Chapter 24: Shattered Bones and Scattered Ashes
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“You want my life? With what army?”
At this crucial juncture, Ma Fei finally came to his senses. A teal-colored short sword fell down from within his sleeve with a slight jerk of his hand. Judging by its spiraling teal radiance, this was clearly a high-rank divine weapon.
“Venom Dragon Drill!”
Ma Fei roared, essence force flowing out from his palm. The teal-colored short sword immediately shone even brighter, emitting a chilling aura. He drew his hand into a claw; the short sword began spinning rapidly on his palm before piercing through the air, aiming directly at Jiang Yi’s fist.
An actual treasured artifact! It seems that this man has quite a high status in the Ma Family.
Jiang Yi was in silent shock. He had only seen such a treasure once before in his life: in the hands of Jiang Henshui at the family clan’s Grand Tournament two years ago. In addition, he had read several books on the subject so he knew that all weapons in this world were graded into four ranks, in order from low to high: Keen Artifact, Treasured Artifact, Numinous Artifact, and Sacred Artifact. Only weapons that belonged to the rank of Treasured Artifact and above could be infused with essence force. Once this was done, the treasured artifact would become so powerful and sharp-edged that it could slice through metal like it was mud! If Jiang Yi dared to make contact with his fist, it would surely become minced meat.
Jiang Yi promptly changed his technique, transforming his fist into three fist silhouettes which flew at Ma Fei.
Huh… this brat has such a swift reaction. Is he at the second stage of the Cast Tripod Realm?
Seeing the singular fist suddenly transforming into three, Ma Fei became somewhat panicked. How could he change his own technique at this juncture? He could only clench his teeth and continue to direct the teal-colored short sword on its path towards Jiang Yi’s chest. If Jiang Yi dared to hit him with Phantom Punch, Jiang Yi’s chest would then become a mangled mess for sure!
Jiang Yi’s fists did not hesitate even for a second and tore through the air like meteorites. However, as they approached Ma Fei’s palm, the fists disappeared all of a sudden. In their stead was a hand silkily entangling Ma Fei like a piece of kelp.
Jiang Yi had already transferred a wisp of black essence force to his eyes earlier, and so he could clearly predict the speed and trajectory of Ma Fei’s sword. He certainly was not foolish enough to take it on with his fist.
Jiang Yi abruptly changed his technique again. At such proximity, it was impossible for Ma Fei to dodge the attack, and his wrist was easily captured. Jiang Yi applied force and twisted hard, causing immediate pain to shoot up Ma Fei’s wrist. Grunting in pain, Ma Fei had completely lost control of the teal-colored short sword.
Jiang Yi’s other fist burst straight forth and smashed hard against Ma Fei’s face, causing blood to sprout out of his nose profusely and knocking him backward. Jiang Yi, who had landed on the ground for the meantime, grabbed the fallen short sword and held it against Ma Fei’s neck in one lightning-quick move. He demanded coldly, “All of you stop right now if you don’t want your young master to die!”
Housekeeper Liu was just two-thirds of a meter away from Jiang Yi while the guards from both sides were similarly about to strike. At that moment, however, all of them stopped their movements at once and even hastily took a step back. Considering Ma Fei’s high standing in the Ma Family, all of them would be sentenced to death if Ma Fei were to die here. Naturally, they could not afford to take that risk.
Housekeeper Liu had a ferocious glint in his eyes. He roared at Jiang Yi, “Jiang Clan scoundrel, release my Young Master right now, or you would certainly die today!”
Jiang Yi turned to move behind Ma Fei and restrained his neck with a hand. In his other hand was the teal-colored short sword which was infused with essence force and pressed tightly against Ma Fei’s chest, ready to penetrate with just the slightest force.
Jiang Yi’s cold gaze swept across everyone and bellowed, “All of you move back ten feet!”
Gritting his teeth, Housekeeper Liu issued the order and began moving back slowly. The other guards too shuffled backward sullenly. It was fortunate that Fengyue Brothel had not yet opened for business, and the ladies were still upstairs. Otherwise, it would have caused quite a commotion.
“Nice, well done! Well done, you brat!”
Having been scared senseless earlier by the fact that he was almost killed by Jiang Yi, Ma Fei had just recovered and immediately roared in equal measures of rage and embarrassment. Being held hostage in front of a bunch of servants—to say Ma Fei was inwardly fuming would be an understatement.
Jiang Yi ignored him; the hand that was on Ma Fei’s neck moved rapidly and cut down on Ma Fei’s palm in a chopping movement, causing him to jerk in pain and release the command token in his hand.
Jiang Yi quickly caught the command token and put it away, before resuming his hold on Ma Fei’s neck. Only by then did he smile mirthlessly, “Young Master Ma, did your father not tell you that those who humiliate others would often be humiliated in return? Be good and stay put, lest an involuntary shake of my hand sends you straight to meet the Netherworld Emperor.”
Ma Fei burst out laughing. He turned his neck with difficulty and cast savage eyes upon Jiang Yi. “Meet the Netherworld Emperor? Do you dare to kill this young master? How about you give it a try when you are ten thousand times more daring than you are now? My father is Ma Yong. If you have the guts to kill me, even the Jiang Clan Head would not be able to save you. You little rascal, I’ll have you know that you are done for! I swear there will be retribution for what you did today, with hundred-fold interest. I, Ma Fei, vow to render you useless, or I will cease to be a man.”
Ma Fei’s harsh words did not unnerve Jiang Yi even a little. Rather, he breathed out a long sigh and regarded Ma Fei the same way one would an unintelligent swine. Shaking his head, he exhaled softly. “Are the brains of you wastrel descendants made up of sh*t, trying to intimidate me even now? You are bold enough to utter such impertinent words as you are being held hostage? Fine then… since you are going render me useless sooner or later, I might as well do it to you first! If you ever do render me useless in the end, at least this young master would not be getting the short end of the stick, am I right?”
Jiang Yi viciously raised the short sword and abruptly drove it down at Ma Fei’s stomach, aiming directly where his dantian was…
“Jiang Clan scoundrel, how dare you…”
Housekeeper Liu and several guards cried out frantically, but they were unable to do anything except watch the teal-colored short sword being plunged into Ma Fei’s stomach. It was then that everyone heard a hissing noise as if air was leaking from a ball.
I’m done for!
All the strength had left Housekeeper Liu: his body swayed and almost crumpled to the floor. He absolutely failed to consider how this youth of the Jiang Clan could be so ruthless. With his dantian ruined, Ma Fei was doomed to be useless for the rest of his life, and the fate awaiting the rest of them would in no way be pleasant!
“Ah! Ah! Ah!”
A harrowing scream soon spilled out. Ma Fei’s body shook all over, not because of the agonizing pain coming from his stomach, but because of the panic and fear that filled him: the Jiang Clan rascal dared render him useless… he had actually… really done it?
Xiaonu, this young master… has avenged you!
Jiang Yi closed his eyes and gave a long exhale. He aimed the short sword at Ma Fei’s chest again and cut him off in mid-scream with a full-force choke of his neck. He looked at Housekeeper Liu frostily and roared, “The scores between Fengyue Brothel and me are settled. If the Ma Family wishes to seek revenge on me from now on, feel free to bring it on! Housekeeper… return my purple gold, or your young master would not just be useless but dead as well.”
Jiang Yi’s pronouncement made Housekeeper Liu even more frantic. He hurriedly took the gold leaf given by Jiang Yi from his chest pocket and threw it over. Jiang Yi caught it with one hand and swiftly put it away in his own chest pocket before moving towards the gates step by step with Ma Fei in tow. When he was out of the gates, he kicked Ma Fei back in and bolted far away, with Ma Fei’s Treasured Artifact, the short sword, still in his possession.
“Little rascal, where do you think you are going?!”
Three of the guards were instantly enraged and about to give chase. Housekeeper Liu, however, yelled, “There’s no use in chasing. With so little power, aren’t the three of you just heading to your doom?”
The three men were startled slightly and retreated in embarrassment. Out of all of them, Housekeeper Liu was the strongest. If he was no match against Jiang Yi, it was pointless for anyone else to give chase. A bunch of them then carried Ma Fei into a room immediately to stop the bleeding and heal his wounds.
“Servants, go notify the family clan immediately! Oh, forget it… the lot of you, take good care of Young Master! I will personally go and make apologies!”
Housekeeper Liu’s expression was as grim as if his own father had expired. He waited until Ma Fei’s injuries were under control before scrambling out the door. Yet, just as he was stepping outside, a freezing voice rang out: “Wait!”
“Young Master! Do you have any instructions?” Housekeeper Liu hastily looked back at Ma Fei and was met with a pair of cold and cruel eyes that sent shivers down his spine.
Ma Fei took a deep breath, closing his eyes and resting for a moment before saying, “Do not inform the family clan about this incident. Have someone pass a message to my father in secret, and… in ten days, I want every bit of information about this rascal delivered to me. If it cannot be done, all of you are to take your own lives!”
Housekeeper Liu answered in the affirmative in a low voice, feeling relieved internally. Since Ma Fei preferred not to inform the family clan, that meant the lot of them would not be punished by the family clan. As for digging for information on Jiang Yi? Granted, it could be somewhat troublesome, but once they had the paintings of Jiang Yi and Jiang Xiaonu drawn up, and with so many servants in the Jiang Clan, they could still obtain the information if they offered taels of silver pieces in exchange.
Jiang Clan rascal!
Ma Fei stopped paying attention to Housekeeper Liu and stared at the ceiling in bitter resentment. I, Ma Fei, vow to shatter your bones and scatter the ashes into the wind, or I cease to be a man…
Jiang Yi did not head to the Martial Arts Hall; rather, he darted all the way home. It was only until he stepped into the Jiang Clan courtyard that his frayed nerves were soothed.
The descendants of the Ma and the Jiang families had frequent conflicts. Last year, Jiang Rulong had beaten up two descendants of the Ma Family so badly that they were paralyzed, and yet the Ma Family did not dare knock on the Jiang Clan doors for revenge, and the matter was concluded without being settled. Therefore, Jiang Yi knew he was safe now that he was back in the Jiang Clan courtyard.
There were unwritten rules among the great families: the descendants could hurt and render one another useless in a conflict, but they must not take lives. In addition, the genius descendants, who were considered most important to the families, must never be rendered useless. Otherwise, to do so would trigger a duel between families that would throw all pretenses of cordiality into the wind. Hence, Jiang Yi knew that if he had killed Ma Fei, Housekeeper Liu and the guards would definitely be sentenced to death, and yet he did not dare to make the move.
From appearances, Ma Fei seemed two to three years older, and yet he was only at the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm—an indication of his obviously limited talent. Although he was rendered useless, the Ma Family would not make too much of a fuss. At the very most, Ma Fei’s father would fly into a thunderous rage and try to have Jiang Yi assassinated.
Therefore, Jiang Yi chose to return to the Jiang Clan, instead of the Martial Arts Hall. He was certain that he would not be able to survive for more than ten days if he dared commute back and forth between the Jiang Clan and the Martial Arts Hall during this period.
He had thought things through on the way back: he had to get his affairs in order and go into hiding for several months. Once he became strong enough to protect himself, he would then be able to go wherever he pleased. Although he would be safe in the Jiang Clan courtyard, he had an agreement with the Martial Arts Hall and had to work as a sparring partner for five years. Backing out of that agreement had consequences far more severe than offending the Ma Family…
His only choice was to sort out his affairs in the Jiang Clan, before hiding for a few months in the Martial Arts Hall. The fact that there were Ma Family descendants in the Martial Arts Hall notwithstanding, who would recognize him—an insignificant member of the Jiang Clan—especially when he would wear a mask?
“Three months! If the Ma Family did not manage to locate me by the end of three months, my attainment would reach the fourth or fifth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm at the very least. Combined with the black essence force, my powers should reach the eighth or ninth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. By that time, even if the Ma Family were to send their assassins, this young master would have nothing to fear! Would they even be as audacious as to sending a powerful martial artist who is at the Purple Mansion Realm?”
Jiang Yi murmured to himself as he sprinted along. Looking at the little yard of his house, his face soon clouded with worry. It was absolutely forbidden to bring anyone else into the Martial Arts Hall, but how could he feel assured leaving a silly girl such as Xiaonu alone at home for three months?