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Jianghu Demolition Squad

Jianghu By May 26, 2024 1 Comment
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Chapter 9: A Weak Woman

Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses(Part Nine)

Yu’er rose to her feet, observing Qing Jiu seated calmly at the table, exactly in the same spot as last night. “Qing Jiu.”

Qi Tianzhu stepped out from behind the screen, an iron staff in hand, creating a gust of wind as he moved. “Miss Qing Jiu.”

He motioned with his hands, inquiring whether Qing Jiu needed him to stay hidden, ready to capture the intruder as a hostage once they entered.

“No need,” Qing Jiu responded calmly.

Outside, someone approached in a fury, their heavy footsteps echoing on the stairs. Yu’er and Qi Tianzhu swiftly retreated behind the screen once more.

The door was violently kicked open, the force sending it crashing against the walls. The man who entered was dressed in a red silk robe embroidered with golden peonies, his bare chest exposed, his face square and his ears large, his eyes as fierce as a tiger’s. A ghost-headed knife was slung at his waist.

This was Yin Lei, the infamous leader of the bandit fortress.

Yin Lei saw Qing Jiu sitting upright, the hemp rope that had bound her now discarded at the foot of the bed. He frowned, his gaze scanning the room emotionlessly, finally resting on the screen with a sharp look. “You had a chance to run and yet you stayed. You’re quite bold,” he said.

Qing Jiu stood, walking to the table to pick up a sword. The scabbard was black, adorned with dark gold cloud patterns and a dark green tassel. “There’s no rush. Today is the big wedding; how can I miss it as the main character?”

Yin Lei’s hand rested on his knife. “Are you truly willing to marry me? My useless brothers have been eagerly waiting to see a beauty. If you obey, you’ll become the lady of this fortress, living a life of luxury. I always like obedient women. But if you’re not…”

After a cold laugh, Yin Lei leaped up, drawing his ghost-headed knife in a flash, its blade aimed menacingly at the screen, ready to split it in two.

From the side, a sword shadow swiftly emerged, intercepting the knife and flicking it upwards, forcing Yin Lei to stagger back a few steps before stabilizing himself.

With his knife across his body, Yin Lei saw Qing Jiu standing tall, holding the unsheathed sword. He was inwardly shocked, as if punched in the chest.

He was no match for her internal energy.

Yin Lei made a split-second decision to flee, but Qing Jiu was faster. She glided towards him, as light as a swan and as fast as lightning, thrusting her sword towards his left rib. Yin Lei attempted to block with his knife, but Qing Jiu’s swordplay was superior, targeting his chin. He retreated, and Qing Jiu unleashed a series of relentless, unpredictable strikes.

Pushed into a corner with no escape, Yin Lei faced a direct sword thrust to his chest. He managed to block with his knife, but Qing Jiu’s powerful thrust pinned his large body against the wall, bending the knife in his hand.

Yu’er, watching from behind the screen, was captivated by Qing Jiu’s skill. Without even drawing her sword, Qing Jiu had incapacitated the towering man.

Qing Jiu rotated her sword, unleashing a powerful force. Yin Lei felt his internal organs shift, his body subjected to an overwhelming pressure that sent him crashing through the wall and out into the open.

After spitting out blood, Yin Lei experienced a moment of relief. Qing Jiu, composed, stepped through the damaged wall, approached the railing, and in a calm voice, inquired, “What should be done with those who refuse to listen?”

Just then, a group carrying wine happened to pass by the northern watchtower, moving in their direction. Attracted by the commotion, they altered their path and were met with the sight of Yin Lei on the ground, coughing up blood. Startled, they cried out in disbelief, “The boss?!”

Pointing at Qing Jiu, trembling with anger, Yin Lei commanded, “Capture her!”

Before they could react, a scream rang out from behind them. A shadow, swift as a snake, glided along the ground, its blades flashing coldly on either side, slicing through the men with ease, leaving behind a trail of blood and unending screams.

By the time the bandits reacted and drew their swords, it was already too late to retaliate. The attacker, swift and agile, moved low to the ground, weaving through them. The bandits, standing too close to each other, couldn’t use their long swords effectively in their panic, and instead of hurting the enemy, they ended up wounding their own comrades.

In just a moment, Yin Lei watched in horror as Tang Linzhi stood upright, her hands lifting the cold, glinting short blades, drawing a line of blood through the air. The last two bandits at his sides fell thunderously to the ground.

Tang Linzhi held two short daggers in a reverse grip, each blade about ten inches long, slightly curved, and shining coldly, without a speck of blood on them.

Yin Lei, clutching his chest, desperately shouted towards the arrow tower, “Someone come! Help!”

But there was no sign of life from the arrow tower. Yin Lei, straining his eyes, could only see the guards sprawled lifelessly over the railing.

Tang Linzhi sheathed her daggers back at her waist. Qing Jiu, with a graceful tap of her foot, floated effortlessly to stand before Yin Lei.

Yin Lei, overwhelmed with shock, struggled for breath and coughed violently. “Who… who are you people!” he stammered out.

Yu’er and Qi Tianzhu also made their way over. Qi Tianzhu was deeply shaken, realizing that although Qing Jiu and Tang Linzhi hadn’t used their full strength, their few, deft moves were enough to reveal their superior martial arts skills.

Qi Tianzhu, puzzled, thought to himself, “With such skills at a young age, they must be well-known figures in the jianghu. How come I don’t recognize them?”

While Qi Tianzhu mulled over their identities, he suddenly heard the sound of a sword being drawn. Qing Jiu had unsheathed her sword.

He was astonished by the sword’s bright and fine material, yet surprised to find that it was unsharpened.

Qing Jiu, sword in hand, approached Yin Lei and placed the blade against his neck, smiling. “Alright, time’s up. It’s time to go ‘get married’.”

“You!” Yin Lei’s face alternated between shades of green and white. He stuttered on the word ‘you’, unable to finish his sentence, keenly aware of the sword against his neck. Despite its bluntness, knowing Qing Jiu’s abilities, he couldn’t help but feel apprehensive.

Qing Jiu then addressed Yu’er, “Yu’er, go and wait in the upper chamber. We will…”

She paused, turning back to look at Yu’er. When Yu’er met Qing Jiu’s gaze, she quickly averted her eyes.

Hearing Qing Jiu sigh, Yu’er realized, “I initially wanted you to stay safely in the cell, with Hua Lian to watch over you. But you always find a way to escape on your own.”

“I… I didn’t mean to…” Yu’er, thinking Qing Jiu was reprimanding her for causing trouble, couldn’t bear to meet her gaze, her eyes fixed on her toes, nervously fidgeting with the hem of her dress. “I’m sorry…”

Qing Jiu spoke calmly, “I’m not blaming you, I just don’t want you to run off again without knowing how or from where you’ll come. I’ll make it clear: do you want to stay in the upper chamber by yourself until we are done and come to find you, or do you want to stay by my side and go together?”

Yu’er was confused, “I can choose?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll… I’ll stay with you.”

Qi Tianzhu frowned slightly, disapproving, “There are swords and knives everywhere here. The girl has no martial arts skills; what if she gets hurt? It’s not appropriate to bring her along.”

Tang Linzhi, with her arms crossed, chuckled with a mix of sarcasm and arrogance, “In this fortress, there’s no place safer than by her side.”

The competition hall of the fortress had two floors. The windows on the second floor were wide open, and the main door on the first floor was also open. A red velvet carpet stretched from the stone steps all the way into the hall.

In the center of the meeting hall, a red carpet led straight to a stage where a large desk and a tiger-skin throne, wide enough to be a bed, were placed. A woman sat there, dressed in a flowing robe of red silk, her hair like dark clouds, her figure slender and graceful. She wore a golden phoenix crown, delicate and splendid, her face veiled by a long red silk scarf.

On both sides of the hall, guest seats were arranged, and staircases led directly to the second floor. People carrying wine and food bustled back and forth, and the tables were fully occupied. A group of bandits at the railing jeered at the woman seated on the stage, making lewd comments. With five or six hundred bandits gathered, the hall was packed and noisy, filled with raucous laughter and shouts.

At the first table to the left under the stage sat twelve men, the leaders of the twelve outposts of the fortress.

The man at the center, known as the second-in-command, was chubby with a round belly reminiscent of a laughing Buddha. His face was plump, with folds of flesh that squeezed his eyes into narrow slits. He remarked, “Why is this room so dark today?”

One man with a beard slammed his hand on the table, causing the dishes and cups to rattle, “Today is the boss’s wedding, and only a few wedding candles are lit. Are we supposed to drink in the dark?”

The center of the hall, beside the red carpet, had rows of lanterns hanging from the beams. There were just four or five candles on each table, barely enough to see by.

A man with long whiskers on his upper lip, known as Long Ye in the fortress, sighed, “Recently, our supplies were ambushed and looted while being transported from the mountain. We’re running out of candles and there’s no way to replenish them. We have to save them, otherwise, our boss will have to spend his wedding night in the dark.”

The bearded man then turned to a man with small, beady eyes and a rat-like mustache and said loudly, “In my opinion, it’s all because of your incompetence, Old Thirteen. A wedding should be bright and festive. You should drink three cups as a penalty!”

The man with the rat-like mustache, actually Hua Lian in disguise, raised his cup and smiled, “Hu Ye, I accept the punishment.”

As Hua Lian drank, he glanced towards another table. To his dismay, he saw Mo Wen, who had come to the mountain in disguise as a bandit, drinking merrily.

Outside, night had fallen, and a faint wind began to stir. Hu Ye, looking towards the door, muttered, “Why hasn’t the boss arrived with the woman yet?”

Long Ye smirked, “I saw her a few days ago. She’s really beautiful, even more so than the woman on the stage. The boss probably couldn’t wait. He might be enjoying himself first, putting the wedding ceremony and celebration second.”

Just as he finished speaking, three figures appeared at the entrance. As they stepped into the hall, Hu Ye recognized them – it was Yin Lei, accompanied by the woman he had captured days ago, and a small, limping bandit.

“Speak of the devil, and he shall appear,” he remarked as Yin Lei entered.

Hu Ye hadn’t finished speaking when he realized something was wrong. The people at his table noticed it too. Yin Lei had a sword held to his neck, controlled by the woman, yet none of them showed any sign of panic; they remained seated, with only Hu Ye having stood up early.

Hu Ye sneered darkly, “Well, this is a sight! A woman has put a sword to the neck of the great leader of the Fanyun Fuyu Thirteen Fortresses!”

The second-in-command chuckled, “We always said that Yuan Wenliu would one day fall at the hands of a woman, but who would’ve thought our boss would be the first to stumble because of one.”

His comment was met with roaring laughter from the bandits in the hall, clearly not taking the woman holding their leader hostage seriously.

Qing Jiu continued to push Yin Lei forward, and now they had reached the foot of the stage. Yin Lei, his face a shade of iron blue, glared at Hu Ye and signaled him with his eyes, hissing, “Shut up.”

Yin Lei’s command, bolstered by his internal energy, cut through the noisy laughter, rendering the hall suddenly silent.

By now, the three had reached the stage. The people at the table on the left, except for Hua Lian disguised as a bandit, had all stood up, their faces growing increasingly grim.

Hu Ye narrowed his eyes, staring maliciously at Qing Jiu before sneering, “What’s there to fear? She’s just a woman. Even if she has extraordinary skills, with each of our brothers wielding a knife, we could chop her into mincemeat.”

Upon hearing this, Yin Lei thought for a moment and realized the truth in Hu Ye’s words. Even if the woman was skilled, she would be outnumbered; with more than six hundred brothers slashing at her simultaneously, she couldn’t possibly fend off every strike. This thought provided him with some comfort.

Qing Jiu, however, simply smiled and said, “I’m just a weak woman, I wouldn’t dare to intrude into this den of dragons and tigers alone.”

Her voice, clear and resonant, filled the entire hall, her internal energy inscrutable, sounding far more natural than Yin Lei’s earlier forced shout.

Hua Lian, sitting at the table, heard her clearly. Her phrase ‘just a weak woman’ caught him off guard, making him choke and cough softly.

Qing Jiu continued, “The twelve outposts on your mountain were conquered by the righteous wulin forces before I even arrived. The fortress, both inside and out, is under their control. Righteous heroes surround this very hall, and you are trapped like rats in a cage. All it takes is a single command from me, and they will storm in and slaughter you all. They allowed me to enter first only to deliver this message: Surrender now, and you might be spared. You can atone for your crimes by serving as slaves and servants to the noble families. But if you resist, the underworld’s Meng Po is ready with her soup for your final journey.”

The twelve people standing on the left turned ashen-faced. Long Ye slammed the table so hard it split in two, “Bullshit! How dare you spout such nonsense here! Do you know where you are? Not even wulin’s fools could breach the first outpost. If they could, then I, Long Ye, would write my name backwards!”

The second-in-command scoffed, “Trying to scare us with such pathetic tricks?”

Hu Ye also sneered, “You claim you came to offer us advice, yet you try to deceive us with lies. Well, I have some advice for you too. Think carefully about the consequences of holding our Boss hostage. It won’t end well for you. But if you release him, agree to this marriage, and pleasure him in bed, he might be generous enough to forgive your transgression.”

Hu Ye’s lewd laughter echoed through the hall as he gestured to the others, “I’m speaking the truth, aren’t I, brothers?”

The bandits erupted in cheers and laughter, their vulgar taunts echoing through the hall.

Translation notes:

      Meng Po – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meng_Po

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Khriss
Khriss
22 days ago

I like soup, maybe I drank too much of it when I reincarnated and that’s why Im like this.
Thanks for the TL!