be ready to exchange immense pain that is tantamount to its value.
Three months later, Chang An was still camping outside. He never once mentioned that he wanted to enter the house.
Regrettably, the Qiongjiang tree still stood in high spirits, day after day, accepting the challenge of this persistent little wolf pup.
Chang An had already given it all with his first knife.
He became thinner, and he looked like a lovesick man. He didn’t care about food and tea. Yet, his eyes were very clear, unshaken and not confused.
Bei Shi looked on coldly. He felt that this wolf pup was very unlike a child and was more like an ascetic who never looked back.
The man slowly reacted, remembering what his teacher once said to him: If a person can truly have no distractions, if he can think about one thing every day from morning to night, if he does only this one thing, then in three years, he will have a small achievement. In ten years, it will be bigger, and in thirty years, he will be unparalleled in the world.
Bei Shi couldn’t understand back then. How could there be someone who, aside from eating and drinking, could focus on only one thing alone?
And then he met Chang An.
Half a year later, when winter arrived, the snow roared down from the top of Yufeng Mountain, covering the entire northern continent. On that day, the sky was gloomy, and past afternoon, the snow was falling like goose feathers .
Bei Shi had stocked a lot of food for the winter, so now he was warming himself up with a cup of wine made from the sap of the Qiongjiang tree as he sat comfortably on the bed and looked at Chang An who was in the backyard.
Neither wind nor rain could move him. Bei Shi looked at him and thought that even the snow couldn’t stop him. This little wolf pup had only the blade in his mind, making him stand in the yard for hours and slash away at the tree.
Chang An held the handle of the knife with both hands and fixed his eyes firmly on the trunk of the Qiongjiang tree. He stood there, unmoving; in his eyes, there was no room for anything else but that tree.
As the snow fell heavier and heavier, it started covering Chang An in large clumps, almost burying him underneath it.
Bei Shi was surprised to find that Chang An’s breathing rate seemed to have changed. With his eyesight, he could see that the little fellow was evolving, becoming one with the tree. There was a strange connection between the tree’s flickering patterns and Chang An’s breathing.
Bei Shi could not help but stand up.
At that moment, he saw the child move. Chang An still had one trick up his sleeve–one that he once used to slay the carving wolf. The moment the blade pierced the trunk, he twisted it sideways as he adjusted his stance to gain firmer footing on the earth beneath his feet. Then the blade made a “bzz” sound as it slashed the mass of snow into the air along with a piece of bark. The hard bark fell to the ground, and Bei Shi’s pupils couldn’t help but shrink. 
Bei Shi clearly saw the child catch onto the changing patterns of the Qiongjiang tree. However, Chang An was exhausted, unable to push the knife through. Yet, for the first time ever, he finally left a shallow white mark on the bark.
The knife suddenly flung away from his grip and landed several feet away. Chang An staggered as he took two steps forward, when he finally couldn’t take it anymore and collapsed into the snow. He didn’t get up again.
Bei Shi put down his cup and ran towards Chang An. The child’s face was blue and his lips were purple. It looked like suffocation. He stretched his hand to press upon his chest, but couldn’t feel a heartbeat!
Chang An caught Bei Shi’s hand as he unconsciously grasped his chest, desperately trying to curl up but was unable to move. He could see and feel nothing save for the numbness of his heart, which came with an indescribable pain that slowly spread throughout his body.
He was gasping so heavily that he couldn’t breathe in.
Bei Shi applied pressure on Chang An’s chest several times but the child still did not respond. In desperation, he punched him in the chest. Chang An was like a dying fish, stiff and straight. Bei Shi didn’t even hit him that hard.
For a while, Bei Shi thought he was dead.
However, after what seemed like ages yet was only just a moment, Chang An trembled and breathed softly. He closed his eyes and fell into Bei Shi’s arms. Bei Shi once again pressed his palm on Chang An’s chest, and this time he could feel the chaotic heartbeat through the boy’s fragile body.
After some time, Bei Shi carefully picked up Chang An. He took off his robe and wrapped it around him. He wiped Chang An’s forehead which was wet from cold sweat and melted snow and then carried him into the house.
He felt relieved, as if he were the one just experiencing such a near-death situation.
When Chang An woke up later in the middle of the night, Bei Shi knew. After hearing the child cough twice, he was quickly awoken. However, he pretended to be still asleep as he observed what Chang An would do.
Chang An sat at the bedside, clutching at his chest for a while. Bei Shi’s punch was so powerful that it almost broke his bones. His chest was blue and swollen, and it would probably be like that for ten days to half a month. Then he slowly and quietly picked up the pillow that was half his length and dragged the small stitched animal hide with him as he went out and carried them up the roof.
Chang An slept in the snow.
He’d bicker with Bei Shi on weekdays and did not know how to respect him as his teacher. Yet, he had always remembered the condition that, unless he could cut down trees and build a shed, he won’t be allowed to enter the house. Chang An will meticulously carry out this promise to the very end.
But how could a puppy without meat stand the cold of a winter night?
Sure enough, after a while, the sound of slashing at trees came from the backyard forest. Bei Shi stood by the window, looking at Chang An’s awkward movements as he practiced with his knife in spite of the snow.
Looked like the puppy came up with a practical way to drive out the cold.
Suddenly, Bei Shi felt that… he really couldn’t accept him as an apprentice.
The most important characteristic of one who wields the knife is neither the wisdom he holds nor the immense strength of his body, but the courage to believe that he is indestructible and can persevere beyond what ordinary people could imagine.
Bei Shi hesitated, and he rarely hesitated in his life.
When a person has seen many things, his judgment will be relatively accurate,. However, a person’s life is limited; one cannot see everything and be right all the time.
Bei Shi himself did not know what would happen to such a child in the future
He couldn’t judge him, and he couldn’t even remember how he, when he was as young as Chang An, treated the knife in his hands.
The night breeze swept through the trees and rustled the branches that had lost their leaves as the snow fell down.
Common Chinese metaphor to describe heavy snow, since goose feathers are large and also white like snow. Return ▲
Visualizing this scene was so damn hard, so there may be some mistakes…