The Grim Stork’s sudden appearance outside Cheng’an City and its attack on the Cleansing Moon Li family heading for their annual ancestral prayers resulted in thirteen deaths, twenty injuries and eleven missing people. It was a tragedy. The Young Master of the Li family, Li Chengfeng, was one of the missing.
This news shook the entire city, with the prefecture chief Zhang Junheng immediately mobilising the city defence troops and opening the weaponry to take out thirty crossbows, fifty anti-demon shields, and a hundred anti-demon spears. One thousand soldiers were sent to surround the Grim Stork.
After an intense battle between the military and the Grim Story that lasted half a day, the Grim Stork was struck down the cliff and the tragedy ended
Oh, how the people of Cheng’an City cheered and celebrated! No one knew who was the one who truly delivered the fatal blow.
It was a peaceful era within Daqi. Especially in regions that had not suffered war for a long time, the only battles they fought were against beasts and demons like that. But once they appeared, the battles were bloody and the city would suffer many casualties.
The prefecture chief had reacted quickly this time, the troops immediately mobilised after receiving news. The people all praised him for solving the problem so quickly.
Zhang Junheng accepted the credit for killing the Grim Stork graciously, believing no one would take this from him.
At the same time, the disaster-stricken Li family was forced back to Cheng’an to recuperate. At least Li Chun had maintained a fit physique since his younger days so while he sustained major injuries, his life was not in danger.
But Li Chengfeng’s disappearance still dragged the entire Li family into a panic, especially for Madam Xie, who was increasingly unstable.
“Agatha, go to Baizhi Hall to get some medicine. Make an appointment with Doctor Zhou, the Master’s condition is recurring again.”
“Asparta, go look for Flying Leopard from Zhongyi Hall east of the city and get him to bring ten of his best men over. Three days two nights, one silver each. Go.”
“Uncle Cheng, we’ll pass kitchen duty to you and Auntie Li, remember to watch each other and keep the accounts.”
“Eh, what are you doing here for? Go carry this to the backyard, what’s it doing here, blocking the front door? Idiots!”
“You, what’s your name again? Whatever, go take care of Sunniang, you’re just in the way here.”
Once they returned to the Li family, Madam Xie went straight to the ancestral hall in the backyard without appearing for two days. Naturally, Green Bead took charge in the front hall.
She had been with Madam Xie for many years and learned a lot. That was why the entire household was managed in an orderly manner through her instructions.
However, Green Bead’s brows remained tightly furrowed. She was deeply worried. Turning to look at the backyard, she wondered how her Master and Madam were. Would the Li family collapse because of this?
Green Bead had grown up in the Li household, she was practically raised by Madam Xie. Since she did not know who her real mother was, she saw Madam Xie as her own mother and the Li family as her home. Naturally, she knew that all the hopes of the Li family fell on one person-- the usually unreliable Young Master, Li Chengfeng.
The Li family had gritted their teeth to pay the Spiritual Mountain Sect a fortune in offerings to ensure a place for him as a cultivator in the sect! Once he became a successful cultivator, the Li family would restore its former glory once again!
But at this rate…
Everything was in shambles!
Green Bead’s heart ached for the family. She wiped the tears in her eyes and faked her calmness to instruct the rest on their chores.
Now that Zhao Xiaobao was not here, they lacked a fighter that could protect their family, as well as an all-rounded helper. With several servants injured or dead, they were understaffed.
At least Madam Xie had the foresight of buying Agatha and Asparta so they still had some good help.
The front hall of the Li Residence was thick with the smell of medicine. Green Bead herself was busy taking care of the other injured servants, sending them water.
“Sister… Green Bead!” Agatha was not proficient in the Daqi language but at least she spoke it better than Asparta. She had rushed over in a hurry, panting heavily.
Green Bead handed her a cup of water. “Sister Agatha, slow down. What did Doctor Zhou say? He’s not coming?”
Agatha chugged the water and nodded. “Yeah, the helpers at his clinic said Doctor Zhou was already out on an appointment with the garrison officer’s mother.”
Green Bead slammed her fist into a pillar. “Ugh! Garrison Officer Jiang’s mother died the year before! How dare they use this as an excuse, this is an insult to the Li family!”
“Sister Green Bead, there is a saying at our tribe: one must endure the snow to enjoy summer. A person with eyes should not fret with a blind man.”
Green Bead forced a smile. “Thank you for your efforts. Take care of them, I’ll go visit Madam at the back hall.”
Agatha nodded. She was used to serving others all her life. She had just folded her sleeves up when she heard a door slam outside and hurried footsteps.
Agatha was familiar with these footsteps and yelled in her native language, “Asparta, is that you?”
When she heard his reply, she smiled but Green Bead frowned harder.
Asparta rushed in drenched in sweat while Agatha wiped his face with her sleeve but was gently pushed aside. He said to Green Bead, “They… they don't want to come, and…”
Green Bead’s fish clenched. “And what?”
“Outside… there are many…”
Asparta looked terrified. “Many people!”
Just as he finished, there came a shrill, arrogant shout from outside the hall. “Aiyo, there are so many people here today!”
Green Bead’s chest tightened. She took a deep breath, shoving all her sorrow and vulnerabilities to the back of her mind. She resembled Madam Xie in this way.
A man with bad posture swaggered into the hall. It was notorious across Cheng’an, a person so terrible he could make a baby stop crying. No one liked You San, though all the good-for-nothings in Cheng’an respectfully called him Sir You San.
You San was an evil man. He was a man so evil that Zhou Qingyang, who killed Liu Zhixi and Silver Hairpin, would look like a kind saint in his presence.
You San gained his notoriety when he was whipped by his owner for stealing carrots at the age of nine. Bearing intense hatred, he burned down his owner’s house, killing the thirty-two family members who lived in it. After that, although he was a known wanted man, he continued to swagger down every street in Cheng’an and committed more arson.
On the eleventh month of the twenty-first Tianqi year, at the Hejian District of Sanhe County, a kind-hearted local, Zhao Quan, met You San, who had fainted due to starvation when he was on the run. This local brought him home but did not know that he had just invited the devil inside. While You San looked like he was grateful to the Zhao family, he had secretly targeted Zhao Quan’s daughter. Two months later, Zhao Quan discovered You San trying to harass his daughter and reprimanded him, trying to kick him out. Once again, You San went on a rampage and killed the entire Zhao family with a knife. This murder case shocked the entire Daqi.
On the eve of the Lunar New Year the next year, You San, who was now homeless, grouped up with several others to pretend to be travelling businessmen. He requested to stay in the Qian family estate for the night but ended up robbing them. The entire Qian clan of 103 members all died on new year’s eve.
On the fifth month of the twenty-third Tianqi year, Daqi sent famous detective Zheng Jinghong to catch You San. Zheng Jinghong tried to use You San’s elderly mother to bait him into a trap. What he didn’t expect was for You San to act first, sneaking into his hometown and personally killing his mother before running off once again.
This coincided with the Autumn Examination Corruption case that caused the detective to be dragged into the drama. In the end, he lost his position, then his head. Five of the ten major cultivation sects were also involved, causing heads to be chopped off everywhere and blood to flow.
Zheng Jinghong’s death impacted six other families. All the detectives that worked with Zheng Jinghong were captured and thrown into jail, causing criminal cases to be left wide open. You San once again slipped away and disappeared.
On the twenty-fourth Tianqi year, You San appeared at Cheng’an as a member of the city’s Ocean Salt Gang. This gang had many entanglements with the authorities these years and that was when he changed his surname and first name to You San. However, he never shied away from talking of his past deeds, often bragging loudly when drunk.
This inhumane, evil You San was Cheng’an City’s devil because every family he encountered would perish!