Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By May 21, 2024 2 Comments
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Chapter 1: Celestial

Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses (Part One)

Trigger Warning: Attempted Sexual Assault.

“You little bitch! Are you trying to scald me to death!”

The teacup clattered against the floor, followed by a dull thud as hot tea splattered everywhere. The wick on the candlestick sputtered, causing the light to flicker unsteadily.

The burly man in the short shirt, with his chest hair visible through his wide-open robes, reached out with a large hand, grabbing the girl who had fallen to the ground.

The girl, with her slender neck and fragile shoulders, was frail and weak. Iron shackles bound her wrists and ankles, clanking noisily as the man effortlessly lifted her. The sound of the chains colliding was grating.

His tiger-like eyes glared at the girl for a long moment before he suddenly slapped her, sending her tumbling to the ground again. Her cheek swelled immediately, and a trickle of blood leaked from the corner of her mouth.

At a square table nearby, another man sat nonchalantly twisting his whiskers, seemingly oblivious as he spoke slowly, “Recently, our brothers caught some good merchandise, and the Boss wants to claim one for himself. The heavy snow last year forced us to cancel the year-end feast, so this time we’ll combine it with the wedding celebration. Give everyone a chance to let loose…”

The burly man continued to beat the girl. She lay on the ground, biting her lip in silence, covering her mouth with her hand to suppress any sounds of the pain.

The burly man stopped and burst into a coarse laugh. He squatted beside the girl, grabbing her hair, “Hey! The little bitch is getting smarter, knowing that crying will only annoy me more and make the beating worse. She even manages to keep quiet while biting her teeth.”

The girl’s body ached, and she struggled to breathe. She thought she’d endured the worst of it, that the beating was over. But then she saw the glint of malicious intent in the man’s eyes. “Not crying, eh?” he sneered. “Now I want to see you cry!”

He tore at her clothes, ripping her thin cotton dress. One hand pinning her down, the other fumbling with his belt.

Realizing what he intended, a chill shot through her, her tongue ice-cold. Her limbs numb, her struggles were futile as if a tiny insect trying to shake a mighty tree. Beatings were routine, the pain would pass, but this fear struck deep into her soul. Despite her strength, she couldn’t help but scream in terror.

Alas, no gods watched from the heavens above, no one would come to save her.

The man at the table suddenly slammed his teacup down, barking, “I’m talking serious business here, can you focus for once!”

“I’m listening, go on!”

The girl continued to struggle, scratching the back of the man’s hand. He kicked her, causing her to curl up, gasping for air.

“Damn it, now you decide to scream!” he cursed.

The seated man spoke softly, ” This girl isn’t even fully grown yet, what’s the fun in that? The fort is full of willing women to quench your thirst. Don’t tell me you’ve developed a taste for the Protector’s type?”

The girl lay on the ground, exhausted. The brute spat, fastening his belt, and sat back at the table, “Damn, what a mood killer. Let’s talk business.”

“We have plenty of meat and wine in the fort, but we’re running low on essentials like salt, candles, and medicinal herbs. We can’t afford any mistakes with these supplies. If they’re not delivered by the next supply run, you’ll have the boss to answer to!”

“No way! We prepared these items before the new year and stored them in the warehouse, just waiting for someone from the fort to escort them back.”

The man smiled, “You’re really attentive to detail. The boss made a good choice giving you this responsibility. You haven’t been back to the fort in years. Come back with me this time, meet the brothers, and have a drink at the celebration.”

“When do we leave?”

The man thought briefly, his head bowed, “The fort is busy these days. We’ll set off in a few days.”

“Alright, then let’s have a good drink tonight, brother.”


The burly man barked at the girl, “Yu’er! Get us some wine!”

After his repeated shouts, the girl lying on the ground remained still. Angrily, he exclaimed, “Useless creature!”

He got up, grabbed the girl, pushed open the door, and strode into the courtyard. The chains dragged on the ground with a rasping noise.

To the left of the courtyard was a stable housing three healthy horses munching on hay. The brute threw the girl onto a pile of straw in the stable, then headed to the warehouse to fetch two jars of wine. He entered the house, closing the door behind him.

Unable to move, the girl lay facing the main room, her eyes open, watching as the door closed, cutting off the warm yellow light leaking from inside.

Inside, the two bandits drank and chatted.

“It’s still bitterly cold out there,” one remarked. “You beat that girl pretty badly. Leaving her outside like that, she might not make it through the night.”

“If she dies, it’s cleaner that way. That bitch sneaked out to inform the officials, drawing the attention of wulin and nearly getting me killed. Her daughter is just a little slut, nothing good either.”

“Brother, I’ve never seen a girl endure so much. Her resilience is frightening. She’s no ordinary child.”

“You’re telling me. Who knows when she might snap and bite back? Good thing she’s dead. I’ll pick out a few more compliant ones back at the fort to serve me.”

“What about her body?”

“Why worry? Just burn it.”

The conversation in the room was at times clear, at times muffled, reaching Yu’er’s ears as if she were hearing voices from another world.

Rain had fallen earlier in the evening, and now the cold set in, the moon casting a gentle, hazy light. The horses occasionally raised their heads, neighing softly, their tails sweeping the air.

Yu’er curled up tightly, trying to form herself into the shape she’d been in her mother’s womb. Her body ached and was cold, and eventually, she began to feel bouts of fever; her fingers numb, her heart had long been numb, and now her mind was slowly numbing too.

Her eyes gazed vacantly into the misty night, whispering softly, “Mother.”

She couldn’t hold on any longer. Just surviving was hard enough; revenge seemed even more distant.

Her consciousness became increasingly fleeting, the night wind whispering, and the distant alleys echoed with the melancholic howls of dogs. In this quiet, Yu’er thought it might be nice just to fall asleep forever.

A sudden noise shattered this tranquility, startling Yu’er from her reverie. She opened her eyes to see a dark figure falling in front of the stable, a clear voice tinged with confusion, “Why is there a little girl tied up in this stable?”

The words seemed to be a murmur from the shadow.

Yu’er struggled to open her eyes, making out the figure of the newcomer. Dressed in black, with a graceful figure, it was a woman wearing a fox mask. The mask featured sly fox eyes, a protruding nose, and upturned corners of the mouth, suggesting a smile.

As the moonlight grew brighter, the newcomer appeared almost ethereal, draped in silvery frost, with a mist surrounding her. Her slender fingers touched the edge of the mask, pulling it off to reveal a face that smiled faintly like the fox on the mask.

Yu’er’s heart pounded wildly, as if it might leap out of her chest.

The woman was slender and beautiful, with eyebrows that conveyed a sense of elegance. Their eyes seemed to have been crafted from the mist and rain of the mortal world, and their black hair fluttered under the moonlight, making her appear like an exiled celestial.

Yu’er had never seen anyone like her before. Although she hadn’t met many people in her life, this woman before her was surely a rarity in the world. She was like a celestial being descended from the Moon Palace, embodying the pure and radiant beauty of the moon itself. For a moment, Yu’er truly believed she had encountered a deity.

“Qing Jiu, these two bastards have hard heads and won’t say anything,” came another clear voice, emanating from the main room. Yu’er, facing that direction, easily saw another figure in black approaching.

This person in black was wrapped in a long scarf, trailing behind them like a cape. The scarf covered their chin, and their face was hidden behind a ghostly mask with two silver horns shining in the moonlight. They dragged two men, the bandits who had been drinking and chatting inside, with one hand. The two burly men were tied up tightly. She effortlessly dragged them out and threw them on the ground, stepping on the chest of the larger man.

Qing Jiu glanced over and said indifferently, “Take them back and interrogate them slowly.”

The woman in black noticed Yu’er and asked in confusion, “What’s the deal with this girl?”    

“It’s the usual business of Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses, probably a captive,” Qing Jiu assessed.

The woman in black agreed, then removed the gag from the big man and demanded, “Speak, about this little girl…”

The bandit’s face was crimson with rage, veins bulging on his forehead as he cursed loudly, “You stinking whore! You bitch! Do you know who I am? You’re messing with the wrong people! You’re all going to die!”

Qing Jiu lightly kicked a stone as if shifting her weight after standing too long. The stone hit the burly man’s chest, knocking the air out of him and causing him to faint.

“Hey! Don’t kill him!” the woman in black exclaimed. “Who am I supposed to interrogate if he’s dead?”

She slapped the bandit’s face and pressed on his acupoints, finally reviving him. “He’s usually so talkative,” she muttered. “Why isn’t he cursing us out now?”

Qing Jiu’s clear, deep eyes met the woman’s gaze. The woman’s voice faltered. “What?”

“Why waste your breath arguing with an animal?” Qing Jiu asked, a faint smile playing on her lips. “What kind of person do you take me for?”

Upon hearing this, the bound bandits wriggled. They understood the insult and would have responded with a barrage of obscenities if they could speak!

“You always have a point,” the woman in black conceded, walking into the stable to lead out the three horses. Seeing Yu’er, barely alive on the straw, she asked, “If we leave her like this, she might not make it through the night.”

Qing Jiu’s gaze shifted to Yu’er and their eyes met. She said, “If you want to live, I will save you.”

Her tone was casual, as if saving Yu’er was as simple as saving a cat or dog.

But to Yu’er, this simple sentence was like a solitary beam of light piercing through the darkness. Her bruised and bloodshot eyes suddenly brightened, the source of that light standing right before her.

Yu’er felt as though she was in a dream, unable to discern whether the years of pain she had endured were the dream, or if this celestial being who had descended from the heavens was a figment of her imagination.

If this person before her was a dream, a beautiful illusion at the end of her life, how could she possibly let go?

“I… I want to live…” Yu’er mustered all her strength to speak, her voice barely above a whisper, afraid that she wouldn’t be heard. She struggled to move her body, desperately trying to convey her wish to the woman.

Qing Jiu had already stepped forward, the straw rustling under her feet. With a flick of her hands behind her back, a flash of cold steel sliced through the air, and with a crisp snap, the shackles on Yu’er’s hands and feet were severed and fell onto the straw. Qing Jiu reached out, gently lifting Yu’er from the stable.

The woman in black led the horses out, patting the back of one and admiringly commented, “This is a good horse! Three of them, Mo Wen will have a share too!”

Qing Jiu approached, her feet lightly touching the ground as she effortlessly leaped onto the horse, cradling Yu’er in her arms, balancing perfectly.

The woman in black led two bandits, and when she came to the horse, she noticed the bandits eyeing the steed and communicating with glances. The woman in black laughed and teased, “You two want to ride? Go ahead!”

She swung herself onto her horse, tying the rope leading the bandits to the bridle. She knew all too well that the bandits were eyeing an opportunity to escape. With a flick of her whip, the horse galloped out of the backyard, heading for the main street. The two bandits, bound and stumbling, struggled to keep up. A fall would mean being dragged mercilessly over the cobblestone road.

Qing Jiu rode the horse, leading another slowly behind.

Yu’er, severely wounded and barely clinging to consciousness, trembled in the biting cold wind. As she shivered, she slowly started to regain her awareness.

A subtle, elegant fragrance wafted through the air, likely carried by the night breeze from the person behind her. The scent was somewhat familiar, but Yu’er couldn’t place it. She saw what seemed like tender flower petals drifting by and remembered that it was early spring – the peach blossoms would be blooming. Indeed, the delicate aroma resembled that of peach blossoms.

With every gentle jolt of the horse, Yu’er leaned back, finding warmth behind her, then moved forward as the horse moved again.

The warmth was inviting, and she yearned to draw closer, yet she was also afraid.

The horse stopped in front of a house in the eastern part of the city. Qing Jiu, still holding Yu’er, dismounted and went inside. The lights were on in the left wing and the main room. Qing Jiu walked straight to the main room and called out, “Mo Wen.”

After a long wait, the door finally opened. A woman, reeking of alcohol, stood inside, dressed in Miao attire with complex and unusual patterns, her sleeves rolled up. Despite the chilly spring, her ankles and a portion of her porcelain-like arms were exposed. She wore silver earrings and her hair, unbound, flew behind her, with the forehead band’s pattern matching the embroidery on her clothes.

She was strikingly beautiful yet wore an expressionless, stern face.

Mo Wen, sleepy-eyed, rubbed her eyes and yawned, “Is this someone you captured?”

She stepped aside, allowing Qing Jiu to enter.

Qing Jiu, carrying Yu’er inside, laid her on the bed, “The ones I captured are with Linzhi; they were taken to the side room. I found this one in the bandits’ stable…”

Qing Jiu offered Mo Wen a smile, saying lightly, “A flower I picked.”

Qing Jiu briefly recounted the events that had transpired. Mo Wen approached the bed to take Yu’er’s pulse, remarking, “She has external injuries combined with the invasion of cold into the body. It’s not too serious, and fortunately, I have the right medicine.”

Without rising, Mo Wen continued to feel Yu’er’s pulse, switching to her other hand.

Qing Jiu inquired, “What’s wrong?”

“This girl’s constitution…” Mo Wen’s eyes flickered with a hint of surprise. Turning to Qing Jiu, she uttered two words, “Extraordinary.”

Qing Jiu stepped forward to feel Yu’er’s forearm. Yu’er, in a daze, remained still. Qing Jiu, with a look of surprise, mused, “It’s rare for a child from an ordinary family to have such innate qualities…”

“I can tell from her pulse that this girl is of age, yet why does she appear so thin and small?”

“It must be due to the excessive mistreatment by those bandits.”

Mo Wen withdrew her hand and stood up, taking out a pill to feed to Yu’er, “Even the finest flower can be trampled into mud by those bandits.”

After Yu’er swallowed the medicine, she felt a warm current emanating from her stomach, soothing her heart and diminishing much of the cold and pain.

Mo Wen then lifted Yu’er’s tattered clothes to apply a topical treatment. The lifted corner of the garment revealed skin marred with bruises and purple marks, and a distinct footprint on her back.

The room fell into a moment of silence. As Mo Wen attempted to remove Yu’er’s shirt, Yu’er clutched it tightly. Half-asleep and unaware of her surroundings, she only vaguely sensed someone undressing her. Out of shame and panic, she refused to let go.

Qing Jiu suggested, “Let’s apply the medicine after she falls asleep.”

Mo Wen reluctantly agreed. When Tang Linzhi entered the room, Yu’er was already drifting into a deep sleep, faintly overhearing the three discussing the interrogation of the two bandits.

“Mo Wen, lend me some medicine from your bottle.”

“Use it sparingly.”

“I know.”

Translation notes:

Jianghu (江湖) – Means Martial World or Martial Arts World.

Wulin(武林) – Means Martial Arts Community/Society.

Jianghu Heroes/Wulin Heroes – Think of them as a hybrid between adventurers and vigilantes. They’re similar to this:

Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses (翻云覆雨十三寨) – This was a bit difficult to translate because ‘Fanyun Fuyu’ (翻云覆雨) is a Chinese idiom, which means ‘to produce clouds with one turn of the hand and rain with another.’ The idiom symbolizes unpredictability, or the ability to rapidly and dramatically change situations.

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1 month ago

Welcome Back! Thank you for the translation!

1 month ago

I’ll be in your care again for this novel! ty for the translation