“Huh? Sun Ying, isn’t it your turn to help your da-shixiong in the kitchen today? Why are you outside?”
Black in the face, Sun Ying grunted as he shoved some bamboo stalks upright into the ground, his mouth drawn taut. In his eyes was a fire filled with killing intent.
Earlier that morning, Sun Ying was tasked to help Sun Quan out with preparing food for the day. When he saw the ingredients laid out, the younger disciple couldn’t help questioning it.
“Da-shixiong, it’s already been more than three months since we’ve bought new hens, so why are we still not having herbal chicken today?”
“Sun Ying, is meat all you care about?” asked Sun Quan, bringing his hands to his hips like a mother rebuking her son. He knew his younger disciple brother liked meat, but complaints about vegetables had been piling up daily from two demanding mouths he had to feed, leaving him slightly exasperated.
To his surprise, however, Sun Ying shook his head.
“No, I only care about herbal chicken,” replied Sun Ying seriously.
Right, this was Sun Ying they were talking about.
Sun Quan rolled his eyes as he cut the cabbage up and shooed his younger martial brother out of the kitchen.
“We don’t have chickens to eat today,” said Sun Quan briskly, pushing him outside. “I don’t know if you know, but our chicken fence has gotten weak over time and now there are holes in it. Some fox got in last night and ate some of the bigger ones. There are some chickens left, but they’re still too small to eat. If you have time to complain, go and do something about it.”
Sun Ying’s brows went up to his hairline when he heard this and he raced outside in a hurry. There, true enough, was a hole in the chicken fence and only a few scrawny and small chickens left!
“AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” roared Sun Ying, falling to his knees and raising his fists to the sky. F*CKING FOX AH F*CK YOUR FOX MOTHER AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!
But alas! There was nothing else Sun Ying could do. To save and protect the rest of his to-be-herbal-chickens, Sun Ying had to repair the fence. He stormed into the bamboo forest and flashed his sword out in anger. Several stalks of bamboo fell to the ground, completely stripped of their leaves and branches with his powerful spiritual blade.
Raising the tip of his sword, he brought up a stormy tornado in a few flicks. The long stalks of bamboo were chopped up evenly and carried off the ground. They landed in a large pile near the enclosure where the chickens were kept.
His face black like thunder, Sun Ying grunted as he shoved the bamboo stalks he had collected into the ground. His eyes burned with killing intent and the agony of losing a good lunch. Feeling his fiery, pitch black resentment, the innocent chickens huddled at the other side of their fence…
Presently, Sun Wu came back from playing a few rounds of mah-jong. Seeing his disciple outside instead of in the kitchen, his eyes grew round in wonder.
“Sun Ying ah, isn’t it your turn to help your da-shixiong in the kitchen today? Why are you outside with all these bamboo poles?”
Sun Ying gritted his teeth with rage and the heavy feeling of unfairness. “Some foxes ate our herbal chickens.”
Sun Wu didn’t question it – he knew that “herbal chickens” also meant live chickens to Sun Ying. However, surprised to hear about a fox attack, Sun Wu counted the chickens. When he finished, he made a face as if he was struck by thunder.
“Oh no, this means we’ll have no meat today…” he lamented. After a moment, he squatted down mournfully to help his disciple mend the fence.
The scenery around master and disciple was peaceful and calm while the two worked on the fence. Suddenly, they heard a young voice speaking over their heads.
“Big brothers, what are you doing?” asked a plump-faced little boy, his large eyes round with anticipation. The other one beside him nodded eagerly. Both of them looked almost identical.
Sun Wu was startled. Although these kids were young, he didn’t sense them at all until they spoke! He looked at them carefully and recognized the colour of their robes to be those from Xian-Nu Peak. They looked almost like robes meant for young girls, but the children before him were clearly little boys.
There were no men in Xian-Nu Peak as it only accepted women. If anyone had sons, these sons were usually sent to other peaks to cultivate. At present, there were only two male children in Xian-Nu Peak who were still not at age yet to be sent away. They were the twin sons of the master of the peak.
“Ah, are you by chance A-Ye and A-Yang?” he asked amiably. After all, their mother was someone he played mah-jong with almost every day, so he felt a sense of closeness to them. She had spoken about them while the group were chatting over their tiles.
The little boys nodded, their round, cute faces twinkling. Again, they asked curiously, “So what are you doing?”
“Hmm… a fox came to eat our chickens,” replied Sun Wu, sadly. “It means no meat today…”
“….!!!!!!!!” Sun Ying slammed a pole on the ground, gnashing his teeth. The more he remembered the fox, the angrier he got. Veins throbbed around his fist as he smashed the ground with fury, bits of earth exploding under his immense strength.
The little boys looked at each other. They didn’t seem scared of Sun Ying at all.
“Can you eat the fox, then?” suggested A-Yang, the younger of the twins.
Sun Ying shook his head and said seriously, “No, only herbal chicken is good.”
“Why is it good?” asked A-Ye, the older of the twins.
Sun Ying rose to full height, looking gravely and pensively into the distance, his manly brows and chiselled face like a war hero’s. “Herbal chicken makes a man strong.”
“Is that true?” asked A-Yang, feeling sceptical. His mother was very powerful, but she had never said any of this before.
Sun Wu smiled and nodded breezily, “If Sun Ying says so, it must be true. Anyway, meat is good for men!”
A-Ye and A-Yang made mental note of this. If these two strong and powerful big brothers said so, then it must be so. They didn’t really have much meat in Xian-Nu Peak – it could be why their cultivation was rising too slowly. At five they had begun to build their foundation, but it’s been two years and they felt that they haven’t reached a satisfactory stage yet.
While the four squatted around and chatted while building the fence, Sun Quan appeared at the door to call his master and younger disciple brother inside for lunch.
All four figures ran towards him, even the little twin boys. Sun Quan stared at them in surprise.
“Eh? Who are these two?” he asked, habitually rolling his sleeves up like a busy housewife and mother of four would. The children looked up and him and smiled charmingly, cupping their fists to their hands.
Together they chimed, “Nice to meet you, Madam!”
“Huuuuuuuuuuuuuh!?” Sun Quan got angry. “Who are you calling Madam!?”