Chapter 158 – Reconstructing Flesh and Blood
Many people stood on the deck of the great ship. There were both monks and daoists. They all stared at the Island of Cherishing Flowers in the distance anxiously.
If people of the jianghu were present, they would definitely cry out in surprise, as basically all of the orthodox masters who had some renown to their names within several hundred kilometers of Jiaping were gathered here.
There was black and white in the world. The so-called orthodox was not necessarily pure and honest, upholding the virtues of justice and righteousness, but they were a bunch of people who followed the law and protected order. There were quite a few who included the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, and courtesy as a part of their teachings as well. They might have been hypocrites, but most of the people in this world liked to stand under the light. This was just how virtues worked.
At the end of the day, the hypocrite Yue Bujun still performed many good deeds of purging evil and helping the weak, while the actual wretch Tian Boguang had truly harmed countless ordinary people.1
However, the battle between the black and the white, the orthodox and the unorthodox, had never ceased.
In simpler words, young and inexperienced martial arts practitioners all wanted to live a lavish life of being luxuriously adorned and able to throw money around. The simplest and most direct way was to become a bandit. They would be able to steal money and women. There would also be many people who were reluctant to do this but still shared the ambition of a lavish life, so they became young, gallant wanderers, young heroes. Destroying a bandit’s nest was obviously not a bad choice. They would also obtain money, women, and something else, renown.
If a young hero destroyed countless nests of bandits and managed to survive, they would become a great hero. If a petty thief managed to steal tremendous wealth and countless women, they would become great thieves. These two people would obviously have a great cluster of grievances, but that did not matter. They would have many friends, and as a result, two groups of people existed in constant conflict with one another.
In more complicated words, they had accumulated countless grievances over the generations. They had enough grievances to last them a few lifetimes. Every single unorthodox master on the Island of Cherishing Flowers had enemies on the ship.
The unorthodox masters were not the only ones who had become restless over the news of the Pill Seizing Gathering. These people became restless as well. They thought of how their enemies would reach the innate realm and confront them, killing them and then taking their money and women. As a result, they could not just let it happen. And, if there really were pills that great, who wouldn’t want them?
As a result, they secretly planned this operation. However, these orthodox masters all seemed to follow a teenage girl as their leader. They stood around her courteously.
The girl was only around thirteen or fourteen years of age. She stood at the bow of the ship in plain clothes. Her face was filled with an experienced sense of maturity, but due to her baby face and the fact that she was just not that old, it was quite a funny sight.
An old monk with grey eyebrows bowed. “Miss Hua, what do you think?”
The girl narrowed her eyes to peer through the thin fog like a general. She did not answer him.
The old monk raised his head and looked at everyone helplessly. Then they all looked at a girl in violet beside the young miss.
They were all renowned figures of the jianghu, but they were helpless before this young miss, not only because she was a second layer Qi Practitioner at such a young age, but also because she came from a great clan. When she was outside to see the world and toughen up, she befriended the great hero Yu’s daughter, Yu Zijian, who was the woman in violet beside her. That was also why she agreed to assist them.
As soon as they arrived by the lake, she had taken out a small boat from her hundred treasures pouch. She tossed it into the water, and it transformed into a huge ship, which stunned all of them. With her assistance, they were extremely confident in succeeding this time. They would definitely be able to grant these people a graveless death.
Yu Zijian said, “Chenglu, why don’t you answer him?”
Hua Chenglu raised her hand in a composed manner to shut Yu Zijian up. Afterwards, she waved the small banner in her hand and passed an order. “Turn the ship around and prepare the cannons!”
The ship slowly turned. The port faced the Island of Cherishing Flowers, and then several dozen small, wooden hatches opened up and large, black cannons extended out.
However, the entire ship was a single mechanism, so it did not require any sailors to control it. Instead, she could achieve all of that through the tiny banner in her hand. As a result, her mighty order no longer seemed so mighty. It seemed rather funny instead. None of them knew how to react to this.
Yu Zijian whispered, “Chenglu, are the Fire Dragon cannons really that powerful?”
Due to being doubted, her mature little face became agitated. She pointed at the Island of Cherishing Flowers. “Watch as I flatten the entire place!”
Afterwards, she ordered loudly, “Open fire!”
The black cannons erupted with several dozen flashes like the roaring of fire dragons, planting the same number of mushroom clouds on the Island of Cherishing Flowers in the distance. They destroyed most of the structures there in a single instant.
The lovely hall collapsed while the exquisite structures burst into flames. The Island of Cherishing Flowers that Shen Xihua had tended to for all these years was being reduced to ashes with his death.
The orthodox masters on the deck were all shocked. They personally believed that if they themselves were on the island, they would have never been able to escape alive. Martial arts practitioners were just far too weak compared to actual innate masters.
Yu Zijian murmured, “How powerful!”
There was a sliver of complacency in Hua Chenglu’s eyes, but she did not show it on her face.
Yu Zijian asked in worry, “Chenglu, will there be any innocent people on the island?”
Hua Chenglu advised earnestly, like she was her senior, “Zijian, you can’t scruple over small matters if you want to achieve big things. You’re still far too young.”
The other orthodox masters all felt that this girl truly lived up to her background of originating from a renowned clan. They completely ignored Yu Zijian’s question. As long as they could blast all of these bastards to death, who would care if there were any innocent people or not? They stood on the boat in the distance and watched as their enemies were reduced to ashes. There was nothing more joyful than that.
Yu Zijian smiled gently and generously. “Zijian, even if there are innocent people, they’ll be laying their lives down for the sake of the martial arts society. All of the people of unorthodox origins are cruel and crafty. If we can’t be more decisive and smarter than them, how are we supposed to defeat them? You need to learn from miss Hua.”
Yu Zijian curled her lips, but she did not try to rebuke that. She just felt like her father had changed recently. In the past, if she was ever bold enough to say something like this in front of fellow people of the martial arts society, great hero Yu would have frowned and scolded her already. If she refused to oblige, he would even draw his sword. Although he had never swung it at her, he had never been so gentle to her.
Due to his daughter’s friendship with Hua Chenglu, great hero Yu had now become greatly respected by his fellow members of the martial arts society. He basically would even laugh in his dreams over this. Not only did Yu Zijian’s future prospects become limitless, but even he as her father benefited as well. As a result, he became very amiable with his daughter. In particular, whenever he was in front of Hua Chenglu, he would basically set the norm of a loving father.
Under the flattery from the orthodox masters, Hua Chenglu tried to smile it off like she was unfazed. She waved the banner in her hand and launched a barrage of cannonfire again.
The entire Island of Cherishing Flowers was now engulfed in fire and smoke.
The barrage landed on a huge shield and dispersed as violent gusts of wind. Li Qingshan lowered his spiritual artifact shield as he looked at the surface of the lake in surprise. What is going on?
He was not surprised by the existence of guns and ammunition in this world. Instead, he wondered just who was trying to interfere and blow the Island of Cherishing Flowers to pieces.
However, there was no point for him to think too much about this. After all, they had assisted him instead. Cannonfire on such a level did not pose any threats to him. As he held the shield that had already transformed to the size of a table, he strolled through the cannonfire like it was nothing. He was completely unscathed.
However, to these unorthodox masters, it was basically the end of the world. Not a single super master burst out yelling, “You have cannons? Well I have divine martial arts!”2 They were all blown to pieces as they sobbed for their lives, saving Li Qingshan the trouble of hunting them down individually.
Xiao An crossed through the cannonfire easily as well and arrived before Li Qingshan.
Under the constant booms, Li Qingshan nodded; his voice was drowned out by the cannonfire. However, his lips parted, and he seemed to say, “You can start!”
Both of their eyes seemed to shine.
Xiao An brought his hands together in a prayer position, with the Skull Prayer Bead between his palms. Afterwards, he lowered his head and chanted scriptures quietly.
Flames flowed out like water, silently spreading through the heavy smoke, descending over the collapsed walls and extending towards the buildings, swallowing every single corpse it came across along the way.
Four hundred and twenty seven, three hundred and eleven, two hundred and twenty five, one hundred and thirty one…
He counted to himself inside. Suddenly, Xiao An raised his head, and his eyes were filled with joy. All of the flames began to flow back to him, wrapping around him like a snake. It turned into a cocoon that enveloped him. Gradually, Xiao An disappeared inside. All that remained was a great, scarlet cocoon composed of fire floating in the air.
Li Qingshan stared right at the cocoon of fire without shifting his gaze at all. He clenched his hands firmly as he suddenly became nervous.
The explosions continued. At this moment, a cannonball whistles through the air, passing through the thick smoke and flying towards Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan extended his left hand with lightning speed and caught the cannonball.
The cannonball exploded in his hands, charring it. He continued to stare at the cocoon like nothing had happened at all. He did not even turn his head.
Time trickled by. After who knows how long, the cannonfire subsided, while Li Qingshan simply sat down by a destroyed wall, leaning his head on his hand.
At this very moment, there was not a single matter, not a single person, that was worth his attention aside from Xiao An. Even Xuanyue and Gu Yanying formed no exceptions. His ambition that lied beyond the Nine Heavens was temporarily set aside as well.
Hua Chenglu smiled on the deck of the ship. “It’s done!” She swung the small banner and ordered, “Let’s set off and go take a look!”
“What’s that?” Suddenly, someone called out and pointed behind the ship.
Everyone looked over and became extremely stunned. A horse carriage tore through the fog and rapidly rolled over the surface of the water. It arrived before the ship very soon and gradually came to a halt.
The West Gate Granny lifted the curtain and frowned. This was the Wave Breaker of the Hua family! She had seen it in Clear River city before. She could not be wrong. This mechanical ship had been created by several great masters of modhism. The Fire Dragon cannons on it were powerful, and it possessed several hundred mechanical puppet soldiers as well. Every single one of them possessed the strength of a weaker Qi Practitioner. They were extremely costly to create.
The Sect of Clouds and Rain was powerful, but it was unable to ignore the influence the Hua family had over the Clear River prefecture. She called out loudly, “May I ask which fellow of the Hua family is present?”
Hua Chenglu leapt off the railing and replied, “Hua Chenglu is present.”
The West Gate Granny said, “So it’s you, brat. You’ve stolen your family’s ship and come out to play? Be careful of being spanked for getting involved with these untrustworthy folk.”
None of the orthodox masters had any objections to being labelled as untrustworthy folk. Regardless of their gender, they all looked at the West Gate Granny in infatuation and lamented, There are actually beauties like her in the world. Even her wrinkles seemed to be extremely charming.
1. These characters come from The Smiling, Proud Wanderer written by Louis Cha, which you are welcome to check out. For those who have read the book or watched adaptations faithful to the book, you should be familiar with these references.
2. This is a reference to the 1993 Hong Kong movie, The East is Red, where a group of Chinese people are under fire from the Spanish navy, and a great martial arts master bursts out, catching all the bullets and yelling, “You have science? Well I have wondrous martial arts!”