The Nine Cauldrons

 Book 1 Chapter 3: Yangzhou City

Spring rain fluttered about recklessly and covered the ancient Yangzhou citadel.

In the old districts of Yangzhou City, near the window of the second floor of Willow Tea House, the bespectacled Teng Qingshan was quietly seated. On the desk in front of him was a glass of soya milk and a bowl of buns. “My whereabouts were leaked, so the hitmen might be able to find me within one or two days.” Teng Qingshan was acquainted with the powerful energy of the first international intelligence organization known as the “Hand of Darkness”. The An Yi County was just a small county under the rule of Yangzhou. Last night, he arrived in this urban area, which was only one hundred kilometers away from the county. It’s not that he couldn’t escape; it’s just that he didn’t want to escape! This was because there was a person in Yangzhou who he really wanted to see!

“Qing He!”

Teng Qingshan gazed at an old two-story house in the distance.

After finishing his buns and soya milk, he ordered a cup of tea and drank it while waiting. When his cup of tea was refilled for the third time, it was already eleven o’clock; however, Teng Qingshan still had not found the person he wanted to see.

“Let’s go back,” he thought to himself.

Teng Qingshan immediately left the teahouse and returned to his temporary residence in Yangzhou….

This was a house in the Xi Cheng District of Yangzhou. The monthly renting fee of this type of house was about one thousand RMB, and Teng Qingshan wanted to live there for approximately three months. However, he had actually paid the owner ten thousand RMB. As a result, the owner did not ask to see Teng Qingshan’s identity card, nor did he ask any questions. He paid the owner so much money that the owner had no reason to be worried. In the living room, Teng Qingshan had just made a cup of tea and laid back on the couch when his phone rang.

Teng Qingshan frowned. He had just bought this phone and only intended to use it temporarily. There were only two people who knew his phone number: one was Lin Qing, the other was aunty Liu at the orphanage. This phone was originally bought with the sole purpose of contacting the orphanage.

“Hey, Teng Qingshan, let’s eat lunch together today.” A familiar voice rang.

Teng Qingshan smiled helplessly, shaking his head, and started talking. “I’m sorry, Lin, I have already left the county.”

“What?” Lin Qing asked, with surprise in her voice.

“Why did you leave? Weren’t you still here yesterday?” Lin’s voice was somewhat urgent.

“Lin Qing, my brother called me yesterday and told me that my family had an urgent matter. Therefore, I was in a hurry to return to my hometown. It was late then, so I didn’t want to bother you.”

Teng Qingshan had just made up an excuse, as he did not want these ordinary people to get involved in his world.

“Oh…” Lin Qing lowered her voice; it was obvious that she was slightly disappointed. After being silent for a second, she continued,“Teng Qingshan, where is your hometown? Perhaps I’ll travel there when I have time. ”

“My hometown is located in a remote mountainous area, so you won’t know even if I tell you,” Teng Qingshan answered. “Lin Qing, if I come back to An Yi county in the future, I will come meet you then. Oh, I need to go have lunch now. Let’s talk next time.” With this, Teng Qingshan hung up the phone.

Teng Qingshan had a self-deprecating smile on his lips as he tossed the phone onto the table.

Then, he took out a small cauldron which was hanging around his neck, about the size of a fingertip. He gently caressed the cauldron, just like a man comforting his lover.

“Little Cat, isn’t your man very charming? Getting chased by girls within such a short time.” Teng Qingshan stared at the tiny tripod cauldron as he whispered to himself, “Cat, I have lived in An Yi County for almost a week. I also met the headmistress; she was still as kind as she was so many years ago. I have fulfilled my wish, which was to meet headmistress granny. Now, I only have one wish left, which is to meet my brother Qing He. Qing He is now living in Yangzhou. I guess that I should be able to meet him.”

“After I meet my brother Qing He, I will no longer have any regrets!”

“Then, I can travel everywhere, to the north and south of our country, pursuing martial arts. Of course, you will be with me throughout this entire journey!”

Although Teng Qingshan looked like a young man who had just graduated from the college, he was in fact nearly thirty years old. It was only because he had achieved an extremely high level in the Internal Martial Arts that he practiced that he looked so young. Many years of practicing assiduously had caused his calluses and dead skin to fall off. Thus, his whole body was rejuvenated and he looked much younger than his real age.

He picked up the backpack next to him and took out a laptop.

After connecting his computer to the power supply, he turned it on and opened the music player. He then placed the laptop on the table in front of him.

“I am a wolf from the north, walking in the wilderness, howling in the mournful northern breeze….” The melodies of the Chyi Chin’s song “Wolf” echoed in the room. It was his absolute favorite song, as for two decades, he had only one name – Wolf!

It was the same as the woman he loved; she also had only one name – Cat!

Ever since the day he had been taken to Siberia, the name ‘Qing Shan’ had become part of his past. After many life-and-death trainings, harsh screenings, and walking out of piles of corpses, he then earned the right to have a code name – “Wolf”!

Before he was seven years old, he was just a carefree child in the orphanage.The year he turned seven, he was adopted. He thought his life would get better, but he actually entered hell. He became a potential hitman candidate of a hitman organization. In the first round of screening, a large group of children fought with each other for scraps of food, and only 113 among 360 children survived. After that, he was sent to the horrible Siberian training camp.

The year he turned ten years old, only 38 people among the 113 were still alive. He overcame everything thanks to his immensely strong will, and was bestowed the code name “Wolf”! In the same year, he met his mentor, a master of Xing Yi Martial Arts called “Teng Bo Lei”. Teng Bo Lei accepted only four people, but the other three were just disciples by name .Only he alone was Teng Bo Lei’s direct disciple! This was something that even the hitman organization did not know.

In the year that he turned sixteen years old, he returned to the hitman organization and truly began his journey as a hitman. Camouflage, hiding, etc….he had continued to learn more of those skills during his dangerous missions, and he continued to refine these skills.

During those long days, a girl who was the same age as him, Cat, was always besides him. They came from the same group of 360 people who had experienced incredibly dangerous training; they studied with master Teng Bo Lei together, and were in the hitman organization together… they supported and helped each other.

One day in their long journey, they realized that they could never live without each other.

They had originally made a plan: when the day arrived, they would quit the organization and live a free life together. But when he turned 29, a nightmare descended…

The flames from the explosion had pushed Teng Qingshan into complete despair. The other half of his life, Cat, had died! That was his most beloved woman, the most important person in his life! The death of Cat turned Teng Qingshan into an absolute madman. He became a vengeful lone ‘Wolf,’ a crazy and lonely ‘Wolf’, who promised to get his revenge, regardless of anything!
Kill! Kill all of the top senior administrators of that organization, those who designed that plan! He was ready to die in that vengeful battle; however, at the last instant, his knife skills saved him. He actually escaped from the headquarters alive.

Cat‘s death completely changed Teng Qingshan’s mood. He returned to his hometown this time, hoping to have a chance to meet the motherly headmistress,‘Granny’, and his younger brother, ‘Qing He’. After those two wishes of his were fulfilled, Teng Qingshan would have no worries and could spend his entire strength and soul pursuing martial arts.

Teng Qingshan finished listening to the song. He took a deep breath, then carefully put the small cauldron back into his collar and closed the music player. Simultaneously, he accessed the internet and adeptly opened a foreign website. All the articles there were written in English, but he entered the site and clicked around very familiarly. He then skillfully typed in the English letters.

“Every time that I want to contact Elena, it’s always so troublesome. This “beetle” software needs to be re-downloaded again and again.” After Teng Qingshan finished downloading the “beetle” software, he installed it on his computer. The software was a chat tool, similarly to Yahoo or QQ chat.

However, the “beetle” software was programmed by “Elena” – who was one of Teng Qingshan’s closest friends.

While QQ had millions of user accounts, the “beetle” chat software had only two users – one was Elena, the other was Teng Qingshan. This software was programmed for only them to chat with each other.

He started to run the software.

The entire screen suddenly became dark. Next, poignant drops of blood appeared on the screen. Then a sign-in box popped up, which allowed the users to enter their usernames and passwords, and he logged in. “Elena!” Teng Qingshan entered the English words, and waited for a response from Elena.

After a moment, she responded. “Wolf! Oh, now I should call you Teng Qingshan, shouldn’t I?” In a place very far away, in a villa located in the suburbs of London, a beautiful, blonde-haired barefoot girl who was wearing a nightgown was typing on her keyboard. Her eyes showed her excitement.

“Elena, last time you told me that there was an orphan called Qing He, who is now living in Yangzhou, right?” asked Teng Qingshan.

“Of course, are you doubting my intelligence? He was called Qing He when he lived in an orphanage. Later, he was adopted and was renamed “Qin Hong” by his adoptive parents. After graduating from high school, he entered the army and joined a Special Operations Organisation. Now, he is responsible for the Yangzhou region. The address I gave you is absolutely correct. ”

Elena had no doubt.

Teng Qingshan nodded. Today, he had only waited for half a day. Although his brother had not come, that didn’t mean he was not currently in Yangzhou.

“And Wolf, I have to remind you again! The powerful Redmayne family will not let you live. What you did was tantamount to a fierce slap to their face. The Death Scythe organization was hired to kill you, and two super-strong hitmen have already snuck into China. You have to be extremely careful. If your whereabouts are leaked, you must flee immediately. ”

”Oh, two super-strong hitmen from Death Scythe? Are they ‘Sharpshooter’ Sun Ze and ‘Body Crusher’ Dolgoterov?” Teng Qingshan typed in response.

“You’re very smart. Yes, it’s them. Those guys are S-rank hitmen. Neither one is weaker than you, so you cannot be careless,” Elena reminded him.

Teng Qingshan’s eyes lit up. “Except for those two hitmen, I don’t really have to worry about anyone else in Death Scythe. However, since they have come, It would be a good fight! ”

“So arrogant? Tsk tsk, you are indeed the Lone Wolf of the flying knives. You are as famous as them, and everyone knows that your ability is not worse than theirs. However, you are alone and there are two of them. The cooperation between a melee and a ranged hitman will at least double their power. Wolf, as your friend, I must tell you one more time: once your whereabouts are leaked, you must run away immediately,” Elena tried to persuade him.

“Your reminder is late. My whereabouts were leaked yesterday.” Teng Qingshan’s face was showing a special smile. Since his wife’s, Little Cat‘s, death, Teng Qingshan had focused mostly on training his martial arts. Having the chance to fight with some super-strong hitmen was what he had been dreaming of.

“What? Leaked? You’d better run away now!” Elena urged.

“Haha, why do I have to run away? I’m now in Yangzhou, waiting for them to come… to fight!” Teng Qingshan’s look became incredibly sharp. With his wife dead, he had nothing to worry about. At this point, what should Teng Qingshan be afraid of? No matter how many people might come, he would be willing to give a warm welcome to all of them.

If worst comes to the worst, he would simply risk everything he had.He planned to silently wait in this small city for the arrival of the world’s super-strong hitmen. If one person came, he would commit a murder. If two came, then he would leave a pair of corpses!

Teng Qingshan’s eyes were as sharp as knives. “I want to find out just who it is that think they can kill me!“

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