Chapter 104 – Knocking on the Door for Debt
A brown-robed old man with a goatee checked their pulses one by one. He would shake his head at times and nod at others. Sometimes his eyes would shine, and at others, he would inspect the child before him. To his left was the master of the Iron Fist school, Liu Hong, and behind him was Li Long, who constantly refilled the old man’s tea cup.
The disciples of the Iron Fist school formed a human wall, blocking many people outside who seemed to be the relatives of these children. They all looked at their children nervously. If they saw the old man nod, they would light up with pleasure, but if the old man shook his head, they would become dejected.
This was an important figure who had come from the Clear River prefecture from over five hundred kilometers away, a mighty protector of the Iron Fist school who possessed extraordinary martial arts. If they could gain his recognition, their children would truly skyrocket to greatness.
Li Qingshan saw the old man with his first glance. The old man’s aura was heavy and condensed, slightly stronger than Feng Zhang’s. He was truly an innate master, but he was not anyone dangerous. If he daemonified, he was confident about killing the old man in a single strike. Even if he maintained his human form, there would not be too much trouble. It would just take some effort.
He was just curious as to what this was all about.
Liu Hong sat beside the old man. Both of them were elderly, but even the naive children could tell who was more imposing. Liu Hong sighed inside. Recently, a lot of impressive figures have come to Qingyang city.
Ever since he came to Qingyang city for retirement, it had been many years since he last saw protector Yan Song. But speaking of which, with his status as a second-rate master, he never saw protector Yan much in the past either. The last time he saw him was during the birthday banquet of the leader of the main branch. Back then, he was still in his prime, and protector Yan was already like this. Now, he had already become an old man, but protector Yan seemed like he had never changed.
Liu Hong said, “Protector Yan, you should take a break!”
“Please try the tea!” Li Long filled up the cup with tea in a hurry. Although the hall chief had died to unnatural causes, and his plan to leave Qingyang city was cancelled, he felt happy inside. He never liked that hall chief Wu. He was rude to his master. Now that he was dead, it only served him right. In the blink of an eye, another one, protector Yan, had come. Not only were his martial arts even greater, but he was much more level-headed as well. He was proud, but he never showed it, and he could directly take Li Long to the Clear River prefecture.
Yan Song stopped and took a sip of tea leisurely. “I’m old. My body is failing.” He just let the children stand beneath the sun.
Liu Hong asked, “What about the leader of the main branch?”
“Don’t worry. You also count as an elderly member of the school. The one surnamed Wu was useless himself, so how would it be your fault? I will explain it clearly to the leader of the main branch.” Yan Song was in a good mood; obviously, it was because he had received quite a lot of benefits from Liu Hong. He did not care too much about the silver, but one of the ancient paintings came from a famed artist. It was basically invaluable, which suited his tastes.
Liu Hong was overjoyed. “Then thank you, protector. What do you think about these children?”
Yan Song said, “There are a few promising ones among these children. Although I don’t know if they can practise qi, they’re at least more than enough for practising martial arts. If this was the prefectural city of Clear River, the children with better talent would have all been scooped away already. Even just a single promising kid would take some fighting to obtain. You’ll never be able to just pick them leisurely like this.”
Liu Hong said, “It’s all due to the main branch leader’s wisdom.”
At this moment, Yan Song raised his head and saw a hole in the wall formed from the disciples of the Iron Fist school. A teenager walked towards him. However, after glancing at him, Yan Song said, “Send him out. He’s too old.” Moreover, he was too ordinary. He had nothing worth noticing.
However, the disciples of the Iron Fist school did not try to block the teenager as ordered. Instead, they parted to the sides in fear. Yan Song was rather confused. All he saw was Li Long and even Liu Hong’s eyes widening. “Li Qingshan!”
The crowd burst into discussion. “Isn’t that Li Qingshan?” “The Black Tiger, Li Qingshan!” “I heard he’s dead, isn’t he?” “How’d he return?” Li Qingshan could be regarded as famous in Qingyang city now.
Li Qingshan walked up and waved his hand with a smile. “School master Liu, long time no see. And this protector something, I’ve been looking forward to meeting you!”
Yan Song raised an eyebrow. He remembered the other reason for his trip. Wasn’t it exactly for this teenager?
Liu Hong said awkwardly, “Y- you’ve returned!”
Li Qingshan got straight to the point. “Yeah. I’ll have to play the role of an unruly guest this time. School master Liu, please return a few items to me, or just exchange it into silver notes. I’d rather you do that actually. After all, it wasn’t easy for you to excavate it all.” The current Li Qingshan seemed very gentle, without any sort of imposing or vicious bearing.
Liu Hong looked at Yan Song. Yan Song said nonchalantly as he sipped his tea, “You’re Li Qingshan? You’re still bold enough to return? Right now, I’m going to ask you questions, and for every question, I expect a reply. If you don’t reply, I’ll smack you across the face once. How did hall chief Wu die?”
He did not even stand up. This was not a person worthy of standing up for, and Li Qingshan’s ‘rudeness’ had irritated him slightly. He was out of his mind for trying to ask for items from him. And, there were various traces that proved that hall chief Wu’s death was clearly linked to this person. Obviously, he had no reason to be polite to his enemy.
Li Qingshan is hiding his strength? Maybe! But even if Li Qingshan is a first-rate master, or even an innate master, having become a Qi Practitioner, what can he do? With his strength as a second layer Qi Practitioner, there were not a lot of people he had to take seriously.
Li Qingshan was familiar with this kind of behaviour. It came from possessing absolute confidence in personal strength. They believed they could hold their ground, and that everyone had to listen to and follow their arrangements, allowing them to do whatever they wanted.
However, when Li Qingshan compared Yan Song to the figures he had seen soaring through the skies, he found it absolutely hilarious. He was like a toad croaking loudly, ordering a group of flies around while believing that he was a king.
As a result, Li Qingshan laughed. At least I’m a frog, not a toad, and a very strong one at that.
The corner of Liu Hong’s mouth twitched. After several months of not seeing him, having returned from a trip, Liu Hong had thought he would become a little more reserved, but he never expected him to remain exactly the same. He seemed amiable on the surface, but he was as arrogant as he could get inside.
Yan Song’s expression became frosty. “What are you laughing about?”
Li Qingshan said, “When I see something funny, I’ll obviously laugh!”
Yan Song slowly stood up. “Why don’t you try to laugh again?”
Li Qingshan said, “Let’s get to the point. You gobbled up all of my things. I want you to spit it all out now.”
Without any prior signs, Yan Song crossed several meters with a single step to arrive before Li Qingshan. He raised a hand and swung it viciously. He wanted to slap Li Qingshan to the point where he would not be able to laugh again for the rest of his life. He wanted Li Qingshan to know the price of provoking the Iron Fist school.
Smack! There was a clear slap.
Yan Song’s head turned to one side. A ripple flowed through his cheeks as his eyes were wide open. A tooth fell out. He felt disbelief. He clearly did not sense any inner force or true qi within Li Qingshan, yet his movements were swift and violent. Was he a Body Practitioner? However, he did not possess the special characteristics of a Body Practitioner at all.
Li Qingshan saw how Yan Song had tried to slap him. He did not feel irritated at all inside. Instead, it was mostly weariness. The swift movements now actually seemed so slow in his eyes, to a point where he suspected his evaluation of Yan Song might have been wrong.
As Yan Song had underestimated his opponent, he revealed many openings. Li Qingshan obviously would not let the opportunity slip, and he smacked Yan Song across the face. He continued to smile. “If you’re not going to spit it out, I’ll beat you until you spit it out.”
“Protector Yan!” Liu Hong was dumbfounded. The indomitable protector Yan had actually been slapped across the face before so many people. He was even more surprised by how powerful Li Qingshan had become. His rate of growth was simply far too terrifying.
The crowd gasped as well. The reason why they had brought their children today was because Yan Song had demonstrated real martial arts. He had destroyed a log of over three meters wide with a single punch, which was basically divine in their eyes.
Li Long could not help but rub his eyes. Was this really the young cowherd from the Crouching Ox village? He felt like he knew less and less about this fellow villager.
Yan Song was furious inside. He took a step back and adjusted his posture. His true qi surged into his fists.
As soon as Li Qingshan saw his stance, he decided to give him no chance to strike out at all. He walked up and slapped him across the face again.
Li Qingshan’s strength was tremendous. Yan Song felt the world spin around him after being smacked, and the true qi he had just gathered collapsed again. He gathered it once again as he was unwilling to just accept this. He wanted to kill Li Qingshan.
Smach! A third slap landed. This was how bare-handed close combat was like. It was very difficult to turn the situation around after losing the upper hand from a single move.
Smach! Smack! Smack! The slaps were loud and clear, resounding through the martial arts platform. Aside from the sounds of slaps, there was nothing else.
Whenever Yan Song showed signs of counterattacking, Li Qingshan would slap him mercilessly. The reason why he chose to slap was not just to return the favour. It was also because he had no interest in killing him, so he could not use too much strength. However, he still needed to ensure he maintained the upper hand. As a result, hitting the head was the best choice. Slaps were not fatal, but they could shake up the head of his opponent, interrupting Yan Song’s actions. This was the optimal way to approach the situation.
Yan Song staggered backwards as Li Qingshan advanced.
Thud! Yan Song sat back down on his armed chair, shielding his face and calling out, “Stop hitting me!” After being slapped a few consecutive times, he finally recovered from his anger. It turned into fear. Li Qingshan could kill him. As people grew older, they valued their lives more and more.
As expected, Li Qingshan stopped. “Return my things!”
Yan Song’s complexion fluctuated between paleness and redness. He roared, “Liu Hong, what are you standing there for?” As he said that, he secretly reached into his bosom. He also had a talisman that he treated as a trump card. He had been humiliated so much in front of so many people, so if he did not get revenge, he would never be able to redeem himself.
Li Qingshan said, “I’d advise you not to use it!”
Yan Song’s hand trembled.
Li Qingshan said, “You wanted to slap me, so I slapped you. If you want to kill me, then I can only kill you.”
Li Qingshan’s voice was calm and composed. He did not even stop Yan Song from fishing out the talisman. Yan Song held the corner of the talisman as his expression fluctuated violently. He was unable to make up his mind.
Yan Song said, “D- did you really kill hall chief Wu and all those people?” Although the remains were unrecognisable, he had discovered many damaged weapons. Hall chief Wu’s gloves were among them.