Originally that group of men on the mountain road were people from the Dragon Gate Sect, and that guy with his nostrils looking up at the sky was actually the Dragon Gate’s young master. No wonder he was so arrogant and despotic.

Dragon Li said in surprise: “You know ‘Sick Tiger’?” Then he inevitably also saw the bow on Li Qingshan’s back. He couldn’t conclude that this was the “Stone Rending Bow” because Sick Yellow Tiger very rarely went to Suncheer City.

Li Qingshan nodded and didn’t say anything else.

Dragon Li said: “Could it be that this martial art of yours also was taught by hi…”

“It’s not, you don’t need to care about that. If you want revenge just come at me!” Li Qingshan didn’t plan on pulling Sick Yellow Tiger’s tiger hide to make a banner for himself, doing things like “the fox exploiting the tiger’s might1.”

Dragon Li’s facial expression changed and he thought: “This Li Qingshan’s martial art is already at the third-grade level, what kind of figure could his master be. On top of that he also has some relation with Sick Yellow Tiger. I only have a small dispute with him, what kind of benefit could I get be even if I were to kill him. It’s better to squash this enmity rather than keep it alive.”

Dragon Li made up his mind. His countenance suddenly changed as a little smile appeared on his face, even if the smile was a little forced: “Second Son, we’re fellow countrymen of the same village, what great blood grievance do we have that requires revenge.”

Li Qingshan was actually a little stunned. He originally thought that the following development would be: hit the small fry and provoke the old master, then they swarm him and force him into a desperate impa.s.se. After that he suddenly makes a breakthrough in his supernatural skill and explodes them all.

He didn’t expect that Dragon Li would look so impulsive but was actually so fickle. Moreover his facial skin wasn’t thin and he could unexpectedly turn his mouth around. This should also be regarded as experiencing the practical and greasy side of men from the martial world.

Dragon Li smiled and said: “Also, I exchanged three fists for two fists, that’s a profit for me.”

“I can still make you earn some more profit.” Li Qingshan could see that the other side originally longed for retaliation, and only turned his thoughts around when he heard Sick Yellow Tiger’s name. Thinking about it, it was already the second time today he got rid of troubles thanks to this. The mood in his inner heart was very complex.

He hoped that there would come a day when he himself could be like this, could be the same as Sick Yellow Tiger. No, stronger than Sick Yellow Tiger. When someone heard his name, even if it were a thousand miles away, they would still feel deep awe and wouldn’t dare take any rash arbitrary action.

Dragon Li smiled awkwardly: “That won’t be needed. Don’t just stand here, please come inside the house to talk. Since my Crouching Bull Village gave birth to such a young hero, I have to get a little closer to him.” Then he hugged his fist to all four directions: “Fellow country elders, please go first. When there’s time Dragon Li will come pay a call on each of you.”

The villagers looked at each others. The conclusion of this matter really went beyond their expectations, but they didn’t dare not obey since Dragon Li issued the notice to leave. They just silently gave the t.i.tle of Crouching Bull Village’s first hero to Li Qingshan inside their hearts.

Li Qingshan couldn’t refuse the invitation since the opposite side had lowered his stance to such a degree. It was just as he said, they didn’t have any extraordinary great death feud with each other. Moreover he also wanted to understand the situation in Suncheer City, especially about that Dragon Gate Sect.

Li Qingshan was invited inside Village Chief Li’s house under the many reverent gazes. His mood was spry and relaxed, far away from the anxiety of going to the banquet at Steward Liu’s. Seen by other people, he had a kind of arrogant and self-important aura. This was only a change in his state of mind and manners bought by his own power.

“Qinshan, your skills are so outstandig, do you have any thoughts about taking a commission in Suncheer City? Our Iron Fist Gate sincerely invites every hero under the sky to our doors. With your martial art, my master will certainly take a liking when he sees you.”

“I indeed have some martial learning, can I just be casually admitted inside the Iron Fist Gate?” Li Qingshan actually felt some admiration for this man’s broad-mindedness, but how could he know that Dragon Li also struggled inside. Although Li Qingshan hit him with two punches, they didn’t have any deep grudge or great hatred. If he could pull him into his faction, joining forces for mutual help and protection between people of the same village, it would be beneficial to his standing inside the sect.

“Of course you need a recommendation. Don’t worry, I can be your guarantor! My Iron Fist Gate is a big family with big industries, our influence isn’t limited to just Suncheer City. Our headquarters is set in Clear River prefecture. As long as your fist is hard enough and your merits high enough, you won’t have to worry about having enough s.p.a.ce to develop. Women and silver will be even easier to get…”

Tiger Li and Panther Li all revealed an extremely envious expression. They blamed their big brother for not recommending them, so they couldn’t enjoy the city’s women and silver.

“That’s right, that’s right, my family’s Able Liu occupies the post of steward at Old Hero Liu’s mansion, when the time comes he can look after you.” Steward Liu had also followed them inside. He rejoiced he didn’t offend Li Qingshan too bitterly at that time. Who could have thought that the cowherd boy from back then would become so powerful in a few trivial months.

As Dragon Li went on, Li Qingshan gradually understood that although the Iron Fist Gate opened shops and received disciples, they were closer to an influential faction entrenched in Suncheer City. That Iron Lion Old Hero Liu should be a faction leader or a branch gate master.

Li Qingshan said: “I’ll take the liberty to ask, in the martial world, which grade should Old Hero Liu’s martial arts count as?”

“Others might not be able to answer if you had asked them. My master has brought his iron fist to the point of perfection, he can be rated as a second-grade master.”

“Then how am I compared to him?”

“This…” Dragon Li hadn’t thought that Li Qingshan would compare himself to figures sitting at the top of Suncheer City as soon as he opened his mouth. Moreover it was with his master, so he felt some displeasure: “It’s not that I’m boasting, but Qingshan, although your martial skills are outstanding, you’re still only a peak character among third-grades. You’re still far away from being my master’s match.”

“Then what’s the difference between grades?”

“My master once said, a martial artist who’s only begun to touch the door to martial arts can face three to five burly fellows, while a proficient fighter of the martial world can face three to five such beginner martial artists, and so on. Although it’s not absolutely accurate, the rough outline is such. Once past this number, it’ll be difficult to face the crowd with only your two fists.”

“However, this is only talking about hard frontal a.s.saults. If using guerilla ambush tactics, a first-grade master expert in movement skills can kill several dozen second-grade masters to the point of making them lose gall at the whisper of the news. But several dozen ordinary trained archers can also kill a first-grade master.”

Li Qingshan roughly understood his own strength then. Those ginseng gatherers were precisely men who’d trained in martial arts, so at that time he was comparable to a proficient fighter of the martial world. That was why although he won, it had still been a miserable victory.

Afterwards, he barely reached the level of a third-grade master after some cultivation, and he only became a genuine third-grade master after drinking the spiritual wine. Dragon Li’s martial skills were enough to be called a proficient fighter but not yet a master, that was why he absolutely wasn’t a match for him.

“Apologies, I already promised Horse Rein Village’s chief hunter Yellow to join the Horse Rein Village, so I’m afraid it won’t be possible to comply with your invitation.” He couldn’t help thinking that a few months ago he couldn’t even rest easy sleeping in the bullpen. He was viewed as a thorn to the sides of his brother and sister-in-law, and they had thought up every possible way to chase him out. But now everyone tried to invite him.

Dragon Li thought “indeed” to himself, and said in regret: “Horse Rein Village, there’s not much profit to be gotten at that place. To speak of the four places of Suncheer City, it’s still more comfortable to join our Iron Fist Gate. They’re all nested inside the mountains, how could it compare to our nearness to this bustling world. Alright then, whenever you change your mind, come to Suncheer City and find me in the Iron Fist Gate as far as possible. Just tell them my name.”

Li Qingshan couldn’t refrain his smile. Indeed, not many journeyed the martial world for the sake of chivalry. He asked again about other information, and Dragon Li answered whatever he knew. Li Qingshan saw that the other side was so straightforward and not someone lacking in tact, so he became a little more respectful: “Brother Li, today’s neither the new year or a festival, why would you come back to the village?”

Dragon Li suddenly lowered his voice: “Even if you didn’t ask I would have told you. I came back this time for a great matter threatening Crouching Bull Village. It’s possible the Black Wind Camp will target Crouching Bull Village as the goal for their looting.”

Apart from Li Qingshan, the expression of everyone inside the room changed in a split second.

1. Chinese idiom, meaning to rely on connections to intimidate people. The author is doing his best to pull out all the tiger-related idioms…

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