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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 20, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 47: Xiaoqing Mountain

Eleven Yanyu Pavilions (Part One)

After leaving Jile City, the group did not return to Yunmeng Marsh by the original route. Instead, to avoid the trouble from Jile City, they took a small path. As a result, they had to take a detour, and by the time they returned to Yunmeng Marsh, it was almost the New Year.

The Yunmeng Marsh had seen several snowfalls this winter, dressing the landscape in a silvery white that presented a refreshing change to the eyes of the travelers on horseback. The scenery was completely different from what they had seen when they last visited.

Yu’er took her time to soak in the scenery, feeling as if her previous boat journey down through Yunmeng Marsh seemed like a lifetime ago.

Qing Jiu, with a spur to her horse, voiced out, “Let’s quickly go to Mount Xiaoqing to deliver the Qing Huang Wine Cup. We can still make it down the mountain to purchase some New Year’s goods and celebrate the New Year.”

Qing Jiu’s voice was still a bit weak, as she had recently recovered from the Gu poison. As she urged her horse to move faster, Yu’er persuaded her, “If we can’t make it for the New Year, we can plead with Elder Jie to let us stay the night on Mount Xiaoqing. We brought the Qing Huang Wine Cup for him, and as an elder, he should give us this courtesy. Your health is not good, so don’t rush and exhaust yourself.”

Qing Jiu paused, letting her horse slow down. Hua Lian rode up with a smile, agreeing, “Little Yu’er’s right.”

Qing Jiu smiled and followed her advice, decided not to rush. Hua Lian teased, “Little Yu’er is becoming more and more like a steward. Even when lecturing Qing Jiu, she doesn’t hold back.”

Yu’er felt a bit embarrassed by his words and quickly said, “No, that’s not…” Then, realizing that it was just Hua Lian’s nature, she ignored him

Everyone else laughed along. Yu’er’s growth was evident to all. It was indeed as Hua Lian said – Yu’er had opened up her heart and was no longer as restrained and cautious as before. Her brightness and confidence were exceptionally beautiful, making everyone feel greatly comforted.

Following the directions provided by Yanyu Pavilion, they entered Xiaoqing Mountain and located the secluded residence of Jie Qianchou. On the snowy slope, they saw layers of green bamboo covered in silver snow, with green and white intertwined, creating a lovely and elegant scene.

A stone-paved path ran through the bamboo forest, with the accumulated snow swept clean. The bamboo forest surrounded a courtyard, and in one corner of the courtyard, there was a stone table and chairs. A person wearing a dark green robe sat on one of the chairs.

The group approached, and Qing Jiu stepped forward to greet him, asking, “Excuse me, old Master, is this the residence of Elder Jie Qianchou?”

The person held an empty wine cup in his hand, and another wine cup was placed on the table in front of him, but there was no wine pot on the table. Without raising his head, he said, “What business do you have with that old man? He’s very busy right now. If it’s something about visiting or becoming his disciple, you’d better head down the mountain.”

With a smile, Qing Jiu listened to his words and, observing his demeanor, immediately knew he was Jie Qianchou, “Elder Jie Qianchou, we are here to return something to you.”

Jie Qianchou lifted his head, revealing his white beard and hair, but his spirit was still vigorous. He looked at Qing Jiu and then glanced at the other six people, saying, “Little girl, although this old man is advanced in years, my memory is still intact. We are strangers, and I don’t have anything left outside, so what’s this about returning something to me? Could it be that you’re here to make fun of me?”

“I wouldn’t dare,” Qing Jiu said as she took out the Qing Huang Wine Cup. This wine cup was not much different from the one described in the legends, and its appearance was indeed worth the trip down to the tomb. Qing Jiu handed the Qing Huang Wine Cup to Jie Qianchou and said, “The Yanyu Pavilion issued a reward for finding the Qing Huang Wine Cup. We juniors had a request for the Yanyu Pavilion, so we made a deal with the Young Mistress of the Yanyu Pavilion. We went down into the Tomb of King Cheng and, after a lot of effort and with the blessing of fortune, we managed to bring out this wine cup, narrowly escaping death.”

Jie Qianchou took the wine cup, his expression unreadable. He held the wine cup in one hand, just holding it lightly, not showing any particular cherishment or delight. “Was it that girl Liu Xiu who made the deal with you?”

“Yes,” Qing Jiu confirmed.

A chilly wind blew, and suddenly the place became so quiet that only the sound of the wind could be heard.

Jie Qianchou kept staring at the wine cup, his face so tense that the corners of his mouth twitched slightly, his hands trembling as he said coldly, “Just for this thing of yours!”

He abruptly stood up and shouted, raising his hand high and smashing the wine cup down heavily, angrily shouting, “The person is gone, what use do I have for this!”

Yu’er, being the closest, instinctively lunged forward, catching the Qing Huang Wine Cup in her left hand.

Jie Qianchou, in his rage and sorrow, inadvertently used some internal energy. Yu’er, using the “Long You” technique to deflect some of the force, but still felt pain in her palm from catching the cup. Thankfully, her hand was softer than stone, preventing the cup from breaking. Yu’er softly said, “Elder, there’s no need for this.”

“I wanted to smash it, why did you catch it!” Jie Qianchou’s chest heaved violently, seemingly unwilling to let the others see him lose composure. He turned away, folding his arms behind him, “You’ve delivered the wine cup to me, I’ll send a message to Liu Xiu telling her you’ve completed your task. This old man will remember your kindness, but as for the rest, you don’t need to concern yourselves any further.”

The prayer beads in Yu’er’s hand swayed with the wind. She spoke gently, “The elder who wanted to gift you this item must have hoped for you to treasure it. If you break it, you will regret it in the future.”

At that moment, a young man with thick eyebrows and a clean appearance walked out from the house, calling out, “Master.”

Upon noticing the group, the young man showed a hint of surprise and asked, “Who might you all be?”

Hua Lian responded, “Young brother, we are here on behalf of Yanyu Pavilion to deliver something to Old Master Jie.”

“Oh, so you’re people from Miss Liu Xiu’s side,” he realized, noticing his master’s serious expression and fearing his temper might have flared again. He quickly added, “My master’s temper isn’t very good. Please forgive him. I’ll go and make tea for everyone,” and then, calling out to Jie Qianchou, “Master, please speak kindly to our guests,” before he turned to enter the house.

Jie Qianchou sat on the stone bench without saying a word. Yu’er walked over and placed the Qing Huang Wine Cup steadily in front of him.

Jie Qianchou looked at the cup mournfully for a long while before sighing deeply, “Having this divine vessel is meaningless without good wine.” Good wine certainly existed, but those mundane drinks could hardly catch Jie Qianchou’s attention anymore.

He murmured to himself, “Old Ghost, you broke your promise!”

Qing Jiu stepped forward and smiled, “Elder, there’s no need to be so disheartened. How can there be no good wine in this world? As it happens, we juniors have a gourd of it right here.”

She unhooked a wine gourd from her waist, uncorked it, and the aroma of wine mixed with the crisp air filled the surroundings. Jie Qianchou’s eyes widened in surprise as he looked at the gourd in Qing Jiu’s hand.

Qing Jiu walked to the stone table and poured the wine into the Qing Huang Wine Cup. The wine cup had been carefully cleaned by the group beforehand. When water was poured into it, the cup showed no changes. But now, as Qing Jiu’s wine entered the cup, the bluish-white jade color of the cup completely faded away, becoming as clear as crystal. Qing Jiu poured half a cup, closed the gourd, and smiled, “We juniors heard from Miss Liu Xiu that the old Elder obtained this Qing Huang Wine Cup to let you appreciate the taste of the finest wine vessel combined with the world’s best wine. Now that the Qing Huang Wine Cup has been brought here, consider this cup of wine a complimentary gift from us juniors.”

There are three steps to wine tasting: observing its color, smelling its aroma, and tasting its flavors. Jie Qianchou had tasted countless wines, and his ability to discern them was unmatched. Just by observing the color and aroma of Qing Jiu’s wine, he knew that it was no ordinary drink. His spirit stirred, and he suddenly called out towards the house, “Changsi! Changsi!”

The young man from earlier hurriedly ran out, still holding a tea tray in his hands. “Master, what’s the matter?”

Jie Qianchou instructed, “It’s getting late, and the snow has piled up, making it difficult to come down from the mountain. Go arrange a few guest rooms for them.”

Qing Jiu thanked him, “In that case, we’ll be imposing on you, Elder.”

Changsi said, “Everyone, please follow me.”

The group had been thinking about how to ask Jie Qianchou to let them stay and rest, but unexpectedly, Jie Qianchou had already suggested it, saving them the trouble of asking.

The group followed Changsi towards the house. When they looked back at Jie Qianchou, they saw him hunched over, holding the Qing Huang Wine Cup, alone in the scattered falling snowflakes—a solitary figure that evoked a sense of desolate beauty.

Hua Lian sighed, “Old Master Jie is also a man of deep feelings and righteousness.” Turning to observe Qing Jiu and the others, he evaluated them and then asked Qi Tianzhu, “Dazhu, if one day I’m gone like Elder Jue Mingzi, will you be like Old Master Jie…”

Qi Tianzhu scratched his head, revealing a patch of dark stubble on his otherwise bald head, “Brother Hua Lian, I don’t drink alcohol…”

Hua Lian was speechless, and said “Forget it”.

Trying to lighten the mood, he turned to Qing Jiu, but as soon as he opened his mouth and saw her face, he thought of something, and his smile faded away. He didn’t ask anymore.

Changsi led the group to the front part of the residence. The place where Jie Qianchou resided was the backyard, which appeared much more spacious from the front yard.

Changsi explained with a smile, “Although my master has retired, there are times when friends from the jianghu come to visit him. Some stay for a few days, and when there are many people, it becomes inconvenient to accommodate them, so we expanded the place.” The group, who had been worried about sleeping on the floor, now found there was no need for concern.

Changsi arranged the rooms: Qing Jiu and Yu’er shared one, Mo Wen and Yan Li another, and Qi Tianzhu with Hua Lian together.

Tang Linzhi had a room to herself. As an assassin, she was overly sensitive, usually preferring to spend her nights atop the beams of the room. Now, with the cold forcing her down, the presence of someone breathing nearby would keep her awake, making it difficult for her to sleep.

As the evening darkened and after dinner, Changsi came looking for Qing Jiu, relaying that Jie Qianchou wanted to see her.

Qing Jiu told the others to rest while she followed Changsi alone back to the backyard. The Qing Huang Wine Cup was still on the table, and Jie Qianchou stood to the side with his hands clasped behind his back.

After Changsi left, Qing Jiu approached the stone table and noticed that the wine cup had returned to its original jade color, the wine gone. She smiled slightly, understanding what had happened.

“I don’t know why Elder summoned me here. What are your instructions?”

“Let’s not beat around the bush. How about selling that gourd of wine to this old man?”

Qing Jiu shook her head: “I won’t sell it.”’

“This old man naturally won’t ask for it for free.” Jie Qianchou had expected that Qing Jiu wouldn’t easily part with such fine wine. He said, “I can give you a lifetime’s worth of gold and silver.”

Qing Jiu smiled, “I know Elder loves wine, but I won’t easily sell this gourd of wine.”

Jie Qianchou thought to himself, “The price isn’t right. But then again, few people in the jianghu are greedy for money.” So he said, “How about I trade three of my ultimate secret techniques for it?” Qing Jiu shook her head.

Jie Qianchou, with raised eyebrows, warned, “Little girl, don’t be so presumptuous. Although this old man has half-retired, I believe there are few people in the jianghu who can match me in a fight. You’re a wanderer of the jianghu, yet you don’t recognize the value of what you have!”

Qing Jiu found this inwardly amusing but maintained a respectful demeanor, “I’m not obsessed with martial arts. I’m content with having some skills to protect myself. If Elder has nothing else, I’ll take my leave.”

Jie Qianchou hastily said, “Wait, you, you…” After talking for a while, he didn’t know how to persuade this stubborn young lady to trade the wine. He could only sigh in frustration as he watched Qing Jiu leave.

The group retired to their rooms, and as midnight approached, the outside became chillier with the wind howling, drowning out all other sounds.

Qing Jiu and Yu’er’s room was closest to the main house. The moon window shook very lightly and was then lifted.

Outside, the moonlight was bright and clear, shining through and casting shadows of the sleeping figures on the two beds.

A black shadow with an agile figure slipped in. As soon as the person’s feet touched the ground, the blanket on the bed near him suddenly flew towards him. Qing Jiu swiftly struck out with her palm, and the person dodged with extraordinary speed. However, Qing Jiu’s palm strike was incomparably swift, unavoidable. Their palms clashed, and both were repelled by the internal force.

Yu’er took out a flint and lit the lamp on the cabinet. In the bright lamplight, the person’s face was revealed. It was actually Jie Qianchou.

Yu’er, surprised, exclaimed, “Elder, why are you here?”

Qing Jiu said with amusement, “Elder, sneaking into the room of two women in the middle of the night, what is the meaning of this?”

Jie Qianchou hadn’t expected the two to be so alert. He had used his profound internal energy to come without making any noise, yet they had detected him so quickly. He couldn’t help but silently praise them.

As soon as Jie Qianchou exchanged a move with Qing Jiu, he realized that her skills were not simple. He said, “I didn’t expect that you, young lady, would have such hidden depths in your skills.” Qing Jiu just smiled without saying anything.

Seeing that she didn’t respond, Jie Qianchou felt awkward. After all, sneaking into a woman’s room at night was improper. He fake-coughed a couple of times, unable to hide anymore. He said, “Tell me honestly, where did you get that gourd of wine from?”

Qing Jiu laughed, “So Elder sneaked in here to be a wine thief.”

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Khriss
Khriss
21 days ago

Hmm elder sure is greedy lol 😂 interrupting our Yu and QJ’s rest!
Thanks for the chapter!