In the far away city of Cheng’an, the crow of roosters’ crescendo as the city awakes. In just a few moments, the city came to life and the fishermen set sail on their boats, paddling to sea as they slowly left the docks in search of fish to catch.
In the middle of Xilian lake, brothel boats lined the shore. And In the middle of Cailian alley and on the brothel boats, the harlots’ beloved whoremongers treaded sluggishly as they left the establishments to mount their horses. All the while dishevelled women blew kisses and flirtatiously winked at them through the windows as they departed. At the front gates, brothel-keepers were tidying up while the female servants gently removed the lanterns from the entrance, blowing out the candles inside.
Before sunrise, street food vendors on Hutong alley had already wheeled their carts in, setting up shop as they prepared their tables and stools, hailing for customers to dine at their stalls.
These ordinary people that resided in Cheng’an city lived content with the tranquil repetition of their daily lives, unaware of the huge turmoil that would befall them!
As though just as tranquil, in the side room of the Li house, Li Chengfeng jolted awake, drenched in sweat with a mortified look on his face.
Li Chengfeng had just woken up from an eerie nightmare. In the dream, he had witnessed a towering heavenly palace, a stunning and ethereal fairy…….and an army of terrifying and powerful enemies.
But Li Chengfeng had already forgotten what the palace looked like. As for the fairy in his dreams, he only remembered the white robe she was wearing shrouded in mist, her beauty so ethereal that it moved the very depths of his soul. And now as he recalled her face, it felt like it was a dream as such beauty could not be real!
Whereas the terrifying and powerful enemies, he only remembered them as a round of dark shadows and immense fear he felt from their menacing aura. Just the thought of it caused a cold sweat and sent chills down his spine!
Li Chengfeng let out a cry, and immediately there was movement from the outer room next to the side room. Zhao Xiaobao had rushed into the room the second he heard. He began nervously examining his Young Master from head to toe, checking if there was anything wrong with him.
“Young master…. Are you feeling ok? Is there anywhere on your body making you feel uncomfortable?” asked Zhao Xiaobao nervously.
Li Chengfeng gave him a weird look, “Have you gone mad? Why would I-”. Li Chengfeng stopped mid-sentence as his facial expression changed immediately, “Where is that priest?!”
“He…he left, young master.” Replied Zhao Xiaobao carefully.
Li Chengfeng was filled with rage. He swiftly jumped off his bed and rushed out of his room with his bare feet, muttering, “He left just like that? That b*stard! He took so much of our family’s posses-“
“Young Master! The priest did not leave before giving us a golden invitation!” Zhao Xiaobao quickly exclaimed, attempting to stop his young master from leaving.
“A golden invitation?”, asked Li Chengfeng curiously.
“Yes! A golden invitation! Whoever holds the golden invitation is able to enter the Spiritual Mountain Sect Young Master!”, replied Zhao Xiaobao, complexity filling his eyes.
Li Chengfeng was very surprised, “Found a conscience, has he? Hey, he has yet to discover our weakness, right? Did he not realise when we almost exposed ourselves?”
Zhao Xiaobao’s expression slightly changed as he put on a forced smile, “Of course not, how could he have found out?”
Li Chengfeng let out a sigh of relief. “How dare this imbecile hit my mother! Just wait until I see him, I will bury him in the cesspit!” Li Chengfeng said angrily.
“Young master, such an opportunity escapes you” Zhao Xiaobao replied, his gaze a mix of fear and respect.
“Oh right, what level did he determine me?” asked Li Chengfeng, his anger subsiding.
Zhao Xiaobao stuttered, “H-he said you were….”
“Well?!” Li Chengfeng responded impatiently. “What did he say about me ?!”
“He said the young master’s evaluation was of first-class level, a talented genius that every cultivating sect would fight to have for themselves!” whispered Zhao Xiaobao.
Li Chengfeng was stunned, “What? Really?”
Zhao Xiaobao nodded. But was quickly afraid it would not please the young master. Fearing it was too quick and not convincing, he nodded vigorously.
Suspicion filled Li Chengfeng’s expression, “Hmph! To hell with the Spiritual Mountain Sect! I couldn’t care less!” he scoffed.
Seeing that the lie he and Madam Xie carefully planned had worked, Zhao Xiaobao gave out a relieved sigh. “Yes yes, the young master is the world’s most talented genius ! Anyone could see that wherever you go!" Zhao Xiaobao replied with a smile.
“Precisely. There are so many other Sects in the world, why should I concern myself with only the Spiritual Mountain Sect?! the Qiankun Gate which ranks number one is much better!” Li Chengfeng guffawed.
“Yes, you’re right!” Zhao Xiaobao agreed enthusiastically.
“Oh that’s right, how has it been in Zhixi’s place? Did Qiu Liansheng have any messages for me?” asked Li Chengfeng.
“That shorty is done for. To think that he actually dared to strike the Taishou’s beloved mistress with a knife! The old man really must’ve thought he was invincible, he probably thinks that being able to live is a pain.” Zhao Xiaobao replied, he had never liked the fact that his own young master would hang around that short stoutly man.
Li Chengfeng chuckled, “Xiaobao oh Xiaobao, you may have street smarts but you lack the smarts to see the big picture! You’ve misunderstood the situation! Old Qiu is the smartest man I have ever encountered in my life, he will never do anything that would do himself any harm.”
“What do you mean?” asked Xiaobao unconvinced.
“If not for Qiu Liansheng’s seemingly reckless attack, how would Master Zhang be able to step down from this mess? Let the Zhan family take away his mistress? Not to mention the credibility he would lose if people found out about the crime of him harbouring a demon. He would lose his title and be thrown into prison! Also, if he, a mere fourth rate officer, refused the Zhan family’s wishes of taking his mistress away, wouldn’t that mean he would have to remain enemies with the Zhan families until the end?” replied Li Chengfeng.
“But wasn’t Su Zhixian willing to bleed in order to prove that she was innocent?”
Li Chengfeng sneered, “If she didn’t die, the Zhan family will always have leverage over him. They might use this as an excuse to force Master Zhang to do certain tasks. Only if she dies where the Taishou would be in a position where his power will not be challenged.”
Zhao Xiaobao stood there for a moment. “So, a life was lost for this mere reason?” He sighed.
Li Chengfeng froze. He suddenly imagined that if this happened in the Li family and the woman that he loved was being chased and assassinated. How would he feel if he were in Zhang Taishou’s shoes?
But, as quickly as he thought of it, Li Chengfeng had already swept the idea into the back of his mind. He waved his hand at Zhao Xiaobao and said, “Come! Follow me outside.”
Zhao Xiaobao was shocked, “Huh?! Young Master, why are we heading out at such an hour?”
“Just follow me.” Li Chengfeng replied, signaling Zhao Xiaobao once again.
“Y-Young Master! I still have duties to be tended to immediately by Madam Zhang’s orders, I’ll be taking my leave first!” stuttered Zhao Xiaobao, scampering out the door as he explained.
Li Chengfeng was confused, he could not understand why Zhao Xiaobao was in such a hurry. But he did not dwell on that thought as he approached the door. As he was about to leave, his vision suddenly turned pitch black. As if there were two large mountains blocking him, preventing his exit.
Li Chengfeng held his head up and tried to get a good look at the two figures in front of him, but they stood against the lights and their faces could not be clearly seen. He could only briefly make out their bull-like stature. In the instant the two figures stood at the door, the door was completely blocked, not even a ray of light shone through.
“Hey, step aside!” Li Chengfeng said, confused.
They stood there motionless, as if they couldn’t hear him. Li Chengfeng was enraged “Hey, are you two new here? Do you even know who I am?” he said angrily.
The huge guy on the left smiled and replied, “Of course we do! You’re the young master!”
“Since you already know, hurry up and step aside!” Li Chengfeng demanded.
These two burly men shook their heads, Li Chengfeng was filled with rage by that point.
‘Do they think this is their own home? How dare they ignore my orders!’
It felt like bringing a lantern to the toilet, as if they were looking for poop!
Li Chengfeng reached out his hand and attempted to push the two away. The moment he tried to push, he felt like he was pushing concrete walls! They remained completely still!
Oh! The audacity! Seems like they’re both set on not moving aren’t they!
Li Chengfeng stopped for a second, he continued to observe these two burly men in a more serious manner. Looking closely, he finally had a good look of their large faces. They had two beady eyes that are also thin like slits, possessing the exact same stupid smile as they chuckled and returned his gaze.
Li Chengfeng rolled up his sleeves as he threatened them, “I’m going to count to three. And if you don’t step aside by then, you both will be very sorry!”
The two of them chuckled, still having no desire to move.
Li Chengfeng was raging! “Alright, if that’s what you want! I tried to give you the easy way out, but you chose the hard way!” Just as he said this, Li Chengfeng took a step forward and kicked the shin of the man on the left, attempting to shift his centre of gravity, then quickly pressing him down with his own body weight to push him aside.
This was a special wrestling technique Li Chengfeng had learned from some herders in the north. It was designed to work on opponents who were larger.
Just as Li Chengfeng split his leg, he indeed managed to break the center of gravity of his opponent. But what he did not anticipate, was that before he could even push the burly man, the other one moved in on them, trapping Li Chengfeng firmly in between the two of them.
Li Chengfeng felt as if he was being crushed between two gigantic piles of pure fat. Forget wiggling, Li Chengfeng couldn’t even free his hand out from the hold of these two burly men.
It was Li Chengfeng’s first time to ever encounter such a bizarre situation. Who knew that this technique could even exist?
What is this? A meat sandwich?
Knowing only a few breathing techniques, Li Chengfeng felt like he was going to be suffocated from the squeezing. His entire head, neck and limbs had been clamped by these two men. Even someone who was well trained in Kung Fu wouldn’t be able to move in this situation! Li Chengfeng was left with no choice and asked with the last of his breath, “Hu-hurry up an-and p-put me down…”
“As long as you promise not to go out.” replied one of the men.
“Fine! Fine! Just put me down already! Put me down!” Li Chengfeng replied, he felt embarrassed and annoyed. He never would have thought that he would have made such a miscalculation and in turn, end up in such an unsightly situation.
Hearing his agreement, the two burly men quickly freed Li Chengfeng from their tight squeeze and without missing a beat, continued to guard and block the entrance.
Li Chengfeng took a few heavy breaths as he angrily glared at the two. ‘Where did these two come from? It’s going to be really hard to deal with them if I don’t use force! Unless… did mother hire them? But why would she ground me for no reason?’ He thought.
Li Chengfeng felt that this was going to be a very tricky situation. He can’t possibly hurt them, what if they really were hired by his mother? If he actually did harm them, wouldn’t that mean more bad news for him?
Li Chengfeng thought carefully, an idea crossed his mind. “You two won without using any skills! If you’re up for it, why not come at me one by one?” Li Chengfeng taunted.
The two burly men glanced at each other and sported a silly grin. “Sure, why not?” they replied in unison.
Li Chengfeng snorted, and in one sharp movement he rushed towards them like a bullet. Using the momentum to his advantage, Li Chengfeng rammed into the man on the left with all his might. And in a blink of an eye he rushed straight into the arms of his opponent, knocking the burly man two steps back.
Seeing that his plan worked, a smug Li Chengfeng was about to turn around. But before he could do so, a gigantic dark shadow appeared behind him and immediately crushed against him. Li Chengfeng was once again tightly trapped between the two men.
Li Chengfeng’s face was almost flattened, his face twisted, “I- I-… didn’t I say come at me one at a time?!” he asked furiously.
The big burly man in front of Li Chengfeng gave a silly smile and replied “Yes, and we did come one by one!”
Li Chengfeng froze for a moment, and he became even more furious!
You idiots! What I meant was one ON one, not one BY one!