Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The afternoon of the twenty-first day, twelfth month, 1227 of the Ziyun Era.
Six riders mounted on large, strong horses and galloped away from the Wang family’s mansion, making themselves as conspicuous as possible as they moved through the town in the direction of the Magnolia Guild.
At last, the six riders arrived at the Magnolia Guild and blockaded the main entrance, giving out an aura of arrogance with their imposing presence.
They were led by a well-built old man whose cheeks were covered by white curly sideburns and whose short white hair stood up straight from his scalp, giving him the appearance of a white-haired lion.
Behind the old man was a youth, two middle-aged men, as well as two other old men, one thin and one fat.
“It’s the Wang family!”
A crowd had gathered in anticipation of what was about to happen, and many of them recognized the six people blocking the main entrance of the Magnolia Guild.
“Isn’t that Red Crane Wang, the patriarch of the Wang family? And he is following… the old man leading them, isn’t he the grand patriarch of the Wang family, the one called the ‘bloody-handed butcher,’ Wang Yukun?” a bystander cried out in awe, staring wide-eyed at the old man leading the group.
Following his cry of alarm, the gathered crowd became rowdy.
“Wang Yukun? That is the… the bloody-handed butcher who single-handedly massacred a force of one hundred bandits?
“I’ve heard that the leader of the bandit gang was approaching level-two of Qi-gathering, and he had five lieutenants who had attained level-one of Qi-gathering… the six of them took on Wang Yukun together, but were all killed by him! From then on, Wang Yukun gained the title of ‘bloody-handed butcher.’”
“Good heavens! This is a rare public appearance for him… and today, he did not just appear but also blocked the main entrance of the Magnolia Guild; it seems like he intends to exact vengeance for his grandson, Wang Feng!”
“Isn’t that obvious? That Wang Feng whose arm was maimed by Guild Master Lin Lan’s son is right behind him.”
The first young master of the Wang family, Wang Feng, was following behind Wang Yukun. He stared at the wide-open entrance of the Magnolia Guild, a bloodthirsty look in his eyes.
Zhou Donghuang, you maimed my arm, and today I will have your life!
Wang Feng’s heart was consumed by the thought of revenge.
“Yesterday, the news that the Magnolia Guild lost the support of the Lin family of the prefecture capital went around, and today, the Wang family is here to seek revenge… it seems that the son of Guild Master Lin Lan of the Magnolia Guild, Zhou Donghuang, is in for some trouble today.”
“I heard that the level-two adept of Qi-gathering who commanded the guards of the Magnolia Guild has also returned to the Lin family… today, even if those other people from the Wang family were here without Wang Yukun, they would be enough to sweep the Magnolia Guild clean!”
“That’s only natural. Behind Wang Yukun is the patriarch of the Wang family, Red Crane Wang, the second master of the Wang family, Bamboo Crane Wang, and the second and third elders of the Wang family. The four of them are all level-one adepts of Qi-gathering! And it seems the Magnolia Guild right now only has Lin Lan as the level-one adept of Qi-gathering.”
“I heard that the elderly lady who is always with Guild Master Lin Lan is also a level-one adept of Qi-gathering.”
“Even if she is, they will not be able to resist the Wang family’s four level-one adepts.”
By now, more than a few of the gathered bystanders were already mourning silently for Zhou Donghuang.
“Isn’t Zhou Donghuang now the new owner of Yunxuan Restaurant? Zhao San gave him Yunxuan restaurant before he left, and that should mean that they are close, right?”
“Isn’t the Wang family afraid that Elder Zhao San might retaliate?”
“If you could have thought of it, the Wang family would definitely have considered it. The fact that the Wang family would dare block the main entrance of the Magnolia Guild today is evidence that Elder Zhao San will definitely not help Zhou Donghuang.”
“However, we really don’t know what Elder Zhao San is thinking… how could he just give Yunxuan Restaurant to Zhou Donghuang? It is the most profitable business in Qingshan Town.”
“Elder Zhao San’s thoughts are beyond our understanding.”
The crowd of bystanders got larger and larger, and it seemed that more and more people made their way over from all around Qingshan Town as the news spread.
Upon receiving the news, the members of the other two lesser families of Qingshan Town rushed over in anticipation as soon as they could.
The first young master of the Qin family, Qin Fei, made his way over as soon as he received the news.
It seems that you, Zhou Donghuang, only got lucky to take possession of Yunxuan Restaurant… but you are not close with Elder Zhao San at all.
Seeing the members of the Wang family blocking the main entrance of the Magnolia Guild, Qin Fei had easily deduced this fact and was standing in the crowd, taking pleasure in the unfolding disaster.
Right then, three figures came into Qin Fei’s view: they were the First Young Master Zhong Gang of the Zhong family, Second Young Master Zhong Yi, and Third Lady Zhong Xiu. They had evidently come as soon as they heard the news.
“What? You came to watch a good show?” Qin Fei laughed.
“Haha… how could we miss such a good one?” Zhong Yi chuckled.
“When we found out that day that Zhou Donghuang was the new owner of Yunxuan Restaurant, we assumed he had some deep connection with Elder Zhao San… it seems we were thinking too much. If he was really close to Elder Zhao San, the Wang family would not be parading themselves so brazenly outside the Magnolia Guild demanding vengeance.”
Zhong Gang was also taking obvious delight in Zhou Donghuang’s misfortune.
“Zhou Donghuang was so gleeful at Yunxuan Restaurant two days ago… today, I, Zhong Xiu, would very much like to see what fate he suffers!” Zhong Xiu laughed coldly.
“Even Grand Patriarch Wang Yukun of the Wang family has come… in my opinion, Zhou Donghuang is probably not going to survive this day. This bloody-handed butcher is famous for spoiling his offspring.” Qin Fei’s smile widened.
However, he quickly wiped the smile off his face because he spied a pretty and delicate-looking girl of about eleven or twelve years of age. She was holding on to a young man’s hand, and they were making their way towards Qin Fei.
Qin Fei abandoned the three Zhong siblings and went to meet her.
“Xiaoyu, Uncle Zhen.”
The new arrivals were Qin Xiaoyu and her father, Qin Zhen.
Qin Zhen was from a side branch of the Qin family and had no great importance, but several years earlier, he had broken through to level-one of Qi-gathering, and had become the sixth elder of the Qin family.
In the three lesser families of Qingshan Town, even a member of the side branches could rise to become an elder of the clan, only if he was able to break through and attain level-one of Qi-gathering and become a level-one adept.
“First Young Master,” Qin Zhen greeted Qin Fei. Qin Xiaoyu merely swept a glance over Qin Fei and didn’t bother to greet him.
The incident at Yunxuan Restaurant two days ago when Qin Fei had revealed his true feelings towards Zhou Donghuang had left her extremely displeased.
In the end, under the frown and stern words of Qin Zhen, Qin Xiaoyu finally greeted Qin Fei reluctantly.
After paying lip service to Qin Fei, Qin Xiaoyu looked at the group of people at the main entrance of the Magnolia Guild, her face full of worry. “Father, Big Brother Donghuang is now the owner of Yunxuan Restaurant; isn’t the Wang family afraid of Elder Zhao San’s displeasure if they cause trouble for him?”
“Xiaoyu,” Qin Fei cut in before Qin Zhen could say a word, “that the Wang family would even dare to show up means that they know Elder Zhao San will not help Zhou Donghuang.”
“Father, is this true?”
Qin Fei’s reply caused Qin Xiaoyu to look worriedly at Qin Zhen, and she turned as white as a sheet when she saw Qin Zhen nodded.
“Father… could you help Big Brother Donghuang?” Qin Xiaoyu begged Qin Zhen.
“Xiaoyu, even if I wanted to help, I would not be able to… There are six of them in the Wang family, and except Wang Feng, I cannot match any of them.” Qin Zhen laughed bitterly.
There were differences in ability among fellow level-one adepts of Qi-gathering.
“Big Brother Qin Fei, I’m sure you can think of something… can’t you?”
Qin Xiaoyu looked at Qin Fei. For the sake of Donghuang, she would put aside her annoyance with Qin Fei; the only thing she was concerned about was the safety of her Brother Donghuang.
“Xiaoyu, even the bloody-handed butcher of the Wang family is here… unless my grandfather intervenes, no one can stop him.”
Qin Fei also laughed bitterly and shook his head. “And my grandfather would not offend the Wang family for the sake of Zhou Donghuang.”
“Then… Big Brother Donghuang is beyond rescue?” Qin Xiaoyu said softly to herself, her face pale and her spirits sagging.
Right then, someone in the crowd exclaimed excitedly, “Someone is coming out!”
“It is Guild Master Lin Lan of the Magnolia Guild!”
Under the gaze of the crowd, two figures walked out from the Magnolia Guild, an elegant, beautiful lady and an elderly lady following her.
It was Guild Master Lin Lan of the Magnolia Guild, with Granny Lian beside her.
“Father, she is the guild master of the Magnolia Guild, Lin Lan,” the patriarch of the Wang family, Red Crane Wang, said to Wang Yukun who mounted on the horse in front of him, as Lin Lan led Granny Lian out.
Wang Yukun, who had retired a long time ago, had no dealings with Lin Lan, the guild master of the Magnolia Guild, who had come to Qingshan Town about ten years ago.
“You are Lin Lan?”
Wang Yukun stared down icily at Lin Lan and said coldly, “Today, I am not here for you… where is your son Zhou Donghuang? Let him show himself!”
“Lin Lan acknowledges Grand Patriarch Wang.”
Lin Lan, standing not far from Wang Yukun, gave a slight bow in greeting and continued, “Grand Patriarch Wang, you are the elder and therefore surely more reasonable.”
“My son Zhou Donghuang was bullied every so often in the past by your grandson Wang Feng, but never brought this matter to me… some days before, it was also under the provocation of your grandson Wang Feng that he lost control and maimed Wang Feng’s arm. If you don’t believe this, you may ask those who were present…”
Before Lin Lan could finish, she was interrupted by Wang Yukun’s roar, “Enough of this nonsense! I will be the judge of this! Today, if I say that he is wrong, then he is wrong! Bring him out to me at once. Otherwise, don’t expect any mercy from me!”
As Wang Yukun finished speaking, he looked at Lin Lan with eyes brimming with cold, murderous intent.
“What a bully! Such thuggish behavior!”
The gathering onlookers all felt a shiver in their hearts and agreed that Wang Yukun was being overbearing. But they were clear on one thing—Wang Yukun had the prerogative to be overbearing.
He was a level-two adept of Qi-gathering after all, and within Qingshan Town, there were few who could stand up to him. None could suppress him.
“Grand Patriarch Wang, since you feel that my son is in the wrong, let us consider him to be in the wrong… However, the failings of my son are purely the result of my inadequate upbringing.”
Lin Lan forced back anger and humiliation, gritted her teeth and continued, “Therefore, whatever offenses he has committed, allow me, as his mother, to bear all the consequences!”
“Whatever the consequence, let me take it!”
Lin Lan had only one thought in that instant: That she would protect her son Zhou Donghuang from harm even at the cost of her own life.
At this moment, the eyes of many of the gathered onlookers were wet with tears.
“Guild Master Lin Lan, I believe you are only Zhou Donghuang’s step mother? You are willing to sacrifice yourself to protect an adopted son, you truly are a shining example for all mothers!”
Many onlookers sighed at this, but they only dared to sigh softly, in fear of incurring the wrath of the Wang family.
“Aunty Lin Lan,” Qin Xiaoyu sobbed, tears streaming down her face.
Wang Yukun roared with laughter as he jumped off his horse, stopping only after he landed.
“How moving! Since this is the case, I will give you, Lin Lan, one chance. If you, Lin Lan, can withstand three blows from me and stay alive, I will spare your son’s life today!”