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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 10, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 32: Into The Tomb

Danger at The Tomb of the King (Part Two)

After Yu’er and the others returned to the inn, Hua Lian chased after them for the time it takes to eat a meal before returning. Upon entering their room, he slumped at the table in frustration, picked up the teapot and poured it into his mouth. After drinking, he let out a long sigh and complained, “He ran faster than a rabbit.” Seeing his expression, Qing Jiu knew that he had not caught up.

Yu’er, seated at the table, worriedly saying, “Hua Lian.”

Hua Lian bit his teeth, sat down, and with a full sense of guilt said, “I’m sorry, little Yu’er. I was careless and lost them.”

Tang Linzhi mockingly commented, “You’re always bragging about your exceptional lightness skill, but this time, it seems you’ve met your match.”

Hua Lian, uncharacteristically not rising to Tang Linzhi’s bait, replied with a somber expression and said truthfully, “Their lightness skill was truly extraordinary, equal to my own. It wouldn’t have been easy to catch them even if I hadn’t been careless.”

Everyone knows how good Hua Lian’s lightness skill is. Hearing him say this, they knew the thief was no ordinary thief.

During dinner, the group met with Yu Hei and Yu Bai and discussed the encounter. After describing the thief, Yu Hei and Yu Bai thought for a moment before stating, “This person is probably ‘Two Sleeves of Spring Breeze.’ It’s understandable that Hua Lian couldn’t catch up.”

Qing Jiu and the others didn’t recognize the thief on sight, but at mention of “Two Sleeves of Spring Breeze,” they knew who it was.

This individual was a notorious bandit, renowned for his stealth and ability to leave no trace. He had stolen numerous treasures, and could move freely even in highly guarded places like the imperial palace. His reputation was widespread in jianghu.

Hidden within the large sleeves of this infamous bandit were hands that had caressed an untold wealth of gold, silver, and precious stones. Despite the common items concealed within his sleeves, he ironically earned a name that suggested innocence, being dubbed ‘Two Sleeves of Spring Breeze.’ This ironic nickname rendered him unforgettable, thus Qing Jiu and her friends were somewhat acquainted with his exploits.

Yan Li remarked, “It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say his lightness skill is the best in the world. Unless he returns the stolen items himself, it’s unlikely…” She trailed off, but Yu’er understood the implication. It was a hopeless situation. She was always obedient; losing her dagger was her own carelessness, and she naturally couldn’t make any unreasonable demands. Thus, she could only silently accept this reality with a sense of emptiness and sadness.

Qing Jiu ambiguously smiled and said, “This little town really is full of crouching tigers and hidden dragons.”

Knowing the Tomb of King Cheng was filled with treasures, they anticipated encountering tomb raiders but hadn’t expected such powerful figures from the wulin.

Yu Hei couldn’t quite grasp Qing Jiu’s intentions. Seeing that they seemed to know little about the Tomb of King Cheng upon this visit, he thought it wise to share some groundwork before venturing into the tomb together. So, he said, “Forces from all sides have gathered—Central Plains, Jiangnan, Dali, Sichuan, and Yunmeng are probably all represented. Master martial artists like Two Sleeves of Spring Breeze will certainly be present.”

Hua Lian asked, “What are they all doing here at Yunping Mountain? Are they here to dig up gold, silver, and precious stones from the tomb? Why are they all gathering here?”

Yu Bai responded with a chuckle, “Isn’t it because of the rumors that have been circulating around lately?”

“What rumors?” Hua Lian inquired.

Yu Bai paused, hesitating for a moment before answering, “You seven don’t know? There are rumors in Jianghu that the divine sword, Aihong, lies within King Cheng’s Tomb. Once this news broke, every noteworthy hero and their brothers have been scrambling to get into the tomb.”

The seven were stunned, genuinely unaware of this rumor. Realizing that the Tomb of King Cheng had become a hotspot for those vying for the divine sword, with hidden dangers now far surpassing what they were before, they couldn’t help but feel annoyed.

Qing Jiu, maintaining a composed expression, said, “Ah, with all these powerful figures gathering, we’re sure to run into trouble if we enter the tomb. King Cheng’s tomb just became three times more dangerous. The young mistress didn’t mention this detail during our negotiation. She sounded so sincere, I believed her, but it seems she wasn’t completely honest. Is this how the Yanyu Pavilion conducts business?”

Yu Bai and Yu Hei, noticing the smile on Qing Jiu’s face yet sensing a shiver run down their spines, quickly laughed it off and explained, “It’s not the young mistress’ fault. Before you all arrived, the news had not yet spread. The Yanyu Pavilion couldn’t confirm if Aihong was truly within King Cheng’s Tomb, so we didn’t disclose that possibility. Besides, we’re here for the Qing Huang Wine Cup – the others have different goals. We should be safe if we steer clear of them.”

Qing Jiu just smiled and said, “Let’s hope so.” Yu Bai and Yu Hei breathed a sigh of relief, seeing Qing Jiu didn’t press further.

As night fell, Yu’er found herself restless and unable to sleep. She rose, sword in hand, and went to the inn’s backyard to practice.

The moonlight was clear and bright, covering the ground in silver frost.

Hearing the others discuss the divine sword Aihong and having previously seen the Qing Huan Sword, Yu’er understood the jianghu’s obsession with such legendary weapons. She knew that entering the tomb would be fraught with danger. Given her limited martial skills, she feared becoming a burden. Although the others hadn’t specified what she should do, she knew that it would be best not to follow them.

Yu’er stopped her sword practice, torn between not wanting to be a burden and the reluctance to stay behind, especially after the theft of her dagger “Shang Sheng,” which deepened her sense of loss. The cold, foggy night enveloped her as she stood in the courtyard, feeling utterly lost and consumed with sorrow.

Suddenly, a voice from behind said, “I told you moderation is key, but you wouldn’t listen. You’re so stubborn.”

Yu’er turned around and saw Qing Jiu in white, walking out from under the swaying tree shadows. The moonlight shone on her beautiful face as she said. “Can’t sleep again?” she asked.

Yu’er, fumbling with her thumb, didn’t know how to respond.

Qing Jiu then took something from her robe and handed it to Yu’er, “Since Shang Sheng has been stolen, take this Si Ming for self-defense. We’re going into the tomb tomorrow, so don’t practice the sword anymore. Go back and rest.”

Yu’er looked at the Si Ming dagger in Qing Jiu’s hand for a long while before asking, “Can I really come with you into the tomb?”

“Why not?” Qing Jiu countered.

Yu’er’s throat tightened, and she found herself at a loss for words.

Seeing that Yu’er didn’t come forward to take the dagger, Qing Jiu casually tossed it to her, saying, “Go get some rest. Even if you can’t sleep, you have to try.”

Catching it, Yu’er held Si Ming close and obediently headed towards her room. Qing Jiu, walking beside her, lightly brushed past her ear without actually touching it. Qing Jiu smiled and said, “What silly things are you thinking about, silly Yu’er?”

Hearing Qing Jiu’s light-hearted remark, Yu’er felt a warm flush inside, accompanied by an inexplicable sense of shyness. She quickened her steps up the stairs, saying, “I’m going to sleep now.”

The next morning, the group set out early and ventured into Yunping Mountain from the nearby town. Despite the season being autumn, the mountains were still enveloped in vibrant greenery, forming a natural bowl. After some time walking, they discovered a lake nestled in a valley. The lake’s edges were hidden by green trees, and its surface was cloaked in a delicate mist.

Yu Hei, noticing everyone’s interest, shared, “The townsfolk call this Tian Nu Lake. There are rumors that the lake hides an underground river leading to the tomb.”

Hua Lian joked, “Why don’t we just enter through the lake? It’d save us the trouble of searching for the tomb’s entrance.”

Yu Bai laughed, “Master Hua is joking. The Tian Nu Lake is so large and bottomless; finding that underground river wouldn’t be easy. Besides, the townsfolk say the lake is haunted by water ghosts. Even if we possess great martial skills, we’re just tigers on land but ants in the water. Once we’re in their territory, no matter how skilled we are, we can’t use them and are at the mercy of the ghosts, right?”

Hua Lian looked at Qing Jiu unconsciously, hearing Yu Bai’s meaningful words, but just smiled without bothering to argue.

As the group made their way into the mountains, the vast expanse of Yunping Mountain unfolded before them. Mei Qi devoted considerable effort to searching for the tomb and exploring potential burial sites. By the end of the first day, they had only a rough idea of where to look. They spent the night within the mountain, and it wasn’t until noon the next day that they found a promising location at the base of a mountain known as Baoyun Peak.

Yu Hei and Yu Bai immediately started digging with their tools, with Mei Qi and Wang Hu working alongside them, hauling away the earth. Qing Jiu and the others stood guard nearby. After a short while, the rustling sound of movement whispered from the depths of the surrounding forest.

Tang Linzhi, positioned closest to the tree line, caught the sound of approaching footsteps. Reacting swiftly, she drew a sharp long sword from behind her waist and pointed it towards the towering bushes, shouting, “Who’s there?”

Simultaneously, a rough voice from behind the bushes also shouted, “Who’s there!”

Hearing the commotion, Yu Bai quickly stepped forward. A group of about a dozen men dressed in black tight-fitting clothes emerged from behind the bushes. The man confronting Tang Linzhi, with his square face and a beard, brandished a large saber.

Yu Bai recognized them as members of the Dali’s Paisha Gang and hurriedly positioned himself between the two parties, saying, “Hey, let’s not be hasty! We’re all here in search of treasure. Drawing swords and knives only sours the mood. Fighting each other before we even get inside the tomb is bad luck.”

The formidable man facing Tang Linzhi, the leader of the Paisha Gang, sneered, “Seeking fortune? With the likes of you…” His gaze swept dismissively over Qing Jiu and the others, belittling them, “Bringing so many women and even a little girl into the tomb, are you here to raid the tomb or to play?”

Yan Li, was usually a woman of few words, but this time she spoke up suddenly, “Benefactor, whether we can enter the tomb or not is another matter, but your forehead is dark, and your eyes are red, I fear you may encounter a bloody disaster.”

Yan Li’s serious tone made it clear she wasn’t joking. Knowing her well, Tang Linzhi and the others found it amusing not because of the joke itself but because they knew she never joked. The sudden shift in the Paisha Gang leader’s expression at her words only added to their amusement.

The gang leader barked, “Nonsense!” He hated to hear of any ill omens, especially when going on a treasure hunt. Though he didn’t usually believe in ghosts and gods, the notorious reputation of King Cheng’s tomb made him wary. Hearing Yan Li’s words, how could he not be annoyed?

Yan Li pressed on, “Benefactor, the flesh on your cheeks is twitching uncontrollably, are you feeling anxious?”

Her probing left the leader off guard, his complexion turning even sourer as she added, “This ‘heart racing, flesh trembling’ is a bodily instinct, sensing that death is near. You are not meant to enter this tomb.”

The leader cursed angrily, “You bitch, bringing me bad luck!”

He brandished his knife, aiming to strike at Yan Li, prompting Tang Linzhi to intercept with her long sword, challenging, “What are you doing? Do you want to fight?”

Yu Bai hastily mediated, “Miss Tang, it’s not worth it,” and then turned to Yan Li, “Taoist priestess, perhaps say less.” He then faced the gang leader, bowing slightly with a conciliatory smile, “Everyone, let’s talk this through. Honestly, I’m just a servant from Yanyu Pavilion. We’re here solely for a Qing Huang Wine Cup. If we’ve offended you, we’ll step aside. We won’t compete for this path; please, you go ahead.”

Hearing Yanyu Pavilion and the Qing Huang Wine Cup mentioned, the gang leader’s demeanor shifted, and he even laughed, “Ah, something related to Elder Jie…”

Upon seeing his reaction to the mention of Yanyu Pavilion and the Qing Huang Wine Cup, everyone realized it had to do with Jie Qianshou. They reassessed him, understanding that he was not a mere brute but a man of some insight, and that he had come prepared.

With a wave of his hand, the leader stepped aside, “Since it belongs to the elder, who are we to interfere? Please, you go first.”

As they made way, it was clear they didn’t want to provoke Yanyu Pavilion, but everyone understood that these people intended to follow behind, letting them lead the way and test the path.

Translation notes:
Two Sleeves of Spring Breeze (两袖清风) – This is a Chinese idiom that means high moral integrity or incorruptible.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – an idiom that describes a place that is full of unnoticed masters.

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Khriss
Khriss
21 days ago

No dagger for dear yu 🙁
This new cretin seems to be as unlikeable as the last like 7. Let’s see how his fate ends lol
Thanks for the chapter!