Chapter 62 – Killing Intent Hidden Everywhere
“Thank you all for your reinforcement!” Li Qingshan thanked Ye Dachuan, Huang Binghu, and Liu Hong. No matter what they were thinking when they came, help was help, and they would be paid back with the granary, store room, and armoury that remained from the Black Wind stronghold.
As for the treasury, it was extremely well-hidden in the first place. Now, the heat from the fire had even broken the secret door. If they wanted to get in there again, they would be forced to clear the ruins and find its precise location, forcefully breaking their way in.
Among the army, everyone smiled from ear to ear. They had eased up. Originally, they were riddled with worry, believing that they would be throwing their lives at the bandits of Black Wind mountain. Now that they had managed to attain victory without even drawing their swords and only needed to carry the spoils of the battle without any injury, it was simply fantastic. They could even boast to others when they returned.
Ye Dachuan, Huang Binghu, Liu Hong, and Li Qingshan stood together, watching everyone move the items. They seemed to follow Li Qingshan as their leader.
Apart from the alcohol gourd on his waist and the Soaring Dragon sword on his back, he had gained a new porcelain jar on his waist and a painting scroll on his back.
The jar obviously carried Xiao An. He had absorbed so much essence blood from the bandits in a single stroke, so he needed time to digest it. As for the scroll, it was the spiritual artifact he had obtained. Since it was calligraphy and could emit sword qi, he named it the Cursive Sword Calligraphy.
These two items raised Ye Dachuan, Huang Binghu, and Liu Hong’s attention, but none of them mentioned it, nor did they tactlessly ask about it. No matter what these items were, they were his spoils of the battle, objects that others could not encroach upon.
Li Qingshan asked, “Hunting chief, are your wounds alright?”
Huang Binghu said, “Don’t worry. I was precise when I stabbed myself, so it won’t affect me.”
Li Qingshan was taken aback before bursting out with laughter. “You really are an experienced member of the jianghu.” People were complicated. They would be spurred on by emotions, and they would change with their interests. There was truth within falsehoods and falsehoods within truth. It was impossible to clearly distinguish between right and wrong, kindness and grievances, nor was there a need to. Coming across each other by chance, a smile could dissolve debts of kindness and animosity.
Huang Binghu laughed aloud as well before suddenly stopping. “But the hard part has yet to come!”
Xiao Hei walked up and performed a great bow towards Li Qingshan despite their similar ages. “I’ve let you down.” Everything that happened today had shocked him deeply. If someone like him became the enemy of the Drawn Reins village, just how terrifying would that be?
Li Qingshan patted his shoulder and walked towards the entrance of the stronghold. “The sun has almost risen!”
A ray of light emerged from the east, shining from beyond the red clouds. The great fire gradually subsided.
Li Qingshan suddenly stopped. “Oh right. Hunting chief, did the nickname of the Descended Tiger come from you?”
“Maybe?” Huang Binghu had never thought he would ask that.
Li Qingshan asked, “Could you change it?”
Huang Binghu was surprised before smiling bitterly. This nickname had already spread among the people of the jianghu. The circumstances just happened to be right when he came up with it, so why would he have the right to change it now?
Li Qingshan still did not know that he would have a new nickname very soon.
The Black Tiger. The Black Tiger, Li Qingshan.
Ye Dachuan felt deep regret over the fact that he failed to find the treasury of the Black Wind stronghold in the end, but he showed none of it. His gaze would meet the advisor’s from time to time, and they were both ravishing in joy. It’s a great piece of merit! It’s a great piece of merit!
Although Li Qingshan had completed it all alone, Li Qingshan was still the sheriff Ye Dachuan had recruited, so he had his share of contribution as the district magistrate. He could already imagine the expression of the brother-in-law he was undeserving of who looked down on him when he received this news.
“Hahahaha, there have been several district magistrates who had failed to destroy the Black Wind stronghold, but I’ve done it!” Ye Dachuan laughed wildly as he patted Li Qingshan shoulder. “Of course, it’s all your contribution, sheriff Li. I will definitely report this to the prefect, who’s also my brother-in-law. You will be honoured, earning you promotions and wealth. Hahahaha.”
Sheriff Li? Only now did Li Qingshan remember that he still held a position in the government. He smiled. “Then I must thank sir Ye.”
“It’s no problem; it’s no problem at all!”
The army set off once again to return to the city. Li Qingshan had nothing to attend to, so he just travelled slowly with the army. Along the way, everyone discovered that he was not as terrifying as they had imagined him to be. They gradually gathered around him, calling him all sorts of names, such as sheriff or young hero.
Li Qingshan felt extremely delighted by this treatment as a hero he had never experienced before. Compared to the mediocrity of his previous life and the frustration he experienced in the Crouching Ox village, this was how a real man was supposed to be treated like. He would never fake some reservedness, acting like fame and wealth meant nothing. Not only did he like fame and wealth, but he also liked alcohol and meat and beautiful women. He liked drinking. He had lust. He liked wealth. He had pride. He had all of the various desires that everyone else had.
Huang Binghu bid Li Qingshan farewell, returning to the Drawn Reins village to retrieve the tiger bone alcohol the latter wanted. Li Qingshan said, “If you have ginseng as well, feel free to bring it too. I’m willing to purchase it at good prices.”
After settling this matter, he could truly begin practising the Tiger Demon’s Fist of Bone Forging. Although the black ox never mentioned a word of it, Li Qingshan felt this ordinary-looking ability hid secrets he had yet to touch upon.
And, even if it were just an ordinary ability, there were not any martial arts that could rival it. It would still be extremely important to him. He liked fame and wealth, but he had not been blinded by them. He did not forget his circumstances. The luxury right now was only just the calm before the storm. Even more, greater challenges laid ahead. If he did not make preparations beforehand, he would be defeated and broken.
However, not only did he feel no fear, but he even felt slightly excited. He was just a shout away from asking the storm to come fiercer. This was the life he had chosen.
Although it was easier to travel on the path during the day, they transported a large number of items with them, so they were unable to speed up either. Only when dusk came did the group arrive before the city gates, and they heard the roaring gongs and firecrackers.
Li Qingshan asked, “What’s the festival today?”
Liu Hong said, “No, they must be welcoming you. The district magistrate had sent people back first and passed on the news.”
As expected, a wave of warmth flooded over as soon as they entered the city. Despite it being winter, the streets were filled with people.
Everything that happened last night had shocked everyone in the city. Even after the night was over, every single person was still absent-minded, taken away by their thoughts. The entire city fell into an uproar when they received the news.
Li Qingshan smiled and received everyone, but at the same time, he could sharply sense a few hostile gazes from the tea house on the side of the street. He thought, They’ve come so quickly!
“Hmph, he’s a frog in a well. He has just destroyed a bandit’s stronghold. Senior brother, when do we get him?” In the tea house, a lady in blue with surging arrogance despite her ordinary appearance asked.
“There’s no hurry. Let’s keep waiting!” Before her sat her senior brother. He was a horse-faced man in his thirties. He carried almost nothing on him, but his hands were slender. Something bulged from his waist as his eyes shone. An experienced member of the jianghu could tell with a single glance that he was a master of hidden weapons with powerful internal force.
“We’ve been fortunate. If the news spread even further, who knows how many people would come to steal it. Why don’t we strike first?”
“He slaughtered two hundred bandits alone. I personally believe that even I cannot achieve that. The might of this Descended Tiger just happens to be flourishing. He’s difficult to deal with.” The horse-faced man shook his head. It was a pure coincidence that they were in Qingyang city, so they wanted to take advantage of these easy pickings.
“You would believe such a preposterous rumour? Look at how heavy and clumsy his steps are and how his temples are flat. He’s just a practitioner of external martial arts. At most, he’s a peak second-rate master. He can’t be at the first-rate. If we work together and greet him with our hidden weapons, we’ll take his life almost instantly.”