TDC Chapter 65 – Come and go like a shadow

Although it was early winter, that day was a rare good weather.

The golden-yellow sun hangs in the blue sky and despite the fact that the sunlight cannot warm the body, it can warm the heart.

A white pigeon flapped its wings and soared in the air.

Everything was peaceful.

With a “whoosh”, a cold arrow cut through the sky and hit the white bird accurately.

The white pigeon fluttered its wings a few times in vain, before it stiffened and fell from the air.

A man in black carrying a bow and arrow rushed to the place where the carrier pigeon had fallen, and picked up the dying white bird.

*******

Ichneumon Wasps Headquarters.

The man in black strode into the hall. “Leader! The carrier pigeon flying towards the Spider Web has been successfully shot down by me!”

The man in black presented the already stiff pigeon as if he was offering some treasure.

“Good job!” Ji Yishuai smiled from ear to ear. “Take off the bamboo tube and take the pigeon to make a stew!”

“Yes!” The man in black took off the bamboo tube wrapped around the pigeon’s feet and handed it to Ji Yishuai. Then he took the pigeon and headed to the kitchen happily.

Ji Yishuai couldn’t wait to take out the small note from the bamboo tube and read it.

The little subordinate stood aside and glanced at the note curiously. “Leader, what does it say?”

“Hmph!” Ji Yishuai smiled domineeringly and handed the note to the little subordinate. “Sure enough, as I had expected, Lian Xianlai and Ling Long are secretly communicating with each other.”

The little subordinate picked up the note and looked at it. It says ‘I have a lead, come quickly’, and it was signed by Lian Xianlai.

The little subordinate said happily, “Leader! They are talking about the <<Bronze Manual>>?!”

“That’s absolutely right!” Ji Yishuai also looked happy. “This time, we can finally get ahead of them!”

Ji Yishuai resolutely led a group of elite men into Jiuhua Mountain.

In order to race against time, more than a dozen people rode day and night. Ten days later, they finally arrived at the Jiuhua Sect.

Ji Yishuai and his subordinates were all thinner, but as long as the thought of  Ling Long kowtowing and admitting defeat in front of him, or even quitting from the Jianghu circle, Ji Yishuai felt that all the bitterness was sweet!

After the disciples of the Jiuhua Sect reported to Lian Xianlai, he came out of the house in a hurry. But upon seeing that the person standing in front of him was not Ling Long, he cannot help but be confused. “I wonder who this Sir is?”

“Ji Yishuai!” Ji Yishuai patted his chest proudly.

“Ji Yishuai?” Lian Xianlai thought hard for a long time, but still couldn’t remember who it was. But the most important thing when wandering in the Jianghu is to have eyesight, so Lian Xianlai still followed this good advice and said, “It turns out that it is Ji Daxia. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Ji Yishuai was successfully pleased and waved to Lian Xianlai. “Sect Leader Lian is being polite.”

Lian Xianlai lifted the corners of his mouth and politely said, “I don’t know why Ji Daxia has come to Jiuhua Sect. What can I do for you?”

Ke.” Ji Yishuai put his hand to his mouth and gave a dry cough. “I heard that you already have some clues about the <<Bronze Manual>>, so I’m here to see if I can help.”

Lian Xianlai finally remembered who Ji Yishuai was. He once heard from his disciples that there was a Ichneumon Wasps Leader who didn’t know the immensity of heaven and earth and had challenged Ling Long to find out who could first find the secret book <<Bronze Manual>>. The leader who didn’t know the immensity of heaven and earth seems to be called Ji Yishuai.

Seeing Lian Xianlai’s hesitant face, Ji Yishuai said, “Sect Leader Lian, as long as you can find the <<Bronze Manual>>, it doesn’t matter who helped you find it, right?”

Lian Xianlai nodded with a smile. “What Ji Daxia said is true.”

Ji Yishuai also smiled. “Can you tell me about your lead?”

Lian Xianlai turned his body sideways and made a gesture of invitation to Ji Yishuai. “Ji Daxia, this way please.”

Ji Yishuai followed Lian Xianlai to the back mountain of the Jiuhua Sect. There was a hidden cave which was used by Lian Xianlai whenever he was cultivating in seclusion.

The cave was very dark, and Lian Xianlai ordered people to light several torches for illumination.

After following Lian Xianlai for a few steps, Lian Xianlai suddenly stopped and shone the torch on the wall. “Here it is.”

Ji Yishuai leaned forward and looked at it carefully with the light from the fire in Lian Xianlai’s hand.

On the mountain wall, a few large characters like dragons flying and phoenixes dancing were carved with a sword——

Purple Jade Book, beginner level foundation; Bronze Manual, reaching the pinnacle.

Ji Yishuai was surprised and sucked in a cold breath. “This…… this is?!”

Lian Xianlai said, “I originally planned to enter seclusion but I didn’t expect to see these words on the mountain wall. I was greatly surprised at that moment, so I wrote a letter and sent it to Ling Long. The Purple Jade Book is the basic Neigong (a kind of Kung Fu to benefit the internal organs) cultivation method of my Jiuhua Sect. The person who engraved this words must know our martial arts like the back of their hands, and it is very likely that he is the man in black who stole the secret book.”

Happiness came too suddenly that Ji Yishuai’s back was dripping with cold sweat. “So, that man in black…… actually came to the Jiuhua Sect?”

Lian Xianlai nodded. “I think so too.”

Ji Yishuai took a few breaths and finally calmed down his excitement for the time being. “Sect Leader Lian, is there any place suitable for hiding near Jiuhua Sect?”

Lian Xianlai thought for a while and said, “Black Bamboo Forest. But that is a forbidden area of our sect. None of our disciples are allowed to enter it.”

Ji Yishuai clapped his hands and said confidently. “That’s right. The man in black must be hiding in the Black Bamboo Forest. There will be no people going in and out of there. It is the most suitable place.” Ji Yishuai paused and looked at Lian Xianlai. “Sect Leader Lian, this matter should not be delayed. Please let me lead my men into the Black Bamboo Forest to search.”

“This……” Lian Xianlai was put in a difficult position.

“Sect Leader Lian, although Black Bamboo Forest is a forbidden area of the Jiuhua Sect, we are not members of the sect, so it will not violate the rules. Besides, it’s an urgent situation.

Lian Xianlai frowned and thought for a while before sighing, “Then…… let’s just do what Ji Daxia said!”

With Lian Xianlai’s consent, Ji Yishuai was very happy. He was counting the number of people who will enter the Black Bamboo Forest when Lian Xianlai said with a heavy face, “It’s just that…… the man in black has an excellent martial arts. If Ji Daxia met him, how are you planning to handle it?”

Ji Yishuai patted his chest bravely. “Don’t worry, Sect Leader Lian, I have my own way to deal with him!”

When Lian Xianlai heard Ji Yishuai say this, he finally relaxed his frowning brows. “That’s good.”

A few of his subordinates were left to wait in Jiuhua Sect. Ji Yishuai took the rest and followed a little disciple of the sect towards the Black Bamboo Forest.

On the way, Ji Yishuai asked, “Hey, why is the Black Bamboo Forest a forbidden area for your sect?”

The little disciple replied, “Black Bamboo Forest is the burial place of the Sect Leaders, Martial Uncles and people of the Jiuhua Sect. Without permission, no disciples are allowed to enter and disturb.”

The little subordinate behind Ji Yishuai shuddered immediately. “So, there are graves inside?”

The little disciple nodded. “Exactly.”

The Subordinate: “……”

Ji Yishuai yelled sharply to encourage everyone. “What are you afraid of! We are doing the right thing. The elders will not come out to educate us!”

The little disciple of the Jiuhua Sect hesitated for a moment, hemming and hawing before saying, “In fact, in our Jiuhua Sect, there has always been a legend about the haunted Black Bamboo Forest. Everyone dare not go to the Black Bamboo Forest, not because it is a restricted place, but…… because it is haunted inside.”

Ji Yishuai: “……”

The little disciple continued, “It must be that all the Martial Uncles and Masters saw that the Jiuhua Sect has fallen so badly now that they are unwilling and cannot rest in peace.”

Ji Yishuai: “……”

“Leader, I suddenly have a stomachache. Can I not go?” One of his men squatted down on the ground with a pained expression on his face.

Ji Yishuai frowned and hit the man on the head with a fist. “You good for nothing!” He turned around and said to all his men, “Whoever dares to retreat, I will cut off their legs!”

The man squatting on the ground stood up with a bitter expression and continued walking behind Ji Yishuai.

The little disciple who led the way pointed to a bamboo forest ahead and stopped walking. “The Black Bamboo Forest is in front. Please go by yourselves, Ji Daxia. I won’t go there.”

After the little disciple said that, he ran away on both legs.

Ji Yishuai scolded ‘as timid as a mouse’  in his heart, walked in front and took the lead.

The weather in winter was already cold, and this became stronger as soon as they entered the Black Bamboo Forest. Several people shuddered at the same time.

“Leader, say…… is there really a ghost here?” His subordinate asked tremblingly.

“Where is a ghost in broad daylight?!” Although Ji Yishuai said this with confidence, a thin layer of cold sweat spread in his palms.

“Leader.” Another subordinate also asked tremblingly, “You said you have a way to deal with the man in black, what is your way?”

“I haven’t figured it out yet.”

The subordinates: “……”

Their hearts became even more unsettled.

In the quiet Black Bamboo Forest there was only the snapping sound of the bamboo leaves being trampled on. The sound of breathing became heavier and heavier.

Because of the dense growth of bamboos in the bamboo forest, the sunlight cannot come in much. The bamboo forest looks even darker than the outside, and there’s even some mist faintly floating inside.

With a “whoosh”, a dark shadow quickly passed behind several people. Ji Yishuai and the others turned around. “Who is it?!”

But there was only empty space behind and a few bamboo leaves drifting down.

There was another “whoosh”, and a dark shadow passed behind Ji Yishuai and the others. Ji Yishuai was already scared into a cold sweat, but he still put on a bold face and turned around. “Who the hell is it? If you are a man, stop acting so mysterious!”

One of his subordinates fell to the ground in fear and said with a woebegone look. “Leader, let’s go out now. It will be dark later!”

Ji Yishuai is determined to find the <<Bronze Manual>>. “I said, whoever dares to retreat, I will cut off their legs!”

Just as Ji Yishuai’s voice fell, a strange laugh came from above the bamboo forest. They couldn’t tell from which direction it was coming from.

“Hahahahahahahahaha.”

This string of laughter was full of energy but with an indescribable gloomy coldness, which made the people listening feel creeped out.

Ichneumon Wasps men were almost crying as they sat on the ground. “Leader! There really is a ghost ah——”

Ji Yishuai clenched his fists and shouted into the air, “Who is it? Come out and fight if you are not a coward!”

“Hahahahahaha.” The strange laughter came out from all directions again. “Young boy, you want to fight with your grandpa?”

This time he actually said something with a peculiar voice, the sound neither like that of a man nor a woman, male nor female. “You take ten steps to the left, then turn right and go straight for twenty steps, and you will see your grandpa!”

Then there was another hahaha laughter, before the sound stopped abruptly.

His men were so frightened that they kept silent like a cicada in cold weather (does not dare to speak because they are afraid) and it took a long time for them to calm down. They asked, “Leader, w-we, what would we do?”

Ji Yishuai made up his mind. “Go. Let’s go and see who is playing tricks here!”

He dragged his men up from the ground, and as the voice had said, they first turned left and walked ten steps, next they turned right and walked twenty steps, then they halted. Several people held their breaths and stood in place without moving.

A tomb loomed before them.

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