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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 06, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 26: Only the Clear Wind and White Clouds Are Worthy of Being Her Companions

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

Qing Jiu, having gracefully accepted a vial of medicine, teased, “Fortune’s truly on my side today, stumbling upon you here of all places. Had I been delayed by a few days, who knows what would have happened.”

Mo Wen immediately grew tense, her voice a gentle whisper, “I really didn’t mean to leave without a trace. I, I was actually drunk…” Qing Jiu arched an eyebrow, her gaze piercing as she looked at Mo Wen.

Mo Wen’s voice became even softer, almost a plea, “Please, don’t mention this to Yan Li.” Qing Jiu responded not with words but with a slight nod, urging her to go on.

Mo Wen confessed, “After I left, I passed by a winery. The lady of the house was ill, and I managed to cure her. The owner wanted to thank me and gave me their finest wine. I couldn’t resist and got drunk, ending up dragged off by my horse to who knows where. Because I was drunk, the people in this village easily captured me…”

Just as Qing Jiu was about to speak, Mo Wen quickly shifted the topic, “This medicine is more potent than the last. I’m not entirely sure of its effects, so you should be careful.”

Qing Jiu didn’t make it difficult for her, looked off into the distance with a soft sigh, “Compared to this Gu poison, how much stronger could it possibly be?”

There was a moment of silence before Mo Wen added, “Qing Jiu, I…”

She hesitated again, and Qing Jiu looked at her, saying indifferently, “You want to stay here to help them cure the Gu poison?”

“Yes.”

“If you want to help them, then just do it. What’s there to worry about?”

“You all…”

Qing Jiu smiled lightly, “There’s no rush to visit King Cheng’s tomb. We can set off once you’ve resolved things here.”

“Okay!” Mo Wen’s voice was noticeably lighter.

Upon returning to the village chief’s house, Yan Li and others were seated in the main hall, about to dine. They invited them to join, with Mo Wen hastening inside ahead of the others.

Qing Jiu and Yu’er remained outside the fence when someone called out to Qing Jiu.

Turning around, they saw Zizhi. Zizhi and Zelan came forward, with Zizhi’s expression grave, “Miss Qing Jiu, I seek your advice on a matter that may overstep bounds.”

Qing Jiu adjusted her prayer beads, her tone playful yet pointed, “Knowing it’s overstepping yet you still ask.”

Zelan, unable to hide her annoyance, said, “Why must you be so difficult!” She thought her senior sister’s approach was out of courtesy, but even if Qing Jiu was reluctant, there was no need for such bluntness. But she found herself at a loss for words to argue back.

“My apologies,” Zizhi interjected, unwilling to circle around the subject. She bowed to Qing Jiu and asked directly, “Is it true that Miss Mo Wen learned our Xuhuai Valley’s acupuncture technique merely by observation, without formal training? Does she have any other ties to Xuhuai Valley?”

“Why not ask her yourself? Why come to me?” Qing Jiu’s smile was enigmatic, “Ah, I see! You think she wouldn’t answer you directly, and since I’m closer to her, you’d rather inquire through me. But don’t think just because she doesn’t show her emotions that she’s deep and complicated. Actually, compared to me, talking to her is much easier.”

Zizhi inquired further, “Why do you evade my question, Miss Qing Jiu, rather than addressing it directly?”

Qing Jiu stepped closer, prompting Zizhi to instinctively step back. Qing Jiu laughed softly, “Isn’t it clear? I simply choose not to answer.”

Qing Jiu turned to leave, calling Yu’er to head towards the main room. Zizhi couldn’t help but shout from behind, “Miss Qing Jiu! Mo Wen’s lack of expression isn’t due to indifference; it’s because she’s been through trials that have left her unable to show her feelings, isn’t that right?”

As Qing Jiu continued on without hesitation, seemingly oblivious to the call, Zizhi was momentarily lost in a shock. Seeing her senior sister greatly disturbed, Zelan quickly supported her, expressing concern, “Senior sister, what’s wrong with you? You’ve been restless ever since we left Aunt Shen’s house.”

It took Zizhi a while to let out a long sigh, massaging her forehead as she offered a weary smile, “Perhaps it’s because these days, worrying about the village’s poison issue has exhausted my spirit, leading me to overthink.”

Qing Jiu and Yu’er went to the kitchen to wash their hands in a basin, creating ripples in the clear water. Yu’er, staring at the reflection of Qing Jiu’s pale, jade-like hands in the water, couldn’t stop thinking about the gu poison afflicting Qing Jiu, and the words Zizhi had said.

After drying her hands with a towel from the rack, Qing Jiu glanced at Yu’er, “What about you, do you have a question for me too?”

Yu’er, caught off-guard, dipped her hands into the basin, accidentally splashing water onto her face, “Is it true that Mo Wen’s face was injured, and that’s why she always looks so stern?”

Yu’er had intended to inquire about the Gu poison on Qing Jiu but worried she might be overstepping. Startled by Qing Jiu’s sudden question, she blurted out her curiosity about Mo Wen instead.

Qing Jiu, drying Yu’er’s face with the towel, asked, “Are you afraid of her?”

With cheeks flushed, Yu’er hesitantly nodded, “A little.”

Qing Jiu placed the towel on the basin’s edge for her to dry her hands, “The reasons behind it are too complicated to explain in detail. It’s not exactly an injury, but rather aftereffects of something that left her unable to feel pain and her face as expressionless as stone. You don’t need to be afraid of her. Having been with her these few months, you should understand what kind of person she really is. Among us, she is the most gentle.”

Yu’er understood that Mo Wen was gentle and kind-hearted, which made her wonder why such a person always looked so stern and indifferent.

Yu’er always felt there was a reason, but it felt too intrusive to ask directly. Now hearing it from Qing Jiu, that Mo Wen couldn’t show any expression or feel pain, and remembering how everyone taught her martial arts and medicine without ever allowing her to address them as master—claiming they were unworthy—only added to her sense of helplessness and sorrow. These people were her benefactor and family, the closest she had in this world, without of parents or siblings. The revelation of their burdens weighed heavily on her, leaving her feeling profoundly powerless.

Qing Jiu, as if seeing through Yu’er’s thoughts, suddenly spoke, “If you learn her medical skills well, she would be very happy.”

Yu’er looked up at Qing Jiu, seeing her eyes curve into a gentle smile, and felt her face flush, unaware of her own reaction. Qing Jiu didn’t see this; after her remark, she headed to the main room. Yu’er quickly dried her hands and followed.

Zizhi and Zelan said they would be preparing medicine and wouldn’t join for the meal. The host family had already eaten, leaving only Yu’er and her companions at a table full of delicious dishes.

At the table, Qing Jiu shared that Mo Wen intended to stay and help cure the villagers. Yan Li and the others showed no opposition, as if their initial purpose was to help the village.

Hua Lian inquired, “Do you have a clear plan for the cure?”

Mo Wen responded, “The antidote’s formula is ready; only the catalyst is missing.”

“What catalyst?” Yan Li asked.

“Blood coagulating flower. It thrives in harsh environments like cliffs and ravines or damp places like gorges and caves,” Mo Wen explained.

Hua Lian speculated, “Did we encounter those two disciples from Xuhuai Valley today because they were looking for this thing?”

Mo Wen nodded.

Yan Li suggested, “Then we should also search for the blood coagulating flower together. The more people we have, the more help we can provide. Considering our skills, Qing Jiu and the others searching in dangerous cliff areas seems more appropriate.”

“Miss Yan Li is right!” Qi Tianzhu clenched his fist, clearly pleased. As a former monk, he always felt compassion for suffering beings and wanted to help.

Hua Lian, with a light shake of his fan, added, “Well, waiting here while you cure the Gu poison is boring anyway. Might as well keep busy.”

Though Mo Wen was not one for many words or expressions, the joy in her eyes was unmistakable.

That night, heavy rain fell in the mountains, causing the waters of the village’s Lu river to surge mightily. The next day, despite the clear skies, the mountains were still enveloped in a layer of white mist, faintly shimmering with iridescent light, both mysterious and ethereal.

When Zizhi, Zelan, and others learned that Qing Jiu and her group were setting out to find the Blood coagulating flower, they all came to see them off.

Hua Lian waved his folding fan with a smile, “With our help, we will quickly succeed and save the little girl the trouble of climbing cliffs and clinging to rocks. How will the little girl thank us?” Zelan snorted softly and turned her head away, ignoring him.

Tang Linzhi chuckled, “Be grateful she doesn’t slap you as thanks.”

Zizhi bowed to the group, expressing her gratitude, “The villagers are fortunate to have the help of such heroes.”

On the other side, Yu’er also came out with the others. Qi Tianzhu saw her and said, “Wandering among the cliffs is unpredictable and dangerous. I suggest it’s better for the girl to stay in the village and assist Miss Mo Wen.”

Yu’er paused, rooted to the spot. She knew Qi Tianzhu was right; her martial arts were limited, and her presence would only burden the group, who would have to divide their attention between searching for herbs and looking after her. Despite her desire to accompany them, she found herself unable to voice her thoughts.

Qing Jiu asked, “Yu’er, what do you say?”

Yu’er looked at her, her eyes clear and bright under the morning sun. She opened her mouth but struggled to speak, about to shake her head in refusal when she heard Qing Jiu say, “Then you’ll come with me.”

Yu’er was overjoyed, unable to hide her smile.

Qi Tianzhu, ready to protest, barely got out a “But…” when Hua Lian came over, grabbed his wrist, and started pulling him toward the mountains, “Oh, come on, Dazhu, stop fussing. The sooner we find the blood coagulating flower, the sooner we can set off.”

Qi Tianzhu, already dragged some distance away, couldn’t help but call back, “Girl, be careful!”

As the group dispersed in different directions, Qing Jiu chose a path for herself and Yu’er, saying, “Let’s go.”

Following Mo Wen’s description, Qing Jiu had sketched images of the blood coagulating flower, with each member carrying a copy as they searched in different directions, prepared for the search to take several days and carrying provisions accordingly.

The mountain range stretched far, with several peaks climbable within a day. Still, searching meticulously for the herb meant that even covering one peak in a day was considered rapid progress.

After three days, Qing Jiu and Yu’er had traveled far from the village. During these sunny days, they ate dry food when hungry and rested in the mountains at night. Yu’er practiced her internal skills diligently by night, with Qing Jiu guiding her.

That day, they arrived at a river canyon, with steep cliffs and a rapid river flowing eastward below.

Standing at the cliff’s edge, Qing Jiu noted, “We’ve found nothing in three days. After searching here, we’ll head back. Maybe Yan Li and the others have some news.”

“Okay,” Yu’er looked down, “The river flows so fast.”

Qing Jiu eyes followed the rushing water below, the spray misting the air, and then looked westward. The canyon twisted like an ink stroke from a master’s brush, its source obscured by a turn that hid it from view. Qing Jiu looked toward the western sky, “The village chief mentioned yesterday that the rivers here originate from the melting snow of a mountain in the Western Regions.”

“Western Regions?” Yu’er asked, puzzled.

“Do you know what kind of place the Western Regions are?” Qing Jiu inquired.

Yu’er responded, “I’ve never left the town before. Later, after passing through Yunmeng Marsh, going to Jiangnan, and coming here, all these places… I’ve never been to them before…”

Turning to face her, Qing Jiu looked down thoughtfully at Yu’er, “Once we capture the Meiren Gu and settle our personal grudge, how about I take you to see the Western Regions?”

Yu’er’s heart warmed at the prospect, “Really?”

Qing Jiu offered a soft smile. She took a couple of steps forward, then with a graceful leap, she descended, swiftly grabbing onto the cliff edge to hang by one hand. Glancing down, she spotted a protruding rock to land on, loosened her grip, and like a feather, gently floated down.

Surveying her surroundings among the cliffs, Qing Jiu moved with ease, her body her body clinging to the wall effortlessly, smoothly transitioning from one spot to another. Suddenly, she exclaimed in surprise.

Yu’er, peering down from the edge, saw Qing Jiu looking up, signaling, “Yu’er, throw down the scroll.”

Yu’er hurriedly took out the scroll from her bag, put some strength into it, and threw it down the cliff wall. Qing Jiu caught the scroll, unrolled it to inspect, and commented, “This one looks quite similar.”

It turned out Qing Jiu was searching for blood coagulating flowers on the cliff. In front of her, there was a narrow, deep hole in the rock wall with a flower resembling a red lotus blooming deep inside, much like the one depicted in the scroll. Qing Jiu packed up the scroll, attempted to reach in, but the hole was too small to fit her hand through. Standing on the cliff, she considered breaking the rock wall but couldn’t exert full force due to the narrow standing space.

Qing Jiu pushed off the wall, leaped back up to the cliff edge, and said, “The entrance is too narrow,” she sighed, looking at her wrist.

Seeing this, Yu’er offered, “Qing Jiu, let me try.” Yu’er was slender, not fully grown, with thinner wrists.

Qing Jiu agreed, teaching her the lightness skill required to navigate the steep cliff. Although Qing Jiu could have used her sword to reach into the cave and cut the flower, she chose to let Yu’er attempt it as a way to practice her skills, knowing her diligent training deserved more opportunities for refinement.

The cliff was only about forty to fifty meters high, and with water flowing below, Qing Jiu was confident in her ability to catch Yu’er if she fell, ensuring her safety.

Following Qing Jiu’s example, Yu’er made her way down the cliff. Despite moving slower, her descent was steady. Reaching the small hole, she managed to stretch her arm inside, barely touching the flower. With a gentle tug, she plucked it.

“Got it!” Yu’er beamed with joy.

Her face lit up with a smile, but then a long whistle from above and a shadow passing overhead caught her attention. It was a golden eagle, soaring through the sky.

Turning back to share her success with Qing Jiu, Yu’er noticed her gazing into the sky, watching the eagle circle the clouds freely. The canyon’s breeze filled her sleeves, her white skin ethereal, her black hair flowing like dark clouds. For a moment, Yu’er felt Qing Jiu was like the eagle, unbound by the world, with only the clear winds and clouds for company.

Yu’er gazed at her, feeling an inexplicable sadness.

“Only the clear winds and white clouds can keep her company.”

Caught in her melancholy, Yu’er was startled by a hissing noise. A green figure slithered down the rock wall towards her.

A chill ran down her spine, her body instinctively stepping back, forgetting the where she was. Suddenly, she felt the sensation of falling and couldn’t help but scream out in alarm, “Ah!”

“Yu’er!”

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Khriss
Khriss
21 days ago

Our Yu’er is so down bad like literally monologuing about her crush every other chapter lmao.
Into the river they go!!
Thanks for the chapter!