Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Ziyun Era,10 January 1228, noon.
Seven men stood in the Hall of the Lu family house. The atmosphere was tense. Besides the Lu family’s chief, Lu Qinghu, the Ma family’s Chief Ma Tianba, and the Fang family’s chief, Fang Jishan, there were four other people. A middle-aged man and an old lady stood behind Lu Qinghu—his second brother, Lu Bao and the Lu family head elder, Lu Pinglan, both level-three adepts. The middle-aged man behind Ma Tianba was the Ma family second elder, Ma Dongfeng, a level-three adept and the second strongest in the Ma family. The old man behind Fang Jishan was the Fang family head elder, Fang Zhan, a level-three adept whose strength was second only to the Fang family chief.
The seven level-three adepts had gathered here on this day because of the letter that Lu Qinghu had received the previous day.
“Will Zhou Donghuang really be coming?” Fang Jishan frowned.
“Since he already sent a letter, he will definitely be coming,” said Lu Qinghu solemnly. “Otherwise, the only possibility is that the letter was a prank. But that’s unlikely. After all, only the three families here know that each of our sons has been killed by him.”
As the saying went, don’t hang one’s dirty linen outside. The Lu, Ma, and Fang family have kept the fact that Lu Yuan, Ma Jin, and Fang Tianyi have been killed as a close secret.
“Master, Zhou Donghuang is here!” Just then, a voice rang from outside. The seven adepts in the hall immediately tensed.
After a while, they saw an ordinary-looking young man in a white gown walking slowly into the hall with his hands behind his back, under the guidance of a Lu family member. Behind the young man was a teenager with strong features, followed behind by two muscular, middle-aged men.
The two strong men were carrying a two-meter long spear. The spear was totally black with a red iridescence, and the sharpened blade shone with an eye-catching glint, displaying its sharpness.
“You are Zhou Donghuang?” Lu Qinghu stepped forward, glaring at the young man.
“Lu Qinghu?” Zhou Donghuang glanced at Lu Qinghu as he asked in a calm voice, totally unlike that of such a young man. Although this was his first time meeting Lu Qinghu, Fu had gone out to find out more about the Lu, Ma and Fang family these two days, so Zhou Donghuang knew about Lu Qinghu.
Despite his frail body, Lu Qinghu was the most powerful one within the Lu, Ma and Fang families.
“You’ve got guts. We haven’t gone to find you, but you came yourself instead.” Lu Qinghu laughed coldly.
“I’ve no choice… your three sons scared away all my customers in Yunxuan Restaurant in Qingshan town. If I did not look for you, my restaurant would not be able to open.” Zhou Donghuang’s gaze skimmed across Lu Qinghu, Ma Tianba, and Fang Jishan. His tone was calm.
At the same time that he had recognized Lu Qinghu, he had also recognized Ma Tianba and Fang Jishan. When Fu had sent the letter, he had already expected the Ma and Fang family to turn up as well, as they had always been on close terms with the Lu family.
In Yunfeng County, for lesser families to survive, they had to stick together, or they would be bullied by the preeminent families.
“They were smart, if they had not run, they would’ve been buried together with you!” Ma Tianba glared at Zhou Donghuang menacingly.
“I shall not waste time on nonsense.” Zhou Donghuang’s eyes suddenly sharpened. “I am here today for one thing only. Your three families shall send members without any martial art talent to Qingshan town to be servant girls and clerks at my Yunxuan Restaurant. Of course, we will pay them their deserved salaries.”
If the three big lesser families sent people to work at the restaurant, it would be able to re-open. The chefs who used to work at the restaurant would naturally return once they saw the three big lesser families sending people to work at the restaurant. In any case, they would not be able to earn anything better than the salary at Yunxuan Restaurant.
All was silent after Zhou Donghuang had spoken. Even Fu, who was standing behind Zhou Donghuang, was shocked. Although he had known that his young master had come to solve the trouble that the three lesser families had caused to Yunxuan restaurant, but he had not imagined that his young master would simply ask the families for people.
“Hahaha…” Ma Tian burst into tears of laughter and was visibly agitated.
Lu Qinghu also began to laugh, as a smirk appeared on the faces of the rest as well.
“Today, you brought the black iron spear from the Hall of Gods here to give it to the three families here as a peace offering?” Fang Jishan joked. When Zhou Donghuang entered, he had noticed that the black iron spear that the two men were holding was the one from the second floor of the Hall of Gods.
“Hmm?” Upon hearing Fang Jishan’s words, Lu Qinghu and Ma Tianba turned their gaze to the black iron spear. As the chiefs of the three big lesser families of Yunfeng county, they had all been to the second floor of the Hall of Gods and could easily recognize that this was indeed the heavy black iron spear from there.
“One hundred and forty thousand liang of silver, how generous of you!” Ma Tianba’s eyes flashed with greed as he smiled at Zhou Donghuang. “Why don’t you leave the spear and stay for the day too.”
“How about the rest?” Hearing Ma Tianba’s words, Zhou Donghuang only glanced at him and looked at Lu Qinghu and the rest as he asked with an air of nonchalance.
Fang Jishan smiled coldly, “Since you’re here, don’t think of leaving.”
Lu Qinghu was silent, but the murderous glint in his eyes said it all. Now, he was not thinking of what secrets Zhou Donghuang was hiding nor the relationship between Zhou Donghuang and Zhao San. If he really had a trump card to play, why would he bring such an expensive gift to ask for forgiveness?
“I advise you reconsider.” Zhou Donghuang’s eyes narrowed.
“No need to consider.” Ma Tianba cackled as he walked faster and faster towards Zhou Donghuang.
“I gave you all a chance.” Zhou Donghuang shook his head and sighed quietly. In a swift movement, he had used Star-Stepping Footwork to step behind the two strong men.
Wham! As Zhou Donghuang raised his hand, he grabbed the black iron spear and lifted it off from the two strong men. In the next moment, Zhou Donghuang’s internal qi shook as it leaped in waves towards his two hands, just like the waves of the sea stacking on top of one another. He was using Qi-Stacking, a level-one technique.
“What! A level-two adept thinking of using this heavy black iron spear? Ridiculous! Even a level-four adept can’t use this 600kg heavy spear to fight.” Ma Tianba was filled with disdain as he watched Zhou Donghuang pick up the weapon. He was not surprised that Zhou Donghuang managed to pick up the spear as any level-two adept could accomplish that. But to use it to fight would require the skill of at least level-five of the gathered qi. Even a level-four adept would find it difficult to use it to fight with ease.
Ma Tianba was not alone in thinking this way. Lu Qinghu and the rest did not believe that Zhou Donghuang could use the spear.
But what happened next shocked all of them.
Boom! As Ma Tianba advanced towards him, Zhou Donghuang moved his right hand holding onto the black iron spear, and the spear flew out like a bolt of black lightning and struck Ma Tianba like a whip.
Zhou Donghuang was strong to begin with, but with the power of Qi-Stacking and the sheer weight of the 600kg heavy iron spear, it was as if Ma Tianba had been hit by a speeding truck.
Whoosh! Ma Tianba’s body flew weightlessly as the black iron spear landed in him.
With a loud rumble, the thick wall of the Lu family courtyard was smashed, and pieces of brick fell to the ground as Ma Tianba was thrown out of the courtyard.