Book 3 Chapter 47 Strange Occurrence At The Border
One of the state of Zhou’s thirteen counties, North Star County housed the Lingering Wind Building, where the red card females currently resided.
The mellow sound of a zither resounded. At times, the music would be fast and agile, then slow and gentle. It was truly extraordinary for one’s zither arts to reach the level where the sound of a zither was able to freely project one’s emotions. Lu Yi’s facial features could only be described as pretty, but her zither arts firmly established her red card status.
Within the building, aside from Lu Yi playing the zither, there was another elegant youth wearing a white garment. This elegant youth had his eyes closed as he attentively listened to the sound of the zither.
Footsteps came from the stairs.
“Lu Yi, withdraw first.” The elegant youth instructed.
“Yes.” Lu Yi was extremely obedient, and she proceeded to withdraw.
The elegant youth had a bad premonition. When he had first began listening to the zither, he forbade anyone from disturbing him unless something big had occurred. Right now, did something happen?
“Is it news from the business at Lan Ze River? Or is it about trying to steal Ninth Brother’s goods?” The elegant youth began pondering.
“Master.” An old man walked in and bowed.
“Yes.” The elegant youth looked over.
“Boss Meng has died. He was killed by the Black Armored Army’s Teng Qingshan. As for the 100 assassin’s, only thirteen survived.” The old man said.
The elegant youth’s face slightly changed. He proceeded to indifferently command: “Very well, you can go.”
“Yes.” The old man withdrew.
Inside the building, the only person who remained was the elegant youth, who rubbed the jade ring on his thumb. His eyes weren’t focused, and it was clear he was busy pondering.
“Ninth Brother, oh Ninth Brother. You luck truly is incredible. You were able to encounter an expert like Teng Qingshan. With this sort of a genius coupled with Uncle Zhuge’s guidance, the Gui Yuan Sect will most likely be even stronger in the future! Old Meng… he died somewhat pitifully. However, I know the extent of his sword arts. If he dies, then he dies.” The elegant youth suddenly opened his mouth: “Lu Yi, play me a piece.”
Very quickly, Lu Yi walked up the stairs.
“Lord, what would you like to hear?” Lu Yi said.
“Ambush from Ten Sides!” The elegant youth chuckled.
(TLN: This is an actual song- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW1kmKOiClw)
The bottom of Lu Yi’s heart trembled, but she started to play nonetheless.
The corner of the elegant youth’s mouth curved into a smile. “Ninth Brother, oh Ninth Brother. You are sophisticated and profound. Father gave you ten years and you spent over half of it overseas. You truly have a lot of willpower! Surely, you must know that ‘A beard well lathered is half shaved’! However, you must also understand that ‘The tallest tree in the forest will ultimately be knocked down by the wind.’ Your long trip overseas caused all your elder brothers to fear you, and every one of them has secretly conspired to resist you. I don’t know if you will be able to laugh in the very end!”
(TLN: god, that was a hard paragraph; time for some Chinese idioms. The first phrase essentially means that good preparation is half the work, and the second phrase means that geniuses/people who stand out will always be coveted by others and suffer from their jealousy)
Teng Qingshan killing Meng Tian was of no consequence to the elegant youth.
This was because he was a businessman!
Even if it was an expert of the Preliminary Realm that was able to obtain a rank in the Earthly Ranking, he was only a Preliminary Realm expert. Two fists would find it difficult to overcome four hands. Once he or she faced hundreds or thousands of soldiers firing volleys of arrows, that person would be shot to death.
(TL: “Two fists would find it difficult to overcome four hands”: You get defeated when outnumbered)
As for why businessmen learned martial arts. It was purely for self-defense.
Zhu Tong once said that you mustn’t throw all your eggs into one basket. Even if expert bodyguards were hired, one couldn’t place their complete trust in them. One must have the strength to protect himself from danger.
The wheels of the carts rolled along as Teng Qingshan’s soldiers travelled down the main road. The foreheads of the Black Armored Army soldiers were currently covered in sweat.
This was the intense heat of June! Presently, it was afternoon, so the heat was even more frightening.
Among the soldiers of the Black Armored Army, no one had been forced to wear thick and bulky heavy armor at this point. The interior of heavy armor was like a furnace, especially because their heavy armor was black and thus absorbed heat! During the hottest moments, the soldiers couldn’t help but discard their helmets and undo the heavy armor to escape from the heat.
Fortunately, the bodies of the Black Armored Army’s soldiers were in prime condition. Furthermore, they had inner strength to help them resist the heat.
Why would normal people dare to wear heavy black armor under the hot summer sun? That would be the same as burning to death!
“It’s so hot!” Teng Qinghu wiped his forehead, but despite of his efforts, sweat continued to flow. “Qingshan, why isn’t there even one drop of sweat on you?”
“Qinghu, you want to compare yourself to the lieutenant?” The adjacent Du Hong laughed.
Teng Qingshan was genuinely unafraid of the heat. Regradless if it was winter or summer, the weather had no effect on him. Even the terrifying cold at the bottom of the Frost Jade Pool had been withstood by Teng Qingshan’s body. Although Teng Qingshan was wearing Darksteel Inner Armor and the Black Armored Army’s standard equipment in such a strong heat, not even a drop of sweat was visible.
Teng Qingshan’s body had been tempered to such a state that even if he were to be roasted on top of a normal flame, Teng Qingshan would still be perfectly fine.
With low temperatures, Teng Qingshan could bear the cold to extreme levels.
As for high temperatures, Teng Qingshan could also bear up to a few hundred degrees.
Unless it was an extremely hot flame, Teng Qingshan would be able to easily bear it.
“Brother Zhu, it’s so hot. Why haven’t you entered the carriage to rest?” Teng Qingshan laughed.
Zhu Chongshi laughed and shook his head: “This sort of a temperature is nothing. Even when I was on a few overseas islands where the weather was even hotter, I still managed to endure. Brother Qingshan, I have troubled you during this journey. After tonight, we will have made it past Xuyang County’s borders and entered Chu County. By the time night falls tomorrow, we will have arrived at our destination.”
Ever since the battle at the stone tavern, the caravan hadn’t encountered any other dangers.
The journey was as smooth as a calm river current.
“When the time comes, Brother Qingshan should take a good rest at my place. This time, it was all thanks to you.” Zhu Chongshi was extremely grateful.
“Haha… if you want to thank me, then wait until we arrive so that my brothers can have a thorough rest at your place for one night. The journey this half month has been draining; everyone sleeps late and is tense.” Teng Qingshan laughed. Currently, everyone’s mood was quite relaxed since the distance to their destination was already very close.
Time continued to pass. As the sun began to set in the west; the sky started to grow dark. Teng Qingshan and the others had already made it to Xuyang County’s border.
“Only a few more kilometers before we travel through Xuyang County and enter Chu County.” Zhu Chongshi joyfully exclaimed
Suddenly, Teng Qingshan’s eyebrows creased. He was staring at a nearby village because sounds of crying could be heard from within the village. The amount of people crying was numerous.
Soon, Zhu Chongshi also heard it.
“What is going on over there?” Zhu Chongshi was somewhat surprised.
“It seems there are countless people dying. Even if a family member died, there shouldn’t be this many people crying.” Teng Qingshan was also shocked and confused. However, despite his worries, they were in the midst of their journey, so they wouldn’t intervene if they didn’t have to. They continued for almost an hour until they arrived at a tavern on Xuyang County and Chu County’s borders.
Travelling Cloud Tavern! The three words on the banner were extremely distinct.
“Honored guests, please come on in!” Instantly, two waiters ran out and welcomed the group. Even the shopkeeper hastily ran out in an extremely cordial manner.
This was a result of the established rules.
Guards would eat in the rear garden and looked after the goods, while the Black Armored Army would eat on the first floor of the tavern. There was still time today, so everyone was relaxed and took their time to enjoy their food.
“Hey, waiter. Can I ask you something?” Teng Qingshan laughed and proceeded to ask.
“Honored guest, please ask away.” The waiter had already been frightened stiff by the Black Armored Army military uniforms and was naturally obedient.
“On the way here, we passed by a village a couple of kilometers away. Did something big happen there? I discovered that their cries were extremely mournful.” Teng Qingshan inquired. Immediately, the surrounding Black Armored Army soldiers looked at the waiter. They all wanted to know the answer.
When the waiter heard this, he helplessly laughed: “Honored guest. About this topic… Jin Jia Village… It truly is miserable. Starting about a month ago, a person would disappear every day from Jin Jia Village without leaving a trace. They disappear so mysteriously that it’s still unknown whether these people are dead or alive; not even traces of can be found!”
“Eh?” Teng Qingshan began to listen carefully.
“This has been going on for about half a month, and every day, they would lose one person! Perhaps it could have been the wolves from the adjacent volcano coming down and eating the villagers, but there would have been traces of leftover bones and blood. At the very least, if these people died, they would have let out a desperate cry, but no one has seen or heard anything. These people just disappeared into thin air! Of course the villagers of Jin Jia Village would be scared, but the worst thing is that about a month ago, the number of people who disappeared each day went up to two!”
When Teng Qingshan heard this, he was shocked.
People disappearing without a trace was too out of the ordinary.
“Since this is the case, no one knows the reason behind it. Living people just disappearing in thin air. Just yesterday night, Jin Jia Village suddenly lost three people!” The waiter let out a sigh. “Three people gone just like that! If this continues, how will Jin Jia Village survive?”
When Teng Qingshan’s group hear this, they became somewhat afraid.
People disappearing into thin air?
When it first began, only one person would disappear per day. Afterwards, it became two people. Starting yesterday, it became three people per day.
“I’ve heard that Jin Jia villagers discussed moving the location of the village.” The waiter shook his head. “Although Jin Jia Village has been here for a couple hundred years, protecting their ancestral home, this sort of event is too scary, even if their ancestral home makes them want to stay here. In my opinion, I expect the Jin Jia Village to have moved elsewhere after a few days.”
Teng Qingshan was very clear that it was very hard for an entire large village to move away from their homeland.
Once they moved, how would their clan members eat and drink? Where would they find fertile land? All of this was extremely difficult to accommodate.
If they had money, then things would be much easier, but if a regular village didn’t have fertile land, how would they sustain their clansmen while migrating? The entire process of migration was extremely miserable.
“Truthfully, our tavern is also somewhat scared. However, we still have yet to lose even one person, so we can be considered exceptionally lucky. If there comes a day that we lose one person, then I’m afraid that we would leave this place.” The waiter shook his head and left.
Teng Qingshan and the others began discussing spiritedly, but ultimately, they could only sigh in pity.
No matter whether it was an expert assassin, a wild leopard, or a man-eating wolf, there was no way they would be able to accomplish their task silently. Moreover, not even a trace of blood remained.
The caravan nonetheless had to continue their trip, so everyone could only let out a sigh. On the morning of the second day, Teng Qingshan and his group continued on their way, and after they arrived on Chu County’s soil, everyone became much more relaxed. It stayed this way until night fell.
At the mountain stronghold entrance of the number one gang in Chu County’s Huai City.
A vast number of bandits stood beneath the command of their three chiefs and proceeded to walk out of the stronghold.
“Brother Zhu, this is your destination?” Teng Qingshan was somewhat surprised. Zhu Chongshi gave a mysterious laugh in reply.
“Big brother!” When the first chief saw Zhu Chongshi, his eyes went red. “It’s been a few years since I last saw big brother. Big Brother has become back!” The two other chiefs who had been standing behind the first chief suddenly bowed: “Master!”
Upon seeing this, Teng Qingshan immediately understood.
This gang was subordinate to Zhu Chongshi. Originally, when Zhu Chongshi had been making his way around the world and travelling abroad, he let his trusted aid establish this gang of mounted gangsters.
Zhu Chongshi and the first chief hugged each other. The sight was extremely moving.
“Qingshan, this is my sworn brother, Liu Hu! Second brother, this is Lieutenant Teng Qingshan of the Gui Yuan Sect’s Black Armored Army! This signifies that he is an «Earthly Ranking» expert. This time, if it wasn’t for brother Qingshan, I’m afraid that your brother would have spent a few more years suffering abroad without reason.” Zhu Chongshi gave Teng Qingshan a short introduction.
Liu Hu was exceptionally clear of what this business trip meant to his older brother.
Not only would Zhu Chongshi have had to suffer a few more years abroad, he would also no longer be able to claim the position of Head of the Zhu Family.
“Brother Qingshan!” This first chief, Liu Hu, cupped his hands: “Your protection of Big Brother and his goods is a merit that I will never forget! If you ever need anything, please instruct me; I, Liu Hu, will definitely not hesitate to return the favor.”