Chapter 1154 – Man Conquering the Heavens
Hou Hongtao held back his anger, leaving him bright-red, but he was unable to hold it in any further. “Sir, were you listening to me or not? Do you still view us as absolutely nothing?”
Li Qingshan began laughing aloud, which echoed through the hall. He did not inject any of his powers or aura into the laughter, but it radiated with a sense of heartiness.
“I said that exactly because I heard what you said. Just like how monkeys claim to be king when there are no tigers around, you lot only know how to pay respect to a monkey, but you don’t know how to fear a tiger. Isn’t that absolutely hilarious?”
Hou Hongtao’s face changed a few times. He was forced to admit this, but there was still a strange feeling in him that prevented him from accepting this. He said in refutation, “Perhaps the White Ape King is just a monkey in your eyes, sir, but his existence is beneficial to us. How are you beneficial to us, sir?” He pointed backwards before he continued, “Do you know just what kind of price they’ve paid to be here so that they can study the sword? It’s all gone to waste thanks to you.”
The swordsmen heard that and were very touched. Even now, the marquis is still standing up for us, so how can we still shrink back?
“This is the holy land of all swordsmen throughout the world. It belongs to all of the swordsmen. If you want to replace the White Ape King as the lord of the manor, you need everyone’s permission.”
“I think the marquis is the best choice. I’m willing to support the marquis in becoming the new lord of the manor. What do you all think?”
“I support that!”
“Sir, since you are the Descended Tiger, then why don’t you descend from the mountain right now and go back to where you came from?”
For a moment, everyone became carried away by their emotions, such that they no longer cared about death. Even the swordsmen that waited outside the hall and had not reached the innate realm all surged in, pressing down on their hilts as if they would chase Li Qingshan off the mountain if he even dared to say no.
Originally, Hou Hongtao only refused to accept this humiliation, which was why he spoke up, but at this moment, he became impassioned as well. If he could become the new lord of the manor, he could turn the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape into the strongest sword sect in the north through his prestige. No, by then, it would not be the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape anymore, but the Mountain Manor of the Divine Sword.
The wealth that the White Ape King had accumulated over the past century, the beauties in his harem, and his tremendous amount of resources, would all become his.
Living in this world, could a man ask for anything more than that?
His desires gradually overwhelmed his fears.
However, what he failed to notice was he had never been a person who would be carried away by the heat of the moment. Since he had not drawn his sword at the entrance, why had he changed his mind after being impassioned by everyone?
Above the mountain peak enveloped by the wind and snow, in this beautifully-adorned hall, the “will of the heavens” was omnipresent, influencing everything without a single trace.
“Fucking hell. I treat you with a bit of respect and you start going on about democracy with me. I’ve given you plenty of opportunities, and you just have to push your luck. Do you really think a tiger won’t eat people?”
Li Qingshan raised a thick eyebrow. When the White Ape King was around, he refused to believe these miserable wretches could find the courage to propose something like electing a new lord of the manor. Was he, Li Qingshan, supposed to be an easy target instead? It would merely cost him a little more power of belief.
Hou Hongtao’s heart leapt up, almost afraid to meet the furious gaze. He felt a hint of regret, but he was already past the point of no return, so he mustered his determination.
“If the two of you really are so powerful, then why have you been hiding it the entire time? Perhaps they’re also heavily injured after the battle with the White Ape King, and they have nowhere to go in the snowstorm, which was why they came here to seek shelter. If we give them the chance to recuperate, we’ll miss out on a heaven-sent opportunity!”
Suddenly, Li Qingshan leapt to his feet. He gripped his right hand, about to cut down this bastard in a single stroke.
Right when the hall was about to turn into another slaughterhouse, Gu Yanying cleared her throat and drew over everyone’s attention. She patted Li Qingshan’s shoulder with a smile.
Li Qingshan grinned, and Gu Yanying laid out her hands. It was almost like a hint, but what she was trying to say was extremely clear.
You again? It’s simply impossible to communicate with these bastards, so we might as well just kill them all.
Killing them is easy, but it’ll probably only set them all off, and it’ll lead to even more problems.
Li Qingshan sat back down, hoping her attempts at communication could work this time.
Gu Yanying looked back at the swordsmen and sighed. “Why bother with all of this? We were a little injured when we killed the White Ape King. We don’t want to fight anymore, just in case it affects our injuries, but if we actually do fight, which of you will be able to leave here alive? Particularly you, Marquis of the Fierce Fire Sword. If you draw your sword, we’ll definitely use the formation to restrain you at full force and kill you first. No matter who becomes the new lord of the manor, it probably won’t be you.”
Not only did she avoid putting on a tough front, but she even falsely claimed she was injured.
Although Li Qingshan spoke the truth, it was well beyond the imaginations of these people, which instead made it difficult to believe. If they wanted to scare a group of mice, just a cat was enough. A tiger would simply be unnecessary.
“Do you think we’re afraid of dying?” “That’s right, we won’t be threatened by anyone,” Hong Houtao said staunchly, but he already began developing other thoughts. The other swordsmen hesitated slightly too.
Gu Yanying’s words were all lies, but it seemed to make perfect sense. Two supreme masters at the tenth layer of the innate realm were enough to drag everyone here down with them even if they were heavily injured.
Her beauty also seemed to weaken their unfounded feelings of hostility and disgust. If she only stood there without moving, probably none of them could actually bring themselves to attack her.
“I want to win you over by virtue and convince you through reasoning, not overwhelm you by force. You’ve all come here to study the sword, not to throw your lives away. Look at what this is.”
Gu Yanying took out a thick book from her sleeve and flipped through it casually. Who knew what kind of leather it was made from. Every single page was as thin as the wings of a cicada, filled with tiny words with several detailed drawings, all depicting a white ape wielding a sword.
“The White Ape Sword Classic!” Hou Hongtao widened his eyes.
At that moment, everyone’s gazes became glued to the book, their eyes filled with burning enthusiasm, like a pervert coming across a beauty, a miser finding a gold mine, or an alcoholic catching the scent of fine wine. Some of them could not even help but take a few steps forward before coming back to their senses.
Over the past century, as the White Ape King gave guidance to others about their swordsmanship, he also constantly noted their strong points before merging it with his own understanding of swordsmanship, producing this book, the White Ape Sword Classic.
He had also boasted to everyone in the past that the most exceptional sword styles in the world were all gathered in this book, like all the rivers gathering in the ocean. If this book became widespread, basically all the existing sword manuals could be discarded and burned.
If the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape was the holy land to all the swordsmen in the world, then the White Ape Sword Classic was their bible.
Of course, there was not a single person in the world who would allow their ultimate knowledge to be spread to others so easily. They would even hide it away from those they held dear. As a result, everyone here knew about the book, but none of them had ever seen it in person.
“That’s right, this is the peerless sword style renowned throughout the world, the White Ape Sword Classic.”
Gu Yanying spoke seriously, but Li Qingshan noticed the corner of her lips curl slightly.
Of course, they had also found this in the White Ape King’s secret room. They casually flipped through it and discovered it was worthless. It did not even come close to the basic sword techniques of the Sword Collection palace.
Back then, Li Qingshan had even joked about it. “This monkey is swinging a tree branch around randomly, yet he still dares to call this some Sword Sect of the World? He even wrote such a thick book! What an absolute joke!” Afterwards, he casually tossed it aside. He did not notice that Gu Yanying had picked it up again.
“W- what are you trying to do? This belongs to our Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape. Please…”
Hou Hongtao’s eyes were extremely sharp. As Gu Yanying flipped through the pages, he made out many of the words and diagrams. It truly was absolutely wondrous. It could not be a fake.
Rip! Gu Yanying grabbed a page and tore it out.
Everyone almost cried out at the same time as if they had just been slashed by a blade.
“Since we are the new masters of this place, then we must uphold all the responsibilities of the old master as well, which is teaching everyone swordsmanship. Unfortunately, we do not practice the path of the sword, so we can only let you all study it yourselves.” Gu Yanying casually tossed out the page she had ripped out. “Please check if it is real, marquis, before sticking it on the screen wall outside.”
“Sticking it on the screen wall?”
Hou Hongtao caught the thin page carefully in his hands as he doubted his ears. This was the White Ape Sword Classic for heaven’s sake. Even if he became the new lord of the manor, he would never show this book to anyone without good reason, let alone ripping it up and sticking it on the wall. To members of the martial arts community, they would rather let their wives sleep with someone else than hand over their secret manuals.
“That’s correct. We don’t practise the path of the sword, so the book is useless to us. Keeping it hidden is a waste, so we plan on teaching the White Ape Sword Classic to everyone. How do you feel about this?”
Everyone was overwhelmed with shock and joy. They were so happy that they were in disbelief. Who could object to this?
Occasions where people threw their lives away for a secret manual in the martial arts community were far too common, yet could any of them rival the White Ape Sword Manual? They could obtain it without even the slightest bit of risk. Since when did something so great exist in the world?
“Y- you want to make the White Ape Sword Classic public?” Hou Hongtao asked.
“Yes. Everyone, even servants and guards, can view it freely. If anyone tries to stop that, the others are welcome to cut them down immediately. I’ll leave this to you to handle, but you better burn it into your memory, as once you lose it, it’s gone. It would be best if everyone makes a copy first,” Gu Yanying said with great consideration. In the eyes of the swordsmen, she was basically like a goddess.
Hou Hongtao sensed everyone’s gazes gathered on him. Their gazes were completely different from earlier when they recommended him as the lord of the manor. As he held the thin page, it suddenly seemed to weigh like a rock in his hands.
He still refused to accept this. “If it’s merely a single page, I don’t think there’s anything impressive about it at all! You better just take it back!”
“Of course, it’s not merely a single page. It’s just that the White Ape Sword Classic is far too deep and profound. In order to prevent you all from suffering from cultivation deviation, we’ll release it slowly. I will guarantee a daily release. Tomorrow will be the second page, and the day after will be the third, continuing until the entire book is released. How’s that?”
“An impressive scheme, ma’am! You actually want to use a single book to control us all!” Hou Hongtao said coldly.
Gu Yanying sighed. “Sigh, all I have is kind intentions, and I still have to face such criticism. If that’s the case, then we’ll step down willingly and hand the position of manor lord to you. The White Ape Sword Classic will be yours as well. You can teach it to whoever you’d like. Qingshan, let’s go!”
“Please hang on, the two of you. I’m willing to accept the two of you as lords of the manor!” “Yeah, we just happen to be in need of two kind, generous manor lords like you.”
Two innate masters exchanged glances before both switching sides. If the White Ape Sword Classic ended up in Hou Hongtao’s hands, he would not even show it to his very own father, let alone outsiders like them.
In particular, the weaker swordsmen all voiced their support loudly. Hou Hongtao did not care about this single page, but they did. They did not care about the future. They only wanted what was presented right before them for now.
Gu Yanying shot a glance at Li Qingshan and stared at Hou Hongtao. “Do you have anything else you’d like to say? If you still object, then we’ll leave right now. We definitely won’t stick around!”
Hou Hongtao shivered inside. They were no longer united anymore, and the duo only needed to activate the formation to overwhelm him. Coupled with a casual strike, that would be his death. Even if they actually left, probably no one would stop them. Everyone only cared about the White Ape Sword Classic. The hall would definitely experience an extremely brutal battle.
That was because no matter who obtained the White Ape Sword Classic, they would never share it with anyone else. Only a single person would be emerging from this hall in the very end, and they only needed to loop back here…
“If that’s the case, I’m also willing to accept you two as the new manor lords. I hope you will uphold your promise, or we definitely won’t forget about this!”
“That goes without saying, but I do hope you can behave, watch out for each other, and wait for the releases obediently. If anyone harbours any other intentions and tries to claim the White Ape Sword Classic for themselves…”
“Then I, Hou Hongtao, will be the first one to stop them!”
“Alright. We need to go back and recuperate. Please take your time with studying the first page of the sword manual, everyone!”
Gu Yanying left the hall with Li Qingshan in tow and returned to the back courtyard of the mountain manor. The young swordsmen watched reluctantly as she left before developing a deep sense of envy towards Li Qingshan.
But very soon, their attention was drawn away by the page of the sword manual.
“Marquis, hurry up and show us the White Ape Sword Classic.”
“What’re you in a rush for? Let me check if it’s real or not first.” Hou Hongtao began studying it carefully with a serious expression.
Everyone chimed in, “Are you looking down on this page of the sword manual?”
A gust of cold wind blew a snowflake into her face, and Gu Yanying sneezed. She rubbed her nose and smiled. “The will of the heavens control the will of the people. How interesting!”
“Heh, we’re basically mocking ourselves right now. Those people were completely unaware that they were being controlled by the will of the heavens.”
“And who isn’t affected by their environment? Let’s just try and deal with it in the gentlest way possible! These are all your future readers.”
“Hah, fair enough.”
“Manor lord, madam, you’ve finally come out. I’ve been worried sick.” A middle-aged woman made her way over swiftly to receive them. Her face that still possessed some of her former beauty was filled with worry. She was even carrying two large cloaks in her hands.
“You are?” Li Qingshan was surprised. He did not recognise this woman at all. He could vaguely recall that he seemed to see her when they broke into the main room in the back courtyard and gained control over the formation.
“I’m Yuan Feifei. I’m responsible for managing the back courtyard of the mountain manor. I’ll be responsible for all of your basic necessities. I’ll definitely leave you satisfied.”
Yuan Feifei carefully observed their responses. Originally, she was a concubine of the White Ape King, but her beauty had declined with age. However, through her scheming, she became the caretaker of the main courtyard. Together with Hou Hongtao, they managed the interior and exterior of the mountain manor.
While she did know some martial arts, her strength was simply pitiful, having only just reached the innate realm. She basically completely relied on pleasing the White Ape King to consolidate her position. Now that the White Ape King was dead, she was obviously in a hurry to offer up her services and protect her position.
“Hah, who said the will of the heavens can control the will of the people? This is a perfect example of man conquering the heavens!” Li Qingshan accepted the cloaks and draped one around Gu Yanying with a smile.
Gu Yanying began laughing as well. “It’s only influence at the end of the day. It’s unable to twist it completely, or this would be the Asura realm.”
Yuan Feifei was puzzled. She had no idea what they were talking about.