Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 17, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 42: Xiao Yao San

Danger at The Tomb of the King (Part Twelve)

Qi Tianzhu and Yan Li reclaimed their weapons next to the lifeless bodies of the bizarre apes. Qing Jiu inquired, “What’s the deal with these two strange snow-monkeys?”

Hua Lian expressed his frustration, “Who knows what’s up with these two things! We were perfectly hidden on the rock wall, and just as we were about to climb, these two beasts stealthily sneaked up on us, taking us completely by surprise. They snatched the weapons from Dazhu and Yan Li and sliced through the chain in the rock wall with a single slash. Fortunately, Dazhu’s quick reaction saved us; he clung to the wall, flipped over, and grabbed hold of the chain. Otherwise, you’d only find us smashed into a puddle of mud… No, by that time, we would have already become a meal in the belly of a giant python.”

Qing Jiu chuckled, “These snow-monkeys and the giant python probably share the same nest. Maybe they intended to drop you down as food for the snake.”

Recalling the incident, Hua Lian shivered, “Fortunately, you and Little Yu’er arrived just in time.”

Qing Jiu pondered, “Have the people from the Jile City just left? Yu’er and I came from the main tomb chamber and didn’t see anyone wielding Chuanyun.”

Hua Lian lamented, “We felt like years have passed by this cliff, how would we know how much time has actually passed.”

Qing Jiu, thought for a moment, mentioned, “I’ve destroyed the suspension bridge. They can’t follow us anymore, but we can’t go back either. We need to find another way out.”

Hearing that their only exit was destroyed didn’t cause panic among Hua Lian and the others. Hua Lian suggested, “Do you remember Yu Hei and Yu Bai mentioning an underground river leading to Tian Nu Lake? We found a map of King Cheng’s Tomb on our way here…”

Qing Jiu’s eyebrows lifted slightly, “Found?”

Tang Linzhi clarified, “Stolen, those people were preparing to leave anyway, they won’t need it.”

Hua Lian explained, “The back room depicted on it is next to Tian Nu Lake. Yu Hei and Yu Bai mentioned there might be an underground river here. Even if there isn’t, we could dig a tunnel out, swim from here to Tian Nu Lake, and then get out.”

Qi Tianzhu looked around, the area was surrounded by rock walls, without a trace of water wetting the rocks: “This doesn’t seem like a place with an underground river.”

Standing at the edge of the cliff, Qing Jiu noticed that after the black fog dispersed, the bottom of the cliff didn’t seem deep, and the air below was damp and cold. Qing Jiu said, “I’ll go down and check. It seems that’s the only possibility now.” Hua Lian and Tang Linzhi were still slumped on the ground. Qi Tianzhu took the chain and lowered it down the cliff, holding one end.

Yan Li advised, “Be careful.”

Qing Jiu slid down the chain. The cliff wasn’t tall, with the chain almost reaching the bottom. With her graceful figure, Qing Jiu swiftly reached the cliff’s base.

The group awaited above, and soon, the chain vibrated. Qing Jiu, holding the chain, soared upwards, and as she neared, she lightly tapped her foot against the cliff wall and ascended back onto the cliff.

Yan Li asked, “How did it go?”

Qing Jiu reported, “There’s a tiny stream of water, but it’s too small for anyone to get through.”

Hua Lian, delighted, exclaimed, “As long as there’s a water flow, there’s a way.” As he finished speaking, Mo Wen stepped forward, removing something from her back. It was a leather case, carefully carried by Yu Bai earlier. The case was tightly sealed. Qing Jiu opened it with a key, revealing it was packed full of gunpowder.

Mo Wen explained, “Yu Bai said that when entering the tomb, if necessary, we would have to blast through rocks, so this was prepared in advance, and he gave it to us when we left.”

Hua Lian added, “This is top-quality gunpowder from the Pili Hall, powerful enough to blast through and create a passage.”

Seeing no other option, Qing Jiu, with the case on her back, joked, “What if we end up collapsing the cave?”

Hua Lian chuckled, “I’d rather be crushed to death than sit here waiting to die of starvation or dehydration. Drowning seems like the better option.”

Qing Jiu, after a light jest, descended to the cliff edge again to set up the gunpowder. She lit the fuse with a flint and quickly climbed back up.

In moments, a loud boom echoed from below, followed by several more explosions. Bright flames illuminated the dark base of the cliff, causing the cave to tremble as pebbles and rocks cascaded from above.

The gunpowder successfully blasted open the narrow crack, allowing a torrent of white water to rush in, flooding the bottom of the cliff.

Qi Tianzhu carried Hua Lian, Mo Wen picked up Tang Linzhi, and the group waited at the edge of the cliff.

It seemed the water level of the outside Tian Nu Lake was much higher than here, as the water rose to the middle of the cliff wall and did not stop. After signaling each other, Qing Jiu jumped down first, followed by Mo Wen and Tang Linzhi. Qi Tianzhu, Hua Lian, and Yu’er followed closely, with Yan Li remaining last.

As soon as they entered the water, the sound became muffled, and all they could see was a vast expanse of pale green, barely allowing visibility of the person ahead or behind.

The group moved against the current, following Qing Jiu, they soon encountered a rocky wall with a hole the size of a bathtub, surrounded by rubble. Qing Jiu, with her hands on the rock wall, stood in the water, helping Mo Wen and Tang Linzhi to get through first, and then waited for Qi Tianzhu and the others to pass before following.

In this underwater lake, visibility was limited to just a few meters ahead. The group had no idea how long they had been inside the tomb, nor whether it was day or night outside.

They slowly swam upward, Tian Nu Lake’s depths seemed unfathomable, feeling as if they made no progress at all.

Yu’er looked down and saw nothing but darkness below, with no visible bottom of mud and sand. It wasn’t that the water was too murky; rather, it seemed like something else, possibly water plants, was causing the pitch black darkness.

After a while, Yu’er suddenly felt that the darkness was getting closer to them. Blinking, she thought it was an illusion until the shapes began to separate, revealing it wasn’t an illusion at all.

Those weren’t plants but creatures resembling monkeys, covered in black fur, with protruding eyes, swimming incredibly fast in the water. The horror of these things wasn’t in their strange appearance or their speed; it was in their sheer numbers, surging like a black tide towards them.

Mo Wen, pulling Tang Linzhi, was nearly above water when Qing Jiu signaled Yan Li and Yu’er to hurry.

But their escape was anything but swift. Suddenly, all four were ensnared by those creatures. Yu’er and Yan Li were relatively okay, with only one or two grabbing them. Qi Tianzhu, who was at the back, was completely covered in those creatures.

Yu’er drew her weapon, which remained sharp even underwater, and with one slice, she cut off the creature’s arm. Turning to Qing Jiu, she saw her dispatching foes with swift, powerful palm strikes that stunned them despite being under water.

Qing Jiu dove deeper, her movements fluid, driving many of the creatures away and pulling Hua Lian off Qi Tianzhu.

As Yan Li and Yu’er approached, Qing Jiu handed Hua Lian over to them, urging them to take him to safety first.

Despite their worries, Hua Lian was unable to move or defend himself at that moment, and staying in the water was a burden. They needed to get him out of the water quickly, especially since those creatures were approaching fast. So, they quickly swam towards the surface with Hua Lian.

As they neared the surface, Yu’er looked down and saw those things surrounding Qi Tianzhu and Qing Jiu, like a giant hand pulling them underwater.

Yan Li and Yu’er, with Hua Lian in their hand, reached the surface and swam to the shore. Mo Wen helped them out. Hua Lian, having swallowed much water, coughed incessantly, gasping out that these were the “water monkeys” or “water ghosts” the townsfolk warned about.

Yan Li and Yu’er, intent on rescuing their friends, saw a whirlpool form on the lake’s surface, growing larger and larger.

Shortly after, a dark figure was thrown out, and Yan Li and Yu’er sensed its massive presence as it fell, the force of its landing oppressive.

They dodged out of the way. The figure that fell was Qi Tianzhu, landing upside down. Before he could complain, he quickly got up and looked towards the water, seeing Qing Jiu already swimming to shore, climbing up.

Qi Tianzhu’s arms and neck were covered in bloody scratches from the water monkeys. Yu’er wanted to stop the bleeding; however, Qi Tianzhu paid no attention to her. Instead, he stared intently at Qing Jiu. With his lower lip trembling, he said, “Miss Qing Jiu, that was the Great Compassion Palm, a secret technique of our Buddhist sect. Only my master’s generation knows it. But how do you know it? How?!” It was this very technique that had repelled the countless water monkeys underwater.

Qi Tianzhu had seen Qing Jiu fight before, primarily using sword techniques that, over time, he recognized as belonging to the Wuwei Palace. He had also seen her fight barehanded, employing a variety of moves, including some basic Buddhist palm techniques, which didn’t surprise him.

However, the Great Compassion Palm was a technique that required the sect leader’s generation to consider deeply before carefully choosing a disciple to pass it on to.

He had seen his master use this palm technique, powerful and majestic, unforgettable after just one viewing. Such a profound Buddhist secret technique being used by a woman, how could he not be astonished and terrified?

Previously, he had thought the Buddhist prayer beads Qing Jiu wore were merely for show. Now, it seemed she had a genuine connection to Buddhism.

After reaching the shore, Qing Jiu stumbled and knelt, vomiting blood and breathing heavily.

Hua Lian, lying on the ground looking up at the sky, said to Qi Tianzhu, “Dazhu, this isn’t the place to talk.” Qi Tianzhu, filled with questions, realized Hua Lian was right and suddenly found himself unable to voice his inquiries.

Yu’er hurriedly bandaged Qi Tianzhu’s wounds before turning her attention to Qing Jiu, intending to check her pulse.

Qing Jiu gently shook her head, her voice faint, “I used too much internal energy. It’s nothing serious; let me rest for a bit.” Her mastery over her internal energy was not yet complete, and having been injured, she had no choice but to use a technique that not only drained her physically but also inadvertently caused her own injuries from the force backlash. But to her, as long as she was alive, everything else was a minor concern.

After resting for a good while and treating their injuries, they hastily ate some dry food to regain some strength.

Mo Wen, holding a piece of hard, dry bread, spoke with an inexplicably aggrieved tone, “Qing Jiu, I want to eat sweet and sour pork knuckle, spicy oil-drenched noodles, and a bowl of fresh fish with tender tofu soup.”

Tang Linzhi’s stomach growled at the mention, cursing, “Are you trying to kill me?” The food in the tomb was indeed poor, but unfortunately, they had all been spoiled by Qing Jiu’s cooking.

Hearing Mo Wen’s words, everyone couldn’t help but laugh. After surviving such dangers in the tomb, sitting here alive and well brought a surreal sense of being back in the realm of the living.

Qing Jiu noticed Hua Lian and Tang Linzhi still lying on the ground, seemingly powerless. She thought that even if it was miasma, with their level of skill, it should have been cleared by now. “Mo Wen, how are they doing?” she asked.

Mo Wen shook her head, “This poison is difficult to cure.”

“Poison?” Qing Jiu asked. Qi Tianzhu had mentioned poison earlier, but Qing Jiu had thought it was just miasma.

Suddenly, Yan Li spoke up, his voice heavy, “It’s the Xiao Yao San from the Jile City.” Qing Jiu’s gaze shot towards Yan Li.

The others, clearly unaware of what Xiao Yao San was, looked puzzled. Hua Lian asked, “How do you recognize this poison?”

Yan Li paused for a long moment before calmly explaining, “After being poisoned with Xiao Yao San, one’s internal energy is sealed, leaving the body weak but the mind clear. After seven days, one’s consciousness gradually blurs, as if falling into a dream. The moment you indulge in the beauty of those dreams is the moment of your demise.” After Yan Li’s explanation, Hua Lian shivered.

Yan Li then asked Mo Wen, “Do you have the means to refine an antidote within seven days?”

Mo Wen shook her head, “Even with all the necessary herbs, it would take at least half a month.”

Hua Lian exclaimed, “Half a month?! By then, we’ll all be mummies!”

Hua Lian, trying to be closer to Mo Wen, said desperately, “Ah, why bother with making medicine; just let me bite you.”

Mo Wen flicked Hua Lian’s forehead, dismissing the idea, “That’s just a rumor.” As the scenes from their entry into the tomb replayed in Yu’er’s mind, she couldn’t help but glance at Mo Wen’s forehead, now covered again with a piece of green cloth hiding the strange pattern beneath.

Hua Lian, on the verge of tears, wailed, “It’s not fair. We faced all sorts of demons and ghosts in the tomb and survived, only to be killed by poison once we’re out.”

Yan Li lowered her gaze, her voice soft as a feather brushing across the surface, “We have no choice but to seek the antidote from the Jile City…”

It was a statement light as air, yet heavy with implication.

Mo Wen, hearing this, remarked, “After they’ve gone to such lengths to poison us, I doubt they’d hand over the antidote willingly. Qing Jiu and Brother Qi are injured, and Hua Lian and Linzhi can’t even move. Going into their territory now would be like walking into a trap.”

Yan Li didn’t reply, only offering a faint, bleak smile.

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21 days ago

Wow no rest for our protagonists goddamn. Our Yu er really showed some growth though! Go little Yu!!
Thanks for the chapter!