Joy of Life - Chapter 366[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:38]
Chapter 366: Heavenly Woman Scattering Flowers
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Xia Qifei left the Jiangnan Restaurant and stopped outside in the street. He looked at the people passing by in the night and couldn’t resist lowering his head slightly in thought.
“Boss.” A dozen men came up and stood around him. They looked at him with a thread of reverence and unfamiliarity, and saluted him respectfully.
These were all capable men of the Jiangnan water bandits. Because of the palace treasury matter, they had entered Suzhou with Xia Qifei. However, the city had always been well guarded. Some of these water bandits were even featured on wanted posters, so usually they would not enter Suzhou.
They never thought that thieves and bandits like themselves would not only be able to walk in around Suzhou in broad daylight, but that their big boss could sit at the same table as the wealthiest merchant families in Jiangnan. Those merchants usually only knew to use silver to buy the lives of their brothers to use. When had they ever done as they did today and treat Xia with such politeness?
Thinking of this, a sense of vanity and pride rose in those men’s hearts. This world was indeed not the same as before.
Seeing alarm, joy, and complicated emotions in his subordinates’ expressions, Xia Qifei couldn’t resist laughing self-deprecatingly and said, “Brothers, you should all learn a little. This time you’ve all seen those elders. When you have time, ask for instruction from them.”
The elders he spoke of were the old officials from the Ministry of Revenue that Fan Xian had sent to help him steal the bids. The Jiangnan water bandits were going to gradually expand into trade, and Xia Qifei hoped that his trusted aides would be able to quickly grasp the tricks of doing business. At least, they had to know how to keep accounts and such things.
Among the joyous atmosphere, Xia Qifei suddenly felt a chill.
He raised his head and gazed out. The bright moon was hanging in the dome of the clear night. It was spring, and the night of a clear day was indeed still a bit colder than usual. He pulled back his gaze and saw three strange people standing across the street.
The three were strange because of their sudden appearance and cold and silent gaze on the other side of the street. They were not people passing by at night or unhappy customers looking for some fun after drinking. The clothing they wore was normal, but the one in the middle was wearing a bamboo hat. On a night like this, it appeared rather special.
Having spent many years surviving in the jianghu and living between life and death since a young age, Xia Qifei did not even have the time to react. The chill in his bones and instinct for danger had a cold light shine from his eyes. He uttered a strange cry. The tips of his feet tapped three times on the ground. His entire person floated back in the direction of the door to the Jiangnan Restaurant.
Across the street, the man in the middle reached with his hands over his shoulder and under his hat and grabbed hold of something. Light suddenly scattered off a knife like a flurry of snow. It followed Xia Qifei like the body of a water bird that left no traces on the water it chopped down.
When the light scattered from the knife, the Jiangnan water bandits reacted. Relying on the bravery in their bones, they wanted to come between the boss and that soul-searching knife light. However, their reactions could never compare to the knife light of the bamboo-hatted man. Only the trusted aide closest to Xia Qifei gave a wild roar and pulled out the straight knife hidden in his clothes and, with strength pouring into both his arms, did his best to block.
With a crisp crack, the straight knife in the Jiangnan water bandit’s hand was snapped in two by the knife light like a tender Jiangnan lotus root. With a crash, the man’s body was split in two by the extremely berserk strike. He became two terrifying pieces of flesh and blood. Fresh blood sprayed out, and his internal organs flowed to the ground—the pair of already separated hands were still holding the knife handle and knife tip in a powerless and tragic defense.
The power of the knife did not stop as it flew through the silent air and approached the front of the Jiangnan Restaurant, where the tips of Xia Qifei’s feet had just touched the ground.
The knife qi was just like a straight line slicing through people and cutting through the ground. With a crash, it split open to stones in the street and revealed the fresh stone rubble within.
With a boom, the stones flew in all directions outside of the Jiangnan Restaurants and dust rose up. Xia Qifei gave a roar. He pressed his hands together and clashed against the forward pressing knife power.
The knife light suddenly withdrew, and the dust gradually settled.
The shaking had caused two spots of fresh blood to run from Xia Qifei’s nose. His palms were shakily held up in defense in front of his body. With a face full of alarm, he looked at the man with the bamboo hat across the street.
This one mark of the knife had sliced toward him across a long street. Along the way it had split open a man’s body and caused him internal damage. What kind of terrifying realm was this? He was probably already a ninth-level ace. How could Jiangnan still have such an unknown high-level ace? The knife had sliced with power and without reason through the night sky. In this moment of silence, only now did the people see clearly that man wearing the bamboo hat.
He was tall and exuded an air of solemnity. He held a long knife in his hand. The edge was white like snow, and the handle was very long. It was a long knife only seen on a theater stage or battlefield. The knife was two-and-a-half meters long. How did the other party hide it behind his body earlier?
All this happened in a flash. Only after Xia Qifei had fought for his life to block the strike of the knife did he blink. In one blink he found the situation was still scary. The two people beside the man with the bamboo hat had disappeared without a trace. He had no idea where they went.
Since the opposition was here to kill him, the other two were sure to strike.
As the man with the bamboo hat pulled out the long knife from behind his body and sliced down tyrannically across the street, the two other aces beside him had already floated away. They avoided the Jiangnan water bandits in the center of the street. Their figures were like swallows as they drew two beautiful arcs through the air. Like two dark arrowheads, they pierced toward Xia Qifei.
With the long sword splitting open the way like lightning and the two swallows flying in secretly and striking together, if nothing went awry the shocked and unsteady Xia Qifei should have died already. But he didn’t die. As Xia Qifei barely blocked the knife, there were new changes happening on the long street.
As the Jiangnan water bandits moved toward Xia Qifei to protect him, there were four people in this group that strangely moved to the side. When the two swallow-like aces wanted to flash through the sides at high speed, these four people flipped up their palms and removed iron rods from their long sleeves and sent them flying over.
It was a clean, simple strike, and it happened to land below the chests and abdomens of the two aces. It forced them to pull back and dodge.
These four were naturally the Sixth Bureau assassins that Fan Xian had hurriedly sent over.
Perhaps the Sixth Bureau assassins’ skills were not as high as those of the three aces who had come to kill, but they had a sharp natural sense when judging the situation and possible routes the opposition would take to strike. Thus, they blocked the two swallows that had attempted to kill.
Ding, ding, ding, ding…countless crisp sounds began to ring out on the street in front of the restaurant. It rang densely as if it would never end. It was as if it had suddenly begun to hail in this picturesque spring scene.
The two swallow like aces held two short swords in their hands. The poison smeared across them blinked with a faint glow in the dark.
The four assassins of the Sixth Bureau held metal rods in their hands. There were also poison spread on them, and they became one with the night.
A moment later, several groans seemed to ring out simultaneously.
The two aces who had approached to kill Xia Qifei returned with disappointment to the other side of the street. The clothes on their bodies had been sliced through a dozen times by the metal rod. Some of the deep places seemed to have scratched the skin.
On the side of the Sixth Bureau, they had also paid a hefty price. One person’s left hand had been completely sheared off, revealing the bone inside. Someone’s shoulder had been pierced by a knife, and the fresh blood flowing from it was beginning to change into a strange color. Another perhaps had already fallen into a puddle of blood.
The two sides faced each other. Each had suffered irreparable losses. The ringing sound had never known this kind of danger.
Even though they had sustained such heavy wounds, the assassins of the Sixth Bureau only gave a few muffled grunts. They were resolute and persistent, indeed not comparable to normal martial artists of the jianghu. The three people who could still move, as they ate the anti-poison pills the Third Bureau created, planned to pull back and reduce the area to be defended. They had to protect Xia Qifei’s life.
The two swallows who had retreated to the other side of the street seemed to not have expected the existence of such professional assassins around Xia Qifei. They had also suffered some significant injuries.
The two met each other’s gazes and knew that the opponents must be from the Overwatch Council. For the poison of the Overwatch Council, everyone knew their terrifying power regardless of their faction. The poisons made by Sir Fei Jie personally couldn’t be stopped by just anyone.
Thus, they cleanly and efficiently turned their bodies and rose. Tapping the tips of their feet against the wall, they headed into the night sky before disappearing from view. They were the true martial aces and assassins of Jiangnan. Today, they had been entrusted with killing Xia Qifei, but they had no wish to throw in their own precious lives.
A gentle noise came from far away in a small alley.
Of three aces across the street, two of them had left, however, Xia Qifei did not feel that his situation had taken any turn for the better. The pressure he felt had actually increased because that knife, that long knife that could only been seen on theater stages, had struck forward again as the battle raged fiercely beside him.
No complete enemy stood before the knife, and no soul of a complete body lay under the knife.
Like scattered snow, the knife light sliced through those courageous and venerable water bandits’ limbs, parting their bodies from their heads, and creating a bloody path. Through the dismembered limbs flying in the air, it came closer and closer to Xia Qifei.
He saw his brothers dying miserably on the street, heard the soul shocking sound of the knife and tragic cries, and smelled the thick stench of the iron in the blood. Xia Qifei watched the man with the bamboo hat approach step by step through the blood. The man walked with such determination and dedication; it was like he was a demon.
Xia Qifei’s heart grew cold, but his blood boiled. His eyes felt like they were going to split his sockets. He desired to rush forward to step in front of his brothers’ bodies and meet this ace with the bamboo hat in a vigorous battle. Even if he died beneath the blade, what of it? But, he couldn’t move. He instead retreated. He sorrowfully but determinedly escaped toward the restaurant.
He knew that the purpose of the other party was to kill him, but his name and his person was useful. If he wanted revenge…if he wanted his opponents to find it difficult to eat and sleep, he had to survive. Even if it was in such a humiliating way, he had to survive.
The man with the bamboo hat was only five steps away from Xia Qifei.
The three injured swordsmen from the Sixth Bureau finally returned to their positions. Due to their injuries, they could not stand against the ace’s shocking knife power. Their metal rods were broken in to a number of pieces, and the three were all sent flying back.
Jiangnan Restaurant was right in front of his eyes.
Xia Qifei escaped up the stairs.
The waiter and clients at the door screamed in panic but seemed to have been ensnared in a spell; their spirits shocked by this bloody and terrifying scene. Their legs turned soft, and it seemed like they couldn’t move.
The ace with the bamboo hat was still five steps away from the stone steps when he sliced down with his knife. The direction of the strike was toward the back of the extremely tragic Xia Qifei.
A seemingly scared dumb customer was holding on to a beautiful column. For some reason, he shook a metal rod into his hands and ruthlessly stabbed it toward the upper thigh of the ace with the bamboo hat.
The man with the bamboo hat was tall and mighty. This hidden Sixth Bureau assassin didn’t have the confidence that he would definitely succeed, so he took the opportunity just before the sword slashed through Xia Qifei’s body to strike somewhere vital. Thus, he had chosen the juncture at the upper thigh.
Unexpectedly, it seemed like the ace with the bamboo hat did not see this strike and continued to slice down.
With a dink, the metal rod hit the man’s thigh, but it was like piercing through a sheet of metal.
The assassin of the Sixth Bureau felt a chill in his heart. He knew that this was a stupid skill that no one still practiced on the jianghu—Iron Skin.
Since the other party had practiced it and had not dodged at all, that meant he had stupidly spent dozens of years practicing hard, giving up all the pleasures of men and women, and practiced this skill to the extreme.
This swordsman of the Sixth Bureau knew that he could not block this strike, but with the commissioner’s orders before him, he had to protect Xia Qifei’s life. Thus, he threw himself across. Without fearing death, he leapt toward the air above the ace. As he was in the air, he pulled a small dagger from his shoe and viciously stabbed toward the eyes the bamboo hat constantly covered.
The knife in the ace’s hand was less than half a meter from Xia Qifei’s back when two metal rods relentlessly appeared again.
Fan Xian had sent seven swordsmen from the Sixth Bureau to protect Xia Qifei. Five had already appeared. The two who had been silent until the end had originally planned to act as their leader had done earlier, to defeat and rescue, and protect Xia Qifei’s life. However, after discovering the strange and abnormal skills the other party possessed, they knew this method would not work. Furthermore, the knife had already arrived, so they could only helplessly clash head on against the opponent’s strike.
With an awful shrieking sound, the two metal rods did not break but were shocked from their hands.
Xia Qifei took advantage of this block and, like a pitiful little dog, leapt forward and narrowly avoided the strike. The light of the knife landed on the ground and gouged a huge chunk from the stone steps. He gave a cry and spat out a mouthful of fresh blood. He had still been struck by the ace’s qi activity. The power of the sword landed on his body, and he was the one with the heaviest internal damage.
After spraying out a mouthful of blood, he lay on the ground yet his expression remained ruthless. His right hand snaked out unbelievably quickly from under his left armpit, holding the small crossbow hidden in his sleeve. This was something the imperial envoy had given him for self-protection.
When the bolt fired, that Sixth Bureau swordsman had already landed before the ace.
The long knife in the ace’s hand was not easily drawn back. His left hand curled into a fist, and he struck out. With a bang, he sent the swordsman flying with a punch. In doing so, he left an opening in front of his face.
The narrow bolt approached the front of the bamboo hat. The man finally showed a slightly normal response as he slightly tilted his head back. It seemed like despite his powerful training, his face was still a weak point. The bolt flew through the air. With a whistle, it pierced deeply in to the top of the bamboo hat.
The bamboo hat was tied under his chin, so it was not taken away by the bold. Thus, the true face of this mysterious ninth-level ace was still not shown to everyone.
There was a soft noise, but it was not clear——slight boom, like when children played with firecrackers and also a crackling like when wood is being burned.
The bolt stuck to the top of the bamboo hat…exploded.
A streak of light flashed by, and the ace’s head immediately went up in smoke. It looked very strange.
Under the modification of the Third Bureau, although they were still unable to execute the full potential of gunpowder and it didn’t burn strong enough when lit, but nonetheless, in a flash the bamboo hat had burned completely away.
The ace held the long knife in his hand with his feet steadily placed. He stood silently before Jiangnan Restaurant. His face was pitch black. There was a terrifying blister in the center, and his eyes were tightly closed. It was difficult to see whether he was alive or dead.
Suddenly, he opened his eyes and a thread of rage flashed through them.
This mysterious ace was still alive.
But what surprised and confused everyone was not that this person could survive after such an injury, because given the other party’s power he was not easy to kill anyway, what surprised Xia Qifei and the Overwatch Council was that…this hat covered ace was…bald.
As all under heaven followed filial piety, the body, hair, and skin all belonged to the parents, so no one would dare to cut their hair, much less shave it all off. The only people allowed to move around without hair were…the Ascetics.
The Ascetics worshipped the Temple.
Yet, everyone knew that the Ascetics always loved the people and sacrificed themselves. They never interfered with battles in the mortal world. Why did this extremely powerful Asectic come today to kill Xia Qifei?
There was no time to think about this shocking question because this Asectic had once again lifted that tarrying long knife. With a muffled growl, he raised the knife with both hands and chopped down toward Xia Qifei on the stone steps. With the power of a crazed tiger, a thousand armies could not block it.
A thousand armies couldn’t block it, but one flower could.
The hopeless people on the stone steps only felt a light breeze skim past, an ocean-like flower opened before their eyes. In a moment, it had removed the stench of blood on the long street before the restaurant. Lightly scented flowers gladdened the heart.
A pair of steady and gentle hands held a basket with silk flowers bought from Wuzhou met the edge of the forward pressing long knife. The knife came quickly, but the hands moved even quicker. Somehow, in the next moment, the flower basket was already holding the long knife.
The power of the knife was very aggressive, and the flower basket was very light. When the flower basket was hung lightly at the tip of the sword that steady and fearful ling knife involuntarily began to shake and dip down. It was as if the flower basket was unbelievably heavy.
The knife paused. The Asectic wielding the knife roared and zhenqi surged from his arms. He lifted it as if he were lifting the Great Eastern Mountain.
With a sigh, the flower basket finally could not stand any longer against the two people’s shocking zhenqi. Flicked by the tip of the knife, it entirely fell apart. The flower basket woven from vines seemed to, in that instant of frozen time, be torn apart thread by thread and dissolve into countless pieces that exploded out, landing on the ground with a slapping sound.
But the silver flowers in the basket were flown by the wind and gently floated up, decorating the Asura-like killing field of the long street. In the rain of petals, the girl wearing the floral, cotton robe was like a gust of wind, following the shaking long knife and gently attacking toward the Ascetic.
He struck out with a palm. The palm wind was like a knife, but it could not stop the other party’s floating shadow. After a moment, gentle hands lightly tapped the hand of the sword and flicked out a finger piercing directly into the side of the Ascetic’s large hand.
The Ascetic let out a strange cry. His burnt face revealed a strange red color formed by a strand of surging zhenqi. His entire person was like a large bird as he backed away. With just one move, this god-like killer Asectic was forced back.
The flower rain continued to fall. Contrasted with the clear night and bright moon above Suzhou, it appeared particularly beautiful. The flower petals rained down, and Haitang stood with a peaceful expression in the flower rain. She did not follow up with another attack. She only looked at the Asectic with a trace of worry.
Even village girls have their most beautiful moment.
“Second Priest of the Qing Temple, why are you here?” Haitang said with worry on her face.
That Asectic gazed at her and recognized her identity. In a sharp voice he cried, “Haitang Duoduo! Why are you here?”
Haitang lowered her head slightly and said quietly, “I am here with Fan Xian.”
The Ascetic was startled. It seemed that he did not expect for Haitang, descendant of the Tianyi Dao, with the identity of the sage girl of Northern Qi, to speak of this reason so lightly.
“Today, I have to kill someone. Don’t stop me,” the Ascetic gazed at her and said coldly.
Haitang furrowed her brows slightly and looked up and down the stone steps of Jiangnan Restaurant at the people who had died in the middle of the long street. She saw the broken and dismembered limbs, and pungent puddles of blood, and gently said, “You have already killed enough people tonight. Don’t kill anymore.”
It was not a request or an urging. Since Fan Xian was not at ease with Xia Qifei over here and had, at the last minute, had Haitang come over to check, this represented his complete trust in her. With her here, other than the four old bastards of legend, if she said no more killing, then no one would kill.
Although the Ascetic had been burned badly, it was still possible to see a trace of determination on his face. He used a strange gaze to glance at Haitang before turning around and leaving.
Leaving did not require a road. He straightforwardly knocked down a wall beside the street. With a bang, a giant hole appeared in the wall, and his shadow vanished from within the hole.
The flower rain fell, and Haitang was silent. Then, she gently floated to behind the wall.