Chapter 156 – The Daemon-trapping Cage of Bi’an
Shen Xihua smiled. “Please settle down, everyone. I hope you can enjoy yourselves in my humble abode while I go retrieve the pills.” He retreated to the darkness outside the hall, and his smile immediately vanished. Something seemed to weigh on his mind.
“Sir, the island lord has invited you to the back of the hall,” a servant said to Li Qingshan politely.
Li Qingshan walked through the corridors, and two fierce men leapt out from the bushes in the darkness, blocking his way. “Who are you?”
The servant said in a hurry, “Good sirs, are you guests of our island lord?”
The two people studied Li Qingshan. “Why haven’t we seen or heard about someone like you?”
Li Qingshan said, “Not everyone is available for the likes of you to see or hear about.”
“What did you say!?” The two became enraged. They wanted to draw their blades.
With two thuds, the two of them fell back into the bushes in the darkness, reduced to corpses.
“You can go see the king of hell!” Then Li Qingshan said to the servant, “Let’s keep going.”
The servant shivered and obliged in a hurry.
Shen Xihua rubbed his hands uneasily within his study room. Suddenly, he saw Li Qingshan arrive and invited him to sit down in a hurry before pouring some tea for him. He treated him with the utmost hospitality.
Li Qingshan said, “Island lord Shen, what do you want to say to me? Get to the point. I can’t wait any longer.” With his ears, he could clearly hear the ruckus up ahead. His blood had slowly begun to boil.
Shen Xihua lifted up his robes and knelt down before Li Qingshan. “I’ve already followed all of your orders, sir, so please just spare the lowly me!” In all these days, Li Qingshan had never been willing to promise that he would spare him. It made him worry to a point where his food turned tasteless, and he could not even get a wink of sleep.
Li Qingshan said, “How did you know I would kill you?”
“Do you really plan on sparing no one, sir?” Shen Xihua raised his head in great surprise as he stared at Li Qingshan closely. Desperation began to fill his eyes.
Li Qingshan said, “It’s not that I’m not sparing you. It’s just that you cannot be spared for what you have done.”
Shen Xihua croaked, “But I’ve already reformed myself completely!”
Li Qingshan said, “Reformed yourself completely? What about six months ago? What were you doing then? Do you really think the Hawkwolf Guard wouldn’t know?” Although there were rather few core members to the Hawkwolf Guard, they had countless informants and spies within the various major cities as a Qi Practitioner organisation that did not care about silver.
No one had ever bothered with the mission of killing Shen Xihua in all these years, but the flow of information had never stopped; this was just to guarantee that the Hawkwolf Guard would know exactly where he was and what he was doing if there was a day they remembered him again.
Abruptly, Shen Xihua thought of something. Half a year ago, he had drunk a little and saw a beauty pass by in Lakeside city. As a result, he took her to the island and forced himself on her, reliving his youth.
He continued to argue, “But I’ve already accepted her as a concubine.”
“Just how many more concubines do you plan on accepting like that? Why don’t you tell me that?” Li Qingshan’s tone was very calm the entire time. His anger was like hot, flowing lava beneath an icebound mountain. It could erupt at any time.
Shen Xihua’s expression changed several times. He pressed down with one hand and a tile sank. A series of mechanical sounds rang out from underground, allowing a large, metal cage to spring out and trap Li Qingshan.
The place where Shen Xihua had invited Li Qingshan to sit was actually a trap, and the mechanism was extremely clever. It had not even taken a blink of an eye for the cage to appear after Shen Xihua pressed down on the tile.
Shen Xihua yelled, “Li Qingshan, you’ve gone too far! Since you won’t spare me, then let’s die together!”
The bars to the cage were as thick as an adult’s arm and solid all the way through. They were also inscribed with many glyphs. When Li Qingshan’s fingers touched the bars, he immediately felt like he was being stabbed by needles. At the top of the prison was the image of a strange beast that seemed like a tiger, yet also not a tiger.
Shen Xihua said, “I invited a great master of mohism to create this mechanism. It’s known as the Daemon-trapping Cage of Bi’an1. Even powerful daemonic beasts can’t escape, so you better give up on that thought! Let me ask you again. Are you going to spare me or not? If you agree, I can release you. I can even help you kill them.”
“If I say I’ll spare you, you’ll just believe me?”
Shen Xihua seemed extremely conflicted. “I’m willing to gamble on it. I believe that you’re a man.”
Li Qingshan shook his head silently and slowly.
Shen Xihua screeched, “Don’t regret your choice! You’re in my hands now. All you need to do is nod, and we can sit down and discuss matters. Your cultivation might be higher, but there might always be a time when you need someone like me.”
Li Qingshan burst out into a roar of laughter, which thundered through the entire room. It felt like a great gust of wind had been whipped up, blowing books and paintings on the ground and shattering vases and jars.
Shen Xihua blocked his hears as he resisted it with all of his true qi. He was shocked. Was he really just a second layer Qi Practitioner?
All the unorthodox masters in the front hall only stared at their trembling cups. The entire building seemed to be tottering. They became alarmed.
“What is happening?” “Is that someone laughing?” “What powerful inner force!” “It comes from up ahead. Didn’t Shen Xihua go there to retrieve the pills? Has someone tried to steal the pills?”
With that, everyone became restless. “Let’s go over there and take a look!” “Who the hell is so stupid to try steal from the jaws of tigers?”
Li Qingshan stopped laughing and said to Shen Xihua, “Do you think that someone like you, someone no different from an animal, is worthy enough to become associated with me?”
Even bad people had pride. Shen Xihua said, “Y- you’ve gone too far!”
A group of unorthodox masters rushed in and asked in surprise, “Island master Shen, what’s going on?” “Who’s this?” Everyone who entered the study were first-rate masters. Those who were weaker and the subordinates could only gather around outside and watch.
“You’ve forced me to do this.” Shen Xihua’s expression was twisted as he said to everyone, “Everyone, settle down. I want to tell you about something that’s related to all of your lives.”
Everyone quietened down. Shen Xihua said, “This is a Hawkwolf guard, sent to kill us.”
When they heard ‘Hawkwolf guard’, everyone paled in fright. They prided themselves as masters who had made it onto the blacklist and treated their subordinates with so much arrogance that they would even claim that the Hawkwolf Guard could do nothing to them. However, they actually feared this terrifying organization that controlled the blacklist the most.
“In other words, there are no pills at all!?”
“Fuck you, Shen Xihua! You were actually working with the Hawkwolf Guard against us!”
Everyone began to think of retreat. They looked at Li Qingshan like he was a man-eating tiger. The young man sat boldly on the armed chair with his hair draped down, hiding his face. Even when he was trapped in the cage, he gave off a terrifying sense of might.
Shen Xihua threw out a stack of paper. “Look at that. These are official documents from the Hawkwolf guard. He has come this time just to kill us all. All of you know what happened to the Auspicious casino in Silver Mountain town. This kid was the one behind it all. Do you all plan on being next?!”
They picked up the files one by one and found their own names. Afterwards, they trembled in utter fright. Their glory of being on the blacklist had already become a death sentence.
“Island lord Shen, what do you want us to do?”
“We’re in for a penny and in for a pound!”
“Killing a Hawkwolf guard!? Have you lost your minds?”
“If we don’t kill him, he’ll kill us.”
Just as everyone engaged in a bitter debate.
Li Qingshan let out a gentle cough and attracted everyone’s attention. He said, “Everyone who should be here is here!”
A coarse, short and mischievous-looking middle-aged man shuddered. “What do you want?”
“In the past, you studied martial arts under old fist master Wang of Bamboo Willow town, but because he found you lacking in sincerity, he refused to teach you martial arts. As a result, you poisoned him to death, stole his martial arts manual, and became a highwayman. Over all these years, you held up travellers, killed them, and stole their goods. You even developed a liking to eating the hearts and livers of living people, right?”
He was being watched by all, Li Qingshan was trapped in the cage, and he was reluctant to embarrass himself, so he said in a tough manner, “What about it?”
Li Qingshan no longer paid any more attention to him. He continued, “Yue Ruyong, you loved to kidnap the children of wealthy families for ransom. If they were bold enough to report it to the authorities, or they refused to pay the ransom, you would cut off the ears or fingers of the children one by one, delivering it to their families. Am I right?”
Yue Ruyong had vicious eyes and pointed ears with a cold expression. He sneered. “Those kiddos are born more fortunate than everyone else. Of course, they should suffer a little.”
Li Qingshan no longer paid any more attention to him either. He just named these people one by one until he reached the very end. “As for the people who were not mentioned, whether you’re a thief or a bandit, or whether you’ve helped propagate evil, committed countless crimes of evil yourself, or are hatching sinister plots, you cannot be forgiven for your crimes, and you will be executed on the spot according to the laws of Great Xia.”
“And you, Shen Xihua. You will pay for what you have done!”
Everyone laughed aloud, “Just by you?” “Has he lost his mind?” “We do need to kill him!” However, the laughter gradually subsided.
All they saw was Li Qingshan standing up from the armed chair and grabbing the bars of the Daemon-trapping Cage of Bi’an with both hands before pulling at the bars. His flesh swelled, his muscles bulged, and his clothes ripped.
Blue light that seemed like electricity flowed through the bars, gathering in Li Qingshan’s hands. He felt like he was being stabbed by hundreds of needles. Obviously, he did not pay too much attention to something insignificant like that. However, despite his brute force, the bars still failed to budge.
After being taken aback, Shen Xihua eased up. “It’s useless. My Daemon-trapping Cage of Bi’an is not something you can destroy.”
The masters from the blacklist all sneered as well. They looked at Li Qingshan like he was a dumb, wild beast.
Li Qingshan’s hair was draped down, so it covered his face. However, the corner of his lips had also curled into a smile. It seemed slightly twisted.
“What’s this?!” Shen Xihua sensed the change in Li Qingshan’s aura first. Only a Qi Practitioner like him could sense a change like that.
However, soon afterwards, everyone saw the change with Li Qingshan’s body. Li Qingshan’s tall, sturdy body seemed to become even taller. His dark hair shone with a smear of scarlet, while his bronze skin seemed to grow darker. In particular, his arms actually became black like iron.
Creak. The metal cage twisted painfully. The blue electricity became more and more intense, but it was unable to stop the reality of the bars that were as thick as a person’s arm being gradually pulled apart.
Shen Xihua took a step back, “T- that’s impossible! Y- you’re-” Afterwards, he yelled out, “Everyone, get him together! Kill him!”
The masters of the blacklist knew that they could not be soft-hearted here. They made up their minds and charged over together. They swung their various weapons towards Li Qingshan. The blades, spears, swords, and halberds all shone with light. They feared that Li Qingshan would actually break out, so they wanted to make use of the time while he was busy to deal a killing blow. However, Shen Xihua had already backed away quietly.
1. According to mythology, Bi’an is one of the nine sons of the dragon. It is half-tiger, half-dragon and favours litigation and is placed over prison gates to keep guard.