Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 12, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 35: Danger at The Tomb of the King

Danger at The Tomb of the King (Part Five)

In the heart of a shadowy, unfathomable river, the group found themselves plunged into the depths, emerging one by one into the murky embrace. Without torches and unable to find solid footing, they drifted, powerless to control their movements in this alien environment. Their situation worsened as they found themselves surrounded by ferocious beasts, severely disadvantaged without the ability to see or move freely.”

Yu’er floated in the water, calming and centering her mind with a single thought. As she reached her hand into the water, she felt only the gentle caress of slight ripples against her palm, the water continuously flowing. The monstrous was far away; the movement she felt wasn’t caused by them but by the natural flow of the river itself!

The monstrous beast continued to crash into the pillars and towers around them, causing bridges to break and stones to fall from above, prompting everyone to swiftly swim away.

Yu’er called out, “Qing Jiu, the river is flowing.”

Stranded without a shore in sight and the tall stone tower close to collapse after their encounter with the beast, climbing was impossible with the creature nearby. Staying in the water wasn’t an option either, given the unknown dangers lurking beneath. They had to get to shore quickly, and the only way now was to follow the water flow and find an exit.

Qing Jiu commanded, “Yu Hei, Yu Bai, lead the way.”

Yu Hei and Yu Bai were skilled swimmers, darted forward like fish, with everyone quickly following.

The bases of the towers, deeply submerged in the water, appeared from below as a dense forest of stone stretching endlessly.

After swimming for a while, hearing the sound of surging water from behind, they knew it was bad. The monstrous beast was not afraid of water; on the contrary, it was very familiar with it, rapidly swimming in the water, and had already caught up to the back of the group!

Qi Tianzhu swam to the very back and said, “We have to deal with this thing first.” Everyone naturally understood.

Qing Jiu, after a moment of contemplation, joined Qi Tianzhu at the back, directing, “Hua Lian, to the left; Tang Linzhi, to the right.”

The seven changed formation, with Qi Tianzhu and Qing Jiu covering the rear, Yu Bai and Yu Hei in front, Hua Lian on the left flank, Tang Linzhi on the right flank, with Yu’er and Yan Li supporting the unconscious Mo Wen in the center.

As the beast rapidly approached, it dived deep just before reaching Qing Jiu and Qi Tianzhu. Qing Jiu, eyeing the ripples, yelled, “Linzhi!”

The beast, holding a grudge against Tang Linzhi for injuring its eye, targeted her first.

Qing Jiu turned to Qi Tianzhu, “Brother Qi, when I lure the beast up, can you grab its tail and stop it from diving?”

Qi Tianzhu, overwhelmed with questions yet recognizing the urgency, responded, “Seventy percent confident.”

No sooner had he spoken than Qing Jiu plunged into the water, evidently in pursuit of the fierce beast.

Qi Tianzhu frowned, his concern deepening. Fighting such a creature underwater, where leveraging strength becomes challenging, and managing to hurl it out of the water would be no small feat. It would require decades of profound internal energy. Considering Qing Jiu’s age was barely twenty, even with exceptional talent, defying such odds seemed nearly impossible.

The more Qi Tianzhu pondered, the more he sensed impending doom, fearing Qing Jiu alone might not handle the beast underwater. He was about to dive in himself when the water’s surface trembled, waves forming, and a palpable pressure rose from beneath. He swiftly moved aside to avoid it.

The water burst open, sending thousands of droplets into the air as a white figure soared out. Qi Tianzhu focused his gaze and was shocked to see that the monstrous beast had really been thrown out, wondering what method Qing Jiu had used. Without a moment’s hesitation, Qi Tianzhu used a nearby pillar to vault into the air, grabbing the beast’s tail.

With his legs wrapped around the pillar in an inverted hang, Qi Tianzhu, displaying brute strength, hoisted the beast into the air.

The beast struggled relentlessly, its claws slicing through the air, yet it could not bend its body to strike at Qi Tianzhu.

Qi Tianzhu wrapped its tail around his arm, refusing to let go.

Tang Linzhi flung her right hand, launched three darts at the beast. However, they bounced off as if hitting stone, leaving the beast unharmed due to its thick hide.

Qing Jiu emerged from the water, a shadow of injury visible upon her shoulder. She suggested, “Use the dagger!”

Hua Lian and Tang Linzhi suddenly realized. How could they forget such a treasure!

Swimming to the pillar’s edge, they propelled themselves up, launching an attack from either side. The beast, suspended by its tail, couldn’t dodge. Their blades sliced through its neck as smoothly as cutting through butter.

With a successful strike, Tang Linzhi and Hua Lian fell back into the water. The beast’s neck gushed blood, and after a few tremors, it lay motionless.

Yu Hei and Yu Bai found their way back and admired the group’s feat of killing the beast, saying, “Honorable Masters, the blood in the water might attract other creatures. We found a wooden boat ahead; it might be safer to proceed by boat.” Taking their advice, Qi Tianzhu tossed the beast’s carcass away and dove into the water.

Seeing the logic in his words, everyone agreed it was time to leave this cursed place. Following the two, they swam a short distance and found a boat by a pillar. Old but serviceable, it could carry the group of nine with room to spare.

Knowing Qing Jiu’s susceptibility to seasickness, and considering the unknown dangers in the water, her injury, and the blood that might attract bloodthirsty beasts, making her a living target, Hua Lian and the others prioritized getting a reluctant Qing Jiu onto the boat first.

There were paddles in the boat. Tang Linzhi cut off a small section and wrapped it with a cloth from her pocket. She then took out a flint and lit a torch. The surroundings immediately lit up.

Yu Bai took the paddle, steering the boat southwest. As the boat moved, Qing Jiu’s face grew paler, her fingers tightly gripping the boat’s edge, the effort causing her shoulder wound to bleed more profusely.

Yu’er knelt beside Qing Jiu to treat her wound. Having studied medicine with Mo Wen for half a year, she was not highly skilled but had made some progress. Among the group, apart from Mo Wen, she had the best medical skills.

Yu’er gently pulled aside the clothes covering Qing Jiu’s shoulder. Both Hua Lian and Qi Tianzhu averted their eyes simultaneously. Yu’er saw a claw mark descending on her soft, jade-like shoulder, the wound as clean-cut as if sliced by a sword or knife. Though it didn’t expose the bone, it was exceptionally deep. The bleeding had stopped earlier, but with when Qing Jiu exerted force on her arm just now, it burst open again, and blood flowed continuously.

Yu’er pressed on specific acupoints around Qing Jiu’s shoulder to stop the bleeding, then took out a medicine bottle she carried, sprinkling healing medicine onto the wound. She used her internal energy to heat the medicine into a liquid, soaking it into a bandage before carefully wrapping Qing Jiu’s injury. Yu’er’s hands were skilled, and in no time, she had expertly dressed Qing Jiu’s wound.

As Yu’er completed her careful treatment and stepped back, her gaze unintentionally settled on Qing Jiu’s exposed shoulder blades. Delicate and elegant, they resembled an exquisite jade bow, striking in their beauty. For a moment, Yu’er was completely captivated by the unexpected grace in Qing Jiu’s form.

“Why are you always frowning?” Qing Jiu asked, her voice pulling Yu’er back to the present. Yu’er touched her own forehead, indeed finding it creased with worry.

Qing Jiu groaned, the effort of speaking leaving her feeling nauseous and weak.

Seeing this, Yu’er felt a mix of sympathy and amusement, leaning over to pat Qing Jiu’s back. As Qing Jiu struggled with the pain, all of Yu’er’s feelings transformed into empathy, and she suddenly understood that her frown was because she saw Qing Jiu hurt.

The boat continued southwest, leaving the stone forest and heading towards the exit. The exit was about twenty meters wide, a straight passage with water-eroded stone walls featuring large holes, big enough to fit a grown man’s waist. These numerous holes, half submerged, half exposed, made the passage even colder and more ominous than the stone forest, prompting Yu Bai to speed up, eager to escape this eerie place.

Midway through, the boat encountered a disturbance in the water. Being martial artists, everyone on board felt it clearly.

Something was moving beneath the boat.

Tension gripped everyone as the boat moved towards the exit, eventually reaching a narrow gap between two cliffs. Though called a gap, the water here was wide, like a large pond.

Seeing the cliffs rise vertically, over fifty or sixty meters high, with the water-eroded stone walls too smooth for even the most skilled climbers, the group realized they had to find another way out.

Suddenly, the water behind the boat churned violently, and all eyes turned to see a dark shadow breaking the surface. Tang Linzhi and others readied their weapons, preparing to face whatever had been following them in the water.

The creature lifted half of its body out of the water, leaving its full size unknown. The part that emerged was pitch-black and shiny, as thick as a water barrel, leading them at first glance to mistake it for a giant python.

Yu’er’s eyes widened in fear at the sight of the giant snake, her grip on Qing Jiu tightening, her face pale, and her heart racing.

Both of them, one afraid of boats, the other of snakes, were paralyzed with fear at the stern, effectively incapacitated.

As the creature leaned forward, the group took a closer look. Its head was sharp, its body somewhat flattened. “This is not a snake or python,” Hua Lian corrected, “It’s a Xuan Eel.”

Hua Lian’s revelation brought a mixture of skepticism and curiosity. “An eel?” he questioned, raising an eyebrow. “Aren’t they supposed to be in mudholes? With all these rock walls around us, how could such a creature be here?”

Yu Bai explained, “The tomb is filled with filthy things, and creatures like eels feed on such stuff. It probably slipped in through an underground river from the outside. Who knows how many years it has grown, to have become this large.”

Yu Hei added, “If we don’t provoke it, it shouldn’t attack us. It’s probably just curious about us. Let’s not disturb it.”

Despite everyone’s reassurances that it was an eel and not a snake, Yu’er couldn’t shake off her terror. To her, it resembled a snake too closely, and even the sight of a snake as thin as a rope was enough to unsettle her, let alone something of this size.

Just as the group was about to move on, a sudden outcry from above caught their attention. Looking up, they saw figures on the left cliff, shadows flickering, the clang of weapons in combat. One individual, dressed in green, was cornered at the edge. With nowhere to escape, they leaped off the cliff into the water below, causing a splash and rocking the small boat.

The aggressors on the cliff continued their furious shouting, determined to kill the person in green, firing arrows down at them. As arrows rained down, the group’s boat was caught in the crossfire, with Yan Li defending with her sword. Yu Bai shouted upwards, “Watch where you’re shooting, friends! Don’t hit the wrong target!”

But the attackers didn’t care, seemingly reckless about their own lives, jumped down to pursue their target, continuing to shoot arrows as if harboring a deep vendetta against the person in green.

In the midst of the arrow shower, a piercing scream alarmed everyone on the boat, realizing it was bad news—a Xuan Eel had been hit by an arrow! Unprovoked, the creature might have remained calm, but wounded, it was sure to rage. Those on the shore might be safe, but those on the water were in trouble.

“Row faster! Row faster!” Yu Hei urged.

Yu Bai’s hands moved swiftly, rowing ahead. Beyond this big pool, the path suddenly narrowed, just enough for the boat to pass through. If they could make it through, the massive eel, despite its pursuit, would be too large to navigate the narrow waterway and cause trouble.

As they neared the passage, the Xuan Eel dived underwater, its tail striking the surface and sending waves crashing, pushing the boat forward and causing Yu’er and Qing Jiu at the rear to fall into the water. Hua Lian and Qi Tianzhu tried to help, but it was too late. They were about to jump in to save them when the Xuan Eel struck again, sending waves crashing against the boat, making the boat even more unstable. Unable to keep their footing, the group was thrown off balance.

These two tail strikes, though forceful, unexpectedly pushed the boat forward, propelling it into the waterway.

The current in the waterway was very fast; once the boat entered, it was carried several meters forward automatically. By the time the group stabilized the boat and wanted to go back to rescue Yu’er and Qing Jiu, it was already difficult.

Qi Tianzhu slapped his thigh and exclaimed, “Yu’er and Miss Qing Jiu haven’t resurfaced yet!” He was about to dive into the water to rescue them.

Yan Li held him back, “With Qing Jiu there, it’ll be fine.”

After being thrown into the water, Yu’er and Qing Jiu first aimed to swim back to the boat. But their plans took an unexpected turn when they spotted a vast cave entrance beside the waterway’s rocky walls, its mouth gaping open like a portal to another world. The water inside surged with a fierce current. Yu’er and Qing Jiu, still dizzy from being knocked off the boat, themselves ensnared by the powerful flow. Helplessly, Yu’er and Qing Jiu were swept into the cave, the relentless current dragging them away on separate paths, far from Yan Li and the rest of their group.”

Yu’er, holding Qing Jiu, was swept along for an unknown length of time. she had begun to practice internal energy, allowing her to hold her breath longer and not drown.

When the water-filled tunnel ended, Yu’er, still holding Qing Jiu, emerged from the water. In a stroke of luck, they found a place to come ashore by the underground river.

Yu’er assisted Qing Jiu onto the riverbank. Qing Jiu, already weakened from her injury and losing too much blood from her shoulder, then falling into the water, was still not fully conscious and appeared weak.

While helping Qing Jiu sit down, Yu’er scanned the surroundings. She noticed the river splitting into branches, forming tiny ‘islands’ of land around them. Despite being in what seemed like a tomb, trees were growing here. However, their forms were contorted, and their bark was a ghostly grey and white, reminiscent of bone.

While surveying the area, Yu’er heard a disturbance in the water and saw a figure struggling. It turned out the person couldn’t swim, likely also swept here by the current, now desperately calling for help, “Help.”

Yu’er pulled the person ashore. It was a handsome man, kneeling and coughing up water.

Initially too rushed to notice his features during the rescue, Yu’er now recognized him as the man who had been chased to the cliff edge and forced to jump. He was dressed in green, carrying something long on his back, and after being disoriented by the water, he kneeled on the ground to regain his senses. He bowed repeatedly to Yu’er, saying, “Great kindness, great kindness!” Clearly thanking her for saving his life.

A flicker of recognition crossed Yu’er’s mind as she exclaimed, “It’s you!”

By a twist of fate, this man was the same one who had stolen her dagger ‘Shang Sheng’ on the street!

The man belatedly realizing who Yu’er was, stiffened at the sight of her, embodying the saying ‘enemies often cross paths.’ Attempting to flee, his movements were hindered by his weakened state from the long exposure to water and Yu’er’s preparedness. The moment he tried to move, Yu’er’s fingers swiftly pointed out, hitting his acupoints.

“Give me back my dagger!”

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28 days ago

Thanks for the chapter!