If it’s the chickens, I’ve already pawned them off
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Now that they had a new disciple in the sect, it was time for the next step – to define the colours of the peak. At the moment, all three of them wore different styles of clothing. Sun Wu wore his pale immortal robes while Sun Quan and Sun Ying wore their respective robes from home. As Sun Wu had never prepared the sect clothing before, now was the time to do it.

Sun Quan approached his master eagerly.

“Master, shall we go and make some clothing for our peak? It wouldn’t do for us to all look different,” he explained. “Before I joined the sect I hadn’t known I would be a disciple, so I had only brought my servants’ apparel from home. Shidi has his own from his old school as well.”

Sun Wu nodded and fell a little deeper into thought. “You’re right. Let’s see… we’re a peak with two martial artists and one pill forger, so let’s make two styles of clothing that will fit both. As for the colours of the peak, since I am an immortal swords cultivator and both of you are my disciples, we’ll have to choose colours matching with the path of the sword.”

Sun Quan beamed. So far so good! His master wasn’t a man with an empty head today!

“I’ve met with a tailor who can sew us a few outfits and booked a slot with him with what money that we have left,” said Sun Quan. “All we have to do is pick the cloth ourselves. As you will be receiving the established peak lords’ monthly dispensed money tomorrow, let’s go to the marketplace the day after tomorrow and see if we can find anything in the silk store.”

“Very well,” said Sun Wu easily in his usual laid-back, relaxed tone.

Sun Ying returned that evening after practicing his sword skills and agreed to follow them the day after the next to look for material. To tell the truth, although he didn’t care what he wore at all, he didn’t like challenging Sun Quan because it would mean he wouldn’t get any herbal chicken to eat for a whole week. Angering Sun Quan was scarier than angering the peak lord himself.

The next day, Sun Wu left to collect the peak lords’ dispensed income. Now, as an established peak lord with two disciples, his income had increased threefold. Sun Wu took the coins and smiled, then joined the other peak lords for the rest of the day before returning to his peak at dinnertime.

The following day after that, he humoured his disciple and went with them to the largest silk store in Plum Blossom City. Sun Quan’s eyes shone with wonder as he went around and fingered all the fabric in the store. They didn’t just provide silk but many types of textiles – this ranged from the very expensive brocades to the very cheap sackcloth.

Sun Quan went to a pale blue one. “This looks good, don’t you think?”

Sun Wu nodded. “The colour of the sky, very much like our Calm Winds Path.”

Sun Ying looked at it and snorted. “Red is better for a man.”

Sun Quan folded his arms indignantly. “Your hair is already red – why do you need to wear so much red for? You’ll look like a lantern.”

But as the three were not in agreement with blue, they went to another few rolls of silk and crepe. This time it was golden in colour. Sun Quan liked it very much.

“Hmmm…” said Sun Wu after some thought, “I don’t think we should pick this one.”

“Why not?” asked Sun Quan.

Sun Ying shook his head. “Because then we’ll look like the Xin Clan.”

Sun Quan balked. The very mental image of the Xin Clan’s grandson staring at him longingly and enjoying their similar ‘husband’ colours was too much for him to bear. He quickly moved on to another one.

“Orange!”

And the next – “Purple!”

And the next – “Green!”

Nothing ticked all their boxes, however, and it was only after an hour when they came across a colour they all liked. It was between a soft mint and teal, not wholly green and not wholly blue. The three of them gazed at each other.

“We’ll go for this then, with dark accents,” said Sun Quan. Since the two agreed with him on the colour, they allowed him to pick out the material. Sun Wu didn’t know how clothes were made, and all Sun Ying cared about was wearing them after they were made.

Sun Quan got the store helpers to take the rolls and weigh them. Once they were ready to pay, Sun Quan turned to his master.

“Hm?” Sun Wu smiled at him in a relaxed way.

“Master, it’s time to pay.”

“Ah, I see, alright,” Sun Wu handed his disciple a bag of money absent-mindedly. “Here you are.”

Sun Quan, who was smiling, touched the bag– but the moment it landed on his palm and he felt its lightness, his smile disappeared. He opened the bag and his face turned black.

“Master, where is the rest of the money?”

“Ah, this, Peak Lord Xin had such a good hand that day, hahahaha…”

 

~*~

 

Sun Ying glared at the herb-infused chicken neck on the dish and slammed his palm on the table.

“What is this!?” he demanded, pointing at the miserable piece of meat which was mostly bones. Sun Quan continued chewing and ignored his outburst.

“I’m rationing our food. We don’t have enough chickens right now.”

“And why don’t we have them?” asked Sun Ying, fuming. He had been carefully feeding them just a while ago to make them fat for his almost-daily herbal chicken consumption.

“If it’s the chickens, I’ve already pawned them off,” said Sun Quan, crossing his arms and staring right at his disciple brother’s face. “You know, it’s thanks to those birds being extremely fat that we were able to get cloth of a higher grade than sackcloth. Thank you, shidi, for your hard work.”

Sun Ying was speechless. Sun Quan was giving him that look that said that if he pursued it, he can forget even having herbal chicken neck with his meals.

In a few days, their little peak received their clothing. They had the pattern of rocks and stone, in a colour that nobody had wanted to buy at all. Sun Ying and Sun Wu put them on and looked very much like serious sword cultivators.

“Not too bad!” Sun Wu smiled appreciatively, his sleeves fluttering gracefully as he swept his sword left and right. Sun Ying did the same and nodded – he looked very heroic in it.

Sun Quan put his on and the other two coughed into their hands.

“Your da-shixiong really looks like a servant now…”

For the rest of the month, Sun Quan’s cooking tasted slightly sour.

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