Ye Dachuan was stupefied by his ambition. He’d only been thinking about how to preserve Li Qingshan’s life under the Black Wind Camp’s threat. It would have been best if he could make use of him. But he never thought about going on the offensive and provoke the Black Wind Camp. He wanted to urge him not to get carried away with his wishful thinking. I’m not taking the money to suppress bandits, it’s to stuff up my pockets. When the times comes we’ll scare off those n.o.bles a bit and collect their money. Everyone will get their share, how nice is that.

But he saw the firmness of Li Qingshan’s gaze. Even though his face still hadn’t shed off all of its childishness, it was filled with self-confident and high-spirited vigor. His words of exhortation died in his mouth. There was a power about this young man that could move human hearts.

There was a long struggle and hesitation on Ye Dachuan’s face, then he suddenly slapped the table and said: “Good! If you truly have this self-confidence, this official will accompany you in this gamble!”

The adviser rushed forward. “My lord, you can’t! Those peoples from those places can’t be provoked.”

Ye Dachuan said: “Move aside. This lord also has bravery in his heart. What can’t be provoked, I just happen to want to provoke them!” Hot blood had rushed to his face, but his brain was operating at high speed. Li Qingshan had killed twenty or thirty Black Wind Camp people by himself on top of a boss. The Black Wind Camp still had probably around two hundred men, meaning ten times more. Could it be that I’m unable of gathering a hundred and sixty or seventy soldiers?

One had to say, the calculations of the great lord Ye who’d never mixed with the martial world and never waged war were considerably naive, but once someone started fantasizing they truly didn’t take much else into consideration.

If he could exterminate the Black Wind Camp, he wanted to see who would still dare to say he was an idiot who rose to position networking through skirts. See who still dared not to pay him their money. And if he let his sister blow some wind into his sails on the pillows, who knew if he couldn’t even get a promotion and leave this d.a.m.ned place. Moreover, the most important thing was, the Black Wind Camp should certainly have had quite a bit of treasury after looting the local area for so many years. Could be as much as five thousand, no, ten thousand taels of silver.

Lord Ye couldn’t even maintain his hot-blooded appearance as he thought of the s.h.i.+ning white silver piled into mountains. Drool almost flowed out of his mouth.

At dusk, the most luxurious restaurant in Suncheer City, Suncheer House, was resplendent with light. A dozen banquet tables were set, so luxurious it was painful for Ye Dachuan. Each and every of the wealthy and n.o.ble characters of Suncheer City were invited.

Ye Dachuan acted in line with the principle of nothing ventured, nothing gained. He’d painfully shed off capital painstakingly earned with his blood and tears. Of course, the most important reason was that the restaurant’s owner’s smile wouldn’t change no matter how he tried to persuade him, but no matter what he wouldn’t let lord Ye buy on credit.

That was why his expression wasn’t too great as he sat down on the main seat. Li Qingshan stood at his side just like a bodyguard, willingly acting as a foil. He saw lord Ye’s ugly expression and smiled as he said: “There’s no need for my lord to be distressed about silver, didn’t I pay it off already?”

It turned out that lord Ye couldn’t take out so much silver in the end, and it was still Li Qingshan who’d paid the money. He wasn’t a narrow-minded person. He was far much easier to talk to than ordinary people as long as one was willing to treat him with respect in good faith. He had a heroic spirit that esteemed feelings and was indifferent to wealth.

But if someone adopted a high and mighty posture, trying to establish any initial show of strength to beat him into submission, then please humbly forgive him for not being so good-tempered.

Ye Dachuan muttered: “Waiting until I collect silver, I’ll certainly pay you back!” This county magistracy of his had such a lack of face, this powerful subordinate was probably mocking him.

Li Qingshan waved his hand and said: “The lord is also doing it to help me. No need to raise the matter of the silver again.”

The adviser welcomed n.o.ble personages one after another downstairs. The wooden stairs sounded with incessant “dong dong dong.” Everyone offered salutations to Ye Dachuan when the walked up, greeting as him if very respectful: “Lord Ye.” Then they took a deep glance at Li Qingshan and said with arched hands: “This one must be the Tiger Descending the Mountains who felled numerous bandits with his own hands. Your fame is like thunder in my ears, like thunder in my ears!”

They were all well-informed people and clearly knew who was today’s genuine protagonist. It was certainly not this Ye Dachuan without any foundation or means, but this young man who’d killed off several dozen mountain bandits.

They didn’t fear Ye Dachuan. They were even unafraid of Li Qingshan, but the combined strength and fame of those two people made them feel ill at ease. They probably couldn’t continue to gloss over the county magistrate like before.

Heavy footsteps stamped upstairs. They didn’t have time to react yet that they heard the adviser downstairs yell at the top of his lungs: “Iron Fist Gate’s Old Hero Liu has arrived.” Everyone’s eyes were concentrated at the mouth of the stairs, and many people even stood up. This level of respect was far from what an empty sh.e.l.l of a county magistrate like Ye Dachuan could match.

The Iron Lion Liu Hong walked upstairs as he led his two disciples Dragon Li and w.a.n.g Lei, looking indeed inordinately proud.

The gentry surrounded them one after another. They kept calling out “Old Hero Liu,” “Old brother Liu” depending on their respective age and status. Even the two disciples beside him obtained countless words of praise.

Quite a few n.o.bles glanced over at Li Qingshan while talking, as if to say: “We know the Iron Fist gate master. Even if you’re tough and fierce you still can’t act recklessly!” In their eyes, even if Li Qingshan was strong, there was still a great difference compared with a character of the martial world with a long-established fame like Liu Hong. This was precisely what they were counting on.

Li Qingshan hadn’t expected Liu Hong to be also included in the figures Ye Dachuan wanted to introduce him to. But thinking about it, he realized that the leading characters of Suncheer City would have organized a greeting ceremony for Ye Dachuan, even if they didn’t take this county magistrate seriously. Otherwise, wouldn’t it amount to not putting the lord prefect into their eyes. Hence the greatest local tyrants of Suncheer would certainly not be missing at such a venue.

Li Qingshan saw Ye Dachuan expose an awkward expression and hesitate about whether he should stand up, so he put his hand on his shoulder and let him stay seated.

A scene that made the crowd astonished emerged at this moment. Liu Hong left the crowd and walked in front of Li Qingshan, saying with a smile: “Young hero Li, we meet again.” The mild att.i.tude made them doubt whether this was the Iron Lion Liu Hong they knew.

w.a.n.g Lei also offered an awkward greeting, not daring anymore to be rash with this young man

many years younger than him.

Ye Dachuan was about to help Li Qingshan make the introductions, and was also shocked when he saw this scene: “You know each other?”

Liu Hong patted Dragon Li’s shoulder: “He’s from the same village as my youngest disciple and they’ve been familiar with each other since they were young. It’s also Dragon Li who led him to purchase clothes today when he came to Suncheer.” He’d seen Li Qingshan at first glance as soon as he stepped upstairs and seen him wearing navy blue warrior garments. He stood beside the windows with his hands behind his back, lofty as a lone pine on a cliff, looking like a crane amidst a flock of chicken that attracted everyone’s attention.

Although he felt some animosity toward Li Qingshan in his inner self, he still couldn’t refrain his eyes from s.h.i.+ning bright as he praised: “What a valiant young man.” Heroes of the rivers and lakes weren’t extremely fond of men with excessively handsome features. On the contrary, this appearance of Li Qingshan’s could count as a gold standard in his eyes.

Dragon Li could already be said to be someone with outstanding apt.i.tude. He’d taken a fancy to him and received him as his adored last disciple. But compared with this Li Qingshan, it was like a weed facing a pine tree. I don’t know who had this insight for recognizing talent and discovered this fine jade. Why couldn’t I see it back then when I went to Crouching Bull Village?

How could he imagine that Li Qingshan was still in his infancy back when he’d taken Dragon Li as a disciple. Of course there were the many changes brought upon Li Qingshan by the supernatural skill, but one could still see that Li Qingshan’s original apt.i.tude wasn’t lacking. With the wisdom of a man from two worlds added on top of that, someone would have taken a fancy to him long ago if it weren’t for his unfortunate reincarnation that saw him be born in a desolate place like the Crouching Bull Village, and he’d have reached some achievements already.

It was said that heroes weren’t afraid of lowly origins, but still no could deny the importance of one’s cla.s.s origin.

The n.o.bles’ mood immediately tumbled into a deep ravine. They originally wanted to rely on Liu Hong’s might to resist Li Qingshan, but how could they imagine that Li Qingshan was even more familiar with Liu Hong than themselves. The two of them had the faint att.i.tude of friends of equal status. They watched Li Qingshan once again with much more cautiousness in their eyes.

Ye Dachuan’s heart was so happy that it bloomed like a flower. “So it turns out that the bailiffs had invited him away from you. Qingshan once rescued this official from the mouth of a tiger. This official only found him today and invited him to act as a constable.”

Liu Hong had also been curious at first why Li Qingshan had joined county magistrate Ye as soon as he came to Suncheer City. He only understood now: “So it turns out that Qingshan is that stream-crossing tiger-chasing young hero the county magistrate was talking about. Since lord Ye invites talents and call on the valorous no matter their age or origins, it’s only a matter of time before you can establish your foundations in this Suncheer City.”

Li Qingshan said neither servile nor overbearing: “I don’t deserve so much praise from Old Hero Liu, I’m also merely trying to borrow lord Ye’s power, trying to do something for the people of Suncheer and get rid of a malignant tumor.”

The corner of Liu Hong’s eye twitched. He chuckled and declined to comment.

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