Sword Stained With Royal Blood English Translation
Chapter 5 - Part 1
Sleeping until midnight, there was suddenly a crisp sound outside the window, followed by a chuckle. Yuan Chengzhi, who was originally cautious about sleeping in this place, immediately woke up. He heard someone lightly tapping the window grille twice and laughing, saying, "The moon is white, the wind is clear, such a beautiful night. Brother Yuan, aren't you afraid of wasting such a good time?"
Yuan Chengzhi recognized the voice as Wen Qing's. He looked out from the tent and saw the moonlight shining like mercury on the ground in front of the bed. Outside the window, there was a person hanging upside down, as if peering into the room. Yuan Chengzhi said, "Alright, I'll get dressed and come." He thought to himself that this person's actions were truly unpredictable, and he wanted to see what unusual things he would do in the middle of the night. After putting on his clothes and secretly hiding a dagger in his waist, he opened the window. The fragrance of flowers filled the air, and outside the window was a garden.
Wen Qing exerted force with his feet, flipped over, and landed on the ground. He whispered, "Follow me." He picked up a bamboo basket that was placed on the ground. Yuan Chengzhi didn't know what he was up to, but he followed him and went over the wall to the outside.
The two of them walked slowly towards the hill behind. The hill was just a small mound, surrounded by lush trees, with light smoke and mist drifting among the branches and leaves. It was a quiet night, and their footsteps were silent as they stepped on the soft grass. As they approached the mountaintop and turned two corners, a gentle breeze blew, and the air was filled with the fragrance of flowers. The moonlight was as frost, and when they looked around, the slope was covered with roses of red, white, and yellow.
Yuan Chengzhi praised, "What a heavenly place." Wen Qing said, "I personally planted these flowers. Besides my mother and Xiao Ju, no one else is allowed to come here." Wen Qing lifted the basket and walked slowly. Yuan Chengzhi followed behind, feeling a sense of relaxation and joy. The initial sense of caution and vigilance had completely disappeared in the fragrance of flowers and moonlight.
After walking for a while, they arrived at a small pavilion. Wen Qing asked Yuan Chengzhi to sit on a stone and opened the basket, taking out a small wine jug and two wine cups. He poured wine into the cups and said, "We can't eat meat here." Chengzhi picked up the wine and dishes and indeed found that they were all vegetarian dishes like mushrooms and wood ear fungus.
Wen Qing took out a bamboo flute from the basket and said, "I'll play a tune for you to listen to." Chengzhi nodded, and Wen Qing started playing softly. Although Chengzhi didn't understand music theory, he felt that the sound of the flute was lingering and carried a sense of yearning. It seemed as if his heart was soaring and drifting with the melodious flute sound, as if in a fairyland, away from the mortal world.
After playing a tune, Wen Qing smiled and said, "What kind of music do you like? I'll play it for you." Yuan Chengzhi sighed and said, "I don't know any tunes. You know so much, how come you're so clever?" Wen Qing raised his chin and smiled, saying, "Is that so?"
He picked up the bamboo flute and played another tune. This time, the melody was even more charming, with the moonlight shimmering and the fragrance
He picked up the bamboo flute and played another tune. This time, the melody was even more charming, with the moonlight shimmering and the fragrance of flowers wafting gently. Yuan Chengzhi, who had spent his whole life between battles and martial arts, had never experienced such elegance and refinement before. He felt as if he was performing light skills, just like when he practiced martial arts. Wen Qing put down the flute and whispered, "Do you find it pleasant?" Chengzhi said, "There is nothing else in the world that sounds as beautiful as this flute. I never even dreamed of it. What is the name of this piece?" Wen Qing's face suddenly turned red, and he murmured, "I won't tell you." After a while, he said, "This piece is called 'Enchanting Eyes.'" His eyes flickered, and he smiled faintly.
At this moment, the two of them were sitting very close together. Besides the fragrance of roses, Yuan Chengzhi could also smell a faint scent of cosmetics. He thought that this person lacked the demeanor of a man. He was already quite handsome, but with all the cosmetics, what would he look like? Fortunately, Chengzhi was not a person who would mock others with his words, otherwise, wouldn't it be embarrassing to laugh at him? He also thought that the customs in Jiangnan were extravagant, perhaps all the rich and spoiled young masters were like this. As a simple villager, he was not accustomed to such things and found them strange.
While he was pondering, he heard Wen Qing ask, "Do you like listening to me play the flute?" Yuan Chengzhi nodded. Wen Qing brought the flute to his lips and started playing, gradually evoking a sorrowful melody. Chengzhi was mesmerized by the music, but suddenly, the sound of the flute stopped abruptly. Wen Qing clenched both hands and snapped the bamboo flute into two pieces.
Yuan Chengzhi was surprised and asked, "What's wrong? Didn't you play it well?" Wen Qing lowered his head and whispered, "I never play it for anyone. They only know how to wield knives and swords and have no interest in this." Yuan Chengzhi anxiously said, "I didn't lie to you, I really enjoy listening to it, truly." Wen Qing said, "You're leaving tomorrow, and you'll never come back. Why would I continue playing the flute?" After a pause, he added, "I have a bad temper, I know that myself, but I can't control it... I know you dislike me and look down on me." Yuan Chengzhi didn't know what to say for a moment. Wen Qing continued, "That's why you'll never come back. I... I won't see you again."
Hearing his words and realizing they would never meet again, Chengzhi felt a deep sense of sadness. He couldn't help but be moved and said, "You must understand that I don't understand anything. I'm new to this world, and I haven't learned to lie. You said I looked down on you and disliked you, to be honest, that was true at first. I didn't approve of your tendency for violence. But now, things are a bit different." Wen Qing murmured, "Is that so?" Chengzhi said, "I guess you must have some troubles, which is why you have a strange temper. What's bothering you? Can you tell me?"
Wen Qing pondered for a moment and said, "I'll tell you. But I'm afraid you'll look down on me even more." Chengzhi assured him, "I definitely won't." Wen Qing gritted his teeth and said, "Alright, I'll tell you. When my mother was a young girl, she was mistreated by someone and gave birth to me. My five uncles couldn't defeat that person, so they gathered many skilled fighters to drive him away. That's why I don't have a father, I'm a bastard..." His voice choked, and tears streamed down his face.
Yuan Chengzhi said, "You can't blame yourself or your mother. It's that wicked person who's at fault." Wen Qing said, "He... He is my father. People... People secretly curse me and my mother."
Yuan Chengzhi said, "Who would be so despicable and boring? I'll help you confront him. Now that I understand the reason, I don't dislike you anymore. If you really consider me a friend, I promise I'll come to see you again." Wen Qing was overjoyed and jumped up.
Yuan Chengzhi saw his expression change and smiled, saying, "I came to see you. Do you like it?" Wen Qingqing held his hands and gently shook them, saying, "Hey, you promised to come." Yuan Chengzhi said, "I will never deceive you."
Suddenly, there was a faint sound behind them. Yuan Chengzhi stood up and turned around, only to hear a cold voice saying, "Why are you sneaking around here in the middle of the night?" It was Wen Zheng. He had an angry expression on his face, with his hands on his hips, clearly intending to question them.
Wen Qingqing was initially surprised, but upon seeing that it was him, she angrily asked, "What are you doing here?" Wen Zheng replied, "I'm asking you the same thing." Wen Qingqing said, "Yuan and I were enjoying the moon here. Who invited you? Besides my mother, no one else is allowed to come here. Third Grandfather said so. Are you daring to disobey?" Wen Zheng pointed at Yuan Chengzhi and asked, "Why is he here again?" Wen Qingqing said, "I invited him. It's none of your business."
Yuan Chengzhi felt uneasy seeing his brothers at odds because of him, and said, "We've already had our fill of moon-gazing. Let's all go rest." Wen Qingqing retorted, "I'm not going. You stay seated." Yuan Chengzhi had no choice but to sit back down.
Wen Zheng remained in the area, silent and with a resentful gaze, glancing sideways at Yuan Chengzhi, full of hatred.
Wen Qing angrily said, "These flowers were planted by my own hands. I won't allow you to look at them." Wen Zheng replied, "I have already seen them. Did you gouge out my eyeballs? I also want to smell them." He then sniffed them a few times with his nose. Wen Qing's anger flared up, and he suddenly jumped up, pulling out more than twenty rose bushes with his hands, throwing them around, and crying, "You're bullying me! You're bullying me! By pulling out the roses, no one can enjoy them anymore. Are you happy now?"
Wen Zheng's face turned pale with anger. He muttered as he walked away, "I had good intentions towards you, but you treat me like this. Think for yourself, do you have any conscience? That Yuan guy from Guangdong is uncivilized and sinister. You... you just..."
Wen Qing interrupted, crying, "Who asked you to be kind to me? You find fault with me and want your grandfathers to drive my mother and me away. While Yuan and I are here, you can go and talk to them. Are you really so handsome? So clean and fair?" Wen Zheng sighed deeply, looking dejected, and walked away.
Wen Qing returned to the pavilion and sat down. After a while, Yuan Chengzhi asked, "Why did you treat your brother like that?"
Wen Qing said, "He's not my real brother. My mother's surname is Wen, and this is my third grandfather's house. He is the son of my mother's cousin, my cousin. If I had a father and my own family, I wouldn't have to live in someone else's house and endure their mistreatment." Tears streamed down his face again.
Yuan Chengzhi said, "I think he treats you quite well, but you, on the other hand, are harsh towards him." Wen Qing suddenly laughed and said, "If I'm not harsh with him, he would become even more unruly."
Yuan Chengzhi, seeing him crying and laughing, displaying an innocent and lively demeanor, and considering his own life experience, couldn't help but feel a sense of empathy. He said, "My father was killed by someone when I was only seven years old. My mother also died that year." Wen Qing asked, "Have you avenged them?" Yuan Chengzhi sighed, "To my shame, I haven't been filial enough..." Wen Qing said, "When you seek revenge, I will definitely help you, no matter how formidable the enemy may be, I will help you." Yuan Chengzhi felt deeply grateful and held his hand.
Wen Qing's hand tightened slightly and then held his hand without moving. He said, "You are much stronger than me, but I see that you are unfamiliar with the matters of the martial world. In the future, I can give you some advice." Yuan Chengzhi said, "You're really good. I don't have a friend around the same age as me, but now that I've met you..." Wen Qing lowered his head and said, "I have a bad temper, and one day I will offend you." Yuan Chengzhi said, "Since I consider you a friend and know that you have a good heart, even if you offend me, I won't mind." Wen Qing was overjoyed, let out a sigh, and said, "I'm just worried about this. You said it yourself, so you must really not mind."
Seeing his sudden change in demeanor, from fierce to gentle, Yuan Chengzhi said, "I have something to say. I don't know if Brother Wen is willing to listen?" Wen Qing said, "In this world, I only listen to three people: the first is my mother, the second is my third grandfather, and the third is you."
Yuan Chengzhi was shaken inside and said, "Since you hold me in such high regard, in fact, if someone else says something right, we should listen." Wen Qing said, "Hmph, I won't listen. If someone treats me well, I... I will like them in my heart. So no matter if they are right or wrong, I will listen to them. But if it's someone I dislike, even if they are right, I won't do as they say." Yuan Chengzhi laughed and said, "You truly have the temperament of a child. How old are you?" Wen Qing said, "I'm eighteen. And you?" Yuan Chengzhi said, "I'm two years older than you."
Wen Qing lowered his head, his face suddenly reddened, and he whispered, "I don't have a real brother. Let's become sworn brothers, is that okay?"
Yuan Chengzhi, who had experienced great changes in his life since childhood, naturally became cautious and meticulous in everything. He had no knowledge of Wen Qing's background and saw him as a thief and murderer, someone from the Qixian Sect. Although he trusted him with his innermost thoughts, becoming sworn brothers was a lifelong matter of shared fortune and misfortune, so he hesitated.
Wen Qing saw that he was silent and didn't answer, suddenly stood up and rushed out of the pavilion. Yuan Chengzhi was surprised and quickly chased after him. He saw Wen Qing running towards the mountaintop and thought that this person had an intense temperament. Worried that his refusal might embarrass him and lead to something drastic, he used lightness skill and quickly caught up, calling out, "Brother Wen, are you angry with me?"
Wen Qing, hearing him address him as "brother," felt overjoyed. He immediately stopped and sat down on the ground, saying, "You look down on me, so why are you calling me brother again?" Yuan Chengzhi said, "When did I look down on you? Come, come, let's become sworn brothers right here."
So the two of them knelt towards the moon, made vows to share blessings and hardships, and stood up. Wen Qing bowed to Yuan Chengzhi and softly called out, "Big Brother!" Yuan Chengzhi returned the bow and said, "I'll call you Qing Di. It's getting late now, let's go back and rest." The two of them held hands and returned to their rooms.
Yuan Chengzhi said, "Don't go back and wake up Auntie. Let's sleep together here." Wen Qing's face suddenly turned red, he threw his hand and said, "You... you..." Then he smiled and said, "See you tomorrow." He drifted out of the room, leaving Yuan Chengzhi bewildered and speechless.
The next morning, Yuan Chengzhi was sitting on the bed practicing martial arts when Xiao Ju brought breakfast. Yuan Chengzhi jumped off the bed and thanked her. While he was having breakfast, Wen Qing entered the room and said, "Big brother, a woman has come outside. She says she's here to claim the gold. Let's go out and take a look." Yuan Chengzhi said, "Alright." He thought that it wouldn't be right to take someone else's belongings, so he needed to find a way to persuade his younger brother to return them.
The two of them arrived at the entrance of the hall and heard hurried footsteps and the sound of wind in the hall. It seemed like someone was engaged in a fierce fight. As they entered the hall, they saw Wen Qing swiftly moving around, wielding a single knife, locked in a tight battle with a young woman who was wielding a sword. Two old men sat in chairs nearby, watching the fight. One of the old men held a cane, while the other had empty hands. Wen Qing walked to the old man with the cane and whispered something in his ear. The old man carefully examined Yuan Chengzhi and nodded.
Yuan Chengzhi noticed that the young woman was around eighteen or nineteen years old, with rosy cheeks and a beautiful appearance. Her techniques were precise and disciplined. After exchanging more than ten moves, it was difficult to determine who had the upper hand. However, Yuan Chengzhi became increasingly suspicious of her swordsmanship.
The young woman made a sudden advance, aiming her long sword at Wen Qing's shoulder. Wen Qing blocked it with his knife in a swift and rapid manner. It seemed that he was about to knock the young woman's long sword away. But unexpectedly, Wen Qing was fast, and the young woman was even faster. The long sword swiftly changed direction and swiftly aimed at Wen Qing's neck. Wen Qing was startled and quickly took three steps back. Seizing the opportunity, the young woman launched a series of rapid attacks.
Yuan Chengzhi had already discerned her martial arts skills. Although she wasn't a member of the Huashan Sect, she must have received guidance from someone within the sect. Otherwise, with her skills, she wouldn't have been able to hold her own. Relying on her superb swordsmanship, she managed to barely match Wen Qing. Despite her fierce attacks, Wen Qing remained steady and resolute, with more stamina than her. Wen Qing also realized that the young woman was no match for him. He smirked and said, "With just this level of skill, you dare come here to claim something."
After dozens more moves, the young woman's attacks slowed down, while Wen Qing's strikes remained fierce and relentless. After a while, the young woman found herself in a precarious situation.
Seeing the dangerous situation, Yuan Chengzhi suddenly jumped up and leaped between the two of them. As they were engrossed in the fight, it was impossible to stop their blades. Both the young woman's sword and Wen Qing's knife were about to strike him. Wen Qing exclaimed in surprise. The two old men stood up at the same time, but they were too late to come to the rescue. Both of them uttered an "Oh" in astonishment, clearly impressed by Yuan Chengzhi's skill. They exchanged a glance.
Wen Qing thought that Yuan Chengzhi still held a grudge from the previous night and was now making things difficult for him. The young woman, seeing that he and Wen Qing had come out together, naturally assumed that he was on Wen Qing's side. Realizing that she was no match for them, she prepared to leave.
Chengzhi called out, "Wait a moment, miss." The young woman angrily said, "If I can't defeat you, there will be someone more skilled coming to claim the gold. How do you plan to deal with that?" Chengzhi politely said, "Miss, please don't be offended. May I ask for your name and your teacher's name?" The young woman scoffed and said, "Who wants to chat with you?" She suddenly leaped up and leaped towards the door.
Chengzhi tapped his left foot and jumped to block the door, whispering, "Don't leave, I'll help you." The young woman was taken aback and asked, "Who are you?" Yuan Chengzhi said, "My surname is Yuan."
The young woman stared at his face with her round eyes and suddenly exclaimed, "Do you know Madam An?" Yuan Chengzhi's whole body trembled, his palms sweating, and he said, "I am Yuan Chengzhi. Are you Xiao Hui?" The young woman joyfully forgot herself, grabbed his hand, and exclaimed, "Yes, yes! You're Big Brother Chengzhi." Suddenly realizing the difference between men and women, she blushed and let go of his hand. Wen Qing, witnessing this scene, immediately wore a frosty expression on his face.
Wen Qing shouted, "So, Brother Yuan, you're with them. Turns out you're a spy sent by Li Zicheng's faction!" Yuan Chengzhi said, "I had some contact with the King of Yan. It's not that bad, but I wouldn't call myself a spy. This young lady is my close friend. I don't know why the two of you fought. As brothers, may I mediate and help resolve the situation?" An Xiaohui said, "Brother Chengzhi, since they are your friends, as long as they hand over the gold, we won't bring up anything else." Wen Qing coldly said, "Is it that easy?"
Yuan Chengzhi said, "Brother, let me introduce you. This is Miss An Xiaohui, we used to play together when we were young, it's been a whole ten years since we last saw each other." Wen Qing gave An Xiaohui a cold glance, without showing any courtesy or speaking.
Yuan Chengzhi felt very awkward and asked An Xiaohui, "How did you end up fighting with this gentleman?" An Xiaohui said, "I was fighting with... with Senior Brother Cui..." Yuan Chengzhi interrupted, "Senior Brother Cui? Is it Uncle Cui Qiushan?" An Xiaohui said, "No, he is Cui Qiushan's nephew. We were escorting a sum of military funds for the King of Yan to Zhejiang. Who would have known that this person here would turn out to be a treacherous and steal it?" She pointed at Wen Qing.
Chengzhi suddenly realized that the gold Wen Qing had seized was the military funds of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Not to mention the favorable treatment he had received from the King of Yan, but his master was also wholeheartedly assisting him. Therefore, out of his friendship with Cui Qiushan, Madam An, and An Xiaohui, Chengzhi was determined to help Wen Qing retrieve the gold. Moreover, since the King of Yan had sent the gold all the way to Jiangnan, it must have had significant importance. Whether it was for military supplies, recruiting allies, or bribing corrupt officials, there were legitimate uses for it. The army he supported aimed to uphold righteousness and save people from danger, so how could he not lend a helping hand? With his mind made up, Chengzhi turned to Wen Qing and said, "Brother, for my sake, return the gold to this young lady!"
Wen Qing snorted and replied, "First, go meet my two grandfathers."
Upon hearing that the two elderly men were his grandfathers, Chengzhi, considering their seniority since they had already become sworn brothers, respectfully approached them and bowed his head.
The old man with a cane said, "Oh, please rise, Brother Yuan." He leaned his cane against the side of the chair and supported Chengzhi's elbow with both hands as he lifted him up.
Chengzhi suddenly felt a tremendous force lifting him upward, almost throwing him into the air. Quickly stabilizing himself by exerting his strength, he continued to bow four times before standing up. The old man was secretly amazed and thought, "This young man has impressive internal strength." He chuckled and said, "I heard from Qing'er that Brother Yuan has remarkable skills, and it seems to be true."
Wen Qing said, "This is my third grandfather," pointing to the old man with an empty hand. He then pointed at the other old man and said, "This is my fifth grandfather." Their names were Wen Fangshan and Wen Fangwu, respectively. Chengzhi thought to himself, "These two must be two of the Five Ancestors of the Qixian Sect. The martial arts of the third grandfather must far surpass that of Wen Qing and Qing'er." So, he respectfully addressed them, saying, "Third Grandfather! Fifth Grandfather!" Both elderly men replied, "You don't have to address us like this." Their faces showed signs of displeasure.
Chengzhi felt frustrated, thinking, "My father was a famous anti-Qing general and the Commander-in-Chief of Liaodong. By becoming sworn brothers with their grandson, I haven't brought shame to him." He turned to Wen Qing and said, "Brother, return the gold to this young lady!"
Wen Qing frowned and said, "You don't care about her, whether it's this young lady or that young lady." Chengzhi replied, "Brother, as martial artists, we value loyalty and righteousness. If you didn't know it belonged to the King of Yan when you took it, that's one thing. But now that you know, if you don't return it, won't it be disrespectful?"
The two old men didn't know the significant implications of the gold, assuming it belonged to some wealthy merchant. But upon hearing An Xiaohui and Chengzhi's explanation, they became uneasy. They knew the formidable reputation of the King of Yan and the number of martial heroes who would come seeking the gold. It would bring endless trouble if they didn't return it. Wen Fangshan smiled and said, "For the sake of Brother Yuan, let's return it."
Wen Qing objected, "Third Grandfather, we can't do that!" Chengzhi interjected, "You originally intended to give me half, so I'll return her share first." Wen Qing retorted, "You can have it all if you want. Who would be so petty about a few thousand taels of gold? Just because this young lady and that young lady are asking for it, I won't give it."
An Xiaohui stepped forward, angrily asking, "What will it take for you to return it? Let's set some conditions." Wen Qing turned to Chengzhi and asked, "Are you helping her or helping me?" Chengzhi hesitated for a moment and replied, "I'm not helping anyone; I'm just following my master's instructions." Wen Qing questioned, "Who is your master?" Chengzhi answered, "My master is from the King of Yan's army." Wen Qing angrily said, "Hmph, in the end, you're helping her. Fine, the gold is here. I went through so much trouble to obtain it, and now you have to go through the same trouble to take it. If you can't retrieve it within three days, I won't be polite anymore. I'll spend it all in no time." Chengzhi asked, "How can you spend so much gold in one day?" Wen Qing replied indignantly, "Even if I can't spend it all, I won't throw it on the road for others to pick up and help me spend it, right?"
Chengzhi tugged at his sleeve and said, "Brother, come with me." The two of them walked to a corner of the hall. Chengzhi said, "Last night, you said you would listen to me. How come you changed your mind in less than half a day?" Wen Qing replied, "If you treat me well, naturally, I will listen to you." Chengzhi said, "How am I not treating you well? I really can't take this batch of gold." Wen Qing's eyes reddened, and he said, "You only care about your former sweetheart. You wholeheartedly protect her, but you don't care about others. What does it matter if I spent the King of Yan's gold? I might as well let him kill me. After all, no one in my life cares about me." He was on the verge of tears.
Seeing that he was unreasonable, Chengzhi became displeased and said, "You are my sworn brother, and she is the daughter of an old friend. I treat everyone equally, without favoritism. Why are you like this?" Wen Qing grumbled, "I hate that you treat everyone equally, without favoritism. Hmph, enough said. Come and steal the gold within three days!" Chengzhi held his hand, intending to persuade him further, but Wen Qing shook it off and walked into the inner hall.
As the conversation reached an impasse, Chengzhi and An Xiaohui bid farewell and left. They found a farmhouse to stay in and inquired about the circumstances surrounding the lost gold. It turned out that An Xiaohui and the other two escorts had separated midway due to some circumstances, allowing Wen Qing to take advantage of the situation.
An Xiaohui talked about the reason why her mother often remembered him. Chengzhi took out a small gold bracelet from his pocket and said, "This was given to me by your mother. Look, my wrist was only this thick back then." An Xiaohui scoffed, looked at his arm, and asked, "Brother Chengzhi, what have you been doing all these years?" Chengzhi replied, "I've been practicing martial arts every day and playing chess." An Xiaohui said, "No wonder your martial arts are so strong. Just now, when you lightly pushed my sword, I couldn't exert any force." Chengzhi said, "How did you learn the swordsmanship of the Huashan Sect? Who taught you?"
An Xiaohui's eyes turned red, she turned her head away, and after a while, she said, "It was taught by Senior Brother Cui. He is also from the Huashan Sect." Chengzhi quickly asked, "Did he get injured or something? Why are you upset?" An Xiaohui said, "What injury? He ignored me and left halfway." Chengzhi sensed that it seemed to involve personal matters between them and didn't want to ask further.
At midnight, the two of them headed towards the Wen family. Chengzhi lightly leaped onto the roof and saw the hall brightly lit. Wen Fangshan and Wen Fangwu were sitting at the table drinking, while Wen Zheng and Wen Qing stood by their side. Chengzhi didn't know where the gold was hidden, so he wanted to eavesdrop on their conversation for clues. He heard Wen Qing sneer, look up, and say towards the roof, "The gold is right here! If you have the ability, come and take it." An Xiaohui tugged at Chengzhi's clothes and whispered, "He already knows we're here." Chengzhi nodded, and they saw Wen Qing take out two packages from under the table and lay them out on the table. In the candlelight, the shining golden pieces dazzled, all in the form of gold bars. Wen Qing and Wen Zheng also sat down, placing their swords on the table and started drinking.
Chengzhi thought to himself, "They are guarding it like this. Unless we forcefully take it, how can we steal it?" After waiting for half an hour without any movement from the four of them, Chengzhi knew they couldn't take action tonight. They returned to their accommodation with An Xiaohui.
The next evening, they went to the Wen residence again. They saw that the four people still guarded the hall, but two elderly men had replaced the previous ones. It seemed that they were also part of the five brothers, and the remaining three were probably hidden in secret. Chengzhi warned An Xiaohui, "They have skilled experts hiding in concealed places. We need to be careful." An Xiaohui nodded, furrowed her eyebrows, and came up with a plan. Suddenly, she leaped down. Chengzhi was afraid she would be left alone and quickly followed. They saw her walking all the way to the back of the house, reaching the kitchen area, and with a flick of her firelighter, she ignited a pile of firewood next to the house.
After a while, the flames soared into the sky. There was an immediate commotion in the Wen residence, and many servants rushed in with water and poles to extinguish the fire.
The two of them rushed to the front hall, where the candles were still lit, but the four people sitting there had disappeared. An Xiaohui was overjoyed and exclaimed, "They went to put out the fire!" She leaped down from the roof and entered the hall through a window, with Chengzhi following her.
The two of them rushed to the table, about to reach out for the gold when suddenly the ground beneath their feet gave way. It turned out to be a trapdoor mechanism. Chengzhi realized the danger and swiftly pulled himself up, trying to grab An Xiaohui, but he couldn't catch her. He soared into the air, his left palm gripping the stone pillar in the hall, and then slid down, placing his right foot on the base of the pillar. By this time, the trapdoor had closed, trapping An Xiaohui below.
Chengzhi was shocked and rushed outside the window to inspect the mechanism, trying to find a way to rescue her. As soon as he exited the window, a powerful gust of wind came rushing towards him. Immediately, he swung his right palm, blocking the incoming strike. Both of them exerted force, and Chengzhi took advantage of the momentum to leap onto the roof, while the attacker fell to the ground. However, this person was swift and agile, and after landing, he immediately leaped back onto the roof. It was Wen Zheng.
Chengzhi stood firm, surveying his surroundings in all directions, and took a deep breath. He saw that the rooftops were crowded with people of various heights and builds. Chengzhi found himself surrounded but didn't know their intentions, so he concentrated his mind and remained silent.
Five old men walked out from the crowd, among them were Wen Fangshan and Wen Fangwu whom he had met before. The other two old men had previously been sitting in the hall guarding the gold, and the remaining person was tall and towering over everyone else. That person laughed heartily, with a voice like a bell, and said, "My five brothers live secluded in the countryside, unexpectedly a skilled person under the command of General Chuang has graced us with their presence. It's truly fortunate and splendid. Haha, haha!"
Chengzhi stepped forward and bowed, saying, "I pay my respects." Since enemies surrounded him on all sides, he feared that bowing down might expose him to an ambush, but he still maintained the proper etiquette.
Wen Qing stepped forward and said, "This is our grandfather, and those two are our second grandfather and fourth grandfather." Chengzhi bowed in acknowledgment to each of them. Looking down, he saw that the fire had been extinguished and hadn't spread further, which put his mind at ease.
The eldest brother of the Five ancestors of Qixian sect, Wen Fangda, the second brother Wen Fangyi, and the fourth brother Wen Fangshi nodded but did not return the greeting. They continued to scrutinize him intently. Wen Fangyi angrily shouted, "You, at such a young age, have quite the audacity to come to our home and start a fire."
Chengzhi replied, "That was the recklessness of a companion of mine. I deeply regret it, but fortunately, nothing serious happened. Tomorrow, I will come to apologize and kowtow to each of you."
Wen Fangshi, the grandfather of Wen Zheng, was tall and thin, with a resemblance to Wen Zheng in appearance. He spoke and said, "Kowtow? How many kowtows will be enough? A little brat with audacious behavior, actually came to Wen Family's Jingyan and acted recklessly. Who is your master?" Although the Five Elders of the Wen Family were wary of General Chuang's influence, they also loved wealth. They wouldn't easily give up the gold they had obtained. Just now, seeing Chengzhi's palm strike that knocked Wen Zheng down, they realized his martial skills were formidable, so they wanted to ascertain his background and decide on a strategy.
Chengzhi replied, "My master is currently with General Chuang's army. I only ask you all to return General Chuang's gold, and I will have my master write a letter to express gratitude at a later date."
Wen Fangda asked, "Who is your master?" Chengzhi replied, "My master rarely travels in the martial world, and I dare not mention his name." Wen Fangda snorted and said, "You don't need to say it. Can you hide it from us? Nanyang, spar with this kid." He thought that as soon as he made a move, Chengzhi would have no choice but to reveal his true identity.
A person in the crowd spoke up. He was in his forties, with a tangled beard on his cheeks. He was the second son of Wen Fangyi and a top-notch player among the second generation of the Qixian Sect. He leaped forward and threw a punch at Yuan Chengzhi's face. Yuan Chengzhi turned his head to avoid it, and Wen Nanyang followed up with a left punch, which was quite powerful.
Yuan Chengzhi calculated in his mind, "With so many people gathered here, how long will it take to settle if they all fight? If we don't fight quickly, it will be difficult to escape. I wonder what happened to Xiao Hui." As Wen Nanyang's left fist approached, Yuan Chengzhi suddenly flew up and blocked it with his right palm. He grabbed his fist with his fingers and pulled it back. Wen Nanyang couldn't stop his momentum and stumbled forward, crushing a large pile of tiles under his feet. If it weren't for his fifth uncle Wen Fangwu reaching out to grab him, he would have fallen off the roof. He was immediately embarrassed, with a red face, and turned around to pounce again.
Yuan Chengzhi stood still and waited for him to pounce. He turned and leaned back, lightly hooking his left foot, causing Wen Nanyang to fall forward. As Wen Nanyang fell forward, Yuan Chengzhi extended his right palm and anticipated his movement, grabbing the back of his heart. Wen Nanyang's body was about to hit the roof, but suddenly someone lifted him up. He didn't dare to engage anymore and glared fiercely at Chengzhi before retreating.
Wen Fangyi shouted, "This kid does have some skills. Let me meet the disciple of the master." He clapped his palms together and was about to step forward. Wen Qing suddenly jumped to his side and whispered, "Second Grandfather, he has become sworn brothers with me. Please don't hurt him." Wen Fangyi cursed, "You little brat!" Wen Qing grabbed his hand and said, "Second Grandfather, have you agreed?" Wen Fangyi said, "Let's wait and see!" He shook his hand, causing Wen Qing to lose his balance and take a few steps back.
Wen Fangyi took two steady steps forward and said, "Show me your moves!" Chengzhi cupped his hands and said, "I dare not." Wen Fangyi said, "If you don't want to reveal your master's name, then show me three moves and see if I recognize them." When Chengzhi saw his old-fashioned appearance, he thought to himself, "Let's see what you've got." He said, "In that case, I will be impolite. My skills are limited, so please go easy on me." Wen Fangyi shouted, "Attack quickly! Who has time for idle talk? The second son of the Wen family has never shown mercy!"
Yuan Chengzhi bowed deeply, and as his sleeves touched the roof, he shook his hand, causing his sleeve to swing horizontally. With a swoosh, it struck towards Wen Fangyi's head with real force. Wen Fangyi lowered his head to avoid it and reached out to grab the sleeve. But he saw Chengzhi lightly float up, his left sleeve forming a circle, and his right sleeve suddenly emerged from the left sleeve circle, rushing towards Wen Fangyi's face with astonishing speed. Unable to avoid it, Wen Fangyi leaned back and dodged this move. Chengzhi didn't give him a chance to counterattack and suddenly turned around, facing away from him.
Wen Fangyi was stunned, thinking that he was trying to escape. He was about to strike with his right palm when he suddenly felt a gust of wind approaching. He saw Yuan Chengzhi's sleeves reversing from below, like two long snakes drilling towards his armpits. This move caught him off guard. He quickly extended his hands to grab them, but the sleeves had already brushed against his waist, making a swishing sound. He felt a tingling sensation, and his opponent took advantage of the situation to retreat.
Yuan Chengzhi turned around with a smiling face. Wen Qing was amazed by his exquisite skills and almost blurted out the word "good." He hurriedly covered his mouth and stuck out his tongue.
Wen Fangda and his three brothers looked at each other in astonishment.
Wen Fangyi's face turned red, and his eyebrows furrowed. He suddenly struck out with his palm. Yuan Chengzhi noticed a steaming heat rising from the top of his head, and although his steps seemed slow and unsteady, he was actually extremely stable. Yuan Chengzhi didn't dare to toy with him any longer, dodging two moves and rolling up his sleeves. He countered with ordinary techniques but gradually increased his strength.
During the intense fight, Wen Fangyi suddenly felt a pain in his right wrist. He quickly jumped back and lowered his head to see a red mark swelling on his wrist. It turned out that Yuan Chengzhi's fingers had grazed him, but it was evident that he had shown restraint. Although Wen Fangyi was angry, he couldn't continue the fight.
Wen Fangshan took a step forward and said, "Young Brother Yuan, you are remarkably skilled for your young age. That is not easily achieved. Let me experience your proficiency in weaponry." Chengzhi replied, "I didn't bring any weapons with me to the Manor." Wen Fangshan laughed and said, "You are considerate. That shows both skill and courage. Very well, let's go to the martial arts hall!" He made a gesture and leaped down from the roof, followed by the others. Chengzhi had no choice but to enter the house with them.
Wen Qing walked up to him and whispered, "There are hidden weapons in the cane."
Chengzhi was about to respond when Wen Qing turned to Wen Zhengdao and said, "How about the ferocious Cantonese fellow? Are you satisfied now?" Wen Zhengdao replied, "Second Grandfather, I was just playing along because I favor him. There's nothing surprising about it." Wen Qing sneered and ignored him.
As everyone entered the martial arts hall, Yuan Chengzhi saw a large hall with three open compartments, forming a spacious arena. The servants lit dozens of large candles, illuminating the hall as bright as day. Most of the men and women in the Wen family were skilled in martial arts. Upon hearing that the Third Elder wanted to have a martial arts competition with the guest from the previous day, they gathered in the hall to watch, even the children.
Finally, a middle-aged beauty came out together with Xiaozhu. Wen Qing rushed over and exclaimed, "Mother!" The beautiful woman had a worried expression on her face and gave Wen Qing a cold glance, clearly displeased.
Wen Fangshan pointed to the various weapons racks around and said, "Choose your weapon."