Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By Jul 08, 2024 2 Comments
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Chapter 74: The Beginning

Martial Arts Competition Under The Heavens (Part Nineteen)

The next day, the sky that had been gloomy for two days finally cleared up. During this period, the disappearance of people from the manor became a topic of discussion among the crowd. Some people didn’t take it to heart, considering it a common occurrence of vengeance in the jianghu. Others harbored their own thoughts, speculating that it was related to the Fenghou Sword.

Regardless, the martial arts competition proceeded as usual.

Today’s event marked the final contest among the younger generation. Throughout the three-day competition, Yu’er had been outstanding, capturing everyone’s attention, as did another contestant, Yan Jianyu, the second young master of the Mingjian Manor, who equally won widespread admiration, proving the fearsome talent of the younger generation.

The showdown between the two had been widely anticipated. Although the winner was still far from challenging the Martial Champions, claiming them as the peak of the new generation was not an overstatement. It was a universally acknowledged honor, and anyone slightly ambitious for fame wanted to win this duel, become famous throughout jianghu, and be celebrated as a hero among the youth.

However, Yu’er was not motivated by these things. She wanted to win simply because Qing Jiu had once said, “You can beat him.”

Below the martial arts stage, Qing Jiu and her companions took their usual spot in the corner.

Only Jian Mobei from the Wuwei Palace had brought three disciples to watch the competition. Wei Ran and Jiang Ying stayed at their lodging, where Mo Wen had already started treating Wei Ran’s injuries and removing his poison, with Yan Li staying back to assist.

Because Mo Wen could heal Wei Ran’s legs, coupled with Yan Li’s return and the news from Qing Jiu about the well-being of their grand master, Jian Mobei practically regarded these few people as the lucky stars of the Wuwei Palace. He was incredibly fond of them. Even though Qing Jiu and the others had disguised themselves to appear ordinary, Jian Mobei found everything about them endearing.

This time, when the Wuwei Palace members came over, they negotiated with the people sitting next to Qing Jiu and the others, exchanged seats, and sat down beside them.

When Jun Lin and his group arrived, they also approached the Wuwei Palace and discussed changing seats with the people next to them. Seeing that it was Manor Master Jun himself who had come, the people naturally didn’t hesitate to give up their seats. After expressing his gratitude, Jun Lin gracefully sat down, much to the surprise of those around him.

Zhu Ji chuckled and remarked, “The Wuwei Palace is one thing, but even the Jiuxiao Manor is trying to get close. The Seven Star Lords truly commands great respect. This is the first time I’ve witnessed it. The Young Pavilion Mistress previously lamented the loss of so much silver, but now it seems that befriending all of you is a surefire way to profit.”

Sitting nearby, Qing Jiu watched Yu’er on the stage, smiling quietly.

She was seated at the very eastern side of the stands, with Zhu Ji beside her, and no more seats available on the other side—only Hua Lian, Yang Chun, Tang Linzhi, and Qi Tianzhu stood there.

Hua Lian, fanning himself, noticed the weariness in Qing Jiu’s eyes and leaned in to ask, “Are you alright? Maybe you should go back and rest. We three are here watching, and Jie Qianchou is also here; Yu’er will be fine.”

Qing Jiu gently covered her cheeks with her fan, revealing a pair of slightly curved eyes, and replied with a smile, “I’m fine, not so fragile that a breeze could blow me away.”

Hua Lian sighed helplessly, “You…” In the end, he could only let her be.

At this moment, the match between Yu’er and Yan Jianyu had already begun on the stage. The two had exchanged several dozen moves.

Yan Jianyu exhibited an aggressive brilliance, attacking with a force that left no room for mercy from the moment he began.

Yu’er responded with calm precision, neither rashly advancing nor merely evading; she countered every move strategically, turning the aggressor’s momentum against him.

The fight was at a stalemate for a while. Both were considered prodigies within their generation, blessed with extraordinary abilities and mastery of superior sword techniques. As they crossed swords, the crowd was left guessing who might emerge victorious.

On the west side of the martial arts stage, in the center, sat the members of the Moonless Sect. Next to the Moonless Sect was the Wenwu Sect. The sect leader, Ye Sheng, watched Yu’er’s impressive form on the stage, unable to hide his admiration. Having seen Yu’er in the past, her current fierce and elegant demeanor, showcasing her growth and transformation, deepened his respect.

He sighed, “Miss Yu’er’s growth is like a bud blooming into a fragrant blossom. It’s just uncertain what kind of man could possibly match her extraordinary presence.”

A sharp, mocking laugh came from beside him. Turning his head, Ye Sheng saw a woman standing behind Ren Qingkuang, her lips curled in a slight, disdainful smirk.

Ye Sheng wasn’t angry. He smiled and said, “Does the Young Sect Mistress have a different opinion?”

Ning Gu glanced at him briefly, her cold laughter ringing out, “When your first thought is to ‘control’ her, you’ll never truly have her.”

Ye Sheng felt a jolt in his heart, struck by her words, and after a long silence, he bowed his head and chuckled, “Thank you for your guidance.”

Ren Qingkuang touched his forehead, indicating, “Gu’er, it seems you quite like her too.”

Ning Gu’s expression slightly stiffened, but then she smiled faintly, “It’s hard not to like someone so outstanding.”

Ren Qingkuang laughed, “Indeed, that’s why I like her too.”

The implications of Ren Qingkuang’s words were unclear, and Ning Gu was cautious not to respond hastily. She turned her gaze back to the stage, where the duelists had yet to show any clear advantage, but Ning Gu had already surmised the likely outcome in her heart.

The essence of the Mingjian Manor’s sword technique lay in its sharpness. When the sword was drawn, it aimed to wound. Every move of the sword technique aimed to seize the upper hand from the start.

In contrast, the sword technique of the Wuwei Palace was subdued by its philosophy of non-aggression, less sharp but more flexible, designed to adapt and flow without end.

Yu’er had quickly figured out Yan Jianyu’s aggressive tactics and initially chose to evade his fierce assaults.

After a hundred moves without gaining an advantage, Yan Jianyu found himself at a stalemate, but in reality, he was at a disadvantage.

As the battle progressed and the momentum of Mingjian Manor’s sword technique waned, it would be the time for the Wuwei Palace’s sword technique to shine.

The outcome was already determined.

Ning Gu shook her head inwardly, thinking about the quick wits, calmness, and extraordinary talent before her. With neither arrogance nor impatience, advancing steadily step by step, she would definitely transform from a fish to a dragon in six or seven years, soaring into the sky. It was just a pity that she had encountered her adoptive father, making her future uncertain.

As she was pondering, she heard a collective gasp. It turned out that the winner had been decided on the stage.

Yan Jianyu’s sword was sent flying, and Yu’er, standing in front of him, made a feint with her sword without actually striking him.

Seeing the outcome was decided, Yu’er exhaled softly, ready to sheathe her sword and step down from the stage.

Yan Jianyu, still stunned, had yet to grasp that he had lost. Suddenly, from the north side of the audience, a robust voice shouted, “Sword Cry Across the Wilderness!”

Yan Jianyu’s expression instantly turned solemn. He leapt back to catch his falling sword, his wrist flicking to cause the blade to tremble, sounding like a dragon’s roar, as he launched another attack at Yu’er.

Yu’er’s expression changed; her sword wasn’t fully sheathed before she had to draw it again to block Yan Jianyu’s fierce strike, but she was caught off guard, her posture somewhat disheveled. She hadn’t expected him to continue the assault after losing.

The crowd below immediately expressed their dissatisfaction, shouting, “The winner has been decided. What is the Second Young Master doing?”

“If he doesn’t want to leave the stage, fine, but to suddenly attack without any warning! Is the young master such a sore loser?”

“Isn’t the Mingjian Manor known for keeping their word? How can they break the rules themselves?”

Yan Jianyu, whose sword had been struck away, didn’t feel restrained; he believed there were still more moves to be contested, the outcome still undecided, so he felt unconvinced. Hearing the voice of the person calling out the move, seeing that he was clearly prompting him to continue the fight, he didn’t think twice. Resolved and bolstered by this, he unsheathed his sword without hesitation.

Yan Beili, seated in the main chair, saw Yan Jianyu lose but not accept defeat. Displeased, he was about to stop him but then saw the man reciting the sword moves below, feeling conflicted and hesitant, and thus failed to prevent Yan Jianyu from continuing the fight.

Qing Jiu and her companions, seeing that the match had already been decided, with Yu’er having made a mere gesture with her sword to spare their host some dignity, were taken aback by Yan Jianyu’s refusal to concede and his persistence in the fight.

Hua Lian and the others were extremely annoyed. Qing Jiu narrowed her eyes toward the north to see who had suddenly spoken up and directed Yan Jianyu.

They saw an elderly man in a gray robe, standing with his hands behind his back below the platform. His temples were gray, but his eyes sparkled with vitality; a short, neatly trimmed white beard adorned his chin, giving him a spirited appearance.

Qing Jiu couldn’t recognize who he was, so she pointed at him and asked Zhu Ji, “Who is this person?”

Zhu Ji, skilled at gathering intelligence from around the world, recognized him after a moment’s contemplation and murmured, “It seems to be Old Master Yun Wangran, the brother of the late Manor Master Yun Si. After the old Manor Master passed away, he went into seclusion and never appeared again. There were also rumors that he had retired behind the scenes and was assisting Yan Beili. Now that he has appeared in the manor, it seems the latter rumor is more credible.”

“Oh,” Qing Jiu mused, drawing out her tone.

As Yan Jianyu took the initiative with the first strike in his counterattack, he gained an advantage over Yu’er. His swordplay wove into a dense, impenetrable net.

From below, Yun Wangran periodically offered tips. As an elder of the same generation as Jie Qianchou, his experience and skill far surpassed both Yu’er and Yan Jianyu. Now, openly advising Yan Jianyu, he boosted his disciple’s morale, apparently unconcerned about how others might view his actions as bullying the younger competitor.

Yun Wangran’s eyes remained fixed on Yu’er on the stage. When her moves were sharp and crisp, he nodded in approval with a smile, but when her attacks seemed rushed and disorganized, his face fell into a frown.

With Yun Wangran’s guidance, it didn’t take long for Yan Jianyu to improve. His moves became smoother, gradually overpowering Yu’er.

Just as everyone thought Yan Jianyu was about to win…

Jie Qianchou suddenly slammed the table and stood up, shouting, “Disciple, the Sun Rises in the East!”

Faced with Yun Wangran’s blatant guidance of Yan Jianyu, Jie Qianchou was not one to tolerate it. How could he allow someone to bully his disciple right in front of him? He immediately began guiding Yu’er as well.

Yu’er, hearing her master’s instructions, didn’t hesitate and adapted her moves accordingly. Although Jie Qianchou was renowned for his palm techniques, he was also well-versed in the art of swordplay.

Seeing Jie Qianchou intervene, the crowd below erupted in excitement. What seemed like a contest between two juniors had now escalated into a clash between their respective masters from behind the scenes, turning the spectators into mere onlookers enjoying the show.

These two elders initially only provided guidance, but when they saw their disciples slightly at a disadvantage, their instructed techniques became increasingly fierce. They exchanged moves vicariously through their disciples, and as their competitive spirits flared, they even started hurling insults at each other, forgetting their stature.

Yan Jianyu’s sword was swift and aimed straight at the chest. Following Jie Qianchou’s directions, Yu’er executed the ‘Hundred Birds Toward the Phoenix,’ maneuvering to entangle Yan Jianyu’s flexible sword and disarm him. However, because she was unfamiliar with this technique, when the swords became entwined, her Liangyi Sword also slipped from her hand.

Both swords flew from their hands at the same time. Yun Wangran reacted first, shouting, “Jianyu, Sweep the Willow!”

This was a palm technique, soft in name but explosive in force.

Yan Jianyu’s palm strike came fast. Yu’er bent backward at the waist, touching one foot to the ground, her body nearly parallel to the stage.

Jie Qianchou’s next instruction wasn’t a specific palm technique but a simple command: “Disciple, slap him!”

He believed that with the swords gone, the match should be decided.

Yu’er had begun learning Shaolin palm and fist techniques from Qi Tianzhu in Jiangnan, supplemented by the Buddhist meditation techniques taught by Qing Jiu- the Great Freedom Mind Method, which accelerated her learning. Later, with Jie Qianchou’s guidance, she further improved. While Yan Jianyu focused mainly on swordsmanship, Yu’er had assimilated strengths from various disciplines, making her hand-to-hand combat skills superior to Yan Jianyu’s.

Yu’er performed a swift flip, her palm sweeping across the ground. Due to the continuous rain over the past two days, there were quite a few puddles on the stage. As Yu’er’s hand swept over a puddle, her fingers drew up a stream of water, shooting directly towards Yan Jianyu’s face.

Caught off guard and mistaking it for a hidden weapon, Yan Jianyu instinctively shielded his face with his hands, leaving his chest exposed. Yu’er, pushing off the ground with both hands, kicked him squarely in the chest, sending him tumbling to the ground.

The outcome was decided once again.

Yun Wangran, taken aback, jumped in frustration, not because Yan Jianyu had lost, but he pointed angrily at Jie Qianchou, shouting, “What kind of sloppy techniques have you taught her? You’re ruining her!”

Jie Qianchou, stroking his beard, retorted, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! The move is called ‘Fish Playing in the Water.’ Any move that hits the opponent is a good move. In a real fight, who cares about your precious rules?”

“You! You! You!” Yun Wangran leaped onto the stage and grabbed Yu’er’s wrist, saying, “You old fool, you’re not fit to teach her. From today onwards, I will personally teach her martial arts!”

The crowd gasped as Yun Wangran brazenly attempted to take Jie Qianchou’s disciple.

Jie Qianchou laughed, “Let’s see if she wants to learn from you.”

Yun Wangran said arrogantly, “I am her… Hmph! The sword techniques of my Mingjian Manor are renowned throughout the world. What reason does she have to refuse?”

Jie Qianchou said, “A teacher for a day is a father for life. My disciple is very sensible. Let’s see if she dares to find another master without informing her current one!”

The two men continued their heated argument. Meanwhile, Yan Jianyu, clutching his chest and standing up, felt utterly humiliated by his consecutive defeats. Seeing his grandmaster desire to take Yu’er as a disciple, he realized the earlier advice might have been a test of Yu’er’s skills. Embarrassed and already biased against Yu’er, his anger deepened, and he glared at her with bloodshot eyes.

His rage surged, and without thinking, he walked up behind the unsuspecting Yu’er and struck her with a palm.

Yu’er was in the midst of retrieving the Liangyi Sword when she sensed the sudden movement behind her. She quickly attempted to dodge and turned her body, but it wasn’t enough to completely evade the blow to her shoulder. The impact caused her blood to surge, and she fell to her knees.

Yan Jianyu had struck twice, taking advantage of her unpreparedness. This move greatly displeased the competition of heroes watching below, prompting a wave of angry shouts and a flurry of critical discussions.

After delivering the palm strike and regaining his composure slightly, Yan Jianyu realized the inappropriateness of his actions, but by then, it was too late.

Yan Beili was furious. He slammed the table and stood up, shouting, “You little beast, what are you doing?”

Simultaneously, Qing Jiu’s eyes turned icy, and with a sharp slap on the table, the teacup jumped into the air.

With a flick of the teacup lid, the pristine white lid shot out swiftly, striking Yan Jianyu in the chest and shattering into pieces.

Caught off guard by the sudden gust, Yan Jianyu had no time to dodge and was hit squarely. He felt his organs shake violently from the impact and collapsed to the ground, spitting out a mouthful of fresh blood.

The crowd below gasped in astonishment, all turning to look at the person who had made the move.

Yun Wangran choked on his words. Just as he was about to speak, Qing Jiu’s words blocked him. If he persisted any further, it would seem like he was even more in the wrong. For a moment, he didn’t know what to say, “I…”

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17 days ago


Honor? What’s honor?
-Yan Jianyu

17 days ago

Ty for the translation, it’s a great novel I can see why they made promotional videos