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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 24, 2024 2 Comments
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Chapter 54: Tease

Eleven Yanyu Pavilions (Part Eight)

After Qing Jiu and Yu’er stepped out from Tang Linzhi’s room, the summer of June greeted them, its air still fresh with the scent of recent rain. The world outside was awash with the sounds of birds and the vibrant tapestry of green leaves, rendering the air refreshingly crisp and immensely pleasing.

As they walked along the corridor, Yu’er inquired, “Qing Jiu, did Linzhi tell you those things herself?”

Qing Jiu uttered a puzzled, “Hmm?”

Yu’er pressed on, “She doesn’t strike me as someone who would voluntarily talk about such matters.”

“She indeed isn’t,” Qing Jiu, covering her mouth with the back of her hand and leaning in closer to Yu’er, whispered in a hushed tone, “I got it out of her by getting her drunk.”

Qing Jiu’s eyes sparkled with a mischievous light. When she smiled like this, it made Yu’er feel as if she had bitten into a Sichuan peppercorn, causing a numbing sensation in her heart. Qing Jiu always had a knack for being playfully mischievous, a characteristic Yu’er found endearing. At this moment, however, Yu’er saw her in a new light, finding her both beautiful and adorable, and wished nothing more than to hold her close.

“You seem to know us so well. But about you, we… we know so little,” Yu’er lamented. This was her reflection after a year of companionship. Qing Jiu was intimately familiar with their stories, yet the others knew surprisingly little about Qing Jiu’s past. Curiosity was there, but Yu’er would never probe into Qing Jiu’s background through others. She believed that if she wanted to understand, it was best to ask Qing Jiu directly, but she had always lacked the opportunity.

Qing Jiu’s gaze shifted, her jet-black eyes bright, slightly glancing with a hint of inquiry, naturally carrying a touch of imposing aura. This aura, like a chilling murderous intent, made one tremble with fear upon seeing it. She didn’t actively display it, but it would occasionally surface unintentionally.

Yu’er’s momentum softened, and she said, “It’s not fair…”

With a slight, meaningful smile, Qing Jiu teased, “Would you like to know about my past?” At this, Yu’er’s heart skipped, and with a brief hesitation, she nodded.

Qing Jiu’s expression changed, and she lowered her voice somberly, “But it’s not a particularly happy tale. What if the person you discover is far from what you imagined, and leaves you disappointed?”

The rhythmic dripping of rainwater from the corridor’s eaves was the only sound that filled the momentary silence. Yu’er, touched by Qing Jiu’s expression, reassured her softly, “That won’t happen. No matter what, Qing Jiu is Qing Jiu.”

Stealing a glance at Yu’er, Qing Jiu’s lips curled into a small smile, her tone bittersweet yet filled with concealed delight, “Is that so? Does Yu’er really think that way?”

Yu’er’s heart softened, feeling both pity and tenderness for her. She solemnly nodded, “Mhm.”

Seeing Yu’er’s sincerity, Qing Jiu couldn’t help but relax her brows and eyes. She gently stroked Yu’er’s cheek, her voice even more tender, “Is that so? I’m very happy to hear that.”

Yu’er gazed at her fluttering lips, memories of a scene in Liu Yun’s room causing her cheeks to flush red. Her face heated up and her heart raced. Overwhelmed, she couldn’t bear to look at her any longer. By the time Yu’er regained her composure, a considerable amount of time had unknowingly passed.

As Yu’er reflected back, she couldn’t help but be stunned.

She realized Qing Jiu had skillfully diverted the conversation, never allowing her to bring up what had been discussed before.

After Qing Jiu and Yu’er left, Liu Xiu remained in the room, looking after Tang Linzhi. She brought over a small stool and sat by the bedside, resting her chin on her hand as she gazed at Tang Linzhi’s sleeping face. Seeing how refined and beautiful she looked, with a captivating heroic spirit, Liu Xiu thought to herself that if it weren’t for the previous unpleasantness, this woman would have been very much to her liking. However, upon further reflection, although Liu Xiu couldn’t fully accept Tang Linzhi’s disdain for courtesans, she could understand it.

Liu Xiu extended a slender, jade-like finger and poked Tang Linzhi’s slightly furrowed brow, saying, “When you really think about it, we’re similar. So, what is it that you despise about us? Do you consider us unclean because we chase after wealth and luxury?”

Liu Xiu pouted her lips, her tone carrying a hint of dissatisfaction, “The Yanyu Pavilion is not like that at all. Why do you insist on lumping us together with those common brothels?”

Yet, Liu Xiu knew deep down that in the eyes of society, the difference was minimal. Selling smiles and companionship was no different from selling one’s body. The only distinction was that one sounded more respectable – one selling art, the other the body, both looked down upon in the same way.

But how society viewed them was of no concern to Liu Xiu. She did not see herself as lesser because of it. What truly bothered her were Tang Linzhi’s words: “heartless and unrighteous.”

Everyone in the Yanyu Pavilion had their own sense of loyalty and righteousness!

As Liu Xiu was lost in thought, her hand unconsciously applied more pressure. Suddenly, Tang Linzhi let out a moan, her brows twitching slightly. Liu Xiu was startled and quickly withdrew her hand, “You’re awake!”

Tang Linzhi slowly opened her eyes, her vision clouded with confusion, “Where am I?” Having slept for so long, her voice was hoarse, and she couldn’t help but cough as she spoke.

Liu Xiu helped Tang Linzhi sit up against the bed and poured her a glass of water, offering it gently, “You’re at Yanyu Pavilion. Yang Chun brought you back.”

Although Tang Linzhi was initially reluctant to accept help from Liu Xiu, the dryness of her throat overpowered her resistance, and she leaned forward to take slow sips from the cup.

“Do you remember what happened?” Liu Xiu inquired.

Tang Linzhi frowned, trying to recall. At first, she was confused, but gradually, her eyes became clearer as the previous events echoed in her mind. Instead of feeling frightened or traumatized by her near-death experience, she laughed at herself, “I really have a tough life.”

Liu Xiu tried to give Tang Linzhi more water, but seeing her refuse, she placed the cup on the bedside table. With a serious expression, she said, “This time, Yanyu Pavilion owes you a favor. We will repay this debt.”

Seeing Liu Xiu’s gentle words and earnest demeanor, a drastic change from her usual temperament, Tang Linzhi assumed she had some ulterior motive. She instinctively backed away, covering her wound and grimacing, “It was just a transaction. Those responsibilities were part of the deal. Young Mistress, there’s no need to be so polite and say such empty words. It’s quite sickening.” Tang Linzhi imitated Qing Jiu’s official tone, speaking in a prim and proper manner, also putting on a whole act.

Liu Xiu, having dealt with countless people, could easily see through Tang Linzhi’s thoughts. Seeing Tang Linzhi’s lack of appreciation and mistaking her gratitude for ulterior motives, she couldn’t help but feel irritated. She coldly laughed, “Does Miss Tang think they’re empty words? Yanyu Pavilion has always been true to its word. Since Miss Tang doesn’t believe in the Yanyu Pavilion’s sincerity in expressing gratitude, why don’t we repay this favor right now?”

Liu Xiu leaned in closer. Tang Linzhi frowned and retreated, “What are you doing?!”

Liu Xiu laughed coyly, truly embodying a hundred charms, “As the saying goes, ‘If one has nothing else to offer, one can offer oneself.’ In Yanyu Pavilion, we women are the most valuable, and among us, I, the Deputy Pavilion Mistress, am held in the highest regard. You saved my master’s life, and I’ll repay you with my own. From now on, I belong to you.” Knowing Tang Linzhi’s aversion to courtesans, Liu Xiu deliberately provoked her.

Tang Linzhi had just woken up and was unaware that the antidote Yang Chun had brought back from the Liusha gang leader had cured the Yanyu Pavilions Master of poison. Thinking Liu Xiu was merely teasing her, she backed away, protesting, “What are you doing?! Don’t come near me! Mo Wen! Qing Jiu! Yan Li!” In her agitation, her regional accent slipped out as she called for her friends.

Seeing her flustered and panicked appearance, Liu Xiu couldn’t help but laugh inwardly. This amusement made her find teasing Tang Linzhi even more entertaining. She intensified her coquettish charm, “What can I do? I’m here to help my Mistress dress.”

Tang Linzhi had backed herself up against the wall, near a half-open crescent window. Seeing Liu Xiu advance, she acted without hesitation, flipping herself out of the window in a swift move.

Liu Xiu was taken aback, hardly expecting her actions to push Tang Linzhi to such extremes. Concerned for her injuries, Liu Xiu hurried to the window, calling out, “Hey! Your wounds!”

Looking outside, she saw that despite her severe injury, Tang Linzhi had managed to leap across the courtyard with a few light movements, landing on the opposite roof. With another leap, she flew further and further away. Liu Xiu angrily pouted, “You can’t fly that high without falling to your death!”

As more time passed, the weather grew hot, and the insects chirped incessantly. The person who had poisoned the pavilion master made no further moves, and despite several investigations by the Yanyu Pavilion, they couldn’t uncover any information about the culprit’s identity. Meanwhile, minor threats tried to take advantage of the Yanyu Pavilion, but they couldn’t stir up any significant trouble.

Tang Linzhi’s injury healed extremely quickly, and she was already able to walk around freely. Most of the injured people in the Yanyu Pavilion had also recovered. Yu’er took advantage of her free time to practice her martial arts, making great progress in her skills.

On this particular day, Liu Xiu, wearing a snow-blue light robe and carrying a bamboo basket on her arm, walked into the backyard. She saw Qing Jiu instructing Yu’er on martial arts techniques in the courtyard.

Liu Xiu walked over to the stone table and set down the bamboo basket, smiling, “Here are some fresh fruits newly acquired by Yanyu Pavilion. Please, have a taste, Star Lord.”

Qing Jiu picked up a blood plum, its surface glossy with moisture and chilled to the bone after being cooled with ice, “You’re too kind.” Qing Jiu tossed the blood plum to Yu’er. With a flick of her sword, Yu’er sent the blood plum flying, gracefully catching it with her left hand, her posture elegant. Qing Jiu watched with a smile, her gaze unwavering as she conversed with Liu Xiu, “How goes the search for the person behind all this?”

Liu Xiu sighed, “They’ve hidden themselves well. Yanyu Pavilion hasn’t found any useful information. Even that Feixu who fought with Tang Linzhi seems to have appeared out of thin air and vanished into thin air. Now that they’ve stopped making moves, probably aware that Yanyu Pavilion has called for reinforcements, it’s getting even harder for us to catch them.”

“Not even a single clue?” Qing Jiu asked.

Liu Xiu shook her head. Qing Jiu remarked, “To be able to achieve this level of secrecy right under the Yanyu Pavilion’s nose, ordinary sects don’t have such capabilities. At the very least, the enemy’s intelligence gathering ability is not much different from Yanyu Pavilion…” Resting her cheek on her hand, Qing Jiu pondered, “Tang Sect, Ghost Sect, Xuanji Tower, Beggar’s Sect, any of them could be suspects…”

Listening to Qing Jiu enumerate the suspects, Liu Xiu’s brows furrowed deeper, “This means, the initial arson was not just to create chaos and steal the Chini but also intended to weaken Yanyu Pavilion significantly, disrupting our information network and preventing us from retaliating.”

Qing Jiu observed, “Our enemy is cunning and not easily dealt with. From what I know, the Tang Sect Leader doesn’t involve himself in the conflicts of jianghu, and the leader of the Beggar’s Sect has always been unrestrained and straightforward in his actions. These two seem less likely to be involved.”

Liu Xiu understood her meaning and said, “I will instruct the pavilion to pay more attention to the movements of the Ghost Sect and the Xuanji Tower.”

Then, Qing Jiu inquired, “How is the Pavilion’s Master recovery progressing?”

At this point, Liu Xiu’s face was filled with worry as she answered, “The poison in my master has been cured, but her internal injuries…”

“Qixian Palace’s unique internal energy is special. Being injured by their zither’s sound is not so easy to recover from.” Qing Jiu noted.

The Yanyu Pavilion Master’s condition was Liu Xiu’s primary concern. As long as her master had not fully recovered, she could never put her mind at ease, “If we could have the divine sound of Qixian Palace to help, it would only take a few days to heal. However, Qixian Palace had a bit of an unpleasant history with Yanyu Pavilion years ago, and since then, there has been no contact, so…”

With a sigh full of worry, Liu Xiu lamented, “I even swallowed my pride and sent a letter to Qixian Palace asking for help, but they ignored it completely.”

“Young Mistress, you don’t need to be so troubled,” Qing Jiu said as she stood, untying a jade flute from her waist, “Trust given, trust returned.”

Offering the jade flute to Liu Xiu with a smile, Qing Jiu added, “Having received such hospitality from the Young Mistress, it’s only right I do something in return. Take this jade flute to Qixian Palace and show it to the Palace Master, Gong Shang. He will agree to treat the Pavilion Master.”

“This…”

“Does the Young Mistress not trust me?” Qing Jiu teased.

Liu Xiu took the jade flute and observed it. The jade flute was simple and elegant, with only a crack at the end and the character ‘Lin’ engraved on the back, nothing particularly remarkable. “Thank you. If my master can fully recover, this kindness, this favor…”

Waving her hand dismissively, Qing Jiu said, “Enough of that, I’m tired of hearing it. Just take good care of this jade flute, and don’t damage it.”

Her words mirrored those of Tang Linzhi. Recognizing their straightforward and sincere nature, Liu Xiu sincerely smiled, “From now on, you are friends of Yanyu Pavilion.”

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Khriss
Khriss
28 days ago

Our QJ is so powerful, both in physique and connections. Her spirit is like the moon or something blah blah praise yes she’s amazing!
Thanks for the chapter!

Cherry
Cherry
4 days ago

Ohh new ship for our shadow marquis? Their dynamic is super cute!