Chapter 202 – Uncle Niu
Yu Shukuang smiled bitterly. “You should have known this already. I had no chance to tamper with your food or drink.”
This was a thought that had lingered in Ma Chaoqun’s mind for many years now, but he had always refused to face it or believe in it. It was impossible for the lady he had grown up with who was as kind as they came to do something so cruel to him.
Now that he had suddenly verified this, all of his hard work over the years, all of his thoughts for revenge, suddenly became laughable. He could not help but become overcome by anger as tears streaked across his face. He roared at the sky crazily.
Originally, Yu Zijian disliked him very much. She heard his howl that sounded just like a despaired beast’s and could not help but become saddened. She sympathised with him, He must have loved my mother very much. Mother let him down. If she didn’t like him, she should have told him directly. Why did she have to poison him?
“D- don’t feel too bad. So many years have passed already. You will definitely find someone better than my mother.”
Mao Chaoqun stopped howling. He looked at Yu Zijian. Her beautiful face overflowing with sincere sympathy seemed to overlap with the face in his heart. He murmured, “You really do look like her.”
“Brother Ma, so many years have passed already. Neither of us are young anymore. It’s time for us to drop these grievances. Today is a joyous day for celebrating how Zijian has become a Qi Practitioner. She’ll be attending the Academy of the Hundred Schools next year. Why don’t you take a seat and share a drink with us?” Yu Shukuang implied that neither of them were regular people of the jianghu who could be trampled over anymore.
Ma Chaoqun suddenly raised an eyebrow and produced a twisted smile. Combined with his pitted face, he seemed even uglier. “I want to fight you again!” Afterwards, he pointed at Yu Zijian. “She’ll be the wager!”
Crack! Li Qingshan snapped the chopsticks in his hands. “That’s far too underhanded!”
He noticed the disturbance outside before anyone else. Afterwards, he continued to eat as he listened in on the past grievances of the jianghu out of interest. It went well with his feast.
He was also rather sympathetic towards this pitted-face brother as well. It must have been horrible to be betrayed by a person you trusted. He also felt contempt towards this “Zi’er”. She had sacrificed her own senior brother for a handsome man. That was far too dishonourable.
Both of these people could be considered as outstanding, yet they had both chosen a fickle woman. Their insight was horrible. Fortunately, Yu Zijian was not as vicious as her mother.
However, when he heard Ma Chaoqun’s final decision, he completely disagreed with it. This was no longer exacting revenge on Yu Shukuang. It was taking revenge on the woman called “Zi’er”, along with all of society.
Who do you think you are? Do you really think you can do whatever you want because you have a higher level of cultivation? Even if you want to be Yin Liting1, you need to see whether they agree first.
“Don’t even think about it!” Yu Shukuang immediately became bright red, despite remaining calm the entire time. He drew his sword with a furious gaze. Yu Zijian was his treasured daughter. If anyone even touched a hair on her, he would throw his life at them.
There was a series of clangs and swishes as weapons were drawn from their sheathes. It was not just the disciples of the Proud Sword manor, but the guests present too. Although some were closer to Yu Shukuang than others, they were still Yu Shukuang’s friends. If they did not help their friend at a time like this, they would be despised by their fellow members of the martial arts society.
This bastard was alone anyway. Even if he was an innate master, he would still run out of true qi!
“Alright, alright, alright!” Ma Chaoqun called out under everyone’s glares. He was fearless. “I’ve spent all these years focusing on cultivation on Pheasant’s Grace mountain, just for this day. Those who have nothing to do with this, piss off. Anyone who gets in my way will be awaiting the retribution of Pheasant’s Grace mountain!”
With that, a series of disjointed cries rang out. Ma Chaoqun’s words rushed into Li Qingshan’s ears as well. His expression was strange. Pheasant’s Grace mountain? Don’t tell me he’s the legendary Count of Monte Cristo2?
Everyone else obviously did not share the same thought as Li Qingshan. No one present had ever been to the Pheasant’s Grace mountain. They did not even know where it was. However, as long as they were first-rate masters, they would have heard about it before.
The Green Vine mountain, the Pheasant’s Grace mountain, and the Burial Mound mountain were three powerful cultivation sects. They were renowned throughout the Clear River prefecture. Together, they were three famous mountains that stood side by side. Not only did they have Qi Practitioners, but they also had Foundation Establishment cultivators who had undergone the first heavenly tribulation. Their power and influence went without saying.
Regular people only needed to join one of them, and it would be like a change of fate. Their identities would undergo an upheaving change. No one dared to brush aside Ma Chaoqun’s threat. To the people of the jianghu, Qi Practitioners were like higher existences on the food chain.
Many of the people present who were not particularly close with Yu Shukuang retreated slightly. Only a few good friends remained by his side, but they too hesitated.
Yu Zijian was bright red. She was speechless with anger and shame. She saw the situation and rebuked loudly, “If you just kill people blindly, aren’t you afraid of the Hawkwolf Guard?” She had once witnessed the power of a Hawkwolf Guard in person, which left behind an extremely deep impression on her.
Ma Chaoqun burst out laughing. “The Hawkwolf Guard? Do you really think they’ll care about you people of the jianghu?”
Li Qingshan sighed gently. He knew that Ma Chaoqun was right. He was a member of the Hawkwolf Guard, and he knew how they functioned very well. People of the jianghu who could practise inner force were a special group of people who existed between regular people and cultivators, and the Hawkwolf Guard treated them in a very special way too.
The Black Wind stronghold could slaughter whole villages to set precedents and make it onto the blacklist, but not a single Hawkwolf Guard would pay attention to them for several years. However, if cultivators did something like that, it would be regarded as evil, and the commanders would directly send people on a mission to handle them.
If an entire organisation of the jianghu was annihilated, even if it amounted to several hundred lives, the Hawkwolf Guard would investigate the matter at most. They would never handle it seriously. When the people of the jianghu killed regular people, they would be treated like regular people, allowed to run free. However, when they were killed by Qi Practitioners, they would be treated like Qi Practitioners and ignored.
Under Ma Chaoqun’s sinister glare, the master of the Elation sect gulped. “Brother Yu, do you think…”
Yu Shukuang clasped his hands at everyone. “I thank you all for holding my ground for me today, but this is a personal grievance. It’s got nothing to do with you. Anyone who interferes will be an enemy of my Proud Sword manor. You’ll be looking down on me if you do!”
Everyone was touched and ashamed. Great hero Yu truly was valiant, saving his friends from trouble. On the other hand, Ma Chaoqun seemed even more despicable.
The master of the Elation sect wanted to say something, but he still ended up retreating to one side. Yu Shukuang’s surroundings immediately emptied out. All that was left was Yu Zijian, who held onto Yu Shukuang’s sleeve. She felt both admiration and anxiety. “Father! H- he’s a second layer Qi Practitioner!”
First-rate masters had no chance at all if they were matched up against a second layer Qi Practitioner. Meanwhile, she had only ingested the Innate pill recently. Although she was a first layer Qi Practitioner, she might not even be able to match Yu Shukuang’s battle prowess as a first-rate master. She was even less of an opponent to Ma Chaoqun.
“You better stop with your act right now. If you’re a man, then attack me. I’ll give you three free moves!” Ma Chaoqun was furious. This bastard is skilled at winning over people with his fake acts the most. If it were not for his silver tongue, why would Zi’er… His heart ached before he looked at Yu Zijian. His gaze softened. None of his hard work over these years would go to waste. He would be compensated for it all!
Yu Shukuang pushed away Yu Zijian gently. “Don’t worry. Just go to the back!” He winked at Yu Zijian before turning to face Ma Chaoqun. “Pitted Madman, come. Let’s fight again. Let’s see whether your Mad Blade or my Proud Sword is stronger!”
Yu Zijian was surprised. A life-threatening battle was about to erupt, yet father told me to go to the back. What is he trying to do? Suddenly, her eyes lit up. She hurried to the back of the hall without even looking back. The only one who could save her father now was great hero Niu!
The door suddenly burst open and light flooded into the pitch-black room, onto that wide back. Countless specks of dust floated through the air. Li Qingshan sat with his bamboo hat on, currently with a bowl of alcohol in his hand as he drank it like he was striking a pose.
Yu Zijian seemed to see a final glimmer of hope. “Older uncle Niu, please save my father!”
The alcohol almost spurted from Li Qingshan’s mouth. Why had he suddenly become an uncle3? And why did it make him feel like he was in his forties already?
All men wished that the women they met would admire them, even if they did not like them; this was especially the case for Yu Zijian, who Li Qingshan had a rather good impression of. He could not help but become slightly dejected. Meanwhile, an extremely soft giggle rang out from the bamboo basket beside him.
Yu Zijian had seen how the world worked with Yu Shukuang. She knew she had to rope people in if she wanted them to help her out. She had never thought that this title of respect would lead to the exact opposite effect.
Before Yu Zijian could say anything, Li Qingshan had already spoken, “I’ve heard everything that happened outside.”
“Older uncle Niu, my father…”
Bang! Li Qingshan placed the bowl on the table and said with a heavy voice, “I’m not your uncle Niu, so you’d better stop referring to me in strange ways!”
Yu Zijian felt wronged inside. She knew that this great hero Niu must have been afraid of the Pheasant’s Grace mountain as well, so he was reluctant to help. However, Yu Shukuang’s life was at stake right now. In order to save her father, she could no longer care about her pride as a woman. She said loudly, “Then I’ll call you younger uncle Niu, alright? Please…”
Li Qingshan’s head drooped down. “W- whatever you want!” He kicked the bamboo basket. Xiao An’s giggles made him feel utterly humiliated.
Yu Zijian thanked him for agreeing. She wiped away the tears that had almost fallen from the corner of her eyes. “Thank you, uncle Niu! Let’s go then!” She was tempted to grab his arm and drag him over there.
Li Qingshan said, “You’ve heard your father as well. It’s a personal matter. I can’t interfere.”
Yu Zijian paled and collapsed on the ground. “T- then what am I supposed to do?!”
Li Qingshan said, “Though, aren’t you a Qi Practitioner too?”
Yu Zijian raised her head. She was a weeping beauty.
The blade and sword clashed, erupting with sparks that flew about, along with a splash of blood that originated from Yu Shukuang’s shoulder.
Ma Chaoqun produced a meaningless howl. He seemed like he had almost lost his mind. However, he wielded the treasured blade in his hand like a fierce storm. The dense coldness of the weapon radiated to several meters away, where all the spectating martial arts practitioners became stunned. They retreated backwards.
Yu Shukuang also staggered backwards in retreat. He would leave behind a footprint in the marble with every step. He had already unleashed his sword moves and sword forms to the limit during his three strikes. It formed a thick flurry of swords before him.
However, Ma Chaoqun had managed to cut through it with his very first attack, injuring him. Afterwards, he drew back his weapon and unleashed his Mad Demon Blade style. He forced back the flurry of swords inch by inch, until it was only three inches away from Yu Shukuang, forcing him to retreat.
1. Yin Liting is a character from The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber, whose original fiance breaks off her engagement with him and leaves with another man, only for their daughter to fall in love and marry Yin Liting.
2. The Chinese name of the place sounds like the Count of Monte Cristo. It’s a pun, and it’s pretty bad.
3. English doesn’t have this distinction, but there are basically two types of uncles in Chinese, one that is younger than your father and one that is older than your father. The one Yu Zijian used here is the one that is older than your father, or in other words, older than Yu Shukuang. I’ve separated them in this context as older uncle/younger uncle, but I’ll revert to just uncle in the end.