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Published at 19th of November 2020 09:37:22 PM

Chapter 23: 23
As the heat spread through his body, the sliver of qi became lively as well, flowing near his wounds and producing a numbing itchiness .

Huang Binghu sent out a few nimble hunters as scouts as the group traveled into the depths of the mountains around the ox cart .

They walked all the way until dusk without stopping, entering deep into a mountain . There was no trace of human activity at all in the surroundings .

At the foot of the mountain, Li Qingshan saw the legendary Drawn Reins village .

A tall, wooden wall was erected around the village . Watch towers stood at each corner . It did not seem like a village and was more like a military base . They had to approach it, signal the people in there, and only then would the gate open up . It was nowhere near as informal as the Crouching Ox village .

Li Qingshan was the only outsider, so he attracted everyone’s attention . He seemed unaffected on the surface, but he became nervous on the inside . This was the legendary lair of danger that had managed to make a whole army draw their reins .

Huang Binghu did not seem to be harbouring any ill intentions, but he needed to handle this carefully . Otherwise, he could lose his life without even knowing . His steel blade had already been taken away . However, even if he still possessed it, the damage it had received during that battle was already beyond repair .

Huang Binghu arranged a small, empty courtyard for him . Although he did not send anyone to watch over him, he did tell him to not wander around before leaving in a hurry .

In the most central building of the village, the most influential hunters gathered around a circular discussion table under the light of a few lanterns .

“For the sake of harvesting ginseng, the Ginseng King village has been building up grievances with us . Oftentimes, people of the village randomly die in the mountains, which they’re probably responsible for . This time, they’re even trying to get the spiritual ginseng from us . It’s a perfect opportunity for us to deal a blow to them . ”

The two villages were only a few mountains apart with no clear boundary . The ginseng foragers made a living by harvesting ginseng, while the hunters would frequently move through the mountains . Ginseng was one of the few herbs they could recognise, so they obviously would not let it pass if they came across any .

As a result, there were many disputes, and the villagers tended to resolve them using their blades . As they were far away enough from one another, a large-scale battle had not occurred so far .

However, they recently met again, this time on the Bailao peak closer to the Drawn Reins village on a mountain path . They discovered a legendary spiritual ginseng that had already assumed a humanoid form and could even leave this place .

“Hunting chief, we can’t afford this matter being divulged . Let’s deal with the kid!”

“That kid has got some skill, and his temperament suits my tastes as well . Killing him would be a pity . I want him to remain in the village and lend us his strength . ”

“But he’s still an outsider . ”

“There’s no need to say anything more . I will test him properly . If he’s unworthy, I definitely won’t be soft-hearted,” Huang Binghu said firmly before breaking into a coughing fit .

In the pitch-black house, Xiao An emerged from the wooden tablet and looked at Li Qingshan in concern . He extended his hand to touch Li Qingshan’s wounds that had already scabbed over .

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Li Qingshan said, “Don’t worry . I’m fine . I’m fine for now!” Although he could tell that Huang Binghu admired him, the feeling where his life laid in the hands of others was still horrible . He could only take charge of his own fate if he became stronger .

He immediately followed the black ox’s advice and placed the ginseng into the alcohol to make medicinal wine . He stopped to rest just now, looked at his handiwork, and felt delighted .

The next morning, Li Qingshan rose nice and early and practised the Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength . Suddenly, he felt a gale of wind from behind as if a vicious tiger were lunging at him .

Li Qingshan turned around and threw a punch, but it missed . Huang Binghu brushed past his arm and shaped his right hand into a claw, grabbing towards his throat .

He wants to silence me?! A thought flooded Li Qingshan’s mind . He actually did not try to block at all, instead facing the attack directly, as if he wanted to deliver his vital point to his opponent . He closed both hands like a bear hugging a tree, unleashing his great strength .

He practised an ability of great strength, not normal martial arts . Even though he had yet to achieve the strength of an ox, the power of the hug was still not something a body of flesh and blood could endure .

Huang Binghu suddenly pulled back his claw strike and made his way behind Li Qingshan .

Li Qingshan said, “Oh no . ” Just when he wanted to maneuver himself, he felt that Huang Binghu had stopped attacking him, only looking at him in approval .

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The claw earlier would have been completely unleashed if he had retreated . It would have ripped out his throat easily . However, he had advanced instead, limiting the strength of the attack while using a desperate move . Not only was he able to react to the changing circumstances, he was even rather courageous as well .

“I’ve lost . ” Li Qingshan rubbed his neck, and there were five bloody traces there . Huang Binghu’s skill was impressive . Even if he were not injured, he would still struggle against him .

“Where did you learn your martial arts from?” Huang Binghu asked . Apart from being brave and quick-witted, Li Qingshan’s martial arts were extraordinary as well . Even if normal people could react fast enough, their strength would not recover in time . Moreover, when his five fingers came in contact with Li Qingshan’s neck earlier, it felt like he had struck the tough hide of an ox, not a soft, vulnerable part of the body .

Li Qingshan could not say that he had learnt it from an ox, or people would probably treat him as an idiot . He just said that he met a great master several years ago . The master saw how he was an honest boy, so he taught him some moves . However, the master had also ordered him to keep his appearance and identity a secret .

“A few years ago?!” Huang Binghu was speechless . He was not particularly surprised by the fact that Li Qingshan was reluctant to state his master, but he had originally thought Li Qingshan had practised martial arts since a young age . The most crucial part about him remaining in Drawn Reins village would be finding out about his master .

“What’s wrong?” Li Qingshan was perplexed .

“Didn’t you begin learning martial arts from a young age?”

“He used just a few years to guide you to such a level . That’s truly unbelievable . It seems like this great master really is a great master . ”

Li Qingshan sweated profusely inside . Fortunately, he had just casually said a few years ago and not a month ago . Otherwise, he would have probably frightened Huang Binghu to death .

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At the same time, he gained a better understanding that supernatural abilities and the martial arts of mortals were things of two completely different levels . He was not Huang Binghu’s opponent right now, but only because he had practised for less than two months . Huang Binghu, on the other hand, had probably spent twenty or thirty years of effort to get to his current level .

“May I ask for the reason for your visit, hunting chief?”

“Kid, would you be interested in settling down in the Drawn Reins village?” Although it was a question, it felt like he left no room for refusal .

“Sure!” Li Qingshan agreed straightforwardly, which surprised Huang Binghu instead . “Don’t you have any attachments to your home?”

“If I don’t agree, will the hunting head let me leave here safely?” Li Qingshan said with composure, “And, I’ve heard of a saying before . ”

“What saying?”

“Home is wherever I am . Whether it be the Crouching Ox village or the Drawn Reins village, there’s no difference to me . I might even be able to learn some archery for hunting here . Do you understand me, hunting chief? My ambitions don’t lie in these mountains and forests . ”

“With your mediocre martial arts, wandering on the roads of jianghu will only lead you to your death . At most, you’ll just be a shrimp that follows those disciples of large clans and sects around . How can it be compared to the freedom of the mountains and forests?”

“Hmm? Hunting chief, aren’t your skills enough then?” Li Qingshan was rather surprised . Huang Binghu could be regarded as famous in this region .

“You can laugh if you want, but my skills with the bow and arrow are passable, and I’ve made a name for myself in the jianghu before . However, the jianghu is filled with powerful people . Even if you practise martial arts for several decades, a kid in his teens can still slaughter you like killing a dog . I suffered tremendously . It’s fortunate that I could return alive . ”

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