Chapter 20 – Slight Renown
In all likelihood, this was not just the power of the true qi but the wondrous effects of the black ox’s tears as well.
He ducked and dodged a punch. With the Ox Demon’s Butts its Horns, he punched out with both hands and knocked over another young hunter.
However, at the same time, a hunter had already arrived behind him, punching at the centre of his back viciously. The two other young hunters grabbed Li Qingshan’s waist from left and right, pulling him down to the ground fiercely.
They spent their entire time hunting in the mountains, so they knew the technique of surrounding their opponent. They were not brawling ruffians. Even if Li Qingshan could defeat any single one of them individually, he immediately lost the upper hand now.
Seeing how it was too late to block, Li Qingshan completely focused on his back, and the sliver of true qi flowed there just as he wished. The muscles at the centre of his back wove together and tensed up vigorously, producing a slight bulge.
The heavy punch landed on Li Qingshan’s back, but the attacker felt like he had struck the tough hide of an ox instead. The force of the punch collapsed as the muscle eased up. Apart from shuddering all over, Li Qingshan was fine.
At the same time, the two hunters who had grabbed Li Qingshan’s waist felt like his body was rooted into the ground, unable to be moved at all. The three of them had used up their strength, and their might immediately declined.
Finally, Li Qingshan managed to catch his breath after taking on three heavy attacks. With a bellow, his two elbows dropped down.
The Ox Demon Butts its Horns from the Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength was about using his whole body as horns apart from his fists and legs. Elbow strikes were the horns with the greatest power.
The two hunters only felt their backs ache, wanting to choke up blood as they collapsed on the ground helplessly.
Li Qingshan suddenly turned around and lunged at the hunter who had attacked him from behind. He punched him in the chest and knocked him over.
The people in the surroundings were dazzled by this. All they saw was the disadvantaged young man swiftly and cleanly knock over five good men from Drawn Reigns village. All of them were speechless.
Li Qingshan looked at the five hunters who groaned in pain on the ground before looking at his own hands. It was like he struggled to believe that he was the one who managed to do all that. His strength had already reached such a level unknowingly.
However, before he could celebrate, a large group of hunters suddenly rushed over. They drew their hunting bows and hunting knives, surrounding Li Qingshan as they eyed him with hostility.
The Drawn Reins village had not just sent these people for the gathering in Cypress Stream village this time. Instead, there were around twenty people. They had brought all of the hides their village had accumulated. The young hunters from before were just juniors who had come with their seniors to gain experience.
They saw how they struggled to sell their own hides and heard how someone else was selling hides for cheaper, so they had all rushed over here to make trouble for Li Qingshan. However, they had never thought that before they could make any trouble for him, they would be taught a lesson instead.
Obviously, the seniors would not just turn a blind eye to it all. They responded very quickly, surrounding Li Qingshan. Faced with over a dozen drawn bows and the might that had suddenly erupted, Li Qingshan felt like he was a beast who had fallen into a trap. His fate lay in the hands of others. It actually made him feel despair.
Compared to this, caretaker Liu’s ‘feast of treachery’ was child’s play. His heart was tense like the bowstrings. He suddenly realised who they were. They were people who made a living through hunting. Punching was not their speciality. The hunting bows in their hands were. His Ox Demon Forges its Hide could block punches, but it could not block sharp arrows.
In the face of danger, he calmly drew the steel blade at his waist. He looked around, looking for a way to escape. He had never thought that selling some hides would lead to a mishap like this. He was reluctant, but he might need to resort to killing in public so that he could kill his way out.
“Did you do this?” A sickly man in his prime asked with a booming voice as he carried a huge bow on his back and stood at the centre of the hunters.
Li Qingshan replied, “I did!”
The man studied Li Qingshan in some surprise. Normal people would all become powerless from fright if they encountered such a situation. This kid was so young, yet he could remain so composed. Such a mentality was something that completely surpassed the youngsters of the village.
He asked the short hunter who had been sent flying by Li Qingshan’s shoulder slam. “Xiao Hei, what happened?”
“Hunting chief, this kid has probably destroyed our business!” Xiao Hei stood up with difficulty.
The crowd descended into an uproar. “Isn’t that the hunting chief of Drawn Reigns village-” “It’s Huang Binghu!”
The so-called hunting chief was equivalent to a village head, but it was different from Crouching Ox village, where authority came with seniority. The people who became the hunting chief in Drawn Reigns village were all the strongest men within the village. They directed all of the hunting operations of the village.
As for Huang Binghu, he was the current hunting chief of Drawn Reigns Village, someone of great renown. Li Qingshan had heard of him a long time ago, but he never thought it would actually be the sickly man in front of him. He basically understood where his nickname of ‘Sickly Tiger’ came from now.1
A person’s fame was like a tree’s shadow—the larger it was, the more influential it was. Li Qingshan obviously experienced tremendous pressure, but he was no longer the same Li Qingshan as before. He sneered and said, “You said nothing at all and tried to flip over my canvas. Now, you sling mud at me, saying how it’s me who’s destroying your business. The Drawn Reigns village really is high-handed!”
Huang Binghu’s face sank. He yelled out, “Why don’t you all get back on your feet? You couldn’t even beat a single person with a group of you, yet you still have the face to groan in pain on the ground. Are you still worthy enough to be the men of Drawn Reigns village?”
Li Qingshan knew that his attacks earlier were not light, but under Huang Binghu’s command, the five young hunters actually all managed to stand up. Apart from being sturdy in the first place, it was due to their extremely deep respect for Huang Binghu.
Huang Binghu raised his hand, and all the hunters stowed away their blades and bows. “We were wrong in the first place, but kid, you shouldn’t have been so heavy-handed!”
“If I hadn’t been heavy-handed, I would probably be the one lying there now.”
“We leave the mountains for once to sell some hides and herbs. The necessities of the entire village have to be covered. It’s fine if you just sell according to the market price, but the way you sell right now messes with the price and costs us severely.”
Li Qingshan was silent. He had never imagined that this would happen. Obviously, he could say that he was allowed to sell it however he wanted to. However, even with Huang Binghu’s renown, he had admitted his mistakes in the face of public, reasoning with him instead of using his advantage in numbers to oppress him. As a result, Li Qingshan was reluctant to argue with him and pester him endlessly.
However, if they wanted to fight or kill him, he would not just stand down either.
Huang Binghu said, “I’ll buy all of these hides!” A hunter came up to pay and collect the hides.
Everyone in the surroundings admired Huang Binghu’s moral character. Li Qingshan was rather surprised and glanced at the bag of money that was handed to him. “No need!” He turned around and began packing the ox cart. He did not rely on these hides to earn a living in the first place. Huang Binghu had been so generous and straightforward with him. As such, if he made a fuss over this, he would be looked down upon instead.
The admiration in Huang Binghu’s eyes grew deeper. He watched Li Qingshan disappear into the sea of people as he asked the crowd, “I fancy this kid. Does anyone know where he’s from?”
A farmer answered carefully, “It seems like he is Li Erlang of the Crouching Ox village.”
Many people in the surroundings had actually heard of him. They all said, “No wonder!”
Although villages were mostly inaccessible between one another, these stories that seemed more like legends would always spread the fastest. Li Qingshan had no idea that he had already developed some renown in this area.
1. Huang in Huang Binghu means yellow, a common surname in Chinese. A literal translation of Binghu is ‘sickly tiger’. In short, the combination of his name can be interpreted as sallow/waxy, sickly tiger, which matches his appearance in that he’s sickly.