Chapter 15: Jin Yu Zhen
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Maggie
Feng Li managed to help Gao Yuan up from the ground. By then, Shi Mu had picked up the cotton bag and unclasped it to look inside. Seeing the contents, Shi Mu's face displayed an obvious expression of satisfaction.
"Second Brother, it's only because you arrived in time to help us that all my brothers didn't suffer further at Wang Tian Hao's hands," Feng Li smiled bitterly at Shi Mu, his face contorted in pain.
"That's right, we were lucky that Second Leader arrived in time."
"Wang Tian Hao, that proud bastard! Two strikes by our Second Leader were enough to leave him begging for mercy."
"Yeah, the title of Feng City's Top Martial Disciple should belong to our Second Leader."
Now back on their feet, all the other Black Fox members forgot about their aching bodies in their anxiousness to offer their flattery. An atmosphere of celebration surrounded each one of them, suggesting that their spirits had been doubly lifted.
After all, they had witnessed the defeat of the so-called top Martial Disciple in Feng City at the hands of their mysterious Second Leader. This obviously meant that as long as no accomplished warriors were involved, the Black Fox gang could rule over all the small gangs.
"Well, I've got other things to do. So let's call it a day then," Shi Mu said, unmoved by the rapturous crowd. He took his leave with a wave, without forgetting to stuff the bag into his shirt.
"Hold on, Second Brother. Third Brother and I still wish to have a word with you," Feng Li called out to him hurriedly, upset by his sudden departure.
"You have more to talk about? Well, then I'll stay a little longer," Shi Mu promised readily, as he tilted his head and gave it some thought.
Feng Li was quite happy to hear this. He turned to his subordinates and said, "Go and deal with your wounds now."
The Black Fox members were smart enough to realise that their three leaders were about to have an important discussion, so they began retiring one after another. Judging from the excitement on their faces, the scene of Shi Mu defeating Wang Tian Hao had left a deep imprint on their minds. It would definitely be circulated among their fellow members very soon.
"The two of you were really unkind to me this time. The opponent was extremely powerful, but you didn't bother to inform me beforehand. Did you think that I wouldn't come if I knew?" Shi Mu asked angrily.
"Brother Shi, please forgive us this time! We were definitely at fault, and we won't let you go without compensating you for it," Feng Li said, embarrassed at Shi Mu's bluntness.
"But please do believe us Brother Shi. We had difficulties informing you about the details this time. We had guessed that some proud guy of the Jin gang had challenged us, and we didn't know Wang Tian Hao would have anything to do with it. Moreover, Wang Tian Hao left us no time to investigate our opponent. We were caught completely unprepared," Gao Yuan said, quickly providing a convincing logic.
"If that was the case, then it's excusable. Otherwise, I would have really considered not working with your Black Fox gang anymore. Well, what did you both want to tell me?" Shi Mu nodded as he heard the explanation. The tension between the two parties seemed to ease a little bit.
"Thank you for your understanding. Brother Shi, is there a chance that we could have you as our real leader?" Feng Li first sighed with relief, then added with a solemn face.
The question did not come as a surprise to Shi Mu.
He asked lightly, "So you want me to take the position of the actual 'Fierce Fists', the Second Leader of the Black Fox?"
"Not the second, but the first. The real boss! Give me a nod and I'll assemble all the boys together to hand over the top seat to you," Feng Li readily answered Shi Mu.
"Big Brother Feng, that's not what we had decided!" Gao Yuan was taken aback at such a rash promise.
"Third Brother, can't you see that the Black Fox gang can survive without the two of us? But without Brother Shi's help, it would be vanquished within a month by the other Feng City gangs. The territory of the Black Fox gang has grown four times its original size. Do you still think we will be able to manage such a big gang?" Feng Li delivered the truth with a forced smile, rendering Gao Yuan speechless. He was only able to resist in his heart.
"I'll apologise only once. I've got no intentions of getting involved in gangs and I can only promise you my limited cooperation. Brother Feng, you are well aware of my ambition. I've devoted myself to the path of martial arts, and other things will only be a waste of my time," Shi Mu refused after he had quietly considered the offer.
"Brother Shi, are you sure you don't need more time to think about the offer? I know about your great ambition, but the problems you will encounter on the path to becoming a martial artist will exceed your imagination. But with just one nod you could have hundreds of fellows at your service, right now. Don't you think that is a good bargain?" Feng Li said in a compelling tone. Although he was in despair, he tried his luck for the second time.
"That won't tempt me, so you should just drop the idea. Also, the cooperation between us will come to an end as soon as I manage to acquire Qi-sensing," Shi Mu shook his head resolutely and left.
Feng Li wanted to open his mouth, but did not say a word.
Gao Yuan was also silent.
Shi Mu did not immediately return home. Instead, he took off the Fierce Fists' costume, packed it up and visited the Liu Feng Martial Arts Club.
He did not leave the club until after he had gone through another round of the devastating exercise of being struck with iron sticks at acupuncture points all over his body. Then he left for his city residence, sporting a contorted face and a bruised body, bearing insufferable pains.
As he limped on, he was unaware of the fact that two young girls were pointing at him from the third story of a flashy restaurant.
"Yu Huan, is that your elder step brother? He looks like a wretched cripple! Could some strong boys have bullied him in a club?" observed an attractive girl in a yellow blouse. A glamorously dressed girl of the same age was sitting opposite her.
"Stepbrother? He's my father's real son, so that makes him my blood brother!" the girl in the glamorous clothes retorted with a solemn face, obviously irritated by her companion's remarks. She moved her eyes from Shi Mu's passing figure. She was Shi Mu's younger sister 'Shi Yu Huan', and though he had only met her once, but she was now readily defending him from condemnation.
"It's the truth, but apart from the Seventh Aunt and you, nobody accepts him in our family. Judging from his presently tattered clothes, it doesn't seem like he's got the makings of a warrior, does he? It's a pity that we are giving him our only Qi Ling pill then!" the girl in yellow replied haughtily.
"Humph. I know there is a ploy going on here, or why else would you be so nice to invite me here for dinner? It looks like someone's been bought by Uncle Wu to persuade me," Shi Yu Huan replied with a sardonic snort, perceiving her companion's intentions.
"Cousin Yu Huan, you are wrong this time. Uncle Wu didn't ask me to do this, his son Jin Tian did. He was certain that if you persuaded Shi Mu to give up the pill on his own initiative, your mother wouldn't refuse. Besides, Shi Mu will be compensated properly for it," the girl in yellow said, laughing proudly at the missed guess.
"Though I've only met Shi Mu once, I could sense that he wasn't the kind to get easily persuaded. Moreover, my mother feels bad for his mother. She won't let the Jin Family bully him, without taking any action. Go and tell Jin Tian to give up his schemes!" Shi Yu Huan answered bluntly.
"Well, alright. I'm only doing what I was paid to do. I'll convey your words to Jin Tian," the girl in the yellow blouse replied. She waved the topic off and didn't mention it again, proving to be unexpectedly easy to handle.
"Judging from your temper, you won't do so unless I pay you a huge amount of money," Shi Yu Huan said, curling her lips. The different types of delicious dishes on the table failed to interest her.
"That's for sure. Except me, who do you think he would turn to? I'm the closest to you in our family! By the way, did you notice my newly bought jade hairpin? What do you think of it?" Jin Yu Zhen said, changing the topic in high spirits. She didn't really care about the aborted persuasion, and was happy to instead talk about an extremely exquisite jade hairpin, which she produced from her sleeve.
Shi Yu Huan was surprised to see the jade hairpin.
"That's quite strange! If I remember correctly, you rarely buy any jewellery. You have always been proud of the beauty you were born with."
"What's so strange about it? There's a saying, 'A girl will doll herself up for him who loves her!'" Jin Yu Zhen said with a thin smile.
"For him who loves her? You don't mean Wu Hua, do you?" Shi Yu Huan was stunned, her eyes were wide open.
"Wu Hua, that good-for-nothing stalker? How could that be possible? I am talking about Wang Tian Hao of the Jin Gang Club. He is the son of the Wangs, who are said to have blood warriors in their family!" Jin Yu Zhen answered without thinking.
"Wang Tian Hao, who is known for his accomplished art of the Blazing Spear? The one who is at level ten in Body Tempering, and is said to be the top Martial Disciple of Feng city? Is he going to visit our Jin Family?" Shi Yu Huan said, her eyes lighting up expectantly as she heard the name.
"Mind you, Shi Yu Huan! Wang Tian Hao is my target, don't you think about competing with me!" Jin Yu Zhen became somewhat dejected on seeing her companion's excitement, lacking in self-confidence.
"Nonsense! I just wish to see with my own eyes if the legendary Blazing Spear deserves his reputation. He is only able to retain his title because experts like us from the big clans don't pick a fight with him. How else could he manage to get the title of the top Martial Disciple so easily?" Shi Yu Huan stared disapprovingly at her companion.
"You're such a tomboy! Well, you can say whatever. But I know that Wang Tian Hao is brilliant. Besides, he has the blood of the Wang Family. This time, our grandfather has personally invited him to our manor, so he must have a marriage on his mind. Please don't compete with me when he visits. By the way, are you certain that you want to take your brother's side in this issue, no matter what happens? I'm afraid Jin Tian won't give up the pill so easily," said Jin Yu Zhen with a hearty smile. Her face lit up with happiness as she spoke about the upcoming marriage.
"Go and tell Jin Tian this. Even if Shi Mu has no skills, he is still my brother by blood. It's okay if Jin Tian tries to acquire the pill through honest ways. But if he ever tries to devise any evil plans, I'll break his legs right before the enrolment test to Kai Yuan Martial Arts School," Shi Yu Huan's delicate face turned cold as ice at her companion's question.
Jin Yuzhen pursed her lips as she saw Shi Yu Huan's stern face, who continued defending her brother's honour.
Shi Mu was quite unaware that he had lessoned in his blood sister's eyes. On returning to his residence, he immediately immersed himself in the boiling water of his medicine bath.
Covering his face with a hot towel and leaning against the basin's edge, Shi Mu squeezed his eyes shut. He continued to thoroughly rehearse his long harboured plan once again, despite the disruptions in his thoughts.
"The golden hamster," Shi Mu suddenly murmured to himself, breaking the silence.