Chapter 12: Bravery
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Maggie
Shi Mu managed to take down seven or eight of his opponents in the blink of an eye, like a wolf among a herd of sheep. The Luan Shui sect began to flee down both sides of the road in fear.
Grabbing the opportunity, Feng Li and Gao Yuan charged into the chaos and began to strike at five or six of their enemies with a pair of iron rods.
The men who were watching from behind saw this and, in order to reinforce their little army, were forced to abandon their watch-and-wait policy. Three Luan Shui thugs led by a middle aged man rushed towards Shi Mu, who was masquerading as 'Fierce Fists'. The middle-aged man called out loudly to Shi Mu. Meanwhile, two other men stood up to act as obstacles in the paths of Gao Yuan and Feng Li.
A series of non-stop whacks were heard from the four iron rods in Feng Li and Gao Yuan's hands. The iron rods moved in similar motions, for they both were using the same martial art technique.
Though their opponents both wielded flat white weapons that looked like iron rulers, they were employing different skills. One moved his ruler in a firm and heavy manner, while the other seemed to move his weapon more randomly with quick and fluid movements. It was hard to tell which side had an advantage over the other.
Meanwhile, Shi Mu was fighting three blue robed men. They were far stronger than the others, but he was handling them with great composure. Wasting no words on his opponents, he lifted a wooden stick off the ground with his foot, quickly catching it with his hands.
The middle-aged man in the lead was carrying sharp-looking bamboo knives in his hands. As he approached Shi Mu, he wielded the knives in a cross and directly pushed them into Shi Mu's chest viciously. Even though the bamboo knives were not made out of iron, their sharpness was capable of doing some serious damage if they caught their target.
A cold light flashed across Shi Mu's eyes as he saw the knives. However, he only shook his wrist once, and six shadows emerged from the stick, which began dancing wildly in front of his enemies.
The middle aged man let out a loud cry, unable to hide his astonishment.
He had to pull his bamboo knives back at lightning speed in order to avoid the wild dance of the shadows.
Two clear sounds were heard as the man felt his hands shake violently. The pair of bamboo knives was splintered into pieces, accompanied by a strong pain that crept into his chest. Forced to take a step back, he nearly lost his footing in the process, and had to make an effort to prevent himself from falling to the ground.
At the sight, the other two men immediately thrust their spears into the air in front of Shi Mu. Another opponent shook his wrist, unleashing a slithering whip that looked like a ferocious python.
In the face of the attacks, Shi Mu let out a low shout and then waved his arms abruptly. He threw the wooden stick like a javelin, and a 'boom' sound was heard as the stick slammed into something.
The spearman had no time to resist the head-on collision of the tip of his wooden spear with Shi Mu's stick. A wave of energy was sent up the spear towards the man, and the weapon was shattered into pieces. The man fell unconscious from the pain, with both of his hands bleeding.
At exactly the same time, Shi Mu stretched out his other arm. He instantly grasped the approaching whip with a gloved hand. All this was done so quickly that all his movements were nothing but a blur to the others watching the fight.
The man with the whip turned pale at the sight. Overcome with panic, he lashed wildly with the whip as he tried to take a step back. Shi Mu snorted at his attempt and pulled the tip of the whip gently. The pull made the man tremble uncontrollably, and he staggered forward like a drunk.
"No!" he cried.
However, it was too late for him to flee. Shi Mu was already at his side, having covered the whole distance in the blink of an eye. The next moment, Shi Mu struck him hard in the stomach. Before he could even realise it, the wind had been knocked out of him by an overwhelming force. He was left kneeling on the ground, almost unconscious.
Shi Mu did not let him go. In yet another quick movement, his body flew into the air like a dragon. He lunged forward with a kick, his leg sweeping his enemy, who cringed as the leg charged towards him. He was well aware that the impact of the kick might kill him, given the strength of his opponent. However, he had already been made defenceless after the previous attack.
"Stop! We admit our defeat," at this time, a terrified voice pleaded with Shi Mu.
Shi Mu heard the request and held his attack, letting his kick pass right above the man's head. A strong wind passed just above the man, leaving him paralyzed with fear.
Shi Mu looked at the pleading man after landing on the ground. Through the holes of his mask, he saw that the voice belonged to the middle-aged man, the leader of the Luan Shui gang.
The middle-aged man sighed with relief as he confirmed the spearman's safety. He then made a placating gesture with clasped hands, as he smiled bitterly at Shi Mu.
"You really are the 'Fierce Fists'! You must be one of the top martial disciples in Feng City, so why don't you leave our gangs alone? We are only fighting for some bread, not for anything serious," said the middle-aged man.
Shi Mu stood there without moving an inch, his eyes cold and his lips firm. It was then that Feng Li walked up and said: "Stop this nonsense! You must withdraw from the five streets immediately after today's competition!"
"Ok, ok, we'll withdraw from here as we cannot match up to the 'Fierce Fists'. Let's go!" the leader replied in a resolute manner and led his men off, having made a decision.
In less than a minute, no Luan Shui men could be seen around the nearby streets, which now belonged completely to the Black Foxes. The previously injured men in black were now jumping around in buoyant spirits.
Feng Li and Gao Yuan were also in high spirits and were quick to start working on the management of their newly obtained territories. The 'Fierce Fists' who was played by Shi Mu took this opportunity to disappear from everyone's sight, keeping his enigmatic reputation intact.
Several days later, Shi Mu returned to his suburban manor with his new black armour, which was 5 kilograms heavier than the previous one. He was astonished to find the beautiful girl waiting in the middle of the square.
"Young master Shi, Miss Zhong arrived here two days ago. Since I had no way of contacting young master Shi, I had to ask her to stay here for a few nights," said Zhang Suo, the manager of the manor. He had answered the unspoken question in a rather terrified voice.
The manager was fully aware of Shi Mu's tricks, despite his young age.
However, this time he had put up the girl without asking for his master's permission beforehand. He was worried that he had made a terrible mistake.
"It's all right, you can go now. I'll talk to Miss Zhong myself," said Shi Mu, waving Zhong Suo away. He had properly prepared himself by then. Meanwhile, the girl stood there silently the entire time, with her head lowered.
Shi Mu made a gesture as Zhang Suo left, inviting the girl into his bedroom.
"Miss Zhong, why have you come here now? Is there something you wish to tell me?" Shi Mu turned to ask the girl in a rather serious manner.
"Young master Shi, please do not question me anymore. Are you in need of extra help here? If you are not averse to the idea, would you agree to let me work here as a servant?" Zhong Xiu said as she built the courage to look up at Shi Mu, biting her lips nervously.
"A servant girl? Miss Zhong, don't talk nonsense. What happened to you at the Wu family? I recall that they were quite polite to you at that time. I would be very grateful if you told me what happened," Shi Mu asked slowly, knitting his brows together.
"An ugly girl like me? What do you think happened to me at the Wu's? They only let me in because they thought I had some special abilities. They refused to accept me once they became aware of my condition. I'm penniless now, so I had no option but to leave them as soon as possible. Should I have waited to be asked to leave? Believe me; I had no other place to go to in Feng City except here. Or I wouldn't have had the audacity to return," Zhong Xiu's eyes shimmered with tears, her voice somewhat choking with sobs.
Could there be another young girl such as her? One who could keep her cool in the face of her father's death, and her fiancé's rejection?
"I see. It seems that your father was right. Well, don't mention the servant deal again. You are welcome to stay here as you are. Although I wasn't born with a lot of money, I can at least provide you with food, and a place to sleep. Also, don't call me young master anymore, Brother Shi is fine. If you wish to leave someday, just write me a note before you do," he said.
A last grain of stubbornness had still remained on the girl's face, which reminded him of someone he used to hold dear. Moved by the sight, he decided to sweep the stubbornness away by persuading her with his answer.
"Thank you so much, Brother Shi!" said the girl, overwhelmed with surprise and joy. To show her gratitude, she made a gesture at the boy by gently pulling on her dress.
Shi Mu then called Zhang Suo again to arrange a separate, clean room for Zhong Xiu.
Meanwhile, at the Wu manor in Feng City, some men were plotting something against Zhong Xiu. The pale old man who had met Shi Mu at the gate was amongst them.
"Second brother, are you sure that Zhong Ming didn't tell the secret to his daughter? If anything goes wrong, we will suffer a huge loss this time," said an old man who seemed to be in his fifties. His features were similar to those of the pale old man, but he had a more imposing manner.
He was the current master of the house, the leader of the family, as well as the oldest of the three Wu brothers. Furthermore, he was also the only Hou Tian Warrior in his family.
"Eldest brother, if you don't believe me, you should believe that tool. It didn't respond to the girl at all, which proves that she has not yet awakened her blood. That being the case, there is no reason for a penniless girl to be married into our Wu Family. Although it is the Zhongs who sent us the tool, they would have died a hundred times if we hadn't helped them repeatedly. So how does it matter if we cancel the engagement?" the pale man, Wu Feng, answered disapprovingly.
"Exactly, eldest uncle. I shall never marry that ugly girl. I'm taking a fancy to Jin Yu Zhen, one of the Jins," the youth who was listening at their side interrupted grudgingly.
"Stop it, Hua Er! You are in no position here to interrupt your elders," the pale man reprimanded his son with great severity. This shut the rude youth's mouth, but he seemed to dislike it.
"Hua Er, your likes and dislikes cannot influence this decision. There is a possibility that the girl could bring us blood warrior grandchildren, even though her blood has not yet been awakened. Though there's only a slim chance, I still consider it improper to let her go, Second Young Brother," Wu Liang continued in an easy manner.
"If Hua Er has a problem with the girl's looks, our Wu Xun wouldn't mind taking her. So there's no need to drive her away," the third brother Wu Tong, who looked much younger than his other brothers, answered with a smile.