Chapter 24: Collusion

Keyboard Immortal

Chapter 24: Collusion

Zu An had been paying attention to that carriage in the middle of the scuffle. It was both imposing and extravagant that one’s attention was naturally drawn to it.

“Is it a Rolls Royce?” While there were no similarities in terms of appearance, Zu An couldn’t help but relate the carriage to it.

Regardless of which world one was in, the aesthetics of a human were still quite uniform. The carriage looked like an artwork no matter which angle one were to look at it from. Every single stroke on it was the crystallization of the blood, sweat, and tears of a master craftsman. Four dashing steeds were pulling the carriage from the front, and these steeds had a muscular build and lustrous hair. They looked impeccable and dashing.

The carriage wheels and even the hooves of the steeds were cloaked in blue light. It was an extremely delicate formation that allowed the carriage to maneuver through any difficult terrain without bringing the slightest tremor to the passengers seated inside the carriage.

Zu An had once ridden on the Chu clan’s carriage before, but it came nowhere in comparison to the one right before his eyes.

It was then that he heard a pleasing female voice sounding from within the carriage. “Go? Where can I go?” It was a voice that was tinged with a hint of coyness and a hint of laziness, such that it seemed to melt right into one. It was tinged with confusion.

“What a melodious voice!” Ji Xiaoji muttered to herself in a daze after hearing the voice. On the other hand, Zu An thought nothing of it. In his previous world, the digital age, there were plenty of people who made a living out of their voices, be it voice actors, vtubers, or video makers. He had heard far too many beautiful voices to know that a good voice didn’t equate to good looks. There were far too many pitiful souls who had been fooled by the allure of a beautiful voice.

Meanwhile, the black-clothed men also lost their senses for a moment, but they soon burst into laughter. “Just as we thought, Madame Yu is indeed in there! Brother, let’s push on! Soon, we’ll be able to have a taste of the previous number one beauty of the capital!”

Those words brought the morale of the black-clothed men to greater heights as they cheered in excitement. 

The eyes of the white-clothed guards reddened upon hearing those words, but there was only so much they could do with a numerical disadvantage. No matter how they tapped into the hidden potential in their bodies, there was no way they could stand against an onslaught of attacks coming from all directions.

“Ah! So it’s her!” Ji Xiaoxi exclaimed in astonishment.

Zu An asked in curiosity, “Why? Do you recognize the person in the carriage?”

Ji Xiaoxi shook her head and replied, “I don’t know her in person, but I have heard of her. Cloudmidst’s Yu clan deals in ki stones, and they are the most renowned tycoon in the world. Back in those days, the matriarch of the Yu clan, Yu Yanluo, awed the entire capital with her grace and beauty, such that there are still countless men who can’t forget about her to this day.”

Speaking up to this point, Ji Xiaoxi suddenly recalled how his father proclaimed himself to be Yu Yanluo’s number one fan, and she suddenly felt deeply embarrassed.

Zu An frowned in confusion after hearing those words, “Judging by what you just said, the Yu clan should be pretty formidable. It doesn’t make sense why they aren’t able to handle a group of bandits.”

Ji Xiaoxi quickly corrected Zu An’s misconception. “The Blackwind Stockade isn’t any ordinary bandit band. They are incredibly powerful bandits that even Duke Chu is…”

Before she could finish her words, Zu An had already cut right in, “No matter how formidable they are, bandits are still bandits. Besides, just as you have said, the Yu clan is one of the richest tycoons in the country, and their matriarch is a known beauty. Given so, they are bound to attract attention from enemies and major powers. If this is the standard of the guards they have, how in the world did she manage to survive to this day without any major incidents?”

“Ahh…” Ji Xiaoxi didn’t think that Zu An would have such a strong opinion on this matter. She pondered for a while before responding, “It could be due to her husband, the Cloudmidst Duke, passing away in an accident recently, resulting in an internal turmoil in the Yu clan. That might have affected the quality of guards she brings around with her.”

“Politics inside major clans sure are messy,” Zu An remarked with a sigh. It had only been two days since he joined the Chu clan, and he already had so many near death encounters. Someone like Yu Yanluo was likely to have faced far more of such stuff than him.

“Is the one leading the bandits down there Great Bandit Chen Xuan?” Zu An asked as he pointed to the leader of the black-clothed bandits.

Ji Xiaoxi shook her head and replied, “It doesn’t seem to be him. Chen Xuan is a sixth rank cultivator, possibly even reaching the seventh rank. However, of those below, none of them have even reached the fifth rank.”

“Ah, there is a question in my mind that I have been wanting to ask you for a long time. How do you discern the cultivation level of a person?” Zu An asked. It was not as if this was a game, where the level of the enemies would be displayed on top of their heads. His inability to discern the cultivation level of his enemies would make it hard to deal with threats that were headed his way.

After all, not everyone was like Plum Blossom Twelve, who would be foolish enough to give away his cultivation level.

“You don’t even know that?” Ji Xiaoxi asked in surprise. Nevertheless, she still explained the matter patiently, “In the first rank, a cultivator learns to sense raw ki. In the second rank, a cultivator’s skin hardens, allowing him to deal with ordinary swords barehanded. In the third rank, a cultivator gains the ability to release ki in a radius of 3 chi around his body to form barriers to block against enemy attacks. 

“In the fourth rank, a cultivator is able to emanate ki away from his body, allowing for long-distance attacks. In the fifth rank, a cultivator awakens his ability to control the elements and imbue them into his attacks. In the sixth rank, a cultivator can form an elemental barrier to fend against elemental-type attacks.

“In the seventh rank, a cultivator’s regeneration ability will be significantly boosted, such that the attacks of low-level enemies wouldn’t even be able to keep up with his rate of recovery. In the eighth rank, a cultivator becomes able to communicate with raw ki, allowing him to tap into a far greater reserve of power. I’m not too sure about anything beyond that, but it seems that even flight is possible once one reaches a certain level.

“Those bandits before are incapable of using elemental attacks, which goes to show that none of them have reached the fifth rank. I believe that the leader of the group is the Blackwind Stockade’s Third Master, Bao Gang.

“I see!” Zu An nodded in realization after hearing the explanation. He continued observing the battle below, but this time around, he wasn’t as confused as he was before anymore. He was able to get a rough grasp of their fighting prowess.

Most of the black-clothed bandits below were at the second rank, though a couple of them had reached the third rank. Only the leader of the bandits was at the fourth rank.

Putting it together with what he had learned thus far, a fourth rank cultivator was already able to become the lord of a smaller city whereas a third rank cultivator could serve as a magistrate of a smaller city. Judging by such a standard, it would indeed be unwise to think of the Blackwind Stockade as ordinary bandits.

The guard captain of the Yu clan was at fourth rank too whereas the others were all at third rank. If they had been any weaker than that, it would have been impossible for them to survive till now. It was just a pity that they were too severely outnumbered, such that their defeat was already sealed.

“Who’s there?” The leader of the black-clothed bandits suddenly turned over. It turned out that Zu An and Ji Xiaoxi had spoken a little too loud earlier, revealing their presence.

“You should quickly leave!” Ji Xiaoxi exclaimed in shock to Zu An. She was the one who proposed coming here to save the wounded, so she couldn’t allow Zu An to get hurt because of her.

She had already used up nearly all of the medicine she brought with her on the mountain, so it was uncertain if they could deal with these bandits.

“What about you?” Zu An was surprised. Was this lass really intending to stay behind to hold back the enemies?

“Don’t worry, I can protect myself. Besides, my father is Ji Dengtu. They dare not to touch me,” Ji Xiaoxi said hurriedly.

Zu An shook his head. “Those bandits dare to touch even the renowned Yu clan! There’s no way they’ll care whether you are the daughter of a divine physician or not.”

Ji Xiaoxi was taken aback by Zu An’s words. She was about to tell him that her father was actually a really formidable figure, but before she could voice that aloud, Zu An had already spoken anxiously ahead of her, “Hide yourself well and don’t come out!”

Following that, Zu An leaped out and remarked, “Oho! In the middle of the day, under the glorious rays of the sun, you dare to commit such atrocities in public!”

Ji Xiaoxi’s mouth widened in shock as she wondered if Zu An was out of his mind. It was one thing for him to run out and expose himself to the bandits, but he even dared to provoke them too!

As expected, the black-clothed bandits immediately began hollering back at him, “Where did this nasty brat come from? Are you planning on interfering in the affairs of our Blackwind Stockade?”

Zu An froze in place. “You’re from the Blackwind Stockade?

“Of course! Who are you?” The leader of the black-clothed bandits stared at Zu An warily. The latter had suddenly leaped out of nowhere, such that he couldn’t really discern the latter’s background. For the time being, it was better to do some probing so as to get an idea as to who they were dealing with first.

As a result, the battle between the black-clothed bandits and the Yu clan ceased temporarily.

Zu An clasped his fist and said, “I am Cheng Shouping. Those in the pugilistic world know me as a person with lips as tight as a cork on a bottle!”

Over in the bushes, Ji Xiaoxi blinked her eyes. Who is Cheng Shouping?

The black-clothed bandits were equally confused too. They had never heard of such a figure in the pugilistic world before. Nevertheless, they thought that Zu An was likely to be a formidable expert, or else he wouldn’t dare to stand before them so calmly.

At the same time, seeing how the intruder had started chatting with the black-clothed bandits, the guards of the Yu clan flew into a panic. The guard captain shouted out loud, “That hero over there, we’re from the Cloudmidst’s Yu clan! If you’re willing to lend us a helping hand, the Yu clan will surely repay the favor generously!”

Bao Gang’s face immediately darkened. He shot a glance at his subordinates and gestured them to take a detour around the forest to seal off this ‘Cheng Shouping’s’ escape route. After all, they couldn’t allow anyone to know that they were the culprits who attacked the Yu clan’s carriage.

“Generously?” Zu An repeated contemplatively. “How generous?”

Those of the Yu clan was flabbergasted by the response they received. This man isn’t playing by the norms! Shouldn’t he say stuff like what ‘a true hero doesn’t expect any rewards’ and lend them a helping hand? 

But in any case, the guard captain still responded to Zu An’s question right away, “I dare not say the fortunes of our Yu clan can truly rival that of the country, but be it gold, silver, legendary weapons, ki stones, or even conferment of nobility, regardless of what it is that you need, our Yu clan will surely satisfy your demands!”

Zu An nodded in response. “That sounds like a fair offer, but I’m a cultured person who appreciates art more. I heard that your matriarch used to be the number one beauty in the capital. Could I ask for her instead?”

Bao Gang was initially afraid that this intruder would intervene and help the Yu clan, but after hearing those words, he found himself rendered dumbfounded. He nearly shouted out ‘Respect, bro’. In any case, seeing that this intruder bore no ill will toward them, he ordered the subordinates that were going to surround the intruder to come back and just stay on their guard.

The face of the guard captain darkened. “Please do not joke around.”

Zu An shrugged casually as he responded, “I’m not joking around. As long as your matriarch is willing to accompany me for a night, I’ll settle these men from the Blackwind Stockade for you.”

Behind the bushes, Ji Xiaoxi found her face reddening upon hearing those words. That man is obviously… yet he still puts on a licentious act.

But while she knew Zu An’s circumstances, those of the Yu clan didn’t. All of the guards began glaring at him furiously.

You have successfully trolled Yu Bin for +99 Rage!

You have successfully trolled Yu Jun for +99 Rage!

You have successfully trolled Yu Meng for +99 Rage!

Seeing the huge inflow of Rage points, Zu An felt that the Rage system was simply too compatible with him. For him, earning Rage was almost as easy as breathing. The only regret he had was obtaining this Rage system far too late in life. Otherwise, with his skills on the internet forums, he should have already earned enough points for him to ascend to godhood by now!

However, one thing that left Zu An surprised was that Madame Yu didn’t provide him with any Rage points at all. Could it be that she didn’t mind his rude remarks at all?

Disregarding the murderous gazes coming from the guards, Zu An turned to Bao Gang and said, “I have a deep respect for the Blackwind Stockade, especially after hearing of the great deeds you have pulled off. The only regret I have in my life is not having the opportunity to join your ranks. Since fate has brought us together today, may I humbly ask you to take me in? I don’t need anything at all. I just hope that you can share Madame Yu with me once you’re done here.”

You have successfully trolled Yu Bin for +99 Rage!

You have successfully trolled Yu Jun for +99 Rage!

You have successfully trolled Yu Meng for +99 Rage!

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