Book 2 Chapter 33: A Way to Live
Teng Qingshan had read the«Earthly Ranking», a collection of basic knowledge regarding this word’s powerful figures as written by the Wan Xiang Sect . In the Nine Prefectures, someone like the Hong Si was considered an expert belonging to the peak of the Postliminary Realm. He established the White Horse Gang and most likely had a group of inner strength experts under his command.
“This Iron Mountain Gang actually has the audacity to fight against the White Horse Gang. They also have some masters with inner strength. However, mounted gangsters are mounted gangsters, so no matter what they tried, they couldn’t attract the truly powerful masters. The masters with inner strength that joined the Iron Mountain Gang must have joined because they failed in their own sect.” Teng Qingshan knew his own strength very clearly. Currently, he himself was a lot stronger than when he was at the pinnacle in his previous life.
Even if the swords of these people were thrusted against his own body, they won’t be able to pierce through the skin!
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! …….
Thirteen long swords flashed a cold glow as they were stabbed towards Teng Qingshan, who was at the center of the circle. The long spear in Teng Qingshan’s hands suddenly moved like a sweeping whirlwind and actually blocked all of the sharp swords in an instant.
“Such profound spear techniques!” Seeing this scene, the eyes of the Second Leader of the Iron Mountain Gang brightened as he exclaimed. He then asked puzzledly, “However, these spear skills……I have never seen them in the past. Which sect does this Spear Art belong to?”
This Second Leader had wide experience and extensive knowledge, having seen the Spear Arts of many different sects. Yet, he couldn’t see through Teng Qingshan’s Spear Arts.
The members of the Teng Clan looked at this scene with their hearts wrenching inside their chest. In their eyes, the long swords of the thirteen men were like a torrent of continuous rain. They were worried that if Teng Qingshan slowed even a fraction, he would be stabbed.
“Qingshan.” Yuan Lan was extremely nervous.
“Mother, Brother is very powerful.” Unlike her mother, Teng Qingyu, who was at Yuan Lan’s side, had a lot of faith in her brother.
This fight was of great importance to both the Teng Jia Village and the mounted gangsters of the Iron Mountain Gang. If the Iron Mountain Gang lost, it would be a great humiliation. Within the circle, Teng Qingshan and the thirteen swordsmen fought for a long time. On top of the Scarlet Flame Horse, the Second Leader’s face had a grave expression as he roared, “Finish it quickly!” Teng Qingshan was still unhurt after fighting for such a long time, and the Second Leader was not satisfied with this.
In fact, Teng Qingshan had been observing the sword techniques of his enemies. Since coming to this world, he had never fought against a master of Internal Martial Arts. He then said in his mind, “The sword technique is indeed not ordinary. Their moves are like flowing streams of water that connects with one another. Especially after incorporating inner strength, the force of every move is quite powerful. However, it’s obvious……that these swordsmen were still at the ‘Form’ stage and have not yet understood the essential meaning of this sword technique.”
Teng Qingshan’s spear technique seemed complicated, but ever since the beginning of the fight, he had been using the same move—Transmutation Unity Law!
When Teng Qingshan practiced the spear, he also tried to comprehend the meaning of his spear technique.
Meaning. Yes, indeed. If one could grasp the meaning, even a casual moves could possess incredible power.
“The person that created this sword formation and sword technique is very powerful. However, the power behind the sword technique and sword formation used by these people is quite ordinary.”
“Chaotic Sword Technique!” The leader of the thirteen swordsmen yelled.
Immediately, the shadows of the thirteen sharp swords became dense like thirteen silver flowers covering Teng Qingshan.
Teng Qingshan, who was at the center of the sword formation, roared, “Release!”
The thirteen swordsmen felt that the strength of the spear held in Teng Qingshan’s hand had suddenly become incredibly powerful, smashing against their long sword like a boulder. “Clang!” “Clang!” “Clang!” ……..After the noises rang, the thirteen long sword dropped onto the ground.
“How is this…….”
The thirteen frightened swordsmen stared at Teng Qingshan, who was at the center. Their right hands were trembling as the flaps of skin between their thumbs and index fingers were torn open with blood gushing out.
The mounted gangsters on the training field were shocked, Almost all of the members that were mounting Cyan Bristled Horses were masters with inner strength. Yet, these thirteen masters were still defeated after combining forces, which is too incredible to imagine.
Teng Qingshan strided towards his own clan members as the mounted gangsters, terrified of his strength, opened a pathway for him to return back to his clan members.
The clan members of Teng Jia Village rejoiced; every one of them was excited.
“Qingshan you did well.” His grandfather, Teng Yunlong, patted Teng Qingshan on the shoulder. Teng Qingshan casted a smile and turned to look at the clan members behind him. He out his hand, and immediately, the clan members of Teng Jia Village became quiet.
“Second Leader” The thirteen swordsmen whispered as they walked in shame to the Second Leader’s side. The Second Leader’s face looked very ugly as he roared, “ Hurry up and get on your horses unless you still want to embarrass yourselves here!” The thirteen swordsmen immediately retreated to the side while the Second Leader looked towards Teng Qingshan and guffawed, “Good, good. What amazing spear skills.”
“As for hurting my subordinate, I will let it go.” The Second Leader mounted his Scarlet Flame Horse and said arrogantly, “If Teng Jia Village agrees to give us, the Iron Mountain Gang, an annual tribute, we will leave immediately.
“Annual tribute?” Teng Qingshan said, “May I ask the Second Leader how much this annual tribute will cost us?” Teng Qingshan knew that the person before him was the Second Leader after hearing the thirteen swordsmen refer to him as “Second Leader.” Among the three leaders of the Iron Mountain Gang, the strongest one was the Great Leader.
“Each person will pay two silver taels,” the Second Leader answered loudly.
“Two silver taels! That will kill us!”
“Why is it so high?!”
“He’s not letting us live!”
Loud chatter spread in the midst of the clan members of Teng Jia Village as the expressions of Teng Yunglong, Teng Yongfan, and the others changed drastically. Two silver taels per person was too much! The White Horse Gang collected only half a silver taels per person.
“Second Leader.” Teng Qingshan’s face didn’t look pleased as he asked, “Two silver taels per person…isn’t the tribute too high?”
“High? Teng Jia Village is the wealthiest village in the region. Your village is strong enough to support over two thousand people. However, I will only count the first two thousand people. Two silver taels for one person. Asking yo to take out four thousand silver taels shouldn’t be a difficult task, right?” The Second Leader sneered coldly, “Even the poor villages like the Great Li Village were required to pay two silver taels per person. The only reason why I’m collecting only two silver taels per person from your wealthy village is because of you, young fellow.”
Teng Qingshan finally understood the reason why Black Wood Village refused to pay and suffered complete annihilation.
It was because this Iron Mountain Gang was too greedy.
One should know……
Stored within the village’s warehouse, the Teng Jia Village’s savings added up to about twenty thousand taels of silver. The warehouse also contained the hides from the snow ferret and the Wolf King. However, if not for Teng Qingshan, there would be no hides, and ten thousand silver taels would be lost from their savings due to the Yangzhou salt merchant.
Although the living conditions within Teng Jia Village were rather good, the village’s large annual expense made it difficult to accumulate any savings.
Collecting four thousand silver taels all at once…if such a large amount of money was collected every year, Teng Jia Village would have to spend all their effort in saving money. It would mean that they couldn’t be able to eat meat, and all the animals they hunted would have to be sold. In order to save money, they wouldn’t be able to even make or buy new clothes!
“Second Leader,” Teng Qingshan said loudly. “You should also know that we villagers make only a couple taels of silver each year. A household has an annual income of a dozen taels, which is already very good. However, half of this annual income would be spent on normal living expenses since most households have four or five people to feed. The Iron Mountain Gang asked for two silver taels per person, which means that you would collect almost ten silver taels from one household! With the White Horse Gang collecting the annual tribute, what would there be any money left for us? Second Leader, how will my clan members survive?”
Teng Qingshan was the leader of the hunting squadron in the village and received a salary of ten silver taels, which was a total of one hundred and twenty silver taels a year. This salary was one of the highest among the entire village. In the village, the leader of the hunting squadron, the great Spear Arts Master, and the number one blacksmith had the highest salaries.
As for the fairly strong men in the village, they had a salary of one silver tael and a total of twelve silver taels a year, which was considered pretty good among the commoners.
In a household, a man had to raise his wife, kids and his elders. Women planted and raised vegetables to provide food for the family, and by farming, they were able to receive two to three taels of silver. Almost every household didn’t have a high annual income, yet in the past…the clan members of Teng Jia Village could still live a good life when they only had to worry about paying an annual tribute to the White Horse Gang.
However, if they were to pay the Iron Mountain Gang four thousand taels of silver each year, even living would become difficult.
“Don’t say unnecessary words.” The expression of the Second Leader, who was mounted on his horse, darkened, “The Great Li Village could pay the two taels of silver per person, and yet you people can’t?”
“Qingshan.” Teng Yunlong pulled Teng Qingshan’s arm and drew him near, whispering softly, “This Second Leader’s strength is too powerful. He blasted the gate of our village into pieces with one forceful strike with his hammer, so he definitely has the strength of ten thousand Jin. He is not someone be trifled with. Let’s just endure and pay the four thousand silver taels. The White Horse Gang and Iron Mountain Gang will definitely battle it out one day.”
“This elder is right!” The Second Leader laughed and said, “Our Iron Mountain Gang and the White Horse Gang will definitely battle it out. At that moment, the White Horse Gang will be doomed, and we will decrease our annual tribute. We know very well the principle ‘Still water runs long’.”
TLN: (Still water runs long) Meaning: Economize to avoid running short. Plan your consumption carefully on a long term basis.
Teng Yunlong’s facial expression changed. He had lowered his volume and thought that the Second Leader won’t be able to hear it, so he didn’t expect that the Second leader would be able to hear everything clearly.
“Decreasing the annual tribute when the White Horse Gang gets obliterated?” Anger burned in Teng Qingshan’s heart.
The two powerful gangs wanted to battle out, but who would know how long this fight would take? In the past, there have been gangs that fought for more than ten years.
“Second Leader, we can endure it this time and gather the amount of silver you requested, but what should our village do next time?” The inner strength within Teng Qingshan’s body surged into the earth from his legs, shooting towards mounted gangsters.
Immediately, the earth shook tremendously.
“Rumble,rumble~~~” Under Teng Qingshan’s feet, the ground cracked and stretched towards the mounted gangsters, causing the war horses to jump in shock. “Neyy Neyy~~” The war horses dashed madly, causing many mounted gangsters to be thrown off from the horses. As the mounted gangsters were in a state of chaos, the Second Leader’s facial expression changed slightly as he secretly said to himself, “This fellow has a very strong inner strength.”
The crooked fissures on the training field ground were very horrifying.
Teng Qingshan glared at the Second Leader with sharp eyes as he spoke with a low voice, “Second Leader, I still hope you can give us, the members of Teng Jia Village, a way to live!”