Li Qingshan patted the three quivers of arrows at his hips. He put the Soaring Dragon Sword and the Stone Rending Bow on his back, and carried that Tyrant Spear with exceptional length and frightening weight on his shoulder. He vanished inside the snowy darkness, only leaving behind a series of deep footprints on the snowy ground.

Inside the government offices, the adviser said to Ye Dachuan: “My lord, Li Qingshan didn’t listen to your advice, there’s nothing we can do!”

Originally Ye Dachuan had seen that the n.o.bles were all intimidated by the Black Wind Camp’s threats and none of them wanted to help. Then he calculated that one versus two hundred was really a certain defeat. So he advised Li Qingshan to stay behind and take his time making his decision. How would Li Qingshan listen to him, he just forcibly demanded the official doc.u.ments and left.

Ye Dachuan kept circling inside the room when he suddenly stopped. He hopped on his feet and said: “Gather some soldiers for me?”

The adviser said awkwardly: “Where do we have any soldier?”

Ye Dachuan said impatiently: “Those n.o.bles actually dare to let their sons kill government employees in front of this official. The Dragon Gate Sect is even more of a great bandit lair. Tell them, any family that doesn’t send out men is a thieving rebel.” He realized clearly that there was no need for him to continue acting as the county magistrate if Li Qingshan were to die. It was even possible for the Black Wind Camp and the Dragon Gate Sect to pour their anger over his head.

The adviser said: “My lord please think twice!” This way they’d bitterly offend every n.o.ble inside Suncheer.

Ye Dachuan’s foot landed on his a.s.s, “Why haven’t you left yet!”

The adviser could only listen to his orders. He just went outside the hall’s door when he was blocked by a dozen pitch-black figures. No one knew when they had come inside the government offices. The adviser jumped in shock and looked their way as he borrowed the faint light from the lanterns inside the hall. He saw that the dozen of them each carried bows and arrows on their backs: “It…it turns out to be the Horse Rein Village’s, heroes, I…I don’t know what n.o.ble errand brings you here so deep into the night?”

Sick Yellow Tiger’s shoulders were wrapped in white clothes, but his bearing was as calm and steady as before as he patted the adviser’s shoulder, saying: “Lord Ye, Horse Rein Village’s Sick Yellow Tiger is willing to lend a hand.”

Sick Yellow Tiger and the others had searched for a tavern to stay for the night after Li Qingshan left. But before they fell asleep they got news that Li Qingshan had left the city armed to the teeth.

Sick Yellow Tiger would naturally not think that he’d made his escape. He suddenly rose: “I’m going out for a while. Little Black will be in charge while I’m gone!”

Everyone knew where he was going. Little Black said: “Chief hunter, we’ll go together with you!” After going through this matter, there was already a lot less of the frivolous childishness left on his face, and a lot more of an adult’s steadiness.

“The village comes first!”

Little Black: “The Horse Rein Village’s fame hasn’t been gained through compromise either. We now have a great feud with the Black Wind Camp, things won’t be peaceful for long. We can only stake our gambles on that man. If you let me be the one in charge, then this is my decision.”

Sick Yellow Tiger said: “Good, I haven’t suffered those two knives in vain today!”

The Suncheer City that had just regained its quiet became noisy once again.

Inside the Iron Fist Gate, Iron Lion Liu Hong likewise hadn’t gone to sleep. He was mulling over everything that had happened today when Dragon Li entered inside the room, kneeling down with a “dong.” “Master!”

Liu Hong frowned and said: “What are you doing?”

Dragon Li said: “I request the master to save the Crouching Bull Village!” The Black Wind Camp hadn’t razed the village yet, first because they wanted to first catch Li Qingshan this “chief criminal,” and secondly they didn’t act casually out of consideration for the Iron Fist Gate’s implication. But both sides had fallen out after tonight. The Black Wind Camp was certainly going to retaliate in a frenzy, and they were certain to wield the butcher’s knife.

Liu Hong said: “Go take everyone from your father’s house, and also everyone from Steward Liu’s house!”

But Dragon Li stayed on his knees and didn’t get up, “Please master save the Crouching Bull Village!”

“Didn’t you dislike that place?”

“But that’s the disciple’s home village!”

Liu Hong mumbled irresolutely to himself for a while, seemingly thinking about the gains and losses of

every facet. He suddenly stood up, “Go, gather the disciples!” He’d already taken into consideration the spirit ginseng carried by Li Qingshan and the Black Wind Camp’s wealth.

Dragon Li was delighted: “Thank you teacher!”

Ye Dachuan relied on his position as county magistrate, borrowed Li Qingshan’s prestige together with the Horse Rein Village’s might to command those n.o.bles to send out their men. But there were still some n.o.bles who meant to resist and didn’t want to send anyone.

Just as Sick Yellow Tiger was frowning and wondering whether he should kill someone to make an example, Liu Hong walked in in great strides. He said arching his hands: “Chief hunter Yellow, I’ve been looking forward to meeting your famed self for a long time.” Then he said to those n.o.bles still resisting: “Today Liu Hong pledges to remove a great evil from Suncheer City. If you all are ready to help, this Liu Hong will certainly not forget.” The implication underneath was, if you’re not willing to help, I won’t forget that either.

The n.o.bles finally didn’t dare to resist any further since circ.u.mstances had already reached this point. They reluctantly sent out their men. Although they were unwilling inside their hearts, they still gave out all their efforts when the time came to send out their men. Xiong Xiangwu’s words still floated in their ears. If they couldn’t kill the snake this time, they could only wait for their revenge, so they could only give it their all!

Moreover, with two mighty men like Sick Yellow Tiger and Liu Hong overseeing things, they truly felt that there was an opportunity to level the Black Wind Camp. The Black Wind Camp bringing disaster to the region didn’t truly have nothing to do with them. Just like Steward Liu’s nickname “Half Village Liu,” most of the lands around Suncheer City had been annexed by those local tyrants, and the villages looted by the Black Wind Camp were often part of their a.s.sets. Even more so about the kidnapping and ransom requests, those were too many to count. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been willing to let the first few county magistrates gather their bandit suppressing taxes to begin with.

Xiong Xiangwu would never had thought that his threats had instead forced the n.o.bles into becoming his blood enemies.

Ye Dachuan watched with disbelief the stream of people converging together. It had far exceeded his original expectations, there were actually four to five hundred people. He oversaw them in the center, relying on his status as a county venerable while Sick Yellow Tiger and Liu Hong restricted and ordered the men about. He’d never done such a heroic thing in all of his life, and the heart that had been shaded by fame and fortune unexpectedly also burned up with bravery.

The adviser stared blankly with round eyes and an open mouth. He thought about the words written inside books and originally far remote from him: The mighty issues a call, followers gather as clouds, and the world turns upside down.

The things in this world, maybe they merely needed a brave warrior, a hero to stand out, to transform the impossible into the possible, to guide the, to accomplish the so-called miracles.

However, this hero leading the way didn’t often have a good ending.

Old man pants opened the a.r.s.enal’s gate with two shaking arms. Piece after piece of armor and weapon were taken out, arming this bandit-suppressing troop. They set foot on their journey amidst resounding metallic clangs.

Sick Yellow Tiger thought: “I hope we’re not too late!” This gathering of men had already wasted too much time.

Liu Hong thought: “Kid, you have to hold on for a while. However, if you were to die, the old man will take revenge for you!”

Li Qingshan traveled in fast strides inside the darkness. The whole of his equipment weighed a hundred pounds or two. Not only he didn’t feel it was laborious, it gave him a kind of thrill at setting his strength free instead.

The iron armor was cold, but his blood burned increasingly hotter, and his steps became increasingly faster as he walked on. In the end he was simply galloping on the mountains and fields, his heavy footsteps echoing “dong dong” like war drums.

He had no idea how long he walked through deep mountains and old forests when his steps suddenly halted. His gaze pierced the wind and snow like swords as it fired toward the mountain valley. A camp creeped inside the darkness, faintly illuminated by the light of a few lanterns.

The Black Wind Camp was already in front of his eyes.

Li Qingshan didn’t rush hastily forward. He untied the wine gourd and drained it in one gulp. The stamina spent was restored in the s.p.a.ce of a moment, and there was a scorching hot breath b.u.mping wild inside his body like a wild horse.

He suddenly remembered a song from the Beijing Opera, and said at the top of his lungs: “Look in front, a pitch black hole, it must be that den of thieves, wait until I catch up forward and kill it clean and neat!1”

1. From Beijing Opera’s piece

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