Chapter 1174 – Spark
Many cities and villages sat on the banks of the river. It went without saying that all the city lords to village chiefs bore the surname Ma. Obviously, Li Qingshan would not let an opportunity to spread the embers of revolution slip by, so he took cities when he encountered cities and entered villages when he encountered villages. Who knew how many public trials he had held and who knew how many people who bore the surname Ma he had executed. Sure enough, the Ma family was up to all kinds of evil. Despite visiting so many places, he struggled to find a single one that did anything virtuous. He heard about their evil deeds, and he watched as their heads fell to the ground. It was as satisfying of a slaughter as it could get.
Of course, not everyone who bore the surname deserved to die. Li Qingshan did not carry out a clan massacre either, but confiscations definitely happened. After an entire winter, the army lacked provisions. If they needed anything, they purchased it from the villages and cities they encountered with money. They refused to do even the slightest harm to the common people.
The title of the hero king truly began to spread, and it spread righteously.
When the army set off and moved onto the next destination, the entire city or village would send them off cordially. Everyone shed tears of joy, and many of them even joined the World’s society. They had only covered a few hundred kilometers, but the number of people on the boats had basically doubled, which only demonstrated how the public felt about this.
By now, even if the swordsmen were unhappy with Li Qingshan, they could not help but sigh. “Throughout history, I’ve never heard of a great demon who’s thrown the martial arts community into chaos do something like this. No matter how great their martial arts are or how much authority they possess, they’ve always acted in service of their selfish interests. No, even those from the righteous path aren’t necessarily like this. Perhaps this is truly what you call upholding justice!”
A single spark lit a fire, which spread with enough force to raze down an entire plain of grass. As this all unfolded, the far north remained as a land bound by ice.
Many people of the jianghu searched through a bumpy snowy tundra. They formed an extremely tight encirclement around this barren land that was devoid of anything, guarding against the countless peering eyes in the mountains and forests in the distance.
A small, skinny man who resembled an accountant arrived before a large tent in a hurry. He was carrying a geomantic compass and had a long, whiskery mustache. He called out, “Shen Suanzi wishes to see the alliance leader!”
“Come in!” A dignified voice rang out from within the tent.
The guards lifted up the heavy curtains at the entrance, and Shen Suanzi ducked in. Warm air flooded his face as his eyes were filled with luxury and splendour. Below his feet was a thick, soft carpet, such that he could not sense the coldness of the snowy ground at all anymore. The tent was extremely spacious inside, with a group of young women attending to two men carefully.
The two men both sat up high, enjoying their tea. Even the simplest movements they made gave off an aura possessed by figures of importance.
“Greetings, alliance leader Zhang, clan leader Ma.”
Shen Suanzi bowed deeply towards the leader of the martial arts alliance, Zhang Yuntian, before turning towards the old man with a head full of silver hair and bowing deeply again.
Zhang Yuntian had travelled up north in a hurry, so the luxurious accommodation he received was obviously all thanks to the greatest aristocratic clan in the area, the Ma family. The old man was the clan leader of the Ma family, Ma Xingkong, who also bore the nickname Pegasus.
However, Shen Suanzi was much more envious of his other title, Stud.
Ma Xingkong was already up in the years, but he could still sleep with numerous women daily, which he very much preferred. There were countless beauties in his harem that had given birth to hundreds of descendants for him. On top of that, not only was he unoffended by the title of Stud, but he even took pride in it. He boasted that if every descendant of the Ma family could be as powerful as him, then the north would not have any other surnames left.
“How is it?”
Zhang Yuntian placed down his cup. He had basically waited an entire winter for this. He had ventured up north alone numerous times, but he failed to find the fallen daemon star. As a result, he invited a grandmaster of divination in the martial arts community, Shen Suanzi, to come along. He could use the secret techniques of the Divine Secrets sect to pinpoint where the daemon star had fallen.
As for the Ma family, they had sent a great group of people up north as soon as spring arrived, carrying out a large-scale search. They had ended up converging together. They had found where the daemon star had fallen, but there was no daemon star in sight.
“Alliance leader, according to my calculations, this is where the daemon star fell. It even led to a rockslide.”
“Shen Suanzi, are you saying the daemon star is buried under here?” Ma Xingkong’s voice boomed loudly.
“That… I only said the daemon star had fallen here. Whether it’s actually under here is difficult to say.”
“Then what the fuck do you have to report!?”
“Brother Ma, this isn’t your territory. It belongs to that old ape from the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape. It’s not impossible that he got to the daemon star first and took it away with him.”
Zhang Yuntian took a sip of tea. He had invited Shen Suanzi to come, so he obviously could not let any person just scold him. The reason why he had ventured up north alone in the past was because regular masters could not move through this snowy landscape, and he had to guard against Ma Xingkong. He did not want to share this with him.
“That’s impossible. The daemon star is not a rock. You can’t just take it away because you want to. The White Ape King might be a grandmaster of the sword, but this isn’t regular frozen earth. It’s impossible to dig a tunnel here. Even if I bring all of our miners here, it’ll take two or three months before we get through the rubble. The Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape does not have that kind of manpower.”
Ma Xingkong toned down with his haughtiness slightly, but he was basically implying, ‘Without my Ma family’s manpower and resources, even you, the leader of the martial arts alliance, can forget about seeing the daemon star.’
“I’ve already sent people to visit the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape. They should be back very soon. If that old ape obtained the daemon star, he definitely won’t be able to hide it. He doesn’t even need to hide it. There’s nothing we can do about him. I’m sure we’ll find out very soon.”
“Why didn’t you let me know about this, alliance leader?”
“I’m sure brother Ma wouldn’t want to spend a tremendous amount of effort just to clear up some rubble. It’s not like we can hide what’s happening here from the White Ape King anyway, so we might as well make things clear.” Zhang Yuntian’s face suddenly changed. “Please give me a moment, brother Ma. Let me go out and take another look. Even sodden shrimps you can just pick up from the streets want a share of this. I’ll go teach them a lesson!”
Zhang Yuntian left the tent with Shen Suanzi again. The people he had sent to the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape had finally returned.
A young man who bore great resemblance to Ma Xingkong asked in confusion, “Grandfather, isn’t the arrival of the daemon star supposed to be bad news? If it was crushed under the rockslide, that would be the best. Why do so many people want it?”
“My dear grandson, now you don’t understand this. It’s just like how they say curses and blessings come together. In great danger hides great fortune. You know the Demon Lord of Seven Slaughters who once ran amok? He was originally a regular bladesman being hunted down by his enemies. He just happened to encounter the fallen daemon star. In the end, he comprehended the Seven Slaughters Blade Style. He killed all of his enemies and even founded the Demonic School of Seven Slaughters, which took the combined efforts of the four aristocratic clans and the seven great sects to destroy. That’s only one of the examples. Anyone who came into contact with the daemon star and survived all experienced drastic progress in their martial arts. As long as your will is firm and you don’t let the daemon star bewitch you, you can comprehend the acme of martial arts, unite the martial arts community under you, and shatter through space!”
“Grandfather, you have to make the daemon star take our surname as well!”
A gust of chilly wind rushed in. Ma Xingkong was about to break into curses, only to see Zhang Yuntian walk in with furrowed brows. “The Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape has already been reduced to ruins. It seemed like lightning struck it before it was burned to the ground.”
“Haha, now that’s what you call retribution! Surely the White Ape King and the swordsmen weren’t all burnt to death!”
“They’re all missing. We only found some corpses in the back courtyard.”
Zhang Yuntian furrowed his brows even further. He felt like this matter was filled with suspicious points.
“What! Don’t tell me he actually took the daemon star for himself and ran away with it? No, that’s impossible!”
A frantic figure burst into the tent and threw himself on the ground near Ma Xingkong’s feet. “Clan leader, bad news! They’re rebelling! They’re all rising up in rebellion!”