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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 17, 2024 4 Comments
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Chapter 43: Jile City

Danger at The Tomb of the King (Part Thirteen)

After everyone had rested enough, the group, with Qi Tianzhu carrying Hua Lian and Mo Wen shouldering Tang Linzhi, resumed their journey southward towards Jile City. Despite their skepticism about the locals willingly handing over the antidote, they had no choice but to head there, given the poison afflicting Hua Lian and Tang Linzhi. They couldn’t just let it fester.

As dawn broke, hinting at the onset of winter, the extreme south maintained a mild chill.

Qing Jiu, looked ahead and said, “What, you plan to exchange yourself for it?”

Qing Jiu said this without mentioning any names. Yan Li knew who she was asking about, and she also knew that she wanted to say a few words about this matter. Yan Li said. “Considering our shallow friendship from years ago, she probably won’t go to extremes,” Yan Li responded. The two quickened their pace, creating some distance from the rest, but their conversation was still within earshot of the others. Although they didn’t mean to listen to the two of them talking, they couldn’t help but become curious upon catching bits of their exchange.

Qing Jiu laughed, almost gleefully, “Go to extremes? There’s no need for that. The only person she’s ever wanted dead was your master.”

Yan Li frowned slightly, calling out, “Qing Jiu.”

Qing Jiu’s smile faded as she tilted her head to look at Yan Li, “You’re not running anymore?”

“I haven’t been running,” Yan Li retorted.

“Oh, so you weren’t running away,” Qing Jiu nodded with a hint of sarcasm. “You simply decided not to face her, thinking death was your only way out. Stuck on Canglong Mountain, too helpless to do anything else. It’s practically like you killed your master yourself. Turns out you haven’t been running away.”

“It’s simply a cycle of hatred. I no longer wish to get involved, to prevent accumulating more karma or getting mixed up with her again. What would be the point?” Yan Li explained. “They say the observer sees clearly. You’ve seen through your own situation; why can’t you understand my feelings?”

Qing Jiu smiled, “So you’re saying, you’ve truly let go?”

“Are you saying I can’t?” Yan Li pressed.

Qing Jiu countered, “I fear what you’ve seen through is not your true heart.”

Yan Li stopped walking and looked at Qing Jiu without speaking. Qing Jiu also stopped, looked back at Yan Li, and said, “I don’t want to drag back someone who’s alive yet almost dead from Canglong Mountain to the humble abode of Bald Donkey and Bull-nosed old Daoist.”

Yan Li posed the question, her voice tinged with a rational calm that belied the gravity of their situation. “Then tell me, apart from getting the antidote from her, what else can we do? Si Yu is a Martial Champion with Chuanyun at his disposal. His strength rivals Hao Yun’s, and he’s not the only capable person under her command. She was able to kill my master; how inferior do you think her skills could be? If Hua Lian hadn’t been poisoned, we still couldn’t confidently say we could sneak into Jile City, find the antidote, and come out alive. Not to mention our current situation, with some of us poisoned and others injured. What do you think we should do?”

The tone of their conversation was very calm, indistinguishable from their usual talks, yet their companions, who had grown accustomed to their temperaments over time, sensed an unspoken tension. This wasn’t the first time Qing Jiu and Yan Li had expressed their displeasure in such a subdued manner, their anger always simmering beneath a veneer of tranquility. Instead of comfort, the group felt an overwhelming pressure in the air.

This realization dawned too late for the five eavesdroppers, who now regretted overhearing the conversation. Not only had they stumbled upon a dangerous secret, but they also recognized that the two had argued. They were too afraid to intervene, yet they couldn’t ignore the brewing anger between them.

These two had never argued before, and although what was happening now didn’t truly qualify as an argument in the real sense. They always got along well, to the extent that the others didn’t know how to persuade them to calm down.

Hua Lian nudged Qi Tianzhu’s shoulder, suggesting, “We can’t afford to be divided at a time like this. Dazhu, try and talk some sense into them.”

Qi Tianzhu shook his head quickly, saying, “Brother Hua Lian, I’m not good with words. I can’t.”

Hua Lian then called to Mo Wen, “Mo Wen.”

Mo Wen bluntly said, “No.” She did not want to provoke Qing Jiu and Yan Li, who were already upset.

Left with no other options, Hua Lian appealed to Yu’er, “Little Yu’er, you know Qing Jiu and Yan Li adore you. They wouldn’t get mad at you. Why don’t you try talking to them?”

Yu’er felt awkward, confessing, “I don’t know what to say to them.” The details of Qing Jiu and Yan Li’s conversation had eluded her, leaving her with only vague guesses as to the root of their argument, let alone how to mediate between them.

“If you can’t persuade them, try being a little flirty. That might work,” Hua Lian suggested.

Prompted by Hua Lian, Yu’er hesitantly moved closer before softly calling out, “Qing Jiu.”

Qing Jiu and Yan Li turned around. Qing Jiu inquired, “What’s wrong?” Her tone was as usual, showing no signs of the tension that had just filled the air, as if their earlier discussion had been nothing more than a calm debate over a trivial matter.

Regardless, when Yu’er saw the kind and gentle appearances of the two, she sighed in relief in her heart. After pondering for a long time, she said, “The technique you used in the water earlier, was it the Great Compassion Palm that Uncle Qi mentioned?”

Qing Jiu smiled lightly, “What, you want to learn?”

Yu’er nodded shyly. In the water, where resistance diminishes the force of any move, the power is significantly reduced. Yet, Qing Jiu’s palm managed to stir the lake water, indicating the extent of its power.

“This requires strong internal energy as support, which you can’t learn right now,” Qing Jiu explained. The external power of a move has its limits. To double the power of sword energy, knife energy, or palm force, breaking through metal and stone, one must have profound internal energy. This deep internal energy is achieved through advanced internal cultivation techniques and one’s own innate talent and understanding.

“How long will it take?” Yu’er asked. Qing Jiu paused, pondering, but did not reply. Yu’er understood this was no overnight achievement, and her admiration for Qing Jiu’s martial art skills grew. Only after beginning martial arts training did she realize its difficulties. With Qing Jiu’s level of skill, her talent and effort must be one in a thousand.

Qi Tianzhu and the others approached. Hua Lian suggested, “Yu’er, ask Qing Jiu to demonstrate. We need to see what level of internal energy is necessary.”

The group stopped by a small waterfall, with the sound of flowing water providing a refreshing coolness. Behind the bushes in the distance, there were rustling sounds of leaves and grass.

Yu’er looked at Qing Jiu expectantly, her face alight with anticipation.

Following the request, Qing Jiu fluidly drew her sword, initially holding the hilt upside down, she rotated the sword to a proper grip. Just as she turned the sword, the sword energy cut through, severing a small, white waterfall, briefly halting its flow.

The saying goes, “Drawing a sword to cut the water, the water flows even more.” Yet, to everyone’s amazement, Qing Jiu’s stroke momentarily stopped the water, a feat that left them in awe.

Hua Lian smiled and said, “No matter when I see it, I’m always impressed.” Qing Jiu sheathed her sword with a flourish.

Tang Linzhi glanced back, noting, “Those tails have finally left.” Since leaving the tomb, they’d been followed, whether by tomb raiders or opportunists waiting to pounce. Although these followers posed no threat to the group, their persistent presence was uncomfortable. Seeing Qing Jiu’s display of skill, the followers realized that these easy gains were not so easy after all and wisely chose to retreat, daring not to trouble them anymore.

Qi Tianzhu and Yu’er were shocked and overwhelmed by what they saw. Qi Tianzhu felt admiration but, at the same time, worry surfaced. No matter how talented a person is, there’s a limit to what one can achieve. Qing Jiu’s level of skill, considering her age, had already reached an abnormal level, which made Qi Tianzhu worry she might have practiced some forbidden techniques. Often, such martial arts yield quick results but come with endless troubles, prone to leading one astray and causing them to lose their sanity.

After a moment of contemplation, Qi Tianzhu spoke with earnest gravity, “Miss Qing Jiu, I have something to say to you.”

Qing Jiu responded, “Hmm.”

Qi Tianzhu began, “I believe that for those who practice martial arts, progressing steadily step by step is the path to long-term success. Those who wish to reach the skies in a single step only end up harming themselves…” The others, thinking he was about to say something important, listened to him suddenly bring up this topic. Although it made sense, they were puzzled by his intention. Only when he mentioned ‘reaching the skies in a single step’ did they gradually realize. Qi Tianzhu mistakenly thought Qing Jiu had practiced some forbidden techniques to advance so quickly.

Hua Lian, with a chuckle, reassured, “Dazhu, you can relax. Even if everyone in the world were to do such foolish things, Qing Jiu is too smart to engage in a deal that’s more harm than good.”

“Then…” Qi Tianzhu trailed off.

Hua Lian, without revealing too much, mysteriously said, “She has had her own unique fortunes.”

Qi Tianzhu’s thoughts quickly shifted, considering another possibility — that they had transferred their powers to her. He knew such a transfer could severely damage the giver’s cultivation and the receiver might not be able to withstand it, a truly risky maneuver that hadn’t initially crossed his mind. Reflecting on Qing Jiu’s exceptional martial art skills, he reasoned it wasn’t self-taught but guided by a skilled mentor, suggesting a stroke of destiny on her part. Realizing he had completely misunderstood the situation, yet relieved that things weren’t as bad as he thought, Qi Tianzhu laughed heartily at himself, “I was foolish,” and they continued on their journey.

This interlude broke the ongoing dialogue between Yan Li and Qing Jiu, providing Yan Li a moment of quiet reflection. They maintained their lead ahead of the group. After some time, Yan Li softly admitted, “Maybe you’re right. Perhaps I am running away, having deceived even myself into believing I’ve moved on.”

Qing Jiu reassured her, “Yan Li, this is your journey, and yours alone to decide. I won’t interfere. I just want to remind you to think carefully. Are you really ready to see her again?”

After a brief silence, Yan Li affirmed, “I’ve thought it through. Qing Jiu, no matter what, I’m going to see her. To me, now, that’s more important than their lives combined.”

Qing Jiu cautioned, “You’re no match for her. If she…”

For the first time, Yan Li interrupted Qing Jiu, defiantly stating, “What could she possibly do to me? Even if she kills me, it’s just one life. If it can save two lives, it’s worth it.”

Qing Jiu, with a laugh, teased, “Hua Lian and Linzhi would scold you for saying that.”

Yan Li simply smiled and shook her head, remaining silent.

After five days of travel, they arrived at Jile City. The city buzzed with a vibrant tapestry of people from various ethnicities, giving it a unique charm compared to the Jiangnan region.

The group of seven found an inn for their stay. Before nightfall, a group of people on horseback arrived and escorted them into the palace in the city.

From the window of their carriage, they could see the palace, constructed like a royal abode, resplendent and majestic, far from ordinary.

Hua Lian, slumping in resignation, remarked, “Well, this is it. The entire city is their territory. We barely got here, and they’ve already found us. They wasted no time tracking us down.”

Tang Linzhi, visibly annoyed, retorted, “Could you complain a little less?”

Upon their arrival, they were escorted to the steps of a grand hall, flanked by two rows of guards. Standing at the summit, brandishing the ‘Chuanyun spear,’ was Si Yu, causing Hua Lian to bare his teeth in disdain at the sight of the man who had taken advantage of others’ misfortunes. Tang Linzhi’s expression also darkened considerably.

Two maids emerged from the hall, one dressed in pale yellow and the other in snow blue, who bowed deeply and addressed Yan Li with utmost respect, “Lady Yan Li, our master requests your presence.”

Unwilling to let Yan Li confront the enemy alone, Hua Lian and the others were about to protest when Qing Jiu intervened, shaking her head at them. The maid in goose-yellow approached them with courtesy, inviting, “Please, follow me to the side hall to rest.”

Qing Jiu exchanged looks with Yan Li, who nodded back at her, holding her whisk. Maintaining her usual dignified posture, she followed the maid in snow blue into the hall.

The interior of the hall was dimly lit by layers of hanging curtains, leading Yan Li past the antechamber into what appeared to be a sleeping quarters.

The maid in snow blue bowed to a figure on the bed, announcing, “Master, I have brought Lady Yan Li to you.”

With a wave of her hand, the figure on the bed dismissed the maids, who quietly exited the room.

The person on the bed slowly rose, her silhouette casting an elegant shadow through the sheer curtains.

She picked up a piece of gauzy fabric from the foot of the bed and draped it casually over herself. Revealing an arm, fair and smooth, with slender fingers lifting the curtain, she stepped out barefoot, her toes like little jade grapes.

The woman who emerged had long, soft yet straight hair, striking features with lips red as cinnabar, exuding not vulgarity but a fierce and majestic aura, as if she looked down upon the world from above.

Dressed in a thin layer of black gauze that barely covered her, the loose garment exposed her white skin from her neck down to her waist. The contrast with the dark fabric was a stark assault on the eyes.

She spoke, “I’ve turned the jianghu upside down looking for you. Where have you been hiding, Yan Li?”

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dweeb
dweeb
1 month ago

Hi, I think chap 42 is missing

dweeb
dweeb
1 month ago
Reply to  admin

Oh sorry, let me look for it :3

Khriss
Khriss
28 days ago

Big boss showed up 😔
Tyftc