T/N: From now on I’ll indiscriminately use the terms “martial world” or “rivers and lakes” for the Jiang Hu. As a reminder this is a term from classic wuxia novels representing the mostly closeted world where martial artists interact with each others.
Legend of the Great Saint
Book 1, Chapter 39
Dragon Li pointed the direction and Liu Hong traveled in great strides. The Iron Fist Gate didn’t put emphasis on movement techniques, but each of his steps could cross the distance of seven to eight steps from ordinary people. His sleeves floated and his speed wasn’t slow in the least. In not of a long time they came to the place where the Black Wind bandits had halted and built a bonfire. There were only some corpses left there. Wild wolves were gnawing on the food. They raised their heads and made threatening howls when they heard noises.
Liu Hong snorted, and it was as if a thunderclap had exploded. It startled the wild wolves who fled wailing in anguish. Liu Hong examined the corpses: “This is indeed the Stone Rending Bow’s power. Sick Yellow Tiger actually gifted away his own famed weapon, could he be a disciple trained by Sick Yellow Tiger? No, with this old sick tiger’s martial arts, he couldn’t teach this kind of disciple.”
“However he even gave him the Stone Rending Bow. Sick Yellow Tiger is probably of a mind to have him take over the position of chief hunter. No wonder he’s not afraid of the Black Wind Camp. He only needs to return to Horse Rein Village, then the Black Wind Camp will have no way of doing anything to him. It’s not like they’re able to destroy Horse Rein Village.”
“Does Li Qingshan really plan on killing every last of them?” The pungent smell of blood assaulted his nose. Dragon Li was trembling a little. He’d trained martial arts for more than ten years. For him brawls and scuffles were merely everyday meals. But with the Iron Fist Gate’s prestige inside Suncheer City, there was absolutely no opponent who’d struggle with them to the death. At most he gave a correction to short-sighted hooligans or guests from the martial world passing by. Where had he seen so many dead people.
Liu Hong actually felt it was obvious and lectured his disciple: “Since you contracted a blood feud, of course you need to kill them to the last. Little Dragon, Suncheer City is really too comfortable. With your talents, your skills should originally have been much higher.”
Dragon Li mumbled something and was unable of answering.
Liu Hong continued to examine the corpses: “Eh, this wound is really peculiar!” He found a bandit that had died with his throat slit.
“What’s strange about it?”
“This bandit died inside the crowd. Look at his expression and posture when he died, it looks like he had no way to react.”
“What’s going on?” Then he found many similar traces on the bandit corpses. Dragon Li imagined the strange picture at that time, and bursts of cold went through his heart and mind. He couldn’t resist looking left and right. The forest’s darkness seemed to conceal ghosts and monsters. He only felt much more at ease when he looked at Liu Hong.
“It’s achievable as long as your movement technique is powerful enough. But this kind of movement technique, there’s only the Dragon Gate Sect’s master who can compare to it in the whole of Suncheer City. This Li Qingshan has a helper, and moreover a very strong one.” No matter how rich Liu Hong’s experience was walking the martial world, he still couldn’t guess that the reason the bandits couldn’t react was because they had entirely no way of seeing the enemy.
Following the trails left on the ground, they searched toward the depths of the mountain. Corpse after bandit corpse laid there, as obvious as road signs.
Some had taken an arrow and fallen. Some had died with a slit throat.
Dragon Li’s nerves were already numb. He remembered Li Qingshan’s words: “Today you all have to die.” He originally thought those were but words spoken in anger, but looking at it now they were actually a death sentence. He hadn’t been very afraid back then when Li Qingshan had clutched his neck, but now he felt bursts and bursts of lingering fear.
Dragon Li said after discovering another bandit corpse: “The mountain bandits are all dead, there’s only the third boss left.” Afterwards they found a horse fallen to the ground, its mouth frothing with spit.
Not long later, Liu Hong stopped his steps and looked at the foot of a great tree. Even this old hand from the martial world let out an extremely astonished expression. The blood had spread far away, and the scent of blood was even stronger than at the vicinity of the bonfire, where the mountain bandits had died in greatest numbers.
Dragon Li could only take one glance at it. He couldn’t resist retching, as if he wanted to vomit out every horror witnessed this night.
All night long, the third boss had seemingly sunken into a nightmare he couldn’t wake up from. The men beside him died one by one, while the god of death pressed on behind step by step.
The third boss used his movement technique, desperately fleeing toward the Black Wind mountain camp. Although he couldn’t compare to the Dragon Gate Sect’s elegance, his speed wasn’t any slower, maybe because his potential had been stimulated by the crisis.
A chilly wind revolved all around, tightly chasing after him, making him not dare to pause any second. It was only until the inner strength in his whole body had been entirely exhausted that he stopped under a great tree, panting in big mouthfuls.
Looking down toward the slope, he could already see the Black Wind mountain camp’s outline. He smiled then.
A feather arrow whistled as it broke through the air and pierced his thigh, nailing it deeply into the tree. The dead leaves were as rain, drizzling down.
The third boss had no time to pay attention to the sharp pain. He watched the horrifying silhouette walk out from between the trees, his face carrying a faint smile, like a hunter finally catching up to a prey after a long pursuit. The bowstring of the great bow in his hands was still quivering.
“It ends here, third boss!”
“I admit defeat today. The rivers and lakes are only a small world, there’s no harm in making friends. Ah!” At this desperate juncture, the third boss actually took out the attitude of a gangster, mentioning some cliched lines about the martial world, but a feather arrow had already pierced him through before he could finish.
“Don’t say this word, you don’t deserve it. Come, tell me, tell me everything about the Black Wind Camp’s situation, how many men you have, how many bosses, what kind of martial arts does the big boss train in?”
“If I told you, will you not kill me?” The third boss’ body was drenched in sweat, both from pain and from fear.
Li Qingshan thought for a moment, “Impossible, I already said that you needed to die today. I’ll give you a clean death!” Even deception wasn’t needed, just clearly tell him, I precisely have to kill you. You can talk, or you can not talk.
The third boss said: “Go fuck yourself, don’t hesitate to come at if you want to kill or peel, see if this old father will frown or not.”
Li Qingshan laughed coldly, “That suits my intentions!” In the depths of his eyes flowed a crimson light even he wasn’t conscious of.
Dragon Li forcefully restored his calm, his eyes avoiding the corpse under the tree as best as he could: “Master, do we still need to continue the pursuit?”
Liu Hong waved his hand: “No need. With the emergence of such a fiendish star, the rivers and lakes will henceforth become more eventful.”
He’d seen many men of the martial world with savage means. Merely this third boss by himself wouldn’t fall downwind. But to be able to show such a merciless hand from the beginning was truly rarely seen. Who wouldn’t need to vomit a few times, go through many life and death experiences, before they were able to gradually harden their hearts.
Dragon Li said: “He’s still only a third-grade talent, he relied on sneak attacks to damage the third boss, why does master put such heavy value on him?”
Liu Hong said: “I’ll only tell you that this kind of character breeds like flies among the rivers and lakes. There is no one among them that isn’t a powerful man, and any martial art will manifest a formidable power in the hands of this kind of person. You must absolutely not randomly make an enemy out of them.”
“Why’s that?” Dragon Li didn’t understand. Would your strength become powerful as long as you had a spicy hand and a vicious heart?
“The essence of the martial dao lies within killing.”
However, the Li Qingshan highly praised as a fiendish star was at this moment kneeling and vomiting beside a small rivulet, vomiting until tears filled his face.
In the end, the third boss’ bones hadn’t prove as hard as he’d claimed, and he’d told Li Qingshan any information he wanted to know in minute details, only begging for death.
After cutting off the third boss with a slash, the crimson light inside his eyes had dimmed down, and it seemed that he’d only realized then what he had done – he’d tormented a living man with incomparably cruel methods. Not only that, the most frightening was that he’d derived the greatest elation from it.
What’s really happening to me?
A bovine hoof stamped into the rivulet’s water. Li Qingshan lifted his head. The green bull watched him, saying in a tone that seemed to both praise him and at the same time tease him: “You’re looking more and more like a demon!”
“And what, about it?” Li Qingshan replied with willful obstinacy. He understood that as he gradually followed deeper into the path of his cultivation, this supernatural skill also deepened its influence over his nature day by day. Since if was a supernatural skill from the dao of monsters and demons, then it couldn’t possibly be humane leniency and devoted love.