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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 04, 2024 4 Comments
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Chapter 23: Qing Huang Wine Cup

A Thread of love Wrapped around Black Silk (Part Two)

Mo Wen, with her bag strapped firmly to her back, stepped out of the alley and took a fleeting glance behind before heading towards the main road. It wasn’t long before she had put a considerable distance between herself and the alley.

Qing Jiu and Yu’er emerged from behind the wall, their eyes tracing the path Mo Wen had taken. Yu’er, puzzled by the late hour of her departure, voiced her concern, “Where could she be going at this time?”

“There’s no need to worry about her.” Qing Jiu responded, her tone dismissive.

“But…” Yu’er’s thoughts quickly shifted, wondering “Is she… is she angry, so she…” The phrase ‘running away from home’ almost escaped her lips, but it felt so odd to say it out loud that she refrained.

Qing Jiu chuckled, “She isn’t actually angry. It’s more that she’s quite stubborn. She’s aware that her drinking led to problems and understands her mistake. If she’s given some time to think things over by herself, she’ll realize this and adjust her behavior. But if someone like Yan Li confronts her about it, she ends up feeling upset and uneasy. Despite this, she won’t openly disagree with Yan Li. Instead, she prefers to withdraw and brood over it alone.”

Hearing Qing Jiu’s analysis made Yu’er realize how well Qing Jiu understood Mo Wen. She also felt that Mo Wen’s character, unlike her unchanging expression, was unexpectedly… awkward.

“Just let her be. Once she’s had some time to herself, she’ll return to normal. Trying to console her now would only embarrass her further. We can look for her after some time.”

As they made their way back to their courtyard and approached the eaves where water dripped, they were about to retire for the night when Yu’er stopped Qing Jiu. She quickly stepped closer to Qing Jiu, retrieving a handkerchief from within her clothing to hand it over.

Taking the clean and neatly folded handkerchief, Qing Jiu smiled warmly at Yu’er, a smile as refreshing as the bloom of spring.

Yu’er, caught off guard, felt a wave of warmth flood her cheeks, thankful for the fox mask that hid her flush.

Back in her room, Yu’er lay down, the moonlight still pouring in. Free from nightmares, she drifted into a deep, peaceful sleep.

The next day, the news of Mo Wen’s departure was met with varied reactions among the group, with Qi Tianzhu the only one confused, while the others appeared unsurprised.

On this day, Qing Jiu and Hua Lian planned another visit to Yanyu Pavilion, inviting Yu’er to join them. Yu’er usually avoided crowds and noise, but somehow, she ended up going with them.

This time, their visit to the Yanyu Pavilion was straightforward. Liu Xiu, captivating in her ethereal dress, welcomed them personally. Her figure, as slender and graceful as a willow brushed by the wind, held undeniable charm. “Your arrival is marked by such intensity,” she remarked playfully, “it’s clear you did not come with good news.”

Despite the offered hospitality, the group remained standing.

Yan Li got straight to the point, “Meiren Gu is not in Qin manor.”

“Oh?” Liu Xiu responded with interest.

Yan Li continued, “He left Fengyu Town four days ago!”

“What does the Taoist priestess mean by telling me this?” Liu Xiu inquired, her tone laced with curiosity.

Yan Li, with a grave tone, challenged, “The information you provided was false, Yanyu Pavilion’s credibility is questionable.”

Liu Xiu responded nonchalantly, “You are mistaken. Do you remember the day you came to our Yanyu Pavilion? It was exactly four days ago. On that day, our information was accurate; he was in Fengyu Town. If you were too late in acting, how can you blame the authenticity of the information we provided?”

Yan Li was about to retort but found herself at a loss for words. Liu Xiu’s argument was sound; they were simply too late.

Liu Xiu, covering her mouth with a light laugh, her manner playful, “Please don’t look at me like that, Daoist. I wouldn’t want to be accused of bullying a priestess.”

Yan Li frowned slightly and turned to Qing Jiu, “You talk to her.”

Qing Jiu smiled, “The young mistress really has a clever mind and a sharp tongue, planning far ahead.”

Liu Xiu returned the compliment with a coquettish smile, “Oh, you flatter me, miss.”

Their eyes met, understanding each other perfectly without the need for words.

Qing Jiu conceded, “Since we were the ones late to act, we can’t blame the young mistress.”

Liu Xiu acknowledged, “You are very reasonable, miss.”

Qing Jiu, with a playful smile, inquired, “I wonder, what price must we pay this time to track down Meiren Gu?”

“If the miss truly wishes to know, I will speak plainly,” Liu Xiu offered.

“The young mistress’ abilities and insight are profound. It’s kind of you not to play tricks on us, we would never think of deceiving you,” Qing Jiu replied.

Liu Xiu couldn’t help but laugh, “Miss, you have a sharp tongue, quite different from your friend.”

The three knew she was referring to Tang Linzhi, silently grateful that Tang Linzhi was away on a mission. Otherwise, given Tang Linzhi’s temperament, a confrontation would have been inevitable, possibly leading to a direct fallout with Yanyu Pavilion.

“Speaking of the lady’s friend…”Liu Xiu moved towards the table, her clothes swaying like spring blossoms, elegantly pouring a cup of wine with a smile playing on her lips, “This time, the price will involve a visit to the Tomb of King Cheng to engage in a rather dishonorable act.”

This mention of a “dishonorable act” echoed Tang Linzhi’s own words from before. Yu’er thought to herself, “This Miss Liu Xiu holds a grudge…”

Qing Jiu inquired, “What exactly does the young mistress want to retrieve?”

“The Qing Huang Wine Cup,” Liu Xiu revealed.

The Qing Huang Wine Cup was a rare treasure, carved from a unique piece of warm jade that featured a mix of green and white. The green patterns naturally formed the image of a spreading phoenix, lifelike in every detail. When filled with wine, the jade cup would turn transparent, resembling glass, enhancing the aroma of the wine and enriching its flavor as if it had aged for decades, transforming into a vintage delicacy.

There had long been rumors that the Qing Huang Wine Cup was located within the Tomb of King Cheng, a place filled with countless treasures.

Qing Jiu questioned, “Although the Qing Huang Wine Cup is rare, it hardly stands out among the treasures of Yanyu Pavilion. Miss Liu Xiu, you don’t seem to be someone fond of wines. Why go to such lengths to acquire this wine cup?”

Liu Xiu, perceiving Qing Jiu’s familiarity with the Qing Huang Wine Cup, revealed, “To be honest, it’s not for me, but for a respected figure in jianghu, the Wine Immortal Jie Qianchou.”

“Jie Qianchou?!” Yan Li’s expression turned serious. She remarked, “If it’s for this elder, then seeking the Qing Huang Wine Cup makes sense. However, with his martial arts mastery reaching such heights, retrieving the cup from the tomb would be effortless for him. Why would he need someone else’s help?”

Liu Xiu sighed, “There’s a reason behind it.”

“Do you recognize the elder, and are you also familiar with his close friend, the ‘Wine Ghost’ Jue Mingzi? You must know that they are sworn brothers.”

Yan Li nodded. The friendship between Jie Qianchou and Jue Mingzi was well-known in jianghu, a bond as deep as that of brothers.

Both were highly skilled martial artists who, in their youth, roamed jianghu, upholding justice and freedom. Even in their retirement, they remained highly respected.

Furthermore, Jie Qianchou was renowned for his ability to appreciate fine wines, while Jue Mingzi was famous for brewing exceptional wines, earning them jianghu’s affectionate title of ‘a match made in heaven.’ Though said in jest, many envied such a profound friendship, considering it the epitome of a fulfilled life.

Liu Xiu continued, “Years ago, Jue Mingzi unearthed an ancient brewing method and crafted a unique wine. When he learned that the Qing Huang Wine Cup was in the Tomb of King Cheng, he was convinced that only this cup was worthy of his creation. He and the elder agreed to enjoy the wine together once they obtained the cup. Unfortunately, Jue Mingzi never returned from his quest to retrieve it. The elder, unable to accept that something terrible had happened, steadfastly refused to visit the Tomb of King Cheng for many years. My master, who was close friends with both, was deeply saddened by this and ultimately decided to take action, ordering a search of the tomb to find the wine cup.” Liu Xiu’s smile faded, replaced by a touch of sorrow.

Yan Li, realizing that such a respected figure in jianghu might have passed away, couldn’t help feeling melancholic, “So there was such a story.”

The discussion of the wine cup and the Wine Immortal was beyond Yu’er’s understanding, but seeing Yan Li’s serious expression and tone, she knew these matters and people were extraordinary, prompting her to listen in respectful silence. When she looked at Qing Jiu, noticing her hand resting on her hip gourd, deep in thought, Yu’er felt an inexplicable urge to comfort her, which made her face and neck flush with heat.

Qing Jiu proposed, “Let’s not trouble Yanyu Pavilion twice. Since they’ve already been involved in the search for the Meiren Gu, let’s make this transaction quick and straightforward. We’ll retrieve the Qing Huang Wine Cup, and in return, we expect information on the Meiren Gu from Yanyu Pavilion.”

Liu Xiu, holding out a cup of wine to Qing Jiu, assured, “Miss is straightforward, and so will I. Yanyu Pavilion will arrange for someone to accompany you to the tomb. If you can bring back the Qing Huang Wine Cup, you don’t need to deliver it to Yanyu Pavilion but directly to Elder Jie Qianchou in Yunmeng’s Xiaoqing Mountain. Afterwards, Yanyu Pavilion will provide information on Meiren Gu until your grievances are resolved.”

Qing Jiu accepted the cup and drank, sealing the deal.

As the three left Yanyu Pavilion and walked through the streets, Yan Li mused, “Yanyu Pavilion must have anticipated the early departure of Meiren Gu and intentionally kept this from us, making things difficult. Additionally, the Tomb of King Cheng is filled with danger, and is not an easy place to enter or leave. You usually don’t like being at a disadvantage, so why did you readily agree to her terms this time?”

Qing Jiu smiled wistfully, “She had calculated everything from the start, aiming to secure what she wanted. Considering the unknown costs of seeking help from the Beggars’ Sect or Xuanji Tower, a straightforward deal with Yanyu Pavilion seemed preferable. If successful, we’d gain the information on Meiren Gu and earn Jie Qianchou’s gratitude. This show of sincerity from the young mistress of Yanyu Pavilion is commendable. Though I dislike being manipulated, I’ll let it pass this time. Fortune turns with time, and we’ll have our day.”

Yan Li sighed with a smile, “Fine, have it your way.”

After waiting for Tang Linzhi and Hua Lian to return, the group rested for a couple of days before heading west towards the Miao borders, fortunate that Mo Wen’s destination was also in the direction of the Miaojiang.

As the weather warmed, with occasional heavy rains in the south, their journey began at a slower pace. Balancing their search of Mo Wen with their travels, they reached the border of the Miaojiang and Yunmeng Marsh by the summer solstice.

Their path led them to a landscape where rolling mountains stretched endlessly, blocking their way forward.

Deciding to proceed on foot, they sold their horses and entered the mountains. The mountain path was spacious enough for three or four people to walk side by side, flanked by steep cliffs that soared into the sky.

Hua Lian, Yu’er, and Qi Tianzhu walked ahead, with Hua Lian turning back halfway to tease Qing Jiu with a smile, “How come you’ve started teaching little Yu’er internal energy techniques in secret, without discussing it with us?” It was only during a conversation between Hua Lian and Yu’er that Hua Lian learned Qing Jiu had begun teaching Yu’er internal energy techniques after Girl’s Day.

Qi Tianzhu hesitated before turning back to Qing Jiu, suggesting, “Miss Qing Jiu, I believe the teachings are too complicated. Practicing internal energy techniques requires significant caution. Perhaps we should pause and seek a more suitable technique that fits Yu’er’s specific needs…”

Hua Lian, fanning himself, interjected, “Ah, Dazhu, that’s where you’re mistaken. If we’re talking about suitability, there’s nothing more fitting than the two types of internal energy Qing Jiu possesses. They encompass everything, harmonizing yin and yang, and unify all techniques into one.”

Qi Tianzhu was visibly shocked, his eyes wide as he began to ask, “Brother Hua Lian, are you saying that…”

Before Qi Tianzhu could finish, Hua Lian, with a smile, quickly changed the subject. Turning to Yu’er, he said, “Little Yu’er, you’re very lucky to learn internal energy from Qing Jiu. You should diligently practice and try to uncover all the treasures she has to offer.”

Yu’er was inwardly delighted, grateful for the meticulous guidance from everyone, eager to learn and one day contribute significantly to the group.

As they laughed and chatted, walking a few steps further, Hua Lian stopped, opened his fan, he looked up and joked, “Ah! Choosing not to take the easy path but to scale walls instead, truly unique.”

Everyone stopped and looked up to see a young woman in a green tunic, carrying a bamboo basket on her back, scaling a steep cliff approximately forty meters above them. The narrow path she followed was barely half a meter wide, marking a dangerous route.

Qing Jiu remarked, “Judging by her attire, she’s from Xuhuai Valley.”

Yan Li wondered, “What’s she doing here?”

Yu’er inquired, “Xuhuai Valley?”

Qi Tianzhu explained, “Yu’er, you might not be aware, but Xuhuai Valley is currently the largest medical sect in jianghu, specializing in both acupuncture and medicine. Its disciples are compassionate and skilled in healing, famous for their acts of kindness. The sect’s leaders, known for their integrity, command great respect throughout jianghu, their benevolence and righteousness on par with my Shishu’s Shaolin Temple.”

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Noah
Noah
1 month ago

Thanks for the chapter! Also wanted to let you know that chapter 22 was not uploaded.

Khriss
Khriss
21 days ago

Next arc!!! I like this kind of adventure, it has clear purpose and good action. I wonder when the bandit lady’s token will come into play?
Thanks for the chapter!

Lakka
Lakka
1 day ago

Thank you for the chapter. Your translations are always the best!