After the Navy of Jiang City destroyed the Yellow Dragon Gang, peace returned to Jiang City, but only for a few days. The people of Jiang City barely had time to catch their breath before bloodshed once again arrived at Luo River.
The water bandits had kept a low profile after Broken Dragon Beach was conquered. After a short period of peace, they became active again. Overnight, they had robbed eight merchant ships sailing on the Luo River. When the navy arrived, they could only catch the bandits who were covering the retreat of their companions. Zhou Bao, the Navy Commander, was so furious that he launched the navy and destroyed two of the bandits' nests in a row. Unfortunately, the navy was lacking in soldiers and boats. Furthermore, the Luo River was extremely large in area. While they did deliver a huge blow to the water bandits, they were unable to vanquish them entirely.
As a result, the water bandits and the Navy ended up in a stalemate on the surface of the Luo River, but what differed from before was that this time, the navy had an advantage over the water bandits.
Apart from the uprising of the bandits at Luo River again, the alarming news that a goods yard would be constructed at River Heart Island had exploded like a bomb within the tiny Jiang City.
The people living beside the river of Jiang City lived off the river. Their lives were closely tied to the Luo River, so it was natural that they knew how important the Luo River was. Ever since the Zhonghe Prefecture had been built, the goods yards in Jiang City had never met the demand. Jiang City had a large population for a small space and it was located between the river and the mountains. It was already difficult to ensure that everyone had a place to live. There was simply no spare land available to construct goods yards.
As for the only stock yards and warehouses of the few ports they had, they had been forcefully taken from the people years back, when the then Magistrate of Jiang City benefited a lot from a few large influences. During that period, the entire city was filled with hate and anger. People whose land had been dispossessed were so indignant that they even led the water bandits into the city. In the end, the goods yard was constructed, but the entire family of the Magistrate was murdered in the backyard of the County Administration by the invading water bandits. As for those whose land had been taken away from them, later they too joined the water bandits.
With this lesson, the next Magistrates never dared to do the same and the goods yards had never been expanded again.
With the development of Zhonghe City, the marine transport of Jiang City gained importance. During peak periods, merchandise would pile up like mountains within the port. Since there was insufficient space to store the inventory, the storage fees of the goods yard would drastically increase.
Ever since River Heart Island was recaptured, a few clever merchants and influences had started to try to take advantage of it. One example was the unlucky Yellow Dragon Gang. They wanted to control River Heart Island and construct a stock yard there. Before, when River Heart Island was within the control of water bandits, trying to do this was like making bricks without straw. But now, River Heart Island had been taken back by Junior Leopard; they had the straw, and what was left to do was to see how they would turn the straw into bricks.
Therefore, when the news that a goods yard was going to be built in River Heart Island was released, the entire Jiang City was in uproar. Even the significance of the reappearance of water bandits in Luo River was dimmed.
Momentarily, the whole Jiang City was raging like a storm and the situation had become complex once again. On the other hand, the River Heart Island navy had a rare opportunity to rest and relax.
Junior Leopard had achieved his goal of raising his influence by keeping the opponent's influence in the past few chaotic days. He received three letters from the Wu Family in Jiang City. One was from the Wu Family's headquarters, written to him personally by the Family Head, Wu Yansheng. In this letter, Wu Yansheng first congratulated Junior Leopard on cultivating to Level Four, and told him that he had been promoted to be one of the Wu Family's Outer Core Elders. After hearing that the situation in Jiang City had just returned to his control, Wu Yansheng advised that Junior Leopard still needed to stay in Jiang City to oversee the situation; temporarily, he could not return to Yunzhou for the ceremony that would officially make him an Elder of the Wu family. It was better to return once the situation became more stable. The letter also reassured Junior Leopard that all the nitty gritty details had been settled. Now, he could stand firmly in his position as commander of the Jiang City Navy. The Wu family had taken care of all the dirty tricks the Magistrate and Guard Ding were trying to play on him. What accompanied the letter was an official seal for Outer Core Elder, which meant that he was indeed the Outer Core Elder, the moment he received that letter. The ceremony had not yet been held, but the Wu Family had dispersed this piece of news. Not only did the various branches of the Wu Family receive it, but also many well-known martial families in the Jianghu as well: fifteen year old Zhou Bao had become the new Elder in the Wu Family.
This news, neither significant nor insignificant, stirred up a ripple within Jianghu. That the Wu Family had an additional Elder was not something unexpected, but the Elder was only fifteen years old, so this would catch anyone's attention.
Fifteen years old; Level Four cultivation; Bone-Forging Realm!
Even within sects like Tian Long Taoism which had lasted for tens of thousands of years, the appearance of such a prodigy was very rare!
A talent had appeared from the Wu Family. No wonder it caused uproar.
After this incident, Junior Leopard started getting noticed by the prestigious sects and schools within Jianghu; he had become something of a character and gained some reputation for himself in the martial arts world of Great Jin.
Apart from Wu Yansheng's letter, the supervisor of Jiang City's Wu Family gave him another two letters. Both were a pleasant surprise for him.
This was because one was from his teacher Xu Yong, and the other was from Li Xiu of the Li Family in Pingzhou.
Xu Yong expressed his excitement towards Junior Leopard's improvement, and gave a few words of encouragement. Obviously, he had not known that Junior Leopard's cultivation had already reached Level Four. Therefore, when he wrote, he told Junior Leopard to continue practicing hard to improve his cultivation to Level Four. Other than this, he also mentioned that everything was well for himself in Pingzhou, except that he had not finished his task, so he needed to stay there for an extended period of time. After he completed his task in Pingzhou, he would go to Jiang City and bring Junior Leopard a surprise; he did not say what it was.
As for Li Xiu's letter, in addition to congratulating Junior Leopard, he challenged him to a duel for the next time they met, and boasted that he would not be defeated as easily as the previous time. Junior Leopard did not take Li Xiu's impulsive words to heart. Moreover, there was also some chat about what had happened after their separation. Lastly, he mentioned that since Junior Leopard was now the Navy Commander of Jiang City, he made a request for Junior Leopard to take care of the Li family's ships when they passed through Jiang City's waters.
Three letters. Three persons. Three messages.
None of the letters carried bad news. After Junior Leopard received these three letters, all his worries were gone. Afterwards, he delegated the responsibility of managing day-to-day tasks in the navy to Wang Cheng, Jiang Xiao and his other subordinates.
Junior Leopard's cultivation had already reached Level Four, and his foundation was fully consolidated. With a cultivation of this level, his was already at the top among those at the same age.
However Junior Leopard understood deep in his heart, that his own internal Qi and the External Elixir's internal Qi were not integrated entirely.
Currently, Junior Leopard owned two External Elixirs, but regarding the function of an External Elixir, he only understood completely after he obtained the second one.
This was because the second External Elixir was used to practice the same cultivation method as his own: Nine Dragons Heavenly Fire Technique.
It was precisely because the two cultivation methods were the same, that his power was greatly increased. The Internal Qi that his body couldn't hold was fully taken up by the External Elixir. Once his body's own Internal Qi was exhausted, the External Elixir would be able to supplement him with Internal Qi. When the External Elixir's Internal Qi was used up, of course, which was almost impossible, but if it did happen, his body's Internal Qi would be filled up entirely. In this way, an endlessly continuing Internal Qi cycle would form. Junior Leopard was now a Level Four expert of the Bone-Forging Realm, but if another Level Four expert fought with him, the person would be defeated within seconds.
For Junior Leopard, the properties of his External Elixir's Internal Qi were indeed the same as that of his own body. The difference was that the former was too intense. The cultivation level of his External Elixir's Internal Qi was at Level Six; and to that extent a Lion, as one of the Nine Dragons, could be produced. Both the purity and the power of the External Elixir's Internal Qi were a few grades higher than that of his body's. Thus, transformation was not smooth. The Internal Qi in his body and the External Elixir's Internal Qi interacted, which had no effect on the External Elixir but led to a result that the body itself couldn't bear. Even if it didn't matter during his daily practice, it would be his Achilles' heel if he met a strong opponent.
Therefore, the toughness of his body was not enough as far as he was concerned; he needed to improve his body's toughness, at least at least to a level at which his body could entirely withstand the heat and purity of the External Elixir's Internal Qi. Once again, he settled down to practice.
Anyway, now he had as many medicinal herbs as he wanted; multiple batches of them were carried into his room. Everyone else thought he was using them to wash and purify his body, so no one dared to disturb him. Nobody knew was that he had spent ten days converting the medicinal herbs into Bone Forging and Tendon-Changing Pills. Now that he had these pills, together with the purifying effect of Taiji Fist and Blood Evil Harden Bone Fist, the toughness of his body increased drastically. While he still could not withstand Level Five Internal Qi, his body and the External Elixir became fully integrated.
After integrating with his External Elixir, the enormous changes in his body's power became apparent to Junior Leopard.
It was the power of the physical body.
The reason was not that he was in the Bone-Forging Realm. After he entered the Bone-Forging Realm, his strength became five times as much as when he was still in the Skin-Toughening Realm, and this was only regarding his strength. Along with the toughening of his physical body and skeleton, he was absolutely sure that, with only one punch, he could annihilate a person within the Skin-Toughening Realm.
And this was just his physical strength after he entered the Bone-Forging Realm.
Thanks to the integration and intensification of his Internal Qi, his body was quenched once more by the integrated Internal Qi of the Nine Dragons Heavenly Fire. His strength also became twice that of when he'd first stepped into the Bone-Forging Realm. Now, his strength was already ten times as strong as it had been in the Skin-Toughening Realm.
Which meant that he was now able to lift twin hammers ten times heavier than before.
He hadn't considered this previously, but now when he thought about it, he felt frightened.
The hammers exceeded five hundred kilograms, much heavier than the legendary hammers belonging to Li Yuanba. Once he could use them properly, the slightest hit from the hammer would severely injure someone. However, where could he find hammers heavier than five hundred kilograms? Worse, he wanted a pair of them!
This was difficult because the forging of such hammers not only required skill on the blacksmith's part, but also required raw materials of high quality.
Junior Leopard could easily find a highly skilled blacksmith. As an Elder of the Wu Family, as long as he asked, there would be many craftsmen ready at his command. But what about the raw materials?
A highly skilled craftsman could do as much as he could to compress and purify the material, but could not increase the quality of the material. Since the item to be made was a weapon, it must not be too big in size, even for a hammer. Otherwise, even if he was able to use it, he could not carry it with him!
The good thing was that he was now an Elder of the Wu Sect, so he had access to their materials. Since he had this right, he was going to make full use of it.
As he thought about this, he laughed, "Haha, this Elder title really is useful!"