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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 26, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 56: Rumors

Martial Arts Competition Under The Heavens (Part One)

The World Martial Arts Competition was scheduled for mid-September, giving everyone ample time to prepare. They traveled north towards the Central Plains at a leisurely pace, taking the opportunity to enjoy the scenery along the way. With no urgent matters to attend to, Yang Chun decided to join the crowd heading to the competition after a stroke of luck at the Yanyu Pavilion.

As September rolled around, the autumn air turned crisp and invigorating. On this particular day, the party of eight had reached the outskirts of Minjian Manor.

Situated atop Huxiao Mountain, Mingjian Manor commanded an imposing presence, its location on the mountain characterized by its majestic and unparalleled landscapes. The manor itself was established on a plateau at the peak of the main mountain.

Originally, Huxiao Mountain was not under the control of Mingjian Manor but was part of Pili Hall. The previous master of the manor won the mountain from the leader of Pili Hall, thereby establishing Mingjian Manor on Huxiao Mountain.

Although Mingjian Manor had been established on Huxiao Mountain for just over forty years, it had deep roots and was known for its wealth, which was amassed through commerce and funded the grand and imposing construction of the manor.

Outside Huxiao Mountain was Rong City, located on a major north-south transportation route, bustling with vibrant activity and a never-ending stream of people.

The eight travelers, yet to enter the city, walked slowly along a path, leading their horses by the reins. Qing Jiu and her companions led the way, with Tang Linzhi, Hua Lian, and Yang Chun trailing behind.

Within the forest, Tang Linzhi and her companions stumbled upon a hundred-year-old Xiang Long tree, famous for its toughness. Tang Linzhi decided to use it to test the power of Chini. Always eager for excitement, the three gathered around, causing a commotion and eventually falling behind the rest of the group.

Chini was no ordinary weapon; it lacked a bowstring. Previously, Yanyu Pavilion had journeyed to the northern regions and gone to great lengths to secure a ball of ice silkworm silk. This silk was a rare and sacred item, not easily found. Yanyu Pavilion had paid a steep price and called in favors to acquire just a small amount of it—insufficient to weave into soft armor or shoes, but now it was perfect for Tang Linzhi to use as a bowstring for Chini.

Tang Linzhi retrieved an arrow, positioned it on her bow, and set her sights on the Xiang Long tree, standing approximately 100 meters away. Her assassin’s training afforded her exceptional eyesight and proficiency with a plethora of concealed weapons and projectiles. Comfortable and adept with the bow and arrow, her precision was unerring, a testament to her expertise and confidence in hitting her mark without fail.

Yang Chun and Hua Lian watched with great interest from the side. They saw Tang Linzhi’s arm slightly raise, and an arrow was released.

Yang Chun and Hua Lian observed intently as Tang Linzhi released the arrow. It shot through the air with the speed of lightning, its trajectory reminiscent of a dragon’s roar. As the arrow maintained its force across the distance and struck the core of the Xiang Long tree, the group watched in silent admiration of its formidable power. Yet, the display of power was just beginning.

Despite the arrow’s high-quality elm construction, it couldn’t withstand the divine force of Chini. Tang Linzhi channeled a bit of her internal energy into the shot, which Chini amplified significantly. By the time the arrow reached the tree, it had begun to disintegrate from within, exploding upon impact and splitting the hundred-year-old tree in half, with the top section slowly toppling over.

Qing Jiu and the other four were walking ahead, close to the Xiang Long tree. They were all familiar with Tang Linzhi’s skill and were confident she wouldn’t miss her target, so they didn’t bother to dodge. However, they hadn’t anticipated the immense power of Chini; the force of the shot blasted the middle section of the Xiang Long tree directly into sawdust.

A fierce wind struck their faces. Qing Jiu and Yu’er, who were closest and chatting at the time, were caught off guard. They quickly raised their sleeves to shield themselves, but they still ended up covered in sawdust. Sharp chips even cut through their sleeves.

The Xiang Long tree then collapsed, blocking the group’s path and stirring up a cloud of dust, leaving the five of them looking like gray-headed ghosts.

Approaching the downed tree, Tang Linzhi and the other two were astounded. Tang Linzhi, holding Chini, was even more delighted, shouting, “That was so satisfying!”

Yan Li and the others dusted off, while Qi Tianzhu couldn’t help but laugh, saying, “Look at how happy Miss Tang is, she’s gone crazy.”

Yan Li sighed helplessly, “Happy for no good reason.”

Qing Jiu and Yu’er’s hair was in disarray, covered in wood chips. Qing Jiu couldn’t help but tease, “Those who don’t know better might think Miss Tang has gotten herself a lover, not a bow-sword!”

Tang Linzhi’s face turned slightly red, and she said, “Don’t talk nonsense.”

Tang Linzhi put away Chini. The group circled around the Xiang Long tree and continued on their journey. Leaving the forest, they came to a main road.

A group of riders came galloping from the south, each clad in white robes and golden crowns, riding on majestic black horses.

Riders flanked the front of the group on both sides, each brandishing a whip to clear the path, calling out for pedestrians to step aside.

At this time, the group had just emerged from the forest, crossing onto the main road. The rider on the left had already driven his horse to the front of the group. Seeing someone blocking the way, he glared fiercely and whipped towards the closest person, shouting, “Where did this country girl come from, daring to block our young master’s path!”

At this moment, Yu’er and Qing Jiu were coated in a layer of sawdust and dirt, presenting a picture of disarray. The man, without taking a closer look and being arrogantly presumptuous, assumed they were just some poor, low-class people from a small town with a bit of martial arts skill who, upon hearing about the World Martial Arts Competition, had come to see the world.

Qing Jiu, with a graceful sidestep, pulled Yu’er back, skillfully dodging the whip. The whip’s crack resonated venomously through the air, hinting at the painful lash it would have inflicted upon flesh.

The two dodged and made way. Although the rider’s whip had missed, seeing the road clear, he didn’t bother to make a fuss and galloped away.

Following closely behind the two riders was a young master of striking appearance, holding a feather fan, his head held high with a look of disdain, ignoring all around him. His entourage of followers shielded him as they passed, their procession commanding attention.

Hua Lian and the others approached the roadside and, as they watched the group fade into the distance, they could still see the leading figure brandishing his whip to clear the way.

Hua Lian frowned, “Where did this arrogant brat come from? He’s so insolent and pretentious on the main road?”

Once on the main road, the number of travelers increased, all heading towards Rong City. Among them were distinguished figures of jianghu, some in groups, some accompanied by their sect’s elders and disciples, and others alone, embodying the essence of a wandering jianghu hero with a carefree spirit.

Upon entering Rong City, the scene was vibrant with activity. People from jianghu, with swords slung over their backs, filled the streets. Conversations about the grand martial arts competition and the Fenghou sword buzzed through the air.

The group found an inn to rest. The city was prosperous, and its sights were different from Jiangnan and Dali. As soon as they settled in, the eight went out to explore. Hua Lian and a few others went to a teahouse for tea while Yu’er and Qing Jiu, having tidied their attire from their earlier dishevelment, joined later in fresh clothes.

Their journey had always emphasized comfort and practicality in dress, with a few outfits lasting through their travels. When they were in Jiangnan, Liu Xiu, seeing this, had arranged for skilled tailors to craft new clothes for them, showcasing the finest craftsmanship.

Yu’er’s new outfit, a silk robe intricately woven with shades of dark blue and white, was a creation of the tailors commissioned by Liu Xiu. It resembled a delicate snow wave atop the azure spring sea.

Upon arriving at the tea house, Hua Lian and the others immediately recognized them, warmly beckoning, “Yu’er, Qing Jiu, over here!!”

Upon seeing them, Yu’er greeted them with a vibrant smile. Her skin was exceptionally fair, and given her youth, she appeared stunningly beautiful at first glance.

The group was momentarily stunned, as if they did not recognize the figure at the entrance. Were it not for Qing Jiu’s presence beside her, they might have thought her a stranger.

Hua Lian, in an exaggerated manner, clutched his chest and exclaimed, “Oh my, my dear little heart! How did it happen that my little Yu’er has grown so much without me noticing! Incomparably pure and beautiful, truly without equal in this world. I ask, who can compare to my little Yu’er?”

Although the group found Hua Lian’s behavior overly dramatic, they were used to it. However, they still somewhat agreed with what he said.

The once slender and petite Yu’er from the foothills of Yan Ling Mountain had blossomed into an elegant figure, her stature nearly matching Qing Jiu’s, a transformation that seemed as swift as the blink of an eye.

Among themselves, the companions had grown accustomed to each other’s presence, hardly noticing the subtle changes in Yu’er. Moreover, Qing Jiu and the other six were themselves of distinguished appearance, their elegance and grace setting a high standard of beauty within their circle. Yu’er rarely dressed up, so seeing her often, they wouldn’t feel a sense of stunning surprise.

Now that Yu’er had changed her clothes, and the group hadn’t seen her for a while, looking at her from a distance, they only saw a girl in the prime of her youth. The air of spring was like a blooming bud in the warm spring, its fragrance suddenly overflowing. Her eyes were bright and spirited, her skin soft and fair. When she looked at others, her eyes were clear and cold, carrying a sense of otherworldliness. When she looked at Qing Jiu and the others, her gaze softened, becoming gentle and lovely.

The group couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride, as if witnessing a daughter coming into her own, with Qi Tianzhu even remarking, “The little girl has grown up so fast!”

As the group was sighing, Yu’er and Qing Jiu had already walked over and taken their seats.

Seeing the group staring at her intently, Yu’er initially didn’t mind, but as they kept looking, she began to feel a bit uncomfortable and shifted her gaze elsewhere.

They sat in a corner of the teahouse, which was so engrossed in a storytelling session that the arrival of two more people went unnoticed.

In fact, this teahouse didn’t originally have a place for storytelling. It was only because people in the teahouse were all wanderers of the jianghu, with a bold and unrestrained nature, when they got excited talking to each other, they would push tables together in the middle to form a stage, and then place another table on top to serve as a desk.

The storyteller, not a professional by trade but rather a fellow patron, had captivated the audience with his eloquent and witty discourse on jianghu affairs. Recognized for his engaging storytelling, he was elevated to an impromptu storyteller amongst the crowd.

Dressed in a long, pale-gray robe, he stood upon a platform hastily assembled from tables, a wooden block in hand. With a practiced tap on the table, he effortlessly embodied the essence of a traditional storyteller.

Yu’er arrived just in time, as the man was talking about the sudden appearance of the Seven Northern Dipper Star Lords in the jianghu.

The storyteller continued, “When we speak of the Seven Northern Dipper Star Lords, we recount legends of beings whose powers could pierce the heavens and roam the earth. To the north, they conquered the Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses. To the south, they secured Yanyu Pavilion. Even further south, they moved through the Tomb of King Cheng and Jile City as though wandering through desolate lands. Who else in today’s jianghu could claim such extraordinary feats?”

A voice from below interrupted, slamming the table, “We’ve heard all this before, tell us something new, or step down and let someone else speak!”

The storyteller laughed, “Patience, dear guest. Listen as I tell the story in detail.”

“The tale continues that the Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses, known for their malevolence in the jianghu, were infamous for their villainy, causing untold misery to those living in the shadow of Yan Ling Mountain. Early last year, in a move that shocked everyone, the leader of the fortresses dared to become sworn brothers with those notorious villains, Meiren Gu and Yuan Wenliu!

“The Seven Star Lords, having old grievances with these demons, tracked them down, only to find the fortress naturally fortified and impregnable!”

“Yet for the Seven Star Lords, such obstacles were mere trifles. They devised a cunning plan, feigning capture to infiltrate the fortress. Once inside, they implemented the classic ‘empty fortress’ strategy, making the villains believe that wulin heroes had descended upon Yan Ling Mountain. This brilliant maneuver turned the villains’ own paranoia against them.” His voice modulated with the rhythm of his tale, drawing the audience into a rollercoaster of emotions, anger, and joy alike.

“Brilliant!” someone shouted. “My simple mind could never conjure such a clever scheme!”

“Don’t interrupt!” another yelled.

“It was a dark night,” the storyteller continued, his voice drawing them back in. “Six hundred bandits gathered to celebrate a joyous occasion, feasting and drinking, their guard completely down. Little did they know, disaster was upon them!”

The storyteller made a gesture of blowing wind with his hand, “The Seven Star Lords, with the help of the east wind they had secretly summoned, extinguished all the candles, plunging the fortress into darkness! The bandits were thrown into chaos! Then, the Seven Stars Lords shouted, ‘We’re here to rid the world of evil!’ The bandits, believing they were under attack by a massive force of wulin heroes, turned on each other in a frenzied panic, slaughtering themselves. The Seven Stars Lords eradicated the entire fortress without lifting a finger!”

The people below banged their teacups on the tables, their voices rising, “What I heard is quite different! I heard that each of the Star Lords is as beautiful as a divine being and as skilled in martial arts as a martial god. In fact, it was the leader of the Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses who harbored inappropriate desires and dared to look upon these celestial beings with lust, enraging them. That’s why they stormed the mountain and wiped out the fortress.”

“What celestial beings?” another voice piped up. “Are these Seven Stars Lords good or evil?”

Another person echoed the previous speaker, “I also heard that when the Star Lords were in Jiangnan, they saw that the wives and concubines of wealthy families were more beautiful than themselves. Out of jealousy, they not only murdered the master but also razed their home.”

A swordsman retorted, “Nonsense! It’s clear that the family of thieves was secretly colluding with the evil fortress to trade women.”

Someone else added, “Then what about the time they passed through a village and, displeased by the poor hospitality, slaughtered everyone?”

“Such things happened?!”

“I heard the villagers had been poisoned, and the Seven Star Lords attempted to cure them, a pity the villagers couldn’t appreciate their efforts…”

The argument grew heated, nearly coming to blows, with every retelling painting a different picture, pulling the story in every direction.

The subjects of these tales, sitting quietly in a corner, couldn’t help but be amused by the animated debate their legend had sparked, their laughter barely contained at the spectacle unfolding before them.

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Khriss
Khriss
20 days ago

Hahah imagine sitting in the corner and people are just gossiping about your legends
Thanks for the chapter!
The status update about Yu’er’s developement is great though.