Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
The advisor did not seem embarrassed as if his plan was exposed, he only shook his head and said, “Sigh, we can’t discuss the chill with summer insects, time is precious yet you are so willing to waste it and even doubt our characters and morality. Aren’t you looking down too much on us new generation mountain kings, forget it, since you have specially come from afar, we shall give in to your request and do as you say.”
After which, he turned his horse and walked back to the main leader, whispered something over to the latter, and the main leader nodded his head before the advisor announced, “Since it has been decided, who are you going to send as your first representative? Is it this block of wood?”
Shi Niu became enraged and was about to walk up to the front when Madam Qin called him to stop.
Shi Niu was puzzled as he walked back to the carriage where Ou Yan said, “Shi Niu doesn’t have to be angry, we are only going to have some fun. Do you think those mountain bandits have someone in their midst who can defeat Madam Qin? However, we are afraid that they would use tricks so it is better to send He Tianshu first to test the waters.”
Shi Niu was surprised, he asked, “He Tianshu? Is he reliable?”
Madam Qin smiled and said, “Even though He Tianshu is not a high-ranked disciple within the sect, he is at least a squad leader material and is much stronger than a normal disciple. It is most suitable to send him up first, and I doubt there will be many among this bunch of riff raff who can match up to his skills. Even if he loses, we have nothing to worry about, aren’t you here for that? I don’t think any of the three men will be a match for you.”
Shi Niu did not have much opinions, he said, “Both you call the shots in this journey so we will do whatever you say.”
Madam Qin called He Tianshu to the front and also gave him a set of instructions. He Tianshu was already prepared to go up, among the mountain villa people in this party, he could be considered the third highest-skilled expert so he secretly felt honoured for having this opportunity to shine.
When He Tianshu took his sword and walked up to the front, he greeted the advisor who was on horseback and said, “My name is He Tianshu and I will be gaining some pointers from your side, may I know who will be matched to me?”
The advisor studied He Tianshu for a while and smiled, he said, “This person in front of me has such a dignified and awe-inspiring appearance so I believe you must be an expert, and we will naturally treat you seriously. Please wait for a moment.”
Then, he summoned a person who was on in his side, “We would require our sub-leader to show his hand and let them know your prowess.”
The sub-leader drew his knife and got off his horse wordlessly before walking to He Tianshu’s front, entered a stance and said, “Please.”
He Tianshu saw that his opponent was ready so he did not remain courteous for long, he pulled out his sword as well and pointed it to the other party, and thus, the two men began to exchange strokes with each other.
Even though He Tianshu was cautious when he first stepped up, he was actually treating his opponent lightly which was unsurprising as a Piaomiao sect disciple. Even though he was not a core disciple, he always had confidence in his abilities and believed that the opponent would not be a match for him.
However, after exchanging a few stances, he realized that the other party was not like he expected, his offence and defence was rooted on good foundations and was spirited when he fought. As a result, He Tianshu could not help but step up his game and became more serious and manoeuvred his sword “Shua shua” even further executing stance after stance as he pressed on continuously to attack the sub-leader. When the sub-leader saw He Tianshu changed up his approach, the corners of his mouth curved up into a smile and his sword stances became even wilder, using offence as a form of defence and not allowing He Tianshu to gain a single advantage.
The other people from Huanxi mountain villa were initially like He Tianshu, but when they saw that he could not gain the upper hand, they became slightly astonished and began to observe the strong man’s sword martial art with more curiosity.
Ou Yan wrinkled her brows and asked Madam Qin, “Madam Qin, how did such a high-level expert appear among this bunch of riff raff? Or has the entire Jianghu became stronger as a whole during these years? Our Piaomiao sect disciple is actually being pressed down by a bandit, has the sun risen from the west?”
Madam Qin also had a flustered expression on her face, she said, “Villa master has seen the situation clearly, this strong man is indeed not any weaker then He Tianshu, how could someone from the backwaters have such skill, this is really strange.”
As the saying goes, spectators watch for the liveliness and the participants see the path, everyone was growing more worried but Zhang Xiaohua had a puzzled expression on his face, why?
Ever since He Tianshu and the strong man began their match, Zhang Xiaohua had been thinking non-stop in his heart, “What is this squad leader He doing, why is he playing around with his opponent? For this stance, wouldn’t elder Yu’s third variation of the sword stance be just perfect to pierce through his defence? Sigh, and for this stance when the opponent wielded his sword to the front, the tenth variation of the sword stance would be just right to pierce through his chest and snatch the victory. Sigh…. and for this stance, you can just use the first variation to counter it, such a simple solution-ya, oh, I guess squad leader He is just playing with him.”
Actually, for Zhang Xiaohua to move the chess pieces like a king was something only a spectator could do, if he was the one personally facing off with the opponent, he might be at a loss when the other party threw an attack towards him, not to mention be able to think of which stance to perfectly counter the attack. Furthermore, as the saying goes, the spectator seems clearly, when one’s life is in the midst of danger, where would he find the time to carefully observe his opponents and read his thoughts?
Of course, a large reason why Zhang Xiaohua could make his observations was due to elder Yu teaching him a profound sword martial art, it was actually the elder’s life-saving measure.
Just as Zhang Xiaohua was analysing the battle, a new development occurred in the battlefield. After not being able to pierce through the other party’s defence, He Tianshu became frustrated and his face frowned slightly. With a twist of his body, another set of Piaomiao sect’s secret sword martial art was executed, and the moment it did, the sub-leader became shocked and worried and he deflected from the left and right, and was actually pushed back. After stepping back a few steps, he also changed his sword martial art and the style of his movements changed drastically as his body began to swim around He Tianshu, and his sword stances also became more mysterious. Hence, not long later, the match became a tie again.
A winner had yet to emerged after the two men fought for half a bell, and the Huanxi mountain villa people became slightly relaxed; only Ou Yan and Madam Qin were suspicious as they wondered that background the bandit had.
At that moment, the advisor spoke up, “Stop, stop the match.”
When the sub-leader heard these words, he struck one last time against He Tianshu’s long sword before turning his body and retreating to outside the circle, then looked silently at the advisor. When He Tianshu saw his opponent left, he did not chase after the latter and only displayed a defensive pose as he observed the proceedings carefully in fear of any sneak plans.
The advisor said aloud, “This brother’s martial art is actually so profound to battle our sub-leader to a standstill, such a surprise indeed. However, both men are equally matched and continuing this match would only be a waste of time, so why don’t we count this as a tie?”
He Tianshu was unsure and he turned back to look at Madam Qin, and Madam Qin who was standing at a side naturally saw everything that happened clearly. The opponent was indeed not weaker than He Tianshu so calling the match a draw was not disadvantageous to them at all. Thus, she replied aloud, “Alright, advisor is fast and efficient so we agree to your idea. Let’s take a break and prepare for the second round.”
He Tianshu sheathed back his longsword and walked towards the carriage, while the subleader remounted his horse and returned to his position.
Madam Qin waited until He Tianshu was closer before saying softly, “Squad leader He, what do you think of the other party’s skills?”
He Tianshu’s face was slightly flushed as he said, “This person is awesome, he did not appear flustered or worried despite having fought for half a day so perhaps he still has something under his sleeves. I have no idea where this strong man came from. Hallmaster Qin, I have not clinched victory for this match and am feeling regretful for so.”
Madam Qin smiled and said, “Squad leader He does not have to mind himself so much, this is only some entertainment to pass the time and you have not gained any disadvantages for our side so all is still fine. There will always be a higher mountain and the Jianghu is so wide, so squad leader He does not have to blame himself.”
A moment later, the advisor spoke up loudly again, “Other side, have you finished your discussion? Shall we begin the second round now?”
Madam Qin looked towards Shi Niu and asked, “Should you or I go up this round?”
Even before Shi Niu replied, Ou Yan said from the carriage, “Shi Niu, you can go up first, Madam Qin does not like to fight in risky situations, if you won, our victory will be half confirmed and at the very most, we will only have a tie in the end. Even if we give up the third match, what else could these string men do?”
Shi Niu nodded upon listening and walked steadily to the front.
When the advisor saw Shi Niu walked up, he snickered before saying to the main leader, “Main leader, everything is up to you now, please show the other party how powerful you are.”
The main leader laughed heartily before getting down his horse and picking up his blade, he then walked towards Shi Niu.
When he reached closer to Shi Niu, one could see that even though he was not small, he was still at least half a head shorter than Shi Niu. The main leader raised his head slightly and looked at Shi Niu’s quiet expression before smiling and said, “What is the name of this brother? Can you let me know?”
Shi Niu shook his head and did not speak, but the main leader did not press further and said, “In that case, I would like to invite this brother to prepare his stance. Oh, you don’t use weapons?”
Upon hearing his words, Shi Niu shook his head again and said, “My fists are my weapons, you just be careful for yourself.”
The main leader smiled with his eyes and said, “In that case, I won’t be courteous anymore.”
After finishing his sentence, he raised his blade and chopped it towards Shi Niu’s head. Upon seeing the attack, Shi Niu was not afraid and moved his body slightly to avoid the blade before punching a fist towards the side of the blade. How would the main leader follow his will, he twisted his wrist and changed his stance as the blade cut towards Shi Niu’s wrist.
Even though Shi Niu was dim-witted, he was not stupid and even though his adamantium hands were already at a level above weapons, who knew if the main leader’s blade is some kind of special weapon? If he suffered a serious injury from his carelessness, then Shi Niu’s decades of experience in Jianghu would have been for nothing.
Shi Niu quickly changed his stance and avoided the blade before throwing a palm thrust towards the main leader’s chest. The main leader could not fully avoid the counter attack, his left hand clenched into a fist and punched towards Shi Niu’s palm, and thus, the two men confronted directly after only a few rounds of exchanges.
A simple fist faced against a palm thrust, but the result exceeded everyone expectations.
When the main leader’s fist collided with Shi Niu’s palm, it was like how Yu Deyi and Zhang Xiaohua collided with each other during that particular day, the main leader’s body flew in the air with a mouthful of fresh blood spurting out.
The main leader did not fell unconscious like how Zhang Xiaohua did that day, instead, he took large steps towards his horse and mounted it before signalling to the advisor. The advisor shouted aloud, “Stop……”
The sub leader and third sub leader who did not show his hand, as well as the other people behind all broke their formation and ran back towards the forest, their legs were as fast as a sea wave and in a blink of an eye, they all disappeared.
Thus, the people from Huanxi mountain villa were left staring blankly at each other not knowing what to do. The empty space before them was occupied by a bunch of fierce strong men just moments ago who were planning to rob them, and they even mentioned having a third match bit now, not a single hair on a person was left as though the previous incident had not occurred at all.
A moment later, everyone raised their voices in unison and cheered as though they just survived a life-or-death situation. Shi Niu was not affected much, he raised his palm and looked at it before turning back without much expression on his face as though he was unhappy with the results of his match. When Shi Niu walked to the carriage’s front, Madam Qin asked in a concerned voice, “Shi Niu, the person did not have any tricks hidden?”
Shi Niu shook his head and said, “Not at all, but his blade martial art does not appear simple, so how could his inner energy be so poor? Even though my adamantium hands are powerful and can break bones, someone with a high enough inner energy should be able to block it. From his response, I don’t think he had learnt any profound inner energy cultivation method, it should only be a common inner energy martial art that he had practiced instead.”
Madam Qin nodded her head and said, “This main leader and sub leader martial arts are about the same, and when the sub leader was able to fight with He Tianshu to a draw, then he is naturally not a match for you as well and it is quite likely that he will be knocked out with a palm as well. However, I feel that these group of mountain bandits are not simple, even though they set up these three matches, they just disappeared so suddenly before concluding the results.”
Qiu Tong said softly from her side, “Perhaps after seeing elder brother Shi Niu’s martial art, they realized their inferiority and were frightened off, we can never be sure.”
Ou Yan smiled and said, “It may be as Qiu Tong said. All of you have roamed in Jianghu for long and are used to profound and deep plans, but there are many things that are just that superficial. This group of mountain bandits seems smart so they probably wanted to use an empty city trick to scare us before killing all of us, but upon seeing our reaction, they realized that they do not have the upper hand and instead set up the three matches proposal to test our prowess. When they saw our actual power, they probably got frightened off and ran away in fear of their lives.”
Everyone became enlightened when they heard her conjecture and they called out in agreement. Even though Madam Qin was still suspicious, the danger had already passed so saying anything more was useless and she let it slide instead.
Even though the strong men had left, they still had to pass through the forest and to prevent any further altercations, He Tianshu and a few disciples went out to scout the road ahead first. Even though the forest was not big, it could also not be considered small and they only returned after the time it took to boil a kettle of tea. The forest was indeed deserted without a single shadow of a person.
Hence, everyone decided to load up the carriages again. The disciples got off the carriage and walked forward until all the carriages left the forest and since they were no more events that occurred, they believed that the mountain bandits had truly fled. Then, they got back on the carriages and continued their journey.
On a mountain peak not far from the forest, the group of mountain bandits got off their horses and sat on the grass, the advisor smiled and said to the main leader, “Old Zhao, how was my act as an advisor?”
Old Zhao laughed and said, “Very good, you are truly talented. I will definitely not be able to learn what you just did, unlike old Hong whose face was expressionless like a dead man, not daring to say anything in fear of revealing himself.”
The third sub leader said unhappily, “I was not good at acting in the first place, I’m still okay if you ask me to fight and kill people, but posing as a mountain bandit? You all forced me to come so I have no choice but to remain silent throughout.”
The second sub leader nodded and said, “This Piaomiao sect disciple is truly quite good, the one who sparred with me who surname was He, his sword skills were actually quite good to almost force me to reveal my true hand. Luckily Qi Xiucai stopped us in time or I would have revealed my identity.”
Qi Xiucai said, “I already knew that brother Ma hates losing, we already agreed to only test out their power so there is nothing wrong with losing, yet why did brother Ma treat the match like it was real? However, old Zhao, is this Shi Niu really so powerful that a palm thrust was enough to make you cough out blood?”
Old Zhao saw the concerned look the rest gave him and he smiled mysteriously, “Do you really think I was injured by that Shi Niu, I guess our acting has passed the test then. From the most reliable news we have, this Shi Niu is their strongest person in this party but if I were to fight will all my power, ten to a hundred stances will not be enough to determine the winner. However, if a palm strike is enough for me to cough out blood for real, then he has to dream even longer, I only bit my tongue to simulate spitting out blood earlier.”
Everyone then realized the truth and they gave him the thumbs up.
Qi Xiucai said, “Apart from Shi Niu whose martial arts is the highest, we are already well aware of their fighting power. This Madam Qin’s skill level is already known by us, but according to our reports, she had practiced rather hard these recent years so I hope that there had been no particularly great advancement in her skill during then.”
Old Zhao squinted and said, “The master had already said before not to analyse too deeply, this woman has a history of being crafty so we have to avoid being discovered by her. While her martial arts are rather good, it will still be far from Shi Niu so we can rest easy. However, as for this surnamed He, he might be quite troublesome. Even though his martial arts skill is not very high, he can still put up a good fight and because of this, our current manpower will be insufficient. Qi Xiucai, what do you think we should do? Shall we wait for the master to send more reinforcements, or do we…”
Qi Xiucai smiled and said, “About this, none of you have to worry because our master have already made sufficient arrangements. Our mission has to be completed without fail, and succeed within a single try without letting anyone escape. If not, once Piaomiao sect’s Ou Peng learns of us, we will all be in deep trouble. Even if their power is this much, our master will have thousands of methods to handle with them, but because we do not want to reveal ourselves, all of us now have to act with more caution. For now, all of you should rest yourselves and wait for master’s next step of his plan.”
Everyone did not say anything else as they sat quietly.
Qi Xiucai walked out to a deserted area and took out some writing materials, he wrote something on a piece of paper and called a silk-robed hero over, whispered something to his ear before letting him leave. The silk robed hero untied the knot on a tree and mounted a horse before galloping away in a particular direction, and in a blink of an eye, he disappeared. Thus, one could tell that the horse he rode was of extremely good breed.