Legend of the Great Saint
Book 1, Chapter 54
Xiong Xiangwu cut an awkward figure as he half-knelt on the ground. He fiercely raised his head toward the top of the restaurant building. A tall and robust figure stood there, the bowstring of the great bow in his hand still quivering. Although it wasn’t as good as the Stone Rending Bow, it was also a rare hard iron bow.
Xiong Xiangwu’s pupils shrank: “Sick Yellow Tiger!”
Sick Yellow Tiger said: “Camp master Xiong, this arrow was merely a greeting. I’m still hoping you’ll weigh your options and retreat to avoid defeat. Don’t blame my arrows for lacking in feelings otherwise!”
Xiong Xiangwu was shocked into sweating cold sweats all over his body. He knew that Sick Yellow Tiger was absolutely not boasting. If Sick Yellow Tiger had acted with all his ability right now with the determination to kill, it was very possible he’d have been killed on the spot by the arrow if he hadn’t done his utmost to turn around in the middle of the air,. A divine marksman in hidden ambush and occupying a favorable position was really too fearsome.
Yang Anzhi said: “You really want to stick your head out for this kid!”
Sick Yellow Tiger said: “Li Qingshan indeed found the spirit ginseng, but it’s already been eaten by this one present and cured his chronic diseases of many years. Suzerain Yang has been looking for the wrong person.” Behind him also stood over a dozen hunters, over a dozen strong bows.
The four leading figures of Suncheer’s martial world had appeared together for the sake of Li Qingshan alone, either friends or enemies.
The Iron Fist Gate disciples’ face were all filled with admiration, while the residents nearby grew big guts and slightly opened their windows ajar, secretly observing a scene hard to come by.
The torches danced wildly in the cold wind. Yang Anzhi, Xiong Xiangwu, Liu Hong, Sick Yellow Tiger , Li Qingshan, everyone’s face flickered, sometimes bright and suddenly dark. Everyone seemed frozen stiff as they stood still without movements. Each of them had their own considerations and qualms. No one dared to act rashly when it involved all of them.
Li Qingshan suddenly laughed out loud. His laughter rode the wind and spread over far away: “Camp master Xiong, this is your one opportunity to kill me, why aren’t you acting yet? When I slaughter you with my own hands, those macaques under you still have the opportunity to flee. If you let today’s opportunity slip by, I’ll come for a visit to your door to ask for advice in the next few days, and pull out your Black Wind Camp down to the roots. I won’t spare a single one of you!”
Delirious ravings! Everyone at the scene felt those were ear-piercing ravings when they heard.
The Black Wind Camp had caused great turmoil in Suncheer for many years. Apart from the Horse Rein Village who’d comparatively stood aloof from worldly affairs, both the Dragon Gate Sect and the Iron Fist Gate had very much wanted to exterminate them. But Yang Anzhi and Liu Hong had both made calculations in their mind. They would only have had an opportunity to succeed if they joined hands, but even if they won they’d also needed to pay a heavy price.
Now Li Qingshan actually said he was going to exterminate the Black Wind Camp relying on his own strength. Even if their evaluations of his martial arts weren’t low, they still felt he was too arrogant and ignorant.
Xiong Xiangwu’s face was even closer to exploding in fury. He looked increasingly like a black bear: “Then I’ll wait for you. If you don’t come, I’ll make sure not a single person from the Crouching Bull Village can survive.” Finally, he left some ruthless words behind: “No matter who dares to help you, I’ll search their houses and exterminate their whole clan!” He led his men and left in haste. The Iron Fist Gate disciples went to the sides out of their way and didn’t block them. A group of bandits actually regarded Suncheer City as it were nothing, they were truly lawless and out of control.
Yang Anzhi also operated his movement technique and vanished in veil of the night, his voice coming from far away: “You just wait, Li Qingshan, your enemies will become more and more. The time of your death isn’t far away.”
Liu Hong arched his hands toward Li Qingshan and also took his men with him as he left. The noblemen were willing to donate ten times the bandit suppressing silver. They only begged him to let off those Dragon Gate Sect disciples, and also not to let them be caught in the middle.
The messy upstairs of the restaurant had already become complete emptiness. There was only Li Qingshan standing at the windows, his hand holding the the Soaring Dragon Sword he seized from Yang Anzhi.
Sick Yellow Tiger led his men and came upstairs. Li Qingshan turned his head and said: “Chief hunter Yellow, I want an explanation!”
Two hunters brought up a Little Black solidly bound in a bundle. Sick Yellow Tiger said: “Kneel down, tell!”
Little Black told the ins and outs of the whole story, finally saying: “Just kill me, I have no regret!”
Sick Yellow Tiger said with difficulty: “I watched Little Black grow up. This thing can only be blamed on my insufficient discipline. I invite you to spare him this time.” He pulled out the hunting knife at his waist, flipped it around and stuck it inside his own shoulder.
“Chief hunter!” Little Black said anxiously.
“Little Black, some things just can’t be done. This Sick Yellow Tiger has killed countless men during his life, but he’s never forgotten favors and violated loyalty, and he’s even less bitten the hand that fed him!” Sick Yellow Tiger stretched his hand. The hunter behind him delivered another hunting knife into his hand with a sorrowful expression. Sick Yellow Tiger stuck it inside his left shoulder with a backhand.
Sobs and tears wildly streaked on Little Black’s face, shame and regret intersecting on it. From childhood to adulthood, he had respected and adored this man even more than his own father, and now he had to watch him suffer from knives for his own sake.
Sick Yellow Tiger merely inserted a hunting knife toward the pit of his stomach.
Three knives and six holes, mortgaging a life with another life, this was an explanation a man of the rivers and lakes could give.
A hand steadily caught Sick Yellow Tiger’s wrist, and that knife couldn’t stick down any further.
Li Qingshan had first been stunned, then relieved afterwards: “The chief hunter wants to focus this matter all on himself and sort it with his death? It’s no use, even if they’re half believing and half doubting, they’d still come find me.”
Sick Yellow Tiger sighed heavily. One who’d traveled the martial world like him deeply understood how frightful this matter was. A rare book or a treasured sword were enough to stir up a sea of blood over the rivers and lakes. The lives of first-grade, or even masters above first grade, were burned therein as if they were free of charges.
The red light vanished from within Li Qingshan’s eyes. He actually let out a laugh, not a wild belly laugh to one’s heart content. It was instead candid like an ordinary young man: “But I’m not afraid of them!” Those words were said straightforwardly and with self-confidence. He didn’t wait for Sick Yellow Tiger to speak and warn him, and continued to say: “Is my tiger bone wine ready?”
“I’ll have someone send it tomorrow!”
Li Qingshan didn’t say much further. He went down the building and came out of the restaurant. There was suddenly a burst of cold on his face. He lifted his head; snowflakes floated in the dark sky.
A green shadow flew out from the locust wood plaque and danced randomly around him.
Li Qingshan said all to himself: “I’m not afraid of enemies, I’m afraid of betrayal.” He saw Little An watch him with a face full of confusion and couldn’t resist laughing as he said: “You can’t understand even if I told you. Anyway you won’t betray me, right!”
Perhaps Little An didn’t understand the meaning of this “betrayal” from Li Qingshan’s mouth, but he understood the expectation in his eyes, and nodded hastily.
“Let’s go, this night isn’t over yet!” A raging blaze had ignited within Li Qingshan’s eyes, as if it could melt this whole frozen world.
Old man pants drank a mouthful of old wine and poked the charcoal fire inside the furnace, trying to withstand the chill of the winter that could drill inside any hole.
He’d had no wife for all of his life as he stood guard over the arsenal for several decades. Colleagues left and right had all forgotten his name and only remembered that his family name was Zhang. They all called him old man Zhang, or old man Arsenal. Later on, no one knew why the children around started to call him old man pants1 man. The old man pants name spread around and polluted with some vulgar flavor this old fellow who never had a wife, for no reason at all.
It was already very deep into the night, but he hadn’t fallen asleep. He was reminiscing his life as usual, seeming to ruminate as he extracted those most brilliant parts from within his memories, thinking them over and over as he borrowed the drunken mood. As to whether those memories were true or false, it was just like his name. No mentioning others, even he himself had no way of distinguishing them.
“Thump thump thump!” A few loud noises interrupted his reminiscing. He unhurriedly opened the door, “Who is it? At such a late hour?” Then he saw a teenager stand in front of the door exposing a rueful smile his way.
“The lord county magistrate Ye let me take some things from the arsenal, this is the official document!”
Old man pants shivered from head to toes. Although there were many illusory parts inside his memories, there were still a part of them that was real. He had truly been a soldier and waged wars, he had seen scenes with genuine swords and genuine spears killing men. The young man in front of his eyes was very young and very polite, but he’d let him smell a familiar breath – a killing breath.
A killing aura that lingered on without dispersing, this was a feeling that could only be felt on vicious soldiers and fierce generals who had taken the lives of several dozen men with their own hands. If one met such an enemy on the battlefield, it was truly the better the farther away one kept at.
He didn’t even look carefully at the document before shakingly taking the key. He lifted the lantern and opened the arsenal’s great gate.
The arsenal’s gate was more than ten feet tall, built from pig iron, thirty six iron nails arranged in neat rows, with a pair of tiger heads biting an iron ring.
Old man pants used his strength to push a few times, but the gate didn’t move a single shred. He mumbled: “Looks like it’s frozen.” But then he saw the young man put his hand on the freezing cold iron gate and push it lightly. The iron gate opened with a rumble as he crossed alone inside.
Old man pants shrank his body and waited outside. In the past few years, it was the first time someone had come to take something from the arsenal. What was he going to take? What was he going to do with it?
While he was turning those thoughts around his head, he heard a “Keng Qiang” noise come his way. A figure stepped out of the warehouse, a black armor wrapped around his well-built body, filled with a sense of icy cold desolateness. The armor skirt2 swayed in the wind following his movements.
Old man pants’ breathing stagnated as he fell butt first on the ground. He once again recalled the terror of the battlefield, recalled those grim and violent figures. It seemed the man in front of him would brandish a blade and cut him down in the next moment.