Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 14, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 38: The Netherworld Sword Appears, Sorrow Spreads Across the Fields

Danger at The Tomb of the King (Part Eight)

Dao Gui and Gui Shou simultaneously recoiled in shock, their concern for Qing Jiu momentarily forgotten in their rush to seize Aihong. However, Qing Jiu stepped forward to block them, preventing them from getting close to Yu’er. Despite Yu’er’s modest internal energy, her sword technique, especially with Aihong in hand, proved strong enough to hold them at bay.

Seeing the urgent situation Qing Jiu didn’t have time to scold Yu’er for bringing Aihong back into the battle. Her priority was to fend off Dao Gui and Gui Shou first. Turning to Yu’er, she instructed, “Yu’er, use the Yin-Yang Limitless Sword Technique.”

Yu’er had been practicing a form of internal cultivation known as the Yin-Yang Limitless Path, which included a concise set of sword techniques. When wielded by a single person, the technique was fluid and adaptable, marked by its agility and unpredictability. It was a gentler technique, designed to minimize the harm done to an opponent. However, when performed in tandem, despite appearing somewhat awkward, it balanced the forces of yin and yang—hardness with softness, offense with defense—resulting in an exceptionally powerful form, making it a clever tactic for defeating enemies.

Qing Jiu and Yu’er, sharing an unspoken understanding, faced Dao Gui and Gui Shou, who were formidable when united. Targeting Yu’er as the weaker link, they launched relentless attacks her way. But the Yin-Yang Limitless Sword Technique, seamlessly shifting between defensive and offensive stances, allowed Qing Jiu to parry each attack effortlessly, with Aihong ready to meet Dao Gui’s blade without Qing Jiu needing to dodge.

As the battle intensified, Yu’er’s blood boiled with excitement. The thought of her sword piercing her enemies, causing their blood to spray, filled her with an indescribable sense of satisfaction. Each of her moves was fiercer than the last, her aggression peaking, her mind empty of all but the thrill of combat, holding the cold sword that only seemed to grow colder in her grasp.

Yu’er thrust Aihong forward, striking Dao Gui squarely in the chest. As Dao Gui’s long dagger came slicing towards her shoulder, Yu’er stood unflinching. This move mirrored one Qing Jiu had used in a desperate fight to the death. Although Qing Jiu had never explicitly taught her this technique, it was something Yu’er had memorized after seeing it just once. Now, unleashing it, her ferocity matched Qing Jiu’s.

Catching sight of this from the corner of her eye, Qing Jiu sensed trouble. Ignoring Gui Shou’s attack, she repelled him with a palm strike, taking a hit on her shoulder. Continuing her motion, she switched the sword to her left hand and stabbed at Dao Gui’s wrist. Dao Gui recoiled, his palm slapped the ground, propelling him several meters away.

Qing Jiu sheathed her sword and quickly moved to Yu’er’s side, grabbing her wrists from behind and forcibly sheathing Aihong back into its scabbard.

With a stern voice, Qing Jiu exclaimed, “Enough!”

Yu’er snapped back to reality, drenched in sweat and gasping for air. Her heart continued to race, not from the near-death experience of their mutual destruction move, but because wielding Aihong felt like being possessed by a demonic spirit.

Upon drawing Aihong, Yu’er had sensed the sword’s malevolent nature but hadn’t given it much thought.

Yu’er was well aware that Qing Jiu’s rebuke was not just for her disobedience in returning but also for using the Aihong sword and recklessly employing the ‘mutual destruction’ technique. Yet, in the heat of the moment, such concerns were far from her mind.

Looking at Qing Jiu, Yu’er had never seen such a bloodthirsty look in her eyes. She observed Qing Jiu’s fierce and reckless combat style, her familiarity with these men hinting at a shared past that seemed like chains binding her, pulling her into an abyss she could never escape from. She was unclear about Qing Jiu’s background and could not involve herself in Qing Jiu’s past, but seeing Qing Jiu in this state filled her with fear, as if Qing Jiu would leave them behind forever.

Yu’er gently placed her sword down, letting Qing Jiu take hold of it. Turning around to face Qing Jiu directly, she embraced her without hesitation, wrapping her arms around her neck and holding her tightly, her voice trembling as she said, “Can we just leave, please? We came here to find the Qing Huang Wine Cup. Once we find it, we can leave this place.”

Caught off guard, Qing Jiu wrapped an arm around Yu’er, slowly coming back to her senses.

The madness that overtook Yu’er in battle stemmed from the Aihong sword, while Qing Jiu recognized her own madness stemmed from inner demons.

Qing Jiu lowered her eyes as she sought to regain her clarity. She had responsibilities to attend to; there was no need to entangle herself further with them. It was nothing more than a distraction born of her own inner demons.

With a determined mind, Qing Jiu held Yu’er, Aihong in her right hand, and with a light tap of her foot, they soared away.

Not far away, Yang Chun watched the impressive swordplay in awe, deeply impressed by their ability to fend off the two ghosts. As he snapped out of his daze, he hurried to follow as Qing Jiu and Yu’er made their retreat.

Seeing Qing Jiu and Aihong in action, Dao Gui and Gui Shou knew they couldn’t let them go easily. Despite their injuries, they quickly pursued.

The members of the Moonless Sect, upon seeing Aihong in Yu’er’s hands, did not attempt to seize the sword but instead blocked Dao Gui and his fellow Ghost Sect members.

The Moonless Sect’s main purpose was not the Aihong sword this time. The leader, after careful consideration, decided to prioritize the young mistress’ jade pendant and the safety of the girl, thus blocking the Ghost Sect members.

This group was much weaker than Dao Gui and Gui Shou. The two broke through their defenses quickly. However, Qing Jiu and Yang Chun used their superior lightness skills to vanish in the blink of an eye.

The three ran on, leaping out of the crisscrossing dark rivers below, and soon reached the surface. Before long, they found themselves in a long corridor. Yang Chun lit a torch, revealing the walls adorned with colorful murals, mostly recording the life stories of the tomb’s owner.

They paused for a brief rest. Yu’er took out a handkerchief, dampened it with water, and began to carefully wipe the blood from beneath Qing Jiu’s mouth. The blood had already clotted, but Yu’er meticulously and gently cleaned it off.

Qing Jiu’s long eyelashes fluttered softly as she looked down at her.

As Yu’er finished cleaning the bloodstain from Qing Jiu’s chin, the handkerchief turned a bright red. Yu’er stared at the stain for a long while before gripping the handkerchief tightly, taking a deep breath, and then preparing to examine the wound on Qing Jiu’s shoulder.

The dried blood on Qing Jiu’s right shoulder had merged with the bandage beneath, forming a seal that threatened to reopen the wound if disturbed. Yu’er’s frowned deeply and said, “Your wound needs to be stitched.” But without needle and thread at hand, they needed to hurry back to Mo Wen and the others.

Qing Jiu held her wrist, offering a gentle reassurance, “It’s alright.” Her eyes were bright, and although her face was pale, she appeared spirited. She had lost a lot of blood, but she was in better spirits than she had been after she had fallen seasick and fallen into the water.

Suddenly, Yang Chun exclaimed, “Hey! Come look at this!”

While Yu’er was tending to Qing Jiu, Yang Chun had been examining the murals. Approaching him, they were confronted with a depiction of a man dressed in regal attire, crowned, with a sword in hand, his expression maniacal. The mural narrated his descent into madness, showing him first slaughtering his servants, then his warriors, and finally, his own family.

Yang Chun clicked his tongue and remarked, “There were rumors that King Cheng was cruel and merciless, treating lives as worthless, even to the point of killing his own wife and children before meeting a violent death himself. It appears there was truth to those stories.”

Yu’er pointed out, “Look at the sword in his hand.”

“The Aihong sword,” Yang Chun identified. The sword that King Cheng wielded, unmistakable in its design, was indeed the Aihong sword.

A shiver ran down Yang Chun’s spine involuntarily. “What’s wrong?” Yu’er inquired.

“I was just reminded of a rumor from jianghu: The Aihong sword is said to be a cursed blade that drives its wielder to madness unless they possess the necessary mental discipline and internal energy to counteract its influence. The wielder becomes delusional, aggressive, and cannot even recognize their own kin. I wonder if King Cheng’s drastic change and subsequent death were due to this sword.”

Recalling the cold, sinister feeling she experienced when she first drew the sword, Yu’er felt that same chilling sensation lingering within her, repulsive yet irresistibly drawing her back to touch the sword again.

As Qing Jiu held the Aihong, Yu’er couldn’t help but look towards her, knowing Qing Jiu had a deeper understanding of these divine weapons.

Catching Yu’er’s gaze, Qing Jiu understood her unspoken question and explained, “Weapons like swords, when soaked in the blood of countless victims, inevitably gather resentful energy. The more they kill, the deeper the resentment and the stronger their malevolence. This can lead to such swords turning on their masters. The Aihong is a cursed sword. While all eight divine weapons are collectively revered, their natures and powers vary greatly. Each weapon is associated with a verse; the Aihong is ranked second among them, its verse being ‘When the Netherworld Sword appears, sorrow spreads across the fields,’ indicating its malevolent nature.”

Yu’er remembered the verse Qing Jiu had recited for the Qing Huan, ‘Blue Forst, one meter long, sharp enough to cut through steel,’ and compared the two. Indeed, they were vastly different in nature.

With the Aihong already known for its ferocity, one can only imagine the nature of the weapon ranked first. Yu’er inquired, “What is the first one?” to which Qing Jiu responded with silence.

It’s naturally ‘Fenghou’,” Yang Chun interjected, “The supreme sword in the world, coveted even by the sages of wulin. Back in the day, rivers of blood were shed over this sword. To put it plainly…”

“To put it plainly,” Qing Jiu shot Yang Chun a warning glance, causing him to halt mid-sentence. She then added, “This sword is trouble. It cannot be kept.”

“But wait!” protested Yang Chun. “Even if we can’t use it, we can use it as leverage to trade with other jianghu sects. We could get some valuable treasures in return.”

“Who’s ‘we’?” Yu’er challenged.

With a sheepish grin, Yang Chun stretched out his hand, suggesting, “Miss Yu’er, if you don’t want it, why not give it to me? I’ll make sure to put it to good use.”

By this time, the three had made their way from the corridor to the main tomb, whose entrance stood open, the interior brightly illuminated and voices echoing from within.

As they approached the entrance, they saw the main tomb built like a palace, magnificent in appearance. A platform resembling an altar hung partially in the air in the distance, connected only by stairs to the main door, with a coffin placed at its center.

Across this altar-like platform, leading to a back chamber, was a chasm of unknown depth, bridged only by a rope bridge connecting the two sides.

Many people were already inside the tomb, holding torches, making the interior exceptionally bright. These individuals were surrounding a group of people, engaging in a dispute, their voices carrying far.

Qing Jiu handed the Aihong to Yang Chun with a smirk, saying, “Since you want it so much, it’s yours.”

Before Yang Chun could express his delight, a voice declared, “The Aihong Sword is no longer with me; there’s no need to waste effort on me.”

Recognizing the voice, Yang Chun turned to see a masked figure, shockingly part of the group from which he had stolen the Aihong, his smile freezing on his face.

The masked figure glanced over, spotting the three outside. His attention barely shifted to the other two before resting on Yang Chun, his eyes narrowing as he exclaimed, “It’s him! The Aihong is in his hands!”

Everyone’s eyes turned toward them, spotting Yang Chun holding the Aihong sword, their eyes lit up with excitement.

Someone shouted, “Since everyone wants it, let’s rely on our own skills. Whoever grabs it first gets to keep it!”

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