Time went by without notice, and fall came in the blink of an eye. The maple leaves in the mountains gradually turned to red, and the bright golden rice ears also filled out.

A bull cart leisurely traveled on a small road between farm fields. No one drove the green bull pulling the cart. Thick animal skin was draped inside the cart, and a young man lay on top of them. He held a rice straw in his mouth, leisurely pillowed on his arms while he gazed at the sky. At his waist a short knife was tied at one side, while a wooden plaque hung on the other. It was none other than Li Qingshan.

He carried more than a thousand taels of silver and traveled to the Cedar Creek Town more than ten miles away. In a little remote village mountain, even wanting to spend money wasn’t easily accomplished.

If he wanted to buy things, he could only go to big towns or cities. Although there were a great variety of goods in Suncheer City, it was too far away, and it certainly wouldn’t be cheap either.

He could only settle for the second best and go to the town. Every month at a preset time, the town would organize a large-scale market gathering, and at that time all the villagers in the surroundings would go to the town and visit the market, conducting all kinds of buying or selling. It was precisely the best opportunity to buy ginseng. Moreover, he had gathered quite a bit of animal skins and could also take the opportunity to get rid of them.

Originally Li Qingshan didn’t want to let the green bull pull the cart, but the green bull didn’t mind in the least to continue acting as an ordinary bull.

Sunlight had only just been released over Cedar Creek Town when he reached it. There was an endless stream of horses and carriages in the small town while men bustled back and forth. Many a small merchant promoted their goods in great voices. It was an extremely lively scene.

Li Qingshan found an empty spot and laid the animal skins on a sackcloth he prepared beforehand. He didn’t imitate the others in yelling but merely sat on the side in meditation. He didn’t waste the slightest opportunity to cultivate.

Inside his body, that weak shred of qi flow already became a little more robust. He was like a child who only wanted to play and kept urging the shred of true qi to flow all around inside his body.

Although he didn’t move, doing such was also extremely taxing on the mind and spirit. Li Qingshan often opened his eyes and answered the customers who came to inquire about prices.

He had a huge amount of money and wasn’t counting on those animal skins to make a fortune. He only wanted to sell them and get rid of them as fast as possible and buy a lot of ginseng, so the prices he’d set were extremely cheap.

So although he refused to bargain, his business was still excellent. Winter was coming. Li Qingshan was someone who’d suffered through the pain of winter wind biting into his bones. Who among the common folk didn’t want to make a leather coat or a pair of leather boots, and in not much time a big group gathered around him.

“Out of the way, out of the way!” Several young people carrying bows and hunting knives split the crowd with unkind faces. They circled around the little stall, the shadows of their heads falling on Li Qingshan’s body.

Li Qingshan opened his eyes: “What brings all of you here?” His present vision was already very different than in the past, and he could see at a glance that those people weren’t good to deal with.

Although they were all young and didn’t have any especially fierce or vicious expression, their bodies carried a vigorous killing aura. If Baldy Liu could have been said to be a randomly barking balding dog, then they would be violent mountain guard dogs. Any one between them could easily cut off Baldy Liu.

A sharp-looking young man with a short stature and a small beard inquired: “Where did you get those beast skins?”

His companions hovered their hands over the skins and discovered that they were like the rumors said. Those beast skins had no arrow holes on them, or any kind of trace of damage. They were all of first-cla.s.s quality, but the price they sold at was even cheaper than ordinary skins.

“Buy it if you want to buy, go away if you’re not buying, don’t block the sunlight.” Li Qingshan was too lazy to make up some excuse and explain to some strangers, and he closed his eyes to cultivate.

The people around had already moved away a little, but they didn’t leave. On the contrary, there were more and more people crowding around. Their various discussion all clearly fell into his ears.

“Aren’t they hunters from Horse Rein Village?” “He actually dares to disregard people from Horse ReinVillage, I don’t know how many lives he’s got?”

“Horse Rein Village!” Li Qingshan’s heart flashed. Although he was ignorant and inexperienced, this place was still like thunder in his ears. This was one of the villages surrounding Cedar Creek Town, sitting very deep inside the hundred thousand mountains. Those who lived there were all hunters and born hunters for many generations, so it was no wonder they carried this kind of temperament with them.

Compared with Crouching Bull Village this kind of village that mainly relied on agriculture, Horse Rein Village had much swifter and fiercer customs. They fought everyday with the wild beasts in the mountains, and they also practiced some martial arts handed down from generation to generation. They never agreed to abide by Suncheer City’s rules, not even talking about paying taxes.

Some people in Suncheer City had once tried to send troops on a punitive expedition there, but before even reaching the village, they encountered countless traps and hidden arrows. They rushed to the village with great difficulty, having lost half their men and horses. The great army’s moral was at the bottom, and the general leading the troops merely reined his horse in front of the village and dejectedly fled back to to Suncheer City.

Since then people forgot the village’s original name and changed it to “Horse Rein Village.”

It was obvious to imagine what kind of pride and arrogance the villagers had, living in a village who could make a great punitive army return back with its tail between its legs,. For a young man not yet an adult to contend against them was like striking stones with an egg.

The short-statured young man said full of anger: “You can’t sell those skins here!”

“Based on what?” Li Qingshan opened his eyes, a flash seeming to pa.s.s in his eyes.

It made the young man think of the glowing light in the mountain’s wild beasts’ eyes inside the darkness, and he instantly became vigilant. But he wasn’t afraid. They were hunters who fought and killed wild beasts, and looking at the peasant attire on Li Qingshan he became even more disdainful: “Based on this daddy not letting you sell!” So saying he reached his hands to tear off Li Qingshan’s stall.

A coa.r.s.e big hand grabbed this young man’s hand like an iron lock. There was unexpectedly some stabbing pain.

The young man was surprised: “This guy is really strong.” But his reaction wasn’t slow in the least, and his left fist directly fired at Li Qingshan’s face.

His companions didn’t have any notion of lending a hand. They merely watched on the side with a detached air, seeming extremely confident. Some even carried a disdainful smile on their face.

To be honest, this was the first time Li Qingshan genuinely fought hand to hand with someone. Baldy Liu in all his drunkenness didn’t have the slightest strength to resist, while the witch was even bitten back by the ghost haze.

The fist broke the air and came very fast, not giving any time for reflection. But those many days of training had born results. Li Qingshan subconsciously slanted his head and avoided the blow. His right foot stamped on the ground and his body leaned forward.

With the spine as the center, every muscle in his body shook and combined into one whole. He fired off a shoulder strike1, and heavily knocked against that young man with a powerful force.

The shoulder strike was a very common style among fist techniques. The [Bull Demon Strong Fist] also had such a move that merged its three main styles at the same time.

Bull Demon Ground Stamp, set the heel firmly down and gather strength from the ground. Bull Demon Skin s.h.i.+ft, make the body tough and tenacious, unmovable and unshakable. Bull Demon Horn Gore, use the body as bull horns and ram out. The three moves were all executed smoothly.

The green bull crouched behind and nodded in satisfaction.

The young man turned pale with fright. It was like a raging bull coming to ram him, and with a pain in his chest he flew out from the b.u.mp, landing inside the crowd. It felt as if his whole body’s muscles and bones were about to scatter apart.

The discussion voices of the surrounding people came to an abrupt end. The young man’s companions also stared blankly, then furiously charged over.

Li Qingshan’s expression became all the more cautious. One versus one and one versus many were two entirely different things. Except if the difference in strength was too great, it was difficult to contend with a crowd with a mere pair of fists. When a st.u.r.dy bull was surrounded by a group of vengeful hunting dogs, it could only end up with its flesh torn apart piece by piece until it died.

At this critical moment of danger, the shred of true qi livened up and flowed to Li Qingshan’s eyes that were exerting all of their focus. He only felt their movements suddenly slow down, slowed to a point where even the furious expression on their faces could be clearly distinguished.

1. 铁山靠 in the original text, literally “Lean of the Iron Mountain.” It’s a shoulder strike move of the bajiquan, a Chinese martial art.

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