Chapter 45 – A Trade of the Flesh
“Calm down, first senior brother! Calm down!” Li Long attempted to stop his first senior brother, but he grabbed him from the shoulder and tossed him aside like he was trash. He swung his fist at Li Qingshan.
“Stop, Wang Lei!” Liu Hong called out. The first senior brother’s punch stopped firmly before Li Qingshan’s face as he called out, “Master, just let me teach this insolent kid a lesson!”
Li Qingshan found this irritating. “Originally, I only wanted to ask about some matters, but since you’re all so busy, I’ll take my leave.” If there was anything they wanted to say, they could spit it out. What were they putting on an act for?
“Kid, you’ll probably lose your puny life soon.”
As expected, Li Qingshan stopped. “Oh, how come?”
Liu Hong said, “The people of the Black Wind stronghold are searching for you everywhere. You’ll be fine if you hid away, but now that you’ve shown yourself in public, you’re dead for sure.”
Li Qingshan said, “And if this unfolds as it is supposed to, I’m supposed to ask you for guidance as for how I can get out of this alive?”
“As long as you agree to join the Iron Fist school, I have my ways to save your life.” This was Liu Hong’s objective. The Iron Fist school was a gang, not a sect. It did not require all the members of the gang to be disciples of the school. With the talent and strength Li Qingshan had displayed at such a young age, it was enough for any person from the jianghu to be interested.
However, as an experienced member of the jianghu who had made a name for himself a long time ago, Liu Hong would never plead for Li Qingshan to join. Instead, he might attempt to strike fear into Li Qingshan and take him down a notch; this would let him understand the immensity of the world. Then he would offer advice out of good will, so Li Qingshan would understand the glorious future of joining the Iron Fist school. In the end, he would willingly ask to join.
However, Li Qingshan’s rudeness peeved him. “But now, I’ve changed my mind.” Do you really think you’re a big deal just because you’ve killed a few dozen bandits and a boss from the Black Wind stronghold?
Li Qingshan said, “Then that’s fantastic! If there’s nothing else, I’ll be taking my leave first.”
“Stop!” Liu Hong had finally been spurred on. He was fine if he did not act, but when he did, he was like a furious, roaring lion. With just a single step, he landed in front of Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan’s hairs all pricked up like he was under the attention of a ferocious wild beast. He instinctively raised his guard as he smiled gently, “You’re still a member of the jianghu in the end. When words don’t work, you try force.”
“Eat my fist!” Although Liu Hong planned on recruiting Li Qingshan and had no intention of antagonising him, it was impossible for him to not punish a junior after receiving so much disrespect. Perhaps he believed that the first boss of the Black Wind stronghold, Xiong Xiangwu, was the same as the third boss, which was why he was so arrogant. The only way left was for him to witness the absolute difference between a second-rate and a third-rate master.
“What, you’re afraid?” Liu Hong growled.
“Immense be master’s martial prowess!” The first senior brother, Wang Lei, called out as he raised his fist. He looked at Li Qingshan with a mocking gaze.
The other people called out as well, “Immense be master’s martial prowess!”
Li Qingshan said, “I once let Li Long throw three punches first!”
Liu Hong squinted as he gave off a dangerous killing aura. “That’s because my useless disciple has poor martial arts. What, do you want to give me a handicap of three punches too?”
“No!” Before Liu Hong’s expression could even ease up, Li Qingshan added, “In consideration of your elderly age, I’ll give you a handicap of ten!”
This is an unforgivable insult! Only those five words appeared in Liu Hong’s heart. Now, he was truly ready to kill. “Then come!”
“What more do you want?”
“Old hero Liu, you’re a figure of the jianghu who has made a name for yourself a long time ago, so I can’t give you this handicap for nothing!” Li Qingshan considered it. “Ten taels of silver for each punch. That shouldn’t be too expensive!” I have no ill feelings towards you, so if I fight you, I won’t get any benefit, not even a copper coin, even if I win. Instead, I’ll just end up with a strange grievance for no good reason. I just happened to be lacking money for a weapon, so I need to find a way to make some. After thinking long and hard, all I’m skilled in is this ability.
His words completely infuriated Liu Hong. It was basically throwing him in the same pile as street performers of the jianghu. He laughed out of pure anger. “Alright, alright, alright. I’m just afraid your life is insufficient for this exchange!”
Li Long went up in a hurry to stop them. He had witnessed in person Liu Hong punching through rocks with his iron fists. If such strikes landed on a person, wouldn’t they be reduced to meat paste? “Mas-”
But it was already too late. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! The flurry of punches was like a charging, armoured horse, swift and heavy. Five punches immediately landed on Li Qingshan. Before Li Long could even utter the second half of ‘master’, the fierce gale from the punches had forced the people nearby to shut their eyes. Someone stepping up and stopping them was obviously impossible.
The punches had come quickly and left quickly as well. Just when everyone was still entranced by the might within the five punches, Liu Hong was already standing with his arms by his side. He sighed gently. “Alas, I’ve killed once again today!”
Li Long was stunned. He could not even utter the words of ‘show mercy’. The first senior brother, Wang Lei, was the first to respond. He called out, “Immense be master’s martial prowess!”
“Fifty taels!” Li Qingshan said suddenly. Liu Hong’s eyes widened, but all he heard was Li Qingshan’s praise. “What heavy punches, just as expected! I almost couldn’t withstand it!”
His complexion remained normal, nowhere close to being unable to withstand it. Instead, he seemed more like a dishonest merchant, tricking his customers into buying more.
Reality was like that as well. After achieving the strength of an ox, the Ox Demon Forges its Hide underwent an overwhelming transformation. The original Ox Demon Forges its Hide only seemed like a tough, external martial art for the body, but now, it truly demonstrated the might of a supernatural ability.
A tough, thin film had formed between his skin and flesh. When the heavy punches that could split rocks landed on his body, it was like someone striking rubber. All of the force had been nullified, and the heavy inner force imbued in the punch would be nullified by true qi once it entered his body. The fists of a second-rate master could no longer harm him.
Just like that, as easy as pie, he had made fifty taels of silver in a second. Even robbing the rich would not result in wealth so quickly! And, unless he had no other choice, he did not want to engage in activities like robbery or thievery.
Though, does this count as engaging in a trade of the flesh?
However, before he could think too much about it, the Iron Lion roared out and lunged over. Just how many years had it been? Ever since he returned to Qingyang city for retirement, he had never been humiliated so much, and it was in front of so many disciples as well.
The heavy fists rained upon Li Qingshan, drowning him completely.
“Eighty, ninty, a hundred! Hmm? You’re still hitting! Three hundred! Five hundred!” Li Qingshan’s voice emerged from the storm-like barrage clearly, constantly triggering Liu Hong. The people of the school had already become dumbfounded from this scene long ago.
Liu Hong started off vigorously, but he had become elderly after all, resulting in a decline in physical strength. Before long, he had run out of breath and was sweating like bullets.
Li Qingshan could not bear to watch much longer. He wanted to say directly, “Uncle, you can’t get through my defences!” However, when he thought of the greater plan of making money, he could only hold back his kindness and let him continue.
From the name of the school alone, the Iron Fist school, Li Qingshan was at an overwhelming advantage. This did not mean that fists were completely inferior to weapons. As a matter of fact, to masters of martial arts, the fist was easier to use with inner force. They could shatter the organs of enemies with a single punch.
Moreover, it could shake up the enemy and be used in close combat. As long as they gained the upper hand, they could easily kill their opponent. However, Liu Hong just happened to be matched up against a freak like Li Qigshan. Liu Hong did not lose because of inferior skills, but because he practised martial arts while Li Qingshan practised a superhuman ability.
Liu Hong huffed and puffed, landing punch after punch powerlessly at Li Qingshan’s chest.
Li Qingshan said, “That should be enough!” He glanced at Li Long.
Li Long supported Liu Hong in a hurry to the armed chair so that he could sit down. Liu Hong continued to stare at Li Qingshan in disbelief. “W- what kind of martial arts do you practise? It’s impossible for even second-rate masters, no, first-rate masters to do that! It’s impossible!”