Book 3, Chapter 120
He had absolute confidence in his own strength, but he didn’t want to be a fool with fists and no brain. He kept Qian Rongzhi’s subtle inquiries at bay with nonsensical chatter. The crowd dispersed once the banquet ended.
The highest reaches of the mountain peak, inside the Dark Wolf captain’s private pavilion.
Zhuo Zhibo asked, “Did you fish out some news? What’s the real relation between this kid and captain Gu?”
Qian Rongzhi sat on Zhuo Zhibo’s thighs, and said fuming, “That kid kept running in circles and refused to tell the truth.” Just as Li Qingshan expected, Qian Rongzhi had indeed ingratiated herself with Zhuo Zhibo during the three days on the mountain.
Zhuo Zhibo said, “Let’s wait and see then, I’ll figure it out. If that person really is really paying attention to him, then there’s no longer need for you to think about taking revenge for your enmity.”
Qian Rongzhi pressed down her hatred. She stretched out her forefinger and poked at Zhuo Zhibo’s face, saying with an enchanting smile, “My enmity is a small thing, anyway my sisters and brothers are so many one dead won’t make a difference. The most important thing is great captain Zhuo’s face, you only have one of it. You saw that kid’s attitude today.”
Zhuo Zhibo said, “If that person truly stood behind him, then it’s no matter even if I have to let him step on my face. If not, hmph!” He sent a strong slap on Qian Rongzhi’s buttocks. “You don’t need to incite me. Even if that person truly valued him, I still have ways to deal with him right now. Even if he were a heroic genius, I can still turn him into a good-for-nothing. Let’s see when I’m done if there’s still someone who takes him seriously.”
Qian Rongzhi made a coquettish protest and twisted inside Zhuo Zhibo’s embrace, fanning the flames of his lust. He asked once more with curiosity, “Since you don’t mind him killing your brother, then why do you cling to vengeance?”
Qian Rongzhi said, “Because he looks down on me. Anyone who looks down on me has to pay the price for it.”
Li Qingshan would surely be dumbstruck if he were there. Not only his attitude didn’t make the beautiful woman fall in love in him like in folklore tales, it instead caused hatred ingrained deep into the bones. It seemed like tales were merely tales after all.
Zhuo Zhibo looked deeply at Qian Rongzhi and didn’t comment. He’d played with quite a few women already at his age, but female qi refining warriors were hard to come by. There were some, but they weren’t necessarily good-looking, hence he’d felt desire the first time he saw Qian Rongzhi. Qian Rongzhi also happened to wish for an opportunity to rise in status, hence lust soared like blazing fire on dry wood and gradually turned into a so-called dalliance. His body had already begun to weaken; it was no longer possible his qi refining to make any headway, hence his priority went to all kinds of pleasures.
Qian Rongzhi said, “I heard that body cultivators were all pretty strong.” Zhuo Zhibo’s bestial instincts erupted with this one sentence. He pounced on Qian Rongzhi. “Today I’ll let you taste this old man’s power.” Qian Rongzhi laughed tenderly again and again; decadence descended inside the room.
Li Qingshan was deeply engrossed in a sea of books right at this moment. Martial arts and secret techniques filled the Eagle Wolf Guard’s library. Everything one could think of was there for the reading, everything from punching to kicking to blade to sword techniques. Many of them could start a battle if thrown into the martial world, but here they were like garbage and casually laid out, with only an old man standing guard.
Li Qingshan didn’t find the series of techniques for qi refining warriors however. He was about to climb to the second floor when that old man stopped him: “Ten contribution points for one double-hour, no credit allowed.”
Li Qingshan could only let it drop. Even martial techniques gave him quite some enlightenment. He stayed and read for two hours, and only went back for fear of making Little An worried.
Then he once again became the somewhat dull cultivation, pill eating, qi refining.
But Ge Jian knocked on Li Qingshan’s door as soon as the gathering darkness descended, and said with a secretive air, “I’ll take to you to a good place.” He even too special care in exhorting him to change his clothes and put his blade away.
He can’t be trying to harm me right? Li Qingshan had such a thought but agreed nevertheless. What had to come would come in any case, he only had to raise his vigilance, and if push came to shove he could just go on a killing spree. He made Ge Jian wait a little, went back to the house, brought Little An.
He found Diao Fei already waiting when they came under the memorial arch at the foot of the mountain.
Li Qingshan said, curious, “Where are we going?” They wouldn’t go as far as killing Diao Fei as well, right?
Diao Fei said, “Brother Ge said he’ll take us stroll around Blessed Peace’s night scenery. Right, why not bring Qian Rongzhi as well?”
“This kind of place doesn’t suit women.” Ge Jian let out a smile every man understood.
Li Qingshan exchanged a glance with Diao Fei. Neither of them said anything. Something like this was difficult to refuse to begin with, to say nothing of a colleague’s good intentions. Li Qingshan admitted he was a man who’d “drunk wine with beautiful flowers” and didn’t put it too much to heart.
Ge Jian couldn’t help but smile faintly when he saw the attitudes from the two. He recalled Zhuo Zhibo’s exhortations: don’t look at the expenses, take Li Qingshan out and let him have fun, make him enjoy himself to the fullest, the more fun the better. It would be for the best if he put everything aside, what cultivation and training.
Li Qingshan wasn’t aware yet that Zhuo Zhibo had already acted against him, using another way. There was simply no need to fight and kill to ruin a man. Sugarcoated weapons were oftentimes more frightful than torture, extravagance and decadence could easily obliterate a man’s ambition, drowning him in the most instinctive pleasures.
In Zhuo Zhibo’s mind, Li Qingshan was merely a crude wild kid from the mountains, how could he resist such temptations. Even if Li Qingshan were someone Gu Yanying valued, no one could blame Zhuo Zhibo, only Li Qingshan could be blamed for being rotten mud that couldn’t climb the wall. This was an insidious method he’d thought of with his deep grasp on human nature, a bite that left no sound nor traces but sank deep to the bones.
Countless houses were lit in Blessed Peace, gloriously alight even at night. It was greatly different from a small city like Suncheer, and it once again reminded Li Qingshan of these great metropolises of his former life. The three of them merged into this patch of light under Ge Jian’s enthusiastic calls, entering the most dazzling and prosperous place.
Pavilion of Cloud and Rain.
This didn’t sound at all like the name of a pleasure house, yet it was not only a pleasure house, but even the biggest and most luxurious one within several hundred miles.
In all kinds of ways, this was the greatest construction Li Qingshan had seen in this world: a high building shaped like a pagoda, high and low over seven stories tall, resplendent with light as if ignited with raging flames.
Great human flows streamed in and out the great gates where big red lanterns hung, even livelier than a marketplace.
Piping hot perfume assaulted them before even entering inside. Li Qingshan shrugged and said, “It’s just a brothel.” It was a bit more luxurious, but in the end it still couldn’t compare to the skyscrapers and rainbow neon lights of his former world.
Ge Jian said in a very mysterious tone, “You’ll know when you go in. This isn’t an ordinary brothel.”
One man came out before the three went in, tossed out from the third floor, falling on the ground like a broken burlap bag.
A murder case? Li Qingshan felt a chill in his heart. From a certain point of view, the Eagle Wolf Guard was an equivalent to the police in this world. He hadn’t expected to meet with a case as soon as he took up the job. But the he looking at the passersby around. They all went busying themselves with their own affairs after a momentary surprise, as if nothing had happened.
He looked back to that spot on the ground. The man actually stood up with a groan and shouted round abuses while rubbing his back. Curses returned back in even louder voices from upstairs: “Whatever gang leader sect leader, scram far away if you have no fiver, we’ll waste your martial arts if you still don’t get lost, and keep you around as an errand boy to recover the cost.”
The man tossed down from upstairs was actually a first-grade master, that was why he could stay unharmed, but then what kind of skill was it that could casually throw out a first-grade master?
The man seemed to be scared by that voice. He muttered a few more insults then blended inside the flow of people, as if nothing happened.
Ge Jian said, “To have fun here, even Eagle Wolf guards have to pay, it’s best if you don’t stir trouble.”
Li Qingshan said, “How can a mere brothel afford such arrogance?”
Diao Fei said, “The Gate of Cloud and Rain is a famous sect in Clear River prefecture, skilled in the ways of dual cultivation. They established Pavilions of Cloud and Rain in every big city, this is only one of them. It’s also the first time I come here though.”
Ge Jian said with a smile, “Dai Fei’s experienced and knowledgeable after all. Qingshan, you must probably know what dual cultivation is!”
“Isn’t it just doing that thing!” Li Qingshan felt his horizons broaden wide. It was one thing if qi refining warriors formed violent organizations or feudal authorities, but there were even whorehouses. He couldn’t help but lower his evaluation once more for the three words “qi refining warrior.”
Ge Jian said, “Dual cultivation is the same as taking spirit pills, both are ancient daos. It pays particular attention to the harmony of yin and yang. But you’re not wrong either, it’s just doing that thing, it’s also bedchamber art. Just think about it, a sect specializing in the study of bedchamber techniques, the girls they raise…”
Li Qingshan grinned, “It couldn’t be plucking the yang to nourish the yin1, right?” Could Zhuo Zhibo be trying cause his death with women? That would be too funny.
Ge Jian laughed despite himself and said, “How could it be, how would so many people come here if it were so. Anyway, just give it a try and you’ll know.”
Li Qingshan shook his head and said, “Let’s just drop it.” He didn’t feel this here was any sort of good place.
Diao Fei also beat the drums of retreat. Ordinary brothels were one thing, but he’d heard of the many rumors about the Pavilion of Cloud and Rain. A life of dissipation was never befitting the cultivation of a qi refining warrior.
Ge Jian moved tongue and lips in an unceasing torrent of instigation, “Refining qi is so hard and exhausting, should you deprive yourself of a little reward?” “Only the right balance between work and rest is the way forward for cultivation, it’s of no matter if it’s once or twice here and there.” “Don’t be so coy and shy if you’re men, properly enjoy yourselves, why would real men still fear a few girls?”
He assiduously played the most commonly seen role in the world, that of a petty villain with a honeyed tongue and vile intent. A malicious friend was more fearsome than an outstanding enemy.
Coaxing, encouraging, half-pulling and half-dragging them, he brought the two inside the building. The rumble of a boiling brouhaha filling the ears, many men and women holding and hugging each others with their clothes in disarray; a scene of bliss and merriment. Everyone left their qualms and scruples behind in this bizarre atmosphere, setting free their own desires to their hearts’ content, like the Roman orgies from the legends. It made one a little dumbstruck, even one who came from the modern world like Li Qingshan.
“Master Ge, you made the girls wait a long while. The room your honored self reserved is the Heaven room number one, please come upstairs!” A fat woman with thick makeup came to welcome them. She said when she saw Diao Fei and Li Qingshan, “Eh, these two little brothers look very unfamiliar.”
Li Qingshan actually saw true qi circulating around this lady boss’ body. She was a qi refining warrior.
Ge Jian introduced the two of them. The old brothel keeper said, “So you two turn out to be young and handsome heroes newly joined in the Eagle Wolf Guard, in the future you have to patronize sister’s business.” She stretched her hand and rubbed Li Qingshan’s chest. “Oh my, so strong and well-built, you must cultivate the body!” Her gaze simply seemed eager to swallow Li Qingshan whole.