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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 18, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 44: Please Me

Danger at The Tomb of the King (Part Fourteen)

She approached with a measured stride, coming to a stop before Yan Li, “I’ve searched everywhere for you, never imagining you would come to me on your own.”

Her steps were light, circling Yan Li with a scrutinizing gaze, her fingers gently caressing the two white ribbons hanging from Yan Li’s hairpin, “I don’t like the way you’re dressed.”

Her gaze was intense. Yan Li stood upright, her demeanor calm. She stepped closer, her gold-tipped nails softly tracing Yan Li’s cheek, “Nor do I like this expression of yours.”

Yan Li looked into her eyes, “A friend of mine has been poisoned with the Xiao Yao San.”

As if she hadn’t heard, her gaze fixed on the white strands at Yan Li’s temples, her fingers winding a strand, closely inspecting it, sliding to the end, “The last time I saw you, you didn’t have a single white hair…”

“I’ve been waiting for you to come and kill me, waited for a long time, but you never came. Why didn’t you come? I went to the Wuwei Palace to look for you, they said you had left. I captured many disciples from the Wuwei Palace to question them, but I couldn’t get any news of you. I’ve been searching for you for so many years. A few days ago, Si Yu told me he saw you at King Cheng’s Tomb but couldn’t bring you back. I was very angry, thinking it would take many more years to hear from you again…”

Yan Li interrupted her, saying, “Wu Yu, I’ve severed my worldly ties, no longer concerned with the past. Our old conflicts no longer matter.”

Wu Yu held her face, leaning in close, though she saw calmness in her eyes, she refused to believe, “You should hate me.”

Yan Li said, “I came to you for the antidote.”

A moment of silence, then Wu Yu smiled, her beauty always sharp, aggressive, “To beg me for someone else’s life, talking about severing worldly ties, who are they to you, that you could leave Wuwei Palace, but stay with them, even coming to see me for them. Why should I give you the antidote.”

Yan Li opened her mouth to say “In consideration of our past friendship…” but then felt it ridiculous, and instead demanded, “As long as it’s nothing against heaven and reason, I am willing to do anything for you.”

Wu Yu, knowing Yan Li’s determination, felt no joy hearing these words; the promise, instead, irritated her. She said, “I can give you the antidote, since you wish to trade, let’s trade.”

Yan Li asked, “What are your conditions.”

Her nail caressing Yan Li’s cheek, sliding over the corner of her mouth, startlingly, to her neck, slightly exerting force, the tip piercing Yan Li’s skin, drawing blood. Yan Li frowned slightly. Wu Yu pressed against her, extending her tongue to clean the blood off.

Wu Yu’s voice was husky and soft, carrying an irresistible authority: “Pleasure me.”

Silence lingered long after.

Wu Yu was in no hurry, leisurely observing Yan Li. She knew what kind of person Yan Li was, unyielding and unbreakable, knowing she would not agree, and precisely because she knew she wouldn’t agree, she spoke those words.

It was a test of her limits, to mock her and provoke her anger, but also hidden with deeper intentions.

Yan Li’s eyes trembled as she closed them, uttering a simple “Okay,” surprisingly accepting the challenge at once.

Wu Yu watched her for a long time, “You said you’ve cut off worldly ties, forgotten our past grievances, yet you agree to my request so easily. It seems you still…”

Yan Li opened her eyes, revealing an indifferent gaze, “It’s just a shell.”

Wu Yu’s words hung unfinished. The proud Yan Li, compromising to such an extent without changing her expression, was actually for someone else. A surge of anger rose in Wu Yu, turning into a laugh of extreme amusement, “Fine, very well, it’s a deal!”

Wu Yu grabbed Yan Li’s collar, pulling her towards the bed, then turned to sit on it, causing the curtains to flutter lightly.

Wu Yu crossed her legs, the black fabric parting to reveal a flash of her fair skin. These legs, like snow-crafted jade, were masterpieces carved to perfection. She coldly smiled at Yan Li, “You know I’m not someone who can be easily pleased.”

Yan Li stood straight in front of Wu Yu, her lips pursed, her eyebrows slightly furrowed in an overly serious expression that hinted at restraint.

Wu Yu stared at Yan Li, her gaze scanning every inch of her body. Everything about her felt familiar, from years gone by. Yan Li’s serious face even made Wu Yu’s heart flutter, bringing her back to their first meeting.

“Do you plan to just stand there forever?” Wu Yu asked.

Yan Li remained motionless. Wu Yu thought, “After so many years, Yan Li is still Yan Li, unable to do anything reckless.”

Wu Yu propped her hands on both sides and said, “Is this how you intend to please me?”

A lazy laugh escaped Wu Yu’s lips, followed by a long sigh.  Her leg lifted, toes tracing a path down to Yan Li’s collar, slipping inside.  A seductive smile played on her lips as she opened her outer garment, stirring herself into arousal. Her eyes held a mischievous spark.

Her toes then slid down, pressing against Yan Li’s chest. She felt the steady heartbeat and a sudden surge of annoyance.

Wu Yu leaned forward, pulling her onto the bed, teasingly saying, “Yan Li, you know what to do.

Yan Li’s whisk was thrown away by Wu Yu. “I find this thing particularly annoying,” Following that, the outer robe along with the long sword she was carrying on her back was thrown outside the bed curtains. During this process, Yan Li let out a deep hum as several pieces of clothing slipped from the foot of the bed.

Wu Yu caressed the face of the person beneath her, her touch moving down to her collarbone, a sensation she had never forgotten.

The look in Wu Yu’s eyes deepened as she slowly leaned down.

The curtains swayed, opening and then closing again.

Suppressed low moans intertwined with the soft, enticing whispers filled the air, the night was still long.

The moon shone brightly, and a cool breeze whispered.

Unable to sleep, Yu’er wandered to the front courtyard where Hibiscus trees were planted. With winter approaching, these were the season’s last blossoms.

She sat on the railing, her head resting against a pillar, and observed how the flowers seemed to glow more vibrantly under the moonlight, their color almost like blood.

Closing her eyes, she remembered the knife in the tomb and how a single stroke had so easily claimed a life. A chill from the night breeze suddenly made her eyes snap open, causing her to shiver.

Then, she heard footsteps, light and soft, approaching from the east side. Turning her gaze, she saw Qing Jiu walking slowly, her head slightly bowed as if lost in thought.

“Qing Jiu,” Yu’er called out.

Caught in her thoughts, Qing Jiu only noticed Yu’er upon hearing her voice, and with a faint smile, she said, “You’re up late again.”

As Qing Jiu joined Yu’er on the railing, she remarked, “Staying up late often, you won’t grow taller.”

Yu’er chuckled, “You’re up late too,” noting Qing Jiu’s presence beside her.

“Are you unable to sleep because you’re worried about Yan Li?” Yu’er inquired.

Qing Jiu didn’t respond, which was as good as confirming it.

Yu’er found it peculiar, prompting her to comment, “That’s strange.”

“What’s strange?” Qing Jiu asked.

Yu’er, with a tone of curiosity, shared her thoughts, “I overheard your conversation with Yan Li the other day. It sounds like Yan Li holds a grudge against the City Lord of Jile City because of her master’s death. But when we arrived, the city lord greeted us with all the respect and politeness guests should receive. Why do you think that is?”

Qing Jiu explained, “It’s because Yan Li once had a close relationship with the City Lord of Jile City.”

Surprised, Yu’er responded, “Ah! If that’s the case, then where does the grudge about the master’s death come from? And why were you opposed to Yan Li coming here?”

Qing Jiu laughed lightly, “You’re quite eager tonight.”

Yu’er ran her fingers over the scar on the back of her thumb, reflecting, “Yan Li’s master is somewhat of a master to me as well.”

Gazing at the moon, its silver glow casting a serene light, Qing Jiu seemed lost in thought. “The moon remains the same, but the people under it have changed. It seems right that you should know about this affair.”

“Is there a reason you can’t tell me?” Yu’er asked gently.

“There’s no harm in telling you,” Qing Jiu reassured.

“Yan Li is a disciple of the Wuwei Palace, and her master was the junior brother of the current head of the Wuwei Palace.”

Yu’er’s eyes lit up with intrigue. Throughout their journey, they had encountered many sects in jianghu and, since she discovered in the tomb that she knew nothing about jianghu, she asked Qi Tianzhu was naturally happy to talk about these things, starting with a detailed explanation of the major sects.

The Wuwei Palace has stood in the jianghu for a hundred years, with profound foundations, located on Jade Mountain. Its disciples are taught to cultivate their moral character and to purify their hearts and minds. Despite its general detachment from worldly affairs and disdain for fame and fortune, the Wuwei Palace is known for its disciples’ righteousness. Every year, many disciples descend the mountain to practice righteousness and justice. The martial arts of Wuwei Palace are rarely matched in jianghu, so while it does not engage in worldly affairs, its martial achievements and moral conduct place it among the top of jianghu’s hundreds of sects, standing unshaken for a hundred years.

Qi Tianzhu had told her that being trained by Yan Li in martial arts made her like a Wuwei Palace disciple, and she should embrace its core values of compassion, frugality, and purifying one’s heart.

Shaking her head, Qing Jiu added, “I’ve never seen her at the Wuwei Palace, but from our first meeting, Yan Li was always stubborn and somber, hardly ever changing her expression or speaking much, always carrying a sense of deep-seated grudge. I imagine she wasn’t much different when she was at the Wuwei Palace.”

Yu’er smiled at the thought. It seemed the current Yan Li still bore traces of her past self, yet she had changed significantly in many ways. Whether Qing Jiu and the others were squandering money or causing trouble, Yan Li always had plenty to say, revealing a much more vibrant side of her personality.

“But thinking about it, growing up in a place like Wuwei Palace, developing such a personality is inevitable: stubborn, bull-headed, not smiling or laughing, that’s the standard for disciples of Wuwei Palace.”

Qing Jiu looked at Yu’er with a teasing smile, wrinkling her nose, “In this respect, you have inherited a bit of her sect’s true essence.”

Yu’er couldn’t help but laugh internally, knowing Qing Jiu was calling her stubborn. She acknowledged this silently, not offering a response but listened as Qing Jiu continued, “There’s another thing, a common flaw among disciples who’ve never left the mountain. They’re naive about the ways of the world, too simple, too easily deceived.”

Yu’er, surprised, asked, “Who would dare deceive a disciple of the Wuwei Palace?”

Qing Jiu’s smile carried a hint of irony, “Isn’t the City Lord of Jile City one such person? The name of the Wuwei Palace isn’t a talisman that wards off death.”

Yu’er inquired, “What did she deceive Yan Li of?”

Qing Jiu replied, “She deceived Yan Li of everything.”

Yu’er didn’t grasp the full meaning of her words. Qing Jiu elaborated, “She won Yan Li’s compassion and trust, only to kill her master. Or rather, she meticulously planned to get close to Yan Li in order to kill her master. She extracted information about the defenses of the Wuwei Palace from Yan Li, familiarized herself with the martial arts of the Wuwei Palace through her, and then waited for the right moment to reveal her true self in front of Yan Li.”

Yu’er suddenly stood up, unable to contain her anger, “How… how could he do such a thing!”

Qing Jiu lightly said, “Why couldn’t she?”

Yu’er stood there, stunned, before sitting down again. She felt outraged on behalf of Yan Li, who had unfortunately trusted the wrong person. But if that person had approached with a hidden agenda from the start, then their actions were to be expected. With all kinds of human hearts, it’s not surprising to encounter villains capable of drastic deeds, individuals who betray kindness with enmity on the journey from the southwest, and schemers like the lord of Jile City, shouldn’t really come as a surprise.

Yu’er asked, “Why did he want to kill Yan Li’s master?”

Leaning her chin on her hand, Qing Jiu shared, “Yan Li told me that person claimed Yan Li’s master was her biological father, just a man with a lifetime of love and hate encapsulated in a storybook of proving his swordsmanship, abandoning his wife and daughter—a heartless and faithless man. Whether that’s true or not, no one can say for sure.”

Yu’er said indignantly, “Even if he had a reason, he acted completely wrong. Even if the grandmaster was this person’s father and had wronged him, killing your own father is an unforgivable sin. Yan Li treated him with nothing but sincerity, but he ignored Yan Li’s circumstances, deceiving Yan Li, showing disloyalty and unrighteousness.”

Qing Jiu’s face was filled with a smile, yet it was that inscrutable expression that hardly betrayed her emotions, “Yes, it’s that person’s sin.”

Yu’er asked, “But why do you say Yan Li is avoiding the issue? Is it because she hasn’t sought revenge?”

Shaking her head, Qing Jiu replied, “After the incident, Yan Li was consumed by self-loathing, knelt in front of the Wuwei Palace’s main hall, asking the sect leader to enforce the sect rules—strip her of her martial arts and expel her from the sect. However, the leader only sentenced her to solitary reflection, forbidding her from leaving the palace. The Jade Mountain is snowy year-round; I don’t know how long she knelt there. Her fellow disciples couldn’t stand by and watch, so they brought her down to Canglong Mountain. By the time I found her, she had developed a lifelong leg condition.”

Yu’er felt a mixture of pain and sympathy, thinking to herself, “So that’s how Yan Li got her leg condition.”

Qing Jiu continued, “I say she’s avoiding it because, from beginning to end, she believes all this was her own fault.”

Yu’er protested, “How can that be? It’s clearly that person’s fault. Why would Yan Li think like that?”

“It’s because Yan Li can’t forget her,” Qing Jiu’s words were soft, fleeting, and Yu’er barely caught them. Before she could ask again, Qing Jiu would not elaborate, simply saying, “You’ll understand in time.”

Without delving deeper, Yu’er expressed her worry, “Yan Li is going to meet such a scheming person alone. What if something happens to Yan Li…”

“Yan Li understands her better than any of us. If she chose to come here after careful consideration, she must have her reasons,” Qing Jiu assured.

Standing up straight, Qing Jiu turned to look at Yu’er. Coming out from the shadows of Yan Ling Mountain, Yu’er had grown much over the past half-year. Previously, she only reached Qing Jiu’s chest, but now she had grown up to Qing Jiu’s chin. Growing so quickly, she would likely be as tall as Qing Jiu by next year.

The earlier comment about not growing tall was just a jest. This girl had grown quickly, shedding her youthful air for the unique tenderness and charm of womanhood. Under the moonlight, her face glowed with a soft luminescence, her eyes brimming with emotion, like two pools of autumn water.

“Are you also up because you’re thinking about Yan Li?” Qing Jiu asked.

Yu’er shook her head, her thumbs nervously intertwined, her mind involuntarily drifting to the person she had killed in the tomb, “I was thinking about the person I killed.”

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Khriss
Khriss
28 days ago

;; So that’s what happened, 😭 one could guess as such from their earlier exchange, but knowing the full details is always good. Thanks for the chapter!