Chapter 1: Chen Xi
In the Southern Border of Song Yan City.
Twilight fell during the fiery sunset. (TL Notes:暮色沉沉，夕阳如火 I’m not sure about this)
As usual, Chen Xi pushed open the door and walked into Zhang Grocery Store.
Zhang Grocery store is just a normal store in the inner city of Song Yan City, the interior is not too big, and it only on the sales of a few daily talismans to maintain its sales, the best sellers are the grade 1 talisman, second is its grade 2 talismans, these are the only merchandise sold to maintain the survival of the small business, the sales is not big either, but it’s barely maintain its foothold in the Song Yan City.
“Zhi Fu (TL Notes: System Operator or operating symbol? I think operating symbol makes more sense since it is for talisman usage, it is the writing that you see on talismans), Fu paper (Talisman paper), Fu pen and ink are indispensible, seems simple, but any one of the doorway (Method) is very complex, starting from today, you will first learn how to identify Fu paper, the usage of the Fu pen and the ink’s composition, and other basic foundation, then I will teach you how to make Zhi Fu.” [??] (Using the net I found that the talisman practitioner study is called NLP study or Natural Language Processing study, so just think that the Zhi Fu mentioned is a Natural Language)
Chen Xi noticed, there are 7 to 8 innocent faced talisman practitioner apprentices. The owner of the shop, Boss Zhang Da Yong was giving them a lecture, and his shriveled voice echoed through the entire grocery store. (TL Notes: Is there a proper word for talisman practitioner?)
“I will give you all a month’s worth of time, after one month, if any of you dissatisfy me, then go home and go play with mud. Lastly, keep in mind, if you want to become a qualified talisman trainer, hard work is you lots’ only way to succeed, no one can simply succeed!!”
All the apprentice’s eyes sparkle with excitement and eagerness.
“Oh, Chen Xi has arrived”
Zhan Da Yong turned his head to face Chen Xi, while greeting him with a sweet smile.
“Uncle Zhang, today is 30 piece of Fire Dragon talisman.” Chen Xi took out a stack of light cyan talisman, and handed them all.(Actually it was Fire Cloud talisman but Fire Dragon sounds cooler)
Zhang Da Yong waved his hand: “Don’t rush, since you are here, why not help me teach these little brats, your wages will be counted separately. Well, for every hour 3 pieces of yuan stone worth. What do you say?”
After giving it a little thought, Chen Xi nodded: “Great”
30 pieces of Fire Dragon talisman can only be sold for 10 yuan stone, but he took 5 hours to make them. So no matter how you think, that price is really bountiful.
Zhan Da Yong laughed and turned to face the group of new apprentices, suddenly with a serious face and spoke in a heavy tone: “The pathway to become a talisman practitioner is profound, so in order for you to get started, your senior (senpai), will demonstrate on how to make a Fire Dragon talisman, which is one of the best seller. I don’t dare to say about others, but if we dare say the solid basic skills, nobody in Song Yan City can be compared to Chen Xi, regarding this matter I am also humbled. You lot better observe and learn carefully. Don’t miss this great opportunity.”
The 7 to 8 apprentices’ simultaneously stares at Chen Xi’s body, but no matter how you look at him, he is just a pale skinny boy, and his age wouldn’t differ much with theirs, those teens’ eyes could not be helped but show a trace of suspicion of whether this boy is as the person described by Uncle Zhang.
Chen Xi’s facial expression didn’t change, he was not even aware of the surrounding atmosphere of subtle, and he took out atalisman preparation table,then he took out a light cyanFu paper from the side of the table and placed it on the flat surface of the table, after that he took out a pen dipped in ink and brushed down.
His hand moved so skillfully smooth.
The onlooking teenagers quickly gathered around.
Even when holding the Fu pen, Chen Xi’s temperament is one of the only changes, there were clarity in his eyes, his wrist was swinging like a snake, the Fu pen’s tip was allegro (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/allegro) *shashasha…… the slim arc gracefully opens and spread across the Fu paper, rather like wisps smoke curl were being born, comfortably natural.
The new symbol attracted all the apprentices’ wide open eyes, unblinking stare at Chen Xi’s wrist, pen, as well as the symbols formed above the light cyan Fu paper, their expressions were shocked.
Talisman has 9 grades; the grade 1 Fire Dragon talisman is one of the most basic talismans, naturally, it is also one of the lowest grades of talismans. The onlooking teens at first did not believe in him due to his age difference, however, looking first handedly at Chen Xi’s Zhi Fu, even though it is just a few stokes, but it was full of grace and precise control of power, their hearts instantaneously conquered.
Chen Xi looked focused, totally selfless; simply not noticing the ever oncoming stares, once done with the Zhi Fu, he immersed in a strange state of stillness, he only had his eyes on the thin and dense Fu line on the Fu paper.
Looking at the surprised faces of the teens, Zhang Da Yong couldn’t help it but laugh, not to mention about the newcomers, it just that he himself encounter it every time, their heart can’t stop floating with stunning colour, just as he have mentioned, only taking the basics of making a talisman on attainment, Chen Xi has indeed reached an extraordinary level.
The stroke, stir, hook, draw, spin, energy for sharp precision, a very thin light blue pine Fu Zhi, is swaying under Chen Xi’s pen, gradually forming a fine pattern.
After the burning of a stick of incense.
The Fu Zhi suddenly lights up, like it is breathing, then immediately restored to its original form. (TL Notes: Not sure about this: 旋即恢复如初)
Chen Xi put aside the Fu pen, feeling like having heavy bodies like he just avoided a ship, soreness of harden; his skinny pale cheek turns clear and transparent.
Before coming to the store, he has produced 30 grade 1 Fire Dragon talismans; these have been made half-assedly, but it still consume great effort and great amount of time to produce those talismans, his true element has been completely drained and he is mentally exhausted.
The new apprentices did not notice his sign of fatigue, just seeing his smooth completion of a talisman, instantly outrage.
“That’s amazing! The pen’s speed, flexibility and accuracy can really give someone a shock!”
“Wa, Chen Xi senpai completed a disposable talisman, this success can only be described as perfect!”
(I change it to senpai because I think it is easier to understand)
“In the future, I must follow Chen Xi’s senpai’s great advices, such as the skillful calligraphy, I guarantee that I will practice.”
However during that moment, a strange ying yang qi’s sound can be heard coming from the store’s entrance.
“Hmm, the production of a grade 1 basic talisman isn’t that really that great, giving you all 5 years’ worth of time, with the frozen face of yours, and going to play a fool when learning the basic talisman foundation. Why don’t you brats have at least a curious expression, then when will you brats start making grade 2 talismans? On his level, all you brats are all just vegetable birds (rookies)”
At the entrance of the store, I didn’t notice there was a young man standing there. He has narrow cheeks, muscled arms, and a pair of gold fish eyes that does not despise colour.
Listening, all of the humming sound instantly disappear without a trace, currently the teens’ fiery eyes of reverence, added some suspicion in them, accompanied with weird colours.
Five years just to master the basics of production of grade 1 talismans?
Such a qualification is garbage!
Expressionless Chen, hmm, sounds like a familiar nickname ……
And so on, so it was him!(Shocked)
The new talisman practitioners finally knew who Chen Xi is, now their eyes are emitting strange light.
In Song Yan City,expressionless Chen belongs to one of the famous household name, which is one of the well-deserved to be called jinxed.
When Chen Xi was born, the Chen family originally was among the first-class family, but it was destroyed overnight by enemies, he was left with his grandfather, father and mother.
When he was one years old, his grandfather was bedridden due to a serious disease, to repair their losses, became someone who is useless, a family with 4 mouths to feed has turned them into normal citizens of Song Yan City.
At the age of 2, his brother Hao Chen was born, his mother went missing without a trace, rumor has it that the avoided Chen family has not fall (传闻是嫌弃陈家没落), they cannot stand this poor lifestyle, followed by a young handsome man she elope.
At the age of 3, his father left home and never returned.
At the age of 4, originally he was engaged to the southern Su household, but the Su household sent a dozen of experts, standing in sky, in front of every one of Song Yan City, tore the marriage deed, then flew away.
For five consecutive years, many unfortunate things have happened to Chen XI, one after another, and it becomes even more serious than the previous. Song Yan City is not very big, very quickly, Chen XI’s jinxed(or cursed) name is like it has grown its wings(became famous), it has spread throughout the Song Yan City, even women and children knew.
Since Chen Xi’s childhood was harsh, looks indifferent, no one has ever smiled towards him, in addition good thing only stays as propaganda (再加上一些好事之徒的宣传), his nicknamed as expressionless Chen throughout the whole Song Yan City.
“Uncle Zhang, I will be back tomorrow.”
The atmosphere was strange, Chen Xi can even feel it, in other words, all these years he has growing up with the same routine, he practices very often. Uncle Zhang nodded, Chen XI left calmly.
Not long after Chen Xi left, Uncle Zhang stared fiercely at the door, he snapped: “YUN HUNG, COME WITH ME!”
“Uncle, I …….”
Yun Hung hesitated, wanting to make an excuse, but seeing his uncle walking into the hall, he quickly got there with a small jog, uphold his mouth and muttered bitterly: “How odd, didn’t I just say a point about expressionless Chen’s eh, why are you so serious.”
As the two left, the newcomers could not help themselves but discuss the topic among them.
“Oh, it was actually the expression Chen, we are better off not being here since the start, learning talisman operation from him, we do not know will we be stained with his bad luck.”
“Ah! This is bad, just now when expressionless Chen was making a talisman, I accidently touched him……. This can’t be, I need to get home quickly to get a shower.”
“Ha ha, this situation has scared all of you; my father said that only expression Chen is jinxed among the Chen family, this has nothing to do with us.”
The night was as dark as ink and was starry.
While being bitten by the wind, Chen Xi slowly released his clenched fist, tightened his clothes, and quickly ran home.
When he was close to his home, he suddenly saw a slim figure’s shadow sitting in front the doorway, borrowing the star’s light; he could faintly figure out that the figure was hi brother Hao Chen.
“Brother, you are back.” His brother, who recently turned 12 stood up, happily shouted, then when he thought he perceived wrongly, he quickly lowered his head.
“Lift your head.” Chen Xi walked forward, his voice was stern.
Chen Hao looks like a child who had made a crime, but he was persistence and didn’t lift his head, he softly said: “Grandpa was waiting for you to eat dinner, let’s go in.” After saying, he turned and was about to head into the house, but he was stopped by Chen Xi who grabbed his hand.
“Did you engage in a fight again?”
Chen Xi lifted the chin of Chen Hao, looking at his little brother’s face filled with inflamed wounds.
Chen Hao forcefully release Chen Xi’s grip, raised his head, with stubborn eyes, shouted: “They called me a wild species, and called brother a curse, and wanted our whole family to die off sooner, so of course I wanted to beat them.”
Chen XI was startled, looking at his stubborn brother, looking innocent brother’s face filled with anger; his heart felt an unspeakable pain.