Chapter 14 - Wang Tianhao
"No worries, your money is good here, come get your weapon in a month." Hearing this, the burly fellow promised, without giving it much thought, full of confidence.
"Then I'll rely on you, Master Ma." As he made the promise, a trace of a smile played across his lips. He took a bulging bag of silver from his waist, and threw it in front of the blacksmith without hesitation.
This Master Ma was no ordinary blacksmith; he was the only person who knew the true identity of 'Fierce Fist', aside from Feng Li and Gao Yuan. Besides, rumour had it that he was a remote relative of Gao Yuan and was not only skilled at ironworking but also was more skilled at making weapons than most other blacksmiths in Feng city. The silver mask worn by 'Fierce Fist' was made by exactly this pair of professional hands; this was the reason why Shi Mu paid his money in advance without any misgivings - he just believed in the blacksmith's talent. However, now that he had paid such an exorbitant fee, he was out of money.
Speaking of money, Shi Mu had earned a smaller part of it from his well-located 'Yuan Xiang Restaurant' , whose business surged after he began to bring animals he hunted from the nearby mountain, which in turn provided him with a pure income of at least a hundred silver notes each month. The other half of his income was gained by playing the role of 'Fierce Fist'. As for the fields under his control, Shi Mu did not expect much from them, for the managing of the manor would cost at least most of the collected rent.
It seemed now that he could only resort to 'that thing', which he had been planning for a while. Thanks to his recently enhanced Gale Force Knife Art, he could now produce seven cuts with one movement. Now he could manage - though with much difficulty - to shift the plan to an earlier date. To accomplish this was almost impossible for average practitioners: after all, the blood mutation[A] had not happened to his body again in the past half year; only now had he started to perceive the truth that it was almost impossible for any practitioner to do six cuts in a movement! The proof was his limited progress of doing one more cut in a movement. He had spent a few months and yet he had not made any more progress.
But this was already no ordinary progress; it was enough to dwarf all average practitioners. After all, even Li Canghai the instructor could only do nine with the aid of his real qi. Thinking about his plan, Shi Mu left the blacksmith's after some time and spent half a day making purchases at some other shops in the city before he at last returned to his temporary residence.
The moment he walked into the room, his expression changed, and he cast a brief glance at the window in a relaxed manner. The next moment, he strode there, fumbled under the half-opened window and found something which turned out to be a paper ball! Shi Mu seemed rather calm and, unfolding the paper dexterously, he laughed delightedly.
"Seems someone's begging me to take his money."
After thinking out loud, he stuffed the paper ball into his shirt, climbed into his bed and fell fast asleep.
he slept soundly and was refreshed when he woke at dusk. After taking out a big parcel from underneath the bed, he left his residence again.
One hour later, in the backyard of the fairly well-known Tian Wang Temple in Feng City, Black Fox members were lying all over the ground, nearly covering the whole yard. Every one of them was in agony, moaning and groaning, daring not to take up a single stick or knife from the great many scattered around them. Even Feng Li and Gao Yuan had been downed and were unable to move, one with a bleeding mouth, the other rolling in the dust, both gasping with astonishment at the youth standing before them, spear in hand. Though the two leaders of the Black Fox gang had heard of this opponent's name as well as his talents, his actual strength far exceeded their expectations, to the extent that he could have handled the two leaders - each quite accomplished in his body tempering - as well as the ten odd guards outside the yard, within a quarter of an hour.
"Wang Tianhao , we'd scarcely read your challenge note before you came here to fight, that's not fair!" Though he had painful aches all over his body, Gao Yuan still could not resist protesting.
"Humph! You seem to complain a lot! Well, you're good enough at shouting, I'm sorry. I was in a bad mood this afternoon, so I thought, the earlier I come here and meet your 'Fierce Fist' the better, isn't it! What? Do you have a problem?" The youth in white, though he looked rather graceful, answered in a cold, rude manner; lifting his foot he bashed Gao Yuan's head halfway into the ground in an instant. Gao Yuan fearfully struggled to get up from under his foot, but he was too weak and could only swear loudly.
Hearing the swear, the youth in white gave another heavy stomp without hesitation, which tortured Gao Yuan into a quiet anguish. Angered at his deed, though still terrified, Feng Li tried hard to rise and put up a desperate fight. Before he could stand up, a black shadow whizzed toward the youth at lightning speed.
The youth raised his eyebrows and lazily thrust forward with his spear, which was made of refined iron, only to find the black shadow exploding at the spear's handle with a thunderous boom, sending various splinters shooting out in all directions. The black shadow, which destroyed the refined iron, was only a stone the size of a bowl! The youth's arms trembled, and the force of the blow made him step back. Then he tilted his head to the side, narrowly avoiding getting directly hit by another stone, though it left a cut on the side of his head, which oozed blood.
"It's you, the 'Fierce Fist'!"
The youth in white showed no concern for his wound at all, on the contrary, he fixed his eyes on the new comer - a black-clothed man with a silver mask - his blood racing with excitement.
"So you are the one that sent me the challenge note?" Shi Mu, who got a full view of the yard through the holes on his mask, asked the white-robed youth in slow voice.
"Can't you tell who I am?" The white-robed young man was somewhat surprised at Shi Mu's unawareness.
"Why? Should I know you?" Taking a glance at the challenger's spear, he strode over to the center of the yard. With a single foot he kicked at an iron knife, making it jump up right into his hand.
"Careful, second brother! This man, Tian Wanghao, is said to be the top practitioner in Feng City, and a son of the Wangs who raise bloodline warriors!" Feng Li tried to shout his warning before anything happened.
"Top Practitioner in Feng City! One of the Wang family's bloodline warriors!" Shi Mu's eyes lit up with surprise at the titles.
"Hehe, I did not proclaim to be the top practitioner, it's just that all who object to that title were defeated by me. As to the other title, though I'm one of the Wangs, I have not awakened my blood yet to become a bloodline warrior." The youth in white smiled with apparent pride.
Shi Mu's face grew somewhat solemn at the answer. He could not help but ask, "excuse me, but why do you trifle with such a small gang?"
"Haha, to challenge the strong member, of course. Why else would I do this? Since you've come I'll let these trash off to save my energy. Take my first attack!" Wang Tianhao leapt up, after a loud laugh, and shook his hands while grasping the spear, rushing right at Shi Mu, attempting a sudden stab. Shi Mu only felt his sight blur for a moment before he saw five glaring spear tips right in front of him, moving right towards him.
At the fierce attack Shi My snorted, and, with a simple shake of his arms, his iron knife transformed into five black shadows that struck forward, stirring several *swish* sounds. Once the five spear tips met the knife shadows they were smashed and vanished immediately, but that was not the end: with a glitter of a cold light a sixth spear tip appeared as if from nowhere, slithering forward at Shi Mu's forehead like a viper. This attack, whether its speed or angle, was so unexpected that it caught Shi Mu unguarded, leaving him no chance to defend with his iron knife at all. So he could only throw away the knife and take a step back with a loud shout. Meanwhile, his two arms shot forward with blurring speed.
There came a dull sound, and Tian Wanghao was shocked.
Shi Mu's hands, both in black gloves, had gripped the spear tip tightly like two giant iron anvils; the spear had been stopped half an inch before his chest!
Seeing this, Tian Wanghao gave a sneer. 'Fierce Fist' was an idiot if he believed that a single pair of palms could catch his spear. So, before Shi Mu's next movement, he twisted the tightly held spear abruptly before giving it another forcible pull backward to his side.
There came a loud drone when the youth found his spear handle made of refined iron shaking violently, but the tip was still pressed between Shi Mu's hands, not moving an inch. From the handle a burning pang crept on, stinging his palm. He sucked in a cold breath, knowing that it was now his own strength which rubbed off his skin.
Just then Shi Mu, at the other end of the spear, extended his fingers to hold the tip even tighter with one hand, while pounding at the handle heavily with the other rapidly, his fist clenched. With a clear sound, the iron spear, its length over one zhang, started to bend in the middle. Meanwhile, another large force rushed along the handle toward Tian Wanghao, welling up from his wrists and rushing onto his arms.
"Shit, this guy is freakishly strong!"
Though he already knew of the Fierce Fist's great strength, the idea that he could break iron with brute force never occurred to him once. He let out a loud swear, then stomped heavily on the ground with one foot before shooting backward, releasing the spear handle from his hand.
Boom! The handle smashed hard onto the ground at the brute force, creating a mud pit the size of a basin.
The youth steadied himself back on his feet, but seeing such a sight, his face grew extremely embarrassed. "Peng!" Shi Mu threw the already bent iron handle - now looking like a huge bow - on the ground, then strode over to his opponent.
"I give up! Your strength is unfathomable, and I'm without my weapon. Now I finally understand the thing my seniors mentioned, about your ten-fold strength. Now that I've seen a muscular guy like you, whom I'm not certain to defeat even with the full power of my Blazing Spear But it'll be another story in two or three months." The white-robed youth waved off Shi Mu's pursuing challenge with an unexpected laugh.
"You started the fight, now you want to stop it! Do you think you can always have the final say?" Shi Mu refused in a cold, low voice; after a shake of his shoulders he was getting ready to teach him a good lesson with his brutal fists.
"I'll compensate you with money for wasting your time!"
The answer obviously stunned Shi Mu. It was amusing and unexpected, which made Shi Mu begin to question his own hearing.
"I'll pay you, here's a small bag of golden beans, more than enough to cover all of their medical expenses. But let's make it clear, I'm not afraid of you, Fierce Fist! It's only that I know I don't have the strength to beat you right now. It's not worthwhile to fight you with all my strength. Being covered with sweat is not befitting of the image of the top warrior in Feng City." The youth in white leaned backward, his hand lifted to throw out a cotton bag the size of a palm.
It was the first time Shi Mu had met such a narcissist, so he could only stare in mute amazement. But just then, the youth in white turned around, running at full speed, stomping midway to produce a bolstering force, with which his whole body directly flew over the wall two zhang high, only leaving his faint voice floating from the other side of the wall,
"Haha, remember, Fierce Fist, I'm Wang Tianhao, the one destined to defeat you in the future."
Then there was silence.
 Yuan Xiang Restaurant: "Yuan Xiang" means a faraway fragrance, indicating the restaurant's high level.
 Tian Wang Temple: "Tian Wang" means "the lord of the heaven".
 Wang Tianhao: "Wang" is the family name, while "Tian" means heaven and "Hao" means the vast heaven, the two together making a given name.
[A] This is referring to the enhancement he got from the Pearl Girl in chapter 2. (He thinks it's a mutation from the dark blood)