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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jun 28, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 60: Display of Power

Martial Arts Competition Under The Heavens (Part Five)

“Make way, make way, let us through!”

Yang Chun and Zhu Ji, one on the left and the other on the right, cleared a path through the crowd. Hua Lian strode through with his head held high and his fan snapping open with a flourish, exuding an air of utter supremacy. Qing Jiu followed a step behind him on the left. Yan Li, Tang Linzhi, and Mo Wen walked together while Yu’er and Qi Tianzhu brought up the rear.

The Ning family’s young master’s earlier arrogance in the city had already attracted considerable attention. Now, some in the crowd recognized Hua Lian’s face and, thinking he was part of the Ning family’s entourage, remarked, “This Young Master has no sense of propriety. He’s going to pay for his recklessness sooner or later.”

With a grand gesture, they made their way forward, causing annoyance among some hot-tempered onlookers who even cursed aloud. Amidst these murmurs and shouts, Hua Lian reached the base of the Cloud Ladder with a smile on his face. He turned back and bowed to the crowd, imitating the Ning family’s young master’s tone, “This Young Master shall take his leave first. Farewell, heroes!”

With that, he turned, leaped gracefully onto the narrow, challenging steps of the Cloud Ladder, and sprang up without even touching the vines, reaching the top almost instantly as if strolling leisurely through a garden.

A brief silence fell below, then someone shouted in admiration, “What remarkable lightness skill!” It was the same shock and admiration Qi Tianzhu had felt when he first witnessed Hua Lian’s lightness skill.

The crowd at the foot of the Cloud Ladder secretly marveled, speculating that the young master’s lightness skill was easily among the most advanced in the current jianghu.

Manor Master Jun of Jiuxiao Manor, looked up and spoke in a light, approving tone, “Whose Young Master is this?”

A tall woman standing beside him pondered, “He looks like the Young Master of the Ning family…”

Manor Master Jun was quite surprised, “I had heard rumors that the Ning family’s son was a spoiled and arrogant child, lacking in real martial skills,” he said, shaking his head.  But it seems the rumors are not to be trusted. I can see he held back his lightness skills and didn’t fully display it. If we truly compared, I’m afraid even I wouldn’t be able to surpass him.”

After Hua Lian ascended, Yan Li, Mo Wen, and Tang Linzhi walked over. The two men who had been debating the strength of men and women stood facing each other, right beside the three.

Yan Li walked in front while Mo Wen lagged slightly behind Tang Linzhi. As they passed by the two men, Tang Linzhi flicked her wrist, and two streaks of silver light silently shot out.

Their positioning was clever, and Tang Linzhi, skilled with hidden weapons, took advantage of the distraction caused by Hua Lian’s display. Despite the crowd of onlookers, filled with many skilled fighters, nobody noticed Tang Linzhi’s action.

One of the silver needles struck the thin man in the knee. The impact was minor unless it hit a specific acupoint, so initially, the man only felt a slight, mosquito-bite-like pain. He didn’t pay much attention to it until he found the lower half of his left leg becoming numb and weak. Puzzled, he moved his leg only to kneel down unexpectedly with a thud.

The other silver needle aimed at the burly man made a tiny ting sound as it was deflected. Tang Linzhi had targeted his arm, not knowing that beneath the bandages were steel wrist guards that prevented the needle from penetrating.

Mo Wen had coated the silver needles with a drug—not a lethal poison that poison that seals the throat upon contact with blood, but rather a numbing agent that caused weakness and inability to exert strength. The drug’s effects were both potent and rapid.

Mo Wen had always been reluctant to employ such methods against others. Her willingness to apply the drug to the silver needles this time greatly surprised Tang Linzhi, who was nonetheless pleased with the approach.

Tang Linzhi had originally aimed for the burly man’s arm acupoints, intending for the drug to spread through his meridians and render his body limp, causing him to collapse and become immobilized. She hadn’t anticipated her clever plan would backfire.

Soon, many bystanders noticed the thin man inexplicably kneeling, causing confusion and laughter among the crowd, who wondered, “Why is this man kneeling?”

Second Miss Jun scoffed, “Turns out he’s spineless.”

The thin man’s face flushed with embarrassment as he found the rest of his body also succumbing to weakness, his internal energy stagnated, making it impossible for him to stand despite several attempts. Sweat beaded his forehead as he called out, “Which hero has ambushed me? Why trouble me in such a manner?”

When the silver needle had shot toward the burly man’s bracer, he had sensed something. Now hearing the thin man’s words, he was even more certain someone had secretly made a move. He immediately flew into a rage, shouting, “Who’s using such cowardly tactics? If you have the courage, face me directly!”

The odd situation sparked whispers among the crowd, speculating that someone had intervened because of the two men’s offensive remarks. Given their earlier comments, no one stepped forward to defend them.

As the burly man reflected on it, his heart filled with horror. The attacker had been silent and unseen; if the needle had targeted a vital point, he could have been killed on the spot.

The more he thought about it, the more anxious he became. He grabbed a few people he found suspicious and lifted them by their collars, asking, “Was it you who attacked me from behind with hidden weapons?”

One man laughed, “I did want to hit you, but from this far away, I missed and hit someone else instead!”

These words jolted the burly man awake. With people all around, a long-range hidden weapon attack would likely hit bystanders. The attack must have come from someone nearby.

Recalling who had been standing close and the direction from which the hidden weapon came, his gaze settled on Tang Linzhi and her companions, his eyes flashing coldly as he demanded, “Stop!”

Yan Li and the others were already preparing to ascend the Cloud Ladder. Seeing them about to leave, the burly man hurriedly came over and roared angrily, “It was you! Thinking to escape after your underhanded trick!”

Without another word, he struck out with a palm strike. At this time, Yu’er and Qing Jiu were at the very back. The palm strike was headed straight for Yu’er’s back.

Qing Jiu gracefully spun, positioning herself beside Yu’er, her right hand fanning Yu’er protectively behind her while her left hand met the burly man’s attack with a poised and powerful counter. Her approach, one part yielding and the other forceful, was impeccably executed.

The burly man had been holding back, using only enough strength to detain them. However, he was taken aback when Qing Jiu’s internal energy surged forth, nearly overpowering him. Initially underestimating her because she was a woman, he increased his force, expecting to easily repel her. To his surprise, Qing Jiu’s internal energy was exceptionally strong and sustained, unlike any he had encountered in a woman before, causing his expression to change in shock.

As their palms clashed, the force generated whipped up a gust so strong that it carved marks into the ground, forcing the surrounding crowd to back away.

Ye Sheng frowned and commented, “It’s inappropriate for a lady to practice such rigid internal techniques.”

Ye Wushuang, seeing that someone had finally taught those two men a lesson, and it was even a woman, was delighted in her heart. Now, hearing her Eldest Brother say this, she couldn’t help but pout, displeased, “What now, Eldest Brother? Are you also going to say ‘women shouldn’t practice martial arts’?”

Ye Sheng chuckled, “You jump to conclusions too quickly. I haven’t even finished speaking. It’s not criticism; those forceful and domineering internal techniques really aren’t suited for women due to physical differences. Men’s bodies are yang, women’s bodies are yin, each suited to different internal techniques. Practicing contrary internal techniques indeed goes against the natural order. Are you aware of the principle ‘extreme hardness is easily broken’? For a woman to practice such rigid internal techniques not only makes it difficult to reach the higher levels but also harms her body.”

Before he could finish, Qing Jiu increased her palm force by another thirty percent. The burly man was already breaking out in a cold sweat. His earlier remarks about women being inferior in martial arts were now being directly challenged by a woman in a test of strength, effectively slapping his own face in front of everyone.

Refusing to be defeated, he exerted his full strength. Yet, the woman before him appeared calm and composed, her clothes fluttering as if she was leisurely strolling, showing no sign of effort.

The burly man’s focus slipped for a moment, and his body was already blasted back by Qing Jiu’s internal force. He staggered a few steps before steadying himself, clutching his chest and spitting out a mouthful of blood.

Struggling to comprehend what had just happened, the burly man could only utter in disbelief, “You…”

Qing Jiu, her face partially hidden behind her fan, swept her sleeves to reveal a slight smile, without lingering to engage further, she turned to Yan Li and the others, “Let’s go.”

Tang Linzhi leaped up, her movements as swift as a falcon soaring straight upward. In an instant, she reached the top of the Cloud Ladder with clean and efficient movements, matching Hua Lian’s skill perfectly. Below, another round of astonished exclamations erupted from the onlookers.

Ye Wushuang watched and cheered continuously, not only for Tang Linzhi’s exceptional and graceful lightness skill but also for Qing Jiu’s palm strike that made the burly man spit blood. She laughed and said to Ye Sheng, “Eldest Brother, you mentioned that too much strength can lead to weakness and difficulty in reaching the higher levels. I think that girl is very powerful. With one palm strike, she made that burly man spit blood. You might not necessarily win against her.”

Seeing Ye Wushuang take his words so lightly, Ye Sheng, undisturbed, simply shook his head with a smile, inwardly marveling at the woman’s martial art skills.

Second Miss Jun mocked the burly man, “Quite the hero you are, reduced to spitting blood by a ‘weak and unknown woman’ of jianghu “

The burly man gritted his teeth in silence, only glaring fiercely at Qing Jiu’s group.

When it was Yu’er’s turn to ascend the Cloud Ladder. Qi Tianzhu stood at the base, his legs spread apart, knees slightly bent, and hands clasped in front of his hips.

Yu’er lightly sprang up, tapping Qi Tianzhu’s hands with one foot. With a powerful boost from him, she soared swiftly upward, bypassing the Cloud Ladder entirely. At the peak of her momentum, she grabbed a vine and, with a bit of effort, pulled herself up and landed gracefully atop the ladder.

Yan Li, Mo Wen, and Zhu Ji all did the same, borrowing Qi Tianzhu’s extraordinary strength to leap onto the Cloud Ladder. After the four of them had finished ascending, Qi Tianzhu nodded at Qing Jiu, his fingers gripping the narrow steps, displaying shocking arm strength as he climbed the Cloud Ladder with his bare hands.

The crowd below watched in amazement as this group ascended the Cloud Ladder with ease, making it seem less like a barrier and more like a broad, smooth road.

As Qing Jiu and Yang Chun were the last two to ascend, the spectators grew expectant, curious to see the skills these two would display.

The two leaped up, their robes fluttering in the wind, and for a moment, the onlookers were struck by their grace, likening their movements to those of white dragons or mystical birds, eliciting praises of “Excellent lightness skills!”

The Manor Master of Jiuxiao Manor said, “When did the Young Master of the Ning family gather such a group of skilled individuals around him? They all look young, but each of them has hidden depths.”

The woman beside him said, “Maybe they are friends he met in jianghu. In recent years, the jianghu has seen the rise of a generation of truly extraordinary talents.”

Manor Master Jun laughed heartily, “Truly, heroes emerge from youth.”

After passing the Cloud Ladder, they reached the Heaven’s Gate, a mountain path with a movable giant rock blocking the entrance. One needed to push the rock aside to pass through, which required powerful internal energy.

For Qing Jiu and her companions, this was relatively straightforward. Qi Tianzhu stepped forward, shouted, and the boulder slowly moved aside, revealing a winding narrow path.

The group passed through one by one. After Qi Tianzhu walked through, he released the giant rock, which automatically rolled back to its original position, cutting off the way back.

After passing through the two checkpoints, there were much fewer people on the path, with only a group of people far ahead.

After walking for a short while, the path became flat and spacious, and the walls and main gate of the manor came into view. The group turned a corner on a flight of stairs and arrived at the main gate, where people were already waiting. Seeing Qing Jiu and the others approaching, they hurried forward and asked, “Which sect are you from?”

Hua Lian took out the Ning family young master’s invitation, while Zhu Ji took out Yanyu Pavilion’s invitation. The person welcoming them took the invitations, looked them over, and smiled, “So it’s Young Master Ning and the people from the Yanyu Pavilion who have arrived. Are you two together?”

Hua Lian waved his folding fan and glanced at him coldly, saying, “Don’t ask what you shouldn’t.”

The person’s expression stiffened, “As Young Master Ning says. Please, come inside.”

They entered through the main gate and were greeted by a massive dark stone inscribed with the powerful and forceful characters for “The Righteous Qi of Heaven and Earth.”

Upon seeing this, Qing Jiu remarked with a smile, “What grand characters.”

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Khriss
Khriss
19 days ago

That was some nice face (solar plexus) slapping lol. I can’t wait for the competition to start!
Thanks for the chapter!