As if they were buoyed by the wind, the hooves of horses rumbled like thunder as they tore into the serenity of Jiang City.
Early risers walking along the widest street of the city frantically jumped to the other side when they saw horses charging through the street.
"Who are these people? Why are they rushing around so early in the morning? Are they rushing to go and get reincarnated?"
A passenger who could not step aside in time was dirtied by the dust. Angered, he shouted uncouth words.
"Shh, lower your voice. Can't you see they're government soldiers? To scold them on the open street! Don't you want your life anymore?" The man's acquaintances tugged at him, warning him in a low voice.
That person instantly shut up. Caught up in the heat of the moment, he had spoken unrestrainedly. Now that he saw clearly that the riders all wore soldier uniforms, he no longer had the courage. He lowered his head, squirmed into the crowd, and disappeared.
"Where are those soldiers from, running about so early in the morning? Are the Sect of Flame traitors about to attack?"
"What are you saying? Those traitors were all defeated. How could they come here? I recognize those soldiers. They're from the Navy. The one who ran over is my neighbor's third son who just entered the Navy five years ago. He even came home a few days ago. There's no mistaking it!"
"The Navy? Why are these people running around this early in the morning?"
"Who knows? Based on the direction they're heading, I think they're headed for the Yellow Dragon Gang. Down this street is the headquarter!"
"Yellow Dragon Gang? What are they doing going there?!"
The crowd once again descended into discussions.
"What did you say? Zhou Bao got his men to surround the headquarter of the Yellow Dragon Gang?!"
In the County Administration, the Magistrate had just left the bed he shared with his favorite seventh concubine. He had not even washed up when he heard a commotion outside. He then saw a government runner rushing to the back of the manor and report news that gave him a headache.
"Why is he doing that?!" the Magistrate asked.
"The Navy has over 300 people and they have an airtight siege of the Yellow Dragon Gan. They're saying..." A complex expression crossed the runner's face.
"What did they say? Speak!" the Magistrate said. When he saw the runner stuttering, he wanted to kick him to death.
"They're saying they want to avenge Commander Gao Gong!"
"What? Avenge Gao Gong?!" The Magistrate's eyes widened and he shouted fiercely, "Rubbish! Gao Gong was killed by the water bandits. What does it have to do with the Yellow Dragon Gang? Their Gang Master was sworn brothers with Gao Gong. They had received so many advantages thanks to him, why would they kill him?!"
The runner finally regained his calm and answered, "The Navy said that the Yellow Dragon Gang and the water bandits colluded with each other and leaked the news of Commander Gao's plan to destroy the bandits to them. Hence, Gao Gong was ambushed!"
"Rubbish! The person who betrayed Gao Gong was a spy planted in Water Army Camp by the bandits. Who doesn't know about this matter?!" The Magistrate was a sensible person. After walking to and fro, he said, "I understand. It must be because the Yellow Dragon Gang has obtained the River Heart Island's dock. That is why Zhou Bao is doing this. Damn it. He dares to do such a heinous deed in broad daylight! How dare him!"
"Your Excellency, the Navy is now facing off the Yellow Dragon Gang at their headquarter. They'll attack once their words do not coincide with each other. This isn't a small matter. Both sides number in the hundreds. If they really start attacking in the city, we'll be in big trouble!"
The Magistrate went pale. "Guard Ding? Where is he? He's the Garrison of Jiang City and in charge of the Navy Commander. Where is he?!"
"As soon as this happened, Constable Xing sent us to inform you and Guard Ding. He should've heard by now!"
"Where's Constable Xing?"
"He's negotiating with the Navy at the headquarter. However, the newly appointed Navy Commander seems to be uncooperative!"
"Of course he won't listen!" the Magistrate said. "He's looking for trouble this time, plain and simple. Hurry up and bring me there!"
"Yes!" The runner's expression became odd. "Y-Your Excellency!"
"What's wrong? We should hurry!"
"You haven't changed your clothes!" The runner looked at the Magistrate who was wearing a white robe with a complicated expression, holding back his laughter.
"Good, very good! Zhou Bao is a dog that bites. He didn't even show up a few days ago, only sending Wang Cheng to negotiate, and now he's here to trouble me. Has he no regard for the law? For me, the Garrison?"
Guard Ding had received the news in the Guard Manor. Unlike the Magistrate, he had instantly exploded in anger.
"Old Master, Zhou Bao has been disregarding you since coming here. Once he entered the city, he beat Third Young Master until he's bedridden. He even charged him with rebellion, making you bow your head to him. Since ancient times, where is there such logic?"
Unlike the Magistrate, Guard Ding was more restricted. He only had two wives. The beautiful madam beside him was Madam Li, mother to the Third Young Master whom Junior Leopard had beaten up. She had not forgotten for even one day about the man who caused her son's suffering. Now that a chance had presented itself, she certainly would not let it go. She began persuading Guard Ding to retaliate.
"You know nothing!" Guard Ding did not seem to agree and he glared at his wife. "If not for your foolish son, do I need to lose so much face in front of my colleagues? You still dare bring up that good-for-nothing!"
Madam Li did not expect her husband to berate her as soon as she opened her mouth. She paled and started sobbing.
Guard Ding scoffed, not giving Madam Li a second look. He turned to the servant and shouted, "Ding Lei, let's go to the barrack! I want to see how far Zhou Bao wants to go!"
Jixian Street, the Yellow Dragon Gang headquarter.
Riding a black horse, Junior Leopard looked relaxed and his mouth carried a sarcastic, cold smile. He fixed a cold stare at the gate to the Yellow Dragon Gang headquarter.
300 of his men had surrounded the headquarter. Almost simultaneously, 100 heads had bobbed up from behind the walls of the headquarter. The people inside were stringing arrows onto their bows and standing off against the Navy. The gate then opened and another 100 gang members charged out. The first one was tall, with a scowl on his face.
"Commander Zhou, why do you bring men to my headquarter this early in the morning?"
Junior Leopard did not reply. He only glanced at the man and turned his gaze to the walls. The big man was furious and he stepped forward, wanting to question once again. Little Du who stood before Junior Leopard's horse sprung forward, releasing a wave of strong Qi force. The big man who had gone through many street fights and battles could only retreat in the face of Little Du's prowess.
Little Du rushed forward and the big man's heart turned cold, his legs numbing. He retreated dozens of steps and stumbled, landing his butt on the front gate of Yellow Dragon Gang. He lost much face.
When the rest of Navy saw this, they burst into laughter and the big man's face flushed. He looked at the laughing crowd and then behind him. The Yellow Dragon Gang might not dare to laugh, but each wore smiling expressions. If they did not forcefully suppress their emotions, they would have erupted in laughter.
"Zhou Bao, you're a bully!"
A Jianghu man, especially gang members like him who thronged the streets, cared about their reputation. He would not let the Navy go after losing so much face in front of so many people. Shouted angrily, he drew his saber and viciously hacked at Little Du.
Junior Leopard did not even glance at the man. His eyes remained on the gate.
Just as the big man's saber was about to cut into Little Du, a cold voice came from within the courtyard.
Within the series of exclamation, the roaring sound followed the cold scream. When the dust had settled, the big man had turned pale and was kneeling on the ground. The arm holding the saber was gone. A chewing sound resounded throughout, sending shivers down the spine. Little Du was chewing on the man's arm in front of everyone and completely swallowed it in minutes. Only the palm grasping the saber was left on the floor.
As if nothing had happened, Little Du returned to where it was previously standing with a bloody mouth.
"Commander Zhou, you got your men to besiege my headquarter and allowed this beast to commit a crime. Do you really not put the Yellow Dragon Gang in your eyes?!"
A skinny man person walked out of the gate exuded a wave of essential spirit. There was a sharp, chilly glint in his eyes. He wore a yellow robe and his face was full of anger.
"Of course I didn't put the Yellow Dragon Gang in my eyes!" Junior Leopard's gaze landed on this person and he lifted his chin. "Otherwise, I wouldn't be here today!"
"You!" That person did not expect Junior Leopard to be so direct and leave him no face. His expression darkened and he took a deep breath before walking forward. "Since you don't put us in your eyes, then what do you want by coming here today?!"
"If I'm not mistaken, you're the gang master of the Yellow Dragon Gang, Qian Mufan the Cloud-Passing Falcon!"
"That would be me!" Qian Mufan cupped his fist, giving a haphazard respect that indicated his dissatisfaction.
"You're the one I'm looking for. You colluded with the water bandits on Luo River and harmed the Navy, causing the previous commander to be ambushed and die. I'm here today with my brothers to settle the score with you!"
Junior Leopard looked confident when he said these, his entire being exuding a Qi force that was of grief and anger.
"You… you're slandering me!" Qian Mufan was anxious to hear this. He was surprised Junior Leopard would be so brazen to lie so confidently in broad daylight. How could one be this shameless?
"Make way! Everyone, make way!"
Just when he was struck dumb and speechless by Junior Leopard, a commotion unfolded outside the square. A few hundred government soldiers rushed over and surrounded Junior Leopard's navies.
"Zhou Bao, you'd secretly assembled the government troops to cause chaos in the city and attempted to rebel. Come and receive your punishment!"