Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 18, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 40: Resolve

Danger at The Tomb of the King (Part Ten)

Qing Jiu nose was exceptionally sensitive, detected a hint of blood on Yu’er. Despite Yu’er’s insistence that she was not hurt, Qing Jiu followed the scent to grab her right hand, squatting in front of her. She carefully examined Yu’er’s palms, revealing a gash oozing fresh blood. Qing Jiu’s eyebrows knitted in concern as she questioned, “You’re not hurt? Really?”

Yu’er lowered her head, a silent acknowledgment of Qing Jiu’s scrutiny. The depth of concern in Qing Jiu’s eyes, dark and soft as ink, sparked an unusual joy in Yu’er, a sensation that started at her feet and zipped through her body to her heart. With a smile, Yu’er confessed, “I was cautious, I was careful to avoid any vital spots being hit. It’s just a superficial wound; it will heal in a few days.” That moment of action had been one of rapid calculation, choosing the safest path over reckless bravery. As it turned out, her choice was the wisest.

Qing Jiu stared at her for a long time and said indifferently, “The opponent’s martial art skills is not to be underestimated. You barely held him back on the bridge. But you chose direct confrontation instead of retreating to my side. If he wasn’t too arrogant to underestimate you, one decisive strike could have killed you. He lost due to his negligence and arrogance. But where do you think your victory truly lies?”

Yu’er bit her lip. She knew her victory wasn’t just her determination or the lethal assassin techniques she had learned, which left no room for mercy, but in a stroke of luck as Qing Jiu implied.

If her opponent had fought at full strength from the start, without underestimating the advantage she had on the bridge, she would have lost. Had he used his killing move the moment he had her by the neck, she wouldn’t have had a chance to fight back, let alone survive.

Indeed, as Qing Jiu suggested, the best strategy would have been to retreat to her side.

Yu’er had considered this, but a stubborn defiance within her rebelled against what seemed the most logical choice. Her body, burning with an uncontrollable intensity, wouldn’t let her disengage from her opponent…

Yu’er remained silent, her head slightly bowed, obediently listening as if admitting her fault.

Qing Jiu, with her keen insight, recognized that while Yu’er understood her mistake and admitted it, if the situation occurred again, she would not change.

With a sigh, Qing Jiu conceded, “Forget it, it’s also my fault for not protecting you.”

Yu’er suddenly looked up, “I don’t need your protection.” As Qingjiu cleaned and bandaged the wound on Yu’er’s hand with fresh water, she heard this and couldn’t help but raise her eyebrows, gazing at Yu’er intently.

In a soft voice, Yu’er expressed, “The martial arts you taught me were not meant for me to always hide behind you. I don’t want to always be in your shadow; I want to fight alongside you.”

Seeing Qing Jiu’s silence, Yu’er continued with renewed determination, “Even though you… are far away from me, and I’m slow to catch up, one day I will eventually catch up and fight side by side with you. Do you believe me?” The conviction in Yu’er’s eyes shone brightly, a radiant glow that touched deeply. Qing Jiu couldn’t help but be moved, a smile of intrigue spreading across her face.

Qingjiu touched her forehead, her hand loosely covering her eyes, her laughter unending. After a while, she stood up and said, “Alright, just don’t make me wait too long.”

With that assurance, Yu’er felt an overwhelming sense of validation, her heart swelling with indescribable joy.

As they made their way through the tomb’s passage to the back room, they found it less like a burial room and more like a cave naturally formed within the mountains, with broken stones scattered everywhere and jagged rocks protruding from the mountain walls.

Their eyes immediately caught the silhouette of a person in the distance, imposing and robust. Who else could it be but Qi Tianzhu? Yet, a quick scan of the surroundings revealed no sign of Yan Li or anyone else.

Qi Tianzhu stood with his back to them, gripping a chain, his upper clothing torn and his muscles bulging from his arms and back. His neck was visibly red, a clear sign he was pulling something heavy with all his strength.

“Uncle Qi!” Yu’er called out.

The echo of her voice lingered long in the chamber, surrounded by rock walls with sharp stones jutting from the ceiling.

Qi Tianzhu turned hurriedly, gritting his teeth, “Miss Qing Jiu, come quickly and help.”

Yu’er started towards Qi Tianzhu but hadn’t taken a step before Qing Jiu stopped her, her gaze sharp, looking towards a large boulder.

Behind that boulder, with the sound of rolling stones, two figures climbed out and stood on top of the rock, looking down at them.

These creatures resembled snow monkeys, with their long arms and legs, covered in white fur and hunched over. One held Yan Li’s sword, and the other Qi Tianzhu’s iron staff, their large, glossy eyes fixed on Yu’er and Qing Jiu.

Yu’er drew her dagger with her left hand, readying herself for battle. As soon as the creatures saw the blade glowing white in Yu’er’s hand, they raised their hands high and let out sharp shrieks.

The one with the iron staff leaped down, aiming a blow at Qing Jiu’s head. Qing Jiu dodged, and the staff missed, hitting the ground before swinging towards Qing Jiu’s lower body. Qing Jiu leaped, using a stone pillar for support, as the creature wielding Yan Li’s sword thrust directly at Qing Jiu’s chest, the sword light weaving around her.

With her longsword drawn and her right shoulder injured, Qing Jiu fought with her left hand, deftly blocking every move from these snow monkey-like creatures.

The more Qing Jiu fought, the more surprised she became. The techniques used by these white-furred monkeys were unmistakably Qi Tianzhu’s and Yan Li’s usual sword and staff techniques, and they had quickly adapted to Qing Jiu’s own moves.

As the iron staff and long sword came at her again, Qing Jiu found herself entangled by the snow monkeys. Yu’er seized the opportunity to find an opening, rolled out of the fray, and ran towards Qi Tianzhu.

Only when she got closer did she realize there was a cliff in front of Qi Tianzhu, its depths obscured by thick black mist, hiding whatever lay below and filling the air with a cold, damp breath that swirled around them.

Yu’er peered down the cliff and saw Mo Wen hanging upside down from the chain Qi Tianzhu was holding, with something wrapped around the chain to prevent her from falling. Mo Wen was holding onto Yan Li with one hand and embracing Tang Linzhi with the other. Tang Linzhi appeared to have fainted, hanging limply. Yan Li was holding onto Hua Lian, who was being held by the feet. From this distance, Yu’er couldn’t tell if Hua Lian was alright. Looking down left and right, Yu’er couldn’t spot Yu Hei and Yu Bai.

Yu’er called out, “Mo Wen.” Mo Wen responded weakly. She was some distance from the edge of the cliff, and Yu’er would have to climb down the chain to reach her. However, with her strength, she wouldn’t be able to bring them all back up

Yu’er called out again, “Linzhi.”

Qi Tianzhu said, “Brother Hua Lian and Miss Tang have been poisoned.”

“Poisoned?!” Yu’er exclaimed in shock. “How could this happen…” She was well aware of the skills Yan Li and the others possessed, and it confused her how quickly they had fallen into such a dire situation.

Qi Tianzhu let out a suppressed growl from his throat, overexerting himself to the point that his eyes were bloodshot. Yu’er quickly got up, grabbed the chain to help Qi Tianzhu pull them up, but it was like trying to move a mountain. It was too heavy, as if there was a huge mountain tied to the other end.

Yu’er wondered, “It shouldn’t be this heavy. With Uncle Qi’s strength, lifting all six of us would be easy. Why can’t he pull up the four of them?”

Yu’er picked up a stone from the edge of the cliff, infused it with her strength, and threw it down towards the chain. The stone cut through the black mist, tearing a small hole through it. Squinting, Yu’er saw something slithering below, a rustling sound followed by a cold, damp wind rising up.

“There’s something down there,” Yu’er said.

Qi Tianzhu’s forehead veins bulged, “That thing has wrapped around the chain; otherwise, I could have pulled them up.” The skin on Qi Tianzhu’s hands was rubbed raw, staining the chain red with his blood, which slowly formed a drop and fell into the abyss below.

Suddenly, a piercing howl erupted from below, causing the entire cave to tremble. Accompanying the howl, the two strange monkeys Qing Jiu was fighting became more agitated and aggressive.

The black mist below was blown away by a chilling wind, and Qi Tianzhu, with his eyes wide, saw a swirling shadow below and shouted, “Girl! Girl, get away!”

Yu’er, standing at the cliff’s edge, had not yet reacted when a dark figure shot up, its upper body erect, scales gleaming black. Its eyes were blood-red, and it opened its mouth to reveal a black tongue.

A chill settled in Yu’er’s heart, spreading cold throughout her body.

“Girl, run!” Qi Tianzhu yelled. Seeing Yu’er’s lack of response, he grew increasingly desperate, unable to let go of the chain and unable to leave. He had no choice but to call out again to Qing Jiu, “Miss Qing Jiu! Miss Qing Jiu!”

The hissing of the massive black python never ceased, and from both sides of the cliff, two more slithered into view. One coiled near Qi Tianzhu, wrapping around a large boulder at the edge, slightly elevating its body. The other, right in front of Yu’er, weaved back and forth, as if sizing her up.

Qi Tianzhu, feeling the unchanging weight on the chain, deduced there were more pythons below. With the black mist now cleared, he peered downward only to see the darkness teeming with serpentine bodies. He quickly estimated five more pythons below, totaling eight including those above, which made him break out in a cold sweat.

From below came a voice, “Little Yu’er, don’t be afraid. A snake transforms into a lesser dragon after five hundred years…”

Another voice, weaker and breathless, interjected, “What’s the use of spouting such nonsense!”

“Are you awake, Tiger Lady?” The first voice paused before addressing Yu’er again, “Little Yu’er, look at the size of this creature, it’s no ordinary snake. That one on the wall, with bulges on its sides, is nearly a dragon. If it’s turning into a dragon, it’s no longer a snake, so you have nothing to fear!”

“That’s useless! It still looks like a snake. Even Xuan Eels aren’t snakes, but Yu’er is still afraid of them. This thing is just a bigger snake!”

“Ah, you pig-headed fool, I’m trying to distract Little Yu’er, and here you are dragging us back!”

Yu’er recognized the voices as Hua Lian and Tang Linzhi. Despite being injured, the two were embroiled in an argument, their voices indicating they were far from giving up even in this dire situation.

Tang Linzhi asked, “Where’s Qing Jiu?”

“I don’t know,” replied Hua Lian.

“Miss Qing Jiu is fighting with those strange monkeys,” Qi Tianzhu informed.

Tang Linzhi tried to move, shouting upwards, “Qing Jiu, what are you waiting for? Cut them down and pull us up!”

As Hua Lian and Tang Linzhi started speaking, the python kept its gaze fixed on Yu’er, its blood-red pupils narrowing to slits, its black tongue nearly reaching her face.

Yu’er, her hand tightly holding her dagger, her body almost limp with weakness, yet she gripped it even tighter, not daring to loosen her hold for even a second.

The air in her throat seemed filled with a chilly emptiness.

Suddenly, she remembered Qing Jiu’s words during her fight with Haokang, implying she should have retreated to her side. The sound of Qing Jiu clashing with the strange monkeys still resounded in the distance.

Yu’er thought, “If I can escape, Qing Jiu will definitely protect me.” But this plan didn’t linger in her mind for even a moment.

What echoed in her ears was Qing Jiu’s “Don’t make me wait too long,” a phrase that kept a spark of warmth in her chest amidst the boundless fear.

Yu’er forced herself to lift her head, her eyes red and her lips pressed tightly together, still trembling uncontrollably. She reversed her dagger, blade pointing backward.

Wishing to shield her from all harm and to repay everything she had given, Yu’er knew she was far from worthy. Yet, there was still time to progress step by step.

To stand by her side meant not allowing anything to stand in her way, to block her path forward.

In the face of her greatest fear, with determination, it all seemed so insignificant.

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21 days ago

Go overcome your fear for your dream 😲