rom winning rarely by fluke with black to now beating him.
His go skills clearly improved.
Sir Qi did not seem to care about the discrepancy between him and Song Jixin.

Just as Song Jixin was about to grab the stones, Sir Qi suddenly said, “You’ll be playing ancient go today.
White goes first.”

The two teens were confused, neither knowing what “ancient go” was.

Sir Qi explained the rules to them slowly and put the black and white stones in the corners of the board.
His movements were fluid, captivating to the eye.

This was a death sentence for the schoolboy who was a stickler for the rules.
He had not studied this.
In a daze, he stared at the go board and said tentatively, “Sir, it seems a lot of setups can’t be used.”

Song Jixin scrunched his brow in thought and then his eyes lit up.”The board has gotten smaller.”

He turned his head with a smile and asked, “Is that correct, Sir Qi.”

Sir Qi nodded.
“Yes.”

He looked at the schoolboy across from him.
“Go first, otherwise you’ll definitely lose.”

The schoolboy blushed, his ears turning red.
He was well aware that the main reason he was winning more and more was not actually because of a significant increase in his go skill.
It was because of Song Jixin.
In the past two years, Song Jixin played go absent-mindedly, not having his heart in the game.
Many times, Song Jixin would give himself a handicap, going easy on him.
Sometimes, Song Jixin would take huge risks in the middle game to spice things up.

Song Jixin treated go like a fun little game to play when bored.

“”

As for the schoolboy, he was obsessed with the game, victory and defeat meaning everything to him.

Sir Qi looked at the schoolboy.
“You can play white.”

The schoolboy placed his white stones gingerly, cautiously.
He did everything step by step.
In stark juxtaposition, Song Jixin played in a fast and relaxed manner, the board state in the palm of his hand.

Soon, the schoolboy was in a miserable state.
He lowered his head, his lips pursed.

Song Jixin rested his elbows on the table, his hands on his cheeks.
He tapped a black stone on the table lightly, looking at the go game.

According to Sir Qi, in a go game, a scholar admits defeat in silence.

The schoolboy placed two stones on the lower left corner reluctantly, indicating his resignation.

Sir Qi told his disciple, “Go practice calligraphy.
Write three hundred ‘永’ characters.”

The schoolboy got up and bowed his head before leaving.

Song Jixin watched the fading figure of the schoolboy and asked, “Sir Qi is leaving too?”

Sir Qi nodded.
“In ten days, I will leave.”

Song Jixin smiled.
“Just in time.
I can say my goodbyes to Sir Qi then.”

Sir Qi hesitated for a moment before finally saying, “There’s no need.
Song Jixin, when you go outside the town, remember to act with modesty.
three elementary books, “Primary,” “Etiquette and Music,” and “Calligraphy.” You can take them and brush up on your knowledge.
True understanding requires repetition.
The path of knowledge is a path of iteration, at the end one wields the brush of immortals.
You will… come to realize the true meaning of this later.
As for other books, I have a numeric book, “Essence,” a go book, ”Blossom,” and the anthology, “The World.” You can read this in your spare time to nurture your temperament.”

Surprised and feeling a little awkward, Song Jixin said bluntly, “Sir, it feels like I’m accepting your inheritance, like something might happen to you.
It makes me uncomfortable.”

Sir Qi smiled and said softly, “It’s not like that.
We will meet again.
It’s a small world after all.” 

His smile was like sunshine.
He suddenly said, “Go meet my disciple Zhao Yao, treat it as an early goodbye.”

Song Jixin got up and smiled.
“Okay.” The boy ran off.

Sir Qi leaned over and began cleaning up the go stones.
He picked the stones up in the exact order they were last played, the game reverting back to a clean state. 

Sometime later, Zhi Gui had returned from the bamboo forest.
She stood outside the gate, not stepping foot in the yard.

Sir Qi did not turn his head.
“Don’t test me.”

Zhi Gui, who grew up in Muddyrun, had an innocent expression on her face, looking weak and pitiful. 

The gentle scholar creased his brow and turned his head slowly.

A cold gaze.

The girl stared at them, looking confused.

Naive, pure.

The scholar stood up, his figure graceful in the spring breeze.
He looked at the girl and smiled coldly.
“Devil’s spawn.”

The girl’s innocent expression faded away, her eyes becoming frigid.
Her lips curved into a mocking smile.

She seemed to be saying, ‘What can you do?’

She stared straight at the scholar.

One inside the yard, the other outside, the pair stared at each other like clashing dragons.

The two loathed each other.

In the distance, Song Jixin shouted, “Zhi Gui, time to go!”

Zhi Gui got up on her tippy toes and replied, “Coming, master.”

She pushed open the gate and brushed past Sir Qi.
After taking a few steps, she turned around and bowed, her voice gentle, “Sir, Zhi Gui will take her leave now.” She left.

Sir Qi sighed.

A spring breeze’s rush, the sound of a turning pages, bamboo leaves sway, lush.

The taoist tidied up the stall and sighed, unhappy.
When the people who knew him asked the reason for his unhappiness, he would just shake his head, not answering.

In the end, a newlywed woman, who was passing by, noticed the taoist was acting strange.
She stopped by, her eyes beautiful, and inquired why, her gaze lingering on the handsome face of the young taoist.

The taoist glanced at the woman indifferently.
Then, his gaze went slightly downward. Well-endowed indeed. The taoist gulped and said, “Today, this one read his own fortune.
Drew bad fortune, very bad luck.”

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