Menu

Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 09, 2024 2 Comments
Table of Contents

Chapter 30: Koi

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

Zizhi knew that this group of people were highly skilled in martial arts and acted unpredictably. Fearing their anger, she worried that the villagers could not escape being annihilated. Although she disliked the actions of these villagers, as a healer, she had a compassionate heart. She could sympathize with the villagers who were innocently victimized, experimented on with poisons, tortured, and suffered the agony of losing their sanity before death. Therefore, she called out, “Master Hua Lian.”

Quick-witted, Zizhi realized Qing Jiu was the decision-maker of the group and called out to her, “Miss Qing Jiu. These people, blinded by fear, have committed atrocious acts that cannot be easily forgiven. But they are still over a hundred lives. Your expedition into the mountains to collect herbs was undertaken with noble intentions. Now that you have them, saving these people should be a simple act of compassion. Why let their misguided actions taint your good hearts? Think of them as harmless, like cats or dogs, and show them mercy. Any punishment or injustice can be settled after saving them.”

Qi Tianzhu, a man of Buddhist faith, found Zizhi’s argument compelling and felt a surge of compassion. He joined in persuading, “Miss Qing Jiu, she’s right…”

Qi Tianzhu thought to himself, “We have already found the medicinal herbs, and we are only one step away from saving people. After all, these are living lives. We can’t just ignore them and feel at ease.”

Saving these people was all too easy, so much so that not doing anything would feel like a fault of their own, burdening them with a profound sense of guilt.

Hua Lian, with a tug at his sleeve, said gravely, “Dazhu, that’s enough.”

Qi Tianzhu, still wanting to persuade, called out, “Brother Hua Lian.”

Yan Li, with a flick of her whisk, shook her head at Qi Tianzhu. He mistakenly thought Yan Li also preferred not to save the villagers, assuming it was understandable given their usual familial closeness and the unfair treatment they had received. It’s within reason if they choose not to save those who have treated them so poorly.

Little did he know, Yan Li glanced at Qing Jiu, signaling Qi Tianzhu, “She despises ungrateful traitors the most. She hasn’t acted out of respect for Mo Wen’s wish to help and the reputation of Xuhuai Valley. If you persuade further, it will only backfire.”

“This…”

Zelan, who had been listening, added, “But there are children here who don’t understand any of this.”

Tang Linzhi, with her arms crossed and a stern expression, declared, “We were never responsible for saving them! Living in this world is tough, everyone is subject to others’ decisions on whether to fry, steam, or cook them. We’re not the compassionate Guanyin or a bodhisattva devoted to saving all living beings! We’re known for our short tempers!”

Tang Linzhi, known for having the worst temper among them, was already fed up with the villagers’ whining. As an assassin, she naturally lacked sympathy. The profession of an assassin, dealing with transactions in silver, had clear rules. For instance, if a client betrayed an assassin, no one would take his tasks anymore, and it would be permitted within their organization to kill such a client!

In Tang Linzhi’s eyes, these villagers were ‘clients’ and Mo Wen ‘the assassin.’ A betrayal by the client warranted a fitting consequence; their deaths were inconsequential.

Zizhi sighed deeply, at a loss for words, but noticing Qing Jiu’s prayer beads, she thought Qing Jiu must have a connection to Buddhism and couldn’t help saying, “Miss Qing Jiu, you carry prayer beads, you must be a believer in Buddhism…”

Before she could finish her sentence, Qing Jiu responded indifferently, “I will pray for their souls.”

With that one sentence, she made it seem as if those villagers were already dead in her heart, leaving Zizhi speechless.

Zelan interjected, “Saving a life is more meritorious than building a seven-story pagoda, don’t you know?”

Qing Jiu glanced at Zelan with icy eyes, sending shivers down Zelan’s spine, who stuttered, “What… what do you want to do…”

Without uttering a word, Qing Jiu shifted her indifferent gaze away and asked Yu’er, “Yu’er, you found the blood coagulating flowers. What do you think we should do?”

Yu’er held the bundle in her arms. She pitied the villagers for their undeserved misfortune, yet despised their ignorance and willingness to sacrifice others to save themselves. Saving them was not difficult, but if they were saved, she wouldn’t feel at peace, especially after sensing Qing Jiu’s intense killing intent, which was even sharper than the air in the cave beneath the cliff. Nonetheless, the idea of forsaking hundreds of lives, whose intentions of malice had not yet culminated in action, was something Yu’er could not bring herself to do.

Uncertain, Yu’er looked towards Qing Jiu, only to see her turn away abruptly. Refusing to meet the villagers’ eyes, she walked towards the mountain exit, saying, “Do as you think is right,” before departing.

Yu’er looked at the hundred or so villagers, their eyes filled with fear or longing, some of them restless but deterred by the martial art skills of Hua Lian and the others.

A disciple of Xuhuai Valley wanted to persuade her, but Yu’er had made up her mind.

Yu’er took out the blood coagulating flowers from the bundle, a dozen or so, and walked among the people, distributing them to the children. Halfway through, someone with bloodshot eyes tried to snatch them, but Qi Tianzhu grabbed him by the back of his collar and threw him aside. Although everyone stared at the blood coagulating flowers in Yu’er’s hand after that, no one dared to make a move.

As Yu’er distributed the flowers, Tang Linzhi stepped forward to untie Mo Wen. Zizhi approached to check on her, intending to see if she was injured. The moment she felt Mo Wen’s pulse, she stared at her, lost in thought for a long time.

Tang Linzhi slapped Mo Wen’s face lightly, saying, “Wake up! Stop sleeping!”

Mo Wen, groggy, opened her eyes to a blurry figure that seemed to be Tang Linzhi. Disoriented, not recalling where she was or what she was doing, she simply asked, “Is it time to eat?”

Yan Li laughed and scolded, “Eat? You were almost cooked and eaten yourself! A few bowls of soup and you forget your own name!”

Mo Wen murmured, “Mo Wen.”

Tang Linzhi laughed, “Oh! You still remember who you are!”

As Tang Linzhi helped Mo Wen to her feet, Yu’er had just finished distributing the blood coagulating flowers. It happened so perfectly that each child in the village received one, no more, no less. The villagers held their children close, their eyes bloodshot like wild beasts, fiercely guarding the precious medicine from being taken.

Tang Linzhi sighed, “Either save no one or save all. Yu’er, by only saving these children, they might not only be ungrateful in the future but might even resent you for not saving their parents and neighbors.”

Yu’er smiled and said, “Let them be. I didn’t save them for gratitude, and I will not stop saving lives for fear of their resentment.” Her carefree smile bore a resemblance to Qing Jiu’s usual demeanor.

With their decision made, Yu’er and her companions prepared to leave, with the villagers not daring to stop them.

Zizhi’s voice called out, “Everyone.”

Hua Lian looked and said, “Are you planning to leave or not? Judging by the way those people are acting, if you continue to stay here, they might just turn on you in their madness. And since you, as disciples of Xuhuai Valley, are not skilled in martial arts, you would be completely at their mercy.”

The disciples of Xuhuai Valley hesitated, unsure of what to do, and looked to their senior sister, Zizhi. She took one look at the villagers’ madness and resignedly said, “Let’s go.”

Before leaving, they explained to the village chief that the antidote was left in his house. It just needed to be boiled and taken along with the medicine guide to cure the poison, and then they left with the group.

The group climbed to a peak on the east side and caught up with Qing Jiu.

The disciples of Xuhuai Valley needed to return to the valley, which was in a different direction from where Qing Jiu and the others were going. Zizhi and her group said farewell, “We shall meet again.” Leading her disciples to the north, she cast several glances back at Mo Wen, her frown in deep suspicion.

Yan Li and Qing Jiu exchanged looks, then turned their gaze to Mo Wen. Yan Li shook her head slightly, just as Hua Lian called out to the departing figures, “Farewell, we won’t see you off.”

After the others had left, Hua Lian turned back to Qing Jiu and asked, “Qing Jiu, I’ve been meaning to ask, what are you carrying on your back?”

Qing Jiu’s expression relaxed a bit, with a slight smile, she took off the jade ring she was carrying and handed it to Tang Linzhi.

Tang Linzhi took it, and with a single grip, she knew it was a broadsword. Unwrapping the cloth around it, she drew the sword from its scabbard, and with a clang, its cold light was blinding.

Tang Linzhi’s eyes widened as she touched the two characters engraved on the sword blade. After a moment of shock, she looked at Qing Jiu, her face bursting with excitement, and laughed, “Damn, the Qing Huan Sword!”

Apart from Qing Jiu and Yu’er, the rest were stunned. Hua Lian exclaimed, “Tiger Lady, you’re not joking, are you?”

Hua Lian knew well that Tang Linzhi was knowledgeable about weapons and secret mechanisms, and he also knew that Qing Jiu was familiar with the Eight Divine Weapons. If both of them identified it as the Qing Huan Sword, then it must indeed be the Qing Huan Sword. He looked at Tang Linzhi and then at Qing Jiu, seeing no jest in their expressions, he couldn’t help but shout, “It really is the Qing Huan Sword!”

Hua Lian laughed, “Oh, my heavens! What luck you have!”

“Did you find this in the mountains? Did you fall into a treasure trove? With both the blood coagulating flowers and now the Qing Huan Sword, tell me, how did this happen?”

Not only was Hua Lian brimming with enthusiasm, but even Yan Li and the others were very curious. This divine sword was coveted by heroes all over the world, and now it had suddenly ended up in their hands. They were all incredibly puzzled and curious.

Qing Jiu slowly recounted the incident of falling down the cliff and the subsequent discovery of the sword. Hua Lian took the Qing Huan from Tang Linzhi and executed a couple of flourishes, the blade whistling through the air. “Look at that shine, the craftsmanship!” he exclaimed, clicking his tongue in admiration. “No wonder it’s so sought after in the Wulin. Who would have thought one of them was hidden away in this remote mountain forest, traded for a wild boar! Haha! Fate works in mysterious ways!”

Yan Li asked, “What do you plan to do with this sword?”

“An innocent man bears no guilt, but possessing a jade makes him guilty. The sword is a divine sword, but it’s not necessarily a good thing. Carrying it attracts attention and easily invites trouble.”

Qing Jiu said to Tang Linzhi, “Melt it.”

Qi Tianzhu was shocked, never expecting that with such a treasure in hand, Qing Jiu would be so indifferent, suggesting melting it without a second thought. His own appreciation for treasures made him protest. “This is a rare and precious sword,” he argued, “a gift from heaven and earth. It would be a shame to destroy it. If it brings trouble, why not return it to where you found it?”

Hua Lian laughed and said, “Ah, Dazhu, you don’t understand her. She never makes a losing deal. Once a treasure is in hand, there’s no reason to throw it away.”

Qing Jiu called out, “Linzhi.”

Tang Linzhi secured the sword and smiled, “No problem.”

Qi Tianzhu didn’t understand their cryptic conversation but knew they had a better plan, so he didn’t say anything more.

While they were talking, martial artists have keen ears and suddenly heard a commotion from below the mountain. Looking down, they saw a large fire in the village in the valley and could vaguely see people fighting.

They realized what was happening – these people, ready to kill and drink blood to survive, were naturally capable of turning on each other for the same reason. There were only about a dozen blood coagulating flowers, enough to make a powder to save half of them at best. But these people wouldn’t know that, much less think of it. To survive, they were forced to fight over the medicine held by the children.

Qi Tianzhu sighed deeply, shaking his head and looking away. Yu’er saw the fire in the village below and felt a pang of pity.

Yu’er murmured, “When we arrived, these people were kind. How could they have turned into this so quickly?”

They were just ordinary people, yet they could be as terrifying as bandits.

Qing Jiu’s eyelashes lowered as she looked down at the mountain, “Before the interests of survival, even blood relatives can turn against each other, let alone a group of people with shallow relationships fighting for a chance to live at a life-or-death moment. Everyone can turn into a beast, becoming the most ferocious wolf. This is human nature, as well as animal instinct. Surviving is the most primal desire, driving one to consume the weak and elderly among their own to get through hunger and cold.”

Yu’er saw Qing Jiu’s indifferent expression, as if she was a deity observing everything in this world, untouched by joy, anger, sorrow, or pleasure. She seemed so ethereal and elusive, like a mirage, making Yu’er feel too distant. This feeling was unsettling.

Yu’er couldn’t help but blurt out, “I wouldn’t.”

Qing Jiu looked back at Yu’er, puzzled.

Yu’er’s voice was urgent, as if desperate to make Qing Jiu understand, “Even if I turned into a wolf and was starving, I wouldn’t eat you.”

Yu’er felt her blood rush to her head, her thoughts muddled, unclear about what she had said. Once she cooled down and realized her ‘nonsense,’ she immediately pursed her lips, daring not to say another word.

Qing Jiu looked at her for a long while, a smile filling her eyes, and said, “You’re not a wolf; you’re a fish.”

Yu’er’s cheeks flushed, her skin already nurtured to be very fair, a trace of pink on her face made her resemble a peach, soft and white with a tender red heart.

Hua Lian, watching from the side, teased, “Look at that, now she’s a big red koi.”

With that, everyone couldn’t help but laugh.

Table of Contents
Author

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
anazu
anazu
26 days ago

Yu’er so cuteee

Khriss
Khriss
21 days ago

Our little Yu is indeed a fish, the cutest and most sweet of fish! A rainbow fish!
Thanks for the chapter!
The villagers really had that coming for them, even though they could have possibly been saved it’s easier to quarrel about each and every thing.