Legend of the Great Saint
Book 1, Chapter 21
Li Qingshan came to the town’s best wine shop. He bought more than ten jars of good alcohol and filled the cart with them, then following the green bull’s list he bought most of the ingredients from medicine shops. But the most important of all, the ginseng, couldn’t be bought in herb stores.
Inside the biggest inn of Cedar Creek Town, a group of men wearing bamboo hats and carrying herb baskets were silently drinking tea. Even inside the hotel, they refused to remove the hat on their heads or the baskets on their backs.
Now and then a shopkeeper from a great herbal store came into the inn. They would open the baskets and look at what was inside, then they would bargain with them, hands inside their sleeves. If the bargaining were to be successful they would take a bag of ginseng big and small from the baskets.
Those were ginseng gatherers of the Ginseng King Village. Just like Horse Rein Village they were
settled deep inside the mountains, but they primarily made their living from picking mountain ginseng. If you wanted to buy ginseng, then it was naturally cheapest to buy from them.
Li Qingshan parked the cart in front of the inn. He looked around and walked in great strides to the corner and told the ginseng gatherers: “I want to buy ginseng!”
The ginseng gatherers noticed he was very young and dressed in broken clothes. They all exposed a contemptuous look and no one actually answered him.
Li Qingshan frowned. He took out the silver notes he had left totaling over a thousand taels and put them on the table: “I want to buy ginseng!”
This time every ginseng gatherer lifted their heads, exposing a stupefied expression. They didn’t expect Li Qingshan to actually be able to get out so much silver. They looked at each other, then finally someone said: “How much do you want to buy?”
Li Qingshan had already informed himself about the pricing of ginseng. He reached an agreement with them and left with a big bag of ginseng.
The ginseng gatherers whispered in low voices: “Should we do this kid in?”
“It’s more important to find the spiritual ginseng, that’s a treasure worth thousands of gold. Mortals can extend their longevity when they eat it. If a martial artist eats it, he can immediately become a first-class master. It’s even not impossible to break through obstacles and rank up to innate level1.”
“The spiritual ginseng is good, but there’s only one of it. We still have to face that sick ghost from Horse Rein Village. I admit myself I don’t have the good fortune to obtain it. A hundred birds in the forest aren’t as good as a single bird in your hand. Those who are willing to do this, come with me.”
Seven or eight persons stood up. They grabbed their waist saber2 at their waists and wandered away.
Not far from the door outside, a man was hidden behind a column. He quietly left after seeing this scene.
Li Qingshan drove the bull cart, traveling by his lone self on the mountain path, idly chatting with the green bull. Little An also stuck his head out from the locust tree plaque and sat on the cart’s ridge, listening to them talk.
When they came to a narrow mountain ravine, the green bull suddenly stopped its steps and turned its head back to look at Li Qingshan: “Your troubles are coming.”
As soon as its voice fell, seven or eight silhouettes appeared from the two extremities of the ravine.
Li Qingshan relied on his eyesight: “You are… people from the Ginseng King Village?”
This group of people held waist sabers in their hands, obviously ready to murder and snatch his properties.
“I still underestimated the fiendishness of human hearts!” He could only sigh with emotion in his heart. He understood that one didn’t expose one’s wealth, so after buying the ginseng he had immediately driven the cart off to return back to the village, not staying for another night. But he didn’t imagine that this group of people would be so bold, actually daring to kill him in broad daylight.
Rumors said that those people who daily climbed steep cliffs to gather ginseng and spiritual herbs were extremely intrepid, and they were all pregnant with martial arts. Their bodies were light as birds and nimble as monkeys.
“Kid, we have some words to discuss with you!” The leader said calmly, his eyes reveling the a faint contempt, as if he was looking at a cow or sheep waiting to be killed in its cage: “Leave everything behind and you can leave.”
This kind of calm wasn’t pretense. They wandered all year long inside the mountains, and when they met lone travelers, they’d kill them in one blade and take away their possessions. It was merely a common occurrence, and when those things were done it was of impossible to leave a living witness behind.
The ginseng gatherers all snickered and came forward to encircle him.
Seeing the crisis draw near, Li Qingshan suddenly shook the reins. The green bull gave him a look, but it actually cooperated, and drew the bull cart along as it charged forward.
“Since you refuse to drink a toast you’ll have to drink bitter wine!” The ginseng gatherers shouted curses and hurriedly scattered to both sides. Two beams of saber lights flew up from their hands, cross-slashing at Li Qingshan who was sitting on the cart.
The green bull’s bullhead swung, and its one bullhorn left drew out a strange curve. The leader of the ginseng gatherers saw the horn stab at him, but he surprisingly couldn’t dodge and was cruelly ran through the stomach, nailed dead to the mountain wall.
This ginseng picker still had his eyes wide open as fresh blood gushed out from his mouth. He couldn’t believe that with his martial arts he’d die under a plowing bull’s horn.
At the same time, Li Qingshan rolled down and landed on the ground, dodging past two flashing sabers as he put his hand on the the thick-backed blade.
The green bull freed out his angled bull horn and thought: “From the angle of a bull, this should be a super level display already. The rest will depend on yourself.”
The ginseng pickers cried in alarm: “Big brother Geng!” This “big brother Geng” was the one with the best skills among them, and they didn’t expect he’d die in such a bizzare way. They couldn’t possibly imagine the green bull was actually a spirit monster.
They cruelly said to Li Qingshan: “Kid, do you know what you’ve done? We originally wanted to let you die a painless death, but now you can just wait until we cut off your flesh piece by piece and feed it to the wolves!”
Li Qingshan sneered: “Merely counting on you!” But his face was incomparably grave as he slowly pulled out the blade.
He hadn’t expected that he’d encounter two battles in a single day, one more dangerous than the last.
It was indeed that when one obtained some martial skills, one also attracted trouble so much more easily. If he were only a farm boy without the strength to truss up a chicken, he would naturally not butt heads with the Horse Rein villagers, nor would he have had so much money to buy ginseng with.
This was the most dangerous battle he’d ever met since he was born. Although he possessed a supernatural skill, he didn’t dare say he could walk unopposed everywhere as if treading on flat land. The green bull’s words still floated in his ears.
Thoughts revolved in the blink of an eye, and a great war was about to happen at any moment.
A strong gale rose and four waist sabers wove a saber net that covered toward Li Qingshan. The Bull Demon Skin Refining could definitely not block this kind of saber edges. Li Qingshan made a quick assessment of the situation. He didn’t even look behind him and instead went forward in great strides, pouncing on the three ginseng gatherers in front of him. His heart wasn’t entirely on the present battle to the death, but he kept reminiscing about the green bull’s horn gore right then.
The green bull would definitely not help him meet his enemies, otherwise with its strength, killing this group of ginseng gatherers would be as easy as flipping a hand. But there was a very deep meaning inside that horn.
In this crisis of life and death, his intelligence and comprehension were all forcibly squeezed out. His eyes suddenly flashed bright. The Bull Demon Horn Gore was about using every part of the body as bull horns. Weapons were merely extensions of the body.
The thick-backed steel blade in his hand seemed to suddenly possess spirituality and bypassed a parrying waist saber.
Amidst sounds of “puff puff,” a haze of blood filling the sky suddenly sprinkled from a ginseng gatherer’s neck, and he fell to the ground.
“Old Cheng!” “This kid knows martial arts!” With a series of curses, the gatherers looked at Li Qingshan, no longer looking as easygoing as just before.
Li Qingshan’s two arms also obtained two bruises. It wasn’t split by the cuts thanks to the toughness of the Bull Demon Skin Refining. Instead it aroused the fierceness in his heart, and it seemed his eyes were burning: “Come then!”
In a lush forest on the side of the mountain ravine, a group of people were hidden. They were separated only by hundred feet or so between them, but under this bright daylight, no one inside the ravine had discovered them.
Only the green bull had taken a glance in that direction.
Their leader was precisely Sick Yellow Tiger, who said with a smile to someone beside him: “Little Black, are you convinced now?”
- Originally Xiantian. You might have seen this term in other Chinese fantasy novels. It is a taoist concept, literally meaning something like “natural, inborn.” The idea here is that being close to nature is being close to the origin and hence close to the dao. Although like daoism in general it’s as mystical and vague as possible, so it can be argued one way or another.
- A weapon made to be worn at the waist, single edged and curved, around 3 feet long, it’s usually thinner than the dao with a shorter handle.